full interview with Sean Katterle

Louis Costa – How did you get involved in the powerlifting scene?

Sean Katterle - In the Fall of 2000 I was working as a nutritional supplement and skin care products buyer for a chain of health food stores here in Portland. I’d recently retired as a professional drummer for various hard rock bands and I was considering returning to college to complete my MBA. I’m a big believer in continuing education so I invest a good amount of my free time reading and studying subjects that interest me and one of my chosen subjects of study happens to be strength and conditioning training and iron game history. In addition to pouring over research journals and technical manuals, I subscribe to just about every muscle sport magazine published in the USA. When Jeff Everson’s Planet Muscle Magazine ran an ad for HeavyWear International, a start-up clothing line with some of the best physical culture artwork I’d come across, I reached out to the designer with the hopes of becoming his NW sales rep or distributor. The response I received from Jake Jones, the artist, was more than I’d hoped for. Jake informed me that he was launching a strength sport publication that would be titled Powermag and that he and his (then) silent partner were looking for an advertising salesman. Seeing a chance to move from grocery store buyer to potential industry insider I jumped at the opportunity.

I spent the next year making cold calls and attending tradeshows and competitions, with the hopes of collecting as many business cards and company brochures as possible. I’d never been to a powerlifting competition before and the first thing that jumped out at me was how many 3XL plus sized t-shirts were for sale and how quickly they were selling out! My first expo was The National Strength and Conditioning Association’s annual convention for coaches and athletic directors. It was there that I first met the legendary Bill Kazmaier. Kaz was on hand representing Pro Spot Fitness and his sponsor had scheduled a strength demonstration for him on the outdoor stage. Bill challenged the audience to take him on in a rebar bending contest. Local strongman and deadlifting star, Aaron Anderton, accepted Bill’s challenge and proceeded to beat him at his own game! Anyone who knows Bill knows that he’s not the most gracious of losers so what better time for the organizers to announce that people should line up to meet The Mighty Kaz for autographs and pictures! Not yet knowing the personality I was lining up to meet I joined the line of compliment gushing, well wishing fans. When I got to the front of the pack I extended a copy of our new magazine and asked for an autograph. Bill looked at the cover, which featured multi ply shirt benchers from The Arnold Classic Expo and he promptly informed me that I’m promoting fake lifting “crap” and that I should get away from him. With that he turned his back on me and began making his way back to the vendor hall. The mood change which came from the quick transition of laying praise on to a sports star to having them refuse to sign your paper and to telling you that you promote crap was like getting a bucket of cold water thrown in your face. At the time I’d never worn a bench shirt and so I was unaware of just how accurate Kaz was in his assessment of shirt benching. My pride was hurt from the incident and so I started yelling at him while he walked away in disgust. I can’t think of a better way to introduce yourself to the gym industry than yelling and cursing at the world famous Bill Kazmaier in front of a hundred or so manufacturing executives and professional coaches. Welcome to the powerlifting business!

The following year I made the move to San Diego so I could get closer to one of the nation’s gym scene hotbeds. I rented an apartment in Imperial Beach, set up an office in the living room and I picked up a part time afternoon position as a personal trainer and another part time gig at night bouncing at the beach town’s most popular dive bar. Shortly after relocating, Jake called me to let me know that he’d sold his share of the publication to his now not-so-silent partner in Eastern Washington. With the very talented Mr. Jones out of the picture I was now stuck with a self appointed magazine editor who had no formal training and no experience in the field of magazine editing or design. The name of the magazine changed to Monster Muscle and I was promoted to Advertising Director and, soon thereafter, to Assistant Editor. While the magazine took a serious drop in design quality, I did benefit from getting the opportunity to get my feet wet as a published author, interviewer and reporter and my new editor started flying me all over the country to cover shows and events. My travels took me to The Arnold Classic and it was there that I made two of my most valuable contacts; Jim Rainey and Joe Mukite. At the time, Jim Rainey was one of the top brass for Bob O’Leary Sports Sciences and that supplement distributor was publishing BodyTalk Magazine. Rainey basically gave me carte blanche with what I wanted to compose and layout for his magazine and that gave me a second soapbox for promoting and endorsing the projects and athletes I was associated with. I’ve found that, in this field, once you’re picked up by a couple magazines you instantly become a viable freelance option for the others and my getting published in Monster Muscle and in BodyTalk opened up the doors to Powerlifting USA, Southern Muscle Plus, Planet Muscle and to IRON MAN Magazine. Jim Rainey was also on a first name basis with almost every marketing director in the nutritional supplement biz and I owe him a huge debt of thanks for his making so many introductions for me and for my quest to find magazine advertisers and, later on, event sponsors.

The other excellent ally I connected with was simply a matter of good fortune and choosing to be in the right place at the right time. In the powerlifting hall I sat front and center as I was doing the reporting while my boss took the photographs. Sitting next to me at the show was one of the bench only pros, an affable guy from the suburbs of Chicago by the name of Joe Mukite. For a couple of hours we caught the lifting action and, seeing as he seemed really interested in learning more about the full meet version of the sport, I began rattling off statistics and bios of the guys we were watching on stage and I kept the conversation rolling by talking about all the personalities and their connections as they made their way in and out of the spotlight. Keep in mind that, though I’d only been involved with the game for a couple of years, that I’d been immersing myself for twenty or thirty hours a week and combining that with my then 15 years of recreational lifting and iron fandom I’d amassed a respectable amount of information inside my skull. When we parted company and Joe left to prepare for the bench comp in the main hall, he left me with the compliment that he’d really enjoyed our talk and that he felt it was cool that the sport had a new reporter who lived and breathed his subject matter. Later that year my office phone rang and it was Joe calling from Chicago. He informed me that his family ran a successful contracting business and that he was investing six figures of his acquired wealth into getting competition benching on to national television. He went on to explain that his resources were completely tied up, but that he could offer me a hotel room and a Greyhound bus ticket if I wanted to work alongside a professional play-by-play commentator as the technical analyst for the broadcast. Boy was I glad I gave that guy my business card when we sat next to each other in Columbus! Without hesitation I agreed to being a part of the production team and we made the necessary arrangements. If you ever want to prove your desire to attend a gathering, try voluntarily living on a stale, sweaty bus for 48 straight hours. For those who’ve never gone Greyhound, the bus doesn’t stop rockin’. It’s got a built in toilet that adds to the aroma of three dozen or so unwashed bodies and our quick meal breaks were usually at a fast food joint (take out) or a fine selection of vending machines at one of the bus depots, which didn’t improve the hygiene situation. By the time I got to the hotel I was going on day three with no shower and I’d walked 4 miles from the drop off point, while dragging two overloaded suitcases in the humid Chicago Summer heat and the lobby personnel mistook me for a homeless person who needed to vacate the premises. But I was there and after a good night’s sleep and an hour of two in the washroom and I was ready to be on FOX Sports Net nationwide! That promotion, titled BenchAmerica, would go on to produce three additional events for Comcast Sports Net and I was fortunate enough to be one of the commentators for each of them. In a sport where hardly anyone gets noticed outside the game’s cult scene, being on TV from coast-to-coast for four one hour broadcasts really helped to push my name and image to the forefront of the game’s corps of journalists.

Shortly after I moved up to Spokane, Washington at the firm request of my then employer and I was now working full time as an independent contractor for Monster Muscle Magazine. My apartment was in the same building as the editor’s home-away-from-home apartment and so I quickly became aware that, though married with kids, my boss was engaged in having relations with a wide variety of extras, including a teenage street girl, one of the fugliest counter ladies I’d ever seen at a health club and, I suspect, an effeminate male college student who lived in the neighborhood. It didn’t take a fortune teller to predict that this business would be in jeopardy as soon as the wife and partner of the publisher decided to investigate exactly why her husband felt the need to rent an apartment across town when he was married and already owned two homes in the suburbs. I kept to minding my own business and to keeping my mouth shut, but I began making moves to protect my business future by way of securing the name and the website HardcorePowerlifting.com so I could be publically recognized as a company that, while aligned with, was separate from the magazine that I represented as a client. Sure enough, by the time my first year in Spokane was up, my boss had been found out, he was in the process of divorce and the mail order business that funded that magazine was being argued over. One of the women the editor was fooling around with was a competitive lifter with a decent amount of money coming in from her job as a veterinary pharmaceutical chemist (you can read between the lines on that one) and looking to change careers and to make money elsewhere. So they set-up shop in Idaho and they made the suspicious request that I send them the contact information for all of my ad accounts. Obviously I declined to do so and I soon discovered keystroke reading spyware on my computer. That was my signal to leave and so I returned to my hometown of Portland and Monster Muscle Magazine lost most of its ad revenue and soon went under, but not before making a “Subscribe for multiple years up front a receive a huge discount” offer, intentionally leaving hundreds of paying subscribers and the scorned ex-wife holding the bag as it seemed to me. Last I heard this guy was living in the southwest desert, studying to become a bail bondsmen. So he skipped out of town to pursue a living tracking down other people skipping out on problems of their own.

Looking over my career’s initial five years I’d commentated for four shows on two nationwide television stations and I’d announced at The Arnold Classic and LA FitExpo as well as regional shows from Oregon to Alabama to the Florida coast. I’d been published in numerous muscle magazines and I had two Rolodexes full of professional contacts. In addition, my new company had produced Ryan “BenchMonster” Kennelly’s DVD while I’d ghost ( co ) written his training manual for a publisher in Eastern Washington. I’d also attended tradeshows and expos from shore-to-shore and I’d gotten to see first hand how some of the best event organizers in the game put their stages and line-ups together. At this point I felt like I was ready to step into the promotional arena to see if my vision for returning the sport to greatness couldn’t be accomplished with some more hard work and dedication. Continuing my pattern of working in the gym world full time while adding a second job or two to my schedule I set up shop in the basement of a downtown high rise building and, with a lot of help from my friends in the art and music industries, I put together The Kings of the Bench pro show for The 2006 Olympia Expo. As luck would have it, this show was a big success and our line-up was star studded; Jeremy Hoornstra, Matt Kroczaleski, Brian Siders, Nick Winters, Levi Van Dyke, Joe Luther and Joe Mazza. We had three guys raw benching 600+ pounds much to the amazement and thrill of the crowd! That initial success earned us a spot at The Europa Super Show in Texas so 2007 saw running high profile competitions in Sin City and in The South. I’d been through a lot by this time, but I still wasn’t psychologically prepared for the challenges and hurdles that came along with doing business with some of the biggest names in the game. Up till this moment, I’d been running off words and handshakes and that had been serving me very well as many people still appreciate old fashioned business ethics and integrity. What I didn’t realize was that I’d hitched myself to the bodybuilding cart and that I was the jackass in this particular wagon train. As the bills piled up and the demands on my time and charitable nature increased, I found myself going days without much sleep and with a stomach that felt like it was a boiling pot of acid. Two weeks out from The Olympia I became ill and, being misdiagnosed as suffering from food poisoning and allergies, I was sent on my way with a bottle of lasix to get rid of the bloat I was taking on for the first time in my life. Feeling like I’d contracted asthma I loaded up on water pills and energy drinks and took on one of the worst cases of paying-your-dues I’d ever gone through. On my own time and with my own dime I had to rent a U-Haul truck in Portland, stop by two gyms on the Oregon Coast to load up gym equipment I was borrowing and then I drove the truck to Las Vegas where my friends and I set up the warm-up rooms for the bodybuilding taking place at the convention center and at The Orleans theatre (in addition to the equipment for our second Kings of the Bench.) I had to do all of this because the expo promoter couldn’t find a Las Vegas connection to do it and they insisted that this was my way of proving my willingness to work with them. On top of that, we got recruited to spotter/load for a police and fireman relay race and then we were called back to the IFBB night show to load out when the show concluded around midnight. All of this was at our own expense mind you and the physique show organizers were at their after parties, relaxing and congratulating themselves on another big success. I then drove myself back up the west coast of America, returned the equipment to the two generous gyms and then I took a taxi to the emergency room where they reassessed my condition as congestive heart failure. No wonder I couldn’t catch my breath or stop sweating the whole time I was on the road!

I spend the next 90 days in the hospital, undergoing three relatively minor heart based operations. Thankfully and fortunately I responded well to the medications prescribed and I was able to get my body weight down by fifty pounds and to get myself back into business and back home. But, during my hospital stay, I was informed that one of the bench shirt manufacturers had cut big checks to both The Europa and The Olympia promoters to replace our Kings of the Bench stages with productions that allowed the use of their super shirts. This was definitely one of the low points in my company’s history. We’d lost two of the biggest venues in the sport and I was faced with learning how to survive and thrive with a potentially fatal heart condition. At this point I’d like to thank God, my friends and the universe itself because my fortune took a big turn for the better. Brian Dobson was looking to add some firepower to his Ronnie Coleman Classic as it was the other big expo in the city of Dallas so he welcomed our Hardcore Powerlifting stage to his annual get together in Mesquite. And it turned out that I scored in the top three percentile for people positively responding to the medication and to diet and exercise and, though CHF isn’t yet curable, I was able to return to the gym as a drug tested, 198 / 220 division raw lifter. When I was taken out of the hospital in a wheelchair, they warned me that I might have difficulty breathing while carrying two bags of groceries home from the store. But now I’m back to performing 400+ pound rickshaw carries, to dragging a 200+ pound weight sled, picking up and tossing a 150+ pound sandbag and to going for urban hill climbs while wearing a fifty pound weight vest. And, while I don’t think I’ll ever be a weight lifting prospect like the athletes I promote, I am raw benching over 150% of my body weight and I’m deadlifting more than twice what I weigh. Not too shabby all things considered!

As to where my company’s currently at, we’ve been running professional, classic (raw) powerlifting productions at The Ronnie Coleman Classic since 2009, we put together our first show at The Seattle Emerald Cup Expo this Spring and, coming up on October 20th, we’re back in Las Vegas for the first time in half a decade to produce Kings of the Bench VIII at The Riviera Hotel & Casino. I’m currently freelance writing for IRON MAN Magazine, Planet Muscle and for NW Fitness Magazine and I’m coaching a small team of raw lifters while working a second job as a maintenance man for three commercial/residential buildings in the city. Heck, after almost twelve years of putting in overtime at various odd jobs it would feel strange to be financially supported by the business I own so no worries and I’ll continue to burn the candle at both ends as much as my health will allow. We’ve got a fantastic circle of supporting and sponsoring friends and businesses and I feel confident that, with each passing year, the sport of powerlifting is that much closer to becoming the next big thing in professional athletic competition and I’m proud to say that we’re leading the way here in the USA.

For those who want to follow our activities or who want to learn more about Hardcore Powerlifting, here’s our contact information:

Official Website: http://www.HardcorePowerlifting.com

Official BLOG: http://www.ironmanmagazine.com/blogs/hardcorepowerlifting/

YouTube Video Channel: http://www.youtube.com/seanhcpl

And our Facebook page is at https://www.facebook.com/sean.katterle

 

What is the most impressive lift you’ve seen at your shows?

We’ve been fortunate in that every show we’ve put together has included a line-up of killers who could match or out lift anyone on the planet under legitimate and respectable conditions. We’ve had a bencher hit 400 @ 175 to earn LAST place! From all the 800+ pound pulls to the collection of 600+ pound benches and, more recently, to a string of 400+ pound overhead push presses our numbers have left every audience screaming and cheering like the throng at Circus Maximus. And, though we’ve only ran four productions that included the classic barbell squat, we’ve already seen 175ers go 600+ and a super break passed the nine hundred pound barrier. But, if I had to pick one lift that stood above the others, it would be Benedikt Magusson’s 1,015 pound deadlift. Benni flew all the way from Iceland to perform this miraculous feat for our audience and it was nothing short of spectacular. We’ve got the video posted in HD on our YouTube page for those who haven’t yet witnessed this awesome display of power. Magnusson’s deadlift had steel jawed cowboys testifying and praising Jesus while tears of joy ran down their faces! I was so moved that, after the crowd had dispersed and the equipment was loaded back into the trucks, I went back to my hotel room, laid in the bathtub with the shower on and cried for what must have been almost an hour straight. I was completely overcome by the experience and I walked away feeling like I’d gotten to be a part of one of the greatest moments in the history of sport. I will always feel gratitude towards Benedikt for making that journey and to Brian Dobson for facilitating his doing so.

 

Why do you propose powerlifting has become so fractured as far as federation / world records ect.

The sport of powerlifting hasn’t so much become fractured as it’s become inundated by pretenders, frauds and imposters. For years, the print and online press has allowed false versions of the sport to usurp the headlines and the record books. The powerlifting squat is supposed to be devoid of any artificial lifting suits and a contest squat is one that’s walked out and taken to depth. So, any lifter wearing a squat suit, using a monolift or being allowed to blatantly cut their squats high isn’t squatting in a powerlifting competition. And the same can be said for the use of bench shirts on the bench and in regards to deadlifting suits in the deadlift. These weight moving pursuits can be classified as Suit Squatting or Shirt Benching or Techno Lifting or what have you, but none of the above can be accurately labeled as powerlifting by definition. When all of those divisions and federations are removed from the picture, you’re left with just a handful of organizations. By eliminating all of the circus stunt lifting from the big tent you’ve also erased thousands of “powerlifting records” from the powerlifting record books, and rightfully so. In America, you can edit your lists to include The USAPL / IPF, the AAU, the NASA and The 100% RAW federation for the drug tested version of the sport and then you can look at the USPF’s raw division, the USPA’s raw division, our Hardcore Powerlifting Federation and a few additional pro shows if you want to follow the variation of the sport that does not include testing for performance enhancing drugs. The rest, though there may be lots of well meaning and athletically talented people involved at some level, is just a menagerie of circus strongman style exhibitions, rife with smoke and mirrors and plagued by corner cutting on the part of the athletes and low standards of performance loosely upheld by unreliable and even unethical officials and administrators. I’m sure there’s shows in every federation that are well ran and up to snuff, but when mixed in with all the rebound garments and the judging gifts, the waters are still murky. When you take a crap in a bucket, there’s water in the bucket along with the turds, but I wouldn’t advise drinking it.

On the topic of records, they can only be set in the federation in which you’re lifting. So each federation has its own set of record books and these “All time” record lists are anything but official. You can’t accurately compare a record in one federation to another unless both federations have the same exact rules in place and unless they both enforce those rules to the same degree. One athlete may have to travel to a large venue, outside their own state or country and they might be asked to perform each lift to the highest of judging standards while only being armed with a lifting belt and a pair of knee wraps. Another may be lifting at a meet held inside his own gym and with his friends judging his performance. He may be allowed to wear three or more layers of rebounding suit or shirt fabric and he could be cleared to follow the most liberal interpretations of the guidelines of performance. On top of that, the standard same day weigh-in could be extended to 24 or even 48 hours prior to competition, giving him the chance to lift while weighing twenty or more pounds than what was recorded in the books. And many federations have drug tested divisions that hardly ever drug test the winners and record breakers. There’s a big difference between drug testing using the honor code and drug testing to WADA standards! When the gym public refuses to recognize these “All time” record lists and claims as being official or legit, then that will be another major leap forward and in the right direction for the sport. All a person can set is a federation record and that federation record only counts within that particular federation, period.

 

Who is the most respected person/competitor in powerlifting right now ?

There’s a few traits that are universally recognized, admired and respected in our sport. Guys who walk out their squats and who convincingly break parallel are always given props when they put up the big numbers. Benchers who refuse to buy a super shirt get the respect that comes from keeping it real. And competitors who go out of their way to compete against the best in their division get more credit than the hometown heroes and that’s the way it’s supposed to be. A lot of us don’t have the personal funds to travel all over the country or the world just to powerlift, but anyone looking to cement their name in the history books needs to accept and embrace the notion that a nationals is one that includes the majority of the states’ best lifters and that a worlds had a good percentage of lifters from a wide array of countries. The guys who only participate in gym meets and second tier promotions can’t expect the strength universe to acknowledge that they’re on par with the guys who travel overseas and across the U.S. to meet up with the other top competitors. A show that has 75% of its line-up from one or two states isn’t really qualified to classify itself as a nationals or North Americans or what have you and the competitors who acknowledge that publically get respect for having done so.

 

Can you go into a little detail on why your federation does not test for PED’s ?

We don’t test for performance enhancing drugs for three reasons. First off, I’m an intellectual conservative and I don’t believe our government should be concerned with adults using pharmaceutical products that don’t impair their ability to operate vehicles and heavy machinery, which doesn’t hinder them from caring for their households and which doesn’t inspire them to commit crimes. The only crime associated with the use non-prescribed anabolics is the buying of selling of said anabolics. Steroids don’t cause car wrecks, injuries at work and you don’t see people mugging and robbing for steroid money. Making steroids an underground market only causes more problems as it supplies criminals with sources of income and it forces the buyer to do business with questionable sources which can damage their health by way of contaminated or phony products. If the public can’t be assured of product quality and purity, then they become at risk. The people should be informed and guided by medical professionals and this would greatly reduce the number of health hazards that are associated with the use of PEDs.

Our second reason is that, as experts like Victor Conte has pointed out, the current steroid tests in place can be beaten. And the ones that are tougher to beat, i.e. hair follicle and blood tests, are more expensive tests to conduct and are out of the realm of financial possibility for most federations. Furthermore, new drugs are being invented every year and sports scientists are experimenting with genetic alterations to make better athletes. By the time the get the tests perfected for one set of drugs the professional competitors will have moved on to newer and undetectable ones. Drug testing is great for the recreational, amateur lifter who wants to see how they stack up against other lifters who also train without pharmaceutical recovery aides. But drug testing in professional sports is practically futile and all you’re really testing is who knows how to circumvent the test and who doesn’t.

Finally, in order for pro powerlifting to make it to the next level of commercial success, our sport’s strongest athletes have to be on par with or better than the strongest athletes in every other sport. The top powerlifters have to be as physically powerful as the strongest in football and Highland Games and Olympic lifting and track n’ field throwing and they have to positively match up against the very best pro strongmen. Some of these sports might work to give the public the impression that they’re pursuing and banning drug users, but the reality is that their champions are using prescription strength recovery aides and they’re often doing so under doctor supervision and guidance. In order for powerlifting to reign as “The World’s Strongest Sport” there has to exist a pro league that doesn’t drug test and that requires the athletes to perform the lifts properly and without the giant artificial boost that comes from the bench shirts and powerlifting suits. That’s the format for success at this point in time.

 

Love the idea of bringing the overhead press back. Why do you think it’s taken so long to come back and neglected for many years?

What inspired me to bring the overhead push press back was some of the reading I’ve done over the past few years. Some of the books that implanted this desire in me are Bruce Wilhelm’s biography about Ken Patera’s career, Tom Thurston’s “Strongman: The Doug Hepburn Story” and John D. Fair’s Muscletown USA. I’m a fan of Olympic lifting and of competitive strongman, but my favorite test of shoulder strength is still the overhead push press starting with the bar just under chin height so it’s as much brute strength as it is technique. We will continue to offer this particular lifting event and my hope is to see someone OHPP 600 pounds to full lockout over the next few years.

 

Seeing the obvious love and dedication you have for the sport of powerlifting, what would you like your footprint on the sport to be ?

I don’t have a specific, life long timeline and I don’t plan on retiring until the Valkyries fly down to take me to Valhalla. As I move into my forties I find myself trying to be more Taoist in the sense that I want to live in and enjoy the moment. My short term goals are to facilitate the first ever 1,000 pound squat, the first ever 2,400 pound total, a 500 pound overhead push press and I’d like to see athletes in our ranks hit more 881+ deadlifts and 650+ pound benches. We’re also working very hard to build a six show annual circuit and we’re halfway to meeting that goal. Beyond that, I’d love to get more opportunities to travel via either getting to announce for big events in other continents or by way of getting to run them ourselves. I think it would be fantastic to get the opportunity to put on classic powerlifting promotions in some of the exotic locations where they’ve held The World’s Strongest Man TV shows. As far as getting recognized and credited, it would make me happy to know that my reputation as a promoter and producer was a very positive one and I’d like to be seen as one of the people who were instrumental with the doing away of the powerlifting suits and shirts. I truly believe that those artificial lifting aides are one of the biggest barriers to success for the sport as a whole and getting rid of them once and for all will be a significant step towards bringing powerlifting into the lucrative world of professional sporting endeavors. The people who elected to only lift weights with the huge boost that comes from the lifting apparel will soon be forgotten and people getting into the sport in the future will be thankful that they didn’t have to buy those unnecessary (and uncool) outfits in order to participate and to make headlines.

 

Advice for beginning powerlifters. Pitfalls to watch out for. Advice. Guidance.

The advice that I’ve been giving out lately is as follows. Focus on conditioning, flexibility and dexterity as much as you focus on building your maximal lifting capability. You should have the fuel tank to go hard for three or four minutes at a time. You should be able to run a few miles without collapsing. And you should be able to really move in the body you’ve built. If you can’t get under a squat bar or break parallel in the squat without breaking form, then you need to work on becoming more limber. If you can’t run up a few flights up stairs without huffing and puffing and getting pitted out, then you need to get your lungs and circulatory system in shape. And no elite athlete should be suffering from high blood pressure, a high resting heart rate or morbid obesity. Except for the ladies who are pleasantly pear shaped, your chest circumference should be as big or bigger than your waistline. I’ve been encouraging the lifters around me to go on hikes wearing weighted vests, to workout with the Battling Ropes, Prowlers and sleds and I’ve got them carrying giant sandbags and throwing super heavy medicine balls and grappling dummies. You can increase your intensity by training longer, by training heavier and by shortening your rest periods and so we’ve turned to shorter rest periods and to longer periods of increased heart rates via high intensity cardio with weighted resistance.

Additional words of wisdom is to make raw and organic food as big a part of your diet as possible. Cut out the unhealthy snack foods, the deserts, the fast food and the recreational drugs and alcohol. If everyone would eat cleaner, greatly limit their intake of booze and avoid all harsh underground stimulants, pain suppressants and muscle relaxers then they’d find that their quality and quantity of life would noticeably improve. On the steroid note, I can’t legally advise anyone to take anything that’s not currently legal in America but I will encourage people to abstain from even considering using anabolics until they’ve logged in three or four years of consistent, scientific training and recovery. Prove to yourself that you’re serious about becoming a prospect by going 48 months without missing workout sessions and while getting full night’s sleep and while sticking to a disciplined diet plan. And, if you do decide to take the plunge, realize that there’s a big difference between drug use and drug abuse. These competitors “stacking” four or five products and ingesting 2 or more grams of product per week are poisoning themselves as much as they’re creating an environment for muscle growth. And, finally, make training legs, core and conditioning a priority over biceps and benchpress reps. As Dr. Squat once said “You can’t fire a cannon out of a canoe.” Your main power sources are your legs, hips, abs and lower back so make those your top priorities when you design your lifting schedule. I’d like to see all novice strength athletes really focus in on squats, deadlifts and overhead presses.

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