There’s always something crazy going on in this industry. At any moment, there’s a maniac in a weight room taking a dangerous lift and a shady businessman in an office finding a way to turn dirty profits. The posts you find here in my log are the musings of a mashed-up meathead — the reactions I have as I spend my whole life watching this industry. I will share my thoughts with you here, unedited, uncensored, unfiltered, and Under The Bar. If you are offended by profanity - do not read this. 



November 2002


This was the second year that EliteFTS had hosted the IPA Nationals. While it’s always nice to give back to the lifting community, it’s also a huge task full of months of hard work preparing for the event. Knowing that everything was in order, my wife and I decided to take a vacation a couple weeks before the event. This would allow us time to unwind and get ready to put on the best competition that we could for the lifers.


Right before we left for vacation, a friend of mine and fellow teammate, Chuck Vogelpohl, had the misfortune of rolling his car into a ditch. This happened one week before we left for vacation, and the only way that I knew about this was because he had had the police officer bring him into the gym so that he could train his squat. Chuck was training for the Nationals and didn’t want to miss a single session regardless of the numerous scrapes and bruises he had just received. Not to mention, he still had to find a way home. None of this ever dawned on him. All he knew was that he had to do what he had to do.


We returned from vacation, and a couple days later, I was back in the gym. As I walked into the gym, one of my other teammates came over and asked me, “Did you hear about Chuck?” I figured this was kind of old news at this point so I said, “Yea, he rolled his car before I left.”


“No, no, no, Dave. He rolled the rental car three days ago,” he told me with this “I can’t believe this happened” look on his face.



You’re kidding me, I thought to myself. How in the world can you roll two cars within ten days, especially when those ten days also happen to fall within the last two weeks before the nationals? Minutes later, Chuck walked in carrying his gym bag and began getting ready to embark on his last bench press session before the meet. Not only was he carrying his bag, but he also had new scrapes, cuts, and bruises to go with the old ones from the week before.


I asked him how he felt, and he said, “Real good. Only one week to go.” We then went onto our training for the day. Not one word was ever said about the second accident. It never dawned on him to talk about the second accident. All he knew was that he had to do what he had to do.


Six days later, we were at the meet and things were running perfectly. Everything was set up, the lifters were happy, and the women and light weight lifters were getting ready to start. At that moment, Chuck limped in holding a gallon jug of water. He had been there to weigh in and would be lifting the following day. I asked him how the weigh in had went, and he told me that he had made weight and was ready to go. I asked him about the limp, and he told me that he had pulled a glute but that it was no big deal. He should have a good day tomorrow.


I remember thinking to myself, this guy has been in two car accidents in the past two weeks and shows up to the meet with bruises all down his right leg. Then somehow he manages to pull a glute two days before the meet. Seriously, what the hell is he even doing at the meet?


This of course never dawned on him. All he knew was that he had to do what he had to do.


The next day, I was sitting in the head judge’s chair. Part of my job for the day was to judge as well as run the meet. The only break I would get from judging is when my teammates or friends would lift. At this point, I would step out to allow someone else to judge. I did, however, get to judge all other lifters.



As I was sitting in the chair, I glanced up to the lifting order and noticed that Chuck’s opening squat attempt was 900 lbs. Confused, I flagged down Louie Simmons to ask him what the hell Chuck was doing. His best squat to date was 860 lbs, and he was opening with a 40-lb personal record. Louie just looked at me and said, “Yea, well you tell him.” I have known Chuck for many years, and I can say that there was no way I was going to tell him because he wouldn’t listen. Regardless of what I would have said, it wouldn’t have mattered. He had to do what he had to do.


Chuck screamed out for his opening attempt, and I mean screamed. He’s known as one of the most intense lifters to ever step on the platform, and while he may not be loud, his intensity is contagious. When he lifts, he has “something” that I’ve only seen in a couple other lifters. He’s also a huge crowd favorite so as he approaches, the crowd stands to their feet. His range and intensity can be felt by everyone in the room.


Chuck got set under the bar and began to descend and descend. But he never got back up. He just got, as we in the game like to call it, “stapled.” Needless to say, he missed the weight. I felt bad for him. After all he had been through to get to this point, it sucked to have it end like this. But I figured that he would probably learn from this and pick his openers better next time. As I headed back to the judge’s chair, I heard Louie call Chuck for a repeat. In a meet, you have three attempts. If you miss one, you can keep the weight the same or go up. But you can’t lower the weight. Chuck decided to give it another shot.


After getting “stapled” with a 40-lb personal record, most would have pulled out, but Chuck just did what he had to do.


As I sat judging the rest of the lifters, I kept an eye on the lifting order board to see what was going on. It was then that I noticed Chuck had increased his second attempt to 950 lbs. This would be the second highest squat of all time and a world record for this federation for his weight class. I was amazed at the call, but he was also a friend and teammate so I was also concerned. Once again, I called Louie over and asked him what the hell was going on. Once again, he told me, “You go tell him.” At this point, I was about to lose my mind. I told Louie that I wasn’t able to go tell Chuck because I had to stay and judge. I told Louie that he had to tell him.


I reminded Louie that Chuck had been in two car accidents within two weeks, pulled his glute, and opened with a 40-lb PR that he just got SMASHED with. Once again, Louie told me, “You tell him.” So I got my ass up and walked into the warm-up room. As I made my way through all the Gatorade bottles, gym bags, squat suits, plates, and platforms, I saw Chuck with his helpers in the corner. As I approached, they were rubbing out his quads and his eyes were focused on the ground. A few steps later, he looked up and caught my eye.


The look in his eye told me that it didn’t matter what I said. He was going to do what he had to do.




Moments later, the crowd was on their feet again, and the music was cranked. Out came Chuck as intense as I have ever seen him. For a moment there, I actually thought he might have a change. The crowd grew louder, and he grabbed the bar and set his hands. Next, he set his right foot and then the left. Finally, he ducked under the bar to get ready to unrack the world record weight.


He set the weight up and pulled his chest and torso with all the air he could. With one slight hip adjustment, he pulled his head up and began to sit back. As he lowered the weight, I felt a deep pit in my stomach. I just wished that he wouldn’t get hurt. Then he hit parallel and BLASTED the weight back up like it was an empty bar. Literally, this was one of the most impressive and easiest lifts I have ever witnessed.


Chuck went on to call for 970 lbs on his third attempt, which would make the highest squat for his weight class of all time. He later changed it to 1000 pounds! This would make him the lightest man ever to do it.


Did he do it?

What do you think from the man who just had to do what he had to do?

So what do I mean by saying he had to do what he had to do?


This is what I feel is the number one weakness that everyone has. This ranges from the weekend athletes to the professional athletes. The only difference between the two is that the professional athletes do the right things more frequently than the weekend warrior does. Every golfer will tell you about great hits that they have made, but the pros do it more often.


Why is this? What separates the two? Like Chuck, the most successful people live in the present. It’s very easy to write out and plan goals. It’s easy to find a diet to follow or a training program to do. It’s also very easy to sit back and ride the glory of the past. But it’s totally different to LIVE it all right now.


The decisions that most athletes focus on are what they’ve done in the past or what will affect their future. However, in all reality, the past is nothing more than a bunch of presents that have already happened. The future is the presents yet to happen. In other words, you can’t change the past or predict the future, but you do have control over what you do right now.


Are you on a diet?

Well, is it time now to eat again?

Are you eating the right stuff?

When you trained last, did you do what you needed to do or what you wanted to do?

You know what...

All Chuck knew was - he had to do what he had to do



 Your future is made up of all these “present” decisions.