MEET THE TEAM

Get to know our coaches!

Zac Smith

Owner and Head Coach

Qualifications: BWL Level 2 + Competition Licence

Experience:  8 years 

Occupation: Civil Engineer 

I have been involved with the sport of Weightlifting for the past 8 years - 6 of which as a coach. I have always had a drive for learning and I previously coached youth cricket as a junior. I have coached both Junior and Senior weightlifters at national competitions to medals and podium positions (English and British Championships), as well as Masters athletes to world medallist standard. 

 

I coach because I want to help people achieve their goals; it gives me a great sense of reward seeing people overcome obstacles and attain the targets they set for themselves. I am confronted on a daily basis with challenges - this keeps driving me to learn and become a better coach. 

My ultimate goal would be to represent my country and coach our country’s top athletes at international competitions.

Things you might not know about me...

I got my first job when I was 12/13 years old and spent my summer holiday picking potatoes out of a field! I declined my university offers out of school to go and train as a Chef and have carried my passion for cooking through as I enjoy being in the kitchen at home, or in charge of the BBQ. 

 

My day job is a Civil Engineer and I work to design new roads and infrastructure. With this and coaching I am kept very busy. If I happen to have any spare time, I enjoy tuning into the radio to listen to Test Match Special; this normally involves me falling asleep on the sofa too!

Laura Parker

Owner & Club Nutritionist

Qualifications: Nutrition (Mac Nutrition Uni) & Level 3 Personal Trainer

Experience:  6 years 

Occupation: Graphic Designer & Certified Nutritionist

Favourite Lift: Snatch 

 

I wasn't feeling challenged enough at a commercial gym. I wanted to try something completely different, lift much heavier weights and set myself bigger goals. I saw an ad for weightlifting on Facebook, it looked intriguing...and here I am! Little did I know that Olympic Weightlifting would later become such a big part of my life... 

 

Since I started weightlifting 5 years ago, I have competed nationally four times at the English and British Championships, twice winning a Bronze medal at the English. 

 

I enjoy weightlifting because I like to be focused, work hard and feel challenged. Seeing improvements with the work that I am doing keeps me accountable to myself, my coach and my goals. Whilst my physical strength has improved, my mental strength definitely has too. I love the fact that no matter how good you are, there is always room to get better...the challenge is endless.

Things you might not know about me...

I have a background of various club level and competitive sports including netball, gymnastics and trampolining - my very first job was actually coaching gymnastics to kids.

 

Before I took up weightlifting I ran long distance for a couple of years and completed 5 marathons, including one ultra-marathon.

 

I have a passion for food (mostly eating it...rather than cooking it!) and my favourite food is Italian or a south Indian curry. I have a strong interest in performance nutrition and have recently qualified with Mac Nutrition Uni. 

Seb Biggins

Coach & Talent Academy Coach

Qualifications: BWL Level 2 & Level 3 Personal Trainer

Experience:  4 years 

Occupation: Sports Therapist & Personal Trainer

Favourite Lift: Snatch

 

I began Olympic Weightlifting almost 3 years ago after becoming frustrated with powerlifting and general strength training - it lacked the technical and mental challenges I needed to stimulate and motivate me. After watching weightlifting for several months, it tickled something which other training styles never had, and after my first Olympic Weightlifting session I was hooked - it was fast, technical, challenging and forced me to think.

For me, weightlifting presents an addictive sense of achievement. I love it because there's always more to learn and never-ending challenges.

Things you might not know about me...

My previous sporting history involves rugby, tennis and cycling - I'm also currently planning some mountain hikes, starting with Snowdon.

 

I can play the piano. 
 
My favourite food is literally anything Thai, Korean or Malaysian.

I am obsessed with my new Cocker Spaniel puppy, Che!

Hannah Westow

Talent Academy Coach

Qualifications: BWL Level 2 

Experience:  3 years

Occupation: History Teacher & Head of Year 10

Favourite Lift: Clean and Jerk

 

I was encouraged to try weightlifting and fell in love with the sport. I have now been weightlifting for two years and hope to start competing soon.
 
I love that weightlifting challenges stereotypes around women being strong; the sport has helped me think positively about my body and focus on what it can achieve rather than how I deem it should ‘look’. 
 
My personal ambitions are to explore competitive weightlifting. I hope to qualify for English in the future. Outside of this, my passion for teaching and learning means that I am really looking forward to coaching other athletes and hope to do so at a high level. 

Things you might not know about me...

I love to travel. Indonesia was a particular highlight so I chose to name my dog Bali. 
 
I’ve always loved sport. I competed at a National level in Volleyball and trained in Martial Arts. 

 

Top 3 on my Bucket List: 

 

Sky Dive 
Complete my Scuba Diving PADI
Visit India