Category Archives: Olympic Lifting

Acting vs Weightlifting

Acting is all about honesty. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made. — George Burns

Weightlifting humbles me. You can’t fake weightlifting. Either you’re strong enough to lift the weight on the bar or you aren’t. You get honest with yourself in about 4.5 seconds, otherwise you can do real and irreversible damage.

Less than a year ago I was lifting just under 150 lbs in a Sumo deadlift for multiple reps. Not bad for a girl with no spine mobility and metal rods. Last night… I couldn’t even do a proper front squat. Everything was tight. I had to go back to first principles. Listen to your body.

At the end of the night, I did manage a few shaky Power Cleans and Jerks and three atrocious deadlifts at 55 lbs. In the Olympic weightlifting I managed more weight than I had in April and almost as much weight as last year but not as many reps. It was nice to know that I had some sort of technique that would allow me to lift more weight than I thought I could. It kicked me up a bit. Cardio recovery was weak… Longer rest periods. But that’s okay too. Sometimes those are necessary.

Weightlifting keeps me honest about my limitations. Physical and mental… And honestly, it’s all mental. Your brain shuts your body off to perceived pain.

In acting, you have to release the tension in the body to yield the maximum results of your craft.

In weightlifting, the only thing that saves you is tension.

Both give you strength.

Physical honesty and coming to the edges of my mental ego, in my case and opinion, are much more transparent.


First time through…

…the new plan!  We setup a new 3 day cycle, working in my Olympic Weightlifting routine.  So far, it’s been good.   It feels like more work and less work all at the same time.  We took out pushups and some other elements for now, since I wanted to concentrate on more weightlifting.  We also put that work near the beginning of the night.  It’s changing up energy levels for me over the course of the nights/days.  I was doing more, more slowly.  Now I get right into the thick of things and expend alot of energy right off the top.  It means I’m doing a little less of the work I was doing more of, but that’s okay as long as I get everything in.

I’m also recreating my meal plan.  Going to see about shedding a few pounds for my 4 year anniversary (for my weight loss journey).  I know that’s not the best excuse ever, but it’s mine…  I’ll let you know how that goes.

Toronto Screenwriting Conference & WGC Awards…

I’m heading there this weekend to TSC 2011.  Then, Monday night, I’m going to the Writers Guild of Canada Screenwriting Awards.  Lots going on here, lots left to do.  I feel behind.  Will I ever get caught up?  Taking my work on the road with me.  Going to Kingston tomorrow night to visit with a friend then heading to Toronto on Friday.  Looking forward to the train ride.  Been a long time since I’ve done that.

Got some good workouts in this week too.  Getting stronger and faster.  My trainer set out a new routine for me for the month of April.  I bought a scale (something I thought I would never do) since I only check in once a month now.  It will keep me accountable.  Also going to work on a meal plan too.

As I said, lots going on here.

All is not lost….

After a slightly less than stellar week….I hit two new personal records tonight at the gym.  I did 5 (one set of 3 & one of 2) Sumo deadlifts at 133lbs.  The last time I was able to hit that was before Christmas for one set of 1.  That’s an increase of 500%  🙂  I just set my mind to it.  My legs felt good, my back felt good.  Then up, up and away!

I was also able to do 10 double-unders (with a little hop in between, mind you), a skip jump where the rope rotates twice for every jump you do.  I’ll have to work on eliminating that jump as I didn’t even realize I did it.

All in all…..a good night.  Back to Olympic Lifting tomorrow morning.  I over did it a bit this week, so my arms are pooped.

On another front, my friend Isabelle Després is training for the London 2012 Olympics.  She’s going to be starting a conversation about sport.  I put my name in the hat to be a guest blogger….stay tuned – should be out by the end of next week.





The art of being humble….

Out trainer said today that Olympic Lifting, really training for this sport and putting in all the technical “work” to make your lifts better, can be humbling…..I looked up the word humble to get a good idea of what it meant before I tore into this blog entry….it can be used as an adjective or a verb.

I’m not fond of this definition: Thinking lowly of one’s self (adjective); or this one: To make humble or lowly in mind; to abase the pride or arrogance of; to reduce the self-sufficiency of; to make meek and submissive (noun).  Neither definition is how I take the word in the general sense.

Despite the definitions, I understand where he was coming from.  Knowing your weaknesses, or your limitations, makes you a stronger person.  To me, being humble means that you assume nothing.  The world owes you nothing, people owe you nothing, the weights owe you nothing….you have to show up and do the work, treat people with civility, and lift the weights with the best of your ability, without wanting any reward.  If a reward comes, then so be it.  To me, this is strength.  You don’t need the reassurance of the world, or people, or of material things to make you a whole person.  You are a whole person because you know your edges, and that’s where life happens.

Lifting weights for this class these past six weeks or so has been a tough challenge for me.  I approach everything to do with strength training with a sense of humbleness….i.e. this could be really good for me, or this could be where the train let’s me off.  I never know which one it’s going to be, I just keep hoping that it’s not my stop yet.  I progress very slowly because I know my limitations acutely – I am humbled by them.  I’ve been living with them longer than I haven’t and my funny little back is like a friend and an enemy all at the same time.  I want to be stronger, and to be able to do things more quickly, but my back forces me to slow down.  So, where I might be able to think and write faster than my fingers can keep up, when I’m in the gym, my back requires that I take things slowly.  That’s a gift.

I never expected to be able to do any of this – what I’m doing now.  I knew I could get stronger, but I have to always be careful of my back.  We did lots of work today, and tonight my back is tight and sore.  Not in a bad way, but it’s noticeable more than usual.  A good night’s sleep should cure it.  My arms are also very tired, since I started lifting heavier weights and pulling up weights in a different range of motion that I’m also not accustomed to.

I’m likely never going to be an “athlete” in this sport – I know that.  Doesn’t mean that I can’t get better at it, and even push it a little bit, to add it to my repertoire of exercises.  Not everyone who signs up is going to be good at it, or will even continue on….but my will is pretty strong, and I’m stubborn, so keeping up with it, and pushing my edges, will happen until I find something else I like more.  It happened with Lean&Fit, and it will likely happen somewhere down the road for this too.

When you’re through changing, you’re through.

Be humbled by your limitations and in knowing the fact that there will only ever be one of you; that you have been given the cards in your hand for a reason bigger than you will likely ever know; and, life happens at your edges, because if it didn’t, none of us would ever change or grow beyond where we are today.

Clean & Jerk…

The C&J is a metaphor for life really.  Let me explain.

The Clean – a weightlifting movement where you have to use strength and speed to get the lifted weight up to near your shoulders.  At some point, once you’re lifting heavier weights, you need to bring your legs into the movement and get underneath the weight into a full front squat.  Only then can you use what you’ve developed to lift the weight back up again to where it’s supposed to be.  You can probably lift alot of weight without squatting, but the bottom movement reminds you that you do need to have an extra reserve for those times when the world is just a little to tough, or when you take on new challenges.  You have to rely on your “inner” strength to get you through those times.  Muscling your way through will work, but is it the most effective way to get to where you want to go?  Not always.  Sometimes you have to tap into that inner strength to get the most out of the situation, and if others are under stress, they will also lean on you for that inner strength.

The Jerk – a weightlifting movement whereby with the most thrust possible you hoist and “catch” the weight that is on your deltoids straight above your head as your lower body extends into a high lunge type position.  You also have to be aggressive and get the weight up as quickly as you can.  Your lower body is the base from which all other movements happen and it keeps you grounded.  Then you recover by bringing your feet back together on the same plane.  Then you can lower the bar back to a starting position.  This movement is like the times when you need to get something done, you know you have to push through and sometimes with very tight deadlines.  You do it, and if you’re well prepared, you can rely on the position of your base (or inner strength) to give you the support you need to see whatever is is you’re doing through until the end.  Then you recover, meaning that whatever it is you’ve been doing has been successful and you can now take the time to reflect and relax a bit.

Anyway, these were just some of my observations during today’s class.  Being able to lift a weight in the shortest amount of time possible is also very taxing.  My poor little heart is having a hard time, but it will get better the longer I train at it.

Always want more…

Congratulations to all the athletes that were at the Olympic Weightlifting competition today at the Merivale YMCA.  I had the opportunity to shadow Moira Lassen, an International Olympic Weightlifting Official.  What a treat!  She was awesome.  It was pretty exciting to see some people I know in their element, lifting weights I only dream of (!).  I’ll be getting more and more involved with O-lifting as time goes on in the next few months.  The sport is growing in Ottawa, and I’m getting in on the ground floor.  It’s pretty cool.  You just never know where you’re going to end up….