Hey everyone. Thought I would take some time now to recap my weekend competing in “Newfoundland and Labrador’s Strongest Man/Woman”. This was a great contest that was very well run. The volunteers were excellent with getting everything set-up, the events chosen were an interesting mix, and the competitors were all fantastic. 

After winning the novice category of “Battle of the Beasts” in November of 2020, I moved up to the open category for this competition which means all the weights got heavier and the competitors much more experienced. In addition, the open category of strongman allows one to compete at whatever bodyweight they would like. At this competition, there were six of us in the open division. That’s enough background information now I’ll dig into my recap of events. 

First up was the axle clean and press for max reps in 60 seconds. The weight here was 250lbs. Going into this event, my goal was to not zero the event (get at least one rep) and I did. I finished with one rep, which tied me for 5th place.

The Axle Press. Photo Credit Nick Ditka

Next up was the max frame deadlift. This event allowed competitors 3 attempts to set a max weight. For my first attempt I hit a comfortable 700lbs. Feeling good after this attempt, I went for 750lbs on my next attempt. Not quite as comfortable but I managed the rep (and a new PB!). For my last attempt I said “screw it” and went for 800lbs. Unfortunately this wasn’t meant to be as the weight remained firmly glued to the floor! I was happy with my new PB and took another 5th place. 

The Frame Deadlift. Photo Credit Nick Ditka

The next event was by far the toughest for me from an endurance standpoint. It was a 2 part event. First was 4 flips of a 550lb tire. Once that was completed, there was a 315lbs/hand farmer’s walk for 60 total feet (30 up and 30 back). I was excited coming into this event, I’d never flipped a tire and was eager to see how I would do. It was tough but I did manage the 4 flips. I think technique was a big factor here, I didn’t get low enough into the tire to maximally use my legs. The farmer’s walk was heavy! I managed to get all 30 feet up in one go and then picked the handles up to come back and made it about 10 feet before my legs quit on me. Overall though I was very pleased with this event and I finished 4th.

The fourth event was a grip strength event, an axle bar deadlift. This is tougher than a standard deadlift because the bar is almost 2” in diameter. This was a rising bar event meaning the weight went up until only one person was left. I managed to hit the 275 and 295 but failed on the 315 which put me in a 4 way tie for 2nd place.

Next up was an event I had never tried before, an atlas stone to shoulder series. This event involved attempting to lift 3 atlas stones of weights ranging from 215-270 from the floor to the shoulder. Never having lifted an atlas stone I was very excited to try this. Thanks to some last minute tips from my fellow competitors, I successfully lifted the 215lb stone to my shoulder. I was happy to successfully “lap” the 240lb stone and give a hard fight attempting to bring it to my shoulder but it wasn’t there on this day. In this event I finished 5th.

The last event of the day was the one everyone seemed to be looking forward to, the dump truck pull. This was a very visually impressive event watching my fellow competitors pull a full sized dump truck! When my turn came I was pretty nervous, however, once I was harnessed in I got out to the fastest start I could manage. At about the 35 foot mark there seemed to be a slight incline which made things very difficult and I finished the event with about 38 feet pulled placing in 6th place here. 

Overall, I had a fantastic time competing against some great competitors. My goal going into this contest was to not zero any of the events and I achieved my goal. Now it’s time to start planning my training for the next contest in the fall and setting some goals for that one!

~Thomas

I joined JKC because I wanted to better care for my physical health, but didn’t really know how, or where, to begin.  Seeking help from a trainer seemed like a wise choice, and I had heard great things about the staff at JKC. Anyone who knows me knows that I hate exercising.  So, I’ve only ever tried sticking with a gym routine twice in my life.  Each experience consisted of me wandering around, not knowing what to do, and settling for an elliptical machine or something else that seemed comfortable and non-threatening.  Each session was the same, and I felt like I was wasting my time.

Each session at JKC, however, is specifically crafted for me.  I don’t have to think about what to do, because I’m told what to do.  I don’t have to worry about how to do things properly, because I’m shown (sometimes multiple times!) how to accomplish each task.  I don’t have to be concerned about slipping into a comfortable routine, because Jon and Thomas won’t let that happen.

I started strength training at JKC in the Spring of 2021. I am in my 60’s but happy to say I feel much younger since joining this gym. I joined JKC upon the advice of a doctor. I went through some difficult medical issues last year, that’s when one of my doctors recommended strength training at JKC. I have been physically active most of my adult life but mainly running and completed many road races as I am a distance runner. Strength training has definitely benefited me by increasing my stamina and energy. It sure has enhanced my recovery over the past year. I have the added benefit of becoming a stronger runner as well.

I had virtually no real experience using weights and felt intimidated going gyms. I avoided gym-goers using free weights, especially when hearing that loud crash, as they would drop weights to the floor. I thought this was to show everyone around them that they owned that area and that I shouldn’t go anywhere near! So I guess I just wanted to learn how to lift weights safely in a gym environment.

I spent over 18 years in the British Military, so I got to use some nice gyms. 99% of my time and experiences in those gyms was spent doing cardiovascular workouts, because I could just jump on a treadmill, plug in my head phones and do my own thing! JKC is different, because they have given me the confidence to use free weights and equipment that I had feared for years. Their demonstrations and knowledge is impeccable and I thank them for their continuous belief and support they show me at every session.

JKC was recommended to me by my good friend Casidhe Dyke. Cas had been training with JKC for a while, and both he and his father had seen great results from the personal training that Jon and Thomas were giving them. I was and still am primarily a triathlete and I’ve always struggled with injuries. I was talking to Cas about incorporating more strength training in my program to try and prevent injuries going forward and Cas suggested that I give JKC a try. I reached out to Jon not long after, and the rest is history! After working with Jon and Thomas for a few months, I was getting stronger, faster, and most importantly, I was staying injury-free. I ended up being able to train the whole season without significant injury and posted a personal best at Ironman Copenhagen in 2018. A big part of that was due to the strength training and coaching I received at JKC.

I am turning 67 next month and I started my journey with JKC in 2018. Seven years ago I experienced significant foot pain which had a negative impact on my day to day activities. I learned that issues in other parts of the body need to be addressed to achieve a positive result. My doctor (Dr. Jessica Wade) suggested, along with some other therapies, that I could  benefit from the conditioning JKC had to offer. I previously had not trained in any gym. I observed how many gyms operated and had a sense that JKC would be more my style: training in a small group setting, having such personal attention, and a program meeting my specific needs is fantastic! I love the atmosphere at the gym. Everyone is accepted and you feel supported and comfortable.

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