Brooks Conway Interview
June 2011 - Brooks Conway
1. 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 Brooks Conway. I was born in Woodstock, Georgia. I’m 21 years old as of a few weeks ago. I’m studying Mathematics at UGA, and plan to graduate next May. My hobbies include but are not limited to: sunsets, dropping dead lifts at Mark Freeman’s house at 7am when he’s sleeping, four wheeling, the occasional UFC fight, and buffets.
2. Where are you located in Georgia and where do you train at?
I live in Athens, Georgia. I train at Quest Gym in Duluth Friday/Saturday, and I train mostly at the university gym and sometimes at John and Mark’s garage gym during the week.
3. What is something that most people don’t know about you?
I don’t have a middle name. My parents couldn’t agree on one, so I got shafted.
4. What is your occupation?
I Pesonal train at the University of Georgia.
5. Do you find that your occupation interferes with competing or visa versa?
Sometimes getting up at 5:15 interferes with my recovery sleep, but I make it work most of the time.
6. How many years have you been competing?
Right at two years, my first sanctioned meet was in March of 2009.
7. How did you get into powerlifting?
UGA had an unsanctioned meet my first semester of freshman year. That is actually the last time I got best lifter award… go figure. I met one of my best friends and on/off training partner for the past two years John Hyer at that meet. He actually told me to bump up my third attempt dead lift, which neither of us realized put me ahead of him by 2.5 pounds for the win.
8. What are your biggest squat, bench press, deadlift and total numbers?
Squat- 655, Bench- 419, Dead lift 644 for 1719 at 181 at twenty years old, all at collegiate nationals last month.
9. What titles, records and achievements did you accumulate in your powerlifting career?
I’m a two time collegiate national medalist.
10. Can you describe your training philosophy and/or a typical training session?
A typical training session: After a one hour drive from Athens to Duluth, I spent a solid fifteen minutes warming up, particularly my shoulders. I know ahead of time what I’m planning to lift that day, because its all written out ahead of time. Once I get about 3 sets out from my top set, I try to just sit down and focus on the lift with my head phones in. I’ve listened to throw it up every squat workout for the last 9 months, the Friday crew can attest to that. When my top set rolls around, I try to get as jacked up as I can without my form just completely breaking down. Sherman yells something, and it’s game on.
11. Do you compete equipped (squat suit, bench press shirt & deadlift suit) or unequipped (no suits) or both?
I only compete in single ply, but I also enjoy raw dogging it in the gym in the offeason.
12. What weight class(s) and divisions(s) do you compete in?
I’ve only ever competed at 181, and I compete as a junior/collegiate.
13. What is your favorite lift, squat or bench press or deadlift or all three?
I used to be a dead lifter before I met Sherman. Now I’d say I’m a squatter. I’ve always hated bench.
14. Who is the most impressive lifter you have competed against?
When I competed at Night of the Living Dead in 2009 I had the honor of getting my ego thrashed by some of the greats like Tom Eismen, Doc Holloway, Robert Herring, and George Herring. I think Jennifer Thompson was there, I’m sure she beat me too.
15. Who do you think is the greatest lifter of all time?
My favorite lifter of all times is Wade Hooper. He’s my weight class, drug-free, multi-time world champion, and like me, he does it all while being too short to ride everything at six flags.
16. When was your last competition & how did it go?
My last meet was USAPL collegiate nationals in April. I went 9 for 9 with a 1719 total and hit all PRs , so in that aspect it went well. Unfortunately I put 110 pounds on my total and placed worse than the previous year (down from 3rd to 4th). Now that’s some intense competition…
17. Do you have any upcoming competitions? If so, when and where?
My next meet is the North American Championships in Miami this July. I’m really excited about this meet for three reasons. 1) its my first international meet, 2) I’m on a team with some of the greats like David Ricks, Doc Holloway, and Steve Goggins, and 3) its in MIAMI !!!!
18. How do you prepare for an upcoming competition?
I get in gear at about 8-9 weeks out. We do a pretty basic linear progression over 8 weeks for squats and dead lifts. We do a lot of triples on both, and then reverse band singles on dead lift. Bench is a little too complicated to explain.
19. Describe your nutritional intake for an upcoming competition?
I take a lot of Quest Nutrition Supplements. My main 3 are BCAAs, Hardcore (recovery mix), and Ana-pro (protein). I also take some jacked stack (kre-akalyn and HMB). I eat a lot of lean beef when I’m farther out, then replace it with more chicken and fish when I get closer. I get all my carbs from sources like oatmeal, brown rice, and fruit. I like to keep fat very high from sources like pecans, almonds, and avocados.
20. Is there anything you will do differently to you prepare for your next competition that is different from your last one?
This meet I will only be in gear for 7 weeks because I just did a geared training cycle 6 weeks ago for collegiates. Besides that, a lot of the stuff we’ve been doing seems to be working, so “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
21. How many meets do you compete in each year?
My 1st year I did 5 I think. In 2010 and 2011 only two meets.
22. Who is your greatest competitor/rival?
Knute Douglas. My first national meet (teenage nationals in 09), I competed against him and got out-totaled by somewhere around 250 pounds. I’ve always had him set as the mark to beat. I haven’t been successful yet…
23. What is your greatest memory from competing?
Collegiates 2010 was my last meet as a teen. There were 44 kids just at my weight class. It was the first time I squatted over 6, and I had to pull my last dead lift to move into 3rd place and it was just a very intense meet. Collegiates in general is always a meet to remember.
24. 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?
I would say focus on your form on the three main lifts and surround yourself with people who are much more experienced than you. Try not to get too caught up in assistance, like Wendler says “don’t major in the minors.” Also, work on your flexibility and check your diet. Lastly, don’t go too heavy too often. We only went over 600 in two workouts in this meet and I squatted 655.
25. How has powerlifting changed your life?
Powerlifting has made me both more confident and more humble at the same time if such a thing is possible. I’m more confident in the fact that I know I can achieve more than I think, as long as I put everything into it. I’m more humbled in the fact that once you’ve squatted 6, you really realize what an accomplishment it is for lifters such as Wade Hooper and Dave Ricks to squat 8. The average guy in the gym cannot even comprehend an 800 pound squat.
26. Do you stay in touch with lifters you compete against?
Yes, I have met a lot of people traveling to compete, and I stay in touch with a lot of people through facebook. I love the sense of community in powerlifting.
27. Why did you decide to compete?
I sat down one day and thought, “how can I burn a lot of money/time/effort and never get on TV for it.” Only joking none of that bothers me. I used to wrestle in high school, and when I graduated I really felt this need to do something that kept me focused and motivated.
28. What is your #1 or most prestigious meet you ever competed at in your career?
The North American Championships this july will be my most prestigious meet thus far.
29. Do you compete in any other strength sports such as Olympic lifting, strongman, highland games, etc?
30. What is your favorite memory from any powerlifting competition or event?
Probably collegiate nationals 2010 as previously mentioned.
31. Anyone you would like thank for helping you along the way in your Powerlifting career?
Sherman Ledford. I would still be a high squatting punk with a low total if he hadn’t decided to help me out. John Hyer really helped me immensely in the beginning months, and we have trained together and pushed each other ever since then. A lot of other people from quest too like Adam Reese, Doc Holloway, and Josh Rohr have done more than I can thank them for. Also my father and uncle have been to almost every meet I compete in, and for that I am beyond grateful. There’s lots of others.
32. Anything else you would like to add?
I’m honored to be lifter of the month, and I hope to continue putting up impressive totals. To all the girls who said “its me or the gym.” ….. I made the right choice.
Thank you for your time and best of luck in your upcoming powerlifting endeavors!