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Jessica is our 2016 Olympic Hopeful and Sarah is our 2012 Olympian in Weightlifting. We're setting out to be "Pretty Strong" and we encourage you to do the same.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Poor Athlete Recipe: Chicken Basil Pasta

That's as good a name as I could come up with. This recipe is one of my recent favorites because it is: cheap, fast/easy to cook, and delicious!

Fresh Basil $1.88
Whole Rotisserie Chicken $6.99
3 Roma Tomatoes A little over $1/lbs
Olive Oil Free - it's my roommates
Box of Pasta Free - my friend gave it to me before she moved. 
Crumbled Feta Cheese $2.99
2 large garlic cloves  (I think a head of garlic is a little over $1 as well)

Boil and drain pasta
Pick of chicken breasts and shred. Add to the pasta
Mince cloves of garlic
In a pan, heat up a copious amount of olive oil (enough to help cook the other ingredients as well as coat all the pasta)
Add minced garlic and sautee
Add chopped basil saute briefly 
Crush all three tomatoes and add to pan (this is the funnest part)
Keep cooking until it reduces a bit.
Add a little salt and pepper
Stir into pasta/chicken
Add feta cheese and stir

Eat and enjoy!


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Stuff- September 2014

Oh hey there!

Nice to see you again! Thanks for visiting my blog of doom.

What's been going on with little old, Sarah Robles?

So... I moved to a little town called, Alvin. Raise your hand if you've heard of it! I'm living with a friend from church. Her name is Tegan. Tegan and Sarah! For real. She is hilarious, a perfect friend-match for me, and she loves horses. She's a very talented person. We coined the hashtag #bitsandbarbells and everyday is a new and humorous moment with us.

Training has been going pretty alright. I think I can safely say that I'm in shape right now. Since training here, I have hit a 115 snatch a 145 clean and jerk a 195 front squat and a 210 back squat. They are not my bests but, I am working on some things. I had a pr snatch double with 110 and it looked like I could have done a triple, I had a snatch pr from the hip of 100 and a clean pr from the hip of 130. I have been hitting 105 and 135 in snatch and clean and jerk respectively at least twice a week. I have been trying to lit as exhibition in local competitions but, either there is "not enough room" or I don't hear a response to my request. I'll just keep plugging away though. I have discussed with my coach that I would like to train like I am going to compete at the World Championships. So, I will train and prepare and in roughly 10 weeks, we'll see what I am made of. If I don't do well, hey, it's practice. Rather here than actually at the meet, right? Competition simulation is always hard to do at home but, we'll see if I'm mentally and physically prepped.

Work is going well, at the Depot, I got 3 of my shifts changed to later times. I get an additional two hours of sleep at night which is making all the difference in the world! I have also accepted a coaching position at Yes! Youth Fitness and Sports Performance. Here, I am involved with the Olympic Development program as a throwing coach and strength and conditioning coach. Business for me is slow right now but, hopefully as things progress, I will gain more clients. I am excited for this opportunity and I am looking forward to developing some kids into talented athletes and educating myself in the process.

Lastly, I'd like to talk about food. Because it is delicious, and I like it, and eating it is part of my job. So, I was looking for ways to get sponsorships (which I still struggle with...understandably so...) and I stumbled upon these box-a-month kind of deals. I didn't ask for a sponsorship...yet. Right now, I am going to go ahead and give Love With Food a try. It's a box full of random and delicious healthy and organic snacks for $20/month. We'll see how delicious it is and if it's worth it. The best part for me is that with the purchase of a box (depending on the size) you help provide one-two meals to a hungry kid in the US. LOVE that idea. I feed myself and two other people for $20. Great cause! Anyone else have experience with them? Are they pretty legit?

Hope all is well!

Stay strong,


Monday, August 18, 2014

Q and A week one by jess

Hey my beautiful pretty strong people :)

I actually got a lot of questions for this month so I'm adding a few questions in each blog so I can get to everyone's! Thanks for taking the time to do my Q & A.

#1 I recently did a photoshoot for @skins_usa and the question this week is "you look fab how do you stay in such great shape" 

 #2 was "what's your diet look like"

First of all thank you for the kind words!

Both questions can be answered with two sentences- being the best I can be is a lifestyle choice. I eat to perform, and I train to perform.

I don't have a very strict diet I don't measure anything or write it in a meal book or send pictures of my meals to Greg Everett (anymore). At one point in my career I didn't have a good hold on staying and training at a good body weight for my weight class. I've learned a lot since then. That struggle was hard and greatly impacted my mood and my performance at practices and competitions. Now I just think about everything I put in my body and how it'll make my body recover and feel the next day at training.

I don't have cheat days because Like I said it's a lifestyle choice. I don't like cheating life!  On special occasions I'll eat things or if I'm eating out and there isn't a healthier option but I try to stay as clean as possible, all the time.

Everyone's body is different and I don't think everyone needs to make the same choices I do with my diet. However, This works for me and I feel great! My joints feel better I am in a better overall mood and my recovery is pretty quick when I eat clean. I used to consider it a sacrifice and it was the hardest part to being an elite athlete for me. Now I've matured some and realized I'll do whatever I can do be the best I can be and diet is a huge part of it. You are what you put into your body. I don't wanna be a greasy, artificial lifter!

List of things I stay away from- gluten, dairy, sugar, food with add hormones and McDonald's human meat burgers.
Don't get me wrong I love bread and cheese and candy (not really mcdonalds tho I read that article that just came out and seriously? Barf) but I also want to be the best and love winning and know I have to do everything it takes to be the best that I possibly can.

Now on to Training!! Training is my favorite thing to do in the entire world. I love every bit of it. Yes I come in tired and don't want to some days. Yes I come in hurting and ache and it takes me like 30 minutes to warm up or more. Yes i cry a lot if I have a bad day. I still have a hard time staying away from it. I've recently changed my training up a lot. I've tried a lot of different programs and I liked them all for different reasons. Catalyst made me the strongest I've ever been, Zygmunt Smalcerz made me the most confident and consistent I'd ever been and Andy Tysz' made me mentally push everyday. I've decided to do my own thing now and my boyfriend and I work together to try to combine them all. Yes, I do some Crossfit (thats related to my sport) for my mental push, gymnastics to strengthen core and stability overhead and normal strength, and Olympic lifts. I'm a high maintenance athlete when it comes to programming I have a hard time trusting and letting go of control and so this is a good fit for me even though my past programs were also so amazing. I'm exited to see it all come together in November at a competition in Costa Mesa, California as a prep for American Open in December.

So that's my program design. How my days usually go is I coach in the morning train from 1-4 and coach again in the evening. I've tried two a days, three a days and just long practices. The long ones are draining but I have a full time job so I do what I have to do. I get in don't complain and put in the work everyday usually reminding myself no matter how hard "this is what's gonna make me better" and suck i up. Train like you compete.

Thanks for the questions! If there's anymore questions again send them to my email or Facebook message me find me at Jessica Marie Salvaggio*


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

i chose happiness- by Jess

Lately I've been thinking about what I should blog about so hard my brains been hurting. I've gotten lots of requests and people asking me whats going on in my life pre and post National Championships and why I haven't been writing. Truthfully I'm not really sure, I've been trying to just go with the flow and enjoy my blessings.

One of my favorite people (Deborah) had a good idea and for the first time in months I'm excited to write. 

I've always struggled with not letting myself be a negative thinker. I've noticed though when I can find a positive about every situation I'm happier AND more successful in both training and everyday life. I wanted to invite ya'll into my life the last few months to see how I've been working on finding the positives even when they're hard to see so that you can too!

I moved to Denver for this amazing job at @backcountrycrossfit coaching Olympic lifting, to be with fellow @barbellsforboobs pro advocates, and my boyfriend @chr1st1anlucero (p.s watch for him in the Crossfit world he's pretty amazing). As most of you know if you follow me on social media or read my blog posts you already know that I'm a family girl. It's hard for me to be away from home and in the past its broken me down and really impacted my life in a negative way. It's been a constant struggle and always seemed like a sacrifice to be away from my mom and family. I used to respond to the homesickness by crying all the time and feeling overwhelming with sadness no matter who or how positive the people were around me. This time here in Denver with some trial and error I've decided to change my thinking of negative into a positive. Instead of missing my home I took my mom's advice and tried to focus on making Colorado my home, and these people my family. I'm changing my perspective to see that God wants me here, whatever the reason. I chose to be happy and sometimes happiness means to let go and accept the NOW.

I found out I sprained my MCL and had some fraying in my patella tendon a few months before the US National Championships. As minor as that sounds the pain wasn't. I wasn't able to set up on the bar from the floor at all from the swelling my knee would "catch" and get stuck. When my PT ( @cascadesports1 ) told me I was a mess. Leading up to the injury or minor set back whatever you want to call it I was training the best I had maybe in my entire career. My confidence was high, my strength was up and I was so ready to compete. As you could imagine the first sign of barrier to my previously uphill climb was crippling. Training started to quickly become an avalanche. With lots of help from Christian, my good friend @mikecerbus and Aimee Everett I realized that my reaction to the bad was how old Jess would respond. They helped me remember that God has a plan. Everyone says that, "God has a plan" i didn't get it fully until after nationals was over. During nationals I had a lot of help to just not let the weights break me. "I'm tougher than this" was my mantra. I came home with a Bronze medal, a pretty low performance for my original goals and a bad attitude. The saying "God has a plan" came back into my head and everything clicked. If by going to nationals and not hitting near my Personal Record lifts, if by getting third instead of first or second was his plan it was for a reason. Maybe I could reach more, and do more good for others by getting third over first. Maybe God didn't think I was ready and needed to use this experience to make me a better lifter or person. Who knows but I can accept that it happened for a reason even if I don't know what the reason is yet. It's not the end of the world and at the end of the day i got to do what i love, support the sponsors I love, stand in front of the fans I love and do my best. SO, in conclusion I chose happiness over "what could have been". 
Nationals is over my knee still isn't 100% but I'm still training hard with a new plan, new goal and new outlook. I'm excited for what's to come Gold, Silver, Bronze or 02380385202384082034 place- I'm ready and grateful to compete in a sport I love, surrounded by people I love, and helping people everyday in the gym reaching their fitness and just plain every day life goals. I chose happiness and you should too :) 

Going into the next few months of training i'm going to be channeling my inner Ronda Rousey getting as mentally tough, physically healthy, strong and unstoppable as possible. I'm going to open the forum to all of you amazing people reading and following our blog to ask questions you want me to answer! The questions can be anything you want to know from what my training looks like on a daily basis, diet, competitions, coaching, or even why Chick fil A is so dang good. Every week I'll answer a new question and post the answer to #prettystrongblog so send you questions to my facebook message box or my email. I'm excited for all you pretty strong followers to be empowered to chose happiness with me! 

Jessica Marie Salvaggio 


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Travel Exploits #1 Desert Cities

I've been really thinking lately that I need to start talking about all the cool stuff I've seen around the country and the world and help inspire you all to get outside and do something. Life is way more exciting outside of the four walls we're usually trapped between. I have tried some amazing food, seen some cool things, met interesting people, and whatnot. I hope you all enjoy this series!

I thought I would get started in the Southern California Desert since that is where I am originally from.

In recent years I have come home to see this place really improve. It gets cleaner with more things to do and career opportunities.

Desert Hot Springs:

     Right off the San Andreas fault line, this little down is full of mineral spring spas. My grandparents used to stay at a hotel down the street when visiting us in the summers and a couple of years ago I stayed at the Miracle Springs Spa and Resort. I had a great massage there, the water in the pool is mineral spring water (felt silky somehow), the food at the Capri Restaurant was delicious, and the staff was very friendly. For food, I recommend my favorite Pizza Place: Rocky's. There are quite a few cute little shops and boutiques on Palm Drive. They have recently built the largest Boys and Girls Club in the area which is a great place to let your kids play if you're going to pamper yourself at one of the spas.


     Have you ever watched the Peewee Herman movie where he is in the giant dinosaur? That's Cabazon! They have a gift shop inside of the TRex and you can climb all the way into it's face. Super cool! They have a little museum to look through for a small fee and you can go on a "dig" to find rocks to redeem for prizes and you can sift through rocks to find bones, teeth, and claws.


     I don't endorse gambling but, if that's your thing, there are a couple of casinos in the area to have fun in. There's Pechanga and Casino Morongo. I think there's a casino called Aqua Caliente as well.

Twenty Nine Palms/Yucca Valley/Joshua Tree:

     For the urban person, you may not have fun in this area. It's fairly baron but, there are a lot of great murals to appreciate. Joshua Tree is in that area too and has great rocks for climbing and scrambling. There are a lot of hippie type and yoga type  people, there are a lot of retreats for that type of stuff.

Native American Stuff:

     The Indian Canyons near Palm Springs and Cathedral City are very beautiful. I have hiked these as a kid. I had a neighbor down the street from me growing up (Millie Fischer) that used to do make crafts and tell stories at the reservation nearby. There, you could get flatbread, learn history, and enjoy the beauty around you.

The Living Desert:

      Located in Palm Desert, this zoo is really unique. It features desert dwelling creatures. In the winter time is is decorated beautifully for Christmas and has really awesome train set displays.

Candy Cane Lane:

     Also in Palm Desert, in the winter time, there is a magical thing to happen: Candy Cane Lane! This is like driving though the North Pole!
Palm Springs:

     Palm Springs is a unique place. There are great places to golf, a mall, an art museum, and spas. For those of you in the LGBQT community, this is a very open and fun place to come and hang out.

Coachella Valley:

     Ever heard of Coachella? They have a big, fun, concert every year. Hologram Tupac! Need I say more?

Monday, June 2, 2014

If I Were Normal

If I were normal:

I would have money to spend.

My life would be less stressful.

I would have finished my education.

I'd live close to home.

Clothes would fit.

I'd have an easier time dating.

I wouldn't have been bullied so much.

My mistakes could go unseen.

I would know where I'm going to live a month, a few months, or a year from now.

I'd see my family all the time.

I wouldn't have to eat so much.

I wouldn't have to say "no" to my friends.

I could stay up as late as I want and sleep in.

The scars, callouses, stretch marks, bar marks, folliculitis, messed up hair, chalk in the eyes, achy joints, broken nails, ripped skin, sore muscles, would not exist.

I would be smaller.

I could find cuter shoes and accessories.

I wouldn't need to wake up at 3 am.

I would have more work experience.

I've been embarrassed/gossiped about in public/online

My career was almost ruined

I've lost many friends along my way.

But, lo! I was not normal:

I have traveled to Colombia, Greece, Turkey, England, Russia, Guatemala, Mexico, Venezuela, El Salvador, South Korea, and France.

I have been to at least 23 of the United States

I have lived in 5 of them

I have seen the Eiffel Tower, the Grand Canyon, walked all the way to the top of St. Paul's Cathedral, swam in the Pacific Ocean/Lake Superior/Mineral Springs/Atlantic Ocean/Mediterranean Sea, Drove through the Rocky Mountains, Driven the Pacific Coast High Way from top to bottom, looked up at the clear sky and looked at the stars in the high desert, watched the fireworks from the lawn of the White House, and so much more.

I have experienced tornadoes, earthquakes, blizzards, and volcano eruptions.

I know/have a friend in every state and have friends around the world.

I have watched, trained with, or competed against some of the best athletes in the world.

I have witnessed the birth of a child.

I hold records.

I have been considered the Strongest Woman in America and the Western Hemisphere.

I have worn USA emblazoned across my chest.

I have met celebrities.

I have worked with a fashion designer.

I have worked with a stylist.

I have met the President, Vice President, and the First Lady.

I have had photo shoots, and been in the news paper, the local news, and in science programs.

I have inspired many people.

I am so grateful for the amazing things I have been able to do and see and for the people that I have met and have helped me along the way. The journey is not over. Not fitting in, experiencing hardships, making sacrifices, and dealing with pain is all part of the package. The negatives make you appreciate the positives so much more.

If you find yourself having a hard time being "normal" or "fitting in" don't worry about it. Your life is probably destined for so much greatness and grandeur but, at this point is unimaginable. Stay true to yourself, work hard, and take risks.


Friday, May 30, 2014

May 2014

A lot has been going on a not not a lot all at the same time. Either way, I'll fill you in.

I've been in League City, Tx training for Team Houston Weightlifting now for 16 weeks. I have to say, I truly love it here. I still think this is the best move I made at this point for my career.

So far as training is concerned, it is going really well. I started with 3 weeks of conditioning and then I moved into training. I'm usually not impressed by a lot of what I do but, I will say I am very happy with the progress I have made thus far. By the time weeks 8-10 came around, I front squatted 185 kgs when my best ever is 190 kgs and I back squatted 210 kgs and my best is 227.5 kgs. By the time week 12 came around (last week) I snatched 115 kgs which is 5 kgs under my competition best and I clean and jerked 145 kgs which is 10 kgs under my personal best. I still do not feel 100% in shape but, I am feeling more hopeful about my future in this sport. I am still a little over a year out from being able to compete again but, that still means I have a little over a year to get back where I was and then some. If God is willing and I stay motivated and healthy, there should be no reason why I am not ready to break American/Pan American records when I'm allowed to compete again. With the time line, it may be narrow but, the Olympics are still an option as well.

The only major drawback(s) of being on a suspension is the obvious thing of not being able to compete. I already expressed my feelings of boredom. Not necessarily from being here or from training but, it's hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel sometimes. I get bored not competing. That stimulus does me a world of good. I was fully intending of lifting this weekend for exhibition. This would simulate competition without breaking any rules. (permission was granted through USAW so no worries) Well, the meet director was still apprehensive and the competition filled up so I will have to go I think until October to possibly be an exhibition.

On the plus side, without having camps, or competitions or media stuff, I have time for a *gasp social life! I was on a pretty tight leash in Az especially when major competitions were around the corner. I didn't get a chance to make any friends really outside the gym and I hardly got to go home so I was having a lot of loneliness and homesick issues. Here, I have my coworkers, friends from church, and of course my teammates. It seems like I am always doing something or going somewhere.

The biggest struggle has been trying to pay off the debt incurred moving here and save money to get out on my own again. I am still having problems trying to find a roommate(s) that can hang letting me live there with as little as I can afford. Outside of that, things are going really well to my pleasant surprise. I am thankful for my blessings, my family, friends, coach, teammates, and others for support me through everything.

Here are some pictures from my recent exploits!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Why I decided to pretend I was a bikini model by Jess

Why I decided to pretend I was a bikini model by Jess

So, other than the designer of this amazing cheeky line is a good friend of mine and local business owner and I wanted to support her and help her anyway I could; I also saw it as an opportunity to overcome a fear.

I've purposely never tried on a cheeky (Brazilian style) bikini because of my body type. I'm by no means calling myself fat or out of shape but I'm also aware I'm not built like the models or surfer girls that wear them usually. When I saw the savage swim styles I knew after talking to Beth (the amazingly talented owner/designer) that it was important if for no one but myself to suck it up (and in) and put them on. Beth and I wanted to show everyone and anyone buying her bikinis that they can look good on any body type and sized person. It may have taken me 37 minutes to take my shorts off when we got to the beach but once I did and the camera started flashing and the other beautiful models were around me I realized even though I didn't look like them it doesn't mean I'm not beautiful in my own way.

The bikinis speak for themselves they're made to be able to surf in  and workout if you want. They may be small but they definitely don't move. If you like lululemon style/fit you'll love being a savage girl. Summer is coming and if I could try it and love it, you can :)

For more on body image and weightlifters go read my blog post for catalyst athletics:

And when your done go but your savage swim bikini at


Check the pics out on Instagram @jessicamarie979
Or my Facebook page: Jessica Marie Salvaggio

Friday, April 18, 2014

Never train like there's going to be tomorrow

I was reflecting on my truly last heavy day that I have had and it was mid-august. Just a couple of weeks after I heard the news of my suspension. The tension and emotions were still running wild. I was getting prepared for the World Championships and so I was in pretty good shape. I had already pulled off the team and we decided to keep on our training schedule. At least that's how I remember it.

Anyway, at this time I had serious concerns that my career was over. There went my Olympic prospects, there went my chances for American/Pan American Records, there goes my hopes for medals at the World Championships or Olympic Games. I remember telling myself, "Well, if this is the last time I ever lift, I better give it everything I got because, I may never have this chance ever again.

I started snatching and things were going really well so I deviated from the program and just lifted and lifted. I smoked all of my weights including this American Record attempt snatch at 129 kgs. After I did that, I went out to the picnic table outside the gym and cried my eyes out. Then I started to get ready for clean and jerks.

Clean and jerks were going awesome as well! I was super pumped and I was doing a sufficient job of controlling my emotions. I clean and jerked 155 and I went for 160 to break the American Record total in training. Well, I cleaned it and just missed the jerk behind as I was recovering my feet. After clean and jerks I went into the shower room and sobbed.

I composed myself yet again to squat 227.5 kgs to break the 500 lbs barrier I've been working on. This time I didn't cry. I was too tired both physically and emotionally.

If this was the last day of my entire lifting career, I'd want to make it memorable. I wanted to see what I could truly do. One of the lessons I have learned through this experience is to not take these types of days for granted.

I still have a lot of work to do. There are work outs and reps I have missed. Some that can never be made up again but, the least I can do is try to give it my 100% the next time I come in and try to stay on track. Are the Olympics still in the cards for me? Who knows? But, I am training my butt off and I am preparing for it just like I did the last time around.

You never know if you'll ever be in a situation like mine, or get injured, or have to work so much that yo have to sacrifice training, or meet the person of your dreams and want to move on, or whatever comes along your path. Your athletic career is very short comparatively to the rest of your life and you never know if there's going to be a tomorrow so I advise us all to never train like there's going to be.


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Be Kind

I recently read a negative comment about myself. There have definitely been more good reviews than bad about myself, which I am thankful for. I would like to use this comment as a reminder to say kind things to or be kind to others. When I hear someone say something negative about someone else, I usually say, "I wonder what mean things people are saying about you, right now?" I am guilty of this as well. Sometimes when I am mad, sad, or jealous, I can say things I wish I could take back.

Here's the comment I read:

"Sarah Robles may be able to liftover 500 pounds, but she is neither attractive, nor feminine, or soft or sensual. It's a shame to look like this, for a woman. Where is her unique, gorgeous femninity? Why do we want to be men? :(" 

I cannot come up with a hilarious quip or be featured in a news story like other people to defend themselves. It's strange to say that I am not personally offended by this comment. I do, however, feel that this possibly insults two important people to me. God and my parents. To say something negative about another person insults those that created them. I know I was created with love and for a purpose. To try and negate their "craftsmanship" and "love" is what bothers me.

I do not care to be a model or seen as a sex symbol. In fact, I am glad I am not. What my body and career have done is something positive to help others. If people just liked or noticed me for what my body looks like, they would speak about that. My talents, abilities, and personality have helped cause a stir for positive body image, educate others about sport, and generally serves to make others happy. Those are the things that need to be talked about.

In regards to my "femininity," "sensuality," or "attractiveness," I only want to be that to two people: myself and my future spouse.

I will not ever apologize for the way I look and I never expect anyone else to do the same. If I go somewhere sweaty or dirty from training, so what? If I have acne or small boobs, or big feet, or calloused hands, or smeared makeup, or messy hair, etc. That's no one's business but my own. What matters? What matters is that I did my best for the day and made someone else feel better about themselves.

I encourage us all to be good examples to others, share a smile, give a compliment, help someone, be someone's friend and generally do the right thing.