Herald reporters spent a day training, eating and sleeping like an Olympian in a chosen sport. Today, Amelia Wade shares her experience on her bout with weightlifting.

I'm struggling to perfect my technique with a broomstick handle, while to my left, Richie is thrusting more than 160kg over his head.

It's early. I'm tired. The gym is cold. I've already done more squats than I would usually do in a month. It's not even 8am.

Given I'm new to the sport and have next to no upper body strength, my trainer, Emma Pilkington from Olympic Weightlifting NZ, starts me off easy.


I reluctantly prepare to start my day as a weightlifter shortly before 6am.

Although training isn't for an hour at the Functional Strength gym just up the road, I have to have a hearty porridge breakfast to ensure there's a sufficient energy store to charge the broomstick into the air.

To get warmed up, I start on an exercise bike before walking laps of the gym to loosen up the joints.

Flexibility is more important in weightlifting than most people realise, I'm told, as a thick elastic band stretches my ankle further than it's ever been bent before.

And as it turns out, being able to thrust eye-wateringly heavy bars in the air requires quite a bit of technique.

We start with moving the handle from below my knees, above my knees, to my chest and back down to build to a power snatch where the bar is pressed up in the air over my head. But, it turns out, there's a lot of sitting involved too.

For the pros, this is vital recovery for your body but for the novices, a good chance to check out those who know what they're doing.

Next to me Richard "Richie" Patterson, who is off to Rio, starts his twice-daily training sessions and quickly builds to lifting up to 180kg - making my empty ladies' bar look even sadder.

After some snatch pulls and back squats, the first session ends and I'm already eyeing up my trainer-mandated midday nap. Hell, I had been looking forward to it since Sunday evening.

But between that and training was steamed vegetables, protein, carbohydrates, work, more vegetables followed by protein, work and yet more vegetables.

At 3pm I was back at the gym, this time focusing on power cleans and push presses.

Again, the technique is a lot harder than it looks and it takes a few tries to get my hips to thrust forward quickly enough to jump and shoot the bar up from my knees to my chest before pushing the still-empty bar in the air.

Soon I convince Emma to let me put some weight on it, conscious of how measly I'll look in the photos.

We finish with some front squats and given I have to drop all the way to the ground, my hip flexors are starting to pack it in, and by 6pm I'm glad my day as an Olympian is done.

Amelia Wade gives her hip flexor muscles a workout. Picture / Jason Oxenham
Amelia Wade gives her hip flexor muscles a workout. Picture / Jason Oxenham

A day in the life

• 6am Wake up plus oats and a coffee

• 7am First training session

• 9am Breakfast of an omelette with lots of vegetables plus more coffee

• 9.30am Work

• Noon Nap

• 1pm Lunch of kumara, chicken and lots more vegetables

• 1.30pm Work

• 3pm Second training session

• 5.05pm Eat a banana in the car on the ride home

• 6pm Dinner of more protein, carbs and veges