Laurie "bull.dogz" Smith, age 42, and her 16-year-old son reside in Tracy, California. The 5'4", 155 lbs. powerlifter has a career in inside sales for an electrical supply company, is a crossfit coach for Crossfit Tracy and is a rep for Controlled Labs supplements. She trains and coaches at Crossfit Tracy.
Let's learn more about bull.dogz!
Q: How did you get introduced to the iron – through family, sports, friends, your own interest?
A: I got hooked on watching Cory Everson's show Gotta Sweat in the mornings on ESPN. I remember thinking how great she looked. I went out and bought me some little weights and it went from there.
Q: Does your son participate in school sports?
A: Yes, he's played soccer and basketball. This past year he joined the baseball team and loves it. He's already signed up for next year.
Q: Has he shown an interest in the weights?
A: Yes and no haha. I try to get him to go to the gym with me and sometimes he will. But most of the time he's pretty tired. His father and stepmom live on a ranch so he spends a lot of time feeding and taking care of the animals which can be pretty hard work.
Q: How did you discover powerlifting meets?
A: I had been training Olympic lifting for about two years, competing in local meets and just realized that I wasn't getting any stronger. I started looking around at programming and hiring a coach. Someone mentioned a program called The Cube Method, so I hired Corey Hayes, a powerlifter, and worked with him for about a year. I ended up adding about 180# to my total in a year. I figured I've been doing strength work, so why not try a powerlifting meet. I was hooked after that.
Q: What sports did you play growing up?
A: I actually didn't play any, wasn't athletic at all. Picking up the weights 17 years ago was the start for me.
Q: Are you a lifetime resident of Tracy or have you lived elsewhere?
A: I was born in Oakland and lived there till my Sophomore year. After that I've lived in a few different cities including Castro Valley and Livermore.
Q: In a sport rife with injuries, what are you doing to prolong your powerlifting career?
A: I was in an accident years ago. Walked away with some bruises and figured I was fine. I found out recently that I had fractured my neck and it healed improperly. My neck and back require constant chiropractic care. Right now I go every other week just to get adjusted. If I go longer than a month it starts to cause me a lot of pain. And my lifting goes to hell when I'm out of alignment. I also do a lot of bodybuilding exercises to work my weaker areas.
Q: I'm sorry to hear about the accident. Why did you choose chiropractic care?
A: The first gym I belonged to was owned by a chiropractor. I tore my triceps snowboarding one year and had her take a look at it since they also did sports training and physical therapy. Most of my pain I get is caused by my back and neck and the chiropractors treat the actual problem, unlike doctors that just tell you to stop doing whatever it is and take a few pills. The chiropractors were also the one that discovered that I had fractured my neck in a car accident, as well as broken my coccyx snowboarding.
Q: Do you coach others?
A: Yes, I'm a coach at Crossfit Tracy.
Q: How did you become a coach for Crossfit Tracy?
A: I started doing at a Crossfit box in Livermore about 5 years ago. Fell in love with it and the community. The owner of that box asked me if I wanted to coach so I signed up for the class. I live in Tracy now so that's where I just kind of migrated.
Q: Any advice for those wanting to get into the sport?
A: Just do it. Everyone talks about waiting till they are ready, but no one ever believes they are ready. We all have to start somewhere, so why not now?
Q: What is your overall training philosophy?
A: I think you just have to train hard and smart. Put in the work and it'll show.
Q: How long have you been training seriously?
A: The last year and a half has been the hardest I have ever worked, before it was just about staying in shape. Now I have bigger goals and every day just puts me that much closer to meeting and exceeding them.
Q: Who has been your biggest inspiration or mentor in the strength game?
A: There are a lot of great lifters out there, but I would have to say Brandon Lilly. He is such an amazing lifter to watch. He puts his heart into everything he does. He really does try to help the sport of Powerlifting. I've never met someone with a bigger heart and is someone I would consider a true warrior.
Q: What are some of the lifts you are most proud of?
A: I would have to say my squat. I recently competed in the Beast of the Bluegrass meet in Kentucky and I squatted 303 lbs. for the first time. That was a big milestone for me.
Q: What are the contests you are most proud of?
A: I'm proud of every contest I have done. It takes a lot to step on the platform and put everything out there, but I do it each and every time. I'm proud to see that all my hard work has always paid off and it motivates me to keep pushing. I have another meet coming up on July 12th at the FitExpo in San Jose. I can't wait to put myself to the test again.
Q: What does your weekly nutrition, eating, meal plan look like?
A: I'm working with one of the owners, Chris Minten at my gym right now. It's still a work in progress, but I just try to eat as healthy as I can. Most meals will be some type of protein with fruits and veggies, rice or sweet potato. I do allow myself small treats that work within my macros. I have a huge sweet tooth but I'm learning to work around that with healthier versions of things like protein brownies or protein pancakes.
Q: Do you recommend any supplements?
A: I stick to the main things like protein, amino acids and a good multivitamin and fish oil.
Q: How much sleep do you get each day?
A: I've found eight hours works the best for me.
Q: What is your favorite movement at this time?
A: Rolling triceps extension. I have really weak triceps and tore my right one snowboarding a few years back and these have really helped.
Q: What does your current training split look like?
A: I'm following the Cube Method right now which rotates max, speed and rep days. I train 4 days a week, one day dedicated to deadlifts, another for squats and two days for bench/upper body work.
Q: Any advice for regular people trying to take their training to the competitive level?
A: Get out there and do it. It takes a lot of hard work and there will be days when you just don't feel like it but you do it anyways.
Q: Training partners, yes or no?
A: I don't really have any. I train alone most of the time, but if you can I would definitely recommend it. It makes a big difference when you have other people around you with the same goals that can help push you along... especially on the days when you just want to quit.
Q: Any shout-outs?
A: Crossfit Tracy, thanks for letting me do my thing.
Hippo crew – Cause we're kind of a big deal.
Corey Hayes, for helping me get to where I am today.
And Brandon Lilly for always being there when I have questions and being a source of motivation and inspiration.
Q: How can people contact you (email, social media, etc.)?
A: Facebook – bulldogz
Thank you for sharing some of your story, Laurie. I wish you continued success in the sport and as a coach at Crossfit Tracy. All the best to you and your son!
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