Interview By Christian Saba
Starting Strongman recently got the chance to catch up with Dimitar Savatinov shortly after competing in World’s Strongest Man, 2015. We asked him some hard hitting questions about cookies, strongman, and his life. Hailing from Bulgaria, and with a background in the circus, it certainly seems he’s seen it all. Outside of being really strong (and a corgi lover) he’s rather knowledgable and pretty badass…
SS: how do you think that your background in the circus helped to prepare you for strongman events?
DS: “strongman prepared me for the circus, actually. Due to lifting and getting stronger. I started in the Bulgarian circus in 2002, at the bottom of the pyramid. So being strong really helped with that.”
SS: why did you choose to pursue strongman in America, and how does it differ from the sport in Bulgaria?
DS: “in Bulgaria, weights were too light. Wouldn’t be very fun to do. When I came to America in 2006, I started lifting more seriously and heavier here. I went into powerlifting without ever training for it. I did my first meet in April of 2007. My squat was over 700lbs, while I weighed only 265lbs. I trained for a meet in November, and squatted 779. I broke the record, which at the time was 727.”
SS: after traveling the United States, why did you choose Florida to live and settle down in?
DS: “my wife liked Florida, we have a good team here. After we stopped traveling the country, what I could lift increased. Being on the road made it hard to train. In 2009 when I was on the road, there weren’t many strongman gyms I could stop into. Now they’re everywhere, which is good. Nice to see the sport growing like that.”
SS: what advice can you give to someone new starting out in strongman?
DS: most important thing is to train smarter, not just hard. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you will get hurt. If you want to get good, train with someone at a higher level than you. They know how to get things done. Also, find someone with a body type similar to yours, because a much taller person’s height might not teach you what works for your body. For example, if you have a large belly, and find yourself struggling with the log, find a person with a belly and watch them. Same as if you are short and have a problem doing stones, ask a shorter persons help.”
SS: what can you tell someone on how to not get discouraged in this sport? Also, how to not take a bad contest day/loss personally?
DS: you either win, or learn. Next time, you won’t make the same mistakes. Doesn’t matter how many contests you’ve done, you’ll still make mistakes. It happens. Many contest’s experience, you’ll still find you’re making them. It doesn’t get easier each time (losing) just move on, think about your next event. If you keep thinking of the one event, you won’t do well on the next one. It’s done, it’s not coming back. Can only work on improving it in the gym during training. There is no one who wins all the time, I don’t know this person. No one will always win all the time. The people who win a lot just pick the shows that they know they’ll win, not the ones they think there’s a chance at losing. No fun or challenge in that.”
SS: one last thing, I hear your wife makes some pretty amazing cookies..
DS: (laughs) “yes, she really does. And and anyone who comes to a competition where we are, is welcome to have some.”
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