Listen To Podcast Episode #67
Podcast Episode 67: Heavy Lifts and Cardi B—Anthony Fuhrman’s Secrets to Becoming the World’s Strongest Man. What started as an alternative to standard-issue military conditioning quickly grew into a life-changing career as Anthony “Flama Blanca” Fuhrman discovered his knack for lifting heavy and moving fast could catapult him to the top of his sport. Find out how this world-class Strongman and Titan Games competitor uses pop music and a larger-than-life persona to conquer the toughest lifts in competition.
Original Publish Date: Monday, June 24, 2019
Behind The Scenes Photo:
Ep. isode 67 Transcript ▼
Nick Collias: Welcome to The Bodybuilding.com Podcast. I’m Nick, I’m the host up in here. This is Heather, always there sharing the duties, and him over there, he’s thick, he’s quick, he’s got the muscle and the hustle.
He’s Anthony Fuhrman, a.k.a. “La Flama Blanca.” That’s Spanish for La Flama Blanca, in case you didn’t know. The White Flame, for those of you who don’t habla Francés. He’s a strongman guy, the World’s Strongest Man 2018, at 105 kilos, right?
Anthony Fuhrman: Yes, sir.
Anthony Fuhrman: Yeah. Yeah, they’re all around.
Nick: He also competed in the heavyweight class at the Arnold Strongman Amateur over the weekend. Did you not?
Anthony Fuhrman: Yeah, yeah I did.
Nick: I watched some of that. That was a cool stream, man. That’s where the most interesting stuff happens at the Arnold. It’s all the strongman stuff top to bottom, I feel like.
Anthony Fuhrman: We got some real good crowds this year. It’s really starting to … all the hard work is starting to pay off, promoting ourselves. People are starting to pay attention to us, so-
Nick: Not just to the top. See, that’s what I like to see is the middle of the sport growing, you know?
Anthony Fuhrman: Right, because you’re not going to get a top if the middle don’t grow into the top.
Nick: I’ve gone to some strongman competitions locally and it’s amazing. Such a bottom-up sport.
Anthony Fuhrman: Yes.
Nick: You see every kind of person, every kind of body type. Men, women, all ages. It’s a community, right?
Anthony Fuhrman: It is.
Nick: And then at the top, obviously, there’s a ton of attention up there, but yeah, growing the middle of the sport seems like it’s the challenge.
Anthony Fuhrman: It’s tough, especially in my body weight. You see some of them guys, for example, Hafþór Björnsson-
Nick: Right. Brian Shaw, the monsters.
Anthony Fuhrman: 6’8″, 440-pounds. So, you look at him and look at me. I am obviously limited in the amount of mass I can put on my tiny, little, fragile frame compared to them. But it’s always fun competing up against them and do what I can do. I actually have the opportunity in May, I’ll be going to South Africa for the Arnold Pro series. That’s open heavy weights. So, they’ll be some guys there, like Jerry Pritchett-
Nick: Oh really, so is that going to be a first time step up-
Anthony Fuhrman: This is my first time competing against those guys.
Nick: Jerry and the big boys.
Anthony Fuhrman: Yeah.
Anthony Fuhrman: So, I’m very excited.
Nick: Okay, excited to get crushed under all sort of things.
Anthony Fuhrman: So, the way I see it is if I can just-
Nick: Not crushed, defeated, like literally crushed I’m talking about.
Anthony Fuhrman: Oh yeah, if I can just not be crushed, it’s going to be a win. Like if I can just show that, look I can do this, maybe not as fast or as many times, but if I can be there and hang with them it’s going to be very big.
Nick: Sure, there’s got to be an advantage to being a little bit smaller though, as well, isn’t there?
Anthony Fuhrman: The one advantage I do have is the moving events. We do move with weight. When you’re strong and able to move, it allows me to catch up points on those types of events. Where just-
Nick: On those cumulative things, just sneak up.
Anthony Fuhrman: Right, just kind of sneak in there like at the Arnold Heavyweight Amateur this past weekend, I took first in the farmer carry by a full half second just because I have the strength and the speed.
Nick: I watched that video. You were hauling and were you injured at that point, too?
Anthony Fuhrman: So, I’ve been dealing with some knee problems.
Nick: But you were taped up and you were still hauling ass man. I was like …
Heather Eastman: Yeah.
Anthony Fuhrman: Yeah. It’s one of them things where you learn to train around it, you learn to block out the pain because you’re there for one reason. You’re not there to be hurt.
Nick: One other reason Anthony is here, is he has one of the new crop of Team Bodybuilding.com athletes, we should’ve mentioned. So, great to have you on the podcast, man.
Anthony Fuhrman: Yeah, it’s a huge experience and blessing. It’s fricking awesome.
Nick: Hey, so I know you were an Army guy once upon a time, or still are.
Anthony Fuhrman: I still am, active duty, yup.
Nick: Okay. Now I keep hearing from military and ex-military people and they say, “How do soldiers train out there?” They do CrossFit, or they do bodybuilding. You’re either, you’re training for a CrossFit competition or you’re training for the Army calendar, basically. But for you, was that where you found strongman or …
Anthony Fuhrman: So, I found strongman through a knee injury, believe it or not. It was a few years ago back in 2014. I had knee surgery on my meniscus and I couldn’t really run like I had been, which is what you do when you’re in the Army, you run. Strength training kind of gave me a way to work out and still feel okay. I ran into a guy that was into strongman in Colorado and he was like, “Hey, lift this stone.”
Nick: Come on, lift it.
Anthony Fuhrman: Basically.
Anthony Fuhrman: I lifted it and fell in love. That was it. I just loved the training.
Nick: How heavy was this stone?
Anthony Fuhrman: 300.
Nick: Natural stone or an atlas stone?
Anthony Fuhrman: It was an atlas stone.
Nick: Okay. Man, it’s hard to breathe when you get one of those things. It’s hard to imagine the first time you pick it up you go, “I love that feeling.”
Anthony Fuhrman: Well, it wasn’t that difficult, honestly. I was almost like I was drawn there for that stone. He was like, “It’s a big deal, you picked up a 300 stone.” I was like, I love the feeling that I’m good at something and it just kind of just kept going.
Nick: You mentioned running, running is part of the classic PT test-
Anthony Fuhrman: Yup.
Nick: … in the Army, and I actually interviewed the guy who was the researcher behind the new standards that are coming out. Have you been following that at all?
Anthony Fuhrman: Yeah, very much. I get asked that all the time because they’re transitioning to some stuff that I have more experience in.
Nick: There’s definitely a strongman theme in there. Talking about the trap bar, which is basically a framed deadlift-
Anthony Fuhrman: Right.
Nick: Moving kettlebells around. There’s that short burst of loaded energy.
Anthony Fuhrman: Sprint sled drag.
Nick: Are you excited about that?
Anthony Fuhrman: I’m very excited, I think it’s going to be great for us as an Army and great for me.
Nick: Sure, sure. Have you tested yourself against those standards? They’re out there, no?
Anthony Fuhrman: Yeah, they’re out there, I haven’t. I’ve looked at the standards and I’m not particularly worried. I think to max a trap bar it’s like 340-pounds.
Nick: Yeah, I think that was. There’s other stuff there-
Anthony Fuhrman: Which, I mean, you have to take in account everyone’s physical stature. So, obviously to me that’s nothing, to others they’re going to have to train for it.
Anthony Fuhrman: But that’s why I’m excited because-
Heather: To me, I’ve got little shoulders so it’s like …
Nick: One thing I like about it is they kept some things, they got rid of some things, you still have to do that two-mile run at the end. That’s where it starts to get unpleasant.
Heather: That’s my event.
Anthony Fuhrman: The only thing about the two-mile run, well for me, it’s a test of will. It’s a test of will power, because you’re moving as fast as you can for two miles. At some point … I’ve done it before where I went so hard I threw up afterwards and-
Heather: That’s the way to do it.
Anthony Fuhrman: … I learned throughout the years-
Nick: Is there another way?
Anthony Fuhrman: I learned throughout the years that no matter how fast I run my first mile, my second miles going to be substantially slower. So, I could run a 10-minute first mile and I’m still going to run a 10-minute, 11-minute second mile, something like that. So I always just went all out on that first mile, because I knew I was going to slow down anyways. So that was always my technique to pass it.
Nick: So, before you picked up this mythical stone, did you even know that strongman was a thing, was that on your radar?
Anthony Fuhrman: I did. I think, growing up I watched Magnús Ver Magnússon and Mariusz Pudzianowski-
Nick: The classics.
Anthony Fuhrman: Yeah, on ESPN. I lost track of it for a while, just because things happen. Busy.
Nick: And it didn’t have a big profile after that-
Anthony Fuhrman: In the mid-2000s, it kind of dipped a little bit it seemed. Because growing up it was big in the 90s and early 2000s. It dipped back down and it’s making a comeback.
Heather: Big comeback.
Anthony Fuhrman: Yeah. I got in at a good time for it, I guess.
Nick: So, what was the road to your first competition like? Or that moment where you’re like, you know what, not only do I want to do this for fun because I love it, but I’m going to try to be really good at this.
Anthony Fuhrman: I signed up for it. It was in Denver, Colorado, Parker Days. I was stationed at Fort Carson, which is in Colorado Springs. I just started training for it. I didn’t really know what I was doing. I knew the events and I was like, all right, I got to get better at these. So, I kind of put together my own program and I went there. I took third, and I narrowly lost out to Ken Nowicki, who is a World’s Strongest Man competitor, Giants Live, in Scotland. I actually beat him on the overhead press event. I was like, wait a minute. I might be okay.
Nick: What you’re saying is you had lifted before?
Anthony Fuhrman: Yeah, I had lifted before. I think a lot of soldiers, you lift. You go to the gym. You do the, I’m doing quotations, “bro-lifts.”
Nick: Right, sure.
Anthony Fuhrman: Stuff like that. Of course, you use Bodybuilding.com when you’re deployed because it’s the best way to get supplements over there.
Nick: But people can get seriously strong on bro-splits too, that’s the thing. It’s so easy to think in these categories, but I remember one guy I was talking to about how to pass a big kettlebell press standard, and he was like, “Well, it’s different for everybody. For me I trained it once a week on a shoulder day and boom, there it was.”
Anthony Fuhrman: Yeah. I’ve responded, I’ve never really not responded to some sort of strength training, I guess. So even when I was doing the bodybuilding splits, the muscle mag workouts, and stuff, I still responded fairly well.
Nick: So, in hindsight, was your self program just pretty good, though, too?
Anthony Fuhrman: Yeah, I haven’t, I still program myself. I’ve just kind of adapted, learned from others that I met in the sport, and I’ve been able to be pretty successful program myself.
Nick: That is one thing I like about strongman is you’re building such a … It’s a strength that sort of transcends any particular movement. You’re moving a lot. There’s different planes of motion, so it seems like you could just sort of pour a whole bunch of stuff together and get a little bit better.
Anthony Fuhrman: Yeah, it’s very explosive, a lot of stuff we do. That’s why one of my favorite pastimes is going into CrossFit gym that they don’t know who I am and just bang out some muscle ups at 245 pounds.
Nick: Oh, really, you can do that?
Anthony Fuhrman: I can do iron crosses on the rings.
Nick: Oh, okay.
Anthony Fuhrman: All kinds of stuff. And people … it blows their mind because they don’t see guys my size doing that.
Anthony Fuhrman: But I train so explosively that it’s just kind of second nature.
Heather: That’s what I love about strongman is you’re combining insanely heavy weights with movement. Those two things should not go together.
Anthony Fuhrman: And conditioning. It defies logic sometimes, it really does.
Heather: Like CrossFit kind of does that, but not at the level that you’re doing it and so-
Anthony Fuhrman: Theirs is more over a greater time than ours. Ours is traditionally 60 to maybe 90-second events.
Nick: Still pretty long.
Anthony Fuhrman: Which that can turn into a very long time.
Nick: Seriously. Yeah.
Anthony Fuhrman: It really can.
Nick: I was wondering, the night after, two nights after your first strongman competition, how does your body feel?
Anthony Fuhrman: I have never, ever really been sore or destroyed, I’ve always trained that Monday after, because I train harder than the contests are. I’ve always been that way, I’ve always-
Nick: You’re just so excited at that point?
Anthony Fuhrman: Yeah. You get some adrenal fatigue definitely. I’ve had the experience of I can’t sleep after a big show. Like after I won World’s Strongest Man, I won that show on a Sunday afternoon, I don’t think I slept ‘til Tuesday. It was just, everything was surreal and I-
Nick: Your body was just … what about beforehand?
Heather: Just riding those hormones.
Nick: I think Alyssa Ritchey was telling us, “I never sleep before-”
Anthony Fuhrman: I sleep like a baby.
Anthony Fuhrman: I have a glass of wine or something and just … but I just … That’s where Flama Blanca comes in. He knows he’s going to win.
Heather: So, speaking of Flama Blanca-
Nick: Speaking of him.
Heather: Speaking of him.
Nick: Who the hell is that guy?
Heather: So, for those who don’t know, that’s kind of your alter ego and you’ve said in interviews that you kind of created him so that you could kind of have that personality without it having to be you. That’s kind of who’s the front facing-
Anthony Fuhrman: I feel better about myself when, Flama Blanca said that, he did it, not me.
Heather: Yeah, yeah, yeah, that was that guy. So, tell me a little bit about that, because that feels very super hero-esque, like a alter ego.
Anthony Fuhrman: I grew up watching wrestling, Rick Flair, Macho Man, Ultimate Warrior, all those guys. The guys that were just the most intensive, most flashy, most confident always had my attention. I never liked the underdogs or the good guys, I guess. It’s just how it was. To be honest, I kind of suppressed that kind of my personality being in the Army and deploying. I’ve deployed three times in seven years. So, you kind of can’t really be flashy and over the top when you’re in Iraq.
And then once I kind of stopped the deployment cycle and found another competitive sport to get into, it started slowly creeping back, and then-
Nick: But when did La Flama Blanca have a name, when did that …
Heather: There was a moment when you hit-
Nick: Heather will answer your question.
Heather: No, because I want you to talk about this moment. You hit, I think you passed 700-pounds on a deadlift for the first time, and you just ripped your shirt off.
Anthony Fuhrman: Yup, it was in a competition. It was actually the day after I won my professional strongman corporation card to turn me in Pro Strongman. It was 765, I don’t know what happened, I was feeling great. I should’ve felt bad after the competition the day before, it was a team event. We had to do a max deadlift in three minutes.
Nick: Three minutes.
Anthony Fuhrman: Yeah. Three minutes to find your max-
Anthony Fuhrman: You make bold jumps and hit 765 and just first thing that happened was just shirt came off. Ripped, clean off-
Nick: It ripped itself, just exploded off of you-
Anthony Fuhrman: It really did. I didn’t have a precut or nothing. It was just boom. It got a really good crowd reaction which made me feel wonderful. It was kind of validation for not only my work, but my, look at me, look what I’m doing, this is awesome. Bill Kazmaier, I don’t know if you guys know Bill Kazmaier-
Nick: Of course. Friend of mine used to babysit for him I found out the other day.
Anthony Fuhrman: So, he wished me a Merry … He texted me Merry Christmas, he’s like my dad now basically.
Nick: There are worse dads to have. Seems like a great guy.
Anthony Fuhrman: He really is. He’s a little intense at times. He has a very strong philosophy on how to mentally prepare, but he has a really kind heart. He’s one of my favorite people in the sport.
Nick: I’ve crossed paths with a lot of strongman competitors locally, just, I did some … I created an old-time strongman fair for a music festival here in town. So, got involved with some-
Heather: Strength Fort.
Anthony Fuhrman: Well, Rachel Pyron, she’s a pro strongwoman-
Nick: Yeah, exactly. But one thing that I always tell people is you don’t anticipate now nice strongman competitors are. Just to a person, I’ve never met one who’s not so giving, really eager to share the sport-
Anthony Fuhrman: It’s a rare-
Nick: Super supportive.
Anthony Fuhrman: … mean strongman competitor. I’d venture to say I’m probably one of the meanest.
Nick: So, you’re the exception. You’re the asshole we’ve been waiting for all this time.
Anthony Fuhrman: Well, I’m the heel.
Nick: The heel, ah, okay.
Anthony Fuhrman: I had the Flama Blanca thing, the whole I put myself out there. I make bold claims like “I’m going to win this.” I’m going to do well, you better watch yourself. It’s just all part of the show. Once people meet me usually they’re like, “All right, I get it.”
Nick: He’s got a smile on his face here. Right.
Anthony Fuhrman: But sometimes if people don’t know me before they meet me on social media they’re like, “Oh, this guy’s pretty full of himself.” I’m like, “Well, I’m not, Flama Blanca is.”
Nick: So, now you mentioned Bill Kazmaier and he can be pretty intense-
Anthony Fuhrman: Yeah.
Nick: Did you get this from him to a certain degree, you feel like? Or like, I got to know how to turn it on here.
Anthony Fuhrman: Yup. So, honestly, it kind of naturally happened. I’ve always been very good about … I don’t get too stressed out or intense leading up to a show or even during. About 10 minutes out, I kind of throw some headphones in and kind of get in my zone for the event and that’s when I shut everyone out and focus on what I need to do and it’s worked wonderfully.
Because you don’t want to be amped the whole time because then you start getting tired. Some people take pre-workout in between. I’m like this is an eight-hour day.
Nick: It’s three days in a row sometimes.
Anthony Fuhrman: Yup. So, you just got to learn to turn it on, turn it off. Have fun in between, be goofy, and then attack.
Nick: Yeah, I found myself wondering, watching some of the stuff on the Arnold livestream over the weekend, what it’s like between events. Are people just back there sort of taping up and crying or what are they doing?
Anthony Fuhrman: You get soft tissue work. You stretch a little bit. You eat a little bit. I will, let’s see what I do.
Nick: They have a sauna in there?
Anthony Fuhrman: No, nothing fancy like that. Sometimes I’ll take, I have a mallet, and I use it to beat out some of the knots. Because some people foam roll, but I ain’t got time for all that. Sometimes.
Anthony Fuhrman: So you just kind of take a mallet and go to work.
Nick: Like an actual just like a hardware store mallet?
Anthony Fuhrman: Yeah.
Heather: A meat tenderizer.
Anthony Fuhrman: Basically. Same principle. Some guys use car buffers.
Anthony Fuhrman: Just from Wal-Mart. You just … It actually works really well.
Nick: I’ve seen the jigsaw method where there’s little things you can do for your jigsaw or put a golf ball in a jigsaw-
Anthony Fuhrman: Those are really good, as well. I like the actual ones made for … Like the Hyper Ice and the Theragun, those are actually very good. The homemade ones are good, but …
Nick: How does it compare with a hammer?
Anthony Fuhrman: Nothing compares with a hammer. That’s just good old-fashioned taking care of your body.
Heather: So, no dancing between events.
Anthony Fuhrman: Sometimes, no, sometimes I’ll dance.
Heather: Okay, because I don’t know if you know this, but there’s video of him on his channel dancing to Gloria? I believe.
Anthony Fuhrman: It wasn’t Gloria.
Nick: Or Taylor Swift. I know Taylor Swift was in the mix somewhere.
Heather: Taylor Swift, yeah.
Anthony Fuhrman: Oh, yeah, Tay Tay’s in there, big time.
Nick: Does she know that yet?
Anthony Fuhrman: She should. I don’t understand how she doesn’t.
Anthony Fuhrman: I think we had to license her song for the Titan Games. So someone close to her is aware.
Heather: Yeah, yeah.
Nick: Well, we know she’s a listener.
Anthony Fuhrman: Yeah, there we go.
Heather: So, tell me about that, because that because you’ve got this kind of larger-than-life personality. Is that just kind of siphoning off some of that nervous energy? Like how does-
Anthony Fuhrman: I think that’s part of it. I also just really like … I enjoy pop music. I don’t know what it is. It just gets me going a little bit, I guess. I enjoy the musical stylings of said artists and sometimes I dance with it.
Nick: You can’t control that, man.
Anthony Fuhrman: Yeah, you can’t control it, can’t fight it. I like the hard stuff. I listen to Slayer, The Lamb of God. The heavy stuff, but I listen, I mean-
Nick: Wait, I guess I imagine more Slayer when you’re 10 minutes leading up to the yoke walk here, but you’re saying that’s when Taylor Swift is in there?
Anthony Fuhrman: So, I have a very set playlist, the 10 minutes prior. It is “Blank Space” by Taylor Swift, “I Did Something Bad” by Taylor Swift, and “Bodak Yellow” by Cardi B in that order leading up to the …
Heather: I told you.
Nick: If somebody comes over, “Don’t touch those headphones.”
Anthony Fuhrman: Oh, yeah, yeah. Leave me alone. Like I start … I’ll pace a little bit.
Anthony Fuhrman: I start … I kind of … I look aggressive but I’m not really aggressive. I’m just … That’s just my face.
Heather: He’s got like the tiger face where it looks like a-
Nick: Is it the beat? Like-
Anthony Fuhrman: A little bit, a little bit. A little bit in the beat. A little bit is just … So, when I listen to this stuff like Cardi B, that style of, like, hip hop and rap is very … I don’t want to say egocentric, but it’s a lot about like “I’m this. This is me, this is who I am.” And I kind of identify with that a little bit like, “This is it. Here I am, guys. This is what’s happening.” And it pumps me up like, “All right, I’m letting loose.”
Nick: So, okay. So, it’s about getting that belief it sounds like.
Anthony Fuhrman: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Nick: That’s another thing we’ve heard from some of the other athletes. You gotta do what you gotta do in order to make yourself believe that it’s going to move the way it’s gonna move.
Anthony Fuhrman: Yes. Exactly.
Heather: Yeah. It’s almost like you put so much joy into your preparation and so much of your personality that there’s no room for doubt or fear or any of the things that can-
Anthony Fuhrman: There’s none. And I’m not gonna lie, leading up to a competition a lot of times, I have a lot of self-doubt. Half of that is just inherently … I want to be the best. I want to do the best I can. So you’re gonna … you’re always going to question a little bit like, “Am I ready?” The other half is I talk myself into a corner saying, “I’m going to do well. I’m going to do this and that.” And I’m like, “If I don’t, uh-oh.”
Heather: I just went out there and told everybody I would.
Anthony Fuhrman: Like, I spent the three months prior to World’s Strongest Man telling everyone I’m going to win it. This is my year.
Heather: You gotta win.
Anthony Fuhrman: And I mean, I knew at the time I was like, “There’s a very good chance something’ll happen, I don’t win it,” but I was very confident.
Nick: I mean, but you felt like you had earned it at that point? It wasn’t like you were branding.
Anthony Fuhrman: Yeah, I’m not branding. I put the work in. I knew my strength levels comparatively to top athletes. I mean it’s not like you don’t know.
Anthony Fuhrman: But the thing is with competition, it takes one mistake, one slip up-
Nick: Of course, right.
Anthony Fuhrman: … and you’ve got to have the perfect, perfect combination, perfect storm to win.
Nick: Yeah, and then one interesting thing we touched on a little bit about strongmen events is they’re not like throwing a barbell over your head one time. They last. It’s not a full-on WOD experience, but it goes awhile. Does that change how you prepare yourself?
Thinking like, “I’m going to go out there and it’s going to be a battle for three minutes, five minutes,” as opposed to, “I’m going to go out there and I’m just going to do …” you know? Say it’s a max deadlift attempt.
Anthony Fuhrman: Right. So even on the max attempts, you have to take several attempts to get to that. It’s rarely you’re just going to go out and do one max. Like in powerlifting where you call it, a lot of times it’s rising bar. So, you have to go every 20-pounds until someone fails.
Anthony Fuhrman: Sometimes-
Nick: That’s not a small jump. That’s a lot of deadlift man.
Anthony Fuhrman: Yeah, sometimes that’s just how it is. I’ve seen it a lot of different ways. But for the timed events, like log press for reps. It’s a pre-described weight, so say it’s 300-pounds. You have to clean it and press it as many times you can in a minute. In my training, I’ll do 90-second spurts, 120-second spurts. Sometimes I’ll do 30-second spurts, but with more weight. Just train all around that modality so I can be prepared for that 60 seconds. That’s all I care about is preparing for that 60 seconds. I don’t care about my max. I don’t care if my max log press is 330-pounds. If I can do 300 for six reps, I’m going to be up there.
Nick: Yeah, I think that’s a great approach that it’s underappreciated working around a goal. People just want to bang their head against the goal over and over again. I was the worst thing I’ve ever done when I have a specific goal.
Anthony Fuhrman: ‘Cause for me … Like for example, we had a 700-pound deadlift for reps. Not once did I deadlift 700-pounds for reps in training. I either … I deadlifted below it actually. I actually didn’t even hit close to it in my training. I don’t know what happened but I couldn’t even … I did four reps at the competition. But even if I was on my game in training, I would never do that. I would do less weight as many times as I can or more weight because I don’t want to know what I can do. You go in there with a pre-described number, like, “I hit four in training,” you’re setting yourself up for failure. You don’t … You want to have an idea of what you, can do but you don’t want to know.
Nick: Well, I mean yeah, there’s a lot at play on that competition day, too. It’s how you ate, how you slept, how you prepared, but also the adrenaline levels and things like that. How much of a difference does that make for people who maybe … they like to test themselves in the gym, but they wonder like, “All right, if I had to go out there on stage and do it, what would my …” How much of a percentage is that?
Anthony Fuhrman: All right, I can say … All right. Literally on the axle bar, the most I’ve ever hit for a one rep max was 715. In the training cycle leading up to it, I hit 665 for a double. That’s about it.
Nick: And it felt like a hard double?
Anthony Fuhrman: Yep. And on competition day, I did 715 for four. I don’t know. I can’t explain it.
Nick: It must have been the Cardi B, I guess.
Anthony Fuhrman: I’m telling you. It’s that-
Nick: Somebody call up Cardi right now.
Anthony Fuhrman: She’s very underappreciated.
Nick: Now, I wanted to talk to you about strongman and what it does to your body to a certain degree, as well, because that’s why a lot of people like it these days. They think, “Oh, it makes me … It hits things that nothing else hits. It builds more of an all-around kind of strength there. It made me able to surprise myself with what I was capable of doing. Supported another lift maybe that I didn’t realize I was going to get stronger at.” When you started to get serious about it, what do you feel like it did to your body?
Anthony Fuhrman: It made everything better. I was more injured doing running, bodybuilding workouts than I ever was doing strongman. I really think it’s a training philosophy that toughens you mentally and it toughens, like we said, the secondary and tertiary stabilizers, muscle groups. It’s not about hitting chest, it’s about hitting every freaking thing up here.
Heather: Yeah, there’s no muscle group workout-
Anthony Fuhrman: No, I don’t train … See, I don’t train groups, I train off lift. So, I have a press day, a squat day, a deadlift day, another overhead day, and an event day. So, yes, I am hitting certain muscle groups, but it’s all to get better at a lift, not at anything else.
Nick: But were there any surprising things where you’re like, “Oh, my God, my calves and forearms are getting huge,” whatever? Yeah, “My neck.”
Anthony Fuhrman: So, I don’t do any bicep work, direct bicep work and I’m pushing almost 20-inch arms. So, I was like, “That’s nice.” Because a lot of stuff it’s grabbing, it’s gripping, it’s holding and that’s … you’re definitely working your biceps. My chest is very strong because … I don’t bench press often and I just hit a 500-bench press in December. That’s without training bench press. And that’s because of my back, because how strong my back … my upper back is. I’ve attributed nothing else-
Nick: Well, and I mean all that overhead work’s gotta help that, too.
Anthony Fuhrman: Yeah.
Heather: Oh, yeah. For sure.
Nick: Yeah. You talked about biceps, holding that thing though. I was looking at your bests on one strongman page and one stuck out in particular to me, which was a 400-pound Husafell Stone for like 258 feet.
Anthony Fuhrman: Yeah.
Nick: Now I’ve only … Rachel let me borrow her stone once. I brought it home, carried it around my park and it was empty. It was maybe 100, 125 pounds and it’s one of the more unpleasant things you can be carrying around. You can’t breathe.
Anthony Fuhrman: It can be, yes. It can be very unpleasant. Yep.
Nick: It hurts your arms. I was looking at that and I was thinking, “That poor bastard. What a horrible experience.” I mean like there’s no air and your arms, that must’ve been-
Anthony Fuhrman: I love that event.
Nick: … a uniquely difficult thing to do.
Anthony Fuhrman: I love that event.
Heather: No, that’s why the Strongmen are so nice.
Nick: Oh, I know.
Heather: … because they’re just like punishing yourselves with your events.
Anthony Fuhrman: And we love everyone else we hear.
Nick: Right. Maybe, maybe. But I was wondering, thinking of some of your competitive highlights, what were some of the ones that really were the most difficult for you physically and mentally, where you finish and you’re like, “Oh my God, I’m seeing stars. I’m on the other side of the galaxy here”?
Anthony Fuhrman: It was at prob … One of them was this past weekend, the log for clean and press for reps. It was 330-pounds and you have to clean it and press it for each rep.
Nick: Every single one.
Anthony Fuhrman: I hit four reps in that, which has never, never ever been done for me. I was very worried going into that event because for me overhead has been … I don’t want to say I have a bad overhead because relatively I don’t, but once again I’m comparing myself to guys that are 400, 450-pound pressers and I was ecstatic. I probably could’ve quit the competition, went home happy because that’s something that’s always kind of been, in my opinion, lagging behind so very much.
Nick: And at the end of it, oof.
Anthony Fuhrman: Oh, I passed out.
Nick: Did you?
Anthony Fuhrman: The video I got … it was a tough lockout. He made me … My left foot was back a little bit, he made me bring it forward. And then …
Anthony Fuhrman: Not like head hit. I caught myself with my arm, but yeah.
Nick: Okay. But you got it down under … I mean you’re allowed to drop it there, right?
Anthony Fuhrman: You’re not supposed to drop it but he saw me go out. So, they didn’t penalize me for that.
Nick: Oh, okay.
Anthony Fuhrman: Yeah, thank God.
Nick: Well, that’s nice.
Anthony Fuhrman: Because that would have dropped me about three, four, five places.
Anthony Fuhrman: Just that one rep.
Nick: Talking again about your body … Because I think you have an interesting body because you’re like what? 240-something?
Anthony Fuhrman: About 240 … I’m a big boy now. I’m like 246.
Nick: But look him up on Instagram, pretty shredded.
Heather: Yeah. Sorry, I’m not trying to accuse you of anything.
Anthony Fuhrman: Yeah. I thought it wasn’t until I got in today with all these …
Heather: Yeah, exactly. I was wondering-
Anthony Fuhrman: Relative to strongman, I guess.
Heather: Yeah. Yeah. So, obviously as you got into strongman, you had to get bigger in order to really compete at a higher level, even in middleweight classes. Now you’re competing in heavyweight. How, how much bigger did you have to get to come down to 240 pretty lean.
Anthony Fuhrman: So, I started, I was … When I first started training for strongman, I took the old football coach approach, whereas if you’re lifting you can eat whatever you want.
Anthony Fuhrman: And I got myself to a nice 265 that wasn’t so well-
Nick: Okay. That’s not … It could be a lot bigger.
Anthony Fuhrman: … wasn’t so well put together, though. And actually, I dropped weight to cut to the middleweight class. Dieted down and it was legit 20 pounds of fat I lost. And ever since then, it’s been very easy because I enjoy looking a little better than some of the bigger guys.
Anthony Fuhrman: That’s just me inherently.
Nick: Yeah. I read an article about Eddie Hall and The Mountain. All those guys and how they eat and it’s … There are problems.
Anthony Fuhrman: There can be health problems.
Anthony Fuhrman: It’s a known issue with strongmen, just the amount that they have to eat just gives them horrible digestive problems and the sort of stuff that we don’t need to talk about really here. But it’s very painful.
Yes, it is. A lot of guys, they put themselves through the wringer eating … I mean realistically even I do. I’m at the point I have to eat shakes with Greek yogurt because it’s like a 1200-calorie shake, just because I have to get the calories in. Right now, I can’t eat all that. I have to keep training my body to take that much food in.
Heather: Waking up. Because that’s like a-
Anthony Fuhrman: Yeah. I have a big thing of almonds on my nightstand. Every time I wake up in the night, I take a handful of almonds.
Nick: Really? That seems like a choking hazard, eating almonds in …
Anthony Fuhrman: I never thought of that and now I’m scared.
Nick: I’m really sorry. I hope I do not … But were you a vertical diet guy or anything like that? Because I know that’s getting really popular with strongman.
Anthony Fuhrman: I actually did keto for a while to lose the weight.
Nick: Keto strongman.
Anthony Fuhrman: Yeah.
Anthony Fuhrman: No one understood it, but I responded to really well to it for about a year. And then about after a year of doing the keto stuff … It wasn’t full keto. Like I wasn’t testing, but it was a keto-based diet. I started competing in shows that were a little heavier and I started getting worn out a little more. So, I was like, “All right, I got to start doing some carbs again.”
Nick: Sure. Did you carb before the show?
Anthony Fuhrman: Yeah, I would carb for the show, but I felt like they were getting run through very quickly. So, by the end of the show I was losing steam. So, I talked with my buddy and he’s a bodybuilder and strongman. So, he’s done them both, and I went from keto and he had me doing an 800 carbs a day, but there wasn’t much body change. I didn’t gain weight. So, I was like, “All right, so my body’s just the way I’m training. I don’t have to be scared to eat.” Plus, I do a lot of the conditioning stuff. Like I dabble with CrossFit a little bit a few times a week, just to-
Nick: A few times a week. Not just like once a month, a few times a week.
Anthony Fuhrman: Well, just the metabolic conditioning.
Nick: Right, sure.
Anthony Fuhrman: I like doing the 21-15-9s, the short ones. I ain’t doing no 20-minute AMRAP, mm-mm (negative).
Heather: Yeah. No, no.
Anthony Fuhrman: I’d get about eight minutes in and quit. I don’t got the intestinal fortitude to do that. You guys are crazy. But yeah, I mean I have to stay conditioned, too, because of the army. I mean I just can’t bust the body fat percentage that we’re allowed.
Nick: Sure, sure.
Heather: So, are you still kind of in an experimental phase with your nutrition or do you feel like you’ve got something going that works for you?
Anthony Fuhrman: I’ve got something going that works for me. I am actually … I switched up a little bit leading up to South Africa because I’d like to be closer to 260, but not the bad way. So, we’ll see what I can do here.
Nick: You want to look like Kaz in that old photo that-
Anthony Fuhrman: Yeah. See I’ll take the power belly with the abs. I’ll take that.
Nick: Right. Gigantic traps just towering over the crowd.
Heather: One of your carry-ons is going to be all food because that’s a 16-hour flight.
Anthony Fuhrman: It is a very long flight. I’ve got compression leggings I’m going to wear so I don’t swell up. Yeah, I’m getting prepped pretty well for it.
Nick: When is it? May 17th.
Anthony Fuhrman: Okay, so not that far.
Nick: Yeah. Coming up here.
Anthony Fuhrman: No, it’s going to be … it’s interesting.
Nick: I remember a few years ago we ran an article by one of our strength coaches that was called something like “Was I Prepared For Reality TV?” He’s a Boston cop, Swat team guy, kind of a bodybuilder. Trained like a bodybuilder, but also had a certain amount of cop fitness.
Anthony Fuhrman: Right.
Nick: And the show was like “The Amazing Race” or one of those. And the ultimate takeaway in this article was like, “I trained, I carried around stuff in the park, but I probably should have spent more time hiking in the mountains and learning to ride a horse,” or something like that. So, as somebody who’s now been on TV getting tested like that, how prepared did you feel as a strongman for The Titan Games?
Anthony Fuhrman: I felt very prepared until I couldn’t get over that last wall. And I attribute that to I was too heavy. I could have been about 20, 25 pounds lighter for that show because I had plenty of strength. I mean, I love my Titan Games competitors, but I could have lost probably 30% strength and still been stronger than everyone there. But that’s just inherent to how I trained. They didn’t have anyone else that trains like me there.
Anthony Fuhrman: So, I went in too heavy and on that obstacle course going up when I fell off the rollers and had to get back on, it just took so much out of me.
Nick: That was the thing. I watched that and I was like, “I feel like he just lost his momentum right there.”
Nick: If you’d gotten over that, I think-
Anthony Fuhrman: If I would’ve gotten the over there in one shot, I really had a good chance. But I tried to do like the Mickey Mouse cartoon and run over them and then I just fell. I should have just crawled over to begin with but I didn’t know, I’d never done that before.
Nick: Right. How long did you have to prepare for that?
Anthony Fuhrman: I mean they told us that day. We didn’t know were-
Nick: No, I mean like for the whole event. For the … Like when did you find out you were going to be on the Titan Games?
Heather: More important, how does one prepare for that?
Anthony Fuhrman: So, what I did was I trained the way I trained that got me on the show because I didn’t know what to do. So, I was like, “Oh, they picked me and I’m a strongman, so they’re going to get a strongman.”
Anthony Fuhrman: Kinda, you know-
Heather: So, how would you train differently now?
Anthony Fuhrman: I would drop 20-pounds and do CrossFit for the two months prior.
Anthony Fuhrman: Really. Like just straight CrossFit. I really think that’s … We talk a lot of stuff back and forth, but I think CrossFit is like one of the better fitness routines out there for general preparedness. It really is very good.
Heather: It’s kind of like what everyone seems to at some point cross through in their journey to their particular sport is CrossFit to bodybuilding, CrossFit to strongman, powerlifting.
Anthony Fuhrman: Right, powerlifting. They’ve gotten people in Olympic lifting, is blowing up because of CrossFit.
Nick: But you were pretty close, though. I mean your strongman training at your body weight almost got you there.
Anthony Fuhrman: Yeah. If Tank … That’s his nickname, Tank. If he wasn’t so fast and I could have had like 30 seconds to recover, I would’ve been all right. Because once I would’ve got to that atlas stone and pulled it, I’d have been fine.
Anthony Fuhrman: But he was so fast, he really didn’t make any mistakes on that thing.
Nick: And I noticed there was the wheel that was getting cranked. He pushed, you pulled. That was the other point where I was like-
Anthony Fuhrman: Oh, the wheel. I should have pushed.
Nick: “What do you … pull? Don’t pull. Don’t pull.”
Anthony Fuhrman: At that point, I was already panicked and tired, which if you’ve never been panicked and tired … Nothing goes through your brain. Your brain shuts off. You don’t think about nothing. And I was like, “Man, this is hard.” And I just kept going.
Heather: I’m doing this wrong.
Anthony Fuhrman: I knew I was doing it wrong, but I was like, “Go on the other side.” And my body’s like, “No, you’re staying right here, bro.”
Nick: Right. Once you start, right. Yeah.
Anthony Fuhrman: I’m going to power through.
Nick: If you have the momentum, that’s great, but once you reach that sticking point, there’s nowhere to go there. You can’t use your body weight.
Anthony Fuhrman: Exactly. Yep. Watching that was a little painful because I was like, “That was a mistake. That was a mistake.”
Nick: So, you that, that feeling of panic and tired, was it similar to what you’d experienced in strongman or was it more intense, you feel like?
Anthony Fuhrman: I’ve been panicked in strongman, and I’ve been tired. I’ve never been panicked and tired in strongman. That was one of the few times in my life on The Titan Games where both those hit me simultaneously and threw me off my game. 100%, like it was a very intense show.
Nick: Sure, sure.
Anthony Fuhrman: I’ll give them credit.
Nick: So, and for those that haven’t watched it, you should. It takes like 5 minutes to watch the highlights of it.
Heather: It’s fantastic.
Nick: It’s really cool. But that moment where you hit that second wall and they’re like, “Where did he go?” Where were you down there? Were you just like, “Oh my God-”
Anthony Fuhrman: I was trying to jump. I couldn’t get off the ground. All the oxygen in a 245-pound frame, doing that kind of high intensity it just hit you and you’re just laying down. But I’m standing up, but laying down. It’s like “What is happening?”
They didn’t show it. Afterwards I got … and I sat down, The Rock and Cari Champion came over to do a post-interview. I waved them off. I didn’t know what I was doing, but I was like …
Heather: You waved off The Rock?
Anthony Fuhrman: Yep, I waved off The Rock.
Nick: You waved off The Rock.
Anthony Fuhrman: I couldn’t talk.
Anthony Fuhrman: I didn’t know what I was doing. It was bad.
Heather: Because he’s one of your heroes. He’s one of my heroes. But he’s one of your heroes.
Anthony Fuhrman: Oh, yeah. I grew up idealizing him.
Heather: I grew up watching WWE, I’m embarrassed to…
Nick: But that wasn’t like the only opportunity you had to talk with him.
Anthony Fuhrman: No, I had already interacted with a few times, but still I barely remember doing it, but I did it. I was that out of it. It was just-
Heather: Oh, my goodness. So, how would one train to be able to overcome that? Or is it just until you’re in that situation of panic and tired that you really know how you’re gonna react?
Anthony Fuhrman: I think-
Nick: Because we have a military background, too.
Heather: Yeah. That sounds like a military-
Anthony Fuhrman: I don’t remember being panicked and tired at the same time in Afghanistan or Iraq. I remember being panicked or tired, but not like that. Me as a person, I have never experienced that until then.
Nick: TV is the ultimate fitness test.
Anthony Fuhrman: It got me. It really got me.
Heather: But the best part is though, watching it … you watch it on TV and you guys make it look so easy. It almost looks comical. Like it’s almost …
Anthony Fuhrman: Well, the first challenge I did was pretty easy for me. The one that I ran and went through the-
Nick: Right. It was basically a truck pull. Come on, how can you not win that?
Anthony Fuhrman: Yeah. That one was … I’m not gonna lie, I wanted to do some of the other ones because those seemed to be more strength-based, the challenges, and I was like, “Oh, I wish this was all the challenges.”
Nick: Right. But they weren’t gonna just spoon-feed this to you.
Anthony Fuhrman: They weren’t just going to hand it to me.
Heather: It is highly entertaining, but just hearing the pain and the anguish on the other side of it, it kind of makes it a little bit more entertaining. I’m not going to lie.
Anthony Fuhrman: That’s all right. It was tough.
Heather: Somebody who, who looks around their gym and sees there’s more strongman equipment in most gyms than ever, it seems like. Maybe not full-on atlas stones, but hey, wow, maybe there’s a log press over there. Maybe there’s a sled you can pull at least, or something like that. I was looking for ways to integrate that.
How do you recommend, without somebody who’s going to be full-on, like, I’m going to have a log press day, I’m going to have an event day. How do they integrate it? Is having like a strongman day sort of like you have your CrossFit day once a week or something like that. Is that the best way to do it, you think?
Anthony Fuhrman: I think the easiest way to do it… For example, the log, it’s a pressing movement. Just once a week on your presses. If you’re going to work push presses, split jerks, try with a log.
Nick: Just for variety.
Anthony Fuhrman: Yeah, just throw it in there. The strongman day, it gets a little tough because it’s a lot of, especially doing it by yourself, it’s a lot of loading and unloading and I train alone for the most part. So, loading a thousand-pound yoke when the yoke only weighs 200-pounds empty, gets tough. It’s a bit of a workout. Getting that weight on there.
Nick: That’s the original workout. Loading and unloading.
Anthony Fuhrman: There’s sometimes I’ll load it and then it’s like I sit for like 20 minutes.
Heather: I don’t even want to touch that now.
Anthony Fuhrman: Oh, I got to get up and do this now.
Nick: I’m just going to go for three days and come back.
Heather: But yeah, it really is as simple as, on your deadlift day, using an axle bar instead of a regular barbell. Just little things like that. Take an-
Nick: But man, is it an ego killer.
Anthony Fuhrman: Axle’s tough.
Heather: Sandbags for me were kind of my introduction and I don’t know how common sandbags are in strongman training-
Anthony Fuhrman: They’re pretty common.
Heather: I can lift pretty heavy for my size, but the second you try to wrestle something that’s got a life of its own, you’re like, “Well, this is ridiculous. This is half as heavy as I know I can lift.”
Anthony Fuhrman: That’s why I tell you the female competitors, me picking a 350-pound sandbag is easier than them picking 150 cause my 350 is full. It’s packed full. So, there’s no nothing but 150-pound sandbag it will shift on you and that gets tough.
Heather: Yeah. It’s alive. Yeah.
Nick: People struggle to conceptualize that. How to think and how to find that variety because they’re like, “How is this different than a dumbbell? How is this different than a barbell?” Even just a sandbag or there are sandbells that they have down in our gym. It’s like a 50-pound bag that people are just like, “What do I do with that thing?”
Anthony Fuhrman: Oh. You throw those. You just throw those. That’s fun. That’s one of my favorite strongman events is throwing events like the sandbag over a bar, stuff like that. Keg over a bar. Those are some of my favorite events.
Heather: I look at those events and I just think, “Man, that’s a broken foot waiting to happen.”
Nick: You don’t really see a whole lot of stuff like that happening.
Heather: Yeah. That’s what’s so incredible is you guys are actually, surprisingly precise for what you’re doing.
Anthony Fuhrman: Because I think at World’s we did a sandbag toss and so he had a total, because he had all weight classes. So, I think he had 170 athletes and not one person dropped a sandbag on their head. Throwing four sandbags person. So pretty good numbers.
Nick: Wow. Okay, so on the opposite end of the spectrum, what’s the best way for somebody to replicate some of the benefits of strongman training in a straight-up commercial gym that has no strongman equipment, whatsoever?
Anthony Fuhrman: Umm, so the easiest way is … the basis of my training is strength training. It always has, always will be. It’s the first way to get good at strongman-type stuff in a regular gym is to focus on lifts, not body parts. I really think that is the key. If you want to overhead press, you do seated military press, you do standing military press, you do one-arm dumbbell press, you do things like that. Zercher squats. I don’t know if you guys ever heard of those.
Nick: Of course.
Anthony Fuhrman: Those are one of my favorite exercises of all time.
Nick: Right. I love ‘em from the pins. Man.
Anthony Fuhrman: You got to go from the ground.
Nick: Oh, you’re talking, you’re not talking Zercher squats, then, you’re talking the full-on Zercher lift. See that’s-
Anthony Fuhrman: But not the lift. See, I’m not mobile enough where I can get my elbow underneath-
Nick: But onto your knees…
Anthony Fuhrman: …deadlifted to the knees, and you come under it.
Nick: That’s tough. Okay.
Anthony Fuhrman: I took to that a few years ago because I didn’t have stones and I found a good way to train stones is a Zercher because you’re holding it in front of you, you get up, you triple extend, you get a lot of benefit. And I saw my deadlift went up by doing Zerchers and I think it’s a really good way to train, especially a lot of people don’t have a front squat mobility. Because I zombie it and that gets tough when you get heavy, having to hold your upper back.
Nick: Okay. Yeah. That’s a great one. Zercher carries are also really good at … and you can use those fixed-weight dumbbells. Like, hey, the curl bar. We have these 110-pound curl bars down there. They fit in the crooks of your elbow so much more comfortably. I love that thing for carrying it around.
Anthony Fuhrman: I think the Zercher variation’s great for strongman training in general and just general strength.
Heather: That’s kind of fun about fitness right now. Because if you look at gyms a hundred years ago, you know they were big empty boxes with a few weights and ropes scattered here and there. And then I felt like we reached this pinnacle in the eighties and the nineties where everything was isolated into different muscle groups and now we’re kind of going back to more like what can we do with this piece of equipment and this big heavy thing.
Anthony Fuhrman: I think we’re getting to a point now where we’re really talking very nicely because it worked. The machines work, the free weights work, the odd stuff works. And now we’re just at with the information sharing we got today, everyone’s just coming together.
Heather: Yeah. It’s not uncommon now to walk into … I work out of a CrossFit box. It also has a cable cross machine, you know.
Anthony Fuhrman: Which is amazing. That really is amazing.
Heather: To be able to have it there and then you still have all the fun equipment. You’ve got some stones in the corner …
Nick: Also, we’ve talked with two CrossFit competitors this week who’ve told us they use this functional bodybuilding program, it’s called. It’s getting really popular among CrossFit. So, there’s definitely a dialogue going on where people are like, “All right, how can we actually benefit? If we’re just, if we’re all just trying to get better at stuff, how can we actually benefit from one another?”
Anthony Fuhrman: What happens is you hit the pinnacle of your sport and then you have to get better and you have to find other ways. So, CrossFit, yeah, I have a motor. I need to get stronger. How do I get stronger? I’ve got to add muscle. How do I add muscle? Bodybuilding? Same with Strongman. You can only get so strong if you’re … to a certain weight. Eventually have to put on weight. How do you put on weight? You either get fat or you put on muscle.
Nick: Right. So, how does high-rep pump work and how does bodybuilding still factor into what you do?
Anthony Fuhrman: My general idea of … So, like a general, we’ll say overhead day, would be my main press variation, depending on the competition. Could be a log, whatever it is. And then accessory to that lift could be, you ever heard of the Z press?
Nick: Oh, I love the Z press. I think that’s the best press variation there is. Yeah.
Anthony Fuhrman: Could be a seated log press, but something that’s directly to help that. And maybe a third main lift, sometimes not, depending how the day goes, but the rest is rear delt flyes, lateral raises, upright rows. I like doing one-arm barbell snatches, but that’s because I’m good at the odd lifts. So, I incorporate them. I really think it helps with explosiveness, too.
Nick: You gotta go do some of those with Logan.
Anthony Fuhrman: I hit a 200 one before. 200-pound one-arm barbell press.
Heather: Ow. Nice.
Anthony Fuhrman: Yeah, that was the pinnacle of that. I don’t think I ever hit that again. That was tough.
Nick: Jeez. Yeah, it’s a different kind of lift. Yeah. And I was talking with Logan Aldridge, who’s a one-armed CrossFit athlete about that yesterday. And I was saying those used to be contested lifts like in the Olympics. Just the first couple of Olympics and then they really started to go toward more two-handed lifts. But the one-handed lift, one-handed barbell, one-handed dumbbell, was a contested lift. As you’ve gotten more serious about strongman, have you started to look backward at stuff? Like, “Look at that cool stuff that they used to do? I’m going to get-”
Anthony Fuhrman: I love it, the Steinborn squat. I’ve tried that. I don’t quite possess the mobility needed for a Steinborn squat, but I love that stuff. It’s visually appealing. It’s easy to be good at it because not a lot of people are doing it, and it does have a lot of tremendous carryover.
For example, like the Zercher, not a lot of people are doing that, but they’re not getting the benefit of it like I am. And a few times, I think that was what set me apart from people. We could’ve have the same training program, but I did Zerchers and I’m going to get stronger.
Nick: Hmm. Cool. Now when you look at the guys who are at that ultimate size–pinnacle of the sport–you look at Hafthor, and you look at Martins, and you look at Brian Shaw, are they training that differently than you or are you guys all kind of doing variations of the same thing? Because when I watched, I’ve watched a little bit of how those guys train. They all have YouTube channels now. I don’t watch all of it, but I’ll check in every once in a while. It seems like they’d sit around a lot, but then they do these incredible amounts of things and then they sit for a while.
Anthony Fuhrman: Well, that’s what happens during your main lifts. Realistically, especially if you’re trying to get max output. If I’m doing heavy singles of a 700-pound deadlift, I’m going to take a few minutes in between, because what I need is I need to keep my body reacting to that weight. And if I cut it too short I’m not going to get the benefit of it. But something I do differently than them, but this is my conditioning, is I will do EMOMs, which in CrossFit is “every minute on the minute.” So, what my goal is, is to be able to do enormous weights over a broad spectrum of time. So, if my max deadlift, let’s say I’ll work up to heavy triple. Say that day, my heavy triple is 675. That’s heavy. I’ll do that one rep every minute on the minute for 10 minutes to get that work in over that time for the volume while staying heavy.
Nick: See I like that, and I think Glenn Pendlay had a couple of cool on the minute protocols that were strength-focused like that. It’s like do one on the minute, do two on the minute and I tried it and I remember thinking, “Wow. Such a novel feeling at the end of it” and you get better almost. At minute 10, I’m like, “I feel invincible.” And then at minute 20, I’m like, “I’m done.”
Heather: Yeah, EMOMs are unique.
Anthony Fuhrman: I found the sweet spot, I think, between 10 and 12 is the most, for strength-based.
Nick: For real strength work.
Anthony Fuhrman: Yeah, when you’re doing EMOMs, and the rep range is between one and three. Because I’ve done EMOMs with like five reps every minute. Oh, that gets tired quick.
Heather: Ooh, I don’t know about that.
Nick: And when people hear the word EMOM, every minute on the minute, they often think of something where you’re working for 45 seconds and then you’re resting for 15 seconds. We’re talking about working for like three seconds, five seconds. So, yeah, that’s a different approach. But you feel like that’s one of your little secrets maybe?
Anthony Fuhrman: Yeah. I feel like I’ll do that like once every couple months just to test my mental fortitude, because that’s pretty much all that is good for. I’m not gonna lie, but it’s not good for much else because you get really tired, really quick.
Heather: But it’s really good for that one thing.
Anthony Fuhrman: Yeah, very good.
Nick: Okay. So, one thing I wanted to ask you. So now you’ve, you’ve done a lot in strongman. You’ve been competing in strongman for years. You’ve been on TV. You’re a soldier. You’ve been a fighter, as well. All of this that you’ve done, has it opened your eyes to other things that you want to do is, or do you want to keep doing some of the same stuff you’ve done?
Anthony Fuhrman: I don’t know about opening eyes, but it’s given me confidence to … one of my childhood dreams is to become a wrestler. I want to headline in Wrestlemania. Like my idols.
Nick: Okay. Are you moving in that direction? Because The Rock isn’t a horrible contact to have there.
Anthony Fuhrman: So, you know The Rock DM’ed me after the show, congratulated me, and I was like, “Hey, thanks” and all that. And I was like, “Oh, by the way I’m coming for your title ring WWE thing.” He didn’t respond but he saw it. It said “seen”. So, we’ll see if I can make something of that. And a current wrestler, Braun Stroman, he’s a professional strongman. There’s some avenues that possibly could be open. And then I get to have my own theme song and pyro.
Nick: Oh, man.
Anthony Fuhrman: I would love to be the bad guy. I would love to have 20,000 people booing me.
Nick: Do you have your name?
Heather: La Flama Blanca.
Nick: Is it …?
Anthony Fuhrman: I don’t know if Flama Blanca would carry over.
Nick: Yeah. I don’t know. Yeah.
Anthony Fuhrman: I don’t know about a name.
Nick: Do you speak Spanish? If you call yourself La Flama Blanca, you might have to speak Spanish.
Anthony Fuhrman: I speak no Spanish.
Heather: That’s what’s so fun.
Anthony Fuhrman: I’m terrible at salsa. I’m pale, very pale.
Heather: All that can be learned.
Nick: Well, you’re setting yourself up to be a heel. I think that those are good heel qualities.
Anthony Fuhrman: Yep, perfect heel quality.
Nick: “I am the cultural appropriator. Here I am.”
Anthony Fuhrman: That’s it, I would get them to boo like nothing else. I would just bask in it, too. I’d love it.
Nick: Oh, yeah, exactly. Huh. Wow. Okay. Well, that’s fantastic. We want to see that happen. We want there to be the first Bodybuilding.com team athlete in the ring at Wrestlemania. That’s something to look forward to.
All right. Well, Anthony Fuhrman thank you so much for talking with us. Where do people find you to keep following this journey toward whatever’s coming next?
Nick: Seems like the two are getting closer together. I don’t know where one begins and the other ends now.
Anthony Fuhrman: My mom told me that.
Nick: That’s what I do. I remind people of their mother.
Heather: That’s like The Hulk. He’s always there …
Anthony Fuhrman: He’s always back there, foolin’ around, waiting to come to the surface.
Nick Collias: All right, well, it’s great to have you here. Thanks, again.
Heather Eastman: Yes, thank you.
Anthony Fuhrman: Thank you very much.
The “World’s Strongest Man” contender Robert Oberst has dropped 80 pounds and is getting himself ready to crush the competition in 2018. Here’s his upper-body workout, and his story.