Weightlifting with Zandra

On the blog this week we hear from a good friend of ours, Zandra, a vegan lifestyle blogger, freelance social media consultant and longtime Local Laundry supporter. Zandra talks about her weightlifting community and the passion she has found in this badass individual Olympic sport.

Hello, Local Laundry friends! My name is Zandra and I’m a vegan lifestyle blogger and freelance digital marketer in the city. I moved from Scotland to Calgary 14 years ago and at that time, I have grown to love this city and everything it has given me. I also got to see the incredible wave of new businesses and entrepreneurship and I've been lucky enough to be a part of that community.

Usually, I am talking about new vegan businesses in the city, events, or social media but today I wanted to share something a little different because when I'm not working, you can almost always find me at the gym. For 2-3 hours a day, 5-6 times a week, I'm training with my team at Valhalla Weightlifting. I share a few videos of my workouts on Instagram but for the amount of time I spend at the gym and how much I love it, I definitely don't talk about it enough. I've been reppin' my new Local Laundry crop sweater at training and thought this would be the perfect place to talk more about Olympic weightlifting.

Wait, what is Olympic weightlifting? It's a sport (yes, it’s a sport) that is made up of two lifts, the first lift is the snatch, where you lift the weight from the floor to over your head in one motion. The second lift is the clean and jerk, where you 'clean' the weight from the floor to your shoulders and then you 'jerk' the weight above your head. Strange names, I know.

I would recommend searching on YouTube for reference. A lot of people get different styles of weightlifting confused, just so you know, this is different from powerlifting, there are lifts that you will see at the Olympics.

I was introduced to weightlifting when I was training for track and field in high school and when track was over I decided to become a weightlifting athlete.

Fast forward to March 2018, I joined Valhalla Weightlifting and have been there for over a year now. I have a coach that works with me every day and creates a new workout program every week. Even though it's an individual sport, we train as a team which makes it so much more fun! I'm not motivated enough to go to any gym and do a regular workout, it’s definitely easier to push yourself harder in a group setting. Our workouts are always changing but they consist of the two lifts and their variations, squats, accessory work, and sometimes we do bodybuilding. The lifts are very technical so we work on them every day. To give you an idea of how much weight I lift, my best snatch is 58kg and my best clean and jerk is 77kg.

It’s really empowering and rewarding to push yourself and build strength. Olympic weightlifting is about discipline, mental and physical strength, and adaptability. Everything we learn in the gym translates to the real world and we get tools that we can use in our everyday life. 

Just like the city has grown, so has the weightlifting community. When I started weightlifting over 5 years ago it was not the same as it is now. We have multiple competitions in the city and some national-level athletes in Alberta.

If you’d like to check out the gym send me or the team a message! We love introducing people to this amazing (and in my opinion, underrated) sport.

You can find me on Instagram at @lifewithzandra and @socialwithzandra.
You can find my weightlifting team at @valhallaweightlifting.