Category Archives for "Barbell Life"

What We Learned from Our Super Week

A week ago, our coaches were facing the most challenging week in the history of our team.

We had three competing at the Junior Pan American Championships in Cuba – and then 21 were scheduled for the Youth National Championships in Anaheim, CA. One of our athletes, Ryan Grimsland, was signed up for both, since it was his last Youth Nationals.

This article is not just a massive brag session, but it could definitely be. We did kill it! However, as always I want you to get the most out of everything that we do. Therefore we are going to talk about the lessons we learned so all of you can benefit from our trials. As always the goal is to leave this sport and the entire barbell world a bit better than we found it.

Individual Approach with a Team Concept

Since the 2017 Senior National Championships, I haven’t entered a team. The main reason is this is an individual sport, and I don’t want to make decisions based on some team championship. I want to make all of my decisions based on the goals of the athlete – like making an International Team or getting a stipend. I don’t want the extra pressure on the athlete of worrying about some team championship.

Coach Joe Cox, the owner of Krypton Barbell, convinced Coach Crystal and me to consider a National Team. We also partnered with the awesome people from ODC Barbell in Kentucky. Basically it works out to be one big mentorship. Crystal and I mentored Coach Joe, and now Coach Joe is helping Coach Karina.

It definitely makes my heart happy to see our competition philosophies being passed from one coach to the next. Plus it makes it so easy for the entire team because we end up having big coaching staffs, which is much needed at a big competition like Youth Nationals. Team ODC has a house full of talented athletes. It was so much fun helping Joe teach her the science of timing warm ups, counting cards, and making strategic jumps.

Here’s the kicker! Coach Karina is only 21 years old, and she is the head coach. I’ll tell you one thing, Coach Karina is going to be amazing. She had six athletes at Youth Nationals and six medalists with four National Champions. Tim Davis is her father and is legally blind. It’s awesome to see what he has done working with all of these amazing kids. It’s even more amazing to see what great people his actual children are turning into. If I had a child anywhere near Owensboro, KY, I would 100% want them to be a part of what they have going on at ODC Barbell.



* Special Facebook Group Access to the Team

* Discounts on Ebooks

* Tax Deductions

Now let’s get back to maintaining an individual approach. Each and every decision we made was based 100% on what was best for the athlete. Some were trying to PR their totals, some were trying to win a National Championship, and some were trying to make Team USA.

Each attempt is very different from each other. Obviously the first attempt is somewhat conservative because it normally sets the tone for the rest of the session – especially the opening snatch. When I choose an opener, I consider:

  • Training PR – roughly 93% plus or minus 2% in each direction
  • Minimum – the weight that the athlete can hit in training without any misses on their worst day
  • Bar speed during warm ups
  • Overall mentality during warm ups – relaxed, focused, nervous, etc.

I don’t really consider the weight the athlete is trying to end with because I have no problem with hitting a big weight in the back in between an opener and a second attempt. The only time I will open above what I consider to be conservative is during a meet where the one and only goal is making Team USA. I bet some of you still remember when I opened up Hunter Elam with one kilogram above her lifetime personal record. We didn’t care about winning an American Open Series 3. We only wanted to earn a spot on Team USA… and that’s exactly what we did.

I will never be that aggressive with a youth athlete because I want them to form successful habits. However, I have no problem being aggressive with the older youth on second and third attempts to make Team USA. Some would probably think my aggressive nature would lead to a low make to miss ratio, but that isn’t the case at all. Let’s take a look at the official numbers of our Super Squad:

Stats from Youth Nationals/Junior Pan Ams:

So if we were totally focused on what’s best for the athlete, how did we do so well?

For one thing, it’s a youth competition. I am not trying to put any undue stress on the athletes. I want them to build up several wins under their belt, so they get used to winning. We were only semi-aggressive with the older 16-17-year-old athletes, and it was only the ones who had a chance at Team USA. Otherwise we stuck with a 93%-97%-PR structure of taking attempts (give or take a couple percent).

One other thing is we are much more sport specific nowadays, especially in the last month before a meet. At that point we don’t talk a lot about percentages or bar speeds – but instead we talk in terms of openers, last warm ups, second-to-last warm ups, and so on. It really prepares our athletes with what to expect come game day )but we will talk more about that later in the article).

To tell you the truth, I have never really looked at make-to-miss ratios until this competition. It’s fun to see where you fall. When I learned we made 77.3% of our attempts, I was tempted to really rub it in the faces of a couple of social media sites who aren’t big fans. However, I decided to take the high road. I did make a few jabs, but then quickly backed off because at the end of the day we could have a bad meet sometime in the near future.

No other team in America is putting as many athletes on Youth, Junior, and Senior teams as we are. There are going to be ups and downs. That’s the nature of sport. In 2016 Nathan Damron crushed it at Junior Pan Ams, and then he came in seventh at Senior Worlds in 2017. Then he had a rough 2018. In 2018, Morgan McCullough went 5:6 in his first Youth Pan Ams and won a gold medal – and Ryan Grimsland went 6:6. At the 2019 Youth Worlds, they both struggled a bit. Now they both went 5:6 and won a bronze medal in their first Junior Pan Ams, breaking six combined Youth Pan Am records between them. My point is the sport and the athletes are always evolving. Sometimes athletes are trying to overcome injuries, but no one knows that besides the coaches and the athlete.

It shouldn’t bother me when silly meme pages criticize us, but it does. It makes me mad for my athletes mainly. Most of them are kids, and the rest of them are like my kids. I love them – so yes, I take it a bit personal. One site published an opinion that my guy would bomb out at Senior Pan Ams. Well, he didn’t. We took Silver – but dang, it got to me. All I could think about was what that site might do if we actually bombed out. It was silly, I know. The fact is I have never had an athlete bomb out in the back with me at a Youth/Junior/Senior Pan Ams or World Championships. I did withdraw an athlete once because his back was bothering him not because he bombed or was bombing. Who cares really? It’s my fault for letting those folks get to me.

I just love this sport. None of the coaches make a penny from coaching this sport. We do it because we love it. It’s not like some MLB coach making millions. Heck, if I were making a few hundred a month from this sport, I would welcome the criticism. However, I am not making anything. I am simply trying to improve the status of American Weightlifting around the world, and we are doing just that with the help of USA Weightlifting headed my Phil Andrews. That should be my focus, and I will be working to make it 100% my focus moving forwards.

I will end that little pity party rant with the good news that we did kill it at these two meets: seven National Champions, six Pan American Records, Best Male Lifter, Best Overall Female Team, and qualifying three youth for Team USA. I’ll take it whether people want to talk about it or not. Either way I am proud of my entire team. I am also proud of my fellow coaches – Joe Cox, Crystal McCullough, and Coach Karina. Our entire team and staff killed it, and now it’s on to the Pan Am Games in three weeks.

Individual Mindset and Coaching Approach for the Different Athletes

I wish I could tell you a specific way that we coach our athletes to produce results like we just experienced. The truth is it takes a special person to understand the feelings of others. Then it takes a special person willing to spend their entire career molding that ability. Right out of the gate, I am going to recommend Conscious Coaching by Brett Bartholomew. That book is a great place to start, but there is one requirement: empathy.

I talked to several coaches this past weekend with several of them asking me what is required to be a good coach. I told most of them this: be nice and have some empathy. It sounds simple, but sadly both are missing from too many coaches. Instead they want to bury themselves in programming and technique – and don’t get me wrong these are important as well. However, programming and technique are useless if no one likes you. If no one likes you, it will be hard to recruit new athletes, it will be hard to keep athletes, and it will be almost impossible to get athlete buy-in. If you don’t care about the feelings of your athletes, do you really think you are going to listen to them enough to understand what makes them tick? No, you’re not!

I have one of my athletes who I am failing to get through to, so guess what keeps me up at night? I refuse to not understand each of my athletes. Not to mention getting buy-in is an ongoing process. Athletes change sometimes on a daily basis, and you have to change with them. If you take the time to get to know them on a deeper level, you will know what I am talking about. I suggest starting by simply asking your athletes what makes them tick. Yes, that’s right! Straight up ask them!

Remember this one more thing, outside stress is perceived by the body as any other stress (just like training). If your athlete is getting crushed at home or with a bad relationship or at school, you can bet their training is going to suffer. You have to alter their program and adapt your approach to compensate for the added stress.

To wrap it up, I take it very seriously to understand what makes my athletes tick. Do they want to get hyped? Do they want to laugh and have fun? These are the things you have to find out to be successful regardless of what you’re coaching. It’s also the aspect of coaching that most people fail in the most.

Cutting Weight

There are a couple of ways people look at cutting weight for sports. Some people want to cut down to the weight class and roll into their competition at weight. That way they can eat like normal, and nothing really changes. Others like to stay a few kilos/pounds over their weight class and then perform a water cut to get those extra kilos off.

Based on observation alone, I am going to go with water cutting. I watched two athletes in a low weight class in the female division with both taking the opposite approach. The girl who performed the water cut (it was an extreme one – like four kilos) seemed to suffer the least from weak legs normally associated with a big cut. Since then, I have been very observant, and I am now very convinced. Plus I performed a water cut as well, and I never noticed a major dip in performance.

I’ve heard of several ways to do it, and I don’t think there is a real science to it. Here’s one that you guys and gals can use to get those last few kilos off:

  • 5 Days out – limit sodium and drink 2 gallons of water
  • 4 Days out – cut out most all sodium and drink 1.5 gallons of water
  • 3 Days out – no sodium and drink 1 gallon of water
  • 2 Days out – no sodium and drink 0.5 gallon of water
  • 1 Day out – no sodium and only sip on 8-12 ounces of water throughout the day
  • Day of the meet – obviously no sodium and no water until weigh-ins

You can eat healthy during the cut, sticking to mainly lean meat and vegetables. If you are two kilos over the day before, you are going to really cut your calories – especially if you have early weigh-ins. Also if you have early weigh-ins, you are going to want to go to bed with a kilo or less of body weight to lose.

Here are a few ways to cut to get those last few kilos off:

  • Sweet Tarts – These are the best. Now every single competition, a parent or athlete will challenge me by trying to bring some other candy. FYI Jolly Ranchers don’t come close. It’s the intense sour taste that makes you salivate like a dog staring at a raw steak. Also just in case there are some challenged folks reading this, don’t eat the candy. You simply swish one around your mouth and spit.
  • Sauna – Most of us know this one
  • DIY Hotel Steam Room – Cover the cracks of the hotel bathroom, and then turn on all the hot water. You will quickly have a steam room. You can splash some more hot water on the walls to get things really steaming.
  • Rake sweat with credit card – Regardless if you are using a sauna, DIY hotel room steam room, or some other sweat producer, I recommend taking a break to rake away the sweat from your body with a credit card every hour. What’s the science? I don’t know. I just know that it works. Supposedly it blocks the sweat from being absorbed back into the body.
  • Stand on your head for 30 seconds- yeah I know it sounds crazy, and once again I don’t know the science. Yet I have watched it work multiple times. Right before you weigh-in, simply stand on your head or on your arms for 30 seconds, and then immediately jump on the scale. This can help you appear to lose .1-ish kilograms. Try it if you don’t believe me.

After you make weight, make sure you have everything you need to rehydrate. Most people use Pedialyte and/or Gatorade. I would recommend drinking slowly, and trying to eat something easily digested. Weightlifting only gives their athletes two hours, so picking something you can eat is key. I recommend moist chicken and rice – or even a simple meal replacement. This is also a great time for simple sugars like you might find in fruit or even your favorite candy. You are only going to compete for two hours, so you need fast energy that doesn’t have to last for days. You will also need some nutrition between snatches and clean and jerks. Once again, I recommend something like a delicious protein bar and your favorite candy like gummy bears.

World-Class Powerlifting & Weightlifting Meet Preparation

Get Travis Mash's Guide to Meet Prep & Strategy

World champion and world-class coach Travis Mash boils down decades of experience to give you the tools and knowledge you need to crush your next meet.

Peaking, Tapers, and a Coach’s Response

Obviously it appears we tapered our athletes pretty well. The majority of them hit some type of personal record, and since they averaged going 4.6 for 6 in their attempts, I’d say they were all feeling ready for competition. The keys to a good taper are all the lessons learned from previous ones. If an athlete does poorly, make note of it and make alterations to the plan. If something seems to work, then you will only want to make small adjustments until you design the perfect plan. Also, you will want to start the process a month out by switching to a sport specific type of plan. By that I mean not using percentages, and instead referring to sets as second to last warm up, last warm up, opener, and second attempt. This prepares the athlete for what they will encounter during competition.

You can pretty much gauge the final week or the taper week by how your athletes respond throughout the plan. If they respond well to high frequency and high intensity, you will want to stay semi-heavy – just trim the overall volume. If going heavy seems to hurt their performance, consider staying under 90% or 85% during the taper week. It’s that simple really. Whatever happens, I recommend that you collect as much data as possible.

Evolution of USA Weightlifting

I am not going into major detail here because I plan on writing a complete article on this topic in the near future. However, I will say things have changed. These youth athletes are doing weights that would have won Senior Nationals just last year. Our goal as an organization was to prepare our athletes to medal at all international competitions, and that’s just what we have done with the leadership of Phil Andrews and the entire staff at USA Weightlifting. As Mike Gattone says, “It’s the new norm.”

With a new paradigm a new mindset must follow. None of us can look at things like we used to. Your athletes can’t take months off at a time just because they might be ahead right now. There is simply too much competition out there. Coaches, your hunger for information needs to be insatiable. Your athletes are going to need every edge to succeed in this new norm of ours.

Well, my reflection on the 2019 Youth Nationals and 2019 Junior Pan Ams is over. I don’t have time to spend too much effort thinking about these competitions. I am preparing two of our athletes for the Senior Pan American Games, which are the Olympics of the western hemisphere. I leave for Lima, Peru along with Hunter Elam and Nathan Damron in less than three weeks. I can only pray for this trend to continue. I pray you have the same success.

Here's the key to unlocking even more gains in 2019...

Become a member of the Mash Mafia.

* Fully Customized Programming

* Unlimited Technique Analysis

* The Best Coaching in the World

Athletes and Entrepreneurship with Sheridan Lintz – The Barbell Life 262

Sometimes it takes an “athletic identity crisis” to show us who wee truly are.

And that’s exactly what happened with Sheridan Lintz. After a trek through Nepal, her knees were in crippling pain.

It made her question who she was as a lifter. And it let to her digging deep and finding out what really matters in life.

Now she takes those skills and works with an organization training the next generation of entrepreneurs. As you know, that’s something we’re excited about because we want to help our young men and women reach their dreams.



* Special Facebook Group Access to the Team

* Discounts on Ebooks

* Tax Deductions


  • Why athletes make the best entrepreneurs
  • Out-squatting her older brother when she was 11 years old
  • Her “athletic identity crisis” in Nepal
  • The difference between good coaches and bad coaches in her past
  • How you can work now to set yourself up for entrepreneurial success later
  • and more…

Your Questions Answered – The Barbell Life 260

I have to say this is one of the most fun things I do.

Today, we have a listener Q&A podcast – where we get to the questions that you have written in. I love these podcasts because I get to just talk about what I love so much, but also I know that I’m answering people’s burning questions and really helping them with their problems.

So give this one a listen to see if there’s any nugget of knowledge that you might find helpful.


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...


  • Training for tactical events (where you have to do it all)
  • Fixing issues with hip extension
  • The crucial differences between strength training and power training
  • Dealing with horrible DOMS
  • Combining HIIT with leg training
  • and more…

Crazy Cal Strength Stories and More with Uncle Charles Shipman – The Barbell Life 259

“Uncle” Charles Shipman worked with Jon North at a globo gym. One fateful day, Jon talked to Charles about this obscure sport known as Olympic weightlifting.

The rest is history.

Charles was there for the glory days of Cal Strength with Jon North and Donny Shankle, so we get to talk all about the crazy stories today – plus we get to talk to Charles about all that he’s learned as a great weightlifting coach.

Short on time in the gym? Here's the blueprint you need to follow.

Get Travis Mash's Guide to Building Your Own Program

If your schedule is packed but you still want to smash weight, if you want a reliable method to break through plateaus, if you want to build a strength program that works for YOU, grab the Blueprint.


  • Donny Shankle yelling at an awkward kid
  • Why BAD athletes make the BEST coaches
  • The most underrated movement that all weightlifters should do
  • How experienced lifters end up thinking just like beginning lifters
  • Why weightlifting can be such a dark, dark sport
  • and more…

Westside vs. the World with Michael Fahey – The Barbell Life 258

You’ve probably heard about the new movie, Westside vs. the World.

It was such a trip down memory lane for me to watch it, and it gives an amazing perspective on what Westside Barbell and Louie Simmons are all about.

We talked to the filmmaker, Michael Fahey, today.

So listen in to this one to hear all the great stories about Louie – as well as a look at the past, present, and future of powerlifting.



World champion and world-class coach Travis Mash takes a look at Louie Simmons's Westside Barbell strength principles and applies them tom the world of Olympic weightlifting.


  • Taking months to convince Louie Simmons to do the movie
  • Almost being fired for being a “Westside Coach”
  • When Louie Simmons didn’t recognize Stephi Cohen
  • Problems with powerlifting rules?
  • Why Louie is the most straightforward person
  • and more…

Senior Nationals and Lessons Learned by Crystal McCullough

This article is long overdue, but I’ve had a hard time putting in to words my experience from Senior Nationals.

I do not pretend to be a subject matter expert, even in my own field, as I am still very much a student of the sport. I have been blessed with amazing mentors and opportunities. I began coaching CrossFit in 2012 and found that as much as I liked coaching it, I LOVED weightlifting. I started seeking out people to learn from in 2013. I was privileged enough to learn from Don McCauley while he was at MDUSA. He is a man who has always been willing to teach anyone who is willing to learn. I took what I learned from him back to a small barbell group I had in my CrossFit gym. Then something happened that I didn’t see coming.

Joining Mash

Most of you don’t know the story behind how Morgan and I became associated with Mash Elite.

I knew of Mash Elite Performance and Travis on social media. If you knew anything about weightlifting, you pretty much knew who he was. We had even been to a couple of events, including the first Strength Spectacular in 2015, but we had never met him. In November of 2015, Travis posted a video of Matt Wininger – and I commented. I honestly don’t remember what I said, but it prompted Travis to send me a direct message and the rest is history. I won’t bore you with details of the next two years, so fast forward to now.

I know I kind of fell into my current coaching position. I feel 100% I deserve it – however, the circumstances that I came into it are horrible. We found out right after Youth Nationals last year that Don had brain cancer. Within a month or so, he had moved back to Florida with his family to fight the cancer. Although I have been coaching with Mash Elite for over almost three years, my role expanded in that capacity greatly with Don’s absence. Don has some huge shoes to fill, and I’ve been working my butt off to be worthy.

I am so grateful to Travis for every opportunity he has given me thus far in this sport. To say he is my mentor is an understatement. He has taken me under his wing and taught me so much over these last three years. He took a gamble with me last year as his co-coach and I cannot thank him enough.

Better Coaching

Before we get into the details of the meet, I want to go over a few points I have learned so far in my career. Our goal at Mash Elite is to inform the rest of you coaches, so that the entire sport of weightlifting is moving forward – not just our team. USA Weightlifting should be a family working toward making America – as a whole – better at our beautiful sport. Here are some points that will help all of you become better at coaching our sport:

  1. Never allow yourself to get to a place where you think you know it all. Continue to seek out others to learn from. Once you get to a point you don’t think anyone else can teach you anything, you might as well hang up your coaching hat. There is always something to be learned from others – either how to or how not to do something. Coaches who are so set in their ways and close-minded aren’t helping their athletes by any means, and they are doing their athletes a disservice. Be the coach who continues to seek out knowledge no matter where you are at in your career!
  2. Networking is a big part of this game and it is important to ‘know people’ – but being fake or befriending others for the sake of what they can do for you is not the way to do it. When you see me smiling and laughing with other coaches and athletes, that’s just me. I love my job and I love connecting with others. It isn’t calculated to get an edge or pry out information. If I am talking to you and laughing with you, I like you. Unfortunately, not everyone is genuine. I even hate to say it, but I’ve experienced it firsthand. I can’t stand people who are fake! People will see through the fakeness eventually. Just be genuine and make relationships, not contacts!
  3. Keep your challenge card for the session on you at all times! I witnessed a seasoned coach lose a challenge due to not having their card on them. You have a very small window to challenge a lift. Once the weight on the bar has been changed, the clock has started, or the next lifter is on the stage, you have lost your window. That card better be on your person and you better be ready to throw it when needed.
  4. Regardless if it is a one-minute or two-minute clock, you only have the first 30 seconds to make the first attempt declaration. I messed up on a third attempt and let the clock run past the 30 seconds and we were stuck at the same weight. In the end it didn’t matter because we were only going to go up a kilo and we would have still stayed on our two-minute clock anyway. I’m thankful I learned my lesson in the scenario I did, because it would have been horrible if it was a situation where a medal or team was on the line!
  5. Whether or not an athlete wants to take a lift in the back between attempts due to sitting too long, take control and make them. There was a situation where an athlete I was coaching warmed up perfectly to their openers on both snatch and clean and jerk, but they were having to sit for too many attempts between first and second and second and third attempts. We suggested a lighter power and/or pull to keep the flow going every three attempts and the athlete said no – they were good. In the moment, I was frustrated at the athlete. But, it was my back room and I should have forced the issue and told them they were doing it. In the end, the athlete went 2/6 and I feel like the long waits between attempts played a role in the misses.
  6. Adapt to your athletes and not the other way around. I learned this from Travis a long time ago. No two athletes are the same, and part of your job is to figure out each of your athletes – this goes for training and competition. You have to adapt programs for individuals based on their needs and capabilities. Different athletes require more volume, less volume, longer tapers, shorter tapers, etc. It is a process, and it takes a few training cycles and meet preps to figure athletes out, so don’t get frustrated. In the back room, some athletes want to joke and interact with people while others want to have earbuds and get in their own heads. Learning what the athlete needs in the back room is crucial. I found some athletes want hand signals and body language to get a point across because they don’t want any external stimuli, whereas joking and conversation keeps some others calm and focused. Treat them as individuals!

    Principles and Real-Life Case Studies on How a Master Programmer Customizes a Program to the Individual

    Peek inside Travis's brain... and learn how to individualize your own programs to fit an athlete's strengths, weaknesses, age, gender, sport demands, and unique response to training.

  8. “I am capable!” When you are a newer coach, you might have issues with confidence and wonder if you are good enough. As long as you care about your athletes and have their best interest at heart, the rest can be learned. Seeking out mentors is probably one of the most important parts of a coach’s journey. Each athlete you coach and each meet you go to will build your confidence. I think a lot about my own journey, from the beginning to where I am now, and how I have been blessed with amazing mentors. Sometimes, it feels like a dream. Most people don’t know my journey or how I’ve gotten to where I’m at. That is partially my fault, but I don’t want anyone thinking I got here for any other reason than my own merit. I was a coach long before Morgan became a weightlifter and was coaching him before we even came to Mash. But the outside world only sees what we show them. Not that I care what others think, but this weekend put the naysayers to rest. I am in this position on my own merit and I am exactly where I belong – not because I am someone’s mom. This meet put another notch on my confidence belt!

Meet Recap

Onto the meet recap –

Senior Nationals was my second solo meet without Travis. My first solo meet was The American Open Finals 2018. That was a mixed weekend with a couple of unfortunate bomb outs and a podium medal. The weekend didn’t sit well with me as I feel like we win together and we lose together. My heart hurt for the ones whose weekend didn’t go as planned. So this time around, I had some nerves going into Senior Nationals, as I wanted that weekend to go better for the athletes! And of course, I didn’t want to mess it up!

We had six athletes competing at Nationals. Four were on-site athletes and two were remote athletes. There were some huge stakes for two of our on-site athletes, which added quite a bit of pressure. Thankfully, I usually work well under pressure!


Alexis King, one of our remote athletes, was first up in the 49A session. She went 2/6 with a 60kg snatch and 78kg clean and jerk. On her clean and jerks, she was called for a soft elbow on her second attempt at 81kg. There is a new rule in national meets that allows a coach to challenge a lift with their challenge card. I decided to challenge her attempt and actually got a 2:1 vote in our favor – but it has to be unanimous in order for the decision to be overturned.

Jacob Wyatt was next in the 73A session. It was quite a stacked session with the current Youth Olympian Jerome Smith and former Olympian Chad Vaughn. Jacob was a 77 prior and this is only his second meet as a 73. He went 2/6 as well, hitting both of his openers of 120 and 145.


Hunter Elam was the talk of the weekend with her cut to 59! I don’t want to go into much detail on the hows and whys of her cut because that is a story for Hunter to tell. What I will say is that it was the right decision! This was probably the most fun I had all weekend in the back room, if I’m being totally honest.

She was on her game, but she was also chill and having fun. Hunter went 3/6 with the gold medal snatch at 94kg and a gold medal total of 206kg. We opened at a successful attempt at 90kg on the snatch and went to 93kg for her second attempt. She had a close miss behind her… and then there was a decision to be made. In the end, we decided to bump a kilo to hit that gold snatch and also set her up for the clean and jerk. She nailed that third attempt! On the clean and jerks, she smoked the 112kg opener. We went up to 114kg to try to take it first for a shot at gold as well as beating the #1 59 female’s current total. The clean slipped in the catch and we had one more attempt at that point. One of the other lifters hit 114kg, so we decided to try our hand at 115kg. Unfortunately, the bar slipped again. Her total at 206kg was good enough to put her on the Pan American Games team. She also left the weekend with Best Female Lifter!

Side note: one of the most entertaining moments of the weekend is when Hunter made her gold medal snatch attempt and jumped off the stage into my arms!

Here's the key to unlocking even more gains in 2019...

Become a member of the Mash Mafia.

* Fully Customized Programming

* Unlimited Technique Analysis

* The Best Coaching in the World

December Garcia competed in the 64A session, going 4/6 with an 84kg snatch and 109kg clean and jerk. She has worked hard to battle back from a shoulder injury. With continued hard work and dedication, she has a bright future!


Nathan Damron started us out on Sunday in the 96A session. It’s been a hot minute since he, Jason Bonnick, and Phil Sabatini have competed on the same platform. It made for a great competition! Nathan had an extraordinary meet, hitting gold across the board with a 157kg snatch and a 200kg clean and jerk. We opened at 153kg – and he smoked it! He was at the end of the session, so we had the ability to see what others hit on their third attempts to see what we needed for gold. In the end we went 157kg – which had been a while for Nathan, so it was a victory in and of itself. On his third attempt we went for 161kg, which would have been a meet PR, but it was just a bit out front. On clean and jerks, his opener of 193kg was child’s play. His second attempt of 198kg was a super easy clean and the jerk locked out, but he got a soft elbow in the recovery and dropped it. We were in the same situation with being able to see what others did first before deciding our final attempt. Bonnick took 200kg first and missed it, so we decided to stick with 200kg and Nathan killed it!

View this post on Instagram

@nathandamron94 200kg/440lb Clean & Jerk to sweep the Gold Medals 🥇 🥇🥇 at the Senior National Championships and earn a trip to the Senior Pan Am Games! He’s back and he’s working hard! =================== <link in bio> for: . -Online Video Seminar . – Mash Mafia Online Team . Feats of Strength Online Meet (proceeds benefit 501c3 Mash Weightlifting Team . -Hundreds of Free Articles & Workouts . -Donate to the 501c3 nonprofit team . – 22 Awesome E-Books . -Seminars . -FREE “Mash Method” E-Book . -FREE “The Barbell Life Podcast” . . @intekstrength #intekstrength @athleteps @harbingerfitness #harbingerfitness @tfox66 #nikeweightlifting #athleteps @mg12power #mg12thepowerofmagnesium #wodfitters @wodfitters @strongerexperts #strongerexperts @leanfitnesssystems #LEANFit @shruggedcollective @andersvarner

A post shared by Mash Elite Performance (@masheliteperformance) on

I have no doubt Nathan was good for at least another 5 kilos! With his total, he also secured his place on the Pan American Games team and Best Male Lifter.


The Training and Philosophy of Nathan Damron

World champion and world-class coach Travis Mash outlines the programs and principles behind the training of his stellar athlete, Nathan Damron.

Side Note: I love the camaraderie between the top three guys: Nathan, Jason, and Phil! When it was over, all three shook hands, laughed, and congratulated each other. I can honestly say that women are different. That didn’t happen in Hunter’s session and it makes me sad.

Sam Dowgin, our other remote athlete, closed out the weekend in the 81A session. She competed in a higher weight class previously and is fairly new to the 81s. She went 4/6 hitting an 87kg snatch and 108kg clean and jerk. Both are PRs at this body weight!

Recap and Reminders

To say the weekend went amazing is an understatement! While not everyone met their personal goals, overall the whole team did amazing! I love coaching in general, and I love coaching weightlifting in particular. The back room at a meet is one of the most exciting parts of our jobs. It requires strategy and thinking on your feet. I always learn so much by talking to and observing other coaches.

To recap some lessons learned:

  • Never stop learning and seeking out knowledge from others!
  • Be genuine!
  • Keep your challenge card on your person.
  • Be aware of the 30 second rule on declaring attempts.
  • Be in charge of your back room.
  • Adapt to your athletes.
  • Be confident!

We have been riding the high of this meet for the last couple of weeks. Hunter and Nathan are already hard at work preparing for the Pan American Games. As I have experienced, not every meet is going to be the ultimate meet. Everyone has their ups and downs. I love every single one of our athletes, and I will celebrate with them in their highs and go down with the ship with them in their lows. That is what makes our team so special!

Special thank yous to Morgan ‘Madlifts’ McCullough, Joe Cox of Krypton Barbell, and Sean Rigsby of Heavy Metal Barbell. They helped load and were a second pair of eyes during the weekend when I needed them.

Here's the key to unlocking even more gains in 2019...

Become a member of the Mash Mafia.

* Fully Customized Programming

* Unlimited Technique Analysis

* The Best Coaching in the World

1 2 3 72