Steamboat’s Flores wins national powerlifting title

Austin Colbert
Steamboat Springs resident Rodrigo Flores competed in the Natural Athlete Strength Association U.S.A. Nationals powerlifting meet June 20-21 in Dallas

— Charlie Chase has been training professional and amateur athletes for 20 years, so there was no reason to doubt him when he said Rodrigo Flores had the raw talent to enter the world of powerlifting. Flores, only a casual lifter at the time, came to Chase a year ago with the idea of competing.

“Rodrigo is wonderful. He’s super willing to learn,” said Chase, who operates Genetic Synergy and teaches yoga in Steamboat Springs. “When he came to me, he had that kind of typical gym lifting style, which is generally pretty sloppy form — nothing he can use in a competition. But he was super willing to learn about lifting. So with an open mind, we had to break some pre-conceived barriers.”

The first month of training was purely about perfecting Flores’ form. From there, it became about getting him into competitive shape. And it didn’t take long before Flores began to assert himself in the sport, winning November’s National Athlete Strength Association regional meet in Loveland.

Seven months later — roughly a year after he began training — Flores would add national champion to his resume after he won the 148-pound PURE division of the NASA U.S.A. National Powerlifting Meet, which took place June 20 and 21 in Dallas, Texas.

“Charlie, he really, really takes care of me,” Flores said. “We were really concentrating and focused. But I’m really surprised because there were a lot of people there. I’m really surprised to win.”

Flores, 27, works at Big House Burgers in Steamboat, with the restaurant’s owner, Rex Brice, being one of his primary sponsors. He moved to the area 11 years ago from Mexico City and has spent a lot of time on cardio and lifting. But the idea of competing in powerlifting — which is a pure battle of strength in the squat, bench press and deadlift — didn’t occur to him until friends at the Old Town Hot Springs encouraged him to try.

Chase took Flores under his wings and watched as he’s flourished over the past year.

“He’s got a great genetic gift … he is just super dedicated, super humble, super amazing character, a super hard worker,” Chase said. “Not a ton surprised (to see him win nationals). I was more excited and happy for him. At the meet, he lifted more weight than he had lifted in training, which can happen when your adrenaline is going.”

Now, Flores faces a decision. Chase said the human body doesn’t peak in terms of muscle strength until close to 40, so Flores has a good decade of powerlifting in front of him, if he wants. However, Flores is thinking about transitioning into bodybuilding, but won’t make any decisions until he talks with Chase.

“I want to stay competing, but sometimes I want something different. It depends on Charlie,” Flores said. “I don’t know what’s really next. Now, I just have to ask Charlie what’s next. I don’t know if we are still doing powerlifting or we are doing something different.”

Chase said the most likely scenario would be a slow transition into bodybuilding, but added he believes Flores needs to add more muscle mass through powerlifting first.

To reach Austin Colbert, call 970-871-4204, email or follow him on Twitter @Austin_Colbert

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