General

Fall Classic


So today is the beginning of the season competition, the Fall Classic. I’m feeling confident, training is going well and I’m ready to go. I’m in the 75kg weight class so I’m not starving myself and feeling weak. As soon as I wake up, first thing I do is step on the scale… (75.7), for some very strange reason I think my weight is on point. So I tell my dad and he starts telling me to start spiting…NOW and sounds very serious. I’m thinking he is over reacting and I tell him I am fine, I don’t need to spit. Then after I use the washroom my weight is 75.2, I then start to think I am going to be too light. So I eat a scrambled egg with no salt for some protein then a half of a banana for some starch and sugar because mind you…I’m thinking my weight is on point! So as I step on the official scale, I see 75.5 and the officials ask me if I am in the 75 class and I say yes calmly thinking everything is all good. Then suddenly realize I have to be under 75 or exactly 75 kilos on the dot! So I automatically start to panic and do everything I know to lose the little weight I know how. I start chewing gum and spitting like crazy, using the washroom like it’s nobody’s business freaking out. As I was chewing and spitting in the women’s change room by myself, I started to laugh because I could not believe what was happening at that very moment. I also vowed to myself that I would never make such foolish mistakes AGAIN, because this could have cost me a whole competition. So 45minutes later I step on the scale and 75.0 pops up. YESSS! PHEW! I’m in!! So I run down the stairs and tell everyone my weight and eat as fast as I can. An hour later my competition goes well despite what had occurred. I had broke 3 Provincial records and won gold. So moral of the story is to always listen to your coach!

Time Off

When I became injured at the Senior Canadian Championships in May, it was bittersweet.

This was because I could not lift, could not train, could not compete, and that was heartbreaking for me.

But on the flip side, I had more free time to spend with my family and friends, and do things that had been restricted while I was training full-time.

For a while, I was really enjoying my freedom, but as more and more time passed, I started to miss training and the thrill of competing. Read more...

Featured on The Barbell Social

>> Listen to Episode 1: Maya Laylor 69kg here on the Barbell Social 

Canadian weightlifter Maya Laylor holds the youth, junior and senior provincial records in the 75kg weight class as well as the youth and junior records in the 69kg class. Maya Laylor finished 5th overall at the 2015 Junior World Championships in Poland. Maya is going to be talking to us about some of her recent accomplishments, her come up in the sport and her recovery process from an injury sustained at nationals.

Senior Canadian Championships

Training up to the Senior Canadian Championships, I had a great feeling. My training was on point. I was hitting my openers, and numbers even higher, with ease. I decided to move up a category from 69kg to the 75kg class because I was tired of cutting weight. I couldn’t stand starving myself for another minute; I needed all my strength and power for this particular meet.

Maya-Laylor-warming-up-for-the-Snatch
The big day, Mother Nature had to surprise me with her best gift of all. I was determined not to let this minor setback affect me mentally, because I believe in mind over matter. And you can overcome whatever you`re faced with at a particular moment if you have a strong mind.

In my opinion, Olympic Weightlifting is 90% mental.

Maya-Laylor-in-the-Warm-Up-Area

During warm-up, the weights felt light. I was moving quick and powerful. I felt confident and strong in my attempts. The snatches were over, but I wasn’t too pleased in my performance, I could have done better but I knew it was due to technical error, not strength.

The clean and jerks were next, I knew I had to shake the anger I felt about the last session and prepare mentally for what was next. My cleans were slow and not as powerful as my snatches and my coaches (Clance Laylor and Alexander Varbaov) were starting to worry. I was supposed to open at 110kg but they decided to drop down to 105kg opener. I knew the main reason for my sluggishness was due to Mother Nature`s untimely visit. I never let that affect me psychologically though. I was doing well up until my last clean and jerk, my rest time was cut short and I jumped 6kg without rest.

Maya-laylor-117kg

My dad moved up 1kg for extra rest, and the weight was now at 117kg. As I was walking towards that weight, I had no fear whatsoever. I was ready. I felt like I had turned into `She Hulk`. I got the clean. I was so ecstatic, but I knew I had to jerk it, so I was calming myself down while that 117kg was on my shoulders. I went for the jerk (put everything I had in it) but as soon as the weight went up and I was getting ready to lock it out I felt excruciating pain and heard the sound of cracking bones in my left elbow. I immediately dropped the weight behind me and dropping to my knees, I bent over grasping my left elbow, weeping inconsolably.

Instantly, my dad and several others ran to my side while I knelt down crying. I know in my heart of hearts, without a doubt, that I would have gotten that 117kg clean and jerk if my elbow had not given out!

IMG_9455
Since the injury, I have seen three doctors. It turns out that I have torn my ulnar collateral ligament which is responsible for keeping my elbow and forearm stable and prevent them from flopping around. Many thoughts are running through my mind. I feel lost and have no idea what to do with myself. When I got home and told my sister Kia the diagnosis, I broke down.

I can’t believe what is happening to me, I do not want to accept that I am injured and have to stop Olympic Weightlifting for 3-6 months until I am healed completely. I feel useless.

But I will get past this, mind over matter.

The Things That Girls Go Through

Mother nature wasn’t having it on my last Junior Competition. The week before the competition my dad/coach decided to change my normal taper because I needed to get my legs stronger. So, two weeks before my competition, my squat went up. Because of all the squatting I had done, my
dad decided to try a different taper from my usual one.

The change from my normal taper plus Mother Nature (who kindly greeted me with her wonderful monthly gift) greatly affected my performance. The Friday before the big day I almost had a mental breakdown because things weren’t going as planned. I missed lifts that I normally lift on a regular. I was literally having a nervous breakdown. I didn’t want to accept the fact that I had to lift lower weights than I normally do. I was slowly feeling my pride creep away. After a heart to heart with my mom who gave me an uplifting pep talk, I relaxed.

The following day I just had to let life happen and attack whatever was on the bar. I didn’t achieve the numbers I would have liked but I learned how important it is to fight regardless of the situation. And I’m glad that I did because I performed better than I had expected, under the circumstances.

Friends

Fly kicks Maya

I’m not a party girl nor do I keep a wide circle of friends, but I do have a couple of close ones who I enjoy hanging out with. However, with my demanding training schedule, I don’t really have much time to spend with friends; it’s a good thing they are understanding. So many times I’ve had to turn down invitations because of training. I would often, and still do feel like I’m missing out. But I have to remind myself that my goals are much more than just going out and partying with friends in order that I don’t feel too bad about missing out on all the fun. When I was first starting out in Olympic Weightlifting I didn’t have any idea how many sacrifices I would have to make. But I have recently accepted the fact that I’m going to be missing many more get-togethers, movies and parties in order to attain the goals I have set for myself.

Bittersweet

Today on December 5, 2015 at my final Ontario Junior competition, I broke 2 Junior and Senior records in the snatch. I snatched 92kg breaking my previous record of 88kg. I was ecstatic about hitting that number after attempting it many times in competition, but when the clean and jerk session came around I couldn’t even clean 110kg in any of my three attempts. I was so bewildered because just the previous week I had clean and jerked 115kg, so I had no idea what was going on. And to add insult to injury, I had just missed my best female lifter Sinclair by missing that lift! Read more...

The Struggle

Being an Olympic Weightlifter is not easy; trying to be successful at anything is never easy. I have never liked training. I have never liked the burning sensation of reps, having to push my body to its breaking point everyday, and going home exhausted, not having enough energy to even take a shower. I have never liked the soreness in my body the next morning following a particularly difficult training. I have never liked the hard work I have to put in to get the results I want. But, in my mind, I have no choice. I do this because I want to, because I love, crave and am addicted to success. It is a constant grind; having to wake up when every single muscle, ligament and bone in my body is telling me not to; taking the TTC transit to training, all the while motivating myself for another training session.

The toughest part of being an Olympic Weightlifter is getting through a sticking point. A sticking point is when an athlete is at a standstill in weights, where there are no personal best being made, pretty much stagnant. It is essentially a mental block, and I have to constantly remind myself that “I am a champion and this is what champions endure, this is just mental” and to “keep pushing through”. My dad/coach always tells me to “just work!” when I’m having a particularly tough session. Ultimately, the struggle is well worth it. It is worth it every time I step out onto the podium to collect a medal, and it will be even more worth it when I step out onto the ultimate podium, the Olympic podium to collect the ultimate medal!

The Hookgrip Spartakiad Competition

I was super excited to compete at the Hookgrip Spartakiad competition in Philadelphia on October 4. It’s always fun and exciting to travel out of the country to compete. My family and I were having a good time shopping and passing time waiting for the big day. The morning of, I woke up feeling awful! I was puking, experiencing diarrhea, excruciating abdominal pain and cold sweats. I had no idea what was going on! Turned out I had FOOD POISONING! It was so bad my mom considered taking me to the hospital, I was almost certain that I would not be competing that evening based on how I looked and was feeling. Couple of hours later I was feeling a lot better, I had taken pain relieve pills my mother had given me. A few more bouts of vomiting, the runs and abdominal pain I was able to sleep, thanks to the all the TLC my mother had given me. I was able to compete that evening no question.

Hours before the competition, I was very anxious about how I’d perform, considering how sick I was. I was planning to open with a lot higher numbers but seeing how the morning went, I had no option but to lower my attempts. In the middle of the session when the snatches were over, my sister Kia ran up to me excited and said “MAYA!!! You came second in the snatch!!!” I was so shocked and thrilled, that that was all I was thinking about from then on. Turns out I placed 3rd in the clean and jerk, 2nd in the snatch, and 2nd overall. So in total I was awarded three Hookgrip metals. This experience helped me learn a lot about myself and how far I can push mentally and physically. I am very proud of my performance after battling a debilitating bout of food poisoning that very morning.

Birthday Record at Variety Village Open

After returning from a 6th place, not so good performance at the IWF Junior Worlds Poland June 11th by her personal standards. Maya competed at the Variety Village Open on her birthday July 4th and breaks her clean & jerk record of 112kg/247lbs with 115kg/253lbs. She totalled 200kg and won the best lifter award for pound for pound strongest female. Happy Birthday Maya!