In the first installment of Executive Muscle, Olen Harris, Vice President of sales, is being profiled to help show the true story behind someone who not only talks the talk, but walks the walk over and over again.
Olen’s journey begins in an odd way, with him getting lost. At 22 years old, and fresh out of college, he moved to Atlanta, Georgia. New to the area, he decided to drive around to explore his new home. After just a few minutes though he realized he had no clue where he was, and no idea how to get back home. After driving aimlessly, he happened upon a shopping mall. Inside one storefront stood out to him. Something familiar and something comforting like an old friend calling out of the blue. It was a small supplement shop unlike any other he had ever seen. The name on the simply-made sign read – Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals. Little did he know that this next moment would shape the rest of his life.
After looking around the store, he amassed ten different products ranging from Test Boosters to Creatine to protein and everything in between. The man behind the counter rolled his eyes and said “Hey pal. You’re new to working out. If you take all this stuff at once, you’ll have no clue what is and isn’t working.” The guy whose job it was to profit off of people’s willingness to change no matter the cost, suddenly became an educator. A mentor if you will. The salesman put everything in Olen’s cart back on the shelf, except for a powerful testosterone booster Mesobolin, and the most popular creatine product on the market, Phosphagen. The salesman then asked Olen to return back to the store in about a month, so he could check on his progress. The two shook hands, and Olen eventually found his way home that night.
The journey to a new improved self was in full swing. He was in the gym with vigor, lifting weights for the first time in his life. He also took his two new found supplements religiously. After those initial thirty days he returned to the store as he said he would. He was certain the salesman behind the counter would not remember him nor their encounter. Surprised, he found the same sales guy and once again, he was given advice, product and a new sense of what the possibilities were.
Olen continued to return every thirty days for months on end before Olen learned who this sales guy was. It turned out to be the owner and CEO of Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals, Jared Wheat. Jared and Olen had formed a bond of understanding and appreciation and became close friends. Olen was even able to convince Jared to head back into the gym.
While utilizing his new found strength, size and physical ability, Olen chose to become a police officer. He worked on high intensity SWAT and Rapid Response teams taking down notorious federal criminals. After 10 years of working the streets as a police officer, he decided to choose a different kind of professional life; Olen and Jared decided he would excel working for Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals. He quickly rose in the ranks and became Vice President of Sales after leading the company in total sales for numerous months in a row.
Things were good for the kid once lost in this brand new city. Olen was pretty content with excelling in his new profession and staying in good shape. After some careful contemplation in the spring of 2004 he decided he wanted more. He began training harder, eating bigger, and supplementing even more consistently. He saw his gains explode, and he went from his all-time low of 175lbs all the way up to a MASSIVE 285lbs at 6’1.
His trainer decided he finally had enough size to be competitive at a local bodybuilding show. The following year, after months of prep, cardio, sweat and determination, he stepped on stage and began his new quest to become the best bodybuilder he could be. Did he expect to win his first show? Not really. Did he believe he would become the new Mr. Olympia? Not so much. It was a new life challenge. Not being challenged, not being motivated to reinvent himself was the biggest challenge of them all.
Over the next 8 years, he competed two times a year, always making new progress. Always lifting bigger and heavier, and always looking to be BETTER. But no one gets to lead a life without struggle. In 2013, just 6 weeks out from a large regional bodybuilding show, Olen managed to tear his patella tendon in a pickup basketball game. Devastated that he would not be able to compete as planned, he was forced to formulate a new strategy. Olen stayed determined to come back from this injury. He went through the painful physical therapy, got back into the gym, and once again trained for the show that he missed the year prior. Incredibly, just weeks out from the same show, he tore the same patella tendon for a second time.
More surgery. More rehab. More patience.
Working with the same trainer who showed him how to gain 110lbs of lean body mass, Olen devised a different training style to help facilitate not only his progress in the gym, but also the health of his body…especially his knees.
He changed from the traditional bodybuilding splits used by so many, and instead forged an unconventional 4-day full body training split, hitting every single muscle group FOUR times a week. When asked why he thought this was working for him, his response was “This type of training is definitely different, but it works for me. The pump and blood flow I get from training my entire body is unreal. I feel pumped from my toes all the way up to my ears, and I am recovering faster than ever before. By forcing my legs to work more frequently and sending way more blood and nutrients to my muscles and the surrounding connective tissue, I haven’t been injured since.”
You know what they say, “the third time is the charm”, and Olen vowed to FINALLY compete in the show he’d missed both years prior. He registered for the 2015 Dexter Jackson Classic, and with his new training style he stayed healthy and competed. At 42 years old, he placed 2nd in the Men’s Super Heavyweight Class.
Although Olen has retired from the bodybuilding world, he is still using his unorthodox 4 day full body split, he is still pushing heavy weight, and he is still eating like a competitor thanks to the 5 homemade meals his wife prepares for him every day (who just happens to work at Hi-Tech as well).
Olen Harris doesn’t just talk the talk, he walks the HARDCORE walk each and every day in business as well as in his training. His story has showed everyone here at Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals that he embodies what we all strive to be. Hardworking, unrelenting, determined and brutally real.