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John Junkin

Olympic Lifting Coach

John began his journey to Weightlifting way back in junior high. As a rising 7th grader, he signed up for football in the fall. His parents, appalled, said no way as he was heavily involved in baseball and, quite frankly, was very undersized for his age. His parents went on to give him a list of exercises, reps, sets, total volume, that if completed, would allow him to play football in the fall. John trained daily, twice a day; doing v-ups, push-ups, pull-ups, and body weight squats as an ELEVEN year old. Finally summer ended and he had his test with his parents. John completed all the requisite exercises, in the timeframe provided, but STILL his parents wouldn’t have it. John would never play organized football growing up.

      Flash forward to 2011, John had been out of college for a few years and just wrapped a season of wood-bat league baseball. With the season closing, he realized that as an adult, he could play any sport. And so, almost 15 years later, John would play organized tackle football. John joined the semi-pro team called the Panthers, and would play safety, quarterback, and receiver. After a summer of being black and blue and losing 20-30lbs, he decided he had to stay in shape. This is where CrossFit came in. He started CrossFit at his house with steel plates and terrible technique. He met his friend at a local shop one day who convinced him to come to PHYT CLE Athletics and try a “real” workout. John, being the athlete he thought he was, came in thinking he’d kick butt. Well 8 minutes into a toe to bar push-up AMRAP, Randy (believed to be 50 at the time) told John how good he was doing while John was lying face down and Randy was smoking out sets of 10-15 push-ups. What a wake up call!

      Fast forward to 2016, and John had given CrossFit a go but wanted to get stronger, wanted to compete in a more organized fashion, and the program he followed just happened to be starting a barbell program. The rest really is history as John jumped in head first. In April 2016, John received his “L1” certification from USAW and that birthed CLE Barbell Club. With just a few lifters and no kilo plates, they hit their first meet in 2016 and can still be found competing today throughout the Nation. “My favorite part about coaching and running the barbell club is the people. I love building relationships and connecting with folks to help them achieve their goals. From newbie gains to the plateaus and grinding out competition tapers, the relationships make coming into the gym rewarding.”

      John also has an 18 year career in the environmental industry, in metal-finishing, waste management, and iron and steel industry.

Coach John Junkin lifting weights at PHYT CLE Athletics


  • Bachelors of Science in Chemistry with a Math minor

Continuing education:

  • CrossFit L1 (2014-2019)

  • USAW L1 (2016-current)

  • 40-Hr HAZWOPER

  • FEMA Incident Command


  • National USAW coach since 2017

  • Silver, Gold, Silver at 2020 Arnold Classic/USAW NAO1



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