Coronavirus Summary (And Perspective)

Right now I am sitting at home with my family thinking about how blessed I am to have a family I love and want to be around. I owe that (and pretty much everything awesome in my life) to God.

Part of what I am doing is going over the information from credible sites like the CDC and WHO to take a peek at the data. From there I am going to make a determination on how to proceed. As I was reading, I decided I would inform my readers as to the truth of what’s going on with this crazy virus.

First I want to say that you guys have got to stop feeding off of each other with zero facts to back up anything you’re saying. This is irrational at best – and irresponsible at worst case. I decided to sit here and read through the data for you, give you the summary version, and then you can make an informed decision.

This won’t be politically charged. I am not into that, especially during crises like this. I am simply going to give you the facts. Then at the end I am going to give you some of my thoughts and some ideas on how to look and discern all of this. However, whatever you decide to do with the information is up to you. I just want the best for all of you.

What is COVID-19?

There are a few mixed reports, but it appears the first reported case of COVID-19 was reported December 20, 2019 in Wuhan, China. It’s not completely confirmed, but it appears to be linked to the live animal market in Wuhan. Scientists speculate that the virus was transmitted to humans from either a pangolin or a bat. However there isn’t confirmation as of yet.

The first case was recorded in the United States on January 20, 2020 – in Washington State related to travel from China. On January 30th, the World Health Organization proclaimed COVID-19 a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. This strain of coronavirus was given its name February 11th, and it was named after the crown-like formations on the tips of its protruding spikes.

Figure 1 Captured from “Front Line Genomics”

COVID-19 is in the same coronavirus family as SARS and MERS. In just a bit I will talk about how COVID-19 compares to influenza, and I will compare it to the other famous pandemics in the last century. You will see that this one is quite dangerous.

However, first I want to introduce you to a very important date for Americans. On February 26th, the first person was identified as positive for COVID-19 who was unrelated to travel with China or contact with someone with a history of travel to and from China. On February 26th there were 53 confirmed cases. Now on March 14th, there are 2,499 cases in America. It’s funny because a week ago I had warned people about this crazy virus – and people almost crucified me. However there is something called exponential growth that most people weren’t considering at the time. I was watching countries like Italy go from 14 to 500 cases in four days. You don’t have to be an MIT graduate to know that’s not good at all. In the last three days, the number of cases has more than doubled… and so have the deaths.

The flu normally starts at the end of September and peaks sometime in February about 4-5 months later. Remember on February 26th, we were at 53 confirmed cases – and now just 17 days later we are at 2,499. Now imagine four more months of just half of that growth. Now can we stop saying that this thing is just another flu?

COVID-19 Compared to the Flu

Exponential Growth

This is the reason people have to stop comparing COVID-19 to the flu. Exponential growth is a look at how quickly a number (in this instance, cases of COVID-19) grows at an exponential rate. Our World of Data is an awesome website that really breaks down data and explains it in a digestible way. In this article, the site broke down all the data for COVID-19. They looked at its growth for individual countries worldwide.

In America, the virus is doubling every three days. Now that won’t hold true forever of course, but it is a figure we should monitor as long as the growth rate is maintained. As of this morning (I started this article on March 14th and now finishing on the morning of March 15th), we are at 3,045 cases and 60 deaths. Once again, remember this thing started spreading in America on February 26th to people without travel to Wuhan or direct contact with a traveler to/from Wuhan. If this exponential growth continues for just 15 more days, we are looking at 97,440. If it continues to spread for 30 days at this rate, we are looking at 3,118,080.

This is why the government is taking such extreme measures. If the mortality rate is just 2% (we won’t really know for a while until we figure out approximately how many cases went unreported), then that would mean 62,361 people in the United States alone will die from this. I don’t have a doom-and-gloom view of this thing. I just believe that we need to look at the numbers and act appropriately. Yes, the bigger risk is for the older population, but I don’t want my in-laws, my mother, or anyone in my family to die if they don’t have to. Right?

Basic Reproduction Number/R0

This is the number assigned to a bug describing how many people an infected person will spread the disease to. Right now, COVID-19 has an R0 of 2.2 (see here) – meaning that an infected person will spread the virus to 2.2 other people on average. The flu has a rating of 1.3. This is in part because we have a vaccine for the flu, and our bodies have built up a natural immunity to the strands of influenza that we see each year.

Mortality Rate

On average the flu kills about 0.1% of the people who contract it here in America. Thus far in the 2019-2020 flu season, we are at 0.05%. In contrast, it appears that COVID-19 has a mortality rate of between 2-3% (much higher in some reports) of the people who contract the virus. We will go with 2%, as we won’t know the real number for several months due to the number of unreported cases. The flu reports already have an estimated number of non-reports from past years. Regardless, from the data I have looked at it appears the mortality rate is still about twenty times more deadly than the traditional strands of flu that we receive see each year in America. (0.1% versus 2%)

Here’s a look Worldwide:

My Thoughts

So those are the facts. It’s up to you to do whatever you want with them. However, I am choosing to take this moment in time to reflect on the things that mean the most to me like:

  • My God
  • My Family
  • My Friends and Athletes
  • All of You

I now have more time to worship, love on my family, plan for my athletes, and produce content for all of you. I am actually enjoying my time at home because I am spending it loving on my precious family. My kids love it because they get me all the time. What I am saying is that this is a time to reflect on the things we have, not the things that we don’t have. If you’re alive, you have so much to be thankful for.

I don’t think this is the President’s fault, China’s fault, or anyone else’s fault. Viruses happen, and they will happen again. Here’s the one thing I know to be true – and that is God is in control. If you are a believer, then you believe that God created the universe. If He did all of that, I am confident that He has a plan for all of this as well.

Job 38 3:7
Now gird up your loins like a man,
And I will ask you, and you instruct Me!
“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell Me, if you have understanding,
Who set its measurements? Since you know.
Or who stretched the line on it?
“On what were its bases sunk?
Or who laid its cornerstone,
When the morning stars sang together
And all the sons of God shouted for joy?

These versus let you know exactly who’s in charge, but then the words from Romans 8:28 remind us that eventually it is all for our own good:

Romans 8:28
We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called to His purpose.

I know some of you don’t agree with my beliefs. I still love you. However, at this moment I am thankful for my faith.

Recommendations to Stay Healthy

By now we all know to wash our hands. A few simple suggestions are:

  • Avoid crowds
  • Keep working out
  • Drink lots of fluid
  • Sleep 8-10 hours per day
  • Limit unnecessary simple sugar
  • Find ways to limit stress

I am going to write a followup article on my thoughts regarding strengthening one’s immune system – with some ways to workout at home with minimal or no equipment. My professor, Chris Sowers, former Biology Professor at the University of North Carolina, is going to help with that article to give all of you some great information on strengthening your immune system and overall health. My goal is to give all of you as much free information as possible in a time when we are all going to need information at a premium.

I want to end with saying that in my opinion the government is not overreacting. South Korea got a hold of this virus the quickest, by testing as many people as possible, and isolating anyone testing positive and the people in contact with those people. Guys, I know this is a pain, but the only way to neutralize this madness is staying at a distance from each other for a while. Otherwise this thing will continue to spread with a vengeance.

Maybe you don’t care about older people. To be clear, I do very much – because that’s my mother and my beloved in-laws. Still maybe you don’t care about the elderly for whatever reason, and I am not judging. However consider this:

  1. If we don’t get a handle on this, hospitals will be overwhelmed.
  2. Then people will start dying from many other ailments – such as a major asthma attack or pneumonia caused from other diseases (lack of ventilators)
  3. Healthcare professionals will start to be vulnerable from being overworked
  4. Then a minor setback to the economy will turn into a lingering issue that devastates the economy on a global scale

Either way, this thing is going to alter our way of life – no doubt about that one. Our actions will determine just how altered our lives will be and for how long. For once in America, let’s put our emotions and political party aside, and let’s make educated and well thought-out decisions. Let’s help small businesses bounce back when all of this is over. Let’s stop bashing each other over our political beliefs, and let’s start looking at each other for what we all are:

“Humans trying to do our best to make a better life for our families while surviving rough times like this.”

For all of you who are not as financially affected, we appreciate your ongoing business at For those of you who are crushed financially right now, if you need me for anything (and I mean anything), message me at and I will provide you with whatever I have in my disposal – for free if need be. I don’t care about money right now. I care about my fellow humans on the planet of ours. I no longer look at other countries as a foreign land. I no longer look at USA versus Russia, or USA versus China. At this point in time and God willing from now on, it’s just Planet Earth. It’s no longer Americans, Chinese, Irish, and Colombians. Now it’s just humans.

I love you guys. I hope to take this time to write more and more, so let me know what topics you want to hear about. Now is the time to get whatever you need from me. I have lots of time on my hands.

We are here for you during this Coronavirus crisis.

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Lessons from a Career as a Female Strength Coach with Jena Ready – The Barbell Life 299

How many female strength coaches you know?

Well prepare to meet one more today – Jena Ready, the head strength and conditioning coach for Wake Forest University’s Women’s Basketball program.

She started off coaching Division II sports (which is where she recommends EVERYONE start), so she coached tons of athletes in all sorts of sports. And now at WFU, she’s been able to give all her concentration to one sport and one group of athletes.

We talk about all that she’s learned along the way on this podcast – and we also open a can of worms as we talk about the sexism in the industry.


The Art of Combining:

Weightlifting - Powerlifting - Bodybuilding

Strongman - Functional Fitness - Endurance Cardio

Learn the art and science of how to train multiple disciplines simultaneously. Get stronger, faster, bigger...


  • Why do strength coaches want to pretend like they’re physical therapists?
  • The brilliant idea of using snatch complexes to warm up athletes
  • How to REALLY get mobility
  • The differences between male and female athletes
  • Is the “2.5 bodyweight squat rule” really true?
  • and more…

The Importance of Sustainability

What kind of relationship do you have with food? Is it healthy or unhealthy? Is it sustainable?

The only good diet is a sustainable one.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), a sustainable diet is “a diet with low environmental impacts that contribute to food and nutrition security and to healthy life for present and future generations.”

Different ways of life

I just spent the last few days in Columbus, Ohio at the Arnold Sports Festival. As you can imagine, there were some of the most elite athletes from multiple disciplines (weightlifting, powerlifting, strongman, CrossFit, bodybuilding) in the same convention center. Close to three years ago, we spent the weekend in Nashville sharing our time between the CrossFit Central Regional and the hospital. My father was supposed to have major heart surgery that weekend, but he wasn’t able to. His blood sugar was too high and the doctor said they couldn’t safely perform the surgery and provide a positive prognosis for his outcome. They sent him home with instructions to get his A1C down and blood sugar under control. Fast forward six months – and he was able to have the surgery. In October, my father celebrated his two-year anniversary of having major heart surgery and still doing well ( with only a few hiccups so far).

These athletes and my father are on opposite sides of the spectrum. The athletes are trying to be as strong and fit as possible, while my father is just trying to maintain some quality of life. Neither are healthy per se. Any professional sport comes with health risks and takes an extreme toll on the body. What they do have in common is that nutrition plays a huge role in their goals.

The Current Crisis

In the United States, we have access to more food in a day than people in other countries might see in a month or even a year. We walk into a gas station and candy bars are staring us in the face, sodas are on the end aisle, and Little Debbie’s snacks scream our name. There is a fast food restaurant on every street corner and a rainbow colored Frappuccino the size of a small dog. Social gatherings and family get-togethers are centered around food! With all of this access, no wonder we are facing an obesity epidemic in this country. And there IS an epidemic.

The National Council on Aging reports that upward of 92% of all older adults are suffering from one chronic illness, and around 77% have at least two. Heart disease and type II diabetes (both of which are often preventable) are at the top of the list of chronic illnesses and are responsible for up to two-thirds of deaths in older adults each year. More shockingly, according to the American Heart Association, childhood obesity has tripled since the 1960s. Now one in three children and adolescents are considered obese. It has become the top health concern among medical professionals. This is crazy! We are doing our children a disservice! What do you think will be the quality of life for our already obese children when they reach senior status? Stop the madness!

Fueling our lives and goals

I will use the analogy of a car. Petroleum is the fuel that we use to run our cars. In order to keep our cars in top working condition, they require quality fuel and maintenance. They also have to be driven regularly in order to keep them running. Now, think about that. Food is our fuel. We need quality food, maintenance, and regular exercise in order to stay in top working condition.

Am I saying don’t enjoy food? NO, that isn’t what I am saying at all. What I AM saying is, on a regular daily basis, put food in your mouth that will support your goals and promote health and well-being. This will look different for everyone. What the professional athlete can and needs to eat to perform at the top of their sport will look much different than what my father needs to eat in order to maintain quality of life.

What you put in your body on a daily basis will have an affect on your performance AND your health. Not taking in enough calories can cause loss of muscle mass, fatigue, moodiness, slower metabolism, and the list goes on. Taking in too many calories can lead to weight gain and ultimately to chronic illnesses, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Excess calories often mean excess refined sugars, which are a huge contributor to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other cardiovascular diseases.

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Taking control back

So, how do we reverse the already deteriorating future of our obese youth as well as give quality of life back to our older adults? Here are some ideas I have that might help:

  • Realize where you are on the spectrum – If you are an athlete, you are fueling your body for performance. You can eat quality foods most of the time and indulge every once in a while with no issue. If you are suffering from a chronic illness, those indulgences can be detrimental. You won’t have the same luxuries as the athlete.
  • Be an example – As a parent, our children mimic us. They are watching, and we can teach them so much. Providing our children with quality food is step one. Teaching them about quality food and how to prepare it is step two. Showing them how to exercise self-control when we do indulge is step three. They will carry what we teach them into their adult life.
  • Exercise self-control – When we do indulge, maybe get the “Like It” size at Coldstone rather than the “Gotta Have It”. Put it in a cup rather than a cone. Eat two slices of pizza rather than a whole pizza by yourself. This list can go on.
  • Exercise! – Obviously athletes will exercise. It is part of their sport. I’m talking to my kids and my average adults. Get moving!!!

Practical application

Additionally, here are some steps you can take to keep your food intake in check on a daily basis.

  1. Have a Prep Day – Decide what you want the bulk of your protein to be for the week, pick a starch (rice, sweet potatoes, quinoa), and vegetables. Pick a day and spend a couple of hours pre-cooking the majority of your meals. This will give you go-to meals even on the go and in a time crunch.
  2. Have snacks readily available – Have protein bars for on the go. My favorite kinds of bars are “Oh Yeah! One” bars and “Fit Joy” bars. They have a great macro breakdown. Also, I love rice cakes and peanut butter or an apple/banana and peanut butter.
  3. Track It – Use an application such as MyFitnessPal to track your macros. It helps to know everything you are eating and drinking. A lot of times, we don’t realize how little or how much we are consuming until we track it. Also, if we know we have to track it, we might be less likely to deviate.
  4. Pre Plan – Don’t wait until the end of the night and go back in to track the current day’s food intake. Put everything you plan on eating into your app the night before or the morning of so you can make adjustments as necessary. Waiting until right before you go to bed to only realize you are short 75 carbs doesn’t do you much good.
  5. Research Food Establishments – If you know you are eating out, research the menu of the restaurant and decide what you want to order prior to getting there. This would tie back in with number four by pre-planning. If you know you are going to be eating more carbs when you go out, you can be sure to save enough if you plan properly.
  6. Forgive Yourself – Sometimes if we don’t pre-plan or prepare, we end up overdoing it – and guilt normally follows. With guilt, one bad meal turns into two bad meals and then three. Instead, forgive yourself and move on.
  7. Moderation – The great thing about counting and tracking macros is it is sustainable. Pick high quality, nutrient dense food to eat most of the time, and enjoy your favorite treats now and then. I refer back to numbers three and six when I say that indulging once in a while is ok – and you shouldn’t feel guilty about it.

The only way we are going to turn this around and become a more fit society as a whole is to target our kids. They are the future – and if we don’t teach them how to be healthy and the importance of wellness and exercise, we are doomed as a society. We can create such bright futures for them! Let’s GO!!

About Crystal: Crystal is Travis’ right hand person! She is a USA Weightlifting National Coach and holds her NSCA – Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist certification. She is an RN with a Masters degree in Nurse Education. She also holds multiple other certifications to include CFL2, USATF, Precision Nutrition, and Flex Diet. She is also an international elite ranked powerlifter.

Weightlifting Predictions Leading up to the Olympics with Seb Ostrowicz – The Barbell Life 298

This may be the most exciting few weeks EVER in the sport of weightlifting.

At least that’s what our podcast guest today said. He’s Seb Ostrowicz of Weightlifting House – and he is lovingly known as a true weightlifting nerd. This guy knows more about stats and history than anyone else I know.

So we talk on this podcast about all that’s going on as we lead up to the Olympics, what his predictions are, and all of the wild changes that have happened recently in the rules.

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  • Seb’s thoughts after living with Ilya for a while
  • The new rule system – and how it has introduced new strategies… and new controversies.
  • Coronavirus impact
  • Who are the Americans going to the Olympics?
  • The Mash PAP catching on
  • and more…

New Horizons in Athlete Testing

It’s safe to say that I am coaching some of the strongest young people in America in the areas of Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting, throwing, football, and wrestling.

We have:

  • two youth weightlifters who have medaled at the Youth World Championships.
  • multiple American records
  • multiple Pan American Records
  • a powerlifter who has unofficially benched 20 pounds over the IPF teenage world record
  • the fourth best thrower in the country
  • multiple football players with D1 offers
  • and one of the best middle school wrestlers in the entire state.

Here’s the kicker. We are in Lewisville, NC. I bet a bunch of you just said, “Where is that?” …Exactly!

My point is that we are good at getting people strong and powerful. Some coaches would probably get satisfied, finalize their approach, and assume their program was unbeatable. The reason my athletes are so good from year to year is because I would never think like that – no matter how many amazing athletes come through my program. My job is to remain on top so my athletes can realize each of their dreams. That’s why they come to me, and that’s what I intend on delivering.


The latest and greatest methods from Travis Mash as he continues to innovate Mash Mafia programming.

Weightlifting - Powerlifting - Super Total

Garage Gym Warrior - Functional Fitness - Strength and Conditioning


So what’s the next step? My goal is to build the best athlete testing protocols in the world during my tenure at Lenoir-Rhyne University. To do so, one must look at all the options out there and decide which ones are the best. This article is going to show you a few of the ways we intend on testing and tracking our athletes, and I will explain the use of each. I want to be up front and tell all of you that this is in the beginning stages and subject to change. However I will keep you updated on the changes.

Over the next few years, I intend on keeping all of you updated on our findings, and therefore potentially advancing the field as we know it.

The Problem

See, most training programs are designed around the training theory of supercompensation discovered by Nikolai N. Yakovlev in 1959 and the fundamentals of periodization published by Lev Matveyev in 1964. The problem is that our athletes aren’t privileged to the same environment as the Russian athletes of their time. Those athletes had a relatively stress free environment and were taking drugs. Our athletes live in a drug-free world filled with social media and the modern day stressors of 2020. We have to take those stressors into consideration.

In a perfect world, training works just like this:

Selye’s General Adaptation Cycle:

The body starts at baseline with a relatively steady state of equilibrium. Then we introduce a training stimulus to the body, causing fatigue and throwing our body out of equilibrium. Our body responds with the CNS sending a distress signal to the PNS (effectors). The PNS uses the Somatic Nervous System (skeletal muscle) and the Autonomic Nervous System (smooth muscle, cardiac muscle, glands, and adipose tissue) to address the disturbance. If the training volume doesn’t surpass the body’s ability to recover, the athlete will get their body back to baseline and then some (supercompensation). The problem is all of the outside disturbances and stress that compound the fatigue, making it hard to get back to baseline – let alone supercompensation.


Omegawave seeks to help coaches better get a handle on all the stressors an athlete is facing inside and outside of training. Omegawave combines heart rate variability along with brain wave activity to monitor the following aspects of readiness:

  • Muscular System
  • Hormonal or Endocrine System
  • Cardio-Pulmonary System
  • Central Nervous System
  • Energy Supply

Omegawave monitors the body in the following three ways:

  1. Heart rate variability (HRV) is used to assess the state of an athlete’s cardiac and autonomic nervous system.
  2. The differential ECG method is used to assess the state of the aerobic and anaerobic energy systems as well as heart rate at anaerobic threshold.
  3. The Omega method measures the brain’s direct current to assess the state of the central nervous system.

Let’s take a closer look at each. I am only going to give an overview, but I am planning follow up articles for all of the measurement systems I am introducing in this article.


HRV is becoming a pretty common way for strength and conditioning coaches to monitor the readiness of athletes. It’s a great way of measuring an athlete’s functional state, predicting overreaching/overtraining, and managing the training process. Put simply, you can measure athletes day to day to ensure that you are not causing too much fatigue and stress.

HRV can also be used to measure the current state of an athlete’s cardiac system with stress index, fatigue, and the body’s ability to adapt. HRV also shows the current state of an athlete’s autonomic nervous system. This is automatic response of the PNS to stress being received by the CNS. The body uses smooth muscle, cardiac muscle, glands, and sometimes adipose tissue to reach a state of homeostasis. If the body is too beat up, continuing to train will only put it further in the tank.

Differential ECG method

The differential ECG method is used to assess the state of the aerobic and anaerobic systems as well as heart rate at anaerobic threshold. Basically this tells us if the body has the energy stores to carry out a workout with various energy systems. You can be strong but still be tanked in this area. When we see differences in the ECG patterns, we know there are disturbances with the energy and metabolism of the heart.

Since cardiac and skeletal muscle share similar structures and biochemical reactions, training adaptations related to programming and periodization create similar changes in each. This correlation allows Omegawave to analyze specific characteristics of the QRS complex, a combination of three of the graphical deflections seen on a typical ECG, to assess the energy supply state of the cardiovascular and skeletal muscle systems. This is your fuel gauge just like on a car. If you are running on empty, you better pull over and fill up or risk running out of gas.

Omega Method

Finally, the Omega method measures the direct current potential and is used to assess the state of the central nervous system. An optimal voltage is necessary for useful adaptation as a response to training loads. If your DC is running low, your ability to adapt to a stimulus, to follow directions, or to retain information from a coach is drastically minimized. You coordination will be affected – along with quality of movement, efficiency, and motor learning. It basically measures an athlete’s current state of their regulatory mechanism or their CNS, gas exchange system, detoxification system, and hormonal system parameters.

The Omegawave System gives feedback and suggestions of daily best practices. My main goal is to use these measurements as data in combination with other data sources. Then multiple conclusions will be able to be drawn, allowing coaches to develop better plans for their athletes.

Neurotransmitter testing

Before he passed away, Charles Poliquin hypothesized that neurotransmitters could give coaches hints into best practices for individualized programming. I have written many articles about the different types of athletes. I’ve pointed out before how some athletes flourish with programs that include high loads, high frequency, and low volume – while others tend to kill it with high amounts of volume, moderate loads, and moderate frequency. Unless we test athletes, it could take months or years to perfect their programs. However, if Charles was right, we could start out on the most optimal path.

Charles explained that he believed each athlete has a dominant neurotransmitter: either GABA, acetylcholine, dopamine, or serotonin. He also believed that each neurotransmitter correlated with one of the Chinese elements: earth, water, fire, metal, and wood.

  1. Fire with Dopamine
  2. Wood with Acetylcholine
  3. Metal with GABA
  4. Water with Serotonin
  5. Earth was equivalent to a balanced neurotransmitter profile

Dopamine Fire Types: Charles believed that these athletes had incredible nervous systems, allowing them to easily adapt to training modalities and protocols. He believed they needed high volume and high variety for continued adaptation. He seemed to classify their archetype with their neurotransmitter test. If this is true, it will be interesting to see how my system to classify each athlete’s archetype correlates with Charles’s predictions. In the case of the Dopamine Fire, they have an inspiring nature and vibrant personality. On the other hand, they have a tendency to lose their temper.

Acetylcholine Wood Types: These athletes need a bit more frequency and intensity. However, you will want to lower the volume a bit. They still need change, but slight changes every couple of weeks will work best. You have to watch this group, as they might get hurt going too hard. This athlete is a pioneer. They are going to come up with new concepts along with having extravagant plans and goals. They are quick witted and creative.

Metal GABA Types: These types of athlete appears to model Brett Bartholomew’s Mouth Archetype. They are going to do more talking than training. This type of athlete will lean toward drug use to gain an advantage.

Water Serotonin Types: these athletes are free spirits. They aren’t going to love training at all. They might visit the yoga room a couple of times per month, but that will probably be it. They will cheer on the accomplishments of others but quickly get bored by the training process.

Balanced Earth Types: These athletes fit right into one of my plans. I normally start people with a plan straight out of Prilepin’s chart, and then I vary based on performance and feedback. They need a steady balance of intensity, volume, and frequency. These athletes do not like variation to their programs or changes to the environment. Block training with some form of linear periodization should fit them perfectly.

I am definitely intrigued to dig into these a bit deeper. If it’s valid, this could save coaches like me years of trial and error with programming. That has a bigger impact than you can even imagine. If I can dial in an athlete six months to a year sooner than normal, it could increase an athlete’s chances to make an Olympic team substantially. This test could help avoid overtraining and possibly injury. Lastly, it could help a coach gain athlete buy-in at a much faster rate, which is the battle we all fight every day.

Developing Archetypes

Naturally this fits in after the neurotransmitter section. I am a huge fan of Coach Brett Bartholomew and his book Conscious Coaching. I have now read it twice, and I hosted a clinic with a huge section discussing the book. Athlete buy-in is the 2020 buzzword. We all talk about it, and we talk about its importance. However not many people are actually able to get complete athlete buy-in from every individual they coach. Conscious Coaching is all about identifying and classifying the personalities and nature of athletes. The book gives you the tools needed to extract the necessary information to make the classifications, and it gives you suggestions for hacking the code of each athlete.

I am going to work closely with a sport psychologist to develop psychological evaluations that will help me identify the archetype of each athlete, and that will help me develop best-practice coaching strategies. I also hope to arrange periodic sports psych meetings for each of my athletes – both individually and as a team. This is an aspect of training that can be a huge advantage if an athlete isn’t scared to take advantage of the field. In my experience when you are at the tip of the iceberg, the deciding factor will come down to mental toughness. During this last Olympic quad, I observed that the athletes who seem to be clearly head and shoulders above the rest of the pack (like Kate Nye, for example) are mentally the strongest competitors with enormous amounts of confidence and swagger on the platform.

Velocity Based Training

VBT can be so many things to a coach if they happen to understand the concept. The first key to maximizing the potential of VBT is data collection. You need to form baselines for all of your athletes. You will want average velocities at varying percentages of varying movements. For example, I recommend establishing an average velocity at around 80 or 85%. You need a percentage to be your regulatory percentage. If you are excessively slower on any given day, then that is a trigger to alter the program to something like a technique and recovery day. If your peak velocity is 0.3 m/s faster than normal, you might consider pushing things a bit.

Once I have a velocity profile on all of my athletes, the entire program will be velocity-based in nature. This will give me so many advantages. For example, it will keep things logical. Athletes are emotional. They will snatch a weight faster than lightning, and then they will tell me it felt heavy or off. I will be able to show them quantifiable evidence of what’s really going on. VBT will also keep athletes from going heavy on days where they have nothing to gain and everything to lose.


Mash Elite's Guide to Velocity-Based Training

By measuring bar speed (simple to do with your smartphone), you can guarantee each and every training session is as effective and safe as possible.

I am most interested in comparing the notes of VBT with Omegawave. If Omegawave’s feedback is telling me that an athlete is overtrained, I am curious what the velocity will tell me. I hope of course that everything is synchronized. Combining the two will tell me all the truths. For example, one athlete could have a tanked energy supply but still be able to pull on some heavy snatches. There might not be any glycogen available for a three-hour grind session, but the CP system can deliver some 90% singles during a short-duration but high-load session.

Velocity Based Training combined with Omegawave will help me perfect the exact amount of prescribed volume to elicit just enough stress to fatigue the system without destroying it. I hope I am getting that point across to all of you. If not, let me be super clear:

“It all comes down to perfecting volume, intensity, and frequency prescriptions, so that they fatigue the system eliciting a response from the body to maintain homeostasis, and therefore with the help of the autonomic nervous system adapt to a state stronger than the original baseline.”

The key is data. Omegawave and VBT are great ways to dial in athletes. I am hoping the neurotransmitter testing will help expedite that process even more. Of course, I will track all the markers of my programming – like total volume, average intensity, K-value, and hopefully a lot more that Dr. Koch and Dr. Leiting help me develop. I will share everything with all of you when we finish that process.

Data is important because it holds all the answers. If an athlete wins a gold medal at the World Championships going six for six, you are going to want to look hard at the data markers. You are probably going to keep similar markers for the next plan. However, if things don’t go as planned, you can look at what not to repeat.

We are going to have each of our athletes fill out daily questionnaires so that we can track external stressors (like big tests, struggling in class, break ups, and more). This will help us to know when to trim the volume of our own programs. Remember, stress is stress. If they are getting hit with stress in class, you have to respond.

One other data point I am looking into is genetic testing. I talked to Charles Lehman over the weekend from Health Codes DNA – and there was a lot of promising information. I just need to research them and the entire process a bit more. However, if what they told me is true, I will be able to pinpoint nutrition, recovery, programming, and so much more. I can’t wait to share that one with all of you if it’s as good as I think. The testing is also supposed to tell each athlete what foods to avoid as well.

There are still some testing parameters I am looking into like:

  • Jump Mat
  • Force Plate
  • Muscle Biopsy for Fiber Type (of course I will do this through my friend Dr. Andy Galpin, and I will get the best practices for each fiber type.)
  • Bar Path (I already use this parameter of testing, but I am looking for better software solutions.)
  • Sleep Quality
  • Gut Health

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I know some of you probably think I am crazy, but my goal on this earth is to create a program in the sport of weightlifting that is unmatched anywhere in the world. I want my athletes to have every legal advantage under the sun. I also want to provide the world with research and data that will help to improve the overall state of exercise science. I want to leave it better than I found it. At the end of it all, I want to be able to deliver testing options for a variety of budgets and goals.

I am still in the early phases, so I would love to hear from all of you. If I am leaving out a testing parameter, please comment or email me. I want my time spent on getting my PhD to be useful to our entire industry. I want young coaches to avoid the mistakes I made. I want coaches to be so useful and sought after that they can make comfortable livings helping others and loving what they do.

Coaching Groups and Avoiding Injury with Paul Oneid – The Barbell Life 297

Paul Oneid has had a long and varied career as a powerlifter, D1 strength coach, and now a functional rehab specialist.

So we had a ton to talk about on this podcast!

We got into how he’s pursuing a healthy lifestyle as a powerlifter. But we talked a great deal about Paul’s coaching approach and how he deals with the issues that come with large groups.

And as a functional rehab specialist, Paul had a lot to share about mobility, core stability, and avoiding injury.

Protocols for Aches and Pains, Muscular Imbalances & Recovery

Work Harder. Train Longer. Prevent Injury.

Prevent injury, reduce pain and maintain joint health with Travis's specific corrections for your individual muscular imbalances.


  • Using “body shops” with his athletes to work on individual weaknesses in the context of large group training
  • 700 burpees for missing lifts… and getting buy-in
  • The unhealthy lifestyle of powerlifting – and how to improve
  • Different coaching for Canadian football versus American football
  • Business lessons that led him to opening multiple businesses
  • and more…