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Power couple: Romantic duo make huge gains in weightlifting

Glancing at Chelcie Almeyda, you’d figure she’s in pretty good shape. You may not realize that she can lift the weight of two full-grown men, but the 5’3” 127 pounds senior proved it with a deadlift of 304 pounds, breaking the state record in the process.
So how does one go from biology major to champion power lifter?
“I started working out to improve my health and to get stronger,” Almeyda said. “This eventually lead me to powerlifting when I met a coach who had 30 years of experience under his belt. He said he saw potential in me.”
However, Almeyda’s not content to hoist 304 while she can still reach 325. That’s her deadlift goal for an upcoming meet in January, along with a 145lbs bench press and 250 pounds squat. To reach those lofty milestones, Almeyda works out at least five days a week, and ingests a highprotein, high-fat diet and avoiding gluten (due to an allergy, not a bandwagon).
In addition to grabbing records, Almeyda’s also grabbing the heart of fellow lifter Kye Rodgers. “We’re both from Venice, FL, but I ended up meeting him when I joined the team at FGCU,” Almeyda said.
Rodgers is a formidable athlete in his own right, eyeing the records in deadlift, squat and combined weight.
“For squat I’m opening with 480, my second attempt is 510 and third attempt is 540 to break the record,” Rodgers said. “For pause bench press, I’m opening with 350, second attempt is 370, third attempt is 390. I want 400 bench. For deadlift I’m opening with 551, second attempt is 590, and third is 615 to break the record. If I get all my lifts, I will break the total record by 100 pounds with a 1545 total.”
While Almeyda has a little leeway with her weight (being 127 pounds in the 132 pounds class), Rodgers has the added hurdle of remaining at 220 pounds, right where his class cuts off. He bulked up 60 pounds by eating 10 thousand calories a day, including 300 grams of protein. These days, his diet is down to four thousand calories, but the protein content remains roughly the same.
Rodgers also had to come back from two major injuries to his leg and shoulder, after which doctors said he could never lift again.
“Eventually my goal is to be one of the top powerlifters in world and the only way to do that is to train harder than yesterday,” Rodgers stated.
The pair do their lifts raw, utilizing only wrist wraps, a weight belt and sometimes knee sleeves. Just because the spotlight is on this duo doesn’t mean other members of the team haven’t made significant contributions to the sport. As of the beginning of this year, FGCU men held 24 out of 44 Florida collegiate records, while women had 15 of 36. The team has reserved space for two hours, three days a week, and most members endure an another hour of training in preparation for nationals, coming in 2014. Get huge, guys.

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