Rogue #19: Dave Tate, Retired elite powerlifter & Founder, EliteFTS

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Rogue #19: Dave Tate

Retired elite powerlifter & Founder, EliteFTS


If you’ve been listening to this podcast for a while, you’ll remember Rogue #9, Jim Wendler. He’s an iconic powerlifter, and someone who my husband introduced me to when we started dating in 2009. I say “introduced” and by that I mean he told me about his work and how it had affected his life. We didn’t know him personally - so welcoming him onto the Rogue Ones was an honor. In that episode, Jim references someone named Dave Tate, and the company EliteFTS. These were two other names I heard a lot about from my then boyfriend ten years ago.

Dave Tate,  Leslie Eiler Thompson , and  Michael Thompson  in the legendary EliteFTS gym

Dave Tate, Leslie Eiler Thompson, and Michael Thompson in the legendary EliteFTS gym

We’ve gotten married since, and my husband learned a great deal from EliteFTS in his early years - it led him to get his NSCA certification while in college, and once graduating, he became a CSCS. Now, he owns MJT Training and is building a long career as a trainer - not just in person, but with clients across the country. All these things can be tied back to EliteFTS, especially his online work - they’ve been active in the web space before it was a given, and from day 1 they’ve posted free information about training and working out. All thanks to Dave Tate and his drive to live, learn, and pass on.

Dave is a retired powerlifter and trainer, and he founded Elite Fitness Systems 20 years ago as a way to continue to do the sport he loved while pouring into others and encouraging them to do the same. Elite is also a high-end gym equipment outfitter, which, ultimately, funds the unmeasurable amount of free content they give to those who have ears to listen. He’s built a tribe, and is a leader in the education and empowerment of this niche.

Dave gives away the same kind of knowledge he was gifted when he needed it most as a severely bullied teen. Labeled as “learning disabled” as a young child, he was an easy target for other kids, oftentimes finding himself being attacked on his walk home from school.

Above all else, Dave has said that his greatest accomplishment in life has been marrying his wife and adopting his two boys. The oldest of which is autistic, a label Dave had trouble accepting as it took him back to the days of isolated loneliness as a learning disabled child. His openness to talk about all areas of his life makes this conversation so special - and I’m grateful to have him on. (Side note, he’s also an Iditarod fan. And I didn’t know this before we sat down to talk. Imagine my utter joy when I found out. I put that part at the very end of the episode.)


Photos from the recording:


We sat in the middle of the EliteFTS gym and talked for a recorded three hours and 23 minutes. This episode is edited - but they were so kind to post the FULL VIDEO of our conversation on their youtube channel. When you watch, you’ll see the two of us sitting at the legendary EliteFTS Table (where they film their own podcast, Table Talk) while we sip Monster Energy Drinks. (And be aware - this video and recorded episode have a significant amount of colorful words. It’s just who he is.)




Or, listen right here:

If you liked this…
Listen to my conversation with a contemporary of Dave’s,
5/3/1 creator and powerlifting icon, Jim Wendler.


Check out my episode with the 4x Iditarod champion dave and I happen to both be fans of, lance mackey.


ABOUT The Rogue Ones Podcast:

This series lies in no-man’s land between an entrepreneurship and human interest podcast. Sometimes my remarkable guests want to talk business, sometimes they want to talk life. All of them want to share wisdom and encourage us to live remarkably while doing the things we are led toward.

My name is Leslie Eiler Thompson and I am the host and creator of The Rogue Ones podcast, in which I curate conversations with extraordinary folks doing fascinating things - fearlessly living remarkable lives and deciding a straight path from point A to point B is boring. They’re going rogue. 

These rogues, all successful in their varied fields, openly share stories of failure, success, insecurity, lucky-breaks…and they are hand-picked for those who listen to the podcast series, desperately wishing to live with a bend toward the remarkable.

It’s my supposition that the most remarkable among us have found ways to bring their circumstances, character traits, and values together to build extraordinary realities. These people fascinate me - and I bet they fascinate you, too. By hearing these stories, we can adopt a rogue lifestyle with a bend toward the remarkable.

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Leslie Eiler Thompson