Monthly Archives: January 2015


Getting Back Under the Bar

One of the first things I was warned of when I became a coach and gym owner was to keep training. No matter what. In the early days of JustLift, this wasn’t a problem. We were a small, young gym, and everyone who’s been with us long enough knows we started, like many before us, as a gang of lifters who loved lifting enough to put our money where our mouths were. We didn’t have many clients and this left us ample time to train.

Here’s a bit of JL history: Ian, Nico, Nancy and myself started as training partners. When I first started coaching I used to joke that I was pretty sure I knew what I was doing. In reality, this was just a spin on the fact that I had yet to truly identify as a coach; I felt more like an experienced lifter giving advice to newbies. As our community grew, as the competitive stakes rose, so did my responsibilities. If we were to succeed I no longer had the luxury of identifying as a lifter.

When we actually started to grow as a club, receiving people who wanted to learn the Snatch and Clean and Jerk, I knew I had to change. When my friend, and fellow coach, Ian, began seriously vying for the top spot in the country, I knew I had to change. Nico and Nancy started to transform from kids I used to train with into my proteges. That was enough. I decided I must change. This was more than a new responsibility. This became my duty. We were no longer a crew of lifters slamming bars together. We became even more than just a team. Our club became a community. Our team became my family. 

I never stopped lifting, but after our move from the old location to our current home something changed. I stopped training hard. I became absorbed by my coaching and business duties. I lifted because I was supposed to. At this point, all I knew was that I never wanted some smartass athlete asking me: “Hey Coach, do you even lift?” That attitude isn’t what got me Back Squatting 242kg. I didn’t Jerk 166kg because I was afraid I’d look like a phony. I never stopped lifting, but I definitely stopped training.

For the last year, I’ve been an exerciser. Don’t get me wrong, movement for the sake of moving is important. We don’t do that, though. We have concrete goals. We train.

Sure, I’d written training templates for myself, even actual training cycles with numbers in mind that I’d like to do. But, I never followed these programs in full because I always put my athletes and the business before myself. I’d run a training block as planned for a few weeks, and then something would happen. Then I’d modify something to accommodate. Of course, then, something else would happen, and before I knew it I was doing half-assed workouts with little direction beyond “I think I’ll Snatch today.” Then I’d get serious again, and try and jump back into my old training programs only to get smoked and discouraged. This became my “training cycle.” Jumping from program to program, being dedicated for a few weeks, then not. I refused to believe that I had allowed myself to regress even though I very obviously had. The only thing I actually trained for was failure.

That said, in spite of my outcomes on the platform, I don’t regret my actions for a second. To my mind, I (temporarily) sacrificed something I loved for something that people with goals more important than mine also loved. It’s no coincidence that our community has exploded in the last year. Beyond myself, our team, staff and athletes alike, has worked incredibly hard to get us where we are today. It’s only been recently, however, that I realize I haven’t been setting the example as Head Coach that I need to.

An athlete (at least by my definition) is a competitor at heart, and a good competitor will always find a way. They encounter numerous barriers to progress on their paths, sometimes having to make hard decisions. Sometimes they have to retreat and reassess. The one thing they don’t do is quit when they know they’re capable of more still.

I’m telling you this because I feel that I have to, more than anyone, practice what we preach. To embody all that JustLift is and aspires to be. I want to show you what is possible when you dedicate yourself to a goal. When you refuse to accept failure. To show you that those weights that scare you today can, in fact, be mere warm-ups tomorrow.

For the next year, I will be documenting my training on our blog. Once a week I will post an update reflecting on some of my training, but more importantly, reflecting on what goes on inside my head in my quest to not only get back to where I was, but crush my previous records!

By |January 29th, 2015|Blog|1 Comment

JustLift (W)Inter-Club Weightlifting Meet

Many of you out there have asked, so here it is! JustLift will be hosting an Inter-Club meet for clubs in the Ottawa and surrounding region on February 28th, 2015.

This is the final date for which athletes may qualify for the Ontario Championships, and will be one of the final meets of the 2014-2015 season. Whether you want to use this meet to qualify, as a tune up, or just lift some heavy weight, overall it’s going to be another great day of lifting at JustLift. The 2014-2015 season ends March 31st, so if you have a membership for this season, here’s your chance to use it!


PLACE: JustLift – 895 Churchill Avenue South, Ottawa

TIME: Lifting starts at 11:00 a.m. First weigh-in will be at 9:00 a.m.

Start list and session times will be posted on the JustLift website by Monday, February 23.

ELIGIBILITY: Registered members of the following Ontario Weightlifting Association clubs:

  • JustLift
  • Bytown Barbell Club
  • Closer Barbell Club
  • Cornwall Weightlifting Club
  • Dynamo Barbell
  • Flynn Training Systems
  • NCR Barbell Club
  • Ottawa Elite
  • Physics Elite

SANCTIONED: By the Ontario Weightlifting Association

LIFTS: Snatch and Clean and Jerk


Men’s: 56, 62, 69, 77, 85, 94, 105, 105+

Women’s – 48, 53, 58, 63, 69, 75, 75+

ENTRY FEE: $30.00 per athlete

DEADLINES: Absolutely no entries will be accepted after Tuesday, February 17.

Eventbrite - JustLift (W)Inter-Club Weightlifting Meet


Download Registration Form and Pay in Person at JustLift (Cash, Cheque, Credit)

JustLift Athletes with full memberships: Please sign up in house.

By |January 29th, 2015|Blog, News|1 Comment

OWA Hybrid Club Competition #2 at JustLift Start List

The start list for the OWA Hybrid Club Competition #2 at JustLift is now available. You can download it here:

OWA Hybrid Club Comptition #2 at JustLift Start List

Come to JustLift this Saturday, January 17th, 2015 to see some heavy weights get tossed around! Weigh-in for the first session will be at 9am, with the first lifters starting at 11am! Spectators, make sure you’re there for the presentation of athletes at 10:45am! The last session will start at 3pm, and things will finish up around 5pm. Get ready for another full day of heavy lifting!

This time around, we have 35 lifters registered from all over the National Capital Region. We continue to see growth in this sport in the area, with quite a few new lifters on the list. The talent pool is getting deeper and we expect to see big things from Ottawa’s athletes in the future on the Provincial and National scene.

The Hybrid Club Competition series is a new initiative by the Ontario Weightlifting Association for the purpose of developing the sport at the grassroots level. This is the second time JustLift has acted as a host and invited other developing clubs to join us. The first of the series was back in November, and we look forward to more in the future!

By |January 11th, 2015|Blog, News|Comments Off on OWA Hybrid Club Competition #2 at JustLift Start List

Stay Warm With JustLift – New Team Gear Available

Yes, it’s cold out there! Winter started out a bit mild, but it’s been pretty darn chilly lately! Luckily, we have some new JustLift team gear available to help keep you warm!

New JustLift toques are currently available at the gym, $25 each. Pick yours up now! A great way to keep your head warm and represent JustLift this winter!


We’ll also putting in an order for JustLift Team Warmup Fleece Jackets! These are great for training to get the blood flowing before getting down to some serious lifting, and letting everyone at meets know that you JustLift! You can reserve yours online now using the following signup:


Final price will be $75-80, depending on how many we get. We don’t plan on getting extra, so reserve ($60 deposit, balance due at delivery) yours now!  We’ll be taking reservations up until Jan 17th, and will be submitting the order that weekend. That’ll get them to us the first week of February, just in time for Winterlift!

Stay warm, lift heavy!

By |January 8th, 2015|Blog, News|Comments Off on Stay Warm With JustLift – New Team Gear Available