Interview With Tampa Powerlifter Bill Beekley Interviewed by Critical Bench - December 2007
1) CRITICAL BENCH: Bill, it's an honor to interview you. Start off by telling us a little bit about yourself.
Bill Beekley: I grew up in Tampa, Florida playing baseball and football in youth leagues and high school. I wanted desperately to play college football but my position was offensive line and I was small. That was really when I began weight training to play football in college and in 1977 I achieved that goal by playing for "tiny" Missouri Valley College. I had to train hard to get as strong as I could to play against the larger athletes. Upon returning to Tampa with no more football I trained even more intensely. Then a friend took me to watch a local powerlifting contest and there was a childhood friend that I had not seen for a few years competing in this contest. That friend was Tony Conyers. A year later I entered that contest and have competed ever since. That was 1981.
2) CRITICAL BENCH: What federation do you compete in and what federation do you like to compete in the most?
Bill Beekley: I love the sport so I compete in whatever federation has a contest that fits into my team's ability to get there. Since 2003 I have competed in the APF, USPF, USAPL and 100% raw. I am really not a big fan of the supportive equipment for myself so even in the last few APF meets I have not worn any equipment. I am really impressed with the people in the 100% raw federation and their approach to the sport but there are impressive people in all of the federations from Kieran Kidder in the APF to Rob Keller in the USAPL to Dave Jeffries and Buddy Duke in the USPF and Paul Bossi and Spero Tsontikidis in 100% raw. I have deep respect for all of these men and admire their efforts.
3) CRITICAL BENCH: What has kept you in the sport of powerlifting for so long and what would you like to tell others is the key to longevity in the sport?
Bill Beekley: If you have a competitive spirit and give this sport a try it will grab you and take you for the ride of your life. I love the constant mental and physical challenges the sport provides. One thing that struck me early on was the sort of people who seem to congregate at these things. Wonderful people with genuine sportsmanship. It was the first sport I think I ever competed in where it was not uncommon to see competitors encouraging those they were competing against. You still see a lot of this going on as I think it should be. As Beau Moore has stated over and over "there is no defense in Powerlifting."
4) CRITICAL BENCH: What are the most important lessons that powerlifting has taught you?
Bill Beekley: Powerlifting has taught me to persevere, maintain a positive attitude and to push on through injuries and rough times. It teaches me teamwork as most of you know it is very difficult to compete in this sport by yourself. It has taught me the value of good friends as well. I have been blessed to train with some of the greatest lifters of all time. Ed Gillie, Tony Conyers, Beau Moore, Hennis Washington and many National and World champions like James Jacobs, Jay Sutherland, Joe Bell and Tim Burns.
5) CRITICAL BENCH: What has been your favorite, funniest, craziest and scariest moment in powerlifting so far in your long and luxurious powerlifting career?
Bill Beekley: My favorite moment in Powerlifting would be a tie between the 2004 and 2005 Arnold Classic. In '04 Tony Conyer's 832 pound squat at 165 and the following year as Beau Moore squatted a then World record of 1126 at SHW. Nothing can be funnier than training with Tim Burns, Beau Moore and Chuch Houdup on Saturday mornings in Chuck's garage. The good hearted humor flies around freely and guarantees a "gut laugh" almost every weekend. Scariest may have been seeing one of my Idols (Ed Coan) tear his patella tendon at the Mountaneer cup.The craziest and maybe most gratifying may have been traveling the country with Tony Conyers in 1996 when he one at a time mowed down all of the senior Nationals in almost every federation. He won the Usapl, Apf , NASA and USPF master nationals all in the same year. Falling short and taking second at the USPF mainly because he failed to make weight and had to compete at 150 against a full 165 Dan Austin who also happens to be one of the Greatest 165ers of all time. That year was crazy.
6) CRITICAL BENCH: I'm going name some of your training partners and tell me what comes to mind.
Ed Gillie- Ed Gillie was the "pioneer" of powerlifting in Florida and a GREAT competitor.
Tony Conyers-.Tony Conyers is one of the greatest lifters of all times and an even greater person.
Beau Moore- Beau Moore is the most intense lifter I have ever seen, also one of the all time greats and the ultimate training partner.
Hennis Washington- .Hennis Washington is a genuine student of the game who is knowledgeable in all facets of training.
James Jacobs- James Jacobs is a genetically gifted and hard working lifter who can hang with the best of them.
Jay Sutherland- Jay Sutherland was a great 132 pounder who just kept working hard and getting better.
Joe Bell- Joe Bell is a very strong 220 pounder AAU national champion and a great father to a wonderful family.
Tim Burns- Tim Burns is another hard working lifter who keeps getting better and better and should total 1600 raw very soon.
7) CRITICAL BENCH: How do you see the future of powerlifting? Do you ever think powerlifting will be mainstream and what do you think the future of RAW and gear powerlifting will be like?
Bill Beekley: I think that with the increased awareness of the benefits of strength training and the obvious need for enjoyable avenues of exercise that powerlifting may continue to gain popularity. I also think that with the fine work of some of the great organizations out there these days the number of competitors will continue to grow. I am a bit concerned about some of the equipment that is being used. If nothing else for the safety of the lifters some restrictions should be implemented. I have personally witnessed some very close call mostly with bench shirts where lifters have nearly decapitated themselves. I personally like the raw competitions and believe that is the future of the sport and the best chance for "mainstream" acceptance.
8) CRITICAL BENCH: What are your future goals?
Bill Beekley: My future goals are to squat 600 pounds raw and bench 400 raw and to compete into my 60's and maybe even my 70's like one of my powerlifting idols, the great Bill Remley.
9) CRITICAL BENCH: Where do you currently train and what is it like?
Bill Beekley: I train in my garage during the week and in Beau Moore's garage on Saturday.The intensity goes up several notches in Beau's garage but we do ok at my place as well.
10) CRITICAL BENCH: Give us your training routine!
Bill Beekley: We train our bench on Monday evenings with most of the assistance work. On Wednesday evenings we train Deadlifts on Wednesday evenings with assistance work as well. On Saturday mornings we train the squat heavy and do some bench presses and speed deadlifts.
11) CRITICAL BENCH: What's your diet and supplementation like?
12) CRITICAL BENCH: What is your advice for all the bench pressers out there?
Bill Beekley: My advice would be the same to all. Persevere, never give up and train the brain first then the body. One of my first coaches in this sport told me that success in this sport takes only two things: HARD WORK and TIME!!
13) CRITICAL BENCH: What was the best and worst advice you were ever told?
Bill Beekley: The best advice would have to be a tie between Tony Conyers who always reminds me to listen to my body and Beau Moore who says "train the brain and the body will go insane !!!" The worst advice had to be from one of my early coaches whose name I will leave out who said that beer was a great source for carbohydrates!
14) CRITICAL BENCH: What assistance exercises do you feel are the most important for improving ones squat, bench and deadlift?
Bill Beekley: I think the Squat IS the BEST assistance exercise for improving the squat. I like dips for the bench press and a combination of stiff legged deadlifts and box squats for the pull.
15) CRITICAL BENCH: What would you like to see change in powerlifting?
Bill Beekley: What I would like to see change in powerlifting is what most of us would like which is greater cooperation among the many lifting organizations.
CRITICAL BENCH: We hope so too. Well, Bill it was great speaking to you today. You have definitely left your mark on the sport of powerlifting. God Bless and we wish you all the best with everything.