I need to put up a huge thank you to Chad French. I was getting through my year long grow season ok.. but I kept having this feeling like something was missing. It was nagging at me, like there was something I needed to learn, needed to go through, needed to accomplish. There was an intensity, a savagery inside me that I needed to work with, express and unleash… and I needed to do it SOON. I had been watching a TON of lectures on strength training. I had been developing my knowledge of Westside style Conjugate style training for a while, and I was really getting into how I was going to design my own strength. I started asking lots of questions, and especially when to TEST strength.
I’ve known Chad for a few years, and I think he could see I was struggling. There has been real generosity shown to me in my training career, and Chad is a true example of someone reaching out, simply because they knew they could help. I couldn’t afford programming, I couldn’t drive to his gym to help with clients- he just wanted to help. This was back in October 16.. I am so glad he did.
My first round went great, eventually I bought further programming, and though we worked together mostly online/via text, it was a great experience. I followed my gut feeling, investigated powerlifting meets and signed up for my very first comp. I was glad to have the gentle push from friends. Sometimes you really need it!!! All I can say, is that this FELT RIGHT. I had the same intense feelings of gravity and curiosity as I did when I started bodybuilding.. And I know very well that when an instinct is THIS STRONG, you follow that shit!!! I pulled 303 deadlift my first meet… And the euphoria I have been chasing was suddenly there…. like sunrise in my soul. Right now I can bench 181.9, Squat 235, deadlift 319.7. I will keep working!
As of today I have competed in powerlifting twice. I’ve been in this for about 6 months. Through that interaction, and Chad reaching out, I opened up a whole new world to myself, and it came at the perfect time as I was dealing with one of my biggest training-associated disappointments. I met a truly SAVAGE group of people, and I LOVE being around people that focused and driven! These are my kind of people. The sacrifice is real. I feel like what is in them, is in me too. I learned SO MUCH, and the things I had been studying began to make sense through the doing. My technique is better, I’m smarter, my body is structurally so much stronger, more dense. My back legs and core are vastly improved, and my traps (that I have always loved) are thicker than ever. It also came with some even greater benefits, like psychologically identifying with a bigger, thicker, more powerful body type on my body, and a WAVE of bulk I put myself through. I weigh more than I ever have IN MY LIFE.. And I can handle that For the first time, STRENGTH was the focus. I loved every minute of it. Now, as I jump pendulums and return to bodybuilding, I know I have this incredible new muscle to work with, and a new base I’ve laid with HARD FUCKING WORK. My mind game is on point. I can’t WAIT to see what’s next!!!!!
I am grateful for Chad’s help in this process, and will most likely be working with him again in the future! As my token of thanks, I introduce to you, The General Of the Impact Army~
- What first got me into fitness in the first place? Well that’s interesting question to be honest with you and I will have to think about for a minute…I was always an athlete in school football, baseball and wrestling for different periods of time. However, after graduating and playing baseball all summer I needed something in the winter and started lifting when a small Powerhouse gym opened up in Monroe Mi. Everything ways bad ass yellow and black and played nothing but hard 80’s rock, since this was in the late 80’s. I obtained some strength and some people said I should try the stage, but never had the confidence in myself. Then in ‘89 I broke my Left tib fib in about 12 places playing softball and that was a very long summer. Then in Dec of 1990 I was riding a dirt bike doing a wheelie and wrecked and broke the same leg again in the spot but only 6 places and it was going the other direction this time. I bring this up because this when the bug hit me. I was unable to work so I had 2 friends that wanted “to lift,” but the problem is one worked days and one worked afternoons. The solution was one would pick me up in the morning before his afternoon shift and we would train and then eat and then the one who worked days would pick me up in the evening and I would train with him, thusly 2 a days for three months was born! I was still in a knee length cast and the three of us went to Daytona Beach for Spring Break (while wearing the standard attire of bandana, Oakley Sunglasses and shirt with no sides or sleeves) my buddy that was playing volleyball looked up at the patio and said “wholly fuck I know you and you are scary and intimidating as hell!” Right then and there I wasn’t going to be small again and this was a curse and a blessing!
- What is your history in fitness and strength sports? History…in 91 I looked at my life and saw that I was doing the softball, bar and gym scene and living at home and realized this was not going to work for me! At this point I joined the army as a U.S. Paratrooper and Parachute Rigger and did the next 3 years at Ft. Bragg. With the exception of training at Ft. Jackson, Ft Benning and Ft. Lee. I had a squad leader who told me I couldn’t ever be a bodybuilder because we ran too much. Since Sgt. McNealy believed this I showed him that I could get over 200lbs while running my ass off. I was able to get up 209lbs, but he was right I never competed on stage, but man did I get strong as hell. One of my friends “Gilbert” was training for selection for Special Forces and needed a training partner; consequently, we would do p.t in the morning and then at lunch we had 1.5 hours because our chow hall was so busy, we would go and lift for lunch and ate while we drove back to the rigger shed. Then sometimes at night we would do 80-100lb ruck marches for fun…at least that what he would tell me. After the military I trained sporadically mostly in winter because I thought I was some great men’s softball player and would do something with it LOL. Approx. 6 years ago I decided that I was going to do masters bodybuilding show and started training for it. The training was going great except the damn left knee was bothering me really bad every leg day. I went in and had it scoped and was supposed to be back to normal in a couple weeks; however, that never happened. It kept filling with fluid, get it drained and Cortisone sot and then 2 weeks later same thing would happen over and over again. At this point I sought out a second opinion and the surgeon discovered way more than the original surgeon. The tried the gel treatments and then a de-load brace to straighten my leg and then finally I told him I have 3 boys that I can’t even take a step and throw a ball to because of the pain so there are 2 options …1. Fix my knee by whatever means necessary or cut my leg off because I’m done screwing around. There is a guy running in the Olympics with a “spring foot” Oscar Pistorius “he has more of life than I do!” The doctor said he was hesitant to do a knee replacement at 43 because he was worried about my quality when I was 70. Long story short his partner who was the head of the practice agreed that I needed a total replacement and scheduled it for nearly a year to the day of the scope job. Because of this issue I lost my job of 13 years at a nuclear power plant, which was a blessing! My mother had to move in with me due to illness and when her home nurse would come by I was either going to the gym or coming home from the gym and she decided to tag along one day. By the time we were done she urged me to start training people for a living and here we are. I did this for a couple years in a cookie cutter gym and made some good money, but it wasn’t what I really wanted. I wanted to train athletes and people that really wanted to make a difference in their lives not just to “tone up.” At this time I needed some competitive juices for myself and bodybuilding was out of the question due to the restrictions on left knee and powerlifting was going to be tough because although I have clearance to squat I am not supposed to surpass the 90 degree angle with my “good knee.” At this point things were crazy at the cookie cutter so with the help of my girlfriend Julia (couldn’t have been done without her) and all I had saved we started buying used equipment and anything we could find that was functional and useful not pretty and shiny and opened my own training center called Impact Fitness and training. This led me to a member who was training for strongman and she would bring some toys down and that when I became hooked!!! You mean I do this and there no judging on technique, how it looks or if I was lean enough….the only requirement was did you lift the damn weight and put it down….!!!! I fell in love and started training for it.
- What are you currently in competition prep for? I am currently training for the United States Strongman Nationals in Detroit Mi. on June 26, 2017
- What led you becoming a strength coach and gym owner? The strength coach was easy choice after working with people that wanted to trim down which is great for them, but honestly, tired of the same excuses from people that didn’t have that fire burning in their bellies and going to the gym was just a social gathering and a place where they check out the women and men…and trust me the women go there to look at the guys in the mirrors just like some guys but they are more clever lol. When you train with some type of athlete that is serious about doing work there’s nothing like it …no excuses, just damn effort and desire! No matter what the sport is. As for the gym owner…. we always think we can do it better than the other guy, but I was tired of cookie cutter gyms and wanted a place where you can take your shirt off, spill your sweat on the floor, bleed, leave your hear in the squat rack and reach your goals where we all know what each other is going through! Consequently, this rarely happens in cookie cutters…just my opinion.
- What certifications/school/classes you’ve completed or years you’ve been at this? I have the Westside Barbell Strength Certificate program the personal training was through Expert Rating because the cookie cutter needed something to train people there. I feel there is no better teacher than trial and error. I have also purchased ISSA; however, I just read the book never tested on that. I have numerous other books that I have read on training and the rest is trial and error. I am very interested in a couple other areas one of them is the Sports Nutrition and the other is Massage Therapist. I have a friend Becky Wilson that works at Tri-covery massage and Flexibility which is near Detroit Mi. and also has a place in Chicago called 2xl Bodyworks outside of Chicago. I mention this because at 48 years old this is where I realize I need the most help. A young man like myself can usually keep up with most, but the difference is I don’t recover as quickly as they do and the mobility is quite a bit less than I used to be. I always think we can improve and lack in an area and if you acknowledge them you will never better yourself
- What is it that you love about Strongman that you believe is so magnetic and important for people to understand? It’s a community or family I have never participated in sport where a competitor cheers you on to do better than you think you can….I believe it’s you vs. you I can’t control what the other person does, they are going to do what they do and me rooting against them doesn’t do a thing for them or against them…so why not see that person be the best they can be. We don’t know what they have over came to get where they are…everyday may be a new p.r for them. The other reason…I like to be a lil bit different. My Last contest was in Dec. Winter Wreckage 2.0 in Pa. I was competing with a couple other people from my gym, but they were in different group so I was by myself the entire contest and I had people that was competing against me giving me insights on some of the implements like the finish on the Husafeld stone was really smooth use more chalk and just general bullshitting…there doesn’t seem like there is judging from others there. I am sure there is but it’s just a bunch of great people generally speaking.
- Do you have an ethos with the sport? It seems that there is large amount of charitable contributions in nearly all contests for one reason or another and the other is “family” in the strongman arena in a sense.
- What are your values and thoughts/inspirations you draw on when yourself need motivation? My values hmmmm …don’t tell me cant when you haven’t fucking tried! Bring your best everyday. Your best today may not be as good as yesterdays or tomorrows, but as long as it is that day that’s all I ask. Motivation…. As weird as it sounds making my children some bragging material from time to time, and there’s a guy named Derick Craver who is the World’s Strongest Adaptive Athlete…who is pretty amazing- he is one of the founders of Team Some Assembly Required…pretty amazing group of people right there after checking them out …you will realize your excuses really do suck! Then I would have to say people who doubt me and my own failures in personal, professional and in the gym motivate me to learn from them and not repeat them. It’s ok to make a mistake …just don’t repeat it over and over again!
- What is your best piece of advice to strength athletes out there who are reading this? Don’t let your mind set preconceived limitations on your abilities, set goals immediate goal that week or day, midterm goal for 3 months, yearly goal and long term. Lastly 2 don’t be afraid to help others! We were all beginners at one time. And lastly (apologize for the language) “I don’t give a fuck about your feelings …keep going!!!” Be proud of what you have done and accomplished.
- Where are you located? We are located at 750 S. Telegraph Rd. Monroe MI.
- What is the best way for people to contact you? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or on the gram @impactptfitness
- You have an upcoming strongman event at your gym can you give me some of the details? This will be a beginner/novice competition with a little bit lighter weights than normal and we are doing this to get people introduced to this community and sport. The cost is $45.00 and the events are as follows: hand-over-hand seated truck(s) pull, log press circus dumbbell medley, farmers hold for time, progressive car deadlift and atlas stones series. April 29th, 2017.
- What are your thoughts at first working with a pro physique competitor (Me) before we began, and how do you think the process went with changing the athlete? My thoughts on this were, I am really excited to be working with a world class athlete, I CAN’T WAIT!!! Reality…it was really awesome to do this! However, there were challenges as well that I never took into consideration….and that was the mental side of it. This athlete was used to doing way more reps and sets and very little rest time, which was to be expected; however, the part that was unforeseen was helping her understand about how many days off for recovery. So, what I realized is that this was the mental side that she needed and maybe even craved so I wrote in some bodybuilding days for her on off days that I believe helped her with accepting the different type of training yet mentally she was still being fulfilled by getting the pump that she was used to. I know there was a comment made to her about training the number of days that she did; however, what that person didn’t know is she needed that and had to have that. This is why I said if it works for you then who cares, just because one person doesn’t do it that way doesn’t mean its wrong…just different. Overall I would train this person any day of the week and twice on Sunday!!! She asked questions which is awesome because it means they are putting thought into what is going on, and made some changes here and there because some needed to be and some maybe not, but she was living the program and it was part of her at all times and that’s all that myself and Mickey and Kellie my other trainers ask….empty the tank! Trust me this lady did and I believe she set some p.r that were originally thought “a reach” and in her next powerlifting meet those will fall as well!!!!!!