Written By: Cara Walker
Edited By: Elysia Marrs
Looking for something to get involved in at Newcastle University? The NUPWC might be right up your street – get stronger, have fun, and meet like-minded people here at the club. Get to know the ins and outs of Newcastle University Powerlifting and Weightlifting club with Cara Walker, a weightlifter and welfare officer for NUPWC.
What is the weightlifting/powerlifting club?
In a nutshell, NUPWC is a friendly community of people interested in Powerlifting and Olympic Weightlifting – members’ abilities range from beginner to elite level. We train on Wednesday evenings (Powerlifting 5-7pm, Weightlifting 7-9pm), Saturday afternoons (11am-2pm), and Sunday evenings (4-7pm).
When did you first get into weightlifting/ powerlifting?
I joined the club in 2019 when I was in my second year of undergrad – it was one of the best things I ever did! I started going to the gym in 2017 because I was unhappy with my body and wanted to lose weight, at this point in time I had no idea what Powerlifting and Olympic Weightlifting were! Then one day I was scrolling Instagram, and saw a video of Katherine Nye, a USA Olympic Weightlifter, snatching 100-and-something KG and thought “WOAH! I want to do that”.
In the summer of 2019, I dislocated my shoulder, so this meant that learning Olympic weightlifting when I first joined the club wasn’t possible, so I did powerlifting (and competed too!) up until April last year when I started throwing a PVC pipe around in my flat during the lockdown and began to learn the Olympic lifts!
Joining NUPWC was one of the best things I ever did – it helped me find my love for strength training and improved my mental health and mindset – I no longer train to lose weight, I train to get stronger!
Who can join the weightlifting/powerlifting club? Can people with no experience in lifting join the club?
Absolutely – anybody and everybody can join NUPWC regardless of experience! We have qualified Powerlifting coaches (Tarrin, Callum, and Joe, club President, Secretary, and social Sec respectively) and Fritha. Fritha is an Olympic Weightlifting coach from North Tyneside Barbells and she comes and coaches Olympic Weightlifting on Wednesday evenings!
Fritha is a talented, friendly, and approachable coach and we invite anybody who wants to try Olympic weightlifting to come down to S&C 2 on a Wednesday evening at 7pm. Olympic Weightlifting members can also attend North Tyneside Barbell’s Olympic Weightlifting classes with Steven Sharp at Unique Fitness free of charge until 2023. Cool right?!
Would you recommend someone starting their first year at Newcastle University join the club?
I would absolutely recommend someone starting their first year of uni join NUPWC. It is such a great opportunity to meet and get to know people and I have made some lifelong friends in NUPWC. We go on a range of socials from nights out, fancy dinners, and activities such as climbing and bubble football.
Any tips for people who want to join but are nervous about coming along?
If you are nervous or apprehensive about joining NUPWC, that’s completely understandable – I was scared too! The most common thing we hear from new members is “I’m not good enough to join the club, I’m not very strong and I don’t lift much”…If you are nervous about the fact that you don’t have much experience/have never lifted before, always remember – everybody starts somewhere! Just drop me a message on Instagram (@carawalkerxo/@caraw_pl) or email (email@example.com) with any questions you have! But rest assured NUPWC is a welcoming and friendly community always looking to welcome new members!
Are there opportunities to compete?
There are plenty of opportunities to compete! Every year we hold club mock meets. These are an opportunity for members to get a taste of what it’s like to compete in a real powerlifting or weightlifting competition, but they’re more about showing up and having fun!
There are also other competitions to take part in – YNEPF (Yorkshire and North East Powerlifting Federation) holds several local competitions a year as does BWL (British Weightlifting).
What has been your highlight so far, being part of a weightlifting/powerlifting club?
One of the biggest highlights for me was attending an Olympic Weightlifting workshop with GB Olympic silver medalist Emily Campbell at Unique Fitness – I learned so much, met some great people, and had the best time! Emily is awesome! Another highlight for me was competing in the 2020 YNE Northern Universities Powerlifting competition – competing was something I never thought I could do, but I did it and I had an amazing day and I’m still so proud of myself for competing.
These competitions are very beginner-friendly and it’s a great way to meet new people and really immerse yourself into the powerlifting community.
What advice you would give to someone starting out with weightlifting/powerlifting?
If I were to give someone new to powerlifting or weightlifting advice, it would be to worry less about the weight on the bar, and more about having fun and staying safe and healthy – you probably want to lift for a long time, so be safe!
What do you think the best part of being a member of the weightlifting/powerlifting society is, for you personally?
For me, the best thing about being a member of NUPWC is the friends I have made – there is something special about a friendship built around shared goals, personal bests and even lift fails! The club is a fantastic way to make new friends. I have made friends for life!
Want to get involved? Get in contact here:
Cara’s Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Club Instagram: @nclweightlifiting
Tarrin Wilson’s Email (President): email@example.com