As I sit here today and reflect on my journey through the crap we call the fitness industry, I can’t help but be thankful for where I am in my life as well as for the great things and people the barbell has brought me.

I started my journey roughly five years ago as a kid who wanted to get faster on my bike. So I did what everyone else does. I bought Flex magazine and joined the nearest commercial gym.   Armed with my new found knowledge, I only really enjoyed getting to squat and deadlift once a week. Little did I know where that passion would take me…

With about two years of lifting under my belt, I had destroyed the health and fitness section at Borders, but I still wasn’t a better athlete. Frustrated, I searched for what was sometimes 2–3 hours at a time online in the middle of the night reading articles and forums. I was still as lost as I was when I started. Although I was getting smarter, my performance on my bike was still questionable.

Then, a good friend of mine who is an avid powerlifter mentioned a site that seemed like the holy grail of everything I was looking for. He told me about This site and the people who contribute to it have changed my life forever. There is no place on the web that keeps the industry in check and helps more people reach their goals than this site.

When I read my first article on—Joe DeFranco’s Westside for Skinny Bastards program—I reached a turning point. I followed this program as it was written for a solid year, and I believe it helped me accomplish my goal of becoming a professional BMX racer. I also became an avid follower of Joe DeFranco and read everything I could on Westside and the Russian conjugate system of training.

While reading, I signed up to attend the Syracuse Strength Spectacular. For me, this trip stands out for many reasons, particularly because the top guys in the industry invited me, a young kid, to hang out and eat dinner with them as if I were just like them (minus the fact that they all weighed probably 100 lbs more than me). I’d like to thank Dave Tate, Jim Wendler, Joe DeFranco, and Zach Even-Esh for their inspiration. They taught me the value of paying it forward, and clearly they’re the best at what they do for good reason.

The second major trip I took to further my education was to the 2007 Arnold Classic. I saw a very diverse group of athletes and energy like no other. I had the opportunity to hang out with and meet many people that weekend, some who I can now call friends. I give my thanks to Zach Even-Esh, Justin and Rick from Miami, Florida, and Chad from the University of Pittsburgh. Somehow, with the help of these guys, I was able to get into the after party and once again talk lifting with powerlifting greats.

I’ve been on one other major trip since the Arnold Classic. This was a four-day trip out to New Jersey. I attended a kettlebell seminar with Zach Even-Esh, visited DeFranco’s facility, and made a quick stop at the Parissi speed school to talk with Martin Rooney. They all welcomed me into their facilities and answered a ton of my questions. I owe them a great many thanks.

Since meeting these people and following their work, I stumbled onto a great trainer and friend in my local area by the name of Elliot Hulse. With the help of Elliot, we now operate a 1400 square-foot facility in St Petersburg. You can check out what we do at Elliot has been a great mentor, which is to me more valuable than anything a college education could have bought me. To this, I say thank you.

So looking back on my journey, I’m now a bike racer sponsored by and a partner in my own training facility. There are many people who have helped me, and I hope will continue to do so. I owe them great thanks. I give my thanks to my biggest supporters—my family, Dave and Jim at for taking a chance on a bike racer, and everyone reading this. Always remember, follow your dreams.

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