Well, the time has come. After being involved in Olympic Weightlifting for roughly 4 and a half years, I have heard and learned a lot. For those of you who do not know me, my name is Niki Varbanov and I am the son of Alex Varbanov (3-time World Champion, Olympic Bronze medalist at the 1988 Seoul Olympics). I have been coached for the most part, by my father, although I have met a lot of legends on my way to the top. Since this is my time to tell you my opinion on Oly-Lifting, I might as well give you some background info.

The first time I ever touched a barbell was in 2001 when I was only 2 years old. I didn’t succeed in trying to lift it, don’t worry I’m not that talented. But every day I step into a gym now, I always go back to that day. After all, we can’t forget our first love. So I’ve been lifting now for almost 5 years and let me tell you, it is not impossible to become good at it. The more you train, the more hours you put in, the more work ethic you have, the higher your chances of succeeding will be. I have had a lot of people ask me how I manage between competitive Weightlifting and school, and my answer is always “discipline and willpower.”

For me, the most important part in becoming a competitive weightlifter is having the mental strength rather than physical to do it. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s quite a heavy sport, but it really is for everyone. For beginners it is most important that you are consistent. You have to come to the gym on time and with the right attitude, so you can be focused on what you want to achieve while at it. Many people come to training and they whine and moan about how redundant the sport is. Well, I don’t disagree with that, but I do think there is always something different to work on, always a little part in your lift to improve. Whether it is a technical issue that needs to be fixed, or physical strength, there is ALWAYS something to work on. So to sum this up, if you are a beginner, just be consistent and focused.

For all of you “pros” out there, the work never stops. Also, to all of you, who think weightlifting requires a huge load of “talent” and “great genes”, please don’t look for excuses to explain why you are not progressing. We all fall into potholes, even I do and I am the son of one of the best Weightlifters of all time. Up till a while ago, when I moved up a weight class, I had not made a personal record in about 5 months, and I am supposed to be the “freak of nature”? No no no, it’s called hard work and willpower. If you don’t go into the gym trying to beat yourself, how are you ever going to progress? And let’s not talk about trying to beat other people in competitions. Focus on you during training! You want the results? Work for them, don’t give up. You want to be number one? Well change that darn tire and get out of that pothole. Nothing great is accomplished by lying around all day and nit-picking.  

So to end this off, my advice to you is work hard and have willpower. I have been taught not to give up when it hurts, or when I simply cannot do something. So if I can do it, I’m not more of a human than you are. Have the guts, and the glory will come. Thank you for finding some time to read this and I promise to make it a little more interesting in the future. Till next time Lions!

By: Niki Varbanov

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