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GGS Spotlight: The Powerlifting Pocahontas

jadesocoby1-450x340Name:  Jade Socoby, aka The Powerlifting Pocahontas
Age: 26
Location: Maine

What does being a Girl Gone Strong mean to you?
To me, it’s about women empowering other women and knowing how to make themselves and each other unstoppable given any circumstance. Being a girl gone strong isn’t just about being the strongest you can be physically, but also mentally.

How did you get introduced to strength training, and how long have you been training?
I’ve been on a weight loss journey for two and a half years now, having lost 130 pounds. I picked up competitive powerlifting not even one and a half years ago, out of my own curiosity from seeing some guys and no women lifting in the red room (my gym’s power room). I fully admit that I had no idea what I was doing for most of that time. Although I travelled for meets and competed in deadlift only (until my first full meet this past weekend), I don’t consider myself having been serious about it until about four months ago.

jadesocoby2-450x340I feel I’m the most educated, strongest, and dedicated I’ve ever been. (Note from GGS: Jade recently placed 3rd in Women’s Open at the Maine APF Powerlifting Championships.)

How did you get the nickname, Powerlifting Pocahontas?
I’m Native American and it was always just a joke from random people, so I started hashtagging it on Instagram and it grew from there. There’s not a huge backstory. I think it was just a random comment from a friend.

What does a sample workout look like for you?
It depends on the day, but leg days are the easiest to explain, as I don’t do a whole lot of accessory work for them.

Basic light squat day:

Bar (55-pound bar) – 10 reps
145 – 5 reps
195 – 3 reps
235 – 2 reps
285 – 1 rep
310 – 3×3

Leg press, up to 4 plates on each side for 4 sets of 10 reps

Leg extensions:
Single leg, 50 pounds for 4 sets of 10 reps per leg
Double leg: 120 pounds for 4 sets of 12 reps

I also do very light hamstring work, as most of that is done on back/deadlift day.

jadesocoby3-450x340Favorite Lift:
Squats are my absolute favorite.
(Photo Credit: Forza Fotografia – Anthony Delmonaco)

Most memorable PR:
A 330-pound squat in my meet on November 14th; it went up so fast and easy, it felt like an empty bar! I had worried for weeks about hitting that number in my meet!

Top 5 songs on your training playlist:

  1. Battleborn – Five Finger Death Punch
  2. No Church In The Wild – Kanye West & Jay-Z
  3. Breathe Into Me – Red
  4. My Time – Fabolous
  5. Hungry – Rob Bailey & The Hustle Standard

jadesocoby4-350x375Top 3 things you must have with you at the gym or in your gym bag:
Inzer lever belt, Iron Rebel wraps, Nike Romaleos.

Do you prefer to train alone or with others? Why?
I actually prefer to train alone, although on Saturdays I typically train with a group of guys for heavy squats, if my work schedule permits. I like to train alone because I get into a calm zone when I lift. I also get really nervous when people watch me deadlift for some strange reason! I love to be around people at the gym for an occasional chat in passing, but I prefer to do actual training by myself.

Best compliment you’ve received lately:
Somebody recently told me that I reminded them of Ronda Rousey. This literally made my life because I love her! When I asked him why, he told me it was because of my passion and dedication to a sport that I love and have in my blood. I don’t have idols or heroes, but Ronda Rousey is a strong, beautiful woman who has fire and passion for her sport, regardless of what people think. To be compared to somebody like her, even by only one person, is amazing.

Most recent compliment you gave someone else:
I don’t usually throw flattery around like confetti, but I love seeing other women lifting in the gym, especially powerlifting or showing curiosity in the sport. A girl recently picked up powerlifting, and I couldn’t stop talking about how strong she is and what she has for potential. She walked in to squat with us one day, with basic shoes on, no belt or knee wraps/sleeves and got an easy 205 squat. I also love seeing my strong and beautiful Instagram girls killing it in their lifts, and always show my support there!

Most embarrassing gym moment:
Thankfully nothing too embarrassing has happened yet. One thing that I get really embarrassed about is being caught taking a selfie. I’m not sure why, because I post so many of them. Everybody knows I’m the Selfie Queen, but being caught in the act kills me inside!

jadesocoby5-450x340Favorite meal:
I’m a sucker for pizza or burgers. Pizza is the straight path to my heart!

Favorite way to treat yourself:
Hands down, buying new gym clothes or Nike sneakers. I have a sick obsession with Nike compression shorts and sneakers. I try to limit myself on them, but sometimes I can’t help it.

Favorite quote:
“Champions always do more.”

Favorite book:
I’m a huge forensics nerd, and it is hands down Henry Lee’s Forensic Files.

What inspires and motivates you?
I’m a firm believer that you always need goals; and if your goals don’t motivate you, then you need different goals. My personal goals whether it be in the gym or professional, always keep me going. I also remember more than I’d like to, what it felt like to be that 320-pound girl, and never wanting to be in that position again is enough right there.

What do you do?
Local Police Department

What does a typical day look like for you, from waking up to bedtime?
I wish I had a typical day! I work shift work, so when I’m on day shift:

5am- Wake up and get to work by 5:45am
6am-6pm – Work
6:30-8-8:30pm – Gym
8:30/9pm – Shower, meal prep, sleep.

And when I’m on night shift:

Sleep until 1:30pm
2-4:00pm – Gym
4:30 – Shower, get my meals together
5:40- Leave for work
5:45pm-6am – Work

Days off vary, but mostly just lifting for as long as I want and seeing my friends.

Your next training goal:
I can’t just pick one! I’m chasing a 400-pound deadlift and squat. Oddly enough 12 weeks ago after my recent 12-week/25-pound, cardio only weight cut, I came back into powerlifting and I’m stronger now than I ever was, even at my heaviest. I used to compete only in deadlift, and my heaviest meet deadlift in a suit was 363, and just hit a 358 raw this past weekend. My biggest, ultimate goal is to total 1000 pounds raw in a sanctioned meet, and also to compete in the 2017 Arnold Classic.

jadesocoby6-350x3347What are you most grateful for?
I’m grateful for the family I have in my life and the friends that stuck by me even when I stopped drinking every weekend and understood when I made my career, health, and fitness my top priorities.

What life accomplishment are you most proud of?
Overcoming my social anxiety. When I was 320 pounds, I wouldn’t even leave my apartment unless I absolutely had to. Being seen in public mortified me because of how embarrassed I was about how I looked and who I was. Now, I can’t sit still. I always have to be doing something or going somewhere to stay busy, and I love meeting new people!

Three words that best describe you:
Passionate, loyal, determined.

Tell us about a time when you overcame fear or self-doubt.
Six months ago, I put powerlifting aside, which was terrifying to me, at 217 pounds. I decided to do a 90% cardio-only cut with minimal weights, and went on a major caloric deficit. I dropped 27 pounds in 12 weeks and planned to keep going. But at that 12-week mark (14 weeks ago) I decided to prep for Maine’s APF meet. I used to only compete in WABDL deadlift, so that was my first full powerlifting meet. I basically had to start over with powerlifting 14 weeks ago, which made me think it wasn’t even worth going into. Oddly enough, I actually came back stronger at 190 pounds raw now, than I was at 217 pounds geared then, and totaled 837 in the meet, hitting a PR on every lift.

jadesocoby7-450x340What’s the coolest “side effect” you’ve noticed from strength training?
Surprising people never gets old. Just because I don’t wear makeup often, doesn’t mean I don’t know how to contour my face or take away that I used to be a makeup artist. I can still throw down on the platform without sacrificing my femininity.

How has lifting weights changed your life?
I’ve gotten to travel for powerlifting meets, which was pretty great. But the biggest thing it’s done for me is create a new environment and introduced me to a whole new group of really great, strong and motivating people. What I really love about powerlifting is almost everybody wants to see everybody succeed, and the camaraderie is unreal! Deciding to pick up a barbell was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

What do you want to say to other women who might be nervous to start strength training?
Don’t be the least bit scared. So many women think they’ll look like Mr. Olympia if they pick up a weight by accident, and that’s the farthest thing from the truth. It embraces your natural curves and physique and also helps burn fat more than just cardio alone will.

Also, it’s the farthest thing from being intimidating. People are always willing to help in gyms, no matter what your goal or sport is. I can understand the intimidation factor of being the only or one of a few females in the weight area, but after a while it just becomes second nature. Chances are you’ll make a few friends in the process. Lifting weights changed my life, and I’ll always push for women to weight train regardless of their goals.

Feeling inspired?

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About The Author: GGS

GGS is an organization dedicated to empowering women. We do this by creating world-leading resources, and educational materials that help women, and health & fitness professionals who work with women, take their skills and knowledge to the next level.