You already know who Holley Mangold is. Even if you’re not an avid weightlifter, there’s no possible way you missed this.
Right off the bat, you know Holley has a stupendous sense of humor. She also competed on the US Olympic Team and, generally speaking, lifts more than most men.
You can of course find bits and pieces of Holley’s story on the internets, but her Instagram is where I really started
stalking following her. She gives such a lovingly personal glimpse into her everyday life while also spreading messages of encouragement and positivity to her fans. Check out this picture below – and no, that isn’t her. But the caption is really, really important, people!
Holley was kind enough to take time out of her schedule to answer some questions I had. And now we’re best friends. She just doesn’t know it yet.
The Lady Weightlifter: I read that you played football in high school and went to college on a track scholarship, so it sounds like you’ve always been an athlete. What drew you to weightlifting, and how did you get started?
Holley Mangold: I loved sports growing up and definitely loved trying new ones. When I was high school, I realized that I needed to get a lot stronger if I wanted to keep up with the boys on the football team, so I started power lifting with Larry Pacifico. Power lifting was great and I had fun for about three years. Then my father researched strength-related sports that could take me to the Olympics and that’s when we found Olympic weightlifting.
TLW: What is your proudest moment in weightlifting thus far?
HM: I would say Opening Ceremonies for the Olympics because that’s when I first really realized I had accomplished what I set out to do, make the Olympics. However, that is exactly the attitude I don’t want for this next time around, because I think I was too satisfied with just making the Olympics and not focused enough on trying to medal.
TLW: What are your goals for the future?
HM: Make the Olympics again and medal in an international meet, either Pan American Championships/Games World Championships or Olympic Games.
TLW: I read that you were a participant on The Biggest Loser, and you’ve posted on your Instagram before about experimenting with your diet and working with ModPaleo. After losing 96 pounds on the show, you mentioned that you felt weak upon first returning to training.
How do you feel these days compared to previous years in lifting? You recently posted on Insta that you’re dropping weight for Worlds. How’s that going?
HM: Coming back from Biggest Loser was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. When I got off the show, I was weak and out of shape (weightlifting-wise). I also had new problems with my weight and food that I had never had before, although I was super quick because I had lost so much weight. And since I was pretty weak, I had to perfect my technique; so there was some good that came out of the experience.
Now, I feel stronger than I ever have and I’m just trying to cut out the body fat. My ideal weight is 145kg. I’m shooting for 155kg at Worlds. ModPaleo is one of the greatest companies I have ever worked for. They are helping me with not only preforming well but learning how to eat properly for life!
TLW: What’s next in your lifting career?
HM: World Championships are in the USA!!!! They are in November in Houston, Texas. I hope all weightlifting fans will be able to make it out. It’s truly special to have a Worlds in our home country.
TLW: Any advice for aspiring lifters wanting to follow in your shoes? How do you balance training with the other responsibilities in your life?
HM: My best advice is to keep on keeping on. Lol. What I mean by that is life and weightlifting will throw you curve balls all the time. They will knock you down and take you out for a moment, but it’s how you come back from your lowest points that defines you as a person and a lifter.
I’m so grateful that I got the opportunity to talk with this amazing athlete. Thank you, Holley! Your fans are cheering for you.