When Australian Weightlifting caught up with Erika Ropati-Frost this week she was nervously watching the scales.
“My only issue at the moment is my bodyweight,” she said.
“I’m trying to get down to 53kg without having to sauna or something like that, because I know I lose a lot of strength if I have to do that.”
Some lifters facing the prospect of days spent eating lettuce leaves and sitting in saunas would simply opt to go up a weight division. And Ropati-Frost knows if she did that she would still perform well.
But there’s a very important psychological reason why the 27-year-old is desperate to stay in the 53kg division.
“In my situation, if I have to go up a weight class I’ll still be in medal contention,” she admits.
“But I guess I have other goals in this competition. I really want to compete in the 53kg, I really want to give double body weight a crack.
“It’s been so frustrating because I know I’ve been capable of doing double bodyweight for quite a few months now.”
Double bodyweight – 106kg in the clean and jerk – a feat never before achieved by an Australian female weightlifter.
She’s been so, so close on more than a few occasions. In fact, in training, she’s done it.
“I’ve been doing well in training, I’ve clean and jerked 107.5kg,” she said.
“So I know I can do these weights. I just haven’t put a good clean and jerk on the platform yet.
“I do have the confidence, because I’ve done it in training. I just need to do it competition.”
Which brings us back to the torment the genial Queenslander has been going through this week, staring at numbers on the scales which stubbornly refuse to budge.
My bodyweight hasn’t moved too much over the past coupe of weeks, so if it doesn’t move soon than that will be a concern,” she said.
“I do struggle with dieting, I do like my food. That’s probably my biggest struggle with weightlifting.
“If it comes down to needing to lose 500 grams the night before, that should come down pretty easy, and I might even be able to have something to eat on the morning.
“But actually I probably won’t eat on the morning.”
Ropati Frost is only too aware she’s in the box seat for Australian Olympic qualification next year, and that if she stays injury free and holds her form, the Rio dream will become a reality.
But she’s not leaving anything to chance, and is constantly on the lookout for challengers who might threaten her number one Australian ranking.
Which is why, despite coming home with a couple of gold medals, Ropati Frost was a little disappointed in her performance at the Pacific Games.
She’s setting her sights on a strong performance at the upcoming World Championships if, of course, she qualifies.
“Initially I really wanted to get a good total at the Pacific Games, but to be honest I wasn’t that happy with the total I put in,” she said.
“I’m doing all these extra things that I never used to do, trying to keep improving and keep heading towards the goal. Hopefully it will all pay off in the end, that’s all I can hope for.
“My aim at the Worlds is to try and make top 15, and get through into the B Group. That would be an improvement from last year as well. I want to keep improving, I want to keep pushing myself up in the ranks.”
You can follow this weekend’s Australian Championships action live at http://video.awf.com.au/webcast/