Category Archives for "Barbell Life"

Special Events Announcement! Check them out!

Right now I am at CrossFit Lando here in Woburn, MA, and I just wanted to take the time to let you all know about some special events coming up. We are working hard to bring you all as many opportunities as possible to increase your melting pot. Our mission in life is to bring the most efficient Olympic Weightlifting, Powerlifting, Athletic Performance, and CrossFit techniques to the world.

Here are a couple of our upcoming events that you or your children might want to check out:

• May 10th and 11th is the inaugural Mash Mafia Weekend Clinic and Open House! Come learn about Olympic Weightlifting, Powerlifting, Athletic Speed Development, and Mobility, and meet Jon North, Coach Mash, and the rest of the team.
• June 7th the second Mash Mafia Learn 2 Lift Level II Seminar. Centered around the advanced techniques of Olympic Weightlifting, Programming, Mobility, and the Competition itself.
• July 7th-11th Mash Elite Summer Camp for children 13&up! Learn all about goal setting, nutrition, mobility, speed, vertical leap, agility, athletic strength, and what it takes to be a champion!
• July 21st-25th Mash Elite Summer Camp for children 7 thru 12! Same topics as above, but scaled for this age group.

To find out more about any of these, go to

I look forward to seeing you all!

Potential! The Open Doors Mission!

“…and because we believe this, we will do everything within our power to see these young people reach their full potential and live out their purpose.”

Above is a little insight into the DNA of Open Doors Christian Coaching. As a values-based organization we know that everything we do with and say to our clients/athletes needs to benefit them and help them move towards success.

We believe all human beings are created in the image of God. Not only are we created in the image of God, but we all have purpose as well (to glorify the one whose image we bear). Because of this, the means to fulfill that purpose lies within us. In other words, we hold within us the potential to do whatever it is we were created to do.

I did a little research on the word potential and the most interesting thing I found was that the main idea behind the word is possibility. When potential is in the equation, nothing is impossible.

Imagine with me a community of people who fully believe that they not only have the ability to accomplish great things, but also expect it of themselves because of who they have been created to be. This community would be unstoppable and would change the world, without a doubt.

Open Doors Christian Coaching will help young people realize that they are world-changers. They will know they have purpose, and they will know that they possess all the potential necessary to fulfill their purpose.

This knowledge will greatly impact all the young people we coach; however, we recognize that while knowledge is power, knowledge also requires action in order to produce a positive outcome. Our challenge to these young people will be to take what they learn with us and begin to put it into action in their daily lives. When they do this, they will not just have changed their own situation, but they will also be changing and impacting those who live with them as well.

Open Doors Christian Coaching exists to foster change within communities through individuals who have already been endowed with the purpose, potential, and power to bring it. All we want to do is mobilize a group of young people with open eyes to take this message into their world and turn it upside down for good.

Melting Pot: The Science Behind Learning!

Below is another excerpt from my upcoming book, “Preparing for Battle”. It’s getting closer to being availabe. In it you will find information on mobility, assessment, workouts preparing rookies for the sport of weightlifting, beginner weightlifting workouts, advanced workouts, tapering for meets, goal setting, nutrition, and more. It’s everything that a rookie or advanced weightlifter could ask for.

Our online team grows every week. To become a team member, or to find out more information, go to

To check out a Learn 2 Lift Seminar coming near you, go to

Enjoy the excerpt!

Chapter 8 Collect the Ingredients of Your Melting Pot Fearlessly

My co-host on Weightlifting Talk, Jon North, talks about growing one’s melting pot. He is talking about learning from as many sources as possible. He is of course talking about the sport of weightlifting, but this principle could be applied to any aspect of life. Jon goes on to say that he has learned aspects of weightlifting from all of his coaches even as far back as his elementary soccer coach. He goes on to say that he learned movement and balance from this coach, and that is where his melting pot began. Of course he has had many coached since then, and there are aspects of each of these coaches in the way Jon trains, performs the lifts, and competes to this very day.

My melting pot is filled with an amazing group of lifters, coaches, and influences. My athletes and friends joke about how I know everyone in the industry. When I think about it, I just thank God that I was put in the path of such amazing people. I also thank God that I had the courage to meet these people, and that I had the compassion to get to know them. In Colorado Springs, I was blessed to have as my first coach, two-time Olympian, Wes Barnett. My second coach was Olympic Bronze Medalist, Dragomir Cioroslan. Both were amazing men, and I learned so much from both of them. It was because I had the courage to seek Wes out that I was able to be coached by both.

While I was in Colorado Springs being coached by these amazing men, I was able to meet two-time Olympian, Shane Hamman. I was also able to meet and train with Olympians, Tom Gough, Pete Kelly, and Tim McRae. I met other amazing lifters like Andy Garcy and Jackie Berube. I learned something from all of these people that I now pass on to my team. The key to learning from people is truly loving others. I am truly interested in other’s story, and everyone you meet has a story.

If people see that you care and that you are sincerely interested in them, they will tell you their story. If you listen, deep in their stories you will find gold nuggets of knowledge. One of my closest teammates, Andy Garcy, taught me to stay over the bar as long as possible, delaying the double knee bend, for maximum power in the second pull. He taught me that simply getting strong is a big part of being a successful weightlifter. He also taught me to enjoy the moment and to love life. Weightlifting can be a very monotonous sport because you are snatching, clean & jerking, and squatting day in and day out. The key to a long life in the sport is to take time out to enjoy the training, enjoy your teammates, and enjoy the process of becoming as great as God intended you to become. Andy died of unknown causes January 16, 2009. I will never forget his smile, and his passion for the sport. He was weightlifting’s Arnold Schwarzenegger, and now I will miss him forever. Because I had the courage to meet Wes, I had the privilege of doing life with one of weightlifting’s most amazing people.

I also met the world famous strength coach Charles Poliquin, Active Release Techinque inventor and world famous chiropractor Dr. Michael Leahy, and the entire cast of TNation Magazine during my stay in Colorado Springs. Dr. Leahy was my first chiropractor, and his practice was called Champion Health. TNation had their offices within Champion Health, and Charles Poliquin also had his strength and conditioning clinic within their walls. It was a fantasy world for a strength athlete like me, and my dream was to one day be a part of something so amazing. I spent every extra moment at Champion Health getting to know Charles, Dr. Leahy, and Tim Patterson, Editor-In-Chief of TNation. I grew my melting pot within those walls exponentially simply asking questions, listening, and getting to know these men. There was so much knowledge behind those walls that I almost learned by osmosis.

I worked at the World Gym while I was in Colorado Springs, and I was able to set them up with a six week clinic from Charles Poliquin. Their trainers were able to get more knowledge during those six weeks than most Exercise Science students get in four years at a university. He taught us all about supplements, nutrition, assessment, programming, exercise choice, and so much more. My melting pot as a strength coach was growing faster than most PhD’s, and it was all because I was meeting new people.

I have to tell a funny story about something that happened during one of Charles’s seminars that I will laugh about forever. He was talking about front squatting. He had coached several bobsledders in Canada, and he had used a lot of front squats to improve their starts. He was emphasizing how incredibly strong they were. He throughout a number like 450 pounds, and I leaned to one of my friends and quietly told him, “That’s really not that much.” Charles noticed me talking during his presentation. He abruptly stopped the lecture, and asked me if I was stronger than his bobsledders. I confidently answered, “I know that I am.”

To my surprise, Charles stopped the lecture, and I was forced to max out in the front squat. Of course I went on to crush over 500 pounds with ease, and I instantly earned the respect of the great Charles Poliquin. He told the group that I must only be one generation from walking on my knuckles. I laughed, and we were friends from then on. My melting pot was growing, and I learned from that early age on that getting to know the people was much better than reading about their thoughts in a book.

My life has led me to know so many people including Louie Simmons, Ed Coan, Kirk Karwoski, Dave Tate, Dan John, Jim Wendler, Zach Even-Esh, Chad Wesley Smith, Coach Joe Kenn, Steve Goggins, and so many more. In this book, I want to teach you how to have the same ability. I know this is not a networking book, but without the skills of networking one will never come to know all there is to know from the great men and women of this world. The last gift that I will pass on with this book is the gift of The Melting Pot.

The first step to growing your melting pot is to have the courage to meet others. The key to having this courage is all about your perception of people. When I look at someone, I remind myself that God made them just like He made me. We both laugh, cry, sleep, eat, and go to the bathroom, and we both bleed red. That one thought has been the most freeing thought of my lifetime. As soon as you look at people with these simple thoughts, you will start to realize that you too can accomplish the same great things. Now when I look at the President of the United States, I think to myself that I am looking at another human that bleeds like me, eats like me, and uses the toilet just like me. The President simply put the time in to school, networking, and campaigning.

The second step is to have the courage to put yourself in the right situations. I met Charles Poliquin because I knew that he worked with Champion Health. I would purposely hang around the place until one day that right opportunity presented itself, and I was able to meet Charles. I met Dan John while he was presenting at Wake Forest University. I had heard that he was going to be presenting, so I contacted Ethan Reeves, head strength coach at Wake Forest. Ethan was the organizer of the clinic, and a friend of mine. I contacted Ethan, and I told him that if there was a need for more speakers, I would be happy to fill in. Lucky for me, Ethan needed one more, so I got to present with Coach John. During the clinic we got to know each other, and now we are friends to this day. I will say that Dan John has been one of the biggest influences on my coaching with his simple approach to strength.

Last spend your life loving others, and you will spend your time listening, learning, and caring. People are instinctively open to people who listen and care. When people try to meet me, and all they want to talk about is themselves, I am instantly looking for an exit to the conversation. When I meet people, I want to do three things: listen, learn, and help. I want to listen to what they have to say. I want to learn about their life story, and then I want to see what I can do for them. Nobody likes a parasite or someone that just wants to take, take, and take. I know win-win is cliché, but it’s the best way to form lasting friendships.

If you do these three things, you will increase your melting pot to a point that you would have never dreamed:

1. Have the courage to meet other people.
2. Have the courage to put yourself in positions to meet other people.
3. Spend your time loving, listening, learning, and caring for others.
a. Listen
b. Learn
c. Help

Next week I am going to walk you through how I met Jon North, Donnie Shankle, Glenn Pendlay, the Barbell Shrugged Podcast crew, and Christmas Abbott. I want to teach you how it happened, and what I learned. I want to express how my coaching, programming, technique, and business have all been influenced.

To meet me in person and learn more about my coaching and melting pot, check me out at one of my Learn 2 Lift Seminars. I will be in Orlando at CrossFit Broken Chains at the end of the month, and then next month I will be at Port City CrossFit in Wilmington and Mission CrossFit in San Antonio. To find out more, go to

To learn more about my online coaching program, go to

For Something Bigger

This weekend two tribes of people gathered on separate days but in one spirit to raise money for and shower encouragement and support on one person: Lisa G.

Saturday weightlifters of all ages slammed bars for Lisa. Sunday powerlifters got jacked and totaled big numbers for her. Yes, there was competition, but there was one winner: Lisa G.

I entered the deadlift only competition during Sunday’s powerlifting meet. I had only one goal- lift as much weight as possible. One dollar per pound was on the table. Every pound counted in a huge way. I had a plan to hit 455 lbs. then move up to 490 before attempting 500. Warm ups felt good and I smashed both 455 and 490. I called for 500 for my 3rd attempt and went to rest.

As I listened to my music and focused on hitting the last attempt, I was almost overwhelmed with emotion because I knew this was a big deal to make this last lift for Lisa. I went into the main room still listening to my music, I passed off my phone to Caleb to make my way to the platform. I heard the announcer tell the Loaders to take the bar to 530 lbs. This was not what I had asked for. It was a 40 lb. jump from what was already an all-time PR at 490.

It didn’t matter, though. I was already there. Either I’m going to lift this or not. $530 on the line for Lisa. Staring down a 45 lb. PR, I told myself that 490 was a joke and the bar was giving me at least 30 lbs. extra today (somehow using math helped me mentally tackle whatever fear I had). The crowd got behind me, and I was able to lift the weight and complete the lift.

Time-out. Pause. Back up about 40 seconds.

I didn’t allow hesitation or fear enter my heart or mind, even though I knew this weight was not what I planned for and was something I’d never attempted before.


Because this was for something bigger than me. On a personal level it wouldn’t set in until after the fact- in that moment, and even now, it only mattered for Lisa, and that was my only concern.

I whole-heartedly believe that when you’re doing something that matters beyond yourself that you will always find extra motivation and drive to accomplish the task at hand.

Today it happened to be for Lisa, but in the rest of life that “something bigger” is Christ and my wife and son and all I’ve been created to do.

When you find your “something bigger” then impossible becomes the conquerable.

Something bigger 2014.

Don’t Just Lift Weights, Embrace Barbell Life!

This is another excerpt from my upcoming book. The book is going to have a great workout for weightlifters, a great way to start the sport, and a way to taper for a meet. There will stories of my life with some great life lessons. There will also be goal setting, mind set, mobility, and much more. For information about Online Coaching, go to, we are literally starting an online team so check it out. Today is a little section from the Barbell Life Chapter. Enjoy!

Chapter 7 Don’t Just Lift Weights, Embrace Barbell Life!

The week that I am writing this has really helped me see how awesome barbell life really is. The barbell has a mysterious way of bringing people together. All kinds of people are brought together life family from their mutual love of the barbell regardless of the discipline. At the Mash Compound we have NFLers, Olympic caliber Weightlifters, Powerlifters, and several school age athletes from all different sports that just come to Mash to get stronger and faster. We also have nurses, lawyers, and stay at home moms that simply love to workout in one way or another. The one thing that they all have in common is their love of the barbell, and that love has brought us all together like family. Real family!
One of our most famous members, the infamous Lisa G is a registered nurse battling Stage IV Lung Cancer. As I write this we are putting on a Lift 4 Lisa weightlifting and powerlifting event to raise money for her and her family. The bar was all it took to develop a friendship that will withstand time as far as I am concerned. I would never have known her if it were not for our mutual love of the bar, and now her and her family celebrates most holidays with my family. The whole Mash family does life together. We have all drawn together to support Lisa in her battle. My wife cooks her meals. Molly and Lisa S provide her with transportation, and we all provide her friendship, love, and support.
Lisa G has gone from a lady who couldn’t do a body weight squat to a lady who crushes Olympic weightlifting and powerlifting records in between cancer treatments. She has become so special to me because as I was teaching her the barbell, she was there for me as I struggled to land my wife. My wife, Emily Drew, was a tough customer to convince of my love. Lisa was there during the courtship, engagement, and finally the marriage. Our friendship was forever solidified during that time, and now she continues to keep me straight. Whenever the morning crew at Mash gets upset about anything, they tell Lisa G, and she sets me straight. They all know that if Lisa G says something that I am going to listen.
I think back about all of my Barbell Family, and I can’t help to wonder in amazement how we were all brought together by something so simple as a barbell. At the Mash facility, we were not just brought together, but the barbell caused a family like love for one another that no one will ever be able to explain. Jon Brown, an arm wrestler from New Hampshire spent the week at Mash. Jon is an avid listener of a podcast that I do with Jon North called Weightlifting Talk. We have only communicated via twitter, and an infrequent call in once in a while to our show. However it seemed like I knew him, and I even told him that it seemed that he just belonged. All in the world that we have in common is the barbell, but now we are brothers forever.
I tell you all of these stories to encourage you to not just lift weights. I encourage you to experience all that the weights have to offer. Nothing is like the community formed by the barbell. The barbell will form a family around you that will never leave you, judge you, or fail you. It’s something unexplainable! It is something that can only be experienced. A lot goes with the responsibility of a barbell family because life will forever be filled with amazing highs and lows. Just this week, I have athletes that have been offered scholarships, broken records, and that have been invited to Nike combines. I have also had athletes this week lose scholarships because of abusive coaches that want athletes that like to be verbally abused daily, and another athlete that is watching his family crumble around him for unmentionable reasons. A lot comes with the responsibility of a barbell family, but they all know that I will win with them, and more importantly I will be there when their ship is sinking.
The barbell will do so much more than get you strong or in shape if you let it. It will teach you about yourself. It will teach you to be fearless. It will teach you to persevere. More importantly, it will teach you to love like none other. Let it teach you! Let the family form, and you will have a lasting group of people that will ride out the boat until the very end.

Unbelievable Day for Jon North & a Great Time

Yesterday was a great session for the team. Jon’s video will show how we have a unique blend of hard work, big lifts, and fun. This atmosphere makes us unique in my opinion. We simply have a great time at being the best in the world. I wish I knew how to duplicate it, but the truth is that it just happened. My prayer is that my love for my athletes shines all the way to heaven, and the atmosphere is simply a ray of sunshine from God.

Check out Jon’s Video:

In April, we will be together at the Attitude Nation Level II Camp in Woburn, MA at CrossFit Lando. Later that month I will be at CrossFit Broken Chains in Orlando, FL with Greg Nuckols. Guys we are all over the place: Long Island, Wilmington, Rhode Island, Minneapolis, New Mexico, Canada, San Antonio, and more, so go the to check them all out. For online coaching and to be a part of the team online, go to to sign up.