They say that good things come in small packages…Maureen Quinn might say that about the US Wellness Meat shipments that she gets as she’s training. We definitely say that about her! Featherweight competitor, Maureen will be representing US Wellness Meats in the United States Strongman National Championships next weekend. We are very excited to have her on board with the US Wellness Meats team, and wish her the best of luck as she competes for a National Championship!
Q: How did you get started in Strongman Competitions?
I’ve been a runner my whole life. I fell in love with the simplicity of it. Once I graduated, and began working full time as a microbiologist, it became harder to motivate myself to go out and run “an easy 12 miler.” I am big on health and staying in shape so I wanted to try something new.
I joined GrassFed CrossFit with a bunch of my running girlfriends. My coach insisted I had potential to be super strong, and I thought he was crazy. Eventually, I agreed to start his strength-biased weightlifting program. Within weeks my body underwent a transformation like I had never experienced before. The allusive lean “bikini figure” I had been chasing in my endless cross country running, was hiding in heavy weightlifting all along.
I was then introduced to the sport of Strongwoman, the female counterpart to the televised “World’s Strongest Man” on ESPN. I learned that it wasn’t only burly men who could pick up cars and press tree trunks above their heads. I entered my first competition in August of 2014, shocking everyone with a first place finish in the featherweight division. The win qualified me for the North American Strongwoman Championships held in Reno, Nevada.
Two months later, I’m on stage pitted against the world’s strongest females in contention for the Championship title. Although I didn’t leave with the gold medal I was ecstatic to be officially ranked as the 6th strongest female in the nation under 120 lbs, especially considering I didn’t know what Strongwoman was four months prior. This month, I’m headed to the 2015 United States Strongwoman National Championships stronger and more motivated than ever before.
Q: How did you learn about grass-fed beef?
I learned about grass-fed meats from my coach Chad, the owner of GrassFed CrossFit. Actually, I learned about MEAT from my coach Chad. Before I started lifting weights my diet was heavy in fruits and vegetables. Like most girls growing up, I was never satisfied with my body. Chad put me on a high-fat, paleo based, grass-fed diet. He made it seem necessary for my training, but it really had an impact on my overall health. This was scary (I had a slight meltdown the first time I ate real cheese again) because I was so sure that eating fat would make me fat.
Coupled with the weight training, my body changed instantly. I was a distance runner my whole life, yet somehow my body fat decreased. I had become the leanest I’d ever been after eating all the fat I wanted. I was also introduced to amazing meats that I never would have considered trying before, like beef cheeks and head cheese. I got to cook all my veggies in butter and cover my burgers with cheese. My workouts began improving and most importantly I learned what it was like to feel healthy. I now realize why I always felt tired and hungry when I was eating like a vegetarian.
Chad also introduced me to what he considered “the best offering of quality, variety, convenience, and pricing in the grass-fed world,” US Wellness Meats. And after my first experience with their products, I couldn’t agree more! The majority of people, both athletes and non-athletes, are lacking quality saturated fat in their diet. The problem is exacerbated by the lack of grass-fed fats being offered in local grocery stores. Fortunately I’m able to have grass-fed pemmican, tallow, marrow, cheese, and bacon delivered right to my door.
Q: What is your favorite meal to cook using grass-fed beef?
My new diet has turned me into a self-proclaimed chef! I usually find a cool recipe on a paleo blog and try to recreate it. I stick to the most wholesome and simple ingredients (meat!) and stay away from metabolically incongruent food sources our nomadic ancestors wouldn’t eat (no matter how much we try to pretend they could have).
I fry a lot of the food I eat in beef tallow, anything from meat to fish to sweet potatoes. My carbohydrates for the day normally consist of plantain chips fried in beef tallow and dipped in grass-fed sour cream or butter. It never gets old, trust me. I like to try a lot of different cuts of meat, but the 75/25 ground beef is my favorite. It’s the simplest way to make a delicious dinner when I get home late from the gym. The high fat content gives it great flavor.
Currently, my favorite recipe is zoodles with avocados and liverwurst. I make “zoodles” by running a zucchini (or two) through a spiralizer. Next, I sauté the zoodles in a pan with grass-fed butter, avocado, onions, and various spices. After about 10 minutes, I add the liverwurst and let it cook another few minutes. It’s sort of a weird creation, but the liverwurst gives my zoodles immaculate flavor, and it is incredibly nutrient dense.
My ABSOLUTE favorite snack is sugar-free pemmican bars. I love telling people that it’s just meat and fat. They think I’m strange until they try it. It’s even good a little frozen; I discovered this because I was too impatient to let it to defrost.
Q: How do you prepare for a competition?
My training is relatively the same year round. There’s nothing more important than building fundamental strength. Once you’ve built strength, accessory work is necessary, but in Strongwoman you should really focus on being strong. A week or two before competition I’ll work on technical components of the lifts for the specific event. I’ll only lift heavy once during the week of a competition so that I’m well rested beforehand. I always pack all of my food in a big cooler and get a hotel room with a kitchen so that I can cook my own meals. I don’t eat out and I want to be able to fuel myself with the best food possible before a competition. Pre-cooked foods like summer sausage and pemmican come in handy when I don’t have the best accommodations for preparing foods.
Q: What’s your favorite lift/event in competition?
My favorite lift is most certainly a deadlift. Mentally, it’s pretty simple. Either you can pick the weight up or you can’t. Everyone that trains with me knows that my ideal workout is deadlifts and box jumps. Box jumps aren’t exactly a Strongwoman event but I practice other movements to make sure I stay a well-rounded athlete. It’s sort of funny; statistically the deadlift is probably my worst event in Strongwoman competitions, but I still love it.
My favorite event during my Strongman journey was without a doubt, the wheelbarrow carry at Nationals. My wheelbarrow weighed 1000 pounds…so naturally I didn’t think I’d be able to pick it up. I almost started laughing during the event. Once I picked it up and started moving, all I was thinking was “Oh my gosh, how do I stop now?” It was a lot of fun. My favorite aspect about it is that I can now say I’ve lifted 1000 pounds.
Thanks for reading! To follow Maureen’s progress, click here!