34 years old
Raw Full Meet Lifter
I began gradually shifting my training more towards powerlifting around 2015 and competed in my first meet at the end of 2017. I totaled 1229lbs with a 418lb squat, a 281lb bench press and a 529lb deadlift. Since then I’ve gone on to Squat 523lbs, Bench 314lbs, and Deadlift 600lbs for a 1438lb total in the 198lb/90kg Raw Division.
Outside of powerlifting, I work as the Fitness Director of Union Club in downtown Cleveland, Ohio. In addition to that position I am also a personal trainer which I have been since 2009. As you are reading this,
I will also have just completed my Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science from Hiram College.
Come up with a game plan for each training cycle and document everything.
Then adjust as needed to find the formula that works best for your goals.
Training is just that... training.
Don’t go for broke every session.
Lay the ground work and then display it at the meet. Hammer your technique.
Lifting heavy is fun but for your progress to continue, you need to master the movement patterns.
BEST LIFTS (Raw )
Bench Press 314lbs
24 years old
From Akron, Ohio & Pittsburgh, PA
Raw Full Meet Lifter
I would say my powerlifting journey began in the spring of 2015 with the first time I squatted 315 in the gym which was enough to break the current Ohio state record. Up until that point I never really had an interest or any knowledge about powerlifting and was more concerned with my performance in my chosen sports (wrestling and baseball). However, my gym-mentor Joe finally wore me down and convinced me to give it a try because of my unusually high strength to size ratio.
Flash forward to April 16th, 2016 when I competed in my first competition: The Battle of the Great Lakes.
There I broke the Ohio state records in all 4 categories, learned a lot, met Gary, and officially got bit by “the iron bug.”
Outside of powerlifting, I earned my Bachelor’s in Exercise Science and am now attending Chatham University pursuing a Master’s in Counseling Psychology.
I also have spent the last 5 years of my life as a personal trainer, group exercise instructor, and perhaps my favorite, strength and conditioning coach to high school and collegiate athletes and teams.
Huge shoutout and thank you to both Gary and Marisa. Without Gary, I wouldn’t be who I am today and he is truly one of the greatest and most genuine people
I have had the good fortune to know.
Train responsibly and intelligently.
Progress and greatness are achieved over time. Ed Coan is the greatest powerlifter of all time not only because he was strong and set records, but also because he did so for many years.
BEST LIFTS (Raw)
Bench Press 205
35 Years Old
Raw Full Meet Lifter
I was introduced into power lifting / weight training in the spring of 2014 by my husband. It was really something I had never been interested in up until that point. I had never worked out or been an athlete in high school. I remember going into the gym the first day and doing some weights on bench press that he said was “abnormal for a woman lol”. From that point on I began to see success pretty quickly on my lifts.
In May of 2015, I entered a USPA bench press only competition and set an Ohio record in my weight class. I was hooked from then on.
Outside of lifting, I have been married to my husband Shawn for 9 years and have 3 children that keep us very busy with sports. I train out of the YMCA in Huntington, WV and my team consist of just me and my husband (Team Simpkins).
Thanks to Gary and Marisa for giving me the opportunity to be their featured athlete. If you have never been to one of their meets, your missing out. I have never had a bad experience.
Align yourself with a Coach /Team that will keep it real and shoot you straight.
Hearing what you “need to hear” in training and in competitions will set you up
for success. Hearing what “you want to hear” will leave you disappointed.
BEST LIFTS (Raw)
24 Years Old
Raw Full Meet Lifter
I have been working out seriously since 2014. I started working out as an overweight, 296 lbs, 24-year-old, over-the-road truck driver. I initially lost 60 pounds after eliminating fast food from my diet and running/walking at least 1 mile a day at a trail by my house. Later that year, I joined a Gold’s Gym, changed my goals, and got into some gym bro bodybuilding for a bit. I added some muscle and started taking working out a lot more serious. Within a year’s time, I lost a total of 117 lbs.
In January 2017, I got into powerlifting. A coworker of mine had competed in Gary Kanaga's Ohio Cup and did well. I thought this was something I could do, so I signed up for THE BATTLE XI in April 2017 in the push/pull division. I competed at 198, benching 335 and deadlifting 535. With my little experience, I injured myself multiple times which limited me from competing more.
In May 2017, I became a certified personal trainer while working at Gold’s Gym. This made me want to invest more time in fitness and working out to build strength. In September 2018, I got married. After taking a year or so off to make sure I could compete, I signed up for The Ohio Cup in 2018. A week before the competition, I had my first baby boy. I competed in the 220 weight class at 203 lbs. I squatted 435, benched 390, and deadlifted 595. I took 3rd place. I also had a female client of mine who competed and took 2nd in her division.
I would say to someone just getting into powerlifting to just have fun. It’s not a job, but if you want to get stronger, stay consistent and be smart about your training, you don’t have to hit a PR everyday.
64 Years Old
Raw Bench Press
I started lifting weights when I was in junior high school at the age of 14. Many of you will not remember but there used to be movies about Hercules played by Steve Reeves. He was one of the first bodybuilders who starred in the movies. I always wanted a physique like his. I would lift everyday after school and loved the progress I saw. In the tenth grade I entered my first lifting competition, THE FLINT OLYMPIAN GAMES, where I won a blue ribbon. After the competition I was hooked on the sport.
In the 80's, I entered my first state bodybuilding competition and placed third. During the next 10 years, I had entered three more local competitions placing in each of them. From then on I stayed active lifting
weights and staying in shape.
It wasn't until 2014 that I was invited to a powerlifting club, THE FLINT BARBELL CLUB, where I met the teammates I have today. I fell in love with this sport as well. Since then, I have entered many meets in different federations placing in all of them. I still hold both State and National Records in my age and weight class.
In 2016, I won first place at the WPC WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I also will be attending The APF Nationals in this June.
I currently train five days a week with some amazing people. All of them are National and World Champions. I have used many training programs which all have helped in different ways.
I am proud to be a part of THE FLINT BARBELL TEAM!
My only advise I would give to others who purse this path. Know what you want to achieve and use what works best for you.
24 Years Old
Raw / Classic Raw Full Meet Lifter
I started powerlifting when I was in high school but got away from it and started to pursue competitive bodybuilding. I spent from 2013 to the end of 2016 competing in the NPC where I became a national
level middle weight. I started training exclusively as a powerlifter again January 1st 2017 with the goal of spending the next year dedicated to powerlifting. I have competed in the raw and classic raw category at 100 kg. weight class setting 6 Ohio State Records so far 5 being in the classic raw category.
Outside of powerlifting, I own and manage a gym in Ontario, Ohio called Fleets Fitness Center that I took over ownership in December of 2016. Fleets is a bodybuilding and powerlifting style gym that's open 24/7. In what little free time I get from work and training I enjoy shooting and working on the
family farm and properties.
My 3 main tips are be consistent weather its with food or training don't skip workouts or meals you have to get in to a routine to see what is working and what isn't. Second be smart have a reason for why you are doing what you are doing everything you do should have a purpose. And finally never stop
learning and asking questions the more you know the more you have the ability to grow as a lifter.
Feel free to reach out to me on Facebook and Instagram and ask questions about training.
BEST LIFTS (Raw - Single Ply)
Raw Squat 661
Classic Raw Squat 677
Raw Bench 430
Classic Raw Total 1790
31 years old
Raw/Single Ply Full Meet Lifter
Natalie started powerlifting after 17 months of recovery from a car accident that fractured her back & neck. She competed in her first meet 7 months later in 2006, setting a WABDL world record in deadlift. She's lifted all over the country, from WABDL World Championships in Anaheim, CA to the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus, OH.
Natalie has competed raw and single ply in the 105, 114, and 123 lb weights classes and in the WABDL, USPF, USAPL, and USPA federations. Her favorite lift is the deadlift, and she's lifted over 3X body weight in competition twice so far. While living in Texas Natalie took a break from competing, but started back in 2017 after 6 years away - she's glad to be back!
In the real world, Natalie works at the Humane Society of Delaware County as the Canine Intake & Behavior Coordinator. She volunteers with the Franklin County Dog Shelter in Columbus, OH and K-9 Angels Rescue in Houston, TX. When she gets back to Houston, she heads straight for the Harris County VPH shelter! If there's any free time left, Natalie enjoys reading, studying nutrition, and spending time with her husband and two rescue dogs.
Natalie would like to thank her friends and family who support her, especially her husband (and training partner/coach) Brian. Thanks to Gary and Marisa for a great first meet back, and for the honor of highlighting her as a lifter! Also, Metro Fitness Worthington and Core Health Chiropractic for helping get her back in lifting shape.
To young lifters, make sure you pay the most attention to learning good form first! Don't worry about what other people think of you, or how someone else might be lifting more. Think of the long run and build a solid training base. You do you! And don't underestimate the importance of good nutrition.
BEST LIFTS (Raw - Single Ply)
Raw Squat 209.4
Single Ply Squat 300
Raw Bench 165.3
Single Ply Bench 203
Single Ply Deadlift 352.7
Single Ply Total 777
26 Years Old
Raw Full Meet Lifter
Jared began lifting at 15 years old. He started started training with a high school classmate and great friend Chris Mosley who got him started in powerlifting. They have been training partners for over 12 years now. Jared credits Chris with making him the lifter he is today. Now 11 years later he is
putting up some BIG numbers in the 308 lb. class, especially in the squat and deadlift. Jared has won several tournaments in his young career and has walked away with Best Lifter Accolades in several events including our 2016 Big K's Ohio Cup Championships this past November.
His intensity when competing on the platform has made him an instant fan favorite.
Jared also would like to thank his parents for always supporting him through everything he has done in his life. He is very thankful they put up with him through the good, bad and ugly and didn't disown him.
His biggest support comes from his wife Emily. "She totally understands all the time and demands that powerlifting places on me and does nothing but supports me and this sport 110%"
He would also like to thank Gary and Marisa Kanaga for running outstanding meets and giving him this honor.
When Jared isn't lifting he enjoys hunting and fishing. He is also a VERY ACCOMPLISHED archer, winning 6 World Championships. He loves collecting tattoos. Eating and Drinking with Emily and his friends is his favorite past time.
"There is no secret. Any method will work, the only magic ingredient is time under the bar. The only way to get stronger is consistent effort over a long period of time. STOP LOOKING for magic fixes
and just lift."
56 Years Old
Raw Full Meet Lifter
My name is Brad Olson. Powerlifting is my hobby. Admittedly, it may be a little more than a hobby, but it is what is do in my free time because I enjoy it. I feel better when I am in shape and I like the interesting people that I get to meet.
I wasn’t much of an athlete in High School. I was better at being a student. Then, my Junior year, my parents took me to visit a family friend who was in the hospital. Louise was getting older and was in and out of the hospital a lot. It happened that her roommate was a girl I sort of knew from school. Brandi had been in a car accident and had been paralyzed from her waist down. I watched as she spent about half an hour getting from her bed to a wheelchair. I remember thinking that I may not have a lot of physical ability, but I should appreciate what I do have more.
I started looking for something that I could do to take better care of myself. As a short, uncoordinated person who was just starting out in my late teens, there weren’t a lot of choices. A friend who was a rower invited me to be a part of the Crew Team. They needed a little guy who could sit in the back of the boat, steer, and tell everyone else what to do. I could do that.
When the team wasn’t on the water, they worked out in the weight room. I started lifting as moral support for the rest of the team. After a season of training, I found that there were some exercises that I could do as well as some of the big guys. Ira encouraged me to go to a competition. At my first competition, my goal was to win a trophy. There were 4 people competing, and they were giving out awards for the top 5 places. I knew I had a pretty good chance. Then, I discovered that one of the other 4 was a girl. I figured I could at least beat the girl and take 3rd.I came in last. But, I loved being in the game.
I kept training and kept getting stronger. After a couple of years, I qualified for Nationals. I won the Nationals in 1987, and then Worlds in 1988 in what was then the ADFPA (now USA Powerlifting).In the years after that, I graduated from college, got married to Dawn, and started working full-time, which made it hard to compete at that level. In the mid 90’s I decided to get serious about competing again and won the Nationals and Worlds in 1994, 1995, and 1996.My best lifts in competition were at a body weight of 132; Squat, 551; Bench; 315; and Dead Lift, 501.
Now I am in the over 50 age group. Our kids (Christopher, Derek, Sarah, and Elizabeth) are grown and on their own. We even have a grand baby, Micah, and another one due any day. I believe that my best days are still to come, so it is as important as ever to be healthy and to always be looking for the next adventure. Toward that end, I am taking another shot at competition. Last year (2013) I won the Nationals (Master 2, 145 lbs.) and am currently on the team for the Classic Worlds in South Africa in June.
Most of the time, my calling is to be a pastor. I am the head follower (Lead Pastor) at Faith Community United Methodist Church in Xenia, Ohio. Phillips Brooks once said, “pray not for lighter burdens, pray for a stronger back. ”It is good advice for the weight room, it is an even better life lesson. I believe the soul is healthier when we discover a need that we care deeply about, have a vision of what it would look like to lift more of the load, and are willing to exercise our faith to develop the ability give our best effort. What is your burden? How will you lift more of the load? What are you doing to be more able?
Thank you for this chance to share a little bit of my story. I hope that when our paths cross, you will share with me a little bit of your story.
BEST LIFTS (RAW)
551 - SQUAT
315 - BENCH
501 - DEADLIFT
50 Years Old
Raw Full Meet Lifter
John is 50 years old and is a Master’s lifter in the 220 lb weight class. John began his lifting career at Purdue University in the early 80’s at 148 and then on to 165 lbs. Following college he did not competitively lift for over 20 years. His first meet back was the 2005 Ohio State Championships where he
won the M1 title at 181 lbs. He then went on to lift in the 198’s and now has settled into the 220’s.
After the 2010 BGL and the 2010 Master’s Nationals John had a set back as he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Following an operation in early November and following his prescribed treatment, John has been given the “all clear”. He still receives CT scans regularly to make sure the cancer does not come back. Determined to not let cancer hold him back he set his sights on the 2011 Battle of the Great Lakes as his comeback meet after his battle of his own.
John wanted to prove to himself that not only could he compete but he could lift at a National level. John entered the meet in the master’s and open divisions in the raw competition. He wanted to show that his illness was not going to win over his determination and fight. John not only won his weight class as a Master but won the open class as well and was named the meet’s
best raw lifter. He also broke the M2
Raw American record in the bench
at the meet as well.
John used his “set back” to motivate him to train even harder and prove that he could get back up after being knocked down and be even stronger.
Stay focused on the positives. Since his battle, he not only enjoys lifting even more but his family and friends too. John says “it not about being knocked down but about what you do when you get back up”.
17 Years Old
Raw Full Meet Lifter
Weightlifting was always one of my hobbies ever since I was 16 years old. I have been competing in powerlifting for about one year, with most of my training coming under the tutelage of Gary Kanaga who really helped me pursue my career in powerlifting. I compete in the 132lb weight class.
Even though I have barely been competing for only a year, I have set the Ohio State Records for the raw squat (275), deadlift(405), and total (855). I also hold the Raw American Record in the deadlift(405) for 18-19 year old. My 405 deadlift was my best set at the Ohio State Championships in Bedford Heights, Ohio this past November.
The Summer of 2010 I traveled to Denver, Co. to compete at the Raw National Championships. I won the 18-19 year old title and place 2nd in the Open Division both at 132 lbs.
I competed in this month in the Arnold Classic posting a 465 lbs. deadlift at 132 lbs. This was my first experience at The Arnold and look forward to competing there again next year.
I was born on May 15, 1991 in Pennsylvania and lived in Strongsville, Ohio for most of my life. I am a freshman at Kent State University and train at Bodybuilders Gym in Akron, Ohio.
Total 855 Lbs.
33 Years Old
Joe is 33 years old and began weightlifting at age 13 and powerlifting in 2000. He competes in the open 148 pound weight class.
His personal best bench press is 479 pounds at a 148 pound body weight. He is a two-time Bench America Overall Best Lightweight lifter (a meet aired on Fox Sports Net). He is a seven-time USAPL Open bench National Champion. He is a two-time silver medalist at the IPF Open Bench Worlds and has won a bronze medal once. He has won numerous state championships, too. Joe is the current National, American, and State record holder in the 148 pound weight class.
Joe works at the Anderson’s Grain Elevator in Toledo, Ohio. He and his wife, Katie, have been married for eight years. They have a baby girl, Kale, who was born on April 22, 2010. The Smiths live in Bowling Green, Ohio.
Joe trains four days a week at the Iron Den in Bowling Green, Ohio. Joe says, “I will compete as long as God allows me to. I try not to lose focus on who gave me my abilities because I know that they can be taken from me if I start thinking it is me that got me where I am at.”
Bench @ 132 lbs. - 380
Bench @ 148 lbs. - 479
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