I have been competitively powerlifting for over 20 years. Within that time I have competed raw, single ply and multi ply. I hold the highest all time total of 1930 at 148, the third highest total of 2045 at 165 and have broken over 35 world records, over 25 of which I still hold. Through the years in this sport I have learned a great deal from various training methods, met and formed long lasting friends, as well as learned the importance of balancing life, work, and training.

Elitefts accepted me as a team member over ten years ago and I am currently the longest standing still competing powerlifter on the site. I appreciate Dave Tate and Elitefts for giving me the opportunity to learn from and teach others through the Q&A and my training log.

In 2005 I opened Orlando Barbell – a 24 hour powerlifting friendly gym. As well as running Orlando Barbell I designed and sell the Home GHR , the The OBB Power Handles and the Doorway Home Gym, wrote the 12 Weeks to a Bigger Bench EBook, and produced the 12Weeks to a Bigger Bench DVD.

My latest contribution was writing the M2 Method EBook, designed to be the quintessential Raw Powerlifting training manual for beginners to advanced lifters looking to get stronger and prevent injury while incorporating the powerlifts.

10 mins treadmill

PVC rolled on:
Lower back, shifted to right and left
Upper back, shifted to right and left scapula w/hips up

Supine Face Pulls w/Spud Straps-

Stability One Arm Rows w/Elitefts Short Average Bands-
55 lb KBs x10x3

EZ Bar Curls-

Single Cable Curls-

I had my follow up echocardiogram with the Cardiologist last Monday. When I had my first echo six months ago I was easily out of breath and constantly fatigued. There were even numerous times when I was unable to sleep due to chest discomfort. I had to sit upright on the couch in hope that I could breathe well enough to fall asleep. At the time I just assumed the symptoms were somehow related to my autoimmune disease. I had no idea they were heart related and didn’t realize how serious they were until now.

Now that I’ve learned a little more about cardiovascular health and reading echos I was able to have more detailed dialogue with my Cardiologist. One of the readings taken in the echo is the LVEF (Left Ventricle Ejection Fraction), which is the percentage of blood that is pumping out the left ventricle of the heart (the main chamber). When I first had the echo done it was only 35 to 40 (technically this is heart failure) which explains why I felt like such crap. This time it was 55 to 60 which is actually normal and explains why I’m feeling so much better.

When I asked the Cardiologist what would have caused this he responded with “Have you ever had anyone drop dead in your family?” This wasn’t very reassuring. I don’t have any history of heart disease in my family (although my brother did have surgery for aortic valve replacement due to aortic valve dysfunction but my Cardiologist said this was unrelated). I’ve also never had high blood pressure. The only explanations are that the cardiovascular issues were caused by inflammation due to my autoimmune disease, the Humira I was on (which lists heart failure as one of the main side effects) or a combination of both.

I also have “severe” left ventricle hypertrophy which can actually be caused by years of extreme increases in blood pressure (such as heavy lifting). This can cause the heart to work harder and can elevate blood pressure. Although, as I mentioned, I’ve never had high blood pressure, my resting heart rate was around 110. Now it’s down to around 80 or less. My plan from here is to continue to take the meds (which seem to be working without any side effects), incorporate more moderate, steady-state cardio, continue to eat less, or no, meat, and lift heavy in some form of moderation. I need to find a happy medium for everything.  I would prefer to be as healthy and happy as possible without aggravating these health issues.

If any of you are easily out of breath, have chest pain, high blood pressure, high resting heart rate, or difficulty sleeping I recommend you take a trip to the cardiologist. The earlier you start treating the issue the less damage will be caused.

The M2 Method Raw Training Ebook

The M2 Equipped Training Ebook

The OBB Power Handles

The Affordable and Effective Floor Based Home GHR

Buy your own Doorway Home Gym and never miss out on your accessory work again

12 Weeks to a Bigger Bench EBook