The return to the red zone in Waterloo Region means many gyms can now welcome people back, including those training in Olympic weightlifting.

“I mean it’s so much fun just to throw weight around,” said Olympic weightlifter JP Maranan.

According to Olympic weightlifting coach Dave Earle with the Power Academy, the sport consists of lifting a barbell from the floor to over your head.

“We do it in two ways,” said Earle, “In one full move is the snatch and two is the clean and jerk. So, whoever lifts the most weight from the floor to over your head in one rep wins.”

Earle said Maranan started training in September and showed a lot of promise.

“Like a very strong guy, a history of strength training,” said Earle.

However, during the provincial stay-at-home orders, Maranan and other athletes with the Power Academy in Kitchener had to get creative with their training at home.

They used garages, basements, living rooms, underground parking lots, and really anywhere they could find a safe space to workout.

Maranan said it was tough staying motivated at the beginning of the lockdown, but he says one he found his groove working out at home he saw steady improvement.

Now being back in the gym, Maranan is gearing up for his first competition of the spring, but due to the current provincial restrictions, the competition will likely be held virtually. Maranan said he hopes to one day compete on the international stage.