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Ryan Brown
interview by Shawn Baier

 
 
 
Our current Pro Interview is with Ryan Brown. Ryan has a rather unique situation as a pro. Since he is an attorney and has limited time during the week for training (as many of us experience), we thought it would be interesting to get his perspective on training, competing, and life in general from this busy man. Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions Ryan.

Q – What are your stats? Age, weight, height, where do you live and train, etc…

I’m 33 years old. I weigh around 285 lbs and I am around 6’3” tall. I live in Nashville, Tennessee and I train in my own gym--for some reason my wife calls it a garage and wants to put things in it like baby strollers.

Actually it is a nice set up for training and generally my crew comes over to my house for training on Saturdays. It is a two car garage that is 100% dedicated to strongman training. Around the walls I have a large power rack with a sumo base and bands, a glute ham raise, reverse hyper machine, lat pulldown machine, five staggered stone platforms with a lifting platform in front of them, many atlas stones and quarry stones ranging from 175 to 455, a couple of logs, a few kegs, various barbells and axles, a couple of weight trees, a set of bumper plates, about 1600 lbs of iron plates, lots of grippers and grip toys, and a bench. In the center of the garage is a trailer with all of the implements we need for event training such as a sand bag, sled, tire, farmers, yoke, Conan’s wheel and Viking press. During the week the trailer just stays put for storage and we can easily do the gym lifts without moving it. On most Saturdays we move it out with my old truck and take it to my church parking lot about 1 mile down the street.

I have included a couple of pictures. I go into all of this because it think it demonstrates how someone with a 2 car garage who is willing not to park their cars in it can have a full service gym. I’d take my gym over a commercial gym any day.

Q – If you don’t mind, tell us about your family. I understand you just had a new edition to the family a couple months ago. Congratulations!

Yes. On April 20 of this year my wife Abby and I had our second son. His name is Kaleb Ryan. I also have a three year old named Blake. My wife acts as though she simply tolerates strongman. In fact I know deep down she loves it. She has been to most all of my contests with me and I find it very supportive. Blake made an appearance at the contest that I promote (the Music City strongman contest) when he was 10 days old and traveled with us to the Central USA when he was 2 months old. Blake loves to watch my training partners and I train in the garage. He imitates us and refers to everything we do as a “contest.” He frequently raises things above his head and grunts. He also tells everyone that his daddy is a strongman. My wife will kill me if he wants to start doing it.

Q - When did you turn pro, and what was your competitive history as an Am?

I turned pro at Big Tony’s pro-am in August 2005. I have been competing in strongman since April of 2002. Initially I was a middleweight competitor and weighed around 255. After my first contest I decided to compete as a lightweight and cut around 15 lbs a few times to get into the 225 weight class. The last time I did this was for Nationals in 2002. I cut weight and felt it really hurt my performance. I also looked at the heavyweights and didn’t think they were really doing anything I couldn’t do. Since that contest I have competed mostly as a heavyweight. I’ve probably done 25 strongman contests or so to date.

Each year that I have been doing strongman my performance level has increased and my placements increased. In 2005 I did seven contests, five of which were pro-ams and one of which was a United Strongman Series contest in Canada. At the Pro-Ams I placed 6th, 3rd, 3rd, 1st, and 1st.

Q – What is your athletic background, and how did you get involved in working out originally?

As a kid I played almost all sports; football, baseball, soccer, basketball, etc. I actually found myself to like individual sports more though and in high school I was on the golf team and the swim team—those were the only sports I played at the high school level. I briefly played golf at the college level.

My favorite sports have always been lifting, snow skiing and water skiing though. I have been lifting fairly seriously since I was in about the 9th or 10th grade—so about 18 years. That is a little misleading though because from the age of about 21 through age about 27 I definitely didn’t have lifting as a priority and just kind of worked out enough to stay in some kind of shape. When I was 27 I read something on the Internet about powerlifting records by chance. I had deadlifted 600 lbs at age 20 without an exceptional amount of training for the lift I thought I could break the Tennessee records. I started training for it and beat the record at my first meet four months later.

Q – What brought you to strongman? Did you have anyone that brought you into the sport or introduce you to this type of training?

While training at the commercial gym that I joined to begin my training for powerlifting I met a strongman competitor named Hunter Allan. Hunter had purchased all sorts of Mastiff equipment and some stones and kept them in the back room at the gym. One day one of my current training partners and I wandered back into the room and tried the stuff out. We later told Hunter that I had been pretty good at the farmers implements and we started to train with him. Soon enough Hunter left us for other interests (his kids), but left his equipment behind for us to use. We have added to it substantially over the years. I can probably count the number of Saturdays that I’ve missed training since that day in 2001 on one hand.

Q – You have a rather busy and stressful job as a securities attorney. We have seen a lot of posts regarding “time to train” and “training every day to be a champion”. You have mentioned that your time to train is often limited by your career. How have you modified your training to stay competitive as a pro, while still keeping work and family balanced?

The tough thing about being a securities attorney is that it is unpredictable in terms of how many hours I may be required to work in any given week. If we have a large transaction that we are working on I may have to work 100 hrs in a week. During those weeks I just don’t workout except on the weekend. If we are not doing a large transaction I may only work 30 hours and during those weeks I may workout every day. Most of the time it is closer to 50 hours or so which isn’t too bad and I get in about four or five workouts per week with about three of those being real workouts that last longer than twenty minutes.

Unfortunately, I don’t determine when these 30 or 100 hour weeks occur. I could be signed up for a contest months in advance and then in the three weeks prior to the contest find myself getting killed at work. That’s just part of my life. When the two collide like that it makes me wonder if it is all worth it sometimes, but as soon as I hit my next PR I know why I’m doing it again.

As for family, at this point my sons are fairly young so they do not yet have ballgames, etc. that I have to schedule my training around. I’m sure that will add a new element to the mix. My wife has been very understanding and has always allowed me to get my workouts in at night when I get home and on Saturdays. Often times I will get home from work at 7:15, scarf something down and be working out by 7:30 with my training partner. We will generally workout for about 1.5 hours for week night workouts. This is definitely a sacrifice for not only me, but for my family because many times they are going to bed as I finish up my workout. As I mentioned earlier it is not uncommon for my son to watch us workout. On Saturdays my workouts generally last about four hours or so. My friends are amazed that my wife puts up with it. Generally Friday nights, Saturday nights and Sundays are reserved for family. I don’t have time for much else like golf with friends.

The key for me is to not get stressed out. Stress, whether mental or physical I think has an adverse effect on your body. If I am super stressed at work and I’m not getting sleep and working all the time I will take a pass on a workout. I don’t like doing this and I know it goes against what many serious strength athletes would do, but sometimes I think it is the best thing to do to stay strong. For a while last year--around the time I won my pro-card I think--I was working fairly hard at work and for several weeks in a row the only real workout I would get would be on Saturday, which is my event training day. No squat workouts and no other press workouts. I was just beating myself into the ground each Saturday with an insane amount of workload and then recovering the entire week. Not ideal, but I was hitting PRs. My training partners suggested that maybe I should take that approach all the time.

To help keep my training stay flexible, I generally try to avoid using periodizations or other rigid pre-planned type programs in my training because those types of programs tend to get messed up fairly easily if you have to miss a week or if you are dog tired one week and miss your weights as a result. I do on occasion find these to be useful for a limited period of time, but usually I just do what my body will let me do. I generally don’t like planning what weights, reps or sets I will be using although I do this sometimes.

Q – Let’s take this question a litter further. What is your view on training everyday? If time allowed, how would you change your training to get the most out of your abilities?

As I described above a bit, my training frequency varies based on what is feasible. I really respect guys like Marunde and others who train multiple times per day every day, but that is simply not possible with my job. I am sure you can get into better shape and ultimately get stronger if you can adapt to and have time to train multiple times per day, every day. I envy guys that get to do this and part of me would love to see what I would be if I could train that way. As I mentioned, when it is slower week I often will adapt my training so that I add in extra workouts throughout the week. Some weeks I will actually get in seven workouts, but this is rare.

The good thing for guys like me is that I think you can get about 95% of the result with about three key workouts per week if you are intense and know what you are doing. This means selecting the most important exercises to get the most bang for your buck. If time is scare I feel I can stay very strong with about 3 hours of total workout time during the week. It is rare that I wouldn’t be able to at least do that much.

Q – Can you give us an example of your training split/program – gym training and event training; and how you break things up each week?

I have a general template that I like to use that has key days and ancillary days. I try to avoid missing the key days at all costs. The ancillary days can be dropped if necessary without any real damage to my overall goals and they frequently are dropped.

I mix my training up from time to time, but generally I prefer during most parts of the year to use a Westside Barbell type template (for lack of a better phrase) for lower body and upper body is more standard low rep style training.

An ideal week of training would look as follows:

Saturday (Key) - This is a big ordeal that generally starts about 10:30 am and goes until about 3:00 pm. Sometimes as many as eight people participate in this workout, but it averages about 4 people. I NEVER miss this workout. This workout starts with a max effort movement--i.e. goodmorning off pins, deadlift, box squat, front squat, rack pull or some other movement--usually I decide what this will be the day of the workout or a few days prior. The weights are not planned. I just pick the movement and start adding weight. Many times I will call it a day on the lift even if I have a bit more in the tank—especially if I plan to try the same ME movement the following week. I never do the same ME movement for more than two consecutive weeks. What I have learned over time is that the particular weight I get on a given day is not that important so long as it was the best I had on that day. Obviously I generally like to set PRs on these movements, but this is not always possible if I am tired or beat down from prior workouts.

After the ME movement I will usually run through about 4-5 events. I will pick one or two events that I want to focus on and go through them a few times. On other events I will just pick the weight and distance and run through it once as if it were a contest. This is a little higher volume than most strongmen, but I feel it helps me to make up the ground I loose by not being able to get all of the other workouts in during the week that some of the other guys are doing. Unless a contest is within about four weeks I will just randomly pick events. This keeps my training from going stale. Once the contest is imminent I will focus on the particular events in that contest.

Sunday (Ancillary, but I usually get this one in). This is a conditioning/recovery type day that I do fairly quickly by myself. It is about 3 sets of 20 on bench, 3 sets of 15 on reverse hyper, 3 sets of 12 on abs, 3 sets of 10 on chins. Sometimes I also do some glute- ham raises. This workout takes about 20 minutes.

Monday (Ancillary) - sled dragging.

Tuesday (Key) - This is the second most important workout during my week and I try never to miss it. If I miss it on Tuesday I do it on Wednesday. It is usually about 6 working sets of 2 on box squats with bands. This is the most efficient exercise I do and I attribute a lot of my strength to this particular exercise. It just works for me and it is very intense. I use a medium-wide stance, use no belt and use some light briefs to protect my hips. I do not use percentages. I pick a band (such as double knotted blue bands or pink bands) and then I will just start adding weight until I get to the speed I think is appropriate. Sometimes I feel like superman on these and go up to well over 400 lbs with double-knotted blue bands (sort of like using 2 sets of blue bands) for multiple sets of 2; other times I feel beat up in my hips and I’ll only use 300 or so with green bands for a few sets. By just going by feel I avoid overtraining or undertraining. I sometimes follow these up with a few sets of 5 on close stance safety squat bar squats or front squats for quad development that the wider box squats do not give me. I always do glute ham raises (usually with substantial band tension added) and ab pulldowns on this day. I may do some light stone work no tacky, speed deads, reverse hypers, power cleans, or whatever hits me. I almost always end this workout with some grip work such as gripper holds for time or rolling thunder.

Wednesday (Ancillary) - if I do anything it is reverse hypers for a few sets.

Thursday (Key) - This is my upper body day and I usually do a few sets of log or axle for anything from heavy sets of 5 to a max effort. Lately I have added back in bench press on this day and usually work up to a few sets of three as heavy as I can and then drop back down for some pause bench. I also do triceps assistance on this day and I end it with some grip work.

Friday - off

Q – Do you incorporate cardio type activities like running/sprinting etc? Or do you just do more event specific cardio – like work capacity training, GPP, etc.?

Every now and then I get on a kick where I’ll want to throw in some extra cardio. This usually will consist of walking on my treadmill at a fast pace at an extreme incline for around 30 minutes a few times per week, taking the steps to my office once per day (about 20 floors), and GPP consisting of light sled dragging with my son Blake in the tire. Blake loves this by the way and any parent with a little kid who trains strongman should consider doing this. Usually I make about eight 200’ passes for this workout. It is a blast for them and it is great exercise. As a practical matter the cardio portions of my workout are the first to drop off if I start getting too busy.

Q – What are your favorite events? What is your best event? I know these are often the same, but I like stones (stones just don’t always like me back). How about you?

My favorite event is tire flip. It is also my best event. I am also good at farmers walk, but I find it very painful to do. I like stones a lot, but I would say as a pro I am only average on stones.

Q – What events are/were the hardest for you and what have/will you done to overcome them? You mentioned your overhead press has been a problem. What changes are you doing to bring that up to the level of your deadlifting (Note: Ryan is approaching an 800lbs DL!!)?

OHP is a real struggle for me. I may very well be the weakest heavyweight pro on the OHP, especially with a log. My leg power is good so I’m slightly better on an axle. I’ve done 285 for 6 or so on axle, but my max log is 300 on a good day. Part of the reason for this is that for a long while I didn’t give my overhead the priority that I gave my lower body. This is the problem many run into--that they work their good events and not their bad ones. It was strange that I would often wind up being too busy to workout on upper body day while I would almost never miss squat day. I am trying to fix this by making sure I don’t miss my upper body day and making sure I stay intense on this day. I’ve been pretty consistent as of late and I’m seeing slow gains. As a practical matter I don’t think I’ll ever be nearly as good of a presser as I am a deadlifter. The way I’m put together makes the deadlift a lot easier for me than the press--longer arms and narrow shoulders. To get great leverages on the press I think I’d likely have to be substantially over 300 lbs and with my age, family, job, etc. 285 lbs is about what I’m willing to weigh. At that weight I feel I can be very competitive on most all of the events. Unfortunately I don’t see me being especially competitive at the highest levels at that bodyweight on the press, but I would still like to make lots of improvement.

Q – It sounds like you have a pretty good training group down in Nashville. Please tell us a little about your group.

I do have a great group that keeps me going. I think if you look around at some of the best strongmen in the country they have great training crews. This stuff is just too hard to do on your own.

My crew consists of Kyle Mask, one of the top 200 lb competitors in the country right now, Brian Hocker, a 360 lb pro who is very strong, Michael Wiley, a 231 competitor, Jason Linder, a top 175 competitor, Kasey Prather, a 265 competitor, Kim Lindsay, and until lately Kara Mann, a top strongwoman. Kara graduated and moved away. Kyle trains with me during the week and on Saturday, but unfortunately for me he will be leaving to go to graduate school in Texas later this Summer. Luckily in the next week or so Brian is moving near me and will be working out with me during the week.

I’ve found it doesn’t really matter how much someone weighs or how much they can lift as long as they are intense. I get a ton of benefit from having even our 175 guy come out and gut it out.

Q – I know you competed at the Fit Expo this year. Can you tell us about your experience?

The Fit Expo was something I wanted to do once I turned pro just so I could get some experience against some of the best guys out there. I knew going into it that it wasn’t the ideal show for me because it had two overhead press events. Against the group that was going to it I pretty much knew from the get-go that I would have two last place finishes on those events. I know some would say that is a negative way to look at it, but realistically I knew I was not in the same league as those guys on the pressing events. My goal was to go out there and see how I could do on my events. My placement was horrible--last place. But I learned some important things and I’m glad I did it.

First I found out about confidence. I think my training partner (his first time at that level of a show also) and I were kind of mentally psyched out before the show even started, and we were certainly psyched out by the end of the first day. I got last place on the first event--truck pull. My time was pretty close to a lot of the other guys despite never pulling a truck like that and having a pitiful start so I was not too disappointed. The next event was yoke, which is usually and one of my best events. Due to my placement on the truck pull I had to go first. My mindset doing that event was to simply finish it and not to look like a fool with another last place finish. As a result I was super conservative and put in an extremely slow time for me--22 seconds when I’ve done it in training in 14.5 seconds. When I saw the other more experienced competitors go I could see in their eyes that there was no doubt--they were not thinking finish it--they were thinking let loose. I had gotten to where I could do that on the am level, but it will take some time for me to do it on the pro level. I got sixth on the yoke despite my conservative approach and as Travis would say, now I know I can beat them--or at least place higher than I did. The entire rest of the contest was pretty much like that--just being conservative. My wife said it didn’t even look like I was trying. I was, but the fire was not in me.

The biggest thing that surprised me I guess was that my deadlift at that contest was not up to par with a lot of the top guys—at least not by the time it came up in that contest. I placed very low in the deadlift event. That was the one event where I thought that shouldn’t be the case. Despite my usual dislike for periodization programs, when I got home from the Fit Expo I started a deadlift program and I think I deadlifted over 600 lbs about 150 times or more in a three or four week period. I did an equivalent number of rack pulls and RDLs. The result was a pretty good increase on my deadlift. That work resulted in me hitting 745 x 2 and then a pretty good attempt with 800. I need some work on my lockout, but I’m hoping to hit over 800 on DL soon. For those interested it was a variation of the Kuc program on Jesse’s site.

The other thing the Fit Expo taught me was to never count on your good events to pull you out of a hole with two bombs on pressing events when you are competing against guys like the ones that were competing at the Fit Expo.

Q – What contests are on your schedule for the rest of the year? Are you doing the Central USA or Big Tony’s?

I am hoping to do the Central USA this year. The timing of the show works well for my schedule and the events suit me. Coy always puts on a good show. I sprained my ankle a couple of weeks ago training for it though and it is still not determined as to whether it will be good enough to compete. I’ve got two weeks. I’m optimistic.

My 231 training partner wants to do Big Tony’s because it is a Pro-Am. I enjoyed that contest last year and wouldn’t mind going up there again. I’ll have to check my schedule, but that contest is definitely a possibility.

Other than those two contests, I’ll probably just train and get stronger absent getting invited to a cool international contest. I’ve had some indications that there may be some invites for the fall.

Q – I know you have an interesting contest planned for August. Can you tell us how you came up with the idea to do a team event? Are you planning on putting together a team and doing the contest as well? As the NAS state chair for Tenn., what do you like and dislike about putting on your own contest(s)?

Yes. On August 5, I will be hosting the Music City Team contest. This contest is unique in two respects. First, it is a team contest with three people on each team. One team member must be a lightweight (under 200), one must be a middleweight (200-265), and one must be a heavyweight (over 265). The other unique thing about this contest is that one of the team members can be a pro. As far as I know, this is the first contest of its kind.

The idea for the contest was simple. My training crew and I thought that it would be really cool to get to compete together. We thought there would likely be many other training groups out there that would also like the same opportunity. Many of these groups, including ours, now have one or two pros as part of them—thus the allowance for one pro per team. I think/hope the ams will get a kick out of being able to compete with their pro friends. Believe it or not there are still lots of pros who want to do this stuff just for the fun of it even if there is not a lot of prize money to be won. I’ve had some really high level guys indicate that they will be bringing a team.

Provided I am confident that the show will be properly staffed and that it will run efficiently I will compete in the contest with some of my crew members. I’m looking forward to it.

As far as what I dislike about putting on my own contests, It is a pain. I didn’t do one last year because it took me two years to get over how I felt after my last contest was over—like I was half dead and that I had just exhausted myself. But I like to give something back to the sport. I would like to think I have learned some things from the prior contests I’ve promoted. Primarily those would be—1) cap the entries; 2) limit the amount of divisions you attempt to handle; 3) limit the amount of max effort type events you have; and 4) think about how the contest will be run/reset, etc. when picking the events. This year if things go the way I think they should it will be a blast and the labor and hassle involved in running it should be fairly minimal.

Q - Do you change your training specifically for coming events from contest to contest or do you just follow a base routine and just add a bit here and there?

I adjust it some, but generally always stay with my general template as described above. I base it around heavy squatting and pulling and pressing. If you can do that and you train the events you will be ready for anything. I like to be able to compete at a moment’s notice. I feel at this point I’m pretty familiar with most all of the events and it’s just a matter of working them into my training year round and putting a higher emphasis on them as a contest approaches.

Q - What kind of setbacks have you encountered along the way and how did you rise above them? I am sure your career has brought up some challenges. Have you had any injuries that have forced you to reevaluate your training?

Thankfully I’ve not had that many injuries or setbacks from training. As I mentioned, right now I’ve got a sprained ankle that I got from practicing for the duck walk. I’ve had a couple of minor pulls of my hamstring and I’ve smashed my fingers a couple of times on quarry stones or something. Generally my philosophy on injury is to give the injury sufficient time to heal by laying off of training and you will be back in action sooner. I may violate that rule with this ankle because I really want to do the Central USA.

Last year I broke my middle finger by smashing it under our training trailer. It was a mess. I actually competed in Big Tony’s show just four weeks after it happened though with lots of tape on it and not using it generally. I modified my training by getting a safety squat bar to squat with since I couldn’t do regular squats for a while. It worked out to where I won that show anyway, but it was not ideal. I think if you listen to your body and take care of it (proper rest, hydration, chiropractic, massage, nutrition, etc.) that you can avoid injury for the most part. Strongman can be dangerous though so you cannot get careless.

Right now I’m working with one of my training partners who is really going through some setbacks as far as injury goes and we will need to really focus on how to modify his training to avoid similar problems in the future. If something is hurting in a bad way, stop doing it. There are a lot of ways to get strong.

Q - What are some of your PR’s both in strongman events and lifting in general?

Some of my PRs are 400 farmers walk for about 55 feet; 305 farmers for 205 ft in 27 seconds, 1,000 lb tire flip 5 flips ft in about 21 seconds, 905 squat (equipped with poly suit), 745x2 deadlift, 900 yoke 60 ft in 14.5 seconds, 435 stone, lifting the inch dumbbell for reps, closing the #3 gripper for reps, 315 axle x 2.

Q – What are some of your most memorable training and competition moments? What are some of the most impressive feats you’ve seen in training and competition?

In training I remember a lot of great times. Every Saturday is something I really look forward to because of training. I remember the earliest days of my training when we thought flipping a 675 tire for 5 flips was hard. It’s rewarding to look back and see how far you have come. I remember last summer training in this area we called the pit because it was probably about 110 in this valley like place with no wind and hot blacktop—I thought I was going to die after flipping our 930 tire for 2 minutes straight.

As far as competition goes, I of course remember winning my pro card. I remember going into the last event and Chad Coy telling me just before I did the stones that I had the pro card and asking me if I wanted to win some money. The Florida contest was probably my favorite just because everything went my way, I beat some great competitors and I was down there on vacation ready to go to Disney World fresh off making partner at work. That was a perfect time for me.

The most impressive feats I’ve seen. My training partner Brian at Central USA last year was pretty much unstoppable. In training I’ve seen Brian take my 395 stone and throw it up to 61 inches like it was nothing. Travis responding to Jesse’s calling out on the viking press and deadlift medley at the Fit Expo was very impressive. Although I didn’t see it in person, the car deadlift that Travis did at the South Carolina contest is way up there just because he did it for three and none of the other guys there (top pros) could budge it.

Q – What are some of your goals for the future?

I’d like to continue to improve and to be respected among some of the best strongmen. I’m not sure I’m willing to do what it would take for me to get to the very highest levels (i.e. get a lot bigger), but I think I can perform very well and have a lot of fun doing it while staying healthy.

Q – We have added name associations to the pro interviews lately, and in keeping with this tradition, I’ll throw out some names and you give me a response what ever comes to mind:

Well obviously all of these guys are great competitors. I’ve had the pleasure of competing against all of them.

Steve MacDonald - Raw strength. I though Steve looked kind of mean before I met him (don’t beat me Steve..lol). I approached him after we competed in West VA where Steve won his pro card and he was very nice. He doesn’t really seem to have any weaknesses.

Kevin Nee- Super nice guy. He was very down to earth and a really cool to my training partner and I at the Fit Expo. His potential is seemingly unlimited. A truly gifted strength athlete. I’d love to get the chance to train with him sometime.

Marshall White- Up and coming strongman. Hard worker from what I can tell. I competed against Marshall down in Florida and he won the stones. I didn’t think too much of it at the time. I guess he is the stone man now. I’m impressed.

Sam McMahon- Great guy. I’ve known Sam longer than I’ve know any of the other guys on the list here and we’ve always had fun together at contests. We’ve competed against each other many times. I’ll beat him one day. Sam tries to make us think that he doesn’t really care too much about this strongman stuff. When I got to his house it was like a freaking shrine of strongman with swords mounted on the walls, certificates in frames, etc. Sam is very talented and could be one of the best out there if he stayed consistent with his training.

Dave Ostlund – another hard worker; defines dedication. Unbelievable on stones and a great all around competitor. Dave used to be about as bad as I am on OHP, but he has really brought it up. He gives me some hope.

Travis Ortmayer- Without a doubt the most competitive man I’ve ever met. Travis cannot stand to lose and has the ability to summon forces that others cannot when it is time to compete. A few months ago Travis told me that he once had my name on his wall at his house where he had a list of people he wanted to take down. I told him I assumed my name was taken off the wall a while back. I think he has Savikas on there right now.

Jon Andersen- Best look in strongman. Also amazingly strong squatter.

Jesse Marunde- The image of strongman. Jesse is doing great things for the sport. Jesse was one of my earliest inspirations. After watching Jesse compete at my first contest in Ohio I was talking about it for months.

Derek Poundstone- Tons of potential. I’m glad I beat Derek when I had the chance in Florida because I’m thinking he’s not going to want to let that happen again. Derek rivals Jon on the best look in strongman--a true freak.

Odd Haugen- Very inspirational to me and I’m sure many others. When Odd kicked my butt at the Fit Expo I was thinking. Wow. I just got my butt kicked by a 50-something year old man and I’m pretty strong. I’m hoping I can be half that strong when I’m his age. Any time I think I’m getting to old for this stuff I just look at Odd and think--I’ve got a long time left. I hope Odd continues for a long time to come. He is great for the sport as a competitor and as a promoter.

Q – What are your views of NAS and ASC as well as the IFSA/WSM split? Is the competition good for each federation, or is it creating frustration among athletes and fans.

I think NAS and ASC are doing an unbelievable job. I may have a bias though because in a sense I feel like I am part of them. I am the NAS state chair, an ASC pro and legal counsel for both of them. Dione and Willie Wessels have essentially created this sport for so many people. I am thankful that they have taken the time to do it.

The IFSA/WSM split is good and bad I think. On the one hand I’d like to keep strongman unified so that we can see all of the top guys go against each other. Over time I think this will happen in one way or another. On the other hand I think the IFSA/WSM split creates competition and competition generally forces people to make their product better. It also give more competitors a chance to compete.

I don’t think the average fan really knows exactly what is going on with the federations. If they are a real fan they probably like having both federations so they can see more strongman on both ESPN and OLN.

Q – Anything you would like to add that I may have not asked? Would you like to thank anyone? Please feel free.

Thanks for the interview. I think you have pretty much covered it. I’d like to thank my family for their support and God for giving me the abilities I have and for keeping me healthy.

Thank you, Ryan, for taking the time to interview with us. We wish you the best of luck.

 
 

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