High Desert Athletic Club - Albuquerque, NM


Gainz Fitness

4201 Yale Blvd NE

Albuquerque, NM 87107


Website: highdesertathleticclub.weebly.com

Instagram: @highdesertweightlifting


Joaquin Chavez

505 455 6586


Joaquin Chavez is an Associate Director of Sports Performance/Strength and conditioning coach at the University of New Mexico (and has been employed with UNM since 1997.)  He also is club coach/director for High Desert Athletic Club, (which has been based out of Albuquerque since 1998) and is also a Senior International coach through USAW. He was meet director for the 2014 University National Championships as well as meet director for the 2019 American Open Series 2 which were both held at the Albuquerque Convention center. He is currently a USAW Competition Committee member and was a former member of the Collegiate Committee for USAW in the early 2000’s. He has been involved in the sport of weightlifting since the fall 1982 as an athlete, coach, administrator, and a supporter of weightlifting, and has coached on several international meets supporting USAW athletes.

Club Bio:

High Desert Athletic Club (aka High Desert Weightlifting) has been a very active club in the New Mexico/NMLWC since the spring of 1998 when it was formed in Albuquerque NM. Since then it has served not only the Albuquerque area but also has members in Santa Fe New Mexico as well as southern New Mexico and Tucson Arizona. 

High Desert has held all but two of the LWC championships/NM Games since 1998 and we have also held many local meets and local qualifiers throughout its 22 year existence. (High Desert has run many local meets, 30 since 2012, and many more before that ranging from 6 all the way up to 90+ participants.)  We would like to also not that through the 2008 NM weightlifting season many of the LWC championships were held in a covered outdoor setting, a feature that many folks who attended those meets always speak highly of. High Desert has also had many local meets, 30+ since 2012 and many more before that often serving as local qualifiers or meets when newcomers can get a start to their weightlifting career. 

High Desert Athletic club offered support and was the host club for the 2014 University National Championships held in September of 2014 which was one of, if not the largest solo University National Championships held to date and had 352 registered athletes. High Desert was also the host club to the 2019 American Open Series 2 which was a huge success and so well supported as the local level. A notable fact of regarding the 2014 Nationals was that the meet was awarded to the city of Albuquerque in the spring of 2014 and because of an amazing group of club members High Desert was able to organize a large amount of local volunteers to help run the meet in a very short amount of time.  This is something we will always be proud of! 

As High Desert continues to grow we are looking forward to being part of the growth of weightlifting not only nationwide but hopefully worldwide. We also look forward to seeking out ways to help those interested in experiencing the sport of weightlifting find ways to do so and we will always try to give back to the community. We have enjoyed a year of community development is such a small community as well as a small LWC and have learned so much about how to give back to our local area. We feel the best is yet to come.

Outreach Programs: 

UNM Olympic Weightlifting Class

This has been an ongoing project since spring 2019 and is proposed for March of 2020. This will be offered through UNM Health, Exercise, and Sport Science Department.

Try Weightlifting for Free Month

This is a program that offers a free month of training to mostly youth and junior athletes.