Welcome to the athlete page for Meagan Pollock.
Meagan Pollock is a Doctoral Candidate at the School of Engineering Education, Purdue University, and is a recipient of a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. She received a B.S. in Computer Science from Texas Woman’s University, and a M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Texas Tech University. Prior to beginning her doctoral studies, she worked as an engineer for Texas Instruments. As a consultant, Meagan has worked for both the non-profit and private sector developing curriculum, programs, and conducting research. See her professional page here. Upon graduation with her PhD in 2014, Meagan will be a University Professor of both Engineering and Education.
In addition to her academic and professional career, Meagan Pollock is a natural drug free strength athlete. She began powerlifting at 15 years old, and has competed on and off for the last 15 years. Meagan has been out of the game since 2007, and will compete again in August of 2013. As she begins this comeback, she is considering future goals. Currently, she aims to increase strength, build muscle, and lean out with proper nutrition. Future goals may include figure/physique competitions, but the jury is still out. Until then, follow along as Meagan journeys back to the platform.
Meagan’s normal routine is a rotation of legs, chest/tris/abs, and back/biceps/shoulders, working in the big three lifts squat, bench, and deadlift respectively. The pattern she prefers is alternating heavy (more weight/less reps) and light days (less weight/more reps) for each group. Currently, Meagan lifts Monday through Friday, and spends the weekends exploring Puerto Rico in her kayak or her Jeep Wrangler.
Thanks for visiting! Read about my story and history as a strength athlete below. Cheers, Meagan
I think I have always been somewhat strong. I remember sitting on the gym floor with my volleyball team in 8th grade, listening to my coach, Barbara Richard. For some reason, someone asked her who of all of us students would she rather be in a fight with, and who knows why this was the topic. We were 8th graders, go figure. Out of the blue, Coach Richard called me out. She said I was the strongest, as I had the most powerful serve and spikes. Granted I didn’t have that much control, but I did have power. That always stuck with me.
The next year, in high school, the Varsity volleyball coach, Vicki Castino, pulled me aside one day and told me about Powerlifting. She said that our high school didn’t have a girls team, and that I should consider trying out the sport, since I was so strong. See the pattern of these positive messages? This is how you build self-efficacy in young women. She mentioned I’d easily letter as a freshman, and I was sold. I competed in three powerlifting meets my freshman year, having never trained in the gym at all. I placed and lettered, and didn’t ever walk into a gym until season of my sophomore year.
At the first meet of 1999, spring of my sophomore year, Mike Denmon approached me and offered to train me to be a better competitor. His son Michael was a junior at the time and competing. I started training almost daily for the rest of the ~ 3 month season with Mike, his wife Lee, and Michael, and managed to qualify for the State Championships. After seeing that level of competition, the gains I could make, and the potential success, I was hooked.
I trained 5-6 days a week for the next year, and showed up my junior year, 2000, to take the 1A-5A Overall Texas State Championship for the 165 pound class. What a victory. I competed in the USPF High School Nationals two weeks later, and won again. Dedication, commitment, persistence, supportive parents and incredible coaching were the keys to these successes.
The First Retirement
After my junior year championship, I went to see a doctor about a problem I was having while lifting. It is a somewhat common problem, but a very annoying one, of which I won’t go into great detail. In the process of seeing doctors, I had my general practitioner and a urologist tell me that if I continued lifting I could potentially scar my body and not be able to have children. In addition to that, my dentist told me that if I continued lifting, I would have such severe TMJ that I might not be able to open my jaw as a adult. Now, I realize this is all malarkey, but it scared me, and my parents, and so I retired from lifting and didn’t compete my senior year.
This retirement, mixed with the woes of being a senior in high school, then transitioning to college, independent living, saw lots of weight gain, a pattern that had been apart of my childhood, and carried into my adult life. Off and on, I’d go to the gym and lift in undergrad. Certain seasons saw regular commitment to working out, but it was mostly sporadic. In 2004, I did enter a bench press competition in Phoenix, as I was living and working as an intern in Tucson. Summer of 2004, I started training for a sprint triathlon, and competed in Denison, Texas, early fall of 2004. That was fun to train for, as I had to teach myself how to swim, run, and bike. My only coaches were books, and I finished the race, a major personal milestone and accomplishment.
2005 was the year of running. I don’t think I ever entered a gym. The first half of that year, after I had graduated, I was waiting tables and living the server lifestyle while saving money for my Eurotrip. The second half of that year, June – December, I travelled all over Europe, and lived and worked in Malaga, Spain. I ran 4-5 days a week on the beach. I was in pretty good condition, after living on a natural Mediterranean diet for 6 months, and regularly running.
The First Comeback
In January 2006, I returned to Texas to begin my Masters degree. I quickly learned that Texas Tech had a club powerlifting team and I wanted to be apart of the group, but bench only. After all, my injury arose during squat and deadlift. The coach, a student himself, Bobby Warren, talked me into trying to do a full meet again. With his encouragement and coaching, I successfully began lifting and competing again. That June, I won the NASA National Championships in Las Vegas, and again in 2007.
The Second Retirement
I trained so hard to win USAPL Collegiate Nationals in 2007, but I ended up bombing out on Squats. There is a long story here, but short story is: I was DEVASTATED. I had worked so hard, but one of the lessons I learned is I had TOO many coaches. TOO many voices. TOO many people getting in the way. In all the years of lifting, and the dozens of meets, I had never bombed out. They let me finish the meet, but I didn’t earn a total. One of my life’s biggest defeats, and a great lesson in resilience.
The next year, I had planned to compete again, but my job as as an engineer was becoming stressful with impending layoffs. I decided to focus everything on work, and worked out when I could. I even started training for USAPL Women’s Nationals, but I didn’t have the focus, and didn’t make it to the meet. This became my second retirement, and the beginning to one of the most unhealthy chapters of my life.
After gaining over 50 pounds, November of 2011 brought an awakening. I had a few health concerns come up that could be remedied by better nutrition and exercise, besides the fact I was so unhappy with my body. I joined Weight Watchers that month, not because I didn’t know HOW to lose weight, but because I wanted a system to support me in the process. Through February of 2012, I followed WW and saw excellent progress. I weened myself off of the program, but kept up the healthy habits, and continued to see results. I started weight training again around this time, and was consistent for a few months, until work once again got in the way. (Bad pattern, eh?)
In October of 2012, I moved to Puerto Rico, and began a very active outdoor lifestyle. After a few weeks, I started running regularly on the beach, doing yoga daily, and swimming, too. My nutrition was very healthy, and my body began to transform, and I could see my muscles again. Fifty pounds lost in a year.
Since then, in late February 2013, I began lifting weights at a community gym 3-5 days a week, whenever they decided to be open. I was training hard, and dreaming about competing again, but there was no squat rack or proper bench to train. Content on building strength and muscle, I kept at it. You know the saying, when one door closes, another one opens? Well, that is what happened. On May 6, my little pueblo gym closed it’s doors, and forced me to find another place. In the next village, I found a gym and it has a squat rack and bench. Within the week, I began to make plans to compete again, and am preparing for Comeback Number 2.
Comeback Number 2
In progress, stay tuned!