Name: Natalie Burgener
Age: 26 (27 on Nov. 7th)
Weight class: 63kg
Club: Team Crossfit
Years in weightlifting: 12
Other Sports competed in: Gymnastics
Tell us about your great performance at worlds. What are your thoughts and feelings?
I placed 12th at the World Championships this year and totaled one kilo below my total at the Olympics. I was very pleased with my performance and it felt great to compete on a big stage again. I wasn't sure how I was going to do leading into the Worlds, because a couple months before Worlds I started training with a new coach, Zygmunt Smalcerz. My training was very different than I was used to, and I had no idea how it would affect me. I was happy to go 5 for 6 (happier if it was 6 for 6), and lift relatively big weights again.
What are your goals for the next couple of years leading to the Olympics?
Like most weightlifters, I'm looking for progress. I didn't want to comeback to hit the numbers I did before I retired. I'm not looking for post-retirement PR's, I'm looking for REAL PR's.
How do you prepare yourself mentally training up to competition (1 month out)?
I try to think about each workout instead of just focusing on the competition that's coming up. If I can get good, consistent training, regardless of numbers, then I am more confident leading into the competition.
What do you think about during travel to a competition?
Not a whole lot. At this point I try to not think about the competition. Usually I'm thinking about recovery. I make sure to stretch and walk around on the plane and drink lots of water so that I feel great once I land.
What do you think about while at a competition?
I think there are two kinds of competitors: Ones that need to stay calm and ones that need to get a little nervous in order to compete well. I was always told that I needed to relax and stay calm at competitions and when I got there I felt like I was in a dream. I made myself too calm, and it usually had a negative effect on my lifting. Now I know that I have to go into a competition thinking about what's on the line, who is watching, and why I came back to lifting in the first place. I have to make myself a little nervous so that I don't take any lift for granted. I try to stay connected to what I am doing at that moment.
How do you keep everyday fresh in the gym- meaning when you train as often as you do how do you get excited for every practice?
I am a firm believer in NOT making weightlifting your life. This may sound strange, but I have lifted before when I had nothing else going on in my life besides weightlifting, and it completely stressed me out. If a workout was terrible then I was depressed and upset for days. Now I am working, going to school, and married. Workouts are my "fun" time, and I enjoy going into the gym. Bottom line, you have to actually like weightlifting. If you have a great time in the gym then you will notice your lifts will start to improve.
What are your greatest achievements on and off the platform?
Competing in the 2008 Olympics and snagging Casey Burgener.
In a male dominated sport, how do you keep in touch with your feminine side?This sport is dominated by males because most females think that you're going to somehow turn into a man once you start lifting weights. I don't look a whole lot different now than when I started lifting, except for the fact that I'm 12 years older and in better shape. I would like girls to know that as long as you don't take drugs and don't look like a man before you start weightlifting, then weightlifting is going to make you more beautiful not less. So, how do I keep in touch with my feminine side?…..I lift weights.
What do you want to say to girls and women who are thinking about trying weightlifting?
Weightlifting is for anyone who loves to compete, push their bodies to do the unimaginable, be powerful, strong, and mentally tough. Weightlifting is a great outlet for women, and I would recommend it to anyone.