College of Nursing

Literally, Raising the Bar

3/30/2017 8:00:00 AM - Marissa Brown

Most nurses can lift patients and their spirits, but Maddy Tipton, fourth-semester BYU nursing student, can lift much more than that.

Starting in 2010, Maddy sparked her interest for Olympic-style weightlifting while participating in CrossFit. This fitness program incorporates many aspects of different sports, and Olympic-style weightlifting is one of them. Maddy always had a knack for lifting and was constantly participating in CrossFit competitions. However, her athletic dreams came to a tragic halt due to an accident while rock climbing. Luckily, she did not break her wrist, but she still had to rest and let it mend for about a year.

Once Maddy recovered, she knew that she wanted to do some sort of sport and after deciding that CrossFit and BYU women’s rugby were not what she wanted to do, she looked into Olympic-style weightlifting. Near her home in California is one of the best weightlifting gyms in North America, called Catalyst Athletics. There Maddy learned to lift. She took her surface level knowledge of lifting that she had learned with CrossFit and started to train.

Now, Maddy trains for about 10 to 12 hours a week. She wakes up five days a week around 4:30 am and goes to her gym in American Fork. There she trains, doing all sorts of strength training exercises.

In Olympic-style weightlifting, there are two different lifts: “the snatch” and “the clean and jerk.” Everything that Maddy does in the gym is to prepare and perfect these two lifts. This means she practices lifting the bar from different positions and doing “a ton of different squatting: back squats, front squats, overhead squats, all the squats.” She works with dumbbells as well and does a lot of pushing work, strict presses, and overhead strength training.

Her rest day is the day she has clinical, and still, she wakes up before 5 am.

Weightlifting originated in Europe, and therefore the weights measurements are in kilograms, which Maddy says, “for many nurses, this is applicable because we know what kilos are.” However, she did convert from kilograms to pounds in response to how much she can lift. In “the snatch,” she can lift 72 kilos (about 158 lbs.), in “the clean and jerk,” she lifts 85 kilos (187 lbs.), and her best back squat totaled 112 kilos (246 lbs.).

Maddy has competed in quite a few local and state meets, and two national level meets, the Junior National Championships in Philadelphia and the University National Championships in New Orleans. She plans to continue to compete at these levels, though she says that we will not be seeing her in the Olympics themselves because she is a nurse first. Instead of living, breathing, and sleeping weightlifting, Maddy chooses to excel in school, work part-time, and participate in other extra-curricular activities.

“I value my career in nursing and where that’s going as well as my family and future family.” Even though she loves to lift, Maddy explains, “Nursing will always be a bigger priority than lifting, but when I can fit them together, I will absolutely do both. When I’m able to lift, it helps me be a better nurse in a weird way, because I’m able to manage everything better. Lifting is an outlet.”

Maddy raises the bar above her head and for all those around her, being a great example of hard work, balancing life, and endurance.