LongHorn Steakhouse Server Allison Fleming sometimes feels the weight of the world on her shoulders, but it’s not because of her job. It’s because she’s a competitive weightlifter.
A senior in hospitality management at the University of Central Florida, Allison joined the LongHorn Steakhouse restaurant in Daytona Beach, FL, nine months ago.
Juggling college with her demanding sport and her LongHorn job isn’t easy, but she’s grateful for her flexible schedule. “My managers have been extremely helpful with my schedule,” she said. “If I need a weekend off for a competition, they always make it happen. Managing Partner Herb Ruggeri is really into my sport. He and my team members always want to know how I did in competitions, and it’s great that they genuinely care.”
“Our LongHorn family in Daytona Beach is 100 percent behind Allison's dreams,” Herb said. “We are proud of her accomplishments and cheer her on at every competition.”
Last month, she competed in the 2018 World University Weightlifting Championships in Poland as a member of Team USA. She placed sixth in snatch — the act of lifting a barbell from the ground to overhead in one continuous motion — and was the top American finisher in the 63 kg weight class.
Allison trained hard for the competition, working out five days a week for up to three hours a session. She was at the gym when she got the call from USA Weightlifting asking her to compete in Poland. “I said, ‘Oh my God, of course!' It was a crazy moment and I stood there in disbelief and was super-ecstatic.”
Weightlifting has changed Allison’s life. A cheerleader from third grade through high school, she began to lift weights when she stopped cheering, and she fell in love with the sport. She liked the muscle definition she developed and feeling strong.
Her first meet was in 2015, and since then she has averaged four or five competitions a year. She finished first at the National University & Under 25 Championships in 2017 and 2018.
Now, when she’s not in class or serving guests at LongHorn, she’s training to compete in The American Open finals in December, a qualifying event for next year’s Pan American Championships and Games. But she has her eyes on the ultimate prize. “I want to make a legitimate run for the 2024 Olympic team.”