Pro Focus: Jo Calvino
Thought weight lifting was all about being big and beefy? Jo Calvino will most definitely change your view. Hoping to soon make the GB team and make her Olympic dreams come true, Jo has been quietly working away, steadily kicking ass on the weight lifting scene, waiting for her moment. And it looks like it’s about to arrive.
Tell us a bit about your background and how you got involved in weightlifting
Originally I was a diver (the Tom Daley kind) training at Crystal Palace and doing my strength and conditioning with a guy called Keith Morgan (who is still my coach today). I was a National Age group champion although I didn’t fit the mould for divers back then as I was more power based and so I was tiring of diving. Keith caught me at a time when I was thinking of giving up and said had I ever thought about trying weightlifting as he thought I could be quite good, so I gave it a go, liked it and never really looked back!
What does a typical training session involve?
Mainly in weightlifting we focus on our two competition lifts; snatch and clean & jerk. We also do things like pulls, squats and dead lifts to build our leg strength and explosive power from the floor. We do variations of our competition lifts such as hang snatch, power cleans, jerks from racks etc. Then we’ll do our assistance work such as sit ups, pressing/pull downs. I always finish with some bike work to keep mobile and loosen off.
What’s your hardest session of the week?
My toughest session is Friday evenings where I go maximum on both snatch and clean & jerk, pulls and Back Squats – I pretty much treat it like competition day.
How do you push yourself/ find the motivation to keep going?
Some days it can be hard when having to work full time and train as close to full time as possible, but what I have achieved is not something that many people can say they have, especially in women’s weightlifting! London 2012 has been a big motivation but just the experiences of competing around the world and the people I’ve met and friends I’ve made makes
it worthwhile. But the ultimate is to always improve and lift bigger than I’ve done before!
Do you do any other types of training or is the focus purely on weights?
No, I do other training types. I always do one session where I focus on some cardiovascular work so bike is currently my preferred choice for 15 – 45 mins at a go. I do sprints over 30 metres or swim – it’s good to have a change and mix it up! I enjoy plyometrics and in a moment of madness, circuits are a good challenge!
You recently got a step closer to securing a place at London 2012 with some great lifts at the European Championships – what’s left for you to do now to qualify?
We still have the British Championships which are our Olympic trials and last chance, so it’s about achieving the qualifying standards again and winning the British, but also to build on my European performance as I know there’s areas to improve but more importantly, I know I can lift more! The rest then falls into selectors hands as we are all in different categories but battling for the same spot, so that is the nervous part of it all!
What are people’s reactions to you as a weightlifter?
Most don’t believe me or laugh in shock. Men sometimes get on the defensive but most welcome it which is good. Unfortunately I am in a sport with such a stereotype of being big burly women with deep voices and looking rather manly, however I believe the new generation of female weightlifters across the world since the late90′s are breaking down that stereotype! Some of us love hair and make up just as much as the next girl!!
How do you think we can get more women involved in weightlifting? What do you think prevents them?
Better promotion of the sport and its benefits, it’s a great sport that isn’t judged on shape or size! Facilities and coach education are the 2 biggest issues, as there aren’t many weightlifting clubs or gyms as leisure providers do not have knowledge of requirements or coaches who understand the sport well enough! Its important to also break the misconception if you do weights ‘you get big & muscly’
Keep up with Jo’s journey by following her on Twitter @JoCalvino