Frank Williams' at-home gym isn't typical — packed from wall to wall, floor to ceiling with medals, posters, memorabilia and memories from decades of fulfilling a passion.
Named the McNeily Barbell Club, it's also the place where 70-year-old Williams recently deadlifted 400 lbs, becoming the first person at his age to ever do so in Newfoundland and Labrador, as far as he knows.
It was a journey that started in 1971, when Williams walked into a friend's garage one August afternoon, he told CBC Radio's Weekend AM.
"They were deadlifting and I had half a dozen beer," he said with a laugh.
"I sat down and was watching them deadlift, and I asked them 'can I try.' They were a little bit hesitant, and they said 'OK.' So I deadlifted 305 lbs and then they stopped me. I've been at it ever since ... I got hooked from that afternoon."
That addiction to the sport brought Williams to countless competitions. At the 2011 World Masters Games he won a bronze medal in the deadlift, lifting 523 lbs. He was 61 years old.
"That was the highlight of my 50 years of training," he said. "There's lots of memories, but that will probably be the best one."
His recent lift of 400 lbs is among several other records Williams has held over his lifetime of training.
He said he was the first 50-year-old and the first 60-year-old to deadlift 500 lbs in Atlantic Canada, and has a handful of national records to go with those accolades.
"One thing about me, I'm modest," he laughed. "After 40 years, you sort of forget," said Williams.
These days Williams trains four days a week, about two hour sessions each time.
The McNeily Barbell Club
Williams said the world of weightlifting brings with it camaraderie, friends, and especially the competition.
But his club, like much everything else, was closed in March as the continuing COVID-19 pandemic began to settle in in Newfoundland and Labrador.
"Only I'm working out here now. We closed it down March 16. So, that's bad," he said. "I'm here alone, and it's not easy.
He said, usually, about 10 people coming to workout in his tiny space, and they're dedicated to putting up big numbers and helping people reach their maximum potential. He said he figures about 2,000 athletes have trained in his space over the last 40 years.
And while he calls it "working out in a submarine," his club has produced some top tier athletes along the way.
"We're after having ... three world champions training at one time, and on this platform, the lowest over here was Canadian champion," he said.
"I love this sport and I love the people in it."