If I had to choose 5 events to display my strongman prowess in my pro debut at the Arnold Classic Europe, heavy log press and deadlift for reps, and heavy frame carry would be about as far from my mind as any event could be. But, you can't pick and choose when the opportunity comes along to compete with some of the top strongmen in the world on an international stage. So, it was time to crash some heavy weights and see what I could make of this great opportunity. I put in 2 months and 3 weeks of training as hard and heavy as I could.
To say I was nervous on the flights over to Barcelona would be an understatement, and as the contest got closer, that nervousness continued to intensify (To be fair, I've been nervous going into every event I've lifted in, from my 1st contest years ago at Jakked, to 2017 USS nationals). At the rules meeting Friday night, it got better and worse. The guys were all the same kind I've known in the sport for years, so that made me a lot more comfortable. Joking around, messing with the equipment, and generally having a good time. On the other hand, these were some big dudes, even bigger in person than on TV or social media.
Then Saturday rolled in. Time to get in there and mix it up. As I hit my 2nd warm up set on the first event, the log, there was a bit of a commotion. When I finished the set and put the log down, none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger had arrived to watch some warm ups and have a photo op.
Well, that did nothing to calm the nerves. But then the lifting started, and this is what I came here for, and I settled in to do some heavy lifting. While I did not place as well as I would have hoped, I did exactly as I expected. I had a tough time with the 400lb log and 805lb deadlift. I finished both the 880lb frame carry and 1005lb yoke. And I even finished the day on a bit of a high note placing 7th, I believe, on the truck pull. I ended up in 10th out of 12 athletes. Overall, the experience of getting to take part in such an event was amazing. I made some new friends, some new fans, and had people coming up asking to have their picture taken with me. I could get used to that. And I did get to meet and shake hands with Arnold, which is pretty cool.
Having faced these nerves yet again and stepped up to another level of competition, I know I can hang with these guys in the future. So it's time to put in even more work and have even more good times. I would also like to take this time to thank Willie, Steve, John, Mike, and USS for making this phenomenal opportunity come to life for me.
All of us at USS are proud of you Chris!