Category Archives for "Motivation"

The Most Inspiring Story Ever

On Wednesday of this week, one of my best friends in the world became a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine.

Her name is Kristi Mason, and she is 46 years old. I met her along with her husband Chris “Ox” Mason (who is also my business partner and one of my best friends) while I was in college at Appalachian State University. I was the wild one, and they were in love. We did everything together.

Our History Together

The three of us trained together at Appalachian Fitness Center. It was the heyday of my lifting career. They were into bodybuilding at the time, but we supported each other through it all. I went to their shows and they traveled with me to my competitions. It was one of the best times of my life. I look back on those times, and all I remember is loving every second of it. I had found a sport that was giving me everything I had been missing in life – stability and two friends who supported me and loved me (the real me) unconditionally.

One day after an amazing training session, we were sitting around together and talking about our love of the barbell. I explained that it gave me back everything I put into it. The harder I worked, the stronger I became. If I wanted to get stronger, I lifted heavy and often. If I wanted to get jacked, I added in accessory work for the pump. As I was explaining all of this to Kristi and Chris, I started crying uncontrollably like a baby. It was at this moment I knew exactly who I was and what I wanted in life. It was moments like this that Kristi and Chris shared with me, and that’s why they know aspects of me no one else will ever understand.

They were there during my time at the Olympic Training Center, and they were there during my climb to the top of powerlifting. They were there for every Gold Medal and every World Record. They were there when it was all over as well. That was the darkest time of my life, and they were there. They have always been there for me. When most people deserted me, they stayed by my side. For that, I will always love them both until the lights go out.

Working for the Dream

About six years ago, Kristi decided to begin the long journey of becoming a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. She was over 40 years old when she decided to begin the impossible. It wasn’t only Kristi’s journey – Chris was now solely responsible for paying the bills and taking care of their 10-acre ranch. He had just started a new business: Training for Warriors Winston-Salem. They had both been pharmaceutical sales reps making roughly $100,000 per year each, and now Chris was making $50,000 with no benefits. Now are you seeing there are two heroes in this story? I watched it all from afar with admiration for them both.

People love to dream. They love to talk about what they would like to do or what they should do. Nothing drives me crazier than listening to people talk about “could have” and “should have.” Nothing is more dysfunctional than those phrases. However this isn’t a story about people mumbling those phrases, growing old, and dying with regrets.

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In this story, our heroes dream an amazing dream, make a plan, and commit to that plan. She started out taking prerequisites and retaking a few classes that she didn’t do so well in while at college. She was crushing it. Then it was time to apply. This was a scary time in our story because veterinary school is harder to get into than medical school. However, she did get in, and the first step of her dream was now a reality.

Now it was time for the work to begin. Kristi spent all of her time going to class and studying. One thing I didn’t mention was that the vet school was four hours away. Not only was Chris taking care of the ranch and working to pay all the bills, but also he was alone. Their ranch is totally secluded with no visible neighbors. That solitude is great when your wife is with you, but it can get pretty old day-in and day-out.

He held it together the best he could. He battled depression, and he battled a volatile economy with a risky business. He wanted to quit, but he didn’t want to let his wife down. He had the weight of the world on his shoulder, but this past Wednesday that weight was lifted. Kristi passed her boards and became Dr. Kristi Mason. I have never been more proud of anyone, and I am referencing both of them because this was dream realized by the two of them acting as one. We can all stand to learn from this amazing task.

The lesson

Let’s look at a few of the things we should learn from this grand achievement:

  • Marriage is teamwork. If you find yourself saying I, me, and mine too much, you somehow missed the point of marriage. We are supposed to love and support each other. It’s not about winning arguments, or your partner making you happy. If you focus on loving your wife, I promise you will always get tenfold in return.
  • Dreams are meant to become reality. There isn’t an age limit on dreams. Sometimes people act like nothing amazing happens after 30. When we’re young, nothing is impossible. However the older we get, the more restrictions we put on ourselves. Why? My life gets more exciting each decade, and your life can too. The key is having the courage to go over the things in life. I think of it like this. God created the universe. He put the Earth just far enough from the sun and moon to maintain everything. He created the human body with such complexity that I am amazed each day studying Anatomy and Physiology. If He created us in His image, do you really think He designed us to be cowards? No way.
  • Why are you afraid? Have you ever asked yourself that simple question? What’s the worst case scenario? It might not work. So what? You sure won’t be lying in your deathbed talking about what you could have done and should have done. Instead you will be lying there telling your grandkids about living a life of adventure and excitement. Existing isn’t living – at least in my world!

Kristi and Chris did a thing. They are living their lives. They are inspiring every single person around them, including me. It’s Kristi who first put the idea of getting my PhD in my head. She inspired her crazy friend, and now she will live a life that she has been dreaming about because she wasn’t afraid to go for it. I see a lot of so-called ‘influencers’ talking about living a courageous life. Kristi didn’t talk about it. She just went out there and did it.

And to Kristi, this is my way of saying I am so proud of you and your hubby. I love you both very much, and I hope that you both realize you have inspired me to be a better person for over two decades. Now that I have shared you with the world, you can inspire the world as well.

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.

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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.

BUSINESS AND BRAND

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 NEWEST EVOLUTION OF MASH PROGRAMMING

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 info@mashelite.com. I will have a Lenoir-Rhyne email within days, which will be Travis.Mash@LR.com.

Making and Surviving the NFL with Tommy Bohanon – The Barbell Life 288

If you’ve been around me long enough, you’ve heard me talk about Tommy Bohanon.

He was the most powerful athlete I have ever personally trained. He was an absolute beast of an NFL player, and programming for him was my thrill.

Tommy has now retired from the NFL – but he hasn’t slowed down. He’s still training, he’s still reaching for his goals, and he’s still making a difference in the lives of many through his charitable foundation and through his newfound career.

So listen in to this podcast to hear about it – and also to hear Tommy’s insight on the best way to make the NFL and survive the NFL.

MASH FILES: LEARN FROM THE PROGRAM OF AN NFL BEAST

Travis Mash shows you all the details and reasoning behind the recent off-season program for Tommy Bohanon (starting fullback for the Jacksonville Jaguars)

Then you can use these principles to individualize your own programs to fit an athlete's strengths, weaknesses, age, gender, sport demands, and unique response to training.

LISTEN IN TO TODAY’S PODCAST AS WE TALK ABOUT:

  • How you should prepare in high school if you want to play college football
  • Insane skills at reading the opponent’s position at the line
  • The adjustment from high school to college to NFL football
  • Hidden dangers in the NFL and how many players end up ruining their lives
  • Have concussions changed the game? (And how Tommy avoided ever having one)
  • and more…

Is Competition Good or Bad?

It’s an interesting era we are in.

I am not sure if this is the point where I am old and simply blaming a generation for the shortcomings I am experiencing, or if this is a real thing all over. Let me dive right in, so I can catch you up on what I am talking about.

Competition – Then and Now

When I was a young strength athlete, I loved competition. I drove 90 minutes each way twice per week just so I could train with someone stronger than me. Eventually I hooked up fulltime with Chris “Ox” Mason, which is when I became my strongest. Ox and I were in the same weight class most of the time and sometimes one weight class apart. We were competitive with each other in the gym but remained the best of friends outside the gym. Heck, inside the gym we helped each other. Basically we were each other’s coach.

Westside Barbell is legendary because most people think Louie Simmons is some kind of magical programmer. The secret is that he placed a bunch of lions in the same room – and the toughest lion became the alpha. There were battles within the gym, but they were family outside of the gym. This arrangement reminds me of my home with my two sons, Rock and Behr. They fight all the time, but they won’t let anyone else pick on the other.

Recently I have noticed in my gym, as well as other gyms across America, that athletes don’t like having someone in their own weight class training with them day in and day out. I have witnessed arguments break out and cultures destroyed over this. Instead of complaining to all of you during this entire article, I am going to explain the way it should work and the advantage that competition brings. Hopefully this will enlighten some of the athletes out there so we can use this tactic to our advantage as a country.

Attitude of Excellence

Why do you think wrestling programs like the one you will find at Penn State University are so awesome? Why do countries build Olympic Training Centers? Yes, in both cases you are trying to give your best athletes the best coach and conditions – but there is another reason that trumps all the rest. If you toss the best athletes in the same room with a great coach, you can rest assured the best athlete will make their way to the top. Not only that, even the athletes who aren’t the best at first will get better. The ones who were never going to make it in the first place will fade away, and that’s fine too. You will either become the absolute best you can be – or you will realize it wasn’t meant to be.

I had an athlete several years ago named Michael Waters. He was a two-time 4A state champion here in North Carolina. He was a rockstar in this state. He could have gone to several collegiate programs in America and started right away, but he chose Penn State. He wanted to become the absolute best wrestler he could possibly be. He knew Cael Sanderson, the Penn State head coach, and the amazing tradition at Penn State would do just that. Michael is now serving in the Army Special Forces, which fits this attitude of excellence.

Here’s what you have to ask yourself:

  • Do I want to be the best athlete I can possibly be?
  • Do I want to be the best athlete on the team?

Here's the key to unlocking even more gains in 2020...

Become a member of the Mash Mafia.

* Fully Customized Programming

* Unlimited Technique Analysis

* The Best Coaching in the World

Competitive Environment

If your coach recruits someone in your same weight class or who plays your same position, that doesn’t mean they think less of you. It doesn’t mean they don’t believe in your abilities. It doesn’t mean they love you any less. They are simply trying to create a competitive atmosphere conducive to forming champions.

The way you react to the recruitment of new athletes says a lot about you as an athlete. If you fade away from a battle during practice, you will fade away during a battle in a real competition or game. The best athletes in the world thrive on competition. Guys like Michael Jordan will thrive when threatened or pushed. If this isn’t you, you will need to embrace competition more than the others until you are comfortable in competitive situations. Otherwise, realize you will never be a great athlete. I know these are tough words, but I am being brutally honest. However, it’s never too late to change, so you aren’t locked in to a life of losing.

Here’s what athletes should experience from competitive environments:

  • The best athlete with the best attitude will get even better as they rise to the top.
  • Athletes will feed off of each other, especially during max effort days or scrimmages.
  • Athletes will learn from each other.
  • Athletes will encourage each other during training.
  • Athletes will encourage each other outside the gym.
  • The athletes who aren’t necessarily winning right away are still getting better as they seek to keep up and surpass.

Peer Pressure

First, if you are the top dog and your coach recruits someone in your weight class or in your position, don’t get offended. You should be excited because that new person is going to elevate your level of play to a place you didn’t believe was possible. This is going to make your next meet or game way easier than ever before. Remember this: if you can’t beat this person in training, you sure aren’t going to beat them at a competition. Champions always elevate their level of play based on the competition in front of them, and now you have the advantage of having that stimulus daily versus only on game day.

This is a life lesson, which is exactly what sport is supposed to be. What if you are the top accountant at a firm, and then one day your boss hires someone with equal or slightly better skills? Are you going to quit or get mad at your boss – or are you going to use the competition to raise your level of play? Parents, remember that sports are designed to prepare your children for life – not simply to showcase their skills to make you look cool in front of your family and friends. This is something most parents always forget.

If you have a max effort day or highly competitive day, athletes will feed off of each other. If one is feeling sluggish, they will elevate to match their competition. If you want to see athletes surpass never-dreamed-of levels, put them in a room filled with lions. The weak will get stronger, and the strong will get stronger than ever! This environment will make the competition, game, or match seem easy – just ask the Penn State wrestlers.

Peer Support

One of my favorite aspects of competitive teams is that athletes will learn from each other. Coaches can’t be everything to everyone. There are going to be times when coaches are struggling to fix flaws in their athletes. Sometimes hearing it from a peer is easier to accept and assimilate than when it comes from a coach. I have seen it happen several times. Sometimes athletes will struggle with an issue their peer has already overcome, so their peer can explain how to overcome the obstacle both physically and mentally.

Sometimes training is hard. We have all experienced the moments in training that felt like we were in the middle of a desert all alone. This is a lonely place to be, so having a teammate look at you and say that it’s going to be okay is a definite asset. It’s easier to endure trials when you’re not alone.

Enduring with teammates in the gym is much easier than overcoming the temptations out of the gym. Champions are not made inside the gym. Everyone trains hard, but the champions are the ones who make the right choices outside the gym. If you create a culture filled with focused and determined athletes, you will also form a culture of athletes who will keep each other accountable. We are all tempted once in a while to break our diet, drink that beer, or stay up late. It’s nice to be surrounded by athletes who will help keep you focused on the primary goal.

THE NEWEST EVOLUTION OF MASH PROGRAMMING

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

If you are in a gym or on a team with two other athletes who are just as good or better, don’t get upset or get mad at the coach. This isn’t a bad thing. Whether you end up being the number one or not, I promise that you will get better in those conditions. You will work as hard as possible in an attempt to get ahead or stay ahead. That’s the point of competition – it will make you better.

I am not sure what has happened with today’s athletes not embracing competition. I guess we are in the “everyone deserves a trophy” era. Here are my final words. If you quit and run away from competition now, you will carry this action with you through life. Instead of running away, I suggest making a stand, getting better, and staying number one. Are you really a number one if you run away from another potential number one? I don’t think so.

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 NEWEST EVOLUTION OF MASH PROGRAMMING

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

LISTEN IN TO TODAY’S PODCAST AS WE TALK ABOUT:

  • Stories about how Travis confronted a group of big Samoans
  • What happened with bodybuilding.com
  • 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 NEWEST EVOLUTION OF MASH PROGRAMMING

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

LISTEN IN TO TODAY’S PODCAST AS WE TALK ABOUT:

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