Part 1: Pre-Game

First off, I would just like to thank elitefts™ for supplying me with more than I could have ever thought—not just in the form of equipment, but also with emotional support in the passing of my father. I got an email from Dave Tate that was very nice and really meant a lot to me. A few others on the staff out there sent their condolences, which helped a lot as well.

My flight to Columbus was fine, and I have nothing to complain about in regards to the TSA...other than the fact that it’s still a waste of tax payers' dollars! (Haha!) I flew out at 6:45 p.m. on Thursday so that I could still work a full day. Also, this put me in Columbus at the same time as the person I was staying with, so we could just drive out in the rental car together. I landed at about 11:15 p.m., and by that time I hadn’t had any water since about 5:00 p.m. I was a few pounds over 198 and wanted to make sure I made weight. We then went to Wendy’s and I got some chicken nuggets—I was starving and needed something to tide me over until after weigh-ins.

When we got back to the hotel, I showered and started winding down by watching some TV. In no time at all, Bert Underwood fell asleep...and I began to hear a horrific noise. I looked over and saw this:


What am I? A shit magnet? I hit him in the face probably five or six times once he started snoring, but he only remembers once. These powerlifters and their sleep’s crazy. I put my head phones on with the noise cancelling option and finally fell asleep around one o'clock or so.

We woke up around 7:00 a.m., got our shit together, and headed over to Lexen to weigh-in. I honestly had no idea what I was going to weigh, but I just hoped it was 198 pounds or under. Thankfully, I came in at 194 pounds. Schew, that pressure was off! After we weighed-in, we met up with Chad Walker and his crew over at Bob Evans. We had a huge table, but Chad needed two seats—one for his body and one for his head! I had some egg bowl thing with sausage, cheese, and French toast.

After breakfast, we headed over to Walmart to pick up some supplies for the next couple of days. Gatorade, jerky, EARPLUGS, and Twizzlers for me. If any of you have seen the website, it was like that...but I felt like you could just take pictures of everyone there and it would be a top 10 pic. Talk about a depressing place!

I have a problem eating as it is, but getting in a shit-ton of calories after weigh-ins is a very difficult task for me. I was talking to Josh Mcmillan at the UGSS, and he told me that he gets a large amount of calories from carbs and protein shakes because he also hates to eat. Thus, I brought dextrose and protein powder with me and had what was at least a cup of dextrose and a cup of protein powder on our way to the Arnold.

After finally finding a parking spot, we ran (in the cold!) to the Expo. Our first stop was the Muscletech booth to chat with Matt Kroczaleski. The line was all the way around the booth and down the hallway, but of course he called us up ahead of everyone. VIP, bitch! We chatted with him for about five minutes and found out that he sits there basically for three days straight! I don't know how he does it, but more power to him. After we left the Muscletech booth, we headed over to the MHP booth where our good friends Michael Cartinian and Rob Luyando were. Cartinian used to train with me at Big Iron before he moved back to Ohio for work, and Rob has been a long time friend of Big Iron and a very helpful guy. (He's pretty strong, too). We chatted with them for probably 45 minutes before we went and got something to eat in the food court. We got some Subway sandwiches—cold cut combo on Italian herbs and cheese. Nom nom nom nom.

After we got done eating, we headed back up to the Expo where we watched Brandon Lilly pull 755 pounds with no belt. He then almost had 800 pounds but just couldn’t get it locked. Pretty impressive stuff considering he had a meet the next day. I think he would’ve gotten it if he had thrown his belt on the first time he tried 800 pounds, but oh well. You live and you learn!

By that time, we had been there for quite a while, so we decided to head back to the hotel where I had another cup of dextrose and another cup of protein powder. (I estimated the shakes to be about 1,000 calories each). We then showered up and relaxed for a bit before heading over to Chipotle for some burritos with Brian Carroll, Ria Carrol, and Clint Smith. I smashed that along with some Gatorade, and we just bullshitted for a couple of hours before heading back to the room. I then ate some beef jerky and Twizzlers and washed it down with Gatorade as my final solid meal. Then, about 45 minutes later, I had my final 1,000-calorie shake. Since I was already an hour ahead, I wasn’t tired. I also didn’t have my box fan, and I have trouble sleeping before meets anyways. So after Snorey McSnorerson fell asleep, I put my ear plugs in, my noise cancelling headphones on, and turned off the tv and lights. However, I still didn’t fall asleep until probably 12:30 a.m.

Part 2: Meet Day

On the big day, we woke up at around 6:30 a.m. First of all, I always get up and shower before a meet—I like to feel so fresh and so clean clean. Then, I gathered all my shit together. It seemed like I was packing for a trip I had so much crap. All this to lift weights! Squat suit, deadlift suit, briefs, bench shirt, knee wraps, wrist wraps, suit slippers, sleeve slippers, squat shoes, deadlift shoes, deadlift socks, bench shoes, bench socks, Gatorade, granola bars, Subway sandwich, iPod, headphones, cell phone charger, iPod charger, and my belt! There is a possibility I'm forgetting something, but you get the idea.

Bert and I also wanted to eat, so we found a little diner close to the venue. I got some eggs and sausage and called it good. I also saw a "black belt" threaten to beat up a booth of kids, so the day already started off pretty eventful, especially for it only being seven o'clock in the morning. I then proceeded to see every person over the age of 65 greet one another and act as if they hadn't seen each other in years...but I'm sure it was just yesterday, and they probably had the same interactions! I then paid my bill, checked out the Obama zero dollar bill, and headed on my way.

I arrived at the meet feeling pretty good. I prefer to warm up for a long time, as I am used to being in gear for hours and it doesn't bother me. I began warming up with the first flight even though I was in the second. This began at around 7:30 a.m. I started with the bar, walls squats, and foam rolling. I try to keep it somewhat close to a normal day if I can.

Warm-ups were as follows:

add Metal Jack Pro Briefs
add Metal Ace Pro Squatter
straps up
add wraps

This is the first time in a long time that my last warm-up didn't scare the living shit out of me. Most of the time my legs feel like jello, I'm loose as hell in the hole, and my confidence is shot. I don't know if I had been having shitty pre-meet nutrition or what, but I felt amazing.

I had a person wrapping me, Joseph Daviea, who had never wrapped me before. He started wrapping me on the 650 pounds so that we could work the kinks out of what he was used to giving and what I liked. I'll be honest with you, though. When he first started I was a bit skeptical because it wasn't as tight as I usually like, and it was taking him a while to get it done. However, I didn't lose hope because we had my opener and second attempt to get it finished before the third.


Opener: 771 pounds—Good

The wrap on this one was good. We didn't, however, get my straps set the way I liked them. They were a touch loose, but I got the lift anyways. I opted to make a fairly large jump considering the lift was easy, and I knew I had some pounds that I had given up from the straps.

Second attempt: 823 pounds—Good

We got the wrap even tighter and it was done quicker than before. We got my straps jacked as shit, and I felt perfect! Smoker! This one felt better and was faster than the first! I asked the gentleman taking the attempts what he thought I should do. He asked what my best was and I said that was it. He said go up two kilos, but I was like, "You obviously didn't see it. Give me 860."

Third attempt: 860 pounds—Good

I instructed Joseph that I wanted him to try and hurt me on this wrap and that my straps were going to need to be tighter. I'm fairly confident that the scabs on my legs were from this set because they were blisteringly tight! This one was heavy, and I almost fell back after un racking it. It's not as noticeable as I thought on video, but most of the time it never is. Still, I got it, which gave me a 50-pound squat PR!


I began warming up early on this one as well, about midway through the first flight.

315x1 3-board
add shirt Metal Jack Bench Shirt
425x1 1-board
455x1 chest

Opener: 463 pounds—Good

I would've opened lighter, but I was having trouble touching the lower weights. Still, I knew I would be good for this, so I opted to open a little heavier for the sake of getting the bar down easier. It was very easy (no video), so I made a reasonable jump that would be a decent PR and set me up for 501 pounds.

Second Attempt: 485 pounds—Good

This too was pretty easy, so I opted to make the jump!

Third Attempt: 501 pounds—Good

This is a number that I have been chasing for a long time. It's a number that is long overdue, and if Rick were alive, he would've told me how this should've been done three years ago! I don't think I would've gotten it if there was another pound on the bar, but I got it!


Warm-ups always feel pretty crappy on the dead, but that's probably because you just maxed out for three attempts on squat and bench! I did wall squats and foam rolled as I warmed up.

add suit Metal Jack Sumo Dead lift Suit
straps up

Opener: 660 pounds—Good

My grip was going on this, and I thought, "WTF is going on?! This is bullshit!" I noticed that my hands weren't gripping like they normally do, so I cleaned them off with water and dried them because I thought I had maybe gotten baby powder on them. I went over to the chalk bowl and re-chalked my hands...but same thing. It didn't feel grippy. As I was doing this, I noticed that Dave Kirschen had dropped his second deadlift attempt. I asked him what happened, and he said he didn't know, he just couldn't hold on. I again washed my hands with water and let everyone know that I thought there was baby powder in the bowl. I then got some chalk from a box and chalked up...and it felt normal again. About a minute later, they dumped the bowl and added all new chalk.

Second Attempt: 711 pounds—Good

This felt very easy. My grip was a little sketchy at the top, but I didn't think anything of it and jumped to 744 pounds, which would have been a huge PR and a 2,100-pound total!

Third Attempt: 744 pounds—Miss

About four to five inches off the ground, my hands just gave out. I was so pissed you wouldn't believe it. So much was riding on that lift, and to lose it because of grip is, in my opinion, the worst reason to miss a lift. I missed a PR deadlift, a nine-for-nine day, and a 2,100-pound total because my pussy hands couldn't hold on.

All in all, though, it was a good day: PRs in squat, bench, and total. I also ended up taking First Place in the 198-pound class.

I will get my grip figured out—I know my hands being inflamed had something to do with it, so I will be trying some things leading up to the meet to combat that.