Industrial grad to compete at USA Weightlifting American Open
Playing college football was always a dream for Inez native Ricky Redus.
But after two 45-pound plates fell on his foot (making it swell to the size of a watermelon) last spring during a strengthening session with the Texas A&M - Kingsville football team, Redus pumped the brakes on that dream.
"I decided that football is good and all, but I'm getting hurt, and I feel like I'm putting in a lot of work. And now, it's all taken away from me, and I'll have to start back from scratch," the Industrial graduate said. "I also have a lot of friends whose careers were cut short in football because of all the injuries."
At that point, Redus had been training in Crossfit and weightlifting for close to two years, and he decided to make it more than a hobby.
The 20-year-old competed in his first weightlifting competition in September in San Antonio.
The next month, Redus competed in his second competition and qualified for the USA Weightlifting American Open Competition, which will be in Dallas on Friday and Saturday.
Redus found weightlifting - which includes two moves: the clean-and-jerk and snatch - through Crossfit.
"I was doing weightlifting-type moves in WODS (Workout of the Day) but not very heavy; I would just practice the form," he said. "I decided that I was pretty strong, and I want to get better. I wanted to train the skills for weightlifting and be a competitive weightlifter."
Redus's snatch weight was 286 pounds, and his clean-and-jerk weight was 350 pounds. Both moves qualified him for the Open.
The American Open is a national-level weightlifting meet and will serve as an opportunity to make a national team that travels to various competitions.
Though he continues to go to college in Kingsville, Redus drives home every week to see family and friends and to work out at Fit Strong United Crossfit in Victoria.
"It's better training and a better environment for me (in Victoria)," Redus said.
Isaac Almeida, owner of FSUCF, knew Redus as a high school athlete and continues to coach him now.
"He works very hard. He's very strong, naturally gifted and naturally athletic," Almeida said.
No one was shocked when the novice weightlifter qualified for the Open, Almeida said.
"We've seen what he can do in here just by watching him work out and seeing how hard he goes," Almeida said. "Going into that first competition, we had a plan of where he had to be to get there and all the lifts he had to do. We knew he could do it."
In his years as a trainer in Victoria, Almeida said he hasn't seen many with Redus' potential.
"He has a lot of knowledge, but he's not afraid of learning new things every day," he said. "He's very humble, and I think you need that, too."
Preparing for the American Open included Crossfit training three or four days a week on top of weightlifting four days a week.
He does take rest and recovery days, though.
"I would not be where I'm at today without Crossfit; that's what I love about it," Redus said.
When he's not working out, he admits he's usually hanging out with friends from the gym.
"We're hanging out, eating lots of food and catching up on those calorie deficits," he said, adding that he doesn't do the paleolithic diet, which is popular in the Crossfit community.
"I support healthy eating 100 percent, but the reason I don't do paleo is if you're trying to be a competitive Crossfitter, heavy weightlifter, powerlifter, any athlete, you can't do paleo - it's not enough calories," he said.
Redus hopes to stay in the everchanging health/fitness industry as a career.
"I'm not one of those people who is going to shove Crossfit or weightlifting down your throat," he said. "If you're getting up and being active, that's what life is all about. Life is too short to be sedentary.
"If you're a runner, weightlifter, powerlifter, swimmer, underwater basket weaver, if you're out doing something and moving your body, I support it 100 percent."