Gerhard Van Staden is a man with two great passions, he is an International Strongman competitor but also he is also passionate about protecting Lions. So lets dive in and learn more about Gerhard….
In 2011 you were the winner of the South African Strongest Man Competition. How did this feel and was this the highlight of your strongman career, or was there another achievement which has more meaning to you?
Gerhard Van Staden: It was a great feeling, a goal that took me five years of hard work to achieve. Whilst mentally it was a great achievement it also took alot of sweat and prayers.
When did you first start thinking about becoming and a strongman and what were the key moments from there to achieving the South African title.
Gerhard Van Staden: I met Gerrit Badenhorst when I was in school and I always wanted to be strong. I always loved strength sports and all my idols were big strong guys, even Samson from the bible. In my first two years of Strongman competition I came last in every competition I did.
Mentally, the biggest obstacle was to keep on going. I had to believe that I was born for this sport, and will be on top one day. The will to succeed in everything I do, helped me to achieve my goals along with my God given strength.
What are your best lifts in the gym for Deadlift, Squat and Bench Press?
Gerhard Van Staden:
- Deadlift 410kg
- Squat 380kg
- Bench Press 240kg
How often do you train? Give us an example of what exercises/bodyparts you train over a week and when?
Gerhard Van Staden: Three training days in the gym and one training day of strongman events per week.
Each gym session is for 4 hours, and I try to combine two to three muscle groups in a session, one major muscle group and one to two smaller ones.
With event training, I like to train 5 different events in a session.
To become competitive at the international strongman level, what area have you been working the most to improve in, and how are you doing this?
Gerhard Van Staden: I have the strength but lack the international experience and techniques, So I am just concentrating on learning the different types of events and getting the techniques right.
I still have a way to go, my international road has just started so I’m learning alot 🙂
What is your favourite strongman event to compete in?
Gerhard Van Staden: I love all the events 🙂
I try to be consistent in every event, whether standing or running, that is what is needed to be a good competitive strongman. However I love the Tyre flip, Log press, Deadlift and the Atlas stones.
The events I struggle in, I concentrate more on improving.
Are you proactive in getting massages/chiroprator/osteopath assistance, or do you only go to these people when you have an injury?
Gerhard Van Staden: I go for check-ups regularly and have deep tissue massages and stretching every week.
I like to keep up with my bodies warnings and try to keep it healthy as possible.
What are your goals for 2012?
Gerhard Van Staden: I want to win Southern Hemisphere’s Strongest Man (At the Giants Live Event in Melbourne March 17th-18th) and keep my South Africa’s Strongest Man title and make the top ten at Worlds Strongest Man.
How popular is the sport of Strongman in South Africa? Is it shown on the main TV channels? Are you recognised in the street?
Gerhard Van Staden: The sport is slowly getting more popular in South Africa, there are more fans overseas but the people in the major cities know me and the sport. However I am a normal person, so its nice being seen that way, just a strong one ha ha.
You own a Lion Sanctuary, tell us about it?
Gerhard Van Staden: Lions are my favourite animal and I have my 2 kids(Lions!!) Nala and Kaylie, they stay around the house.
We take them for walks and sit on the patio, the rest of the Lions are wild and I concentrate on every animal possible, to try to help them.
I am busy working currently with a university that is helping me set-up educational camps. These camps will be for people to come and help and learn how to conserve our wildlife which we still have left.
People will get a hands on experience in helping animals in need and be educated in them.
This is the beginning, I want to set-up sanctuaries worldwide. I am starting with one this year in Botswanna, but like the sport of strongman sponsors are needed.
All my money and time that is left after strongman goes in to this projects,and there’s still alot of work to be done.
In the sport of strongman, if you had to go for a Restaurant for a meal what 4 competitors would you take and why?
Gerhard Van Staden:
- Mark Felix
- Alex Moonen
- Terry Holland
- There is so many, I know them by competing with them and they are good friends.
Brian Shaw also is a good guy, but strongmen are nice people helping each other. All strongman are born a strongman I believe, and each of them have a passion for the sport and are good people.