Work That Matters

Olympic Weightlifting Brings Strength, Discipline and Stress Relief

Learn how weightlifting helps Alvin de-stress after a high-intensity day of nursing

Alvin Rocha, MSN, RN, CPN, recently lifted 120 kg (264 lbs) above his head—and he’s not done yet. Rocha’s passion is Olympic weightlifting, one of the oldest Olympic sports, which debuted at the first official Games in Athens, Greece, in 1896.

The sport tests his limits, mentally and physically. “I enjoy the work you have to put in to achieve the heavier weights,” says Rocha, Nurse Care Manager in the Heart Institute’s Pediatric Pulmonary Hypertension Program.

Olympic weightlifting teaches him discipline and patience. “As long as you’re pushing forward, committing to improving your technique, you will get better,” he says.

His current weight is 200 pounds for the “snatch”— a move in which the weightlifter lifts the barbell from the floor to overhead in one single movement. In the two-part “clean and jerk,” he lifts the barbell from the floor to his shoulders, then from his shoulders to overhead.

His next goal is to one day qualify for a Master’s national level competition.

Rocha has always gravitated to highly technical sports. In high school, he competed in shot put and discus. He trains four days a week in Olympic weightlifting under the watchful eyes of a coach. On his off days, he works on recovery cardio and flexibility. He tests his skills in competitions twice a year.

After a shift of high-intensity nursing, the sport is “a great way to de-stress and clear my mind,” he says. “It changes my focus.”

Weightlifting relates to nursing in another way. “You learn what you can push through,” adds Rocha. “You know you’ve talked yourself through challenges before and you can do it again.”

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