Welcome to our first Hausmates interview, where we spotlight individuals who embody the pillars that Swollhaus is founded upon. James, our first Hausmate is one of the most badass, unassuming dudes we’ve run into. Everyone has a friend that “lifts a lot of weight,” but 95% of the time they’re soft. Now, let us introduce you to one of the hardest in the 5%.
James started dabbling in the sport of weightlifting as an unofficial intern at College of the Canyons in their strength and conditioning department. This is where he first laid eyes on that sweet, sweet, thing we refer to as the snatch (the lift…) and the clean & jerk. With a desire to learn two of the most athletic movements on the planet, James found himself venturing into the Phat Elvis Weightlifting Club. Little did he know that it was home to one of the greatest coaches in the nation, Bob Takano (who still is one of the greatest in the nation, probably on the planet). Not only was it filled with great coaching, but he was surrounded by national champion female lifters and other notable national and international lifters. Although surrounded by top tier weightlifters, James’ success has been self-made. He read books, watched others, and asked his peers as he quickly found gains in his lifts. James would continue lifting at Phat Elvis until he moved back down to Orange County to follow through with his second love, making one mean friggen pizza.
In the first half of our interview, we caught up with James in the gym. Saturday turned out to be a heavy snatch day for James and boy were we lucky. James hit 120 kg (264.5 lbs.), a new PR and a number he had been hunting for a while now. Just to put that number into perspective for you – the “average, novice 165 lbs. man” can deadlift approximately 255 lbs. Our man James picks that junk up off the floor and throws it over his head.
P.S. Don’t even think of responding with: “Well, I can bench that for 5, bro.” Get. Out.
After PR’ing his main lift, it was time to squat – where he felt like hitting 4-5 singles at 395 lbs. Find me someone who can do that today, I dare you. That calm, cool, and collected badass made mincemeat of the weight room that day, and that is why we love the guy. To see the intensity of a pack of wild hyenas crossed with the astute skills of Mr. Miyagi check the gallery below.
The second part of our interview took us to his pizza joint where we chatted with him while he made us our pie, but before we go on…can we take a second to focus on how great the pizza is? Italian Pizza Rosa in Anaheim, CA not only serves some of the greatest New York-style pie we’ve ever had, but it slings various other signature Italian dishes from sandwiches to pastas. I highly recommend you venture there for a slice and a coke, plus you’ll get the opportunity to talk to the man himself about lifting. We may even turn this into a regular meeting place for local lifters to come hang out.
The question running through your mind has to be: what is his program? Who does he follow? Russian? Bulgarian? Neither.
Remember how we talked about James being self-made? He still is.
We found him to be a fundamentalist to the very essence of the word. He simply performs the lifts (snatch and clean & jerk) on a regular basis and does the necessary auxiliary work from squatting to overhead movements, even throws in some bodybuilding. After his cycles, which vary according to what he deems necessary, he examines his lifts on video and works on his self-identified weaknesses. Could he have made that any simpler? Are you looking for that special sauce or pair of shoes that takes you from zero to Swoll? Sorry, you’re S.O.L., the only thing that Swollhaus and this Hausmate are built off of is hard work and well-made food; that is why we feel he is the perfect choice for our first Hausmates article.
James – our friend – you sir, embody every pillar of Swollhaus, we salute you. Keep on lifting and slinging that amazing pie.
Go To Italian Pizza Rosa. Lift Big. Rinse, Repeat: