Interview with Junior Weightlifter Piper Gwyn

Interview with Junior Weightlifter Piper Gwyn

Photo care of Clare Willsher Photography from the 2017 Winter Throwdown

A little firecracker with a lovely smile and back squat to make anyone jealous! Piper Gwyn is a phenomenal Weightlifter and CrossFitter in her last year at Sacred Heart College in Lower Hutt. She trains out of Upper Hutt CrossFit under the support and guidance of Chris Gibbs.

She started CrossFit at just 14 years old which opened the door to her weightlifting career. Piper can currently manage a 65kg Snatch and a 91kg Clean and Jerk and I have no doubt those numbers are just going to continue to go up with the dedication this girl has!

Piper is fantastic to watch and the last time I saw her hitting up a CrossFit competition she was killing it with her Dad as her team mate - talk about fit family! I was lucky enough to get Piper to do an interview for FxD. Checkout her responses below! 

Why were you drawn to becoming a weightlifter?

I did my first weightlifting competition for fun because a few people from my CrossFit gym were doing it and I accidentally qualified for the finals, so I trained and competed for that and fell in love with the sport. I think what drew me to the sport the most was that I wanted to be strong like the CrossFit girls around the world and it thought it would help with my CrossFit. Next thing I knew I was doing as much lifting as I was CrossFit.

How do you find CrossFit compliments your weightlifting training?

CrossFit definitely keeps my weight in check and keeps me sane but my weightlifting has made me a stronger CrossFitter.

What’s your favourite thing to do at the gym?

My favourite thing to do at the gym is lift heavy things whether it be a barbell, tyre or slam ball. But I also love handstand push ups and pulls ups. 

Who is your weightlifting inspiration and why?

My biggest weightlifting inspirations would have to be Tia Clair Toomey and Alethea Boon. Both women are at the top in both Crossfit and Weightlifting which I think is really inspiring because it can be hard to juggle and do well in both sports.

I have been fortunate enough to be in two New Zealand teams with Alethea and she is one of the coolest chicks I have ever met and supports me at international competitions while inspiring me everyday. It has been awesome and I have learnt a lot whilst training and competing alongside her.

What does a typical week of training look like for you?

At the moment I’m focusing on Weightlifting as I hope to qualify for Oceanias again this year. I am training 6 days a week and most sessions are about 2 hours long. I will start to add in CrossFit classes within the next few weeks after my next Weightlifting competition so I’m excited for that. Training has been pretty hectic lately but I’m really enjoying it.

What are your goals over the next 12 months?

One of my goals for weightlifting is to qualify for Oceanais again as I have gone up from a Youth lifter to a Junior, another is to compete at Nationals. For weightlifting because I have gone up an age group it means qualifying numbers also go up so I probably won’t compete too much this year but I’m really excited to have a full on hard year of training to get my numbers up and start hitting the qualification totals again next year.

My biggest goal and what I will be training for this year in CrossFit is the CrossFit Team Nationals in October, I am in the Upper Hutt CrossFit RX team and am really looking forward to competing there again this year.

What is it that you love about training with Chris and the Upper Hutt CrossFit crew?

I love training at Upper Hutt CrossFit it is an amazing community and family, I can’t imagine what CrossFit would be like without them all. I am so grateful to be apart of the family at Upper Hutt CrossFit.

As for my coach he knows me better than I know myself, he has coached me since I was 14 and be there for me throughout my whole CrossFit and Weightlifting journey, I can’t thank him enough for everything he has done for me and I look forward to training and competing this year with him by my side.

How do you get mentally prepared for stepping out on the platform?

For me, mentally preparing for stepping out on the platform is the hardest part about weightlifting. It is such a mental game and in the past it has definitely been something I have struggled with.

Leading up to big International competitions I try to just focus on training and not so much about the competition itself otherwise I will freak myself out. I've also got a routine that doesn’t change before every competition and that really works for me. I remind myself how much work has been put in to get onto the platform and that I can do it.

What would you say to girls your age that might be intimidated about lifting weight or think that it might just make them “bulk up”?

For so long I hated the idea that I did weightlifting because I was ashamed and embarrassed of having a muscular figure and being “intimidating” but once I realised that weightlifting means so much more than that I got over what people thought of me.

The one thing I tell myself and could say to girls my age who are intimidated by weights or don’t want to bulk up is “ if my body has to look like this in order to lift the weights I want it to then thats just how it is”. 

Thanks Piper! What an exciting year ahead you have and look forward to seeing you competing as a Junior Weightlifter!

Photo by 41 Degrees Weightlifting Club where Piper regularly competes in their monthly competitions.

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