Culture in a Gym is Everything

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Culture in a Gym is Everything


Last night, we had the Mash Mafia Weightlifting Christmas Bash. I looked around the room, and I saw solidarity. We are a unified team that loves and cares about each other. There are no clicks, and there is no gossip. This is the environment conducive to training champions.

It hasn’t always been this way. I have made a lot of mistakes to finally get to this point. I allowed cancers to linger just because I didn’t want to deal with it. I split my time with MDUSA. I can’t say that spending time with Team MDUSA was a mistake. I love that team, and I learned more in that year than my entire career beforehand. However, it obviously wasn’t conducive to my team.

I needed that time at MDUSA to learn how to manage and coach International Level athletes. I also needed that time to better learn how to develop athletes into International competitors. Don McCauley and the amazing athletes at Team MuscleDriver graciously shared their knowledge and experience that now allows me to coach my own high level team.

I believe that too many coaches are searching for the perfect program to send their athletes into weightlifting stardom. Programs are important, but the culture of the team and the atmosphere of your facility is the most important. If athletes are excited each and every day and they enjoy their teammates, they will succeed. It’s like any work environment in the world. If you enjoy your co-workers, then you have a better chance of success.

Here are some keys:

1. No Gossip! This is so important. If you hear one of your team members talking about another teammate, force them to go to the person that they are talking about and say it to them. Gossip can destroy a team and cause splits. I hate gossip because it is immature and deceptive in my book. If you have something to say, say it to the person.

People that like to gossip are the ones that are looking for attention is all the wrong ways. I suggest getting attention by performing on the platform. I let gossip absolutely destroy this team in the past. That will never happen again.

2. Does you team hang out? I am not talking about at events or get togethers that you put on. I am talking about hanging out when the coach is not around. Comraderie is important. If they hangout outside of the gym, then they will enjoy training together even more.

3. No negativity! Is there a guy or gal that complains everyday? If so, fix it or get rid of it. Training for any sport is tough. Weightlifting is repetitive. You are doing the same thing day in and day out. The last thing that a lifter needs is a teammate that is negative on the daily. That can absolutely destroy an atmosphere.

Training is supposed to be fun. I love the barbell. It has been a major part of my entire life. I want my guys and gals to learn that love. I also want to facilitate them reaching their goals. The atmosphere and culture of the gym is the number one way that I can do just that.


If you have one or two people that are killing the atmosphere, get rid of them immediately. Weightlifting requires months of training for 2 or 3 big meets per year. There is much more time in the gym than on the competition platform.
Every meet is won or lost in training. The competition is just an unveiling of months of preparation. Don’t let one ore two people steal the dreams of all the rest.

My team right now has fun everyday. We train together. We travel together. We laugh together. I won’t allow anything to change that. I will fight to protect the atmosphere of our gym because I love this team. They rely on me to make the right decisions on their behalf. I won’t let them down.


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