Saturday, 27 May 2017

Competition Recap - 2017 Toronto Cup

Each spring, Kanama High Performance hosts the Toronto Cup at the Pro Show.
This event is always a ton of fun as it runs concurrently with one of the largest fitness expos around. Not only are there many vendors to check out, but the event includes weightlifting, powerlifting, CrossFit, arm wrestling, physique, and even pole fitness competitions.

Two members of the Guelph Barbell Club competed at the Toronto Cup - Aaron at 85 kg and Zack at 94 kg.

Zack has been training for less than a year and this was his first weightlifting competition. After hitting an 88 kg snatch, he went on to make a 99 kg C&J. He also put up 102 kg for attempt #3, which was really close to being complete! But the refs seemed to think there was an elbow bend (I disagree, but I might be biased). Zack will nail this weight for sure next time.

Aaron hit his opening snatch at 82 kg. This was followed up by solid C&Js at 105, 109 and 112 kgs. Aaron finished with a PR competition total of 194 kg, a new C&J PR and a bronze medal. Not a bad day for Guelph Barbell Club!

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Operation Garage Gym

I started weight training in my high school gym when I was 13 years old. At that point, I had no idea what I was doing. Since that time, there has been a lot of figuring things out as I went. Over the years, I've learned a few things from friends, coaches, trainers and from taking some courses.

The one thing has not changed in that time is my need for a gym. It doesn't matter where I have lived, I absolutely need to find somewhere to train.

The gym environment has changed a lot for me. While I always used the school gym when I was a student, I also have frequented CrossFit gyms and Powerlifting gyms. As I have progressed in my training to focus on olympic weightlifting, I have found that I have become more and more particular about my training environment.

I need a clean gym space, with adequate equipment so one is not fighting for plates, and the freedom to follow my directed programming in a safe manner. That may be a tall order, but after many years, I have finally realized my dream of having my own place to work out. After weeks of planning and looking for equipment, it all came together in the form of Guelph Barbell 2.0!

Guelph Barbell 2.0 is my favorite place to spend a few hours surrounded by like-minded people who want to lift heavy things. I don't have to drive thirty minutes across town, I don't have to fight for parking. I also benefit from not having to wait for a platform, I can drop weights from overhead if I need to bail on a lift and I can play music ridiculously loud. From now on, whenever I need to "go to my happy place" you can find me in the garage gym!

Friday, 10 February 2017

Competition Recap - Winter Lift 2017

Guelph Barbell member Syd recently competed in the 2017 Winter Lift which was hosted by Variety Village. Winter Lift is a very competitive event and one of the last qualifiers for the Ontario provincial championships.

Following the recent changes to the female weight classes, Syd was the first person in Ontario to compete in the 90 kg division. Syd put up a 62 kg snatch and a 73 kg C&J and finished with a 135 kg total.  Not only did she win the weight class, but she is the current provincial record holder! Congrats Syd!

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Competition Recap - Variety Village

Three short weeks after her first weightlifting competition  Syd is at it again and took first place at the 2017 Variety Village Weightlifting Competition. With focus and determination, Syd trained all through the holiday season and was pumped to take to the platform on January 7th. 

Syd made some improvements over her first competition and made 4 out of 6 lifts. She finished the competition with a 64 kg snatch, 77 kg C&J and finished with a total of 141 kg in the 75+ kg weight class.

This is the last time that women will be able to compete in the 75+ kg weight class. The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) decided to revise the female weight classes following the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. While the lighter weight classes will remain the same, the heaviest weight class (75+) has been replaced with a 90 kg weight class. Additionally, a 90+ kg weight class has been added which increases the number of competitive weight classes from 7 to 8. 

Regardless of this change in weight classes for female competitiors, Syd was able to secure a qualifying total that will allow her to compete at WinterLift in February.       

Friday, 23 December 2016

Competition Recap - 2016 Mistletoe Classic

cr: @shannysteele (Instagram)

It's that time of year again for the annual Mistletoe Classic! This competition is sanctioned by the Ontario Weightlifting Association and is hosted at Kanama High Performance in Scarborough. While a relatively small competition, the caliber of lifting is great and this event is an opportunity for new lifters to get a feel for the competitive environment.

This year, Guelph Barbell Club had two new lifters join who were interested in trying a weightlifting competition. The biggest challenge for new lifters on the competition platform is often figuring out how to prepare for a lift and how to remain focused in an environment where everyone is watching you - especially judges who sit only a few meters away from the lifting platform.

Aaron joined Guelph Barbell Club after trying powerlifting. While powerlifting was fun and was making him stronger, he decided that Olympic weightlifting might offer a greater technical challenge. Aaron started watching lifting videos online and tried to tech himself how to snatch and clean & jerk with no direction other than coaches on YouTube! In all honesty, his approach worked pretty well and he had a decent foundation to work with when he joined Guelph Barbell.

Aaron competed in the 85 kg weight class. It might have been nerves, or it might have just been a bad lift, but he missed is opening snatch at 79 kg. After refocusing, Aaron returned to the platform and made that 79 kg lift look easy! Even though Aaron's third attempt at 83 kg looked like it was going up, at the last minute it was dropped and he finished the snatch portion of the competition and was credited with 79 kg.

Aaron was pumped for the C&J part of the competition as this is his better lift. He hit his opening lift with ease at 104 kg. For the second lift, he nailed 107 kg. Aaron attempted a 111 kg third attempt, which would have been a new PR, but narrowly missed it. Pretty sure that with a few adjustments, 111 kg is just around the corner. Aaron finished the competition with a bronze place finish and a total of 186 kg.

Up next was Syd who joined Guelph Barbell after being introduced to Olympic weightlifting through CrossFit. When Syd came to the club she was already pretty strong and driven to improve, but needed some technical work. The kind of thing you just don't get when you are in the CrossFit environment and everything is programmed "for time".

Syd was competing in the 75+ kg weight class. The snatch has always been Syd's better lift, so she was able to hit her opening lift at 63 kg with ease. She followed that up with an easy 65 kg for her second attempt. A PR attempt at 69 kg was narrowly missed, but Syd was off to a great start in this competition.

Next came the C&J. Syd progressed well through the warmup and made her opening attempt at 72 kg look easy. So we bumped her up to 76 kg for attempt number 2. Unfortunately, the bar path on the jerk just got slightly out in front of her which resulted in a missed lift. To give her a little bit more time to rest in between attempts, we bumped her 3rd and final attempt up to 77 kg. A little bit of core instability in the clean resulted in another missed C&J. This is a weight that I know Syd can make, and she will make this easily at the next competition!! Sad finished the competition with a gold medal and a total of 137 kg.

Despite the poor weather and slow start due to late arrivals, overall this was a fantastic competition. There was some great lifting and it's a great place to be a spectator. For Guelph Barbell Club, two new members had a great start to competitive weightlifting. Both Aaron and Syd finished the competition making 3/6 lifts, both finished with official OWA totals and medaled in their respective weight classes. Looking forward to seeing what is next for these lifters!

Thursday, 17 November 2016

My Other Favorite Sport

Before weightlifting, wrestling was my sport of choice.  

I just returned from my first international senior wrestling tournament (outside of Canada) that included both women's and men's freestyle in addition to Greco-roman competitions. The tournament was hosted at the New York Athletic Club in Manhattan and included very high caliber competitors. I know that if I want to continue to grow my skills as a referee and to pursue this at an international level, that I need to become competent in officiating Greco. Which is exactly why I chose to travel to the NYAC Bill Farrell International.

Women's Wrestling Tournament on day 1 of the Bill Farrell International at the New York Athletic Club
I want to thank the Black Bears Wrestling Club for continuing to support me in this sport both while I was an active member and now. I love that our wrestling community is so small and so interconnected that I can easily call up my former coach and ask if I can bunk in with the team to save on my expenses (because I quickly discovered that hotels in Manhattan are hella expensive). 

Black Bear Sam Stewart getting ready to launch her
opponent during the bronze medal match at the 2016 NYAC
Without this support and constant willingness to assist others in our sport, wrestling in Canada would not be as successful as it is. In fact  Canadian wrestlers have won Olympic medals at every games since 1992! 

I started wrestling in New Brunswick when I was 15 after being recruited to the high school team by the coach. After the first practice, I was hooked. After high school, I joined the varsity team at my undergraduate university where I spent 7 years as a member of the Black Bears Wrestling Club. Because of the Black Bears, I spent many years as a competitive athlete and was supported as I developed my coaching and referee skills. While my body is now too old and broken to continue wrestling, refereeing is something that I can pursue for decades to come. 

Without all the time, resources and effort that the Black Bears (past and present) showed me in those early years, I wouldn't be where I am today.  Although I now live in Ontario where I am supported by my colleagues at the Ontario Amateur Wrestling Officials Association, I will always be a Maritimer and a Black Bear at heart! 

Saturday, 27 August 2016

The 646 Weightlifting Grand Prix

The inaugural 646Weightlifting Grand Prix took place on July 9-10, 2016 at Crossfit Toronto. The 646 was a great event and there were a number of competitors who were first time lifters. 

Guelph Barbell member Tiffany Hinds competed in her 2nd weightlifting competition since taking up the sport. In fact, the women's 69 kg weight class was so large that they had their own session! Tiffany easily made weight and was pumped to test how far she had come since her last competition in November of 2015.

Tiffany opened her lifts at the 646 Grand Prix heavier than she had finished at her last event! After narrowly missing hitting the judges with her barbell on a missed snatch, Tiffany finished with a 136 kg total (57 kg snatch, 79 kg C&J).

The Big D & Marcy both competed in the same session. This was D's first competition since nationals in March and she improved on her previous performance by hitting a 25 kg snatch (which is just off of the Canadian record for her age division). She narrowly missed out on a 35 kg C&J - which would have been a new personal best, but had to settle for  33 kg C&J and a 58 kg total. 

Following 9 months of rehab after a shoulder injury, Marcy started out with relatively light lifts just to get back into the swing of things. Thankfully, the shoulder held up and Marcy was able to finish the competition with a 142 kg total (63 kg snatch, 79 kg C&J). No personal records were set but getting back on the platform and putting up a total was good first step towards getting back on the proverbial horse!
Jadon Hammill had also been out of competition mode for a number of months due to some nagging injuries. A few solid months of programming from coach Adrian had Jadon ready for action! Jadon finished with a nice round 200 kg total (93 kg snatch, 107 kg C&J). 

Overall, the 646 Weightlifting Grand Prix was a phenomenal event - the sponsors, organizing committee and hosts were great! We are looking forward to the next 646 event!