Interview with an Athlete: Strongman Fernando Escobar

This is the first in my new series, Interview with an Athlete. Enjoy!

Fernando "HuggyBear" Escobar                 


Weight: 365
Current City: College Park MD
Favorite Strongman Event: Yolk
Least Strongman Favorite: Circus Dumbell
Current Profession: Fire Alarm Inspector 
Where do you even lift, bro? Colosseum Gym, Columbia, MD
Instagram: @strongesco

I first met Fernando "Huggy Bear" Escobar a few years ago through friends. When I first met him, I thought "this is the biggest guy I've ever met!" It's been truly amazing to watch him melt over the years. He has lost over 100 lbs, and all without surgical intervention! 

He admits that he was not always into health and fitness.

"I consider myself to be lucky. As I have grown up, I have always been a big man. I have been up to 500 lbs, but was still able to walk and enjoy life. Over the course of time, I have managed to drop down to 365 lbs, and done it without surgeries or doctors' help," confessed Fernando.


Fernando won 1st place in just his second competition!
When I first learned that Fernando was going to be competing in Strongman competitions, I thought he was insane! The little bit I knew about these competitions was that they involved pulling various vehicles (mostly big trucks), and that everyone looked like they should be yelling "BEEFCAKE!" Now that I've attended two competitions, I can say that Strongmen come in all shapes,sizes, ages, and backgrounds. Did you know that there are female competitors? This might be the most awesome part of it all!

Since there are so many stereotypes about athletes in general, and I know that I was guilty about stereotyping Strongman competitors, I asked Fernando about the stereotypes he experiences as a Strongman. 

"The biggest one is we are all on steroids and we are all "meat heads" or dumb. Well about steroids, to each his own. Then about being dumb, well that is a plain lie. I know guys who work for DOD, NASA, are engineers, and work for other government agencies. We may be crazy, but dumb? Naw."

Fernando, like other members of his Strongman family, has a nickname. Even though this is an individual sport, by conventional definitions, for Huggy Bear, it is a team sport. He leans on his teammates for support and advice, and others lean back on him. 

"One thing I will say about this family is that none of us want to see one get hurt or do [poorly] in the competition. I have received so much help from the big dogs of my gym. They have coached me, as well as others I have met on the way," said Fernando.

Even though there is a lot of positivity and optimism in the Colosseum Gym, that does not mean that there are not challenges.  

"The challenges I face, well, sometimes what you do in training you might not get in the competition. Some days are hit or miss. Also, staying free from injury [is a challenge]," admits Fernando.

For example, at the first competition I attended, there was a log press challenge. When I went to another competition a couple months ago, I couldn't spot a lot anywhere!

Every competitive athlete has a "game day" routine. Huggy Bear is no different. 

On game day, he says that he has, "a good, hearty breakfast of egg whites with veggies, some sort of protein, and listen to MGK and Tech N9ne."

I admire Fernando for his work ethic. I know so many people who just give up on fitness when they reach a certain age or weight. Fernando has done just the opposite. He has worked his butt off, lost weight, gained health, and won some awards along the way. When I find this video of him pulling a truck at his very first competition, you will surely admire him too!

More Info about Huggy Bear:

Favorite "cheat" foods/snacks/drinks: Pizza/Doritos/Wild Turkey Honey Whiskey
Fitness role models: Ronnie Coleman and Ray Lewis
One song you need on every workout playlist: Machine Gun Kelly - "Wild Boy"
Favorite healthy snack: Canned tuna 
Favorite fitness accessory: Under Armor Skull Cap. Keeps sweat out of my eyes
Favorite workout day: Strongman event training/ conditioning

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