The functional fitness movement was to some degree a backlash against the commercialization of fitness.…
Name: Deirdre Lenzsch
Height/Weight Class: 5’4″ 75kg
Current City: Colorado Springs
Gym: Olympic Training Center
Occupation: Full Time Athlete
PRs: 94 snatch; 112 Cl&J
Would you share a little about your athletic background and how you found Olympic Weightlifting?
I played on a boys’ football team from age 6 to 15, starting as middle linebacker and offensive lineman, so I’ve always been strong. Growing up I played just about any sport you could think of—from swimming, to soccer, track & field, lacrosse, etc. When I was 12, one of my football trainers introduced me to my first weightlifting coach; she had noticed how strong I was and saw potential. She told me I’d be really good at it, that I’d probably enjoy it, and that it would help me in football. She was right. I loved it immediately, and less than a year later, I won my first National Youth Championship. I also broke all the “13 and under” records, and my numbers still stand to this day. Now, going on 6 years into my career, I love it as much as I did when I started.
What about the sport made you decide you wanted to make it a serious commitment?
I believe to an extent that we’re supposed to listen to our bodies and understand what comes as natural to us. So even if I never made the choice to make this a career, I have no doubt I would have stuck with it for recreational purposes because strength is what you’d call one of my “strong points.” More importantly, something about the explosive power and poise of the Olympic lifts is addictive to me. The intensity that separates making or missing a lift is unlike anything else I’ve experienced, and I see the reward of breaking records as undeniable proof of my progress. In striving for perfection, we achieve excellence. For me, these aspects are unique to Olympic weightlifting, and they make me excited to train and compete.
Who or what has been especially influential in your development as a lifter?
My first coach had to stop training me so she could focus on her lifting career. Her replacement was a high school friend of my father. He is a Masters Champion with a career that began when he was my age. Not only is he a scholar of weightlifting who has always been more than happy to share his knowledge with me, but through the 5 years that he was my coach, he became something like my second dad, and an invaluable friend. I owe my success and so much of my career to him.
What does your current training program look like?
The Olympic Training Center has resident athletes that train 6 days a week. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday consist of 2 training sessions a day, both around 3 hours long. Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday only involve 1 morning session—also about 3 hours but are more like active recovery and always include squats. We’re given Sunday off, but I start EVERY day with morning stretches and core work.
What are your goals following high school graduation (inside and outside of weightlifting)?
They say find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life. Staying involved in the life of an athlete sounds like the direction I want to go for a career. I completed high school a year early and am taking what would have been my senior year off from school. I’m using the time to not only focus on weightlifting, but to figure out what sort of jobs and careers I want to pursue. Of course the Olympics are a goal for me. But, my priority for the time being is competing this June on the junior world team in Poland.
Do you have any advice for young athletes starting out in weightlifting?
Focus on progress.
Never stop learning.
Envision yourself achieving your goals.
Keep things in perspective.
Once you have the mental aspects of lifting, persistence with a plan will take you where you want to go.
What do you like to do for fun?
I’m always up for adventures and trying new things. But I LOVE to sing. I’m trying my hand at piano and guitar. I also read all kinds of books to keep my mind sharp until I start college in the fall.