My Story-Shari Ruelas

Shari is a very dear member of the Online Attitude Nation Weightlifting Team because we share a very dear friend. Ladies and gentlemen I present Shari Ruelas:

Here’s my story for the for the AN Online team.

I started lifting weights when I was 28 years old in 1996. The Olympics were just wrapping up, and I was inspired by all the athletes. During that time I learned that women were going to be in the 2000 Olympics for the first time. I had never seen women compete in weightllfting and I was intrigued. I had been a decent powerlifter in college and thought I would give weightlifting a try. I found a coach, A.D. Moyer, who trained several high school boys in his garage, and he trained me every day after work. One of the young men that trained there was a promising lifter that made several International teams, named Corey Barrett Wilkes. He would train a few months at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs and then come home and spend a few months training with us. His family was not supportive of his weightlifting and pressured him to work full-time and go to college. My husband and I saw Corey’s dream to make the Olympics and took him into our home so he could focus on his training. He became family to us and his dreams were our dreams. Corey continued to make great strides and ending up ranking #3 after the 2000 Olympic Trials. Unfortunately, the US only took 2 men that year and Corey was left home. His best friend Oscar Chaplin III did make the Olympics. When Oscar returned from Sidney, the gang went out to celebrate with Oscar. At the end of the night Corey hitched a ride back to the training center on a friend’s motorcycle. She lost control going around a curve, and they were both killed instantly. We was devastated to lose a friend and family member who brought so much joy to the world and had such a future in front of him. My love for weightlifting died that night and I stopped training.

Fast forward 11 years and Crossfit reintroduced me to the lifts, and I remembered how much I enjoyed lifting heavy weights over my head. I decided to do a local meet for old times sake. There I ran into an old friend that encouraged me to look into the Masters competitions. I had some success at the National level and was instantly hooked again. I started training by myself 5 days a week in my garage. I would search the internet looking for programs to follow and tried a number of them out there. During this time I discovered Jon’s podcast and was instantly drawn to him. He reminding me a lot of Corey, the original black sheep. Corey had come from a rough home life and managed to pull himself out of it. He was scorned by USA Weighlifting because of his tattoos and piercings (funny how common that is now), and he would love the spirit of the Attitude Nation. I would listen to Jon’s podcasts while lifting and not only be inspired to push myself, but I felt like Corey was there cheering me on.

I loved when Travis came onto the podcast. While I had high respect for his lifting accomplishments, faith and public witness, I became a huge fan when Travis mentioned Corey one day. Travis had trained with Corey at the training center and was telling a story about him. I was instantly filled with emotion that there was someone else out there with fond memories of Corey. When Travis offered online training, I knew this was the answer. I lift alone and need help with my technique and the support of a community. It is a great honor to call Travis my coach and to represent Team Attitude Nation. My goals are to lift barbells the rest of my life, to medal at the Masters World Championships and to set some US records along the way.

Living each day to its fullest,

Shari Ruelas
Houston, TX

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