Interview with Sam Franklin
I was introduced to Sam Franklin and Adam Travis at Triple X in Manchester by one of my coaches at LOWA, Mike Causer. Last Christmas I was looking to buy some personal training sessions for my brother who lives in Salford. I emailed Mike to ask who the best weightlifting coach in Manchester was. Mike responded within 2 minutes. “Adam Travis, Triple X...”.
I met Sam over email to buy the PT vouchers and I was blown away by her customer service skills (I love good customer service). After exchanging a few emails and seeing Sam snatch 65kg in the 2018 English Weightlifting Championships on Instagram I became really interested in Triple X and Sam as an athlete. In April this year my boyfriend Andy and I made the trip to Stalybridge to spend an afternoon at Triple X (we spent 5 hours there!). It would be our second home if we lived in Manchester. We had a brilliant weightlifting PT session with Adam, we talked for ages about weightlifting nutrition (these guys really know their stuff) and while we were there we saw Ellie McManus (British Weightlifting under 17s National Gold Medal Champion) almost hit a 70kg clean and jerk and said hi to her sister Emily who is British Under 14’s Champion. We met Adam’s Dad who I think was coaching, Adam’s Mum and her friends having a training session with Sam and before we left, Adam was coaching an Oly lifting kids class!
Sam started Olympic weightlifting at the age of 29 at a CrossFit box. Three years later she is [...].
Sam entered her first weightlifting competition (the Northern Regionals) in October 2016 after only two months of being introduced to the sport. Sam told her coach (Adam), “If I qualify for the English Championships, I’ll stop CrossFit and I’ll just focus on weightlifting.” Three months later, Sam picked up a silver medal at the 2016 English Weightlifting Championships with a total of 113kg. Sam quit her job as a project manager at Sky in January 2017 and shortly after that created Triple X with Adam.
Weight category: 48kg
Height: 5ft (usually the tallest in her weight category at competitions!)
Best competition total: 144kg
Best snatch: 67kg
Best clean and jerk: 80kg
Current ranking: 3
Here are some highlights from the discussion I had with Sam about her nutrition when we visited Triple X:
How many times per week do you train and how does this impact your nutrition?
When I first started weightlifting I trained 3 times per week. I now train 8-10 times per week (I always have one rest day per week) and I eat between 2,000 - 2,200 calories per day to fuel this.
What is your nutrition strategy in the weeks leading up to a competition?
I take measurements (e.g. weight, girth measurements and skin folds) every four weeks, especially on the run up to a competition. Two weeks prior to competitions I up my intake of protein and good fats and cut down on starchy carbs.
In that two weeks before a competition I weigh myself every evening and every morning to record how much weight I’m losing overnight to prepare for the weigh in morning. I tend to lose 0.5 - 1kg overnight.
Do you aim for a certain body fat percentage for competition days?
I usually sit at around 21.5% body fat. For competitions this usually comes down to about 17%. Most of our female athletes at Triple X are around 20-30% - optimal body fat percentage really depends on the athlete.
Have you always made weight?
Yes and I’m always pretty close - I’ve weighed in at 47.9kg for my last two competitions. It’s important to remember that you only need to make weight for that one step on the scales. There used to be a benefit to being lighter in weightlifting competitions - the rules were that if two people lifted the same, the lifter with the lighter body weight would win. That is no longer the case. If two people lift the same weight, the person that lifted that heaviest weight first will win.
The closest I came to not making weight was at a competition held at a local CrossFit box, when I initially weighed in at 48.1kg. I lost 0.1kg by performing a (naked) handstand! The theory is that when in the handstand, all your blood rushes up towards your head, and when you stand up again your blood free-falls back down / and some will almost become weightless (a bit like a barbell during a snatch? Who needs a sauna?).
What do you eat after the weigh in and before lifting?
I eat a meal replacement shake (e.g. a SlimFast shake) and perhaps a banana and some Haribo. In between lifts I usually drink isotonic drinks.
What do you eat straight after a competition?
I’m always starving after a competition. My favourite post competition meal is pie, chips and gravy from the chippy!
What do you eat as a pre-training / pre-competition snack?
20 minutes before training or a competition I have a banana, two Ibuprofen pills and a can of apple flavour Carabao Energy Drink.
What is the number one tip you’d give to any Olympic weightlifters that are trying to lose weight / that are training in a calorie deficit?
Don’t cut too many calories. You need to make sure you’re getting enough calories to carry your body around, train and recover. Eat enough calories to protect muscle mass at all costs because if you don’t and you lose weight too quickly - you’ll be losing muscle as well as fat.
What is your favourite protein bar?
I like Grenade bars (my favourite is white chocolate flavour) and chocolate orange NRGFUEL Protein flapjacks. If I have a long training session (three hours +), I’ll usually have half a bar during and the other half after the session.
What is your favourite protein shake?
I drink USN protein if having a shake and NRG Fuel Fruit Punch Protein Quench water after training.
Do you use any meal prep services?
Sometimes I do for lunches when I’m on the go at the gym. We work with 80/20 Health Bar and Kitchen in Bolton and Fresh Food Kitchen in Rochdale. Fresh Food Kitchen sponsored me for my last competition which was the Northern Championships (they gave me all my meal prep for the 4 weeks leading up to the event) and I was the leanest and the strongest I’ve ever been for a competition.
Do you take any supplements?
I take vitamin B complex, vitamin C, vitamin D, glucosamine sulphate, Omega 3 fish oil, BCAA and ZMA. I also take Choline & Inositol. When deciding whether to take a new supplement I trial each one and record how it affects my performance / sleep pattern.
Do you drink alcohol?
Yes but I try to limit it to a couple of glasses of wine per week/weekend. My pre-comp ritual is a glass of dry white wine before bed, it’s a diuretic so helps for making weight!
Triple X is a performance centre in Stalybridge that works with people with a wide range of goals from performance related goals for strength sports such as Olympic Weightlifting, Powerlifting and Strongman right through to working with people awaiting knee replacement surgery who need extreme weight-loss. We’re also working with CrossFit athletes aspiring to go to the Games. We are different to other gyms/clubs because we offer personalised programming, body composition testing and personalised nutrition guidance for every individual client and even sports psychology and life coaching. Everyone is in pursuit of their own personal goals under one roof with a team of experts working closely with them on all aspects.