Coming in at a mere 130 pounds, 5-foot-3-inch junior Valeria Rangel dedicates her days to weightlifting. But don’t let her size fool you; she can squat lift up to 215 pounds and bench 90 pounds.
Rangel began weightlifting in 2015 when she was 13 years old. “What made me want to start was definitely my brother [José Rangel]. I saw him going to the gym and being confident in himself and his body, and since I’ve looked up to him my whole life, I knew that’s what I wanted to do, too,” Rangel said.
José runs an Instagram fitness account which has amassed more than 41,000 followers. Due to his success, BPI Sports has sponsored him. However, while fame and sponsorship can be alluring, Rangel has her mind on other things. “When I’m older, I’d love to compete and get sponsored as well, but I don’t care about fame; it’s fun for me, and it’s what I love to do. It’s all about enjoying yourself,” she said.
Rangel dedicates an hour to two hours after school every day to working out at LA Fitness. “As soon as school is over, depending on how much homework I have, I go straight to the gym. But I also take weightlifting at school, like I have since sophomore year, and if I get a good enough workout in I don’t feel the need to go to the gym that day,” Rangel said.
“I’m the only girl in the weightlifting class, but it’s fine since I grew up with brothers so we get along really well,” Rangel said. While she doesn’t compete yet, she’s trying to become more involved in the competitive weightlifting scene. “I’m trying to start a female weightlifting club at school since girls can’t join the guys’ team,” Rangel said.
While she may not have envisioned her weightlifting future as an eight-year-old stepping foot in the United States for the first time, she has found her calling eight years later.