September 2010 - Dale McLaren
1. Where are you located in Georgia and where do you train at?
I live in Duluth and have been lifting at Quest Gym in Duluth for almost 3 years
2. What is something that most people don’t know about you?
Most people would not know that I enjoy pretty dorky hobbies. I enjoy building and messing around with computers. I also used to collect coins.
3. What is your occupation?
I have been teaching for 8 year. I started as a PE/health teacher and now I teach students with special needs
4. Do you find that your occupation interferes with competing or visa versa?
No not all, in fact I think it works out great. Especially since I teach high school as I can usually be at the gym by 3:15 pm
5. How many years have you been competing?
My first meet was at the beginning of my senior year in high school. So not that I feel old now but that was 17 years ago.
6. How did you get into powerlifting?
I do not remember a time where I was not picking things up. I have always worked out and so I started with bodybuilding during my junior year of high school. At the beginning of my senior year my PE teacher brought in a local meet promoter. He demonstrated the deadlift and squat for us. He worked up to 405 on the deadlift and left it on the bar. I walked over and picked it up. From that moment on, I knew what I wanted to do.
7. What are your biggest squat, bench press, deadlift and total numbers?
I have raw squatted 525 benched 352 and deadlifted 639. At the 2008 Arnold I hit my best raw total of 1485 at 220. Been knocking on 1500 for a long time and this year it will happen.
8. What titles, records and achievements did you accumulate in your powerlifting career?
In 1993 I held the under 18 deadlift record for 181 in Michigan; I believe it was 475. I currently hold the Georgia raw 220 records for the deadlift 639 and total 1485. I have placed 5th at the 2008 Raw Nationals, 4th the 2008 American Open, 5th at the Arnold Con Crete Raw Challenge in both 2009 and 2010. I have competed and won many other meets in my 17 years of competing, but none as prestigious as the ones listed.
9. Can you describe your training philosophy and/or a typical training session?
My training sessions last about one and half to two hours. I walk a hill to warm up and stretch/roll out on the foam roller. I bench twice a week and dead/squat one to two times a week. I have one speed day and one heavy day for each lift. I stretch throughout the session and stretch after I am done lifting for the day.
10. Do you compete equipped (squat suit, bench press shirt & deadlift suit) or unequipped (no suits) or both?
I have been raw for about 12 years. In college I wore a squat suit but had no idea what I was doing. I worked up to a gym squat of 600 and meet squat of 540 at 198 as a junior. After college I moved to a gym where there was no one to help me so I decided to just train and compete without gear. I showed up to meets that were fully geared and still did pretty well, often beating the geared guys. Suits in the 90's and early 2000's were nothing compared to today’s. I have never worn a bench shirt mainly because the shirts in the 90s made the guy look ridiculous and again I had no one to help me put it on or show me how to use it. Deadlift suit has never crossed my mind.
11. What weight class(s) and divisions(s) do you compete in?
I currently lift in the 220 class. I started at 181 when I was 17 and have been all the way up to 242.
12. What is your favorite lift, squat or bench press or deadlift or all three?
Deadlift all the way.
13. Who is the most impressive lifter you competed against?
Probably the 2009 and 2010 winner of the Con Crete Challenge at the Arnold, Alex Drolc. His lifts almost look effortless.
14. Who do you think is the greatest lifter of all time?
Ed Coan. Kaz is a very close second. Hard to argue with their numbers
15. Do you have any upcoming competitions? If so, when and where?
Yes, on September 11th Doc Holloway and I are heading to the RAW 504 meet in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Georgia State meet in November will be my next USAPL meet.
16. How do you prepare for an upcoming competition?
12 weeks out from a meet I start to increase the weight and decrease the reps to around 5-6. At 6 weeks I really start to ramp it up with more triples and doubles. 3 weeks out is testing my openers and feeling out my seconds. Week of the meet is around 75% of projected 3rd attempt on all three lifts and just one assistance exercise. Usually that is on Monday and Tuesday so I have at least 3-4 days off. Flexibility is huge for me, I stretch before, during and after each workout as I am a very tight person and injure easily if I do not stretch. I am generally pretty close to my competition weight. I may tip the scale at 225 but that is as heavy as I go. I prefer to stay in shape rather than get fat out of season.
17. Describe your nutritional intake for an upcoming competition?
My diet is pretty consistent and healthy so I do not make any drastic changes prior to a meet. Always getting the five food groups in for about 3500-4000 calories.
18. How many meets do you compete in a year?
I used to only do 1 or 2 when I lived in Michigan. The past three years I have averaged 3- 4. I think I need to cut back again, but I always have such a good time.
19. Who is your greatest competitor/rival?
I would have to say Ed Coan. We used battle back and forth for years for the best total. Ok, so he is a little out of my league and he does not compete USAPL for some reason. Honestly, I know it is cliché to say this, but I would have to say I am my biggest competitor. If I win and did not hit the numbers I wanted, I do not count that as a win. If I take second and hit what I planned to, I walk away happy. A part of me still wanted 1st but I did what I could do, so I am happy.
20. What is your greatest memory from competing?
When I was 22 I deadlifted 600 at 198. I had come so close three times prior to that meet. When I finally did it, I held the bar for a second after the judge gave the down command and just gave a little grin. Even today I still think back to that moment and how proud of myself I was to have achieved that goal.
21. What advice & tips would you give to a powerlifter that is just beginning?
Find others like you and lift with them. Find people that have been competing and know what they are doing. Listen, watch and copy what they are doing. Had I been able to that when I started out, I would be at a whole different level.
22. How has powerlifting changed your life?
Powerlifting has been a part of my life for almost twenty years. It has taught me a great deal and introduced me to a lot of really great friends. It has also helped me become the first guy called to move someone out of a house and into their new one.
23. Do you stay in touch with lifters you compete against?
Are you asking if I talk to myself? On occasion it happens but mostly no. No I do not keep in touch with other lifters. I see them at meets and we talk but I have not asked for any of their phone numbers.
24. Why did you decide to compete?
I have been competing at something since I was 12. Started with football and wrestling. Gave bodybuilding a shot two times then found powerlifting. A meet gives me a time table for my lifting goals. The competition helps push me and gets me excited, but honestly I do not look at what the other guy is doing at a meet because it does not motivate me. I came to do a predetermined number and if that number gets me the win, all the better. I know a lot of people may think that is the wrong attitude, but when lifting raw I am not able to add more weight and get more spring out of my gear. After the meet, I do look at what my competition did at the meet and compare myself then set my goals to stay competitive.
25. What is your #1 or most prestigious meet you ever competed in your career?
The 2009 and 2010 Con Crete Raw Challenge at the Arnold. Everything about it was awesome. The size of the crowd amazed me. Most meets have fifty to a couple hundred spectators. This meet had 500-1000 people cheering us on. The competition was awesome too, with all of the top raw guys in one place.
26. Do you compete in any other strength sports such as Olympic lifting, strongman, highland games, etc?
I have given serious consideration to doing a strong man competition, but have not done one yet.
27. What is your favorite memory from any powerlifting competition or event?
The past three years of national level competitions I have traveled and competed with my friends from Quest. Being able to do that has made powerlifting so much more fun for me. I am really glad I found Quest Gym and am able to lift with the guys I do.
28. Anyone you would like thank for helping you along the way in your Powerlifting career?
My wife for understanding that a vacation must coincide with a meet. My parents for pushing me to do the best I can at whatever I decide to do. Every person who has helped me with suggestions and advice along the way. And the guys at Quest who push me and allow me to push them. Best gym environment I have ever lifted in.
29. Anything else you would like to add?
Go Team Rohr at the Georgia State Meet in November!