In between sets Julia Boggia is calling out to her fellow lifters, shouting encouragement. “Really explode into it,” and he does, bringing the bar and 40kg of weight smoothly overhead.
“That was your best lift of the night,” she says, and for a moment they just grin at each other, before she returns to her own bar and settles comfortably back into a low squat, gripping the bar firmly with chalk-roughened hands.
She’s also a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology, splitting her time roughly evenly between that and the gym.
“I try to keep those two lives separate,” says Boggia, adding that “I don’t talk to my professor about my lifting.” She has a lot to focus on; provincial competitions are in March, and national level competitions are in May, and she’s qualified for both.
Not that that matters to her coach, Greg Chin, a monster of a man who dead-lifts about 550 lbs and is Julia’s primary coach. Chin says it doesn’t matter to him whether a student can qualify for competitions or not, and Julia certainly didn’t stand out to him at first.
“She was just a client, and I didn’t see the raw athletic qualities that I would normally look for. I actually didn’t see anything that suggested she would be good someday,” says Chin.
A year and a half later, and she’s on track to compete competitively in Olympic-style weight lifting on a national level. That level of training, however, requires serious fuel.
“I eat around 2800 calories per day,” she says. Fuelling her training isn’t cheap; the $5,000 two lucky weight lifters in Ontario get each year “wouldn’t even cover my food,” says Boggia.
With barely a grunt the bar comes back up, and her training has resumed.
Check out Boggia as she does two big lifts: