I don’t just like lifting. I f*&^%$# love lifting weights. I don’t lift to look good, and I don’t lift for health reasons. I lift because I like being strong. But that isn't the main reason. I don’t lift until I find my next girlfriend, and I don’t lift to be a powerlifter for a few years. I don’t lift because it seems like something cool to do either. I don’t even love lifting. I F*&^%$# love lifting!

I started lifting during my freshman year of high school, and I'm now somewhere around 43 (I don’t feel like doing the math to figure out my actual age). So I've been lifting weights for around 30 years. During that time, many things have come and gone in my life: places I've lived, cars and motorcycles I've owned, jobs, girlfriends and a whole lot of hobbies. I've lugged plates, dumbbells and equipment across the country and moved them so many times it's ridiculous. I've sold and bought thousands of dollars of equipment for strength training. But through all the twists and turns of my life, the one constant has been lifting weights. It's been the one thing that helped get me through it all and kept me somewhat sane. I've spent more years of my life being a lifter than not being one. It has become part of who I am and it's ingrained in my DNA.

Although lifting and training have been constants for me, they've both changed a lot over the years. Recently, those changes have had me looking back over all those amazing times in the gym. As most people know, within the last couple years, I finally got official diagnoses of bipolar and narcolepsy as the causes of my sleep and depression problems. Over this time, my training took a back seat to getting those things under control. I still tried to keep up with some sort of lifting, but because I had let things get so far out of control, my training wasn't very constant or intense. Within the last few months, I was able to finally pick up the intensity and consistency. Unfortunately, I had lost a great deal of strength, but it didn't matter because, like I said, I f*&^%$# love training. Being able to start going at it harder was awesome.

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Within the last year or so, I also decided that it was time to get back to my roots of lifting, so I started building a gym in my garage. I have a great gym now that is filled with all high quality elitefts™ equipment, and for me, it's absolutely amazing. It isn't the biggest place, but it’s the best. Some of my recent training sessions in my own little gym have been some of the best I've had in years.


While looking back at my lifting career, I started thinking about why I started training in the first place and why I train today because even that has changed many times. It was actually football that got me into weight training, and even though I loved lifting, it was still a means to an end. I lifted to get better at football. When football ended due to compartment syndrome, I focused on throwing the shot put. I still loved lifting, but again, it was a means to an end. Once my compartment syndrome was actually diagnosed and I had had surgery that didn't work, there wasn't any reason to lift, at least no reason like there had been before. I found myself still lifting and it was still the high point of my day. Most of the time, thinking about when I could lift got me through the day. This was the first time that I had lifted just for the sake of lifting. I loved the daily challenge thrown down at my feet. How hard could I train and how much could I take? How much intensity could I pull from deep within myself? Yes, I always wanted to get bigger and stronger, but more than that, I just loved lifting. I loved the excitement of knowing what I would be training that night. I loved getting myself worked up to lift. I loved seeing how hard I could push myself, and I loved pushing myself.

Most of this time, I trained alone with my own equipment. It was just me and the weights, pure and natural. It was almost animalistic. I made it life for death. If I couldn’t get that weight, I would die, or if I couldn’t squeeze out that last rep, I was dead. I absolutely loved it, the feeling leading up to it, the growing excitement throughout the day as it neared training time, the feeling I got during training, and the euphoric state afterward. The whole thing was f*&^%$# awesome!

My lifting went on for years like that. Yes, I always had goals, and I always seemed to get stronger even if it was only a little bit, but it really was just about lifting. To this day, I believe that lifting kept me out of a lot of trouble. It definitely helped control my anger issues. It was then and it still is now a crucial part of my life. The bar and weights are my counsel.

My training went on like this for many years. It was just about lifting, pure and simple. It wasn't until I discovered powerlifting and was prodded into doing my first bench meet that things changed again. Well, things didn't change immediately. At first, everything was the same, but shortly after doing my first full meet, I had the thought that maybe I could be a really good powerlifter. With this realization, my training changed a lot.

In the years before this, my programs were all just stuff that sounded fun or intense. I would switch up programs often, and I was always looking for more intense workouts. With powerlifting, I was back to training for something, not just lifting because I loved it. Once again, lifting became a means to an end in a way. I lifted so that I could lift the most amount of weight as possible on the platform. It was a great change for me and it allowed me to learn more than I ever had about strength training. It also taught me about real sacrifice. During all the other times that I had trained for other sports, I loved the training. I wasn't making any sacrifices when I lifted for football. I went in, lifted heavy and beat the crap out of myself. That’s what I did even when I stopped sports. It isn't sacrifice if you love doing it. That’s like a fat person sacrificing to keep Nabisco’s profits high by chomping through bags of Oreos. That type of lifting helped me a ton in sports. It wasn't what I would consider optimal with the knowledge that I have now, but it worked.

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With powerlifting though, everything changed. My technique changed, my training changed and even my nutrition (by nutrition, I mean pounding tons of food) changed. I had to look at lifting in a whole different light, and I ended up having to really make sacrifices. I suppose in a way it was my last chance to be an accomplished athlete because I was almost 30 when I started competing. Maybe that made it easier to give everything I had to it. I had sacrificed for other sports, but sacrificing for powerlifting was a whole new level for me. It taught me a whole new level of lifting, too. I always thought that I was so tough because I squatted until I physically couldn't walk up the stairs, or I laid on the gym floor for 45 minutes after some of my workouts because I was so exhausted that I didn’t even want to stand up. That was nothing compared to my powerlifting sessions. I learned to pull way more out of my body and muscle than I had ever even thought possible.


The level of mental strength that I gained through powerlifting was extraordinary compared to the already decent ability I had before powerlifting. It was completely different than any lifting I had ever done before. I loved it. Every single minute of it. It was like taking something I loved my entire life and relearning it in a new and improved way. Even when it was frustrating as hell, I loved it. Instead of the daily challenge of each session, the challenges were more long term. Could I perform each individual session the way that it needed to be done in order to hit the numbers I wanted on meet day? Could I have the intensity and focus when I needed it? Could I not go the gym when I wasn’t supposed to? Could I get my ego to stick with light weight and go just for speed on dynamic days? Could I come in and do basic as light as hell boring recovery sessions while keeping my ego in check?

Then there were the challenges of changing everything else in my life for powerlifting. It was way more intense and constant than the old days of just challenging myself with each workout. The meets came and I absolutely loved the chance to show what I could do. I loved the fact that if I did my training correctly, I would be better than I had been at the previous meet. If I messed up my training, it would also show. There was accountability. I love everything about powerlifting and strength training down to the most mundane detail.

In the present, my training has changed yet again. I think I've worked through the darkest parts of my life and have gotten my disorders under much better control. I'm ready and excited to move forward. Right now, my training is a bit of a blend of all the types of training I've ever done. My life is no longer completely centered around powerlifting, as it was for so many years. I know, understand and am trying to accept that I need to pay attention to my bipolar and narcolepsy, which can be drastically affected by my training. There are also other things in my life that I want to accomplish along with my training.

Training is a part of life and that will never change, so I'm searching for some balance to it all. I still like to use the basic outline that I've used throughout my powerlifting career, but I have allowed for much more modification than ever before. If I feel a bipolar episode coming on or my narcolepsy is causing a lot of problems, I switch to a more classic style of strength training or do more of a bodybuilding style. This could be a 5 X 5 setup or even a standard 3 X 10 setup. These types of training sessions seem to work my muscles well but are way easier on my central nervous system. I've found that overdoing the stress on my central nervous system can be very bad for my disorders.

Now, when things are rolling and I'm feeling good, I do more of a powerlifting type training like I did for all my heavy competition days. I'm experimenting with switching back to those general strength or bodybuilding sessions when I start to feel like I've overstressed my central nervous system instead of taking time off like I did in the past. I've also switched back to lifting completely raw because it's much less stress on my central nervous system and disorders. I honestly think that I could switch completely to more old school strength training programs and it would be way better for me, but I still want to compete in powerlifting again. I also love training for powerlifting and I love that absolute one-rep strength. There are even days when I basically say, "The hell with it! I feel like going old school!" So I just beat the crap out of myself like I'm back in the basement in high school. I still have goals and I'm training for a reason. I'm just giving myself a little more room to train the way that I feel in the moment. Like I said, I f*&^%$# love training and it is what I do. I'm searching for a program that I can bend and balance to meet all my goals.

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I'm having so much fun training right now, more than I've had in a long time. Like I said, things are feeling much better, and even though I'm as weak as hell, I'm excited to be gaining again and moving in the right direction. It's almost like retraining or relearning about lifting again, and I find that really exciting. I've reinvented lifting for myself, and I'm approaching it from another angle. I feel like I'm taking a lot of the best things that I've learned and I'm smashing them into one style of training.


My training has a lot of old school feel to it, which I love. I train with one of my oldest partners when I can, and on some days, I train alone, which I also love. I train with my own equipment even though I don't have everything that a full gym does. I love this because I get to be creative and come up with exercises or ways of using the equipment I have. There aren't many distractions like you get in a public gym, and I play my own music as loud as I want.

I love having so much knowledge about technique, which I still focus on a lot. That's from all my years as a powerlifter. My entire program still uses so much of the knowledge that I learned while powerlifting. It's nice to completely change everything up some days just based on how I feel. Going back to 5 X 5 is like running a damn marathon, but I still like pushing myself by making each set life or death. I love the challenge of just making it through that session. I can't wait to see what kind of gains I can make and what kind of changes I will end up making to my program. I'm also very curious to see how I end up balancing everything out. I don't believe that a person like me can be one of the strongest lifters in the world with balance, but I don't have any doubts that I can still be way stronger than most with a more balanced life that keeps my shit in check! This is what I'm striving for.

Life is lifting and lifting is life. I can't have one without the other. I'm many things, but none of them can be listed without listing that I'm a lifter, too. I f*&^%$# love lifting and it will be a part of my life until there isn't any more life in me. Lifting has always made sense to me, and in this world, there are few things that truly make sense to me, especially if it deals with humans or society. Lifting seems fair in a world without fairness. Yes, some people are born with a genetic advantage, but with intelligent, dedicated training, lesser genetics can be overcome. Not everyone can be a legend in strength sports or one of the greatest, but everyone can get stronger. Plenty of lifters with average genetics have become great. The reward that a lifter can get is equal to his dedication, work and knowledge. Everyone can get stronger and bigger if he wants to put in the work and time. The amount of size and strength that he will gain is proportionate to the amount of work that he puts in.

I don't just mean work in the gym either. The access to strength training knowledge is greater than it has ever been. It's literally at our fingertips. How much a lifter wants to learn is up to him and, again, will be proportionate to his achievements. For many years, I trained incorrectly and I made a lot of mistakes, but I never gave up and I never quit trying. I'm hardheaded and it took me a long time to learn, but I finally learned. As I learned, trained harder, trained smarter and dedicated myself more, I kept getting stronger and stronger. Even with my average genetics and disorders, I managed to become one of the best powerlifters of my time. There are hundreds of thousands of lifters out there right now who could do this if they really wanted it. I f*&^%$#$ love lifting because of this.

Even beyond the gym, lifting has helped me so much in my life. It has taught me so much about life. If I never did another meet, wrote another article, did another video or even talked to another lifter for the rest of my life, I would still lift and I would still train. I'm a lifter and I f*&^%$#$ love lifting. Lifting is life and life is lifting.