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Interview with Olympic Weightlifter, April Schiel PLUS the benefits of this style of training...

As Instrumental Nutrition + Fitness' Head Coach + Founder, I am excited to announce a series of interviews focused on amazing humans who also LOVE to lift. As a master's lifter (masters start at age 35+), it occurred to me at the 2021 National Masters Weightlifting Championships in March that we have a lot to share with the world. These lifts can benefit us individually but also through the community nationally, internationally + the camaraderie that exists at the team level.

So full disclosure, April Schiel, is a total badass. I met April for the first time at the 2021 National Masters Weightlifting Championships this past March in Orlando. She trains on the same team as myself, Team SAW with Coach Tom Sroka. We started chatting about dogs (we took our puppy Lola!) and then made sure to connect before we parted ways. April is a nurse and paramedic working the night shift saving lives. She is also involved with animal control, is an inventor...AN INVENTOR!!! She invented the first product for her business, Muckmeister Enterprises ( and runs a small horse farm in Pennsylvania.

Watch the full interview below to hear all about HOW April got into lifting and WHY she started and keeps doing it.

We have somehow become part of this community of "things most people can't do." But the reality is that MOST PEOPLE CAN + SHOULD participate in some variation of these lifts. There are so many ways to vary the snatch + clean & jerk to meet you exactly where you are in your skill + strength, yep, even your grandma! Ever had to put a heavy bag in your overhead on a plane? That's a version of the jerk!

"Whoa, the Olympics?!?!"

"You do WHAT??"

"There's NO way I could do that!"

These are the typical responses I hear when people ask what type of training I do. First off, I have not competed in the Olympics. It is the name of this STYLE of lifting and includes the snatch (moving an object from the ground to overhead in one movement) and the clean and jerk (moving an object from the ground to shoulder, then shoulder to overhead). Second, these movements have a ton of benefits for the every day person.

Here's the thing, everyone CAN do this stuff + everyone SHOULD CONSIDER including this type of training into their weekly routine in some way. Besides looking like a badass throwing shit over your head, let's review the benefits of the snatch + clean & jerk:

  1. Become more powerful + gain strength + muscle

  2. Protect against injury

  3. Improve bone density

  4. Increase core, midline + back strength for stability in every day life

  5. Increase body awareness + coordination

  6. Improve range of motion, mobility + flexibility

  7. Gain confidence + strength of mind

  8. Have fun! Make new friends!

  9. Change your body composition

  10. Improve sport performance

Being powerful + fast goes beyond athletic prowess. The Olympic lifts will help you improve your run times or improve your ability to do things like walk up 3 flights of stairs without getting winded. The Olympic lifts include the many movement patterns that you see in everyday life AND the gym. Nearly every rep you do you'll squat, deadlift, press, jump + row or some variation of these. In sports AND in every day life we perform movements that require the use of multiple joints at one time, most of the time without even thinking about it!

Through the Olympic lifts you'll develop mobility, stability + strength of the ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, core/midline + back. This means you'll be less susceptible to injury + thrive in the activities you love (running, basketball, softball, cycling etc.). The lifts can be modified to meet you where you are, even if you currently have significant mobility limitations. We can address these through training + assistance exercises, focusing on increasing strength while working on increasing range of motion. We can use dumbbells or even medballs instead of barbells!

As we age, sarcopenia starts to occur, which is the loss of muscle mass and our bodies' ability to generate power declines even faster. These are the things that keep us able-bodied and independent through aging. Muscle loss can interfere with day to day activities as well as increase likelihood of falls and fractures and these are the some of the big reasons why I continue to strength train. It's never too late and we are NEVER too old to start.

Catch the top weightlifters in the world lifting at the Tokyo Olympics.

Learn more about the rules of the sport here:

- Jessica Taylor, Head Coach + Founder, Instrumental Nutrition + Fitness


Big thank you to for the stellar videography

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