Growing up the son of a Green Bay Packer Hall of Famer I was exposed to strength training at an early age. My father Gale Gillingham is considered to be one of the NFL’s pioneers in strength training. Back in the 60’s and 70’s there were not any gyms available in the rural areas of Minnesota. All of my father’s training was done at home in the garage. This exposed my brothers and I to lifting at an early age.
All three of us trained to get stronger and more powerfull for our high school sports. I was a basketball and track athlete. I once high jumped 6’10” in my younger skinnier years. Unfortunately, as a result of a lack of focus on my part, my athletic career ended soon after I started college. Without athletics I was lost for a while. Eventually, strength training became a new focus for me. It was something I needed in life…. something to be able to set goals to achieve…. something constructive and beneficial.
After high school, my brothers, Karl and Wade, also became passionate about weight training. Strength athletics is a family venture. My older brother Karl was a world class strongman for many years. He competed at the highest levels in the sport. Younger brother Wade was also a professional strongman, and found his noteriety by having one of the strongest grips in the world. Our father coached us at our major events.
We have since passed our knowledge down to others. I started my girls lifting at an early age, and we continue to lift together when possible. Both of my daughters used their strength to become college track athletes. I have also been able to strength coach at a high school and college level. I feel fortunate to be able to help athletes try to achieve their goals.
Strength training has opened up many doors for me. I have been able to travel the world by participating, coaching, and officiating the world’s biggest events in powerlifting, weightlifting, bodybuilding and strongman. Strength training gets in your blood. It is a way of living that helps set the tone for our everyday activities. For me it’s a necessity of life….. like eating and breathing. It’s something I need to do on a regular basis. I will always train….. I’m in it for the long run.