Pull For Pride Athlete Amelia Rosegrat: "Remember that everyone started with an empty bar."

Name: Amelia Rosegrant

Age: 30

Pronouns: She/Her

Pull for Pride location: Washington, DC

Favorite song to listen to while training: "My Shot" from Hamilton, although honestly I mostly listen to audiobooks while I train

Favorite post-training meal: donuts, pizza, anything delicious and carb-filled

Instagram: Ameyliar

How do you identify? Tell us a little about yourself:

I'm a 30-year-old (yikes! freaked out turning 30 but my wife took me to Disney World so it was okay) Montessori teaching assistant from Northern Virginia. I grew up in the area but moved to Chicago to get my BA in Dance Studies. I've been back since 2010. When I'm not lifting I love crafting and reading, and doing events with Hogwarts Running Club and Chilton Running Club, which force me to do cardio and not hate it. I love all things Disney and Harry Potter, and my falls are spent at the Maryland Renaissance Festival on the weekends. I've been a proud Girls on the Run coach for 3 years, and I love seeing the growth in the girls over the course of the season. I'm lucky that GOTR allows me to wear their shirts at every powerlifting meet I've done to represent for strong girls!

What does Pull for Pride mean to you and what's motivating you to participate?

Pull for Pride is such an important event for me. I participated last year and had a great time, so I'm really excited to have the chance to do it again. I feel like there is not nearly enough queer representation in strength sports, so I hope to do my part by representing. My wife is an Olympic lifter so I'm really glad that she has chosen a barbell sport as well (but glad its not the same barbell sport, we get really competitive!). When I was younger, I was able to benefit from a D.C based LGBT center, so I'm happy to be able to give back and hopefully help provide services for others. It was a great resource for me as a teenager to know that there was a safe place for me to go and meet other gay youth.

When did you begin barbell training and what inspired you to start?

I started seriously training powerlifting about 2 years ago. Before that I was a cardio junkie and hardcore GroupX participant. I was also an instructor for LesMills BodyCombat. I loved it, but it wasn't right for me in the end. I had dabbled in lifting in college, but I was always too fearful of the weight room to really dive in and give it a try. I started watching female powerlifters on YouTube, and I had been working with a trainer leading up to my wedding, and I realized this was something that felt good to my body and I would have fun doing it. I loved the feeling of getting stronger and trying new things.

What do you find fulfilling about training?

I love feeling strong.
For the first time in my life, I feel like my larger size is an asset, not a fault or flaw or detriment. I love that the bar is familiar now and no matter what kind of day I have I can trust that if I put in the work and give my body what it needs, I will progress.
I can put on my headphones, lift, and tune everything else out.

What do you find challenging?

That progress isn't linear. It can be so frustrating to plateau or get stuck at a certain weight, even when I feel like I should be moving up in my weights.
I have a deformity in my cervical spine, which some days makes training not possible or extremely painful, so  dealing with that can be frustrating.
In addition, I also have  fairly intense social anxiety, so even getting to the gym can be incredibly daunting some days.
I still get really self conscious at the gym sometimes, and doubt my place there, but that's when I remind myself that I have as much of a right as anyone else to be there. I'm doing this for me, for fun, and if it stops being fun, that is when I should find a new sport.

What message or advice do you have for folks who might want to start strength training but aren't sure how or where to begin?

Start small. Watch and read everything you can.
I'm a Ravenclaw so I would suggest being as prepared as possible. If it's in your means, I would suggest meeting with a trainer even if just for a couple sessions to familiarize yourself with the equipment and proper form. Check out a few gyms and see which you vibe the best with. Don't be afraid to ask for help. I've found that powerlifters are some of the friendliest, most willing to help people I've ever met. Do NOT compare yourself to people on social media, that will only make you feel bad about yourself. I've been down that rabbit hole, it doesn't lead anywhere nice.
Remember that everyone started with an empty bar.

If you are trans and/or queer, do you have any words of encouragement or insights for other trans and queer folks for navigating gym environments and approaching training?

If you're comfortable, ask questions when you check out gyms. there are some great online resources for questions to ask to see if a place will be safe/accepting. I've been lucky that being gay has never been an issue for me in the gym. Take advantage of social media. I don't have an in person group of other queer lifters, but I've been able to find some on instagram and it's really nice to see some queer representation in strength sports, even if they aren't at my home gym.

Do you have any advice or encouragements for cisgender and straight allies who want to help make the gym a more welcoming space for trans and queer folks?

Don't assume peoples' genders or pronouns. Talk to new people at the gym if they seem open to talking. I recently switched gyms and still don't feel 100% comfortable there, but my old gym was family and like a second home. 

Do you have a strength role model(s) in your life (this could be strength training or strength in other ways)?

Cliche, but megsquats was really helpful to me when I started exploring the idea of powerlifting.
Most friends I've met at meets have been so supportive and encouraging, which is an oddity among competitive sports.