2 years after joining gym, Richmond man earns golds in powerlifting

2 years after joining gym, Richmond man earns gold medals in powerlifting

As more health and fitness seekers flock to CrossFit gyms across the nation, a Richmond resident’s decision to join has resulted in gold medals in powerlifting competitions.

Two years ago, 64-year-old Royce E. “Rocky” Saunders and his wife joined Crossfit Cypher in Richmond, which is owned and managed by Mauricio Leal, who along with several other instructors is an avid weightlifter with expert training advice.

Prior to joining Leal’s gym, Saunders said he was always interested in weightlifting, but had never received official training. While working out at CrossFit, Coach Leal suggested that Saunders enter a powerlifting meet. Saunders took the advice, signing up for a beginner’s competition organized by East Bay strength coach Tom Campitelli.  

Three powerlifting meets later, Saunders became a gold medalist.

An image from the CrossFit Cypher gym at 1200 Harbour Way S, Ste 105 in Richmond.

In San Diego, he went 9-for-9 with no disqualified lifts and set new personal records in all three lifts: 270-pound Back Squat, 235-pound Bench Press and 385-pound Deadlift.  

“This was my first athletic event since high school where I placed in a competition,” Saunders said.

But winning medals hasn’t been the main goal. Saunders hopes to inspire as many Masters’ athletes as he can to “find their sport, get out there, compete, have fun, make new friends and win.”

“For us, we keep fit through Powerlifting and CrossFit, and we have a lot of fun traveling to the meets,” Saunders said.

His next meet will be on Oct. 29 in Oakland, also sponsored by Coach Campitelli. Afterward, Saunders plans to compete in the USA Powerlifting American Open on December 8-10, at the Anaheim Convention Center.