I was recently approached through the Q&A with interest in my time at Westside. I’ve decided to share a few thoughts from those days.

Back when I was at Westside, most people didn’t make it. By estimation, I’d say maybe one out of ten people actually lasted more than a month — and that doesn’t even include the people I’ve seen who would drive all the way out there to workout, take one look inside, and then retreat back to their car. The ones who did stay became my family and closest friends. It was an absolute privilege to be a part of such a group. It was an interesting place, and there are some things I'll never forget.

bob youngs westside triceps 070814

The lifters could be stupid.

On separate occasions, I have seen:

  • A Westside lifter beat his hand with a five-pound plate after dropping a deadlift. He said he was punishing his hand "for failing him."
  • A teammate hit his head with a wire brush to get fired up for the deadlift. He walked out to the platform with about 100 holes trickling blood from the top of his head.
  • A teammate ask for someone to hit him before he squatted. The fight to win the right to smack the guy was brutal.

The atmosphere was tense.

Louie was the master manipulator. He could have all of us in the gym ready to kill each other, yet still get along like family. The goal everyday was to beat your teammates; cheat, manipulate, whatever — just figure it out and win. You never wanted to be the loser. That made for a long night of pizza eating after the workout. The next time you went into the gym, it started again. No matter what, you never backed down from anyone or anything. You may get your ass kicked, but you always stepped up.

dave westside squat bob youngs 070814

The gym was gross.

The bathroom at Westside had to be the dirtiest, nastiest shitter I have ever seen. I would piss and shit out back because I just couldn't get myself to use the actual bathroom.

I remember something special about each lifter.

  • George Halbert and Kenny Patterson were the two best benchers of my era. I got to train with them both a lot and they would just boggle your mind. I think they held the all-time world records from 198-275 between the two of them at one point.
  • I got fired up every time Chuck Vogelpohl was about to lift. He is just that intense and watching him deadlift is awesome.
  • Dave Tate did some seriously stupid stuff whenever he would squat. It did, however, provide great entertainment for me.
  • I knew every time I walked into a bar with Don Damron, I was walking out just fine.
  • Matt Smith was a beast from the time he walked into the gym. Most SHWs cannot keep up, but Matt sure did.
  • Amy Weisberger was the most impressive female lifter I have ever seen. She was an even better training partner.
  • You don't mess with Traci Tate. Some people forget Traci was one of my training partners at Westside. She was an incredible lifter who doesn't get nearly the credit she deserves.
  • When Dave squatted at a meet you held your breath hoping he didn't shake the plates off of the bar.westside bob youngs chuck 070814

I was accused of doing impossible things.

According to Dave, I have…

  • Pushed on a bar he was bench pressing which caused his pec to tear.
  • Somehow popped the ball he was lying on to do dumbbell presses.
  • Cut the cable with which he was doing pull-down abs causing him to plant his gorilla skull into the power rack upright when the thing actually tore (yes, that did happen).
  • Through some weird Jedi-powerlifting mind trick, caused him to shake on EVERY squat he has ever taken.

The eating habits were unbelievable.

I thought I knew what eating was until the first time I went to a buffet with my training partners. I also cannot count how many times I had a holiday meal at one of my teammate's houses.

The education is still number one.

As wild as Westside was, the knowledge Louie and Dave had was unbelievable. You will learn more about training in a five-hour car ride with Louie and Dave than you could possibly imagine.