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Holly Noll
I’m a Plant-Based Sports Nutritionist. This is How I Eat, Train and Stay Motivated

Holly Nolls Stats When We Talked with Her 💪

United States
33 years
160 cm
(5 ‘3)
52 kg
(115 lbs)

Follow Holly on Instagram

👋 Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training

Hiiiiiiii. Ok, first, about me. I’m Holly, Owner of Rising Strength in Oakland, CA and FitQuick Protein Baking Mixes.

I’m 33, and live above my gym with my best pup friend Ani who’s favorite hobbies are primarily sunspots and eating, or…eating while in a sunspot. I’ve been training for close to a decade now, making me a bit of a baby in the world of lifters but I tend to deep-dive when I find things I love and nothing has come close to comparing to how much I love strength sports at this point in my life.

I started with just going to a gym because it was well lit and I was in a new city where I knew no one, and at least the front desk person knew my name… I decided that asthma was dumb so I took it head-on by running until I couldn’t day after day on the treadmill until I could function. It was brutal but I owe my ability to move forward in fitness to this rather hard-edged, gritty, start.

One day, at the gym, a CrossFit comp was on the TV’s and it just blew my mind. Previously I had only seen Nike style (thin, beautiful, white, poised, running, yoga) women in sports and didn’t see myself in it.

CrossFit women looked like superheroes and it was captivating. This led me to now competing in powerlifting and Weightlifting with the PlantBuilt team as well as CrossFit, which ironically, was not a sport I found myself desperately wanting to compete in.

Weightlifting, however, is bae and I’m looking forward to getting back to competing in 2020. Besides weightlifting, catch me racing shifter karts (80cc), trail running and can I call eating a hobby?

⏱ Describe a typical day of training

My favorite lift is definitely the snatch.

I train six days a week, run daily and race karts most warm weekends. Training is tricky for me, and I adjust programming around how I feel to manage fatigue.

It is super hard for me to fit a training day, especially if I’m getting ready to compete, under an hour but living above my gym helps a lot. I will often break up training between clients I’m coaching or classes so that I can get it all in in a day.

I’m currently training for aesthetics and to get back to competing after some time spent injured but mostly overwhelmed from fully rebuilding my gym, the Rising Strength. I’m really looking forward to hitting the platform again.

I usually train alone because my schedule can be all over the place, or my coaches at the gym, when we can fit it in together. Life is hectic, so I look forward to training with the Rising Strength coaches and athletes when I can, it’s super motivating so if I can’t get it in around my schedule, I’ll often just jump into a class to connect to the community and for fun.

My favorite lift is definitely the snatch. It used to be deadlift when I was in powerlifting but snatch stole my heart right around the time that it started feeling less like I was a muppet and more like I was doing ballet. I split snatch because it feels so much better to me.

I strongly recommend everyone find ways to make workouts and movements fit them and do what feels most strong and most fun. I always track every workout including how it felt and any notes. This keeps my fatigue levels in check as I am so hybrid but it also allows me to really be present with training.

People are so focused on the number on the bar but I want to know how my body is progressing, how technique is clicking into place and where I’m at with how much I’m enjoying it.

I have seen so much improvement from my athletes and from my own training when I stay present to what feels fun and awesome to me, really focusing on technique, and then strength always builds. It’s about the journey, as cliche as that sounds, it is really true.

Oh and I wear an Apple Watch but it really doesn’t pick up that I’m lifting at all (LOL) and I use it primarily to make sure that any texts or communication I get during training or during coaching isn’t urgent so I don’t need to be distracted by it or check it when I’m trying to focus and stay present.

👊 How do you keep going and push harder?

“Motivation” is hard for me since usually me not wanting to train is an indicator that I need to not train. The biggest challenges for me revolve around perfectionism and not constantly going.

I live above my gym, so I can train anytime I want and it is the thing I love doing close to the most (Climbing mountains, driving tiny race cars and running in forests or on gorgeous beaches are high up on that list too).

If I don’t want to train, that’s usually my body and brain’s way of telling me I need rest and I need to recover.

When I don’t feel motivated, and I know I’m solid, just being a baby, I’ll usually link up with a friend to train together, journal then meditate on what is happening, or watch rad athletes online that I think are wicked inspiring.

Music is huge for me too though. Rob Baily and the Hustle Standard, good old hardcore like Run with the Hunted, Seven Generations or Hatebreed are go-to’s when it comes to hype up music, or Russian Circles, Emancipator and Lightbearer for intense but not hype music for Olympic Lifting.

I sort of come “pre hyped” so it’s often better for me to go for wordless, post hardcore, and dig in rather than try to get too amped and less focused.

I mentioned perfectionism earlier, and this is really something, mostly women, I train and am friends with face. We want to do everything, all the time, and burn ourselves out.

Stress is a HUGE factor when it comes to training, aesthetics, strength and every aspect of athletic performance. Managing it is often the key to success.

🏆 How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

The future looks super exciting.

Training is going amazing at the moment. I’m back to feeling strong in a gym I’m so excited to train in! Honestly, I am currently living my future goals as The Rising Strength is, as of this writing, a little over a month old in it’s current totally brand new state. So I walk downstairs from my apt into my dream gym and I get to train, it’s the best motivator.

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The future looks like growing this community, building up my competitive team, taking home some medals both personally and coaching my team athletes through comps that they crush. The future looks like continuing to show that the fitness industry doesn’t have to promote elitism, homogeneous beauty standards and toxic masculinity. That we all belong in strength sports.

The future looks like changing this industry and making it radder both by representing women on the platform, and by representing gender binary, trans and female athletes in The Rising Strength competition team. The future looks super exciting.

🤕 How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?

Last year was my introduction into serious recovery from injuries and man, is it tough. This isn’t something I’d like to get into. It was a really hard year. I had an abusive ex who was also a business partner, an athlete dropped 335 lbs on my legs, I almost got swept out to sea/caught in waves against cliffs, broke my foot, ripped my trap and more lol it’s too much to get into in this medium but ty for the invite to do so.

In terms of tips for faster recovery, it’s really more like eat nutrient-dense food, ice/heat, do mobility, etc. Nothing game-changing. Be vegan, lol cause we heal so much faster than carnists!

I think the thing no one really talks about when it comes to injuries is around the mental grind of pain for months, added to my job being very physical.

It can be such a challenge to stay stoked when you can’t do the things you love, you’re stuck being still and how that can play games on your brain about self worth, anxiety and the works.

I spent a lot of time meditating and journaling and staying on top of mental reactions to pain and injuries, trying to stay grateful for what I could do.

We also don’t appreciate the gift that injuries give us of self exploration, learning to train around what’s hurt and the resilient grit the build.

Physically speaking, ice baths, elevation, mobility and massage are huge tools I use to recover and to heal injuries.

🍎 How is your diet and what supplements do you use?

While waiting for a ride and aimlessly flipping through a rack of various types of reading in a co cop in San Francisco, I found a “zine” with a short article on the connection between the dairy industry and it’s oppression of female reproductive and sexual freedom. This made the hypocrisy of the feminist vegetarian lifestyle I was currently living immediately apparent. I went vegan that day.

Its effect on me wasn’t immediate. I was a musician, not an athlete at the time, I didn’t honestly notice much except learning how to find food in a different way, wtf “nutritional yeast” was and getting over my irrational fear of tofu (which is delicious btw).

I’d say now, the biggest thing is that it drives my view of the world and is a driving factor in most things I do. Getting strong, looking strong and being visible have a lot to do with showing up as a vegan athlete and letting others know they can too. I’ve been vegan 13 years.

Besides vegan af, I’m genuinely not on any sort of diet right now. I’m using intermittent fasting to help heal some gut issues that came from chronic stress but I am not currently doing macros or any specific diet, though I do think flexible dieting is the absolute best way to go, is what I coach and recommend.

That way we are less likely to develop disordered views of food while attaining our body composition goals. I’ve struggled with eating disorders and body dysmorphia, and found that opening up my diet to any and all food, but tracked and controlled, really helped me move into a place of intuitive eating in a way where I still stay lean.

My current supplements: Magnesium for sleep, CBD topically for inflammation, Turmeric, Creatine, and AMF (always moving forward) from Run Everything Labs which has been a game changer for my joint health. Besides that, I eat Run Everything Labs Protein Powder and lots of food, lots of coffee.

👍 What has inspired and motivated you?

So, this isn’t an ego thing, but I motivate myself. I look at my own lifts, and try to stay in my lane. My successes drive me forward, my failures drive me forward.

I love a good jam to get the party started and Rob Bailey is killer for this to hype up or Slave Trade OR, since I largely come pre amped, I often go for post-hardcore/ambient but heavy.

I’d say that Chasing Excellence and everything Ben Bergeron says is incredibly motivating. His advice for not whining and focus is huge, even if it’s often hit with being too unforgiving/hard.

I’m super motivated by my incredible athletes who crush it in the gym and give it they’re all. Training with them makes me go harder because I want to show up even harder as the leader and coach. Veganism definitely motivates me as well, to show you can crush without oppression.

✏️ Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?

If they don’t fit you, find someone else.

For athletes who are just starting out, I recommend you start. Just start moving, then go find yourself a coach that you trust and learn how to do things right.

If they don’t fit you, find someone else. It is always strongly recommended that you do it with someone who knows what’s up, and your friend who’s hella strong and likes the gym doesn’t count.

If you can’t afford it, find someone with a sliding scale or start really really really light, watch a lot of legit athletes and don’t rush it.

Having a coach is the difference between walking across the US without shoes and using a plane, but I also understand we can’t all afford it, so just do your best and keep your back flat, chest up, and stay in your mid foot. 😉

🤝 Are you taking on clients right now?

I am currently taking clients though my availability is fairly limited. In addition to coming to The Rising Strength in Oakland CA and jumping into class, I do usually take one-on-one clients both in the gym and remotely.

As a coach and leader of a strength community, I believe really strongly that we are breaking down barriers in this industry. I believe that we can create strong athletes through support, positivity and against any and all odds. That our obstacles shouldn’t keep us from strength nor should our gender or any other factor.

That grit and determination are the most important things I want from my athletes, with that, we can overcome everything.

📝 Where can we learn more about you?

Website is, @xvxh on the gram and I’ll link you to everything I’m doing and keep you up to date there, come say hi. Reach out: [email protected]

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