Behind the scenes with our Barbell Athlete of the Month, Erik!
How or when did your focus shift to concentrating on Novem’s Barbell Club programming?
Soon after Olympic Lifting incorporated Power Lifting programming at the end of last year, I decided to give it a shot. There were a lot of things I wasn’t doing in CrossFit to help me increase strength, but foremost was figuring out where my true 1RM was for lifts and working to improve them. I’ve always struggled in certain aspects of CrossFit, most noticeably any kind of overhead movement, and Power Lifting was a great opportunity to shift my focus onto developing the strength and technique of specific movements.
Tell us one thing about yourself that no one in the gym knows about you.
For a period of time I played video games competitively, and was a even a member of a nationally ranked team (#1 in the western division for a few months). People might be familiar with how esports are an actual thing now, but in the early 2000s, it was a very, very different world. Not nearly as cool, and a lot of it was really just being figured out at the time. It may or may not be the dorkiest thing I’ve ever done.
What is your Athletic background?
My athletic background is pretty minimal since high school ended, and before I joined Novem. I was always active and played multiple sports through high school, but really stopped doing anything active once I graduated. I’d occasionally join a nation-wide chain gym, and go through the cycle of trying it out, getting really into it, losing interest and eventually cancel the membership I hadn’t used in two months. Being a part of Novem has really given rise to the most athletic portion of my life.
What is your favorite of the two competition lifts and why?
I’d love to say it’s back squat, because it’s the movement I feel the strongest at, but I’d have to go with bench press. Coming from CrossFit class, bench is something that we don’t see too often. Which is great, because it’s definitely one of the movements that I’m the worst at. It’s really taught me to enjoy the things I’m terrible at, because it means that the more I work on it, the stronger and better I become at it.
What do you find most rewarding with the competition style of lifting?
Honestly, having a goal and working towards it. It’s really rewarding to set a goal for yourself of “I’m going to add 10% to my deadlift”, and actually see yourself achieve that. Instead of constantly moving the goalpost, which is very easy for me to do to myself, you’re competing against your own set numbers. It also makes encouraging the other members and their accomplishments a lot more fun, because their victories aren’t against someone else, they’re for themselves.
Do you have any goals or aspirations to compete?
Absolutely! I know I’ll probably never get to go to the Olympics or the Arnold or anything like that, but that doesn’t mean I still can’t set goals for myself and enjoy the process of achieving them surrounded by the people I love to see every day. Competing is kind of the finish line for all of that, and it’s something that I very much look forward to.
How has Novem Barbell Club impacted your training and your life?
Because it’s offered in the evenings, Barbell has forced me to take CrossFit or Bootcamp classes in the morning, which is the only way that I’ll have enough recovery time to take Barbell in the evening. I’ve always been a 6:30/7:30 pm person, but I never realized how not-terrible waking up for 5am and lifting really is. It’s fun to complain about it, sure, like everything we do here. It’s especially easy when something’s new and different, but it’s only that way for a short and very memorable period of time. It’s tough and maybe even a little weird at first, but looking back, that’s the part of the process you reminisce about the most.