Sure, Dave. Thanks for having me on. Happy to be able to share anything you’d like to hear about. I guess, it goes back…I was an active kid like so many of us. Back then, the sports that we did out the driveways were maybe different. We didn’t have all the text stuff going on.
We use hula-hoops for hip mobility and roller skates to get some movement around the neighborhood. We played catch and baseball. That was a big deal. As the beginning of the high school, we got into team sports. I’ve always loved baseball, but I broke my foot on a little motorcycle accident a couple of months before spring baseball started. Of course, I couldn’t play that year.
The next year, I went out for the baseball team. The coach said, “Well, you didn’t play last year, so you can go out for track.” [laughs] I go, “OK.” I didn’t get to do that, but I played football in high school.
Then went on, got strong enough, and played well enough that I was able to play in college at a pretty good level. I was at UC Davis. As a senior, I was the captain of the football team. That’s probably in college is when I got interested in strength training to get better for the sport itself.
My introduction goes back and it was fun because back in those days, even strength training wasn’t on the top of mind for football coaches who were doing it. Our weight room was probably twice the size of my office here. We didn’t really have a strength coach. Some of the position coaches would come in and try to help out and encourage you to lift.
In the summer times though, I’d have an opportunity. I lived in Southern California. Of course, Davis is in Northern California but I’d go home for the summers. I signed up for a commercial gym as a private gym. It was owned by a guy by the name of Bill Pearl. Now, I don’t know if you’ve been around long enough to know that Bill was the bodybuilder before Arnold.
I think he’s a seven-time Mr. Olympia and just a wonderful guy. He took me under his wing and taught me a little bit about strength training. It was between my sophomore and junior years in college. I took off on that and got pretty strong.
I found that I got strong faster than the other kids did for some reason. Maybe there was some sort of a genetic opportunity there for me that I had. We didn’t even have powerlifting back then.
It wasn’t a sport at the time. I just did it to get stronger for football. In my career after college, I was a college football coach for the first eight years and was around the weight room then, but mostly helping out my student-athletes and coaching them as opposed to trying to make myself stronger.
Became more familiar with sets and reps in that type of thing, and progressive resistance training, and showing people how to get stronger as they needed for the sport.
When I left coaching — that’s a whole another story for another podcast, probably — I went into the business world for 30 years. I was also then raising a family of five kids. I have 14 grandkids now.
Raising a family, building a career, or building a business in the real-estate development world was all-consuming. Even though I loved training, there never seem to be enough time for me. There wasn’t enough me time.
I would go in every January to the gym and have the New Year’s resolution. That would work for maybe a month, maybe six weeks. Then after six weeks, you start slacking. You get other social obligations, business, driving kids around to baseball and little league games and football, etc.
There’s so little time. It’s hard to be consistent. I probably did that routine for 30 years, of six weeks of training in January and February, and then nothing the rest of the year.
It wasn’t until I was in my early-mid 50s. I was skiing and that was one sport that we did do with the family, all of our kids skied, and my wife. We spent a lot of weekends up skiing. That was good stamina and leg exercise.
I fell and hurt my shoulder in a mobile field, and I got back and it was painful. I kept thinking it would go away. After a couple of weeks, it didn’t. I went into my doctor, and he examined it, took an X-ray and he said, “You know, you got a little bursitis. You’re getting old.”
That did it. When he said you’re getting old. It put me over the top. [laughs] I said, “FU, doc.” He sent me to a physical therapist who happened to be housed in a small little gym, commercial gym in my hometown there in Oregon.
I got the habit of going there twice a week for therapy. Then I go downstairs to the gym and start lifting weights a couple days a week. Got in the habit of doing that. By this time, most of the kids had left the nest.
We had one at home, she was maybe a senior in high school. I started to find that it became more important for me. After three or four months, my shoulders was improving. My gosh, I was getting strong again.
As I said earlier, I always seem to get stronger faster than other people. It started adding strength, using progressive resistance. I didn’t have a trainer. I was doing what I would normally do.
The injury happened in the late spring. The rehab carried on through spring and summer. By the end of that year, I remember sitting around on New Year’s Day. I made progress. My numbers were going up, and I got on the Internet and I said I wonder if there’s a record for the bench press in Oregon.
I started doing some searching. Back then we didn’t have the great search engine. This is like 15 years ago or so, 16 years ago. Sure enough, I saw that there were records and it went by age and weight, and I immediately looked up my age and weight. I saw what the bench press record was. I thought, “I can do that. If I train a little bit harder, I could do that.” Little did I know I was just training raw.
Little did I notice those records that I was aiming for were all based on gear lifting. Guys were wearing bench shirts, which I had never experienced or seen in this little commercial gym that I’ve been training yet.
Anyway, the next day, I went in and I talked to one of the trainers at this gym, and told him that my goal for the year was to set the Oregon bench press record. He said, “If you’re going to do that, you got to squat and deadlift.” I go, “I do.” He acknowledge, “Yeah. You can’t set the record that you aspire, you got to do all three.” I go, “OK, well, let’s get started.”
That was January, I started training. I remember trying to squat the first time, I couldn’t get down to parallel without my heels coming four inches off the ground, and it was…I had such poor mobility, and he continued to work with me.
Again, I was running my real-estate development company, we had a project going on in California, Sacramento. I knew I was going to be down there for a three- or four-day meeting. I looked and I saw there was a powerlifting competition in town on that Saturday in November. This is 11 months after I started training, and I entered this contest.
I walked in, Dave, to this competition on Saturday morning. I had signed up a couple of days before. I had never been to a powerlifting meet, and here I was going to compete in one. When it came time, they announced, “The bar’s loaded. Rudy Kadlub, bar’s loaded.” I started walking up and this other competitor pulls me back and goes, “What are you doing?” I go, “They called me anyway. I got to go.”
He goes, “Rudy, you can’t go up there with what you’re wearing.” I go, “What’s wrong with this?” He goes, “You can’t wear gym shorts and a t-shirt. You got to have a singlet.” He turns around and digs into his bag, and gets to the bottom of the bag, and pulls up this crusty green singlet. I don’t know if it was green from mold, or it was the actually yellow.