I got a call from a guy last spring. He told me his name was Rob Brandt. It was a different inquiry than I usually get. I could tell right away.
He told me his son was a freak. Not like in a bad way, but in a this kid is a freaking specimen who works harder than just about anyone you will ever meet and is exceptionally gifted both mentally and physically kind of way. I know a lot of fathers talk about their boys this way, but this was different. The last 6 months of working with Nick and getting to know his father and twin brothers better I have found all this to be true.
First of all, the kid is incredibly intelligent and well mannered. As much of a knucklehead as his father Rob is, he does a tremendous job raising young men. If my boys are as well behaved, hard working, and talented as the Brandt boys than I will have done my job.
Nick is competing for valedictorian of his high school. He is currently a junior in high school and he is taking AP environemental science, chemisty, government, and a few other things. He is shooting for a 5.0 this sememester because all advanced placement classes are worth 5 points. His primary objective for high school is an academic scholarship to an elite university like Dartmouth or Cornell. Talking to the young man is a breath of fresh air. He gives me hope for the future.
Nick works hard. Like super hard. He is actually a little overboard on his research and we have butted heads over a few things because at times he has failed to understand that my years of experience trumps reading articles on the internet. But at least the kid reads. I don't mind having intelligent conversations about methods of training and scientific principles. It beats trying to motivate the unmotivated.
Nick is motivated athletically as well. He is not just a bookworm. His primary sport is wrestling. He has also played football, but after starting to train with me after last wrestling season he decided it would be best to keep training for gains and focus on wrestling. We have made some progress.
It is easy for me as a coach to get an incredibly gifted, hard working kid strong. Especially one who is dedicated to eating right and tracking calories.
Nick wrestled last year at 168. He had a great sophmore year. His record was really good. He has been wrestling for years and has wrestled all over the country. His family has a strong background in the sport. When they came to me it was to help him get strong and to hopefully put on some size.
Yesterday we did our last training session for awhile. Nick is moving into full wrestling season and he will be on the mat all the time. When we started training last spring Nick was somewhere around 165. He told me yesterday he weighed 197. He will wrestle this season at 189. Once he drops some of the water weight he is holding and gets in 'wrestling shape' he will probably walk around at 185-190 ripped to shreds. Not a bad growth for a summer of hard training for a 16 year old kid.
Nick came in unable to squat 225 how I would like to see a squat done. We got up to 365 a few weeks ago. Not bad for a 16 year old. Our training was interupted a few times over the summer and we had to back off a few times. I would have liked to have gotten to 400, but next year we will surpass that for sure.
Nick struggled with power clean form when we started. Throughout the summer he would regularly work up to the low 200's for sets of triples. The kid has power. Not many of the college age guys or grown men I work with can throw a triple around with force over two hundred on the power clean. Not bad for 16.
Nick deadlifted 405 last night also. Not bad after a hard set of 315 for 5 on the squat and considering he has been conditioning for wrestling the last few weeks and has been on the mat a lot. The kid is strong.
Next off-season we need to work on his overhead press more, but he has been doing okay. He told me last night he thinks he is close to 225 for 5 sets of 5 on the bench press. Not bad for 16.
Nick is a prime example of what doing the program is all about. Eat, lift, and rest. It works as well as you work it. I am incredibly excited to see what kind of progress we can make next summer. Nick will be nearing the prime of his strength training career. With his attention to detail regarding recovery and his incredibly intense work ethic I am pretty sure that the gains will be plentiful.
Speaking of Nick's work ethic, he always trains hard. Even when he is beat up from overtraining and when he doesn't listen to me about taking days off. He always trains hard.
One day much earlier this summer he was training with his 13 year old twin brothers, Tyler and Jacob, and one of my long time clients Peyton Styles. Peyton was the captain of his varsity hockey team last year and has been training with me since the original Kurisko Fitness Training 600 square foot location on Waverly Road. We had finished lifting. All the boys squated, pressed, and did power cleans. I decided it was a day to push the prowler.
Peyton had just graduated high school and had just been lifting since hockey season. His conditioning wasn't where it normally is, but it was still pretty good. The twins are hard working athletes like their big brother, so I figured it would be interesting.
I had two guys line up on each end of my small gym. The idea was one guy would sprint all out to one end and another would push it back. It would roll in a continous rotation. It went on for quite a while. Poor Peyton started dying. I am pretty sure he had been enjoying the high school graduation parties a little too much. The twins were working as hard as they could, but they are still little guys. They started dying as well. Nick just kept plugging along steadily.
This went on for about 10-15 minutes and Peyton started turning green. He knew about the prowler. He decided he had nothing to prove and I agreed. He stopped pushing and laid down. The Brandt boys kept going. Nick started assuming more of a big brother leadership position now that Peyton was out of the picture. He started yelling at his little brothers, pushing them to test themselves. They were struggling. I actually wanted to stop them, but I wasn't going to get in the way of their big brother testing them. I just watched.
Tyler's legs were gone. There was definitely quivering going on. Jacob was a little better off, but not much. Nick just kept doing his reps with force. Steady and strong. He pushed each rep with enthusiasm. The poor twins just hung on for dear life and were probably hoping Nick would quit.
Eventually, Tyler started breaking down. He pushed with everything he had. His legs shook, his body started to break down. He fell to the ground. His brother yelled at him to finish the rep. Tyler tried with everything he had to get the prowler to the other side. He was in tears from pushing so hard. His brother showed no mercy and just challenged him to push himself further. It was too much for me. I called it finally. The twins impressed me, but there was no need to go any further. They had already gone too far. They both laid down.
What happened next was crazy. Everyone had fallen. Nick had already squatted heavy, pressed, and power cleaned. He had just done 15 minutes of prowler sprints. And now he looked at me and asked if I minded if he put some weight on the prowler. I nodded that that would be fine. He stacked two more 45 pound plates on each side and proceeded to push the prowler for another 10 minutes straight.
There are not many kids like Nick Brandt. I was impressed. I have seen people train hard, but this kid is certainly on another level.
Lately, Nick has been tossing around college wrestler's he has rolled with. It has been suggested by coaches that he will not be tested until the end of the year state tournament as a junior in the 189 weight class. I told him that I wanted to watch a few matches this year and he told me he'd let me know when there would be a decent one. He said most of them will end quickly and he said he'd hate for me to take my time to come watch him pin someone in a few seconds. The funny thing is he is not a cocky kid, in fact he could actually use a little more confidence, so he is not bragging. He is just telling the truth. He is going to dominate almost everyone he faces and will probably not lose more than 5 matches this year.
Nick is a special kid. I am honored to be working with him. It will be exciting to see what he does these next two years both on the mat and in the classroom. I am definitely proud of him.
I cannot wait till next off season. And his twin little brothers will be a year older. It will be fun.