How RVC Helps Record-Setting Power Lifter Prepare for Competition

With over three thousand members at the River Valley Club (RVC), there are many personalities, different types and levels of athletes, and many different practiced workout regiments. The great thing about RVC is that the amenities allow for the seamless flow of the various groups of people and their workouts. From a daily yogi, to an avid CrossFitter, to a spinning enthusiast, and even a national record-holding power weightlifter.

A great story is that of Phil Craven, who has been an RVC member for three years and is a lifelong power weightlifter. Phil began his weightlifting career in the basement of a masonic building, at the world famous Pep’s Gym formerly in Framingham, Maynard, Worcester and North Adams MA, where Roger Paull Sr. and his five champion powerlifting sons brought Phil under their wing. Phil’s weekly routine consists of working out six days a week, two of which are what he calls RED ZONE days, where he goes all out and lifts as if he is in competition. The remaining 5 days consist of moderate training and one off-day sprinkled in.

Phil utilizes the various free weights on the main fitness floor and commends the RVC staff for the attention and guidance they give to members at any given time. They don’t force the knowledge on you, but if you ask a question to the fitness floor staff, they will help you out. Whenever you need someone to spot your squat or just need some assistance moving weights or want some direction on how to use a specific type of equipment, the RVC Fitness Floor Staff is there.

“When you have 500 pounds on your back, just to have someone like Tom LeBrun there, someone who has been in the trenches before, has been so helpful. Tom brings such a positive energy, and at the same time, there is a sense of security, that if something goes wrong during my workout, he will know what to do. At the same time, alternatively, when everything goes right – he knows how to be a part of the celebration. That is a rare combination and it is something I greatly appreciate about RVC.” – Phil Craven, RVC Member since 2017

Phil credits RVC for always having the best and cleanest facilities and the most professional and kind staff you could ever ask for. Phil even enjoys a cold plunge bath and sauna on his RED ZONE work out days.

Tom LeBrun just celebrated his 15th anniversary of employment at the River Valley Club and is a staple of everyday life at the Club. Tom shared his words of encouragement about Phil.

“I have gotten to know Phil Craven over the past couple of years and what I admire about him is the focus to stay the course concerning the preparation needed to enter a power-lifting contest after being away for a number of years. I was impressed as to the consistent mental and physical preparation, different lifting strategies, knowledge of his own strengths, and desire to not only enter but to give it his all each training day while minimizing any setbacks. Having entered many contests, myself, through the years I know that it takes an enormous amount of discipline both in and out of the weight-room to be competitive. Phil has done just that. He, in my opinion, will do extremely well not only in his age group, but also in the open division.” – Tom LeBrun, Team RVC staff since 2000

Tom was right. The next weekend, Phil competed in the December All Raw Powerlifting Competition in Waterbury VT, and placed first in his age group and won the overall outstanding heavyweight lifter. Phil set four new national age group records in the 55-59 year old division including a 503.75 lbs squat and lifted an incredible total of 1418.10 lbs to take home the title.

If you are interested in a powerlifting workout buddy or group at RVC, email Phil, as he would love to get a group together.

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 Jennifer Packard
Jennifer Packard

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