SAN DIEGO — Teaching young women how to be strong is worth its weight in gold.
In Tuesday's Zevely Zone, Jeff visited the East County Barbell Weightlifting Club in El Cajon for some serious Girl Power.
Life can get heavy for teenagers, so the East County Barbell Weightlifting Club is where girls come to "lighten" their load.
"Oh yeah," said Ireland Colson.
She and Kylie Westbrook are former cheerleaders who dropped their pom poms and picked up power lifting.
"It's weird to come from cheerleading to here because it's very la, la la, and you come here and you have to be very mean an aggressive," said Ireland.
ECB is a local Olympic weightlifting club founded and coached by Wes Cravy a USA Weightlifting coach and eight-year Army Infantry Veteran. The club trains competitive youth, junior, senior and masters athletes in their gym located in El Cajon.
Earlier this summer, ECB sent four of its female youth athletes to USA Weightlifting National Youth Championships held in Anaheim which hosted over 1000 youth athletes from all over the county.
The girls ranged in age from nine to 14 years old and all placed above the top 10 in the nation in their respective age and weight categories. In the sport of Olympic weightlifting, athletes compete in two lifts: the snatch, and the clean and jerk. This sport teaches athletes discipline, coordination, speed and strength. Most of the youth athletes compete in other sports such as gymnastics, soccer, dance and cheer leading.
Grunting is required or at least that's the way their coach prefers it. Wes Cravy teaches the grit of war from Afghanistan is translatable to teens.
"Leadership is one of them and patience is a huge part of it with the athletes," said Cravy.
You need patience because if you fail, you have to train harder, get stronger and try again. In a lot of sports, the coach decides who plays and who doesn't, but with Olympic weightlifting, you either lift the barbell or you don't. Just like on the battlefield, boy or girl, don't mean a thing.
"There is one girl on our team who just did her personal best at 100 kilos and most of the boys can not do that. How good does that feel? It's just crazy to think about," said Ireland and Kylie.
"They are pretty good at what they do," said Cravy.
For example, 14-year-old Teagan Boudreaux, who is 5 feet, 1 inch tall.
"If I bumped into you on the street I wouldn't think that you were a power weight lifter," said Jeff.
"Yeah it's definitely something you wouldn't see everyday. It's not a big sport but we are trying to get bigger," said Teagan.
Teagan weighs 107 pounds, but can lift 165 pounds.
"I'm glad I didn't bump into you on the street in a dark alley," said Jeff watching her power lift.
Coach Cravy said if you start your girls off early you'll see some serious Girl Power!
"I just like that this is such a family that we built, it's so nice to have somewhere to go all the time and have such a great atmosphere," said Kylie.
Visit the East County Barbell Weightlifting Club website for more information.