Aaron Brooks of Hagerstown, Maryland, is a seven-time national champion wrestler who has more than 345 amateur wins to his name (and counting) and will compete to break the world record in the bench press for his age and weight on June 12 in New Jersey.
The current bench press record for eight and nine-year-olds in the 88 pound weight class is 77 pounds.
Aaron’s father, John Brooks, is a hard working father of two young boys—Isaiah (age 12) and Aaron (age nine). He works as a Paraprofessional at South Hagerstown High School and assists specifically with alternative learning opportunities.
Previously, I had the pleasure of speaking with John about some of the misconceptions associated with resistance training in young athletes (click here to read interview).
As the clock ticks down, I thought that it would be interesting to follow-up with John and Aaron as they make their final preparations to make history.
This is my second interview. Please enjoy.
James Ryan: How has Aaron’s training been going so far?
John Brooks: Training has been going well. Aaron was able to lift 100 pounds pretty smoothly the other day.
We have only been training once per week and that has just been to get him accustomed to balancing the bar. When we do train, we usually practice with lighter weight and higher reps, so doing sets with 75 to 85 pounds has been a big change for Aaron.
We will be going back to the push-ups and dumbbells after the contest.
Also, Aaron has gained five pounds since NHSCA last weekend.
James Ryan: Five pounds? What do you attribute that to?
John Brooks: It’s technically the off-season right now. Aaron is eating all of the time and is on a high protein diet. He is also practicing less, so he is getting less cardio.
James Ryan: Any concerns—safety or otherwise—about the upcoming lift?
John Brooks: I’m not really concerned about safety. Aaron is only going to attempt what I know he can do and has already lifted in practice. He can already accomplish the current record in sets while training, so he doesn’t have to strain much to break the record.
I may stop him at 100 pounds.
James Ryan: In our last interview, we spoke about the potential importance for sponsorship opportunities.
Many people, companies especially, operate under the premise of “what’s in it for me?”
What are the potential benefits for a prospective sponsor? Why should they sponsor your son with so many other great young athletes out there?
John Brooks: Well I know my son well and he is a very hard worker. Aaron has a great work ethic. He is humble and will definitely continue to improve.
He will apply himself to whatever he is doing, so if a company wants Aaron to represent them to the highest standards—he will do just that.
Why should they sponsor Aaron?
He is going to grow up and do great things. Why not help him now and then he can help you later? Anytime you help the youth you are helping everyone—they are our future. Aaron is a leader and is already a role model to many youth in our area.
If he has a good product standing behind him, other kids will want that product too!
James Ryan: How will sponsorship specifically help Aaron and his current athletic goals?
John Brooks: Sponsorship will help Aaron learn new techniques and travel to different camps to train. It will allow him to travel and compete against the best in the country on a regular basis.
As a nine-year old, Aaron doesn’t have to go too far to find an older opponent who will give him all that he can handle, but as he gets older, it will be harder for him to find good competition.
James Ryan: What’s next for Aaron after the World Record lift on Saturday?
John Brooks: Next for Aaron is football season. He moves up to the Junior league—fifth and sixth grade football. He plays linebacker and running back.
Aaron will also train all summer in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and wrestling. He will be learning a completely different style of wrestling to compliment what he already knows.
The BJJ training, with Coach Koran Dunbar, is so that he can continue to grow as a young Mixed Martial Arts prospect.
Aaron would definitely like to go compete in a Grapplers Quest tournament. We are looking at one this summer at the UFC Fan Expo in Boston.
That is something that sponsorship would help a great deal with.
James Ryan: Sounds awesome. Aaron certainly seems destined for a life less ordinary, that’s for sure.
Thanks again John for taking the time to speak with me before the actual event. I can appreciate how hectic things must be for you all right now.
John Brooks: Anytime for you, James.
Aaron just had an interview with Comcast Sports in Sykeville, Maryland at Dan Ricker’s WarHawks practice. Today we leave for New York to be on the Fox and Friends Show in NYC Fox studios, and Saturday morning, Aaron will attempt to set a new world record in bench press.
So yes—things have been a bit hectic [Laughs].
James Ryan: Well, please wish Aaron all the best from me.
John Brooks: Will do, and Aaron is looking forward to speaking with you himself after he sets the new world record.
James Ryan: That would be cool. And I’m sure that the readers would love to hear directly from him as well. We’ll see if your stories match up [Laughs].
John Brooks: [Laughs] Uh oh.
James Ryan: Oh and please tell Aaron that according to my website tracking system, he is apparently a big hit in the Netherlands [Laughs].
John Brooks: [Laughs] Wow! That’s funny!
It’s all kind of crazy to me. I see what he does everyday and I never thought it was that big of a deal. I knew he was special, but never thought this many people would be interested in him so soon.
James Ryan: Well, with a strong family support system such as the one that you and the others are providing him with, I have full confidence that he will be able to handle the increased attention just fine.
Thanks again John.
John Brooks: Thank you James.
This is my interview. If you don’t like it…I have others. Check them out at www.mrjamesryan.com
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