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Weightlifting Champion Bianca Miller discusses her journey
Miller discusses everything from her CrossFit and weightlifting journey to how she’s been adjusting amidst the pandemic
January 17, 2021
What do you picture when you think of an accomplished weightlifter? Whatever it is, I’d assume it is at least slightly different than a full-time SDA student, trying to navigate distance-learning like all of us amid everything else that comes with the pandemic.
Bianca Miller, a sophomore at San Dieguito Academy, won the 2020 USA Youth Weightlifting National for her age, gender, and weight group on Dec. 7.
Like many extracurriculars, the 2020 USA Youth Weightlifting National, one of the biggest competitions in weightlifting, was held online.
“It was a really good time because you still get to do the same thing in front of a big crowd, and honestly, it took a lot of the pressure off. It honestly made it so I can really focus on my performance more,” Miller said. These reflections are impressive, considering how athletes are adapting amidst the pandemic.
However, she isn’t just a weightlifter. In fact, weightlifting is only a small part of the actual sport she has been doing for about three years– Crossfit. “[Crossfit] combines basically every single sport, and one of them is weightlifting,” said Miller. “So when I started Crossfit, I dove a little bit into weightlifting, but over the past year and a half, I’ve gotten really into it.” Miller now starts every single session off with weightlifting.
Despite complications arising from the coronavirus pandemic, an athlete’s workout routine is still a considerable task. She shares that her coach gives her all types of drills, such as snatch, clean and jerks, and squats. “It’s really good to have consistency and just…come in every single day,” Miller said.
However, while the pandemic has made some aspects of her weightlifting difficult, Miller has experienced at least one upside. “It’s really helpful right now, honestly, with online school,” said Miller, who can juggle both school and Crossfit while still maintaining a good sleep schedule. “This quarantine thing is helping!” said Miller, who had to take an unscheduled fourth period to train for Crossfit when school was in-person.
Miller discussed her focus on meditation, which helps her with her Crossfit and weightlifting. “It’s really the nerves that get you [at] that start because if you let the nerves overwhelm you, you already kind of lost,” said Miller. “I used to get really overwhelmed…I think that’s why I didn’t do as well as I really wanted to,” she said. “Competition is 90 percent mental– it’s 10 percent physical. So I’ve been doing meditation every single day…and this quarantine has been allowing me to work on that mental part of it.”
Miller goes on to emphasize the importance of the mental as well as the physical. “You don’t want to be focusing on fighting back those negative thoughts,” said Miller.”I could not recommend [prioritizing your mental health] enough.”
To help us who don’t participate in weightlifting, Miller shares her perspective. “People picture training as the perfect situation…but it’s not. That one day of the month when everything is paying off, that’s when I feel really proud of myself [for] sticking through it.” She describes how she considers sometimes taking it easy for the week and then being elated when she doesn’t, and it pays off. “Every hour that I put into Crossfit pays off, and you have those moments where you just feel unstoppable,” Miller said.
Miller doesn’t participate in these competitions just for the trophies. “Honestly, I’ve made some of my best friends through competitions,” Miller said when reflecting on her valued experiences during competitions. “It’s cool because in a competition you’re meeting people who have the same willpower and passion as you. So just a lot of like-minded people that come together, and you bond over that.”
The friendships, while a valued aspect of these competitions are just one of many things that Miller enjoys. “Other than my friends, it’s just really cool to have experienced because every single competition you learn,” said Miller, who loves to see how much she progresses from each competition. “I’m not the same person I was when I was fourteen or thirteen…I’m making my old self proud.”
When asked who her role models are, Miller thinks about social media influencers who use their large platforms to promote body positivity and shows girls that it isn’t bad to have muscles. “I see so many…kids my age, like girls…[who] are scared to have muscle just because it doesn’t fit a certain body type,” said Miller, who thinks that having muscle is “something to be proud of.”
“People picture training as the perfect situation…but it’s not,” she says. “That one day of the month when everything is paying off, that’s when I feel proud of myself [for] sticking through it.” She describes how she considers sometimes taking it easy for the week and then being elated when she doesn’t, and it pays off.
When she isn’t doing Crossfit, Miller plays with her puppy, bakes, especially banana bread, and volunteers.
“I found my purpose and what I love to do,” said Miller. “I found [my place] when I started Crossfit and weightlifting. I hope everybody finds that even if it’s not Crossfit and weightlifting, just something that they really like to do.”
This interview has been shortened for length.