Name, Age, Weight-class?
My name is Amanda Braddock, I’m 28 and compete in the -48kg category.
Where do you train currently?
I’ve trained since my very first day with Sabaria Weightlifting. We now train out of a facility in Oakville called Radix Performance Centre. Coached by Steve Sandor, who is the father of Canadian Olympian and long time National Record holder, Akos Sandor.
How did you get introduced to weightlifting, how long and when did you start?
I was introduced to weightlifting in 2011 during my last year of university at U of T, at 22 years old. I had started doing bodyweight training on my own, simply looking to get in shape. My dad recommended I try a workout program such as Crossfit, but when I researched it, I had no idea what any of the movements were (such as snatch and clean and jerk!).
Looking into it further, I realized there was a weightlifting club that trained at school, and a beginner’s program lead by one of the team’s top athletes, Richard Gonsalves (who now works for Eleiko). I went in on my first day of my final year and was hooked. I haven’t missed a training session since.
When was your first weightlifting competition, what did you total?
My first weightlifting competition was as a guest lifter at Ontario Junior Championships in 2011. I snatched 35kg and clean and jerked 40kg at 46kg bodyweight, for a whopping total of 75kg! :P
What are your most notable achievements in weightlifting and other sports?
As an athlete, you’re always looking for more. I don’t feel as though I’ve achieved anything especially notable yet in weightlifting. I was the first woman in Ontario to lift double-bodyweight (97kg at 47.7kg) and one of the few women in Canada to ever do so.
I’m proud of the progress I’ve made so far, having started quite late and with no background in any other sport or physical activity. Weightlifting is my first sport. I was a science nerd with an obsessive nature, and that worked well for this particular sport.
What do you do outside of training (work, studies, activities, favorite hobbies)?
I currently coach weightlifting for Sabaria out of Radix Performance. Training and coaching takes up almost all my time right now. Over the past 5 years, I’ve had to transition from graduating university, finding work, and returning to school again, while continuing to train. Coaching provides me the best opportunity to focus on training and recovery.
Outside of weightlifting, my favourite hobbies are ones that hands-on and tactile in nature. I enjoy painting, clay-working and similar crafts.
Do you have any specific goals you would like to share?
I’m looking to set new Canadian records in 48kg, hopefully in the next year. I’m close and they finally feel attainable. Apart from those, I take each individual competition as it comes. I have upcoming competitions from now to 2020 that I want to qualify for and goals for each, but the main focus is always on the next 6 months.
What are some challenges you have to face as a world-level athlete?
To be honest, the biggest challenges were in working my way up and breaking through to the national team and qualifying for international events. Being a higher-level athlete has more pressure, but has so much more support. When you’re still working your way up, the dedication required is the same, but the results haven’t been seen yet. For example, I was training to qualify for the Pan Am Games when I was in school. I would be taking 2-hour bus rides from school to training, in all sorts of weather. We finish training at 10pm so some nights I would be walking home from the bus station past midnight, with gym bags, lunch bags, my textbooks and laptop. To my family and others (the bus drivers who saw me every day!), it seemed crazy. Now that I have a few international meets and medals under my belt, that level of dedication is more accepted and most people understand. Once you have support, the rest is easy.
Some tips and advice you can give to athletes?
Enjoy the process! Try to approach each training session, competition and challenge with the openness of a child learning a new skill. Don’t get discouraged and don’t be afraid to make mistakes.
Also – stretch and take care of your body before and after training. Avoiding injury is one of the biggest components of long-term progress.
Where can people find you on social media (Instagram, Facebook page, Twitter, YouTube etc)?
I have an Instagram account at @lifeinkg and a Facebook athlete’s page at facebook.com/lifeinkg!