Interview With Powerlifter Erik Whitfield Interviewed By Ben Tatar of CriticalBench.com - May 2009
CRITICAL BENCH: Erik, introduce yourself to Critical Bench.
I was born and partially raised in Chicago. We moved around before settling in Mississippi. I've been competing for about ten years now and loving every minute of it every day.
CRITICAL BENCH: What are your best lifts? What is your height and weight?
My best lifts are 610 squat, 410 bench and 660 dead lift. My weight for those lifts was 231lbs. My current height is 5'8 and my current weight is 221 pounds.
CRITICAL BENCH: Do you have any funny stories?
When my cousin Joe and I beat an entire 12 man power lifting team at the APA state championships in 2007. What made it funny was the biggest loser on the other team, who thought his bunch was 'all that', was embarrassed because they had been beaten by two men. He retired the week after the meet, later became the owner of the gym that sponsored them and then ended up closing down the gym. All of them now know that competing in local meets doesn't mean that you are one of the best in the nation.
CRITICAL BENCH: You are now sponsored by Shawn Bud Lyte. What was that like for you?
A blast from hell. It makes what we do mean so much more than ever. I think Bud is a visionary of this sport and the ideas he has will push this sport to new heights. This sport needs someone with new ideas in order to move along the frontlines of this particular world.
CRITICAL BENCH: You have been through and have achieved a lot. Give us 10 things that you learned from the weights.
Have Patience in training and for results.
Be smart about how you train.
Mind to muscle connection.
Never worry about that you can't control.
Check your ego at the door and leave personal business outside for later.
Rest is more important than anything.
Technique and form are the foundation of the sport.
Respect for your competitors.
Be proud of who you are and share with others.
CRITICAL BENCH: How is the power lifting scene different than the body building scene? How would you compare and contrast the worlds as you have done both?
Bodybuilding is more popular and has a broad base of fans all over. Power lifting is growing all over nad is trying to gain what bodybuilding has done already. Bodybuilding is similar but the competitive aspect is far different. Most guys I know have a huge ego and think everyone should worship the ground they walk on. In power lifting from my experience the people are very humble and would do anything to help one another.
CRITICAL BENCH: Is there such a thing as being "too strong"?
Yes! What's normal to you, but shocks others to see you doing it with ease. That's too strong.
CRITICAL BENCH: Give us your bodybuilding routine and power lifting routine!
My bodybuilding routine consists of changing my workouts every week to keep my body in a state of muscle confusion. My power lifting routine changes week to week to inspire growth in strength. One day I might be doing dead lifts and plan on doing some assistant work later. The dead lifts might be going well and soon we're done, after that I might call it a day to incorporate more rest.
CRITICAL BENCH: That's cool that you combine bodybuilding with your power lifting. How do you see the futures of both bodybuilding and power lifting?
Bodybuilding has made the changes to ensure a great future and power lifting has hit a growth spurt to ensure a better future. I think power lifting needs a little more attention in some areas to ensure the future would be great for the sport.
CRITICAL BENCH: What goes on your mind before a big lift? What about on the bodybuilding stage?
Nothing but pure 100% focus. In the bodybuilding aspect, I just have fun and enjoy the moment.
CRITICAL BENCH: What sport is harder bodybuilding or power lifting would you say?
Power lifting because you have to get it right or your day is screwed. At any given time someone can kick your butt or something could go wrong to cause you to miss a big lift.
CRITICAL BENCH: What is it about the RAW power lifting that draws you in?
Raw power lifting is power lifting in its truest form. It a true test of what you can do without the use of equipment. I respect equipment lifting to the highest for the lifts that have been accomplished. Raw power lifting is the future of the sport and it feels great to be a part of the future.
CRITICAL BENCH: What is the best and worst advice someone has ever given you before?
Best advice I've gotten was to listen to your body and enjoy what you do. Worst advice was to try to be better than others.
CRITICAL BENCH: What have you achieved in power lifting that you are proud of?
I haven't achieved the ultimate goal of making this sport a household name like bodybuilding. I am proud to have met the people that I've come in contact with and the people that have benefited from us opening up to them.
CRITICAL BENCH: What have you achieved in bodybuilding that you are proud of?
Respect for the sport and the passion I've earned through experiences.
CRITICAL BENCH: I am going to name an experience for you. Tell me what it is like for you mentally---
Being on a bodybuilding stage: Fun as hell!
Being on a power lifting platform: A rush you can't imagine!
Winning a championship: One step toward immortality
The journey of lifting: Has fun and adventure each time you're on the platform or in the gym.
CRITICAL BENCH: What makes Erik different from everyone else?
My mind set in a meet and my outlook on the sport.
CRITICAL BENCH: Let's have some fun now. What are your thoughts on the following people:
The people who love what you do: Very appreciative of the love they give the sport and me.
The people who are afraid of you: Stop fearing me that takes away the fun.
The people who you light a fire in them: I love inspiring them to push forward
People who are shocked by your achievements: Well they should be because they figured by believing it
Someone who talked up a good thing but didn't have it in them to go out and achieve it: If they're shocked at those things wait till they see what I do next.
CRITICAL BENCH: What is your advice for people facing extreme adversity of any kind?
Trust God and remain positive. You must face a little adversity in order to succeed. It's not about winning or losing, it's about enduring.
CRITICAL BENCH: How do you want to be remembered?
I want to be remembered as a person that inspired others to achieve and believe.
CRITICAL BENCH: What makes you happy?
Making people smile and laugh!
CRITICAL BENCH: What are your future goals?
Help the sport gain the respect it deserves and to become a legend.
CRITICAL BENCH: What do you enjoy doing away from the gym?
Reading and giving my lady attention.
CRITICAL BENCH: How does your family respond to your lifting?
CRITICAL BENCH: Erik, it has been a pleasure. In closing who would you like to thank?
BMF SPORTS, Missy Johnson and Joe. Also all my friends for their support appreciate it all.