What I Think About the Lifting World

TAGS: Olympic lifters, powerlifting politics, competitive powerlifting, accomplishments, rant, single ply, perspective, multi-ply, world record, CrossFit, bodybuilding, powerlifting, dave tate, Jeremy Frey


I’ve spent many an hour sitting around thinking about, sometimes talking about, and definitely trying not to read about the lifting world as it pertains to powerlifting, bodybuilding, and competitive lifting in general.

I personally have spent over 20 years competing within the sport of powerlifting starting when I was 14 years old. I’ve competed in raw (with a belt, so not super raw), single-ply, and multi-ply within the APA, APF, UPA, WPC, IPF, XPC, etc. I also turned my drive for strength into a career and a collegiate performance coach. I’ve trained with world record holders and competed against them as well. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know some really great individuals and the unique experience of getting to meet more dipshits then I care to know.

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So what do I think about the lifting world? Just like everything else, there are goods and bads. I’m going to rant about the crap that annoys me.

1. Everyone Takes Themselves Way Too Seriously

Whether it’s a novice or someone who holds a record, it’s like the world should know who you are, and if they don’t, they’re just a douche bag. Over the years as a coach, I’ve had athletes come up to me and say, “Hey, do you know so and so? They are a powerlifter. They hold like the world record for the bench. They are dating this one girl I know.”

Since I know most of the names of the actual world record holders in any category, I know they are just full of shit. I try to put them down nicely, but they come back, “No, really they are the record holder.” This is where I just get annoyed and walk away, never to think about it again.


You’ve got some young dipshit out there telling his college buddies he’s some sort of record holder, and you come to find out he holds a state record in one of the 100 federations in the 110-pound class, 15-16 age group or some shit like that. But they tell everyone they hold a record. They tell other people like they should care and then that information makes it to someone else. The truth is no one really fucking cares.

Now you have real-world record holders who are the best of the best, and they act the same way, like they are the cock of the walk, like everyone should know them. If they show up to a gym, you need to give way ‘cause they the man or woman.

In the grand scheme of life, who fucking cares? The reality of it is no one knows who you are, what you did, or that it means anything. The lifting world is small, like a couple hundred thousand if I’m feeling generous (remember I just talking about competitive lifting world, not athletes). There are over seven billion people in this world. You are no one. Don’t act like a dick thinking you are someone who should be known or has accomplished anything.

What I’m trying to say, not so well, is that you can feel proud about what you accomplished, but that doesn’t mean everyone has your same agenda or even cares about what you have done. Stop trolling, stop pissing on other people, stop the ego.

2. Everyone Pisses on Everyone

The raw lifters think the geared lifters are cheaters. Single-ply lifters think multi-ply lifters are cheaters. Multi-ply lifters think single-ply and raw lifters are candy asses. Drug-tested lifters think the untested are cheaters. Untested lifters think the tested lifters bring knives to gun fights. The 100 percent raw guys think that wearing belts isn’t raw. The “raw” guys who wear belts think that those who wear knee wraps are cheaters. Olympic lifters think powerlifters and bodybuilders are worthless. CrossFitters are on a whole other planet. And so on and so forth.

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You would like to think that if you were involved in the world of physical fitness, performance, lifting, etc., we would all back each other up and support one another. Nope. Now, I’m not saying we all can’t have a different opinion, but no one person or group is right. We all have a preference and all make choices. Each to their own. I could care less what people do. If you want to weigh 300 pounds at two percent body fat, awesome! If you want to lift raw with no belt because you want to be as unassisted as possible, great! If you want to take two grams of test a week and eat Anadrol like it’s Pez candy while sporting a head that looks the color of an eggplant, more power to you! Who flipping cares! Stop judging.


The other things I was going to rant about I’m just going to hold on to. The bottom line for me is I just don’t understand why people care so much about how they appear to others. I don’t understand why people think others should think as they do. Talking about opinions is one thing. Forcing your opinion on someone else is another. I hate the lifting world for the most part. I hated it when I was more actively participating in it, and I hate it still today.

Everything I did and I accomplished wasn’t done for reasons that people may have thought. I hadn’t talked with Dave Tate in a long time, and when we struck up a conversation about some things, I remember one thing he said was, “It’s like when you were going for the world record.”

When I was competing, I never was going for any record. I didn’t go to meets to compete against certain people. I didn’t have rivals. I didn’t give a shit about any of the politics or about anyone for that matter. I competed for myself and against myself. I pushed myself to be my best self. It just so happened my best self was pretty good at the time.

I remember my biggest total I ever put up, 2,667 pounds in the 275-pound class. I remember it because, at the time, that was my best, PR squat, bench, and deadlift. I had zero, and I mean zero knowledge, that I had just recorded the second-best total of all time in the 275-pound class multi-ply. I had the second-best total of all time in the 242-pound class at the same time and didn’t even know it — 2,579 pounds, I think.

People who knew me didn’t even know why I did what I did. And that is not a chop at Dave. He just assumed that. I did what I did because it was what I wanted to do. I didn’t care what anyone thought, and I didn’t act as if it meant something more than what it meant to me. This is why I don’t understand and never will understand why people take themselves so seriously and think everyone else should as well.

My father passed away last summer. He wasn’t a great father, but he was an awesome friend and someone you could always count on. At his wake, more than 400 people showed up for that one man. He wasn’t famous, he didn’t make millions, but he was someone who would give you the shirt off his back and ask for nothing in return. He died thinking he didn’t have many friends, thinking who would really care. Little did he know everyone did!

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That man gave me a different perspective on life.

The only measure of your worth and your deeds will be the love you leave behind when you're gone.

Do what’s right, speak the truth; you are better than no one. Help those who need help.

A lot of people are full of shit. Are you one of them?


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