Mark Freeman Interview
September 2012 - Mark Freeman
1. 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 Mark Freeman, I’m 27 and a graduate student at the University of Georgia. I am originally from Warner Robins, Ga but have been living in Athens, Ga for about six years. I’m currently head coach / president of the University of Georgia Powerlifting Club.
2. Where are you located in Georgia and where do you train at?
I’m located in Athens, Ga and split my training between Classic City Strongman Club here in Athens and Quest Gym in Duluth. I typically try to get to Quest Gym to train once a week or so (usually my squat day) with my training partners there when I’m preparing for an upcoming meet.
3. What are your hobbies (other than powerlifting)?
Anything UGA football related. I try to go to all the games that I can.
4. What is something that most people don’t know about you?
As a kid I grew up in Saudi Arabia while my dad was a contractor and worked on the Saudi airforce’s airplanes.
5. What is your occupation? Does it interfere with competing or visa versa?
I’m a graduate student and teach a lab in Soils and Hydrology. No.
6. How did you get into powerlifting and how many years have you been competing?
I was pretty much a “bench bro” until a few years ago. I saw a flyer in my local gym back in 2007 for Buddy Duke’s annual meet down in Adel, Ga and was hooked from there. I competed in bench only for the first couple years until I came to my senses and started competing full power.
7. What are your biggest squat, bench press, deadlift and total numbers?
In the USAPL my best squat is 672 lbs. Best bench is 457 lbs and Best deadlift I’m not going there….. I have pulled 600 but it was with a deadlift bar in a different federation but I plan on surpassing that this year at either USAPL Georgia State meet, or the American Open in December.
8. What titles, records and achievements have you accumulated during your powerlifting career?
My biggest accomplishment is probably starting the UGA Powerlifting Club from scratch with one of my training partners and friend Brooks Conway. It was a long and frustrating road for us to become a club team at the University but defian
tly worth it. I really enjoy coaching the new lifters and helping the new lifters at all the meets we’ve been to.
9. Can you describe your training philosophy and/or a typical training session?
It’s pretty basic. I like to do a lot of 5 rep sets and closer to a meet I’ll start doing some triples and doubles. I try to train 4 times a week. I try to squat and bench twice a week with one of those days being lighter and deadlift only once per week.
10. 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?
I compete both equipped and unequipped. I like them both equally but have done more equipped meets. I compete in the 220 lb weigh class and would like to move down to the 205 weight class at the national meets.
11. What is your favorite lift, squat or bench press or deadlift or all three and why?
I really like squatting. I probably like it best because it’s my best lift.
12. Who do you think is the greatest lifter of all time?
13. When was your last competition & how did it go?
My last meet was The Battle on The Border in Charlotte, NC. I won a deep 220 lb raw class going 9/9 against some really strong lifters.
14. Do you have any upcoming competitions? If so, when and where?
I’m doing the USAPL Georgia State meet Oct 6th in Warner Robins, Ga and the USAPL American Open Dec. 1st in Atlanta, Ga. The Georgia State meet is in my hometown so my family will be able to watch me lift for the first time.
15. How do you prepare for an upcoming competition? Describe each aspect that you focus on as you prepare for a competition.
I don’t really have anything I do for every meet. I just make sure I’m comfortable with my openers and I’m confident going into the meet. I may have to watch my food intake a little bit to make sure I make weight but usually I don’t really change anything.
16. Is there anything you will do differently to prepare for your next competition that is different from your last one?
I’ve been focusing more on my deadlift for this year’s competitions. I’ve also done a lot more equipped lifting in the off-season.
17. How many competitions do you compete in each year?
3-4 per year is what I’ve done the last few years.
18. Who is your greatest competitor/rival and why?
Dale Mclaren and Dave Mathewson. All three of us have battled before and I really like competing against these guys. Dale’s a good all around lifter and Dave has a gigantic bench. If Josh Rohr learns to eat enough food he’ll join us in this 220 Georgia group too. I look forward to all of us competing against each other for the next few years.
19. 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 always stress form when teaching a new lifter. I’m kind of anal about that stuff and they probably get annoyed with me a good bit. The best advice I’ve ever gotten was to always “be aggressive!” A few people reading this will know exactly who gave me that advice.
20. How has powerlifting changed your life?
Most of my good friends are powerlifters. I’m not entirely sure if that’s a positive thing or a negative thing though.
21. Do you stay in touch with lifters you compete against?
Yeah I try to stay in touch with people mostly on Facebook.
22. What is your #1 or most prestigious meet you ever competed at in your career?
I haven’t done any national meets yet so I guess I have to say the 2011 Georgia State meet. That was the funnest meet I’ve ever been in.
23. Do you compete in any other strength sports such as Olympic lifting, strongman, highland games, etc?
No. I train with guys that compete in strongman and I’m open to maybe doing a strongman event after I accomplish some goals I have for myself in powerlifting. I really like watching the Olympic lifting but I’m too old to get involved with that now.
24. What is your favorite memory from any powerlifting competition or event?
Watching Big Blain Sumner squat over a grand at Men’s Nationals this past summer.
25. Do you see yourself still competing in ten years? If so, what are your goals for ten years from now?
Absolutely. Powerlifting is something I plan on doing well into the Masters 2 category. That will be my best shot at IPF Worlds. Master Worlds 2045 here I come.
26. Anyone you would like thank for helping you along the way in your Powerlifting career?
All my training partners: Brooks Conway, Ray Koons, John Hyer, Jared Slack, Arturo Perez, Josh Rohr, Kevin Eubanks, Old Man Murrell and everyone on the UGA Powerlifting team. Also, Dale Mclaren and Dave Mathewson for pushing me to get better. And anyone else I forgot to mention.
Also people who have helped out with my lifting throughout the years: Sherman Ledford, Steve Goggins, Doc Holloway, Ron Fuller, and Matt Christie.
Also Jeff Robison for squatting something huge the first time I walked in the gym and made me want to be exactly like him.
27. Is there anything else you would like to add?
I’d like to thank my wonderful girlfriend for putting up with me talking about powerlifting literally all the time and coming to all my meets and being my biggest fan. She’s also the best one person film crew any powerlifter could ever ask for.
Thank you for your time and best of luck in your upcoming powerlifting endeavors!