Category Archives for "Barbell Life"

A Christmas Reflection

Christmas is by far my favorite time of the year. It’s the one time that people from around the world take the time to remember the birth of Christ. Maybe they don’t believe in who He was, but for a short period each year the whole world celebrates His birth. With that comes talks of peace and hope, and it’s all because of the miraculous virgin birth over 2,000 years ago. It’s a time of reflection, and to me a time of thanksgiving.

My faith is the one and only thing that altered my life from such a destructive path. Because of my relationship with Christ, I can love my wife and father my children. This is something I could never do before. It’s truly a miraculous thing. It was my way of breaking the pattern of my own childhood so Rock and Behr will only experience love and compassion from their father. They will also grow up around a father who loves their mother with all of his heart. If you want to change the world, this is the way… by living a life that your children can emulate.

2017 has been an unbelievable year for Team Mash Mafia. We are so thankful for the growth and performance of our team. We ended the year by putting more people on the World Team than any other team in America. We also had one of our athletes, Jordan Cantrell, win the best lifter award at the American Open. Sometimes I have to say it over and over so I can believe it. It just happened so quickly, and now here at the end of the year I can actually process it all.

We learned so much in 2017. With it, we aim to make 2018 even better. We enter 2018 with two guys sitting ranked atop the ranking list for the Pan American Championships and World Championships. We have Youth who are going to absolutely rock USA Weightlifting – including one new girl that no one has heard of yet. They will hear very soon. We have a Junior Team better than any team we’ve ever had. Am I proud? Yeah for sure, but I am more thankful.

God has blessed me beyond belief. However, there is one thing that leaves me unsettled. What do I do with all of it? This thing is bigger than just some weightlifting team. We have the ability to inspire, educate, and motivate others. We have the chance to affect lives. Lately we have the chance to affect our local community.

Not only did we kill it at the Worlds and the American Open, but also we opened a brand new facility we are calling LEAN Fitness Systems. It’s the home of Mash Mafia Weightlifting, TFW Winston-Salem, and Mash Athletic Performance. It’s 5,500 square feet, men and women’s locker rooms, turf field, belt squat machine, reverse hyper, and all the weights one could ever ask for. The facility is absolutely beautiful, and it is already hopping with people.

Our goal is to make our community healthier and to finally develop our ‘youth at-risk’ program. I don’t want to leave one person unaffected by us in some positive way. Then and only then will I know that we are using our blessings for something bigger than just weightlifting championships.

This Christmas season, I am giving thanks for all the blessings of 2017. I am also planning to make 2018 the year we give back. God has done so much for this team. I pray God can use this team to do His work. I pray our local community will see us striving to make our town better by helping others. Guys, that’s what it’s all about. Sure it’s nice to win gold medals. But if that’s all you care about, you will go through life with very little meaning.

Merry Christmas from all of us at Mash Elite and LEAN Fitness Systems! I hope that 2018 will bring you all of your heart’s desires. I also hope part of those desires is to make the lives of others a bit better. There is nothing quite as special on this earth as giving back.

Special Events for the LEAN Fitness Soft Grand Opening

Special Events for the LEAN Fitness Soft Grand Opening

I have already talked a little about some of the super charged guests that will be coming to our new facilities soft grand opening. However I want to mention two specific events that you don’t want to miss. First L.E.A.N. Fitness Systems is basically the host facility for both Mash Elite Athletic Performance and TFW Winston-Salem. It’s our way of bridging the two systems. TFW is focused on adult fitness and personal training. Mash Elite is focused on the athletes. Movement is the key that bridges the two. Anyways back to the crazy awesome events!

1. At 3pm Coach Joe Kenn, Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Carolina Panthers and NSCA Strength Coach of the Year for the past two years will be giving a short talk on Athletic Performance.

2. Also Dr. Lawrence Gray, Coach Mash and Coach Mason’s longtime soft tissue doctor, will be onsite to provide computerized low back and running gait assessments. This will be part of our protocol ongoing as we look to assess to match our programming to each individual’s strengths and weaknesses. This will also allow us to quantify improvement.

For more information regarding our facility and programs, check out this article:

L.E.A.N. Fitness Systems

I hope to see all of you at the Soft Grand Opening Dec. 16th. If you are interested in coming, email us at ⇒


The Facebook Event by clicking here: ⇒ Soft Grand Opening

“Overcoming the Unknown” by Nathan Hansen

I hope all of you will join us to celebrate the Soft Grand Opening for our new training facility LEAN Fitness Systems on Saturday December 16th. We offer adult general fitness, mash elite athletic performance, Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting, and personal training. We will be having lots of guest speakers on the 16th. If you want to join us, email me at

Overcoming the Unknown
by Coach Nathan Hansen

When we begin a new experience—like piano lessons, a new career, a new workout, or a new sport—we often approach the process with enthusiasm. It’s a new venture into something we want to do, and we’re motivated to work toward goals directed toward those experiences. We are willing to learn, take it slow, and accept (and apply) feedback. We also forgive ourselves if we make mistakes. But as we grow and develop an affinity for an experience, we are less forgiving. We become impatient and expect perfection, even when tackling new skills and concepts within that experience.

This unknown territory—the part of learning when we move from novice to regular—is often where we lose faith and no longer enjoy the process in which we learn, adapt, and even care. This is also the point where we believe we know the best way to grow. We’ve reached this far using a certain approach, and deviating from that plan introduces change. But humans are creatures of habit. Change is not a welcome concept; it is something we fear.

Resistant to change, we find ourselves caught in a vicious circle, one in which slow or lacking progress leads to burnout. The experience we used to enjoy becomes a source of frustration, and we either continue to fight through the frustration or give up entirely.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

What piece of advice or recommendation has a coach or an athlete you trust offered you, but you didn’t try it because it was different than your own approach? Or do you have a specific belief or perspective that prevents you from making a change (e.g., “I have to workout this way/use this method/follow this pattern to be successful”)? Take the risk to make a change and assess how that change affects your progress. It’s easy to be complacent. It’s difficult to try something different, but the rewards will outweigh the fear.

If you feel like you’re caught in a circle of lackluster progress and frustration but can’t seem to break free, reach out. Ask for help. Feel free to contact us, and we can help you in breaking through the barriers blocking your progress. And if you’re unsure, that’s okay, but consider this: progress is based on your willingness to change your perspective. If you’re unwilling to bend, then your road will be much harder and more difficult than necessary.

Defeat all of your mental roadblocks with the Mash E-Book “Performance Zone” co-written by Coach Mash and Nathan Hansen. Check it out now at:

==> “Performance Zone”

About Nathan

Nathan received his first Masters in Behavioral Psychology and his second Masters in Clinical Counseling from Bellevue University in Omaha, Nebraska. He currently is a Licensed Professional Counselor-I and a Certified Life Coach through the International Coach Federation. His education did not stop here as he frequently attends training and hold several certifications in therapeutic interventions, Crossfit, and holds several athletic accomplishments from a young age to the present. Nathan has developed a personalized therapeutic concept to use with his clients that has shown immense success. Athletes he has worked with went from struggling to perform, to making the podium and obtaining control in their life. His clientele ranges from elite athletes looking for a competitive advantage to High-Schoolers learning to balance life and sport.

Those he has worked with include Professional Mountain Bikers Kyle Warner, Lauren Gregg and others, Olympic Lifter Rebecca Gerdon, and others, several high school programs, and a diverse amount of Crossfitters.

The beauty of this program and its design is its ability to be done remotely. Allowing you to not lose focus on your schedule, goals and training.

From a Burning Car

From a Burning Car

I am writing this minutes after helping two other men pull a lady from a burning car. I was in my home watching Lasha Talaxadze become arguably one of the greatest weightlifting heavyweights of all-time. Then out of nowhere, I hear a massive boom as if a bomb had gone off. I rushed to look out the door, and I saw what appeared to be a crash. I jerked my shoes on, grabbed my flashlight, and ran towards the road.

When I arrived on the scene, a sweet little African-American lady was trying to get away from her burning car. There were two other men on the scene, so we dragged the lady from the car and out of the road. Her right lower leg had a massive gash that was bleeding, so I took my coat off and applied pressure to the wound. Then the car ignited even more, and I just knew that it was going to explode. I have probably watched too many movies as I was anticipating a small nuclear blast.

This scared the daylights out of me, so we drug the lady farther away from the scene. I felt so badly for the sweet lady as she was screaming in pain. All that I could think about was what if this was my wife or mother laying in the middle of the road. Then the thought dawned on me, “was there someone else in the car?” I asked the lady if she was the only one in the car, and she told us that she was the only one. I am honest in saying that I was thankful because I was scared. I didn’t want to get killed trying to save someone else, but I was going to do it. Not because I am some hero, but because that’s what people do in times like this.

This article isn’t really about that. It’s about looking in that sweet lady’s eyes as she lay in the rain with a bleeding leg and broken ankle. She looked so scared and sad, and my heart broke for her. I just wanted to hold her, and all of a sudden in that moment color no longer existed. It was a sweet old lady probably someone’s mother, sister, or grandmother, and some buys just trying to help her. I sit down beside her and applied pressure to her leg with my coat, and I just talked to her trying to bring her comfort. I just wanted her to be ok.

Soon help arrived, and the three of us helped the EMTs and the Police get her stabilized and into the ambulance. During my short walk back to the house, my heart was broken for the world. I thought of all the hate in the world inflicted on others because of a different color of skin. I felt a pain that crushed my heart, and made me sick to my stomach. I can only imagine the hurt that God must feel when He looks down on the world.

This little lady had the sweetest brown eyes that seemed to glow in the night as they reflected the lights of the flashlights. Her face had glimpses of a life filled with love, loss, happiness, and defeats an American Tale that so many of us share. We all have stories. We have things that we are proud of, and we have things that we regret. Some of us have success more than others, but one thing for sure we’ve all lived in the same world.

Within this world we encounter people that aren’t the same as us. Some have different hair than others. Some have different skin. Some are tall, and some are short. However tonight I realized that there is one place that we are all the same. When I stared into the eyes of this battered woman, I realized that we are all the same in the eyes. Yeah some are blue, some are green, and some are brown, but an eye is an eye. This little lady was just a little lady.

How can racism ever end? I didn’t find the answer tonight, but my heart sure was broken for the world. What makes someone hate a group of people because of their color of skin? How can this still happen in 2017?

• Whites hate blacks
• Blacks hate whites
• Jews hate Muslims
• Muslims hate Jews
• Atheists hate Christians
• Christians hate atheists

The list can go on and on, but no one can ever give a good reason for any of this. It makes no sense. Here’s a thought: people are people. Now that’s a fact. This little lady was no different than my own mother lying in the road beside a burning car. She wasn’t a black lady. She was just a lady lying in the road scared, cold, and confused in immense pain.

During 9/11, for a split second America was united. We were all afraid and angry, and we just wanted to help one another. We were just people. Then after some time, things went back to normal. People start hating anyone different than them, and no one can ever give a solid answer for any of the hate. I just don’t get it.

When I walked back in my home tonight, my wife was up waiting on me to get back home. She has watched me pull the lady from the car. I told her what happened, and then we just held each other. I was scared, wet, and trembling, but mainly I was sad. I was heartbroken that my children have to grow up in a world filled with so much hate and prejudice.

You know God gives us two main rules to live by: Love Him with all our heart, and Love others like we do ourselves. That just about sums it all up. If we could just focus on these two things, none of this mess would ever happen. He doesn’t say to love others that look like us.

I am not sure if any of these words mean a thing to any of you, but I needed to say them. I pray that lady is ok, and I hope that her hospital room is filled with loved ones. I pray for a world filled with people that simply love each other. I pray for a world that is color blind.

All of us strive for a better life. All of us want to see our loved ones safe and happy. All of us want to be happy, and we want our families happy. We all have good times and bad times. These similarities are a good place to start our new focus. Instead of thinking so much about our differences, let’s focus on these similarities. I’m not saying that we will always agree on things. You don’t have to agree with me. My rights end where your rights begin. Don’t force me to think like you, and I want force you to think like me. If we remember these words, we can get through this life together helping each other and loving each other.

We teach our children these lessons. Don’t you think that it’s time that we follow those lessons?

The scene from my house:

Proud of Team USA

Last Day to get our latest E-Book “Bar Speed” by Coach Spencer Arnold of Power and Grace Performance, and Coach Travis Mash for Only $39. You can check it out at:

-Basics of Velocity Based Training
-Over Eight different programs showing the use of Velocity Based Training
-How to use Velocity Based Training to teach athletes and new coaches intent, effort, and safety

Proud of Team USA

I am on a plane again. By the way I am deathly scared of flying, but obviously I am forced to do way more than I like. Luckily I love traveling more than I am afraid of flying. Anyway I have never been more proud to be a part of Team USA than right now. If you guys didn’t watch it, you missed an amazing competition.

First I want to say that I am so darn proud of Nathan Damron placing 8th in the World, hitting a monster PR Clean & Jerk of 201kg and a PR Total of 358kg. Brian Reisenauer placed 9th in his first World Championships, so that’s pretty darn good. Our coaching staff of Don McCauley, Vinh Huynh, and me has had the opportunity to watch this team develop over the last couple of years into something very special.

When MuscleDriver USA closed down, it was my dream to continue with a professional team. My company isn’t near the size that MDUSA was, but thanks to our amazing sponsors and all of you that buy our products, I have been able to continue supporting these athletes with stipends, the best coaches, travel expenses, and more. Most people consider me crazy, and at times I start to agree with them. However after this week, I know that I am doing exactly what I am supposed to do.

Jordan Cantrell was originally on the starting eight lineup, but the final team was chosen based on the strength of each class and potential of placing highly. He happened to be in the hardest and deepest weight class of the entire competition. However he did hit a monster 162kg Snatch PR in the training hall, and a PR Clean & Jerk of 193kg. He’s about to crush it at the American Open next weekend. He’s definitely the most improved athlete in America.

Yes our team killed it, but on Saturday two amazing things happened. First my man Harrison Maurus, the 17-year-old phenom, absolutely killed it. He Snatched 155kg for a meet PR, and he Clean & Jerked 193kg for another PR. Now let’s see if I can get all the accolades correct. The Clean & Jerk was a new Youth World Record, Junior American Record, and Senior American Record. His Snatch was a Junior American Record and a Youth American Record. His total was a Senior American Record, Junior American Record, and Youth American Record. There’s probably more, but this is what I know.

His performance brought tears to my eyes. I have hung out with Harrison and his amazing coach Kevin Simons for the last couple of years now, and it’s safe to say that they are family to me. I love them both, and they’re families. I was as nervous for Harrison as I was for my own athletes. Anyone that has followed this blog and my podcast knows that I have been calling this moment for a longtime. Their moment came this past weekend.

Right after Harrison competed, the beauty queen of weightlifting, Mattie Rogers, took the stage in the Women’s 69kg competition. Her performance was equally dominating. I am not sure of the records that she might have broken, but I know that she won three Bronze Medals. Do you believe that? It was amazing, and she was actually in the hunt for Gold. I couldn’t believe that I was watching an American battle for Gold. Here’s something that I want all of you to hear. She did all of this while studying like a maniac for her college Finals. She’s much more than just a weightlifter; she’s a driven young lady as well. She’s also very nice as I finally got to talk to her a bit this weekend. Her coach Danny Camargo is definitely one of the best in the business.

As I am typing this Team USA still has a few opportunities for Medals, so it’s not over yet boys and girls. So far I call this a massive success. Yeah we had one tough day that caused a lot of recliner coaches to come out of the wood works to give their unsolicited advice, but dang it Team USA came to the event with one thing on their mind; to battle. We came into this event wanting to gun for medals. When you do that sometimes things go awry, but here’s the thing that they don’t know. Team Points are worthless this year. We can’t earn points for the Olympics, so this was the year to go big or go home.

With that strategy, I’d say so far that it has been a huge success. I know that Jessica and CJ are going to come back stronger than ever. They are both tenacious competitors, but it was just a rough day for both of them. No one knows better than me. Sometimes it doesn’t matter what’s on the bar. It’s just not going to happen. That doesn’t make their coach a bad coach and doesn’t make them a bad lifter. Here’s the way you really judge them and their coaches. You wait and see how they respond. Do they come back and absolutely shred the competition, or do they fold? I am 100% confident that no one wants to compete against either one of these athletes the next time that they compete.

You know I sure hope that other coaches out there have my back like this the next time that one of our lifters bomb out. Instead of talking crap about each other, we should support one another. Remember at this level it’s Team USA not Team Mash, or Team Cal Strength, or whatever. I felt that camaraderie with the other coaches this weekend, and I can’t wait to see all of them next time.

Also guys and gals Team Mash Elite is a non-profit serving to help this young men and women reach their goals, while serving out community with our ‘at risk program’. You all can help this team immensely by donating to our cause at:


I will offer a consultation via telephone for any donation over $50. I appreciate all of you supporting us day in and day out. We couldn’t do it without you!

Recliner Coaching

Recliner Coaching

Yesterday Team USA had a rough day. Two of our athletes that had real shots at medals Jessica Lucero and CJ Cummings bombed out. Today there are people all over the world talking about the mistakes made by the coaches and athletes. The problem is that none of these people know what they’re talking about. Most of them dream of coaching an athlete at this level or being an athlete at this level. The problem is that if you haven’t done either, then you have no idea. Of course that’s a part of sports that athletes and coaches must endure, but it’s almost comical that people do this.

I have been on receiving end of the criticism, so I know how it feels. After the Senior Nationals, everyone had an opinion of what I could’ve done better as a coach. I had to endure all of that. No one remembered all of the competitions prior, the records sets, or the successful calls. They could only see the mistakes of this competition.

Here’s what you guys and gals don’t know. There are multiple decisions to be made at an International competition or a National competition especially when you are at the top of the food chain. Think about all the questions that need to be answered:

Did they open aggressively striving for a medal?

Where they considering team points or not? (Hint: they don’t always worry about this.)

What needs to be hit to maintain or increase the athlete’s stipend? Very important for the future of the athlete/

Are they chasing an American or in this case a World Record? If so, then good for them for going for it.

Has the athlete’s training gone well? Consistent and/or big lifts?

Are the athletes used to World level event?

Did the warm ups go well or not?

What’s the strategy of the meet?

Look you may have coached at a National event or some local events, but don’t assume that strategy at this level is the same as your normal strategy. It’s not as easy as being conservative and trying to go 6:6. I have seen very little of this. I have witnessed about 3 bomb outs per weight class because athletes are going for it. Guys it’s the World Championships. People are here to win not to go 6:6. If an athlete has the ability to medal, they have to go for it. Yeah they could be conservative, go 6:6 and end up in eighth place. However that’s not what anyone wants. They want to make waves on the World level. That’s why athletes train. They don’t train 12 times a week to be conservative earning 8th place when they could’ve potentially won a medal. If you don’t understand that, then you’ll never coach great athletes.

Look I know both coaches. They might not coach like me, but I know that they are both amazing coaches. I also have witnessed both athletes destroy it on the platform, so I know that there are about to go back to work with one thing in mind. Total domination next time!

Unless you’ve been there, I encourage all of you to keep your thoughts to yourself. Read through this incomplete list of questions, so you can start to get an idea that there’s a lot more going on than you might think. I hope this article gives all of you some insight. I am sure that Reddit will roast me, but I am way over all of that. The advantage that I have over Reddit is that I am here, and they’re not. They’re somewhere in their mom’s basement typing away on their keyboard dreaming of actually being successful.

Go Team USA!

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