Quinn Everett got into weightlifting to channel some of the competitive fire he still had after his professional football career didn't pan out.
A former conference all-star lineman at Mount Allison, winning two AUS titles with the Mounties, the Glen Haven native had a massive six-foot-three, 300-pound frame built to move mountains.
Olympic-style weightlifting started as something to try, and wasn't what he knew from the weight rooms of his football life, but it quickly morphed into something else. The 24-year-old wants to be the Canadian heavyweight champion and doesn't plan to wait around to get there.
He's only been in weightlifting for two full years. However, he'll be disappointed if he doesn't come home with the gold medal from the Canadian championships this weekend in Quebec. He'll be joined on the trip by two other qualifiers from Nova Scotia — Chelsea Weinkauf and Lianne Ireland.
In his short time in the sport, Everett has already set the Nova Scotia heavyweight records for snatch, clean and jerk and total.
He finished fourth out of eight competitors at the nationals last year. But the qualifying standards have increased this year and only four made the standard.
"I'm planning on winning," he said this week. "That's my interest going out there."
One of the attractions of weightlifting for Everett was to trim down from his football weight, which was up close to 320 pounds when he tried to land a spot on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
The Blue Bombers picked him in the sixth round of the CFL draft in 2014 and had him in camp for consecutive years. They tried to convert him from defensive to offensive line and Everett lacked experience at the position.
He pulled his weight down to 295 pounds last year with his aggressive training, but it's back up close to 310 with his added muscle mass.
His day job is waterproofing buildings, as he is in the middle of taking over the family business. He has to eat a lot to keep up his energy for the outdoor work.
He's a bit of an underdog and brings a street-fighter sensibility to the sport. Everybody told him he couldn't achieve in football when he was a 240-pound sophomore at Mount A and he proved his doubters wrong.
Snatch is a single movement where the bar is raised from the floor to overhead. Clean and jerk is two movements with the bar raised to the chest and then thrust overhead.
Everett's snatch is 140 kilograms and the clean and jerk is 195 kg in training, but he's looking to exceed those numbers at nationals. The Canadian records for his weight class are 175 kg and 229 kg.
He's still learning.
"After nationals last year, we spent the entire summer doing technique with lighter weight. That helped an absolute ton."
He continued that through provincial qualifying in the fall. Once that was done, they went right back to the fundamentals in preparation for nationals.
"All that work we did at a lower weight didn't make me stronger, but it made me better at the lifts and allows me to lift more."
There aren't many guys Everett's size in Nova Scotia weightlifting. In fact, he only had to compete against one other athlete at provincials.
It changes now. There will be lifters in Quebec who have beaten him in the past.
"One thing that happened last year was we were all really close," he said. "This year, we're going to be even closer.
"It's going to be a dogfight. That's what I like. That's what I'm used to. I enjoy being the underdog and I see myself as the underdog. After finishing fourth last year, I'm coming in with a chip on my shoulder."
The 2020 Olympic cycle has begun and Everett isn't taking a backward step. The ultimate goal is to compete for Canada.
"Ideally, down the road, I'd like to go Pan Am Games, worlds, Olympics. To do that, you have to perform well, and perform at international standards. Part of that is doing well at nationals and putting up big numbers."