Gaining Experience at the 2015 American Open

So many of you probably know that I don’t think much of blogging… Most people use it as a tool to market themselves and try to ensure people that they know what they are talking about so they can validate themselves in an easy way. In risks of being one of those “gym owners”, I want to share my unique experience at the AO this past weekend. I learned some lessons in the sport of CrossFit/weightlifting and I learned some lessons in life, and as a coach I want to spread those lessons to my community in hopes that it may help you all out one day. So here is my story with the 2015 American Open in Reno NVJ

For those of you that may not know about the competitive world of Weightlifting, there are two main USA weightlifting meets per year: Nationals and the AO. Nationals are a little harder to qualify for but just qualifying for either one of them, in my eyes is an accomplishment. There are many great weightlifters that have dedicated their primes to the sport and have not made it to that arena. It is a very common goal for a dedicated lifter to want to make it to one of these events. That has been my goal for over a couple years now. My goal was to compete at a professional level and that’s what I did in Reno. Im also proud of the fact that I am the only male athlete/coach in the Richmond area to make it to this event, as far as I know.


The first thing that took me by surprise at this level of competition was the pure hecticness of the back stage. Man, was it dizzying for an athlete to deal with counting reps, trying to find a space to warmup, dealing with card changes, and coping with the time constraints of the much faster pace than regional events. I remember saying for the past few months, “it wont be that big a deal not having a coach to help with all that”.. WRONG… haha it is pretty much needed to have a team when at this level. That is one of the biggest things I realized. Weightlifting is so much more of a team sport then what is gathered in training. At an event like this, a coach isn’t just someone to help with form and motivation, in my opinion their biggest role is an organizer and time keeper. This person has to do their best at timing warmup reps and keeping track of the rest of the field and helping with multiple athlete’s mindsets. New goal for 2016 is to COACH my team at one of these events next year, not just compete- So get ready SBCF!

I was really lucky to get involved with a very experienced coach at this level. Leo Totten(USAW 5) of Totten training systems and East coast Gold noticed me trying to do 10 things by myself and started helping me out. His experience was greatly appreciated and things would have gone much worse if it wasn’t for him jumping in on a few aspects! I look forward to working with him again and getting him to bring a Totten training systems seminar to SBCF.

Gearing up to this meet, the few days ahead of time I could not break the bad visions in my head of missing my snatches. In analyzing what happened it is so clear that self-prophesizing defeat is what occurred. The power of your thoughts really does make things come to fruition, weather good or bad… This is one of my other big lessons. When I stepped on stage and looked down at hundreds and hundreds of people I knew snatches were going to be much more uncomfortable then they usually are. 115kg/255lbs is a weight I typically feel pretty comfortable with in training and unfortunately I racked up 3 misses at that weight- 1 in front, 1 behind, and 1 slight press out at the end… Missing that first lift really racks on the pressure and puts you in a whole. Dealing with that mind screw up is the biggest challenge. Now, walking away from that, I feel so much more confident in being more prepared for that next time. Clean and jerks were similar but ended up a little better. Leo was able to see the cards change while I had to go buy a new belt so I had about 2 mins to warm up to 138kgs/305lbs. Leo ran and fought the crowd to lower my opener because I couldn’t warmup. I got out there and got a miss due to a press out on the jerk. I think the judges screwed me on that one, it definitely felt pretty clean to me.. It basically got me frazzled for the next lift knowing I already put up a zero for the snatches and that caused me to catch the clean sloppy and I missed the second attempt. Leo calmed me down and got me to focus and I hit the third attempt. Looking back- when it rains it poors… We have to learn to cope with those situations and dictate them so they don’t control us. So that was my first national meet…


In retrospect the experience of competing at this level is extremely valuable- and something most coaches and athletes wont ever do. Next time, a game plan will be the number one priority. Knowing exactly what numbers to warm up with and when will be a necessity. Lowering the openers to give you some wiggle room is also a must. At a local meet it doesn’t quite matter as much because you have plenty of time to warmup, its not as stressful, and it not as stringent. I already knew I wasn’t going to be on any podiums for this event but I wanted to show my skill and put up some impressive numbers. With failing in that aspect I gained a much more needed realization about the sport and the intricacies that I have looked over in the past. Because of that Ive grown as an athlete and much more as a coach and cant wait to use that to help out the SBCF community!!