Apr 26

Be Perfect Today: Part XXVII – Joe DeRousie: Quiet Storm

Today’s blog is a repost from 2013 on my good friend, Joe DeRousie. Joe is one of the few individuals I truly respect in this sport. Narcissism doesn’t exist in his vocabulary or world. Read on and find out what I mean. Enjoy… 

Boot CampWhen I was in basic training in the military, we had daily ‘chores’, along with everything else the military threw at us as they tried to weed out the weak-minded, timid, and unable-to-adapt-to-military life individuals. The military was looking for leaders and people who could follow those leaders.  Insubordination was not tolerated.  You adapted to military life quickly in basic training or you were out, no two ways about it.

There were all sorts of guys in my group, the most interesting being a gentleman from the back woods of West Virginia who’d never seen a black man before basic training.  To him, six weeks of basic training and 6 brand new pair of underwear and t-shirts meant…yup…you guessed it – he was changing his underwear once a week until the Drill Instructors (DI’s) caught it.  But this isn’t about him.  We had an airman who said hardly anything.  He smiled and spoke politely when spoken to, but seldom did he initiate conversation.  Day after day, week after week, literally throughout our entire basic training, this airman was soft-spoken.  While the rest of us were loud and boisterous, as young kids are, trying to establish dominance, pecking order, and leadership roles, “Mike” would simply go about his business, listening intently to the (DI’s) and just doing his job.  Mike had this sereneness to him.  This air of confidence that wasn’t initially noticed by the DI’s because of his quietness, but quickly they picked up on it, as did all of us trainees.

Boot Camp2The way basic training worked back then was, the DI’s would quickly pick out who, in their opinion, would be good squad leaders, team leaders, dorm leaders, etc.  This was done initially by size – the bigger you were, the more imposing you were, the more likely you were to initially be picked as one of the leaders.  But being picked didn’t necessarily mean you would stay in that position or role.  You could be demoted quickly if you didn’t demonstrate the ability to adapt to your role and perform as expected.  We found out that size doesn’t always matter.  The biggest wasn’t always the best.

After a couple of days, the DI’s would start ‘demoting’ those they’d given status to, and promoting those who demonstrated more leadership tendencies and abilities.  At this point, size wasn’t an issue – mindset, discipline, and work ethic were.  Reminds me of that old saying my mom said to me as a kid, “David, don’t you worry ‘bout ‘nuthin’ boy, ‘cause the cream ALWAYS rises to the top…”.   N-E-Whooo…I was just one of the guys but I guess the DI’s saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself at that point, and they promoted me to squad leader.  Wow!  All of 5’11” weighing 132 lbs, and I was a squad leader?  Couldn’t believe it!  But this isn’t about me, so let’s move on…

The Dorm Leader is the person who’s over the entire group of airmen in our barracks.  It’s a prestigious title to say the least.  It doesn’t come easy and it shouldn’t be taken lightly.  Many of the other positions were picked within the first day or so, definitely by the end of the 3rd day.  But the DI’s wanted to make sure that the man they selected for the Dorm Leader was their ONLY choice.  Well…Mike didn’t initially get noticed, but like I said earlier, the DI’s quickly picked up on his mental discipline, work ethic, and sereneness.  Master Sergeant Williams started calling him “Quiet Storm” after several days.  The goal was to pick the dorm leader by the end of the 7th day.  By now I suppose you’ve figured out that Mike became our dorm leader.  He was incredible, to say the least.  His self-esteem, confidence, laid-back attitude but attention to detail, willingness to jump right in and get his feet dirty with the rest of us work ethic, and literally every other leadership quality that one should possess to be a top-notch leader came through quickly.  Mike had our respect.  We would do just about anything for him because he would do just about anything for us.  Strong.  Determined.  Focused.  Quiet.  And a hell of a nice guy…

2011-EC-photos-017Not too many people in my present circle of friends can fit that criteria.  But there’s one who I’ve grown to admire more than any other NW competitor who does – Joe DeRousie.  Joe is MY “Quiet Storm”.  You hardly hear from him.  Seldom does he post.  In fact, I truly believe that he posts because people TELL him “Joe, you’ve gotta get your name out there, man!  You’ve gotta post pictures of yourself and tell the world about you, yada, yada, yada…”.  But that’s not Joe!  Joe is the most quiet, unassuming individual I’ve ever met.  Yet he’s got a ferociousness to him that won’t quit.  He’s not loud.  He’s not vulgar.  He doesn’t brag on himself – in fact, he humbly and almost sheepishly replies like Elvis, “Thank You…thank you very much” when given a compliment.

Joe is the epitome of a class act individual.  He works.  He works HARD!  Not just in bodybuilding but as a full-time firefighter.  Joe is one of the few people who realizes that bodybuilding (meaning bodybuilding, fitness, figure, physique, and bikini) is something he DOES, not somebody he IS!  He doesn’t buy into his own press clippings.  Joe simply goes about doing what he loves to do, keeping everything in perspective.  He told me a while ago, “Dave, I’m not worried one way or the other where this takes me.  I’ve got a full-time job.  If I get a card, great.  If I don’t get a card, great.  I’ll always be a fireman first and foremost, that’s my true passion and calling.”

Joe-DeRousie-Color-Side-TricepsJoe doesn’t have a fan page.  He doesn’t promote himself with the “Look at me, look at me” mindset of so many competitors today.  He’s taking this as far as he can take it in his own way.  If it gets him a pro card, he’ll be the first to probably say, “Well, everyone looked good and was just as deserving, if not more so.  I got lucky…”.  If not, it’s no big deal to him.  That doesn’t mean he’s not fiercely working out daily – far from it.   I’ve seen his bench, squat, and deadlift numbers…impressive.

So why the blog (again…) on Joe?  Well…recently I ran across an interview he was in, in which he was talking about suffering.  The majority of you reading this blog are preparing for the 2013 Emerald Cup.  You’re gonna have to work.  You’re gonna have to suffer.  Don’t think you can get into incredible shape without suffering.  You’re gonna have to sacrifice.  You’re gonna have to do things you’ve never done before to get to a place you’ve never been before.  You cannot miss cardio sessions if they’re in your plan.  You cannot cheat on your diet.  You cannot skip workouts.  You simply cannot.  Because if you do, someone with the mindset of Joe DeRousie, whether it be male or female, will take you out.  Remember, the first goal/win is to not beat yourself. You don’t beat yourself when you do everything in your power to achieve your best look.  That’s the first win.  The second goal/win is when you win the show.

Granite statue of bodybuilderBy the way, Joe recently went to the Nationals in which he placed 3rd in the Super-Heavyweight class.  He just missed his pro card by one place.  Joe was not the biggest.  Joe was not the most symmetrical.  Even Joe will tell you he didn’t have the ‘prettiest’ physique.  But Joe had a work ethic going into that show that the majority of us couldn’t endure – we couldn’t even fathom it.  Joe’s conditioning was spot-on.  What he lacked in size, prettiness, and other physical attributes, he made up for in a granite-hard physique that was incredibly dense, hard, full, grainy, and all the other adjectives that make for a champion.  How did he develop it?  With years and years of super-hard, super-intense training and then the icing on the cake…the diet and cardio.  I’ll leave you with what Joe had to say about ‘suffering’…

“If you’re not suffering, you’re not gonna get lean enough, that’s what I’ve always thought.  People ask me, “How you feeling?”, and I say, “I feel bad.”  Y’know, I saw an interview with Kevin Levrone and he said the same thing, “You’re gonna feel bad if you’re gonna get in good condition,” and I just know that that’s what it takes to get there and I’m willing to do what I have to do to get in this kind of conditioning.”

You guys better listen to “Quiet Storm”…he’s gonna be the next man in…peace…


UPDATE:  Joe recently competed in the Master’s Nationals held in Pittsburgh on July 20th, 2013 and WON  his PRO CARD in the Super-Heavyweight class.   My hat’s off to a great competitor and even better friend!  Couldn’t be more proud of you, Joe…:)




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