ROCKINGHAM — Two Richmond County residents put their muscles to work last month during the 2016 Europa Games in Charlotte.
The event, which held between 10 to 15 fitness events, saw Robert David Sr. and Tom Cox take home trophies in their respective divisions.
David competed in the strongman competition and won the master’s 308 pound class, deadlifting 680 pounds and benching 450. He competed in the National Physique Committee, where he said, “That’s where you see all the huge guys.”
“Both of those for my age group put me in elite status,” he said. “I got a certificate for that. In their federation that was a national record (680 pound deadlift) for my age group.”
Next up for David will be the world championship in November in New Jersey, which will be his fourth time competing.
David is a Hamlet native and has been providing motivational and athletic life coaching services for more than 20 years, and although he set record last month, he said the real story is about Cox.
Cox competed in men’s physique class C, which is categorized by height, where he came in first in his division. In addition to that, he also won third place overall in the finals and said he couldn’t have done it without David’s help.
“The difference was Robert’s guidance. I didn’t realize how much that would make a difference,” said Cox. “My first show I went in to get my feet wet with no coach. When I got there (Charlotte) it was an eye-opening moment. I saw everyone else. They had coaches. I was just there by myself.
“The reason I like this sport and was attracted to it is ‘cause it’s so individual,” he continued. “I don’t have to rely on a team or letting my team down. I had no one to blame but myself if I don’t place. He helped my dial in with my diet and my training. He’s really like a diamond in the rough in this area.”
Cox said he looked up David and met with him and based off David’s success, knew that was the direction he needed to take.
“It’s a softer look. It’s marketable physique,” Cox said of his division. “You see guys on the covers and they’re just monsters. Women don’t find that attractive. It’s intimidating to other guys. With men’s physique it’s just more mainstream. It’s a softer look. You don’t need leg development in men’s physique. The posing is different. For a lack of a better word, it’s more of a beauty pageant.”
He said there’s more that goes into the competition than just physique with smile, hair style and personality playing big factors in the judging.
“You have to have that look,” he said. “You see a lot of men’s fitness models and covers. They usually choose men’s physique guys for that.”
The FirstHealth fitness coach is planning on continuing his competing to see how far he can go. After finishing first in his class in Charlotte, he’s now qualified compete in national competitions.
“If I place top three or top five, depending on what show, I’ll get my pro card,” he said. “Then I can compete pro shows. I’ve been extremely humbled by the support I’ve received from people in the community and members at FirstHealth.”
Reach reporter Matt Harrelson at 910-817-2674 and follow him on Twitter @mattyharrelson.