At Virus Australia we love learning about the people who wear our gear. Our aim is to help you perform better, so if our products are enabling this, then our work is done. In light of this, we want to shine the spotlight on some of the everyday athletes out there who are putting in the hard work to follow their passions and supporting our brand.
We recently asked Benjamin Silva, an athlete, family man, personal trainer (based at the Elite Training Centre, Geelong) and all around great guy, some questions about his passion for Olympic lifting. Ben, who currently competes with the Geelong Weightlifting Club, kindly provided the responses below.
What is the passion that defines you?
Knowing that I only have one LIFE, so it’s better for me to share what I have and pass it forward.
How, when and why did you first get involved with Olympic lifting?
I’m a gym rat from way back (not having a clue what I was doing), I graduated to crossfit for 3 years and that’s where I got introduced to Olympic Weightlifting. I’ve been Oly lifting only since August 2014.
What made you decide to take it to the competition level?
It was the natural progression. I wanted to get better. For me, I will never get better by JUST training. At my age (50 years old), I’m still competitive.
When was your first comp, and how would you describe the experience?
My first competition was at my home club, Geelong Weightlifting Club, it was a day I felt relieved to get one under my belt.
How many different federations have you competed in?
I belong to the Australian Weightlifting Federation, this allows me to compete in local, state, national or international level of competition.
How would you say the Masters games differ from other comps you have competed in? The comps I have competed in from local to State to Australian, Oceania, Pacific Rim, World Cup and World Masters Games differ from each other because of how fast or slow I can acclimatise for each condition. The mind set is key to feel Comp ready whether I’m at my local club or overseas competing.
What has been the pinnacle achievement of your lifting career?
Being able to qualify and continually improve with my combined total for snatch and clean & jerk for 45-49-69kgs and now 50-54-69kgs, in my age group, is by far my best achievement so far.
On the flip-side what has been the most challenging moment of your lifting career and how did you overcome it?
I recently competed in the World Masters Games 2017. That’s where I bombed out in the first part of the competition. I missed all my snatch attempts, so I could not go further. That moment of time took 2.5 years of work. What got me through it was the support of my team mates, Olympics Weightlifting community and of course my wife and family.
I went through all the emotions that come with FAILING. Failing is such a blessing to experience. The most challenging is the day to day grind of training, eating, resting, sleeping and working through those niggles. Not forgetting I have a family and run my own business.
What are some of the indispensable items that an Olympic lifter needs to get the most out of their performance?
As with a lot of other sports, I would say the following items are indispensable. Not in any particular order. Unwavering commitment, coach, community, good communication skills, patience, being coach-able, gotta have fun and be selfless.
How were you first exposed to Virus performance gear and have you found it helps enhance your performance and recovery?
My first contact with Virus Performance Gear was seeing some of the people I follow in Instagram wearing it. They are are so comfortable to wear out of and during training. I find that they help stabilise muscle soreness and helps quicken my recovery from a heavy work load.
What tips would give anyone wanting to get into Olympic lifting at a competitive level? Have the volume of work behind you, have FUN and PATIENCE.
What tips would you give to any athlete considering competing in Masters games? Again, have the volume of work behind you, get to know the Masters community and be strategic about which competition you want to enter.