Interview Willy Wilcox and His Family of Champions


Interviewing Clarence Wilcox III (Willy) taught me how rewarding power lifting has been for him and his family.  Willy started powerlifting in high school and won his first competition after he joined the Air Force at age 17.  Shortly thereafter, he knew he was hooked when he won the Powerlifting Military National Championship.

He went on to win multiple competitions and that was the beginning of a lifetime commitment to the sport that not only became his passion but also the passion for his entire family.  Willy was stationed in Los Angeles when he met his wife Veronica.   She immediately noticed Willy’s contagious passion and enthusiasm for powerlifting that inevitably she also started powerlifting.

Soon, it was a team effort and both were dedicated and committed to the sport.  Will lifted in the NASA Nationals in Oklahoma in 1992 and took second. He retired in 1994 when their third child was born.  Willy and Veronica had 3 children.  Michael was their first son and by 11 he became interested in powerlifting.  Willy remembers Michael and his friends training in his garage and Willy coaching them.   He was following the footsteps of his father and mother.  Michael eventually set the National Bench Record for of 190 for his 123 weight class he was just 13 years old.

It was no longer coincidence.  All 3 had become champions and most importantly they were enjoying the sport.  They would train with friends, neighbors, classmates, coworkers.  Willy’s garage seemed to be the place where everybody wanted to go to.  It was team effort that motivated everyone.  But there was more to come. 

Soon daughter Rachel would start powerlifting too.  At age 12 she joined the family and their friends in powerlifting.  She now holds 5 National records in the bench press.She set these records in 5 different weight classes as a teenager. Then, son Nick at age 11 also joined.

In 2008 Willy was convinced by family and friends to open a powerlifting gym.  They called it Willy’s Powerhouse Garage.  The name was ideal.  They decided to give it a try.  You can measure success in various ways.  Providing a place for everyone to exercise and train was a goal they achieved immediately.  They succeeded.  Financially it generated revenue to operate for 3 years but not enough to be profitable.  Willy closed the operation with mixed emotions. The closing was not a setback, it was a transition back to basics…family, friends working out and training in their garage.

Powerlifting has been beneficial to the Wilcox family in multiple ways.  The sport has helped his children excel in other sports.  He sees powerlifting as the sport that makes you better at other sports.  His children and friends attribute their success in soccer, football and volleyball to powerlifting.  Today, even golfers have strength coaches because strength training is a baseline for improving every sport.  Preparing and training for competition is an awesome experience.  The feeling that your family and friends are cheering for you or training with you is exceptional and fun.  He said it creates a positive force and a great feeling of support.  When you work out he said, your goal is to “conquer the weight”.  To accomplish this you need two things, effort and commitment.  Even the weakest win when they break their own personal barriers and goals.  Willy explains that they depended on each other for motivation and they drag each other to the gym.  When the whole family worked out together, he says, it felt very rewarding for all of us.  They boosted each other’s self-esteem.  He believes that self-esteem and motivation translated and influenced other aspects of their life.  For example, his daughter Rachel made the dean’s list, his son Nick was always an A and B student and Michael has done very well in the Air Force.  It was apparent that the formula “work hard to succeed” was taught to apply to aspects of their life. 

As for training, he taught his family and friends a few basic rules:

  1. No cheating
  2. Strict form
  3. No bad habits (because it takes ages to break a bad habit)
  4. Always warm up slowly
  5. Concentrate in building in certain areas
  6. Warm up and listen to your body
  7. Good form
  8. Proper spotting
  9. Work in groups of 3
  10. One heavy week and one light week (to keep it from being boring)

As for nutrition, he taught his children that 6 days a week they had to follow a proper correct diet but once a week they could cheat and eat anything they wanted.  His diet consists of fruit, vegetables and chicken. 

Breakfast: coffee, banana, apple, orange

Lunch: Salad, chicken or fish (beef but not too often), vegetables.

Snack: Protein shake or granola bar, V8

Dinner: Chicken, raw vegetables, protein shake, fruit and multi-vitamins.

Late evening: Almonds

Vitamins: Omega Liquid, multi-vitamins & minerals

Cheat day: Ice cream, pie and pizza

As for Cardio, he recommends doing it at least two to three times per week for at least 30 to 40 minutes.

Willy’s garage has been the gym for his family and friends.  The garage is the place where he works out, trains, bonds with family and friends, set goals and prepare for competitions.  He gives us some basic equipment guidelines for those interested in setting up a gym of their own at home:

  • A sturdy bench that can change to incline to do military press
  • Dumb bells from 5lbs to 35lbs
  • Olympic bar (more expensive bars are better)
  • Pull down bar
  • Rubber of plywood for deadlifts

Steroids have been an issue in every sport and Willy summarizes why he has never take steroids in one simple sentence “I don’t know the side effects of steroids and don’t want to worry for the rest of my life what it might do to my body”.

Today at 52, Willy is happy with his life. His current weight is 185lbs and is in good shape. He enjoys coaching others.  He trains daily after work and so do the rest of his children, with their partners at different times.  His wife Veronica is currently a powerlifting judge with the WNPF.  Willy attributes part of his children’s success to not having cable, satellite dish or video games.  This forced his children to focus on other fun activities and away from being idle. The other force behind the Wilcox family has been their faith, prayer at home and bible study. 


Author: | Created: Tue May 08 19:24:33 UTC 2012 | Last Updated: Sat Mar 20 14:41:03 UTC 2021