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RECAP: USPA Drug Tested National Championship 2020

Updated: Apr 23, 2021

I just returned home from a victorious trip to Columbus, Ohio, to compete in the 2020 USPA Drug Tested National Championships. I stopped eating and drinking fluids on Thursday, September 3rd, around 5:30 PM. The last thing I drank was a bottle of magnesium citrate, which I chugged right when I arrived at the Austin, TX airport. Maybe it's not the wisest choice one can make–to drink a diuretic right before boarding a plane–but hey, I figured it would be an interesting experiment. At any rate, I didn't have another choice, in terms of timeliness as to when I needed to fly based on my work schedule and when I needed to induce the final stage of my routine weight-cut for a weigh-in. You better believe that I claimed the aisle seat on both of my flights that night. Fortunately, all went well and no biohazard emergencies occurred. I arrived in Columbus in the early AM hours that night, and got situated at my Airbnb to try and get as much sleep as possible. In the morning, the scale I had packed in my bag was acting wonky, so I couldn't tell if I was safely under weigh-in weight or not. This is when I busted out my secret weapon: the sauna suit. In previous times, you know pre-pandemic times, when gyms and locker rooms with hot tubs or saunas would be open and accessible to everyone, I would just wake up early enough on weigh-in day to find a local sauna and sweat out the final pound or so of water weight that I need to shed to make competition weight. However, on this occasion, that was not an option, but luckily I had come prepared. I put on the sauna suit which I had bought that week from Target for $25. It is puffy and ridiculous looking and smells like an intertube. On top of the sauna suit I put on some black sweatpants and my black Team PlantBuilt hoodie, got in my rental car, and I drove down to the site of the competition, the Greater Columbus Convention Center (where the famous Arnold Sports Festival is held every year).

Arnold and Me

By the time I walked up to the registration table to get my equipment and rack heights checked, sweat was leaking out of the sleeves of my sauna suit. I went to the bathroom and wrung out my underwear, which had likely soaked up more than a pound of sweat alone. At this point, I felt confident to weigh in.

I weighed in at a crispy 74.9 kg–which left .1 kg to spare! I was ecstatic about weigh-in and went to a local vegan restaurant, Lifestyle Cafe, to celebrate with some vegan chik'n & waffles, and a seitan + coconut bac'n BLT. Later that day, my old music buddy, Zach, who had played in hardcore bands such as Palehorse and Under One Flag, rolled out to meet me, and we got stuffed with takeout from Woodhouse Vegan. We got stuffed on mac'n cheez, nachos, buffalo and barbecue tofu wings, and cinnamon rolls. Zach's wife, Lauren, also made me a ton of vegan pepperoni pizza rolls to take to my competition. I was annihilated, but the caloric surplus felt like rehabilitation after a tough week of cutting carbs and calories to make weigh-in.

Meet Zach and his son, Milo (who is a three-year old vegan with sick taste in music–check out his Gorilla Biscuits shirt!).

I slept well that night, and felt ready to wreck some weight in the morning. The following video is a compilation of my USPA official footage from the livestream of the championship. Check it out:

Squats: 407.9 ⚪⚪⚪ 424.4 ⚪⚪⚪ 435.4 ⚪⚪⚪ (All-time PR) Bench: 286.6 ⚪⚪⚪ 297.6 ⚪⚪⚪ 303.1 ⚪⚪⚪ (Competition PR) Deadlift: 496.0 ⚪⚪⚪ 518.1 ⚪⚪⚪ (Competition PR) 529.1 🔴🔴🔴 Total: 1256.6 (All-time PR, nearly 40 pounds better than my previous best!) To have come to Columbus and put up my best numbers of all-time, as well as take home a gold medal, I consider this past weekend to have been a massive success–both personally and FOR THE ANIMALS! So the celebration continued:

Rogue HQ

I stopped by some of Columbus's most renowned strength landmarks: Rogue headquarters and Westside Barbell (but I did not snap a picture at Westside). All I can say is that Columbus, Ohio, is one of the strongest cities in the world, based on reputation, so I felt it appropriate to pay my respects, as if in Mecca. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, the Rogue showroom was closed. What a great time–a true highlight for me in this fucked-up year known as 2020. I am grateful to the USPA organization and CBUS Lifting Co. for overcoming the logistical and legal obstacles that originally prevented the 2020 Drug Tested National Championship from being held in June. The meet was perfectly organized and went off without a hitch, despite the social distancing and mask mandates which some would have expected to have soured the experience. I can't wait for 2021 Nationals!


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