Humans of UP

Humans of UP: Arthur Hammer

Arthur Hammer, a senior business major at the University of Portland, is an influential member of the college community. He is known amongst many clubs, such as the improv group and the debate team, but today he leads us into his world of competitive powerlifting and gives us an inside look into the benefits of his involvement.

Photos courtesy of Arthur Hammer


Arthur Hammer: As far as lifting is concerned, I remember back in high school, I was in terrible, terrible, shape starting out. I was last pick on every sports team, the last person around laps, and you know, I just wanted to change that one summer. I went through one of the most dramatic transformations I can imagine. I dropped 70 pounds over the course of four months. It was just a revolution. My brother’s going through big changes in his life, and my sister before that, and I kinda wanted to be on the same page as them and just let it carry me.

I love the challenge of everything. It’s just this little mini puzzle. I’m a nerd by nature. I love piecing together everything. There’s no greater puzzle than trying to figure out how to make your body to keep going. I mean, people think it’s a meat-head sport but I probably spend two hours on a laptop programming things out for every one hour I spend at the gym. Uh, there’s a lot you can control I mean just from volume to intensity to fatigue management to frequency and every little piece has its place, and figuring all that together, it just excites me. There’s nothing more personal about a puzzle than when it’s yourself.

I’ve been lifting since I guess I was a junior in high school. But, I’d say I’ve been lifting seriously more for about three years, and it’s taken me all over. I’ve been to contests in Delaware to Huntington Beach… been able to see both oceans because of it and it’s just… I just hope it’s something I keep doing for the rest of my life.

I like making use of it in every way I can, I mean, from trying to push it forward. I tried starting UP Strength, and coaching other athletes, which is very rewarding to me. I try using it to promote non-profits whenever I get the chance, notably Molly’s Fund, and whatever else I can get my hands on. I’ve actually been doing a little bit of nail polish for every contest. A little something to paint my nails, and it’s a conversation starter in the post-contest interviews if I win. People always love asking me why are my nails painted, and I guess each color represents a nonprofit, and I direct them traffic to that website and, it’s something I can make use externally for. I do this first and foremost for myself, because it feels good. But, to be able to help others with it just turns it from something that’s only about me to something I can make about others.

You just got to start somewhere. You might not have every answer. You might not know where you’re going. But don’t be afraid to ask questions, don’t be afraid to get started. I mean, I started off with an infomercial package, and now I have a federation world record. Now, I have my ticket to Nationals, then. It just all needs to begin somewhere, and no step is too small to start that.

It’s taught me humility. It taught me that nothing great comes without sacrifice and it taught me that, you know, good things take time. And, you need to consistently push through everything that’s path to get to where you’re going. There’s risks with everything and you’re not sure that you’re going to make it. But something keeps telling you to keep going and, it’s taught me to be passionate about what I do, and not be backseat because, you can’t look at a bar that’s three times your weight and tell yourself you’re going to lift it, unless you’re convicted and you believe what you’re saying to yourself.


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