So how exactly does one get mixed up in the sport of powerlifting? For me, it all started with a little trip to the University of Kentucky. I wanted to see what their S&C coach was doing for the football team. At the time, I was Olympic lifting. When I was doing my workout these two crazy bastards were putting on really tight shorts and all these bands on the bar. I asked what they were doing and they mumbled something about a circa-max phase. Later, the really ugly one who went by the name of Wendler, started ripping on Olympic lifting and talking about conjugate method, Dave Tate, Louis Simmons and Westside barbell. As dumb as he looked, he made a lot of sense. So I did what he said and started reading I was so fascinated by what I was reading and bought books, the basic seminar and booked a flight to Las Vegas. Louis Simmons and Mel Siff were holding a two-day seminar in Vegas. I figured whom better to learn from than the source?

So, on a Jack and coke (cola) hangover, I listened to this crazy skinny guy go back and forth with a man who I knew had squatted over 900 pounds, yet he looked old enough to get a discount at Denny's. Later, I had lunch with Louie and he talked about training, his dogs, and something about the 1971 dead lift coefficient...I got lost somewhere in there. Next, I went to Dave Tate’s advanced training seminar. At the seminar, I was going to learn how to squat and bench. I was excited because Dave was a 600 pound bencher and had great squat form. I learned a lot and it was some of the best money I’ve spent. If you haven’t gone and you're confused about anything in your training, you need to do one of Dave’s seminars. After this I was sold, I decided that I was going to quit Olympic lifting and start powerlifting. In September, I moved to Kentucky to become a graduate assistant in strength and conditioning. Paying my bills on $700 a month is pretty much impossible, especially when I also had to buy powerlifting gear for the first time. In October, I got my briefs and started training using the Westside (conjugate) method. Luckily there was a volunteer, Evan Simon, who also wanted to start powerlifting. We decided we were going to do the Iron House Classic in April. We had to figure a lot out on our own, as we were not cool enough, nor had enough tattoos to lift at the Confederate Barbell club.

Kevin Dewessee, another g.a., helped us in our training whenever he could and his experience helped us greatly. If you don't understand the Westside method, or think it is complicated, then you aren't using it. To understand it, is to do it. Evan was a great training partner; he would push through workouts and always make us do extra work. The extra work paid off in April and I learned a lot from the first meet. I totaled 2160 pounds with an 825, 630 and a 705. Once again at the meet, I talked with Louie Simmons and he said that I should come down and check out the gym. At that meet I also met Matt Smith and he offered to let me stay at his place when I came down to see the gym. So, I came down for four days and lifted Friday, Sunday and Monday and decided that this is where I wanted to be. I turned down a good job offer close to home and packed up for Columbus.

The training was unbelievable; I now had all these sources of information correcting all my errors in the squat, bench and deadlift. My training was going great, so Louie made me hop into the I.P.A. World's four weeks out from the meet. This proved to be a great move, as I gained twice as much meet knowledge than from my first meet. Everyone told me that meet experience is crucial and now I know why. My total went up to a 2250 pounds with an 850, 675 and a 725. A 90-pound jump in my first three months at Westside. Next, I decided to do I.P.A. National's last month. As in my previous meets, I left a lot out on the platform but still came away with a 2340 pound total. This was an 875, 700 and a 765. Another 90-pound jump in my total in three months. Only this one counted for something because it got me on the board at Westside. I now had the total record for the 275-pound class, along with the fourth best total ever at Westside, and the sixth best 275-pound total of all-time.

For me, the biggest bill that I’ve paid was experience and knowledge. Without experience under the bar, you can read all the science you want, but you will never understand the Westside (conjugate) methods. The experiences I’ve gained by being at Westside put me well beyond my years and I look forward to paying more bills, as I continue to get better and move up my total.