Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Linda Okoro Interview
Q: First, Linda, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: Thank you for having me. I'm a fan of your Facebook and blog and grateful that
you're bringing attention to female litters and bodybuilders.
Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself.
A: Well I'm Texas-raised and of Nigerian descent. My family is very traditional so
powerlifting is foreign to my parents and relatives.
Q: Before the gym were you an especially athletic person? Play any sports or
A: I grew up in gymnastics, dance and running track. So prior to adolescence I was a
tomboy and an athletic kid hellbent on beating the boys ! Lol
Q: What initially led you into the gym?
A: As a child I was constantly sneaking in to the weight room and consequently, was
always being kicked out of the weight room (for being too young). It wasn't until my
spinal reconstructive surgery as a teen,that i took lifting seriously. By then, I had orders from my orthopedic surgeon, encouraging me to lift or face the painful
Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy? How long before you started to
A: There was nothing easy about the beginning. I had my gender and physical
restrictions being thrown in my face by family and strangers. It was all just fuel for me really. And the negativity was overwhelmingly motivational. So I enlisted the help of a friend and together, she and I would lift virtually every day. Before long, my genetics and work started producing major gains in both my strength and mass.
Q: What made you decide to compete for the first time?
A: My sister actually brought powerlifting to my attention. I was previously competing as the only girl in our university's intramural bench press. That was neither fun nor challenging for me. So when a powerlifting program was introduced to our campus, I joined.
Q: Is competing something your family and friends supported?
A: No, not at first. I still don't think they get it but they're coming around.
Q: Was competing what you expected or did anything surprise you about it?
A: I have always been a competitor at heart. So, I haven't surprised myself by entering the realm of powerlifting. I have been surprised by everyone else though. There are some incredibly talented, hard-working lifters that leave me in awe everyday.
Q: Can you share some of your lifting accomplishments.
A: Well I am fairly new to the sport but as of now, I hold 3 WABDL World Records,5
WABDL Texas State records and 3 WABDL Collegiate records. And I landed a spot on one of Powerlifting USA magazine's Feb. 2011 covers. Additionally, I was the first recipient of the Capello Memorial Award. Lastly, my single-ply deadlift at 149 lbs is ranked #4 on Powerliftingwatch.com's "All-Time American Women's Lifter Rankings Best of the Best" list.
Q: As far as body parts, what do you feel is your best one?
A: Currently, I love my core. Not my abdominals, but my entire core. This is because
without a strong core to support my spine , I'd be in a great deal of pain and physically limited.
Q: Do you have a part you most like to train or favorite exercise?
A: I have just become a fan of heavy prowler and sled push/pulls.
Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like?
A: My diet is a work-in-progress right now (just being honest) and training is
typically centered on explosive exercises and lifting heavy.
Q: When someone sees your physique or hears you lift for the first time, what is
the most common reaction? More positive or negative?
A: The most common reaction is confusion. Most people don't know what powerlifting is ( I didn't 2 years ago either) and those who do, are confused because I don't maintain the stereotypical build: I'm relatively lean with long limbs as opposed to stocky.
Q: When they see it that first time, what is the one question or comment you are
most sick of hearing?
A: "How did you do that?"- umm, I lifted hard and heavy while you were in aerobics class. Lol
Q: What is the biggest misconception about women who train or the one thing you
wish people understood?
A: I am tired of the propagation of false information regarding women who lift weights. Primarily, I hate the misconception that every woman who lifts will become large instantaneously. I almost want to laugh because it's physiologically impossible to amass significant size without testosterone or chemical adulterants. Those who do so without juice or hgh have genetics, time and/or hard work to credit and should be respected as defiers of the odds! Lol Seriously, I believe that misconception hurts us all: the women who lift naturally are less likely to be credited as natural, while weaker women remain weak because they fear size and thus, disregard resistance training.
Q: What is the best and worst part of training for you?
A: The best part of training is the feeling of accomplishment. The worst is that
temporary weakness or whatever you want to call it. It's that second-guessing of self and ability that occasionally sneaks it's way into my last sets and attempts to discourage the completion of my workout.
Q: Do you have any favorite competitors or any you admire?
A: Jennifer Thompson and Priscilla Ribic are my favorite female powerlifters now. I
admire them for setting an example for newbies like me in the sport. My favorite
bodybuilders are Iris Kyle (my Arnold Schwarzenegger), Anja Langer and Corey Everson.
Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: Candy !!
Q: If another woman told you she wanted to start training, what is the one piece of
advice you would most want to give her?
A: Don't let anyone stand in your way or tell you what you can't do. Society has been doing that since before you could crawl.
Q: Do you think its becoming more common for women to use the weights as opposed to
just doing cardio and things?
A: I definitely think so. I hope the trend lasts and gains momentum !
Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: Yes- I usually design my own tanks and tees so I hope to do more screen printing
after graduating (when I'm not studying all the time). I also enjoy cycling,drawing,
design and writing.
Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Linda Okoro.
A: During this last semester: class, train, class and studying. Not very fun!
Q: Describe Linda Okoro in five words.
A: Honest, Feminist, Strong, Competitive, Rebellious ;)
Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: I'm a metalhead : I'd listen to Rammstein, Pantera, Slipknot, Slayer before the
Q: Any set plans for the near future as far as competing or anything else?
A: Yes- I will be attempting to land another WABDL world record at the WABDL Worlds
Powerlifting Championships in Reno on November 4th. I also have the GNC Pro Performance Deadlift Invitational at the Arnold next spring. I'm very excited !
Q: Anything you want to take this opportunity to plug or promote?
A: My website: LinDiesel.com is in the works ! Also, I would like to promote UHD's
powerlifting program for local high school seniors in search of a Houston area program after high school.
Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so how can they reach you?
A: Yes I am definitely looking for sponsors, small/large and corporate/individual. It all helps ! I can be reached at: Linda@LinDiesel.com
Q: Linda, again, I thank you for taking the time to do this. Any last words before
A: Yes, for all women and anyone who has experienced a physical set back : you set your own limits and determine the extent of your ability. Not doctors, not your parents and certainly not society. If I could go from re-learning how to walk and then on Powerlift, who knows what you are capable of?