Kauai’s Adam Tabalno sets state weightlifting record, qualifies for nationals

  • Photo courtesy Adam Tabalno

    Adam Tabalno competes at the 2018 Hawaii Open Weightlifting Championships at Kilauea District Park in Honolulu, in this Dec. 15 photo.

  • Nick Celario / The Garden Island

    Adam Tabalno stops for a photo Tuesday at Kauai CrossFit in Lihue.

LIHUE — More than anything else when it comes to weightlifting and fitness, Adam Tabalno aims to inspire older people to push themselves further and achieve.

The fact that along the way he set new records isn’t all that important to him.

“For me, I want to be able to set the example. As I get older and start pushing in the 40-year-old masters ages, I just want to be an example for older athletes — that it’s still possible to be athletic and do things that we didn’t think we could do,” Tabalno said.

“As we get older and start taking on life, get injuries, have families and jobs, we just got to learn to balance ourselves. If I can be an advocate of that, that’s kind of one of my things. Whether I hold a record or not, it doesn’t really matter to me. It’s more about being an example for others.”

Tabalno, 39, competed in the 2018 Hawaii Open Weightlifting Championships last month in Honolulu, which was sanctioned by USA Weightlifting.

Tabalno, who is 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 147 pounds, set new state records for his age division (35-39) and weight class (67 kilograms) in Honolulu. Tabalno’s records are 88 kilograms in the snatch, 115 kilograms in the clean and jerk and 203 kilograms in total.

“It’s nice to, I guess, set a precedence or set the bar,” Tabalno said. “I like to set to the bar for the community. The weightlifting community is small in Hawaii. So it’s not really surprising, but at least I set a standard for other people to achieve. It wasn’t about breaking records. It’s about what can I do to help people live up to what their potential is.”

Tabalno, who lives in Lihue, won his weight class at the state competition to qualify for the 2019 Masters National Championships in Salt Lake City, Utah in March.

He also plans on taking part in the CrossFit Open in late February.

But his aspirations go further. His goal is to qualify for the world championship, which takes place in August in Quebec, Canada, and place in the top three in his age division and weight class.

“I think if I was a younger athlete, I’d be shooting for the Olympics. So, this is like my Olympics,” he said. “As a masters athlete, this is the highest I can get. My attitude is, ‘all go or no go.’ So if I’m going to do something, I’m going to go all out. I think I have the ability and potential to get there. I have a good gym, good trainers and coaches, and I have the work ethic to get there. And, I want to represent to the best of my ability.”

Tabalno has been a competitive weightlifter since 2013. He currently ranks second in the country for his age division and weight class by USA Weightlifting.

He is an active member of the U.S. Marine Corps and works on Oahu three days out of the week. On Kauai, he works at the Pacific Missile Range Facility, coaches at Kauai CrossFit and runs his own personal training business, True Human Potential.

Even with a loaded schedule, he makes time to train for competition.

“First and foremost, I have a good support group. My family’s good. They understand the type of attitude I have, and they’re really supportive with whatever I want to do,” Tabalno said. “And, I have good time management skills. I can manage everything to the tee.

“I’m almost 40 years old. I’ve been doing this a long time. I’ve been an athlete, I’ve been working full time, and I’ve had other hobbies pretty much my whole life. Going to school, you name it. It’s something I strive to do. I always want to keep busy. I’m constantly pushing myself to the next level.”


Nick Celario, sports writer, can be reached at 245-0437 or ncelario@thegardenisland.com.


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