A Men’s Fitness Editorial
Rob received this email before the passing of Dr. James Hopkins and before his story was published.
As a sign of respect and in gratitude to Dr. Hopkins we decided to post his story.
I have watched and studied Rob Powell since 2001. That was when he was awarded his first of four WFC World Championships and four WFC/Guinness World Records from 2001-2004. Since then he has continued to coach hundreds of athletes. He has trained more as a personal trainer to civilians of all ages and even more as a martial arts consultant to MMA fighters, military and law enforcement personnel. There is no doubt Rob is one of the best fighters this planet has ever produced. Therefore, I asked him why he started focusing on fitness and conditioning over fighting. I really liked his answer. He said. “Proper conditioning is an area where most coaches, athletes and trainers really get it wrong. They don’t have a clue what their doing wrong and what is causing all the injuries to these athletes, or the gym going public. Somebody has got to help them. Besides, only the twisted and sadistic enjoy fighting and hurting others. I created fitness competitions because no one has to get hurt, and you can better test whom is the best man.”
I have watched conditioning coaches, trainers and fitness instructors since the 1970’s, and there is no one else like him. His demeanor is just so different. It is calm and excitable, easy and tough, slow and fast paced, no pressure and high pressure. His teaching method is just what the student needs. Including boot to butt, pulling back on the rains, and praise at the appropriate time. I have never seen anything like it. This doesn’t even scratch the surface of his expertise and extreme knowledge about fitness, and how the body works. He is a true genus in the field of body mechanics and the human mind.
His, “WFC Workout, The Proven World’s Fittest and Best Workout”, seems to come from the Roman-Greco era with the circuit training of the 70’s, plus just a touch of the Body Building of the 80’s, without the steroids. Whatever it is, it works. With four WFC World Championships and four WFC/Guinness World Records in a row and over 150 records in sports, fitness and martial arts, and over 1,000 wins as an athlete and coach no one has ever come close to that kind of success in History. Only a fool would second guess or argue with that kind of success and proof.
I always considered myself a fit guy, and an expert in the field of fitness. Not anymore. Thirty minutes with this guy and I am reevaluating everything I thought I knew. He put me through the simplest, common sense, high performance workout possible. This training develops muscles for go, not muscles for show. However, you will have plenty to show with this training.
This training has muscle confusion and consistency, reps and weight, power and speed, endurance and quickness. It has it all. As Rob teaches, speed, strength, endurance and quickness equals pure power. It makes you a better person in day to day life, and the best possible athlete you can be. In this new millennium there is now a new era and understanding about fitness. Rob Powell has ushered in and turned the page of fitness and conditioning history.
When I first heard of Rob Powell’s accomplishments, I thought it was a joke. I was with the rest of those that believed the physical limitations put on mankind. Then I saw the proof. Then he broke the World Record again and again and again until there was nothing left for him to prove.
He then helped others train for the WFC competitions. He then started helping other athletes become better athletes. Then he made adjustments to his training programs with a no nonsense, easy to stick to workout that fights obesity and heart disease for the rest of the gym going public.
The thing about all of this is the guy is a real humanitarian. He didn’t get paid for all this, he gave it all away for free. When breaking these world records he didn’t just lift himself up, he lifted us all up and improved the human species. He brought the human race to a higher level when he shattered these world records and smashed the old theories and limitations science had put on mankind. And he did it all just to help people learn a better way to get in and stay in shape while fighting heart disease and obesity.
Inadvertently, he not only set records, but in the process he became “The World’s Greatest Athlete in History”. That’s what world records are. They say you are not only the best in the world, but you are the best in the history of the world. His records are the epitome of world’s greatest athlete and world’s greatest athletic performance. This fact has been recorded and reported internationally, but downplayed in the US. Unfortunately, if it’s not a major professional sport, it gets little or no attention here in the US.
This is not what Rob was after at all. As a matter of fact, bringing up the subject makes Rob uncomfortable. Rob said. “The only thing all these world records are good for is to make people hate you out of their own petty jealousy”. He simply wanted to help people with a better plan in training the human body. As Rob said, “extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.” So he proved his claims only to help mankind. The rest as I previously mentioned was inadvertent.
It is unfortunate that it is the nature of humans that this fact of course makes every man, woman, child, athlete and wannabe jealous and makes them hate the man that accomplishes this feat. They are angry and jealous that he is “The World’s Greatest Athlete”, and not them and it was Rob that was blessed with the discipline, the brains, the body and the athletic ability to accomplish all of this, and they were not. For this he has been criticized, ostracized, and back stabbed for his accomplishments by former friends, family and coworkers.
However, Rob just keeps moving forward as if it doesn’t bother him, and he keeps helping athletes, servicemen, the gym going public and kids regardless of how he has been treated. Here we have a man that should be celebrated for his accomplishments, but instead has been unfairly ridiculed and punished for them. To add insult to injury, there have been over a dozen claims to have broken his records which have all been proven false. Guinness has even awarded records to a couple of them and later had to recall and renounce their recognition of supposed records. That’s why Rob Powell’s records were all video taped with nine certified officials with no less than three on duty at all times and hundreds of witnesses. These other claims had none of this kind of proof and were all later proven to be false and invalid.
For Rob, this was never about money, although it should have been, he sure earned it. He just wanted to help people fight heart disease and obesity and get in the best shape of their lives. I saw his original agreement by email with ESPN to televise his sport, The WFC, The World Fitness Championships. They reached an agreement and ESPN was supposed to send a contract. Instead, they reneged on their agreement and sent a waiver. I saw it. If Rob had signed this waiver ESPN would have owned his sport and cut him out completely other than being the athlete they would build the sport around. Rob refused, ESPN pulled out and years later after Rob’s continued promotion and publications they joined with Reebok and formed the far safer and easier Crossfit Games. They made these games so much easier than The WFC so the average athlete can do them.
Then they changed the sport enough that for now, they have legally stolen his sport. An act he did not deserve with his ideas, ownership and all his promotion, diligence and efforts. No one denies where the sport originated and was created. It was Rob Powell’s WFC, The World Fitness Championships.
When I asked him this question, he just smiled that sly, little boy smile he has, shook my hand, and said it was good to meet me. He then thanked me for coming down, and went back to work. He wouldn’t admit to it, but I’ll say it. I know when he watches normal people do their workouts at the gym, or body builders and when he sees other trainers and coaches. For him, it must be like watching chimpanzees working out. I just can’t say it any other way. He is so far ahead of the rest of us. You have to try this training method to believe it. Rob said he just wants to help athletes be the best they can be and help the public fight obesity and heart disease. Well, mission accomplished Rob, and thanks.
Rob said it first and best, and he’s right. The two keys to living a richer, fuller life is a good education and to be in good shape. That’s why I have been a fan of his from the beginning and I always will be.
Dr. James Hopkins
Retired, former Coach, Director of Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation, Professor of Health, Kinesiology, Anatomy and Physiology and freelance writer.