Weight Lifting, Weight Training, Bench Press & Bodybuilding
June 4, 2023
Interview with Leon Josaitis of Hardcorepowerlifting.com
by Ben Tatar of CriticalBench.com

Leon Josaitis 1) Critical Bench: Hi Leon, welcome to www.criticalbench.com. Tell us about yourself.

Leon: My name is Leon Josaitis. I'm 23 and I'm a lightweight powerlifter. My feet look like Frodo's.

2) Critical Bench: Leon , why did you choose to compete at 148 and 165 in powerlifting instead of in a heavier weight class?

Leon: I'm 5 fricken 4 man , what do you want me to weigh? Haha I just don't weigh that much. Like even when I'm pretty fat I don't get above 175, so it'd be pretty pointless to move up at all.

3) Critical Bench: Being a competitive powerlifter tell us the most weight that you have ever squatted, benched and deadlifted in competition? Tell us about the journey from starting at the bottom and then climbing the powerlifting ladder?

Leon: In competition my best lifts are 625/480/501 all at 165. I can squat a whole lot more but I always screw something up, which I guess shows my immaturity in the sport. Almost 3 years ago, I bought a membership to 24 hour fitness. I got myself a couple flex magazines or something and started trying to grow. Before lifting weights I was like 120 pounds. Then I got fat and was like almost 150. Then I was convinced by bodybuilding magazines that I should eat like 29309032 calories a day to "bulk up." So I did that, and I was a beefcake like Cartman from South Park at 174. Then I dieted back down to 140 and looked the same as before. Needless to say I thought that was a bunch of crap. At this point I met Levi the magical Liger (one of my training partners) and Sean Katterle (my business partner). They handed me some boards and convinced me to start powerlifting. From there I've met a ton of great people in the sport, all of whom have helped me. Most notably, benching with the Kennelly Power Team! The Kennelly Power Team taught me how to use bench shirts and lifting! I also learned powerlifting from Brent Mikesell and the rest of the Iron Gladiators team.

Leon Josaitis 4) Critical Bench: Tell us about your training routine, diet, and supplementation?

Leon: I do a ton of work usually. I don't really use percentages or progressions or anything that, I just mostly go to the gym. Ashley from our team always says it's not what you do but how you do it. Well I do it fierce. Right now my routine is like this like this:

MONDAY Bench day- I bench 8 sets of 3 or 5 reps. Then I use boards or floor presses (4-5 sets of 3 or 5 reps. I do more if I'm doing multiple board heights). Then Decline. Then a ton of tricep stuff for assistance. I usually do a bunch of assistance stuff in 8 rep supersets at the end of the powerlifting-type workout just for blood to swish around! This is to fix my human up.

TUESDAY Deadlift day- On deadlift day I do sets of 5 either conventional or sumo. Then I do some good mornings and speed squats or leg presses or some other fun conditioning work. Then a bunch of back assistance exercises.

THURSDAY: Close grip bench with bands for sets of 5, shoulder work (like military press or incline) then shoulder assistance. With the bands, I rotate doubled minis, doubled purples, both, and both plus every band I can put on there.

SATURDAY: Squat. I do sets of 5 or 3, then some close stance stuff and leg assistance work.

When I get closer to a contest I'll reduce the raw work a bunch and add geared stuff, but I think I'm finally comfortable in my gear enough to be able to keep my raw lifts up somewhat while doing contest prep.


Leon Josaitis um. I suck at this, but not as bad as some. A standard day would be:

English muffin with a bunch of eggs and meat, some milk

Like 4 scoops of protein

Some beef or chicken

Some Gatorade (my lifeblood)

Some type of carbohydrate before lifting

Some muscle milk

Some more meat

Some cottage cheese.

…. But add in fast food like ever 2-3 days when I don't have time to cook.

I suck at supplements too, but I love Gearman's joint pack, animal paks, atlarge's nitrean, and muscle milk.

5) Critical Bench: What goes through your mind before stepping under a huge weight?

Leon: Usually something bumping out of some headphones. I usually just play hardcore super loud and don't really think about the weights. That's my method of disassociation: hardcore is my power animal.

6) Critical Bench: What's the toughest part about powerlifting for you and what's your favorite part about powerlifting?

Leon: The toughest part is the time requirement and also having a crew to spot/prep for a contest. It usually involves driving to get shirt work and monolift work in the last 6 weeks or whatever.

My favorite part is the camaraderie. Everyone screaming for you to make a lift, or helping you figure out why you didn't, or just going to the KFC buffet for some post-workout nutrition… It's all about family.

7) Critical Bench: What has been your most hardcore powerlifting experience?

Leon: Watching Siders' train bench 3 days in a row at Bench America's World Bench Wars. Even at like 2 am he's like "LEON, I GOTTA BENCH."

funniest powerlifting experience? Running around Chicago after the '05 BB4C with a bunch of Militia and Iron Asylum peeps. Either that or when Gigantor and Latt were messing with road signs and the police were actually trying to bust us for it.

Your most emotional powerlifting experience? Watching Danimal go 9 for 9 at the '06 Iron G Classic. You're my boy Blue!

8) Critical Bench: Leon, www.hardcorepowerlifting.com is a very serious website and you are one of the main owners for that website and company! Leon tell us what you do involving the website www.hardcorepowerlifting.com ?

Leon: Hardcore Powerlifting (HCPL) is a company I'm 50% owner of that is like a mini ad agency for powerlifting. We make websites, ads, fliers, dvds, banners etc. The graphic section usually has some cool stuff to look at.

9) Critical Bench: What do you enjoy doing away from powerlifting?

Leon: I enjoy Jesus, lifting, rock, roll, photography, programming, hockey, film, touring, tweedles, jibbing cars, nose wheelies, spam filters, filtered spam, H20 (the drink), metalhorns, breakdowns, super ultra crushers, the Five-Finger Palm Exploding Heart Technique, ninjas and pirates and the epic 10,000 year battle between them that will soon encompass the entirety of the human race. And my wife.

10) Critical Bench: Leon, it has been interesting, crazy, and fun interviewing you! You are a hell of a man! Is there anyone you would like to thank or anything you would like to add?

I want to thank my whole Iron G crew, my business partner Sean, my wife, JC (the Big Riz), As I lay Dying and Winter Solstice for getting my through workouts, and everyone who ever sat around talking shop with me… it keeps the fire burning.


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