USA Weightlifting barbell clubs began popping up all across the United States with the surge in CrossFit gyms in the early 2010’s. Athletes who compete in weightlifting have three attempts each at two lifts: the snatch and the clean and jerk. All weight is in kilograms, and the total weight lifted is called their total. If an athlete fails to make at least one successful lift in either event, then they do not total and cannot post a score for medal placement.
Solafide Barbell is housed within CrossFit Solafide, a CrossFit gym near Fort Campbell, Kentucky. The president of the barbell club is Christian Thompson. Like every good story, it started with a dream. In the summer of 2015, Christian was training Amy, who at the time was a competitive CrossFit athlete. He saw that she had boundless potential in weightlifting and motivated her to switch to weightlifting full time with the promise that she would compete at the national level. Less than 6 months later she did, at the American Open in 2015. Since then, she’s also qualified for the United States Nationals, and the University Nationals. The club at CrossFit Solafide was growing through the support of Nicole Geraths, current owner of CrossFit Solafide, Christian’s wife Brandy, and a great group of athletes that were showing up twice weekly at 6:30pm, following his weightlifting programming, and doing a short WOD afterwards. Christian then took the next step and registered the club with the support of Nicole Geraths and brought together a truly unique group of athletes under the Solafide Barbell banner. Today, Christian has athletes all over the world lifting under the Solafide Barbell banner with clubs in Louisiana, California, and at our gym, Break the Mold CrossFit, in Louisville.
Christian’s athletes found him in a variety of ways. Some watched their spouses compete or train under his guidance first, others were hitting stagnation in their CrossFit lifts and wanted to try something different. Still others hung out in the background on Tuesday and Thursday nights and wondered, what are they doing over there?
Regardless of how they found Solafide Barbell, each athlete joins a family when they join Solafide Barbell. Solafide Barbell has more women than any other barbell club most athletes have ever seen, and they also show up in mass. Had a bad meet and missing qualifying for U.S. Nationals? Don’t worry, the club will show up in force the very next weekend 5 hours away and ensure you qualify to compete on a national stage. When we go to meets, we all go in one big group and stay from the first lifter to the last. In the words of Christian, “Solafide Barbell is different because it’s personal and real.”
What doesn’t change from athlete to athlete is the completely dedicated attention that Christian provides to each and every person. Each athlete, from the twice weekly CrossFit athlete who wants to do better in CrossFit wods, to the nationally qualified and ranked athlete lifts under the club that Christian brought to life. Christian’s programming and dedication are unmatched. He never talks badly about an athlete, never doubts an athlete, and in truly remarkable fashion, consistently improves athletes’ totals meet after meet. Since the inauguration of the club, he’s qualified five athletes for the American Open, qualified three athletes for U.S. Nationals, and qualified another three for various other national level competitions. At his core, Christian is a coach, he can see potential in an athlete when they may not believe it themselves. His faith in his athlete is truly remarkable and allows each and every one to perform at the height of their potential.
So how did Break the Mold CrossFit become a chapter of Solafide Barbell? Back in February of this year, Nicole Harp had just begun lifting under the Solafide Barbell banner fulltime. She had recently transitioned from competitive CrossFit due to some nagging injuries and figured it would probably be temporary. Simulataneously, she was trying to find some direction. She knew she was leaving the Army in July but didn’t know exactly what she wanted to do when she got out. Just for the heck of it, her and her husband, along with her parents who were in town, decided to check out a commercial rental space in West Louisville.
Bill and Nicole had a dream too. They’d spent five years in the Army and they’d always thought it would be amazing to own a CrossFit gym “one day”. They also wanted to integrate Steve’s Club, a national non-profit for at risk and high risk youth into their gym. This was the reason for looking at the commercial space in West Louisville, they wanted a Zone of Hope area of the city, where they could impact as many youth as possible. By happenstance, the building fit perfectly with their vision, and they signed a lease in March.
Concurrently, Nicole continued to train under the Solafide Barbell banner in Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Christian led her and Bill through looking over the equipment list when they bought out a gym owner in Michigan, and they found a group of athletes and a community unmatched in the support for their dream. To be completely honest, without Christian and the community of Solafide Barbell, Break the Mold CrossFit wouldn’t exist in its current state. When Christian offered for Break the Mold to be a chapter of Solafide Barbell, it completed the vision that they had for their gym.
Nicole earned her USAW Level 1 in April 2016 and began working with some athletes during the barbell classes, as well as shadowing the CrossFit teens class to prepare for Steve’s Club. Nicole and Bill also began to forge community partnerships in the Louisville area with non-profits, community churches, and local colleges. The community of Solafide Barbell enabled them to see that success comes through cooperation and a strong base in the relationships we forge with others.
As of September 3rd, 2016, Break the Mold CrossFit, the Home of Steve’s Club Louisville and Solafide Barbell Louisville, is officially open. Each day we welcome brand new athletes of all shapes, sizes, and ages, train middle school and high school students how to be strong, healthier, and more resilient, and bring the weightlifting community of Solafide Barbell to life.
Be hungry. Stay humble.