Rory Koonce Jr. Interview
Rory Koonce was born with a defect in his brain that causes his muscles to contract uncontrollably. Although he is disabled, he doesn't see himself as handicapped. And neither should we. Nothing will stop Rory from realizing his goals. This is an inspiring story about the power of the mind.
MP: You have overcome some serious adversities. What were these adversities and how did you overcome them?
RK: One of major adversities to overcome was walking, I was born with Cerebral Palsy I weighted one pound 13 ounces. My little brother was born ten years later, when my mother was in hospital I told her before my brother born I was going to walk not having my little brother see me on the floor was my motivation.
MP: What sparked your interest in health and fitness, especially when it came to power curling?
RK: Growing up I saw that people had an interest in how far the human body could be pushed, however that body was never one born with a disability. So decided to see how far I could push myself not only mentally but physically as well. Likewise I am a Certified Personal Trainer and Sports Nutritionist, in the process of starting a Holistic Training center for Disabled Athletes in order to continue to help all athletes and people alike.
MP: You compete as a power curler for the World Natural Powerlifting Federation. You are to date the only person on record who power curls from a wheel. What were some of your power curling accomplishments? What was the heaviest you ever power curled?
RK: Some of my accomplishments include 2009 to 2011 Delaware State Power Lifting Champion & Record Holder, 2010 and 2011 National Champion & Record Holder, 2010 World Tournament of Champions, Champion, 2011 WNPF World Champion & Record Holder. The heaviest I curled is 205 pounds.
MP: What kinds of specific training goes into power curling and how do you compensate with some obvious disadvantages?
RK: In order to prepare for competition I focus on isolation of my biceps, triceps and shoulders so have equal strength. Likewise I focus on the form of the curl and explosive power movement because I curl from my lap.
MP: Describe the basis behind power curling. How do you properly curl the weight without injuring yourself? Do you believe in cheat reps?
RK: To properly perform the power curl You will remove the bar from the rack with both hands in an underhand grip. Your knees MUST BE locked THROUGHOUT the entire lift. YOUR FEET CAN BE STAGERED OR STRAIGHT. Your arms AND knees must be locked fully at the start of the lift. Once you are set (motionless) you will receive the CURL command. You will then curl the weight upward without moving your body forward, bouncing the bar off your thighs or swinging and heaving the bar upwards. You can go backwards and then straighten up to complete the lift or you have the option of staying back. The bar must not go down and the bar must come up evenly on both sides. NEW RULE: Lifters are not allowed to lift their heels off the floor. Lifters must have on a singlet or shorts that show their knees and the shorts cannot be loose or covering any part of the knees. In my case they hand the weight to me so I curl from my lap up. Cheat curls do have benefits however being strapped into my wheelchair the power strictly comes from arms.
MP: Describe some of your other accomplishments. Between power curling and your other athletic accomplishments, what has been your most memorable?
RK: Some of my other athletic accomplishments include wrestling, bodybuilding, Brazilin Ju Jitsu, MMA, Chinese Goju, wheelchair track and Eskrima. All of my accomplishments are equally memorable however to only have been powerlifting for two years and being at the top for those two years you cannot ask for more.
MP: What is your typical training routine? Any specific exercises you do to help you with your power curls?
RK: My training routine is chest, Triceps and shoulders on Monday, Tuesday is Biceps and Back, Wednesday is legs (I have a 520 Hack Squat). I spend 3 hours in the gym, for three weeks take a week off switching exercises at the end of the cycle. I find that having all around strength is important for the curl.
MP: What about your diet regimen?
RK: I train for power but I also like to maintain speed and agility for my other actives so I like to stay around 132. I consume about 2,921 calories maybe a little more because I burn three times the calories of the average person.
MP: Do you take any supplements? Why do you prefer these over others?
RK: I am a member of Team MusclePharm so take their products- Armor-v, battle fuel, BCAA 3:1:2, COMBAT POWDER, MUSCLEGEL, ZMA MAX, and Assault in order to help maintain my active life and demand more from my body.
MP: You are a true inspiration for so many people. What is your number one advice for someone who is disabled or handicapped?
RK: They call me “The Stone Power House” which is a metaphor for mental and physical strength. So I would tell them “the Impossible is possible it’s beyond physical”.
MP: Who has served as your number one inspiration in life? Why is this person so special to you?
RK: There are many who have served as inspiration over my life. But I would have to choose my mother because she always made sure I had everything I need and wanted. You would never know she was a single parent, my mother is where the Impossible is possible came from.
MP: Talk about a moment in your life that changed you for the better.
RK: The day that I walk or ran depending on who you ask because God allowed me to do something doctors said I would never do.
MP: Describe what fitness means to you.
RK: To me fitness like life is a championship state of mind for what the mind conceives the body does.
MP: What are some of the other things you like doing in your free time?
RK: I enjoy writing poetry, planning for my Holistic Training Center for Disabled Athletes, swimming, and spending time with my family.
MP: What are your future goals both personally and professionally?
RK: Besides my gym my goals both personally and professionally are to continue to be an inspiration to people showing that what is conceived as impossible is possible.
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