This weekend was the kind of weekend I sit back, reflect on, and think to myself, "man, this life is pretty cool."
It was an awesome, energetic session with a group friends from out of town, lifting in the gym with our usual Saturday SCS crew. My training wasn't all that epic as I've just started a new base training squat and pull cycle again and my legs and back are absolutely wrecked. But I was happy with my lifts all things considered- snatched only 70kg for a few doubles and CJ 90 (2 Cleans +1 Jerk) a few times. But the precision was there even with a tired nervous system. The fatigue from high volume and relatively high intensity is familiar to me so mind is right and ready to accept what my body will give me by the end of the week.
My goal right now is to get STRONG. I need to be able to F.Squat 125 for a triple and Pull 140 for 5 reps to be where I want to be. My short term goals are to hit 88kg in the snatch and 115 in the CJ and hopefully by nationals 90/120. I've still got 8 months and feel on track for that.
After training we ate at El Palomar on the Harbor and one of our friends who used to train in the East German Block for 15 years told us tons of awesome stories about growing up as a weightlifter back in the day. He told us how in East Germany it was the 4th grade when they had men with clip boards come to school to test all the kids. They would measure them, give tests, etc., and then begin to place them in specific fields- "you," he pointed, "soccer, you, gymnastics, you, weightlifting." He said initially he thought, "oh no not weightlifting!" Everyone wanted soccer.
Then by sixth grade, after a couple of years of general athletic training and movement with just the bar they would start weightlifting. It was then that they would start to get sent to schools to master their craft. They were given good food to eat and essentially getting paid to be weightlifters, gradually narrowing down the groups throughout the years into the elitest of the elite.
When I asked him about the consistency in coaching throughout East Germany from school to school and whether or not there were multiple styles and ways of teaching the lifts he said that it was very consistent compared to America (here it seems like every coach teaches the lifts differently and there is always discussion/argument on the matter). He said generally everyone teaches the same thing although there might be slightly different "flavors" or focuses. I thought that was interesting.
His career came to an end right around the time the wall came down. He wanted to get out and he had an opportunity to come to America so he took it. Though he never had the chance to compete at the International level as a result, I sure am happy he is around. I've learned a lot from him and he is passionate about helping others.
SATURDAY NIGHT CHRISTMAS PARTY
After training came the evenings festivities. It was our annual Santa Cruz Strength Holiday get together. We went down town to Pono Bar and Grill. It was actually a mellow night, fun to see everyone outside of the gym. I met a vegan bodybuilder (don't ask me how that's possible). He had become a vegan at age 15 for animal rights reasons. I meant to glance at his shoes to see if they were leather but forgot to. Oh well, I don't think I'll ever even bother arguing with anyone about diet again especially if it's unsolicited. People will do what they want and they will get the appropriate results. Anyway he was pretty cool and at one point looked around at our group and commented on everyone looking huge and badass so he won some extra brownie points there.
SUNDAY OPEN GYM
Today was one of the funnest open gym days in a while. Well, open gym is always fun at Santa Cruz Strength. The atmosphere is like a college weight room with a Santa Cruz twist. We have a great group of people who are serious about their training and also a wave of young energy and talented athletes blowing up. And everyone is stoked on weightlifting!
Liz Patterson is among them. She's a National Champion high jumper from University of Arizona (she's jumped 6'6") and an Olympic hopeful- Rio 2016! She moved here to train with John Rembao (who wouldn't if they wanted to be the best?) and now she is doing her weightlifting with us. This girl can MOVE and I am excited to see what she becomes.
On the platform next to her is Dion Shattuck another high jumper and one of John's kids. John thinks he's really special and they are working to turn him into a decathlete. John's going to turn him into a beast, there's no doubt about that.
On the platform next to him is Jett Gallager a high school baseball pitcher who throws 80mph and will likely be a top recruit (he's just a sophomore).
Then there's Lexi Stevens and Becca Morse- two high school/Club Shoreline volleyball players tearing it up and turning heads (each has improved her vertical by 6+ inches in a matter of weeks), and Joseph Cervantes a high school football player (who I secretly want to turn into a weightlifter:) He nearly snatched his bodyweight today on his first day back after a layoff because he couldn't get away from the football field during season. I'm happy he's back.
I wouldn't dream of not pointing out that the person responsible for inspiring all these folks in the gym today was little, mini, Lauren Price Smith over there out lifting like the biggest person in the gym. She's on our weightlifting team and is like the poster child for getting women to realize how awesome it is to be strong. After she made a beautiful Clean double + Jerk Lexi's eyes get all huge and she says to me, "She is tiny!" I say, "Yes." She says, "She is STRONG!" I say, "YES!"
Seriously the list goes on and they trickle in and out all throughout the day. I'm leaving out way too many people on this list, whether competitive athletes or people just looking to get fit and better their lives, but the point is that it's just such a fun group of amazing athletes and people and an energy that everyone can feed off of. I feel so darn lucky to be right in the mix of it all.