New month means new athlete interview for our section of the site we like to call Force Feeds. This month features one of the strongest dudes I know: Chad Wesley Smith. The first time I saw videos of this guy he was doing low (below parallel) box squats with 550 pounds for reps and hucking a 16 lb shot put 65 feet. Then a short while after that I see a video of him at a powerlifting meet taking 905 out of the rack and squatting it to depth (none of that 50/50 high crap people try to pass off in geared powerlifting) with nothing but a belt and knee wraps. If that isn’t impressive enough for you next I see a video of him wreaking havoc at the NAS Amateur Nationals, taking 1st, earning a pro card, and then mixing it up with the guys you see at WSM in his first competitive year in the sport. Right now he’s coming back from a back injury but in his spare time runs one of the best strength sites out there and sponsors the strongest team of strength athletes assembled. Bottom line is this, Chad is one strong dude and has the credentials to back that claim up. He was kind enough to grace The Strength Agenda with an exclusive peek into how he gets it done from day to day. Check out this article and then go hit a heavy back squat in Chad’s honor!
1. Thanks for chatting with us. Can you tell me a little bit about your sport/background? What were your first interests? How many sports did/have you participated in? How did you get to where you are now?
I’ve always been an athlete, starting with soccer and swimming competitively when I was 4 or 5 and doing those, plus basketball and track at a club/national level before high school. In high school, my focus shifted towards football and track (shot put/discus) and the fact that I grew from 5-8 175# to 6-0 275# during those 4 years really necessitated that change. I continued throwing the shot put through college and for a little after graduating, but life and work got in the way of my Olympic hopes, so I stopped throwing and turned my attention towards powerlifting and strongman.
I was always a good athlete growing up but never really felt outstanding, most likely because the elementary school/junior high I attended was so stacked with athletes. It was a small school (50 people in my grade, 8 of the guys-including me-went on to Div 1) athletic scholarships), so when PE and Recess games are that competitive, it is hard to really stand out, but I think that really made me a better athlete and competitor at a young age.
In high school is where I really blossomed and that was just built off of work. Some people will say that I’m a genetic freak and while I won’t deny the role that genetics play, my biological family (I’m adopted) isn’t anything special physically. In high school, I would train for 2+ hour 5 or 6 days a week, sprinting, jumping, lifting-doing anything I could to become better. I was maybe the 3rd best lineman at my own freshman football team and by the time I was a senior was one of the 10 best in my county-which plays some of the highest quality football in the country.
This article will go into much more detail about my training history…http://www.jtstrong.
com/articles/2013/08/30/how-i- got-here-a-reflection-on-my- journey-from-beginner-to- advanced/
2. What are some of your accolades you have collected to date?
My most proud accolades are 2 NAIA National Championships in the Shot Put (19.46m/63’10” collegiate PR, 20.00m/65’7″ post collegiate PR), a 905 raw w/ wraps squat for the American Record (all the federations, not just one, people who have an XYZ Fed Record-STOP SAYING YOU HAVE A WORLD OR AMERICAN RECORD!!), 2171 raw w/ wraps powerlifting total and was the 2012 NAS Amateur National Champion in Strongman, where I won my Pro Card.
3. How important do you believe food/nutrition is to being a better athlete? Any specific plans or ideologies you follow?
Nutrition is the fuel for an athlete, so if you want to be great, you need great fuel. If I follow a plan of any sort it would be Carb Backloading. For the most part though I just eat quality whole foods. Most of my meals involve some combination of eggs and/or grassfed beef, brown rice/sweet potatoes/ezekiel bread-if a carb meal and spinach/broccoli/green beans and I used a lot of coconut oil and grassfed butter.
4. What does your supplement plan look like?
Supplements I’m pretty limited. Normally just creatine, fish oil, multi vitamin and vitamin C.
5. What recovery techniques do you use if any? What have you found works best and what have you found useless/less effective?
I get soft tissue work done a few times a week, which is some combination of massage, Active Release Therapy and Graston. I like contrast showers and ice baths but have gotten away from stuff like that a bit because I think that it diminishes the training effect by artificially removing inflammation which doesn’t allow your body to signal as significant adaptations.
6. Walk us through a day in your life: what do you eat? When and how long do you train?
A regular day has me up about 6:30 for some green tea and coconut oil while I do Juggernaut related stuff like writing articles and programs, emailing, social media-ing, etc. I’m an army of one at Juggernaut when it comes to managing the website, customer service, etc. Sometimes I eat before training, sometimes not, I train really whenever I feel like it since I work mostly on my computer, except for January-August when I train football players. If I train at 10ish, then I won’t eat before but if I train more at 1, then I will. Training is usually 1.5-2 hours but that will depend what I’m doing. Right now I’m rehabbing 2 herniated discs so I’m training 5x/week all weightroom stuff, but if I’m getting ready for a strongman show I may have a 3-4 hour event training session but that is only if I travel to train with a group. I normally train by myself and like to keep things quicker with a lot of timed rest periods. All my eating really comes post-training and I’ll eat 2-3 pretty big meals. I don’t think that I eat that much, though I did eat about 3x as much as Blaine Sumner when we were hanging out in TX, if I ate as much as I’d like to I’d weigh 350 easily.
7. What’s the best piece of advice someone has ever given you in regards to training and getting stronger? Anything you would like pass on to someone trying to get where you are?
The best advice I can give someone is to control what you can control and don’t worry about what you can’t. If you do everything you can in the realms you have influence over like effort, nutrition, planning, sleep, mobility instead of worrying about stuff like genetics or what your competitors are doing, you’ll be much better off.
8. What is your favorite lift or body part to train? What is your least favorite lift or body part to train?
I love to train the squat, I can squat all day. Least favorite to train are probably Atlas Stones, I’m good at them but tacky is gross and a hassle. I also don’t like doing bodybuilding stuff cause I suck at it.
9. What is the most impressive feat of strength you have accomplished to date?
Three way tie between 905 raw w/ wraps squat, 700×10 raw w/ wraps squat and dunking a 3kg medicine ball when I weighed about 290 pounds.
10. Plug time! What are some projects you are working on and is there anything you would like us to check out? Thanks for your time.
I have tons of stuff going on with Juggernaut Training Systems which you can learn about at JTSstrength.com. In addition to the normal articles, videos, ebooks, seminars/clinics you guys are probably familiar with we also are starting a coaching certification program and getting into equipment in partnership with Sorinex and supplements in partnership with Conquest Nutrition.
I don’t know about you guys and gals but these interviews are some of my favorite pieces on the site. I love to see how different athletes at the top of their sport get it done. The basics are the same of course: consistent training schedule, good diet, plenty of recovery work, and laser like focus on them and what they control. But there are minute differences that separate these athletes from the their rivals. If there is a strength athlete out there you want to hear about like Chad or any of our past features. Let us know and we will get them on here.