Fruita 16-year-old Belshe wins national powerlifting crown
Max Belshe fell in love with the weight room a long time ago.
Well, a long time is only four years ago for the 16-year-old, who will be a sophomore at Fruita Monument High School.
“I started when I was 12 and around 14, I started competing,” he said.
Powerlifting is where he competes when he’s not on the football field or track and field arena, where he’s a sprinter and thrower.
In early July, Belshe became a powerlifting national champion.
Competing at the United States Powerlifting Association National Championships in Las Vegas, Belshe swept the event, winning the bench press, squat, deadlift and full power titles.
He competed in the junior 16-17 year-old, 165 pound division.
“It was amazing, because you see all these people and they’re lifting enormous amounts of weight,” he said. “It was crazy, a lot different from state meets.”
He was one of those lifting enormous amounts of weight — 413 pounds in both the squat and deadlift, and 243 pounds in the bench press for a total of 1,069 pounds.
Belshe has also won the Colorado powerlifting title in his division the past two years.
Training at 970 Muscle in Grand Junction, Belshe said he puts in about 16 hours a week in the gym over six days and another four hours on the track doing sprints and speed training.
As a running back and linebacker for the Wildcats, his weightlifting and training is also focused on making strides on the football field.
When he went into the national championships, he had one goal.
“I wanted to win, you don’t go into something like that hoping for second place,” he said.
Max’s dad, Jim, is his powerlifting coach, and the family has a long tradition of hard workers in the gym.
“Max’s grandpa was a competitive powerlifter, so I grew up around it, but I rely on a lot of great people to develop Max’s training,” Jim Belshe said.
Dad said it’s not difficult to get his son motivated about lifting.
“Max is a motivated kid and, if anything, it’s usually him dragging me to the gym,” Jim said. “I really enjoy the father-son time.”
With football on the immediate horizon, Max’s weightlifting and cross-training are all geared to the upcoming season.
“Obviously strength is never a weakness, so everything I do in the weight room translates onto the field,” he said.
Max is always mixing up his workouts and using different variations so he doesn’t hit a plateau for too long.
“Every week I’m trying to break a different (personal) record,” he said. “Each week we do different lifts, and different exercises are done for specific reasons.”
Weightlifting has long appealed to Max and it’s never a chore to get into the gym.
“I like that no matter what, it’s on me, I control how hard I work, I control the effort I put into it,” he said.
Up next in the powerlifting arena for Max is a trip to Moscow in December for the world championships.