First off, thanks a lot for taking the time, Thefitworldblog welcomes you! Lets get into it.
I heard from somewhere that you have a basketball background, is that true and what happened with that?
Ya, I played basketball for 15+ years, it was all I knew. Long story short I let my ego get in the way of me playing longer or at the next level. I was a pretty decent basketball player and for sure was my first love. After I stopped playing I coached at the High school varsity level for four years.
What made you take on Powerlifting as opposed to something like Olympic lifting, Strongman or Bodybuilding?
While i was deciding where to take my basketball career (looking at what college next) I was training my face off. I did a ton of research online about how to get bigger, stronger, faster. My high school basketball coach loaned me a book written by some guy named Ed Coan. I followed the program which led me to my first times ever deadlifting and squatting. Eventually my dreams of basketball faded and I was left with nothing but the gym.
What is your current total right now and which lift are you really trying to bring up the most at this moment?
My best total to date is 1603 by 589 squat, 363 bench and 650 deadlift. I left a bit on the platform in all three lifts, so Im excited to compete again to top all three numbers, bench has always been my struggle but I truly focus on all three lifts evenly. That being said, I have to bench 4-plates for all my bros out there.
What is your dream total that will make you satisfied for life if you ever hit it?
I’ve never once thought of that. I was lucky and unlucky to start my competitive powerlifting career at the top with Mark Bell and Supertraining. I realized early that I was not going to be a world record holder but if i put my time in i could improve and had some potential. So i always stuck with that, focusing on small improvements over long periods of time. 2,000 lbs total seems like the gold standard of elite raw lifting, I am no where near that but I guess if I hit that I could move onto Bikini or figure.
How did you and Omar Isuf get so close?
I connected with Omar first via email and had him on our podcast. From that interview I could just tell he and I were of similar mindsets and generation. We then went on a few trips to barbell brigade together, he also stayed at Supertraining for a few weeks and bonded. I try to surround myself with like minded-people and I believe other successful people do as well. I guess I am lucky to be able to look up to guys like Omar and Bart Kwan and be able to call them friends.
How much are you currently weighing at what bodyfat and height? Also what is your dream goal and weight?
I am about 225lbs at 5foot 9 inches and no idea of my body fat haha. Id imagine its like 18-22% but like I said no clue. I think i was a little different then most meatheads growing up. I never wanted to be the biggest, baddest, most vascular dude. Looking back I think I had some body dysmorphia, i always thought I was fat or overweight. So my goals were always to be leaner. After this next powerlifting meet I look forward to cutting a little bit and would be happy around 190-200lbs. Potentially test myself and see how lean I could get.
When you weighed about 230lb in your basketball days, what food do you think helped you pack on the most weight?
Majority of my basketball career I was probably between 175-190lbs. My dad, although a great athlete, was only like 5-6. So early on I knew I wasn’t going to be tall enough to hang with some other hoopers, i needed to improve everyway I could. I started lifting in 8th grade. I knew very little about nutrition. I tried to eat some fruits and veggies but I was just a normal 16-20year old eating whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. Because I was training in the weight room 4-5 days a week on top of basketball practices or pickup games my body naturally just found its form.
What is the worst injury that you ever had to experience and how is it feeling right now?
I have never had any crazy injuries (knock on wood). I think part of it is luck and part is my preparation and execution. I always worked smart and hard in the gym to hopefully be able to take whatever comes at me. In basketball there were plenty of jacked up fingers and swollen ankles but no real injuries. In powerlifting the worst has been my low back. Every now and the it will lock up. Possibly an alignment deal or a bulging disk acting up. Right now everything is firing on all cylinders. Properly warming up and breathing/bracing has helped my back issues tremendously.
What do you think about before trying to hit a brand new PR?
Absolutely nothing. I drown my thoughts out with loud hip-hop mostly. My philosophy in training is to really master the skill of each lift. By the time I am testing a max or rep Pr, I only focus on getting as tight as possible and let me body do the rest.
Do you look up to anyone for motivation or do you just motivate yourself?
I guess you would say I am self motivated. I know its popular to say that true motivation should be intrinsic but my entire life I have a need to impress people. Whether it be a coach, spectator or especially my parents. My father past away a few years ago. Even since I often think about how hard I can work and the things I can accomplish in hope to make him proud.
What is the most weight that you have ever rack pulled from knee level?
Not Sure to be honest. As a powerlifter if I ever did rack pulls it would often be 2-4 inches off the ground to more emulate the deadlift. I know i did 605lbs for a set of 8 with the bar a couple inches of the ground.
What is the most that you have ever barbel rowed? Also what do you think is a decent barbel row to bench ratio (I know it may vary from person to person…etc)?
I think me and the team at Supertraining maxed out (not recommended) and i rowed 405lbs with shit form haha. typically I would work with 225-305lbs for reps with decent form. I haven’t barbell rowed in a while as my back is normally fried from deadlifts and squats. Normally do a chest supported row or cable row. Strength wise it is very different the row to the bench. Bench is a bit more explosive, I train my back a little more tempo and control. I like my bench/back ratio the same in terms of volume but not always pure weight.
What should your bench press be at in your opinion in order to start using the slingshot?
Because the slingshot is not just for overload training i think it is great for anyone. If your new to benching or working out the Slingshot can help your form and groove. If you can’t do many pushups its a great tool to assist you until your stronger. Mostly we just add it at the end after our raw working sets are done. Extra volume for any level can’t hurt when using the proper amount of weight.
When in your opinion do you think a lifter should start using bands for stuff like rack pulls, deadlifts, presses…etc?
Bands and chains are great tools and can help a lot of people be more explosive and get stronger. I think the only issue with them comes when the lifter uses them too often or does not have their technique locked down in the main lift to begin with. I think everyone needs to be constantly focusing on improving their skill of the lift, their actually strength and the power they can put into the bar.
How many vertical pressing variations are you currently incorporating in your program as we speak?
I don’t do a ton of vertical presses besides trying to get bigger shoulders for the ladies. Not really. I do overhead pressing, standing barbell, once a week right now after my light bench day.
What do you do for improving your grip strength?
Either I have really strong grip or too weak a deadlift, i think its the latter. Iv never really had grip issues on any of my lifts. I like to hold my deadlifts at the top of each rep a bit and also just doing warmups + accessories double overhand. Xbox call of duty doesn’t hurt the forearm gains either.
I find that my core tends to break down when I pull heavy, what direct core work do you do in your training and do you happen to do any direct oblique work?
Often it can be breathing/bracing technique. If it is true core weakness I am a big fan of planks, simple and effective.
I know that you are not a bodybuilder, but is there any particular muscle group that you want to bring up to a large degree?
Arms for sure. haha Every meat head wants bigger arms and for some reason I can’t get mine to grow.
What was your funniest gym failing moment that you have ever experienced?
Man, you think being who my training partners are and where i train Id have a better story. I don’t have that many fails. We take lifting pretty serious and safeties always first. In-between exercises or warm-ups theres plenty of shit talk and joking but under the bar its all business, so not a lot of tosh.0 worth moments. Some high-pressure farts here and there + a few ripped shorts by the big boys,
What are your top 3 favorite rap songs and top 3 favorite metal songs if you had to pick any?
Just 3 songs would be really really hard. I absolutely love music if i had to name a few songs it’d be 2pac-hit em up, Eminem-till i collapse and Guns n’ Roses- paradise city. All things songs have been a pre-game ritual since 2003 and still give my goose-bumps till this day. Im mostly a hip-hop guy though so anything like Rick Ross, Eminem, Lil’ Dicky, Meek Mills, Kendrick Lemar, J.cole all that good stuff.
What do you do outside of powerlifting?
Since my hobby is lifting and work is surrounding coaching lifting, spreading positivity and the slingshot a lot of my time is taken up with powerlifing. I like just chilling, hanging out with a small group of friends, chatting. I love food and movies. Simple guy. Basketball still is a passion I just have less time to watch or play now and days. Appreciate the opportunity to share a bit about myself, thank you.