Written by Team Juggernaut
Welcome the newest member of Team Juggernaut, Olympic Lifter, Colin Burns!
Name: Colin Burns
Height/Weight: 5’9”, recently made the move from 94kg to 85kg
Hometown: Monroe, WI
Current City: Grand Rapids, MI
Years Training: 17 years
Years Competing: around 3 years
PRs in relevant lifts/events: 155kg snatch, 175kg clean and jerk
Where you Train: Currently I train at Crossfit 616 here in Grand Rapids, but I represent Michigan Barbell Club out of Ann Arbor.
Day Job: Right now? Pizza Delivery Driver. Looking for work in Strength and Conditioning, Coaching Weightlifting, Personal Training, etc.
What got you into training/competing? What is your athletic background?
This one could take a second, so I’ll start from the beginning. I grew up doing Karate from the time I was about 5. That continued relatively consistently until I left for college. Growing up I was also a competitive swimmer for 8 years, played flag football, soccer, baseball, and most of the sports kids play with the exception of basketball. I can’t say I really enjoy basketball. Jr. High and High School consist mostly of Football, Wrestling, and Baseball. I was an all-state running back, 3 time state qualifier in wrestling, and a decent center fielder who really liked to swing a bat. In college I decided to concentrate on one sport, and played three years of football. I ended my football career at the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater after my sophomore year of eligibility where I was the conference leading rusher, and shared team MVP honors. A few too may head bumps can have a shortening effect on a career. During the off season I had started doing Judo, and after I could no longer play football I decided to focus on that. I took a year off of school and trained with the Texas A&M Judo Team for that year before going to Colorado Springs where I was a member of the Olympic Training Center Judo Team, and also finished my degree. This was really where I was legitimately exposed to the sport of Weightlifting. Sure I used the movements in our Strength and Conditioning program at UWW, and my S&C coach there was pretty good, but it was at the OTC that I was able to get a good understanding of what it really was as a sport. When I was leaving Colorado Springs for an internship, I was looking for something I could do while away from any Judo club, and I started training for Weightlifting.
Who have been influential people in your life in regards to training, or just in general?
Growing up, my favorite athlete of all time was Walter Payton. Aside from his ridiculous ability to thump linebackers and make DB’s look just downright foolish, he had a way of performing without all of the drama that comes all too often. Score, hand the ball to ref, repeat. Being possibly the greatest ever at what you do, while maintaining a professional demeanor is admirable to me. The Barry Sanders philosophy of ‘act like you’ve been there before, and you’ll be there again’ sums it u. Don’t get me wrong now- if you win the Super Bowl, World Series, or hit a World, Olympic, or even an American record, celebrating is all good! But until then, I’m a fan of those who can keep their composure. But I digress. Probably the one person who had the biggest impact on my training, aside from my own coach, is a coach named Andy Tysz. The story of his impact on my training is one that I would really like to elaborate on so i’m not going to get into it now. Just know that what he told me has been my go-to thought when none of the pieces seem to fit, and I think it is times like that which truly influence your training and fortitude as an athlete.
What are the greatest challenges you have faced from a training/competing standpoint?
#1- Finances. It is nearly impossible to train, eat, and rest the optimally, while still paying for life. Weightlifting isn’t exactly a high profile sport, so finding other means to make ends meet while still being something flexible enough to allow for the necessary training and travel, is not easy to find. After that, it is just a whole task in itself to juggle training and real life. It is way too easy to get completely caught up in one and forget about your responsibility to the other, and usually the one missing out isn’t training.
How do you structure you training going into a competition?
This is something I am sure we will get into a lot more later on. Plus, for my own training, I don’t do the programming. I step completely out of the coach role as an athlete and give full control to my coach, Bo Sandoval. While I do have my own ideas as to how I take athletes up to a competition, I don’t think it works well to do it for yourself. It’s like the whole not being able to see the forest from the trees bit. You can’t give an honest analysis of something you are in the middle of, thus you can’t make appropriate adjustments. Rough estimates would put our taper starting about 14 days out, with our last heavy Clean and Jerk day being somewhere between 10-14 days and our last heavy Snatch day 7-10 days out.
What is your typical diet like?
Over the past year this is probably the biggest adjustment I have made to my training. Before, my diet consist of just about anything I could get my hands on. I really ate without prejudice. A little before Nationals last year I decided to clean it up a bit, eating more real food and just having very relaxed weekends. When I decided to make the cut to 85kg I had to put it on lock down. I used Dave Palumbo’s ketogenic diet and had tremendous luck with it. Things that are ALWAYS in my fridge, whether i’m cutting or not are steak, eggs, chicken, real butter, and diet pop. Sweet potatoes and quinua are my carbs of choice, along with corn tortillas. And who doesn’t like pizza, ice cream, cookies, and just about anything covered in chocolate when you can? Honestly though, I still don’t eat near as well as I should when I don’t have to make weight. Just another thing on the list of things to improve !
What upcoming competitions do you have? What are your competitive goals for the next year?
My next meet is going to be the American Open in Palm Springs, California the weekend of November 30-December 2. After that, it is on to the Arnold Classic in Columbus, Ohio at the end of February, and Nationals at the end of July. To tell you the truth, I want to make an international team or two. If I do what I feel i’m capable of, I don’t believe it is out of the question. In addition to that, there are a few other, bigger goals, but we’ll get to those. I think I still need to demonstrate a few things before I state them publicly.
What advice would you give to someone who is interested in competing in what you do? What advice you would give to a younger version of yourself?
To someone who is interested in Weightlifting, I would say go try it out! After that, go watch a meet! I remember the first real meet I went to watch… Pan Ams in Chicago. I walked out of that place completely hooked. To a younger version of myself, I would say to get the ball and take advantage of every opportunity to LEARN as much as possible earlier in life. I just think it took me too long to get the bug to learn anything and everything about anything and everything. Not just weightlifting and training, but all information. The more educated you are on something, the more confident you can be in making a proper decision. I wouldn’t even say right or wrong, just proper, as long as you have the information to back up such a decision.
What things need to happen for US Weightlifting to be successful on an international level?
Youth Development! That and simply increasing participation numbers. A larger pool of athletes to pick from will ultimately increase chances of someone being successful, and a youth development program would maximize potential. In no way do I think these are unique thoughts- Just look at any of the sports that are successful in the U.S.. Football, baseball, basketball… they all have tremendous feeder programs that greatly increase exposure and education of the sport from a very young age. Simple concepts, but it’s hard to compete for attention with the big money sports. I mean, hey, I probably would never have found weightlifting if I didn’t get hit in the head a few too many times in one of those sports.
Any general thank you’s or products to look out for or anything else you want to say…
There are a ton of people who have helped me get where I am, and many who continue to support me now. Among the most important; my ever supportive parents who still front the bill for much more than they should- my coach, Bo Sandoval, who has dealt with programming for me from afar during my gypsy-like lifestyle of moving from place to place, and dealing with my tendency to be a very difficult and needy athlete- and my girlfriend Kelly, who deals with my obnoxious eating and training patterns, as well as my general neglect for most other things while preoccupied with said eating and training. Crossfit 616 in Grand Rapids, MI and Crossfit Madtown in Madison, WI have both been huge in accommodating my training while in their areas. Also, I want to send a special thank you to Mike Favre, who is the Director of Strength and Conditioning for Olympic Sports at the University of Michigan, for allowing me and fellow lifters to train in their facility. Without him and his support, Michigan Barbell Club and myself would not be in the position we are to have the opportunity to compete. I have been very lucky in my associations with these people, and more, who continue to support not only myself, but others like me. A good support structure is crucial for any athlete to succeed, and mine has been exceptional.
If you have a personal website/fan page/etc, list that here…
I do not… that would be cool though!