About me: Rachel Siemens, Weightlifter, competing since Feb 2011.

Currently ranking:

  • Canada (63kg): top 3
  • Canada (69kg): top 5
  • Commonwealth (63kg): top 15
  • Commonwealth (69kg): top 25

Previous sporting experience: not a lot. Most recently a CrossFitter, before that; a gym rat and before that I was in a circus (yes, that’s right).

 

Flexibility is key to successful weightlifters

Becoming an Athlete.

Up until 2012, never considered myself to be an athlete and I didn’t really have any athletic goals. The whole idea of athletics is still a bit alien to me. This is a scratch at the surface of how I have developed myself into the athlete I am today.

Competing.

Most of my life I have considered myself to be an artist. I grew up on the stage: Dance, acting and circus, there is nothing like the feeling of performing in front of an audience. (… Well, maybe the feeling of Weightlifting in front of a crowd)

The last 2ish years have been a crazy whirlwind. Going from artist to competitor was an interesting experience I’ve only recently been able to start reflecting on.

I was thrown head-first and blindfolded into the world of Weightlifting in 2011. It started by winning a CrossFit weightlifting competition and then being invited to compete at the Western Canadian Championships for Team BC.

 

Sure, I’ve been competitive with things before: school, circus, whatever… But nothing has been as all-consuming as Weightlifting. I live and breathe to lift weights. All I can think about is Weightlifting. All I can talk about (to most people’s annoyance) is Weightlifting. I hate to say that I have put weightlifting before school, work and my health, but its true.

Weightlifting has taken a sweet strong grip on my life and I’m a little bit happy about that.

This competitive character has taken a while to get used to. My lifestyle, priorities and goals have changed. My mind has changed. I fixate on goals and competitions and numbers and techniques and programs. I fixate on my training and my competition’s training. I want to win. I want to beat my own numbers. I want to beat my competition’s numbers.

Everything in my life is a little bit shaky and uncertain right now: Weightlifting has unexpectedly swept me off my feet and I have no clue what to do other than follow through.

So I have decided to go with it. Give the competition everything I have and see what I can do with Weightlifting.

Coaching.

All my life I have considered myself to be fiercely independent and resistant to authority and other leaders.

 

@ The CrossFit Games

I ran my life. I decided what to do. I didn’t listen to anybody else. Not my family, not my employers. I didn’t rely on anyone. If I wanted something done right, I did it. Some might call this independence, others might call it control issues. Whatever.

Either way, if this was 2010 there would be NO WAY I’d let someone coach me or tell me how to train.

Present day: all my team mates make fun of me for how reliant on my coach I am. Emailing him frantically the night before the 2013 Western Canadian Championships and refusing to talk about my starting attempts until I heard back from him… My, how things have changed.

I do what my coach tells me to. I trust him entirely. I keep lines of communication open to make sure my program is as accurate and appropriate as possible.

So, how have I become an athlete?

Embrace the competition. Let it fuel the fire.

Trust your coach.

Don’t forget everything: I still see the art in Weightlifting.

You can read more about Rachel’s training, eating, ranting, and life reflection on her blog The Red Plate. Rachel is a kinesiology student in her last semester of school, and is a co-founder of BCWA Women, a chapter of the BC Weightlifting Association focused on creating a community of athletes, coaches and officials for women. Rachel is currently fundraising to compete in the Universiade in Kazan, Russia, (basically the Olympics of University students) you can support her by buying Arctic Char from the Yukon on her site, or by sponsoring her.

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