PowerSport Strength & Conditioning
If you're reading this then there is a good chance that you are serious about training. If you are, then read on but if you're not serious and committed then click away because at PowerSport we are all about real Strength and Conditioning Training. The training programs are developed by Ed Cosner, a World Class Strength Athlete in his own right and who has worked his ass off to become a World Class Strength and Conditioning Coach.
PowerSport Strength and Conditioning was born in 1989 in San Antonio, Texas before heading to Houston and is now in New Orleans.
PowerSport is primarly online and delivers often forgotten aspects of Strength, Explosive Power, Multi Directional Quickness and Fitness with the world. Ed is available for limited private or group training sessions and seminars.
With more than 40 years experience in actual competitive strength sports and a powerful education it's no wonder that Ed can boast of creating world class athletes. Read the testimonials from these atheltes here on the website and see for yourself. There is a difference in coaching.
"Pure Strength that cannot be converted into Athletic Strength is of no use to an Athlete"
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Over the years on my social media accounts I've put up my training for presses and pulling using thick bars. Since most are homemade they don't spin and that is alright with me because I'm using them to make my training HARDER not easier. The tremendous stress on the muscles, tendons and ligaments makes this a great training tool.
Grabbing a thick barbell or dumbbell will have you feeling like you're grabbing a damn telephone pole!!! Safety first here.... always and I mean always do your pressing inside of a power rack because of the thickness and the fact that it will roll out of your hands you have to protect yourself. Usually the thick bar work is performed starting on the pins set at various points but DO NOT let the bar simply crash back to the pins this will for sure get you kicked out of most gyms and honestly there ain't enough gyms out there that cater to the more hard-core lifter. I'm telling you this from personal experience, as much as I travel for coaching I can attest to the difficulty in finding a gym with the equipment that I need to train.
Using thick bars will develop unparalleled open hand grip strength, forearm, wrist, finger and thumb strength. If you've used a thick bar then you know the thumb is hard at work for sure while the barbell or thick handled dumbbell like the one you can find at IronMind which brings me to another benefit and that is and that is the FEAR FACTOR.. don't drop that damn thing on your chest or head!!! I'd also say that there is a mind-body connection beyond the fear factor, when you grab that Fat Bar and lock in your grip to start the pull on a power clean or just a pull that damn thing is fighting you all way..... to me it's a ME vs YOU and dammit I'm determined to win that battle.
You want to make sure that you strengthen your body not damage it so you be best to follow a few simple rules.
1. Set your body tight
2. Do not just press the bar off the pins, you have to flex your shoulders and elbows then you drive into to until it begins to move then you can jam that damn thing up
3. When lowering the bar back to the pins you want to control it the whole way so I play a game and that is to set the bar back on the pins as quiet as possible. I really emphasis this on the final rep coming down super slow and this is more of a fuck you to the bar because I refuse to let it beat me!!!
4. Set up for the next rep exactly the same do not get in a hurry.
For Pressing I'll usually set the bar right at my chest or chin and perform 5-4-3-2-1 working to the heaviest possible single for today. This requires some thinking on your part to plan out the weight to use on those first sets so it can help you as you learn to challenge yourself for the number of reps that you have assigned. I don't miss reps very often in training, I plan out what I'm gonna do for the reps that are written. I'm challenging myself to get stronger and more powerful not to stay the same.
I do a lot of barbell rows in my training so I like doing 2 weeks on a regular bar then I'll throw in the fat bar for a week before going back to the barbell. Don't be scared.... get some power cleans with the Fat Bar.
I also do double arm and single arm holds.... why do that with a regular barbell... same goes for curls!!
Challenge Yourself and grab a fat bar!!!
PLAY HARD...TRAIN HARDER... NO EXCUSES
Everyone knows that I competed in Scottish Heavy Athletics otherwise known as the Highland Games for a long time before I was forced off the throwing field because of an incompetent doctor who repaired my Achilles. If you want to read the story then please scroll down the blogs and read the story.
Later I’ll write about my time traveling the world throwing heavy shit and turning big cabers but this is about a man that had a huge impact on my career today I want to write about Ryan Vierra and his impact on my throwing career.
In a field on a cold Texas winter’s day in February I was competing at my buddy Shadow’s games held on his huge property with some serious colorful characters like Shadow’s brother Mayhem who was later killed while he was a bodyguard for DimeBag Darrel (former Pantera guitarist), athletes from as far away as Canada and as close as Austin and there was a huge physical presence with professional Highland games athlete World Champion Ryan Vierra now let’s just say it …… a damm stud and top of the proverbial food chain. He was there to judge on Saturday and then the next day armed with his observations he held a throws clinic. Coaching us with drills to correct our different issues that he saw and then talking about strength and power training that would help take each of us to a new level. Yeah he did all this for $50….$50 damn dollars for a day long clinic and ended with Ryan out there throwing bombs that had us just standing there with our mouths hanging open and shagging his weights like ‘giggling school girls’!!!
I would go on to form an unbreakable bond and friendship with Ryan. I talked to him often, back when you actually called people, I’ve gone out to California to be coached by him and like all athletes that went to see him we stayed as a guest in his home. Ryan picked you up at the airport and took you to one of his favorite restaurants that served huge portions of Polynesian food then the next morning you’d get up and eat a huge breakfast then spend hours upon hours throwing before lunch of a huge burrito that if you finished it you’d get it for free before lifting weights, jumping and throwing medicine balls then doing throwing drills until you got it right before being fed steaks and enjoyed a few beers while watching videos and being coached even more until the early hours of the morning….. you’d do this for a few days before going home not just a better thrower but a better person. Every time I was on the same field as Ryan he would take a minute to watch my throws and remind me of what I was doing wrong or what I was doing right…. think more wrong than right at some competitions!!!! Hahaha!!!
Just as important as the throwing were the meals after the competition then of course the quest to find some ice cream and snacks for the hotel room to be ready for the next day’s throwing!!
Because of Ryan Vierra I had a wonderful career throwing stones, heavy weights and turning big cabers while traveling the USA and eventually the World. Besides his personal coaching Ryan and either Kurt or Jason Pauli (I can't remember and I'm too lazy to get up and look) put out some great instructional videos on VHS with drills and old 70's porn music!!! I still have them....hahaha!!!
It's through massive tears running down my cheeks that I will tell you that my mentor, my coach, MY FRIEND is battling prostate cancer and is currently in hospice so please say a little prayer for Ryan, his wonderful wife and daughters.
FUCK CANCER - the medical, research and pharmaceutical community can find a way to get rid of wrinkles on a person's face, find a vaccine in a couple months for COVID-19 and more but can't unlock and find a cure for cancer or maybe it's such a money maker that y'all just don't want to find a cure.
Thank You Ryan for everything
Play Hard...Train Harder...NO EXCUSES
It’s been a long time since I’ve sat down and written anything besides training programs so please bear with me as I get back to something that I really enjoy.
I’ll write about the athletes that I work with and those that I have worked with (and where they are now), my travels spreading my love and passion for Strength and Power Training and those that have had an impact on my journey and finally my time with NOLA Gold Rugby (giving folks an inside look at professional rugby in America and how Americans are treated when it comes to positions on the coaching staff)
BUT what I will write about the most is my coaching and training for the Tight 5 Rugby Forwards which will, of course include those loose forwards who understand the importance of being strong, powerful and explosive whether its in the scrum, lineout or rucking and tackling and my own personal passion of Old Strong Guys Rule because unless you’re on ‘Old Strong Dude’ working to stay strong and powerful still training with passion through everything that life can throw at you AND competing in sports NOT content with sitting on the couch yelling at the TV while telling anyone who will listen your tales from middle school … then how the hell can you tell me how a Masters Athlete needs to train.
Play Hard… Train Harder… NO EXCUSES
And I’ll explain the tag line above and how it came to be!!!!
So let’s get started………
I miss my Dad.... Every. Single. Damn. Day.
If you know me then you know that my Dad and I never had the normal 'father/son' relationship that so many of you out there enjoy with your fathers and so when I see the young men that I coach struggle with the dynamics of this important relationship I share with them stories from own personal struggle. First off, my Dad was a great provider for his family and he worked hard on a production line at Ford Motor Company spray painting whatever came down the line. This was at a time of very little work place safety and I know my Dad inhaled enough lead paint to kill him several times over. He also grew up in a rough time in an even rougher city, the East Side of Detroit. He shared few stories but when he did they involved alcohol, mischief, and the beatings of so called discipline he'd get when he got caught. Unfortunately when that's what you're taught that's what you share...my Dad was quick tempered with the beatings he'd give me. Not saying I didn't deserve punishment but I did not ever deserve to be beaten like I was leaving me with marks all over my body but at this time in the world that was seen as punishment and folks concluded that I must be a bad kid. I remember that was the reason I was given when I was kicked out of Boy Scouts. I also remember finally getting into a basketball game in the 6th grade. I was so excited when Coach called my name I stripped off my warm ups and ran to the scorer's table when Coach called me back and said to put my warm ups back on, you see I had done something wrong I don't remember what it was but my Dad had taken his weightlifting belt to me and I had so many belt marks on my body that the Coach concluded 'I must be a bad kid'. Unfortunately there are too many memories of no one protecting me, no one asking me what was going on at home or I could have shared with them the drunken bastard I tried to escape every weekend. Not my teachers in school, not the coaches in the CYO where I played sports, not my Pastor at church, not the cops I came in contact with, not our neighbors, not my own family, not anyone.....so maybe I was just a bad kid who deserved the beatings that I got.
My mom finally had enough and left but that's other story. My dad continued to drink until one day driving his drunk ass home he got in a car wreck and talked his way out of it with his old Detroit Police ID, yep he had been a Detroit Cop at one time until he had seen enough. Anyways, he was woken to the sound of the Baptist Church next door, a sound he complained about waking him up on Sunday mornings only this time he didn't complain he got up looked at himself in the mirror and was disgusted at the man looking back. He cleaned himself up and walked next door and asked God to forgive him and was Baptized that day and from that day forward my Dad never touched another drop of alcohol again and became a man of great faith believing in the same Bible he once told me was the most beautiful piece of fiction ever written. I still carry the Bible he gave me while I in the Army and was getting ready to go deep undercover and he also helped me understand my feelings from having shot and killed a person in the line of duty.
With the help of my wonderful wife Sally over the years my Dad and I slowly repaired our relationship. I worked hard to set aside my anger of him rarely being there for me to accepting the man he was and the man he was working to become and one day I decided to forgive him and put it all behind us. I loved and looked forward to his and Carol's visits to Texas. Some of the funnest times was watching him and Sally interact. I love my Dad dearly and I miss him so much that some days it just hurts inside. Those days I hold tight the Bible he gave me and reflect on the good and caring man he was. Unfortunately, 4 years ago the battle against his demons got to be too much as he had injured his hip and was getting no relief from the doctors. He was afraid to loose his battle and fall backwards into the bottle so he decided that his only option was to take his own life.
So many memories both bad and good so I choose to think about the good and I share the bad as a lessons in overcoming and forgiveness. So those of you who's Dads have always been there PLEASE give them a thank you and some love.
I was able to get 2 training sessions at the gym in addition to my 2 physical therapy sessions. Of course I pushed myself hard and left the gym wondering if I was going to be able to get in up into my truck. What a wonderful feeling waking up from a nap with my body sore. Sitting on the edge of the bed wondering if I really wanted to try this walking thing or not!! It's nice that the pain was from training and not the debilitating pain that I've had to deal with for the past year or more. Still I am only 12 weeks from massive surgery and it is going to take a lot of time to fully heal especially since the doctor had to clean off and reattach my Achilles and by clean off I mean scrap the calcification off of tendon.
I was feeling really good and both sessions were intense but a little nervous during the sessions and since most people just don't understand how damn scary it is coming back from major injuries where you constantly wonder if you'll push too hard and re-injure yourself. So call me whatever you want but unless you've gone through it (more than once there sweetheart) then just shut your pie hole!!!
Everyone you meet has a story and I have always been somewhat reluctant to share my stories of perseverance because there are some folks who are worse off than myself but over the years with the battles I have waged in 2012 with my left Achilles then in 2014 with my heart attack and triple bypass surgery. I have received so many messages from people telling me how I have inspired them or given them hope because when I have chosen to speak up I am not shy about my personal struggle not always sharing the glory but also the defeat that comes with this journey. Dusting yourself off and getting your ass back in the game of life makes you a champion not just a participant.
I have decided to share more of the journey of my rehabilitation and also to go back and share the battles I waged in 2012 & 2014 because this is MY STORY OF MY PERSONAL BATTLES TO GET BACK TO MY PLACE IN THE WORLD OF STRENGTH SPORTS and LIFE and if it helps one person then its damn sure worth getting out of my comfort zone and sharing.
Throughout my life and especially over these past years I have persevered though so much because I just do not know any other way to do it. I love pushing my body well beyond any conceived limitations and injury is just part of the journey. When people ask me or learn of the battles I have waged they usually walk off shaking their head. Shit I’m not going to lie, sometimes I stand back myself and wonder just how in the hell I have not just survived this long but have succeeded where most have failed.
As I shared over on social media, it's been 12 weeks since the surgery and about 15 weeks since rupturing my Achilles. As I have had plenty of time to look back at this journey and the first thing I realized is that I had been in pain for well over a year to a point where it began to effect my training and coaching then my daily life when walking became so painful I would be forced to limp and those changes to my gait patterns lead to additional problems with my hip, knee and ankle. Shit, a couple hour drive would have me crying out in pain then because of the inflammation and swelling of my Achilles, ankle and foot the skin on my heel began to crack and bleed this went on for 7 months where it certainly began to affect my quality of life. Imagine sitting on the edge of the bed and just the simple task of your first steps would have you in so much pain that you would damn near be in tears not wanting your heel to touch the ground but you can't walk for even a short distance on your toes because your Achilles won't let you. I also had an impressive big ole knob right where the Achilles attaches to the heel that I swear I bumped 20 times a day and that pain would send me to my knees, hell it got so bad that that there were times I couldn't wear shoes.
More than enough times I got told to go see a doctor....yeah no shit geez why I didn't think of that!!! I saw the doctor that saved my ass back in 2012 after my other Achilles surgery had gotten infected and a couple other orthopedic surgeons about my problem and solutions that friends over in the UK and in New Zealand had found for the same basic type of injury but I got the same response over and over again... Oh that's considered experimental here in the US so the insurance company won't cover that. So my option was to simply wait for it to rupture and pray it didn't rupture at a bad time like walking back with a heavy squat or trying to run across the street... by the way I'd like to offer a sincere FUCK YOU to UNITED HEALTHCARE and the rest of you insurance assholes for not covering jack shit but you have no problem collecting the premiums every month!!!
Play Hard...Train Harder...NO EXCUSES
WOW it sure has been a long damn time since I've written anything on here and for no other reason other than just being lazy. I just realized its been over a damn year but I guess with the convenience of social media its easy to make small posts but hard to convey more important or longer thoughts or ideas. So in 2019 I am making a bigger effort to come back here to my own website to get more information out there. I enjoy writing and have several blogs in various states of completion. You'd think with the downtime I had after surgery while trapped on the porch here in New Orleans I would have more blogs published but after 3 weeks of intense pain and discomfort trapped in the house a little depression starts to set in since it was my right achilles there was no driving. It wasn't until a few weeks ago that I was allowed to remove the boot to drive.
Play Hard...Train Harder...NO EXCUSES
Cheers Y’all….so I’m up late and sitting in my office watching the replay of the Crusaders vs Highlanders Super Rugby quarter final game and writing Owen Franks’ next 6 weeks of training. I will be writing quite a few more programs and catching up on tons of emails and Instagram messages over the next few days because it seems with all of the things that happened lately I have gotten way behind on answering the inquiries that I’ve gotten since launching my new Instagram account Tight 5 Performance and through my website. Looks like I’ll be in my office for a long time so I hope the rest of the quarter final games are as exciting and hard hitting as this game has started off and in some nasty Christchurch winter weather.
First I want to catch y’all up on something very special and that is for the first time ever I will be offering Online Training programs. This is something that I have been reluctant to do because I never wanted to be one of those ‘Internet Gurus’ but I see the training programs and information that is available for the Tight Forwards in Rugby and…well I don’t care who gets their feelings hurt…it is ridiculous and actually disgusting to see the absolute bullshit that is passed off as ‘training’. There is so much more than lifting weights like a weightlifter or powerlifter and mindless running that goes into creating a dominate Tight Forward.
I will be offering several levels of programming depending on training age, if you’re front row or second row (maybe we will offer training to the tougher loose forwards that are out there!!!) and of course based on the needs of off season, pre season or in season training for the most physically demanding positions on the rugby pitch. They will include multi directional speed and quickness drills, building explosive power and strength, packing on ‘mass that lasts’ so it doesn't simply wash off in the shower an hour after you train and of course fitness/conditioning because none of this matters unless you can actually move around the pitch.
There will be programs that are generic but extremely effective and much more specific to the needs of the Tight Forward on the pitch than the bullshit that’s currently out there. I also offer personalized training programs like I already do for some of the greatest Tight Forwards in the game of Rugby.
Now, I said I was always reluctant to do this and if you think I’m kidding just ask the folks from Train Heroic where I have had an account for over a year and have dragged my feet in putting anything up while I continue to see the monthly charge hit my credit card account. If you really want to hear about it just ask Sally my wife and she will fill your ear like she has mine!!! She understands what I have to offer and what is out there currently. So why now you ask, well I’ll tell you, a few months ago I started Tight 5 Performance on Instagram to just to show some of the exercises, drills and more that I have been using to help create some monsters on the pitch. Since then I have been inundated and honestly a bit overwhelmed with training program requests and questions since I put up the first post. I just wanted to get some information out there in the world of training since I get asked about my training philosophy so often. The questions and videos of training I see along with finding out what/why folks are doing them made me sick to my stomach. I don’t care how much you polish a turd…it’s still a turd, its just got a prettier wrapper on it now and that's all some of these folks that call themselves ‘coach’ are offering.
Another reason for ‘why now’ was last November when the All Blacks came to Chicago and I had a chance to sit down with All Blacks Scrum Coach Mike “Crono” Cron and share my philosophy. This was after Head Coach Steve Hansen barreled his way though the crowd in the hotel lobby to introduce himself to me and thank me for what I have done with Owen!!! Talking to Crono in his room about specific exercises and the reasons I do them and showing him videos and more. I told him that being strong doesn’t mean shit if you are not strong in the correct biomechanical position only for him to exclaim “Why don’t strength and conditioning coaches in New Zealand think like you do?” This is the exact quote I have been using for years, “In world of Athletics: Strength means nothing if you are not able to hold a position in order to create power”. Let’s talk adding muscle mass…insure that you are not only adding quality muscle mass but that you are not adding too much upper body mass and making yourself top heavy which will have a poor influence on your ability to change direction because you will change your body’s center of gravity. You also want to avoid the old “look like Tarzan and play like Jane” or about speed….now this is a particularly sensitive one for me….when you’re talking Tight Forward play why all of the emphasis on speed when it should be on Multi Directional Quickness.
So you can see a little of the way I think and the programs I will offer. Now if I can get a few free hours I can get this all written and uploaded on Train Heroic so you all can have access to it.
Play Hard...Train Harder...NO EXCUSES
When I was in the Army and stationed in Germany I use to visit and marvel at the magnificent Cathedrals throughout Europe. Have you ever sat back and thought of just went into their design and construction? Their construction much like the Training Process is not something to step back from and admire only when it is completed. It is an ongoing process of design, laying the foundation, forming, building, bonding, changing, detailing, refining and renovation. We never get it quite right. It is never perfect. It is always under construction.
Am I talking about the building of the Cathedrals or the building of an Athlete?
Today's blog is something that I have been thinking of writing for quite some time now and it really is quite personal to me. As I step back and look over my own personal journey as both an athlete and a coach and see that long before I knew about Deliberate Practice I was living it in my daily pursuit in becoming a champion. I also look at the success of so many of the athletes at all levels that I have been blessed to coach both past and present and I am proud of each and every one of them no matter where their athletic talents took them. Many of them have their own stories of success that I am happy to have had a small part in but unfortunately not all of my athletes have achieved success in their athletic endeavors that they thought they'd have and many come back to me later and accept the blame for their own failings.
"I am but a guide on this journey." is what I tell them.
In the book "Talent is Overrated" the author makes a great statement. "It is more than apparent that in order to become significantly good at almost anything is extremely difficult without the help of a coach or teacher. Without a clear and unbiased view of the subject's performance then choosing the best practice activity will be impossible for reasons that may be simply physical or psychological. Very few of us can make a clear and honest assessment of our own performance." (Big Thanks to LeCharles Bentley of OLine Performance for the book recommendation and Ben Crookston of Train Heroic for even more insight on Deliberate Practice)
On my Coaching Journey it seems too many people I come in contact with want the prize without doing the work. They want to rush the process and can't seem to get out of their own damn way. They want to achieve success right away and don't want to do the work month after month and damn sure not year after year but that's exactly what it takes. This really is a Journey and to those that understand and embrace this philosophy well, they are the ones that put themselves in a position to achieve success. Now, I'm not saying if you simply do X' you'll be guaranteed a championship but if you do you will achieve your' success whatever that success may be. Of course there are many factors that influence The Journey just don't let your ego be one of them.
My Masters Weightlifter Darren Williams had a great quote concerning ego the other day that had me laughing and thinking at the same time. He says "I make sure that I keep my ass off my shoulders so I can always be coachable" and he damn sure does he's one of the more coachable athletes I have ever worked with.
If you're wondering what's got me thinking about all of this is its an email I got from Owen Franks of New Zealand All Blacks Rugby expressing that our training together the last couple of years has been an eye opener and pretty much has gone the way I told him. He feels the best and is healthier, moving and playing better than anytime in his career and he is at his heaviest bodyweight and is in his 8th season with the All Blacks. He is looking towards playing in the 2019 Rugby Word Cup in Japan. Owen and I began training together in 2014 at the suggestion of his brother Ben who was also an All Black (started training Ben in 2011). Now, understand that each of these boys were at the top of their sport and considered the absolute best at their position on the pitch when I came in to train them. They are now 2 time Rugby World Cup Champions and elite athletes and with that in mind so many other coaches go into training guys at this level with the adage of just don't fuck them up' and to keep doing what they've been doing because of the level of success they have already achieved'. I come in with the idea of what can I do to make them even better!!! After all, isn't that why I was brought in? Honest assessments, effective communication and a lot of work not just designing a program but making sure that program evolves and continues to grow. This is a process that is years long not weeks or months but YEARS LONG!!
Let's go back to Masters Weightlifter Darren Williams who walked into my gym over 2½ years ago to improve his lifting and to learn to catch his lifts in the squat position instead of the split technique he had been using. Think about it here he was at 54 years old and wanting to relearn technique. We spoke at length about the work both in the gym and on his own that this would take to achieve. He was more than up of the task. Fast forward to today and he is stronger than he's ever been in his life and with that increase in strength came increases in his lifting abilities and the poundage he moves combine that with the ability to hold more effective positions and you have a better weightlifter. Did this come easy or quickly? NO it didn't!! It did come with a big dose of pain, sweat, frustration, and mind numbing drills. Even though we've achieved a level of success he is still not satisfied and continues to do the work that is required to achieve the championships he wants so badly.
What am I trying to tell you is that this is process and no matter how badly you want it or how much talent you may or may not have you just simply cannot rush he process. Deliberate Practice by definition is not fun and it is not flash. It is hard and it hurts but it works and more of it equals better performance and tons of it equals great performance. I am often asked well if its not fun why do it?' My answer is always the same, "Don't get me wrong I love training but it's just work. You want to know what is really fun? Winning championships is really fun" and like my logo says and I believe it to be true.
Play Hard...Train Harder... there are NO EXCUSES
Question for you: Are you willing to make the sacrifices necessary to achieve your success?
Today is a very special day for me as I along with millions of survivors celebrate World Heart Day by LIVING and continuing to kick heart disease's ass!!! Heart Disease is the leading cause of death and yet this day will receive so very little media coverage since they are too busy wasting our precious time with bullshit than actually supporting something worthwhile like "Public Health Education". Yesterday was National Beer Day and I'll bet it got more publicity than World Heart Day will receive.
Since my heart attacks and triple bypass surgery 2 years ago back in June of 2014 I have worked hard to come back to the life that I know as a strength athlete and a strength and conditioning coach but I've worked equally as hard on acting like this shit didn't really happen to me!!! Denial.. yeah sure why not? Who in the hell wants to admit that they could possibly be mortal'?! It sure as shit ain't ME!! Well the Good Lord spared me that night when my heart had had enough of being ignored since it sent me warning signs for a couple of weeks or maybe more.
My question has always been how and why did I survive when 95% of the people with similar blockages do not? Seems like a pretty simple question only I'm learning that it comes with a complex answer.
I think that it's time to stop running away like it never happened to me and stand up proudly and sayâ€¦.
I AM A SURVIVOR!!!
I'd like to give you a little insight of when I rolled into Memorial Hermann Hospital at Memorial City here in Houston Texas about 2am on 7 June 2014 and when I say rolled' I mean on a gurney and not because I called EMSâ€¦nope not me I had Sally drive me to a MedClinic' because there was no way I was having a heart attack. Nope not meâ€¦.I looked that shit up on Google and only had a couple of symptoms!! Of course as we got going and I told her to hurry because I didn't think I was going to last much longer as reality began to slap the shit out of me as I pounded on my chest in an attempt to keep my heart beating since it felt like it was about to stop beating a few different times on the drive. Sally found a MedClinic and we pulled in and within a couple of seconds of being hooked up the the EKG the doctor comes in with the look on his face that told me something bad was about to happen. He asked me how I was feeling and I told him a little out of sorts and his answer was 'out of sorts? You're in the middle of a serious heart attack' as he handed me some pills to take then told me that they were sending me across the street to the hospital. I said okay and started to stand up and he asked what I was doing and I told him..'going to the hospital'. He said we've got an ambulance coming for you!! "Well shit it must be serious then" was all I said.
Please let me begin by saying that the nurses, doctors and staff in the Emergency Room of Memorial Hermann at Memorial City are unbelievable and bottom line in spite of my stupidity and ego they managed to saved my life. Within seconds of being wheeled in I was stripped naked and put in a hospital gown, blood drawn, IV in my arm and had these professionals calling out orders and responding quickly all while calming my fears and anxieties. I'd like to go back and give each and every one of them a hug and my sincere thanks.
Then Dr. Morris walks into the room and asksâ€¦
Doc: "what's the pain feel like?"
Me: "like a damn Rhino sitting in the middle of my chest"
Doc: "have you had anything like this before?"
Me: "WELL".....(the long pause sure wasn't for dramatic effect it was more out of embarrassment) yeah so 4 days ago I was running to catch a flight in Dallas and I had to stop a few times to catch my breath as I was sweating though my shirt."
Me: "hold on Doc that was just the first time!!"
Doc: "the FIRST TIME!!"
Me: "well yeah then it happened again when I realized I lost my boarding pass and had to go back to my gate and again when they announced a gate change, HEY but that was a few hours apart. Come to think about it while I was in Laredo speaking I took a late night walk to HEB for some stuff and felt the same way walking back to the hotel"
Doc: "so 3 times at the airport and it happened and a couple days earlier as well, so what hospital did they send you too?"
Me: "hospital? no Doc I got on my flight and came home"
Doc: "you got on your flight?"
Me: "well here I am ain't I?!"
Doc: You shouldn't be!! Listen, those were heart attacks and by all means any or all of them should have killed you and then you board a flight and come home the simple change in pressure should have stopped your heart"
Me: no words spoken by me just a prayer, a tear and a desire to hold Sally's hand!!
Doc: (with all the confidence in the world) "Ed, I think it's the artery behind your heart that is blocked but I won't know for sure until we get you upstairs to the Catheter Lab and your heart is in distress but we have to try and wait until the Heparin you were given at the clinic clears your system because we don't want you bleeding out"
Doc to Sally: "so do you guys have a Cardiologist?"
Me: "hell no Doc that's for old people"
As Doc hands Sally his card..."well you do now!!"
Me: "what are you selling used cars on the side?"
Doc: "it's 2am I got to get something out of this"
Me "shit Doc I like you!!"
Now to the more serious part of my story. In the elevator on the way to the Catheter Lab I don't remember much but I can vividly remember fighting to keep my eyes open and talk with the guys. It's difficult to think about it as you fight to keep your eyes open but you have no control and you can feel them beginning to close and you fight because in the back of your mind you know that you just might not wake up so you fight and dammit you fight hard. I remember the techs, nurses and Dr. Morris telling me to stay with them and to keep talking and to keep fighting. A couple of times I awoke to them tapping my chest telling to to stay with them. Dr. Morris prepped me to cut into my femoral blood vessel as he reassured me and I told him to hurry because the Rhino now had a couple of friends join him in the middle of my chest and I think they're drinking beer and eating BBQ. I struggled to breathe and the nurses and techs applied more Nitroglycerin paste, talked with me, held my hand and gave me a sternum rub as my heart struggled to keep beating while it was being suffocated from the blockages. Lord my eyes were heavy and I fought to keep them open.
I began to pray and to ask for forgiveness because I truly felt that my time here had come to an end. I told God that if he was ready to call me home I was ready to follow Him and take my place but I asked for more time on this earth but not so I could do things I wished I had done. Nope, I prayed and told Him that for the very first time in my life I felt that I was unconditionally loved. I finally had a family of my own with Sally and our Bulldogs Butters and Marsha Mellow and also our cats Miss Pissy Bitch, Miss Fatty and Mila. After such a long time being alone in this world I had a family that loved and needed me and to tell you the truth I needed them.
Finally the stent was inserted into the artery behind my heart but it takes some time for you to start feeling the weight coming off of your chest and while you're laying there fighting for your life it seems like time is standing still!! Finally, the Rhino took his friends and got off my chest. Dr. Morris began to explain that there were a few more serious blockages that he couldn't stent and that I was going to need bypass surgery. I really didn't hear much after that and the only thing I remember is asking for him to bring Sally in and explain it again. We were devastated but Dr. Morris looked at me and said, "usually with these kind of blockages especially the Widow Maker I tell the patient I'm going to make you as comfortable as possible' which means you probably won't be going home from the hospitalâ€¦.he told me "with you, you'll be good in 4-5 months and in 8-9 months you'll be back lifting with a cool scar down your chest."
Dr. Morris would later tell me that my heart was in some serious distress and the only real option was to stent that artery and hope it stabilized me so I didn't need emergency bypass surgery and they could wait and be better prepared for such a surgery. He told me my heart tried to stop a couple of times but I was one tough dude and he asked about my background and I proudly told him that I have been a Strength Athlete for the past almost 40 years and Strength and Conditioning Coach for 30 years but I am also a former Army Special Operations Solider and I've been known to throw some weigths, lift even bigger stones and lift some really big damn weights although that was some time ago. We talked about all I had endured in my life and how much I love lifting heavy weights and why I loved it so much. He looked at me and told my that I survived where others do not and it was because I was physically strong but more importantly I was mentally strong and the strength I have from a lifetime of perseverance is why I am still alive.
In private I am often left to wonder and pray asking God why He choose to spared me. I am learning that there is so much more on this earth left for me to do and through the His Good Graces I will do His work. I have discovered that I was left here to bring awareness to Heart Diease to us old dudes in the Strength World that refuse to give up or give in or do cardio!!! I am learning there are more of us' out there than the doctors and associations think and mainly that we are a different breed. We all don't fit into the same neat little box some of us are busy busting the seams of the box and out of our shirts!!! We simply don't have time to slow down when we feel like crap and we think that cardio is a few sets of 8 in the squat because if you can't get in shape with squats what the hell is the world coming to!!! If there were more doctors like Dr. Morris out there that understood not everyone wants to loose weight and go for a walkâ€¦.some of us love to lift heavy things and feel if you take that away from us we'd rather be dead. Lifting heavy weights, stones and throwing heavy stuff is simply part of my DNA and it's what I truly love to do.
In future blogs I'll share more of this journey to recovery I have been on since I took my first wobbly walk in the halls of the hospital 2 days after my bypass surgery. I'll also share the stupidity of not taking care of your heart and health beyond lifting weights, it really doesn't take much time or energy away from what you love like lifting heavy shit. We will talk about not self diagnosing by looking up symptoms on Google and then delaying medical attention because you don't want to bother anyone because it might just be indigestion not a heart attack!! How the delay in seeking medical attention could have and in all honesty should have cost me my life and how I survived in spite of my own male ego. Also the depression that is common from the heart and lung bypass machine that is used during the surgery to keep you technically alive while they stop your heart to repair it with a vein they rip out of your leg!!!
I AM A SURVIVOR!!!
Before I go and get back to living life on my own terms I have to tell everyone that while my Cardiologist Dr. Morris, my Cardiothoracic Surgeon Dr. Gibson and the unbelievable staff at Memorial Hermann saved my life the real strength and leader of my recovery was Sally. Beyond my best efforts I survived and healed because of her. She rarely left my bedside often catching small naps in the chair next to my bed in CICU and if I moved she was right there to make sure I was okay. Hour after long agonizing hour she was there. She'd go home and take care of our family and try to sleep but when I opened my eyes in morning she was already there going over things with the nurses and doctors. When I was discharged 8 days later that's when the real recovery began for me not just the physical but the mental and emotional recovery. Sally would wake up after working all night and make me breakfast and we'd eat and talk then we'd go for a small walk but when we got home instead of relaxing and getting ready for work she had to help me shower and clean up as I could barely lift my arms to shave or wash. She'd then make me lunch and organized my meals for the day in the order when wanted me to eat them. I'd walk her to the car and once back inside I'd take my nap and she'd worry while at work until I texted her that I had indeed woken up. I know that this has been tougher on Sally than on me as she had to be strong for both of us. If I had succumbed to my heart disease I would have simply slipped into unconsciousness and been with God leaving behind my grieving Sally. That is what usually happens and why they call the artery that was blocked the widow maker'. I wonder if my using a CPAP saved me as it pushes air into my lungs while I sleepâ€¦guess it saved my life in more ways than one!!!
I don't think that I can ever repay Sally for the strength, love and encouragement as we continue on our journey together. She knows exactly what I need like when I needed a swift kick in the ass one day while I sat around depressed at what I was going through. She told me that wasn't the man I am and to pull my head out of my ass, get off the couch and move like the doctor told me. That day I decided to go to Memorial Park and just sit and watch people go by but as I drove into the park I somehow ended up in front of the Church and being the tough guy' I am I said "sure God you wanna talk then let's talk" as I kicked opened the doors to the Church I was hit with a feeling that took me to my knees and as I looked at the Cross on the Alter though the tears in my eyes I understood that God has a plan for me and that I am truly a blessed man. I have not had another bad day since that day at the Church. Ask me again why my Faith is so strong.
I have a very special place in my heart for David Anderson who dropped everything to bring Sally's sister to Houston from San Antonio. Sandra was Sally's rock and help throughout all of this. They'd be right by my bedside making sure I didn't need or want anything but when they'd leave the hospital and go home Sandra would help Sally with everything but mostly by being the big sister and friend that she is. She's another that I don't think I can ever thank enough of what she did. Don't tell her but I really love and admire her.
There were so many others that visited me in the hospital like Andy Vincent and Spencer Tyler who flustered my CICU nurse and of course made me laugh with their comments as they removed the catheter from my groin.
My dearest friends Dan and Dana Burk who came just to spend time with me giving me strength but also taking care of Sally. Sally said Dan's face when he was able to visit with me right after my surgery was one of serious concern to see me laying there.
My training partner, brother and friend Darren Williams who Sally called early in that morning after I was stabilized and by 5am Darren was roaming the halls of the CICU and when the nurses told him he wasn't suppose to be there he said "I'm looking for my brother". Darren was in the middle of training for Masters Pan American Weightlifting Championships but he was right there every day and when Sally thought I needed to rest Darren cleared the room!!! When I had my bypass surgery he took Sally and her sister Sandra to eat breakfast and for a small moment while I was in surgery they were able to somewhat relax and talk and he was there to listen, of course he had a plate of bacon while I was in surgery!! Back in my room he'd have us laughing especially when the Cardiac Rehab Nurse came in to talk recovery...anyone for checkers or knitting?!
Then there is my brother Chad Crawford who helped Sally so much by visiting and keeping all of my friends up to date on what was happening via social media and set up a GoFundMe to help us out. I still want to thank every person who helped us by donating. It's something that was, and still is, seriously overwhelming to us.
All the way from New Zealand in the middle of his All Blacks season my mate and brother Ben Franks and his awesome wife Genna and my cartoon buddy Annabel who checked on me via email and Skype making me laugh as Ben told me that there was nothing so bad that could happen to me that I needed to do cardio!!! I looked forward to his emails and messages and the care package they sent with my favorite puzzles, pictures colored by Annabel and a stuffed lion that is still next to my bed and of course they remembered Sally with New Zealand chocolates. What an honor it was for me only 6 months later to be asked to stand in their wedding in New Zealand.
My San Antonio Highland Games brother Larry Sears who came up from San Antonio just to sit with us to talk and pray. Our dear friend Cristina who would go by and check on the dogs and cats during the day for Sally. One of the wonderful young men I am blessed to have trained Edwin came by to visit and a couple of my oldest friends Rob and Nancy Kamman who both scolded me for not calling EMS then were joined by my CICU Head Nurse and I was educated' on the importance of calling EMS and not just showing up at the ER!!! Once in normal room my weightlifting buddy Mike Calley came by to brighten up my day and maybe he was gonna bring me some food and maybe Sally told him NO!!! I like to think he was going to if I had asked!!!
I want to Thank each of you for reading my story but it doesn't end here. My next blog will be about what I did to get back to the gym and start lifting in week 8 of my recovery and the support of my Brothers and Sisters in the Strength Community that made it all happen.
pictured is the man who saved my life Dr. Randall Morris of Memorial Cardiology Associates
Play Hard...Train Harder...NO EXCUSES
A year ago today my father took his own life leaving my family devastated and searching for answers. Unfortunately, there are no answers and as I am not close to my family I am left to deal with things the only way I know how. To say that my dad and I had a difficult relationship as I grew up would be the understatement of the century but we really worked hard on it over the years, It really got better for us over the last 10 years or so thanks in part to my dad and his wife Carol's love, respect and admiration for my wonderful Sally. She is a strong woman who helped both of us express a bit more than either was comfortable with but we became comfortable and we began to grow as Father and Son and more importantly to me as Friends. My dad and Carol made great efforts to visit us in San Antonio and Houston but my dad loved to drive like we would do every summer and Christmas break while growing up in Michigan. Funny, I love to drive long distances and just look at the world just as I love to drive around and look at houses like we'd do on a Sunday drive down Jefferson Avenue way back when. Anyways, twice a year we'd head to Florida and visit Disney World and Bush Gardens...back when you didn't need to mortgage your home for admission!!! But over the past couple of years we could see the drive started taking its toll on him. In the spring he called to tell me he wouldn't be coming for a visit see my dad had injured his hip pretty badly and struggled with the pain. He said he'd come in the fall...in September like he did every year. We talked throughout the year and he finally took my advice and visited the doctor but he got no relief from the injections and the "wait and see" and "medicate" attitude of too many doctors, especially with the elderly. Maybe some physical therapy because my dad was active....his whole life he was active and even more active in retirement. Shit, I remember struggled to keep up with him sometimes when he'd visit!!! Take away his activity and his schedule (the man was the most predictable and on-time man on earth) and he was left to a life he did not want to continue living. He could see no relief in his future and worse....my dad was deathly afraid of falling back into his old life of addiction. My dad was a recovering alcoholic (do you ever recover or do you learn to deal with addiction on a daily basis?) The very thing that took his family away from him but he had conquered his demons many years ago when he walked next door to the church that he use to complained about waking him on Sunday mornings after a Saturday night of drinking...he walked in and was Baptized and Reborn. He put down the beer and did NOT pick it up again!!! No meetings...no support groups....no talking about you feelings....he allowed God into his life. I later learned that my Dad was so afraid to fall back into his addiction that he saw no other way of fighting the pain but to take his own life.
So many things have gone through my head during this year just like anyone who has dealt with suicide. Left to second guess ourselves and often wondering if we could have done more.
What I know is that the one unbreakable bond that my dad and I had was the Love of the Iron Game that he introduced me to. So, today and Thursday I have special workouts planned in Memory of my Dad.
I miss you and I think about you often.
Signed, Your Son
2015 Rugby World Cup Final is quickly approaching and the All Blacks have named their squad that will take pitch against Australia on Saturday in this epic battle. When the All Blacks are victorious they will become the first ever back-to-back Champions.
PowerSport Strength and Conditioning will be well represented Saturday as Ben and Owen Franks have been named to the squad. It will be the final time for the boys to take the field as teammates. After World Cup Ben will join his new team London-Irish and Owen will head back to Christchurch and begin his off season training in preparation for the 2016 Rugby Super 15 season.
I have been coaching for some 20+ years and for the past 5 years I have been involved in the strength training for the boys and I will tell you that you will NOT find 2 athletes that are more dedicated professionals in every aspect of their lives than they are and that's one of the reasons for their continued success on the rugby pitch and in life. Add to it that they are damn fun to train and even more fun to train with!!! Eager to embrace and understand the proven old school methods and not mesmerized by the pseudo-scientific bullshit that seems to have infected the strength and conditioning field. Now before some of you start your whining and crying I am not talking about the legitimate scientific advancements that have been made I'm specifically talking about the fakes, fraud, & snake oil salesmen that are out there peddling crap training as the next greatest advancement in performance training. I refer to myself and so do others as old school but I'm not a dumbass either I just choose to stick with what works!! I have been using both scientific ideas and practical experience as a basis for my training principles my entire athletic career. We can discuss and debate training principles and the science behind what each of us believes at a later time. I'm always up to defend what it is that I believe and why!!!
Luck is for the unprepared and the All Blacks are without a doubt PREPARED to meet this challenge head-on. I know that the Wallabies will be bringing their best game as well but.....ALL BLACKS are going to kick some ASS!!!
Play Hard...Train Harder...NO EXCUSES
Every athlete has an inner voice of pride. It is the voice only athletes can hear pushing them to the brink of exhaustion, demanding excellence and condemning failure. Failure you have to understand is the driving force behind an athlete. Every athlete has experienced failure and now trains so they will not experience it again. This inner voice knows the difference between training and exercising. Many athletes exercise stopping when they have reached a perceived limit or when it becomes uncomfortable to continue but only a select few athletes have the heart, desire and discipline to train unconditionally. Only a select few push past their physical and mental limits, Only a select few push past the pain and discomfort. Only a few have the courage and the character to understand that training makes them quicker, faster, stronger but most importantly, allows them to gain the mental edge over their opponents. So when failure laughs in my face as I desperately try an learn the respect of that last repetition it must realize one thing: Each time I train, I not only hear but I answer....The Inner Voice.
Play Hard...Train Harder...NO EXCUSES
Do you know a man...
Who gives you the same respect he demands?
Who understands your motivations and goals?
Who knows your limitations as well as his own?
Who isn't threatened by expert opinion?
Whose passion for excellence has no bounds?
Who knows the man MUST be developed before the TEAM?
Who knows the value of perfect practice?
Who is able to discover what perfect practice is?
Who knows the true value of sport in your life?
If you ever meet such a man, you must, for all sake of becoming all you can become, call him...COACH
Kind of a simple idea but oh so difficult to implement at times!!! I've become a victim of some success here at PowerSport Strength and Conditioning and I have certainly been a bit absent in updating the website with all of the exciting things I have been doing, the places I have visited, clinics I have attended and/or spoke at, and putting up pictures!!! All it takes is to manage your time....again sounds easy but DAMN!!! So look for several updates to the website and it's content in the next coming weeks!!!!
Play Hard...Train Harder...NO EXCUSES
Tonight I was watching the NBA Playoffs and thinking back to my first year as an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach with the San Antonio Spurs. Today is Memorial Day and Steve Kerr,(a former Spurs player) is coaching the Warriors and that is what's gotten me thinking way back to 1999. ,We were doing well in the playoffs.....in Western Conference Championships after only dropping 1 game to the Timberwolves in the first round and SWEEPING the Lakers out of the second round while closing the Great Western Forum....yeah I'd say we were doing just damn fine!!! We are up 1-0 on the Blazers and fighting our asses off in Game 2 and we finally take the lead on an unbelievable shot from #32 Sean Elliott with 9.0 seconds left in game and the shot will forever be known as the Memorial Day Miracle!!!
It's been 16 years and it still gives me chills to watch and I remember it like it was yesterday but to me that was only part of the miracle. What not too many knew,was that Sean was in the battle of his life against kidney failure and only a short time after we would go on win our first NBA Championship Sean's brother would donate a kidney to his brother's life.
I could tell you stories about being in the locker room before, during and after games....on the floor and in the weightroom everyday during practices....and of course sitting right behind Coach Popovich,for every game but I don't want to take away from the story of perseverance ,and toughness that is Sean Elliott or a message I'd really like to SCREAM from the rooftops.....ORGAN DONATION.
Play Hard...Train Harder...NO EXCUSES
watch all the way to the end and you'll see a good looking dude who's goatee isn't so 'blonde' back then
Over that past few weeks I've added several new faces to the gym and it seems that the my Old Strong Guys Rule training idea is taking off. My young athletes and their parents never really ask me much other than the 'who' and 'where' I have coached but for some reason the adults that come to train with me want to know more like, 'how the hell I started doing what I do'? Most can't imagine what it was like to coach at the highest level in sports and nor can they ever imagine leaving that level to own a private facility. They step into my office and look at the walls that are filled with pictures, trophies and plaques of my personal championships and records along with championships that I have been a part of as a coach. They see my diplomas from University of Texas at San Antonio and Baylor University, coaching certifications from around the world, and of course my Honorable Discharge from the Army.
Now the question comes out againâ€¦..'HOW and WHY'
So what did get me into coaching and more importantly becoming a Strength and Conditioning Coach? Ever since I was about 15 years old I have known and I let everyone know that being a Strength Coach was my #1 Goal in life. What you have to understand is that this was back in the mid 70's and there sure as hell weren't many strength and conditioning coaches out there and in fact most sport coaches frowned on lifting weights since you know it made you 'muscle bound' whatever in the hell that means!!! Of course you tell your teachers, coaches or even your buddies this and I can guarantee you will be mocked and made fun of I even had a teacher tell me that with dreams (not goal a dream) like this I would amount to nothing in life and trust me it sure as hell wasn't any better at home!!
Where did I get such a notion that one could be a Strength Coach and make an athlete better by lifting weights. Strength and Health magazine was the 'shits' back then and it covered weightlifting (notice I didn't say Olympic weightlifting), powerlifting and a little bit of bodybuilding. One day I got a copy and there it was my motivation in a big old dude standing in the doorway of the weight room at St. Bodaventure University in New York. I can still see the picture of him standing there all 70's Big and the article that went with pictures of that weight room created in a boiler room the article talked about how he had coached with the Buffalo Bills in the AFL and worked as a lifeguard at Jones Beach in New York and how he had brought the idea of training with weights to improve athletes performance to St. Bonaventure where he was also the Cross Country Coach. WHAT??â€¦.you say a guy that likes to run long distance though the woods also advocates strength training for athletesâ€¦NO WAY that doesn't work I'm gonna have to take your Strength Athlete card away from you!!! Well now there are a few people out there promoting this very thing and promoting it like it's something new and just discovered by them sorry boys that shit was thought of long before you came on the scene!!!
Anyways, I promptly tore the pages out and put them the wall in my bedroom right by my Farrah Fawcett Majors poster that every boy in America had back then!!! Later, as my life took me from Northern Michigan all over the world and finally dropped me in South Texas, I am telling this story to the Head of the Kinesiology at UTSA as I finally begin to work towards my degree. He listens to my story as he roots though his desk and then produces the very Strength and Health magazine I had been talking about and turns to the page and asks me if this was the article? Hell YES it is and then I lookâ€¦..the man I am standing in front of the Head of the Kinesiology Department and now my Advisor Dr. George Colferâ€¦..that Strength Coach in the magazine that started this wonderful journey of mine is George Colfer one in the same.
So when people ask me 'why I do what it is I do' I simply smile at them and tell them that this is my Calling in Life it is what I was destined to do.
Play Hard...Train Harder...NO EXCUSES
The other week I decided to tag along with Sally to Austin so I could get a nice undisturbed workout in at Hyde Park Gym. Lately, we've been spending a lot of talking about my career in competitive Strength Athletics. It seems since my recovery from the heart issues I have been much more driven towards returning to competing both on the platform and in the field. So as we drove towards Bastrop and I talked about my first ever powerlifting meet, according to Sally she could not only hear but feel the passion and love for a sport that she hadn't seen before in me. Sure I'm like most in I love telling stories about my past glory and exploits in the Iron Game hell just ask some of the kids I train but for some reason this time was different. Not only could I remember so much more of the path I took to my first time to walk onto a powerlifting platform I could feel it so deep inside of me that it almost brought me to tears. So we stopped at Buc-ee's for some food and coffee and there in the beautiful Texas morning I told her and if you don't mind I'll tell you....what the hell it's my blog....Let me tell you a story.........
April 1985 my training partners and I are headed down the back roads of Texas on our way from Corpus Christi towards Austin to a little town (not so little anymore) of Bastrop, Texas. I'll tell you what it didn't take long for Rodney and Dan to figure out that I was indeed a city boy from Detroit (or a Yankee as Rick Gaugler our coach calls me still to this day) when I yelled from the backseat of the car.... STOP!!! There was something that I had never seen before....a damn steer with a big ole set of horns grazing by the barbed wire fence and I just had to have a picture!!!! Great start to the trip for sure because I doubt we were very far out of Corpus Christi.
I was going to compete in the Region 9 Championships in the 198 pound class!!!
It's Saturday morning and I'm enjoying breakfast when Rick comes to the table and scolds the hell out of me because I still had to weigh in and I was too close to making weight to be eating and well breakfast proved to be a bad idea because when I stepped on the scale I was 4 pounds over so its off to the I go car to bundle up, turn on the heater and chew some sour gum so I can spit off the 4 pounds and I've only got 2 hours to do it!! Yeah back then you not only had weigh-in 2 hours before the competition but you had to have all of your gear inspected and marked not like the shit is now!! Since I'm out in the car trying to make weight the 'story telling' side of me will get a bit off track....1985 they are no bench press shirts, there was 1 guy in the USA making powerlifting belts so you ordered it and waited for Bob Morris to send it to you and wrist wraps were an ACE bandage (1 1/2" wide) that was cut in half...well to be honest we never cut the thing we'd stretch it out on a weight tree and beat a 2 1/2 pound plate on it until it was cut in half and our knee wraps were nice and soft (you can see mine in the picture and they are still the office at my gym).
Well I finally made weight and got warmed up but I guess I was in the wrong area but because I never heard them call my name to tell me where in the lifting order I was but what I do remember is Rick coming and grabbing me by the hair and shoving me in a chair and he wrapped one knee, Stan wrapped the other and with a slap on my back and a shove towards the correct platform my opener of 551 pounds was waiting for me. I had a great day in the squat hitting my goal of 606.5 pounds (275kg) but the sqaut is my favorite lift and now we move on to my least favorite the damn bench press!! I did get a nice 352.75 (160kg) and we finally eat some lunch a traditional Texas Powerlifting lunch... its Whataburger time!!! Shit I think Whataburger should be sponsering powerlifting the way we seem to eat it every meet!! Well the meet ends with the deadlift and it's a lift that I was starting to love and because of that pathic bench press I had a few people closing in on me. I love the brutal mindset you have to possess to walk up to a heavy ass weight, snort an amonia cap and pull that damn thing off of the floor while gravity is fighting like mad to keep it on the ground. Well, I finish my day with a winning pull of 578.75 (262.5kg) and won my class with a total of 1528 pounds (697.5kg) and I am hooked on the sport of Powerlifting!!
Well the meet is over and now it's time to eat and drink a beer!!! We head out to find somewhere to buy some beer and we happen to drive by a couple of cops stopped so we pull up and ask them where....they looked at us like we were idiots and told us Austin!! Bastrop was a dry county and there was no beer sales....what the crap is that!!?? So we got some pizza and headed back to our motel room where Rodney and I decided we were sore and needed to soak in the hot tub WITH our pizza!! I can remember floating the pizza box back and forth to each other and why do I remember this....because we both got sick as dogs. Yeah it was a great trip home laying across the back seat of the car dying!!! I'll tell you honestly I would not change any part of this story for the world.
I must thank Rodney Serpa and Dan Deweese for inviting me onto the platform at Bradshaw's Gym to train with them, Rick Gaugler who taught me the sport that I still love today and to Pete Alaniz who supplied me not only my gear but a friendship that has lasted since we met back in 1984. Pete owns Titan Support Systems the #1 company in the world for all of your gear.
What an awesome introduction to a sport that has taught me many lessons in competition, in life and now in coaching.
Always find love and passion in whatever you do.
Play Hard...Train Harder...NO EXCUSES
San Antonio, Texas,,This past weekend saw Darren Williams place first at the Texas Weightlifting Championships and break 3 state records with an 85kg snatch, 100kg clean & jerk to post a 185kg total and qualify for the Masters World Championships. Darren competes in the Masters Division at the 105+kg class 55-59 age class. That 85kg snatch was 10kg more than the record that he set last year while winning a Texas Championship (this was his second) and goes along with the Bronze medal he won at the Masters Pan American Championship in June 2014. Think that as a Masters athlete that its impossible to improve your technique, your strength, your power or your quickness....if you do or have been told that it is impossible then clearly you've got the wrong coach!!! Please feel free to come by and visit PowerSport and see what a real coach with a real program that has a clue how to coach can do for you.
Congratulations Darren....now let's get back to work we've got more championships to WIN!!!
(footnote to the story Monday while everyone else was celebrating the Martin Luther King Holiday, Darren was in the gym working hard on getting even better and while I read about others who are taking a few weeks off after not even placing I have to ask 'do you really deserve time off if you didn't hit your goals?' Yeah...I didn't think so well maybe that's why you didn't achieve your goals. Just a little food for thought)
Play Hard...Train Harder...NO EXCUSES
The other day Sally needed to go to Austin to take care of the labs she's in charge of there (she has one of those 'real job' things!!) and since I had just gotten back from New Zealand I decided I could use a day off and hang with my sweetie and of course head to Austin to hang out for a few hours...always easy to find something to do in Austin. So, me being the good 'meathead' that I am packed up my gym bag and grabbed some snacks (it is 2 hours from Houston...a man gets hungry) and we headed out.
After dropping Sally off at her lab I headed to an old gym I use to train at way back in the mid-80's when I'd come up from Corpus Christi to compete in powerlifting meets at the Villa Capri Motel (which is now a parking lot for UT) or Gregory Gym at UT. Come to think of it there were times I came to Austin just to train at Hyde Park Gym the atmosphere was that good!! What's a few hours drive to train? Now listen up keyboard warriors unless you've acutally competed back in the middle-late 1980's you have no idea the meets that use to happen at the Villa Capri Motel....to put it in one word they were....AWESOME as was the celebrations afterwards!! No cliques or pompous asses allowed...we all went out and had a blast together.
Walked in, paid my $10 daily fee and headed to the platforms!! Hunted down a decent bar (spoiled at my gym with 5 Eleiko Bars) and the plates needed for the day's training of Squats, Cleans, Clean Pulls & Good Mornings were on the menu for the day. From the moment I walked in I could feel the 'eyes' on me and as I loaded up the bar to 180kg for pause squats even more decided to come back to the back and 'see' just who the hell was doing this!! Well there was a pretty fit and muscular guy back there training a powerlifter and we began talking about the 'days of old' and discovered not only had we shared the powerlifting platform but the bodybuilding stage as well and we indeed knew each other (it had been some 25 years) and had shared more than a beer or two!! Dave Goodin,is the former owner of Hyde Park Gym and I'll tell ya it didn't take us long to catch up. Alright its time for his lifter to get to work and it was time for me to move on to my cleans!!
I had a great workout and it's one that seemed to help me 'turn the corner' mentally in my training. It really is a great gym and 25 years later it still has the atmosphere and equipment necessary for success in the Iron Game!! You're in the right place when the benches and racks are heavy gauge steel and painted Nautilus Blue!!
Thanks Hyde Park Gym....I will be back soon for another training session!! Actually I'll be back next Thursday!!
Old Strong Guys Rule
Play Hard...Train Harder...NO EXCUSES