Staff Spotlight: Meet Alexander Espin

6th December

Regulars at our Victoria club will no doubt recognise Alex as a Gymbox reception pro. What you might not know is that when he’s not front of house lifting you up before your workout, he’s busy (power) lifting his way to the top. To say he’s good is a bit of an understatement - in fact, you might need to see video evidence to believe it. And right now, he’s busy preparing for a seriously big competition; representing Team GB at the European Championships in Sweden. We caught up for a chat to talk prep, playlists and how he smashes PBs…

Tell me more about your relationship with Gymbox, what led to you becoming reception manager at our Victoria club? I have worked for many gyms in the past and when the opportunity to work for Gymbox presented itself, I couldn’t say no. I started off in sales, then moved to reception and eventually became reception manager.

Working for Gymbox has opened many doors for me and it helped me get to where I am today with my training.

As a powerlifter, you’re a good example of why no one should underestimate the Gymbox staff! How did you get into the sport and how long have you been doing it for? I mean, being 5”5 and only weighing 72 kilos, people normally look at me and assume I don’t even train! But to be honest, I’m always wearing jumpers at work and rarely talk about my training to members, so when people do find out how much I lift they almost demand videos instantly because they don’t believe me!

I have been training for around 7 years now and started because I was extremely overweight. I weighed just over 100 kilos and was incredibly unfit. The main goal was just to lose weight and be able to button up my shirts and get into my jeans again!

Once I lost a lot of weight, I decided to enter a bodybuilding show, which was a big test for me. I had fun on the day and it was something I wanted to tick off. I wanted to show everyone that anyone can do it if they put their all into it. But let’s just say, that was the first and last time I would ever do bodybuilding!

I got into powerlifting when my good friend introduced me to it and saw I was very strong in the deadlift. At the time, he was preparing for a competition and asked if I would like to compete with him. Bodybuilding was clearly not going to happen again so I said yes and we trained for it. I won my first competition and, most importantly, I fell in love with the sport! That’s how my journey began.

You recently became British Champion in September, congrats! How did it feel when you realised you’d officially become the best in Britain at your sport?

There was so much happening leading up to the competition. I’d had back-to-back injuries and it just got to a point where I would have been content with a top 3 placing.

Anything can happen on the day of a comp and when one of the top competitors made a mistake, I knew I had to come in and take the win with my final deadlift (304kg), which was the new British record.

The feeling after I won could not be described. I just had a flashback of all the late-night sessions I’d had where I’d been extremely exhausted, wanting to give up, thinking it’s just injury after injury, obstacle after obstacle...but I’d overcome everything for that very moment. I broke down on the platform. It was an emotional moment for me!

I imagine you have to have a pretty strict fitness regime and diet to prepare for competitions. With your next competition on December 10th, what does a ‘day in the life’ of a powerlifter look like to you right now? To be 100% honest, I have it quite easy. My wife is an IFBB pro bodybuilder and did my food plan throughout the entire lead up to my comp and is doing my current food prep leading up to the European championships.

A normal day for me is usually finishing work at around 7pm, training from 8-11pm (intense I know), getting home at 11.30 and having dinner at around midnight. Then I’m off to bed and usually get up around 5am to repeat the day over! It does get extremely difficult mentally and physically, but it’s a sport I chose to do and I know what’s required to deliver on the day. Plus, I have a good circle of people around me that keep me focused and driven to cross that finish line.

Before a competition starts, is there anything you do to hype yourself up and get your head in the game?

I would like to think I am the most relaxed person in the room. You will get people shouting, singing along loudly to their music, but I just have my headphones in and keep myself to myself. I just make sure I’m hydrated and eating well so I’m fuelled and good to go.

Do you listen to music when you’re training? If so, what’s your go-to genre?

Those that follow me on Instagram already know and laugh at my song choices when I’m training! There’s a Colombian genre called despecho which I enjoy listening to. I love artists like Jessi Uribe & Christian Nodal and I have hit big pb’s while listening to them, including my first ever 300kg deadlift, which took place in my room during lockdown. So my song choices do work!

What advice would you give anyone looking to get into powerlifting?

My advice to anyone interested in powerlifting is to not overthink it and just go for it. Search local competitions in your area and sign yourself up. I’ve heard too many people say they are waiting till they get strong to enter one. The problem there is that they may get strong but may not enjoy the day/experience itself. Don’t overthink it, believe in yourself and do it for the experience.

I have learnt so much about myself within this sport and it's now a big part of my life. I hope my story encourages others to push and chase whatever goal they have!

You can follow our blogger Kat and Alex on Instagram and watch his competition on Friday 10th December live online.

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