Anthony Springman’s story could have come straight out of one of those old Charles Atlas ads in the back of comic books. But nobody’s kicking sand in this multi sport champion’s face now! Read on to find out how he does it!
Anthony, thanks for talking to all of us garage meatheads around the world. How long have you been training? Where did you get your start? (your parent’s basement, a commercial gym, high school weight room etc.)
I have been training for 42 years. I started training at home, in my parents basement at 13 years of age. I was the typical skinny kid, who got tired of getting sand kicked in his face. I guess it worked, because I gained 30lbs in one summer. Needless to say, I was hooked for life.
Where in your house is your gym located?
My gym is primarily in the basement, but I also have some equipment in my garage.
You have a pretty impressive pedigree which of your accomplishments stands out to you most?
Number one would be having the first drug tested 600lb squat in the state. That was in the first ADFPA competition in Nebraska in the late 80’s. After that it would be my last win at the NPC Central USA in the Masters Men’s Physique division. I won the overall at 54, against guys in their mid-thirties. I was in the best shape of my life.
What are your best numbers in the gym and competition?
You’re a Physique athlete, Olympic lifter and power lifter. How have you been able to successfully integrate your different training goals?
You just train specifically for each one. Pick your meet and plot out your plan and stick to it. With physique you are obviously doing more volume, and your diet must be tight. Training, diet, posing, tanning…know what you are getting into! It is much more regimented than powerlifting and Olympic lifting. That is not to say either of those are easy!
Robby Robinson is famous for saying that he prefers basic barbell moves but a lot of physique athletes prefer to train in commercial gyms so they have access to a wider variety of equipment. You train in a home gym, do you ever wish you had more toys or trained in a commercial gym with access to what your competitors might have?
Never. I like to use what equipment, when I want to use it! I train individuals in commercial gyms and it is a pain. You constantly have to be ready make variations in the daily program because you do not know when a certain piece of equipment will be available to use. I do not experience that with a home gym.
I have seen some toys in your gym that many garage gyms don’t have like a lever squat/standing calf raise, t bar row, leg extension and reverse hyper. What’s your favorite piece of training equipment?
That is tough! I will probably say that Lever Squat. Barbell squatting to me is numero uno, but when the day comes that I cannot put that bar on my back anymore, I will still be able to get into that lever squat!
Have you ever sold something and wished later that you hadn’t?
Oh, have I!!! Ok, here goes. Compact leg press, Leg extension/hamtactor combo, ab/lower back machine, standing calve, seated calve, pec fly/rear delt machine, and seated overhead press/lateral raise machine. That hurts to write this. We finished our basement and because of room constrictions, this stuff had to go.
That’s rough man. What one piece (or pieces) of equipment land on your “absolutely never sell” list?
Power rack. There’s a limitless amount of exercise you can do with just the rack.
Garage gyms often start out barebones. I know mine did. I started with a set of 70lb dumbbells and a wooden box to use for bench and Bulgarians. What did you start out with?
I think it was a bench and a small power rack. Very basic.
What’s on your most wanted equipment list?
I recently am in negotiations (via Craigslist) for a vertical leg press!
Do you ever get stuff fabricated? How about DIY equipment?
A few small items, but I stress to everyone be very careful with “home made equipment”. Your safety and that of other people training with you are very important. You do not want to be on a homemade bench that gives out during a bench press. Be smart, and be safe.
How do you stay motivated to train at home?
I love it. It’s therapy. I cannot imagine not training, and I thank God every day that I am healthy enough and have the opportunity to do so.
What’s your favorite part about training in your home?
Like I said before, there is no waiting for equipment. No specific hours of operation, I train whenever I want.
Being in a home gym doesn’t mean you’re on house arrest (unless you are). What are your favorite gyms to visit?
I always train at home, unless I am on vacation, then I will seek out a local gym. It is still fun trying different equipment.
What advice would you give to someone who’s thinking about starting a gym in their home?
Do it. Consider it an investment in yours and your family’s health and fitness!
Nutrition is a key part of getting in shape. Especially as a physique competitor, do you try to stay in shape all year round or do you adjust your diet as your goals change throughout the year?
I have a brutal sweet tooth, so yes, if no competition is in sight, the body fat definitely goes up. I just try and maintain a certain level of conditioning and not get too far out of shape.
What is your favorite garage gym conditioning tool?
I have a prowler in my back yard. That is amazing for kicking your butt. I push it on grass and rarely have to add extra resistance. The only thing to deal with is the looks from the neighbors!
How is your family involved in your fitness journey? (I think I saw a picture of you towing some happy kids on a sled!)
My family all uses the gym. My wife recently completed a 5K and used the gym for her training. The kids have all played sports at the varsity level and at the collegiate level and used the gym. My son still plays college basketball and will bring over other athletes during the summer to train in the basement. It is a blessing to see.
How can people follow your training or get in touch with you if they want to hire you?