After serving four years in the Marine Corps and one tour in Iraq, I was finally done. I had served my country valiantly and fought for my freedom. I said to myself, “It’s time to let loose.” So I did exactly that. Five months and thirty pounds of fat later, I was a mess. I became another statistic, another face in the crowd. I was one of the sixty plus percent of overweight people in this world.

This was something that I thought would never happen to me. I was raised to stand out from the crowd and excel in life. I let myself, my family, and more specifically, my wife and kids down. I took a good, long look in the mirror on August 12, 2008, and knew it was time for a change. On that day, I took my life in my hands and decided to make numerous changes.

The first step was to set a goal and pick a date to do this. I enlisted the help of EliteFTS’s own Shelby Starnes and expressed to him my concerns and disappointments. I told him my goal was to get down to single digit body fat within three months. It was a long, grueling process, but I knew it had to be done. I had to take myself out of the majority column and put myself into the minority one. Three months later, I reached my goals. Man, did it empower me to achieve more!

Still, after all this, there was something inside me that said do more, be the best. I decided again that this wasn’t good enough for me. I needed something bigger, something more fulfilling. So I set my sights on a Strongman contest sometime in July of 2009. This gave me eight months to transform myself into a Strongman competitor. I knew this would give me enough time to prepare mentally and physically. I set up my template to focus on my weak points while continuing to improve my strong ones.

My template was pretty basic because I didn’t know what to expect at a competition.


Max effort overhead press, 1–5RM
Heavy triceps, 3–5 sets, 6–10 reps
Back, 3–5 sets, 10–15 reps
Triceps finisher, 3 sets, 25–50 reps
Circuit abs, 3 sets, 10–15 reps


Max effort deadlifts, 1–5 RM
Squat variation, 5–7 sets, 6–10 reps
Grip, 5 sets of random exercises
Traps, 5 sets, 10–20 reps




Upper body plyometrics, 10 sets, 3 reps
Back, 4–6 sets, 3–10 reps
Triceps, 3–4 sets, 8–12 reps
Biceps, 3–4 sets, 8–12 reps
Heavy abs, 5 sets, 8–10 reps




Strongman training
(All I had for equipment was a 700-lb tire, Farmer’s walk, and a sled. I just did medleys.)



I continued to do carb rotation and managed the micros and macros myself. On training days, I consumed a healthy 3600 calories, and on the low days, I consumed 2800 calories. I monitored my weight and made adjustments as I continued to progress. I wasn’t worried about putting on 30 lbs of muscle and increasing my deadlift by 100 lbs. That is impossible to do in the short amount of time provided to obtain my goal. I knew if I stuck to my plan and made small improvements I would be fine.

Day in and day out I was in a zone. All I could focus on was getting in the gym, setting PRs, and crushing the competition. Slowly but surely I was putting on some good size and strength. I couldn’t be deterred from my goal, and I wouldn’t let anything or anyone get in my way. Finals week in school wasn’t a problem. Neighbors complained about the noise, but I didn’t care. They were the statistic that I once was and would never be again.

I was obsessed with being the best. I read any and all books related to strength and performance to hone my skills. I had to learn from the best so I took a trip up to New Jersey to train at DeFranco’s. I was there for one week learning from the best and training with his NFL crew. That was an experience that will affect the way I do things for the rest of my life. I loved the feeling of being a rare breed, and I wanted more. I continued to set goals and plan my life around the steel. I opened my own gym and continued working on my degree in exercise science all while pounding the weights to achieve my goal.

The day finally came—July 18, 2009, the 3rd Annual SW Florida Strongman Show. I competed in the novice division with ten other Strongmen. I knew I had my work cut out for me. I was undersized in an open weight class, and these guys were on the same path that I was.

First up was the log press—215 for reps in 60 seconds. I pushed out 12 reps and thought maybe I should have tried this before the contest. The second event was the axle deadlift—405 lbs for reps in 60 seconds. I knew this would be my event. I blasted out 13 reps and then my grip gave out. The third event was an 18-lb crucifix hold in each hand. I held it for one minute and seven seconds. Going into the atlas stones, I was in second place and had to set the time to beat. Just before the judge said go, all I could think about was becoming one of the elite and separating myself from the pack.

The first stone was 200 lbs and it went up like a pillow while the second, third, fourth, and fifth did the same. This was the first time I had ever touched stones, and I lifted 200, 220, 240, 260, and 280 lbs like they were my 33-lb, three-year-old daughter. I finished in 15 seconds and waited patiently as the guy in first place went. He struggled with them, and I knew that right then and there it was mine for the taking. It was time to fulfill the life I was born to live. I was separating myself from society, from the pack. The scores were in. As they called out my name and everybody cheered for me—the guy who took first place—I knew my life would never be the same.

I was amazed at the feeling I got when they called my name. That was the validation I needed. That was the separation I desired. That fed me for about two minutes and then I wanted more. Now, I’m on a journey to turn professional, and I won’t stop until I get it.


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