Nga Pham is our January female Member of the Month and a member of the BlueWave Weightlifting Club at enduraLAB. She got into powerlifting after watching the BlueWave Good Vibes event a little more than a year ago and hasn’t looked back! The team is like her family, and Coach Chris is the best-of-the-best when it comes to lift programming (plus, he is incredibly patient). Nga spends nearly 12 hours week perfecting her craft and understands that a lifting requires significant discipline in order to succeed.
How did you get into Olympic weightlifting? When I was 23, I started powerlifting (started with a massive 55lb back squat) and eventually transitioned to CrossFit which was fun and challenging until I attended the BlueWave Good Vibes event to support a friend. I was blown away by the competitors and their absolutely gorgeous lifts. I signed up the following month, easy choice. I’ve kept up with it for a year and a half because I enjoy the challenge and satisfaction of achieving decent lifts. Also, the team is basically my family at this point.
What do you think of Coach Chris? I appreciate, trust, and respect Coach Chris even when I’m being extra sassy some days. He’s knowledgeable and extraordinarily patient. He is always reading and experimenting to continuously add to his skill set to better support the BlueWave Weightlifting team.
Favorite lift? Snatch
How many hours a week do you spend in the gym? Eight to 12 hours depending on how much I need to warm up, and how social I’m feeling. I make time for mobility and yoga in addition to this time.
What are the most important attributes for an athlete to have if they wish to become a successful weightlifter? Discipline—take care of your body as much as possible with food, sleep and recovery. This will reduce the risk of injury and setbacks, while setting you up for success on the platform. Also, stick to the programming.
If there was one thing you could improve about your technique, what would it be? I want to be more aggressive at meeting the bar in the various receiving positions.
Who inspires you? Nikki Wiseman—she’s got a great deal of mental focus.
What’s your favorite performance meal? Chicken breast, roasted brussels sprouts and a baked potato.
Favorite cheat meal? Chicken Bellagio from the Cheesecake Factory, sushi or Korean bbq.
What is your most memorable lift? Hitting 80kg clean and jerk to qualify for the American Open Finals.
Are you training for anything specific currently? Texas State Championships in Houston.
What do you like to listen to when training? I typically don’t have my own music on, but when I do, I listen to an assortment: Asher Roth, Watsky, Disney soundtracks, Kendrick Lamar and Jessie J.
Stanley Bastien is our male Member of the Month for January. He is a member and coach for the BlueWave Weightlifting Club at enduraLAB. His advice to anyone getting into weightlifting is that it takes more than just athleticism to succeed, it requires mental strength. He believes that you need to be able to tell your body to commit to a heavy lift in order to succeed.
How did you get into Olympic weightlifting? I got into Olympic lifting a little bit during high school football, but didn't really get welcomed to Olympic lifting until I had recovered from injuries and started CrossFit in 2011.
What do you think of Coach Chris? I think very highly of Coach Chris. Not only as a coach, but also because he is a great person. I have known and trained with/for Chris for about seven years. If he was a good guy but didn't know his stuff, then I wouldn't have stuck with him. He's an all-around good person and excellent coach.
How many hours a week do you spend in the gym? Too many …. honestly, I probably spend about 20+ hours at the gym on average. Not just coaching, but training.
What are the most important attributes for an athlete to have if they wish to become a successful weightlifter? To be an athlete. Although, I do know people who are good lifters without being a natural athlete. The most important attribute is mental strength in order to push yourself, believe and visualize success. Strength is all well and good, but if you can’t tell your body to commit to a heavy lift... then you won’t be able to lift it.
If there was one thing you could improve about your technique, what would it be? I would like to improve my mental fortitude and commit to being stronger. I would also like to avoid getting in my head when I have to throw a heavy weight. I want to be better at turning off my mind and letting my body do what it has been trained to do.
Who inspires you? Not so sound cliché, but my past inspires me. Lifting has helped me in many ways, but it excites me to see what my body and mind are truly capable of if I continue to push it to the max. I feel like it would be a waste to not unlock to full potential of what I have been given to work with.
What’s your favorite performance meal? Steak, potatoes and asparagus with butter and cheese.
Favorite cheat meal? Whataburger’s honey bbq chicken strip sandwich with extra sauce, large fry and a large Sprite. Add to that a triple cheese, triple meat burger with no onion or tomatoes. Go ahead and throw in another triple the same way.
What is your most memorable lift? Most memorable lift would be the PR clean and jerks I’ve thrown during competition over the past two years in order to qualify for Nationals two years in a row.
Are you training for anything specific currently? I’m training for the State Championships in a few weeks, but ultimately my goal is to qualify for and ranker higher at Nationals 2019 for my third year in a row. (kind of excited)
What do you like to listen to when training? When I am training, I have gotten to a point where I don't exactly have to have on anything specific, but I love to listen to something that has an awesome beat to it. I don't really care about what the words say, but I like to feel a good beat and "feel" my music flow through me.