We spoke to the elite Czech weightlifter, Eliska, about the popularity of weightlifting in Czechia, just how demanding it is to reach a high level when starting your weightlifting career towards your 20s, and how she juggles her training and fascinating postgraduate studies!
1) When did you start weightlifting and what/who was your inspiration?
I started weight lifting when I was 19 years old. My inspiration for this decision came from my former athletics coach. He encouraged me to take up weight lifting, telling me that I had the strength and work ethic to become a great lifter. Another inspiration for me is the Russian weight lifter Nadezhda Evstyukhina.
2) What do you see as your biggest achievement in sport?
My biggest success is that I’m part of national Czech weightlifting team and I can represent my country. I also came 7th in the European Championship and 10th in the Universiade in TaiPei. Another of my top achievements is that I’m multiple times champion in weight lifting for Czech Republic.
3) What has been your hardest challenge to overcome?
The hardest challenge is to make sure I have enough time and energy for gym sessions, university and also my family.
4) Is there any hobbies, job or things you do outside of weightlifting that would surprise people?
I have no time for any other hobbies or activities as I spent most of time with weightlifting. Also, I’m postgraduate student at university! I studied to be a paramedic at university and now I am taking a Masters course in Civil Emergency Planning. In the future I want to work in this field, as well as becoming a weightlifting coach. When I have time for other activities than university or weightlifting, I like to go hiking.
5) What is your usual training schedule for the week?
I’m training 10 times a week! Monday, Wednesday and Friday I have session with technical exercises. Tuesday and Thursday - strength/power session. Saturday, I do cardio – running.
6) What are your favorite and least favorite exercises?
Favourite are any kinds of press, push or rows exercise and deadlifts, least favourite are for me squats.
7) Who is your coach and what is the biggest lesson you have learnt from them?
My coach is Pavel Ivanic, head coach of the Czech weightlifting team. My club trainer is Ludek Becvar. From Pavel I learned that I need to focus on my goals and never give up on them and nothing will come without a price. Ludek my club trainer told me that I can not take everything too seriously and I should do weightlifting because I enjoy it, not that I have to do it!
8) How popular is weightlifting in your country and where are the best places to visit to do weightlifting there?
Weight lifting is popular in Prague. We have amazing club in Prague for the Czech team. Other cities are Ostrava, Bohumin, Plzen – also they do have really great beer here called Pilsner Urquell!
9) What is the big goal you are currently working towards?
The European championship in Georgia. I need to prepare for another international championship and German league for Plauen – the city which I represent. Not to forget I need to defend my title as champion of Czech Republic!
10) What is your top tip for people just starting in weightlifting?
My advice for beginners is that they should enjoy what they do first. Especially they should learn the proper technique. Don’t overdo your strength with too much weight on bar if you don’t know yet how to lift properly. Learn the skills first and achievement/performance will come afterwards.
- Ryan & Charlotte (Canterbury Strength), Eliska Pudivítrová