nicole_success_storyI have been part of Venice Barbell Club since July 2015. I came into the sport brand new to Olympic Weightlifting. I previously belonged to another CrossFit gym for about 6 months, but I would always skip the workouts with snatches because I was so intimidated by the movement. When I started seeing Instagram videos of elite weightlifters, I thought it was so badass and it fueled me to do some research to find a weightlifting coach in Los Angeles. While I was moving to Santa Monica I stumbled across Paradiso CrossFit and found Coach Josh Squyres. I had a free one-on-one session with him, and a week later I signed up for a VBC membership. The rest is history.

My first few months with Venice Barbell Club were certainly intimidating. I didn’t really know what I was doing, so I’d find myself on the platform furthest away from all of the strong guys, hoping nobody except Josh would see me. But eventually, I realized we all need to start somewhere, and VBC happens to be an incredibly supportive and welcoming community and it has been a place for me to let out my frustrations in a tough workout and grow stronger, both mentally and physically, every day. VBC gave me a place to call home when being new to the city of LA felt overwhelming, and this gym has given me a reason to set goals and stay motivated outside of my career so that I am living a well-balanced life.

I have benefited so much by being part of the Venice Barbell Club community. I cleaned up my diet and I spend a lot of time prepping meals and eating healthy, whole foods (and HOLE foods, because donuts, right?!?!). I actually eat – A LOT – which is something I neglected to do when I was working out before weightlifting. I started to notice drastic changes in my body after only a year of weightlifting (in the attached picture, the photo on the left was taken the same week I started at VBC in July 2015, and the photo on the right was taken exactly 1 year later in July 2016. Hello baby 6-pack!). But most of all, I gained a family of people who push each other, who care about each other’s #gainz, and who want you to feel your best no matter how hard or how frustrating this sport can be.