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Lady of the Lifts: A Weightlifting Odyssey

It can be challenging to expand into a new fitness journey. Even beginning the progress towards health and strength can cause insecurities if the gym doesn’t fit your needs.  Weight lifting gyms can be especially intimidating with all their mirrors and sculpted bodies but with Denver Barbell Club Adrienne Vogelsang found the sweet spot for her fitness journey.          

“I have a lot of friends who are just afraid of the gym in general because you can go into a big box gym and there’s not always good energy. It can be very judgmental,” says Vogelsang, a member of the Denver Barbell Club and a nationally ranked weightlifter. 

“What’s cool about being a part of a Barbell Club and this weightlifting community, in particular, is that it’s all about fun and you’re challenging yourself,” she says.   Adrienne’s entry into the world was what she called a “fluke”. 

“I was supposed to go on a hike one morning and the weather was bad, so I ended up opening Class Pass (a fitness company that provided free trials and memberships to fitness hobbies) and it was one of the few times I had seen the Barbell Club’s open classes.” she said.

“I have done general fitness for a long time and I became more comfortable with lifting before I ever walked into the Barbell Club.  Adrienne began her experience at the Denver Barbell Club in 2019 and within months she the community was pushing her forward. 

“When I first walked in there, I had no intention of ever competing.” says Vogelsang. 

Barbell Club members encouraged her to try and train with members who were looking forward to their very first competition as well. “It just sort of became like an addiction.” said Adrienne. 

“It’s almost fun to be bad at something and on a week-to-week basis seeing yourself getting better.  It makes it an experience you don’t have as often as an adult.” Adrienne notes many adults have to think back years to answer the question “when did you do something new.”  

The Denver Barbell Club hosted the fourth Lord of the Lifts; Reloaded weightlifting event in March. It sets the stage for weightlifters to create a true challenge for themselves and work towards their fitness goals. 

“A week leading up to a competition is good and terrible at the same time,” said Adrienne, as her meal prep for the week resulted in plain tasting meals. The reasoning is to not try any new foods that could make one sick or unable to lift. Water intake plays a significant role in keeping weightlifters in their weight class. It’s common to heavily increase the water intake, to not only stay in weight class for competitions that organize lifters by weight, but also for general consistent hydration. And then there’s sleep, “It gets hard to sleep because you get so excited, or nervous, or a little bit of both.” 

Adrienne has won titles such as the Best Female lifter at the Colorado State Championships for 2022 as well as Best Overall Female Lifter for Lord of the Lifts in 2021. Since last summer she has competed in national competitions too.  

“It’s fun to attend local meets and competitions and see the start list and recognize names, she says.” “It’s a crazy, tight-knit community I would have never expected to be a part of.” 

During the Lord of the Lifts Reloaded competition, Adrienne challenged herself. She maxxed out lifting 110 kilograms during a “Clean and Jerk”, a two-part lift where the weight is brought to the shoulders and then lifted over the head at arm’s length. 

Adrienne ranked as number one for the Lord of the Lifts Reloaded for female weightlifting and ranked second for female powerlifting.  In addition to her lifting, she is now exploring coaching at the Denver Barbell Club and sees what the environment is like from a new perspective.

The Denver Barbell Club is accepting new members, even beginners, who are looking for an engaging community working towards fitness goals.  It’s located on 601 W. 29th in the Ballpark District near Coors Field. 

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