Category Archives for "Barbell Life"

The Power of Language with Mike Bledsoe – The Barbell Life 203

I’m sure you’ve heard of Mike Bledsoe. One of the biggest reasons for me getting into this whole podcasting thing was what he was doing on Barbell Shrugged.

This guy has had tons of conversations with experts from around the world on training, nutrition, recovery, programming, technique, business, and everything in between. But he’s developed a fascination recently on something that is so important and so powerful – something that not a lot of us talk about.

Today, we’re going to be talking about the power of language.

I was blown away hearing about how our words can influence our brains, which can physically affect our genetics and so much more. It got me thinking about how the power of language can make me a better coach and can help my athletes so much.

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  • How to turn your thoughts around
  • Getting unplugged
  • Weak language vs. strong language
  • Developing a culture of success through language
  • The three focus points to achieve goals
  • and more…

And don’t forget – if you want to hear more about this stuff in person – you definitely want to check out one of Mike’s seminars. He’s coming here to Winston-Salem in just a few short days. You can register and learn more here!

All Around Boss Julia Ladewski – The Barbell Life 201

Julia Ladewski is a boss: former D1 strength and conditioning coach, veteran powerlifter (she’s still setting PRs), and physique competitor.

I was unable to personally be on this podcast because I got really sick when we were set to record. But we had some great people fill in, and this podcast is still amazing stuff. It’s hard not to have an awesome podcast when you’re talking to someone like Julia.

What’s really amazing to me is her recent bodybuilding efforts after years and years of powerlifting. It really only makes sense because the two go hand-in-hand so well. A bigger muscle is a stronger muscle, so muscle gain is great for athletes wanting to perform better. And if you’re just interested in aesthetics, being strong helps you put more weight on the bar so that you can put on more muscle. We talk about Julia getting on the bodybuilding stage and so much more in this one.

A World Class Coach's Guide to Building Muscle

Hypertrophy for Strength, Performance, and Aesthetics.

World champion and world-class coach Travis Mash has combined the latest research with his decades of practical experience to bring you an amazing resource on muscle hypertrophy.



  • Her thoughts on geared vs. raw powerlifting
  • The art of coaching
  • Staying in the game for a long, long time
  • Body image issues as a strong woman
  • Training as a busy mom
  • and more…

Jason Coker, the World’s Best Bench Presser – The Barbell Life 200

Not many people have benched over 900 pounds. And not many people have been my good friend for over 20 years. Jason Coker’s done both, so he’s a pretty amazing guy.

He’s my go-to expert on cutting weight – and as a longtime lifter at Westside Barbell, Jason knows better than anyone what Westside is really like. This podcast has a lot of knowledge in it and a lot of perspective… and it’s also got a lot of great stories.

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* Unlimited Technique Analysis

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  • Getting a job with me after prison and other wild stories from the past
  • Dynamic days, max effort, and what Westside really does
  • Passing out naked at a powerlifting meet… and how you can cut weight in a better way
  • Truly great powerlifters and what so many get wrong
  • Dealing with sciatica and still setting records
  • and more…

The Importance of A Training Journal by Crystal McCullough

I have always been involved in physical activity and trained with some type of purpose. In high school, I played varsity sports. In college, I played intramural sports. At 25, I joined the Army and trained in order to be in shape for my job and score the highest I could on my PT test. Once I got pregnant and got out of the Army, there was a year or so I didn’t do anything and felt like I had to start over completely. My easy go-to with a small child was running, so I could put him in a stroller and go. This was the first time in my life I needed to find a new goal completely on my own; someone or something else no longer defined my goals. It was up to me to set my own.

I set goals to run 5ks, then 10ks, then to run a half marathon. I kept logs of my runs so that I knew where I was in my training. I set goals for each race that I ran to be better than the previous one. Does this sound familiar?


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In 2010, a friend introduced me to CrossFit. The gym I started at was very big on tracking workouts. I am so thankful they felt that way because it put me in the right mindset from the very beginning. From my first workout, I kept a training log and still do until this day. I still have all those journals and will pull them out on a rainy day. Sometimes, when I ran or did CrossFit, I filled the whole journal before I would start a new one. Now, depending on the meet I’m training for, I sometimes start a new journal after each meet so I can look at the difference between the cycles.

Five Reasons To Keep A Training Journal

  1. It shows you where you’ve been. Sometimes, we feel like we aren’t making any progress. It helps to go back and look at old journals and remind ourselves of how far we’ve come. Writing down workout times and maxes gives you a visual way to track your progress.
  2. It allows you to take control of your fitness. In all likelihood, the coach isn’t going to remember the numbers you hit the previous week. Keeping a record allows accuracy in percentage work.
  3. It provides you with your own accountability. Writing your daily workouts shows you how many days you trained or didn’t train. It keeps you motivated to workout.
  4. It allows you to write down sleep and nutrition habits as well as how you were feeling while you were training.
  5. It helps you to track you goals and set new ones. If you never write anything down, how do you know when you’ve met a goal?

Here's the key to unlocking even more gains in 2018...

Become a member of the Mash Mafia.

* Fully Customized Programming

* Unlimited Technique Analysis

* The Best Coaching in the World

I realize that it is an extra step, but it is a crucial step to achieving optimal success. Regardless of what sport you are involved in, keeping a training journal can be just as important as the recovery process to keep you motivated and your eyes on the prize. Whether a soccer mom or an elite athlete (see Lisa and Hunter below!), we all have goals, and visually tracking them ultimately leads to greater success.

Stronger Experts with Phil Tremblay – The Barbell Life 199

Phil Tremblay has moved from speed skating to training the Russian Olympic Team to trading knowledge with Louie Simmons at Westside Barbell.

He is the definition of someone who is thirsty for knowledge, and he’s spent years traveling the globe to learn from as many people as possible. Through it all, he’s got some amazing stories to tell and some amazing insight to share.

And that’s what’s led him to start a new platform called Stronger Experts. I’m excited to take part in it, and I’m proud to announce I’m one of almost two dozen experts who will be dropping truth to you and the rest of the world. I mean, I don’t understand how Phil has assembled such an amazing roster. There’s the Jamaican Olympic sprint coach, the strength and conditioning coach for the New Zealand All Blacks Rugby team, Sean Waxman, Mike Israetel, Greg Nuckols, Zach Long, and many more great people.

So check out this podcast to learn all about how Phil put these people together – as well as what you can learn from all the years he spent traveling the world and talking with experts.



Mike Israetel, Greg Nuckols, Zach Long, Sean Waxman, Stefi Cohen, and more.


  • His 45-minute mobility assessment
  • The keys to approaching experts in their field and learning from them
  • The problem of the Pendulum Effect
  • When he realized what Westside really is like
  • Working with the Russians to get gold medals
  • and more…

Garage Gym vs. Team Environment by Jacky Bigger

As some of you may already know, I’ve recently started training a bit less at the Mash Compound and a bit more in our awesome new garage gym. I have nothing against training at Mash, I just currently REALLY love our garage gym. I’ve trained in a team environment for my entire weightlifting career, so the change in atmosphere has been awesome for me! Now that I’ve had experience training in both the team environment and training by myself in the garage gym, I’d like to take some time to discuss some of the positive and negatives of both.

Garage Gym Positives

I’ll start off with the positives of training in the garage gym, because for me right now, it’s SUCH a good change. Here are some of the things I like most about it.

  1. You get to create your own environment! If you train in a team environment, I know you’ve had days where you’re over there in the corner trying to work on technique, when everyone else is having fun and maxing out! For me, those were always the toughest days. When training in the garage gym, I get to choose the mood. If I’m working technique, I get to create a calm focused environment. If I’m going heavy and hard, I can create a more intense environment. I love that I’m in control.
  2. You get to choose your own music and don’t have to hear others complain about your music choices. I don’t know anyone else who likes to train to Andy Grammer, Jack Johnson and Michael Buble besides me, but now I can listen to them whenever I want.
  3. It’s easy access. There’s nothing better than being able to open your door and walk right out to the gym. It leaves no room for excuses to skip training since the gym is literally right there! This is especially helpful for those of you with an extremely busy schedule. It takes out the travel time and you can train literally whenever you want. Even if you have to get up at 4:30am, and get your training in before work.

Those are just a few of the great things I’ve discovered about training alone in the garage, now let’s talk about why training with a team is great.

Here's the key to unlocking even more gains in 2018...

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* Fully Customized Programming

* Unlimited Technique Analysis

* The Best Coaching in the World

Team Training Positives

  1. You get coaching and constantly have eyes on you. It’s so important for any weightlifter, but especially those just starting out to get technical coaching. The more bad habits prevented early on, the better you’ll be in the long run. Not to mention, you’re surrounded by other lifters, so you can observe their technique and learn just by watching. I’ve learned SO much from simply watching and being around other great weightlifters.
  2. There’s the social aspect of it. Often times your teammates are your friends, or if they aren’t right away, they quickly become them because you spend so much time together each week. Having a positive community of people with the same goals and values as you do, really goes a long way. It’s so important to have other people around to support and encourage you and help you through the rough times.
  3. The competitive environment and the hype atmosphere. I’ve made lifts that I never thought possible simply by getting in a hype environment and having a little bit of friendly in-house competition. When “battle” is called, you know at least someone in the gym is going to pull out a huge lift that day! Plus, it’s always so much fun to watch a bit of friendly competition even if you’re not involved in it.

As you can see, both environments have their advantages, so what are some of the negatives? Well, some of the positive things that I mentioned above can actually also be negatives. Let’s talk garage gym first.

Garage Gym Negatives

  1. You have to create your own environment. This can be a downfall on those days when you’re not motivated, feeling beat down and really just don’t feel like training. It can be really tough to self-motivate some days and to create an energetic environment when you’re just not feeling so energetic. This is when a team environment is advantageous.
  2. You don’t get immediate coaching and feedback. I coach a lot of people who train by themselves in a garage gym. While remote coaching is AWESOME and you can still make great progress using it if it’s the only thing you have access to, getting in person coaching and immediate feedback really goes a long way.
  3. It’s very easy to get carried away. You’re trying to hit that big lift that you’re SO close to making that you just can’t help but try again. You have no one there to stop you and before you know it, you’ve tried and failed five-plus times, which is never ideal. I’ve already had this happen to me, and I’ve seen it happen to many of my athletes. Or, there may be the days where it’s really just not there, you’re fatigued and you’re not moving well, but you try and push hard anyways. Again, because there’s no one there to tell you that it’s probably best if you just take it easy today.

Now, how can some of the positives of a team environment actually be negatives as well?

Team Training Negatives

  1. The competitive environment. This can definitely be a disadvantage if it gets out of control. You may find yourself competing with your teammates TOO often, which leads to training ineffectively and maxing out way too often. This can eventually lead to fatigue and/ or injury. You can’t compete every day, there have to be days where you take a step back and just get good quality work in. Not to mention, when you’re training in a room filled with other lifters, it can oftentimes be very difficult to stick to your own path and not compare yourself to them, which can also present numerous problems.
  2. The social aspect. It can be very hard to focus on your training some days when training with a group of your friends, because really, sometimes you just want to hang out. Some days, the focus in the gym just isn’t there, and if you’re in the group of chatty Kathy’s it’s great because you’re having a good time. But if you find yourself to be that one person who’s actually trying to focus and get some good training in, it can be very distracting and frustrating.

You’ll see that there are positives and negative of training alone and training with a team. So, which one is actually better? I wouldn’t say that one is better than the other, and I’d encourage you to try both if you have the ability to. If you’ve trained in a garage for your whole career, I suggest doing your best to find a gym you can visit once in a while to get some hands-on coaching and to get around some other lifters. If you’ve trained in a team environment for you whole career, like I have, I suggest training by yourself sometimes, getting to know yourself better and learning to grind on your own.


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These samplers of programs cover weightlifting, powerlifting, functional fitness, athletic performance, and more. With all these programs at your hands, coaches can handle any athlete who comes their way - and athletes can explore a variety of approaches.

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