Many of you already know I competed in the 2015 Annual Strength Camp Challenge hosted by Elliot Hulse and Sponsor K.C. Craichy with Living Fuel. This event is big and gets bigger every year. Hundreds of athletes came from all over the country to compete.
I am sure you are wondering what it is all about and why would me, the Worlds Tallest Bodybuilder want to compete in something like that. Well, to be perfectly honest it was for the money. 1st place lands you a check for $10,000.00 dollars. This seemed very appealing to me and the hundreds of others competing just like me. This would be my first ever strength competition.
It was and event that required you to complete five events for either max weight, reps or time. Except for the high jump that was the “Mystery Event.” Which was pretty cool because this means not only do you have to be strong you also have to have some athleticism to win.
That is all fine and good. Lets get down to the numbers.
Event #1 was the Bech Press. This was a “combine” style event. You must get full range of motion with your arms locked for the rep to count. There is not resting the bar on your chest. Feet, butt and shoulders must stay put.
This was the opening event and set the tone for who to watch out for. They split us up into 5 groups to save time. In my group I was number 9. When it was my time I kept thinking about talking to my little brother on the phone and he said aim for 40. I thought, I can do that. Even though this would be an new all time PR. So when the time came that is what I did. 40 reps with 225lbs.
Later I was told the cut three of my reps because they were not good enough. I immediately reviewed the film and failed to see what was wrong, but the call had been made. So instead of having the #2 spot I got moved down to the #3 spot. I was very upset to say the least.
The next event was the Push Pull. This event required us to push a sled about 50 yards and pull it back for the best time. To be honest I don’t know how much it weighed but I did it in 26.9 sec. Which was one of the top times. I remember my legs catching fire! Many guys fell down or stumbled. I told myself that kind of movement would be unexceptable.
After that event my legs were so tight I could hardly bend them to squat down. This made me a little nervous because the next event was the high jump. Normally, I have a really good vertical but since I am weighing in at 290 I was concerned I may not have the same kind of spring as I did at 250.
The High Jump was set up two posts holding a plastic bar evenly space at two inch intervals form about 2 feet all the way up to 70in if I am not mistaken. You get three attempts at your best jump. It was pretty straight forward.
After stretching as much as I could I thought well here goes nothing. I approached the bar with quads that felt like cement blocks and told him to set it to 42in. To my surprise I cleared it with ease. Next attempt I set it at 48in. Again surprised, I cleared that one the same way. For my third and final attempt I set it at 54in. I kept thinking I have to be getting close to my best now. One step and jump later I cleared that one too! Then I thought, dam, I should of started at 50 and did 56 then tried 58 or 60.
But you have to remember I am 290lbs, so in my own mind I thought “there is no way I can jump like I use to.” Apparently that in not the case. I was happy with my jump but not super excited. I am an athlete and I expect to do well no matter what.
After three events I heard from one of my competitors I was in 1st place. That was a good feeling but I remember thinking I can do better than this if I had prepared for this event. I was a last minute entry and had no clue what the event was about. I just heard from my friend Shaun Hopper, that I had a good chance at winning. It turned out that instead of going down to nationals to watch my fellow bodybuilding, figure, bikini comrades compete for procards, I would be here in town. So it worked out. I am here feeling obligated to show these strong men, powerlifters and cross fitters that bodybuilders train harder than anyone. Well, at least this one does.
After three events I was in first place. This was a good feeling but still I had two events left. The dead lift and something I didnt even know what it was.
The next event was the Dead lift. This has never been a strong point for me. Especially when I have to use a traditional grip. Because of my height I have always found it to be more advantages for me to use a “sumo” style stance. This would allow me to bring my center of gravity closer to the bar. That means I can have a better chance at pulling the bar off the floor which is my only sticking point.
This is fine for bodybuilding because my goal is to have a thicker back. But for any type of powerlifting I have to get leverage on my side. Anyway, I topped out at 515, no straps, no sumo stance. The next weight attempt was set at 565. I missed it. This dropped me to third place.
Finally the last event was the barrel carry and power clean. In this event you had to sprint down about 50 yds to grab the keg drop it off, run back grab a big barrel with water in it, drop it off. Then run back power clean 205 for five reps and sprint back across the finish line. I did this in 62.5 sec
I waited to hear the news of who won. Many athletes came up and congratulated me on my performance. That made me feel great. I met a ton of really good people. There was so much support and positivity in the room I felt right at home. Everyone there was doing there all out best to be the BEST! I even met a guy from the master class named Big Nip, that coached me up on the last event trying to help me out. That was a really cool. And that dude was a beast, straight up. Told him he needed to get his big ass over to powerhouse downtown tampa to train with me soon.
Finally, after a long day of focus and power they were ready to call the champions. I was in the open class, we would be called last. After all this is the class that wins the big check for $10,000.00. 3rd place went to Frank Kennedy. This guy was a freak of nature! he jumped 64in and had a 655lb dead lift. He was like 6’3″or taller and weighed about 200lbs. It didnt make sense but I was impressed to say the least. 2nd place was given to me, I was disappointed. 1st place went to Big Sizemore, (Emerson Sizemore) This dude was well rounded. Big, strong and could move. He was a cop out of Brandon, FL. I congratulated him.
Earlier that day we were talking about training and what not. I never had any idea he was my competition. Again, a good guy like everyone there. So, even though I didn’t win I had a great experience for my first ever strength competition.
last but not least. I have to say training is important we all know that, but when and what you eat is critical. Don’t think for a second I was gonna miss any meals. I bring mine everywhere I go so there is never any dip in my performance. I gotta make gains son! If you want to #EatLikeAaron contact me for nutritional guidance or for the meals themselves. I have the recipe for success. Don’t wonder what you should eat, how much or when to do it. Let me do all of that for you. Its been the foundation for my success and now it can be yours.