The 4Life International Convention – Philadelphia, PA

The 4Life International Convention – Philadelphia, PA

Apr 23, 2012

4Life Passport to Freedom Convention

  THE TRIP (April 18- April 22)

I had the opportunity to perform a bench pressing demo for my sponsor, 4Life, at the 4Life Passport to Freedom Convention on Friday April 20th.  While I was there, I got to experience a lot that 4Life had to offer.  What I quickly determined was that when 4Life gets together with their distributors, they do it BIG!  8000 distributors were in attendance from over 75 countries!  The Philadelphia Convention Center  covered rather large area downtown that seemed to span over 3 or more city blocks!  This was a party of epic proportions.  Read on for my experiences and thoughts over this action packed weekend!

I had the opportunity to bring one of my training partners and handlers, Josh Hunt.  He proved to be the best travel buddy.  Josh isn’t afraid to try new things and he couldn’t pass up a free trip to Philly.  Josh was an excellent pick because Josh is a regular globetrotter.  He has had many an opportunity to travel to more than 20 countries in his career.  It was his goal and promise to not let us experience the same thing twice when we were there.  We couldn’t have the same food, go to the same restaurants, or drink the same beverage twice.  It was a great way to ensure that we covered more ground and experienced as much as we could.

Here is a picture of Josh (left) with myself (middle) and VP of Communications Calvin Jolley (right)!




We flew out on Delta from St. Louis at around 11am Wednesday April 18th to New York for a quick layover before taking a small plane to Philly…land of the glorious cheesesteak.  We arrived at the Marriot around 4pm.  Shortly after checking in to the hotel and dropping our bags off at the rooms, we decided that we needed to kickoff the food festivities.  So we made a quick walk down a few streets into Chinatown and ate at the Dim Sum Garden.  We ordered pan fried pork dumplings, steamed dumplings, steamed pork juicy buns, and a couple other delicious steamed items.  After a long trip, it tasted like heaven.  Shortly after the Dim Sum Garden, Josh took me to a WAWA.  Really cool convenience store that makes sandwiches to order.  After a long night of stuffing our faces, we decided to call it a night.

Thursday morning, we made a trip to the Reading Terminal Market.  We ate at a tiny little Amish food stand and ordered breakfast and coffees.  Perfect way to start the day.  Talk about a hardy sandwich.  Two eggs, thick cut bacon, and cheese all made or processed by the Amish.  It was flawless.

The Reading Market has it all (with strange hours).  Cheeses, farmer’s market, deli’s, seafood, ethnic food shops, Amish specialties, chocolate onions (WTH?), pottery, jewelry, restaurants, and all kinds of crafts.  This was also the place where I had a bacon, egg, and cheesesteak sandwich.  It changed my life and is now the reason I like Philadelphia.  It has an open market feel yet it is indoors underneath the giant convention center.  If you are ever in Philadelphia, you have to visit this place.  Its amazing.

Shortly after the market, we made our way into the Convention Center for the 4Life General Assembly.  It was more of a party with plenty of announcements.  This company really takes pride in their products, distributors, and partnerships.  I was impressed at the grand scale of the convention.  As stated before, 8000 distributors were in attendance from over 75 countries.  They all showed up to the assembly in style.  Flags waving, cultural dress, vuvuzelas, techno, giant stage, and a light show that rivals most rock concerts.  You couldn’t hear anything but the music and the roaring of the crowd.  It instantly gave me goosebumps.  During the assembly, 4Life announced a couple of new products…Targeted Transfer Factor ‘Vista‘ and ‘Berry Energy Go-Stix‘.  Both product will likely increase 4Life’s ranking among businesses in it’s class.

Later Thursday, we went to a Luncheon with Guest Speaker Stephen Covey, Author of ‘The Speed of Trust‘.  Steve explained the importance of trust and how it can be a force multiplier in a businesses progress and effectiveness.  We had tomato basil soup, steak salad, tea, coffee, rolls, and cheesecake.  It was a fine meal.

Thursday night, Josh and I decided that we wanted to go to a real steakhouse.  So we went to McCormick and Schmick’s steakhouse.  I ordered a filet and shrimp.  Josh went BIG.  He ordered the 22oz cowboy steak ribeye with the bone in…BLUE RARE.  Basically the rarest steak that you can order.  The steak is seared extremely hot on both sides for maybe a minute each.  The outside gets charred a bit, but all of the steaks deliciousness is kept in.  Josh gave me a bite and it made my filet taste like a dirty hamburger.  It was remarkably delicious.  I’ve known Josh for a couple years now.  This was the happiest I’ve ever seen him.

Friday was the day of my bench press demo.  Thankfully, Niko Huslander (of Vision Fitness and Garage Ink)was available to bring his equipment and weights to the convention center.  I have to say this about Niko.  He has to be one of the most generous men that I’ve ever met.  He didn’t hesitate with helping me out with bringing his equipment, weights, and his epic handoffs.  I owe him and and very thankful to have Niko as my friend.  Thanks Niko…you are the best.  Thanks for your generosity, help, and time.  I know it was tough for you to come out, but I’ll never forget it.

Of course the day started around 9am at the Reading Terminal Market…this is when I had that life changing bacon, egg, and cheesesteak.  Perfect blend of hearty ingredients.  Coffee was very hot, very dark, and delicious.  This was really the last thing I ate before the demo which was at 1pm.  We met up with Niko on the streets about 12 noon.  Had no problems with the laborers bringing the equipment in and set things up very quickly.  Here’s what it looked like.  I took pictures and answered questions between warmups.


My Gut looks glorious in these pictures…Gotta love it!

So the demo went very well.  I was able to interact with the crowd, sign autographs (which is way out of my norm), and ham it up with the crowd.  They were great.  4Life distributors are a fun bunch of people.  They made it easy for get me mentally jakked to lift something big for them.  I promised that the louder they get, the more I’ll lift.

I felt really good going into the demo.  I took a Berry Energy Go-Stix packet and attacked my warmups.  This stuff really gets you in the zone.

Here is how the attempts went.

BAR x2x10
135 x2x6
225 x2x3
315 x3
405 x3
495 x3
585 x2
625 x1
655 x1
685 x1
715 x1 

I really didn’t feel like stopping there.  I wanted to take 715 x3 to a two board, then 685 x3 to a 1 board, but time ran out.

We quickly tore down the setup  and made room for taking pictures with the crowd.  I signed some things I never would have guessed I’d be asked to sign.  Again, this is a first for me, but I really enjoyed it.  I felt like a rockstar in a sport that fame and fortune simply doesn’t exist.  I give a lot of thanks to 4Life for allowing me to showcase my strength and embracing me with open arms.  This company is very positive, has a lot of momentum, and shows no signs of slowing down.  I see them taking over the world in about 5 years.

715 really didn’t feel that heavy in my hands.  I did have issues with the concrete floor.  My feed slid quite a bit and made some of the pressing look a little uglier than it should have, but nevertheless.  I was strong that day.  I wish I was competing.  715 was a pound under the current IPF World Bench Press Record.  IPF Men’s Records – current record is help by Marcus Hirvonen of Sweden.  

My hope is that I get invited back next year and press even more, even better.  I believe next year’s international convention will be held in Miami Florida.  That would rock!

We visited the Liberty Square on Saturday.  My only regret is that I wish we had more time to look around.  There is a lot of rich history here.  I have plans to one day take my family out there so my children can learn about our country’s history, independence, the constitution, and freedom.  We also went to the National Constitution Center .  We attended a multi-media show that illustrated our countries history.  It was one of the best narrated shows I’ve ever seen.  It was a very inspiring, motivating, and captivating show.  It really captured the American spirit of freedom.  We walked down to the Liberty Bell Center to see the liberty bell.  It was smaller than I thought it would be, but that only added to its magnificence.  Here’s Josh and I at the Liberty Bell.



So the rest of the trip was extremely fun.  Josh and I experienced some of which Philly has to offer.  See the list below…

Tattooed Mom – Really cool underground style bar.  We ate Honey Siracha Wings, some kind of spicy jalapeño fries, and drank some beer that has a yeti.  Not sure what it was called, but it was delicious.

Wooly mammoth – Another cool bar.  We had Abita Strawberry beer, and I had a local brew called Yard’s.  I give it a thumbs up.  Here is a picture of me, with a sucker in my mouth, and a dude behind me wearing the most glorious Cosby Sweater.  LOL

Jon’s bar and grille – We ate fresh Crab Dip, enjoyed some beverages.  This bar and grill was inspired by Larry Fine of the 3 Stooges!

Diogenes – Grocer

Atomic comics – Josh and I love comic books.  And are proud of it!  Josh got me an X-Force Poster and I bought the first graphic novel of ‘The Walking Dead’.  The poster is now in my gym, and ‘The Walking Dead’ was a very cool read.

Creperie – Josh and I ate there on Saturday Morning.  I had a Walnut, Apple, and Honey Crepe.  Josh had a Nutella crepe.  Their coffee was insanely hot.

Flying monkey – Bought a couple of Bourbon Brownies here.  They were delicious.  As you can tell I treat myself after big milestone powerlifting events.

Wawa – convenience store that we frequented for small food items.  AWESOME

Old city pizza grill – Had a Philly Cheesesteak here, Greek Fries, and Mountain Dews.  There was a little cub scout in there crying about his food allergies…to peanuts.  Poor little guy must have had a bad reaction to eating something out that he was traumatized.  Felt bad for the little man.

Dim sum garden – What you should take from this is go eat some Dim Sum.  Little dumplings were like pockets of succulent meats/treats.  DO IT.

By George – I am pretty sure that this is where Niko and Josh got their tasty cheesesteaks on Friday.

Spartaos – not sure what was here, but we were there.  This could have been the place Josh and I went to on South Street for Pizza and Milkshakes.  To Josh and I, we also call this place Kevin’s.

Downey’s – Corner Pub at the end of South Street.  Met some interesting locals here.  Josh hates two in particular.

Perch Pub – Best bar and restaurant we ate at next to the steakhouse.  I ate a California Cobb Hamburger.  It had an avocado, arugulo, cheese crumbles, and some kind of sauce.  It was one of the top 5 burgers I’ve ever had.  Josh had a good burger as well.  But what really changed my life about this place was a beer I drank.  I drank Dark Horse Plead the 5th  one of the best beers I’ve ever drank.

I want to say this about drinking alcohol.  I don’t drink to get drunk, get a buzz, or cut loose.  I drink beer on occasion because I really like it.  I like the different varieties and tastes.  There are winos, and beer snobs.  I guess I am turning into a beer snob.  I never get drunk.  There is no way that I’d be the athlete that I am today if I was a lush.

I’d like to thank the following people, in no particular order:
David and Bianca Lisonbee
Trent Tenney
Steve Tew
Calvin Jolley
Curtis Ostler – for taking pictures like a BOSS and being a really cool dood
Stephanie Walker?
Alice Lilo
Niko Huslander
Beth Stewart
Josh Hunt for going, traveling, and having fun.
My Parents

I know that I’ve left some people out, but it isn’t on purpose.  If you are a friend of mine or family member, you have directly contributed to my success in one way or another.  For that I thank you all!


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