He became a coal miner at the tender age of 14, survived the Great Depression by running a bootleg operation (corn whiskey) and also survived decades with Black Lung disease. Despite all that, his stamina, energy and positive mindset propelled him to the ripe old age of 94.
Dutch embodied all I aspire to.
His lust for living life to the max set the bar for me. Dutch’s uncompromising work ethic, his clarity of purpose, his sheer toughness were all great inspirations and sources of motivation.
I chose fitness as an arena where I could rigorously test myself – physically, mentally and even spiritually – where I could constantly strive to not just endure but also ascend. How much could I take before breaking? Where exactly is that point? Oh, and then how to repair, recuperate and rehab if necessary?
I learned how valuable a great physical therapist can be,
In my 30’s, during Ironman training, I had an amazing physical therapist, Dr. Stacey Parsons, who helped me understand the importance of building supporting muscles to prevent and recover from injury.
That eventually led me to Dr. Peter Attia MD, a renowned physician, scientist and ultra-endurance athlete who is committed to fully realizing his personal potential. He introduced me to hanging weights from a wood pole.
Dr. Attia explained how the unstable weight actually strengthens the stabilizing muscles. It immediately made sense to me, based on the causes of my past injuries.
Huge room for improvement equals a great opportunity.
I could only find one commercially available barbell similar to Attia's, but it fell far short of my expectations since it was completely over-engineered.
I started experimenting with different barbell designs and getting fatigue testing done to determine load capacity. Great design is always about the user experience, and in this case, I was the user so every aspect I designed was with me in mind. It turned out that involved a fair amount of pure invention.
Innovation is the lifeblood of Dutch & Co.
And we're just getting started! Our company’s mission is to constantly improve existing fitness-related products in order to provide athletes with better alternatives.
The truth is, virtually every product you see around you could be designed to perform more efficiently. It takes the insight to recognize the flaws then the creativity to make the upgrades.
Right now, for example, my talented son Cole and I make barbells by hand in our garage. Often, we’re prototyping a new, enhanced version of a product already on the market. At other times, we’re literally crafting a one-of-a-kind barbell for a customer to purchase.
We build products that help athletes get stronger, while avoiding injury and recovering from them.
As someone who’s been heavily involved with digital design for years, I find that creating a tangible product is much more rewarding. Not only can I hold these products in my hands, I can use them to enhance my ability to achieve my personal goals.
While Dutch was not an endurance or strength athlete, he successfully endured the many struggles that life thrust upon him. As such, he continually inspires me through his grit, toughness and good humor. It’s my hope that this new company will serve to extend his remarkable legacy.