March 2014 - Ryan Hayes
Please introduce yourself. Who are you? How old are you? Where were you born? Etc. Give the readers some background about yourself.
My name is Ryan Hayes. I’m 24 years old, about to graduate from Middle GA State. I was born in Warner Robins and raised in Perry, GA. I spent a year of my life in Orlando, FL going to school.
Do you compete equipped (squat suit, bench press shirt & deadlift suit) or unequipped (no suits) or both and what weight class(s) and divisions(s) do you compete in?
Right now I’m only competing raw. I’m relatively new to the sport, so I want to build a solid base and put up a respectable total before I even think about equipped. I was previously competing in 220, but have officially decided to move to 242 because cutting weight is stupid.
What was your last competition and how did you do?
The last competition I competed in was the Georgia Winter Classic. I went 6 for 9 with a 479 squat, 314 bench, and 551 pull. I didn’t do as well as I hoped to do, but it’s been a learning experience for me. I set some PR’s, so I’ll take it.
When was your first competition?
My first competition was last November, at the Georgia and Southern states meet.
How did you improve from your first competition to your most recent?
Well it’s been a constant learning experience. I’d say I improved in nearly all aspects, besides picking attempts. I’ve improved my technique and gotten stronger, but dropped the ball on some of my attempts.
What is your next competition?
My next meet will be the USAPL Border Bash in Columbus, GA on May 10.
What do you plan on doing differently for that meet if anything?
Well the biggest thing for me is I don’t plan on cutting weight anymore, which was part of my problem in picking attempts. I didn’t account for any of my weight cut and it ruined me a little bit. I would like to go 9 for 9, since that’s the best way to build your total. I’ll be satisfied if I set a PR or two and make smart attempts.
Where are you located in Georgia and where do you train at?
I live in Perry and currently train at Perry Athletic Club. On occasion I train at Dino’s in Warner Robins and Mark Freeman’s garage.
What are your hobbies (other than powerlifting)?
I don’t have many hobbies. I spend most of my time trying to make a living, trying to finish school and with my fiancé and family. I enjoy music and food. I play a video game every now and then, but mostly enjoy spending time with friends and family.
Who is your role model and why?
To choose one role model is tough. I would say my Mom and brother are high on the list. My mom has taught me everything I know about life. She’s gotten me through some things and supported me no matter what. My brother is constantly pushing himself to improve his life and it’s something to look up to. My fiancé is very driven, works hard, and stops at nothing to accomplish what she sets out for, so I learn from her too.
What is something that most people don’t know about you?
When I’m not listening to my favorite genre of music(death metal and the like), I listen to Taylor Swift. No shame.
Is there anything about powerlifting you would like to change or wish was different?
If you spend enough time on the internet you can find negative aspects of anything, including powerlifting. I haven’t personally been exposed to anything negative. It’s all been a very positive, supportive, and friendly atmosphere for me. If anything I would just have some folks check their ego, but that comes back around anyway.
What is your occupation? Does it interfere with competing or visa versa?
I am a supervisor in Customer Service at GEICO. It doesn’t really interfere with my training much. The thing that interferes most in my head is class, which I’ll be done with soon.
How did you get into powerlifting and how many years have you been competing?
I got into powerlifting around last August or September, I can’t remember. Being a former fatty, I was doing lots of volume training and trying to be jacked (unsuccessfully). My training was getting mundane and taking me nowhere, so I decided to sign up for the state meet and start programming for a specific goal. Mark Freeman reached out to me and invited my brother Ricky and me to lift at his house. We met him and Scott Zion, and I’ve been hooked since.
Are you involved in powerlifting in any way besides as a competitor?
Not at the moment. I am just focusing on getting better at this point.
What are your biggest squat, bench press, deadlift and total numbers? And how do your best training numbers compare to your best competition numbers?
Squat 479, Bench 314, Pull 551 in a meet. Total was 1344. My bench has been much better in training, which was 340 with a competition pause, but cutting weight made my bench take a dive. My squat and pull have always been better in meets.
What advice would you give a new lifter just starting out.
I don’t feel I’m in a position to give advice just yet. I would say though to perfect your technique. I’ve been lifting diligently for about 4 years. I’m still learning how I can improve everyday. Powerlifting is such a technical sport, and sometimes people don’t see it that way. If you don’t focus on technique, you’ll end up hurt or not making the progress you potentially could. Other than that, I would say surround yourself with other people who are going to be honest to you as well as support you in your goals. Lifting with a group of powerlifters is so much different than lifting in a gym and asking some random guy for a spot. Lift in an environment that’s conducive to your goals.
What are your short term goals now as a lifter?
My short-term goals as a powerlifter include at least a 1400 lb total in May. I’d like to squat 500+ and pull 600+ by the end of the year. My squat may happen sooner than I anticipated, so I’m stoked for that.
What are some long term goals you would like to achieve?
I would like to eventually be competitive in a National meet. No rush though, I have lots of learning to do. I would also like to lift at the Arnold.
Who is your favorite powerlifter of all time?
I’m not as well versed as I would like to be in the history of the sport. Obviously, watching Ed Coan move some of the weights he did with that speed is mind blowing. I enjoy watching Mike Tuchscherer, who is just so technically sound and smart about his training. I would like to be friends with Mark Bell, simply because he is funny. I don’t know the answer to this question.
Can you describe your training philosophy and/or a typical training session?
I keep it relatively simple. For a while I was constantly testing my strength rather than building it. I recently wrote a program with the help of Freeman that involves a little bit more volume than I’ve been used to, and focuses on my weak points. I typically start with one of the big three lifts in some form, and then work accessory movements to strengthen my weak points. I’m still trying to learn how to peak for a meet, so we will see how this goes.
What is your favorite lift, squat or bench press or deadlift or all three and why?
It changes all the time. Right now my bench and pull feel like they’re in the toilet, and my squats have been going really well, so I’ll say the squat for now. My deadlift is what needs the most work, so hopefully I can turn that into my favorite.
Who is the most impressive lifter you have competed against?
In my first meet I thought I would be slightly competitive, and I got blown out of the water. Nick Coker was many pounds ahead of everyone in 220. The guy is strong, especially at his age. I’d say he is the most impressive I’ve actually been against.
Do you have any rivals in powerlifting?
Not yet, but I want Pete Bush to know that he’s an awesome person and I’m coming for him and whoever else in 242.
If we're sitting here a year from now celebrating what a great year it's been for you, what would be the reason?
I pulled at least 6 hundy. Went 9 for 9, and was at least competitive (top 3) in the GA state meet, totaling 1450+.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I’m stoked on all the support and coaching I’ve gotten in my short time in the sport. People like Pete, Mark, and Scott, etc. who have been in the sport for a while have been willing to give me advice and help me along the way. Also stoked on the group we have been able to build in Middle GA. I won’t name everyone, but it’s great being able to lift with a good group of guys who can constantly push you to better yourself and get stronger.
Thanks for the opportunity to be in the lifter spotlight and see ya on the platform.