Interview With Eugene "Mean Gene" Fair Of Tampa Barbell Interviewed By Ben Tatar of CriticalBench.com - July 2008
Gene Totaled Elite At His First Powerlifting Meet!
CRITICAL BENCH: Eugene, welcome to Critical Bench! It is great to have such an inspiring and elite powerlifter with us today! Tell us about yourself!
Eugene Fair: My name is Eugene Fair, I am 28 years old and I now reside in Tampa Fl. I have been married to my wife Ebon'e for 4 years now and loving every day of it. I have been in the military for over 7 years now and work as a Network Technician for the Defense Intelligence Agency, recently back from a tour in Baghdad, Iraq this past year. I have been weight training since the age of 14 and as always, looking forward to hitting new levels in my lifting.
I currently train at Tampa Barbell and I must say I have learned a lot, starting the first day I walked through the door. There are a great group of guys there that really care about the team as a whole and seeing everyone succeed. In my short time of power lifting I have met some truly inspirational lifters and seen some pretty amazing weight being lifted including a 1100+ squat and 800+ bench.
CRITICAL BENCH: Wow, you have a great job, fought in a war, found true love and totaled elite in powerlifting! Very impressive resume. You're a man of honor. Now that you have totaled elite, break it down for all the readers. What kind of goals do you have for the bench now compared to when you were a 300 pound bencher?
Eugene Fair: Before I came to Tampa Barbell I never thought I would be so close to benching 600. 300 was a milestone for me and when I hit 500 I was like ok let's just see how far this will go. I have really high goals for the bench now and I'm excited to see what I will bench a year from now.
CRITICAL BENCH: There have been amazing things that have happened at Tampa Barbell. Mike Schwanke broke the all time 220 pound total record and there are a handful of guys benching over 600. For you, what has it been like training at Tampa Barbell?
Eugene Fair: It's great man I wouldn't want to train anywhere else. The motivation of my teammates and the strive of the team as a whole is something that I always wanted to experience and be a part of.
CRITICAL BENCH: What have you learned training at Tampa Barbell?
Eugene Fair: Everything literally, when I first started training there I only knew my way of lifting and I had to change everything so my form was completely thrown off and had to learn a new way of lifting but caught on very quick.
Gene Deadlifting 644 At His First Meet
CRITICAL BENCH: Caught on quick you did. It seems that atmosphere now-a-days is the most important factor to getting stronger because all the best guys for the most part train at the same places and then the motivation and achievements follow. Eugene, how did it feel to total elite at your first meet?
Eugene Fair: It was awesome man, that was my goal to make Elite at my very first meet and I did it and even though my bench was not what I wanted I am very proud of that meet and my total.
CRITICAL BENCH: I heard you had a shoulder injury. How did you overcome that and STILL total elite?
Eugene Fair: Well actually I still have the injury I just try to work around it; luckily I didn't have any problems out of it the day of the meet. However it did affect my training cycle leading up to the meet, my numbers dropped a bit. During the training cycle before I hurt my shoulder I had hit 545 straight weight and 585 with bands so I dropped a little but plan to have it back by my next meet.
CRITICAL BENCH: Before you made it to elite you had to surpass many exciting bench press mile stones along the way. Tell us a story about how you trained for each of the following benches and what it was like hitting each mile stone...
225- Came real easy for me and quick. Just a couple of months after I first started working out In high school getting ready for football I hit 225 and it started moving from there.
315- Benching twice a week one light day and one heavy day with a lot of heavy tricep workouts 315 came and I was excited about it now I can finally see 3 plates, lol.
365- After hitting 315 using the same routines, 365 came not to long after and my bench was beginning to really take off.
405- Was really my shocking point and a big accomplishment for me because this was my goal through all my training was to hit 4 plates, all these accomplishments were done raw up to 425.
500- I hit at Tampa Barbell and really opened my eyes to all new potential in myself and made me realize I need to set higher goals and so off to the road for 600.
CRITICAL BENCH: Eugene, What bench shirt do you use and how is it different compared to the old ones you used to use?
Eugene Fair: I use the Metal bench shirt and that is the only shirt that I have ever used but I'm now switching to the RageX.
CRITICAL BENCH: How do you like using the squat and deadlift suits?
Eugene Fair: I actually love using the squat and deadlift suit. Being new to the sport of power lifting I have to say when I first tried the suits on it was a struggle for me to get the right form but with the expert advice of my team it turned around very quickly.
CRITICAL BENCH: You totaled ELITE after only 6 months! After only 6 months! You are now a power lifting PRO and you are just getting started! What is that like?
Eugene Fair: Man I tell you it was very exciting for me. I have only been power lifting for 6 months now and to make Elite at my very first meet, it's a dream come true.
CRITICAL BENCH: What is it like training with your power lifting team from Tampa Barbell?
Eugene Fair: Training at Tampa Barbell has been the greatest benefit for me since I started weight training. I have been weight training since I was 14 and I always had a problem with finding motivated people that would stick to the training cycle and stay committed to even coming to the gym. At Tampa Barbell everyone is not only focused on themselves but the team as well, to me teamwork means everything.
CRITICAL BENCH: Away from your team who supports you and tell us about them!
Eugene Fair: Well Ben, hands down that would have to be my wife Ebon'e. She is my biggest fan and she believes in me when no one else does. I always write out my goals and post them on my refrigerator and she would often write little inspirational notes beside them, little things like that motivate me and make me feel that I can do it. She supports me in everything I do.
CRITICAL BENCH: That must make your powerlifting success even more meaningful since you get to share it with someone so precious to you. What has it been like training and knowing Mike Schwanke?
Eugene Fair: Training with Mike has truly been an inspiration to me. Not only is he strong but he is very knowledgeable about the sport and doesn't mind helping and sharing information that will help the next man reach their goals.
CRITICAL BENCH: Have you always trained at powerlifting gyms? How would you compare the powerlifting gym to the fitness centers that you have trained at in the past?
Eugene Fair: No, when I joined Tampa Barbell in December of 2007 was the first time I had ever stepped foot into a power lifting gym. Fitness centers in my opinion are ok but I don't have time to work out with someone that is worried about how pretty they look and looking around to see how many people are looking at them. Looks will not get me the total that I want, and the atmosphere is just different. Power lifting gyms most of the lifters are focused and know what they came in to do and get the job done, that's what I like.
CRITICAL BENCH: What are your favorite assistance exercises?
Eugene Fair: Right now I don't know if I have a favorite, I'm still trying master my form and technique on a lot of things but it's all moving along quiet well right now. I do love the barbell shoulder shrugs and bent over barbell rows.
Eugene Fair - NGBB Meet 661lbs Deadlift
CRITICAL BENCH: What do you think the bench record shirt and raw will be in 50 years from now?
Eugene Fair: You know, I wouldn't be surprised to see a 1500 shirt bench and a 1000 raw; then again it might not take 50 years for that to happen.
CRITICAL BENCH: I don't know! 800lbs use to be the magical barrier that couldn't be broken without controversy and now we have guys like Kennelly attempting over 1200lbs in bench meets! Who knows! Like they say about truth, First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. I think your guess might be better than the conservative guesses we have had as powerlifting is an extreme sport that is nothing but risk and progression anyways. EUGENE, how has your gym and team changed your perspective on lifting?
Eugene Fair: I always knew I had great potential but no one to push me and work with me to get to where I wanted to be. Working with my team has really boosted my confidence level and giving me a chance to push myself to reach high goals. Also, I can be there for them as much as they are there for me.
CRITICAL BENCH: Where does your motivation come from to just keep stepping under heavier and heavier weights and never settle?
Eugene Fair: It's funny you should ask that. My motivation comes from personal goals but mostly from people doubting me and telling me that I can't do something. Yeah, I love haters I think everyone should have at least 5 it does great things for your lifts hahaha. You know coming into this meet someone told me, this is your first meet don't try anything crazy just go in just to put some numbers on the board, talk about motivation it helped me make Elite.
CRITICAL BENCH: "Hahaha, don't try anything crazy, haha!" What is your advice for all the benchers out there who would like to get stronger?
Eugene Fair: Stay motivated, work with people that want it as much as you do, use the right equipment that works best for you and rest, rest, rest and never give up.
Hyper Gain is the creatine that I have been looking for, I really feel the effects of its ingredients. Taking Hyper Gain I have experienced increased muscle size and strenght.
Using Jacked Up I experienced increased workout intensity and a noticeable increase in muscle mass. The increased testosterone levels are crazy, I love this product.
CRITICAL BENCH: What is the best and worst advice you were ever told?
Eugene Fair: I think the best advice that was ever told to me was to never doubt myself, think positive in every situation, and never give up work hard for what you want in life.
Looking back the worst advice was to not take any supplements, now that I am it has made a world of difference.
CRITICAL BENCH: Out of looks, health, toughness, and strength what is the most important to you in what order and why?
Eugene Fair: First would have to be health because without it I would not be able to reach my future squat of 1000, I see you Mike, lol.
Second would have to be strength because even I'm curious as to how strong I can get.
Then toughness because I think that everyone that is involved in this sport should have a little toughness in them.
Looks would have to be last because I'm not doing this for looks but I do like the changes I have experienced in the last 6 months as far as muscle tone and size.
CRITICAL BENCH: Good answer. Give us your training routine and diet!
Eugene Fair: Right now I train 4 days a week, 3 power lifting 1 bodybuilding.
Monday - light work - bodybuilding
Tuesday - Deadlift and back
Thursday - Max Effort Bench
Saturday - Max Effort Squat
Right now my diet isn't what it should be, that seems to be my weakness not eating right, I have to work on that.
CRITICAL BENCH: What do you like to do during your free time?
Eugene Fair: Spending time with my wife, site seeing, fishing and enjoying the outdoors, getting a massage, and resting.
CRITICAL BENCH: How do you want to be remembered?
Eugene Fair: As a God fearing man that believe in family bonding, fun and outgoing and one strong son of a gun.
Gene Serving in Iraq
CRITICAL BENCH: Awesome Eugene, you're very rounded. It has been great talking to you here today. I just can't wait to see what you have in store NEXT!
Take it easy Eugene, you're too new to the sport! Haha, j/k! You have had one of the most impressive powerlifters debut's. Everyone watch out for Eugene Fair because he is on fire! In closing is there anyone who you would like to thank?
Eugene Fair: First I want to thank God for giving me the ability to do what I do, my wife for being there and supporting me in everything I do. Tommy Fannon for allowing me the opportunity to train at Tampa Barbell and the whole Tampa Barbell crew for being the awesome team that you are, it has been an honor working with each and every one of you. Mike Westerdal of CriticalBench.com and yourself for taking the time to interview me and post my story.