Albert Urbank Deadlifts 601 Pounds and Overcomes Heroin Addiction

Posted on 10 Nov 2014 11:58


I am really glad to have the opportunity to tell the story of Albert Urbank.

He's given me permission to post his story and almost all of this has been taken from his FaceBook statuses.

Those of you who are familiar with powerlifting and strongman will no doubt recognize the name "Urbank." Yes, Albert Urbank is related to the legendary deadlifter Vince Urbank. In fact, they are brothers.

This past weekend marks 6 months of Albert kicking his addiction and living heroin-free.

In a post dated 14th October 2014, Albert has come forth and spoke very honestly about his horrible addction to heroin and how it ruined his life. He's been to rehab three times but he's completed it only once.

And, now he's a proud 600+ pounds deadlifter. He did not stick to the conventional 12 step program, but he has overcome his desire and he now associates heroin with misery and loneliness - not the rush it used to give him.

Born in 1991, Albert is young and he admits that he is not where he wants to be in life but he has managed to kick this habit and he is grateful for what he has. He isn't earning as much as he would like and he doesn't have the job he would like, but he's slowly climbing up the ladder to get to where he wants to be. He has a daughter and a future wife whom he has reconciled with (I was allowed to post this personal detail because it is inspirational) and he has the support of his family and friends.

Albert has turned to lifting weights to keep himself off the drugs, and he's inclined more and more towards strongman training. Instead of attending NA meetings he heads to the gym and immerses himself into this lifestyle of strength training.

Coming off drugs and eating right and training hard has put 80 pounds of muscle to his frame and he's gained some super impressive strength.


I had a very small interview with Albert, in which I asked him only two questions:

What was his "rock bottom" moment that caused him to climb back out of the pit?

Albert said that he just got sick of the life he was leading at the time: spending lots of money on the drugs, going to jail and most importantly: not getting to be with his daughter and girlfriend.

He hasn't had a typical "rock bottom" moment as yet.

Why did he not adopt the 12-step process and what made him choose Strength Training as a means to satisfy his urges?

Albert said that he doesn't like 12 step programs because he doesn't believe in a higher power. He wants to be self reliant and work through this on his own. He is confident that if he has to get clean and stay clean it has to be through his own willpower and the support of his family and friends. Being an apathetic/atheist with this type of mindset really strikes home with me.

Additionally, Albert feels that getting stronger serves two purposes for him. On one hand, it is extremely satisfying to be strong - there is an intrinsic value he associates with lifting big weights and training hard. On the other hand, getting stronger means he can't be getting high because getting high is incompatible with strength training. Albert has always known he has the potential to excel at weight training if he was to work hard because it runs in the family: Vince Urbank is his elder brother, after all.

There are two direct quotes that I think really show how much he has lost and how far he has come:

As I write this I am cradling my baby nephew. Something I could have never been trusted with when I was getting high. I'm not writing this status to brag about how great my life is. I just want to give hope to anyone who is still struggling and tell them how much better your life can get if your willing to tough it out and put in the work to make it better.

The second quote is from another of his Facebook posts regarding his 6 month or half year anniversary going clean:

What I've come to realize is that drugs don't fuck up your life it's the stupid decisions you make while using drugs.

Being clean doesn't guarantee you a great life either, it just allows you the opportunity to prioritize with a clear head and make better decisions.

Six months clean today

Congratulations, Albert! Here is his latest PR on Deadlifts with a solid 601 lbs pull:

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