Interview With Bench Press Monster Barry Williams Interviewed by Mike Westerdal of CriticalBench.com - October 2007
Critical Bench: Barry, itís an honor to interview you. Start off by telling us a little bit about yourself.
Im a 37 year old barber at Cut 'N' Loose in Kernersville NC. Ive been married to my wife Tracie for 8 years along with having two kids. My daughter Miranda, and my son Logan. I do some bouncing at BIG CANS in Winston Salem a couple weekends a month.
Critical Bench: What weight class, age and feds do you compete in?
I stay at close to 198 year round regardless of how I eat or train. I started lifting in Iron Boy meets then moved on to the APF.
Critical Bench: Where do you currently train?
4 days a week Im at Gym 24/7 in Winston Salem. On Mondays I'm at AC Fitness in Greensboro doing my bench work. Some weeks it just depends on where everybody else is headed.
Critical Bench: Benching is an individual sport, but requires the help of training partners. How important do you think quality training partners are?
Here in NC we have a unique situation I think. Most of us used to train at the old East Coast BarBell a couple years ago. You had the guys from Mt. Airy, Nebo, Winston Salem, Statesville, etc.; all driving to this garage to lift together. When it closed its doors, we all started going around to the other gyms to train with one another. The shared knowledge and training techniques only made everybody better lifters.
Critical Bench: How did you get started in powerlifting?
I was lifting for fun in Eden NC when Todd Shelton (Drug free powerlifter) got me into raw benching. That was about the time we started going to ECBB. You had 4 WPO lifters there, (Chris Cooke, Travis Mash, Ox Mason, Tony Atkins) so you had to get stronger or get out.
Critical Bench: What has powerlifting taught you about life?
Not to take myself too serious. I watch too many people get too wrapped up in the sport and lose the ability to laugh at themselves.
Critical Bench: What drives or motivates you to the best lifter you can be?
I love getting stronger. Pretty simple. I don't kid myself when it comes to the sport. Guys like Frankl and Coker are the future. As long as I do what I can and help anybody that needs it I'll be happy.
Critical Bench: Does your family understand and support your training?
Tracie tries to understand it as best she can. She just doesn't care for all the time it takes away from the family. My Dad was there when I hit my first 600 bench in a meet. That meant as much to me as the trophies and awards do.
Critical Bench: What advice would you give to someone that has lifted weights in the past but wants to get involved in the sport of powerlifting?
Pick a federation YOU can lift in and be competitive. Here in NC Keith Payne made the Iron Boy drug free for that purpose. I may not have agreed with Keith in the past over things, but looking back I see what he was trying to do and agree with it.
Critical Bench: How did you feel the day you were crowned the 2007 APF Senior Nationals Champion for the 198ís?
I guess it kind of hit me later that night. Coker and his training partner Jimmy were about to lift so there wasn't really time to think about it.
Barry Williams 1st Att. 578.5 lbs @ Senior Nationals 6/15/07
Critical Bench: You have some extraordinary lifts on your resume. I know thereís a lot more left in the tank, but share with us your meet PRs to date.
I hit 611 in the Mt. Airy Barbender last year. Im just as proud of the 450 raw @ 198 I made at the 05' Iron Boy.
Critical Bench: What specifically do you attribute your success to? What does it take to accomplish what youíve done?
Friends and training partners. I'm the worlds worst for getting lazy and not wanting to lift. I get the weekly/monthly calls and E mails from Joey Smith and Mike White shaming me into the gym and getting off me ass.
Critical Bench: What kind of bench shirt do you use and why did you choose it?
Started in a Karins DD but switched over to an INZER Rage X now. When Phil Harrington was staying with me and Tracie he convinced me to try one of his Rage shirts. I was sold. Not being sponsored, I have to get the most I can out of a shirt.
Critical Bench: Are there any powerlifters that have influenced you? Do you have any lifters that you respect or look up to that youíd like to mention?
Chris Cooke lifted in a charity meet I put on for Special Olympics a couple years ago. He has no idea how much that meant. I don't do a lot of idolizing but I would say Ryan Kennelly would be the guy I look up to.
Critical Bench: Rumor has it you broke your forearm at the 2006 APF Senior Nationals and still took home a 2nd place title. Thatís unbelievable! How did you recover from such an injury?
A plate and some screws in the radial? bone were the start. A friend of mine had a BROTHER Bone Machine. Its a small ultrasound like device. I used it the whole time I was in barber school. Lots of calcium and vitamin D. The whole breaking thing sucked. I had made my opener and was going for 611 for my second lift. When Lisa Wheeler gave the press command I heard a snap on my left side. I thought the stiches had blown on my shirt. Not what I planned....
Critical Bench: Man you overcame that in a hurry, doing great now. Have you faced any other adversities in your training?
Just being lazy at times.
Critical Bench: What kind of training schedule do you follow? Do you incorporate boards, bands, chains, speed days? Whatís your favorite assistance exercise?
Heavy day on Monday with boards/chains. NO BANDS. I hate the joint pain the next day. Fri. is my speed day. I don't follow anybody elses program. I try to pick pieces from different lifters advice and use the parts I think are worth adding in to my training. I still add some bodybuilding moves in with my training. I don't see where getting a little bigger can hurt?
Barry Williams 450 RAW Bench - August 2007
Critical Bench: Do you spend a lot of money on supplements each month or do you think quality nutrition is more important?
I buy Dymatize Elite protein and Muscle Milk. A multi vitamin when I don't get enough whole food. I'll use milk thistle when needed.
Critical Bench: What do you think about the new AFPF federation? Do you feel there are too many feds or do you welcome more competition?
I can't give an honest answer because I don't have a clue about them. Bill Carpenter seems to have the best interest of the sport in mind with what he's doing right now.
Critical Bench: Outside of powerlifting what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I try to spend more time with my kids than I used to. Sunday seems to be the only day we can spend quality time together.
Critical Bench: Thank you for this interview opportunity Barry. We wish you success in all your future endeavors. God Bless.