GUEST BLOG: Why I Gym

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Guest blogger and Brookes Sport Ambassador Brodie Holmes talks about her passion for Olympic lifting and how it's changed her life.

I have been into sport and loved it ever since I first started rowing in 2010. Since then, sport and exercise have been a huge part of my life. University challenges meant that I did not have the time to row as training 8 times a week is extremely time-consuming and very tiring. Eventually I decided it was best to take a break from it. This led me into the gym.

I first started with a bodybuilding style of training during my first year of university, both at Brookes Sport as well as at home. During the summer last year, a coach at home approached me from Charnwood Barbell and suggested I try Olympic Weightlifting. Since then, improving my lifts has become an obsession and it has changed who I am.


For me, bodybuilding wasn’t right due to a long history of body image difficulties and issues. For years I have struggled with how I look and always wanting to look “the best” or look like somebody else. I am overcoming an eating disorder for which I have been in recovery for over a year now. Bodybuilding is extremely focused on personal appearance, which meant my mentality was not improving from my struggles over the proceeding few years.

Olympic Weightlifting on the other hand, has a focus on technique, strength and mobility, which has eventually, after only 6 months, started to shift my mental focus away from my body and how I look to getting stronger and better at what I am doing. I do this by focusing on my goals for my weightlifting programme.

I am working on a 10 week programme with set weights with the aim of achieving personal bests by the end of the 10 week period. The weights set in the programme depend on what I manage to lift during a test week prior to starting a new plan. It’s hard. The psychological effort and confidence you need to get underneath the bar is huge. It takes a lot out of you and requires a high level of positive thinking and trust in yourself to get the bar from A to B.


The determination hits you and you just want to push yourself to lift the best you can. When I say to somebody I am tired or feeling a little down and heading to the gym, they ask: “Why? If you are tired, why not just stay in?” The gym helps, it makes me feel less stressed, more relaxed and it helps me deal with difficult situations by allowing me to forget about everything else and focus on my lifts and my goals for that session.

It helps to boost my confidence, both in the gym as well as outside of it. The confidence developed when you lift transfers into everyday life. You need to believe in yourself to succeed and that’s what I have started to do. In order to succeed, I also need to fail. I have bad sessions and poor lifts, but all of this makes me learn, retry and succeed to be what I am today. I will keep failing and succeeding over and over to help me improve. Nobody can have a perfect session every day, no matter what your sport may be. Bad sessions happen but it’s what you do to make it better and how you learn from it that helps you progress, succeed and move on.


I love using Brookes Sport when I am at university as it is well equipped, has a friendly environment and support from others around you along with having lots to offer. When I went back to Brookes Sport after the summer training at home, and having just taken up Olympic Lifting, I found it difficult having got used to working with a thinner 15kg Olympic bar, while Brookes Sport only had traditional 20kg bars. I decided to put in a suggestion form and shortly after I received an email saying that they were looking into this for me. Now they have invested in not just one, but two women’s bars as well as my other suggestion of smaller weight plates for the bar including 1kg, 1.5kg and 2kg!

Through Brookes Sport, I have met some amazing people who have supported me with my training as well as becoming friends with them away from the gym! One of the main group of friends I have met are the MASS (Muscle & Athletic Sports Society) groups, especially the MASS ladies. We train together and meet up outside of the gym.

Aside from this, there is always somebody willing to help you in the gym whether you know them or not. Whether it’s to take some weights and put them back, to spot you on your squats, check your form, or help your with technique. You don’t see many Olympic lifters in the gym, but that doesn’t stop me feeling welcome. No matter what you do in the gym you have endless support and equipment provided to allow you to achieve.

Not only has the gym helped me to lifter heavier and get stronger, it has also made me a stronger person and individual. The gym has helped me overcome personal difficulties that I once believed I would never overcome. I can’t imagine what I would do without it.

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