Dudes and Ladies,

For about the last two months, work has cut back a bit, and I’ve had some extra time on my hands. It’s been awesome. Of course, the first thing I did was hit the gym more on my quest for strength. It wasn’t until six weeks had passed that I realized how deep down the Westside conjugate method I’d gone. It was a new program to me, something completely wild and revolutionary compared to what I’d been doing. I’ve now spent hours reading articles and watching videos trying to learn everything I can about Westside. It was during this time that I realized, I really have no idea what I’m doing, even after six years of lifting — and four of those were as a Division I college athlete. Up to this point, I’ve only scratched the surface on powerlifting. Now I want to see how far I can go.

So here’s my Christmas list with what I need to make huge strength gains and crush some epic workouts.

1. Reverse Hyper Machine

Two reasons why I need this equipment. First, no gym around me has one, and no one I’ve talked to even knows about them. I guess I should probably be looking for better gyms. Second, from what I’ve researched, no other machine develops and improves overall spinal stability, health, and strength in the posterior chain. This is huge, especially for keeping myself healthy as a pilot.

2. Safety Squat Bar

Again, nowhere I’ve been to has one, and at times, one of my shoulders gets pretty overworked (partially from an old injury that flares up occasionally). Additionally, we have one kind of bar at my gym... just your plain old Joe Shmoe bar. I’ve been hitting variations in other ways, but I would love to add something new with this bar.

3. Bench Boards 2, 3, 4, 5

Never used them, but I’ve heard they are an insane way to get seriously huge benches going!

4. Power Belt

Let’s just say I’ve had to borrow the ones at my gym, and they’re pretty much trash. It’s an investment I’ll be making rather soon.

5. Westside - Special Strength Development for All Sports, Westside Bench Press Manual, and Westside Squat & Deadlift Manual books

I think all things start with learning. I’ve learned a ton about lifting, but that doesn’t compare to the incredible knowledge of the Elders. So I’ll study and research for the rest of my days and hopefully, I’ll know more tomorrow than I do today (and my numbers will grow as much as my mind).

I’m no legend, but someday, my hard work and never-give-up attitude will get me closer to that. Until then, with your help, I’ll start making huge gains with some new equipment. See you guys at the iron chapel. May you be blessed with serious gains.

Nate Zillweger is a 24-year-old Air Force Pilot from Phoenix, Arizona. He spends his free time lifting, hiking, and traveling. For Nate, every day is International Chest Day.