Create Opportunities! MDUSA, Jon North, and Seizing the Day!


Last night, I found the blog that I wrote after visiting MDUSA for the first time over two years ago. I was in Charlotte, and I simply seized the moment to meet Coach Pendlay and the Team. When I heard that a corporation like Muscle Driver USA was sponsoring a Weightlifting Team, I knew that I wanted to be a part of it. Instead of waiting around hoping that I might bump into them one day, I created an opportunity that has paid off in so many ways.

Realize, I knew that I had quality things to offer the team. I wasn’t looking for a handout. I simply knew that I wanted to be a part of something so amazing. I also knew that MDUSA would ultimately benefit just as much by partnering with me. Now two years later, I have the best job in America. Here are the takeaways:

1. Make yourself valuable through education, experience, and character.
2. Never succumb to circumstances
3. Create opportunities
4. Be confident
5. Be humble

Here is the story:

Muscle Driver USA, Jon North, Glenn Pendlay, and the Attitude Nation

This past weekend and this week have been some of the most exciting times for me personally and MashElite. Last weekend Drew and I along with two MashElite staffers Eze and Sam travelled to Charlotte to take place in Perform Better’s one day functional movement seminar. I was excited like a school boy for the end of school and the first day of summer vacation because I knew two of the presenters, and I was reading the book of one of the others. I am convinced that the thirst for knowledge is a driving part of life. Too many people in America simply go to their job, and then they go home watch mindless reality TV before retiring to bed. If you don’t exercise your brain, what do you think happens to it? The same phenomenon is what is causing such high obesity rates in America. America is no longer exercising its brain or body! We are all turning into a bunch of mindless blobs, and we have no one to blame but ourselves. Anyway I am done with that rant!

We arrived at our hotel in Charlotte around 2p, and I had the idea to watch the MDUSA Guys and Gal do their max out day. I knew in my head that they were competing this weekend at the Arnold Classic, so I assumed that Friday would be their last max out day. I was right! For all of you that don’t know what is happening at Muscle Driver USA I am going to explain the exciting things that are happening down there. Muscle Driver USA is a strength and conditioning equipment company specializing in weightlifting equipment, athletic equipment, and crossfit equipment. Their prices are the best out there, and MDUSA is where I get almost all of my equipment. They are also home to some of the best Weightlifters in America. Their coach Glenn Pendlay is arguably the best weightlifting/strength and conditioning coach in America and is doing more than anyone before him for the sport of weightlifting. He is also the VP at Muscle Diver, so you know that a company finally has an expert helping them with the design of their equipment. MDUSA is also sponsoring the weightlifters financially, so these Olympic hopefuls can focus on becoming the best for America. Tom Sroka is one of the elite athletes down there, so I contacted him to make sure that it would be cool if we visited, and he assured me that they all would welcome the extra motivation. Let me tell you we were all in for a treat!


The team consists of Jon North, Tom Sroka, Jessica North, Travis Cooper, Mike Szela, Chris Gute, James Tatum, and Kaleb Whitby. They all put on a show! The standouts for the day where Jon North and James Tatum. I believe that James Snatched 140k/308lbs and Clean & Jerked 166k/365lbs at 77k/170lbs body weight, and he has only been lifting for barely two years. UNBELIEVABLE! Jon put on a show though! His snatches were awesome! He hit 150k/330lbs, and then stood one foot in total defiance of weight that would crush most humans. He took 160k/352lbs next, and absolutely smoked it! He had my attention then. Next I watch him put on the gold standard 3 red plates per side which in layman’s terms is 170k/374lbs, and at 94k/207lbs body weight that is a rarity to see. I sat on the edge of my seat for this attempt. It didn’t go as planned for him, but it still had my heart rate through the roof. Next he move to clean & Jerks, and at 170k/374lbs he actually caught it and looked over at Coach Pendlay and laughed. He then move to 190k/418lbs, and absolutely murdered the weight! I thought that he was going to go 200k/440lbs, but he chose 196k/431lbs. He nailed the weight on the clean, and simply had a mental lapse for the jerk would have been just as easy. I am predicting 166K Snatch(American Record), and 196k Clean & Jerk for the win and PRs in the Snatch, Clean & Jerk, and total. Coach Pendlay has done a fantastic job in the tapering and supercompensation is kicking baby!

Afterwards Jon North invited all of us out to dinner to talk a little shop, and of course we were all excited. A lot of people have this guy all wrong! People mistake passion, drive, and confidence for arrogance. He is one of the nicer guys in all of the strength sports, and expressed a great amount of humility giving tons of respect to the guys that I trained with at the Olympic Training Center. Don’t get me wrong he has every intention of being the best lifter in America, but he respects those of us that came before him. We stayed till almost midnight talking shop and comparing notes from my era and his. I felt like I was instantly 23 years old again hanging out with Wes Barnett and Andy Garcy(two of my friends from the OTC). Later on Tuesday of this week he calls me to be a part of one of his podcasts with him and Coach Pendlay. I was honored to say the least! We had a great time debating some of the many arguments surrounding the topics of weightlifting in America. You all should check out his website Not to mention anything that you spend with him goes to supporting one of America’s Future Olympians. Not to mention you should all check out Tom Sroka’s website as well, and google the whole team. They all have so much to offer the strength and conditioning world. I know that I have shamelessly plugged my MDUSA friends, but I believe in what they are doing as a team, a company, and dang it they are all nice people. So look them up! I will talk more about the Perform Better Seminar in my next blog!

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