From Gymnastics to Weightlifting - Sport Focus Q&A with Lisa Tobias

February 1, 2018

Fifth at the 2017 Commonwealth Championships, setting a new Scottish record in the process, weightlifter Lisa Tobias looked every inch the seasoned professional. But, incredibly, this former gymnast is a newcomer to the sport, inspired by watching the Glasgow 2014 Games.

Scottish Acro-Gymnastics champion multiple time in her youth, World champion and World record holder in Powerlifting and now one of four weightlifters ready to represent Team Scotland in at Gold Coast 2018, we caught up with this remarkably versatile athlete as part of our Sport Focus series:

So, how does a gymnast become a weightlifter?

“I think Gymnastics is what stood me in such good stead, it gave me the strength and the flexibility, all the core attributes that you need to be a weightlifter. I’d never lifted a weight I my life until four years ago. I wanted to get back into Gymnastics so I went to a personal trainer who got me lifting weights and I discovered that for my size I was really strong. So instead of Gymnastics I went down the route of Powerlifting and decided to focus on that.

Six months later I won the Scottish Championships, then I went on to the British Championships and won that and then the Europeans and the Worlds. But my ultimate goal was to compete at a Commonwealth Games. Back in my Gymnastics days that was always my ultimate goal, so it was at that point that we thought I could switch to Weightlifting. It was a big goal considering I’d never done any Weightlifting in my life, but it’s become a reality!”

What has been the hardest thing about changing sports?

“Learning the technique from scratch, that’s probably been the most difficult. Weightlifting is so much about technique and being explosive and dynamic, where Powerlifting you can get away with using brute strength. But my coach has been amazing, teaching me the whole thing from scratch.”

What is your ambition when you get to Gold Coast?

“To do the best I possibly can. To go out there and perform to the best of my ability, try to get personal bests and try to set a Scottish record out there. It would just be an amazing place to do it, so that’s what I’ll be training for.”

You had a great result at the Commonwealth Championships in 2017, does that give you confidence going into the Games?

I had a brilliant Commonwealth Championships and, with it being in Gold Coast, the whole venue and everything about it was so inspiring. To know I kept my composure under that sort of pressure gives me a lot of confidence. To think that I’ll be back in that same place to compete again for the Games is so exciting, I can’t wait!”

How do you deal with the pressure that Weightlifting brings – one chance to make the lift?

“Because it’s over in a matter of seconds, you just have to go out there with complete belief in yourself and trust in your own technique and all the training that you’ve done.  If you’ve got any seed of doubt in your mind then you’re not going to get that weight above your head, so you just have to have complete confidence.”

What do you do away from Weightlifitng?

“I’ve got two children, age five and seven, and I own several pizza franchises so I’m kept pretty busy!”

Now you’ve achieved that aim of being selected for a Commonwealth Games, what does it mean to be part of Team Scotland?

“I’m just so proud to be representing my country, because it’s always been a goal of mine.  It’s such an honour, I just want to enjoy every moment of it because this is what I’ve been working towards. I’m really looking forward to going out there and putting all the training into practise and showing what I can do.”

Lisa will compete in the 48kg category at Gold Coast 2018 – meet all four of Team Scotland’s weightlifters in their Athlete Profiles.

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