Elite #2 Steve Flaming
Updated: Apr 21
"The Diablo Disciple." Although Steve's tenure with the club was from only 2005-2008 he not only had a lasting impression on Team Diablo, he has carried what he learned from Diablo and taken it to other notable gyms such as Bad Attitude Gym in Texas and Laura Phelp's Sweatt Shop in Ohio. And, most recently River City Barbell in Florida which he deems "Diablo Barbell East." Steve and I remain friends and talk training on a regular basis to this day.
Although Steve seemed to undergo a bit of culture shock upon joining the club he quickly morphed into the consummate member. Really a perfect prototype Diablo. Steve devoured everything I gave him on the inner workings of the conjugate method and steadily applied it to go from very humble beginnings to big lifts. I don't think Steve could squat 315 or bench 225 when he started, I could be slightly off on those numbers but it was in that vicinity. He did already have a 505 deadlift which when he started he thought was a big deal. He quickly learned it was not and then set out with a goal to make 700 in short order.
I remember how bad he wanted that lift, and the time had come to try it in the gym. The day he "almost made" 700 was the most gruesome nose bleed I have ever seen. The lift itself was probably close to, or even over, a 15 second grinder. The bar came off the ground with ease and then stalled at lockout. Steve started bleeding, as the saying goes, like a stuck pig. Bleeding on a big lift isn't uncommon, however, this wasn't a normal nose bleed. This was a faucet. So much so that I could only watch the gore fill the base of his white shirt to the point where he looked as if he had been shot. The bar wasn't going to go that last inch and he wasn't going to put it down. I thought he was going to hemorrhage to death so I uncharacteristically gave a down command. He didn't listen. After a few more seconds it was finally over on it's own terms. I was literally shocked that he didn't lose consciousness. He went on to make that 700 and eventually 800+ as well.
That was and is the kind of lifter, man and leader, Steve is. No compromise and see it through to the end. There is a wide variance in skill and aptitude in this game so that is a trait that would make every coach more than proud. Over the nearly 15 years I have known this young(ish) man I have seen him not only come up as a lifter but bring many others up as well.
Steve has a busy professional life and is a devoted family man, husband and father. He has also carved out a great niche as a lifter with career bests of 865 squat, 615 bench and an 810 deadlift. Upon completing his 810 deadlift the immortal Louie Simmons himself said to Laura Phelps, "810, that's not bad for a guy with no legs." Although Steve lives about as far away from Diablo as one could, he will always be considered part of the club.