Dynamite Denzil is on top of the world
PUBLISHED: 09:15 29 March 2015
From chubby schoolboy to World Powerlifting record holder, Dave Evans speaks to Romford’s Denzil Jack
I am meeting a world record holder from Romford! Yes, I was surprised as well. I have to admit I am a little dubious as I park outside Wickes and look across the High Road in Chadwell Heath at a tatty old garage, but this, I am assured is where the world record holder can be found almost every day of the week.
Sure enough, behind the broken down cars and rusty vans is a pristine looking gym. The LDG Fitness Centre with its impressive glass frontage is not what I expected and neither is the sight of our world record holder.
Denzil Jack, at just 17, is a big lad, a very big lad. His arms are like smooth saplings, his neck and shoulders solid and square, like the top of a varnished wardrobe, but there is a gentility about the giant and he greets me with a nervous little smile.
Standing next to the 17 and a half stone powerlifter I feel fat and unfit. There is not a hint of fat on Denzil and I soon find out when we start to chat, just how significant that really is.
“I used to get a lot of comments about me being chubby at school,” said the softly-spoken youngster who still lives with his parents David and Sandra as well as elder brother Latchlern and elder sister Loreen in Joydon Drive, Chadwell Heath.
“It affected me a lot at the time, but I am the kind of person who looks at things positively. There is no point getting yourself down about it when it is just words.
“That was my main motivation at that age.”
It is a familiar story of course in schools up and down the land. The fat kids are bullied, but some, like Denzil, have the willpower to get out of it and he would like to be the inspiration for others.
So how did he manage it? Well, it seems he had a secret weapon.
“I remember from being a little kid at my auntie’s house and she had these little weights and I just used to say to her, ‘look what I’m doing, look what I am doing!’” he laughs nostalgically.
“As I grew up I began to realise that I did have a lot of strength, I was doing press-ups every day in my house, three times a day and then I was able to go to the gym at my school at Chadwell Academy.”
It was the beginning of Denzil’s way out as he explained.
“I would say it took from year six to about year nine before I wasn’t getting picked on any more. That was when the older boys realised I was as strong as them and all the comments and the bullying stopped.”
That could have been the end of it I suppose, but young Denzil seems to have an inner steel about him, a determination that sets him apart from most youngsters.
“In year nine, people began to see my potential and then I moved to Warren’s Gym, which was a very ‘old school’ gym that Arnold Schwarzenegger used to train in when he came to the UK, but then I came to the LDG and have been here about four years.
“They have literally taken me from nothing to where I am today. It is like my second home.”
You can see the affinity he has with the place as we sit in the corner of the little café inside the gym. But how does the youngster go from the boy in the gym to a world record holder at 17?
Actually, it was out of the blue.
“My friend David Wright, who sort of acts as my manager, entered me into the West Midlands Powerlifting Championships,” explained Denzil. “I went there and won, but there is a rule that you have to be registered for three months with the federation before it counts.
“That was a good experience, it showed me what I had to do and after that it was just a question of training until the nationals.”
Denzil’s Daily Diet
■ Denzil eats three quarters of a box of porridge oats for breakfast, plus a banana and sometimes some chicken or fish. ■ For lunch, chicken, fish or maybe steak, maybe some oats and a protein shake.
■ After his work-out chicken or fish or steak by itself.
■ For dinner, rice or pasta with some meat or fish.
■ Nothing after 8pm.
■ Monthly food bill £500.
That came in February and it proved to be a remarkable competition in Birmingham.
He talks like an excited schoolboy, though he works for Round Pegs Recruitment in Romford.
“On the day we had to be there at seven in the morning and we were very late – I literally overslept,” he said. “You have to wear briefs under your body suit and I had left mine at home, but luckily enough I spoke to a gentleman who gave me a spare pair.”
From such unpromising beginnings, it turned into the best day of Denzil’s life.
Not only did he win the gold medal, he also shattered the world powerlifting record, not only in the under-18 category, but all the way up to under-24 level.
The 17-year-old benchpressed an incredible 190 kilogrammes – that is the equivalent of nearly 30 stone over his head.
“I hadn’t even done it in training,” he laughed. “I had done 180 and I was chuffed with that, but I managed 190 and I don’t want to sound big-headed but it was easy – that really surprised me.
“I did try 195 kilos and my right arm was saying yes, but my left arm was saying no!”
Denzil is certainly not giving up. He will be at the Bodypower Expo in Birmingham in May, while the World Championships are in Telford in June where he will be one of the favourites for gold.
Getting to where he is now has taken years of hard work and still is. He is up at six every morning to go for a run, and after work he is straight down the gym. That is his life and he is loving it.
“I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I don’t party, literally this is my lifestyle. Some people say I am boring, but this is what I want to do with my life. I had a girlfriend, but literally because of the gym, it didn’t work out – I am so bad!” he laughs and shrugs.
No drinking, no smoking, but whenever powerlifting and his next plan to go into bodybuilding are mentioned, there is talk of steroids. Denzil is ready for this.
“In person, on social networking and even in the gym, people say to me that I must be on steroids and I say thank you, it is a compliment, because I am like this without the help of steroids.
“I have never touched them and never thought about it. I have been offered them by so many people, but always said no. There is no point in doing that because then there is no accomplishment.”
Denzil aims to put his name against the list of world records from every age group up to the Masters in the next years, but what about those chubby or weak kids at school now?
“Kids don’t want to go mad,” he says after a few moments thought. “People say to me that they are skinny at the moment, but everyone has got to start somewhere. I was chubby once, so if you are a bit chubby or a bit skinny there is always something you can do.
“It is you versus you, all you have to do is concentrate on eating the right foods at the right time, train and train hard. Never get bored, never get lazy and you will be all right.”
It seems like a philosophy that we should all adopt. As we say goodbye, Denzil goes back to his weights in the brightly-lit gym.
A Romford world record holder and one who really can be an inspiration to all of us.
You can follow Denzil on his instagram page at seriousaboutlifting.
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