A quick learner on the fast track to success.
Better words could not better describe Zara Nybo, a rather remarkable 15-year-old who in less than a year has already started to make a name for herself in Olympic weightlifting and CrossFit training.
“I just joined Hercules (Weightlifting Club in Nanaimo) in September,” said Nybo, who hails from California and moved to Vancouver Island with her mom four years ago. “(Hercules) has great team spirit and the coaches (father and son Mirek and Raf Korkowski) are amazing. And I have a great training partner there.”
“I’ve been doing Olympic weightlifting since March and started CrossFit in January. I’d never done any weightlifting before and I fell in love with lifting heavy and decided to try it.
“I started learning the clean and jerk and my coach said they’d never seen anyone learn it as fast as I had picked up the technique.
“I met Corey (McBeath of the Lake Trail/Killerwhale Weightlifting Club, who went to the 2016 Canadian championships in May) and he invited me to come train with him (at StrongHearts in Courtenay). And I did. I signed up that night I loved it so much.”
Nybo attended the recent 2016 KilOpen provincial qualifier tourney in Surrey, where she completed five of her six lifts and set two Personal Records in the clean and jerk.
“I got two of my snatches, then missed my third attempt. I got all my clean and jerks and PRs at 61 and 63 kilos. It was very exciting.
“I love to compete. It’s really fun. The best thing is being on the platform. I love being on the platform…just me and the barbell. And then dropping it…and you know if it’s a good lift or not.
“And once you drop it you can cheer if you know you got it. I love running off the stage and giving my training partner a big hug and high fiving my coaches. It’s always the best thing.”
As she has been lifting for only eight months, her weight totals did not qualify her for this year’s B.C.s. But it inspired her for next year. “That’s my goal – 100 per cent. That’s what I train for,” she said.
Next year’s Provincials could be considered a short-term goal, as Nybo is looking much farther down the road. “My long-term goals are Worlds, Pan Am Games and University World Championships. Those are all big goals and you have to go one kilogram at a time, just PR, PR, PR,” Nybo said.
She also has a definite CrossFit goal. “I’m training for the CrossFit Games. There’s an open qualifier in February and March and my goal is just to see where I place in that in the world and from there adjust my training and start training for 2018. My (CrossFit) coach (Laura Stewart at StrongHearts) is very accommodating and great,” Nybo said.
Between weightlifting and CrossFit, Nybo trains seven days a week in Courtenay and Nanaimo. “CrossFit requires all around sports, you have to be good at everything. So I do gymnastics, swimming and running and sprinting and all the other work that goes along with it.”
Nybo says StrongHearts owner Adam Morden inspires her in both weightlifting and CrossFit training. And she is great self-starter as well.
“I’m home schooled, so I have to motivate myself to do school work.
. “And I set big goals. I’ve set a goal to graduate early … that helps motivate me in weightlifting when training gets hard and helping me train alone. And training CrossFit helps me get to my bigger goals.”
Nybo is firmly focused on those bigger goals – “Hopefully becoming a personal trainer or life coach and helping people. My biggest longterm goal is just to help people. Fitness is the biggest part of my life and I feel it really does help people,” Nybo said. “I want to help people find passion in sport.”
Nybo loves working with children and was a junior gymnastics coach at Courtenay Rec for a couple of years. Her two younger siblings and her mom join her in her training: “We’re a CrossFitting family. I love seeing them gain strength and confidence through the sport. Getting good habits as young kids is really good.”