10 Questions With Kate Vibert, Junior World Championship Silver Medalist

Kate Vibert at the 2018 USAW National Championships. Photo courtesy of Lifting Life.
Kate Vibert at the 2018 USAW National Championships. Photo courtesy of Lifting Life.

Kate Vibert is one of the up and coming Olympic weightlifters in the United States. After getting into weightlifting just a couple years ago, Vibert has set several Youth American records and is currently the Junior American record holder in the snatch and total in the 69kg weight category.

Vibert just came home after winning three silver medals at the 2018 IWF Junior World Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. She is ranked #7 on the Team USA rankings for the upcoming IWF Senior World Championships. Vibert is also one of the weightlifters who was impacted by the elimination of the 69kg weight class in the new Olympic categories.

We caught up with Vibert following her trip to Junior Worlds…

The Barbell Spin: Before we get into the current news of weightlifting, can you share your background prior to Olympic Weightlifting?

Kate Vibert: Before weightlifting, I did competitive gymnastics for 11 years before I quit when I was 15 years old. I got into CrossFit a few months after to stay in shape!

TBBS: When and how did you begin weightlifting? At what point did you think you could be competitive at this sport?

KV: I began lifting in CrossFit about 3 years ago. I decided to switch over to weightlifting full time 2 years ago! I actually made the switch because I got bronze at 2016 Youth Nationals without much commitment, and I knew I could do some great things if I dedicated myself to weightlifting.

TBBS: Over the past year you have started to break some records set by some impressive athletes before you. What has it been like to know you have lifted more than anyone else in America at your age?

KV: It’s very exciting to break records set by my idols, but at the same time, my youth records have already been broken! Lifting more than anyone my age is an honor, but I always am looking to reach that next level.

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So excited to be back to the grind! Coach and I are already working on the whole “back foot first” cue in the jerk and it a lil funky but I think it’s looking pretty smooth🤗🏋🏼‍♀️ fueled by @hardcoremeals @hybridperformancemethod @liftgenie @onyx_straps ❤️ – @unitedlifters shorts lookin fireee. Use my code (Vibert) on any purchase of course, but especially these because they were my idea🤗 these Murica shorts will be available late August🇺🇸🏋🏼‍♀️ – #UnitedLifters #hardcoremeals #murica #bodybuilding #strong #strength #weightlifting #oly #fitness #fitfam #fitspo #gains #muscle #girlswithmuscle #crossfit #gym #workout #mealprep #cut #diet #weightloss #kilosnotpounds #kilos #barbell #girlswholift #snatch #quads #lift

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TBBS: You just competed in your first international event and walked away with three silver medals. What was it like flying across the world and competing against some of the best lifters internationally?

KV: The traveling was a bit rough, with over 30 hours of flights, layovers, and driving each way. Other than that, I had an incredible experience with my teammates, who became great friends on the trip! Competing against the best in the world was very humbling and made me hungry to stand on top of an international podium. I had way too much fun on the platform and loved every second of lifting at Junior Worlds.

TBBS: Right before Junior Worlds started, the IWF dropped the new weight classes on everyone. Before we get to your reaction on these, how much did this distract you and everyone from focusing on their competition? Was there a lot of talk in the training hall?

KV: The new IWF weight classes were definitely a big conversation the day they dropped, but most people knew where they would have to go within what seemed like an hour or two. I was thinking about it a lot, though it didn’t make me upset or anything, I just like to plan! And yes, there was a lot of general talk in the competition venue about all of the changes with the classes and Olympics procedures.

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I am incredibly excited about my performance at my first international meet at the 2018 Junior Worlds. I am bringing home 3 shiny silver medals that I received as I cried tears of joy. I narrowly missed making Team USA last year, and the defeat I felt then made me the athlete I am today. Despite any records or PR’s I wanted to achieve at this meet, I am ecstatic my teammates and I have been able to make HISTORY with the amount of hardware we have earned. I am so blessed to be a part of this talented team of athletes that i seriously adore. Thank you to everyone who made this possible @nye___nye @rachelvibert @bradyvibert5 @usa_weightlifting @unitedlifters @liftgenie @hardcoremeals @onyx_straps USA forever🇺🇸🏋🏼‍♀️ #Repost @hookgrip with @get_repost ・・・ 19 y/o @katevibert (69kg, @hookgripusa) clean and jerking 125kg/275lb to set a new competition PR and to win three silver medals at the 2018 Junior Worlds — her first international meet!

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TBBS: The weight class you are currently competing in, the women’s 69kg, is obviously going away. To compete at the Olympics you will have to either drop to 64kg or jump up to 76kg. On social media you’ve shared the struggle on which way to go. What is your current thinking on which way you will go?

KV: I am still unsure of which weight class I will be in. I will finish out this year as a 71kg lifter. I have a bod pod scan appointment to test my body fat percentage and hopefully that will help me make a healthy decision!

TBBS: Moving up or down could impact your health outside of the gym. How do you balance choosing a weight that you’re most competitive at versus staying healthy outside the gym?

KV: Though I obviously want to be internationally competitive, if I have to cut to an unhealthy weight to be there, I probably wouldn’t even lift the way I normally would and it wouldn’t be worth it. I’m not sure if this will be the case or not, but I am very serious about my long-term health and will make sure to be smart in my decision to not compromise my quality of life in the future.

TBBS: Can you talk about the role of nutrition in your performance? What is your diet and how have you changed it over the past year when moving up a weight class?

KV: I started working with Hardcore Meals a few months ago, and they provide me with healthy, fresh meals that I eat 10 times a week. They include lean protein, a healthy source of carbs, and a big serving of veggies! Since I’ve moved up, I haven’t been counting calories or macros, but generally eat healthy. Today I’m starting with Hybrid Performance Nutrition to get my nutrition in check with 1-on-1 coaching!

TBBS: Some people might not know this, but you are engaged. First, how did he propose? When is the wedding and when will we see you on the platform with a different last name?

KV: Noah proposed under a beautiful clock tower at my college campus, it was really sweet and we got to celebrate at my favorite steak house in my city. The wedding is on November 30th and I’ll be changing my last name to Nye shortly after. You’ll be seeing Katherine (Kate) Nye on the platform whenever I decide to compete for the first time in 2019 🙂

TBBS: How many hours a day do you train? And when you’re not training, what do you enjoy doing outside of the gym?

KV: I train 1.5-3 hours a day depending on the volume and intensity of the workout. When I’m not training, I like to plan my wedding (no planner, no problem), watch The Office or Parks and Rec with my fiancé, look up adoptable puppies online (definitely getting a puppy when I move into an apartment), and go to church! I also love to dress up and go to awesome cities in Michigan like Birmingham and Detroit with friends or family.