Alyssa Kirkendall is no stranger to challenging antiquated gender norms. The 22-year-old grad student at the University of San Antonio is a scientist—studying geology with a special focus on hydrogeology. She is passionate about environmental sustainability and has set her sights on ensuring that water sources remain clean, accessible, and abundant for years to come. She’s also an avid weightlifter, hitting the gym 4-5 times a week to keep her mentally calm as she tackles researching and writing her thesis.
Alyssa began practicing ballet throughout middle and high school. Eventually a high school coach turned her on to weightlifting. While she immediately loved it, she didn’t get serious until she started college and had access to a gym. She’s always been stronger than the average female and that edge pushed her to workout harder. She loved how lifting weights helped her feel strong, empowered, and like she could defend herself. She loves a good arm wrestling competition, and she recently challenged an ROTC member on her college campus to a push-up competition and won—busting out 43 push-ups in 1 minute. And at her university’s annual end-of-year challenge course, she was one of only a handful of women to finish.
When San Antonio’s butt-kicking intrepid scientist isn’t pumping iron, one can find her hitting the running trails, cycling, and swimming. And every once in a while, one might find her practicing her aim through archery—a sport she enjoyed throughout her youth when she went to her annual summer camp sponsored by the Girl Scouts of America.
But Alyssa’s heart is truly with weightlifting these days, squatting as much as 235 lbs and benching 112 lbs. When asked about her nutrition strategy, her answer was different than one might normally expect. Instead of depriving herself and obsessively counting calories—which caused her weight to wildly fluctuate a few years ago—Alyssa found an intuitive approach to eating to be more conducive to supporting her overall health and wellness goals like maintaining a body fat index of 13%. She’s less concerned about measuring macronutrients and more concerned about staying active and eating what feels right to sustain her level of fitness.
Alyssa regularly takes Health IQ’s Quiz of the Day. When asked about her experience with Health IQ’s daily quizzes, she said, “I really enjoy challenging my knowledge. I love learning. I’m a scientist, so I love the variety of quizzes you have. They’re pretty difficult! They’re not basic knowledge. You have to have an understanding of the topic, and I learn new things by taking them.” Alyssa even enjoyed taking Health IQ’s Girl Scout Cookie Quiz (which she got an Elite Score on) as it covers a range of nutrition info—big selling points that she learned in her Scouting days.
We at Health IQ are flattered that our quizzes are able to inform the health consciousness of a scientist! We applaud you, Alyssa, for being a Health IQ Health Hero and for being a health and science role model for women and girls (and Girl Scouts!) everywhere.
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