Dear Stella, judges, spotters, and staff at the SPF Spring Powerlifting meet-

As I write this, I am sitting on a bag of ice for a strained butt cheek. The back of my neck is bruised and scraped from my missed squat, and I believe I’ve left a chunk of skin from my hand somewhere on the platform. I’ve never felt more like an elite powerlifter in my life.

Thank you so much for another unforgettable experience last weekend. I’m always so amazed- and so envious- of the warmth and acceptance that Brute possesses; everyone was encouraging, supportive, approachable, and legitimately interested in strength training. I hope the members of Brute realize how fortunate they are to have such a welcoming, diverse network of athletes to interact with as I haven’t found that level of camaraderie at any other gym where I’ve been a member.

The meet itself was SOO much fun. The spotters and loaders were quick and efficient (and super good-looking), the judging was annoyingly consistent and fair (still shaking my head about my high squat- I should have just sat back half a second more!), the ladies at the table were sweet-faced weight pushing instigators saying “just go for it- you’ll do great!”, and James was a fantastic announcer. I think my favorite thing he said was “suck it up” after someone missed a lift. HA! :o) My group had a great time, and if there are any single men between the ages of 27-65 who might be interested in a woman who lives in the Charlottesville area, I have a friend for each age bracket that would love to hear all about their personal records, preferably while wearing minimal clothing and lifting something heavy.

Meets like this- and gyms like Brute- are why I continue to compete. Training alone comes with so many challenges, and maintaining the level of motivation necessary to keep pushing yourself is really tough. Visiting, and competing at, Brute gives me the spark I need to stay focused and keep training hard, because the experience is always so exciting and positive- I always come back from Brute talking a mile a minute about who I met and how they train. (Usually to my mom, who gives me blank looks then asks me when I'm going to find a husband. Ugh.) Not to mention, the trophies are great conversation pieces at work. At least this meet’s “best lifter” trophy I could bring in. . . My boss told me “don’t even think about bringing knives into the office”, even though I assured her I was pretty confident it would take a lot of work and determination to hurt someone with them.

Thank you again for creating such a wonderful experience for so many lifters. I look forward to my next visit to Brute!

Till then,


the newest Elite raw female lifter in the 165 weight class (hooray!)


Samoan Bulldozer :

All I wanna say is that you guys have the most insane and simply hardcore set up I have ever seen in my life !!!! I wish we had something even a quarter of the excellent facility you guys have built in Virginia, over here in my city, in Australia. You must churn out beasts and athletes like nobody's business. Great set up.


  I've been a member of BSG since May (2 months) and in that time I have made more progress in the gym than in the last 4 years working out on my own. Being a member of the military i have access to a lot of nice free gyms so paying for a gym is always something i frown upon...however, becoming a member of BSG is the best money ive spent on myself EVER!! its contagious, and a very family-like gym. I go for Strongman and Power lifting my wife goes for cross fit... we love it. BSG best gym ever!!

Michael A. Azoy
HM3, U.S. Navy


                       Jamey Ragazzo

 Brute Strength Gym is the greatest gym EVER!!!!!

"best facility iv ever trained in! n iv trained in    alotta places over the years... "


 Kenneth Davis

To my freinds and family...it has been the best training years of my life.i will truely miss all the people i have met and trained with over the time i have spent there.this gym is definately my home away from home,run by the best people you could possibly have.brute strength is the best!


                        Craig Phifsterer

"Brute Strength Gym is awesome. It really does have everything. I’d say about a third of the area is devoted to strongman stuff. Lots of stones, lots of tires, lots of everything"



 Hey Guys :

I am still deployed as u can see when i got to this site everyone said there was no way to powerlift here since all the plates ...and bar combined weight is only 305lbs. Well little did they know i come from Brute Strength Gym where we think outside the box especially in the desert. I brought the knowledge i have learned from your awesome staff James, Stella, And Randall and implied it in a combat zone with a crappy gym and no amenities. Some how i am still setting PR's. Here is a quick pic of me squatting 455 a new PR for me and something never seen by all the hajjis in this country. It took all the chain i could gather and cut to specific weight and hanging all the kettle bells we have to produce it but nevertheless I am able to keep doing work thanks to what i have learned from the best gym on earth.No other gym matters for sure.

Thanks guys see you soon,
Bryan Leahey

P.S. sorry the pic is blurry there was a sandstorm and yes that is a BSG shirt

      Brute Strength Gym: A Review

Zack Knight

My entire life I’ve always been the small kid. Being 5’2” and having a stutter it’s always been difficult for me to feel like a part of something. I’ve always been shy, but I found solace in the gym. I found a home away from home. The weights have always been my friends and PR’s the building blocks to a better life. I’ve been training for roughly 6 years. In my time I’ve been through bodybuilding, powerbuilding, and finally made my way to powerlifting. Now, I thought I had figured it out for the most part (we all of course have so much to learn that we'll never know it all) through countless hours of reading and studying technique, programming, and hormonal response to food/training to help maximize my gains, but once I hit Brute Strength Gym I was opened up to a new world of intensity, power, and pain that I had never even had imagined could exist. I’ve always trained in commercial gyms. It’s been the only option. Between my college’s gym and the Gold’s Gym at school and at home I had never really been in a hardcore atmosphere. Of course I’ve always tried to keep my intensity high, but I couldn’t take it to that next level because you can really only get but so intense while 2-ton Tina is reading People while barely breaking a sweat on the elliptical and Bro-Master General over here taking up the last available power rack doing barbell curls with the preloaded weights that weigh less than the standard bar and flexing as though his 110lb frame echoes the likes of Flex Wheeler.  When I walked into Brute Strength Gym my world changed. There were men and women both training together with mountains of muscle, clouds of chalk, and blaring metal and old school hip hop on the stereo. It was a coliseum of intensity, power, and PR’s. These people were gladiators of iron. Not even a hurricane could keep these warriors from their goals. I walked into a place where everyone had the same goal, and regardless of race, creed, background or whatever else they all accepted one another and pushed one another to be the absolute best they could be. It was like walking into a place you’ve felt like you’ve been a thousand times before. It was home.I’d been to gyms before, even the incredible Orlando Barbell owned by Brian Schwab where I learned so much I don’t even know where to begin, but this place was different. Stella, James, Drew, and everyone at Brute all helped introduce me to chains, accommodating resistance, speed workouts, sled pulls, prowlers, farmer’s walks, Olympic lifting, indian clubs, yoke walks, power stairs, etc. The list could go on for another 10 pages of the amazing things that the great people at Brute introduced me to. Any time I needed a spot they were there not only spotting, but giving incredible advice as well. In my short time there before I had to go back to grad school, with their help, I was able to break two of the records on the Brute record board in the 165lb class, put massive weight onto my squat, break my PR’s in bench and squatting, and work on trying to perfect my form in all three main lifts and countless others. This is a gym where you walk in and they throw you in the mix and make you not just a better lifter, but a better person.  I can say from the bottom of my heart there wasn’t a single day that I left Brute Strength Gym that I didn’t have a smile on my face. Every single day I would go home and tell stories of the lifts I’d done, people I’d seen, or the incredible feats of strength that I had witnessed that day. I have taken it upon myself to encourage everyone I know who is serious about lifting and becoming a better athlete to go in and talk to the people at Brute and take in a workout. Every day I wake up here at JMU my mind is on what I’m going to do that day to become a better person and influence the lives of the people around me for the better, but it’s also counting down the days until I get to go back and walk through those two glorious doors to the place that has taken me in and made me feel like what I do matters and made me a part of the Brute family.

Their slogan is really true. In my eyes,

Brute Strength Gym is “the only gym that matters”...     Zack Knight

 Rita Rae


                      LOVE LOVE this gym...

        when I am in Norfolk this is where I workout!


                         LOUIS COSTA

"Brute Strength gym is like a play ground for

strongman and strength enthusiasts..its amazing!"


Dane White I've been showing all my battle buddies you'r videos, and showing em Brute Strength gym. I can't wait to get back and train with yall. How are you doing? seems like yall have REALLY blown up. That really pumps me up, i'm stoked for yall.

 Will Shively Anyone looking for a new gym, check out Brute Strength Gym in Norfolk. It's pretty much the most badass place to workout.