by Robert Maxwell
Every so often, you encounter someone who’s so intensely passionate, it’s as if they don’t need discipline. Discipline means one must occasionally force oneself to do something worthwhile when motivation runs dry. Not so with this special breed. No matter how lofty their goals, difficult their circumstances, or disadvantaged their starting points, these folks somehow manage to tear through all obstacles like they’re tissue paper. Muss Petter is like that.
He lives in Australia, so I’ve never met him, but his intensity and drive come through loud and clear nonetheless. Muss and his strength training brethren meet regularly at his facility, Muss’s Gym, where they’ve developed a reputation for training like untamed beasts, fueled by heart-pounding heavy metal music. For these guys, the gym isn’t just about working out. It’s a place of pure, raw intensity which fuels their drive and success in every area of life. You won’t find this sort of vibe in big-box fitness centres. Most people there just aren’t driven enough to generate it. Muss’s is different. With a potent blend of iron, testosterone, and comradery, Muss’s has one purpose: to make men stronger. Old-school, no nonsense gyms like this are getting rarer all the time, and us lovers of strength training feel lucky if we get to train in one. It’s hard for non-lifters to understand just how empowering the right sort of gym can be. There’s nothing quite like being surrounded by a handful of guys just as passionate and dedicated as you, ready to bear witness to your failures and successes, and drive you on to new and greater things. Talking to Muss, it’s obvious his gym does this for its members. Recently I had the chance to ask Muss some questions about himself and his gym. Reading his answers, it's obvious he’s a man who gets right to the point, and I admire that. Here’s what he has to say.
Tell me a bit about yourself. Where do you live and work, when did you first start working out, and why?
My name is Gary Petter, but everyone calls me Muss. I spent a lot of time in hospital as a child, having operations from the age of 5 to 15. It was lying in a hospital bed at the age of 15 that I decided to build myself up. I purchased a bull worker and started training diligently. I have been training ever since: boxing, martial arts and weight training for the past 36 years.
What are your current gym PR’s, your favourite lifts, and your future training goals?
My best lifts are
160 kg bench press for 20 reps
250 kg bench press for 1 rep
320 kg deadlift
190 kg squat for 20 reps
140 kg military press
What’s the most rewarding thing about owning and running your own gym? The most challenging thing?
I only run my gym part time, but we are well known for training insanely hard. The best part is my gym partners turning into family. They credit me with changing their lives which is very humbling indeed. Many have had my gym symbol which is a scorpion tattooed onto themselves. How do you top that kind of loyalty?
Describe your current training program in as much detail as you can.
We train all the normal routines but we always put a twist on them, we have to – we are MUSS'S GYM! Two of my favourites are my 666 workout, and the 50 tonne challenge.
The 666 Workout:
Bench press 160 kg 6 sets of 6 reps, 120 kg 6 sets of 20 reps, and 90 kg 6 sets of 30 reps
My 50 tonne challenge (which I did last year for my 50th birthday):
160 kg bench press, just keep repping until you have lifted 50 tonnes total.
What’s your favourite exercise and why?
My favourite exercise at the moment is lifting the strongman log. I haven't been doing it long, but I like the strength it develops and how it works your whole body.
What nutrition approach do you use to build and maintain strength?
Steak and protein powder, lol
Do you feel it’s important for all men to be physically strong? Why or why not?
Yeah, I think it is important, and has to help you in your later years.
What are 4 pieces of advice you’d offer new lifters?
1 Consistency is key
2 Pick the right gym for you
3 Don't train with ego
4 See number 1 again (this can’t be overstated)
How long do you plan to keep lifting? Why?
I will hopefully never stop, definitely intend on lifting as long as physically possible
As men age, many start letting themselves go to pot physically. What’s your advice to the average mid-50’s, weak, overweight male who hasn’t been bitten by the iron bug like us?
Give it a go – you might surprise yourself. It's the best antidepressant available.