Still trying to recover

/ Posted 05.14.2009

Marivel Fortenberry and Ronald Strahan are the champions!

I seem to need more recovery than I thought!  I would swear that when I originally posted this blog I had written some text.  Whatever the case, I still haven’t fully recovered from the Texas Shredder Classic.  My bodyweight is still down,  my joints are really sore and my strength is lacking right now.

Marivel Fortenberry and Ronald Strahan are the champions!


On May 2nd I lifted in the Hyde Park Gym Push/Pull Meet trying to defend my title from last year.  Unfortunately with the loss of weight the previous week (about 6 lbs) I was still weak and didn’t lift well.  I was able to deadlift a little more than last year (455 lbs), but I got buried by 295 in the bench press.  I was much stronger several weeks prior to the meet when I benched 285 lbs and deadlift 465 lbs in workouts.

Massive Ronald Strahan took the men’s title and the women’s champion was none other than my gorgeous training partner, Marivel Fortenberry!  Surprisingly both were lifting in their first competition ever!

Filed Under: Photos, Powerlifting

It’s Alive!!!!

/ Posted 04.17.2009

Wow!  It’s been a couple months since I’ve posted a blog!  Sorry, but this man has been freakin’ busy!!!  And, my daughter has pretty much taken over the laptop computer that I got for Christmas, so my only computer time is in my office.

So, what have I been up to???  Well, the NPC Texas Shredder Classic is just around the corner….a week from tomorrow!  Every year it sucks my life in like a black hole!!!  If I’m not training clients, working out, eating or sleeping, I’m working on stuff for the Shredder Classic.  I’m ready to get my life back!  But the ’09 Shredder is looking great!!!  Right now I’ve got over 130 entries  and some awesome competitors returning from last years show.  Last year Novice midwt champ Craig Ritchie and Novice hvywt champ Kene Chinweze brought the house down in one of the best posedowns I’ve seen!  Craig ended up with the title, but Kene is back for another shot, and man…that guy is huge!!!!  ’08 women’s overall champ Mary Moran-Parker is returning to defend her title and will get some stiff competition from Jorah Messbarger.  Both are in fantastic shape!  With over 40 women entered in Figure and another dozen in the new Bikini division we are sure to see some seriously hot bodies on stage!

You see how the Shredder Classic is sucking me in????

On to my life and times.  Well, the econ0my doesn’t seem to be affecting my personal training business at all.  I’m busier than ever!  Plus, beginning the first weekend of February I started holding weekly posing classes for Bodybuilding and Figure competitors every Saturday at Hyde Park Gym.  I’ve even worked quite a number of Sundays to fit in everybody that wants to work with me.  On March 7th my girlfriend, Diana, threw me a great 50th birthday party at The Broken Spoke.  My friend, Dale Watson was playing and he got me up onstage to do Folsom Prison Blues with him.  It was great!  So many of my good friends and family came out….it was an awesome party!

with Dale Watson


Then on March 21st I traveled to Eagle River, Alaska (near Anchorage) to conduct a posing clinic at CMC Personal Training.  Shawn and Cinzia Clapp are such wonderful people and so passionate about natural bodybuilding, figure and fitness that the weekend was an absolute blast!!!  The only drawback was that I had to cram all of my clients into 4 days that week, so I was working 7am to 10pm pretty much every day.  The travel to and from Alaska took me all day Friday and all day Monday.  I trained clients from early in the morning until late at night Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, then left again on Friday morning for my guest posing gig at the NPC West Texas Classic in Lubbock.  My friends Andrew and Kathleen Zamora did a masterful job on the show!  And, my daughter was competing in her first figure competition!  She looked fantastic placed 4th in a very tough class, which included my former training partner Abby Marie (winner), and my friend/client JoAnn Richey who placed second in her very first show!

BlytheBlythe 14 monthsB class winners2959873

I threw in a photo of my daughter Blythe from when she was about 14 months old…..already showing an interest in the weights!!!

So, it was a great time in Lubbock, but then it was back to work with lots to do and lots to catch up on!

But, my training is going great in spite of the lower back and tricep tendon issues that I’ve been battling.  I’m going to defend my Hyde Park Gym Push/Pull title on May 2nd (the week after the Shredder Classic).  Last year I benched 290 and deadlifted 450 in the meet.  This week I bench 280 and deadlifted 460…with 2 more weeks to prepare.  Right now I’m weighing about 177  and I pinched at 4.1% bodyfat today.  I’m pretty excited about how things are going!

Filed Under: Contest, Posing, Powerlifting

Another week gone by!

/ Posted 11.10.2008

Wow! Another week has flown by. Last Wednesday I concentrated on my preparations for the Bench Press for reps contest which was held Saturday at Hyde Park Gym. My elbows and shoulders have been sore, so I didn’t want to overdo. I took Thursday and Friday off to rest. On Saturday I was very excited to get to lift in the contest. Man, I love competing! And, as much as I like to tell myself that I’m just striving to be the best I can be, I sure do love to win!!!

Here’s the way it worked….you weighed-in. Whichever weight class you fell into that’s how much weight you did for as many reps as you could perform. The winner was determined by weight lifted times the number of reps. Competition was fierce!!! If it had been straight reps, the winner would have been Rob Mohr who performed 28 reps with 165 lbs. Very impressive. I was the first 181-er up and I knocked out 27 reps with 180 lbs. Natural bodybuilder extraordinaire, Charles “Skeletor” Fuller was on hand and cranked out a strong 24 reps with 198 lbs. John Edmiston was powerful in the 220 lbs class pushing 19 reps. Up last were the super-strong dudes, Keith Minikus and Marc Heard. Both hammered out an amazing 20 reps with 242 lbs. When the numbers were tallied Keith and Marc tied for 2nd place, with Keith taking the trophy because he weighed 3 lbs less than Marc. I won the first place cup by a mere 20 lb-reps! I was very excited to win, but I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t improve more. On Saturday I told Charles that I thought I had only improved by one rep in a month. Looking back through my journal today I see that I did 20 reps with 180 lbs on Oct 14th, 26 reps on Oct 21st and Oct 29th, and 26 again on Nov 5th. I really thought 30 reps was not out of the question, but rigors set in on rep 27 on Saturday.

Saturday after the bench contest I had a very good consultation with outstanding natural bodybuilder, Eric Hayes. After our session I got home as fast as I could to watch the rest of the Longhorns game. I won and the Longhorns won….great day!!!

Saturday afternoon Diana and I headed to San Antonio to attend the NPC Lackland Classic. Steve Reichart has been promoting the Lackland as an NPC drug-tested show for many years now. I won it in 2006 to qualify for the Team Universe. This year we saw drug-free great, Homer Alafa, Jr. add another overall title to his resume. He was outstanding! On a disappointing note, Melissa Merritt was competing in the figure division. In only her first show she looked like an IFBB Pro figure competitor among amateurs. Low and behold, she didn’t win her class!!!! I just don’t get that. If the IFBB Pros are the ideal, why don’t they want you to look like that at a lower level show???

Nevertheless, it was fun hanging out with CBX and the NPC staff after the show! What a fun bunch of people with a passion for bodybuilding!!!

Today I jumped back on track with a super heavy squat workout. My friend, Kevin Morrison in Laredo tells me that they are going to put on a powerlifting meet in February and I want to lift in it. It will provide me with another short term goal and the opportunity to have fun competing. And, of course, I’m going to try to win!

In my half-squats I worked my way up to 545 lbs. I was kinda scared of it and went down, but not back up. I haven’t failed at a squat in many many years! That was a horrible feeling! I knew I could handle it, so I got my head right and did 3 reps with it on the next try!!! I was able to go 405 for 5 just above parallel and 315 for six on super-deep squats. I was exhausted by the time I finished squatting. I didn’t have much left in the tank, so I super-setted leg extensions and leg presses for three intense super-sets to finish.

Wed Nov 5th Chest

Bench Press 95X10, 135X10X10, 165X6, 185X3, 205X3, 225X3, 245X1, 180X26 10 second rest pause then 3 more reps

Incline Press 135X25X15

Pushups 36 reps

Saturday Nov 8th

Bench Press 95X10, 135X8, 165X5, 185X2, 205X2, 225X2

Bench Meet 180X27

Monday Nov 10th Legs

Half squats 135X10, 225X6X6, 275X6, 315X7, 365X6, 405X6, 455X6, 495X3, 545 missed, 545X3 walkout with 585 lbs (just to get the feel of it on my back)

Just above // squats 315X6, 365X6, 405X5

Super-deep squats 315X6, 225X15

Leg Extension/Leg press supersets 3 supersets, 12-20 reps each

The competition was fierce!

Filed Under: Contest, Photos, Powerlifting

Bench Press/Deadlift Competition

/ Posted 06.09.2008

This is my first opportunity to get online since the Hyde Park Gym Push/Pull Contest on Saturday afternoon. But, I’m very happy to report that when all was said and done, I went 3 for 3 on both my bench presses and deadlifts, and ended up with the Men’s Best Lifter Award!

It’s been a little over 8 years since I’ve competed in a powerlifting meet. When I found out about the push/pull meet about 5 weeks ago I decided to lift in it because I thought it would be a good way to force myself to lift some heavier weights in training, and to force myself to start doing some deadlifts off the floor again. At that time I had no idea how much weight I would be able to lift by contest time, but I figured that I would just “play it by ear”, see how things went, and then lift as much as I could without hurting myself. Even though I set out to lift in the meet just for fun, the idea of training for a powerlifting competition again was very exciting and has really pushed my workouts up into a higher gear this past month.

When Saturday rolled around I was excited, nervous, tired, and somewhat distracted. On Friday evening my truck started leaking power steering fluid so fast that it was undriveable. I had already bought movie tickets for my daughter, Molly, and I to see Don’t Mess With the Zohan (hilarious movie). We were able to take the bus to the theater, but had to walk nearly 4 miles home (12:45-1:45am). I was exhausted from doing the Shredder Walk during the afternoon heat and adding 4 more miles before going to bed made it impossible to get a good night sleep. Then I had to get up a couple hours earlier than I wanted because we had to take the bus to the gym. I had 2 clients to train, a posing session with David Nall, another client to train, and then just 15 minutes to prepare before the meet was to start. Once I got finished with all my clients I was able to get my mind focused on lifting and my excitement level started to rise. But, I knew my legs were tired and as I started warming up on the bench press I found that my shoulders were fairly sore, so that made me nervous.

Based on my training, my goals for the meet were 300 lbs in the bench press and 450 in the deadlift. After I got through several warmups my shoulders started feeling better and I was getting more confident about the bench. Then I went outside. It had to be nearly 100 degress in the parking lot (we were lifting outside). My first attempt on the bench was 270 lbs. I got myself psyched. Then I positioned myself on the bench and stared up into the sun and bright blue sky. It was very different not having a point on the ceiling on which to focus my eyes. The other problem was that the parking lot was uneven and the bench was sloping down to the right a bit. With these issues distracting me, I struggled with my opener. I went 280 for my 2nd attempt. I was better prepared mentally and the weight went up smoothly. Although I wanted to press 300 lbs on my final attempt, I also had promised myself not to get hurt. I felt like a 20 lb. jump was just a little too much so I went for 290 for my last bench. I got myself super-psyched and when I lifted the weight it felt easier than my lifts at 270 and 280. Oh, the power of the mind….

290 bench

290 lb. Bench Press

As soon as we finished the men’s bench press we started warming up for deadlifts. Because my legs were fatigued and i was getting somewhat dehydrated from the heat, my warm up weights were feeling a little heavy. My opening weight was 405 lbs. I didn’t think it would be any problem at all, but once again the slight slope of the parking lot affected my lift. We were lifting facing downhill and the slope was just enough to pull the weight forward a little, making the lift much harder than it should have been. I lifted 435 on my second attempt, and again could feel the affect of the downslope. For my final attempt I was determined to pull 450. I took note of women’s champ, Tina LeBlanc’s final deadlift. Tina had turned around for her last deadlift and pulled it easily. I knew I would need every advantage, so I did the same. The weight came off the ground quickly, but started stalling at my knees. I started shaking violently, but was determined to keep my back tight and finish the lift. It was a long slow pull, but I finally locked it out! 450 lbs was an absolute max for me at that moment. I don’t think I could have lifted even one more pound!

405 Deadlift

405 lb. Deadlift

450 deadlift

450 lb. Deadlift was really heavy!

I felt very good about going 6 for 6, even though I ended up 10 lbs short of my bench press goal. It was still the heaviest I’ve lifted in about 8 years. It was great fun lifting in a competition again! And while it was a competition, we all had a wonderful time helping each other, cheering each other on, and slapping high fives after jobs well-done. I was satisfied and ready to head for the house, thinking that surely my buddy, Marc Heard, would win the best lifter trophy. Molly and Diana talked me into staying for the announcement of the winners….”just in case”. And, low and behold, with bodyweight factored in I was able to edge Marc out for first place! (Marc benched 350 and deadlifted 550)

Marc Heard about to attempt a 600 lb. deadlift

Tina LeBlanc won the women’s Best Lifter trophy. I don’t remember what her best bench press was, but I know that she easily pulled 225 lbs on her final deadlift.

With women’s winner Tina LeBlanc

Thank you to Brook Jones of Hyde Park Gym, and to Amalia Litras and Patty Farley of GrassIron for hosting the competition. I think everyone involved had a fantastic time and came away inspired in some way.

Filed Under: Photos, Powerlifting