Trip to DOPE and Matt Vincent’s Podcast in St Louis

While up in St Louis to see Aaron Horshig, I dropped by to see Matt Vincent, and we filmed a podcast. 

This was very different from some of the other podcasts I have done, and this one got me thinking in a different direction. Matt has a wide-open approach that isn’t for everyone; he will tell you that immediately. It will make many people uncomfortable, but that’s what he does. He made me a bit awkward. It might have had to do with some of St Louis’ delicate green. But really, he was challenging me and not being shy about it. I appreciated it then and do even more now. 

I used to be that type of a guy (in some ways) with powerlifting. Wide open. I was down, didn’t care, would do whatever it took. Matt is this way about his life. I think we can all take something away from this. 

But, after having precious girls and understanding many of the risks I took, I am much less wide open these days. With that said, his suggestions to me about pursuing powerlifting and the mindset I had then- but trying to live life like this was helpful. 

Here’s something very embarrassing that I have been in denial about. Once I walked away from powerlifting, I subconsciously wanted everything to be easy since I was quitting the most challenging thing. I think I went on cruise control and no longer wanted to do anything that would push me to those limits. I don’t know if I ever want to take anything besides being a father and a husband this seriously. I stopped training heavily AND hard for the last three years. Admittedly, I want to be much smaller, but I want to coast into a chiseled 235lbs from 310 (Oct 2020{- now no idea, haven’t weighed all year}). 

In 2020, my life changed a lot. I had twin girls. I quit powerlifting for good and walked away. I no longer wanted to do it; it wasn’t worth it. I know it was God’s will for me to walk away. I wonder what I’ve done with my body and what may happen over the next two decades. This part, when I think about it, can bother me. I’m pretty good with the rest of being done, what I did, and where it all remains. I can say 100% that I never have a day where I start to get stupid ideas about a return toward the top. I occasionally have about 2-3min during a song in the gym where I get nostalgic, then remember WHY I don’t want to go to that place anymore. I’ll let you in on a secret. It’s not just the suppz, the training, the time, or the routine of hammering your mind, spirit, and body. It’s freaking training partners. Two of the last three meet cycles I’ve done with my team have involved some severe lack of commitment, to put it lightly. Now, I certainly had a fabulous great core of people on both runs – in 2018 and 2020, but 2 people unequivocally didn’t have my best interests in mind each time. I would venture to guess that there was some malice involved. Things I didn’t expect from people I trusted. Situations like no-showing up to help you at meets will make an already tricky venture nearly impossible to be at your best. In some ways, it was an absolute relief to quit and not have to have 7 people depend on for equipped training and competition. The 4 I have now are fantastic, but — trying to find two more dependable people who won’t hose you is daunting. 

I’ll admit that I lost myself (to an extent)when I stopped competing three years ago. I am still looking for aggressive-release direction in some instances. Some days are worse than others. This is not a cry for help; I’m just being honest about hating training or the thought of training without a specific strength goal. I can’t get fired up to train with 75lb DB on the bench and 315 on the squat. I can’t do things half-assed. But I know that training heavier than necessary is NOT suitable for me anymore if I’m no longer looking for ultimate strength, which I’m not. So it’s a mind-F. But I’m a better Christ-follower, better Husband, and Dad. This takes extreme precedence over all those other temporary things, feats of strength and pale when compared. 

I understand that, like when I quit baseball, I will find the next thing and then pursue it, just like I did with PL in 1999. In my last baseball game, I nearly hit for the cycle (just missing the 4-bagger) and was 3/3 with a single, double, and triple. I can remember the last at-bat–July 17, 1999. I was in a state tournament in Ocala, FL, and we were in the finals against a loaded team from Sarasota who crushed us. We were getting beat by 10, and it was the last inning, and I knew it would be my last at bad. I just knew it. We were on the brink of elimination because it was the 7th inning. I was up 3-0 and told myself that I was swinging no matter where the ball was unless it was behind me. I chased ball 4 at eye level and hit one of the best-rising line drives I have ever shot, which gapped the center-fielder, short-hopped the fence, and legged out the triple. I never played again. 

I sorta did the same thing with powerlifting. I could have done more things and pursued it more. But I just knew it was time for the next thing. When you know, you know. 

I realize I’m still the same 17-year-old kid in some ways, if I allow it, and rarely do, regretting I didn’t do more when I had the opportunity. I also realize that I’m currently in a very similar position that I was in 5 years ago when I needed to fix my fertility. And guess what? I’m here again. I’m back on the same protocol. Thanks to Stan and Ken for the advice. 

I’ve been off T for about 2.5 months, and we are hoping for Twin boys. I know it’s crazy, but we should expect big things from our God. He’s delivered before and will provide again. He’s faithful. 


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Brian Carroll

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Brian Carroll is committed to helping people overcome back pain and optimizing lifts and movement. After years of suffering, he met back specialist Prof. McGill in 2013, which led to a life-changing transformation. In 2017, they co-authored the best-selling book "Gift of Injury." On October 3, 2020, Carroll made history in powerlifting by squatting 1306 lbs, becoming the first person to break this record. He retired with a secure legacy and a life free from back pain.
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