The Strongest Man I Ever Knew

It’ no secret I spent my whole life lifting weights from the time I was 12 to about
30 years old. The first time I ever lifted any weights I put 110lbs over my head
and I weighed 98 lbs.

I was always obsessed  with gaining weight and getting stronger. All the years
I studied and read about real strong men never really seeing to many real strong
men, not even in the gym.  I did spot a man who did squat 800lbs and another
guy I would spot would do behind the neck press with 315 lb for 10 reps. Later
found he was on the juice, years later he was rail thin.

For my size I never knew really anyone stronger than I was at 145Lbs. I was deadlifting
400lbs as a 9th grader and as a senior in high school I was bench pressing 330lbs.

And after all these years  – all the years spent in and out of the gym and working
in the blue collar trade the strongest man I ever knew and who never lifted any
traditional weights was my “old man” My dad quit school in 8th grade and
went to work and all I ever knew him to do was drive truck and move furniture.

He was about 5’6″ weighed probably about 19o lbs and was thick, his legs, calves,
his chest, his hands and fingers were very thick he wore a size 8 EEE shoe, his feet
were as wide as they were long.

As a kid I never ever seen him fail at picking up anything he put his hands on. I watched
him strap refrigerators to his back and walk flight after flight of steps all by himself, you talk
about a step up workout! I seen him carry a baby grand piano with two other men, him on one
side two on the other. I watched him in Virgina run 3 men in the ground working in over 100
degree weather while ( I was probably 10 or 11)  and 3 other men need to sit in the shade.

I watched him pick up a 300 lb weight set and put it over his head as well as doing
pullovers from the floor with 200lbs when he was drunk and he didn’t know any better.

If he grabbed you, you would not get away. I watched him beat on my moms boyfriend and
almost kill him, not to mention the holes in the wall he made missing this dudes head.

The “old man” was never sick that I can remember or ever hurt. He drank all the time and
smoked probably a pack of cigarettes a day and never missed work. This is not some
ploy to talk about how great my dad was, because he wasn’t. He chose the booze and
I didn’t see him all my teenage life or even talk to him.

But here’s what happened to him emphysema, heart problems, weight gain, on oxygen
24/7 can’t even walk 25 yards without resting. He lived the dirty lifestyle and he paid
and is still paying. At 72 he keeps going and I don’t know how!

But it’s funny because no gym strong man could have even done half the things he did
day in and day out, it would have ran them in to the ground. Just growing up blue collar
and living this life gives you a toughness and strength weights could never give you.

Toughness Builds Winners

Johnny Grube


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