August 9th, 2018 | Fitness, Diet & Health

Profile Stories: Sofia Rodriguez

As part of our first-annual Summer Fitness Challenge (#AmazfitChallenge), we sat down with fitness trainer, exercise physiology expert, and professional bodybuilder Sofia Rodriguez to learn about what drives her passion for, and dedication to, the sport of weightlifting.

Q: Why do you lift?

A: Weightlifting offers more than just physical strength and more muscle. It teaches discipline, hard work and dedication. When I first started weightlifting, of course, it was for aesthetic reasons and to get stronger. But as I changed my outer physique, my mindset changed as well. I never achieved this with cardiovascular training. The consistency required, the perseverance — pushing through when you are ready to quit — that translates to real life. I weight lift because it really helps me succeed in all other aspects of my life. In addition, there are many health benefits such as improved bone density, increased muscle mass and lowering your risk of disease, among other things.

Q: What kind of routine do you have for lifting?

A: I lift 4-5 times a week. Usually, I do a split body program, where I hit different body parts each day of the week, hitting the muscles that I want to improve on twice or sometimes three times a week. It’s all about volume if you want to improve. For example, it could be my back on Mondays, legs on Tuesdays and Fridays, shoulders on Wednesdays and Sundays, chest on Saturday and then maybe take an off day on Thursdays. Depending on what time of the year it is or what my current goals are, I will do HIIT type of cardio 2-3 times per week. Core training happens during my lifting sessions because I throw functional training in there so I don’t isolate it.

Q: What are you working toward - what are your fitness goals?

A: It’s always trying to improve your physique. However currently, I just want to FEEL good and avoid injuries. I am focusing on health and wellness. In the past I have injured my knee, shoulder, hamstring, back and such because the focus was SO much on the physical changes. So now when I lift, there is no strict structure. I just do what I have time to do and try to push myself. And I make sure I stretch and do some mobility work to prevent injury. I used to stress if I didn’t get every single rep or set or type of exercise in my allotted time to workout. But now, I don’t sweat it. My motivation is health and being able to do the movements pain-free. I’ve realized that looking good and feeling good don’t always align.

Q: How do you make the time to exercise? 

A: I don’t make excuses if I only have 30, 35, or 40 minutes to work out (which is often the case these days). Sometimes I break up my workouts through the day if necessary. I’ve learned to be flexible with myself and not sweat it if it doesn’t go the way I planned. I think the key is to be open minded with your workouts. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it doesn’t have to be in one particular gym, it doesn’t have to happen on the days and times you originally planned. Just get it done when you can, be CONSISTENT: that is way more important in the long run for change than being strict. But otherwise, time management is very important to find the time to work out. If you know you won’t be able to go after work, get up earlier and go before. Everyone has the same 24 hours in the day. Main thing is there isn’t an excuse I haven’t seen or heard.  

Q: What are your personal tips and tricks for lifting?

A: If you find yourself losing motivation, get something to treat yourself for sticking to your plan: maybe a new pair of workout shorts or shoes, a massage, or a pedicure

Pack your workout bag THE NIGHT BEFORE so you don’t leave any room for error. There have been many times my clients have “forgotten their workout clothes” and couldn’t work out. If you need to, throw it in your car so you don’t forget it

Try to find a workout partner or family member that can tag along. Accountability is always important and can help someone develop a habit. Get your coworkers in on it, perhaps with a collaborative challenge

If you are pressed for time, make your workout more efficient by doing circuit training. With this you go from exercise to exercise with little rest intervals. You get your bang for your buck and can get in and out. Don’t let time be an excuse for not working out at all

Don’t do too much too soon: if your friend is lifting 50 lb, don’t try to do this your first day in the gym. Start out slow and work your way up. The last thing you want to do is go too hard and not be able to move which will surely make you lose interest or even worse, get injured.

  • Perhaps you can invest in a few personal training sessions in the beginning of your journey. This will ensure your form is correct and you can learn at least a basic program you can follow in the beginning.

REST is just as important as lifting! Give yourself 1-2 rest days a week where you don’t lift at all and either truly rest or do an active rest (yoga, pilates, etc). With this, stretch, drink plenty of water and make sure you are getting enough sleep. Sleep is where the magic happens: your muscles recover and rebuild. 

It’s been a long time coming, but lifting has really changed my life. Once I started, the rest is history. I want other people to look back and realize how much their life changed for the better after they started lifting.

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​Sofia Rodriguez, Fitness & Health Expert

Sofia Rodriguez is a Fitness & Health Expert in the VA/DC area. She has a Masters in Clinical Exercise Physiology and has worked with cardiac, cancer, diabetic, and injury rehab patients in the past. She is a Certified Personal Trainer ranked among top trainers in the country with many years of experience training clients for weight loss, muscle gain, and overall health. Sofia has been the go-to expert on many TV morning shows, has been featured in several magazines and online publications such as Forbes & Huffington Post, is a published fitness writer, a fitness model, and specializes in bodybuilding and nutrition. She is bilingual, speaking fluent Spanish and English.