Though landlocked, Luke Meredith is out on an island.
The life of a Midwest Strongman is almost monk-like, isolated and dedicated to a cause. The 31-year-old Meredith lives in Evansville, Ind., where his sport, his passion, is pretty much unheard of.
“I'm probably the only guy with an Atlas Stone within 80 miles,” Meredith said. “It's very secluded. Strongman is definitely not known around here.”
Training on his own in a four-car garage since 2013, Meredith has slugged away at making his way in the sport. Those January workouts in zero degree weather flipping tires or carrying yokes paid dividends early this month at the Arnold Sports Festival.
In the men's heavyweight division, Meredith placed fourth and earned his Strongman Corporation pro card.
“I have been chasing that 231-pound pro card for 10 years,” Meredith said. “I have given up so much. So much of my time, my life, good grief countless hours training and time away from my family. I feel unbelievably blessed.”
Meredith began lifting in Navy during his tour in the Middle East. In 2010, after four years serving as a Navy police officer, his wife was stationed in Virginia. Meredith walked into a local gym and saw his first Atlas stone.
“I was like, what in the world is this,” he said.
That gym just so happened to be Brute Strength, located in Norfolk, which is one of the more reputed strength gyms in the region. Meredith's initial steps into Strongman were in very good hands.
“I fell in love with the place and had some great people teaching me,” he said.
Meredith and his wife relocated due to work and that is when his garage training started to take flight. Every year under the Christmas tree another Strongman apparatus would be stuffed under it to the point that now the 5-foot-10, 242-pounder has mostly everything his needs. And his home gym is starting to draw interest from others. This past summer he's finally had the luxury of some training partners.
“Having people back you and push you is great,” he said. “ And I do that for them too. It's cool to me to have the chance to help someone else.”
While he finally has some training partners, he is on his own when it comes to coaching. Relying on his instincts and experience, Meredith also looks to YouTube and social media to find tips, techniques, and training ques.
“I apply it to my training,” he said. “And if you find something that works for you, hammer down.”
Armed with the momentum earned from The Arnold, Meredith is eyeing this year's America's Strongest Man contest.
“I'm ready to prove that I am supposed to be here,” he said. “I believe consistency is the key and as long as I put in the work, I will rise to the challenge.”
- By Brett Auten