Tag Archives: competition

Compete to better yourself vs train to be ready to compete

 

In the past few months, in between living my life, working and my weightlifting training I was also exposed to competitive weightlifting from both athlete’s perspective (competing myself) and from organisational aspect such as putting a team of athletes together to compete and hosting a competition in my home club (Battersea Weightlifting Club).snatch

This experience opened up a dialogue with fellow lifters and club’s athletes. What I’ve learnt as an athlete myself is that there are many good lifters, new lifters who don’t want to compete or represent the club for quiet a strange reason which I would refer to as misunderstanding, misconception or even missing the point.

There are many weightlifting competitions taking place throughout the year in the UK and while majority of competitions are only for registered athletes [under British Weightlifting Federation] they allowathletes of all abilities (new and professional) to compete in front of the referees on the platform and more than likely with very good and supportive audience.

I only took part in two competitions this year thus far under British Weighltifting and on behalf of my club; however competed in others such as lifting league for South-East of the UK.

First competition took place in January 2015 and it was a great experience. Out of 6 lifts I’ve hit 5 good lifts which was great and then I’ve missed two competitions due to travelling and competed again at the end of May.

Many of my fellow lifters ask me if I am ready to compete? My answer is simple: as ready as I can be!

So, why are there athletes, lifters, males and females who are scared of weightlifting and when invited to compete they decline with usual excuse: “I am not ready, I need to train more to be able to compete!”

My coach once told me that competing to get experience as a new lifter is what I should focus on. Get as many times on the platform as you can – was his view.

So I did! Once registered for the competition my competitive spirit then started to get concerned about making weight category (ie. dropping into category I would like to compete instead of just getting as many good lifts as possible). I was also getting too concerned about being the weakest lifter on the platform with very low opening attempts.

My fears were well-managed and consequently eliminated by my fellow lifter and training partner and coach. All of the worries about body weight and other lifters were irrelevant to me as a new lifter.

The moment I stepped on to the platform I hit new PBs; both in snatch and clean&jerk.

The difference between training and lifting at the competition was that I couldn’t hit those numbers in the training and struggled to get over my comfortable numbers. When I was encouraged to compete the work I’ve put into the preparation has paid off on the platform. For me it was the adrenalin, the coach, the audience and ambience which made a difference.

Why should you aim to compete and enter the competitive weightlifting at any stage?

1. Competitive weightlifting gives lifters different experience from ambience, warm up and build up to your first lift through to your best lift

2. Adrenalin levels often than not run much higher in the competitive environment over training environment which means that your PBs are likely to be hit and new PBs made

3. Learning from other lifters of similar weight, body composition which you might not normally see lifting with you or next to you in the warm up room will give you new perspective

4. Relationship with your coach changes and improves every time you prepare for competition, compete and even after competition. You will get to know your coach from different angle. You will see a different person and not just somebody who writes a programme and shouts clues at you during training.

5. Finally, entering competitive weightlifting gives those who train hard, have a strict routine a reason to celebrate and reflect on the progress made; I treat myself to a few days off from training and enjoy good food treats.

By believe that you are not good enough or ready enough to compete you are holding back from facing the referees, the platform and most importantly yourself from your true athletic and physical potential and new PBs.

Getting involved with competitive weightlifting is simple:

1. register with British Weightlifting by registering as unattached athlete or attached (by joining a club)

2. find out about your local competitions and clubs and maybe start with club competitions

3. ensure you have a good coach who understands weightlifting and supports you in competition

4. get involved!

I am a girl and I lift heavy

More references can be found here:

http://britishweightlifting.org/

https://www.facebook.com/batterseaweightlifting

 

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Fight against female weightlifting misconceptions and celebrating femininity with heavy loaded barbell

Sitting at an English Weightlifting Championship 2015 in Leeds as a spectator and keen supporter of Olympic weightlifting and every athlete who appeared on the podium regardless of his or her club or weight category, made me feel great
about being part of the sport’s community which recognises top level fitness, functional fitness and strength built and acquired through hard work, practice, training and disciplined life.

Not all athletes, perhaps hardly any, are sponsored these days, so preparation for the competition which is often the pinnacle of athlete’s efforts is all about discipline and juggling priorities with work, training and leisure time.

Turning up at the competition whether local, regional or national is often surrounded by injuries and unforeseen events. It is rarely the ideal or perfect time for athlete, but we all learn to work around it and adapt and continue challenging ourselves.

Females whom I watched competing across two days ranged in body weight, body type and performance. All of them had two things in common; the journey they took to get here as well as the celebration they received from the sport’s community, spectators, coaches and families.

These competitions aren’t hosted just to showcase individuals but to celebrate high athletic performance, dedication and disciplined and relentless life of athletes. Weightlifting is historically associated with strong men! Misconceptions cloud over female lifters and female weightlifting as a sport discipline in general is almost frowned upon by general public.

It’s no news to any female lifters whether competing here this weekend or training in their local gym that we are rarely encouraged or recognised for our hard training and work we put into athletic performance by the society; it’s highly likely that we are commented on in a dismissive almost uneducated manner that we will be fat, big and ugly if we lift heavy weights.

This weekend I sat in the audience and watched amazing girls who not only showcased female strength but also the femininity and beauty at it’s best. Lifting shoes replaced high heels and dust from chalking up hands was the make up for a day! Instead of having a pint of lager in our hands and talk crap we all chose to be here, pay respect to the barbell and our coaches and talk “snatch” and “clean & jerk” as well as PBs (personal bests) and strategies maybe even touch on training techniques which got us on the podium and helped us qualify.

Perhaps weightlifting doesn’t attract crowds of football or athletics but it celebrates athletes performance in the same way as any other Olympic sport.

All I experienced this weekend was very refreshing, big crowd of spectators supported all female competitors just by being here, clapping and cheering them on. All weight categories were much bigger in the number of female competitors than previously experienced which is good news for sport and fight against misconceptions associated with female weightlifting.

Anyone wanting to experience hard work at the gym paying off through respect you gain by competing and facing a room full of like minded crowd should at least join the crowd and watch local or regional competition and maybe join the club for some quality coaching and training.

It’s never too late to train and compete. Weightlifting is very inclusive sport and it recognises hard work of individuals really well.

I am a girl and I lift heavy

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Weightlifting competition – is it too early to compete or should you throw yourself at it?

Today was a long awaited day of my training and post injury recovery.
I attended my first weightlifting competition in Olympic lifting which includes two lifts: snatch and clean and jerk.

Over Christmas period I had no idea when I would be competing but expressed my desire to my coach; and given I just started to train post my wrist operation I wasn’t even ready for a competition (in my mind).

Early January I found out there is a competition for Novices (to weightlifting) and that this opportunity should be taken. After much deliberation with my coach; my lifting partner Thea and many other influencers in my life I got convinced into participation.

At a time my post festive body weight was around 62kgs and my training bests were 30kg on snatch and 40kg on c&j. This would be a reasonable start for a novice but I wanted to ensure that I am competing in a much lower body weight and with some stronger PBs to back me up.

So I had 3 weeks to drop a weight (at least 4kgs) and train for the competition. In those 3 weeks I spent 10 days working abroad which was a challenge as I had no access to my coach and had to ensure I eat healthy despite my social entertainment with clients.

3 weeks gone by and I dropped my weight into 57.4kg which was suitable for my weight category. It was not easy and it was done in a very short window which is not recommended to anyone without professional advice on the topic of weight loss for competition purposes.

I’ve experienced many practical challenges and emotional challenges. Here is what I learnt:

1. Planning your training in a short window – I am lucky to have a great coach who is supported by an experienced female lifter and them two structured my training. I trained a few sessions with them two listening to clues and advice and while away I trained as prescribed. I upped my training and loaded a few more kgs on my personal bests in that time. 35kg on snatch and 47.5kg on clean and jerk

Advice: listen to your coach and even if you miss your prescribed lifts in the training carry on to the next one. Do lots of squats and pulls. They will do you a huge favour in actual lifts.

2. Eating, nutrition and fast weight loss
This was my bible in the past two weeks. I ate healthily (chicken, salads and mainly keeping it clean) and kept my nutrients flowing into my body. Only last 3-4 days before the competition I followed a weight loss plan through reducing calories and increasing water intake and ending it with dehydration. It was very short dehydration and period when I abandoned my eating habits. It is not advisable to do this without experienced help. It is also not something I will repeat any time soon

Advice: don’t get frustrated because of your body weight. It only matters in the competition. Training body weight is usually higher and even if you weigh in higher into the competition than you hoped you can still compete. It’s about the experience!

3. Emotions and the day of your first competition
If you think that competing is something you might want to embrace then I strongly advise you to go for it! Don’t wait for your best time and or perfect performance! The experience of competing will open up a whole new world to you and will change your view to training and training patterns.

I lifted 30kg in snatch (5kg lower than my PB) by missing one lift at 34kg. I was very nervous. Shaking was what I found myself before getting onto the podium. It was however incredible atmosphere and experience alone.

As I got more accustomed to the audience, referees and environment I felt better and my clean and jerk performance was spot on at
36kg
40kg
And 44kg

Advice: compete as soon as you can, even if it is only to participate. Every competition is different and it can teach you awful lot about you.
Jump on the opportunity and don’t wait for your personal bests to be good enough to compete.

In short this was a brilliant day. I can’t praise my coaches enough on how vital their input was to me whole 3 weeks of preparing for the competition.

Discipline is key to success. My route to success is paved with challenges and fails but as long as you don’t stop and don’t turn but carry on and learn you will arrive at the next milestone!

Milestone for me was to compete and success was to do 5 out of 6 lifts successfully.

Keep up reaching your dreams and turn them into milestones – it works!!!

I am a girl and I lift heavy

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Work, travel, hotels, restaurant and training…how to manage through strong will and motivation

I for many years travel with my work. Majority of my time is spent entertaining clients which is predominately through wining and dining or other social events.

When I first got into fitness and light training I would go for a few weeks eating clean and training regularly but every overseas trip would mean eating in restaurants and inevitable drinking sessions with clients.

I would find myself coming from work trips back to routine and training feeling all upset that I failed continuing on my mission to “lose weight” by eating well and drinking and also not training.

For the first time on my overseas trip I found a simple way to maintain my training program, my eating habits and working duties.

My trip also coincides with my first competition in weightlifting. I am in Spain spending 2 weeks away from London and these are the crucial two weeks before the competition. I guess that’s why I was pushed to consider and find ways to balance everything required from me professionally and also personally (training for the competition).

So here are my few quick tips how to integrate training and nutrition when working overseas

1. Book a hotel or accommodation which has some gym, swimming pool or activity areas (tennis courts) – in today’s competitive market of hotels there shouldn’t be a problem to find a good value for money hotel with gym…. Don’t forget to pack a sports bra, trainers, swimming suit and some leggins

2. If you (as much as me) prefer to continue with training and require Olympic lifting bars and bumper plates which are not often a part of standard globo gym equipment then turn to crossfit box. I’ve done it and for as little as €10 a session I am maintaining my program. Added benefit is you meet new friendly faces and exchange a few “crossfit” talks as well.

3. If eating out in restaurants is a daily occurrence stick to healthy choices. I’ve been here for a week almost and ate out every evening. I opted in for grilled meat and salads but also fish and seafood. Just because it’s a treat doesn’t mean it can’t be healthy.

4. Drink lots of water and avoid alcohol. I have had many offers of wine over dinner but I maintained my water only approach. It only takes refusing wine or alcohol twice or three times. Next time you do it, it is more natural.

5. Plan your days… Even though you are overseas the routine is important. I book my meetings in specific times and even dinners are booked for a bit later allowing me a time for a quick evening workout/ cardio….

6. Have your coach and training partner available on chat as in the times you might feel like giving into the drinking with clients and colleagues or can’t be bothered to train he/she might just be having right few words to motivate you…

7. If all above fails… Revisit your motivation to succeed in your goals. There are no real reasons why you should fail if you want it bad enough.

Given that my first competition is quiet soon I had to face the situation I found myself in due to my job and career and organise myself.

Happy training and working!

I am a girl and I lift heavy

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Emotional roller coaster of crossfit and weight loss

Past few days were very emotional for me. The ups and downs of building career in the financial world while devoting all of my free time to weightlifting, crossfit and weight loss have just started to show their true colours. It’s not easy and I almost want to give up.

The most frustrating of the past few days was making a decision not to compete at the European Inferno in Cardiff. My first ever competition in Crossfit and I had to pull out of it 2 weeks before it’s taking place due to my wrist injury.

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How did I arrive to this decision?

Through tears, through number of conversations with my training partner and team buddy for the said competition, through lots of resistance from my side, through a few physio sessions and hard training sessions checking my current abilities and most importantly through a lot of physical pain in my wrist.

Why did I decide to pull out?

It was probably the most sensible decision made in the past few years. I am not a person who enjoys sitting on the side lines and assuming a spectator spot especially if I trained hard to compete in the competition I will end up attending as a supporter and not athlete. The excitement of competing drove my training and influenced my programming, so this was not the easiest of decisions to make.

It was a moment of sanity influenced by professional fellow athletes who like me, once were injured (if not more than once) and knew that I am not fit to compete and would only injure myself more in the process and that would cause a long-term injury with inability to train AT ALL for at least 6 months.

Benefits of that sober moment when you DO THE RIGHT THING despite this being the MOST PAINFUL decision:

1. Avoiding further damage to my wrist and potentially preventing more injuries

2. Allowing current injury to heal properly

3. Refocusing for another competition (October 2014 – Inov8 Trials in Manchester) with my training and programming

4. Learning to listen to my body’s signals

5. Becoming a spectator at the fantastic event which will allow me to breathe in even more motivation for my future competitions

As my emotions were running high and consumption of sugars on a day of making a decision was significantly higher than usual, the positives of all bad situations appeared on the horizon and I decided to look up, wipe my tears and follow the ray of light shining from the end of the tunnel.

The good news which arrived included my first ever photo shoot for Women’s Health magazine and a good training session in crossfit with mastering of my 1st strict pull up ever!

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Onwards and upwards with setbacks being new comebacks.

I am a girl and I lift heavy

Crossfit Games – late night watching and snacking

So the time has come. The Crossfit Games 2014 are upon us! Sadly due to time difference those unfortunate who did not obtain tickets to watch it LIVE will have to put up with a live stream on their computers or ESPN.  The stream starts 5pm GMT and ends around 3am in the morning.

Those who can stay up will have to be glued on their screens till early hours. So, what are the benefits of watching amazing athletes  and the fittest on earth?

They are inspirational! I wouldn’t want to miss Rich Fronning, Annie Thorisdottir, Denae Brown and inspirational Elisabeth Akinwale and many more amazing athletes.

They are strong!

They go beyond what many crossfit athletes dream of and aspire to!

Besides all the athletes, the WODs are something to look at and learn from whether you are the athlete or a coach. This year’s WODs are not a surprise but a combination of long distance running and swimming with our good old classics which can’t be missed in any Crossfit WOD – burpees and thrusters!

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But, what are you going to do with your own training routine during next 4-5 days? Are you going to stick to your morning training after spending a night glued on the screen being envious and excited to watch the impossible becoming possible?

Are you going to give into late night snacking? What will you snack on?

There are ways to combine your own routine with this exceptional TV coverage.

1. move your trainings to more suitable times (i.e. evenings if you are going to stay up late)

2. visit the website games.crossfit.com for schedules and WODs and select those that you will definitely want to watch

3. go to sleep if you are having a long day ahead – there is ARCHIVE which you can watch online after the events

4. Don’t snack too late and if you really can’t stop or hold yourself have something light or sip on a cup of green tea! Personally, I will have nearly empty jar of cashew nut butter hidden for the worst cravings.

5. Don’t forget to drink lots of water

Enjoy the Games and keep lifting!

 

I am a girl and I lift heavy x

Supporting from the side lines! Envy and jealousy of competing in Crossfit

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This weekend I was privileged enough to watch Kim (my training partner) and team from my Crossfit box competing at mixed team event Wild West 2014. What a weekend that was!!!

It was Kim’s first crossfit competition and given that we are only training at crossfit for 3-4 months she was doubting herself and her abilities. Little did she know that she is absolutely capable of competing with athletes who are crossfitting for longer than her.

This post is not all about her, but she more than deserves a mention and she should enjoy the glory of the weekend – she was amazing to say the least! Well done and congratulations from many who know her are in order:

Kim’s PB on Deadlift – 130kg

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Personally, I have gained a new perspective over two days  spent shouting from the side lines at her and at the team; and also having some very good conversations with friends and new friends.

As I am close to Kim I was privileged enough to get a taste of her excitement during the build up to a competition. She was always sharing her doubts with me but also her successes, which I am unsure if can be told about other athletes. She made me feel as if I was part of her special weekend, which again made me feel more than involved.

Deep down, and initially, I was frustrated from my persisting injury and also jealous that I couldn’t be part of that amazing team and was “just” a spectator. As the event went on, my initial feelings changed considerably. All teams and all athletes involved in the weekend were absolutely amazing and more than anything they inspired me. So jealousy was gone very quick and pride ane excitement kicked in! Overwhelming feelings that crossfit community is a very competitive one but welcoming too. I didn’t feel out-of-place being a spectator and amongst strong and fit girls I felt “at home”.

Kim, Danielle and I in between WODs

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There were 100 teams consisting of 4 athletes which were 2 male and 2 female. All 100 teams did amazing job at 6 WODs spread over 2 days. The location was excellent, the venue was well set up, the rigs were of a good quality and atmosphere was of that comparable to CF Regionals which I watched online. I didn’t know what to expect, but it was one of those events which I would love to attend again as a spectator.

So, how can  supporting from the side lines be any better than spending the weekend in the park or even doing some exercise?

Firstly and foremost, this particular experience helped me gain a new perspective on my personal goals and targets. Girls who competed were in a commendable form and female of all ages looked very strong and fit. Healthy and fit was the best description for the mixture of body shapes, types and abilities. Very inspirational for me as a beginner and newbie into crossfit and lifting.

Secondly, the atmosphere of the competition was friendly between athletes as well as spectators and it taught me a lot about crossfit community. Embrace everyone’s effort – be it the first time competitor or a seasonal athlete! We all are competing against ourselves to be better than yesterday, stronger than yesterday and healthier!

Lastly, I’ve learnt that I have a lot to learn and a lot to conquer, but I found that all of us are conquering the same. Competitions are a great place to test your abilities and benchmark yourself against others, the adrenalin adds a lot to your performance and you might find (as many athletes have) that the atmosphere of that environment might help you with your PB or PR and you might even be able to do kipping pull ups under pressure of the team!

I am super excited for my first every competition in 19 days! I am hoping to get back into my training today after my third physio session!

I am a girl and I lift heavy