October 2011 - Joseph Gonzalez
- Please introduce yourself. Who are you? How old are you? Where are you from? What are your hobbies (other than powerlifting)? Please give the readers an idea of what it’s like to be you.
My name is Joseph Gonzalez, though I usually go by "Joe" and I'm 64 years old. I was born and raised in Miami, FL, and other than four years away in the military, I lived there until moving to GA four years ago. I am married to a wonderful lady, my wife of thirty-four years, Cookie, and we have a terrific daughter Alyse, 23, who is now working towards her BSN in nursing down in Orlando, FL. Cookie and Alyse are my biggest fans and attend most of my meets. While powerlifting is my passion, my hobbies include reading, cooking, listening to music (especially folk and acoustic music) and occasionally fishing (when it doesn't interfere with training).
- Where are you located in Georgia and where do you train at?
I now live in Newnan, GA. I train primarily at Atlanta Fitness, though I drive over to Eatonton, GA once weekly to train with another powerlifter/coach, my friend Al Reiss, at the Bodyplex gym there. When I'm down in FL, I train at Orlando Barbell (Al Reiss is a part owner) which is a serious, well-equipped powerlifting gym.
- What is something that most people don’t know about you?
I'm the housekeeper at our home as well as the head "chef". According to Cookie, I clean, cook, and iron very well!
- What is your occupation?
I am a retired firefighter, having served for 20 years with the City of Miami Fire-Rescue Department.
- Do you find that your occupation interferes with competing or visa versa?
- How many years have you been competing?
About three years.
- How did you get into powerlifting?
A good friend, Charlie Paige, whom I met at Atlanta fitness and is a tremendous 148/165, Open bench presser, encouraged me to enter a meet, which I reluctantly did.
- What are your biggest squat, bench press, deadlift and total numbers?
Squat: 352.7 lbs, Bench: 303.1 lbs, Deadlift: 451.9 lbs, Total: 1102.2 lbs
- What titles, records and achievements did you accumulate in your powerlifting career?
I'll begin by saying my lifting is unremarkable, because as an M3A (60-64) I rarely have more than myself and perhaps one or two other lifters in my weight/age class. Having said that, since beginning to lift in USAPL and NAPF/IPF, four meets thus far, I've won two gold, a silver, and a bronze medal. I had similar success in WNPF masters competition. I hold GA state masters' (60-64) records in both equipped and unequipped categories.
- Can you describe your training philosophy and/or a typical training session?
My training philosophy is first, quality vs. quantity training, honoring rest/recovery days and eating properly. Also, I keep an open mind, researching training and listening to advice from other lifters, in short a willingness to learn. That's not to say everything works or is applied, but I'm open to suggestions, even criticism. A typical training session would consist of one of the core lifts (Squat, Bench, or Deadlift) and two or three assistance exercises, I usually finish each session with abs and 15-30 minutes of cardio. Sets and reps depend on where I am relative to the meet and would be 2-5 sets of 1-5 reps for core lifts and 2-4 sets of 3-8 reps for assistance work.
- Do you compete equipped (squat suit, bench press shirt & deadlift suit) or unequipped (no suits) or both?
I compete both unequipped and equipped, though all of my deadlifts have been unequipped. I'm not sure how much a deadlift suit would help me, though I'm being strongly encouraged to try one, so we'll see.
- What weight class(s) and divisions(s) do you compete in?
I have competed in 242, 220, and 105kg. I plan to continue in 220 and 105kg.
- What is your favorite lift, squat or bench press or deadlift or all three?
I love training for and competing in all three. This is a "which of your children is your favorite?" question. If pressed I'll say deadlift.
- Who is the most impressive lifter you have competed against?
Bill Sindelar, M3A, 110kg weight class
- Who do you think is the greatest lifter of all time?
Very difficult to choose just one, but I'd say Larry Pacifico, Ed Coan and perhaps Paul Anderson though not a powerlifter per se.
- When was your last competition & how did it go?
My last competition was the USAPL Bench Nationals, Sept. 4th and I won my class. The gentleman I was competing against didn't complete any of his attempts. I went 2 for 3, and my 297.6 lb was sufficient to win.
- Do you have any upcoming competitions? If so, when and where?
I've entered and will compete in the USAPL Southeastern States here in Dalton, GA, Nov. 5-6, 2011.
- How do you prepare for an upcoming competition?
Depending on my time frame between meets, or prior to, I like to divide my training into 3 or 4 week segments where I vary set and reps schemes as well as assistance exercises. I do my last heavy deadlift workout at least 14 days prior to a meet. I also don't train much, very light if at all, the week prior to the meet, which is maddening because I enjoy training.
- Describe your nutritional intake for an upcoming competition?
I focus on keeping protein and calories sufficient for training and junk food to a minimum (tough to do some times). Protein is from chicken, fish, and some lean beef, while my carbs come from whole grains, fruits and vegetables. I usually eat 4-5 moderate meals daily. I try to keep my nutrition consistent year round. I take a good multi vitamin/mineral supplemet daily, glucosamine/ chondroitin, fish oil caps, and Creatine (for 6-8 weeks prior to the meet, and off one month after the meet).
- Is there anything you will do differently to prepare for your next competition that is different from your last one?
I'll be using a different, smaller bench shirt and squat suit, deadlift will probably still be unequipped.
- How many meets do you compete in each year?
2-4 although I'll hit 5 this year.
- Who is your greatest competitor/rival?
That's an easy one to answer, Fear of failure.
- What advice & tips would you give to a powerlifter that is just beginning?
If you are just beginning, what advice have you received from other lifters or coaches? Find an experienced powerlifter (male or female) in your gym or on- line and ask for advice. Some powerlifters, especially on-line, charge for advice and individualized training plans, which is fine. Most powerlifters, myself included, enjoy helping other lifters especially those new to our sport, for no other reason than others have helped us. Find a simple, uncomplicated program which concentrates on the three core lifts (e.g. Stronlifts 5X5) and stay with it, giving it a fair amount of time to work for you. Take rest/recovery days and eat well with respect to protein intake, and keep junk food (and alcohol) to a minimum. Finally think long term and be patient.
- How has powerlifting changed your life?
Powerlifting has made me healthier and physically/mentally stronger. It also reminds me daily how fortunate and blessed I am to be able to do this sport. I also have met, through this sport, some of the nicest, most generous and unselfish people I've ever known.
- Do you stay in touch with lifters you compete against?
No, but I do stay in touch with lifters whom I compete with.
- Why did you decide to compete?
I was strongly encouraged to compete in my first meet by Charlie Paige, and once I did, I was hooked.
- What is your #1 or most prestigious meet you ever competed at in your career?
The 2011 NAPF/IPF North American Powerlifting Championships in Miami, FL where I was fortunate, and honored, to be part of the USA team as a masters lifter.
- Do you compete in any other strength sports such as Olympic lifting, strongman, highland games, etc?
- What is your favorite memory from any powerlifting competition or event?
My first full-power meet (WNPF) 2009 where I totaled 910.
- Anyone you would like thank for helping you along the way in your Powerlifting career?
Charlie Paige, Al Reiss my training partner/coach and a couple of guys who unselfishly helped me at a meet before they knew me, Josh Rohr and Jeff Robison. The latter two probably don't remember.
- Anything else you would like to add?
Yes, if I can do this sport, anyone in reasonably good health can as well.
Joe, thank you for your time and best of luck in your upcoming powerlifting endeavors!