by Georgina Rastall
Georgina and her partner Niall got started with lifting with CrossFit, (I know, I know, don’t hold it against them!) before moving into Olympic weightlifting, and are now moving toward powerlifting. This article discusses her experiences so far and her feelings on them.
No matter your opinion on the sport itself, it’s hard to deny that CrossFit is a welcoming gateway to the sport of weightlifting. My CrossFit induction class was the first place I’d ever felt like I had any business picking up a barbell. I spent my late teens with the misconception ‘weights are for men’, and my early 20s to train alongside the boys bicep curling in the local PureGym mirror. I loved stepping into an environment where I felt like I belonged, and saw people my build and body shape – it was game changing. Obviously, it didn’t take long before I fell in love with Olympic lifting and CrossFit just got in the way.
Training for Olympic lifting is full-body and full-on. There are deload weeks, yes, but ultimately you’re doing a full-body power-intensive workout every time you go to the gym. The beast you’re wrestling is perfect technique in order to see real progress — which is the relentless joy and struggle of Olympic lifting.
As becoming a professional hobbyist gym-goer is not a viable option, I have to juggle training, work, and life. I recently started my own business, so the intensity of work and responsibility in life have gone up. I started to struggle to keep consistency in training, as my levels of knackered were higher than ever before. My body and mind couldn’t cope with such intense training so regularly combined with a more intense day.
I train because I love to be fit and strong, I love spending time with like-minded people, and chasing the high of a PB from time to time. Going to the gym frazzled and under-recovered after work, resulting in consistently failing snatches for 90 minutes became a thief of joy. Training just stopped being fun. It stopped being a place to have a good day no matter what else happened.
On my tired days, I started to vary my training and introduce more overall strength, powerlifting, and strongman. Dialing back and doing things for fun rather than results reintroduced consistency to my workout schedule. I did more of the stuff that made me want to go to the gym that day. The transition to powerlifting happened naturally and unintentionally. Olympic lifting still features in my schedule, but without it being the daily dish of choice, I’ve found that I’ve fallen back in love with training. I’m excited to go to the gym. I’m recovering faster, and can give more to my training sessions. I’m seeing huge changes in my body with far more muscle mass (thanks newbie gains).
There are still days where 80% deadlifts feel like a 1RM, or a PB feels just out of reach for a bit too long. However, with the increased variation in the workouts, I’ve found those times less of a struggle and less frustrating. Plus, with the focus on strength and less on the delicate combination speed, technique, and explosive power, the tough days can be battled through.
Bench, squat, and deadlift always make me feel like a boss. I’d like to say it thrills even more because it’s generally unexpected for a 5ft 2 girl to be physically strong, but there’s been something enticing about ‘who can move the biggest rock?’ for as long as we’ve been humans. Moving something heavy from point A to point B in the most efficient fashion will always raise a smile.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s powerlifting, weightlifting, CrossFit, strongman, or carrying in your shopping — so long as you love it enough to go back day after day.