Interview With Powerlifter Eric Talmant Interviewed by Mike Westerdal of CriticalBench.com - January 2009
Eric Is The Founder And Meet Director Of The Raw Unity Meet
Photo by SAS Digital Memories
Eric Talmant Is Currently training for The Big One; The 2009 Raw Unity Championships. Eric is
not only a competitor but also the founder and director of the Raw Unity Meet. As a world champion
competitor Talmant has competed in the WPO and many other feds. At the time of this interview he is
ranked second in the country raw for his weight class.
Before starting the interview I'd like to thank Eric for helping me cut over 10 pounds in 48-hours on two occassion
prior to a meet. Eric is a stand up guy and it's always a pleasure to be a part of any meet that he is involved with. After reading
this interview you'll have to agree that Eric is not only a gifted lifter but also a very knowledgeable one!
CRITICAL BENCH: Eric, What do you do for a living?
I am a certified Metabolic Typing advisor so I work with folks on building and maintaining great health.
CRITICAL BENCH: Eric, here's an essay question for you. What is metabolic typing and why is it important?
In regards to Metabolic Typing, if I had to sum it up in one sentence I would say that it is the most individualized science of building health that I have ever come across in diligently studying nutrition and health for 16 years now.
I strongly advise you to visit: http://www.metabolictyping.info/ and read as much as you can in order to get a feel for what Metabolic Typing is and what it isn't.
I also recommend that you read my three articles concerning Metabolic Typing. They can be found here:
CRITICAL BENCH: How long have you been powerlifting? How did you first get started in the sport?
I first started competitive powerlifting in 1995 at the University of Evansville. I qualified for and competed at the ADFPA Collegiate Nationals in 1996. I then shifted gears to all things endurance in preparation for special operations in the military. I returned to powerlifting in the fall of 2002 and have been doing 4-5 meets a year ever since.
CRITICAL BENCH: What weight classes and federations have you competed in?
My powerlifting journey started as a light 165 and I still compete in that class today. Currently when I compete locally I do not cut any weight and will sometimes be a very light 181 but at the bigger meets I am always 165. I have competed in the ADFPA, NASA, the AAPF, APF, APA, WPO, RAW United, and the Raw Unity Meet.
CRITICAL BENCH: You've been all over! I've known you for a couple years now and you've been competing raw lately. Is this a permanent move or do you plan on competing equipped again? Why did you choose to switch?
Now that Wade Hooper has moved up to 181 I may get back in equipment at some point and go back to my roots in the USAPL. I made the switch because lifting in equipment is not very conducive to my life. I live in a very rural part of Pasco County here in Florida and it is much easier for me when my training facility is all of 60 feet (detached garage) from my house.
Photo by SAS Digital Memories
I train when I want and how I want and I don't have to depend upon others to get into a bench shirt or a squat suit. I also enjoy the scientific part of building strength. When you compete in equipment it is sometimes hard to tell whether you actually build strength or whether that tighter bench shirt or squat suit is the reason for your added strength. I am just a very traditional guy that is more about the human element of the sport then the technological element (suits) of the sport.
CRITICAL BENCH: Interesting points. Which leads me to my next question. Why do you think causes the tension between raw and equipped lifters? Is there a lack of respect or do a few bad eggs make it seem worse than it is?
This is actually very easy to answer. Many of the guilty parties on both sides make assumptions about the other side when in point of fact they have no idea what they are talking about. Unless a guy has competed both raw and equipped then in my opinion he is in no position to comment (much less criticize) the other.
I understand that many guys sometimes train raw and this and that but unless they have done it in a meet it means nothing. I get guys all the time emailing me telling me that the reason raw lifting is a joke is because they can rep what some of the best raw lifters are doing for a max. Ok, if that is the case then let's see it in a meet. I am not saying that you cannot do it, but I want to see it.
Both sides are guilty, however. I get raw guys that belittle the lifts of equipped guys and then I ask them whether they have ever competed in gear and in many cases the answer is "no". It would be better for the sport as a whole if the top guys would step out of their comfort zones at least once a year to compete in another genre of powerlifting. That way they would earn newfound respect from the new group (whether that is raw, single, or multi-ply) and it would also qualify them to be able to intelligently speak about other forms of powerlifting.
In my experience when a lifter does this he discovers that the competition is pretty tough wherever you go and they are usually glad that they did it. Since I have competed in single ply, multi-ply, and now raw I believe I am qualified to speak on any one of the three in an intelligent manner.
CRITICAL BENCH: Eric what are your best competition lifts?
A 485 lb. raw squat without knee wraps, 290 lb. raw bench press, and a 635 lb. raw deadlift.
CRITICAL BENCH: Tell us about your training philosophy. You train using Sheiko Programming. Could you elaborate on that for those that haven't heard about it?
Sheiko training is just modeled upon increasing volume with an appropriate intensity as you move up the classification chart. The exercise selection is very "basic" and the competition exercises along with the supplemental SPP exercises are the ones that are directly used to build strength.
CRITICAL BENCH: What is your favorite lift out of the three and why?
I like all three of them-really.
CRITICAL BENCH: As a 600 + pound deadlifter, what are your top tips for building a bigger deadlift?
To build a bigger deadlift you need to train the deadlift. My log at Elitefts.com is online for everyone to see. There are a few things that I keep to myself but for the most part it is all there. Since the deadlift is a concentric-only movement it is very important to train the start, the transition or the middle, and of course the top end or the lockout.
Oct 2008 - Eric Talmant - Deadlift 575x2 Raw
CRITICAL BENCH: What was your all-time favorite moment so far in your powerlifting career?
That is a toss-up between competing in the WPO at the Arnold Classic and *barely* out-deadlifting and beating W.C. Waldron at the inaugural Raw Unity Meet. Anybody that was there can tell you that Bud Lyte (the announcer) of BMF Sports (a big supporter/sponsor of Raw Unity) really got the crowd involved when I was going for 622 which would beat the 617 that powerlifting great Oleksandr Kutcher had done raw earlier in the year. Everyone was on their feet and the energy was awesome. I pulled that weight to completion and then actually showed a lot of emotion on the platform by pumping my fists and so forth which is very atypical of me.
W.C. then followed me with 628 and just barely missed it at the top. Everyone was on their feet as W.C. was pulling and I must admit that although I did not want to be beaten I was cheering on W.C. because he is an extremely gritty and determined powerlifter and I have a great deal of respect for him. I can still close my eyes and clearly see W.C. ripping that weight off the floor and hearing Bud and the crowd cheering him on and then not being able to lock it out in the final inches. That moment seemed like an eternity to me but it is etched in my mind forever.
CRITICAL BENCH: Sounds intense, wish I could have been there. Do you have any lifters that you looked up to as a beginner that helped kick start your career?
Oh, not really in the sense you are speaking of. My good friend Tony Maslan at the University of Evansville joined the powerlifting team one year before I did so seeing him make the team our junior year was a lot of motivation for me our senior year.
CRITICAL BENCH: You hold some noteworthy records and rankings. Which ones are you most proud of?
Well, folks may not like this answer but until powerlifting is united I feel that contemporary records and rankings just aren't that big of a deal.
CRITICAL BENCH: Very modest answer. How do you get motivated for a big lift? You always look so calm and collective when you step onto the platform. What's going through your mind?
I think back to the past weeks, months, and years and all of the hard work that I have put into getting where I currently am. The weights that Dave calls are always within my ability and so I reconcile with the fact that I have earned the right to attempt this particular weight that is in front of me and then I give it all that I have; being ever so mindful of my technique and those particular things that I need to do in order to tip the scales in my favor of completing the lift.
CRITICAL BENCH: Last year was the inaugural Raw Unity Meet which was a huge success. How do you think this helps the sport and what can people expect to see different at the next Raw Unity Meet?
It helps the sport because (slowly) it shows powerlifters from raw, single ply and multi ply that unification is not only achievable but good for the sport; whether that unification is raw or single or multi ply still remains to be seen, but since raw lifting basically does not cost much to do it might appeal to more and more lifters who don't have the financial means or the support structure to compete any other way.
In 2009 you will see more and more single and multi-ply lifters stepping out of their comfort zones to come and battle raw. We also plan on having a professional film crew do a documentary on the Raw Unity Meet with the intentions of pitching it to the likes of Spike TV. If powerlifting is packaged properly then it cannot and will not be ignored forever. Powerlifting is too primal and too obtainable by everyday folks not to be noticed eventually. In addition, if it were not for our sponsors BMF Sports, AtLarge Nutrition, APT Straps, Titan Support Systems, Powerlifting Watch, Powerlifting USA, and you guys at Critical Bench we would not be able to do what we do-so thanks!
Photo by SAS Digital Memories
CRITICAL BENCH: How do you deal with the negativity from lifters that didn't want to see the Raw Unity Meet succeed?
I pray for them to turn their negativity into something-anything-constructive and positive.
CRITICAL BENCH: Records are getting destroyed left and right. What do you think the records will look like five years from now? Can we keep moving at this pace?
This goes back to what I mentioned earlier about a few of my own records in that they don't seem to mean much because the playing field is constantly being altered. We can go on ad infinitum about how sports evolve but until I see a piece of equipment that adds as high a return on one's investment as powerlifting gear does to a powerlifter's total then I think it is safe to say that the only competitors that powerlifters can truly compare themselves to are the ones that are either in the same meet or the meet results within the last 6 or so months. So, if powerlifting continues on the path it is on regarding equipment and judging standards then the records of course will keep going up and up.
CRITICAL BENCH: What advice would you offer a young lifter wanting to get started in the sport that you wish you knew when you first started out?
That properly implemented GPP is crucial in the development of a strength athlete, and that once you find a training philosophy that works for you to stick with it.
CRITICAL BENCH: Would you like to see Powerlifting reach the Olympics and become a mainstream sport or do you prefer the current underground private status?
I would absolutely love for powerlifting to reach the Olympics because I truly love the sport and want it to flourish.
CRITICAL BENCH: Do you take a lot of supplements? Please describe your diet.
I don't take any of the "traditional" supplements like creatine, protein shakes, etc. I eat a Metabolic Typing diet that is appropriate for my type and then supplement with those vitamins and minerals that I am deficient in. Everything that I do dietarily has been *painstakingly* catered to my own individual needs through trial and error, help from Bill Wolcott (who wrote "The Metabolic Typing Diet") and extensive blood tests (MRT LEAP Test and the ELISA finger stick test) and lab tests.
CRITICAL BENCH: What's the best food to eat during a meet and why?
That would primarily depend upon one's Metabolic Type and secondarily upon how well the list of anabolic foods does for a person. I have written about this at length at Elitefts.com so if anyone is interested they can run a search on Elite's Q&A for "anabolic foods" and select me as the author.
CRITICAL BENCH: Eric you helped me cut weight for a recent meet out of the goodness of your heart. I don't want to give away your secrets, but do you have any tips for lifters to cut weight in a healthier manner so they don't dehydrate vital organs and spike their blood pressure?
That is impossible to answer without knowing the individual's particulars. When I was working with you we determined how much you had to lose and what your parameters were and then I crafted a plan based on experience that I thought would help you yield the best results with the minimum amount of risk. I will not give the name away but there was another individual that was cutting weight along with you and both of you used one particular modality that I recommended but both of you reacted quite different. For me it really is about the individual and with all of the knowledge I have accumulated over the years in working with folks the one thing that I can say with absolute certainty is that each one of us truly is metabolically different.
CRITICAL BENCH: What do your clients or friends outside of powerlifting say when they find out how much you lift. Do they comprehend the weight you're moving?
I don't know whether or not any of them fully comprehend the weight because unless you have actually walked out a heavy squat it is hard to completely wrap your brain around what several hundred pounds on your back feels like. I will say that most and if not all of them would say that I look much more like an athlete and not a powerlifter and I would agree 100%.
CRITICAL BENCH: What do you like to do away from the gym socially?
I like informing and becoming informed about building health so I do a lot of reading and researching. I also like to meditate, spend time with my dogs, and travel when possible.
CRITICAL BENCH: Eric what are your future goals both on and off the platform?
I want to see Raw Unity grow into something that one day all powerlifters will want to compete at. I want to achieve the rank of MSIC in the 75K class raw which would mean totaling 1520 without the use of knee wraps. I think at some point I would eventually like to go back to single ply lifting in the 75K class now that Hoop has moved up to 181.
CRITICAL BENCH: Where can people go to learn more about you, follow your training, and read some of your published articles?
I am a sponsored athlete with Elitefts.com so I answer questions regularly on their Q&A. You can also find my training log and published articles there as well as at http://www.erictalmant.com
CRITICAL BENCH: Eric we're both positive people with an open mind. What's your favorite motivational quote you'd like to share with our readership?
"Persistence pays off".
CRITICAL BENCH: Great talking with you! I think we all learned a lot. Thank you for the interview, looking forward to seeing you at the RUM.