Listen to our chat with Coach Lester Ho about his 3rd big international competition trip to Montreal this year.
Find out: Why is weightlifting a team sport? Hear of the hardware TG Strength brought home to Australia.
How did Lester prepare for the competition this time round? Learn first hands’ experience managing a team overseas and how Lester managed training, transportation, meal preparation, group morale and mindset of his athletes. How does your environment affect your performance?
Lester’s next big competitions are: Masters comp in San Diego and Nationals interstate. Lester is also running a novice competition (also for the experienced and seasonal lifters) $40 entry. All happening in OCTOBER~
You step on the platform alone but the process of you from the start all the way to stepping a platform, to me, as a coach is a team effort. Even if you say that you compete on your own. You and a coach is a partnership.
So from my own perspective, as a coach, it was indeed different. So the last time when we went to Barcelona, so that was my first experience bringing a team to a competition, right, a big team biggish team to competition. So there was still a lot of things that I was learning like the logistics side of it, you know, having training venues sorted, you know, accommodation was sorted, where to buy groceries, mode of transportation and things like that. So, understanding all of that, that I wasn’t clear enough in Barcelona, you know, I was still learning bits and pieces of here, how to actually keep the team going through like we were there for a long time. Two weeks.
No matter how big the competition is. It’s comfortable, so there’s some kind of comfort. But then when you go to a foreign place like that you don’t know what the place is like, you know, and you don’t know what to expect, you know, like, every year is a different place. So you’re actually looking at a different spot, you know, like you might be on a platform, like last year Barcelona was on a platform, like elevated stage, but this year, we are on the ground, so you don’t actually get a chance to really have that comfort or that familiarity when you go into a competition.
Lester Ho’s specializations include Strength & Conditioning, Weightlifting, and Biomechanics. Lester started the Training Geek to share his interest regarding the scientific concepts and mechanisms in training. His interest predominantly revolves around the sport of weightlifting.
Because of his work in the field of research, he not only picked up the sport and fell in love with it, but it has also been the driving force behind the people he trains as a coach.
Lester Ho can be found here – https://thetraininggeek.net/team
Episode 042 : Chat with Lester Ho of The Training Geek
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Hello, everyone, this is Cera, and I'm here today with Coach Lester Ho. Lester is the head coach at TG Strength, he predominantly do weightlifting, a little bit of SNC depending on what the clients' goals are. Lester just came back from I reckon quite a successful trip from Montreal. I'm just gonna stop talking now and let you take over. So Lester say hello.
Hello. My name is Lester. If you don't already know, thank you for the introduction. Yes, I run TG Strength. We are both a weightlifting and strength conditioning gym. I think recently, we have had equal amounts of each; so, I think that's really a good take on what we are meant to be doing.
With that, you know, we have also managed to get a lot of people competing in weightlifting and subsequently that's how that trip to Montreal came about. You know we had five athletes compete at the world masters championships in Montreal, probably two weeks ago. This is my, technically, the big international trip I've done in the last three years. So every year, I've done one plus one is 2017, world masters games. Second one is
That was in New Zealand.
Yeah, that's in New Zealand, Auckland, then Barcelona in 2018. And then this one 2019 in Montreal. I think we, from an overall perspective, the team did really well as a team; there we came together, we trained together, you know, we approached everything. As how, as much as a team should have approached it.
So weightlifting is not an individual sport.
You step on the platform alone but the process of you from the start all the way to stepping on the platform, to me, as a coach is a team effort. Even if you say that you compete on your own. You and a coach, is a partnership.
Which is equivalent to a team effort. Yeah. So I think people need to understand that you cannot be a lone ranger in the sport of weightlifting. You know, you can but how far you want to take it. Really important to have support crew, you know, you need support not only from your team members, you need support from your coach. You also need support from the higher organizations you to find new, to give you the best opportunity for success. So yeah, it's a team sport. And to me, it's a team sport.
Yeah. So did you bring back any medals?
We did. So we brought back some hardware, particularly two of them from our team. We had two bronze medals, one silver in the men's division, which is
first male international medal. You know, he came in third in the 50-54 age group
67 kilo weight class. And we have Tony Lane. Alright, she came in third in the 45-49 age group, the 59 kilo weight class. You got to remember, it's very dangerous to get
women's ages wrong.
Well get anyone's ages wrong and then get the weight wrong, yeah you get into a lot of trouble for that. So in other words, I'm really happy, the result. And I can't see any. I mean, there's always room for improvement, but I think we've done really well.
Was it really a big difference? Obviously, the makeup of the team was quite different.
I'm comparing Barcelona and Montreal.
So from my own perspective, as a coach, it was indeed different. So the last time when we went to Barcelona, so that was my first experience bringing a team to a competition, right, a big team biggish team to competition. So there was still a lot of things that I was learning like the logistics side of it, you know, having training venues sorted, you know, accommodation was sorted, where to buy groceries, mode of transportation and things like that. So, understanding all of that, that I wasn't clear enough in Barcelona, you know, I was still learning bits and pieces of here, how to actually keep the team going through like we were there for a long time. Two weeks.
How to keep the team moving through that two weeks really well preparing for the training, you know, mentally and all that as well. I think that was really important takeaway for me in 2018. And I think I applied that relatively well or as much as I could this year. You know, so I got in way earlier than anyone else you know, in the last year we actually traveled together. This year I got in earlier than everyone else, made sure that I knew what the accommodation was like, like sorted out the rooms, know where to get around to where the training venue was in relation to our apartment. So a lot of the like, team manager stuff, which I felt I got a better control this time around. Then, you know, it was their process of making sure that everything went smoothly for the whole team training wise, making sure that all the training platforms, all the platforms in the training hall were booked at the times that we wanted, you know, so basically the first day we got there when it was open. You know, I got in touch with I want to shout out to Vincent from Canada. Yeah, he wants to come to Australia. But, you know, he was really a big help. So he was like, one of the organizers of the comp. And basically, we got really friendly with him. We knew him really well. He booked us from day one to the last day of the comp for two time slots, and two platforms. You know he said, since you guys were here first and you guys are so nice, Cera, he booked it for us and we were like. It actually made a lot of things very smooth for us in terms of the training aspect because as he got busy, people are fighting for platforms. So to be able to have the assurance of having somewhere to train. That was really important so yeah, so I think from a logistical side admin side, I would dare say I've done better. I can improve of course, but I think I've, like, I kind of knew this year it was much clearer what to achieve? Yeah. So yeah,
It's good. So what are your take home? You know, post your third one?
Yeah, post my third one. Ah, I think the big take home for me for this comp was the ability to maintain morale; morale affects your mental state. If you feel good, you're going to be feeling good. I saw that as a important factor this time round. You know because a lot of them in a way was seasoned athletes, like they've done the last two comps or the last three comps. Right. All last three international comps, so I think each experience that they get, I want them to actually know that it is something that they can take seriously, even though it's on the side and people kind of take it for granted. But these guys are athletes as well. So being able to handle that being able to know how to handle that, right from the start, gives them a bit more credibility as an athlete as well. So I think that was really important. And there was a take home for me to facilitate that as much as possible. I mean, you know, we with any competition, there's always room for improvement, you know, you always look at what can you do better, you know, not only for the team, but also for each individual. I had one of the lifters bomb, you know, and to be honest, we were actually really prepared, like, all the way up to the point of the comp, you know, even in the warmup, she was looking great, you know, and then just at the competition itself, when you step on that platform, you being a coach, you know, as well. It's then up to them.
They do what they can they do their best and I always commend them for that. But just a small loss of lack of focus or loss of focus, that can easily change the outcome of what you want to achieve. You know, so the takeaway for that is more like, you know, how can we prepare that better? You know, physically, they were good, you know, physically, I knew all of them already. So it's just how to mentally prepare them. And that's where, you know, a lot of the psychology stuff and, you know, mental side or mental mindset side comes in. Yeah. So I think that's something that I can really hold on into, or maybe improve the next time when we have a trip like that again,
In that scenario where your lifter bombs out or freezes.
I'd always think it's more freezing.
Would you reckon more competition experience or being put under that kind of pressure cooker would work?
It's a tough one, because that kind of experience is something that you cannot really replicate until that point of time, no matter how big the competition is, right? Like if you think about it, a lot of our guys are very used to competing here in Hawthorn.
No matter how big the competition is. It's comfortable, so there's some kind of comfort. But then when you go to a foreign place like that you don't know what the place is like, you know, and you don't know what to expect, you know, like, every year is a different place. So you're actually looking at a different spot, you know, like you might be on a platform, like last year Barcelona was on a platform, like elevated stage, but this year, we are on the ground, so you don't actually get a chance to really have that comfort or that familiarity when you go into a competition. You know, saying that as well. You can get overwhelmed sometimes. So it's like, that's why I said it's about learning how to control that mental side to prevent someone from being overwhelmed, and being able to focus on the task at hand. And this is why I say it's so important to treat them as athletes because basically, they need to perform as athletes. So if you don't actually properly get them to fix themselves or understand that'll do it better. It's going to be a bit challenging. Yeah. So I think that's the challenging part.
Are there any things apart from that? Are there other positives or negatives that you took away from the comp?
There are. So I think this one, trying to � and I feel like you know, it's something to be addressed. My takeaway for it is, as a coach to be as professional as possible, you know, so whatever I've done, like the decisions are made, you know, all of that is to be as professional as I can in the service they are providing to these athletes. Right? I had two athletes that weren't under my roster that I was watching over as well. You know, so, learning how to actually warm them up what to do for their warm ups, being able to know how to interact with them. You know, that was a very, you know, we was more on a professional level like to understand okay, I need to make sure that, you know, they're comfortable. They are psyched up the same way. You know. So I felt that that was also a good learning experience for me in that aspect. You know, two of them, they did really well as well here so I can't ask them more and more importantly, you know, they were really thankful for that experience, because it's really challenging to go there without a coach.
Yeah, you don't know what to expect, you know, and because it's such a big call, there're so many things that could actually stress you out. So if that stress can be taken away from the athlete, right, that's the coach's role see, not just to facilitate getting there, but also the facility the ability to get them to focus on their lifting here.
So the other two athletes not on your roster actually trained and hung out with the team.
So one of them was really early on in a competition. So she was there and she was the first person I coached. She did train a few times here and I got her to come in. She's from Melbourne, Victoria as well. So I got her to train with us back in Melbourne once or twice so that I could actually kind of observe. I know her coach really well. So, you know, we were in contact to talk about, like, how to warm up, what to look up for, you know, so on and so forth. So I kind of was a bit more familiar with her, so it made it easier. The other one, she's actually from Queensland, I contacted a coach beforehand as well. I said, hey, how do you? What do you want to do? A few things I didn't clarify well enough was like how to maintain her keep her warm in between attempts, you know, so that one I wasn't there because for her, in her session, from her first or second, then there were about maybe 13 lifts. Oh, yeah, 13 lifts or more you know. So
Like 20 minutes.
Or actually a little bit more than that, maybe like, off around there. But it's just knowing how to handle all that. And what is familiar to her, you know, so. So I think that there in a way was something that I could improve on the next time. So if I were to take someone who's not on my roster for another competition
I would just go. Okay, just give me these details, how to warm them up, how to set them up, how to keep them warm, you know, so on and so forth. Yeah. So I think that there was a very big thing that I have to learn from because I mean, again, it's all back to understanding the individual itself. See?
What about the future?
So, coming up. Well, there's one more big comp that I have to travel for. And unfortunately, you have to kind of watch the gym for me. Yeah. It's just one week away. We're going to San Diego for the Masters World Cup. That's in October or the start of October. That one will have, I'll be coaching three people there. So we'll have Lou again because you know, she wants to redeem herself. I'm also coaching Katie Rose
from Episode One.
Yeah, from Episode One of my podcast. Yes on my podcast. She's also one of my remote athletes in the US. You know, I got to hang out with her during this trip as well, and got to know her a little bit better. This was actually the first time I actually got a chance to coach her in person. You know, because the only time crucial episode was that one time she came into the gym, and then she went back not years ago, but maybe last year in during Christmas. And she went back to US and we started remote coaching from there, so we never had a chance to interact face to face. And then we also have Dee from Baccus Marsh or CrossFit Hanley who trains under Toni. So she's also a girl that's not on my roster. So applying whatever I've learned in coaching people not on my roster, I think this would be also another opportunity for me to learn more about that process. So we have three people that are competing, and you know, I made a commitment to go out there. So I think it is, it will be another good learning experience. Also, because this time around, we're not going for two weeks.
We're going for a shorter period of time. So to see how the body or how the individuals react to such a short travel you know jet lag might not even be able to set in you know just sleep and then wake up and then go and compete straightaway you know that kind of thing so yeah
Nationals at the end of October, no third week of October
Wow it's all happening.
All in October so third week of October we have four people competing at Nationals two guys and two girls you know two of the both girls who are actually masters athletes.
So one of them you coach to qualify for nationals well done on you.
Mon, you know she qualified for nationals right at a cutoff and then we have Toni who qualified for nationals I think sometime at the start of the year. You know and then our two boys you know 81 class you know, the young guns Sam Steel right from CrossFit Turmoil or Northern Weightlifting Club and Shane Zunckel from CrossFit Bayside Project, those two boys have always been with me and they've been pushing each other like, you know, because they are in the same category. They lift around the same weights. They've been a good, like, push for each other to do better and better. So having that dynamics is really great. The two ladies, they've been training with each other and you know, they are looking forward to national senior, nationals experience. I think this is maybe the first time for Toni. Yeah, I think Mon has done one senior nationals before I'm not sure. But you know, as masters athletes are always encourage them to
step up and push themselves on a higher level. So yeah,
it's exciting. We wish everyone all the best.
What about would you like to plug your novice comps?
Oh, yes. So unfortunately, there was supposed to be one on the 21st of September, but because we actually have a clash in terms of the schedule for coaching commitments, we postpone that to the end of October, which is I think, the 26th of October. Now this comp anyone can take part, you know, you don't have to necessarily be a novice, you know, so it's welcoming to all you know the last time we had a novice comp, we had one of our Victorian lifters Zac Grgurevic who took part in it, you know, so it's more in a chance for people to just enjoy the competition experience. Cost is $40 and we have a Facebook page or event page for that if you want can contact me through that to sign up. I know there will be a few from Iron Tribe of Chris Ackland and that might be coming down you know I think Sam who runs Northern Weightlifting I have a few coming in as well. For guys, typically it's
a peaking week.
Yeah, peaking week or make them peak on a week you know, so a few of our guys will probably compete in that as well. So it's just opportunity for anyone to who wants to you know, have a taste of what weightlifting competition is like. But also to have the experience of maybe what?
Coach and staff.
Yeah, for the coaches themselves. I think that was the big one that I want to put across where coaches learn how to count attempts, write on attempt cards, you know, because on bigger comps, you actually have your attempt cards to actually fill up. So knowing how to do all of that, in a way is really important for my guys it's also to know how to organize and run a comp, because, you know, comps run volunteers. So you know, when there's a sanction comp at VWA. Those that are competing already, hold on, you may not know how to fulfill some of the roles for volunteering so then at least if they get the experience here, when they go to VWA they don't have to be like, ooh, deer in headlights, they know what to do see? So yeah, so that's on the 26th of October.
No singlets required people.
Yeah, you can wear anything you want as long as you wear something.
I think that's about it. So, would you like to let us know how people can contact you or reach out to you?
You can contact me on Instagram my handle is Lester Ho KW you can find me on Facebook under the Training Geek as well. The website is thetraininggeek.net you know all of that will provide you information on how to get in touch with us or even just some handy tips on what weightlifting is about you know how to improve your weightlifting you know, but more importantly if you want to come and train with us or even pay us a visit you know, we are located in Moorabbin you know near the DFO and so we are welcoming to all do give us a try come for a casual visit you know, play with us a little bit you know and just enjoy this sport of weightlifting with us so yes
Awesome. We commend you on your what you do for the weightlifting scene, trying to break down the old school doors of elitism. I feel from an outsider looking in, so thank you, Lester.
Hopefully we'll hear from you.
Yes. Yes. Thank you.
Cool. All right. See you guys.
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