A Girth Story 

B.I.G. B.O.E. Strength LLC was started by two strength coaches and their better looking halves. The four have taken on this journey in order to help others achieve their goals. 


B.I.G. B.O.E. Strength was dreamt up by two strength coaches with a passion for thick-necked sports. This business journey is being embarked on by Jeff and Jesse and their smarter, wiser, and more svelte halves - Laurie Appel and Emily Strawser.

“Best in Girth, Best on Earth” will never be a statement of who we believe we are, but rather a statement of who we aspire to be. We will never be satisfied. No matter what is accomplished, no matter what is achieved, the next challenge is just around the bend, or for us, just under the bent barbell. With B.I.G. B.O.E. Strength your goal has become our goal. Whether you are looking to compete in your first meet, become a national champion, or break a world record, we will supply you with the recipe to help get it done! B.I.G. B.O.E. is devoted to creating the strongest, girthiest athletes the world has ever seen.  Whether you are a barbell athlete, a traditional athlete, a hero (military, police, firefighter, first responder) or a weekend warrior, we are here to make your life easier through our hard work. To complement our coaching, we also have the apparel to make that girth look good!

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Jeff appel
CO-head honcho

Jeff Appel is the Co-Head Honcho at B.I.G. B.O.E. Strength. Appel is also as the Director of Sports Performance at Fork Union Military Academy and the Director of Sports Performance Programming at Sports Reality.


Prior to Fork Union Appel spent over a decade working with college athletes, including a 9-year stint as Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at the University of Richmond. During his time with the Spiders, the football program won three CAA Championships, made four NCAA DI FCS Playoff appearances, and went on to win the National Championship in 2008. With Appel as their Strength and Conditioning Coach the field hockey program won two Atlantic 10 titles (2009 and 2011), and Men's Lacrosse won the 2014 Atlantic Sun title.


Prior to his time at Richmond, Appel coached at UNC-Charlotte, University of Idaho, Davidson College, the United States Air Force Academy and Washington State University. Appel has coached multiple athletes that have gone on to play in the NFL, MLB, NBA, and MLL.


A lover of all things strength and girth, Appel has competed in Weightlifting, Powerlifting and Strongman. Appel has won state titles in Weightlifting and Powerlifting, and qualified for Nationals in Powerlifting and Strongman. Appel is currently training to hit a National qualifying total in weightlifting as well as compete in his first Highland Games, and possibly his first BBQ competition (all things girth!).


Appel is Strength and Conditioning Coach Certified with the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association (SCCC) and is a certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (NSCA) and USA Weightlifting Club Coach.


He gave up his major decision-making responsibilities when he married his wife Laurie in 2013. The couple have a beautiful little girl named Lilah, and an awesome little son named Sawyer.

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jesse Strawser

Jesse Strawser (affectionately known as the Big Man by those smaller than him) is the Co-Head Honcho at B.I.G. B.O.E. Strength. Strawser is also the Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at Christopher Newport University.  Strawser serves as the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for men and women’s basketball, women’s lacrosse, men’s soccer, baseball, men’s and women’s tennis and golf. He also assists with all aspects of football strength and conditioning. Many of CNU’s teams are ranked in the top 25 in the DIII rankings. 


Prior to working at Christopher Newport University, Strawser spent over a year at Villanova University working as the Head Strength Coach for baseball, men and women’s tennis, cheer, golf, as well as the track and field throwers.  Jesse also assisted with the Wildcats football team at Villanova University. 


Prior to Villanova, Strawser coached at Muhlenberg College, St. Luke’s Health Network, Iron Athlete and the University of Richmond.  Strawser is proud that he has coached multiple athletes that have gone on to play professional sports.


The Big Man has been competing in strength sports since 2008.  He joined Twin City powerlifting club early on and had the opportunity to lift and train with powerlifters who have lifted in the IPF and were ranked internationally.  Strawser has set multiple records in powerlifting in the USAPL and 100% Raw (ADAU Raw Power).  He has also competed multiple times in strongman and is currently training for his first weightlifting meet and Highland Games competition. 


Strawser is certified through the NSCA as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and is working towards getting his USAW certification in the upcoming months.

Jesse made his final decision by way of marriage, when marrying his wife Emily in 2018.