Adrian "ALPHA" Larsen is 34 years old and currently lives about 20 minutes south of Portland, Oregon. Larsen trains at Nautilus Plus and Elite Performance Center. ALPHA stands 5'6" and weighs 220 lbs. and is quick to mention his supportive lady, one Courtney Gould. "She is really the rock in my world. She supports, encourages and helps me reach my goals. I am very thankful to have her in my life." Let's learn more about powerlifter Adrian Larsen!
Q: How did you get introduced to the iron – by family, sports, friends, your own interest?
Well, I started early as a kid watching Hulk Hogan. I wanted to be big, so I began as soon as I could. Initially, I started lifting milk jugs full of water. Soon after, my dad allowed me to use his garage gym which included a bench with a knee extension attached to it. Later, while in high school, I realized that I was much stronger at benching than most people I went to school with. So I started to really focus on getting as strong as possible.
Q: How did you discover powerlifting meets?
A great friend of mine, Jauquin Diaz DeLeon. He suggested I try a competition and right away enjoyed it. Early on I was trying to compete 10 or more times a year. It was a ton of fun.
Q: What sports did you play growing up?
I played a variety of sports growing up. Everything from wrestling, golf, basketball, shot put.
Q: In a sport rife with injuries, what are you doing to prolong your powerlifting career?
I really try not to push it when I am not feeling it. Such as, if I had a rough day at work with not much sleep or not hydrated I do not go in and try to kill it. I also really go off how my body reacts to what I am doing. And finally I do a lot of pre-injury type stretching and training.
Q: Do you coach others?
Yes, I coach people in the gym and online. I try to be available for anyone that wants to learn and get stronger. I have always felt the more people I help makes me a better lifter. Maybe I will get asked a question that I haven't thought of or a problem I have never addressed. It makes me think out of the box. I went to school to become a teacher. Although I went a different direction, someday I would like to be a teacher.
Q: Any advice for those wanting to get into the sport?
Don't wait; just dive in. Compete sooner than later. I hear many new lifters always say they will compete.
Q: What is your overall training philosophy?
Well, I created the Alpha Project which started after a conversation that I had with Mark Bell. Basically, you have to train hard to get stronger. But you also have to train smart. Not getting hurt and have an expectation based on the lifts you are doing in training.
Q: How long have you been training seriously?
Smart or seriously? HAHAHA... Well, I have been training seriously for the last 16 years. Now training smart is another story.
I have been training smart for the last two years. Ever since the Alpha Project was developed.
Q: Who has been your biggest inspiration or mentor in the strength game?
I have many people I look up to. And I look up to them for many different reasons. First off, my biggest inspiration is Michael McDonald. He held the 220 lbs. bench press raw record before I broke it. It stood for 34 years. He made me push myself as hard as I could and set my goals higher than I thought was possible. I really thank him tremendously for that. It has made me a better lifter.
I also look up to Andrey Malanichev. He is a very humble, friendly person. But he is also one of the best lifters ever. It is awesome to see how humble he is.
Eric Spotto: Because he is the one to chase in bench pressing. He is a great lifter and I really like his work ethic. If you don't know Eric, he is a quiet keep to himself type person. But getting to know him he is a really good guy. He also works harder in the gym than anyone I have ever met.
Mark Bell: He takes the time to talk to other lifters and give advice. He also has shown people that you can live your dream with working within the powerlifting community.
Garret Griffin: He is a stud of a powerlifter and a great friend. Every time I have a lifting question, he is my go-to.
And, finally, Courtney: She pushes me harder than anyone. She requires me to bring it every day. There isn't a time she lets me slack. And that is exactly what I need. I couldn't have done any of this without her.
Q: What are some of the lifts you are most proud of?
When I out-benched my gym teacher in 7th grade. I don't remember the actual amount but I am most proud of this lift.
Secondly, my 585 lbs. bench at 220lbs. When I broke the record, it was the first time in my lifting career when I felt like I had accomplished something that many thought I couldn't.
Q: What are the contests you are most proud of?
Yearly, I hold competitions locally to raise money for different reasons. In the past it has been for military families that lost a loved one, hospitals that focus on children and most recently, a lifter that had a daughter fighting cancer.
This year we helped raise money for a good friend that was shot in the head. He lived and is doing great now, but at the time I thought I lost a good friend. We raised money for his family to take some burden off. Those are the competitions I will never forget and are most proud of.
Q: What does your weekly nutrition, eating, meal plan look like?
I currently follow a carb night type eating. I modify it a little. I basically eat low-carb five days a week and the day before I train bench I eat carbs and the day of training I eat carbs. The one thing I lack in my nutrition is getting enough water in.
Q: Do you recommend any supplements?
Yes, I feel every lifter should – at a minimum – take protein and BCAA.
Q: How much sleep do you get each day?
On work days I am getting around 6 hours of sleep. And non-work days I get around 8 hours. Neither is enough, but we are go-go-go many of the days.
Q: What is your favorite movement at this time?
Dead pin presses are my favorite movement at this time. I have seen a great deal of success from doing these and they are very challenging.
Q: What does your current training split look like?
Currently, it goes as follows:
Monday - Bench
Tuesday - Off
Wednesday - Back
Thursday - Shoulders and chest accessory day
Friday - GPP
Saturday and Sunday - Off
Q: Any advice for regular people trying to take their training to the competitive level?
Get out there and compete. It is fun and helps you set new goals for yourself. Always stick to the grind and never give up. Lifting takes a long time to make little progress. Do not get discouraged have fun with it.
Q: Training partners, yes or no?
Yes, I train with Courtney which is a ton of fun. We give each other shit and push each other to try harder. I couldn't ask for a better training partner. Also she usually lifts off for me, which is pretty cool. I also train with longtime friend, Scott L. He is fun to train with. We have known each other for a long time, so we know what to say to fire each other up. And we both give each other a hard time and joke around.
Q: Any shout-outs?
Courtney, thanks for always supporting what I do.
Mark Bell, thanks for all the advice and extra time you have taken out of your day to help me.
Garret Griffin, thanks for setting the bar up high to push me.
Thanks to At Large Nutrition, Sports Nutrition Center, Sling Shot, and Anderson Powerlifting.
Q: How can people contact you (email, social media, etc.)?
Twitter: Alpha Project
Visit our website at fuelthedesire.com
Thank you, Adrian "ALPHA" Larsen, for sharing part of your story! Wishing you continued success in the sport.
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