Athlete Spotlight: Dan Novalis

Hi guys, this month we’re back with another great athlete story. This month we’re talking with Dan. Dan has been incredibly successful at our gym, his strength has increased tremendously and he recently lost about 30 lbs. We couldn’t be more excited for Dan to be training with us but we’ll let him tell his story.

When did you start training at Brentwood Barbell?

I started in late January 2019 – one of those doomed January starters – but I’ve stuck with it the whole year!
Trap Bar Deadlift: 325 x 4

How has training to be stronger changed your life?

My confidence is far more than what it used to be – I know I’m taking care of myself, and I feel good throughout the day.  Lots of little things too – like, my 52-lb six year old wanting a piggyback ride up a flight of stairs – are way easier and more fun.  It’s not tiring at all, and in fact I look forward to little challenges like that!

Beyond the physical benefits, my ability to focus and stay productive at work has dramatically increased.  I’m a small business owner and often work long hours, and am always aiming to improve my productivity.  I notice a big difference in focus on training days vs. non-training days!

Further – this year I turned 40, and this month in fact is the 10-year anniversary of my treatment for thyroid cancer in 2009.  I’m healthy and in the clear now, but I think about it daily – and it helps keep me motivated.

Dan trap bar deadlifting for reps

What would you say to others considering beginning a strength training program?

At a standard gym chain, there’s a lot of ego, grunting, weight slamming, and tank tops in the weight room.  It can be pretty intimidating to someone starting out.  But this isn’t really what strength training’s about, and there’s none of that ego at Brentwood Barbell – the community is awesome and helps keep me coming back.  It’s not all about lifting the heaviest weight you can – there’s a lot more to it, and many more benefits even if you don’t PR all the time!  You’ll feel better, you’ll look better, and have more energy to live your life.  Strength training should be fun – challenging yourself in new ways that are quite a stress reliever when you work the typical office job!

Dan working on his squat

What are some recent PRs (personal records) you’re proud of?

When I first started at the gym, I quickly got my squat and deadlift up to about 270, but then tore a muscle in my back so was sidelined for a bit.  I kept coming to the gym (and physical therapy) though, and healed up quite well.  I stuck to things that didn’t hurt, as one should, and eventually was able to get back on a regular progression.

In the last few weeks, I PR’d at 300lb on the low-bar squat and 340 on the trap bar deadlift.  I can now deadlift my family including the dogs 🙂

Since my back injury, I’ve also lost over 30 pounds!  Building up the muscle mass really helps.  I had to buy a new weightlifting belt – went from an XL to a Medium, the first medium size anything I’ve bought in at least 25 years!

What are some of your favorite things to do when you’re not training?

Right now, most of my time and energy outside the gym is poured into growing my business!  When I’m not at work, I’m either at the gym at 5:30 am, or hanging out with my wife and two boys, reading lots of Pokemon, Captain Underpants, and examining the subtle differences between excavators and front loaders.  We’ve also expanded our family with two rescue dogs this year, so I spend an inordinate amount of time fixing or replacing the things they’ve chewed through.

Each month our spotlight series will focus on an athlete that is putting in a great effort and making our gym a better place to train! Our hope is that you’ll share this post with your friends and family or someone that you think could benefit from resistance training.

Interested in coaching or learning more about our programs here at Brentwood Barbell? Drop us a line below and we’ll get right back to you.

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