Where there’s a Will, there’s a weight

Parisa Larson and Navya Singhai

“In My Mind” blares through his AirPods as senior Will Schubert mentally prepares himself to deadlift 405 pounds. The caffeine is kicking in and his heart rate speeds up. There are 24 seconds until the beat drops and the first set starts.

When he was a sophomore, Will discovered his passion for weightlifting after suffering a lower back injury from playing basketball. He started physical therapy and quickly fell in love with weight training and the structure it brought to his life. He began spending more time at the gym and planning his diet.

Senior Will Schubert does bicep curls with 40 pound weights at 24 Hour Fitness. He is an amateur bodybuilder, weightlifter and fitness enthusiast who structures his schedule and diet around lifting.

“There are always things I can change,” Will said. “I’m still changing things on a daily basis, like my diet and my training. At first, I was manipulating my calorie [intake], and now, I’m up to meal timing and micronutrients.”

Even though his training and diet change each day, Will has maintained a structured lifting routine for the past two years. Being raised by a single parent taught Will to be self-sufficient, and this independence carries into his lifting.

“I got my license a week after I turned 16, I shop for myself, I do my laundry and dishes,” Will said. “My independence spawned from the fact that my mom wasn’t pampering me for everything so I had, to a degree, to find my own way.”

John Larson, a former lifting partner, is inspired by Will’s discipline and dedication to lifting, especially his analytical thinking when it comes to diet. He respects his willingness to always try something new and take on new challenges.

“He always has a new goal for himself, whether it be him telling me he is going to hit a new [personal record] or me telling him to reach for a new number and his willingness to try to reach it,” John said.

In contrast to basketball, the lack of instruction from coaches in lifting allows Will to customize his workout schedule for optimal results in his physique. To maintain his training and build, Will dedicates 10 to 12 hours a week for working out and preparing meals. He sacrifices his free time and all-you-can-eat diet for more hours at the gym and a high carb, low fat diet.

“I set boundaries,” Will said. “There’s no way I could do both [lifting and partying] at once. I’d sacrifice short term pleasure for long term gain.”

Although time-consuming, these sacrifices have given Will a lifelong passion which impacts most aspects of his life. Being at the gym allows him to forget about school and focus on what he loves to do.  

I get to see myself in such an epic light. I’m just a normal guy at school, and then I put on my gym gear, and it feels like I’m in my own motivational video. It’s pretty cool.”

— senior Will Schubert

“I get to see myself in such an epic light,” Will said. “I’m just a normal guy at school, and then I put on my gym gear, and it feels like I’m in my own motivational video. It’s pretty cool.”

In order to have the energy to put in so many hours at the gym, Will fuels himself with six measured meals throughout the day. For breakfast, he whips up 150 grams of egg whites and 5 ounces of spinach and then heads to school for third period. He returns home for his free fourth period to make lunch, which normally consists of 400 grams of rice, five ounces of spinach, eight ounces of chicken stock and six ounces of lean ground beef. After school, Will does his homework and hits the gym for approximately two hours.

 

Social Media Pressures

In October 2018, Will started a fitness Instagram account to “gauge the public’s response” to his training progress and build his social media presence. But after gaining over 1,000 Instagram followers in two months, Will realized being in the limelight at a young age was not for him.

Comments regarding his body image and pressure from unnatural bodybuilders to look a certain way resulted in his decision to delete his workout account. However, he is willing to try a different approach in the future where he doesn’t feel pressure to live up to the expectations set by other bodybuilders who use performance enhancing drugs.

Although using steroids is common for weightlifters, Will wants to refrain from them to see how far his body can go in building muscle mass naturally. He believes that even though taking steroids is the easiest way to gain mass, the health effects are too severe.

“I would just become an absolute monster,” Will said. “With steroids, you go to a performance high and then you go to a low. I’d rather just slowly gain than take something that makes me jump and then drop off.”

 

Future Plans

After graduating, Will plans on attending Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. While he intends to continue to lift, Will doesn’t want to turn weightlifting into a career; instead, he wants to study business in college.

“Whatever I do, it’s definitely gonna be geared around the gym, but not the physical aspect of it, more the business side,” Will said. “I want to combine work and play, but not to the degree where I am lifting for my job. I want lifting to be the thing I can escape from reality with.”

Loyola Marymount is a hub for fitness experts because of its proximity to the original Gold’s Gym in Venice Beach. While there, Will hopes to find others who share the same dedication, passion and work ethic as he does.

“I want to move to LA because that’s where all the people who share my drive are,” Will said. “Seeing people who are better than me makes me motivated to be better than them.”