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Get to know our coaches!

Zac Smith

Owner & Head Coach

Qualifications: BWL Level 2 & Competition Licence

Experience:  8 years 

Occupation: Civil Engineer 

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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 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!

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Laura Parker


Qualifications: Certified Nutritionist & Level 3 Personal Trainer

Experience:  7 years 

Occupation: Graphic Designer

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 7 years ago, I have competed nationally five times at the English and British Championships, three-times 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.

Things you might not know about me...

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 a south Indian curry. I have a strong interest in performance and weight loss nutrition, and love working with athletes towards achieving their goals. Nutrition coaching isn't about churning out macros and meal plans. It's about creating a relationship, guiding an individual through personalised lifestyle and habit changes, and educating them so that they become autonomous in reaching their own goals.

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Seb Biggins

Coach & Talent Academy Coach

Qualifications: BWL Level 2 & Level 3 Personal Trainer

Experience:  6 years 

Occupation: Sports Therapist & Practice Educator

Favourite Lift: Snatch


I began Olympic Weightlifting 6 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.

As well as working as a qualified Sports Therapist, I am also a Practice Educator at the University of Essex. I feel passionately about bringing my knowledge and skills to Colchester Weightlifting, working with our athletes to help prevent and resolve any injuries that may occur,

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 Cocker Spaniel, Che!

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Hannah Westow

Talent Academy Coach

Qualifications: BWL Level 2 

Experience:  4 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 four 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 has been a particular highlight. 
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

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Heather Burt


Qualifications: BWL Level 2 & Technical Official Licence

Experience:  6 years

Occupation: Accountant

Favourite Lift: Clean and Jerk

My introduction to weightlifting came when I took part in a 10 week weightlifting course at the crossfit gym I was a member of and as result discovered I wasn’t completely terrible at it. I made the decision to switch my focus over and competed at my first British Championships 4 months later, the rest is history.

Since then I have competed nationally 4 more times, including a silver medal at the 2019 English Championships.  I also got to compete in Montreal at the 2019 Masters World Championships.

Weightlifting is my passion, I live for that feeling when you walk out onto the platform to take that first lift or the high after a PB and recently, I have also discovered the joy I feel when helping other people to realise their own potential in a coaching capacity.

Things you might not know about me...

I have always participated in competitive sport including swimming and equestrianism - I even used to compete in high jump for my school athletics team...shocking for someone of my height!

Outside of weightlifting in my limited spare time I enjoy walking (mostly with my dog Todd), cooking, reading and spending time with my daughter.

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Emily Alcock

Club Captain

Qualifications: Technical Official Licence 

Experience:  6 years

Occupation: Operations Analyst

Favourite Lift: Snatch 


I first tried weightlifting in 2017 after I was advised to take up weight training to aid the symptoms I was experiencing with my hyper mobility. Before long, I was absolutely hooked! I loved training in such a friendly and sociable environment and for the first time in my life, I  was actually enjoying a sport rather than simply exercising. 

I love challenging myself as a weightlifter and would love to compete nationally one day. I also enjoy learning about the technical aspects of the sport.

Things you might not know about me...

In addition to my day job in the insurance industry, I am also a qualified eye lash technician. 

If I am not at work or in the gym, you will most likely find me reading, shopping or out eating with friends and family.

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