Everyone that trains in a gym for sport understands and has experienced some sort of culture where they either feel a part of the gym family or there is no gym family. I have been blessed with experiencing having a family in the gym. By this I mean I feel at home immediately. With my move to Romania I was skeptical thinking it would be hard to fit in or what if no one can speak English? But the first day I walked into my gym (I can now call my home) I felt like I was embraced with an amazing new gym family.
I also know what it is like to not have this and not feeling so motivated to train but then what matters most is your mind. You need to want it. No one can want it for you. You have to dig deep, grind and know what you are working for. In this world you cannot have excuses when it comes to where you train because at the end of the day, YOU and YOU alone walk onto that platform and do the lifts.
I came back from an injury I obtained last year after I ruptured my quad tendon but I decided to not stay at home and recover or mope. I went to my weightlifting gym every day despite not being able to lift and all I did was my upper body training and my rehab exercises from my physiotherapist. Believe it or not I strongly feel that is what has sped up my recovery. I was watching my fellow training partners lift weights and I wanted to be back on the platform so badly. I would watch them train and when my Coach said I can start to do light training in January I was so happy. When I felt down in training because I could not yet do movements I was doing before or when I started squatting baby weights to build back up, my training partners would motivate me and inspire me to just continue the work and be patient. But every day I love going back. I love being in my new home in Dinamo.
This very same gym culture is in my gym back in South Africa. My gym is motivating and every one works hard. Every one pushes to the limit. Everyone has good days and bad days together. But what separates us from the normal gym, we show up every single day! I have had the honour of training in so many countries and experiencing gym cultures all the way from Egypt, Malaysia, Hungary, Germany, USA and many more. I learnt a lot from everywhere I have trained and I have made friends who I can call family in almost every part of this world and this is something very few people have experienced in their life.
Your training partners are ones that should grind with you. They are there to push you and you are there to push them. I do not care if my training partner squats or lifts more than me because when I see them do better, it pushes me to do better. In fact I love when they have great days in the gym because I feed from that energy and the more they improve the more I improve. So instead of people wanting their partners to fail, rather push them to do better because a happy gym is a strong gym. My training partner in Dinamo Weightlifting gym is damn strong and I love working with her. We push each other daily but we have a great time doing so. I want to share these experiences with people because not many people know what it’s like to just fit in or they think if they join a new gym or club they might not fit in. I promise you it doesn’t matter your level, if you walk into a gym that feels like a home you will feel it immediately.
So for those who want to start the amazing sport of Weightlifting, find yourself a gym family to belong to. This can be your new home and make sure you go to one that has history and culture and you will not regret it!
Just like having a great gym culture another thing that is important is having a great team behind you. By team I mean family, friends and your team you compete for. I have seen the best athletes in the world and I have had the experience to train with the best succeed by having a strong team behind them. Your teammates are there to share what you share, to push you once again and to have fun while you compete. Your team backs you to the end, your team pushes you to be better and what better feeling than knowing you travel with a group of people that want only the best for you. We can do individual sport but even doing a sport where you step on stage alone, you got there by having a team behind you.
I have had once again the best experience growing up with a big team I used to train with when we went on national training camps and I can tell you there was nothing stopping us. We were more than just a team, we were a strong family. We would suffer together, work together and celebrate together. This is something I will forever remember and cherish. Now I work hard with my team here in Romania but still representing my country South Africa and working my way to the 2020 Olympics.