Category Archives for "Mash Potatoes Nutrition"

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 Importance of Sustainability

What kind of relationship do you have with food? Is it healthy or unhealthy? Is it sustainable?

The only good diet is a sustainable one.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), a sustainable diet is “a diet with low environmental impacts that contribute to food and nutrition security and to healthy life for present and future generations.”

Different ways of life

I just spent the last few days in Columbus, Ohio at the Arnold Sports Festival. As you can imagine, there were some of the most elite athletes from multiple disciplines (weightlifting, powerlifting, strongman, CrossFit, bodybuilding) in the same convention center. Close to three years ago, we spent the weekend in Nashville sharing our time between the CrossFit Central Regional and the hospital. My father was supposed to have major heart surgery that weekend, but he wasn’t able to. His blood sugar was too high and the doctor said they couldn’t safely perform the surgery and provide a positive prognosis for his outcome. They sent him home with instructions to get his A1C down and blood sugar under control. Fast forward six months – and he was able to have the surgery. In October, my father celebrated his two-year anniversary of having major heart surgery and still doing well ( with only a few hiccups so far).

These athletes and my father are on opposite sides of the spectrum. The athletes are trying to be as strong and fit as possible, while my father is just trying to maintain some quality of life. Neither are healthy per se. Any professional sport comes with health risks and takes an extreme toll on the body. What they do have in common is that nutrition plays a huge role in their goals.

The Current Crisis

In the United States, we have access to more food in a day than people in other countries might see in a month or even a year. We walk into a gas station and candy bars are staring us in the face, sodas are on the end aisle, and Little Debbie’s snacks scream our name. There is a fast food restaurant on every street corner and a rainbow colored Frappuccino the size of a small dog. Social gatherings and family get-togethers are centered around food! With all of this access, no wonder we are facing an obesity epidemic in this country. And there IS an epidemic.

The National Council on Aging reports that upward of 92% of all older adults are suffering from one chronic illness, and around 77% have at least two. Heart disease and type II diabetes (both of which are often preventable) are at the top of the list of chronic illnesses and are responsible for up to two-thirds of deaths in older adults each year. More shockingly, according to the American Heart Association, childhood obesity has tripled since the 1960s. Now one in three children and adolescents are considered obese. It has become the top health concern among medical professionals. This is crazy! We are doing our children a disservice! What do you think will be the quality of life for our already obese children when they reach senior status? Stop the madness!

Fueling our lives and goals

I will use the analogy of a car. Petroleum is the fuel that we use to run our cars. In order to keep our cars in top working condition, they require quality fuel and maintenance. They also have to be driven regularly in order to keep them running. Now, think about that. Food is our fuel. We need quality food, maintenance, and regular exercise in order to stay in top working condition.

Am I saying don’t enjoy food? NO, that isn’t what I am saying at all. What I AM saying is, on a regular daily basis, put food in your mouth that will support your goals and promote health and well-being. This will look different for everyone. What the professional athlete can and needs to eat to perform at the top of their sport will look much different than what my father needs to eat in order to maintain quality of life.

What you put in your body on a daily basis will have an affect on your performance AND your health. Not taking in enough calories can cause loss of muscle mass, fatigue, moodiness, slower metabolism, and the list goes on. Taking in too many calories can lead to weight gain and ultimately to chronic illnesses, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Excess calories often mean excess refined sugars, which are a huge contributor to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other cardiovascular diseases.

Here's the best way to reach your diet goals in 2020...

Get nutrition coaching from the Mash Mafia.

* Fully Customized Nutrition Plans

* Expert Coaches to Guide You

* Real-World Solutions for Real-World Issues

Taking control back

So, how do we reverse the already deteriorating future of our obese youth as well as give quality of life back to our older adults? Here are some ideas I have that might help:

  • Realize where you are on the spectrum – If you are an athlete, you are fueling your body for performance. You can eat quality foods most of the time and indulge every once in a while with no issue. If you are suffering from a chronic illness, those indulgences can be detrimental. You won’t have the same luxuries as the athlete.
  • Be an example – As a parent, our children mimic us. They are watching, and we can teach them so much. Providing our children with quality food is step one. Teaching them about quality food and how to prepare it is step two. Showing them how to exercise self-control when we do indulge is step three. They will carry what we teach them into their adult life.
  • Exercise self-control – When we do indulge, maybe get the “Like It” size at Coldstone rather than the “Gotta Have It”. Put it in a cup rather than a cone. Eat two slices of pizza rather than a whole pizza by yourself. This list can go on.
  • Exercise! – Obviously athletes will exercise. It is part of their sport. I’m talking to my kids and my average adults. Get moving!!!

Practical application

Additionally, here are some steps you can take to keep your food intake in check on a daily basis.

  1. Have a Prep Day – Decide what you want the bulk of your protein to be for the week, pick a starch (rice, sweet potatoes, quinoa), and vegetables. Pick a day and spend a couple of hours pre-cooking the majority of your meals. This will give you go-to meals even on the go and in a time crunch.
  2. Have snacks readily available – Have protein bars for on the go. My favorite kinds of bars are “Oh Yeah! One” bars and “Fit Joy” bars. They have a great macro breakdown. Also, I love rice cakes and peanut butter or an apple/banana and peanut butter.
  3. Track It – Use an application such as MyFitnessPal to track your macros. It helps to know everything you are eating and drinking. A lot of times, we don’t realize how little or how much we are consuming until we track it. Also, if we know we have to track it, we might be less likely to deviate.
  4. Pre Plan – Don’t wait until the end of the night and go back in to track the current day’s food intake. Put everything you plan on eating into your app the night before or the morning of so you can make adjustments as necessary. Waiting until right before you go to bed to only realize you are short 75 carbs doesn’t do you much good.
  5. Research Food Establishments – If you know you are eating out, research the menu of the restaurant and decide what you want to order prior to getting there. This would tie back in with number four by pre-planning. If you know you are going to be eating more carbs when you go out, you can be sure to save enough if you plan properly.
  6. Forgive Yourself – Sometimes if we don’t pre-plan or prepare, we end up overdoing it – and guilt normally follows. With guilt, one bad meal turns into two bad meals and then three. Instead, forgive yourself and move on.
  7. Moderation – The great thing about counting and tracking macros is it is sustainable. Pick high quality, nutrient dense food to eat most of the time, and enjoy your favorite treats now and then. I refer back to numbers three and six when I say that indulging once in a while is ok – and you shouldn’t feel guilty about it.

The only way we are going to turn this around and become a more fit society as a whole is to target our kids. They are the future – and if we don’t teach them how to be healthy and the importance of wellness and exercise, we are doomed as a society. We can create such bright futures for them! Let’s GO!!

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.

Business and Staying Jacked as You Age with Marc Lobliner – The Barbell Life 286

Marc Lobliner of Tiger Fitness has been in the fitness game for years and years.

From the fitness magazines back in the day to Scivation and other nutritional supplements, he’s been an energetic force that you just saw everywhere.

This guy has some great stories (he reminded me about the time I confronted a group of big Samoans), and he’s seen enough in the industry that he can tell you all about what really goes on behind the scenes.

Not to mention he’s pushing 40 and is still crazy jacked.

So listen in to this one to hear from the machine himself.


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


  • Stories about how Travis confronted a group of big Samoans
  • What happened with
  • His tips for productivity and organization
  • How he gets jacked and stays jacked
  • Getting abs with overhead presses
  • and more…

Listener Questions Answered – The Barbell Life 285

I want to start off by thanking everyone who writes in to ask us questions.

First, thanks for the privilege of helping you. It’s not something we take lightly, and it’s something we are honored to do. Plus it’s something we love! Few things in life are better than helping out other people.

But also I want to thank people for writing in with questions – because if someone writes in with a question, chances are lots of other people have the same questions and just have never asked.

And when we get questions, we love answering them right here on our podcast. So listen in!


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


  • Recovery for older/busy athletes
  • Gaining size in the legs
  • Jerk technique
  • Elbow pain
  • Back squat frequency
  • and more…

Competition Nutrition with Simon Chang – The Barbell Life 278

Simon Chang is an impressive powerlifter – but he’s a really impressive nutrition coach.

It really goes without saying… Nutrition is important. We’ve got our Eat What You Want nutrition coaching here because we know it’s that crucial.

But what we talked about most with Simon was nutrition leading up to a meet.

How do you cut weight effectively? When should you start? How much can you reasonably cut?

Listen in for the answers!

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.


  • Eating frequency
  • His thoughts on supplements
  • How aggressively you can cut and maintain strength
  • Eating for two-a-day training sessions
  • Intrameet nutrition
  • and more…

Your Questions Answered – The Barbell Life 247

On this podcast, we answer listener questions – and these are always some of my favorite podcasts.

You put out content that you hope benefits people, but you’re never really sure. But with these podcasts, we know we’re answering your direct questions.

So join us as we discuss powerlifting, weightlifting, athletic performance, programming, and tons more.

Seven of the Greatest Minds in Strength & Conditioning in One Book


Take your knowledge and your strength to the next level with a peek inside the minds of these industry experts.
Featuring insight and programs from Coach Cal Dietz, Dr. Mike Israetel, Dr. Stu McGill, Coach Dan John, Dr. Bryan Mann, Matt Vincent, and Coach Danny Camargo


  • How to get your chest to grow
  • Getting a faster first pull
  • Dealing with “butt wink”
  • Increasing your deadlift by not working on your deadlift
  • Programming for a tactical athlete or super total athlete
  • and more…
1 2 3 11