Stefan Hefer / by Jon Lee

Athlete: Stefan Hefer
Affiliation: Crossfit Quattro/ Functional Strength
Profile: Coach, Olympic Weightlifting Athlete

I got to know Stefan as one of the coaches at the box that I train in, Crossfit Quattro.
My main sessions were the 4:30 pm classes, mainly because I enjoyed Stefan's classes and his style benefited me. There are many good things to say about Stefan's coaching, but what's even more impressive is his ability to maintain pristine form regardless of the strenuous loads that he had to lift. 

I knew I had to document this guy's training session after witnessing a particularly inspiring session and did not waste any time initiating contact with Stefan. That was sometime last year but unfortunately, a series of scheduling clashes delayed our shoot till recently, two Friday's ago, which was coincidentally Stefan's last day as an official coach at Crossfit Quattro. 
We met at the appointed time and after going through some formalities, we both got into our respective positions - he behind his barbell and plates and me behind my camera and lenses. 
The session started with some stretching and progressed to a few sets of off-the-block snatches, clean and jerks and eventually finished off with some front squats. For the next 2 hours, Stefan would make his lifts and take a breather before adding more weights for the next lift.

There were quite a few admirers around that night and one could hear compliments being thrown around about how fast Stefan was getting underneath that bar. In typical kiwi fashion, Stefan just smiled and responded with a modest "No biggie".
His valiant efforts earned him many high fives and hugs from members and friends as he ended his last night as an official coach. 

After everyone else had left the gym, Stefan and I talked a little bit about his future, his goals and what the future would hold for him. Stefan is currently working hard to get a spot in the New Zealand Olympic Lifting Team which will compete in the next Commonwealth Games in 2018. His sense of determination to achieve this goal was very clear during our conversations. 
As a matter of fact, his determination has been the underlying reason for his bulking period in the last year as he strives to get into a different weight class which will give him a clearer shot at being a representative for New Zealand. 

Watching lifters such as Stefan mobilizing a weight off the ground is arguable what I consider to be an art form. That fluid motion as the lifter generates sufficient force from their lower bodies before positioning themselves underneath that weight, catching and balancing it with controlled precision over their heads is such a beautiful sight. 

It takes years of disciplined training to be an accomplished lifter, but more importantly, from my conversation with Stefan, I have witnessed firsthand how the training process can also shape the development of your character through pure grit, determination and bravery.