Olympic weightlifters are known for their singlets, hate for cardio, and epic lifts. But if you are a weightlifter yourself, you know that there is much more about Olympic weightlifting than just big lifts and bar slams. Here are five things that all Olympic weightlifters know to be true.

5 Things All Olympic Weightlifters Know To Be True

1. Newbie gains are nice at first, but enjoy them while you can because eventually, PRs are very slow to come.

When you first start off in the sport of weightlifting, you will find that PRs come around pretty often. You are learning new lifts and working every day on getting a grasp of the correct technique. We like to call this time the period of “newbie gains.”

After lifting for a while and overall mastering the lifts, these PRs start to spread far and wide and happen less and less. Now that you have been doing this whole weightlifting thing for a while, you have kind of nailed it already and you need to focus on the fine details and build strength to hit new PRs. Because of this, PRs may not come as quite as often, but that’s okay because, when they do finally come, they will certainly feel way more rewarding.

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2. Rest days are just as important as training days.

Overtraining will hurt you in the long run. Training seven days a week will not put you ahead of the game but rather keep you from hitting your weightlifting goals. Every training session you do adds stress to your body. The only way you can overcome this stress, and actually receive the full benefits of your training, is to rest.

Work hard in the gym when you are supposed to but show your body love by taking rest days as well.

3. Accessory work should be your best friend.

Do you want to isolate certain muscle groups to make them stronger? Do accessory work. Do you want to prevent injury and keep your body healthy to lift weights as long as possible? Do accessory work.

Yes, the big lifts are exciting, but accessory work is just as important and should not be ignored. Put as much energy into your accessory work as you do with your Olympic lifts and watch a solid, stronger base form.

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4. There is nothing quite like that rush of adrenaline before attempting your first lift at a meet.

There are really no words to describe this feeling. It’s excitement, nervousness, fear, confidence, and so many more emotions packed into one big punch. Stepping onto the platform, you are keeping at the back of your head all of the hard work you have put in for this moment.

5. Weightlifting is truly a lifestyle.

To get better at weightlifting, you have to focus on many other things than just the few hours you spend in the gym each week. Nutrition, sleep, stress levels, and recovery are taken into account in determining how successful you are in this sport. When you create goals, you do whatever it takes — both inside and outside of the gym — to make them happen. When you focus on those factors, you will notice that your life starts to change.

Staying out late and sleeping in on weekends becomes going to bed early and waking up for an AM training session. Eating out every night turns into meal prepping on Sundays to make sure that your nutrition is on point for the week ahead. Falling in love with weightlifting really creates a whole new lifestyle, and you will find that you start to surround yourself with people who follow the same lifestyle. Surrounding yourself with these people who have the same goals and aspirations as you do will only make you stronger in the long run.

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From the frustration caused by a rough day in the gym and the struggles of cutting weight to the excitement of hitting a PR you have been working so hard for and that post-meet cheat meal, weightlifters can all agree that there are certainly ups and downs to the sport. But we can also all agree that, at the end of the day, there is no place we would rather be training than on the platform.