It's not often that your biggest rival can also be one of your best friends. I'm fortunate to have that luxury with my pal Nicolai.
We both competed at North American Strongman Nationals in Las Vegas, Nevada this past weekend and finished atop the 200lb weight class.
Not only was this special to see my training partner do so well, but he finished the job on Veterans Day - Nic is a veteran himself.
While things may not have gone the way I was hoping in regards to my own performance, watching Nicolai hone in on his technique, go until his gas tank was on E and push through after dropping a 720lb frame on his foot is why he more than earned the title.
I've been involved in some form of strength training since I've been 12 years old and I've never been around as consistent a performer when game day comes.
Nic's conditioning is superb, his strength is top notch and his mindset is positive and focused on always wanting more.
I'm fortunate enough to coach and train alongside him at NEVERsate Athletics in Westminster, Md. As focused as he is on his own training, you wouldn't believe how much he cares about making others better.
I've become a significantly better person and athlete because of Nic and I can't thank him enough for all he's done for me in and out of the gym.
Nicolai's next step? The Arnold Classic in March where he will compete in the biggest amateur strongman show in the world.
He's known around the gym as "Uncle Nic". But to me, he's one of my brothers and I can't wait to see the outcome of the biggest training cycle of his life.