He’s the Texas Titan (with Gabriel Peña)

Today we’re talking to professional strongman Gabriel Peña, also known online as Texas Titan Gabe. He joins the show to talk about his experiences in the sport, including his 2020 World’s Strongest Man debut. At that competition, Gabriel had to make a tough, health-based call, and we dive into his thought process. We also discuss why Gabe, a native Texan, decided to represent Mexico at the 2020 World’s Strongest Man contest.

Pro Strongman Gabriel Pena

On this episode of The BarBend Podcast, host David Thomas Tao talks to Gabriel Peña about:

  • Gabe’s goal to beat the strongman deadlift record (2:30)
  • Training for world record deadlift numbers (4:45)
  • Gabe’s favorite accessory movements for improving his pulling and general performance (and why he loves Bulgarian Split Squats) (8:09)
  • His 2020 World’s Strongest Man experience (11:40)
  • Making a tough call to withdraw from last year’s contest (13:50)
  • Conditioning work for strongman performance (19:5o)
  • Competing while representing Mexico, and inspiring diversity in strongman (22:20)

Relevant links and further reading:


Gabriel PeñaGabriel Peña

…you know regardless of what flag we carry there, it is very symbolic to the unity at the whole world scope of everything. The bar doesn’t care. We don’t care what flags we all have. We’re all there to find out who’s the strongest, and it is a brotherhood of open and welcome arms.

David TaoDavid Tao

Welcome to the “BarBend Podcast,” where we talk to the smartest athletes, coaches, and minds from around the world of strength. I am your host, David Thomas Tao, and this podcast is presented by barbend.com.


Today, I’m talking to professional strongman, Gabriel Peña, also known online as Texas Titan Gabe. He joins this show to talk about his experiences in the sport, including his 2020 World’s Strongest Man debut. At that competition, Gabe had to make a tough health-based call, and we dive into his thought process there.


We also discuss why Gabe, a Texas Native, decided to represent Mexico at the 2020 World’s Strongest Man contest.


Also, I want to take a second to say we’re incredibly thankful that you listen to this podcast. If you haven’t already, be sure to leave a rating and review of the BarBend Podcast in your app of choice. We really appreciate it. Let’s get to it.


Gabe, thanks so much for joining us. I got to ask you, you definitely ended 2020 on a strong note. You began 2021 on a strong note. You’ve been pulling some massive weights, setting some deadlift PRs. You also set what’s probably the heaviest axle bar 18-inch deadlift we’ve ever seen in the world. What’s your training method like these days? Why is it going so well?

Gabriel PeñaGabriel Peña

Leading up to the end of this past year, getting that last-minute invite to World’s Strongest Man, that really took training to a whole different level of fire being lit under my ass. [laughs] From all that training, I was getting ready for America’s Strongest Man at the time.


I got my invite to World’s Strongest Man, and it was different set of events. I had been training everything just to be comprehensively strong. Although I wasn’t necessarily hitting max deadlifts a lot, I was training lots of deadlifts.


Through the course of that training for both America’s Strongest Man and World’s Strongest Man, my deadlifts just blew up. I definitely feel like I ended the year on a really strong note to the point where 2021, I’m looking at that world record.

David TaoDavid Tao

I was going to ask you, but you’re coming out with it.

Gabriel PeñaGabriel Peña

We’re going right into it, man. [laughs]

David TaoDavid Tao

We’re going right into it. I love it.

Gabriel PeñaGabriel Peña

I’ve already gotten that goal written on the board and everything.

David TaoDavid Tao

Is 502 kilograms, is that the number do you’ve in mind?

Gabriel PeñaGabriel Peña

Yeah. At least, unless someone gets that before then.


David TaoDavid Tao

Then you just got to take it up from there.

Gabriel PeñaGabriel Peña

Yeah, then I’ve to take it up a notch.


David TaoDavid Tao

That’s obviously such an interesting record. Eddie Hall hit that, the 500 and it was something that going into that no one thought he would be able to hit. Thor did 501. It looks like a mortal number now. Like a mortal, living, breathing human being can hit numbers like that.


Let’s talk about the training to do that because you already have world-class strength. For you, increasing your deadlift by 5 percent is an astounding undertaking. You don’t have any of the beginner games left. No offense, I don’t think so.

Gabriel PeñaGabriel Peña

No, you’re right. Sometimes 5-10 pound PR can take years at this point. That’s why it’s got to be so methodical.


David TaoDavid Tao

What is your methodical approach going to be? Take us through what the training is going to be like over by the end of this year.


Gabriel PeñaGabriel Peña

One of the big things that sets me apart from a lot of other deadlifters I’ve watched, and I’ve watched a lot. Deadlift is my favorite lifts, so I like to be very aware of who the other greats are in that regard. I like to be a jack of all deadlifts. I don’t just like doing one deadlift, and that’s it.


I want any type of bar, from any type of height, for any rep scheme, and be able to do it all. That’s something that I’ve done, not just recently, but always over the years. I’ve really credited a lot of my strength to that.

David TaoDavid Tao

You are doing a lot of interesting variations. The axle bar deadlifts that you’ve been doing, people had a lot of misconceptions on social media as to why you were doing those. People thought if you’re doing an axle bar deadlift, why are you using straps? Doesn’t that defeat the point?


You were responding to people on social media. You were being like, “Hey, it’s a different stimulus. The bar doesn’t bend.” It’s just different when you get to those weights. Small differences are big.

Gabriel PeñaGabriel Peña

We can get into that because you asked me about my training and the axle bar has a huge place in it purely because of the fact that the axle doesn’t flex like a regular barbell.


When you have any sticking point at any point of your range in motion, do you want to train that high with the barbell or do you want to get straight to it at the axle and have zero forgiveness from that point? Whenever I do elevated pulls or even deficit pulls, I tend to go for the axle more than the barbell just so I can hit that target zone right away.

David TaoDavid Tao

I got asked about the length of a training session for a deadlift because when you’re pulling 900 pounds or more and you’re using a lot of different types and setups for the deadlift. Hey, getting that set up is just like a workout in of itself unless you’ve got professional bar [inaudible 5:19] .

Gabriel PeñaGabriel Peña

I’d like to call it, accessory work. That’s accessory work.

David TaoDavid Tao

That’s accessory work. Loading 1,000 pounds of plates on the bar. What kind of volume are you doing for the sessions, and how long is it taking you for a session?

Gabriel PeñaGabriel Peña

That’s a good subject to cover. When I train deadlift, just for the sake of being a supplemental movement in a workout, I can hit that real quick and be done with it, move on to the next exercise.


If deadlift is my main focus for that day, if I’m going in there, I’m going to hit a PR, I’m going to go full pedal to the metal on something, then I’m going to expect that to take up the bulk of my training session.


It’s not uncommon for me to go at that point specifically doing just deadlift, and that’s it. It will take two to three hours just for the setup, to put away, and that’s it. At that point, if I had other objectives to hit, either save them for the next day, or that day becomes a two-a-day training session.

David TaoDavid Tao

Also, recovering from the deadlift, you’re talking about maximum nervous system CNS fatigue. For people who have never really pulled heavy before, who have never trained to the deadlift, trained to get stronger in it and push their limits, it can hit you like a ton of bricks.


You’ll either sleep like a baby afterward, or you’ll have trouble sleeping because you’ll be so fried. You have that nervous energy from the sessions. Let’s talk about frequency of that. What are some of the things you’re doing after a true pedal to the metal deadlift session to start optimizing the recovery process?

Gabriel PeñaGabriel Peña

You’re talking about that shock that the body goes into after. That’s the type of thing where the next day, a 50 percent bench press is going to feel like a full 100 percent because you’re just so fried.


Anytime in the recent history where I’ve done a big PR, where I hit the 1,000, or I’ve done that 18-inch axle pull, I can expect for that next three to four days to still be feeling a little bit of that fatigue, in terms of the total central nervous system fatigue along with all the muscles too.


What I look at are some active recovery workouts. You think of what we use in the deadlift, we use the hips, the back, all the leg muscles. I want to use those type of exercises. Talk about squats, we’ll talk about box step-ups, kettlebell swings.


Just to take the load off a little bit, but get the systems working nice active blood flow. That’ll prime me for another heavy session later on the week. Frequency-wise, if I do the active recovery work in between right, I can do it once a week.

David TaoDavid Tao

I tell people this but they don’t believe me. Strongman competitors in the open category giant, the world’s strongest men like yourself, you are focusing on the active recovery. You are focusing on the accessory work. A lot of people think, “These guys pulling 1,000 pounds, they’re not doing kettlebell swings as accessory work.”


They might be doing heavy kettlebell swings. You might be doing it heavier than the average person in their kitchen, but you’re still doing a lot of these things because you can’t just pull heavy once a week, squat heavy once a week, and press heavy once a week, and continue to make progress at your elite level.


The accessory work, that’s really the key. What are some of the other accessory movements you, like focusing on and you’ll be focusing on this year?

Gabriel PeñaGabriel Peña

A lot of the big focus would be on deadlift this year. I am going to be looking at all of the intrinsic muscles, the hips, and making sure that they’re strong. Things like box step-ups, things like Bulgarian split squats, things like even sled pulls. Just working and making sure each side of the hip socket is working.


When we get to the upper body type training too, think about all the upper back work involved. I love any type of row variation. In strongman, the motto is “Big backs win shows.” If we can get the lats, the traps, all of that upper back musculature nice and strong, then that’s good for us. Row variations are great.


As for the shoulders and the pressing muscle of the upper body, I’d like to emphasize how strong the delts can raise, and how strong the triceps can lockout. Any shoulder raises, I love swinging a big…I have a 55-pound sledgehammer that I swing around. That is really good at getting those shoulders nice and strong, and mobile too.


For triceps, a big one — and my clients will love this too — is the JM triceps press. I love that exercise. It makes them very strong lockout power. We can all benefit from that in the sport.

David TaoDavid Tao

The delayed onset muscle soreness from that movement, if you’ve never done it before, it’s something else. You have trouble pushing up out of bed the next morning, it feels like.

Gabriel PeñaGabriel Peña

For sure. Even if you just use the barbell by itself, you feel that thing kicking you the next day.

David TaoDavid Tao

I’ve got to say the sledgehammer, you go by Texas Titan Gabe on social media. There’s something very mythological about the idea of you swinging around a heavy sledgehammer. Is a 55-pound sledgehammer something you can just get off the rack at the hardware store? I didn’t think they came that heavy.

Gabriel PeñaGabriel Peña

No. Usually, at the hardware store, they don’t go past 10 pounds. The 55 sledgehammer, it was made by Slater. I think that Rogue sells in that too. It’s loadable with whatever you want to fill it with, whether it’s gravel, sand, or lead shot. You can get that thing pretty heavy.

David TaoDavid Tao

You’re the guy to call when I got some yard work out back, and I got a drive, meet at a bar or something like that.

Gabriel PeñaGabriel Peña

Give me a lot of food and a lot of beer.

David TaoDavid Tao

I just got to prime you up. If you can make it calorically positive, you can get more out of that, then you burn. Now we’re talking. Let’s talk a little bit about the end of the 2020 Strongman’s season for you. You got the last-minute call-up for World’s Strongest Man, which is awesome.


Obviously, there were some events surrounding the World’s Strongest Man in the season that were very unfortunate, the untimely passing of Aaron Page, which was incredibly sad and, in a way, a sad hallmark moment for the Strongman community to come together around that loss.


It was your World’s Strongest Man debut. Take us through that process. Take us through your experience there. You came out of the gate really fast, ran into a little bit of a speed bump, but gave folks a glimpse as to what they can expect from the competitors are going to see in future iterations of that event.

Gabriel PeñaGabriel Peña

The World’s Strongest Man, that is from any one of us who get started during this path on the sport. That’s the pinnacle of the sport. You have the 25 strongest men in the world on that given you’re competing.


When you get there, you can do any of these local competitions where you’ve got athletes that we’ve seen before. We know what they’re capable of. We know how we stack up. When you have guys from all over the world, you don’t have that immediate confidence right away.


It’s like I’m surrounded by the greats, but it’s not over until it’s over. We’ve got to really push and see where we stack up. Having been there, I felt like a professional athlete, if that makes sense.


We were treated very well by the competition hosts. The companies — Bring It On, IMG, World’s Strongest Man, SPD — chauffeured us from the airport to the hotel, room service, all this stuff, everything we could ever need. That was really cool.


As I said, without the confidence with knowing how you stack up against the best of the best, you approach every event. It’s a lot of the mental fortitude type training, like tuning out all of the bad noise, getting yourself honed in on the objective at hand, and then getting ready to execute.


An elite-level competitor, if they’re not doing the right shows, they don’t get to tap into the zone. It’s absolutely essential to get there, to truly push yourself to that upper echelon of being the World’s Strongest Man at some point.


The whole experience was just wild. It was absolutely wild even with the circumstances surrounding it. You touched on some of them, but just being in the year 2020, we were there during the hurricane. The competition got pushed back a few days too while we were there.


World’s Strongest Man, unlike any other competition I’ve done, there is a huge aspect of TV production to it. You’re not just going there and competing. You’re waiting for the production crew to tell you when it’s time to compete. You’re waiting for interviews to be over. Eddy and Martins have to finish talking. Who knows how long that’s going to take?


It’s an incredible experience. You have to be very adaptable to perform there because of the constant wait to be ready. We’re going to delay. We’re going to go that whole stop-and-start nature of it.

David TaoDavid Tao

It’s like being a movie star on set, except you have to do something extraordinarily physically taxing.

Gabriel PeñaGabriel Peña

Like being a movie star and the stuntman at the same time.

David TaoDavid Tao

[laughs] That’s the better analogy. I should have led with that. It’s the better analogy. Let’s talk about your experience because it was awesome watching you as a young rookie make their debut there. Then, unfortunately, you did have to withdraw due to a medical issue.


We’re talking now. Training is going well. Spoiler alert, everyone. Gabe seems to be doing pretty well. We’re all very happy about that. Walk us through that if you don’t mind sharing a little bit.

Gabriel PeñaGabriel Peña

No. I definitely would love to share it because I feel like the call I had to make was a tough one and a lot of people could benefit from hearing. Getting into World’s Strongest Man, I got the invite less than a month prior to preparing for another show.


Then I suddenly get called to the biggest show in the world. A lot of my focus went to making sure I was strong enough and drilled enough at the events we were going to be tested on to do well, because I didn’t see myself anywhere but in the finals.


My cardio took a back seat, unfortunately, in my training. I wasn’t doing the frequent 2,000-meter rows. I wasn’t doing any of the frequent conditioning I do to keep my [inaudible 14:50] very smoothly, but I was building a lot of mass and a lot of strength.


I get to World’s Strongest Man, the heaviest I’ve ever been, 330 pounds. I feel like an absolute tank, but I know my cardio isn’t too great.


First event, farmers walk. Rip has always been an issue for me because I’ve had lots of little ligament issues, injuries in my fingers over the years. I still did pretty well for how big and awkward those handles were, but I finished towards the bottom of the pack.


Deadlift came about the second event of the competition. It was a max rep, 760-pound big circus bar. Deadlift is my event. I put on a hell of a show there. Pedal to the metal, I gave it as much as I absolutely could. Got eight, almost nine reps with that barbell in a minute time.


After the event was done, I felt like I was catching my breath for a long time, much longer than felt normal. Five minutes pass after an event like that, you’ve pretty much caught your breath, or you’re feeling good to where you can talk and walk around.


I still felt like I was fighting for calming down my heart rate. Even later on, we had gotten back to the hotel after being at the convention and competing. I was sitting at dinner with the guys, and I’m like, “I don’t feel like I’m calm down yet. My heart is still pounding.”


What anyone else would do, think, “Oh, good night’s sleep will do the trick.” I wake up the next morning, and it’s still there. I get to the convention center. I’m concerned because I feel very tired. My heart’s beating out of control. I’m checking my own pulse. It seems like I’m skipping beats.


At this level of athleticism, at this level of competition, I would feel like I was not doing my due diligence as an athlete if I did not make someone aware. They had a full medical staff there. If I told someone, maybe they could give me something. Maybe they could do something that could help, or at least they would be aware of what was going on in case something else happened.


When I went to go get evaluated by the doctors on staff and the medical team, they listened to my heart. They gave me an electrocardiogram when I was there. They saw the readout. I was in atrial fibrillation. My heart was skipping beats. There was electro-miscommunication from the top down to the bottom.


Although that’s not a life-threatening situation in itself, with the nature of what we’re doing, especially on that day, we had a big load to carry mentally. We had stones. We had logs.


At any time, if I put the man on my heart, that was too great for it to match. The lights are going to go out, whether or not I have an object overhead or not. I was told by the medical staff, “You can’t compete today. We can’t advise you that’s a good idea to compete today.”


I had to pull out. That was the toughest call I’ve ever had to make, having such high ambitions and knowing that I belonged there, World’s Strongest Man, my first year ever there, my pro debut. That’s my first pro show too, and I had to pull out of the two events.


When it comes to issues of the heart, especially in this sport, there have been so many names over the years that had their careers cut short because of a heart problem. You have to listen to that.


You have to listen to what the doctors are telling you. You have to listen to your body. As tough as that call was to make, it’s not about that one competition and whether or not I placed, whether or not I did well, whatever. It’s about all the competitions yet to come. I don’t want to just do one World’s Strongest Man. I want to do many.


That’s the call that I have to make for the future. If there’s a weak link in the engine of the body, the heart, then we need to go back to the drawing board and fix that, make sure it never comes back again.


That’s exactly what I’ve done since. I feel like I’m in a good spot. Both myself and my doctor, and my health team behind me, don’t think it’s anything more than a freak issue brought upon by a very hasty prep.

David TaoDavid Tao

I appreciate you sharing that. I speak for pretty much all fans in the Strongman community when I say that we’re very glad that you listened to your body.


I can’t imagine what you were going through at the time, not only physically but having to deal with the mental weight of making that decision, making people aware during your pro debut, which is crazy to say. That might be the first time in recent memory anyone’s made their pro debut at World’s Strongest Man since pro has been a thing.


You do bring up something that I do want to touch on which is the fact that your cardio had gone by the wayside in prep for World’s Strongest Man. You talk about your frequent 2,000-meter rows and prioritizing cardio.


That’s an aspect of Strongman that people underestimate which is not only the fact that you have to go lift big weights and you’re in the gym doing event-specific training, but the conditioning aspect of the sport is undervalued when it comes to public perception.


Can you talk a little bit about what your conditioning work is generally and what you started to focus back in on since World’s Strongest Man 2020?

Gabriel PeñaGabriel Peña

Now, as far as my conditioning goes, a lot of it, of course, is sport-specific in terms of making sure that I can do well while I’m competing. In Strongman, our events rarely will ever last over a minute and definitely will not last over two minutes. It is that very short, explosive type of cardio output.


At the same time, one of my biggest hobbies is traveling up to the High Country and hiking up big peaks. You need a certain level of functionality [laughs] to do that too. A lot of the things that I do also are just being good and functionally fit human.


My favorite forms of cardio would be…I love the rowing machine. I absolutely love it because the full-body motion.


If I’m trying to recover from one training session to the next, I get total blood supply circulated throughout the body, not just on only the legs if I was doing bike. I get the arms, the elbow flexors, the upper back, everything comes into play there. I love doing 400-meter sprints on timed intervals on the rower.

David TaoDavid Tao

You love that? You might be the only person who loves that in the world, by the way.

Gabriel PeñaGabriel Peña

 I might not love it in the moment, but I love how I feel after in the accomplishment, and the satisfaction I feel after is great. 400-meter row, whatever time it took, take that time off and then do it again. Repeat it three or four times. I’ll grab the sledgehammer and go wedge on the tires outside of the gym for a little bit. Get some shoulder mobility in with that.


Then if I’m feeling really slow on my feet or I need to improve there, then I’ll do some sprints or actual jogging. However, being a super heavyweight athlete above 300 pounds, I tried to minimize the frequency of the times I actually do jog. Impact on the knees is a very real thing on anyone who weighs over 200, but especially over 300 pounds. I try to keep that not too frequent.

David TaoDavid Tao

I liken Strongman athletes to crocodiles. They’re not going to outrun you over a marathon, but over 50 yards, you’re bait at that point. [laughs]

Gabriel PeñaGabriel Peña

I am very quick in a short distance.

David TaoDavid Tao

Gabe, one thing I want to talk about too. It’s interesting because when we posted on Instagram, of all places — I think it was even before you had an article on it — that you’d received a call up to World’s Strongest Man. We had the roster so far and it was interesting because the World’s Strongest Man roster was finalized so late. There was a lot of movement. There was a lot that was unclear.


You were representing Mexico at this competition. We obviously had that on the article, and on the graphic we made. We got immediately swarmed with comments saying, “Gabe’s from Texas. You have the flags wrong. Everything’s wrong. We can’t believe anything else you all said.” You actually came in all the comments on social media like, “Guys, this is correct. It’s OK.”


Tell us about the decision behind representing Mexico, and how your heritage came into play there? I’m a little curious.

Gabriel PeñaGabriel Peña

My last name is Peña. My dad’s side of the family is of Mexican descent. His grandparents had immigrated were the last generation of Mexican Natives who immigrated over to Texas at the turn of the century in around the year 1900.


All historically throughout Strongman, especially at World’s Strongest Man, there hasn’t been any Mexican athletes or any Hispanic Latino athletes ever there. I’ve lived in Texas my whole life. I lived in South Texas, right along the border. I could ride my bike to Mexico if I wanted to. I know there are strong people here.


A lot of my friends, my family are all Hispanic Mexican descent. I take a lot of pride in that. My dad took a lot of pride in that, too. Unfortunately, in March of this past year, I lost my dad to ALS. It was a very aggressive onset of Lou Gehrig’s disease. I always remember dad taking so much pride in his Latino heritage.


When we were in elementary school, when we were taking standardized tests, he’d be like, “Don’t put White, [laughs] put Mexican or Hispanic and take pride in your last name.” That always stuck with me too. Of course, I have a whole another side of the family, but I’ve lived in an area of the country and an area of the state that is very Mexican dominant.


There’s a lot of love here. A lot of pride here. I wanted to tip my hat towards my ancestry and represent my Latino heritage at the world stage, especially when there hadn’t been any previously before.

David TaoDavid Tao

What was the reception like in the community in South Texas when people found out you were going to be competing on the stage? Now that it’s actually aired on television and the results are out, what has been the reception you’ve received?

Gabriel PeñaGabriel Peña

Total pride. Total pride from everyone here in South Texas. There was an incredible outreach of Mexican athletes, of Spanish athletes, and Latino athletes, all over who were so fired up to see a Spanish last name and the Mexican flag at World’s Strongest Man.


You touched on it how there was a lot of confusion with, “Oh, Gabe’s from Texas. He’s an American citizen. Why is he representing Mexico?” Seemingly, all the ones who had a — I don’t want to say a problem, but who were confused, and not necessarily like, “Oh, Gabe’s representing Mexico. Let’s give him a hug,” were the White people. [laughs]


The messages that I received, especially through Instagram of Latino athletes, it was truly heartwarming. I felt like I was part of a very large family. That’s the best way to put it.

David TaoDavid Tao

You got to be careful. You might inspire the generation of competitors who are going to give you a run for your money as a pride of South Texas. You got to be careful.

Gabriel PeñaGabriel Peña

I hope so. I always tell my clients and my athletes like, “I’m going to train you to beat me, but you’re going to have to be the one to do it.”


In this sport, we’re all about who’s truly the strongest and how we can find out who that person is. The more competitors we have, the more exposure the sports gets, especially for Latino athletes. The more Latino athletes we can get there, too. I know there’s some strength here. I know the strength here and in Mexico, and I want to see those athletes represented at the world stage.

David TaoDavid Tao

I feel like you might be opening — I don’t want to say Pandora’s box because that’s a bad thing. What’s the good version of Pandora’s box? A cookie jar? I don’t know. If we see an influx of more diversity, more flags at these high-profile strength events, that’s great because strength is amazing in that it’s so uniting.


The bar doesn’t care where you are born. The bar couldn’t give two craps what your last name is or what language you speak? It really doesn’t care who put in the work? Who’s strong? Who’s putting themselves out there in that? That’s a big reason I love strength sports. I’m so passionate about it, but not to go too far down that rabbit hole.

Gabriel PeñaGabriel Peña

That is a good thing to touch on. We have everyone coming from so many different backgrounds, and regardless of what flag we carry there, it is very symbolic to the unity at the whole world scope of everything at all. If the bar doesn’t care, we don’t care what flags we all have.


We’re all there to find out who’s the strongest, and it is a brotherhood of open and welcome arms. I love it. I’ve loved that aspect from day one.

David TaoDavid Tao

Who are some of the competitors who, especially the World’s Strongest Man level, because our listeners might just be more familiar with that than say, with the national circuit. Who were some of the competitors who really stuck out to you as fun to compete with? People you really enjoyed being around and get the throwdown with.

Gabriel PeñaGabriel Peña

My boy, Trey Mitchell, here from Texas. He and I both started Strongman around the same time. He competed a little earlier than I did. When we were amateurs, we both were always competing with each other in competitions. He would win when I would win one. He would win when I would win one. It had been that way.


So, against to compete with him at World’s Strongest Man, that was fun in itself because of our history together. Aside from the American athletes, these guys who I have been privileged to see all throughout the years because we’re in the same country, one of the athletes that really stood out to me from the international scope was Luke Richardson.


I wasn’t really too familiar with who he was. I knew he had pulled some very impressive and fast heavy deadlifts. This guy is very young, and he’s so well-rounded in all aspects of the events that we were tested on. He was a fun person to share that stage with and even to talk to at a lot of the dinners we had.


Then all of the big legends, the guys who had been there a long time. Even to compete in the same show as Brian Shaw or getting to meet the Stoltmans too. Getting to deadlift right back and forth with Jerry Pritchett. Mr. 1,000 himself, man. It was so much fun.


It was so much fun being with these guys, and it was much more fun having the scope of the athletes I competed against extended to that of the world versus just the USA.

David TaoDavid Tao

Gabe, where is the best place for people to keep up to date with your training, your competition, anything else that people might want to get from you?

Gabriel PeñaGabriel Peña

I’m most active on Instagram. My Instagram handle is texastitangabe. I am also on Facebook. I do have a YouTube, Gabriel Peña on YouTube. I’m aiming to get a lot more content on that coming within the next few months, so be on the lookout there. If you want to the most in-depth and up-to-date focus on my training, it’s on Instagram. Check it out @texastitangabe.

David TaoDavid Tao

The Texas Titan Gabe, thanks so much for joining us today. I really appreciate you sharing your story and experiences from last year. We’re all really excited to see what 2021 has in store. A lot of big things on the horizon for you.

Gabriel PeñaGabriel Peña

Thanks. I’m excited too. It’s going to be a wild ride.