Molly Kelly
Molly Kelly

School: Boston University C.A.S
Major: Political Science
Hometown: West Haven, Connecticut
Fitness Goal: Powerlifting Competitor

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  • Why did you start training and what motivates you?

    I was not always an athlete. In fact, I did not become serious about any sort of training until I entered college. From a young age I struggled with disordered eating and body dysmorphia, and cared about nothing more than being “thin.” Prior to college, all of my workouts consisted of constant cardio. I ate very little, and avoided carbs as best I could… tragic, I know.

    My freshmen year at BU, I joined the women’s rowing team as a coxswain, and trained with the rowers in the weight room. It is there that I fell in love with lifting; despite being smaller than most of the girls, I found I had a natural talent when it came to brute strength, and loved how lifting weights felt. I continued on after that with a bodybuilding-esque training split for about a year before discovering the sport of powerlifting. I was immediately hooked- I competed for the first time fall semester of my sophomore year, and haven’t looked back since.

    I am constantly motivated to get stronger, and see what my body is capable of. I am motivated constantly to see just how far I can go, and to always have a new PR in mind. One day, I would love to try my hand at competing in figure or physique, but would like to build a bit more solid foundation before then.  I am also motivated to lift as a form of self-love and acceptance. It is my belief that we (women especially) waste too much of our time hating our bodies, rather than embracing them, engaging them, and seeing just what they are capable of. I aim to keep training and competing, while also showing other women the power that comes with taking control of your health and your fitness, both physically and mentally.

  • What impact has training had on your college life?

    Training, if anything, has helped my college career immensely, and helped me be a better student. The time and dedication training requires has kept me focused, and has forced me to be responsible and accountable. A lot of times, people claim that they do not train because they do not have the time; very rarely is this actually the case. Training seriously while in college does take some sacrifices, but it is absolutely possible with proper organization and time management. Having set goals to pursue outside of the classroom has encouraged me to stick to my academic goals as well, and has given a healthy outlet when life gets chaotic. I think training can benefit any college student’s career, and highly recommend everyone interested should give it a try. It doesn’t have to be bodybuilding or powerlifting; just find a type of training that you love, and do it!

  • How do you balance being a college student and meeting your fitness goals?

    Balancing school and fitness goals can be difficult, but is totally doable. I have to take my free time seriously and utilize my day wisely, always making sure I get my workouts in and schoolwork done. I have found that training can be used as a valuable “study break” during hectic points in the academic year; during finals, for example, I use my study breaks to get my training in before returning to my work.

    Attaining fitness goals can also mean making sacrifices when it comes to social aspects of college life, but it doesn’t have to be complete martyrdom! For example- if I have a meet coming up that I need to make weight for, I will still go out to dinner with friends. But while they are getting nachos at Sunset, I may just order a salad, or bring my own food along just to enjoy their company. When I am not actively training for a competition, I definitely won’t deny myself the occasional piece of pizza or pie, but I try to always stay reasonable and moderate. Being a college athlete involves a lot of balance, and no one solution is best for everyone. Evaluate your goals and your situation, and decide what works best for you.

  • Best place to eat around campus?

    As any lifter will tell you, Chipotle is an absolute favorite. It’s a great way to get in ample carbs and protein, and is one of the better choices available around campus. Longhorn Steakhouse (located in Fenway past South campus) is also a great place if you are looking for a more reasonable cheat. You can easily order grilled meat or fish with a side of steamed vegetables, or try a plain baked potato if you want more carbs. The dining halls are also manageable if you make the effort. I am a huge fan of the egg-white omelets available every morning, along with the salad bars and Sargent’s Choice options.

  • Typical Workout Routine

    My training is focused around powerlifting, and increasing strength at all times.  For those who may not know, powerlifting centers around the three main lifts: the squat, bench press, and deadlift. These are the main movements I do in my training, with accessory work to help. I also like to throw in some forms of “fun” cardio, to help keep me in my weight class. I usually train four days a week, with possible cardio on the days in between.

    A rough example of what my weekly training cycle would be:

    Monday, Wednesday, Friday:

    • 5×5 back squat, 80%
    • 5×5 bench press, 80%
    • 4×12 DB rows, 60%


    • 4×4 deadlift, sumo, 80%
    • farmer’s walks, 4 sets, 80%
    • 4×12 RDLs, 60%
    • 4×12 rows, 60%

    Possible accessory work with those:

    • 4×12 DB press, 60%
    • 4×8 front squat, 40%
    • 5×5 hack squat, 80%
    • 4×12 lat pulldown, 60%
    • 4×8 power shrugs, 80%
    • 4×12 lat raises, 60%
    • prowler pushes
    • front plank, 1 minute, 4 sets
    • track sprints, treadmill sprints

    When prepping for a meet, I may also follow training programs like the Texas Method or Smolov Jr.

  • Training Philosophy

    My biggest philosophy about training is; do it because you want to, not because you have to. Simple as that. Fitness should be about self-worth and self-improvement, not self-loathing and deprecation. To be successful, you cannot train solely as a form of “punishment,” you need to fall in love with the process. Whether you want to be a competitive weightlifter, or just lift weights recreationally, find a form of training that you enjoy and go with it. Weight training for me is an outlet and an escape, and because of that, it never feels tiresome or obligatory. I love powerlifting, and love pushing my body to its absolute limit, and that is how I succeed in training.


    I’m also a big believer in creating many small goals to aim for weekly/monthly/etc. It helps keep you motivated, and makes bigger tasks (like competing in your first powerlifting meet or figure competition) seem a lot less daunting.

  • Typical Diet

    As a powerlifter, I do not eat as strict of a diet as other athletes may. While I try to eat clean, I do not always measure my food to the ounce. Recently, I’ve been following and greatly enjoying IIFYM (“If It Fits Your Macros”) and have been using myfitnesspal to keep track of my diet. If you are interested in trying IIFYM, resources like myfitnesspal and can help you calculate your macros, and give you ideas for meal plans. I also have Celiac Disease, and have had to follow a gluten-free diet since I was twelve years old.

    A typical day in my diet would be:

    Breakfast Options:

    • AMP Wheybolic Protein
    • Egg-white omelet with spinach and tomato
    • Fruit
    • Gluten-free oatmeal
    • Rice cakes (unflavored)


    • plain greek yogurt
    • plain popcorn
    • Fruit
    • Nuts
    • Egg-whites

    Lunch/Dinner Options:

    • Tilapia
    • Grilled Chicken
    • Ground turkey
    • Potato/sweet potato
    • Brown rice
    • Brown rice pasta
    • Lean steak
    • Vegetables
  • Favorite Supplements

    I do not personally take many supplements, only a multivitamin and fish oil. As far as pre-workouts go, I am a HUGE fan Cellucor C4, and highly recommend the Pink Lemonade and Fruit Punch flavors.

  • Workout Playlist

    I create new playlists constantly, because I cannot exercise without music! Some of my most recent playlists include:

    1. “Uptown Funk,” by Mark Ronson (feat. Bruno Mars)
    2. “Lips Are Movin,” by Meghan Trainor
    3. “Boy Oh Boy,” by Diplo & GTA
    4. “Hungry,” by Rob Bailey & The Hustle Standard
    5. “Work Hustle Kill,” by Rob Bailey & The Hustle Standard
    6. “Love On Top,” by Beyonce
    7. “Sweatpants,” by Childish Gambino
    8. “Believe Me,” by Lil Wayne (feat. Drake)
    9. “Bad Reputation,” by Joan Jett
    10. “Twin Size Mattress,” by The Front Bottoms
  • Tips for other college students who want to meet their fitness goals?
    1. Make many, small goals for you to work towards.

    There is nothing like accomplishing goals to encourage you to keep working. Making smaller goals that you can work towards every week will help you stay motivated to continue your fitness journey, and will give you realistic feedback on how you are improving. For example- if you want to do a muscle-up, break the movement down into accessory work that you can build upon. Perhaps challenge yourself to mastering a certain number of pull-ups and dips first, and once you’ve achieved those- keep going! Smaller goals can help keep you on track for achieving larger ambitions, like competing in fitness contests, sporting events, or simply losing fat.

    1. Fitness is a marathon, not a sprint!

    The first few weeks in a new fitness regime, it is easy to get caught up in all the excitement and go a little overboard with your dieting and training. Just remember- you have plenty of time to reach your goals (especially as a college student!) so try to pace yourself, and stay consistent. True progress cannot be made in a week, so it is necessary to continue to work hard, even when that initial excitement is over. Find healthy ways to motivate yourself, and aim to find a manageable balance in your training and in your life.

    1. Be kind to yourself.

    Oftentimes, we are our own worst enemies. It can be easy to feel discouraged when you are not making the progress you want, or have far-reaching goals. The harder you are on yourself, the more likely you are to quit- so don’t do it! Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is a solid fitness foundation. Remember that all fitness goals should come from a place of self-love and self-improvement, not self-loathing. You are taking a step towards bettering your body and your life, so be proud of yourself!

    4. Avoid the fads, and stick to the facts.

    In a college environment, diet and training fads can be prevalent and tempting. Do not succumb to them! Fad diets may give you results in the short term, but real change takes time and dedication. Do your research; look at what other athletes are doing to make their goals happen, and figure out what works for you. In some cases, hiring a coach or consulting with a trained professional can help you create a long-term plan that will keep you physically (and mentally) healthy. There are no shortcuts to fitness, and anyone who says otherwise is simply trying to sell something. is a great resource for anyone new to the fitness world, as it features countless articles on training, dieting, proper form, and more!

    5. Focus on your fitness- the body will follow.

    This tip goes out primarily to newcomers in the training world looking to change their bodies. While having aesthetic goals is fine, unless you are trying to compete in a bodybuilding competition or other aesthetic sport it is important to focus on all aspects of fitness and your health. Losing weight or adding muscle can be extremely difficult and disheartening if desired results are slow to appear. Focusing on your potential as an athlete all around will give you motivation to continue, and will help you build a sound body and mind. For women especially, lifting weights and making strength goals is INCREDIBLY important, and can help you achieve any look: from lean and tight to muscular and large. Your body is an amazing machine with incredible potential, so treat it like one. Train hard, eat well, lift heavy, and stay committed- the body you desire will surely follow.

  • Training Schedule

    Monday: Rest

    Tuesday: 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM

    Wednesday: Cardio

    Thursday: 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM

    Friday: Rest

    Saturday: 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM

    Sunday: 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM