It’s been quite some time since I’ve posted or been around elitefts or the powerlifting world. My hiatus was not planned but was necessary. Life happens and priorities change. This article is meant to reintroduce myself to those who do not know me—which, due to the high turnover rate of the strength world, if you take a break for a few years pretty much no one knows who you are anymore—and lay out where I'm headed.

It’s been my privilege to know Dave Tate and be a part of elitefts since 2007. How I became associated with elitefts is a simple story: I’ve been an athlete for most of my life. Throughout that time, weight training has always been a huge part of the process, starting when I was 11 years old. When I got into high school I entered my first powerlifting competition. This was organized for local high school students and was not associated with any federation at that time. Skipping ahead to college, I started off playing football for a Division III school and ended up being president of our Rugby club. I didn’t complete in powerlifting again until my junior year when I was introduced to the Westside method of training. This was in 2003. My first competition back was a small APA meet, raw. The following year I compete in the same competition this time in single-ply gear. I don’t remember my numbers but I’m pretty sure they were small.

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It was in 2005 that I entered an APF competition in Dubuque, Indiana and my eyes were opened to the world of powerlifting. This was a meet run by Bill Carpenter, one of the top benchers of that time (but I didn’t know that then). I showed up in my single-ply Inzer gear (I didn’t know Dave at the time, I swear) and didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t really care, either. This is where I was introduced to Becca Swanson, Jim Grandick, Justin Gralff’s, and Big Iron Gym. Again, I didn’t know who they were. At one point that day Becca looked me up and down, pinched my squat suit, and said, “Nice singlet.” Emasculated, I just smiled and hung my head. I qualified for APF Nationals, won that meet, and then went onto Junior WPC Worlds. I went over to Helsinki, Finland to compete and won WPC Worlds as well, in true multi-ply gear. At that time I squatted 788, benched 501, and deadlifted 661 in the 220-pound weight class.

I started talking with Jim Wendler not long after that while working for a Division I college as a graduate assistant for strength and conditioning. He invited me out to Joe DeFranco’s for a seminar and that is where I met both Jim and Dave for the first time. I took away a lot of things from that trip but I mostly remember box squatting 585 with a strong and average band in a pair of Metal Pro Briefs. After I completed the squat Dave told me I was a 1000-pound squatter, I just hadn’t done it yet. That opened my eyes. Not long after that I applied for a sponsorship to elitefts and the rest, as they say, is history.

I also want to share one other story from something I never really thought about until it happened. Back at my first APF meet in 2005, I remember walking behind this mammoth of a man thinking I wanted to be like him, as big and as strong. I think he deadlifted 800 pounds at that meet, and he was the guy everyone was cheering for. Four years later I ended up competing at the same competition as that man and totaling more than he did. That man was Jim Grandick. To be honest, I didn’t even know he was competing — that is how oblivious I was when I competed. Since then, to date, my best lifts are a 1047-pound squat, 815-pound bench, and 820-pound deadlift. My best total is 2667 pounds at 268 pounds and 2579 pounds at 241 pounds. Both, at one point in time, were the second-best totals for the all-time record in the history of multi-ply powerlifting, though I didn’t even know it.

Contrary to what some people thought at the time, I wasn’t going after any record. I didn’t compete to beat a certain individual. I didn’t get on the forums and read the stupid bullshit that was out there then (and is still out there today). I did what I did with lifting because I could. I wanted to see how strong I could get, and it was all about besting my previous numbers and total. After I totaled 2667, I did another meet a few months later. I totaled 2600, won the meet (I was competing again Dave Hoff, again unbeknownst to me), and I believe won some money. I didn’t care. I was so pissed about my squat being shitty and tearing my hand up on the second deadlift that the win meant nothing. The thing is, when I think about competitions, that is one meet I don’t even remember. I remember the ones where I bested myself. That was all that mattered to me. When I went through a meet, I never knew who was in my weight class. I never knew my total until the meet was over. I didn’t know whether I won or lost. And it didn’t matter. It was a good day if I PR’d. If I didn’t, I was a total dick to be around.

I tore my ACL in 2009, rehabbed, and went back to competing in 2011. I competed in 2012 at the XPC Coalition meet, finishing first in my class and second overall. This is where I pulled my best deadlift of 820 pounds. This is also where everything went to shit. I’m not going to go into specifics, but life took over at this time. I had my first child, which was awesome. For anyone who has kids, you know this changes everything. I got separated at this time as well, divorced a year later, and then remarried. Most of the friends I thought I had took a shit on me and left. You find out who your true friends are during a time like this. I found I didn’t have many. To their small defense, I did sacrifice a big piece of my character and integrity — something I have fought hard to get back.

My father had a massive heart attack in 2014 and almost died. This was right before the XPC Coalition meet. I did not compete at that meet and did another competition a few months later, but training had gone to shit by then. That was my last competition. I was promoted to Director of Strength and Conditioning that year as well. I had my second kid in 2015. During this time, depression and anxiety were my best friends (not very friendly, but they were with me every day). I pretty much didn’t train for two years straight. Something I turned to for escape and release just wasn’t there anymore. I truly hated training, powerlifting, and anything to do weights other than my job. My kids were my only solace. I’m not seeking sympathy here — all this is just fact, which I’m moving on from now.

Where am I today?

I’m still Director of Strength and Conditioning at a Division I college. My wife is pregnant with our third child (her second, my third; yes I put that shit in there so I don’t piss anyone off). So now we have two awesome boys and are expecting a girl in May. I started training again and it is going well. No, I’m not planning on competing again, but I will not say I never will. I’ve actually put briefs back on so we'll see, but mostly that is to save my hips at this point. My ass just needed to get back to training, and that is what I have done. I will not be keeping a log of my weekly training session but I will update through an article here and there to keep things updated.

What is my role with elitefts?

I will be writing articles and answering questions. I would appreciate feedback on what everyone would like to hear about. Being away has proven to me one thing: the same topics keep getting regurgitated by new authors, but it’s all the same stuff. And I’m not saying that it shouldn’t be. Strength training for athletes and lifters is like the wheel: we have made improvements to the wheel since its invention over 5500 years ago, but the only reason the wheel works is because it is round. Performance training only works if you do it correctly.

You can expect me to tell it how it is, despite pissing people off. If you want a real perspective on things then ask. You will get it.