Lady VelezHead Coach & Manager, Strength For All

Lady is the manager and USAW certified Strength & Conditioning Coach at Strength for All. She currently leads Strength Foundations Classes, AllStrength Classes, and oversees gym operations.

Her background is mostly in medicine. She has an undergraduate Bachelors degree (B.A.) in Biology from the University of Chicago (with a specialization in Immunology), a Masters (M.S.) in Physiology & Biophysics from Stony Brook University, and her Medical Degree (M.D.) from Stony Brook School of Medicine (now renamed Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University).

 

What was the catalyst into fitness?

Interestingly enough, it was in her 1st year of Medical school that Lady embarked on her fitness journey in hopes of better understanding exercise, nutrition, eating for performance, and injury prevention through strength training. She felt dissatisfied with her ability to pursue a life in medicine, when she had never practiced health and fitness. Her only exposure to exercise was in high school, as a member of her volleyball team. Her interest to the sport was more so the community volleyball offered her. Following her time in college, she did not have any concept of what exercise meant beyond the general advice of “consult your doctor before starting any exercise program”. Consequently, mid way through her first year of medical school Lady decided to test trial her first Crossfit class in Long Island. This was the beginning of it all.

 

From fitness to coaching?

Following exam studying for her first boards (step 1) for medical school, and her short return to Brooklyn to prep, Coach Lady began specializing her training to Weightlifting. Over the last couple of years Lady has competed in several local USAW sanctioned meets, as well as training in the sport of Powerlifting. She has qualified for the USAW American Open Series since its inception in 2017. She completed her USAW Level 1 certification in 2016, and spent close to 2 years patiently learning from her mentors, other coaches, books, and from her personal experience as an athlete. In 2017 she followed up by complementing her knowledge of weightlifting, to that of Crossfit and obtained her CF-L1 in 2017, prior to the start of her last year of medical school. Putting her education and training into practice as a coach in a class setting, and working with several different types of athletes, she expanded her skill set and community to another gym, and slowly began to create her own little niche of athletes. She currently has two athletes, both of whom she has gotten onto the USAW competition platform, both have qualified for the American Open Series, and her original athlete/co-coaching colleague whom she had compete on the national stage this past September 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada (for American Open Series 3; 2018). She is expected to have both competing on the national stage this coming year. 

 

Coaches need coaches too:

Coach Lady trains out of JDI Barbell in Long Island City, NY under her Coach Vasily Polovnikov (International Master of Sport, a former member of the Russian National Team; 2001-2015). She believes to be a good coach, she must learn from those better than her. Being able to identify the frustrations, setbacks, patience, but hard work that is required of an athlete, one must be an athlete themselves. She believes in keeping an open mind and providing the very best for her students/athletes, whether a personal session, a group setting, a Crossfit class, Barbell Class, and/or Strength Foundations class. Her current project includes completing the Brianna Battles “Pregnancy and Postpartum Athleticism” online course so that she can provide her athletes a more comprehensive experience as they navigate pregnancy and postpartum training. Women’s health/wellness and specifically providing women with an opportunity to incorporate barbell and strength training into their lives is a life long goal of Coach Lady.

 

Is Coach Lady just a gym rat?

She has a 8year old Shih Tzu named Junior that she adores and has too many pictures on her phone of. A fun and sometimes surprising fact is that if you see her walking with her headphones, she is either likely listening to an audiobook, or secretly listening to top 50 country hits. Additionally, despite her training, she can certainly be caught taking a Crossfit/conditioning class with her athletes, as she strongly believes in the power of community. She is Ecuadorian, fluent in Spanish, and a lover of iced Red-eyes, Starbucks Double Shot espressos, Bubble Tea, and she has a MAJOR sweettooth (you might catch her mid bite, when she’s stopping by Eugene J. Candy Co shop). She loves to travel, go hiking, sit and tan at the beach and most recently has caught the tattoo bug, so next year we might very well see Coach Lady entirely inked up. She also has an insane fear of heights, but occasionally makes her way to the climbing gym to challenge said fears. 

Certifications:

  • USAW (USA Weightlifting) Level 1 Sports Performance Coach
  • Crossfit Level 1
  • Precision Nutrition Level 1
  • Pregnancy & Postpartum Athleticism Course (in progress)

 

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