Interview with Big Clay Brandenburg by Ben Tatar, CriticalBench.com
1) Critical Bench: Tell us about yourself?
Clay: I am 5'11, 406 lbs, 31 yrs old, I live in Detroit, MI and I
train at my gym, Detroit Barbell in Brownstown, MI. My two favorite things to do besides lifting, is watching football and playing poker with my buddies.
2) Critical Bench: Clay, you are probably the strongest man of all time with dumbbells and in powerlifting. What is your biggest bench press and assistance exercise maxes?
Clay: my biggest meet bench press was at the Arnold classic in
2005 which was 821. My biggest gym bench off my chest is 875. I
have done 900+ off of a 1 board several times in training. But
people say my most impressive gym lift is me doing a set of 8 pull
ups. People are more impressed with that than any other exercise I
have ever done.
3) Critical Bench: Tell us about Detroit Barbell? How did it all start. (give us the
Clay: I was going to move to Columbus, to train with George Halbert and Paul Key
at Westside barbell, but I realized that a lot of people count on me
to help them with their training. So I decided to go on my own and
open up Detroit barbell with my training partner JJ Thomas. Detroit
barbell is basically like the Westside barbell of the north. it is
modeled and set up exactly like Westside and we also use their
methods. We started with 13 members and now we have over 40. We
won the apf senior national championship in June of 2005. I didn't
know that coaching could be so rewarding, I get more out of coaching
than I do my own lifting. IT HAS BEEN A DREAM COME TRUE. I would
personally like to thank my original members that took a chance
with me: john zemmin, doug carroll, rob fuch, shelly pier, and beth
4) Critical Bench: Tell us your whole training routine.
Clay: Sunday is max effort bench, shirt work, raw board work, and
heavy dumbbell work. Tuesday is legs. Wednesday is speed bench,
heavy tris, floor presses, and shoulder work. Friday is heavy
upper back and rear delts, rack pulls, pull ups, seated rows, and
light bi work.
5) Critical Bench: What is your daily diet? Tell us what you eat from the time you
wake up, to the time you go to bed? (We know you love steaks)
Clay: I have changed my diet a lot the last couple of years and
have really put a focus on nutrition. I start my day off with 80
grams of protein, oatmeal, and a couple pieces of fruit. 2 hrs
later I will have a protein bar. 2 hrs after that I will have steak,
eggs, and pancakes. 2 hrs later I will have a protein shake,
oatmeal, and 2 pieces of fruit ( that is preworkout). Post workout
I will have 80 grams of protein and some simple sugar. 1 hour later
I will have dinner which usually consists of a steak, chicken,
spaghetti, burger king, taco bell, what ever I want for dinner that
night. I conclude my night by having a protein shake before I go to
bed. Everyday I consume at least some sort of chocolate, slurpies 2x
a week, 1 glass of sprite a day, and LOTS of nighttime snacks. LOL
6) Critical Bench: You have competed in a couple of Arnold Classics? In fact you
were the favorite to go all the way in the first one that you
entered and everyone was behind you. What were the Arnold classic
experiences like for you?
Clay: besides the warm-up room disaster, there is no feeling that
could compare to benching in front of that crowd against the best
lifters the world has to offer. It is by far the greatest lifting
experience I have ever had.
7) Critical Bench: Before anyone benched 800 you had it to lockout a couple of
times. At that time people would have thought of you as one of the
biggest and strongest bench pressers on the planet. What 5 bench
press factors do you contribute your success to?
Clay: thank you. I really didn't realize what I was about to
accomplish until 2 yrs later when I finally hit 800+. I got set
back by some injuries and it has been a long road to get back to the
top of my game.
Bench press factors: 1) heart, 2) dedication, 3) god's gift of
strength, 4) shelly pier my girlfriend and JJ Thomas my training
partner and hand off man, without great support there can't be great
success, 5) Louie Simmons.
8) Critical Bench: You still are an 800+ bencher and at the top. What are your
future goals? What does the monster big Clay have on his mind for
the future of your life and bench press career?
Clay: my goal is to just keep improving, and as long as I do my
best. I could give a f!#k less about what anyone else is doing.
People think that you compete against other people but you are
always your biggest opponent. Lift for yourself and have fun. As far
as my life goal, I just want to make Detroit barbell as successful
as I can and keep coaching. I will always keep coaching because
that is the one thing I love to do the most.
9) Critical Bench: We haven't seen you at the forums as much as we did three years
ago. What is new in the life of Big Clay?
Clay: I have been spending a lot of time in the gym training people
and I don't have as much spare time. But I still do get on there
and read the latest.
10) Critical Bench: Let's have some fun. I'm going to name a concept and tell me what you think.
1) Bench the WPO Record-
Clay: this is my only goal right now because this is what I am training
2) Bench a raw world record-
Clay: maybe someday, but for now I am focused on my shirt bench.
But, I am a firm believer in a solid raw foundation.
3) Become a movie star-
Clay: not interested, the extra 10 lbs the camera puts on me. It would
make me look fat lolololo!!!!!!!!!!
4) Win a billion dollars-
Clay: money doesn't mean shit to me, I am happy with what I am doing.
5) Have a son who benches a world record-
Clay: this one would be the most rewarding but because of my selfish
ways and the things I do this may never happen.
6) Fat kids in schools are no longer discriminated against-
Clay: the fat kids need to be picked on that is what gives them the
inner desire and strength to work harder and accomplish things in life.
7) Your gym becomes huge-
Clay: my gym is HUGE. We might not have the greatest talent, or
the most members, but we are all family and that is all that matters.
8) You Are The Main Event at Wrestle Mania-
Clay: I am a huge Hulk Hogan fan and have always wanted to be a
professional wrestler, but I can't hardly move after a heavy bench
workout, so I can't imagine how beat up I would feel after being
thrown around the ring all day. but it does sound like fun.
9) A new technology device comes out where you can enjoy the
pleasures of bench pressing and eating steak at the same time-
Clay: I think sex and benching would be more fun.
10) you become the most loved man on the planet-
Clay: you mean I'm not already?
11) In order of importance which is the 5 most important in order our of being in the main event at wrestle mania, having a son benching a world record, your gym being bigger than ever, and you benching a WPO record?
1) have a son who benches a world record
2) bench a WPO world record
3) my gym become huge
4) bench a raw world record
What are your final words for everyone reading your interview?
Clay: first, i would like to thank all of my fans who have been supportive of my career and not given up on me. i would also like to thank my family and my wonderful girlfriend, shelly, for dealing with me when i am getting ready for meets. also much thanks goes out to my training partners jj thomas and rob fuch for being there every step of the way. to all of those doubters out there, just keep doubting, because thats what fuels my fire, and i am far from done yet!!!! my thanks goes out to critical bench for giving me the opportunity to do this interview.and finally without these great SPONSORS there would be no big clay.JOHN INZER FOR THE WORLDS GREATEST GEAR,PROSPERITY NUTRITION FOR THERE GREAT PROTIEN POWDER,POWER NUTRITION FOR HELPING IN ALL AREAS. THESE PEOPLE ARE ALL CLASS AND I AM PROUD TO BE INVOLVED WITH THEM ON ALL LEVELS.