APRIL ATHLETE: RYAN CARRILLO

APRIL ATHLETE: RYAN CARRILLO

Apr 1, 2013

EL MESA GRANDE

RYAN CARRILLO POSTER

Bio

My name is Ryan James Carrillo; I was born and raised on the Northwest side of San Antonio Texas by Mark and Mary Carrillo. I am 6 foot 5, 330lbs. I attend Texas State University and I am political science major. My hobbies include photography/videography, reading, the outdoors, and powerlifting. I am an experienced Webmaster, and I work full time at the #1 computer store in Austin, Texas and as a bouncer at a local bar on the weekends.

RYAN CARRILLO

Sports Philosophy:

My philosophy is simple. Iron sharpens iron; sports are a way of enlightenment and spiritual discovery unlike anything else in life. Sports put you in difficult and adverse situations that enact the fight or flight response that used to keep our ancestors alive. Nothing else in life can do that, we do not have to run for our lives or chase down prey to survive. Sports are an outlet for emotion and a way to construct the character and person you want to be. Character has always been the most important thing to me in life, and sports are a way to hone and shape it unlike anything else.

 

Powerlifting journey:

I have been attracted to competitive sports since I can remember. At first I did not understand them, but later I came to love them and eventually competition would be the number one passion in my life. I’ve never been great, I was okay at baseball, okay at basketball, and pretty good at football. It wasn’t until I discovered powerlifting that I found something I truly loved, and was great at. I use that term loosely as the best lifters in the world surround me, and I am able to train with them consistently and they are only a phone call away for advice or a chat. These people also happen to be some of my best friends and are like brothers to me.

I did not begin powerlifting until I got out of high school, division 3 schools recruited me but nothing ever came of it, as my family could not afford to send me to them. I competed in my first meet in November of 2009.  It was a bench only meet and I benched pressed 346 lbs at about 265 lbs bodyweight. I had been following the sport since I first touched a weight in the eighth grade, and I remember watching videos on you tube always feeling an odd intrigue with the sport, but not pursuing it as I had no outlet and was a dedicated football player.

Once in high school, I excelled at football immediately. I was also as strong as most varsity linemen and was committed to making the varsity as a sophomore in the spring. I began lifting weights 3 times a day. I would have my mom drop me off early in the morning; I would lift, then during school I would lift, then finally after school I would be the only freshman to stay and train with the JV and Varsity. All I knew was that I had to be as strong as the 17-18 year olds on the offensive line, and I was 100% dedicated to that. Looking back now, I realize the character traits I had then are what still exist inside me today: commitment, purpose of conviction, and dedication like no other. I was 14 at the time, only lifting weights lightly in 8th grade and for a few months as a freshman I had a squat a little over 400 and a bench press of 275. I was learning the game and the coaches were noticing. I had no idea what I was doing was wrong…

I’ll never forget that day. It was late March and it was early, again I was making my mother take me to school early to lift weights. I was hungry, and I wanted to be strong so bad. It was time to squat, and partway through it happened, my upper back caved in, I had no spot, and I had to good morning the weight up at the same time my hips rotated and the burning sensation started. It hurt to walk. It hurt to sit upright, and I had no idea what I had just done. It took three doctors to realize what I had done, as my symptoms were numerous, but the third diagnosed it as a herniation of my lumbar disc, an injury most get when they are well into their forties or fifties and sidelines most athletes for good. I was told I could never lift again, that I should never play football, and that I would be in pain for the rest of my life.

It was a bleak outlook for a fourteen year old, to say the least. I insisted on continuing and I did my therapy and committed myself to excellence returned to play football and by the time I finished my senior year I was an all district linemen and team captain. That experience is something I would not trade. Though tough, and life changing I believe it played a large role in creating the person I am today. The ability to triumph in the face of adversity, when the odds are against me is a rare ability in my eyes. If it weren’t for that injury, those years of struggle and chaos, I wouldn’t have the character that I do now. Instead I chose to live and live how I pleased. I did the work necessary and was successful through my determination and fearlessness. To this day it still hurts, it affects my life in more ways than one but I would not change it, ever. It hurts like heaven. I’m living a dream, how many people can say that?

Ryan Carrillo Chokes Jabroni

Ryan Carrillo Chokes Jabroni

My powerlifting journey is different than most of my peers who began in high school. When I began, I had to search for knowledge, I had to learn by making mistakes and I had to teach myself. I began as a bench press only lifter, still living with the notion that I should not squat or deadlift due to my injury. Not until I met my coach did that change. I remember my first workout with the Bell Power System team in 2010. I was intimidated, and unsure of myself. That first workout I struggled with 315lbs on the bench press for sets of 4, a weight that I have done a set of 16 with now. My coach transformed how I viewed the sport, my training, my future in the sport, and myself. He guided me down the right path, showing me and teaching me what I needed, but never actually doing it for me, that is what makes him a great coach. He guides you, and shows you, encourages you to ask questions and always thirst for more knowledge. It was up to me to get back under the squat bar, my team members just showed me it was possible. I am now on my way up the super-heavyweight powerlifting rankings just as he predicted those years ago, something that excites me for my future.

Bench pressing has always been my forte, even though I’ve always been told “’I’m not built like a bencher”: I have a 7-foot wingspan and almost no arch. However, I have never let this disadvantage get in the way, rather I adapted my training to it and learned how to overcome it by working on my weak points. I am now in my third year of powerlifting, and I have the top ranked bench press in the junior division here in the United States in the super-heavyweight division and the second heaviest bench press of all junior lifters right behind my great friend and sometimes training partner Preston Turner who is also a world champion! I am just now finally figuring out my equipment and my training thanks to the great people I have in my corner.

 

Gene’s son, Ian, is one of my closest friends I’ve made in this sport and also one of the biggest helps to me when it comes to training. Who better to ask than the son of the legend who himself is the living result of his training methodologies and teachings. Brady Stewart is also a big reason my bench press has evolved into what it is today. Having a legend like Gene Bell, and a progressive and severely educated and decorated lifter like Brady in my corner seriously is the most humbling thing. Gene always told me “You can’t do it alone”, and I am proof he is right.

Brady’s approach to bench pressing is revolutionary and different, but it works and is so simple. It took my best lift from a 556, to a 611 in about 8 months. I learned how to use my equipment, but most of all I learned how to be tough mentally and  ‘be calm like a bomb’. The thing Brady and Gene have in common is their approach to competition. If you watch team BPS lift at meets, there is no head slapping, no grunting, no weight shaking and yelling, save for the occasional ammonia hit, there is just perfectly executed lifts and 9 for 9 days. This is how Brady approaches benching. Saving yourself for the lift, and an unshakable confidence that roots in the core of your being. Though placid on the outside, on the inside it’s a raging firestorm.

Powerlifting did not come easy at first, and is still that way today. At first I bombed out of meets, missing bench presses and falling flat on my face. I failed, often, but I never stopped. I had the best group of people in my life, men like Gene and Ian who believed in me, lifters like Ron Lloyd and Andre Gholson who told me to never give up and who never gave up on me. My parents who even in my darker moments, after the hardest days and biggest failures, behind closed doors dealing with the emotion chaos of my life always were proud of me, and never let me give up. You really cannot do it alone, no one can, and it takes a team of people and the willpower of them all for it to happen.

If you had told me three years ago that I would be on the world bench press team at 21, I would have called you crazy. Gene told me it would happen, and sure enough it did. I’m getting better every week and I am finally making gains on my squat and deadlift even through many injuries and setbacks. I am on point to have a great performance at collegiate nationals, a gold medal performance at bench press worlds in Kaunas, Lithuania, and an awesome performance at men’s nationals.

RYAN CARRILLO SQ

I’ve really loved the spiritual aspect of powerlifting the most. It’s a part of me like work or church is for most. My training partners and fellow competitors are like my second family, and the lessons I learn from it are life changing. It teaches me self discipline, it shows me how committed you have to be to achieve what you want in life, it teaches me how to improve myself and build my character and become what I want. The lessons that powerlifting teaches me translates over into every aspect of my life: Personal relationships, work, and school. I’ve learned how to have future sight, how to set goals and set out a plan on how to achieve them. The fact is iron sharpens iron; I have unshakable confidence in the face of adversity and I am fearless in my life because of it.

My journey is different; it is unconventional, but it is mine. I love the struggle, the challenge, I love the triumph and I love the defeat. I understand you have to take the good with the bad, and that one-day does not define you in this sport. I am so lucky to have the support I do, with friends, coaches, and mentors like mine, and the abilities and skills I have learned these short three years I am sure to be successful on the platform, and in life. I hold steadfast in this belief, and I try to spread the love and the knowledge I have to everyone around me. I am happy, I live the life I want, and I impact others around me, which is all I have ever wanted out of life. All of this from a sport, who would have thought? The exciting thing it’s only the beginning. 3 years is nothing, it’s a speck on the canvas of time.

 

 

What Drug Free means to you

Drug free means a level playing field. In competition a standardized set of rules, regulations, and rules and expectations is what facilitates a fair and consistent realm in which competition is held. In strength sports, the most prevalent issue today is still PEDs, I am proud to say I have never touched them in my life and never plan to. Being drug free to me means when I am up on the platform, performing my best it is truly my best. I was not enhanced by artificial means and what is happening is purely myself executing at the highest level I am capable of. Being drug free is what makes the USAPL special, in a subculture such as ours [strength sports] where PEDs are the most prevalent issue today, I am proud to compete in an organization that values a level playing field and consistency.

Ryan Carrillo

My Training Style

My training style evolves each year. I was a student of Gene Bell’s and trained under him for 2 years. I am still today, but at a distance via email, phone, and video. The base of my programs is simple, it’s what I have learned training under Gene and Ian these past years as well as a culmination of the countless conversations and correspondences with great lifters all over the country. The most important thing is understanding that what works for others may not work for you, it is up to you to decide, no one else. Search for knowledge, ask questions and absorb what you can from everyone you encounter. I am very good with Microsoft Excel, and I utilize it to quantify my training and preparation for meets. I use formulas to predict meet outcomes and pick the proper openers, as well as an attempt picker based on past meet numbers and central nervous system feedback. The key with me is that every day is different; I have a plan I go by but I adjust to how I feel that day, as everyone should. Templates are just that, a template to go off of. With the injuries I have, I must listen to my body and adjust training weights in order to train and hit my overall tonnage. Tonnage is key to improving strength and is the focus for me. Overall my training style is very unique and custom, the antithesis of most cookie cutter programs out there.

 

Inspiration or Motivational Words

  • Live to fight another day. Listen to your body. It’s the only one you have.
  • Through adversity there is redemption. With passion, fighting I am unbroken
  • I will be the best, the one you look up to. I will conquer those who stand in my way and use them as fuel to burn. The integrity I display will be that of legend, and the effort complemented by blood and sweat and sometimes tears will show the naysayers the beast that lies within. Passion is something you couldn’t understand, unless you yourself have it

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Current Records

  • USAPL Texas SHW junior full meet bench and bench only records.

 

Current Rankings:

  • #18 ranked super heavyweight bench press according to powerliftingwatch.com
  • #24 total
  • #9 SHW bench press in the USAPL
  • #1 Junior USAPL Super Heavyweight

 

 

Recognition (Education, sports, and etc.)

  • Political science major at Texas State University.
  • Collegiate All American Power lifter.
  • USAPL World bench team member.
  • Top junior super heavy weight bencher in the USAPL.
  • All district linemen O’Connor High School.
  • Manage 3 websites, designed 5.
  • Photography has been featured in print and online.

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One comment

  1. Josh Hunt /

    Real Fine Job El Masa Grande, Real Fine Job. Hell of an article. Don’t forget the next time I see you I owe you a Texas size mess of tacos.

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