Interview with Figure Athlete, Maria Scotland

EK: Hey Maria, Thank you for taking the time to speak with us.

MS: Hey guys. Thank you for your interest in me and for asking me to speak to you!

EK: Why don’t you start us off by saying a little about yourself and your achievements in figure to date.

 MS:  This is my first year back in the gym after a very long spell (5 years or more) of no exercise and my first time ever competing. On the 5th June 2011 I competed in FAME UK and then I joined the UKBFF. I am FAME UK Figure champion 2011 and runner up Muscle Model. I am also UKBFF Kent Klassic bodyfitness champion 2011 and UKBFF British champion 2011 (6th place). In addition I am a Gaspari 2012 calender girl (Miss October) and I had a 2 page spread in Muscle and Fitness in October 2011.

 EK: That’s a pretty impressive start to career! FAME champion and 6th in your first UKBFF championships. On that note, what was your reaction to your placing?

 MS: I aimed higher than 6th place. I am hard on myself and didn’t see it as overly impressive: with less stage fright and more fluid posing I could have placed higher – next year!

EK: What is the focus now?

MS: I relaxed  over the Christmas holidays in terms of diet only. For me training and pushing myself to failure each training day is now a way of life and one I love. My focus is on a micro-level increasing my lifts each week and on a macro-level being better and more fabulous for the European Arnold next year followed by the Brits 2012.

EK: Awesome stuff the European Arnold should be an awesome experience, best of luck. It’s fair to say you have reached a high level in terms of your physique and contest placings. What help have you had along the way in terms of coaching and contest prep?

MS: I’ve had the same trainer at Virgin Active all season and he’s taken care of my coaching all year. As far as contest preparation I went to the FAME Bootcamps in the run up to FAME UK where Angie Weston and Audrey Kaipio gave guidance on posing and the model’s walk. In the run up to the UKBFF British finals I went to Panther’s gym to see Helen O’Reilly for posing practice. Since the Brits I’ve been training with Jordan Peters and he’s reshaped my training programme and diet with a keen eye on achieving higher placing at next year’s Brits and the European Arnold.

Okay, let’s take it back to the very beginning. How did you first hear about and get involved in figure competitions?

MS: I read about FAME UK in Ultrafit magazine. After the competition and my win I heard one of the other figure competitors talking about the UKBFF and said the best of the best competed with that federation – that was the obvious next place for me to compete!

EK: What do you enjoy most about competing in figure?

MS: Pushing myself to my limit and the camaraderie amongst bodybuilers: men and women.

EK: What do you consider to be your strongest aspects as a competitor?

 MS: I am drug free.

EK: Strong from you! Are there any particular areas of your physique that you are currently working on?

MS: My weaknesses. My back is my strongest and best feature. Additionally from the front my physique is pretty strong: I have good shoulders, biceps, chest, abs and quads. However from behind and below my back I have weaknesses in my hamstrings, glutes and calfs. By my next competition I shall be balanced and have a better physique.

EK: Furthering on the previous question; what is your current training split?

MS: Monday is chest, compound tricep work and abs, Tuesday is lower back, Wednesdays are shoulders, Friday is upper back work (lats) and Saturday is legs and calfs. I rest (or do cardio) Thursdays and Sundays.

EK: Unfortunately many females out they fail to realize the benefits of weight training for health and aesthetics. You go a long way to disprove the unfair dogma surrounding weightlifting in women.  What do you have to say on the matter?

 MS: It’s not a dogma that is likely to disappear I fear. If I had a pound for every time a female told me she admired my physique but didn’t want to lift weights “because she didn’t want to look like Schwarznegger” I would be able to retire a wealthy woman right now! It makes my heart sink each and every time and arguing the case for weightlifting has proven useless as it falls on deaf ears. Women prefer cardio – endless treadmill action or dance classes. How they cannot put the fact they admire my physique together with the fact I lift, and therefore so should they to look like me, is beyond me. However slowly slowly maybe the message will sink in.

EK: Frustrating indeed! It just takes a few to realize the benefits and tide could turn on the matter. We are pushing for that day! For those who are willing to ‘convert’ to the iron side, what would you recommend as a good starting program for any female ‘trainee to be’ who wants to get into good shape?

 MS: I would recommend using a trainer to learn good technique and establish a routine. Even a couple of weeks is enough. Read everything – there are brilliant informative magazines (Flex, Muscle and Fitness, Muscular Development etc) and websites out there that are a font of knowledge for the would be trainee and essential for learning the basic. Then put your heart into training and make it a passion in your life – soon you will carve the figure you desire.

EK: Sound words. Okay onto nutrition. What would an average off season diet look like for you, including any supplements?

MS: On rising BCAAs and water followed by a breakfast of  porridge oats and whey protein and then more BCAAs, L-Glutamine, fish oils, a good multi-vitamin tablet and a probiotic. I then try to have 30 g of protein and 20 g of carbohydrates every 3 hours. I take protein powders and have (CNP) protein oat bars if I am busy or at work otherwise I will eat chicken or salmon, green salad and rye bread or rice cakes. Off season I cheat every day – a sweet, a biscuit or chocolate as the fancy takes me. I use USN anabolic pre-workout powder before training and I take BCAAs and L-Glutamine before and after training. Immediately following a workout I will have a scoop of Glycojet. Before bed I will have ZMA tablets and yet more BCAAs.

EK: At the British you looked fantastic on stage as your placement shows. We’ve heard that during your prep you actually got too lean and needed to ‘fatten up’ a bit before the comp! Is this true?

MS: Yes! My trainer told me I looked like a Physique girl! I had been skipping my carbs because I was so busy so I had to increase my carbs. The night before I was cramming rice cakes in to try to fill me out. Not a bad way to compete – better than the awful decarb/ carb up hell I endured to qualify. Instead I coasted in on increased carbs.

 EK: Awesome, that’s definitely a bonus! How about you share some of your methods for dieting as they clearly work!

MS: Whilst competing I am not as strict with myself as other competitors. I have my diet plan (6 meals per day with definite meaures of protein, carbs and fats per meal) but whenever I have a craving I give in to it. I have learnt that if I do so I stay sane and on target otherwise I loose my mind and get grumpy! I cheat on a biscuit or 3 pieces of chocolate sometimes each day. However I don’t have a cheat day. That said the week before qualifying I was religious with the decarb/ carb up hell and 4 weeks before the Brits I did not cheat at all – just in case!

EK: That’s an approach that makes sense and still takes a lot of discipline in terms of keeping a cheat down to a single biscuit or 3 pieces of chocolate. Readers this DOES NOT mean you can eat an abundance of ‘cheat’ food everyday!

You have answered my next question but ill ask it anyway and let you expand a bit…Staying on a diet for fat loss can be tough. How do you manage to stay on diet when the going gets tough?

 MS: As I said I do give in to urges but I recognise that a square of chocolate or a biscuit will not jeopardise the very hard training, hours of cardio and clean meals eaten at all other times. The small cheating kept me on track and made eating otherwise clean easy.

EK: True say the key is adherence and it seems a method that yields good results. Moving on, it is a customary question at EK to ask about inspiration. So here goes, who is your biggest inspiration?

 MS: Ken Scotland – my younger brother is my greatest inspiration. He began bodybuilding when he was 13 and I grew up alongside him putting his heart and soul into developing his physique. He was a Gladiator alongside Russel Crowe in the film. He died before the film was released and I am heartily grateful that he is preserved at his best on film.

EK: I am deeply sorry for your loss. You are most definitely right; a truly inspiring film for a truly inspiring person. I think it is extremely powerful that your biggest inspiration is a family member. With such a driving force behind you I am sure you’ll reach whatever goals you set. On this matter, what are your long term goals and aspirations?

MS: I want to turn pro and open up my own gym.

EK: Great stuff. If any of our female readers are interested in competing in figure, what advice would you give them?

MS: Go for it! Why not – do it!!

EK: Conviction! I like it. Following this, where can anyone interested go to find more about the sport and info on how to enter for a show?

MS: Do as I did – Google and read up on the sport. Additionally facebook other competitors. The women (and men) in the sport are incredibly magnanimous with their time and will happily share their knowldege and experience – me included!

EK: Awesome stuff Maria! Thank you again for taking the time to chat with us. We look forward to following your progress and look forward to speaking with you again when you have your pro card!

 MS: Thank you it has been a pleasure! Xx


Coach to Coach – An Interview with Joseph Lightfoot

EK: Joe, Welcome to Elite Kinetics and thanks for taking the time to speak with us and share your knowledge to our readers. To get us started why not tell us a little about yourself.

JL: Hi guys, first of all thanks for asking me to do this interview! I’m a strength and conditioning coach currently based in Manchester where I am just completing my medical degree. I consult to and coach a number of clients and athletes, including the England Under 19 Lacrosse team. I’m also involved in a few research projects at the moment. Basically, I’m interested in anything health or performance related!

EK: Okay, let’s kick off with your pursuit of medicine. What have you been able to take from your medicine studies that further your knowledge and application of effective strength and conditioning?

JL: Medicine has given me an understanding of the human body. It’s also given me the skills to find out the problems a patient, or client/athlete has, and then the knowledge to go about investigating them. Having the competence to examine joints and then understand the imaging process is also invaluable. Communication skills are also a huge part of medical education now, and being able to use those when coaching is very useful too.

EK: England Under 19 Lacrosse. Let’s use this area as a focus:

Sport specific training can be taken out of all proportions. How do you make your resistance training effective in terms developing of strength and power that carries over to the field?

JL: Bottom line is fundamental movements. I was recently lucky enough to see Kelvin Giles speak on this topic and he explains it very well. Underpinning all sporting actions are athletic movements, and the basis of athletics are fundamental movements. So I start there. I’m a big believer in quality over quantity. Plus with the lacrosse guys, they are young and have very low training ages. Along with Chris Wainer I’ve got a responsibility to teach them these movements so they can have successful sporting careers in the future, and not just 6 months from now. So we stick to the basics, (and I mean basics!). I believe you have to earn the right to load a movement and a right to increase complexity. Now that doesn’t mean we spend all our time doing unloaded exercises. You’ve got to add load eventually – but particularly with the under 19’s, I see it as a long term plan and I want to lay a good foundation now. But back to your question – I think once the basics are locked down, and the athlete can handle load, doing sport specific work can play a part. But I don’t think it should be a major focus initially.

EK: Any athlete at a high level cannot, nor would want to spend hours in the gym, day in day out at the expense of their sports performance. How do you maximize your athletes time in the gym, meaning they can get everything needed done to improve their performance, letting them focus on their sports training?

JL: Just be ruthless. I heard a great quote the other day: “If it’s not worth doing twice a week, then it’s not worth doing at all”. So I really chase after what is actually giving results. If I can’t justify why we are doing something, AND it’s making a difference then I don’t do it. Again focusing on quality rather than quantity. I’m also a big fan of fillers, so I’ll programme mobility and activation exercises during rest periods. It doesn’t affect the lifting or conditioning portion of the workout (and can often improve it) and saves on time massively. I don’t think we need a lot of stuff to excel – personally some of my best training sessions have had just one exercise in. Once you’ve done 6 sets of 4 reps with a quality weight in the snatch grip deadlift, or performed 30 minutes of farmers walks, you realise that you don’t need to do much!

EK: Acceleration is crucial for all athletes yet many athletes and coaches alike get confused with how to use weight training to aid in this area. What are your favorite resistance training exercises and protocols for developing acceleration in your athletes?

JL: Two things: teach proper mechanics and then get stronger. I believe the key to getting fast is proximal stiffness with hip mobility. Getting stronger obviously helps with force production, but it also helps with reducing the risk of injury. I spent 7 years training and competing for track (100-400m) and nothing stops you getting fast quicker than missed training due to injuries. Favourite resistance exercises would be deadlift variations, squats and single leg variations, particularly reverse lunges from a deficit. As well as increasing strength, working on lifting speed is also a focus. Loaded carries are also a staple as they teach proximal stiffness.

I really like the wall march iso hold for teaching proper body position and also resisted sprints. With the resisted sprints, use a harness to hold the athlete back while they try to sprint. Resist them so they can lean forward and maintain the acceleration position; allow them to move forward at a fast jogging pace. Repeat this 3-4 times. Now do a run without the harness. The athlete will subconsciously be thinking they have to resist the harness, and lean forward. Often they can over rotate forward, but it’s a powerful tool to show them how far they can get their centre of mass outside their base of support.

Finally, practice. Like strength, speed is a skill. You see people do a couple of speed sessions and then moan they haven’t got any quicker! Moving your body as fast as possible is an immensely difficult skill – you don’t just get it over night!

Actually one more thing – this is a bit of a pet peeve. You have to be aggressive. Running fast is brutal. Whilst being relaxed is key to running fast you have to get your athletes to bring the right attitude to speed sessions.

EK: Okay, textbook versus real world…Sum up any differences between the two that you have noticed from your experience coaching athletes?

JL: Tough question! Implementation is hard. I’ve read and written plans that on paper I think look awesome. But then you get to the gym or field and realise it isn’t happening, especially with big groups or teams. Percentages are another thing, on paper or in a textbook are great but they don’t address all the other factors in the real world. I think working towards some form of auto-regulation is a good idea, but with the support of a plan. To borrow an analogy, textbooks are like the manual you get with your car. You could read it cover to cover, but you don’t have to in order to drive. It’s nice every now and again to refer to it, but practical experience is the bottom line. That said I am an avid reader!

EK: On a more general note, are their any philosophies or teachings of training that you gravitate towards more than others for yourself or in training others?

JL: Movement quality and strength. These two things underpin health, fitness and athletic performance. I really like strength training for everyone, regardless of goals. Athletes obviously need to be strong, but lean body mass and strength are too great markers of health in the general population as well. To some people walking up the stairs or carrying their shopping is strength work. We’ve got to keep people strong!

Personally, I’ve been heavily influenced by Dan John, Eric Cressey and Mike Robertson.

EK: Quick fire question on a current hot topic in the industry: Abdominal training and spine longevity – to crunch or not to crunch?

JL: No crunch. I was lucky enough to spend two days with Dr. Stuart McGill and he makes an extremely strong argument. There is a small selection of people who probably need to do some kind of crunch work, but I’ve never met one. Plus to refer back to your earlier question on time management – I can think of a thousand exercises I’d pick ahead of crunch variations!

EK: Whilst we are on hot topics…The slow steady state vs HIIT style training debate for fat loss…Where do you sit?

JL: I think both are effective. It depends on the individual. I think fat loss is all about picking something you can be consistent with. My belief is that the key to fat loss, and more importantly maintaining low body fat levels is Non-Exercise Physical Activity (NEPA). By incorporating activity into your daily life without even thinking about it makes things a lot easier.

EK: Moving on. Hip hinging can be a very difficult movement pattern for people to get to grips with. What has been your best coaching cue/tool for developing the hinge in your clients?

JL: I agree it can be tricky. Some people really struggle to get it. I generally work through a number of steps. Firstly I get them standing 30cm away from a wall, I then tell them to push their hips back to touch the wall. I’ll cue them to make the stretch in their hamstrings as large as possible. If that fails, I’ll get them to put one of their hands on their abs and one on the back so they can feel their spine flexing. If that doesn’t work I’ll get them to stand up tall, and exaggerate their lumbar curve, then to push their hips back. Whilst I don’t actually want someone to exaggerate their spine curvature – it often is the point which makes the hinge click, and they get how they can mobilise at the hips and not the spine. We’ll then go back to the previous two things and drill the movement. I’ll try and add load as soon as possible to really cement the movement pattern, but only when I’m confident the pattern is locked down. I find teaching the goblet squat at the same time can be very useful as it teaches the client/athlete to dissociate their hips from their lumbar spine.

EK:  Let’s end on a funny note. At Elite Kinetics we like to share the acts of stupidity that we may encounter during any visits to commercial gyms. What is the stupidest thing you have witnessed on the gym floor?

JL: Wow, that’s a tough one to call. I’ve seen some pretty idiotic stuff but the stupidest thing ever is something a good friend told me about (I didn’t have the chance to witness it first hand unfortunately). A guy was standing on a stability ball, on a power plate doing squats. To make matters worse, this guy was a “Personal Trainer”! Crazy…

EK: Wow. Epic fail right there. Joe, I think it’s fair to say that there are some absolute gems of practical knowledge there that our readers can learn from. Awesome stuff. Thanks again for taking the time to speak with us and share your views and knowledge on the world of strength and conditioning. We look forward to speaking to you again soon!

JL: Not a problem, thanks for having me! If anyone wants to find out more about what I get up to they can check out or follow me on Twitter at @JosephLightfoot. Thanks guys!

Interview with British Pro MMA fighter, Jamaal Lake.

With a 7-0 amateur record to his name, Jamaal Lake came onto the pro curcuit with style. Now 3 fights into his pro career with a record of 2-1, we catch up with the beast named ‘godzilla’.

EK: Hi Jamaal, firstly, many thanks for taking the time to speak to us, it’s a pleasure to have the opportunity for delve into the world of a mixed martial artist and shed valuable info to our viewers.

JL: No problem, it’s great to be part of such an awesome site!!

EK: Okay, let’s get things started. How and when did you get involved in MMA and tell us a little about your career thus far?

JL: Well, I was always into sport! But not long after leaving school I spent years eating junk food and lazing around until I found myself as a 22 stone lazy security guard eating pizza watching MMA, thinking “those guys are crazy!!” One day a friend said I should try it and I haven’t looked back since! I had my first semi pro fight in November 2008 and stormed through 7 fights, all finished in less than two minutes. I made my professional debut in June of this year beating Deivydas Banaitis (10-5-1) via submission in less than two minutes on Adrenalinfc. The following October I beat the fellow undefeated Scotsman, Rab Truesdale, via submission (again in under two minutes) on cage warriors, which was aired live on premier sports.

With so much success I made the fatal mistake of becoming complacent, so when I had a shot at the vacant Bushido European heavyweight title my preparation was minimal, and after a grueling 15 minute war with a very tough and strong polish heavyweight, I lost by a unanimous decision. I gassed majorly trying to finish the fight as quickly as possible and he coasted his way to what some call an unfair decision but I make no excuses he did what he had to. It will NEVER happen again!

EK: Sounds like a great start to a career, even with some tough lessons learnt early on! You have made my next question a bit redundant but ill ask it anyway…Who has been your toughest opponent so far?

JL: Yea definitely Daniel Omielanczuk, the polish guy I lost to. I honestly believe my skill set was better than his but he just had a little more in the tank than I did that night and he’s the only guy to ever take me to a decision !! (Despite surviving the beating I gave him in the first round!!)

EK: Fair play to him for surviving the beating, I know from even when you were a youngster you packed a punch! Anyway, following on the discussion about opponents, are there any other fighters out there in particular that you would like to have a match up with?

JL: I’ll fight whoever they put in front of me to be honest. The U.K. heavyweight pool is pretty shallow at the moment. Even at the semi pro level I was smashing pros.

EK: Ha ha nice! Let’s get down to training. Strength/power, conditioning, mobility and pre-hab work are all essential to athletes. How do you find the optimal blend of all these components in your training programme?

JL: It’s very difficult to be honest. I have a young family and was unfortunately made redundant earlier this year. I decided to make the leap and begin training full time. But as you can imagine as a pro just starting it’s very difficult to cover the bills… the punch bag doesn’t pay you! Since the loss I aim to do my metabolic conditioning three mornings a week, strength training twice a week and use all other slots for technique drills and sparring. That said, if the odd couple days of work comes I have to take it. At times keeping on top of my daughter’s nursery bills are a killer!!

EK: Wow some heavy commitments but just as much drive to overcome and succeed it seems! Keep on your grind and soon these tough days will be a memory to chuckle about! Following on, outline for us what your current training schedule looks like.

JL: Monday – AM metabolic conditioning PM – mma/grappling.

Tuesday – AM at home PM – combo training or BJJ

Wed – metabolic conditioning & combos PM – wrestling & cage control

Thurs – combo & strength work PM – MMA/grappling.

Fri – rest.

Sat – metabolic conditioning PM – strength or BJJ.

Sun – rest

EK: When it comes to preparing for a fight, how does your training tailor to enable you to peak at the right time?

JL: This is a new aspect as before I just trained and fought but now I’m taking it a lot more seriously. My metabolic conditioning consists of 5x5minute rounds with one minute rest. Every week 15 seconds is knocked off the rest time until shortly before the fight I’m doing 25 minutes work with no rest. When I have this level of conditioning surviving 15 minutes with 3 minutes rest in the ring is a breeze! In terms of resistance training, about a month before the fight the focus is heavily on power over strength, but the sessions are finished with heavy sled pulls and rope work as not to loose my muscular endurance.

EK: Well it certainly appears that the strength training is in order judging by this video you have supplied us with!

EK: Okay, on to nutrition. What would the average day look like in terms of food for ‘Godzilla’?

JL: I was given a strict diet for my pro debut. Breakfasts were porridge with protein or lean omelets with a wholemeal bagel. Lunches were chicken with brown rice or sweet potato. Dinners were chicken or turkey with vegetables, red meat once a week and oily fish twice a week with a high calorie meal replacement and fruit in between meals. I felt a bit too light for that fight so since then I’ve been adding a few more carbs in the evenings and that was when I brought the weight training into the picture.

That said, I don’t usually have to cut weight per say. I decide what sort of weight I wish to fight at based on how I feel at that weight and what my opponent weighs in at.

EK: Recovery, as with all sports, is a massive part of MMA, both from the demands of the exercise and the physical wounds from combat. What does your recovery protocol look like in the immediate aftermath of a fight, in order to get you ready to hit training again as soon as possible?

JL: It depends on my mentality, as I said, I rarely got out of two minutes so more often than not I would just take a week off for some junk food and family time or get straight back to it. After my last fight I had a few bumps but I put my body through total exhaustion so when I went back to the gym on the Monday it was a bit soon but I’m back in the swing of things now. I know for next time that if I go the distances to simply take a few extra days off and start back in the gym with nothing to extreme.

EK: At Elite Kinetics we are big on inspiration. Who was and or is your biggest inspiration?

JL: I think watching Fedor  Emelianenko inspired me the most but now I’m a student of the game, every fight I watch, I am inspired by and learn from.

EK: High level sport and training is taxing and often involves the athlete to endure a certain level of pain. As an MMA fighter you regularly have to deal with facing pain and intimidation from opponents. What practices do you adopt to mentally prepare for a combat scenario?

JL: I think the best thing to do is focus on what you are about to do to your opponent instead of what he can do to you. That way you don’t have any intimidating thoughts in your head. The anxiety of what can happen to you is what causes the adrenalin dump. Usually I handle it well but in my last fight I felt like a weak old man when that bell rang!

EK: Selective attention and optimal cue utilisation is key to the success in all sports. During a fight what goes through your head and how do you focus on only the relevant bits of information needed to beat you opponent and not get overwhelmed?

JL: If I’m totally honest I couldn’t tell you what I’m thinking it’s literally as simple as action and reaction until someone’s action finishes the fight! I can’t tell you any thoughts that I have had really during a fight. The training just kicks in and its autopilot until the fight ends.

EK: Right, let’s look to the future. Outline for us your future goals, thinking both short term and long term.

JL: I want to get to the top of the sport and beat both the best domestic and international fighters until I’m holding every recognized title around. That’s it in my opinion there is no point competing if you don’t plan to conquer it all, and I will.

EK: Nice! Very true words. For any of our readers out there who are interested in starting MMA or maybe just those who wish to stay up to date with MMA in the UK, are there any particular websites/forums/online communities that are useful?

JL: Well, the ‘cage warriors’ forum is very current and is the best website around for exclusives, interviews and information. ‘Born to be fitness’ is an online magazine similar to Men’s Health but specific to MMA.

EK: Well, you gave us some awesome stuff there! Once again, thank you for taking the time to speak with us and we wish you the best of luck in the future. We look forward to following your progress in MMA, and hopefully we will see you on the big screen soon! Before you go please feel free to give any shout outs that you may have!

JL: Thanks having me I’m a great fan of your work! I’d like to thank everyone at the Combat Sports Academy and everyone who has showed me support and had faith in me, In particular, my coaches Lee Johnstone and Lee page as well as all my training partners.

A mention of my sponsors:

Solo Supplements offer great quality and affordable supplements as well as nutrition advice. The Better Body Shop is an awesome strength and conditioning facility who have written out some of my training programmes. The Injury Therapist is a fantastic Sports Physio Therapist and Sweet Sweat offer great tools for weight cutting or warming up muscles.

Interview with John Hamson, Junior British Powerlifting Record Holder

John Hamson is a superb rising talent in the powerlifting community. Aged only 20, he is still a Junior yet boasts lifts than many seniors aspire to! Recently crowned the holder of 3 Junior British records in powerlifting, John still has 2 and a half years as a Junior to go to further this immense feat!

EK: John, thanks for taking the time to talk to us. Firstly, congratulations on your recent performance in the South Yorkshire Open. Now, I know the readers are dying to know already so why don’t you put them out of their despair and tell us what your lifts were on the day and what records you set.

JH: Hello, no worries and thanks. My lifts were 330kg on the squat which was a British record, 230kg on the bench which was a British record and 292.5kg on the deadlift which took the total record which is now 852.5kg.

EK: Very Impressive to say the least. Ok, let’s rewind a few years. Tell us when it all began. When was it that you first became interested in lifting weights?

JH: It all began at the age of 12. My brother had a weight set with a bench in the garage and I started experimenting with various lifts, when I got to 14/15 I had out grown the equipment that was in the garage so we updated the equipment and bought a rack and a Olympic bar along with plates.

EK: Did you decide early on that you wanted to power lift or did you rather stumble across it along your  route of progression in the weight room?

JH: I stumbled across it when I started training my goals were to simply get stronger and bigger, I was always an active individual; did cross country running, played football, rugby, swimming, boxing and also did my own training so you could say my GPP was high!

EK: There are a lot of readers out there who are thinking about competing at a meet for the first time. Tell us about your first meet; how did you find out about entering and indeed preparing for it?

JH: My first meet was terrible I had not long turned 16 and I was keen to impress but my openers were too high I didn’t know the commands properly, but fortunately I didn’t bomb – I totalled 510kg. I researched the different federations and decide that the GBPF was the best for myself.

EK: What advice would you give to a new lifter entering his/her first meet in light of your experience?

JH: Do your research, know what the rules/commands are before you enter and train the way your gonna compete. Don’t be sloppy with your technique in the gym as it will fall apart when you get on the platform. I have been to many comps where people fail their first lift and then come back into the warm up room saying I did that for 5reps in the gym no one cares! Check your ego at your first comp get your first lifts on the board and get in the game. Your not in the comp until you pull your first deadlift.

EK: Are there any forums out there that you use or know off that you would recommend to both new and experienced lifters, looking to further their knowledge and experience in powerlifting?

JH: I use the GBPF forum and the sugden barbell forum, both have some good info on. I also log my training on both sites so check it out!

EK: A lot of powerlifters dabble in strongman competitions and visa versa. Is this something you have considered or have indeed done?

JH: Yeah I have competed in one strongman comp this year it was the midland U105 qualifier. The reason I did this was because it was held at the same gym were I train. I will be doing the same qualifier in 2012 as its something different from the norm but I will actually train for it this time.

EK: So, powerlifting or strongman, which one do you prefer?

JH: Easy question – Powerlifting

EK: OK, let’s talk training. How do you like to split up your training?

JH: I train 3-4 times a week, I squat three to four times a week, bench three times a week & deadlift twice a week & perform assistance movements when needed. Pretty much all my squatting is to a box – I use three different heights 15.5”, 13.5” and 12”. At the minute I am dabbling with heavy band tension.

EK: Maxing out too often is a major failing in many lifters training, yet we know that to be pushing those numbers up you need to test new water at some point. Where do you feel the balance lies?

JH: Good question! There’s nothing wrong with failing a lift, as long you know why you have failed it, whether it’s your teckers or simply your not strong enough yet. When I was prepping for the South Yorkshire’s I failed three lifts in my 12 week prep I think that’s pretty good going.

EK: What is your prefered way of periodizing your training to keep those numbers going up?

JH: The majority of my training is based on linear progression. I set my myself goals of what I want to lift in a comp and I work towards that, I take each week as it comes and evaluate how the week went then base my next training week on that. I have found that this works best for my self. If there are any technique issues they can be ironed out quickly and easily. Also this allows me to mix my exercise selection up, as what I have found, is that if I create a 12week prep with numbers for every week by the time I get to the last two – three weeks and I generally pick up a injury. Resultantly I have learned to back off abit and listen to body more. I like to have freedom in my programming! 

EK: On to nutrition. Powerlifters can be a little more lenient in their diets over say, bodybuilders.  What are your ‘staples’ of nutrition as it were and give us an idea of what your diet looks like on an average training day?

JH: Average day, oats with milk and fruit smoothie, chicken & rice, then more chicken & rice, 2 pints of milk, lasagne, cereal with milk & couple of yoghurts.

Some days I will have a couple of shakes consisting of whey protein and oats.

To be honest I just try and eat as much as I can, I rarely eat fast food, sweets, chocolate etc.. I wouldn’t say my diet is great but it suits my needs.

EK: Being only 20, you are incredibly young and have an entire lifting career in front of you. Whats the big vision for John Hamson? What are you goals and ambitions?

JH: My short term goals are to win the British Juniors next year [2012] and to get selected for GBPF squads. The long term goal is to total 1000kg+.

EK: Goals that I’m sure you will achieve judging on your progress so far!

John, thank you once again for taking the time to speak with us. I feel a lot of readers out there will have benefited from hearing the words of someone who is truly climbing the ladder in the world of powerlifting. Best of luck in the future, hopefully we will see you on the world stage in the years to come!

The Jungle Gym – Interview with Ben Coker & Jamie Bolton

EK: Boys, welcome back from the Jungle Gym. From the video footage you’ve already posted we can see it was quite an experience. To kick off our interview today can you tell us – what was the most challenging aspect for each of you whilst in the ‘Jungle Gym’?
Jamie: Thanks it’s great to be back, the Jungle Gym was quite a trip to say the least! For me, the most challenging aspect was learning to forget the ‘norms’ of at home, and to have to really think outside the box. Of course, this led to its own problem and in trying to create more options very quickly I ended up with ‘paralysis by analysis’, i.e. too many options in exercise selection, from the tools I created.

So the old simple message of ‘keep it simple, stupid’, suddenly became my mantra for the trip. I honed in on the most effective movements, whatever they happened to be in each scenario, and then I hammered away at them. Why make it more complicated than it needs to be!

Ben: Food. From my experiences in the Jungle gym I found that my rough maintenance level is and or was about 3500 – 4000kcal! I say was because the heat out there will have increased my basal metabolic rate. Regardless I require a relatively large amount of kcal to keep my level of muscle mass. Give me a bar and I can keep my back growing or at the very least maintained by hitting various grip chins for volume. But without the level of nutrition…trust me its hard to keep hold of energy hungry muscle mass!

EK: Certainly, we all know how important nutrition is in this game. How was it that you actually managed to keep up some form of decent nutrition and some continuity whilst travelling?

Ben: For me I went straight to my old friend. Milk. For those of you who know me I put away milk by the litre, commonly consuming 4L of organic full fat a day. The same was true for travelling. I don’t care about what people say about dairy/ full fat milk being the devil and linked to all sorts from heart disease to diabetes…its bull. There is plenty of unbiased research out there backing me up, plus the fact I consumed 4L a day for pretty much a year and every time I get a check up I’m passed as very fit and healthy, but that’s not for today’s discussion!

No matter where you are, there is a good chance you can get milk. Its packed with vitamins & minerals and has a near perfect blend of macronutrients…and it’s cheap. So for me I sourced out milk and kept tanked up on it. Now despite what anchor man said, milk is actually  good choice at hydrating you too, and so I regularly sipped on milk as we were out and about. Feeding and coping with the heat. Win win.

Of course I didn’t just drink milk. I ate lots too. Again, for those of you who know me, I am easily pleased in the food department. ‘Boring’ foods suit me to the ground and whats even better is that they make me grow. Eggs like milk can be found in most places, are cheap and pack good macros, nutrients and kcal. Picking up eggs be they scrambled, fried or even in omelets was relatively easy and i relied on them whenever we had a chance. Oh I’m forgetting a tiny point – the cholesterol in eggs helps in your body’s testosterone production.

Jamie: One thing in particular is trying to eat like the locals do. Why? Because they can’t afford any expensive, processed food. Instead they’re eating locally grown, natural produce; and what’s more, it’s going to be incredibly full of nutrients compared to anything at home.

It’s also worth adding that if you know you’re going to be really remote like I was in Uganda, and that meat may well be extra scarce / expensive, then it might be worth taking a whey protein supplement with you, like I did with MP’s Whey Impact Blend . If you can, even bump your protein up so it’s getting close to even just 0.75g/lb it’ll make a world of difference.

EK: Jamie, you were staying in an extremely rural location whilst in Africa. Can you briefly describe the location and shed some light on your methods of training whilst there?

Jamie: I was in a place called Kanungu, in rural south-west Uganda. We’re talking dirt roads, long-drop toilets, and power for a couple hours per day (if you’re lucky). Real basics. But incredibly refreshing in looking at what you really need to live with.

As far as training went, the TRX was a great tool to bring along with me, but knowing I was in the same location for 6 weeks, I didn’t stop there. I had a local carpenter knock up a log press and 2 farmers handles, at about £9 a log. And I made a ‘Jerry Bar’ out of four 20litre jerry cans, some wood and rope.

It's amazing what you can construct very quickly in the jungle gym

The biggest adjustment was to using fixed loading, be it bodyweight or the logs. In other words, no ramping up. This lack of loading was a problem, at first. Then I adapted and worked around it. Bodybuilding techniques like pre and post-exhaust made an appearance, and working in a circuit fashion worked very well too. Most of all, I really attacked my conditioning, the one thing that can always be improved.

EK: Give us an example of the most improvised bit of training equipment used in the ‘Jungle Gym’

Ben: Whilst in Cambodia we travelled to Sihanoukville and there we found a nice secluded beach. That being great in itself (as we could avoid the street sellers) we actually stumbled across a piece of drift wood in the form of a log/branch. Being the opportunists and training fanatics we instantly interpreted this object of a sled! Out came the TRX straps and so the training began. An improvised yet extremely easy way to get a workout done. Below is a compilation we made of various exercises we performed with this drift wood sled…

EK: What factors in your improvised training do you feel were important in enabling you to keep your strength levels so high and even improve in some cases?

Jamie: For me, it was all about drilling my conditioning, when my conditioning steps up, good things really seem to happen. On top of that, I followed Ben’s advice and zoned in on accumulating some volume in my training to make up for the lack of loading, and this seemed to make a world of difference.

Ben: My goals were more geared to keeping good shape and muscle mass as opposed to my strength levels. I knew from experience that what strength I may lose, I would gain back quickly when I got regular access to a gym back home. That aside I did employ a few tactics into my training that I feel helped keep my strength levels so high.

Firstly, If I found a gym with adequate poundage, I made a point of making the first compound of either my upper push, upper pull or leg day, heavy. Make the most of the heavy weights if you find them and pile on the volume after.

Secondly, I lifted explosively on every rep. This is something I do regardless but I feel its effectiveness came to light whilst I was away. By trying to explode through the lift you serve to keep your CNS firing and not let it get sluggish and lazy. I even incorporated heavy rock shot puts In Sihanoukville as a method of keeping my pressing movement patterns firing.

EK: You mentioned making the most of any gyms you could whilst travelling. What type of access to gyms did you actually have?

Jamie: In Africa, none. It was all about what I was able to create from the local environment, or use my bodyweight to accomplish. Africa was hard work in that respect, but being pushed to think outside of the box, it really made me think about what was ‘necessary’ and what was more ‘nice to have’ but not ‘need to have’. It got better in Asia, just about.

Ben: In Thailand (bangkok) there were a few of the big ‘health spa’ gyms about so whenever we passed through Bangkok (twice minus the day we left) we hit one of them and made the most.

In Laos, Cambodia and the rest of Thailand we found a few gyms, all pretty spartan, some better than others though. It became all about going back to basics and trying to get the best out of the bad gyms and making the most of the gyms that were, well, actually gyms!

EK: How did you make the most of, lets say, one of the better gyms, in the instances you happened to stumble across one?

Jamie: In short, we nailed it. We both did some pretty sadistic levels of volume and pushed ourselves to the brink. But hey, we never knew when the next ‘good’ gym would turn up. You make the most of those days to put some extra work ‘in the bank’ to make up for when you can’t.

Ben: As Jamie said volume is crucial and I harked on to him a fair bit about it. When travelling around you don’t necessarily know the next time you going to have any opportunity to train. For me this lead to one sensible solution…beat the hell out of the muscles your training in each session. Forget stimulating and not annihilating…I obliterated the muscles and gave myself the luxury of needing a whole week to recover! It simply means you have to train less often.

Being relatively unaccustomed to volume training, Jamie actually put on body mass by adopting this principle into parts of his training. I think he secretly thanks me for it but he won’t admit it.

EK: Conversely, when posed with a ‘sub standard’ gym should we say, how did you make the most of what was their to ensure an adequate training effect?

Jamie: By not using any of it! Unless you’re giving me a rack, or even just a barbells and some plates, I may as well make the most of my bodyweight and the TRX instead. There’s no point in using something sub-standard when you’ve already got a very versatile piece of kit with you at all times – yourself.

Ben: In Hue we found a ‘gym’ that looked like something pre pumping iron. A barely functioning relic of the past. Despite visiting that place all I used in there was the pull down frame to perform 20 sets of 10 pull ups…I told you It’s all about the simple things that work and the volume! Here is a clip of that infamous place…


EK: Jamie, you managed to actually put on muscle mass whilst away. Could you attribute this to any particular aspect of your training whilst away?

Jamie: Sure. For a start, I really had to dabble into high rep ranges. I can’t remember the last time I went above 8 reps before I left, apart from the odd widowmaker squat. Suddenly, 15 reps became low. That and keeping the diet in check and bam, I grew. Simple really!

EK: Ben, coming from a bodybuilding background and being a ‘big guy’, did your approach to training in the Jungle Gym differ from Jamie’s in anyway?

Ben: The biggest difference was in the food. I needed more. I train following a bodybuilders approach though and Jamie that of pure strength. Resultantly my volume was higher still than Jamie’s. Its the way I like to train and I am accustomed to it. Being at a relatively high level of development I find that I require that extra volume to keep such muscle mass and fullness. I also hit isolation or accessory movements a lot more after my main lifts. Again its a volume issue but also aesthetics. For example, with shoulders, I put a lot more side lateral, upright row and reverse fly movements into my workouts what ever way I could whereas Jamie was pretty much content on the main pressing and pulling movements. I went out my way to get extra work done and resultantly my workouts were longer.

EK: From your experience what pitfalls do you feel potentially await any future travellers?

Jamie: Expecting to do too much. I set out with this glorified idea of doing nearly daily bodyweight activity. Didn’t last for long. You have to remember that you’re away travelling and there to enjoy it. So it’s important to be minimalist in both your expectations and your approach. By the end I was training just 2 days per week. And I got on just fine.

Ben: I agree with Jamie and we spoke of this matter frequently when out there. Stressing out will only serve to reduce your Testosterone levels and ramp up your cortisol levels. The mechanics are to long winded to delve into here but essentially your body only has a finite ability to make testosterone or cortisol (via the conversion of cholesterol and in turn pregnenolone). As one goes up the other goes down. Keep the cortisol (stress) down by getting the weight of not leading the perfect training life off your back. Every little helps. Plus as Jamie said, you are here to life live and experience the world. After all what’s 6 weeks out of your whole life?

EK: In hindsight, could you have better prepared yourself for a length time away? Or put another way, are there any things a traveller could do in the build up to going away that would help them on the road?

Jamie: I’m not sure I could have prepared any better, as part of the experience is that it’s a vast unknown quantity. The one thing I’d say that is important though, is to start thinking about it in advance and how you’ll approach it. In other words, if you’ve got minimal training time, what are your real bang for buck, go-to exercises. And what do you do if the equipment isn’t there. What’s your back up plan? With that in mind, it might be worth investing some time into reading up on advanced bodyweight movements, as you might need them a lot.

Ben: One tactic that I use often before going away is purposefully ‘overreaching’ as its technically known. I up my training volume and intensity the couple of weeks prior to going away, reaching a point of mild over training. This means that when I go away, I can actually not train for a week to two weeks and still be supercompensating (diet dependant). In the case here that equates to a third of my time away!

I would also like to address the issue of flexibility and being able to let the mind broaden to different training practices, as when your on the road you ARE going to have to do things that aren’t in your normal training. If you are not mentally prepared this can be stressful. Knowing you will have to adapt and then thinking about how you can do that before hand lessens the blow when your presented with less than ideal conditions. It also means that you can get training done instead of being left scratching your head or worse, giving up and not training!

EK: As a final take home for our readers, If you could ‘coin’ the principles of how to train whilst on the road or away from mainstream training, how would you do so in as few words as possible?

Jamie: Think outside the box, use the local environment to your advantage, and most of all – enjoy it!

Ben: In true Coker style…Basics. Volume. Milk.

Catching up with Josh Hill – UK Powerlifter

Josh Hill is an up and coming powerlifter in the UK, boasting a total of 1000kg (2200lb) in competition, as well as being 2010’s Best Overall Lifter in the British Bench Press Championships. To top it off, he graduates as a Doctor this year and a very knowledgeable lifter too.

EK: Hi Josh, thanks for joining us and taking time out of your busy schedule. To start off, can you give our readers a bit of background on yourself.

Josh: I’m 24 years old, a competitive powerlifter, and I qualify as a doctor this summer.

My first sport was gymnastics, which I began at a very young age, and by my early teens I competed to a national level. Gymnastics conditioning training was my first glimpse of strength work. I remember when I was as young as 10 years old I was sneaking into the weights gym before training!

I come from a rugby background, having growing up in Bath, with my father (Richard Hill) being an ex-international Rugby Union player, and thus inevitably aspired to follow in his footsteps. He was the first one to take me to the gym, and I began to follow a proper strength training programme when I was twelve.

Over the coming years I continued to read about training, improving my knowledge and understanding, adapting my programmes as I went along. From time to time I would visit the rugby clubs my dad was coaching to get advice from the strength and conditioning staff.

By the age of 18 I was able to bench press 180kg raw (unequipped), and deadlift 315kg with a bodyweight around 95kg. From then I began to improve on my strength year after year, winning several British titles in the teenage and junior categories, and so far have continued to be able to bench 10x my age (a little challenge I set myself – lets see how long it can go on!). Last year I won the senior British Bench Press Championships in my weight category, and best overall lifter, with a raw bench press of 233kg (unequipped), which was also the British record in the 110kg and 100kg weight classes.

EK: Those are some big weights being moved at such a young age. What made you make the switch from Rugby to Powerlifting?

Josh: My plans were altered somewhat when I sustained a significant injury to my shoulder whilst competing in a Judo match at the age of sixteen. The injury required surgical repair and a considerable amount of physiotherapy before I could return to contact sports, and by the time my shoulder was ready for this, I had started my medical degree at Bristol University.

Once at university I began training in the Empire Sports Club, a famous weightlifting gym and boxing club where Bristol Rugby Club were training at the time. After finishing lectures each day, I’d head straight to the gym where at the time a powerlifter, Craig Coombes, always trained. I always used to stand and watch in awe as Craig lifted. I had never before seen someone squat over 300kg or shoulder press 90kg dumbbells.

After a while Craig approached me and explained that I was naturally strong and considering I was training at the same time as him each day, whether I would like to join in and begin competing, an offer that I was eventually to take up.

EK: Moving on, can you give us your best competition lifts so far? And your best training maxes?

Josh: Sure thing. In competition, my best lifts are:
Squat (equipped) 400kg
Bench press (equipped) 270kg
Bench press (unequipped) 233kg
Deadlift 330kg

In training, my best lifts so far are:
Squat (equipped) 420kg
Squat (unequipped) 340kg
Bench press (equipped) 300kg
Bench press (unequipped) 240kg
Deadlift 350kg
Deadlift (wearing wrist straps) 390kg

Obviously the challenge is putting all of the lifts together on the same day!

EK: Those are some impressive lifts! What does your training philosophy look like in getting you this far? What have you learned along your journey to date?

Josh: From time to time I would train with the Bath Rugby S&C coach (Chris Gaviglio), an Australian shot-putter, and before he left to return to the southern hemisphere, he put me in touch with a renowned sports doctor turned sports scientist, Christian Cook. Since then, Christian has continued to help me progress in powerlifting, providing me support with training structure, new ideas, principles, and nutritional advice.

I guess, since having support from Christian, I have changed my training philosophy somewhat – I have come to realise the importance of ‘leaving something in the tank’. What I mean by that is, you shouldn’t be failing reps in normal training sessions on compound lifts; there shouldn’t be any assisted reps – it is important to get into a habit of succeeding, and in order to do this you must carefully select weights for training based on a realistic target at the end of the training block – make gradual and constant improvements.

If you have done an entire 6 weeks of training without failing even one heavy rep, when it comes to attempting that new PB in week 7, you will be confident you can lift it, and confidence counts for a lot in lifting. Similarly, if you have completed successfully every attempt in a training block leading up to a competition, why would you even contemplate failing that last and final attempt at a new PB?

Those thoughts of failure, and ‘what if’, will never come into your mind when you are under that heavy weight. As a young lifter, it is too easy to see the route to being strong as lifting as heavy as you can every time you enter the gym; I have made that mistake before, and I’m sure I am not alone.

EK: Those are some great words and ones that every trainee would do well to adhere too. All too often you see people killing themselves and ‘failing’ in the gym. It’s a marathon, not a sprint!
Moving on, what’s your favourite of the competition lifts?

Josh: Undoubtedly my favourite event is the unequipped bench press – it’s the one always asked about. I can’t remember the last time someone asked me how much I deadlift or squat!

EK: Too true! What’s the best advice you could pass on to aspiring powerlifters?

Josh: Just because you are a powerlifter and won’t be getting on stage, it does not give you the right to indulge in poor nutrition and be fat! Stay lean, and train as much as possible without equipment, remembering to keep the habit of successful reps in training.

EK: Great advice Josh. What does the future look like for you in powerlifting?

Josh: My goal as a powerlifter is to get invited to compete in professional powerlifting meets in the USA. To do that I need to prove myself in amateur competition – I have made a good start, but now I want to take my strength to the next level. I know that strength can continue to increase into your late 30s, and my intention is to make my body as strong as my genetics will allow. To reach my genetic potential, whatever that may be.

EK: We’re sure you will most definitely do just that with the mindset you’ve got. Thanks again Josh for taking the time to join us today, and I’m sure we’ll be hearing more from you soon.

Interview with Adam Bishop – Midland’s Strongest Man 2010

Adam Bishop is an up and coming strongman and powerlifter. Amongst a strong and accomplished sporting history he recently obtained the title of MIDLANDS STRONGEST MAN U105 2010 and came in 5TH in the UK’S STRONGEST MAN U105 2010.

EK: Thanks for joining us today Adam. Can you give our readers a little background on yourself?
Adam: I’m a former professional rugby player (winger), and have been lifting weights for six years. I entered my first Open Strongman Competition in 2010 and came 10th out of 20 despite being the lightest.

EK: That’s pretty impressive. What made you want to get into Strongman?
Adam: I always watched Worlds Strongest Man (WSM) and other strongman competitions on the tv ever since I was young and wanted to have a go at it one day. I started posting on a strongman/powerlifting website called Sugden Barbell and ended up going over to a facility called the Container near Melton Mowbray. I found I was pretty good at a few events and it kinda snowballed from there to be honest.

EK: How do you get access to the specific training implements you need to train for strongman?
Adam: The facility at Melton Mowbray has equipment specially made for me and the guys I train with by Jason Talbot, owner of . He can make any weird implement we need to lift with.  I also personally own a small collection of implements which I train with.

EK: What kind of training split do you use when preparing for strongman events?
Adam: I train 4 times a week in the gym following Westside Barbell principles at the moment, which looks like this:
Monday – Max effort upperbody (log, axle, circus DB etc)
Tuesday – Max effort Lower body (Including Deadlift and squats)
Wednesday – AM Repetition upperbody PM Atlas stone lifting
Thursday – Dynamic effort Lowerbody (including speed squats and speed pulls)
Friday – REST
Saturday – Events training
Sunday – REST
It’s a pretty heavy schedule and I wouldn’t recommend it to others but my body seems to recover well so it works!

EK: That’s definitely intense, you must be having to get in some serious food to fuel all of that? How do you tailor it in the run up to an event?
Adam: Off season its calories calories calories for me as I find it very hard to put on weight otherwise. Obviously as I compete in the u105kg category I need to diet back down to around that weight. In the run up to a competition I’ll keep an eye on what I eat and just pretty much clean up my diet. I’m pretty simple when it comes to food.

EK: It’s nice to see someone who isn’t afraid to eat big! Do you put this together yourself or do you turn to a nutritionist?
Adam: I’m on my own with this really. I mean I have a relatively good understanding of nutrition from my rugby days so don’t seek any help from nutritionists.

EK: That’s good to hear. Moving on to competition day, how do you approach it?
Adam: It depends on the event really. Some events require relative calmness and concentration such as keg throwing or most overhead pressing where a lot of skill and technique is required. In other events, such as deadlifts, stone lifting and car flipping I tend to go a bit ape-sh** and get really worked up about the lift, I mean no sane human being would do that stuff would they!?

EK :  What do you do when something doesn’t quite run to plan?
Adam: I just try and stay calm. In one competition I dropped a railway sleeper on my head. Hardly ideal but you gotta just keep going in order to win.

EK: Ouch that’s got to hurt! What’s your favourite event?
Adam: Probably the Atlas stones with the Deadlift a close 2nd. I think atlas stones are the defining event in strongman, it’s always usually the last and most exciting.

EK: We’re sure everybody wants to know what they are, so could you rattle off your most impressive PBs for us
Adam: On the powerlifting movements I’ve deadlifted 320kg from the floor on a normal bar and pulled 360kg on the silver dollar Deadlift. Squatted 270kg in a belt and knee wraps. On strongman, I’ve pressed a 140kg axle overhead and lifted a 175kg atlas stone onto a platform.

EK: Impressive. What does the future hold for you?
Adam: The short term goal is to defend my Midlands Strongest Man u105 title this year and gain qualification for the UK’s Strongest Man where to be honest, I want to win. I came 5th last year in my first year in the sport, so now I want to take the title and go to the World’s! After achieving this I think I’ll try and gain some weight and look to compete more in the open weight category.

EK: Fantastic stuff. Thanks again for joining us and all the best for the upcoming contests!

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