The functional fitness movement was to some degree a backlash against the commercialization of fitness.…
Name: Anthony Rocco “Pomp” Pomponio
Height/Weight: 5”8 185lbs, 85kg weight class
Current City: Colorado Springs, CO
Gym: Olympic Training Center
Occupation: Olympic Lifting Coach/Personal Trainer/Youth Physical Education Coordinator
Competition: 330kg total
Clean & Jerk- 182kg
Back Squat- 230kg
Front Squat- 205kg
Push Press- 150kg
Would you share a little about your athletic background and what drew you to Olympic weightlifting?
I was introduced to Olympic Weightlifting by my Coach, Nick Frasca, from the Yard Authentic Strength and Barbell in Palm Desert. I met him through my older brother, Adam. In high school, I participated in football and track and field. I was an all-league performer in football, and I won the 100m in track and field with a time of 10.80. I went on to play football at Whittier College (2005-2009) in Los Angeles, CA. I was an all-league performer and led the league in rushing yards and touchdowns my senior year. I graduated from Whittier College in May, 2009.
In March, 2010, I went to play professional football in Europe for the Basel Gladiators of the Switzerland American Football League, also known as the SAFV. In Switzerland, I earned Offensive Player of the Year for the league and led my team to the championship game.
In my transition from collegiate to professional football, I was introduced to bodybuilding, and had a short but very successful career in it. I won Junior Mr. California, was in numerous fitness magazines with featured spreads, and was sponsored by the biggest supplement company out there. After arriving back in the USA in September 2010, I was introduced to Olympic Weightlifting by my coach.
I had opportunities to continue playing football in Europe, but I committed myself to Olympic weightlifting and never looked back. I figured I was lucky to come out of 14 years of football without any serious injuries, especially playing running back. I was lucky, and it was time to move on to another sport. I knew bodybuilding wasn’t the answer, so I am very blessed to have been introduced to Olympic Weightlifting.
Why was bodybuilding not the answer? What compelled you to move on?
As mentioned above, I loved the sport of bodybuilding, but I knew it didn’t feed my competitive desires. My whole life, I’d competed in performance-based sports, so deep down I knew I would need to find another sport. While I enjoyed bodybuilding, it is an aesthetics-based competition. Even though I was a very successful amateur bodybuilder—I won many local shows in Los Angeles, regularly appeared in fitness magazines, and trained at Gold’s Gym Venice Beach on a regular basis—I am very happy with the decision I made.
When you began training seriously as a weightlifter, did you encounter any specific challenges and, if so, how did you overcome them?
Nothing specific, besides the everyday struggle of trying to improve my technique and strength. My advice for beginners: remember, this is a marathon not a sprint. If it were easy, everyone would do it and be great at it.
Can you give us a brief overview of your current training schedule? How many hours do you train per day/week? How much of that is spent on the main lifts and how much on accessory work?
Since I now train at the Olympic Training Center, I follow the program here and it goes:
- Monday- AM- 10:30-1:00- usually Snatch specific work
- Monday PM- 4:00-6:30- Clean and Jerk specific work
- Tuesday AM- 10:30-1:00- Squats and specific accessory work
- Wednesday AM- same as Monday
- Wednesday PM- Same as Monday
- Thursday AM- Same as Tuesday
- Friday AM- Same as Monday
- Friday PM- same as Monday
- Saturday AM- Same as Tuesday
Do you follow any specific diet?
I try to eat as clean as possible, but as a weightlifter, I have to make sure I am eating enough, especially with the training schedule we have.
Do you do anything in particular to facilitate recovery on rest days?
I use the recovery center at the Olympic training center 2x a week. This basically consists of a contrast bath, switching between hot and cold water, as well as other forms of recovery. I also try to get a 30 minute massage once every 2-3 weeks on any body part that is extremely sore or tight.
Outside of weightlifting, what do you do for fun?
I am a beer connoisseur. My girlfriend and I like to travel to different states and visit the best breweries they have to offer. I think we have visited around 110 different breweries in the USA.
Finally, where can people go to find you?