This week we feature a self-described wild animal tamer, poet, lumberjack, and U.S. Marine— GZCL. Let us also add gentleman and super-powered powerlifter to that list! If you have a member you’d like to nominate for a Weekly Member Spotlight, contact users lexyloowho or xJenx or simply email email@example.com.
Username and level
GZCL currently Level 42
How did you get started in fitness and training? Do you have any pics to share?
I suppose I was first introduced into fitness at a young age, at the time it was just called “riding bikes.” I would ride my bike all day, everyday, as a young boy. That turned into skateboarding, which I did from about the age of 14 to 19. At that point in time I joined the Marine Corps and of course they have their own fitness requirements and training methods. It was at this time I focused on being what we call an “excellent PT-er,” meaning I was focused solely on increasing my Physical Fitness Test (PFT) score. My best score to date on the PFT is a 296- although scores above 280 have long passed.
More recently I’ve focused on weight training. Four years ago I started going to the gym and lifting weights recreationally. Never really followed a program at the time, which lasted for about two years. Around the summer of 2010 I became interested in the sport of powerlifting. It was at that time I started training specifically for that sport- and I’ve been doing that ever since. My first powerlifting competition was in January 2012 and I totaled 1,113 @146.6 lb. My second meet was on November 9th, 2012 and I totaled 1,196 @ 146.6 lb. At that most recent meet I broke the USPA California state deadlift and total record. I also broke the IPL world record for deadlift with a 529 lb pull.
Here are some pictures of me the night before my weigh in’s on November 8, 2012:
Here are some pictures of me that were taken about a month out from the IPL World Championship:
My YouTube channel for those who are interested:
How did you find Fitocracy? How has it changed your workouts?
I actually found Fitocracy when it was still in beta through reddit.com. I messaged the creators of Fitocracy asking for an invite and they sent me one. Been tracking my workouts on Fitocracy pretty consistently since then. How else do you get to a level 42 without consistency?
Do you have any long term goals or direction you plan to take your training?
I’m planning on competing in powerlifting for quite sometime. My training is geared to make me stronger so that I will be more competitive in the world arena. At the end of my training lifetime, hopefully decades from now, I would like to be remembered as one of the greats of the sport; someone who contributed a lot of time and dedication towards the advancement of powerlifting as well as someone who could step on the platform and put up a solid performance.
What are things you’ve learned through trial and error? What areas do you hope to learn more about?
1. Always have a program. Even if it’s loosely defined lines of what you’re doing- HAVE A PLAN! And stick to the plan!
2. Soreness doesn’t equal progress.
3. Don’t swear off something until you’ve tried it for yourself.
4. Sometimes you can get more with less. (Using less weight or fewer reps.)
I need to learn more about programming and nutrition. If I’m going to excel in the sport of powerlifting then I’m going to need to dial in my programming to improve my weaknesses (damn bench press!) and improve my nutrition so that I can continue to train at an advanced level.
Currently, where would you say your weakness lies? Where do you excel?
My weakness is my bench. Currently there are dozens of guys in my weight class who can bench significantly more than me. I need to address that and fix it if I want to increase my powerlifting total.
I excel in deadlifts. My current competition best is 529 lb in the 148 lb weight class (Officially 3.60xBW unequipped). I’ve pulled 3xBW+ both sumo and conventionally. However, I would also like to think I excel at squats as well. Having recently done 407 in competition, my all time PR is 415- but my true strength is in widowmakers. To date my heaviest 20 rep squat is 300 lb. I’ve also squatted 135×50, 240×28, and 100×100 to name a few.
What motivates you?
Responsibility. I believe that every person has a responsibility to themselves, and to each other, to be the best person they can be. Through both mental and physical ability a person can achieve their maximum potential. Of course it is unlikely that a person will become the strongest or fastest person in the world while also being the smartest, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try.
If everyone was smarter, faster, and stronger, it is my opinion that the world would be a better place. I’m simply fulfilling my responsibilities as a citizen.
Are you using any supplements or special dietary changes to achieve your goals?
I don’t really follow any specific dietary protocols while I’m training. Just try to get in plenty of overall calories and really only track my daily protein intake. However, once I get within 4-6 weeks of competition I have to start focusing on cutting weight. I do this by lowering my daily calorie intake, which is accomplished mostly through low carb means. The closer I get to competition (about 2 weeks) I’ll eat less than 50g of carbs per day as they retain water- something I try to avoid at those times. Other that, I just make sure I’m eating plenty of meat, eggs, and diary, while also consuming tons of broccoli, mushrooms, and spinach.
As for supplements- I really like to try a wide variety. Something new comes out, I’ll probably try it, just to see what it’s all about.
For pre-workouts my favorites so far are Universal Shock Therapy and Animal Rage. However, my wallet cannot always afford those products so I’ll also use 1MR or White Flood as my go-to fallbacks.
Protein powder wise I focus on making it low carb (as I’d rather get my carbs from tasty food than protein drinks) so for right now I’m drinking a lot of Carnivore from MuscleMeds (8g carbs per serving- high carb for me) and when I’m cutting for a meet I switch to Promasil from Rival-US (0g carbs per serving).
Other than those two categories I just make sure I take in enough fish oil and vitamin d.
If you could give advice to someone starting off, what would you tell them?
Pick a beginner program. Stick to the program. You are not a unique and special snowflake. You are just like everyone else. You don’t require a dozen different varieties of exercises or tons of special equipment. If you want to get strong train with a barbell, use progressive overload, eat at a surplus, and sleep like a hibernating bear- it really is that easy.
What’s your ‘secret weapon’, the thing that pushes you or you feel gives you an edge?
It might sound corny, but it’s the truth- my family. My family is my support system. My wife supports what I do. She goes to meets with me. She deals with me going to sleep early so I can be up before sunrise and squatting before dawn. She takes care of my beautiful daughter while I’m at work, focuses on her career, and somehow has enough energy at the end of the day to deal with my B.S. once I get home from work. Now matter how strong I get I doubt I’ll ever be as strong as her.
What has the overall impact of Fitocracy been in your life?
I never tracked my workouts before. I tried to take a book with me to the gym… nope. Wasn’t consistent with that and I hated it. After becoming a member on Fitocracy I started to track my lifts. Each rep, set, and day; as well as notes about that workout (nice things to have when looking back at your previous sessions.) Before I couldn’t tell you what I did a year ago, now I can. Now I can look back at where I was a year ago and definitively say, “I’m stronger now than I was then.” And have the evidence to back it up.
One thing I want people to take away from my story is..
Training for physical strength has yielded an even greater amount of mental strength. The lessons I’ve learned under the bar have taught me that I’m capable of more than what I thought previously. The dedication, the sacrifice, and the hard work put forward in the gym have paid dividends outside of it. Those skills, honed in the weight room, have easily been applied to excelling in academia and my profession.
Some additional information about myself, my powerlifting performances, and my training can be found here.