Chris Duffin Reflects On The Privileges Of An Elite Lifter

This article isn’t meant to attack anyone, or be inconsiderate of challenges others face. What it is meant to do is to challenge the thought process of those that assume they know the privileges bestowed on others. What sparked this brief piece is being asked to reflect on my white male privilege and my elite lifter privilege before posting on social media. Specifically the elite lifter privileges of being able to train in the best facilities with the best tools, that others don’t have the advantage to use. It is this latter portion that I will address.

For the record, I do indeed have these privileges. And they go beyond the training tools. Privileges I use to my competitive advantage whenever I can. I am able to interact with the best lifters in the world and owners of successful companies in the field. From them I glean knowledge and tips not available to others. Being able to learn from the best of the best in each minor discipline is invaluable. I am also able to secure the best care when I am injured with the network I have developed because of these privileges.

There is no argument to these privileges. But the better approach isn’t to ask me to consider these privileges before posting my accomplishments its to ask me WHERE these privileges came from.

It all began over 25 years ago in this house I posted on Instagram a couple months ago.

After a couple rough winters in central Oregon cooped up in a 16ft trailer in the mountains we got this ‘home’. It didn’t have electricity, running, water, or insulation. It was heated by wood and we read books by candle light at night. Once a week we would heat up water on the stove and step out the back door and poor it over your head while scrubbing down. At this time I started lifting. I bought a set of used ankle weights at goodwill and began running, doing air squats, and pushups till I couldn’t move anymore.

The next summer, I began mowing lawns and chopping wood and using the money to purchase weightlifting equipment. People new to weightlifting today have probably never seen the old plastic coated concrete weights and hollow tubular bars. But I was setup with those out back of our house.

Between that time and now there has only been a few brief breaks between either training in the gym or for sports. I was even training in the phase when I was working full-time, pursuing my degrees full-time, and had taken custody and was raising my three sisters. The latter half was due to the deteriorating environment at home that I couldn’t have continue.

Today I train in one of the best facilities available. This facility is something I started creating myself over a decade ago. To achieve what I wanted I knew I had to build it and did so from the ground up. In the first few years I designed and fabricated all the equipment myself and still do so today with when custom pieces are required. A friend and myself welded the first squat rack up in his dad’s garage, before moving it to his garage so we could train. I took on a huge financial burden to purchase or build all the equipment in our facility today. This risk was taken a step further about 5 years ago at the same time I was starting a family with my wife. A partner and myself took on a lease for a commercial building and opened Elite Performance Center to the public. All the while working my day job and raising my family.

Without a doubt there are privileges that I have from where I sit as a lifter today. But I have absolutely no reservations about using those privileges as they have been earned over the course of my life. I will use these privileges to advance myself further as a lifter and to pass that knowledge along the best I can as I do regularly. Moderation of this process, this natural way of things is detrimental to the way I chose to live…. to live, learn, and pass ala EliteFTS values.