The Comeback; Operation Big Bad Santa
My name is Albie Mushaney and I believe that every older athlete has at least one more good run left in the tank.
In the 90’s I had some success in strength sports, powerlifting and strongman. Nothing spectacular but enough to make me stand out in a crowd. By 1997, I held three of the four possible state records at the junior level in powerlifting. In 1999 I won the Oregon state strongman championship. At this point I was new dad of a beautiful little girl and had to find a job that could support more than just my food bill.
Not long after that I was single, in a custody dispute that turned into a second job and that was the beginning of the end of my strength training for many years. Fast forward a few years, several bad jobs, another ex girlfriend, 2 more children and 100 pounds plus type 2 diabetes. I felt like a blob of goo but somehow I met and married my dream girl and soon we would have our own children.
In December of 2014 we had the last of my 5 children, another boy (the last of 4). I was weighing nearly 400 pounds and my kids were helping me put my shoes and socks on. I was 41 and realized that I would be 60 by the time my youngest son graduated high school. 400 pound fifty year olds are rare, but 400 pound sixty year olds are nearly all dead so if I wanted to see my sons graduate high school I had better get in shape.
I dedicated myself to hitting the gym and my first heavy workout was a 405 deadlift for 3 reps. Not long after I found a strongman contest and decided to give it a shot. While training I decided to employ a technique similar to weight watchers where I needed something to keep me honest and on track so I decided to start a fan page/blog on Facebook, Instagram and Youtube. Thus began Operation Big Bad Santa and I hoped it would inspire folks in similar situations to get motivated about getting in better shape.
Above: Albie competing in 1999.
It didn’t sweep the nation like I hoped it would, but I had a few loyal people who commented and encouraged me with every post and video. Back to that first comeback contest… I got schooled. I got smashed by a guy who I outweighed by 130 pounds, but instead of being discouraged I was even more motivated because all my kids were there to cheer me on. I promised myself that I would never let them down or quit, they would see me give everything I had from that moment forward.
Phase two… I needed help and my prayers were answered when I came across an old friend whom I had competed against back in the day. He had kept training, while life was kicking my ass, and became somewhat of a legend in the Northwest in powerlifting and strongman, Mike Kromer. He offered to write me a program and then the real work actually began. I never thought I could work this hard and not die but I was on a mission. A year after my first contest I competed at the largest show in the northwest and took third place in the masters class qualifying me for masters nationals at the Olympia weekend in Las Vegas 2016. I continued to bust my ass and walked into the Las Vegas convention center a virtual unknown and shocked the world by taking 3rd. Later in 2016, I qualified for USS masters nationals in Detroit for 2017 where I took 4th in the HW class and 7th overall. My success has led to some great sponsorships like Beardilizer (worlds largest beard care company). Cerberus Strength equipment took a chance by adding me to their stable of world champions, national champions and world record holders. Youwiin sports nutrition keeps me full of nutrients.
Now I am on the verge of breaking the USS deadlift record, training for a global contest called Static Monsters and I am in the top 5 qualifiers for Official Strongman Masters Worlds Strongest Man in North Carolina in December 2017. That will mark 3 solid years of training that began with a set of 405 for 3 reps, to being on the World stage. Results are not typical but very achievable. Not matter what your passion is I hope to inspire folks to attack it like their lives depended on it, because I know mine did.
You can follow Albie on social media at the following links;