Greatness Known, Greatness Lost: Dr. Squat Fred Hatfield

I got the news of the passing of Dr. Squat, Fred Hatfield the morning after he passed from a few mutual friends.

It hit me hard.

I will assume that the readers of this site know who Fred was and are familiar with him, his accomplishments, his work and his massive contribution to strength and education. If you aren’t, you should familiarize yourself with him and his work.

Today, I write not to tell you about all that he did for the fitness and strength world, but as a man.

Fred was not only one of the greatest lifters but a great man.

Let me back up a little.

I have a bunch of certifications with many from the ISSA. Years ago, when I figured it would be a good idea to get certified I asked a trusted advisor who was an NSCA rep which one to get.

He asked what I was considering and why.

I told him the ISSA SSC (their Strength Coach cert) and the CSCS, and that I was considering the ISSA because it was Fred’s organization.

He brilliantly explained factors to consider when choosing:

  •  If I had no intention of going into the collegiate/pro ranks as an S&C coach it was not a big deal as to which cert I got.
  •   Clients don’t care what your certification is or who it is from. Other coaches do, as well as Universities and Pro teams. (He was right)
  •   Since a certification means that you have met a MINIMUM level of competence, cost is a good guide.

After we discussed my concerns he said: “Which one is cheaper?” and that is an actual quote I’ll never forget. You see, clients don’t care or know much about certifications, they generally think it means you are an expert and as long as you have one, all is well. Universities and pro teams do care.

I said that I believe in what Hatfield preached and have been devouring his books for a long time. I also said the ISSA was, if I remember correctly $50.00 less than the NSCA.

Decision made, ISSA.

And a good one as you will see.

Greatness Known

 

Fast forward a few months, and I’ll tell you how I met Fred.

I got a call from the ISSA asking me to assist at a seminar in Boston. They needed a facilitator. This was someone who goes and checks people in, assists the presenter, answers questions, you know, monkey work.

I said I cannot leave my business for two days, especially on a Saturday when I am booked solid.

It was cool to be asked, but I just can’t do it for free.

They hit me with two tidbits that sealed the deal.

  •  1. Go and assist, and take the written test at the end of the weekend and the cert was free for helping out. This was a Personal Trainer cert course and I wasn’t concerned with passing the test without studying.  Seriously, if you are working in the industry and can’t pass a PT test, you are in the wrong industry, they aren’t that hard.
    2. Dr. Squat, Fred Hatfield was the professor for the weekend.

Shit.

If they said that first, I would have done it for free. I get to meet Fred Hatfield?

You had me at Hatfield.

 

Greatness Known,Greatness Lost, Dr. Squat Fred Hatfield,Dwayne Johnson, powerlifting, elitefts, cj murphy, total performance sports, Rich Angelo; Dr. Squat teaching a seminar at the original TPS circa 2000 ish.

 

I showed up early at the seminar pretty excited, and if you know me, I don’t get excited about much.

Fred came down to the hall and introduced himself and reviewed what was needed from me and we go to work. Very professional.

Fred launched into his presentation, and if you’ve never been to a seminar with Fred, you missed out.

He is one of the most passionate, if not the most passionate men I have ever met and he wanted you to have ALL of the information in his brain. He wanted to give it to you in a weekend seminar.

That of course was not possible, but he tried. You could see that his passion was not for show. It was not to draw you in the seminar.

It was real.

He wanted every person who joined the ISSA and got their certification to be the best they could be and the best he could mold them into in 16 hours.

I truly believe that he did this as best as any man could in the time allowed.

After only 4 hours, I was jacked with excitement to listen more, and the room was too.

You can tell when a speaker has the room and when they don’t.

He had the room.

As a speaker, he was brilliant and you listened to every word, waiting for more knowledge.

Sadly, we had to break for lunch, Fred came over to me and asked if I wanted to have lunch with him.

Seriously?

So, we went to lunch. This was incredible to me. I’ve been reading this guy’s books and articles and following his lifting for years. Now, it is almost surreal, I am having lunch with him.

We ate and talked training, the business and got to know a little about each other.

Imagine if you will that you are a guy in his early twenties and you played and LOVED football, and you had the chance to work, albeit in a small capacity with Tom Brady at a weekend seminar, and then Brady took you to lunch!

That’s where I was here.

I’ve said before that I have learned more at the dinner after a seminar every time talking than I did at the seminar I attended. This was no different. Except it was lunch.

I can’t remember exactly what we talked about that first day at lunch, but I do remember my head was spinning with the knowledge he gave me and the change of perspective it gave me.

We jumped into my truck and sped back to the seminar site.

On the way, Fred said he needed something in the back of the truck in his bag.

I said no problem, I’ll pull over.

If you know Fred and how he spoke you’ll get it: He said gruffly: No time, grab my legs.

Huh?

He ripped the back window of my pickup open and jumped through the window at about 80 MPH, so I grabbed his legs.

He wriggled around and frantically rummaged through his bag while I was pissing my pants laughing.

He found what he needed and yelled at me to pull him in.

Now, I’m driving about 80 and holding his legs trying not to crash laughing my ass off and he wants me to pull his legs in. So, I do.

He then sits back in the passenger seat as if this was 100% normal.

We make it back to the seminar in time and he goes on to finish the days’ work. At the end of the day, he asks if I want to grab dinner and a few beers.

He might as well have asked if I wanted to go and do karate in the garage. Hope you took that reference kids.

We did, and here is another thing about Fred: you could not pay if you were out with him, ever.

Fred was one of the most generous men I ever met.

Once the weekend was over, he gave me his number and said to call anytime for anything I needed.

I don’t know if he did this to everyone that helped out at a seminar, but I was honored.

I also took him up on the offer.

I did countless seminars with him over the years and had countless phone calls to him and from him.

We developed a great friendship.

 

Greatness Known,Greatness Lost, Dr. Squat Fred Hatfield,Dwayne Johnson, powerlifting, elitefts, cj murphy, total performance sports, Rich Angelo; Dr. Squat with the crew at TPS 2015

 

When I say Fred was generous, here’s another quick story.

Fred designed some awesome strength equipment over the years for his company and I have some of it here at TPS.

I got a call one day at about 7:00 am from Fred. Here is pretty much how it went:

  • Fred: Hey, you want my power rack?
  • Me: What?
  • Fred: You want my fucking power rack?
  • Me: Um, sure, but I don’t really have room? How much?
  • Fred: I said do you want it? I’ll give it to you.
  • Me: Why? It costs like two grand, why are you giving me a rack?
  • Fred: I just moved and it doesn’t fit in my new house.
  • Me: (Thinking “Holy Shit, Hatfield is giving me his personal rack) Sure, when can I pick it up? (Fred lived in Pennsylvania if I recall correctly at the time)
  • Fred: I just got a new truck, I need to stretch its legs. I’m on the way. The rack is free, but you have to buy dinner and beers.
  • Me: (Thinking, shit I’d rather pay for the rack that beers with him) O.K.

 

Greatness Known,Greatness Lost, Dr. Squat Fred Hatfield,Dwayne Johnson, powerlifting, elitefts, cj murphy, total performance sports, Rich Angelo; THE RACK

 

 

 

So I cleared my schedule for the night and had a few goons to help me unload the rack.

Fred shows up with his rack, and 3 safety squat bars.
We unload and go to dinner and beers. Don’t remember much else about that night except it was “Good Times” as Rhodes would say.

And when the check came we almost got into a fight because HE WAS PAYING!

Over the years, I called Fred with a million questions on training, training people, the business, and more.

Greatness Known,Greatness Lost, Dr. Squat Fred Hatfield,Dwayne Johnson, powerlifting, elitefts, cj murphy, total performance sports, Rich Angelo; Fred texted me this picture of his "Murph" beard.

 

Each and every time, he was happy to take my call and Live, Learn and Pass On before that was a thing.

Of course, we were friends and that’s what friends do, but Fred was different.

He was always happy to talk to me, or if he wasn’t, you’d never know.

Kirschen posted a log about Arnold a few weeks ago and it says how Arnold makes everyone he talks to feel like the most important person in the world and it seems 100% genuine.  I read another one about Dwayne Johnson the other day online and it says he is the same way.

I’ve never met either of these guys, but it seems like that is the truth. It was the truth with Fred from what I saw over almost 20 years of friendship too.

Over the years we worked many seminars together, he taught many at TPS and we had a lot of laughs.

 

Greatness Known,Greatness Lost, Dr. Squat Fred Hatfield,Dwayne Johnson, powerlifting, elitefts, cj murphy, total performance sports, Rich Angelo; Fred at TPS Circa 2000 ish

 

I was honored by him in a way that he never knew.

Fred was a pretty smart dude and was ahead of the curve in a lot of ways, like with Drsquat.com. his site.

It had a great forum that gave you access to HIM. Anyone could ask him a question (much like this site, although we are not Hatfield). He gave his info away to you and didn’t ask a thing. Of course he would have been happy to have you buy some products from the site but it wasn’t required.

One of those products that never took off but should have was his trainer software, and yes I am getting back to how I was honored.

Fred had the idea to crate software to make your job EASY.

It tracked progress, managed clients, had an exercise database with videos and a nutrition calculator that used his Zig Zag diet. You could enter some information and give a client a meal plan to follow that worked, as long as they followed it.

There was nothing like this at the time, and there isn’t much now.

Anyway, I got a call from Fred while it was in development and he asked me to go over it and give him a list of improvements.

All I could think was that he wants me to do this for him?

Shit.

I don’t know if I could have been more honored. To have a legend ask you for your help was pretty unbelievable to me.

I took my job seriously and went to work. He got a list of improvements and we made a few more revisions before it was launched. For its day it was excellent, but it never really took off. That’s too bad.

I am sure if he were to have done it a decade later with the improvements in coding and design it would have exploded. The concept alone is brilliant.

Greatness Lost

 

Greatness Known,Greatness Lost, Dr. Squat Fred Hatfield,Dwayne Johnson, powerlifting, elitefts, cj murphy, total performance sports, Rich Angelo;

 

I was also lucky enough to have my son meet him at an age that he is old enough to remember him. He has met a lot of great people in this industry, but many were when he was very young. He spent some time with Fred and I not long ago and he liked Fred. A lot.

I think Fred took a liking to him too.

Sadly, he doesn’t remember the other person who was like Fred to me, but he knows who he is because I talk about him a lot to him and what he taught me, things I try to teach him.

In the process of writing this, it's been difficult to get my thoughts coherent due to massive grief. There have been only two people in my life that I consider to be not only friends, but mentors.

Two people who through thick and thin had my back 100% of the time, guided me 100% of the time (or tried to), helped me to be the man I am today personally and professionally and were always a positive light I my life. I am not talking about friends or family.

I mean a real mentor.

They were Mr. Rich Angelo and Dr. Squat Fred Hatfield.

Greatness Known,Greatness Lost, Dr. Squat Fred Hatfield,Dwayne Johnson, powerlifting, elitefts, cj murphy, total performance sports, Rich Angelo; Rich Angleo
All who knew him, loved him.

 

 

Two of the greatest men I have ever known that were good enough to let me share their lives.

They knew each other too through me.

I am not a religious person, but if there is a heaven, they are both there having a beer together and looking down and seeing the good they did for so many people while they were with us.

Rest in peace my friends.

I’ll try my best to Live, Learn and Pass On what you both taught me to my son, and my clients.

Ask me a question-Be sure and Type to Murph in the header

Find me on Google-search for Total Performance Sports Malden, Mass. The Best Gym in Boston, Facebook too.

Oh, yeah, follow us on Instagram too. TPSMalden

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Vincere vel mori

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