Raising the Bar: Vickie Fights

There are certain major events in our lives where there are only two outcomes: we fight… or we throw in the towel. Staying still, frozen in time, is not an option.

Vickie Valdez 1

So Vickie fights.
Vickie is like a lot of the other BSF spotlights: Vickie wasn’t always a gym-goer. She wasn’t born with a need to get a bench PR. She’s also like others in that she actually started intentionally down a path of fitness not just after high school… but once she turned 30.
It was then that Vickie started lifting.
“I left the cabled machines behind and fell in love with the barbell. Even then, I didn’t feel like an athlete, but just a nerdy lady who liked to lift weights.”
From there, she hired a trainer and immersed herself in the tracking of metrics and personal records.
Four years into this, at the ripe age of just 34…
Vickie was diagnosed with Breast Cancer.
Vickie had hit that moment in her life where she only had two options. She couldn’t stand still. She could accept the diagnosis, make her peace and hope for the best, and no one would blame her, not in a situation like that. She could take the peaceful path…
…or she could fight.
“Lifting became a greater focus, as it was something I could control during a time when I felt out of control. I’d meet with my trainer as soon as I was able after each chemotherapy session. We set a goal of bench pressing 100 pounds before my bilateral mastectomy, as I’d have to stop any upper body lifting for about five months during reconstruction. Those five months were difficult, as I had limited mobility and could not lift more than 10 pounds.”
The path to regaining her strength was a slow and deliberate one. Vickie could not stress enough that one of the keys to her successful re-fortification was knowledgeable coaches. They worked with her before and after her Cancer treatments and put an emphasis on accessory exercises to help augment her strength and movement in the big four lifts.
Since then, Vickie has moved to another gym: Industrial Strength Gym. There, upon taking up new sports like Jiu Jitsu and Olympic Lifting, Vickie says she finally feels like an athlete.
It’s only fitting that becoming a fighter in the gym has made her feel at home.
She has now competed in Powerlifting, Olympic Lifting and Jiu Jitsu, all without injury, at almost 40 years old.
“My understanding of my body, of what I can ask it to do, has shifted. I feel confident and happy, big thighs and all. I am strong and capable of more than I imagined.”
Vickie is a fighter.
Life can toss you so many different struggles, some of which you will not be able to overcome. And you always have the option to choose whatever path you desire. But the path to fight and struggle and try… will show you so many things about yourself that you would not have otherwise come to know, bring you to meet people who you won’t believe you could have lived without, and make you appreciate every victory and every loss that much more deeply.



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