With the start of my blogging on here, there have been a few requests have other athletes share their stories in strongman. No better place to start that with Alex Einhorn.
As summer 2016 winds down, most folks are thinking about a few different things; football season, Halloween, the leaves changing colors, etc. Here is what myself, and over dozens of athletes in our ever growing niche sport are focused on: The 2016 Strongman Corporation Amateur National Championships. Hundreds of athletes from all over the country will compete in their respective weight classes for a pro card, a trip to the Arnold Classic or even just the pride to compete at a national level and be able represent their home state. We all have taken different roads that will land us in Davenport Iowa 2016, we all have different stories; here’s mine.
It all started in the winter of 2013, at an L.A. Fitness in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. I strap on my Valeo belt that I probably bought on BodyBuilding.com for $30 and I zone in. I reach down and pull a 385lb deadlift off the floor as I get stares from every glove wearing, bicep curling, dad bod having (I could go on, but I won’t) individual getting in their evening workouts.
Now, let’s fast forward to the summer of 2014, in Dover, Delaware. I woke up at 6am at my hotel, I barely slept, I couldn’t eat, and I was getting ready to compete as a novice at Delaware’s Strongest Man 2014. My first Strongman competition. That morning, I was humbled with an incredible reality check, these guys were fast, strong and superior athletes- not what I expected. I finished 9th out of 11 competitors. Not the day I was hoping for, and I woke up with some nice bangs and bruises to show for me efforts. That was it, I was hooked.
I went back to training, but this time, with purpose, with a goal. One year later (after finishing 4th, and 3rd, at two novice shows during the winter) I returned to Delaware’s Strongest Man at Rehoboth beach. Again competing as a novice, I had goal to put this beginner class in my rearview mirror. After five hours competing in the hot sun in a parking lot, I came out on top, winning two of the five events while taking two second places finishes and one third. After a few days to reflect on my performance, I came out of a food and celebration coma with a new goal- to qualify for Nationals.
I had made it through my first 4 shows, and was forever done with the Novice division-it was time to roll with the big boys (well sort of) I was ready to enter the Light Weight 175 division. Before deciding on my next contest, I knew I had to take my training to the next level. After some research and asking around, I officially committed to Team Bix Strength Sports and PA State Chair Kyle Bixler as my strongman coach-we were going to get that Nationals ticket, come hell or high water.
After two open competitions (and two horrific weight cuts) all I had to show for myself was a 2nd place (in a level one contest) and a 3rd place tie with a 4th place finish. Time was beginning to run out on my hopes to go to Nationals for the 2016 season. And of course, wouldn’t you know it, just two weeks after my 4th place finish at PA Dutch 5 in my own backyard, I had made weight, made the drive and was ready to make something of myself at…yeah you guessed it…2016 Delaware’s Strongest Man.
Another ill planed weight cut taking place just two weeks after my last left me lacking energy, but not motivation. After a third place finish in the Circus Dumbell to start my day, I felt myself losing confidence in my ability to compete with some of the guys in my weight class. I straightened myself out for the max deadlift and crushed my 500lb opener. After just missing 550 on the lockout, I took second in the deadlift and found myself in second place with three events remaining. The farmers hold for time did not go my way, I was now in third place and beginning to contemplate my next competition of desperation to qualify for Nationals. The final two events included a sandbag medley with a 200 and 220 pound bags for runs of 50 feet followed by a 250lb stone over bar for reps in 60 seconds. I was in 3rd place with the top competitor putting on a very strong showing. As I came over to my girlfriend for a drink and a stretch she looked calm (and maybe a little bored) and told me to relax, to take it one event at a time. I reach for my phone and saw a text from my training partner who couldn’t be there, it read: “Take what’s yours.” I won the sandbag medley by 5 seconds and tied for first in the stone over bar. I knew the scoring would be close, and it was. After a tie-breaking decision coming down to placing in events, I had won Delaware’s Strongest Man and earned my 2016 Nationals invite.
I will be attending Nationals at the end of October in just under two months. I won’t be fighting for an invite to the Arnold Classic. I will be competing with all of my heart, blood, sweat and tears to represent Pennsylvania, BA Athletics and Team Bix. While it is true that everyone may have a different goal, different expectations and a different story to tell this year- one thing remains true; Athletes will fight with everything that they have, for the sport that they love.
See everyone in Iowa,