A:Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Q:You have a humorous style to your writings, where does this humor originate - and does your wife think your funny? (Lol laughing wives are important!)
A:I've always enjoyed making people laugh. I always see things in my head, I'm very visual and have a photographic memory. So I remember things in pictures and usually make something funny out of it. I moved around a lot as a kid and to make friends I made people laugh, along with being athletic. I hope Amber thinks I'm funny? lol
Q:Lol! You and your wife are in awesome shape obviously, is fitness the core of your relationship? Any funny gym stories between you both?
A:The core of our relationship is our understanding of one another. Our past, present, and our willingness to grow together into our future. Fitness is a part of that and part of where our relationship originated, but it’s not the core.
Funny story- we met online actually. We had mutual friends and networking relationships which led us to one another. We didn’t think we would meet, so we were very open with one another from the start. We eventually found we were both booked to be in Chicago. She was competing and I was there with Quest Nutrition.
I was at the booth and I saw Amber coming through the crowd. She glanced at me and walked right on by. I was like “ wow, am I that bad??” in my head. Eventually, she came back. I was so taken back by her that I couldn’t look at her. I got shy and I looked at and talked to her friend the majority of the time. That lead Amber to think I really liked her friend, which I didn’t. I just was too shy to talk to her lol.
Q:Let's go back in time. Describe the first time you worked out in a gym...
A:I was in 8th grade living in Louisiana. We had a semester in gym where we worked out. I remember it was an old dirty building off the school grounds. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, but everyone seemed to want to bench press. I wasn’t good at that, but I was able to deadlift from the start so I stuck with that.
Q:When did the transition occur from amateur bodybuilder to being featured on fitness magazine covers?
A:I landed some local smaller covers first, but my first major cover was September 2014 Musclemag with October's Ironman immediately following, so I actually had two covers on stands at the same time which was really cool. It’s something I never expected to happen, but it did and shows that with hard work and dedication anything is possible.
Q:Where have you been featured?
A:That’s a tough question. I would estimate about 50 plus websites, and I have made it into every major fitness magazine multiple times in ads, editorials and covers.
Q:Seems like you remain "cover fit" for most of the year- what's your secret?
A:Pizza…lots of it, lol. Actually the last two years I took a short break to gain a bit of weight and build. I am lean the majority of the year, but I do this for hormone balance, to live life and participate in family events and just relax things a bit. I come back stronger and better every time I’ve done this.
When I stay lean, I’m just consistent. I believe once you’re lean, it’s much much easier to stay that way because you can see any changes your body makes almost immediately and can make the proper changes in your training/diet to correct things.
Q:Cheat meal, we all need them...what's your go to cheat meal?
A:Burger- sweet potato fries, 2 quest bars. Sometimes I’ll have oatmeal with peanut butter in it too.
Q:Fokken Strong has some principles such as help others, create balance in your life and be mentally strong. Describe these characteristics. ..
A:Being Fokken Strong (#FokkenStrong) isn’t just about throwing around weight in a gym. It’s about being in a mindset of constant improvement. A Fokken Strong athlete is someone who lives a well-rounded life. We all need to be able to look into the mirror and see more than “gainz.” Our hard work will bring us physical gains. We also need to work on ourselves though. In my opinion, you can never truly reach your maximum potential until you have a good idea of who you are as a person, not just an athlete.
Someone who is Fokken Strong is also strong enough to lift up others. It takes far more strength to lift up others around you than it does to put others down. If you’re a member of the #FokkenStrong community, you will encourage the people around you. A boss is someone who sits in their chair and tells others what to do. A leader is someone who leads the charge. If you’re Fokken Strong, you aim to be the latter. Whether this means encouraging someone in the gym, at work, at home or anywhere else; I encourage you all to lift up one another. Random acts of kindness are underrated but are some of the most beautiful things in this world. I love this line of work because I get to encourage and inspire people on a daily basis.
Q:Awesome. What trends do you see in our industry?
A:I think people are far more educated than they used to be. People have real knowledge now as opposed to when I first started. I barely knew what creatine was. Now kids know all about various training and dieting methods and the science behind it.
I also see a lot of people becoming famous through and developing their brand solely through social media with no real in person accomplishments to go with it. I'm all about people being all they can be, but sometimes I think what some of these people are putting out there can be a bit misleading and some can manipulate others to invest in them with workout programs, diets, etc that have no real value.
Q:What projects are you currently working on?
A:I’m always working on various things. I’m always trying to grow my brand and credibility. I believe credibility is worth far more than money. With credibility you can do about anything, the money will come later. I work hard to promote my sponsors like Bodybuilding.com, MuscleEgg, Icon meals, Smartshake, Fitmark bags, MyOatmeal.com, Tainted Industries and P28 Foods to name a few.
I’m currently working with my newest sponsor, American Ethanol, to make a difference in the air that we breathe and the fuel that we use. Initially I was training the Broin family, who owns POET, one of the world’s largest ethanol companies, and later I became wellness coordinator there. In that environment, I have seen how this hard-working team is changing the world. It’s true not only at POET but across the ethanol industry. These folks are creating renewable, American-made solutions to our world’s energy problems, and it’s exciting to be part of it. My wife, Amber, has a following and level of success equal to mine. We decided that although we help many people in the fitness community, we wanted to use our following for a greater purpose. I sat down with the Broins to discuss the possibility, and we decided to forge this new relationship.
Q:Do you think the fitness community could be more conscientious about clean energy and the issues that American Ethanol raise?
A:I believe in putting the healthiest things into my body, and that includes the air that breathe. Ethanol reduces the amount of harmful particulates that come out of our cars tailpipes and cleans up our air. I also believe that by supporting ethanol we are supporting rural agriculture, part of the foundation of this country. One of the greatest assets of this country is our ability to feed ourselves. By supporting this industry, we keep those dollars in our local communities supporting those farmers who feeds. I’m proud to be part of this industry.
Q:You are one of the few people in the fitness industry to have a non-endemic sponsor. What does that say about you and about American Ethanol?
A:American Ethanol realizes the importance of educating consumers on the importance of clean air. I think the people in the fitness community are some of the best stewards for talking about a clean lifestyle and putting the right things in our body. I’m excited to bring nontraditional partner into this space and hope that other organizations will follow. We are a large consumer group, and the value of our purchasing powers something to take a serious look at.
Q:Can you give us all of your social media handles?
Interview done by Elliot Rivera for healtHaven.com