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WHAT BRYAN TAKES
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Bryan Benzel TEAM MAX >> BRYAN BENZEL
How did you get involved in your sport and how long have you been doing it? I had watched World’s Strongest Man every year growing up and always thought it would be incredible to be like those guys. In college, I had a friend who competed and told me about the amateur system and how he got involved but I didn’t start then. When I was 24, I got the itch to do something competitive again and contacted him about coming to train sometime. I tried it, loved it, and after winning the first contest I entered I was hooked. It has now been just over 5 years since I got involved in the sport.
What has been one of the greatest challenges you’ve faced and how did you overcome it?By far the greatest challenge I’ve faced is coming back from an injury where I almost lost my foot. In August 2011, I passed out and dropped a 400-pound atlas stone on my foot, and it got a very bad infection. I nearly lost my foot and the injury took me out of serious training for most of a year. That was a huge physical setback to overcome, but even more so it took me a very long time to mentally get back in the game.
What is the best part about what you do as an athlete? By far the best part has been traveling and meeting other competitors. It’s a big brotherhood. Strongman has opened up so many opportunities for me to travel to places I wouldn’t have gone to otherwise and meet competitors from all over the world. It’s really incredible how close everyone becomes and how supportive the people you’re competing against are.
How have Max Muscle supplements helped you become better at your sport? I’ve been using Max Muscle supplements for a long time. Way before I was ever even involved in Strongman. Having high quality supplements to help aid in recovery and training makes all the difference when you get to a level where every detail becomes incredibly important.
What is your favorite supplement or supplement stack so far and why? Recently my favorite supplement is Stimovex. It’s my favorite pre-workout I’ve ever tried. In general MaxPro protein because it is so high quality and protein is the base for everything.
What does being a part of Team Max Muscle mean to you? It means I get to represent a company and products that I truly believe in.
When times get tough, how do you stay motivated? Keep goals in mind. I can’t remember the last time I lacked motivation to go to the gym. I have days where I dread my workout, or don’t train as intensely as I should, but I always go because I know I can’t achieve my goals if I’m skipping workouts.
Who inspires you and why? Guys who are and have been at the top of the sport for a while. It’s incredible to me how hard they work even though most are at a level where they could show up to any contest and win. It’s really inspiring to see someone at that top of their chosen sport continue to train like they are at the bottom.
What are your top five training tips for your sport?
- Compete. I can’t stress this enough, and it applies to any sport really. You never know what you are capable of without competing, and you will never have a bigger motivating factor than knowing you have a competition coming up. Compete early and often.
- Find a good training group and gym. Strongman is a sport that is difficult to train alone. Don’t just find any gym that has equipment and few guys. Make sure you fit in with the group and the gym. If not, leave and find some place else.
- Get a trainer at least once. If you are not training with some experienced guys this should be a priority early on. Strongman is very technical and I doubt many people can figure it out entirely by themselves.
- Get your diet in line. You can’t recover or perform well with a crappy diet.
- Do absolutely everything you can to aid in recovery. Strongman is brutally hard on your body. Sleep, eat, get massages, do mobility and soft tissue work, etc. Poor recovery will catch up to you very fast.
What is the most important piece of advice you would offer to someone who wants to be like you?Be consistent with everything you do. Becoming a professional anything takes years of work, so put the work in and enjoy the process.
Favorite quote or mantra? A friend sent me a text message before a Nationals contest that said this, and it has stuck with me: “I ask not for a lighter burden, but for broader shoulders.” This is from a Jewish proverb. I am not Jewish, but it really speaks to me.
A different friend sent me this after a very disappointing performance at another Nationals. It’s another quote that meant a lot to me at the time and has stuck with me: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Teddy Roosevelt
Top 3 songs you listen to when working out? I don’t really have any go-to songs. I always like to have music going when I train, but having the right song doesn’t make or break anything for me.
Favorite cheat meal? Burger and fries, Pizza, Ice Cream
Favorite healthy snack? Greek yogurt with MaxPro mixed in.
What is your training routine like each week?
Monday – Conditioning, Stretching, Mobility
Tuesday – Squat
Wednesday – Press
Thursday – Conditioning, Stretching, Mobility
Friday – Deadlift
Saturday – Off
Sunday – Event training
What is your most notable achievement? Competing at World’s Strongest Man 2016