Q: "I have noticed over the past year or so that I always feel worse after my
deload weeks (tight muscles, lack of motivation, fatigue). I am 24 years old
and have been competing for about 2.5 years. Do you think deloads are
necessary? If not, what kind of programming recommendations can you make so
that deloads aren't necessary? Thanks!" - Levi

A: Levi - At your age I don’t think a true deload is needed. What I would plan in is a week where you cut slightly back on your assistance movements. I would cut back your assistance work by one set on all exercises. Keep the big lifts the same or maybe reduce them by a set too. The key to the deload is your body should be telling you that you need it or you have a meet that week. If you feel good, it makes no sense to me to take a deload week.

Q: "Always like to know about supplements." - Samuel Kessler

A: Samuel - I’m probably the wrong guy to ask. Right now all I use is fish oil and multi-vitamin. Even when I was still competing, I wasn’t a big supplement taker. If you count protein powder as a supplement you can throw that in there. I view it as a quick way to get some food in me. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help.

Q: "Speechless after the article... no questions..." - Corey Smash

A: Corey - Thank you for the kind words about the article, but Rachel deserves all the credit. She asked some great questions.

Q: "What lifters inspired him to compete, and what was his favorite moment as a lifter." - Larry Brown

A: Larry - The lifter who inspired me the most was Ed Coan. I have been lucky enough to meet him a couple of times and he's a great guy. His strength is beyond my comprehension. My favorite moment was when I totaled Elite at the Westside Invitational in 1998. It is a day I’ll never forget.

Q: "What is the most crucial thing to success as a lifter?" - Josh Miller

A: Josh - The real key is hard work. You can have the best program in the world, but if you don’t work hard you’ll make no progress. You could also have the worst program ever, but if you work hard you’ll get results. Most people aren’t truly willing to put the work in that is needed. If you work your ass off, regardless of programming, you’ll make progress. If you put in a half hearted effort, you’ll get half hearted results.

Q: "When people told him he couldn't do it (there are always a few) how did he deal with the hating?" - Daniel Beauchamp

A: Daniel - I was very lucky in that no one in my support network was negative. I simply have no room for negative people in my life. I remember going to my first group therapy session after being pronounced in remission. Everyone there seemed to be just waiting to die. So, I never went back. The key is you get to pick who your friends are. Choose wisely.

Q: "How much does he love taco bell's beefy 5 layer burrito?" - Jerome Adams

A: Jerome - My digestive system had trouble with Taco Bell prior to being sick. After having part of my intestine removed, I rarely go to Taco Bell. Although, it is one of those restaurants that I seem to go to once per year or so. Not long after eating, I am reminded of why I don’t go very frequently.

Q: "The mentality it took to achieve his success and the biggest challenges he faced getting there." - Matt Daube

A: Matt - I’m no different than anyone else. My mentality was simply fight or die. I had a choice to make. It was an easy choice. So, I decide to fight with everything I had as my life depended on it. The biggest challenge was remaining positive. So many things went wrong with my body that it was hard to be positive at times. My environment made it hard too. Let’s face it, not a lot of positive things happen in a hospital. The only positive thing that has ever happened in a hospital for me was when my son was born. When you are surrounded by sick people, it can be very hard to find any positives.

This is where my support team came in. Especially my fiancée Michele. She made sure I always saw the light at the end of the tunnel. My friends and family also played a huge role in keeping my head in the right frame of mind. I was surrounded by positive people who wouldn’t let me get down on myself for too long.