Q&A with @BamaBurr, powerlifter & personal development expert

Stacy Burr; lesbian personal development specialist, speaker, and head coach of Bamabricksquad Training (she/her/hers); Florida

For many student athletes, your fitness journey after college may feel super open-ended: are you going to find a rec league, are you going to find a local gym, are you going to do XYZ activity and will you compete? Or will you just hang it up? In the case of Stacy Burr (aka @bambaburr, a powerlifter and personal development expert), ending her career as a college athlete was just the beginning. For Cherry’s Wellness Issue, we spoke to her about powerlifting and her place in the LGBTQ+ community.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

CC: Let’s talk about your fitness journey. How did you get into powerlifting? Were you motivated by physical health, mental health, or something else?

SB: I played college softball — how gay of me, right?Aafter college, I needed a competitive outlet. I found powerlifting. Or better yet powerlifting found me.

I thought I may be interested in bodybuilding, because that was the majority of the "training style" I had adopted over the years combined the elements of conditioning and agility needed for athletics. But I was not sold on standing in front of people in a sparkly bikini, to be honest.

Then, one day in the gym, someone told me I was “pretty strong for a girl" and [that] I should try out powerlifting.

Lo and behold, I tried it out and became the best of the best out of all males and females worldwide — not just "for a girl."

To me, powerlifting was more of a sport that fit what I believed in. In a bodybuilding prep, you can do everything right — not miss a single session or meal — and still not be what the judges are looking for on stage. In powerlifting, it doesn't matter what you look like, who you are. If you are strong enough to complete the weight, you do and you win. To me that is special and allows us to focus on long-term personal progress as well.

CC: What is the Bamabricksquad Training, for those who don’t know?

SB: Bamabricksquad Training and Nutrition is my training company. This is my team of coaches, athletes, and affiliates. Together, my affiliates and I provide coaching, guidance, and instruction to athletes in different respective sports and specializations. Each member of the Bamabricksquad Training Team is meant to feel more like a member of a new Iron family. (If you are interested in working with with one of my trainers to reach your training or competitive goals feel free to reach out at bbstraininginfo@gmail.com.)

CC: On the flip side, how did you get interested in speaking and personal development? How does that tie in with fitness?

SB: I have always been interested in personal development. I am an avid reader. I actually began my fitness journey as a means of personal development. To help me identify with myself and give myself something to serve as a marker of progress. If things would go wrong, I would always have the gym and have control of my decisions within the gym walls to get better, in some way.

Taking it a step further, training is how I built my own confidence. I used to be a weird kid, overweight — the same story a lot of us have growing up. So every time I got under a bar and could do something I couldn't previously do, to me, that meant I was getting better. That meant I was investing in myself. That is how I learned that you have to have resistance in order to get stronger. And that can be applied to everything.

The barbell taught me these lessons, and now I feel it is up to me to deliver this message to others and inspire those who don't believe.

CC: What does your day-to-day fitness routine consist of?

SB: I train four to five days per week nowadays. Training usually involves two to three compound moves, three to five accessory movements, and 10-15 minutes strictly focusing on core work. 

I have been running or doing some form of cardio/conditioning four to five days per week recently. [As well as] daily movement protocol with mobility and correctives (lower and upper).

CC: What keeps you inspired while working out?

SB: My ability to inspire keeps me inspired. I know that I have a lot of people that look to me for encouragement and help and having that type of power keeps me on my toes — to not only set the example but lead by it as well.

CC: Do you think that being a queer person has made wellness and taking care of your health a pressing issue?

SB: It has always been a top priority for me.

CC: What advice would you give other LGBTQ+ folks who are just starting out and looking for ways to feel comfortable with themselves?

SB: Be yourself and don't compromise. I grew up in rural South Carolina. Little Stacy wasn't quite as jacked, tattooed, and gay — but pretty close.

Just because you don't fit in doesn't mean there is anything wrong with you. The people in this world that make a difference aren't usually the ones who played by the rules or fit the mold. [They’re] the ones who take the risk and break the mold instead.

CC: What’s your no. 1 self-care tip?

AB: Breathe and start every day with a positive affirmation:

“It’s a good day to have a good day.” “I am strong. I am powerful.” “I am capable.” 🍒