Scott Lofquist wasn’t always the man he is today.
Born in the spring of 1960, he grew up quickly. So much so that he wasn’t always able to keep up with his changing body. By middle school, he towered over many of his classmates. Still, the coordination and speed that would come later in life wasn’t his yet. Height is only as good as the muscles that support it, and feet are no faster than the coordination their owner possesses. He developed a strong sense of curiosity during his childhood and a deep appreciation for the wonder in the world. But the competitive fire, the burning desire to prove himself on a field or in a gym, was a match just waiting to be lit. During an eighth grade, track and field meet, Scott’s coach pulled him aside and asked a favor. Despite never having thrown a discus competitively, would he try? Their team was being out-performed, and with none of the other schools representing in the discus, his coach saw the chance for a 1st place finish. Scott’s vocabulary didn’t contain the word no, and he relished a challenge. That kind of drive alone will put a discus into the air. A long wingspan, strong shoulders and back, and a clean rotation doesn’t hurt either. As the discus landed and he prepared himself for the next event, Scott didn’t realize just how far his throw had gone. As it turned out, it was far enough to break the school’s eighth-grade record. From that point forward, he was all in.
At a time when so many kids get confused or misdirected, high school was where Scott’s focus took on a laser-like quality, and his interest in getting stronger switched into high gear. 1976’s bodybuilding documentary “Pumping Iron,” which highlighted the hardcore weightlifting of legends like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lou Ferrigno, and Franco Colombo, changed everything. The intense training that had previously been underground and out of the public view was splashed across the screen in vivid color. Scott and his friends took it in like fervent disciples, and all but raced each other to the gym when the movie ended. They’d learned the secrets to elite strength and now just had to put them into practice. Many of his training partners from those days went on to become nationally ranked weightlifters, Olympic medalists, as well as Division I All-American and NFL football players. It was a pivotal time, an incubator of sorts, and a sign of things to come.
In the fifteen years that followed, Scott attended three Olympic track and field trials, was a three-time Division I All-American, and appeared in the US Olympic Festival as a thrower and heavyweight weightlifter. Fans cheered the victories, and sportswriters chronicled the successes, although every event, and each standing ovation, brought him one step closer to his eventual retirement. By the age of 28, Scott announced he had retired. The curiosity he’d developed as a child was still at work, and the idea of helping other people develop their fitness seemed appealing. Even after competing at the highest levels, Scott’s fundamental belief was that athleticism, in one form or another, resides in everyone. It just has to be unlocked. But before he could accomplish that, Scott’s journey took a turn that no one saw coming.
After years of hardcore strength training, the very kind he’d idolized in “Pumping Iron,” Scott found himself without the constant accountability of a coach, a routine, and perhaps most importantly, competition. He often refers to the four years following his retirement as his “highly successful national quest for the coldest beer and hottest wings.” In other words, he got out of shape, and the body that he’d worked so hard to build began to betray him. Knowing he had to do something, Scott walked into a St. Louis-area Bally Total Fitness and got on a stair-climbing machine. He lasted three minutes before breaking down in tears. It wasn’t his body that had betrayed him. He betrayed his body. That was the moment of revelation, his awakening, and the next step on the journey. Scott realized every pursuit that had come before, every competition and attempt, had been about being the best. It’s not a terrible aspiration, and clearly, it had inspired greatness, but unless the goal is beyond competition, how can it be sustained without competition? And what good is being the best, or the strongest, if you’re not also healthy? He’d spent all his time looking at one side of the coin without ever flipping it over. At that moment, his old way of life came to a screeching halt.
At 32, Scott took the first step on the path he still walks today. He began the work of becoming a Certified Fitness Trainer, borrowing from the depth of experience he’d gained as a weightlifter, and leaning into the wisdom of holistic health and fitness he was developing. Truth has a way of resonating, like a bell or a gong, and Scott felt its vibrations in a variety of disciplines, including Pilates, Kettlebells, and CrossFit. It was in CrossFit that he rekindled his love of Olympic weightlifting, and he discovered something new: kettlebell training. Finally, Scott felt at home. But if he’d learned anything, it was that life happens quickly and often without warning. One minute you’re doing great, planning for the future and running your gym, and the next, you’re on the way to the ER.
In July of 2014, Scott found himself in the hospital. He’d gone into cardiac arrest and presented with what physicians believed to be a traumatic brain injury, or TBI. He didn’t have an enlarged heart, which wouldn’t have been abnormal given his age and background, and there weren’t the blockages that are too often the byproduct of diet and a sedentary way of life. In Scott’s case, there was an electrical malfunction, but his doctors credited his physical condition with saving his life and allowing him to make a strong recovery.
With all that only little more than a year later when he underwent a total knee replacement. For a younger Scott, these surgeries may have been devastating and completely derailed his career. Instead, he chose to rebuild. Even today, he’s still getting stronger. Recovery like fitness isn’t a switch that gets flipped – it’s a process. And what he’s learned with age and experience is that fitness isn’t just physical, it’s mental too.
It’s on this foundation that everything in Scott’s life – now or to come – is built. It’s an identity forged in maximized potential, on being healthy, and fitness that includes everyone. The gym can be an intimidating place, but so can the world. Scott’s gift is equal parts mentor and motivator because we all need someone to remind us we’re capable while showing us how to be. And maybe that is the ultimate strength after all. If so, he’s found it, he practices it, and he shares it daily.
Scott Lofquist CCFT is a Certified CrossFit Level III Trainer. The Certified CrossFit Trainer is the highest level designation that CrossFit offers next to the level IV coaches designation which is held only by CrossFit staff seminar trainers. There are only 5 individuals with this designation in the entire Kansas City metropolitan area.
In addition to being a CrossFit Level III Trainer, Scott is also an RKC Certified Kettlebell instructor, SFG Certified Kettlebell instructor, NASM personal trainer, Biomechanics and Functional Training Specialist, Certified CrossFit Level III Trainer, CrossFit Kettlebell instructor, CrossFit Powerlifting, CrossFit Mobility, USAW Level I Olympic Lifting Coach, Rock Tape Level I and II and is also a fully trained Pilates Instructor from Stott Pilates and AFFA Certified Group Fitness Instructor to name a few.
Scott is also on the faculty at Wellspring School of Allied Health where he helps others achieve their dreams of becoming a certified personal trainer.