I have heard some pretty ridiculous ideas that people have had over the 16 years I was at Westside. How do I view Westside?  When I was there, Westside was a place to train. The best way to describe it is to say that Westside was a group of like-minded individuals with a common goal. The people there don’t fit in at commercial gyms. The gym to us was not a pickup spot — we had the bars for that.

We didn’t take days off for holidays. If a holiday fell on our training days, we still trained. These commercial gyms leave us hanging when they close for the holiday, but Westside didn’t close for holidays. Commercials gyms like shit to be pretty and don’t allow chalk. I was once even told at World Gym that I wasn’t allowed back because I was doing too much weight and it was causing a distraction.

Really? It’s a bad thing if people stop to see how many reps a person gets with 405 on the bench? And let’s not mention the atmosphere at commercial gyms: elevator music! That shit makes you want to slit your throat, not squat a grand. This is what led us to Westside. This is the attraction of Westside.

We knew shit was serious there. Before we made it to Westside, we already had made lifting a priority. Everyone I can think of that trained at Westside would agree. We all were actively competing. Westside was not a place to come work out. We all had a purpose and it was the next meet. That next meet was to qualify for the Nationals or Worlds. Others, it was the WPO semi-finals or the finals at the Arnold. At these meets we were looking to increase our PRs, move up on the top 100 list or go for world records. We all were looking for that edge to move us on up.

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Whether it was a new bench shirt or squat suit or making a change in training, we were looking for it. We were always looking to make improvements, however we had to do it. Once you were at Westside, you were part of a team. For every squat, I would hear five different voices yelling out commands, each one pointing out something that I needed to remember or push harder on to make me stronger. And when any one of them was squatting, I was doing the same for them.


Now, each and every one of us wanted to be at the top so there was competition amongst each other but we knew who our competition was because our competition was our training partners. Each and every one of us were coaching one another and supporting each other at the same time as competing against one another. The stronger my training partners got, the stronger I got. And that is what set us apart from others. If I could make it through the shit at Westside, there was nothing to worry about at the meets. No competitor could rattle me at a meet more than what I got at Westside.

Westside wasn’t just one person. It wasn’t just Louie. Louie was the one who gave guys who were just like him a place to come together to get strong. Louie is like the glue that holds it all together. Without Louie, there is no Westside. If you wanted to lift raw, so be it. If you wanted to lift drug free, so be it. It wasn’t forced on anyone. All that was expected was to show up and train, get stronger and show up and help at the meets. Like he said in Bigger, Stronger, Faster, your morals are yours, not mine. Who am I to judge you and who are you to judge me? He had his thoughts and views and has always been very set in his ways. If you wanted his opinion on the subject of the use of gear or drugs or training, he would be willing to give it. But don’t ask unless you are prepared for the answer, and don’t try to push your bullshit on him. Louie knows how to push buttons and either make you step it up or crush you mentally. You either stepped up to the challenge or you crumbled. Many over the years I’ve seen crumble and walk out the door never to be seen again.

I would not have been who I am today or achieved the level of competition I did had it not been for Louie and Westside. Yeah, I’m sure there was something in it for Louie, but there was something in it for me as well: being able to be around the people I trained with and the knowledge they possessed and the atmosphere and the facility and top notch equipment. Being able to say that I was a part of a team that had the reputation that Westside had for having some of the strongest people ever. That was an honor for me and out of respect for what was provided me, it was the least I could to do to give 110%.

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I competed for me and no one else, but when someone supports you, have a little damn respect and give credit where credit is due. I’ve heard statements like, "he owed it to us because he was making money off of us." Maybe so, but without him supporting me, giving me a chance and the opportunity to train at Westside, no one would have ever known who I was. Not like I am anyone, but I damn sure would not have made it to the level I did without the opportunity I was given to train with those at Westside by Louie Simmons.

It seems all I read anymore is how individuals say they created a new program. I respect Louie for giving credit to the authors that he gained knowledge from that lead us to how we trained at Westside.   What’s so bad about giving credit where credit is due?