This weekend we had 7 lifters including myself attend ECG camp in Virginia beach. Over the next few weeks I will be posting the things that each one of us got from our experience at camp. Brandi breaks down her experience at ECG's Add to the Atmosphere camp !
Get Comfortable being Uncomfortable
I love listening to my coach talk. Which is a good thing since he loves talking, but what’s more, what he has to say is full of experience and wisdom in this sport we love. Over the past few weeks though, I’d grown exhausted of hearing him talk about the East Coast Gold Weightlifting team! Ever since my coach, Tom, has begun working with Phil Sabatini, he’s seen growth in his own weightlifting progress and in how he trains our Barbell Club at PFP. Tom came back from the Nationals competition on fire as a coach and athlete. I was so proud of him and proud to follow his leadership but I had to see for myself what the hype was all about.
Next Stop: Virginia Beach
I signed up for the Add to the Atmosphere weightlifting camp excited to meet the people who’d inspired my coach. I’m someone who gets nervous about meeting new people, following new leadership and fitting in after I’ve already become comfortable with my own group. Once Tom, Maggie, Marisa and I arrived to our weekend house, we took a night time walk along the beach and suddenly, I wasn’t worried anymore. I’m competing in the American Open Series 2 in a few weeks. I thought about my training, I thought about questions I wanted to ask the new coaches and let my fears drift away with the water.
Set the Tone
Arriving at camp the next day, we got straight to work. The temperature in Virginia Beach was Hell degrees, so we were pretty loose but that didn’t stop Jake, the physical therapist from further warming us up. I remember the days when my warm up was five minutes, so glad I changed that bad habit or else I wouldn’t have been ready for the twenty minute primer Jake had planned! The snatch was first. “Great!” I thought, the Snatch is my favorite lift, it’d surely be a confidence booster, “I do these in my sleep!” Boy, was I wrong. Brendan McDaniel was the first to challenge me. “More control at the top! You’re all legs!” I smirked because this was something Tom has said to me countless times in our own gym. Brendan proceeded to show me what I was doing versus what he wanted to see then he gave me cues I hadn’t heard before and stood there until I got it right. It was an intense evening with lots of feedback and countless reps. By the time we left, I was dismayed and elated that we’d be back early the next morning to do it again.
The next morning came the Clean and Jerk. I’m not going to lie, this lift and I have issues, it doesn’t like me and barely I tolerate it. The one redeeming quality of this lift is that I Power Jerk instead of Split Jerking. I feel like a bro using all this jargon but if you’re keeping up, stick with me. I Power Jerk because I don’t have the balance for the Split Jerk, it’s too much to think about with the amount of weight I can get into the overhead position with. I was explaining this as a bunch of us were sitting on the bench talking shop when Leo Totten walks in and sits with us. Marisa, my own team mate, blurts out to Leo, “Make Brandi Split Jerk!” I declare that I don’t do that causing Leo to ask why not. I begin to tell him what my issues were when he interjects, “Get comfortable being uncomfortable.” I began to respond when he looks me squarely in the eye and repeats it. I was silenced. He wasn’t being tongue and cheeky, he meant it and I knew it.
I joined my team on our platform and began working on the Clean and Jerk. I started splitting but as the weight got heavier, I reverted back to the Power Jerk. “These are heavy now. I have to do what I like so that they see how much weight I can move.” I thought, “They’ll only respect me if I’m lifting heavy, I can’t lift heavy and think about my feet splitting. I’ll be a joke!” I worried. Every doubtful thought I could think rang out in my mind each time it became my turn. I’d hoped Leo didn’t see, but the other coaches would so that they’d be happy with my performance. As I came into the 85% range when I typically lose confidence, I approached the bar, set up as usual and Power Jerked as if my life depended on it. I dropped the bar, proud of myself for not letting fear cause me to press out, when I looked up and Leo was in my face again. “Is there some reason why you’re not Split Jerking like I told you to?” I blinked. “I can’t get that much weight over my head from the split.” I confessed. “Then drop the weight, take it from the top. You’re split jerking this weekend. Do it again, let’s see it.” Leo stood there, arms folded across his chest, I split Jerked with an empty bar for the rest of the session. I was crushed.
Believe the Hype
For the rest of the weekend, my body took a brutal beating but my mind took an bigger one. I listened and watched everything. These coaches acknowledged what was right about my efforts, broke down what was wrong with them and showed me how to build. I felt their investment with every instruction, with every demonstration and every cheer of support when I overcame a challenge. Leo’s session on goal changing exposed a lot of changes I can make in my life off the platform that totals greater success on it. I took so many notes and replayed the conversations and advice given to me by Brendan, Nicole, Joe and Walt. In one weekend, I became a believer in this community and what it gives to its’ members.
The hype is this: without the minds and respect of the people; ones leadership is futile. I’m an everyday weightlifter but after being taught by the coaches of East Coast Gold, I see what ignitured Tom. I see why he’s more than an average lifter like me and I look forward to being deconstructed and built back up by him and the rest these coaches. I’m grateful for a coach that is tireless in finding new ways to make himself and our team better. Pittsburgh Fitness Projects Barbell Club is the real deal and thank you to everyone at East Coast Gold for embracing like me, without question or judgment. I look forward to adding even more to the atmosphere wherever we go and until we meet again.
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