Things Strength Athletes Hear When They Go Home for the Holidays

“When are you getting engaged?” and “Oh wow, you look great, have you lost weight?”

These are the common questions and statements that most receive when they go home for the holidays, but not everyone gets these. More specifically, I’m talking about strength athletes. If you’re a gym rat, then you can probably relate to getting some interesting questions and statements from different family members, usually those who don’t lift.

This image comes from our friends at 9for9 Media, the premiere powerlifting photography company

In spirit of the holiday season, and in response to getting asked – “Why do you keep trying to break your back on Instagram?” – instantly when getting into my mom’s car at the airport, I figured it would be worthwhile to put together a relatable list of quotes from family members of other strength athletes that don’t quite get their sports.

[The odd questions and comments don’t stop here. Check out the odd things people have said to these female powerlifters.]

When your family thinks you’re going to the Olympics…

Powerlifter Cailer Woolam: Family member, “Oh wow 900 lbs? That means you could lift a car right? When are you going to the Olympics?” To which Woolam responds, “It’s not an Olympic sport!” But they persist, “Yes it is, I’ve seen it on T.V.!” 

Weightlifter Brian Reisenauer: Family member, “Oh, you do Olympic lifting, so you’re going to the Olympics?” Reisenauer says he usually replies with, “Yeah, hopefully!” because it’s easier than trying to explain it.

Weightlifter and coach Mike Dewar: After his meet before Thanksgiving his aunt and uncles asked, “So you’re going to the Olympics now?!” Dewar said he laughed and said, “If only it was that easy.” 

When your family worries, or makes fun of your diet…

Weightlifter Matt Bergeron: His family member, “Oh man, I’m stuffed, I can’t eat another bite.” Other family member, “It’s okay, give it to Matt, he’ll eat it!”

Weightlifter Alyssa Ritchey: Sister to Ritchey, “Alyssa, you’re in charge of getting sugar for the sugar cookies, and DON’T get any healthy sugar…just get sugar.” In which Ritchey replies, “I had no idea they sold healthy sugar?”

CrossFit Athlete Chelsea Nicholas: Friends or family to Nicholas if there’s anything that isn’t “healthy” on her plate, “Are you allowed eat that?”

Weightlifter Rachel Hayes: Family member to Hayes, “Can you eat that? I can’t believe how much you eat now!” 

Powerlifter Amber Abweh: Family member, “Wow! Why are you always hungry?” 

Weightlifter Maggie Cumetti: Family to Cumetti, “Oh, you can eat that? You’re eating dessert, it’s not good for you! I will tell your coach!”

When your family talks about back in the day…

Powerlifter Hayden Bowe: Family member to Bowe, “I used to be in great shape, but x y z happened, and now I don’t lift because I’m so busy.”

When your family doesn’t quite get your sport…

Strongman Rob Kearney: Family member, “Oh, you do strongman? Isn’t that like when you pull trucks with your teeth?”

Powerlifter Emma McRae: Family member, “Oh, you do powerlifting?” *As the family member does an awkward overhead motion that looks more like they’re cheering than doing an overhead pressing movement.*

Powerlifter Amber Abweh: Family member to Abweh, “So…are you still doing that fitness thing?”

Powerlifter Clifton Pho: Family member, “So when do you lift the weight over your head? Are you in the Olympics yet?”

When your family uses your strength for their personal gain…

CrossFit Athlete Daniel Tyminski: Family member, “Hey, since you’re so strong, why don’t get all the stuff from the truck and bring it in?”

When your family thinks you have super human strength…

Powerlifter Yangsu Ren: Family member to Ren, “You don’t even look like you can lift that much…” Before adding, “Can you pick up my Honda Civic?”

Weightlifter Jordan Weichers: Family member, “How much do you lift? Could you lift me over your head?”

When your family constantly worries about your health…

Powerlifter Sarah Brenner: Grandma, “Oh honey, I’m worried you’re going to break something.”

Grandma photo courtesy of Sarah Brenner

Weightlifter Alyssa Ritchey: Mom says, “You better be wearing your back brace when you are lifting weights, missy.” 

Powerlifter Luke Richardson: Family to Richardson, “Don’t get any bigger!”

Weightlifter Maggie Cumetti: Family member, “Aren’t you afraid you’re going to hurt yourself?”

When your family doesn’t quite get your lifestyle…

Weightlifter Kendrick Farris: Family member, “Why don’t you celebrate Christmas? Are you happy?”

Happy Holidays

More often than not, the family members who ask these random questions, or make these funny comments make them from a positive point of view, and just simply don’t understand strength sports. In most cases, I always think they’re worth a laugh, especially because all of us are going to the Olympics, and all we do is bench. Happy holidays!

Feature image taken by @9for9media and courtesy @sarahskwaats Instagram page. 

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Jake holds a Master's in Sports Science and a Bachelor's in Exercise Science. Currently, Jake serves as one of the full time writers and editors at BarBend. He's a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and has spoken at state conferences on the topics of writing in the fitness industry and building a brand. As of right now, Jake has published over 1,100 articles related to strength athletes and sports. Articles about powerlifting concepts, advanced strength & conditioning methods, and topics that sit atop a strong science foundation are Jake's bread-and-butter. On top of his personal writing, Jake edits and plans content for 15 writers and strength coaches who come from every strength sport.Prior to BarBend, Jake worked for two years as a strength and conditioning coach for hockey and lacrosse players, and was a writer at the Vitamin Shoppe's corporate office. Jake regularly competes in powerlifting in the 181 lb weight class, and considers himself a weightlifting shoe sneaker head. On the side of writing full time, Jake works as a part-time strength coach and works with clients through his personal business Concrete Athletics in Hoboken and New York City.