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’m 34 and started at JKC in 2015. My wife joined while I was working away in 2015 and started making amazing progress while also completing exercises I’d never perform on my own. I felt I was missing out so I signed up. JKC helps in establishing goals while also having clear direction of what to do, and how, in each session. They also measure your progress which is another means of motivation! At other gyms I wouldn’t have a clear plan and would just use whatever equipment was free, it was hard to see any results. Between setting some personal bests and making good friends its hard to identify a favorite memory.  One that does come to mind was when I hit my target goal/PB in both bench and squats in the same session, big day.

lisa jumping onto a box

JKC was recommended to me by a fellow runner. I was experiencing injuries, and feeling weak and fragile. When I started with JKC, Jon asked me about my goals and my focus. I wanted to concentrate specifically on running, and preventing injury. Jon developed a program for me that has enabled me to focus on my form and strength and has been flexible enough to enable me to train for many different races. I have been training with JKC for six years, and during that time I have enjoyed Jon and Thomas’s expertise in a very warm and supportive atmosphere.

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.

I’ve always struggled with both my weight and anxiety throughout my life. As a writer you live a pretty sedentary lifestyle filled with both realistic and unrealistic deadlines, so I needed something to get me off my butt and to get me moving. JK has been a godsend during this past year and a half in particular. The pandemic has been tough, but workouts with both Thomas and Jon have really helped reduce the stress and strain of a global pandemic, and added an anchor of normalcy back into my life — which has been worth its weight in gold.

JKC has created an incredibly inclusive environment that’s filled with all kinds of supportive folks from all kinds of different backgrounds. For folks like myself, being surrounded by people with such athletic ability can be intimidating in most gyms. It can actually be a deterrent, and it sometimes has been for me. But, at JKC it’s far from that — it’s inspirational. Everyone supports one another. Which is something that’s not easily found in this day and age, inside of a gym or out. Not to sound like a total cheeseball here, but it really feels like a family.

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