June Spotlight: Tony

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What was your workout routine before joining LIFT Society?


Before joining LIFT Society in May 2017, I was at training at a powerlifting gym and taking spin classes. To be honest, I was in the experimenting phase of my fitness journey. This phase really started when I was taking my Krav Maga green belt test. During the test, I was running out of stamina from hours of striking and ground work. By the time we moved into the final sparring stage, I was running on empty. This led me to realized my training methodology was ineffective. From there, I started training in CrossFit with the hopes of it complementing my martial arts training. CrossFit also exposed me to Olympic Weightlifting. Given how technical the movements were, I ended up taking a short six weeks technique course at Takano Weightlifting to learn the fundamentals. Due to the distance and my work schedule, I wasn’t able to continue on. A few months later, I ended up tearing my pectoral muscle while bench pressing. This experience taught me several lessons: 1) technique matters 2) recovery matters and 3) programming matters. I thought with more than a decade of lifting weights, I could piecemeal my way through and get the results I was looking for.


What was the reason you chose to make LS your home gym?


I chose to make Lift Society my home gym due to the coaching. All the coaches are top notch and truly know what they’re doing. When I have questions, they not only show how to perform the movement correctly, but they also share their insights on the “why” behind the techniques. To me, this illustrate their expertise and the willingness to help each member progress. The fact that LS has Olympic Weightlifting classes was also a huge draw, especially when I found out that the affiliation with Takano Weightlifting. This affiliation speaks for itself. Without the coaching, I wouldn’t have made the progress I’ve made. The progress wasn’t just with Olympic Weightlifting, but also in my conditioning, mobility and strength. I’ve been able to hit new PRs with my lifts while getting leaner. Before I started training at Lift Society, my glute engagement while squatting was virtually non-existent. Now I’m able to leverage the most powerful muscle in the body. My arms have also gotten bigger too (no complaints here!).


What motivates you in your workouts?


The continual progress definitely motivates me to stay the course. When I mean progress, I’m referring to my work capacity, strength, technique and mental toughness. I’ve never felt more athletic as I do now. My goal is to be the best possible version of myself. With all the progress I’m making, I want to keep that positive momentum going. The nature of my work professionally can be stressful at times. When I’m able to get a training session in before heading into the office, it grounds me and sets the rest of my day up on the right path. Similar to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, I refer to each training session as my form of iron therapy.


Favorite/least fav exercise(s)?


My favorite exercise is the snatch. It’s an explosive movement that requires a combination of power, mobility, and technique. There’s no other lift that makes me feel as athletic as the snatch. I also enjoy other variations such as power snatch and even kettlebell snatch. It’s also very graceful to watch when executed with near perfection (I love watching this moement being performed in slow motion on the All Things Gym Instagram page). My least favorite exercise would have to be burpees, especially when they are embedded in the middle of a Metcon. I get why we do them, and I do see its effectiveness. Just don’t ask me what I think about them while I’m in the middle of doing them. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who shares this sentiment!


What are you doing when you’re not at the gym?

When I’m not at the gym, I enjoy reading for pleasure, whether it’s books, magazines, or articles online. Some of my go-to magazines are Time Magazine and Muscle & Fitness. I also have a soft spot for physical newspapers. Although my professional occupation requires me to stay informed of current events, I’m a news-junkie at heart. I appreciate reading all types of articles, from the sports section to investigative journalism. I also like to watch movies at the theater or catch up on my favorite TV shows, particularly anything that has to do with the live-action superhero genre (e.g. Daredevil and Jessica Jones).

Anything else you would like to add?

I enjoy Olympic Weightlifting for several reasons. While the technical aspect can be frustrating at times, I also find the chase towards refining my techniques to be a worthy pursuit. When I make an adjustment to fix one issue, another issue usually emerges right after. There are definitely some transferable qualities from Olympic Weightlifting that have carried onto life outside the gym. This includes accepting the fact that it’s not about perfection, but rather progress. It also emphasizes the importance of paying attention to details. Although the lift is over is executed within seconds, many things need to be executed correctly in between lifting the barbell from the ground to the overhead position. One minor mistake can impact the rest of the movement. This is also why I enjoy watching top lifters perform. To quote The Rock, “the masters make the hardest thing in the world look easiest.” I find the sport to be graceful while showcasing strength and athleticism.

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