More than a year has passed since Ryan Scholl, 32, of Little Falls was first encouraged to compete in “Saved by Strength,” a strongman competition held at St. Francis Health and Wellness in Little Falls.
“They had their first event and I asked about it. The trainers told me to just do it, so I started doing those kind of lifts and enjoyed it more than what I had been doing,” he said.
Before Scholl had mainly focused on cardio training and other workout routines to lose weight. But after losing 50 pounds, weight training for the competitions gave him a new, thrilling goal.
“I was super nervous the first event. I didn’t know what I could do and until I completed the first move, I think it was the farmer’s carry, I was just sweating,” he said.
Although Scholl hasn’t competed in any strongman competitions besides the Saved by Strength events, he said he really likes the sportsmanship he has seen so far between competitors. At the same time as they are competing rivalries, they also cheer each other on.
“The whole atmosphere is super positive,” he said.
Of the different moves, Scholl said the dead lift is his favorite. At this point, he lifts about 420 pounds, he said.
Looking to the confidence he has built since he first started working out, Scholl still recalls the time he wasn’t as confident.
“I was terrified of the weight room. Coming into it, you never feel like you are strong enough. You have all these guys and ladies who have probably been working out for years and you don’t want to make a fool out of yourself or feel wimpy because you are lifting lighter weights,” he said.
One way Scholl tackled his fear was by watching YouTube videos of various techniques and programs. He also watched the other weight lifters to learn more and as time went by, the less intimidating the visits to the weight room became, he said.
Scholl works out about three to four times a week and also works with personal trainer Jay Grove.
Wesley Waytashek, director at St. Francis Health and Wellness knows the initial fear Scholl speaks about. He too felt it at one point growing up, he said.
“That fear comes from that it’s something new, ‘Can I be successful?’ But the purpose of our trainers here is to get you to say, ‘Hey, I can do this,” he said. “It’s more mental than anything. Once you are here, it’s easy to get a good workout, it is easy to get your heart rate up and it’s easy to get a sweat here,” he said.
Reflecting over the last few years, working out has taken a whole different meaning for Scholl. Instead of being stressed about going to workout, he welcomes it as it is a great way to de-stress after work, he said.
Since Scholl started training for the strongman competitions, he has become more intentional about his workouts. In many ways, it gives him purpose rather than wandering around, not really knowing what to do.
“It motivates me,” he said.
Besides working out and lifting weights, Scholl has also become more aware of what he eats on a daily basis. The diet of someone who is trying to lose weight is also different from an individual who is seeking to build more muscle.
Scholl said he eats a lot of vegetables, fruits and protein.
Since Scholl became more active, he has also tried new adventures, such as triathlon. One race he participated in was set up differently. Instead of the traditional swimming, running and cycling events, they had mountain biking, kayaking and running.
“That was a lot of fun,” he said.
Besides his dedication to exercise, Scholl enjoys being outdoors, mountain biking and fishing.