A yoga teacher from Hurstpierpoint has become an English Champion in Olympic Weightlifting, only 18 months after taking up the sport.
Nicola Jane Hobbs, founder of Mind Muscle Yoga, won British Weightlifting’s English Championships last month in the Under 48kg category.
“After putting in so much hard work during training it felt amazing to win the championships.
The other lifters and crowds are really supportive too which just shows how sport has the power to bring people together,” said the 23-year-old.
Nicola, who teaches private yoga and group yoga classes across Sussex, began Olympic Weightlifting whilst studying for a Master’s Degree in Sport and Exercise Psychology.
She trained four or five times a week, focusing on lifting heavy weights for speed and power with regular yoga exercises helping her to balance out the intensity of weightlifting, believes Nicola.
“I wanted to challenge stereotypes and show that you can be strong and flexible.
“Weightlifting is very empowering and yoga brings you balance,” said Nicola.
“Many women are afraid of weightlifting because they think it will make them big and bulky, and many men are scared of yoga because they’re worried that they aren’t flexible enough or they can’t touch their toes.
“My aim is to make both yoga and weightlifting more accessible for everyone to enjoy.”
Nicola has also qualified for the British Championships which take place in May and will be including yoga as part of her training regime.
“I believe a lot of my sporting success comes from yoga. It is a very powerful tool for athletes and for anyone who wants to improve their fitness and wellbeing,” said Nicola.
“I now specialise in teaching yoga to athletes and sport teams to increase their mobility, reduce risk of injury, decrease stress, and improve overall performance.”
Nicola attends The Training Lab in East Grinstead and Withdean Sports Complex as part of Freedom Leisure’s Talented Athlete scheme.
Centre Manager Ross Philipson said: “Nicola is an inspirational athlete who has progressed terrifically considering she only took up the sport a couple of years ago.
“It’s our pleasure to accept her onto the Talented Athlete Scheme so she can continue her training with our full support.”
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