I am in a plane right now heading back to North Carolina. I was in Minneapolis this past weekend with a Learn 2 Lift Seminar at Undisputed Strength and Conditioning, my home away from home. Ironically I am sitting beside a fellow named Dylan, a listener of The Barbell Life. He came up to me in the airport because he recognized me, and it really reminded me of the amount of people that I am blessed to affect each and every day. The whole encounter caused me to look at 2014 as a whole, and wow, what a year that it was.
It wasn’t all gumdrops and lollipops as Jon North used to say. It was full of massive peaks with equally massive valleys. All and all it was a year full of personal growth and enlightenment that I want to pass on to you. Early in the year, I lost my dear friend Lisa G. My friendship, nope scratch that, my sibling relationship with Lisa sparked my thoughts on “Barbell Life”. Her sickness rocked my world. It forever rocked the world of the Mash Compound. I can tell you with complete honesty that it was as if my own sister was dying of cancer. I broke down crying every other week. Weekly my wife had to remind me that God was in control of all of our lives. When she passed, a bomb exploded inside me. I will probably never be the same, and that is ok. The whole experience helped me focus my life, and it showed me the degree of which the barbell life can affect us all.
Lisa and I had one thing in common: “the barbell”. I was her first trainer, and honestly I didn’t think that she would last. She couldn’t squat her own body weight up from an air squat. Well a lot of you know that she went on to be a solid powerlifter and weightlifter at 40+ years old and a mother of two. She totally embraced the lifestyle, and was a mother to all my crazy young athletes that spend all their time hanging around my gym. After her death, I was left wondering the meaning of all that I was doing. After all the self-pity receded, I was able to make sense of it all.
I don’t know of any other thing on earth that will bring people together like the barbell. When people come in the gym and grab the cold steel, they are able to set politics, race, gender, and religion aside for just a couple of hours. For those few hours, they are all equally in the same battle against gravity and weight. Each person might have a slightly different goal, but they all are trying to reach that goal. That is what makes them all the same! They have all entered into the struggle of the barbell, but the cool thing is that they aren’t alone. They are all in the race against the barbell together, and that is a beautiful thing.
The barbell life doesn’t just happen within the gym. It rings across the world. Thanks to podcasts, blogs, YouTube, and other forms of social media, people from around the world can learn from each other and socialize. January 2014 I found out just how strong that world wide Barbell Life Family Phenomenon really was. I have a daughter in Minnesota. Her name is Bailey, and I love her so very much! Last Christmas, I was leaving Minneapolis, and I just posted a status that I was looking to partner with a gym in the Minneapolis area. I explained that my daughter lived in the state, and I wanted to work with a Minnesota gym so I could come see Bailey more frequently.
Truthfully I wasn’t expecting any response, but three gyms replied. After talking to them all, I went with Undisputed Strength and Conditioning. The owners Vinh and Jason are simply amazing. They were the most sincere with me, but their knowledge and desire to help others is the reason that I stuck with them. The people training at that gym have no idea how lucky they are to have such amazing coaches. Their hearts have for sure won my loyalty for life. They are my brothers, and I love them.
It’s not surprising that such awesome guys have formed a community that is second to none. Every time that I visit, I can’t wait to see: Andrew, Sarah, Ben, Ricky, Michelle, Katie, and the rest of the gang. We always have so much fun together lifting, eating, and just doing life. It’s so much like an extension of my gym family at the Mash Compound. It’s just like being at home with them except I miss my wife and Rock. These people have truly opened their hearts to me, and I promise that my heart will never close to them. I love my Northern Family.
I encourage you all to experience The Barbell Life. If all you do is lift weights and go home, then you are missing the big picture. When I met Dylan today in the airport, we were immediately connected because of the barbell. We hung out the rest of the time, and we almost missed the plane talking so much. He is now sitting right beside me, and it is all thanks to the barbell.
I have over 400 online athletes that I am responsible for now between Mash Mafia Weightlifting, Eat & Lift What You Want, and Online Coaching with Coach Mash. I have about fifteen athletes that I coach at MuscleDriver USA, and another 30 at the Mash Compound. I have over 5000 people that follow one or more of my Free Online Programs. “The Barbell Life” reaches over 7000 people per episode. Any one of these people are my Barbell Family. They are in my club! They are in my fraternity. All they had to do was pick up the barbell. What other instrument or power, besides the bible, has that much power?
I am partners, friends, and coach of Adee Zukier and Hayden Bowe. Together they make up Team WAG, and together we make up Team Lift & Eat What You Want. Adee and Hayden moved to the Mash Compound for about six months last year. They are both incredible athletes, but they are even better friends. All we initially had in common was our love for the barbell. Now together we host a program that boasts nearly 200 members. I believe that we are successful because our love for the barbell, and our desire to help others is obvious in our videos, blogs, and podcasts. That gives people trust in us, and that passion is contagious. People want to work with coaches like that. They want to experience “Barbell Life”.
Here are my suggestions:
• Start lifting weights
• If you have a gym, get to know the people.
• Hang out with those people, you will find similar struggles.
• Realize that you are not in this alone.
• Listen to podcasts, read blogs, and read articles.
• If you find someone that inspires you, don’t be afraid to meet that person. All of us want to meet you.
• Experience the love of “The Barbell Life”
I have learned that I will always prioritize the coaching of my onsite and online team members. However, I want to inspire, teach, and coach as many people from around the globe that I can. I want to meet these people, and I want to get to know them as well. Life is short. Lisa G showed me that, but she showed me a lot more. I want to make the most out of every second that God grants me on this earth. Don’t we all just want to leave this world a little better than we found it? If not, we should!
We have several ways to be a part of our Barbell Life. Check them out:
Free Newsletter with Free Programming
All are fine ways to join our family! We love and appreciate you all!
Be on the outlook for our new #GridStyle coming very soon!!!!