Physical Activity

Catching Up with Olympic Weightlifter James Afto

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PurePharma sponsored athlete James Afto, recently won Silver at the Master’s Pan Ams Games! We caught up with this Olympic weight lifter to see how he got involved in weight lifting, what inspires him and how he imparts his love of fitness to his kids. Follow James on Instagram to see what he does next!

  1. How did you get into weight lifting?

I started CrossFit in 2010 and fell in love with the Olympic lifts and later made the move to focus on them full time. I found my coach Richard Flemming and Spoon Barbell and I’ve been doing it every day since.

  1. Why did you decide you wanted to compete?

My coach saw I had potential and I love to compete so I set some goals. My first was to be a state champion and then later a national champion. After that, I wanted to compete at the international level to win Panams and Worlds. Over my career, I’ve set 6 state records and one national one so I’m pretty happy so far.

  1. What’s been your proudest moment as an athlete thus far?

Winning the silver medal at last years Masters World Championships in Copenhagen was an amazing experience. I even got to spend some time at Pure Pharma HQ while there.

  1. What advice would you give to athletes that are just getting started with weight lifting?

Make sure to focus on good technique with a good coach because it’s hard to change bad habits once they are set in place.

  1. Do you have any quotes or song lyrics that inspire you?

I like to listen to music during my workouts to inspire me during training sessions. They are long and hard so you will always find some techno or rap with a good beat playing at the gym.

  1. Outside of weightlifting, what do you like to do?

Besides my job, being a dad to 3 kids and weightlifting, I don’t have a ton of free time. I do enjoy the travel that comes with my job.

  1. How do you like to prepare for a workout?

Definitely some sort of caffeine pre-workout and then I sip on a shaker of PW1 during my workout. I’m trying to focus more on intra/post workout recovery lately.

  1. How did you celebrate winning silver at the Pan Am Games?

As my friends know, I always like to get gluten free pizza and a gluten free beer after a big meet to celebrate since I don’t get a lot of it during my training cycle.

  1. What is your main focus when fueling yourself?

I have a gluten free diet so I eat a lot of meats, fruits, veggies etc. I’m starting to experiment with more carbs during training for performance and recovery so I also have rice and sweet potatoes.

  1. Clean & Jerk vs. Snatch. What’s your favorite?

Even though, I’m better at Clean & Jerk, I love to snatch. It’s just a complicated movement that I work on daily to try to improve. I could (and do) snatch for hours some days.

  1. What’s one lesson you’ve learned from your dad that you still apply to your life?

“If you want to be best, you need to seek out the best and beat the best.”

  1. What lessons do you teach your kids about fitness and health?

I encourage them to play many different sports to see what they like to do. On the nutrition side, been trying to talk to them about a lot about the impact of sugar lately. I also joke with my kids and their friends with this quote: “All you need is sleep and meat.”