Weightlifting: From Beginner to Elite

The Journey Of Weightlifting: From Beginner to Elite


Progress can not be seen on a day-to-day basis. But, progress is attained with day-to-day effort. Self-improvement must be a conscious part of your daily actions because it is cumulative. The things you do each day will build upon each other to make you who you are. This cumulative process can either be positive or negative, but that is up to you and what you choose to do.

It’s Cumulative:

The sport of weightlifting requires that you rely on this day-to-day cumulative process to progress and be successful. We must use it to our advantage and trust that the daily effort we put in will bring about the results we want. Even with a plan, it requires a faithful, stoic approach- and a LOT of patience! It takes TIME- so, so much time- for the progress to show. Way longer than you would think, or especially want it to take. It will also never be a straight path. There will always be ups and downs in weightlifting- in training and competition; in your technique and your strength; and in your recovery and in your nutrition. This is why a stoic mindset is required because you have to just push past that, don’t get emotional about it, and keep moving your feet in the right direction. 

I have had lots of hard training days. In fact, the majority of training days don’t go as planned or as well as you would hope. There have been so many days where I feel as if my work does not get recognized and I just wonder if it will every pay off. But, I have learned to just continue working and to love the process no matter how hard it is. It does pay off, but never when you think it should. In fact, I have almost grown used to the disappointments and they always add fuel to my fire. I think it is rare to have days that you are pleased with your performance, but it is important on those days to recognize and appreciate the success you are having due to your hard work.

AnJeannette Lifting At The American Open

The Long Road:

The more successful you become in weightlifting, the harder it will get. The progress seems to slow, and the playing field becomes more level as you make your way to National and then International competition. Everyone you compete against will also be strong and talented. What will set you apart is the confidence you can have from the daily preparation you have put in, and your mindset.

I remember my first couple local meets. I was so nervous that the room was spinning and I was sick to my stomach. When I went to take my lifts, everything blacked out except for my coach and the barbell. After I got to be a little more comfortable on the local stage, I moved to the National one. The first couple National meets, I broke down in tears before my clean and jerks for no reason other than that I was so overwhelmed by all the emotions and anxiety. I am still not totally comfortable on a platform by any means, but it has taken a lot of practice to learn how to handle myself at a competition. The biggest help has just been the confidence that has come from lifting every day. I have to remind myself that it is silly to be scared of missing attempts, because I miss lifts everyday in my training.

International Stage:

I am about to begin competing on the international stage now. It feels most like I am starting all over again with the nerves about competing. But, I will use what I have learned from past experiences and apply them to this new- but same- competition environment.

t is unbelievable to for me to look back on how much my life has changed- and especially how much I have changed- over my years of weightlifting. It happened in small increments day by day, and a little bit at each competition. I don’t even recognized that scared girl on the platform at her first local meet anymore. I am so grateful for all of the confidence that weightlifting has given me and the life lessons I have learned from it. I have learned so much about work ethic, time management, dreaming big and setting goals. I have learned about how to take care of my body and recover from the daily breakdown. I have learned about nutrition, maintaining body weight, and sticking to a meal plan. I have learned a lot about the mind and how powerful it can be. I am learning how to control my thoughts and emotions and practice stoic living. I am learning how to pick myself up again after disappointments and to do hard things.

It takes just the right amount of obsession to stick to the daily process and continue through the set backs. Big dreams will give you the drive to stand back up and press forward on the path. I know that with big goals ahead, I have lots more failures and hard times to come. I will do what I can to learn from those and use them to my advantage because I have so much more left to do in the sport of weightlifting.

The Writer:

This article was written by HansenAthletics athlete AnJeanette Leishman [@anj_lifts]. Her journey has been one of relatively quick success in the Weightlifting world and she has bright future with the possibility of being an Olympic hopeful. AnJeanette has made incredible leaps in her confidence on and off the platform and is always open to answering any questions you have about her journey. She also is a very successful lifetime Violin player and teaches lessons to the youth in Logan, Utah.