In Memory of Charles R. Poliquin

a picture of Charles sitting on a rock next to a river

Who Was Charles R. Poliquin?

Charles was a unique individual, and he had a way of making an impact on everyone that ever met him. For some it was a great impact that will be felt for the rest of their lives. For others, they hated him. No matter if he was loved or hated, almost all respected him. He was a world renowned strength coach, perhaps the best of all time. He trained over 400 Olympic and world record holders in over 20 different sports.

It has been one year since his passing, and he is missed more than words can say.

You can read more about Charles here.

Stories From Others About Charles!

Charles and I were given many "relationship" names, but it was on one trip to Phoenix, where we received 3, in-crescendo.

The first time we were training at a gym, and somebody told Charles, “it's very nice of you to train with your little brother," and he was actually OK with that one. Of course we made fun of the situation on the way to teach, but it did not offend either of us.

The second time, at the same gym, I went to the restroom during the training session, and on my way back, one trainer stopped me and said, “It’s very nice of you to train with your old man,” and I just started laughing right away, and went to continue our workout. Of course Charles asked me what was so funny, and I told him that he won’t like it, and when I told him, he just looked at the trainer and extended his middle finger. That time, on the way to class, he was really pissed off and offended because of the comment, and his bad mood lasted for a few hours.

The third time, we were at a car dealership (recommended by a friend who knew the general manager) choosing and buying a car for Charles. We checked out a bunch of cars, chose one, did all the paperwork, discussed the finances related to the payments, etc. When the deal was signed, we simply left the place. To make it clear, the general manager of the dealership was with us most of the time. Next day, our friend received a phone call from the general manager of the car dealership saying “those two make a very cute couple”…

The rest is history...

Carlos Castro

Continuing my education from college into the private sector of sports performance, Charles Poliquin was one of the first to challenge the status quo on thinking only one way to achieve results with an athlete. Raised on NSCA and NASM textbooks and methodologies, I discovered Poliquin while listening to the Tim Ferriss Podcast. Purchasing his books and using his snippets on Youtube, I was able to piecemeal together a different way altogether to train high school and collegiate athletes better than most facilities and coaches in my area. He might have been controversial, but Charles Poliquin challenged my biases towards strength training and conditioning in the best way possible. Thank you Charles.

Jeff Loveland, Owner, Loveland Strength and Fitness in CT

Charles Poliquin had a great impact in my life. His knowledge on training, nutrition and recovery was ahead of it's time and yet he kept it basic and simple. But one area that he was more impactful was not so much training but His humility and transparency. He was always open to teach but also learn. He's one of those people that you hope to meet in person but I was blessed to know him through his articles,  books and Strength sensei website. He is greatly missed but his influence and his great heart will not be forgotten. I pray for His family and friends at time and may the Lords healing take place in their hearts. It's our lost but Charles gain, he is with the lord now.

Fernando

I first met Charles when he was a Coach for the Canadian National Ski  team in 89.  Then, I believe he was working on his Master's degree, and I believe he was working on the beginnings of his BioSignature program based on what he showed me. 

My first impression of Charles was that he was very sure of himself, and he worked with the ski athletes very confidently and knowledgeably.

I met him again when enlisted in his Biosignature and Level 1 P.I.C.P certification in Toronto, ON,   2006.  Although, Charles came off as a little rough and judgemental, I could see that his heart was in the right place. He wanted all of us to succeed and get the most out of our experience with this course.  I then started following him again about 3 years ago on his Strength Sensei Youtube, and website.  I have been in the health and fitness industries for nearly 30 years, and I can tell anyone unequivocally, that Charles was the most intelligent, opinionated and knowledgeable strength coach I've ever met.  I also appreciated how Charles eventually softened his rhetoric and views over the last few years and became more inclusive and accepting with other points of view in the fitness industry.

Charles was my first contact and impression of a Strength Coach in Canada, and I still continue to practice many of his methods and applications which is apprepot deemed his legacy!

I miss his posts.

Jean LaFleur

I remember I was struggling to make clients, I was studying, I had financial problems to the point I couldn’t afford to rent a room.

I was feeling lost, I sat in a café and I searched on the net and I found biosiganture and start reading Charles articles.

I applied some of the tips and I had better results with my clients. 

One client paid me 600 euros and I bought all books from Charles, I used to read in the train when I go to the university, when I have break and I applied his science, I was amazed really, i had much more confidence and made 3 or 4 additional clients. I saved all the money and did my first biosignature in London.

Charles wasn’t there but I learned many things and I was making more clients. 

Until the day I went to Marbella for the first Bioprint.

I was so nervous I went 30 minutes before the start and suddenly I saw Charles coming, I’ll never forget this moment. I read all his articles I think / books videos .... and finally I met him. Since then I became full time trainer applying everything he taught me. I kept going to his seminars and learnt everything from him.

Charles is more than a teacher honestly Im so grateful that i had the opportunity to learn from him. 

From a student struggling to pay the rent to a full time trainer and I’m still moving forward.

Feres Ben

I am from Israel and I first heard on Charles about a year ago, I do portal mentioned him in one of his post 

And ever since that I am completely obsessed to hear and to apply Charles amazing knowledge,  

Every day I have one moment of sadness for his loss but I try to remember what an amazing legacy he left here, 

From listing to him He had this amazing balance of being so damn professional and precise yet still so kind, funny, positive,  grateful,  and just an incredible person 

If anyone reads this I am sorry if my English is poor 

But it was really important for me to express my thoughts and feelings 

I appreciate this men so deeply I can't describe and I am very sad that he is gone, still extremely grateful for his enormous contribution to the world 

May he rest in peace.

Ben

I can’t believe it’s a year already. 

This first time I ever met Charles was when he did a lecture for FitPro in the UK. I had been in the industry for only a few years and I was desperate to learn more. I went in and sat in the lecture hall waiting for the lecture to start. Charles introduced himself, and started to talk about the topic. He then stopped suddenly and reminded everyone that if they had any recording equipment to please turn it off otherwise he’d take them to court! A few giggles went around the room, to which he stated he was serious. 

My first thought was, oh dear, this is gonna be a long lecture. However, within the next 5mins I was hocked. I purchased all his books on that day, which I borrowed money for, lol. I went home and I read, read and read. I returned to the convention the following year to see him again. 

That was a little more than 12 years ago and I have followed him ever since. My only regret is the I wasn’t able to attend one of his course that he personally tutored. If it wasn’t for meeting him, I don’t think I would know what I know today or be the Trainer/Coach that I am. He has truly been an inspiration to me and it is so sad to know that the industry has lost one of its greats.  

It is so great to know you guys are continuing to keep his memory alive and continuing his work. 

Thinking of you all and his family at this time

Paul Green

I was doing engineering a couple of years ago when I saw sensei at London real. I was so inspired by Sir Charles, it took me just few seconds to decide that I want to be a strength coach in my life.

Since then, there was not even a single day in my life when I didn't thanked myself for making that decision.

I have watched all the videos of Sir Charles Poliquin on youtube several times and I somehow managed to multiply my income by 10 times. There has not been a single day ever since when i haven't started my meal without meats and nuts.

I really had this dream to shake hands with Sir Charles for once in my life, and thank him for bringing out the best in me.

Atharv Agrawal

A great man, knowledgeable beyond words. Most memorable is his introduction to me regarding the meat and nut breakfast through his newsletter a staple of his own diet. 

RiP Charles (Strength Sensei) 

Tomislav Basic 

The first time I heard of Charles was through a CHEK institute course. “You can fire a canon from a canoe” was a metaphor about having a strong core as your base for power. I immediately wanted to know who Charles Poliquin was after I found out he was the master behind the key principles of program design. I ordered a copy of the Poliquin principles and started making gains in strength and size even before I had finished reading the book cover to cover. I admit it took me a few weeks to read because I had to reread terms and language that was based in math and exercise science. German volume training would not only be my secret weapon for body composition it helped build my business as I became known as the guy who changes bodies. Ironically I had more women hiring me for training then men which shocked me since I was on the program, one would think other guys would like to look like they were jacked too. I took several courses Charles taught and always walked away with knowledge that was usable on Monday morning. My first course was level one and there was a written test at the end which he said most strength coaches failed. I failed that test and had to wait to get certified at the practical in Chicago. I attended the course in Chicago and at the break I handed Charles a paper with hand written answers on it. He looked at it and said ok you passed I will inform one of my people when I get back. I was shocked when I got a certificate that said level 1 Poliquin Coach sent to me in the mail. I realized that he had taken the time to notify someone and send out my certificate. Charles had a way of touching people in the most unexpected ways and this is one of the many reasons he will never be forgotten. 

I have just finished my first book on health and wellness called One Body and I mention Charles in it a few times. It’s about my journey in the exercise industry and how to help people using low tech methods. The book is scheduled for Jan 2020 release. 

Micheal Okumura, Therapeutic exercise health coach 

Charles Poliquin made an impact in my life through all his teachings. His structure for programming served as the foundation for all my PT work. 

After first learning who he was at 18 I began reading all of his articles on the Poliquin page on the way to university each day until I finished them all. 

I attended countless seminars where he always made me laugh and left so many gems that helped me in and outside of the gym. 

His super accumulation program is by far the best and my favourite, helping me 3 times during 2014, in the year I placed 1st at the World Championships as a junior powerlifter. My results and training methods were thanks to Charles and his style of programming. 

I'll always remember his direct and simple methods for achieving the highest results, his epic one liners and his love for what he does as a coach and especially as a father. I could feel his passion and pride in the actions he took to be best for himself and his daughter, Krystal.

My biggest role model and idol, my heart goes out to Charles. I love you Coach. 

Dan

Charles-Shanan

Only a year has gone by since you left but it feels like many more. My life has changed so much since then and it’s strange to think that you were the main catalyst.

I realize there was probably nothing I could have done to change things last year but I’ve struggled with this. My “what if...” game is strong. I hope that soon I’ll feel peace instead of pain and regret when this day rolls around. But until then, I’ll focus on being grateful for all the things you taught me and the awesome people you brought into my life. 🖤

Shanan Lee

It's hard to put into words but I will try. Everything I've tried, based on his principles, has worked. It's just that simple. He impressed upon me the value of hard work. Plus, he inspired me to never stop learning. An example:  I am 47 years old, soon to be 48, and have been diagnosed with Parkinson's for 10 years. However, using some of his methods especially A1-A2, and training twice a day, I broke four state records at my second powerlifting meet. I also won tbe first strongman Competition I entered.  My clients programming, some of whom also have State records, is mostly Poliquin inspired.

He was the best. 

Craig Feathers

I never met Charles, but stumbled upon his material around 1994 or 1995 via Muscle Media magazine. I was in college at the time and my roommates and I, all meatheads, used to make fun of some of the stuff he'd write... All day arm workouts?? Keeping track of your tempo?? And who the hell eats bison meat??

Then, I started doing some of the routines and exercises he recommended. Without fail, every single thing I tried, worked. Same with his diet and supplement recommendations. I quickly became a follower of his, following him over to T-Nation, where I would read his articles religiously. Without ever meeting him, he became the most influential person in my health and fitness. Which is crazy. 

I see the stuff he was talking about in the late-90's becoming popular TODAY. He was always a good 10 to 20 years ahead of everyone. Learning about his death saddened me and I am grateful that you guys are doing what you do to keep his legacy alive.

Eddie Alfano

I was first blessed with Charles’s wisdom and insight through his books over twenty years ago!

I was working as a clinical exercise specialist, martial arts teacher and massage therapist when I went on a quest to find the BEST strength coach alive!

Since that time, Charles has reigned as King! I still use his principles, now at 47 years old!

I Love and am inspired by you Charles!

Che Lolley

I talk about his research and all his knowledge every week to my family and friends, in the short time I got to follow his news letters my close loved ones still do the salt and lime, magnesium and eat a low carb diet among many other recommendations from this very smart man.

Ron Fellows

I learned an amazing daily ritual from Charles 

Before going to bed ask yourself 3 questions 

  1. What Did I Learn Today
  2. Who Did I Help Today 
  3. What Am I Thankful For

So grateful for this and I pass this on to others

Dustin Robertson 

I first listened to Charles Poliquin on an interview with Tim Ferris, his knowledge was remarkable, the way he reviewed studies from around the world in different languages then combined with his own anecdotal evidence was astonishing.

I’ve since listened to his podcast with Mark Bell and read his books, his common sense approach and basic principles made him a staple in my life as a go to advisor anything related to health, fitness or training.

A true legend taken too early.

Nathan Miller

I first met Charles in the Fall of 1974 (Yes.. that long ago), when he gave a ‘lecture’  to the swimmers of the University of Ottawa Swim Team, (I was one of those lucky swimmers), with regards to the ‘basic parameters’ of strength training. Even then (as a student), he was so respected and impressive, that the professors wanted him to speak to us, rather than themselves. As I realized even then, he knew more than all of us and the professors, and I fully respect his ’no nonsense’ approach.

Over the years at the University, I ‘became a guinea pig’ in many of his (and other students he helped), ‘experiments’ in the Kin and Phys. Ed. Labs……he sure was ‘creative’ (do not get me started!)….but always ’a straight shooter’. I did not know him well, but we all respected him greatly.

Years later (when I was coaching swimming), I had to smile when he wrote articles in the ’Swim Canada’ magazine, taking the Canadian Coaches ’to task’ for their ’training programs'…….especially when I knew, he knew, what he was talking about…..and he was right!

Charles was never one to ‘hold back’, or B.S. people. He was ’tough’ but always kind, and one of maybe 5-6 people I have known that was always genuine. 

Even 45 years later, I fondly remember his passion and drive……..he will be missed by many.

Ken Ekstrand

Michael and Charles

It was back in 2014, May, in Stuttgart, Germany,  at Charles first teaching of the BioPrint in Europe as far as I remember. The attached picture was also shot there.

To me, Charles was my inspiration to fully get into strength training and following on my dream to become self-employed. He was one of the very first mentors to me who always asked for more and he was very hard to please which is very tough but taught me a lot throughout my career. I will never forget his directness, intelligence, jokes and above all his great heart too to make me become better at what I do each day. To me he will always be remembered as the Strength Sensei and I’m amazingly grateful of being a student of Charles’ work.

Michael Bachmann

Never met him Personal, but i‘ve red many many articles from Him, that took my training and my results to the next level!!

Rene Ludwig

Charles made me laugh so hard. The more obnoxious he was and the more crass he was- the more he made me want to work out and the more I loved him. 

I love that he blended an almost dichotomous philosophy and purpose.  A very hard exterior and and unmatchable work ethic with a no apologies no excuses mindset. But on the flipside he had a very tender soul and heart. But no matter how pompous and self righteous he was, We watched him turn to mushy applesauce when he talked about his daughter and be humble when supporting other various philanthropic activities. 

We have lost a great one.  

Dr. Moe Sarah Smith

I never knew Charles personally, but was lucky enough to be introduced to his name about 10 years ago.  My best friend from college is a trainer and landed a job at a performance training center in Chicago that was heavily influenced by Charles.   After receiving a free t-shirt from him with Charles name on it I figured I better give this guy a quick search!!  I was instantly hooked from there on out.  I read every article I could get my hands on and the wealth of knowledge I received is incalculable.  Throughout the years anytime anyone would ask me a health related question on working out or dieting I would share my advice I learned from Charles and pass his name on to people with pride and confidence that another life will be changed by reading his words and soaking up his knowledge.   I've read many other books and articles from other people in the industry but Charles had a way of explaining things so even a novice like myself could understand... better than anyone could ever do it.

The day I learned of his passing I was completely floored and saddened.  Not for myself, but for his loved ones.  If he could have an impact on a complete stranger I can't imagine his impact on his dear family and friends.  I will continue to read his books and articles daily and will pass along his name any chance I get to anyone looking to change their life!

The world is less without Charles Poliquin.  He was the best... PERIOD.  

Robbie Sipkema

Really hard for me to do this. Social media is not my thing.  I spent 4 summers working for Charles and interned for him the previous two. It ended up being a 20 year relationship, where he was my mentor. He to this day was the smartest man I have ever met. Without saying much he took the air out of the room with his presence. People emulated him, and it didn’t work.  He was light years ahead of everybody in strength and conditioning as well as nutrition. There is only one guru, and there will never be another. I would not be where I am today without Charles brain. Everyone should have an arm day today!!

Ben Prentiss

Charles and Sheldon

I have to say that his untimely death definetely shook me up, he was man I admired and had the utmost respect for. He passed away on the same day my son was born and jokingly some of my staff would say his spirit was in my son. I was fortunate to attend the Strength Summit in Laval QC June 15 of 2019 and met him personally. I was on my way home when I received a phone call in the car, it was Charles ..I was surprised he had my number. He asked my If I could bring him his supplements to his home in Gatineau  since I lived 20 mins away.

I went to meet him and his partner with my spouse who was pregnant at the time, it was a honour to meet him. I always loved his charm and wit. I miss him, I was looking forward to attending and continuing my professional growth with Charles. I still think of him from time to time, a few weeks after he passed I had a dream that we met and shook hands telling me "God Bless Sheldon" when he told me this in the dream it brought me peace.

Sheldon

Charles passed before I got the chance to meet him. I learned so much from the countless videos on you tube of interviews and exercise demonstrations. Even now at 42 my dream us to become a great strength coach as Charles was. I wanted to learn kinetic chain enhancement, and other methods he used to better his athletes. He has shown me how to be greatful for everything in my life. Just wish i could have met him to hear his answers to the 3 question he always asks others. Thank you Charles. 

Eli Armenta

How do I start talking about a man who I never knew (I met Charles once briefly at the 2000 Mr. Olympia expo) yet influenced my life so much? Well, I will try. I started reading Charles’s work in Muscle Media 2000 back in 1996. I was in college and just getting into bodybuilding at the time and I was immediately hooked on Muscle Media 2000 and all the great writers and contributors they had. I couldn't wait for the new issue to come out each month and Charles was the biggest reason for that. I felt an immediate connection to Charles's training style, his writing and his personality. I soon after bought "The Poliquin Principles"book and read it cover to cover numerous times. I bought his other books as well including "Modern Trends in Strength Training" and "Applied Strongman Training" and "Winning the Arms Race". I started reading as many articles and as much stuff from Charles as I could find. Many of those were on T Nation. When Charles started his own certification program I signed up and completed the PICP Level 1. There is no one in the field of health, fitness and strength and conditioning that has influenced me more or impacted my life, profession and training style more than Charles. All my clients over the years have known who Charles is because I quoted and referenced him all the time. I couldn't possibly talk about my career as a personal trainer and strength coach without mentioning Charles. He impacted me so much. My only regret is I didn't reach out to him and connect with him (besides meeting him briefly at the 2000 Mr. Olympia Expo). I still watch Charles's videos and read his articles and books and try to still learn as much as I can from him even though he is gone.

Dan Eiden

Confidence and Clarity,

I first heard about Charles from Tim Ferris podcast, he recommended the book the one thing. That rec alone has had a massive impact on my life. Following him, taking a course and enrolling in his online education gave me an incredible boost of confidence.  Keeping it simple and continuing to master the fundamentals has paid off huge for myself and clients and will continue to pay dividends for the rest of my life.

Charles will always live on in his teachings and students.

Andrew Araza