If I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting you, I’d like to start by introducing myself. My name is Grace Jenkins, and I’m our Director of Operations here at Power and Grace! The month of May marked two whole years with Power and Grace for me, and that time has flown.
I’ve introduced myself as many different things to many of you over the years. Whether that was as the team admin, social media gal, P&G’s biggest fan, or any and all things ops; I have never introduced myself as ‘Grace Jenkins, a weightlifter’. Until about 12 weeks ago, I had never really picked up the thing that binds most of us: a barbell. I wasn’t a weightlifter before I started working with Power and Grace, and while the opportunity was in front of me everytime I walked into the gym, I struggled to feel like that was the right move for me. If I’m honest, I let the fear of failure, or perceived failure keep me from it.
When our team got back from AO1 at the Arnold in March, and after being immersed in weightlifting for 4 days, I just felt like there was so much of the athlete experience I didn’t fully understand. I approached Spencer and Jessie about ways to learn more about our athletes, and what they go through on a program and in competition- as if the most obvious answer wasn’t right in front of me. I’m sure you can imagine how fun that conversation was!
I’m currently 12 weeks into a 16 week ‘Intro to Olympic Weightlifting’ macrocycle, and I can tell you that this experience has already taught and given me more than I ever thought it could. This sport feels a lot like riding a roller coaster: I have laughed, cried, and felt angry with myself for silly mistakes. I have felt really strong, and also really weak. This is a tangible lesson in barbell basics for me: that this grind of this sport spurs all sorts of emotional and physical growth.
Admittedly, I’m a fixer. Admittedly, I’m also a bit of a control freak. In the context of this sport, that’s a really interesting combination. When I know something is wrong, I don’t stop until it’s fixed, and fixing the problem requires an exertion of control. As most of you probably know, at least more than I did 12 weeks ago, it’s impossible to solve every error in a lift in one training session- or even one cycle. That feeling felt almost paralyzing to me, as if I couldn’t even pick up the barbell without knowing how to fix each and every technical error in one fell swoop. I am learning to overcome this fear of failure, and need for control just by attempting a lift. This lesson doesn’t stop when I leave training, but it’s carrying over into my personal life. I’d have never thought Olympic Weightlifting would give me that freedom, but I’m so glad it has. I’d have never considered competing in Olympic weightlifting, but come July 15th I’ll do that too.
I share all this with you to share with you that you can start anywhere. You don’t have to have a background in strength training, or have Olympic hopes and dreams. Olympic Weightlifting has a place for everyone, from the beginner to the Olympian. You don’t have to be strong, or know how to use your body, or know the basics of lifting the barbell: coaches and training partners exist for a reason. You just have to be willing to start, and see where you go. I hope you’ll do just that.