Here is a blog that made me reminisce about my time at the AN Gym in Charlotte with Shankle, Jon, and Ryan Grady. Listening to Donnie and Jon talk about their love for weightlifting was so inspirational and pure. I hope you enjoy this inspired writing.
Don’t miss the Mash Mafia Dec. 20th Weightlifting Competition! Come celebrate the holidays at the Mash Compound with some bar slams and coffee! Click on the link below for information:
Also check out the first Learn 2 Lift of the Year right here at the Mash Compound January 10th and 11th. Weightlifting and Powerlifting taught by Coach Mash and the Mash Crew! Click below for more information:
Yesterday I was sitting on the couch at The Attitude Nation Gym talking to Ryan Grady and Donnie Shankle about weightlifting, strength and life. The couch at ANP is one of my favorite spots in life because I can sit down with Jon, Donnie, Alex, Ryan, and the others, and we can bounce ideas off of each other. It is also a spot where everyone is comfortable: transparent. This allows for everyone’s true self to surface, or as Jon would put it “the Skeletons”. Yesterday we discussed the: importance of nutrition, compared IQ levels and personality traits of weightlifters (introverted and smart) versus powerlifters (extroverted and… not as smart), and general solutions for the problems of life. Midsentence concerning the “golf clap” at a weightlifting meet, I announce, “I love Weightlifting!” Donnie replied by saying, “Me too man! I love weightlifting!” But why exactly? Why do we love a sport so much when 80% of the sport is torture? My answer so far is not complete, but here is what I know.
In a world full of chaos, corruption, and disappointment, Weightlifting is pure, beautiful, and orderly. In a world filled with unfair advantages and rejection, Weightlifting is a place of refuge where you can put in the work and reap the rewards. If you put in 10,000 hours at the gym, you will become a master of the sport that we call Weightlifting. If your legs are weak, squat! If your jerk is terrible, practice the jerk. If you are weak overhead, then practice movements overhead. Problems and weaknesses will surface, but concrete solutions exist in this beloved sport. The answers are clear. Only one question: Are you willing to do whatever it takes?
We talked about the madness of the sport as well. Weightlifting requires you to basically perform three movements everyday: snatch, clean & jerk, and squat. We spend 80% of our time training in hell, perfecting the snatch and clean & jerk with only 20% of heaven as reward, if you’re lucky. We perform thousands of reps chasing just one personal record that might happen once a month or less. But when the barbell, loaded with one more kilo flies up off the floor in your hands, makes contact at the perfect place and continues its path upward, while you drop into the perfect squat and catch the barbell in the sweet spot with ease, one perfect snatch falls into place, there is nothing so sweet.
Bar slam. It makes every training session, every missed attempt, and every tear totally worth that moment of victory.
But a great weigtlifter is never satisfied. The chase is on for the next PR…
Our passion for Weightlifting is what makes us true Black Sheep. Jon, Donnie and I pay our bills doing exactly what we want, and so none of us will ever work again. The people telling me that I work too much don’t realize that I am having fun when I do a seminar or write a blog. I am sharing my passion with the world. Helping and loving people is my ministry; Weightlifting is a platform that God has given me. I am the most blessed man in the world. God has given us all passions, talents and platforms, and it is up to us to take these gifts and put them to work. Jon always says that we are doing much more than just teaching people to lift weights- anybody can do that. I am teaching people a new outlook on life! I am teaching people to “Love your life or change it”! Dream, write it down, formulate a plan, and commit it to action! Don’t get caught up in what society says is successful. A Black Sheep is someone who doesn’t follow the herd. I’m not saying to be a rebel without a cause. I am saying being a rebel with the greatest cause in the world! Black Sheep is a lifestyle! Are you living it?
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