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 chose JKC because I was looking for something different. I’ve seen and done the trendy workout programs before, I was looking for something that I knew I could see myself still doing a year from now! JKC has a lot of clients that have been going for years. That was a huge motivator for me! The small group coaching sessions are great and I really enjoy the format. It’s nice having 2-4 people working-out with you during your session. The camaraderie is great, everyone is very upbeat and positive – zero gym judgment!

sumo deadlift

I had always wanted to start lifting weights and get stronger, but didn’t know where to start. I was looking not just for a gym, but for training on proper technique to prevent injury and a program designed for my specific goals. I also wanted a fun and supportive atmosphere to keep me coming back. JKC delivered on all of this and more.

Jon and Thomas have a wealth of knowledge that help their clients get the most out of their time in the gym. Programs are continuously modified to keep the workouts challenging. Even through everyone’s program is unique, you always have the coaches and other clients cheering you on and pushing you to achieve new bests.

My original reason for joining JKC was to get some sage advice to help with my running. I had been looking for awhile, came across Jon, met for an assessment, and was quite happy with how that all went. Apart from the running specific strengthening and conditioning approaches, JKC is different from other gyms as I am a fan of the small group sessions where everyone has their own goals and individualized programs. As well, the run coaching is super. All the coaches go the extra mile to make sure you get the best out each training session. They are fantastic motivators! My favourite memory is deadlifting 330lbs. Making a lot of great friends and meeting some really cool people is pretty high up on that list, too.

A few years ago, I pinched a nerve in my neck which led me to be stationary as any form of movement would cause extreme pain. During this time, my fiancé (Sean) started at JKC and loved it!! Once I overcame the nerve issue, Sean spent a long time trying to convince me that JKC is exactly what I needed to safely start working out again (I’m slightly stubborn and was super scared of re-pinching the nerve). Long story short, Sean was right… as much as I hate to admit it!

I never had luck at gyms, if it started to hurt I would call it a day. At JKC that is not an option, as Jon & Thomas will push you to finish the workout, whether you want to or not! Working out in a group setting is also a big benefit of working out at JKC, if you’re not feeling motivated you can simply feed off of someone else’s energetic vibes.

I started at JKC in January of 2014 and I’m 67 years old. When I had my Initial Assessment, I knew – almost immediately – that Jon knew what he was doing and what he was talking about. I was overweight, out of shape, and in serious need of someone, like Jon, who could get me back on a fitness/conditioning routine that suited me, my age, my less than acceptable physical condition, my sometimes intermittent RA, and my need for a structured, consistent and yet flexible training and conditioning program that would work for me.

Fundamentally, if I made a choice at all with respect to JKC – it was to continue to come back each week. I have not been in a lot of gyms. To be honest, they used to intimidate me. What makes JKC different is their approach to each and every one of their clients. Jon and Thomas – and now Craig – tailor each training regime to the particular needs of each client. That ensures that the training regime will suit each client upon the start of training and changes as the client improves. It adjusts for any physical setbacks such as injuries and it adjusts for success. It is just that simple.

It is also the consistent encouragement that comes from Jon, Thomas and Craig. That voice that comes to you while you are in the middle of a particularly difficult set – rear-foot elevated split squats comes to mind immediately – that says “good job” or “keep it up” or “just a couple more reps.” To know, in that moment, that you are not alone and the trainer is paying attention to what you are doing. That is priceless for me.

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