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Jordan Gerbes: Squatting Deep and Asking Questions

Jordan has come a long way since injuring her knee and leg years ago. A former soccer player who found a new home in the gym is now taking on bodybuilding. No excuses stop this young lady from hitting leg day hard and working nonstop to her goals in fitness. It is obviously from just looking at Jordan she works hard and all the time spent in the gym is going to pay off as she gets ready to hit the stage this year.

How old are you, where are you from, and do you squat ass to grass?
I’ve not long turned nineteen, and I live in Hamilton, New Zealand. Although I highly recommend squatting to everyone I know, I actually really struggle too because of a football (soccer) injury from back in 2012! I was at a Regional Talent Centre tournament and was in a bad tackle which broke my femur, dislocated my knee and stretched my MCL, all in one go! It took a good eight weeks but I made a pretty decent recovery, just can’t squat or lunge heavy! It’s quite embarrassing since everyone always asked “what do you squat??” and I have to say… 60kg max! I have pushed up to 82.5kg for reps but I figured it wasn’t worth the risk of re-injuring.

What areas of weight training do you train and what is your best squat?
I train as a bodybuilder because my current plan is to compete in Bikini bodybuilding shows. I haven’t done any powerlifting competitions etc. and my best squat is 82.5kg, and I couldn’t straighten my leg or walk on it for three days so didn’t bother going back down that road!

Where do you train? Do you have a lifting team or partner?
I train primarily at Snap Fitness in Hamilton East, but while I’m home from studying I train at both Snap and City Fitness in Napier. Depending on my mood depends on who I train with usually! If I know I really need to push myself and maybe I’ve had a stressful day, then I like to go alone or with my boyfriend. Once or twice a week I like to meet up with the True Strength NZ team to get some variety in my program and some pretty good laughs. Michael, the founder, also handles my nutrition so it’s good to touch base with him about progress while we train as well

How did you into bodybuilding?
When I started going to the gym a friend of mine recommended finding some people on YouTube to watch for ideas and extra motivation. From there I started watching Steve Cook and Nikki Blackketter, following them on Instagram and trying out some of their workouts and I grew a real liking to the dedicated lifestyle. I liked the idea of growing and transforming your body by pushing it to its absolute limits. I just wanted to be stronger and more confident and it was a great outlet for that growth

What does a normal leg day workout look like for you?
Because I’m aiming for IFBB Bikini this year, my leg workouts usually have a fair bit of glute work. Genetically I have big quads so I tend to put more emphasis on the posterior muscle groups. I warm up with really light weighted single leg extensions and curls as a superset. Then from there I exhaust my hamstrings and glutes and finish off with quads.

  • Glute pushdown (on assisted pull up machine) 4×10
  • Straight Leg DB Deadlift 4×10
  • Sumo deadlifts 3×10
  • Lying Hamstring Curl 3×10
  • Weighted Glute Bridge (on lying ham curl machine) 4×10
  • Hip abductors 3×12
  • Leg Extensions or Front Squats to finish

So what’s next for you? Any goals you have to hit? (short and long term)?
Goals at this point are to compete in the NZ Fitness Expo Model Search to gain some stage confidence and meet some like-minded people. As for the IFBB, the competition in shooting for is October 1st, and my aim there is to bring the best possible physique I can and really enjoy the process as well as being on stage. It’s going to be a real indicator of whether or not I’m cut out for that type of thing. Other goals include uploading good quality content to YouTube and Instagram and trying to gain a real following there!

When you lift heavy, when was the first time you out lifted a guy? And what do your non-lifter friends think about what you do?
Ever since I started lifting, my back and shoulders have become crazy strong! So if I’m training with a guy who hasn’t been lifting as long as I have, I usually opt for the heavier weights, since a few months into serious lifting. The girls think it’s awesome, they’re so nice about it, all saying good things and wishing they were as dedicated as I am; things like that. This year I’m trying not to gain any extra fat which will make it harder in my cut, so I’m not drinking alcohol- Now being at uni everyone thinks I’m a little weird and they usually try and persuade me to drink. The boys either think it’s really cool, or they act a bit weird about it. I mean lots of people are weird about girls weightlifting and bodybuilding. Think it’s not “feminine” and what not, but the reality is is that whatever someone is into or passionate about, they should be supported by their friends regardless in my opinion. But it is 90% positive usually!

What do you tell women who think lifting heavy makes you look “manly”?
Easiest way about that is to show them people like Nikki Blackketter, Heidi Somers, Courtney King; all those women who have a career made from lifting a big weight and working out! I tell them that it is a real shame that people associate that hard work, exercise and dedication to masculinity. When I lift, I do it with mascara, eyebrow pencil, powder and brow pomade on my face. I do it with a bright sports bra (usually matched to my shoes). I will compete onstage with my hair and makeup done to the nines, the biggest, sparkliest earrings, a bikini, high heels, and I’ll be judged not only on my physique but on my overall complexion, my poise and sass. Lifting will not turn you into a man, it’ll merely make you a stronger woman. One who is empowered by sweat, not afraid of it. One who pushes herself into discomfort, and doesn’t shy away from a challenge. And most importantly, one who is confident and strong enough to disregard negativity, rather than letting herself be victim to unnecessary comments like that one.

Anything you would like to tell the younger lifters? and/or anything else you would like to add?
To the young lifters… Don’t be afraid to be a beginner. Everyone had to start somewhere and the people that do give you grief about it “only” being able to do this or that, aren’t people worth hanging out with. Find people, in real life or online, that share your passion and keep you motivated. Take advice from everyone, yes, keep learning, but always research what you’re told before trying it. There’s a lot of “bro science” out there and a lot of rubbish, so take the time to look into everything. Don’t rush! You don’t have to go from a newbie to a bodybuilder in a year! You don’t even have to be a bodybuilder; know that it’s okay to just go to the gym for fun once a week if that’s your jam. Find a gym that’s comfortable and one you like being in, otherwise, you won’t go! And most importantly, enjoy and challenge yourself. It’s an intimating world, the fitness one, so don’t be put off by the starers or the snobs, just get in there, do your work and don’t worry about the rest.

Follow Jordan on Instagram & Youtube

Founder of Fight Against Chicken Legs, part-time workout stuff, sometimes making websites look pretty, and saving the world #OneRepAtATime