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Marshall White Interview
March 8th, 2006.
by Mike Westerling
 
 
 

Marshall White is an amateur Strongman getting ready to make a
big splash on the pro scene. He has no choice. He is trained by the “Sequim Cyclone” Jesse Marunde. Other than the fact that Marshall is a complete animal (and kind of a maniac) who trains twice a day, doesn’t consider it a workout unless there are heavy squats and pulls in it and throws a fit on camera when his performance is below the high standards he holds himself to we know very little about this months “Member of the Month”. So, let’s get acquainted with (according to his forum signature) “The coolest guy Jesse Marunde knows”.

Marshall, first off I want to say thank you for taking the time away from training and eating to answer these questions.

What are your current stats (weight, height, age etc..)-
I am 23 yrs old about 6'3 275-285lbs depending on how hard I am laying into the grassland beef.

How old where you when you got seriously into strength training and what was your motivation to start?
I was 18 yrs old when I got serious. I would say my motivation was my good friend Floyd Wilder he was a man that knew what he was doing and was tough as nails. He was the first one to tell me that being big and strong was a good thing and then proceeded to show me how to squat heavy and I was hooked.

Where you good at lifting and what were some of your lifts in the first couple weeks in the gym?

I was decently strong starting out mainly from playing football during school. I was a 375 squatter starting out and a 400lb puller and of course I placed a lot of emphasis on bench so I had a 330lb bench. Now of course I realize that I should have been paying way more attention to overhead lifts than benching.

What are some of your best gym lifts?
I have cleaned 150kgs, hang power snatched 110kgs for a double, 700lb DL., and I LOVE Oly. style squatting so I am good at that but I don't know what my max is. Jesse thinks that I could easily hit 600 any day of the week. In my mind I feel like I could do more.

How did you happen to come upon Strongman and what where some of your first attempts at the events like? How much could you log press, stones, tire etc when you first tried it?
Like most people I saw WSM on T.V. and thought "Yeah that's what I want to do!" I sucked on my first event attempts. Travis Ortmayer and I started training together in I think 2001 I had gotten an 800lb tire from a job site I was working on and we would flip that tire at my parents house for like 3-4 sets of 9-12 flips. In the Texas heat that was quite a workout. My first comp. was in Dennison,Tx. and I took last place. I finished every event but the yoke and loaded all the stones (180-300)

I know you guys train twice a day and do more squatting sessions in a week then some of us care to do in a month. How do you structure your workouts/life/diet to allow that to happen without overtraining and burning out?
We don't really believe there is such a thing as overtraining, so really all I do is make sure I get lots of sleep and food. The crew I train with are some of the greatest guys in the world so they are understanding if we have to train earlier or later because of my job.

Speaking of diet, Jesse said you’ve lost a lot of weight and gained a lot of strength simultaneously recently. What is your overall diet like and what are some of your favorite supplements?
Yeah I am really pleased with my overall performance/appearance lately. Being the "fat kid" growing up I didn't believe it was possible to be lean and strong at the same time until I moved up to Washington and saw everyone I was training with doing it. Now my goal is to get leaner in order to improve my athletic performance. My diet consists of massive amounts of grassland beef with some chicken thrown in every now and then and lots and lots of fruits and vegetables. I like to eat natural foods so I buy organic or grow veggies myself (or should I say my wife grows them). Lately I haven't been eating sugar except for what is in milk. I eat 6-8 times a day, as far as supplements go I stick with Met-Rx protein and meal replacements and a multivitamin, and vitamin e (gotta keep those stretch marks down). I believe there is no substitute for massive amounts of whole, naturals foods so I try to stick with that as much as possible.

What do you feel is your best strongman event?
I would say yoke or stones.

Is that because you love it and worked the hardest at it or you just naturally took to it?
It took me the longest time to stop being afraid of lifting rocks. I swear stones have some kind of power over people that makes them unliftable but if you look at them as just another event you will dominate them. Yoke I was naturally good at cause of my squatting ability.

What are some technical pointers you could give us about it?
As Ortmayer says "Dive Bomb Them" don't think about them, don't give them any respect. Just rip into them with total ferocity.

What is your worst event?
Any pressing.

What steps are you taking to improve at it?
Well training with Jesse has taken my pressing to a whole new level. He had me start from the beginning and learn to press/jerk right. High reps instead of maxing all the time, and really focusing on making the weight fly up. This has allowed me to add about 50lbs on my log in 6 months.

What is the basic outline of your training week?
Basically every day is some sort of Oly movement (cleans,snatches,clean pulls,snatch pulls, etc.) and squats then we do accessory movements like deadlifts or incline press. We train twice a day so sometimes these things get repeated in the morning and afternoon. We train with a lot of volume, lots of sets but with manageable weights, we try to avoid missing any lifts. We are not powerlifters so we don't focus totally on our 1RMs. Ever day we do one event such as sled,sandbag,stones etc.

How often do you repeat an event?
As often as I can. The only way to get better at an event is to do that event. I try to think of training events as 'practice'. With this in mind, the more I do something the more natural it feels and the better I get at it.

Do you stay with the same basic events every week or do you rotate them in and out?
I keep a few of the basics in all the time i.e. farmers,yoke,stones,log, but will add others as I feel necessary or just to have fun.

When you are training for a specific set of events do you drop everything and focus primarily on those or is it just business as usual?
No way we train in a way that at any given point we can do a comp. anywhere with any events and it will not be a problem. That is what strongman is about being ready to dominate no matter what the event or situation. One of our mottos is "If you claim you can lift something, you better be able to do it right then, right there."

What do you feel is the most important lessons you’ve learned about strongman and training in general over the years?
Since training with Jesse I have really learned to WORK HARDER! You can always do a little more. Also over the years I have learned that this sport is really fun and I should treat it as such take it one step at a time and always strive to get better.

What was it like when you first started training with Jesse? Did you just jump right in or did you have to go easy and build up to his level of effort slowly?
Are you kidding? I was dying for like the first month. There was no "build up time" all the other guys would have just laughed at me so I had to just jump in and try to swim. One day after truck pulls the second month I was here I honestly contemplated quitting strongman, but then realized how much better I would be for not quitting and now I wouldn't have it any other way. I endured alot of discomfort those first few months... Somehow I made it through and now I can handle the high volume much better.

What are the most important things you’ve learned since training with Jesse and how has your training evolved since you’ve started training with him?
More, more, more, always strive for more. You can always get better. Jesse is by far the most dedicated strongman I have ever met and this inspires me to be as such. He encourages me to look at my life under a microscope and to change anything that might be holding me back from making more progress.

How much has your overall performance improved since training with him? Give us some examples.
Well I don't throw up on truck pulls anymore. Seriously though I was able to load a 315lb stone 15times in a row the other day without a care and then take a 2 min break and finish it with 7 more loads. When I first started training with Jesse my best stone load was 305 for just one load (without tacky). Previously I was just a "strong dude" now I am much more of an athlete.

I believe you used to train in "The unit" in Texas with Travis and those guys. How did the training differ between the 2 groups?
I love the "unit" those guys are great and intense as hell! I wouldn't say the training really differs that much except for the amount of volume on the olympic lifts that we do up here. Also up here we are a little more "tight knit" because we all live really close to each other so that lends itself to convenient training and things of the like. Also we don't have Roger Ortmayer up here and let's be honest that is a problem for us. Roger is one of the most inspirational people I have ever met and I will always be in debt to him for what he has done for me. I met Roger when I was 18 yrs. old in a gym in Spring,Tx. I was amazed when Travis said "Yeah this is my dad, we train together." He has supported not only his own son all the way but me and the rest of the unit as well, not to mention being one hell of a strongman himself. Roger is always encouraging and will give you the shirt off his back if he feels it will make you a better strongman. Roger never makes excuses and he never takes excuses he is famous for calling you a girl when you miss a lift you should have made. I hope that when I am Roger's age I am still going strong like him.

What are some other techniques you’ve come across over the years that you feel are just a bit more effective than others at busting through plateaus?
Balls to the Wall intensity, the 'Just do it' mentality. Lifting is not that complicated, all it takes is a love for the sport and 'knowing' without a doubt that you can do it. You have to have a hunger for success that drives you to move insane poundages.

What would you recommend for the average guy competing at the amateur level that really wants to take his game to a whole new level?
Do what I did, move to Washington hahahahaha. Seriously though, find a good pro and train with them. I wouldn't be where I am at without Ortmayer, Josh Thigpen, and Jesse. Also, find a group of like minded amateurs that want it just as bad as you do. Surround yourself with hard core dudes who have what it takes mentally.

Are there certain gym lifts you feel carry over to strongman more than others?
SQUATS (oly style) and all the other oly lifts and of course tri-cep kickbacks and donkey calf raises.

What are some of your favorite set and rep schemes to go with certain exercises?
I really like to do high volume in terms of more sets not necessarily reps. I also really enjoy 3x8 reps on log clean and press with 2 mins rest in between. (Sarge had me do this and if you like puking you'll love this). And my absolute favorite is getting 2-3 guys together and farmers walking 100ft runs till someone quits.

How about a sample from your training journal?
Ok this is what I do on Wednesdays.
Morning-
-Sled drags light to warm-up 100ft runs with like 2-300lbs
-Squats or good mornings keeping the weight pretty light but reps high 15 rep range.
-Kettlebell circuit (too detailed to go into)
-Muscle cleans
-Lots of ab work, reverse hypers and stretching

Evening-
-Axel cleans- 5x3 working weight is usually around 130-140 kgs.
-Every other week- Box Squat with bands-10x2-4 405 with blue bands
-Every other week- Rack Dl's with bands- 5x5- 405-495+doubled green bands
-If we squatted then we do trap bar pulls (2x20-25 400-500) if we deadlifted then we pull heavy with trap bar standing on a box.
-Bent rows-3x8 275-315
-Stones-240lb stone 10 times to 64-72in. (getting the 10 reps any way, but always one motioning it from ground to box)
-Glute ham raises-4x12
-Sand bag runs, sled drags, or sandbag squats till we want to go home and crawl into the fetal position...

What are some of the most impressive thing’s you’ve seen relating to strongman? You’ve got to have some great stories considering the group you train with.
Well there was this time I was at Jesse's house and walked in on him while he was wearing a dress....oops better not tell that story! Seriously though, When I first met Jesse it was at the Iron Bear Strongman Show in Port Townsend. After everyone had gone on log press Jesse asked the crowd if they would like to see what a pro can do. He then proceded to load the log to 330lbs and bang out like 6 reps COMPLETELY COLD! Absolutely no warm-up straight out of the crowd in a pair of regular shorts and tennis shoes. Also Breck loading a 355lb stone at 231lbs bodyweight. Sarge, anytime he steps in the weightroom. Jake did a stone run (270-355) loaded all quickly then proceded to drop them and load them in reverse order all with No Tacky! Also Travis O. loading the 460 no tacky and lapping that 520.

What is the craziest/hardest workout you remember having?
Jesse and I were squatting one time and he asked me when I felt like I was going to quit. I said "When you do!" Always one to appreciate a challenge he smiled and said "Okay let's do this!" Like 10 sets later I was hurting and finally missed my last squat. Jesse walked to the bar and did a final 2 reps to win. I was hurting for like 3days, but of course we deadlifted the next day to forget the pain.

What are some of your short and long term goals?
Short term I would like to climb the amateur ranks and earn my pro card. Long term I would obviously like to win WSM contest and beat Jesse and Travis. Then WORLD DOMINATION!!!

Who do you feel was the best strongman of all time and why?
I would have to say that Marius has taken this game to a whole new level, but it is still a toss up between he and Zadrunas. But watch out cause this whole "Sequim Crew" is coming up quick!

Is there anything you’d like to add that I haven’t covered (perhaps a story giving insight into why you are “the coolest guy Jesse knows?”)
So I'm out with Jesse one day and we are walking his dog (Jack). A man walks up and kicks Jack. Wouldn't you know it Jesse begans to cry like a 12 yr old school girl after Breck had killed the man. I held him and rocked him and soothed him with warm milk and hot towels. After it was all over he looked at me with tears in those big dummy eyes of his and said "Please don't tell anyone about this, if you promise not to I will tell everyone you are the coolest guy I know from here on out." Well, the rest is history. I would also like to add that I have had the privelege to train with some of the most intense, hardcore, hardest working men in the world and Callie M., and I thank all of them for that. Also my beautiful wife Rachel for being the coolest female on the face of this planet. A good woman goes a long way in this game! I honestly beleive that I couldn't do what I do without love and support from my wife.

Thanks for taking the time to interview with us. You know everyone in this forum will be watching and cheering you on the day you stand on the podium in your first televised pro show! It’s just a matter of time.
Good Luck,
-Mike

 
 

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