Q: Hey Spenser, thanks for giving us some of your free time to catch up! First off, we know this year has been quite busy for you with powerlifting, Strongman and getting married! Want to give us a quick update on what’s been going on?
SR: You are right, this year has been wild! My wife Amber and I got married in May, and time has just flown by since then. This year I have done a powerlifting meet, and am preparing for my 2nd strongman competition of the year.
Q: What competition is next on the agenda?
SR: The next contest I will be doing will be the Suppz Midwest Strength Series, which is in Eau Claire, Wisconsin on October 8th.
Q: How have you been training to get ready for that?
SR: Training for this contest has been tricky, but luckily I have been working with Mike Westerling on my programming since early May. He is without a doubt the top resource in the country for any sort of strength athletics programming. This particular contest features an odd object press that is in a last man standing format, a tire flip medley, farmers walk medley, car deadlift, and truck pull. I have been doing a lot of medley work, and the best part of those training sessions is when they are over (of course). I have also been doing a lot of circus dumbbell pressing, which is largely featured in that particular press event.
Q: Saw you hit a 1,000 lb. trap bar deadlift at 17”, how did that feel? And is this a movement you have in your training frequently?
SR: I have been doing this movement more frequently the past few months, since it is a good way to simulate a side handle car deadlift. That particular lift actually felt awesome! I was programmed to take 90 lb. jumps up to a 1 rep max that day. Coincidentally, 910 lbs. was one of those reps, so I knew that if 910 came off the blocks, I had no choice but to hit 1,000 lbs. I don’t necessarily want to do it again anytime soon, but it moved faster than I anticipated, and gave me a ton of confidence heading into what will definitely be a heavy car deadlift.
Q: I know your wife comes from a CrossFit background, do you think that has influenced your training perspective at all? If so, how?
SR: It definitely has. Her biggest influence on me has come from how detail oriented she is with her training, as well as nutrition. I’m nowhere near her level as far as being detail oriented, but I’m trying my best to catch up! She is very good with understanding biomechanics, and is great with coaching cues to help me out. This is an area where my business education is not so beneficial, while her exercise science background is awesome to have in a wife/training partner.
Q: As a Pro Strongman do you have a specific nutrition plan you follow?
SR: About a year ago, I started following a Renaissance Periodization diet that definitely helped my body composition. I have essentially been following a maintenance plan in order to keep that same composition, which I feel strong and efficient at. It essentially calls for a hand full of greens, 8 ounces of lean protein, 2 servings of fat, and 50-100 grams of carbs per meal, depending on what time of day my training takes place.
Q: Do you have any supplements that are key in aiding your intense, heavy training?
SR: I take the standard protein and creatine post training, but HMB and BetaTOR are 2 things that I never miss. Utilizing HMB and BetaTOR have been essential to my recovery over the past year, especially now that I’m competing at the professional level. I simply don’t think that my training would be nearly as beneficial without them.
Q: I know you’ve dabbled in a lot of different sports that are power and strength based, why do you think you’ve gravitated towards Strongman now?
SR: I think I’ve always gravitated more heavily towards strongman because it is an equal showcase of both strength and athleticism. Squatting, benching, and deadlifting have their place, but there’s no better feeling than running with 900 lbs. on your back, or taking a 400 lb. implement from the ground to over your head. Plus, what other sport involves pulling semi trucks?
Q: What’s your favorite event in Strongman? Why?
SR: My favorite strongman event to train is the log press, because it’s a new challenge every time you train it. It takes a lot of body control, as well as understanding your overall body readiness to have a good log press training session. My favorite event to compete in is the farmer’s walk; because the only people who have ever beaten me in a farmer’s walk in a competition have gone on to compete at World’s Strongest Man.
Q: Any advice for newbies that would like to get into the sport of Strongman?
SR: I would say to not get frustrated with plateaus, because after you train for a year or so that will happen regardless. It took me almost 4 years to go from deadlifting 700 to deadlifting 800 lbs. There were definitely bad weeks and months within those 4 years, but I never lost sight of the goal. As humans, we are given a short time to be in our physical prime, so don’t give up on your goals in strongman (or any strength sport) because you are frustrated. We will all be old someday, so why not look back at yourself and say “I did some things that humans shouldn’t be able to do.”
Q: Any shout outs or thoughts you would like to leave us with?
SR: I definitely have to give a ton of credit to my wife Amber. She is extremely supportive, but also knows when to tell me to get myself in check, and is the best training partner (and everything partner) I could ask for. I also can’t thank my family enough for all their support over the years, even when they had to deal with my attitudes leading up to competitions, which didn’t always make me the most fun person to be around. I also would like to thank Mike Westerling for being a game changer for me as well as Ken McClelland and the Anvil Gym crew for letting me be a part of their training team (even though I have a tendency to break things in their gym). Jon Haugen for providing a great facility and Lee Schroeder for being a great training partner and awesome supporter.