Birthdate: March 12, 1979
Birthplace: Rockford, Illinois
Residence: Dixon, Illinois
Weight: 275 pounds
Greg Clausen was stuck in
an Office Space–like cycle of unfulfilling jobs, wondering whether he would ever find anything to be passionate about again. He had been a college teammate of future Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade, patrolled the paint in a host of European arenas as a pro hoopster and enjoyed a stint in the NBA Development League, which puts athletes just a breath away from the big time. But a catastrophic back injury on the hardwood left Clausen with four ruptured vertebrae, wandering from job to job and, far too often, going hand to mouth with sugar- and salt-laden comfort food.
Today, however, the ripped 7-footer runs his own gym in Illinois, competes as a physique athlete and represents industry heavyweight Beast Sports Nutrition, a life of TPS reports firmly in his rear view.
How did your back injury in 2007 change your career path?
I was playing in the NBA Development League for the Albuquerque Thunderbirds in 2007. I took a charge in the middle of the game and ruptured four vertebrae in my lower back. I was paralyzed from the waist down for about 45 minutes because of the trauma. My playing days were over, that day. During my time working as an IT recruiter and graphics designer, I added about 100 pounds to my frame. I also saw a picture of myself boating with friends and was like, Whoa … that can’t be me! Then, four years ago, my father had a heart attack, and seeing him on his deathbed was my eye-opener. I knew I didn’t want to be in that position when I got older and [that] I needed to take control of my life. After that, I broke up with my girlfriend and just lived in the gym. I lost about 80 pounds in 13 months. My gym buddies kept encouraging me to compete, so I did. Four years later, I’ve done 10 competitions and don’t plan on slowing down.
Describe your jump into competition and what your plans are going forward.
My first show was a bodybuilding competition. I won by default because I was the only super-heavyweight! I was 250 pounds and shredded, but I looked like a beanpole. Men’s Physique division just happened to be available and I thought I’d give it a shot. I did pretty well on my first show and qualified nationally. One of my main goals is to compete at the Masters Nationals and bring home an IFBB pro card. I want to be the first 7-foot Physique pro. I’m 36 years old, so it’ll be nice competing against guys of similar age.
How much harder is it to gain and keep mass as a 7-footer? What hacks have you devised to make it easy?
It’s ridiculously hard to put mass on at this height. The only hack that I know of is eating a lot of quality food and lifting heavy. It takes time, but it can be done. You have to trust the process and stay consistent. I eat clean and stay within certain macros for the goals I’m trying to achieve.
How do Beast Sports Nutrition products fit into your goals as an athlete, and what have they done for you physically?
Beast’s products have definitely helped me. At my size, it’s tough to get all my protein needs via food each day. Beast Whey saves me here. It actually mixes and cooks very well and tastes great. The Aminolytes are amazing. I toss two scoops into a gallon jug of
water and sip on that throughout the day. It helps get all that water down a bit easier and I’m fueling my system with BCAAs all day. The end result is less soreness and quicker recovery from my workouts.