Category Archives for "Mash Business"

From Professional Thrower to Private Strength Coach with Jordan Clarke – The Barbell Life 304

Jordan Clarke made a living as a throwing athlete and has now transitioned to being a successful private strength coach.

He’s got some great business insight on training athletes and training the general population.

But we also talk a ton about supplements, gut health, and some fascinating nutrition philosophies from the late Charles Poliquin.


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  • His business setup now and his plans for the future
  • Charles Poliquin and blood type diets
  • How to be the “best” coach – what does that even mean?
  • Supplements and gut health
  • Volume, Intensity, and Dopamine
  • and more…

Coaches: Use Your Quarantine Time Wisely

Fun fact: the daily routine in our house hasn’t changed much the last four weeks other than we are training at home rather than the gym.

Lack of Control

As I sit here writing this article, my family and I are on day 29 of a quarantine – which was initially voluntary but then turned into a mandatory policy to stay at home. The world has stood still and life has slowed down for almost everyone. The end date is yet to be determined.

All eyes are on COVID-19 and how it is tearing through the world. There are amazing and brave people out there. One of our athletes, Courtney Haldeman, goes to work daily as an RN here in our city, just waiting for the fallout to happen. So far, they are not overrun so they have had a bit more time to prepare than some of the hot zones like New York. The bottom line is this: there are so many things going on with this virus that are out of our control. The virus doesn’t care if you are rich or poor, black or white, homeless or live in a fancy mansion, famous, an athlete, young or old, etc. We are all facing the same thing. Unfortunately, some have been hit harder than others financially, and it breaks my heart to see so many people struggling in this industry who were thriving just last month.

The fitness world has been hit hard by this pandemic. For anyone who works in a setting coaching athletes face to face, you have had to be quick on your feet, think outside the box, and learn to adapt to the new normal. For those of us who have an online presence, we have also had to think on our feet as some of our athletes lost access to gym equipment and some have been hit financially with job losses. There are definitely more things that are out of our control than are within our control.

What We Can Control

At this point, all we can do is focus on what we can control. Two of the things we as coaches can control are:

  • Our perspective and attitude
  • How we utilize our time daily
Keep Improving!

Professional development is so important to us as coaches. Many of us are consumed by our daily commitments to our athletes and/or to our gyms that we don’t have the time (or we don’t take the time) we would like to advance our own learning or to create content. This is a chink in a lot of coaches’ armor, and now is the time to change that. There are so many resources at the touch of a finger.

Now, there are two sides to this coin. There are the new coaches who need to be sponges and soak up as much information as possible. Then, there are the coaches with years and years of experience who can take this time to teach the new coaches. I personally fall in the middle – but more toward the former. I am knowledgeable and have experience under my belt, but I still have so much more to learn. The day a coach stops learning is the day the coach needs to stop coaching. The tool box can never be too big!



It's finally here... Learn about technique, programming, assessment, and coaching from a master. For strength coaches and for athletes, these 53 videos (7 hours and 56 minutes of footage) will prepare you to understand the main lifts for maximum performance and safety. Get ready to learn...

Here are ways to advance yourself during this time:

  • Identify your strengths and weaknesses. Be honest with yourself.
  • Create content on subjects you identify as strengths. This will help you to enhance your own knowledge while helping younger coaches expand theirs.
  • Look for resources you can use to further your knowledge in areas that you identify as weaknesses. Even the most experienced of coaches have areas they can improve on.
  • Create a daily schedule for family, work, and professional development. This will look different for everyone based on family and work obligations. Put aside 30 minutes to an hour minimum daily to work on your professional development. This could include taking a course, reading a book, reviewing articles, or watching roundtable videos.

There are many resources out there – some are good and some are not so good. Make sure what you choose is backed by science and is evidence based. Young coaches can often make the mistake of taking a seasoned coach’s opinion as science. The mistake comes from following blindly rather than doing their own research. When you read or watch something, don’t just take it at face value. Follow up with your own research and make your own conclusions based on your findings. Seasoned coaches, provide content to newer coaches that is backed by science and not just your opinion. Just because you teach something a certain way or include/exclude an exercise based on personal preference, does not mean that it is an absolute or the law. There is nothing wrong with sharing an opinion – just be sure to express that it is your preference or opinion rather than a “should” or “must.”

Stay Productive

I’m not exempt from my own advice! I have been working on my own professional development the last four weeks in quarantine. It was challenging to start, but creating a schedule and making lists has made it much more manageable to be productive each day. Here are some ways that I am working on myself as a coach:

  • Coaching athletes – Technology has been absolutely amazing with applications like Zoom. Here at Mash Elite, we have started doing Zoom training sessions with our onsite athletes. We have also opened it up to our online athletes, which is a newly added feature for them!
  • Analyzing athlete videos – Travis started doing more of this the last couple of weeks with a combination of Coach’s Eye and Bar Path. It has been amazing. I do video analysis for our online athletes as they post in our Facebook group, but recently, I have started taking videos from the side or asking online athletes to send me videos. Using the apps I just spoke of, I can analyze videos in new ways to show my athletes how they can improve their bar path. It also allows me to post the video on social media and teach other coaches. This helps others – but it also makes me a better coach as I articulate the lift.
  • Reading content on subject matters I have identified as weaknesses – I don’t want to just be a one trick pony. One of my weaknesses in particular is speed work. When this is all over, one of my goals is to be more knowledgeable in this area.
  • Staying in touch with my mentors – Talking shop via phone, Zoom, or Facetime is an awesome (and entertaining) way to increase your knowledge. Just recently, while writing new programs, Travis and I had a great conversation about the parameters to elicit hypertrophy with a no-equipment or minimal-equipment program.
  • Seeking out online continuing education courses – Because of social distancing, many platforms have moved to being online. For most courses, you can get the same educational experience as you can with a live course (minus the networking and practical portions if applicable).
  • Creating an exercise library – this will be of benefit to our athletes and other coaches to better teach movements.

Will you be productive every minute of every day? No. But I promise you this: the time you do spend on your professional development will make you a better coach – which will in turn make your athletes better.


Here are some resources I personally recommend that have been extremely helpful to me. They are all based on science and all coaches involved are very reputable.

  • Strength University – we recently launched an eight-unit online curriculum that covers all the areas we at Mash Elite Performance are known for. Travis covers assessments, mobility, movements, flaws, fixing flaws, and much more. I can promise you I am not just telling you this for a sale. I spent several days going through the entire curriculum creating print-outs for the course – and I learned so much in subjects I already thought I already knew well!
    You can go here to purchase: Strength University



It's finally here... Learn about technique, programming, assessment, and coaching from a master. For strength coaches and for athletes, these 53 videos (7 hours and 56 minutes of footage) will prepare you to understand the main lifts for maximum performance and safety. Get ready to learn...

  • Stronger Experts – This is a panel of strength coaches with expertise in various areas. They are always creating amazing new content. There is a monthly or yearly subscription that gets you access to all of their content. I have yet to watch or read anything on Stronger Experts where I didn’t learn something!
    You can learn more here: Stronger Experts
  • Stronger by Science (MASS) – If you follow us at all, you have heard us talk about Greg Nuckols. He is a researcher and is extremely good at his job. He and his colleagues do the work for you. They do all the research on subject matters and put it together in very well written, easy to understand articles. There is a monthly or yearly subscription that gives you access to all of their content.
    You can learn more here: Stronger by Science
  • Two Brain Business – I am late to the party on this business as they have been working to make gyms successful for a while now. I found them in the midst of this pandemic, and they have done an amazing job of providing valuable information to the fitness industry on how to stay profitable through it.
    Check out their Instagram page: Two Brain Business

Of course there are other resources out there, but these are most definitely my top four. They are also four very different platforms providing you with access to videos, journals, and multiple experts in their field.

When you emerge from this quarantine, will you be carrying a larger tool box? I know I will!

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

The Realities of Strength Coaching with Liane Blyn – The Barbell Life 303

We’ve talked with Liane Blyn before – but last time we focused mainly on her record-breaking accomplishments as a powerlifter.

But on this podcast we talked with Liane about the other side of her strength world: she has been a successful strength and conditioning coach for over 20 years.

So we talk to her today about training and her approach to working with athletes – but we also go deep into the tough realities of the strength coaching industry. This is one that all potential coaches should listen to.



It's finally here... Learn about technique, programming, assessment, and coaching from a master. For strength coaches and for athletes, these 53 videos (7 hours and 56 minutes of footage) will prepare you to understand the main lifts for maximum performance and safety. Get ready to learn...


  • Why the 1.5 mile test is actually important
  • Which is better – dealing with coaches or dealing with parents?
  • The effects of money on how a strength coach operates
  • Truth about the 2.5 x bodyweight squat?
  • The right way to train kids and the problems with the way things are now
  • and more…

Injury Recovery and Full Body Movement with MoveU’s Andrew Dettelbach – The Barbell Life 293

You may recognize Andrew Dettelbach as the crazy shirtless guy from MoveU.

But his story goes so much deeper. After a severely herniated disc, Andrew didn’t get the recommended surgery but instead rehabbed his body.

He learned about movement, he learned about mobility, and he learned about how physical therapy gets it wrong sometimes.

Now he’s stronger and fitter than ever.

So if you’ve ever dealt with injury, this podcast is an inspiration.

If you want to avoid injury, this podcast is packed with education as well.

Protocols for Aches and Pains, Muscular Imbalances & Recovery

Work Harder. Train Longer. Prevent Injury.

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


  • Why physical therapy gets people off on the wrong foot
  • Taking a full body approach no matter what
  • How Andrew handles his hypermobility
  • Social media tips from MoveU
  • The early warning signs of Andrew’s injury
  • and more…

My Desire for Exercise Science Students

Before I get into my vision for the field of exercise science, I want to first tell all of you how excited I am for the future.

A dream of beginning a new university program is finally coming to fruition after 7 years. In the fall of 2020, I will begin my position as Head Coach of the Lenoir-Rhyne University Weightlifting Team. Recently I took my team to see the facilities and to check out campus. We even had the chance to train in our new home, and I think that I speak for all of us when I say we loved it. It felt like an Olympic Training Center, which is exactly what I am going for.

View this post on Instagram

On Tuesday I took the majority of our team to see what I’ve been working on for the last six months. If you take into consideration how long I’ve been planning and dreaming of a University Weightlifting Program, it’s more like 7 years. In this video you will see the main weight room complete with: Inverse Leg Curls, Reverse-Hypers, Glute-Ham Developers, @westsidebarbellofficial Belt Squat Machine, racking system with all the toys including jammer arms, monkey bars for days, every specialty bar you can imagine, turf area, multiple @assaultairbike air runners, air bikes, ski ergs, and of course we will have all the nice kilo bumpers and awesome bars. . There’s also a nutrition station as you exit for athletes to grab their post-workout shakes. . The Athletic Training Room is my favorite complete with Cold Tub and Hot Tub, @rapidreboot ‘s, and Athletic Trainers of course. The goal is to get each athlete an individual recovery plan. . You’ll also see the spillover room that is also beautiful for individual two-a-day sessions. . Another thing is the Heated Indoor Saltwater Pool. For all of you CrossFit Athletes that can also Snatch and Clean & Jerk well, I am 100% interested in having you, and I am totally fine with you continuing to do both sports weightlifting and CrossFit. Therefore indirectly creating the first University CrossFit Program. . If you’re interested in attending and looking into scholarship opportunities, you can DM me right here. Then I will give you my email. . FYI to all the coaches, we want you to remain the #1 coach of record and can keep your club name except during the University Nationals. . I want this to be a Team USA Program, and nothing to do with Team Mash. I hope we can work together to give athletes opportunities within the sport. Therefore giving them a reason to pursue our beloved sport versus one of the other sport like football or basketball. . Ask any questions right here as well, and I will answer. . @shruggedcollective @andersvarner @usaweightlifting #usaw #weightlifting #strengthandconditioning #powerlifting @alex_j_koch @lenoirrhyne @bearssports #lenoirrhyneweightlifting #crossfit

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I want the athletes on my team to have everything they need to succeed. However there is much more that I want for them. I want them to leave Lenoir-Rhyne with a degree and a future. I am also beginning the long process of working toward my PhD. Guys, I haven’t been in school in over 25 years. Luckily, Mash Elite Performance has kept my nose buried in research, learning, and writing of course. I definitely feel more prepared than when I first graced Appalachian State University with my presence. All I cared about back then was football, lifting weights, and girls. Now I want to make a difference in as big a way as possible.

The staff at LR is incredibly progressive and forward thinking. When I am around Dr. Alex Koch and Dr. Keith Leiting, I feel like the possibilities are endless. I’m excited about the research we will be capable of performing with elite weightlifters under our roof. However there is something that intrigues me even more. I want to make sure our exercise science students have futures in their chosen field.


The buzz around the world lately is that college isn’t as important as we once thought. People are either taking up a trade, starting work right away, or skipping school to start their own business. With my goal of becoming a professor, I want to be a part of the solution. Exercise Science is comprised of students who are intrigued with health and fitness, and most of them simply want to help others. To me this is an admirable major filled with good people, and I want to help the students at Lenoir-Rhyne put their passion to work.

My dream is to integrate major specific business skills within the exercise science curriculum. I want to teach our students:

  • How to brand themselves with social media
  • How to create content to help others via podcasts, blogs, or vlogs
  • Networking skills
  • Entrepreneurial skills to develop their own businesses online or brick and mortar
  • The actual job search itself

One thing I have learned listening to Gary Vaynerchuk is that brand is just about everything when it comes to one’s career. I am not just talking about entrepreneurs. I’m also talking about those want a job as a strength and conditioning coach or even as a personal trainer. In a competitive field, you have got to do something that sets you apart, and then you have to let the rest of the world know about it.

If a student begins the process during their freshman year, they will be able to build quite the brand by the time they are seniors. If they want to focus more on their futures than partying, we all know there is plenty of time to grow a brand and a following. I am not talking about four years of posting pics with your friends. I mean four years of sharing all that you are learning or sharing nutrition and exercise tips. The goal is that you graduate being known as that guy – with that guy being whoever you want to become in this noble field.

If you desire to help people with the knowledge you are gaining in your studies, you don’t have to wait until you graduate. You can start creating content on your favorite aspects of exercise science right now. The key is discovering your favorite way to produce content – whether it be podcasting, writing, or vlogging. Of course you don’t want to write about something that you don’t totally understand. Stick to the truths that you are learning along the way. The goal is to focus on the niche you enjoy and the particular aspect of exercise science you know the best (nutrition, speed training, athletic performance, etc.). Remember the goal is to become that guy or that gal in the field.


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

Weightlifting - Powerlifting - Super Total

Garage Gym Warrior - Functional Fitness - Strength and Conditioning

Getting a job? Starting a business?

Here’s the truth regarding how one gets most jobs in the exercise science world: it’s whom you know. It might not be the right thing, but it’s a harsh reality. But there is an art to networking. Way too many people who are trying to network come across as annoying and desperate. It has to be a natural thing. The best people to network with are people you jive with. Then there is a high probability that your new acquaintance will introduce you to other likeminded people – and the next thing you know you will have a circle of folks that you love. There’s more to it, but you get the idea. We just need to make sure that our talented students get the idea.

And let’s not forget that many students can create their own jobs. Most college students simply don’t understand they aren’t held hostage by the hopes of someone hiring them anymore. This is the age of the young entrepreneur. However, it’s also the age of the broke entrepreneur. These young folks need guidance and someone who can be brutally honest because everyone isn’t cut out for entrepreneurship. If you’re lazy, you’re doomed to fail. If you aren’t self-motivated, you are doomed to fail. If you don’t have thick skin, you’re doomed to fail because everyone is going to tell you that you’re crazy.

The job will be to assess the students and see who is and who isn’t cut out for entrepreneurship. If they are, the next job would be to see what ideas they might have, and then give them direction. The key will be to get this going as soon as possible, so they can use their time in college to brand their future business. For example, maybe they love working with weight loss clients. They should spend their extra time writing and/or creating video of the dangers of obesity and making wise choices at the grocery store. Then they will graduate having created a solid following that they can begin to market to.

The most obvious place that these graduates need help is finding actual jobs. Most of them have no idea about the opportunities that are afforded them. For example, they could look for something in the strength and conditioning field, personal trainer, corporate wellness, physical therapist assistant, chiropractic assistant, personal trainer on a cruise ship (this is a real thing), or in cardiac rehab. The list goes on, but the key is informing the students and helping them map out a path toward their goal job.

The good thing is that Dr. Alex Koch and I have already been throwing around ideas. Since he helped me start this whole new program, I guess we believe anything is possible at this point. If you are looking for a school right now, you might want to consider what kind of job placement record they have as a school. I can promise we are going to make some changes you will all be reading about very soon. I want all of our students leaving Lenoir-Rhyne University ready to attack their chosen field and confident they made the right choice in a university.

If you are interested in our new University Weightlifting Program at Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory, NC, message me on here or shoot an email to I will have a Lenoir-Rhyne email within days, which will be

Perseverance and Starting a Coaching Career with Peter Kenn – The Barbell Life 290

It’s not really a surprise that Peter Kenn is pursuing a strength coach career.

After all, his father is my friend Coach Joe Kenn of the Carolina Panthers. And Peter joins us today to talk about what it was like growing up as the son of a great strength coach.

But Peter is a skilled athlete in his own right, and he is determined to make his own way in the world as a strength coach. I think he’s going places – and as you’ll hear about in this podcast, he has some strengths that might even make him a better strength coach than his father.

We talk about all of that – and we also get to Peter’s plans for breaking into the strength coach industry… and what has already brought him tremendous benefit.

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  • Why track requires a lot of mental fortitude – and what makes Peter so mentally tough
  • Having a successful Block Zero
  • What it was like growing up as Coach Joe Kenn’s son (and what Coach Kenn has learned the hard way)
  • How Peter’s “court room experience” made him a better coach
  • Peter’s tactical plan to enter the coaching world and what you can learn from it
  • and more…