WA’s Weightlifting Beast - BIGSAUCE & New Armortech Athlete Talks with Flex

Age: 27 
Height: 180cm 
Weight: 135kg 

How did you get started with weightlifting? 

I grew up playing Rugby all my life, until one day tragedy struck and due to significant health concerns caused by the sport, I was forced to give it up and redirect my energy towards a new passion. 

After that, I decided to give the fast-paced world of CrossFit a try. However, the cardio and gymnastics aspects weren’t for me and I found myself drawn toward the weightlifting component of the sport and began pursuing the competitive world of professional weightlifting. 

My weightlifting journey really started when I signed up for a small program, and now, 2 years later, this new interest developed into my passion and sporting career that is taking me all the way to the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

What does it take to be a great athlete? 

I believe it’s important to enjoy your sport and all sport in general. 

Two things that I think make me a great athlete, is my ability to understand the dynamics of any sport and my advanced motor skills. 

For those who are starting out, I’d say you need to be teachable and understand that your coach is there to help you. You also need to enjoy learning and enjoy developing new skills. 

You need to be tough to be in weightlifting, and yeah, I’d say I’m a tough kid. 

The Biggest Challenge in Weightlifting 

Covid has caused its fair share of challenges. For a long time, we couldn’t leave the country or even the state to compete in competitions. 

This has taken a toll on everyone in the sport. Competing is important to us. It’s gives us a goal and something to work for. Competitions are the major driver for my motivation to train. 

Even without Covid, weightlifting takes a toll on your body, so it’s important for you to look after your body. You need to be able to withstand a great amount of pain and push through it. I think this is one of the biggest challenges that cause aspiring weightlifters to leave the sport. 

It’s a very tough sport, and it’s a great sport, when done properly. If you aren’t looking after your body, then it will take a toll and could result in serious injury. I was the same, if I didn’t find a good coach; I know I eventually would’ve seriously hurt myself. 

Weightlifting isn’t just about lifting heavy weights. You need to work on your technique first. 

Having a coach that understands what is best for you is crucial.  

3 Biggest Mistakes When Starting Out 

One of the biggest mistakes I see is someone increasing their weights before practicing their technique. I think a lot of the time, it comes down to ego.  
You should always leave your ego at the door, and that’s just for your own safety. 

It takes more than just strength, to become a great weightlifter. 

The key is patience. It takes roughly 10000 hours to become good at any sport, so you just need to stay focused and get your hours in.  
If you don’t get your hours in then you have nothing to complain about. 

The other most important thing is to find a community of weightlifters that can help you, a group of people that you enjoy working with. This will make it a fun experience and increase your chances of success. 

When you decide to start taking the sport seriously, I think it is important to find a coach with a proven track record and firsthand experience in the industry.  Someone who has done what you are trying to do. You also need to be teachable and respect their coaching methods. 

You’ll gain so much from enlisting a good coach as they will see things that you don’t see. 

Once you start getting better, focus on fixing your technique so you can establish a good routine. 

Don’t be afraid to compete. It can be quite daunting and everyone who starts avoids it like the plague. You should just do it. When you get to a competition, the feeling washes over you, the feeling is euphoric and addictive and once you start you won’t stop. 

The Importance of Teamwork 

Even with weightlifting being a solo sport, I think team is still important. It’s about building a community around you and having a team of weightlifters to train around. 

I don’t think I could train on my own. Having a team around you has that element of camaraderie and support and someone to share that same pain with you. It’s having someone to go through the trenches with you.  

They can also share ideas and you help each other improve.

What workout has worked best for you? And how often do you train in a week? 

Mornings and afternoons are different based on the timing in the program but majority of my training we do at The Ox Weightlifting Club, where we practice all our major lifts.  
We do a lot of heavy front squats and back squats, as well as Snatch / Clean Pulls. 

These exercises are the foundation workouts of my strength improvement and set the tone for bigger snatch and clean & jerk numbers in competitions.  

In terms of my training in a week, most of my sessions are around 2 hours and the week looks like: 

Monday: AM & PM Sessions + Physio for recovery 

Tuesday: AM & PM Sessions 

Wednesday: AM & PM Sessions + Massage for recovery 

Thursday: AM & PM Sessions 

Friday: AM Session + Physio for recovery 

Saturday: PM Session + Recovery Session 

Sunday: Rest Day 

The Work/Life of a Professional Weightlifter 

In preparation for the Games, I wake up around 7:30am and start with a nutritious meal and supplements as much as I can. Training starts at 9 or 9:30am. Start time can be later depending on how cold it is.  

Lunch is at 12, then I usually stop for a little nap. Then I train again in the afternoon. It’s around an hour-long commute to where I train, so I get to have a lovely trip every day on Kwinana Freeway. Anyone who lives in Perth probably knows how fun that can be. I usually just listen to music, or podcasts or my bible app. Training starts around which then lasts until 6 – 6:30pm. 

After the commute back home, I have dinner which typically consists of chicken and rice or some sort of steak and pasta. With a bedtime at 10pm on the dot ready to do it all again the next day. 

I admit, it can feel boring and lonely at times. But this is just another one of the challenges that weightlifters face in the pursuit of becoming a great athlete. You need to be okay with having that same routine, day-in day-out. The same food day-in day-out and doing the same workout, day-in day-out. Being okay with not doing anything new, that is what is required to be a great athlete. 

Outside of training, I am a Navy sailor, instructing others in the art of maritime warfare. I also spend my weekends as a youth leader at my local Church. If I’m not training, I’m listening to music or spending time with my loved ones. 

How a Professional Prepares for a Competition 

Before a comp, my training cycle becomes very measured. We begin tapering down the week of the competition which gives my body time to rest and heal so it is in peak condition and ready for those big lifts. 

It is extremely important to do whatever you can to ensure your body is at optimum level to compete. 

I’ll do whatever I can to heal and make sure my body is ready. The week of, I’ll usually go to the physio or massage therapy, or other recovery methods like a cold pool, sauna, or massage guns. 

My nutrition leading up to a competition is also very important.  

Maybe a couple of days before the comp, I like to get my haircut. That’s just a little thing that I do. Just helps me feel fresh and ready for the big day.  

When comp day comes, we weigh in around 1-2 hours before the event begins. At weigh-in, I go into, what I’ve dubbed, ‘incognito mode’.  Headphones go in, I shut out all distractions. The key is to keep myself calm. That way, when the event starts, I’m still in control and it prevents me from becoming overwhelmed. 

Then it’s game on.