June 2018 Weightlifter of the Month-Brianna Hooker

19
Jun

June 2018 Weightlifter of the Month-Brianna Hooker

4 feet 11”

116lbs

A career weightlifter, not what we always picture, as our minds have this pre-determined outline of what a weightlifter might look like. Let me introduce you to our CrossFit Independence home to TFO Weightlifting weightlifter of the month Brianna Hooker.

 

By day Bri Hookers full time job is teaching middle school students science for Orange County Public Schools.

 

By night Bri heads to CrossFit Independence Gym in Orlando and completes an intense weightlifting training program designed by myself-Tyrone Harvey. Bris workouts range from 90 minutes to 180 minutes depending on what day of the training cycle she is on. She is given workouts that are in line with her goals and based on the competitions she plans to compete in.

 

Bri got introduced to weightlifting while she was in high school by her father’s best friend River Ridge High school Weightlifting Coach Mike Degennaro

Bri lifted weights in high school for 4 years which led to her 7 years and counting of Olympic weightlifting.

 

Out of the classic lifts Bris favorite turns out to the be the clean and Jerk, when the athlete takes the bar from the ground to their shoulders in one movement then pushes the bar overhead in a second movement.

 

One of the things Bri loves most about weightlifting is how she complains about how she hates every exercise but yet still comes back the next day to do it again. I know many of us can relate to that love hate relationship with fitness. If I had a dollar for every time I heard: “man that was a horrible workout….lets do it again”!!

 

I began my weightlifting instructing career coaching girls weightlifting. Even with the popularity that CrossFit has helped bring to weightlifting it is still a struggle to pitch weightlifting to the females population. This is what Bri had to say about girls being scared of weightlifting:

 

“Weightlifting will NOT make you look manly. It tones you and yes it changes your body with increased muscle mass. But you physically cannot look manly from changing your diet and working out. I run into many people who would never guess I was a weightlifter and they are surprised when they see me in training, in a video or a picture of me lifting. I hear lots of times “but you’re tiny” or “why don’t you look like a body builder.” The answer is simple. You train to be stronger not manly and all weightlifters come in different shapes and sizes.

 

Bris perspective of this is very true. I always tell my new potential female athletes. The goal is to keep you as small as possible but get you as strong as possible at the same time. Since I have big arms I tell them don’t worry your arms wont look like mine and that’s usually followed by some laughter :).

 

I asked Bri what her favorite thing about her gym CrossFit Independence in Orlando was and she loves Elieko bars, Eleiko Weights, and Eleiko platforms. Bri also mentioned she loves Weightlifting and Wings. Weightlifting and Wings is a team building nighttime training session I coined 5 years ago. I hold an evening practice with the team and program a short but fun and powerful workout and get everyone hyped up for the evening. I see great support and sometimes depending on where we are at in the training program we see some PRs (personal records) After the workout I provide the team with some wings as their post workout meal! We talk, get to know each other more, and bond as a team.

 

Bri recently competed at the USA Weightlifting National Championship where she had a very successful competition, which was indicative of how her training has been in the months prior leading up to the competition. Here is what she had to say about her performance:

 

“Not bad. PR Snatch going 3/3 (she made all three lifts). Clean and jerk J 1kg under my best competition. PR Total. It’s a great feeling to know that all your hard work is paying off but at the same time never be satisfied. I am happy for myself and happy to represent the team in such a way. I can never just give credit to myself though. In a moment like that (after a very successful meet) you reflect on what allowed you to get that far and focus on what will get you further. Having goals with breakthroughs excites you, pushes you, and more importantly you feel like you’ve just opened the door to more opportunity/goals in your weightlifting career.

 

I can tell you from the coaching standpoint there is a strong euphoric feeling in those moments when you see your athlete succeed, not just from a win but to see the sense of happiness on their face walking off the platform. It’s motivating as a coach to keep pushing and continue investing in athletes 10 fold! Bri finished 17th out of 36 of the top 53 kg women in the USA.

 

I asked Bri-is there anything you wish you could change about her weightlifting career? She said to have a shot at making an international team representing Team USA abroad. Bris highest accomplishments have been multiple medal winner on the national stage followed by countless local/state event medals (top three finishes).

 

Not to put her anymore on the spot but I asked Bri what she thought about her coach(s) and the workouts she receives. Bri said: “Thank you for all you do. I trust you/hate you/appreciate you all at the same time.” There’s that love hate relationship again!! haha

 

 

I wrapped up my conversation with Bri with a questions I love hearing the answers to which turn out to be additional motivating factors as a coach.

 

The classic What’s your why?

 

This is what Bri had to say. “Learning to love yourself, finding the light within and watching yourself grow into something you didn’t think you were capable of. It’s about bettering yourself. It’s going through all the sh**t (life and lifting) for a few minutes to shine. It’s for every new number (whether it’s 1kg or 5kg) that moves us forward, embracing confidence, discipline and passion both physically and emotionally.

 

I have to tell you reading Bris why give me goose bumps because it’s on point Thanks for sharing Bri

 

During Bris 7 years in Olympic weightlifting she has developed technically and physically. As a coach Bri stands as the epitome of strength to me, I have seen her develop in her career professionally, develop her weightlifting performance, and has reaped the benefits of developing mentally and physically. But above all I have seen Bri overcome huge diversity in her life as she suffered great loss on September 1, 2012 when she lost her mother to cancer. Bri was devastated as was all of her family but her strength pulled her through. I believed it has helped her become the strong woman she is today. As I said Bri stands for strength to me, she’s a pleasure to work with and coach. Were honored to have her as the weightlifter of the month at CrossFit Independence. Stay strong Bri!!!

 

If you would like more information on joining the CrossFit Independence/TFO Weightlifting program contact me at Tyrone@CrossFitindependence.com We have satellite athlete programs or you can be apart of our onsite program. Come join the team. #harveysarmy