TL;DR: +30kg to my total in 10 months
Right before I decided to fully pursue a side job in weightlifting, I asked the Reddit/r/weightlifting community for help choosing which programming to follow. The specific program isn't as important as actually being able to follow the program respectably.
For example, most football teams have the same plays, so they practice very similarly. What makes teams successful, I believe is 1. Talent 2. Hardwork in the offseason 3. The Mental Game - ie, no drama, team cohesion, confidence & sacrifice. If everyone does the pretty much the same 1 & 2, then it comes down to #3. In football, much of #3 is predicated based on how the coaches handle conflicts and manages the team leaders.
In weightlifting, the coach plays a pivotal role in the mental success of the athlete. They give the athlete confidence to violently put 300+ pounds overhead. Most often, they give similar cues and write similar programming, but if the athlete fully believes in the Coach, they will commit to pulling under a weight never before snatched, lock the elbows out and drive the head forward under the crushing weight of the bar. Make no mistake, pulling violently under a weight that 10 months ago you could barely pull off the floor, if fucking frightening. The only way that weight is caught it through confidence and months and years of training.
So when I asked Reddit about programming, I got a bunch of bullshit responses, like "get a coach", "do what your coach says", "lol this guy thinks he can be elite"...
[Link to original post](https://www.reddit.com/r/weightlifting/comments/4spddr/trying_to_compete_as_an_elite_weightlifter_whats/)
That day in July 2016, I started with Kevin Doherty at Hassle Free BBC in San Francisco. At the time, my totals were 120/152 (265/335) in training. I chose Kevin because of how Eugenio and Kristen, my other two coaches spoke about him and his program. Also, he just coached Jenny Author at the Rio 2016 Olympics, so there was that which is nice.
Determined to make nationals, I set my sights at 130/160. At the 2016 AO in Orlando, I hit 125/152. Made 125 on my 3rd attempt after missing the first two and got called for a press out on 155 & 158. My total ended up being 177.
To qualify for Nationals, the total for 85kg was 289. I was a bit light. (read: not even fucking close)
Afterwards, my training became much for diligent and focused. I changed the method by which I squatted; meaning, I did all the sets, no matter what. I stopped skipping sets or short changing the volume & percentages. Being driven by competition, I watched the other 85kg lifters constantly. I can do that I thought.
Two months later, I drove to Houston to try and qualify for Nationals. It was a 5 hour drive from New Orleans, where I live and own a gym [GeauxFit Training](www.321geaux.com). Kim Barbell hosted a meet where I hit 130/159 to qualify by the skin of my teeth (289 total). I hit 130 on my 2nd attempt and missed the 3rd.
In the C&J, this meant I needed to hit 159 or it was all for nothing. I missed at 154 on my 2nd attempt and went up without a second thought. I made 159.
This was one of the happiest moments of my life, but now it was time to train for nationals. Excitement left as quickly as it came as training became even more serious. After this meet I attended a seminar by Bob Takano at Redline Athletics and took my training to a different level. I think that's a subject for another time, but if you're interested, I can tell you more about it.
So at this point, 8 months after the OP (original post), i added 10kg to my snatch and 7 to my C&J. Not bad, but not elite by any means. The next 8 weeks of training were brutal. It was my job. No excuses. I owned a gym (without kilo weights but I lived) and had a great coach writing my programming and my co-owner/girlfriend/headcoach/weightliftingbeauty coaching my form in person.
I was well prepared for my meet in Houston, but I was ready to crush it in Chicago. My weight was on point, my training was great and my coach kept me focused and calm. I don't ever remember being nervous because I felt so good about my condition.
At nationals I PR'ed everything. I snatched 137 and hit 165 in the CJ. In training leading up to Nats, I snatched 139 and Clean and Jerked 167, cleaned 169 but missed the jerk. I ended in 9th place overall. My goal is to medal next year.
So 10 months I went from 120 -> 137 snatch and 152 -> 165 for the clean and jerk.
Coaching was part of it, yes. There's no argument from me on that. But fuck the haters. Butt fuck the haters. What really allowed me to succeed was the belief in myself that I could compete on the national level. I believed it so I gave myself every opportunity to improve and work. As Bruce Lee says, "as you think..."
Now, i'm not a champion nor do I consider myself elite, but i'm working on it. I'm getting there. So if you want to get better or be the best, keep at it. Don't stop. Don't relent. Most people stop just before their big break though comes. And finally, as Donnie Shankle once quoted the late Ivan Abadjiev, "why are you allowing other people to put limits on yourself? Don't put limits on yourself. Let's go find out what you can lift today and tomorrow and in 5-10 years from now see if you're standing to be a champion."