Brayden Williams shovels in 3400 calories a day. He throws 142kg of weights around in six, three-hour sessions a week. And then he hits the books.
He has already done some academic heavy lifting, having graduated with a law degree from Bond University in 2019.
After a couple of years practising law, a chance encounter at a Gold Coast gym set his life on a new course and he is back on campus studying for an exercise and sports science degree, a strategic move to improve his athletic performance and keep him employed in sport once his competitive days are over.
Williams was a latecomer to the sport of weightlifting, having first stood over a bar as a 22-year-old.
He grew up doing gymnastics and progressed into CrossFit. It was there that he was spotted doing an Olympic lift.
“One of the coaches said, ‘Hey, you’re pretty good at that, you’ve got good mobility, why don’t you give it a go in these Queensland weightlifting competitions?” Williams said.
“I found out I was reasonably good at it and my life has been sport ever since - it is basically my fulltime job now.”
Desperate to make up for lost time, he explored all avenues to improve his performance which led him back to Bond.
“I can’t be a weightlifter my whole life and afterwards I have to have something I want to do as a career and this degree helps with that,” he said.
“But it is also about obtaining the knowledge about the body and biomechanics for myself so I can improve my own lifting.
“Knowing the physics of how the bar moves, nutrition, it all backs up what I’m doing.
“Coming in late I haven’t had the privilege of all the excellence programs like the AIS, so I have had to figure it all out myself.”
Williams was Queensland champion in 2022 and has finished fourth and third in the past two national titles with personal best lifts of 142kg for the clean and jerk and 116kg in the snatch.
His goal is to make the 2026 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne and the first step is earning a spot on the Australian team in the under 73kg division for next year’s Oceania Games.
Williams is consistently making the weight at training and hopes to have his place in the side secured by the national titles in August.
“It is just about putting it together on the platform, which is the hardest thing,” he said.
“You see a lot of weightlifters peaking between 28 to 30 when you have that full strength, you are fully built as a male.
“So at 26 I feel I have a couple of years before I’ve peaked which is exciting.’’