Category Archives for "Motivation"

Commitment, Perseverance, and the Lisa G Story

Chapter 6 Commitment, Perseverance, and the Lisa G Story

Lisa Gniewek is a Mash Mafia Team Member, mother, wife, and she is my friend. She started out as one of my personal training clients in 2008. Lisa is a Pediatrics Registered Nurse, and she came to me to get in general shape. Let me tell you, she was out of shape, maybe the most out of shape person that I have ever trained. Lisa would do a body weight squat, get stuck in the bottom, and just fall over in the floor. I remember wondering if she would be the first person that I absolutely couldn’t help. Really I didn’t think that she would train with me more than a couple of weeks.
That was six years ago, and I can honestly say that no one has ever inspired more people than her. Lisa not only got into the best shape of her life, but she went on to compete in both Olympic weightlifting and Powerlifting. She can now squat with 200 pounds on her back, Snatch 115 pounds, and Clean & Jerk 150 pounds. She has traveled with me and my beautiful wife to over ten competitions, and now she is as much a part of my family as my own sister. Lisa’s very presence lights the room at the Mash Compound. Lisa is also the first person to put me in my place. I have the tendency to let my pride get in my way, and she is quick to tell me exactly when that happens. She will also let me know when my focus drifts from my God, family, and loved ones. She keeps me grounded.
Lisa has been with my wife and me during every phase of the Mash Training Center. She was with me when I was just a trainer at a gym. She has been with us during birthdays, holidays, good times and bad. Lisa is Mash Mafia Weightlifting. January of 2013, Lisa was diagnosed with Stage IV Lung Cancer. NO She didn’t smoke! It was just a genetic trait gone bad, and now my friend had cancer. She was given 6-18 months to live, and the whole Mash World was turned upside down. Most people would feel sorry for themselves and just quit on life, but Lisa never stopped Slamming Bars and Killing PRs. God had led her to the sports of Olympic Weightlifting and Powerlifting, and she was going to give her all. Believe it or not, she has continued to set Snatch, Clean & Jerk, Squat, Bench, and Deadlift personal records during all the chemo treatments, doctor visits, and family duties.
Every week all of us at the Mash Compound watch in amazement as Lisa continues to slam those bars. She works out every morning with my precious morning crew. Every person in that morning crew is Mash Family, and they all act like brothers and sisters. We work out together, have bible studies, and do life together, and all of our lives have been changed by Lisa G. Whenever I feel sorry for myself, get lazy, or want to quit, I think about Lisa’s determination and perseverance. There have been times over the last year where Lisa was setting personal records almost daily. I remember watching her slam those bars in what looked to be absolute defiance of cancer. It looked like she was spitting in the face of cancer. I remember watching her Clean & Jerk 150 pounds. After she completed the lift, she slammed the bar down, threw her arms in the air, and screamed in celebration. At that moment, I told myself that I God has put me in the Mash Compound for a reason. I am there to serve others and to help others discover things about themselves that they never knew.
God put Lisa on earth to be a great mother, wife, nurse, and now I know that she was also put on this earth to inspire others to give their all in what God has given them. When I see her, I remember that we are to give our all in whatever we do to Glorify God. Lisa has without a doubt done just that, and she has also reminded me and the rest of the cast of characters at Mash to do the same.

Stepping Into the Unknown

Bryan Mills


Lately at the Mash Compound we have attracted a whole new group of people who have decided to attack life. A group that has set aside society’s way of thinking, and instead they are committing themselves to taking the gifts that God has given them to the highest point possible. I know that I am biased, but I can honestly say that there is no one at my facility that is half in. Whether it is to be an Olympian, D1 Athlete, or in the case of the person that I am about to talk about, Special Forces, my team is committed, determined, and focused.

“Bryan Mills” is one of my athletes training everyday for the Special Forces. He literally quit school, picked up, and moved to

Bryan Mills

Advance, NC to be a part of Mash! We have all grown to love him. He is one of my most committed team members, and he consistently amazed everyone around him. He wrote a blog about his decision to put his chips all in at the Mash Mafia Compound. I want the world to know right now that Drew and I love this guy like family! Bryan you are family!

Barbell SoulFly

Stepping into the Unknown…

Putting thoughts to paper has been a form of therapy for me the past few months. Travis Mash asked me to put my “Journey” down on to paper. So here it goes…

Recently I have made a big leap of faith in my life. I quit my job, quit some of my classes (except the online courses), packed the truck and the puppy and ventured out into the unknown. Not to a distant land or world but to Advance, North Carolina, a town outside of Winston-Salem, to train in Olympic weightlifting and CrossFit, hoping to use these means of training to reach my personal goals. Some may think that it was an irrational and drastic move for a place to work out, but, for me, it was much more of a life-changing decision.

This last year has been a very rough transition time in my life. I left the Army after seven years of active duty and several deployments as an Infantryman in several different units. It was a career that came naturally to me, that was very easy for me to stay and succeed in. I had superseded my peers and done everything you could do as an infantryman in the time I served. In spite of this success, I made the decision to leave, if for no other reason than the fact that, after a while, this job takes a toll on you, physically and mentally, and I really did not like the person I was becoming. I had started on this path straight out of high school, knowing that I wanted a family and an education and believing this was a good way to achieve both. Now, I have seen too many of my friends get hurt and, sadly, too many of them be left behind and these experiences have changed me. On top of the transition out of the Army, I had to rebuild relationships, struggle through financial issues and face my own demons – issues that I didn’t realize I had, issues I am still working through today. I went from living life at 110 mph to a slow and steady walk.

The gym and the barbell became a means of therapy, a form of meditation, my sanctuary following my time in the Army. I was in a very successful Box in Raleigh, but felt sorry for myself, as I was walking through a lot of issues, and I gave up on myself and my coach, a man who had served his country in the same way as I did. A man who also used the barbell and the gym as his sanctuary. I still regret not staying there. I am very embarrassed to face that coach that did not give up on me, in spite of the fact that I gave up on myself. I found myself in a very dark place, at the lowest point I have ever been, drowning myself with alcohol. I struggled to get out and, with support of the people who are closest to me, I eventually found myself in a better place. I had used money, school, work, relationships and my issues as an excuse for far too long. I decided I wanted to make a change and to refocus on my goals and start doing the things I want to do in life. I needed to get out of the living situation I was in because I had overstayed my welcome and had become too comfortable. I had settled for mediocrity. I needed to move on, I needed to get away from the norm. A few opportunities came up but did not go through. I was struggling with this and couldn’t understand why I was in this predicament. I got myself back into the gym and in front of the barbell, at a different Box that was a lot closer and a lot less expensive.

Through the holiday season, the constant itch and hunger of needing change would not go away. During this time I had become addicted to watching the podcast Barbell Shrugged. It was the New Year and my girlfriend had made a big step in her life. After a life-changing trip to Australia and coming back and working hard in her studies, she got into Appalachian State to pursue one of her main goals, earning her college degree. The night before she made the move, I could not sleep. Anxiousness built up inside of me due to her impending move and the fact that I started my second semester of college the following Monday. Needless to say, I was wide-awake. I was playing episode 97 of Barbell Shrugged with Travis Mash in the background. I thought it was so badass that a man like him was in my back yard. I listened to his story of how he packed up his car with $200 in his pocket and moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado to train under West Barnett, all in order to reach his goals. I also loved how he explained that the barbell will teach you and show you what kind of person you are. I looked to see where this dude had his gym and saw that it was less than 10 minutes away from the route to Boone, the college town that my girlfriend would now be calling home. My childhood best friend was helping us move and I asked him if we could stop by and just check it out. I grabbed a shirt from my Box to give to him but did not expect to meet him. However, when we checked the place out, there he was, sitting on a black leathery couch talking to his coaches, leaders of the Mash Mafia, and to his beautiful and amazing wife Drew, who so happened to have gone to the same high school as I did. Her father and my biological father came to my hometown for the same reason.

Coach Trav took the time to talk to us for 45 minutes or so. Instantly I fell in love with the man – he just gave off this awesome, positive vibe. I would come learn that he is a godly, Christian man as well. We talked and picked his mind a little and he told us about the Attitude Nation podcast he does with Jon North, Weightlifting Talk. As is turns out, this would be the same day that Jon North made the announcement that Travis Mash was going to become his head coach and that they where going to combine both Attitude Nation and the Mash Mafia. Coach Trav told us to come and train anytime and we went off on our way. After that I kept running into stories of people dropping things in their lives that were holding them back and making risky decisions to do what they needed to do to reach their goals. Whether they became successful or not, they where happy and content with that decision. Chris Moore from Barbell Shrugged has his own podcast, Barbell Buddha (plug), and he had been talking about making changes and taking new risks in his life to do the things he wanted to do within the coming year. Jon North made the call on Weightlifting Talk for people to come and train with Attitude Nation and the Mash Mafia to go to the 2016 and 2020 summer Olympics and win gold medals. I am not a very good weightlifter, but I yearned to be surrounded by people like that, who did not want to settle for less, who wanted more out of life. Though I am not training for a competition or gold medals, I am training for something similar in the sense of personal goals.

A week or so followed and I contacted Coach Trav and asked him to help train me. We set an appointment for the following Friday, a task that was very hard to do as I was living in Raleigh, a good distance away. The following weekend, I was visiting my wonderful best friend, who also happens to be my girlfriend. In the middle of the night I had a wicked, vivid dream of my grandfather. My grandfather was my hero and I was his fishing buddy. He passed away the week I was coming home from my first deployment. It is something that I continue to struggle through to this day, and probably will for the rest of my life. I did not have him there to help me get through the things I had been through during deployment, similar to things he went through as a young man after several deployments to Vietnam. I did not have the opportunity to say goodbye. Later, I would learn that he did not revisit his experience openly until the last few months before he passed away. My grandmother would later tell me that, after his return home from Vietnam, he asked her never to ask him about what had happened. In those few months before his passing he would sit on his recliner and pour his heart out, sobbing, reliving and revealing his pain.

In the dream, he simply looked at me with that shit-eating grin on his face and told me, “go for it, just do it.” When my aunt, who sadly took her own life this past year, and my grandmother had to view my grandfather’s body after he passed away, he had that same grin on his face, a grin that he is very well-known for, a type of grin that is mischievous, yet warm and charming. I woke up my girlfriend at 3 a.m. and told her what had happened in my dream. Being the woman she is, she understood the meaning of this and talked it out with me and supported me. I drove down to Advance the following Monday, went to the gym and spoke to Travis. Coach Trav was more than willing to train me, but the problem was that I had nowhere to live and no job to support myself and the gym fee. However, I was willing to do what I had to do to do reach my goals. After our conversation, he asked me what I was going to do for a place to live and a job and I simply replied that, “I dunno, I will figure it out.” He just looked at me and smiled and said I might have a place for you to live and a job for you. I told him I didn’t know if I could pay for his coaching and working out at the gym, but I was willing to scrub toilets, mop floors and take his dogs out for walks at 2 a.m. if he wanted me to. He just laughed and said, “Do you write?” I responded, “not very good, but if you want me to, I will.” His reply was, “That’s how you will pay for the gym. I want you to write of your experiences and do what you are doing to reach your goals.” What he did not know is that this is one of the things I do to get through my issues, but usually I just end up burning it. A weird thing to do, maybe, but I guess it’s a representation of how I deal with my issues – just let it turn into ashes and be taken into the wind.

During the summer, my girlfriend and I had gone on a little date to a brewery in my hometown. We met a reporter from the local newspaper. This reporter and I got on to the topic of my time in the military and what I was doing with my life. All I told him was that I was going to school and working part-time. He looked at me and told me that there was something different about me, as a person, and he just looked at me and simply said, “Don’t lose hope.” These three words have, in a way, been etched in mind. They are three words that have helped me along the way and have pissed me the fuck off, but they always come back to me. He, too, asked me if I wrote and I told him that yes, I used to journal or, as I like to call it, write in “my memoirs,” but I told him that I usually burn it. He laughed and told me to save them, put them away and to later come back to them. I chuckled inside and then finished my beer, paid our tab and took off for the night. I told my girlfriend of the conversation and went on with my life. It strikes me now how this conversation has already come full circle, how the very simple things he had encouraged me to continue doing might be an avenue for me to move forward with a new experience and time in my life.

Coach Trav told me to send an email explaining that I have a one-year-old German short-haired Pointer, making sure there would be no issue with that, as I was not going to leave him behind. I also explained to him that I would be bringing my own furniture. He told me to come the following Monday and to be ready to train. So Monday came and I pulled up to the gym with a mattress, box spring and essential items, ready to work. The CrossFit work out of the day so happened to be “Amanda,” which is my girlfriend’s name. Coach Trav had never responded to my email – mind you this man’s inbox is stacked with hundreds and hundreds of emails from yahoos like me and others. Naturally, I was a little nervous and ready to sleep in a camping area nearby or rent a storage unit and sleep in there until “I figured it out,” but he had found a place for me to live and a job working for my landlord, who is also my neighbor. My landlord owns a fish food business called “Reef Frenzy”. His wife later pointed out how cool it is that my pup’s name also happens to be “Reef.” If it wasn’t for my girlfriend, Reef would have been Wilfred, but that’s neither here nor there. My landlord and his wife also risked a lot to be where they are today: successful. The home I am living in is a three-bedroom, two-bathroom trailer, including a washer and dryer. It is my own Walden. It is my palace and a home for anyone who is willing to come, live and reach their own personal goals, to “slam bars and kill PRs.” It is tucked away on what use to be a huge cattle farm. My neighbors are three Tennessee Walker horses and any cattle that come by, including one who I made the mistake of giving a carrot to. It is a 1.8 mile trip in a straight line to the Mash Mafia compound and a two minute drive to the grocery store and a Dominos Pizza. The Mash Mafia and Attitude Nation is a family that is welcoming and incredible to be around. It is a family made up of soccer moms, D-1 prospects, Olympic hopefuls, CrossFit games competitors, men and women who are 50 years young, the average Joe who has no athletic experience, and all kinds of people who have the goal of reaching not just a certain level of fitness, but of life itself.

So, here I am, a home to live in and a space to train, a sanctuary to deal with my problems and a place to help me reach my goals. Somewhere to grow and be built up and a place that will break me and keep me humble at the same time. A place to connect with like-minded people who are not settling for mediocrity, but who are different at the same time. Through my random rambles and awful story-telling capabilities, I forgot to mention my personal goals.

I am planning to go back into the military and become a Special Forces Medic. Some may ask, why go back to what you left? The answer for now is that I am simply taking advantage of a free education, with the hope of later becoming a Physician Assistant. Later in life I want to travel overseas and practice medicine. I feel that maybe I could erase my wrongs and help others through this avenue. I also have a few other goals concerning the military, besides an education, that I would like to accomplish. These include competing in and finishing the Best Ranger competition, retiring as Master Sergeant or maybe taking the officer route, completing the Special Forces Combat Diver course or Military Free-fall school, and, lastly, to “take the long walk.” I have other life goals as well, both short-term and long-term, like becoming a good father, a loving husband, and a man after Jah’s own heart.

This is a blog of my journey of reaching my goals and how I am going to get there…

Bryan Mills

“Fear of the unknown is the greatest fear of all… but we just went for it.” – Yvon Chouinard

The Ashe County Mountains Shaped Me!

HomeThe Ashe County Mountains Shaped Me!

This weekend, my cousin tagged me in a picture of where I grew up. When I received the picture, I was about to teach one of my Learn 2 Lift Seminars( at Keystone CrossFit in Dunmore, PA. The picture really made me think about how my childhood shaped me. In my introduction, I always tell the attendees about my background, so they can have an idea of who is teaching them. All of this reflection, made me decide to write more about my past. Today is a small introduction. For those that don’t know, I am from the northwest corner of North Carolina. I am from a place so small that the county is referenced as opposed to the city or town. I am from Ashe County in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. There are no major interstates that come anywhere near my home in the mountains. I often talk about all the places that my life has taken me. My romance with the Barbell has taken me all over the world. The Barbell without a doubt has taught me who I am, and what I am about. However, the Mountains of North Carolina made me that way!

I grew up with my single mom. We were poor, but I don’t remember wanting for a lot. I remember being teased a little about being poor, but that was mostly the few rich kids in the county spouting off. My mother was no joke! She has very high expectations of me both in the classroom, socially, and athletically. I believe that she knew I had potential, and she didn’t want me to waste it. She expected straight A’s, touchdowns, and popularity, and that is what I produced. She taught me that the friends I hung out with were a reflection of me.

My dad was a great guy. He was a blue collar lover of Christ. He wasn’t as driven as my mother, but he was a great example of someone who took the time to love others and life every day that he was alive. My dad loved me and his granddaughter Bailey more than anything on this earth. I am in tears as I write this thinking about the childhood moments spent with this loving man. Lung cancer took him for me in 2005, and I still miss him every day.

My hometown is stricken with poverty. The only sources of income are a few manufacturing plants and Christmas Trees. There is an abundance of alcoholism and drug abuse. Crystal Meth has hit my hometown like a tornado. Crystal isn’t prejudice! There are grown adults and pillars of the community that have been affected by the poison of Crystal Meth. No doubt, my mother saved me from all of that. She made me strong, and she taught me never to be satisfied with anything less than, EXCELLENCE!

There is more from the mountains that shaped me. Ashe County was settled my mostly Scotch-Irish. Scotch-Irish is a name given to Protestant settlers from Northeastern Ireland. These people were tough, wild, and like the seclusion. They wanted to left alone, and they were accustomed to defending their home during the Revolutionary War. The people have a history of fighting, drinking, and playing blue grass music. The people of Ashe County are used to working hard.

Ashe County is secluded from the rest of North Carolina. There are no major interstates or roads. The weather there can be very unforgiving in the winter. Imagine the people that settled this area in the 1700s! There people were tough! They just wanted to be left alone, so that they could live the life that they wanted with no outside influence. Today there is more tourism and outside influence, but the people still like being left alone. We are an independent type of people, and we don’t need anyone’s help. That is just the way we are.

My grandfather, Jack Cox was a very strong man. He was the true MashMonster! I spent most of my childhood hanging out with him and my grandmother. My grandfather worked for the NC Department of Transportation. He also owned 600 acres of land in the most secluded part of the county. Horse Creek is the name of the community that he lived in. He farmed and raised several heads of cattle. He would work all day for the D.O.T., and then come home and work all evening on the farm. There was always something to do. I watched this as a child, and I helped him as much as I could. I watched this man throw two bales of hay in each hand onto the top of a truck bed stacked with hay over and over. He was an amazing strength athlete that was a local legend. He didn’t compete in powerlifting or weightlifting, but he was stronger than anyone I have ever known. My grandmother was equally as impressive. No woman on earth outworked my grandmother. The two of them loved me, and they taught me to work hard. These two built a small empire deep in the Appalachian Mountains by working harder than everyone else. They were disciplined with their spending, and they were wise in their investments.

Can you see the lessons that I was learning: 1. Outwork your competition, 2. Self-control, 3. Discipline, 4. Make wise well thought out decisions, and 5. Planning is winning!

I can’t say that life wasn’t tough though. Life in the mountains is hard. If you can make it up there, you can do anything. My best friend, Kevin Jones, was such an influence in my life. He taught me to never set limits. He helped me see that I could accomplish whatever I wanted with the right plan. Kevin is now the CEO of Anovia Payments in Irving, TX. The dude is unbelievable! When I look back to our childhoods, I can’t help but see the unbelievable odds that we overcome to get to where we are now. We were both poor with single mothers doing their best just to keep food on the table. Now he is a big time CEO, and I am the Head Coach of the Attitude Nation’s own Mash Mafia Weightlifting Team and owner of Mash Elite Athletic Performance. My athletes range from NFL studs to Division I Collegiate studs. I travel all over the world teaching my methods of weightlifting, powerlifting, and athletic performance. Not to mention, I was pound for pound the strongest powerlifter in the world at one time. Not bad for a couple of mountain boys! I would never have survived without Kevin in my life. God only knows how he taught me to believe that there are no limits in life except for the ones that you put on yourself.

I am a guy that was destined to do something really bad or really good. I am an extremist. It’s just who I am. My mom, my dad, Kevin, my grandparents, and my family all pulled together to make sure that I chose to do something good. Now my wife Emily Drew has taken over where they left off. My love for her does all the work. I am driven because I want to provide a good life for her, my daughter Bailer, and for our future baby that she is pregnant with now. Baby Mash touches down in September of this year, and I am so excited to welcome our baby into our lives. There are so many people that affected my life that I have decided to write ongoing blogs about some of them. Kim, Tammy, Derrick, my aunts, my uncles, Scarlett, Brian, Amy, Eric G., Jimmy T., Larry B., Martin Little, and the list goes on and on. I just want the Attitude Nation to know who I am. I want my athletes to know why I am so driven, and to be honest I want to find out. Maybe through writing I will find the answers.

Most of the people that grow up in Ashe County stay in Ashe County. My whole family stayed there, but I have always been the black sheep that had to know what the rest of the world was really like. I wanted to meet different people, experience different cultures, and learn everything the world had to teach. I did that, and I still continue my search. I believe that all of this has made me the coach that I am. I am always in search of something better. I always will be! My melting pot began in Ashe County, and my heart will always remain with my home.

I believe that sometimes the people from my hometown sell themselves short. The toughest people that I
have ever met are from those mountains. I believe that expectations as a whole are not as high as they should be. Those people are the strongest, toughest, and meanest people in the world. They are capable of altering the world if only they start to believe that. The athletes are capable of reaching the highest peaks in sports, and the people are capable of leading this nation. One of my goals in life is to raise the standard of expectation for my hometown people. They need to know how great they are.

My goal is that all of my online athletes, onsite athletes, and my future seminar attendees will begin to get an idea of where I come from. I want you all to know why I am the way I am. I want you all to know why I am so driven, and why I have such high expectations from you all. I also want you to realize why I am able to love you all with so much conviction. My wife, friends, family, and most importantly my God has made me this way. They have shown me that life is so much better loving others than it ever was loving only myself.

To inquire about Online Coaching, Learn 2 Lift Seminars, or to sign up to receive our programming free, go to

Mash Elite Athletic Performance! Open Your Facility!

I normally write about the Mash Mafia Weightlifting Programming, but today I wanted to flip the script a little and talk about the Mash Elite Athletic Performance. I am aware that Weightlifting Talk has a lot of strength and conditioning coaches that listen to us, so I want to start periodically giving some information on that side of things. Yesterday I was visited by an Underground Strength Disciple named Dylan Parkes. Underground Strength is a Certification given by my friend Zach Even-Esh. Dylan is an aspiring strength coach with the dream of opening his own Underground Strength Gym. His asked me some wonderful questions that forced me to think about my journey that has led me to my current state of owning Mash Elite Athletic Performance, Mash Mafia Weightlifting, Smashed CrossFit, and all the while an ambassador of the quickly growing Attitude Nation.
In 2008 when I began my journey, I never dreamed that I would be the owner of such an amazing organization. I didn’t plan it! I just loved my athletes enough to want to be the best strength and conditioning coach in North Carolina. I continue to learn and adapt to an ever changing field of study. I refuse to let anyone near me know something that I don’t that relates to the well-being of my athletes.

If you want to open your own gym, here are some of the things that have worked for me:
1. More is not better! One of the common mistakes that people make is to start out with too much overhead. I started out of the back of a local globo gym, and quickly out grew the 400 square foot closet that I was given.
2. Get involved with the community! I go to games. I go to parties. I do life with my members. I am one of them, and they know it. They know that I am concerned with their well-being. Dylan asked me what tool I used to become so close with my athletes. That question made me think hard, and after pondering my brain for several minutes, I realized that simply love them all. I love each individually. There is no tool or technique. If you don’t love people, find a different career. He also told me that one of his friends in Chicago was thinking about joining the Mash Mafia Weightlifting Team because he had heard that I was a coach that was more like a father. Wow! That’s what I feel like, but to be told that was a great encouragement.
3. Never stop learning! Make it part of your day to learn something new about your industry. I recommend scheduling your time to learn like an appointment. I also recommend becoming an expert in your field. If you want to be a strength and conditioning coach, then be the best one around.
4. Master Social Media! My athlete, friend and partner Jon North is a master of social media. He has a gift at making people feel a part of what he is doing, and in my opinion it’s because he love the Attitude Nation. He truly feels like he is a part of something bigger than himself. He has built an army of blacksheep, and he has used social media to do it.

Below is a typical week in the workouts of Mash Elite Athletic Performance with an explanation following each day:

Warm Up 2/3/14 Vertical, Med Ball Plyos, and Strength
Get Ups 5 ea way
Runner Holds 6 ea leg
Abduction/Adduction 6 ea leg
Standing Obliques 6 ea side
Streamline Position
Helicopters 6 ea side with 2-3 sec holds
Squat Open & Stand 8 reps
Hamstring Sweeps/8 ea leg
Hurdler Stretch/30 sec ea
Hurdler Stretch Switches/8
Hip Flexor Stretch
A-Skips 10y x 2
B-Skips 10y x 2
Partner 45 Degree Starts 10 yd x 4

Lower Body Plyometrics
Step and Jump/6 ea leg x 2
Russian Hops/3 ea leg w 5 sec pauses x 2

Upper Body Plyometrics
On Knee Med Ball Extensions into Wall/5reps x 2
OH into Wall/5 x 2

wk2Cleans 5 RM then -10% ss Landmines or Unilateral KB Push Press/6 ea x 3
wk2Back Squats 8RM then -10% ss DB Jumps/5 x 3

Met Con: 3-4 Rounds
GHRs x 8
Lunges DB/8 ea leg x 8

*Everyday begins with mobility, stabilization, and speed technique work. We focus on acceleration since every sport other than cross country is acceleration driven. We use a lot of Olympic weightlifting movements. Today was a lower and upper body plyometric day with a focus on force absorption. The strength was lower body focused, but we never have a day that is one or the other solely.

Speed 1 2/4/14
Warm Up
Jump Rope 2 Minutes
Neck Series
Arm Circles
Lying Leg Circles
Cobra Pose
Frog Pose
Scorpion/10 ea leg
Fire Hydrants/10 ea leg
Hip Flexor Stretch
Hamstring Sweeps/8 ea leg
Cradles/10 ea leg

Hurdle Series: 3 of each to accelerate on sidewalk

Depth Box Jump or Hurdle
Accelerator Holds/5 sec x 4

Strength: wk 2
Bench 5RM then -5and-10%

Bentover Rows 8RM, then -5&-10%
Crossover Med Ball Explosive Pushups/10 x 3

Met Con: (3 sets for time)
Pullups x 5
KB Clean & Pressx10

*This day begins with mobility like they all do. Then we worked on agility with a series of hurdle movements that ended with a sprint. Then we moved onto depth jumps with a focus on foot to floor contact time. We also used accelerators to work on acceleration angle, arm, and leg drive. The rest of the day is upper body strength dominant. You will notice that I use elements of Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting, and CrossFit in my approach.

Warm Up 2/5/14
Jump Rope 2 min
Band Shuffles
Plank 60 secC25C4:C31
Side Plank 30 sec ea side
Backwards Lunge and Open Up 8 ea leg
Squat Lunge & Lunge x 8
Blackburns 15 sec ea position
Foam Roll IT Bands, Quads, and back
Paused Potato Squat/8 x 2
KB Swings/10 x 2
Fire Hydrants/10 ea
Hamstring Sweeps/10
A Skips x 15yards(2-4 sets)
Running A’s x 15y(2 sets)
B-Skipsx15y(2-4 sets)
Running B’s x 10 y(2 sets)
40yd Build Ups focus posture and arms x 4

Jump Backwards and Sprint 10 yds x 4
Med Ball Crouches Throw into Sprint 10 yds x 4
Double Broad Jump x 4 with 45 sec Rest

Strength: wk 2
Hang Clean & Jerk 3RM, then -5&-10%
Front Squats 5RM with 2 sec Pause then -10%
Unilateral Jump Touch & Stick/3 ea x 3
Push Press 5RM, Then -5&-10%
GHDs/8 x 3sets

Met Con:
Plate Raises/10 x 3
Prowler 2P&25s x 3
*Today is a lot of mobility of course. Then we move quickly into dynamic speed warm ups. Once again we are focusing on acceleration and explosiveness. We also have elements of force absorption which is a widely overlooked element in the strength and conditioning world. Today our strength training is total body with a big presence from Olympic weightlifting.

Core & stretch everyone
Rotational and Forearm Work for baseball and softball
neck work football and soccer

Speed 2 2/6/14
Warm Up
Jump Rope 1 minute
Hurdle Mobility Drill
Quadruped Thoracic Extension+Rotation x 10 ea side
Quadruped Thoracic Extension+Rotation w Internal Rotation x 10 ea side
Squat & Reach 5 ea side
OH Squats x 10
OH Front Lunge x 6-10 ea leg
OH Side Lunge x 6-10 ea leg
Front Cross Lunge x 6-10
Lying Hip Flex+AB/Adduction x 6-10ea
Side Lying Hip Abductionx6-10ea
A Skips x 15yards(2-4 sets)
Leg Swingsx10 ea leg and direction
B-Skipsx15y(2-4 sets)
Build Up Sprintsx40 y(2 sprints)

Contrast Training: (Coaches teach starts during pauses)
3-4 Sets(film sprint for step count) Focus step count and not time
Heavy Acceleration Sled Sprints 10yds then 10 y sprint(rest 3-4 minutes/set)

3-4 sets
85% Squat/1 rest 20-40 sec then Depth Jumps onto Box/3

Test Vertical

*Here we are using the contrast method made famous by the one and only Joe Defranco. This is a day that I want all of my athletes to leave neurally charged and not exhausted.

Warm Up 2/7/14
Mtn Climbers Knee to Shoulders 30 sec x 3
Quadruped Thoracic Extension+Rotation x 6 ea side
Quadruped Thoracic Extension+Rotation w Internal Rotation x 6 ea side
Squat & Reach 5 ea side
OH Front Lunge x 6 ea leg
OH Side Lunge x 6 ea leg
Front Cross Lunge x 6
Lying Hip Flex+AB/Adduction x 6ea
Side Lying Hip Abductionx6ea
A Skips x 15yards(2 sets)
Leg Swingsx6 ea leg and direction
B-Skipsx15y(2 sets)
Straight leg bounds 10 y to sprint 10 y x 2
Running Bounds 15y to sprint 10 y x 2
Half Kneeling side ways to Sprint 10 y x 2

Max Hang Clean ss Jump and Knee Tucks/5reps x 3

Contrast Work:
3-4 sets
DL 2 sec pause at knee Work up to max rest 30-40 sec then Double Broad Jump x 3-4

Work Capacity: 3 Sets for Time
BB Hip Ups/10
Clap Pushups/10
Ab Mat Sit Ups/15

*Today is Max Out Friday. We still focus on mobility and speed, but we take an element of Olympic weightlifting. Every Friday we pick a movement to max out on. All my athletes wear their Max Out Friday shirts, and we simply have a great time filled with emotion and testosterone.

I am excited to write more on this topic, and I really want to help people that are interested in pursuing the dream of owning their own facility. It is the most rewarding career in the world. Every day is another opportunity to help someone reach their goals.

If anyone would be interested in a seminar/certification focused on opening your own facility, please email me at I would love to host such a conference if the interest is there.

To sign up for a Learn 2 Lift Seminar, or if you are interested in online coaching, go to: If you want to learn more about Mash Elite Athletic Performance, Mash Mafia Weightlifting/Powerlifting, or Smashed CrossFit, go to:

Lisa G One Year Anniversary of Killing Cancer

Many of you know my friend Lisa G who is battling Stage IV Lung Cancer.  Last weekend was her one year anniversary with her battle.  She is my friend!  The world should know her story!  She is a 40 year old mother of two that refuses to quit Slamming Bars!  I am posting her post.  To help Lisa in her battle go to:

Guys please help my friend!

Lisa G:LisaG

On Jan 12 th it will be my 1 yr anniversary as a cancer survivor. As I look back I remember thinking “Am I going to make it to at least 1 year?” Then I thought “Nope, I’m making it way more than that.” So here we are… the first year of many to come.
Over the past year I have been given alot of advice and thoughts about how people think I feel and should act.. Some good and some not so good. Some of the information that always struck me as bothersome was that of “Oh what terrible time you are having or I hope next year is better than this year”. I don’t see it that way.
Oh there are days that are worse than others, but the whole time I think…”At least I am still alive and want to fight”. In addition, I think this has been one of the best years I have had.
Except for the week I was diagnosed I have had a pretty good time. First, my relationship with God has grown tremendously and continues on a great journey. In addition,  I couldn’t have done that without my MASH family, my husband and daughters.
Speaking of my daughters, those two little buggers have taught me allot about life and God. Things they talked with me about shocked me. I knew they were smart but goodness …they are a little smarter than I knew. They both did well in school. Nicole graduated Davie High with honors and in the top of her class. I was able to throw her fun graduation party. She earned scholarships and a place at South Carolina University. Which she is doing very well by the way. Erin also finshed 8th grade in the top of her class and is a freshman at Davie High and doing exceptionally well. They both have very nice boyfriends which make them and me laugh a lot.
I have been able to spend more time with my daughters this year due to the fact that I am not working. Both Nicole, Erin and I have spent time away on mini vacations that were alot of fun. I was able to attend all of their soccer games. I cheered them on like no one else, or embarrassed them lol. I also got to hang out with my husband more without worrying about what was going on at work.
I work out 5 days a week. Which is both good for my figure and keeps me healthy to fight this nasty mess. I have medaled in 2 weightlifting events. I reached a goal of snatching 110 lbs and cleaning and jerking 150 lbs over my head. Not many 43 year old moms can do that. While at the gym I have gotten to know a group of ladies that have supported me and listened to me cry and laugh no matter what. They have become my best friends and I can count on them for anything.
I also got to realize how great Davie County and the people who live here are. My gym held a fundraiser for me and I couldn’t believe the amount of people who came out to help myself and my family. I still shed tears of joy when I think about that day.
This past year I was able to go on a radio talk show to share my story. Which I agreed to do so that I may give hope and inspiration to anyone who is battling any kind of difficulty in their life. I was also able to stand up in church and give my testimony why my God is first and I am second. again, in hopes that my story and attitude will help others.
I was also able to increase my volunteer time at church within our soup kitchen ministry. Which I must say is a great ministry to be involved with. This year our team was able to organize a 5K to help raise money  for the soup kitchen to feed the hungry in Davie and Forsyth counties. Our thoughts were ” Maybe we will have 100 runners” honey…we were able to get almost 700 runners!!! How crazy and great was that! God had his hand in that. That was such a fun event I can’t wait to do it again.
I was able to spend a week long cruise with my husband, my best friend and a few of my neighbors. How much more fun could that be?! We had a blast and I can’t wait to do it again.
I also have the best oncologist. No matter when I go for an appointment he always has some new information for me about a med, treatment or a new step in the plan to help me beat this. He is also open to any suggetions that I may have for my care.
I could go on and on about all the stuff I did this past year but it would take many more pages and I have already probably bored you already :).
So even though I have had bad days and shed alot of tears. All my good days outweigh the bad thanks to my God , my husband, my  daughters, my family and friends.
I am looking forward to what God has in store for me.
So Bring It…because I am ready!!!
Love you all,


Open Doors Christian Coaching: Helping Children at Risk

Yesterday I posted a link to help start a Kids at Risk Program: Below is a blog by Sam Holmes, my partner in all of this. This will give you more insight in to what we are doing.


In 2013 I began to think a lot about the direction of my life and work. The more I thought (and prayed), the more I felt as though my time as a youth pastor was actually coming to an end. For a few months leading up to 2013 and into the beginning of the year, I had been brainstorming of ways to earn income from another source while still doing youth ministry for free. Later, I realized that I was supposed to step out of church ministry but I had no clue what direction God was leading me in, other than I felt as though I should take my talents and skills outside the church in order to better use all God has given me.

Another interesting thing was beginning to take place early in 2013 as well. The more time I spent at my gym Mash Elite Performance and the more time I spent with my friend, Travis Mash, the more I began to feel a part of the family there and feel as though my future with interlocked with what was going on there. Sometime in summer of 2013, Travis and I started talking about non-profit work. Travis had been dreaming of doing something significant for children and teens who really need positive influence in their lives. Since I had an idea of what direction I was supposed to move in, I told Travis that I would love to partner with him to accomplish this dream. Thus, the brainstorming began and after some long talks on our car ride to Charlotte every week, Open Doors Christian Coaching Inc. (ODCC) was what came forth.


Travis and I are not forming ODCC just to have something to do on the side. We both believe that our community needs what we have to offer. We know there are teens living in tough situations. Some have already been labeled and kicked out of the educational system. We want that to change. We want to open doors for these youth to begin to see and walk in their God-given potential. So how are we going to do that? Here is a quick list of things we know so far about ODCC-

1) ODCC will be a place where young people can come to be encouraged and receive the love that will nourish them and grow their self-esteem.

2) Once they are with us, these youth will receive outstanding coaching in sport and athletic performance and weightlifting. We will teach them how to be strong and how to push their limits.

3) We recognize that this world demands much more than just physical strength. So we will provide opportunity for them to develop in other areas as well. We want for them to learn what good character looks like and how to prepare to live out the dreams they all have within. So we will teach character development, goal setting, and life planning.

4) Travis and I also know we would not be where we are now without our faith, so we will help these youth understand what it means to live for something greater than themselves.

5) And when we have done all we can, our hope is that those who have benefitted from what we offer will take it and impact someone else in the same way we have impacted them.

This is much bigger than two guys with a dream. There is so much to do and so many people who need what we will offer. So we need help. We need your help. At the end of this post I will share with you some ways you can partner with us, and I hope you will consider them.

In the short term, ODCC will be hosted by Mash Elite Performance (MEP). Mash Elite will provide the venue as well as the strength coaches. I will be our main character coach, doing most of the mentoring and teaching in areas outside the strength arena. We will go into the school system to look for those who are in need of what we will offer, also recognizing that some of those who need ODCC the most will be somewhere other than school. We will partner with other non-profits to find as many of those teens as we can.

Eventually we will need to be as close to these kids as possible. So we will need a location in more urban settings than where the host gym is currently located. This is a work that could easily grow into a state-wide and even nation-wide organization, so we refuse to limit our dreams. Multiple locations will eventually exist, so we will also need more staff as the organization (and the need) grows as well.

Currently there are 2 ways in which we would ask for your partnership.

1) We need prayers and encouragement. We believe God hears us, and we believe he hears you as well. Please pray for doors to be opened for youth to be impacted in a great way.

2) Like any start-up, we need funds. We want to launch as soon as possible. The following link is for our initial campaign. (

Mt. 7:7-8 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you shall find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

To partner with us on this venture, click on this link: