March 10, 2014
Jon was right about that one.
Huge PR for our top female lifter the day AFTER competing at the Hassle Free Open.
March 10, 2014
Yesterday was the final day of the Hassle Free Invitational (AKA The Kevin Open) in Foster City. I sent most of my people down there and I’m pleased to say, WE LOOK GOOD. I’ve got an awesome group I’m working with right now that’s got a bunch of people not quite at that national level, but getting there quick. I love the training environment. Minimal cupcaking. Maximal competitive spirit. I’m proud of my team. And I’m proud of my gym. I got a bunch of video from this weekend, so I’ll probably post up a video with commentary sometime this week.
The meet itself was a class act. The Doherty brothers are a shining example of proactive coaches that are capable of hosting such an event. Not all clubs need to host big super-meets like this one. It’s not lucrative and for the most part not worth it. But Hassle Free has been an institution of the weightlifting community for some time now and I’m glad that there are coaches out there who (on top of the obvious goal of producing lifters) have the secondary goal of moving the sport forward. Younger generations are doing their part as well, like the boys from Caffeine and Kilos. One of most exciting events from last year was the weightlifting meet that they hosted in tandem with a Crossfit event. The future of weightlifting is looking bright and I’m glad to be a part of it.
March 5, 2014
I recently attended a goal setting seminar with a few friends the other day. We discussed a few short and long term goals, made adjustments if they weren’t specific enough and then began with strategies on how to accomplish them. Here’s a short list of goals I made in January.
After last weekend, I added to my list for the year, widening my horizon to both professional and personal goals. I was instructed to keep a few people in the loop with my goal progress, so I’ve decided to use you folks.
1) Create 5 more national caliber athletes this year. They might not be ready in time for nationals, but I’ve got a solid group right now very capable of hitting qualifying totals.
2) Run 5 more seminars this year at various gyms. I just ran a clean and jerk seminar with my friends a CF MVMT last weekend, so I just need 4 more.
1) Put 2 more of my sketches/designs on a T-shirt.
2) Perform at an open mic night of some sort. I picked up the guitar again and have been fiddling around and going to a BUNCH of shows to kind of see what other people are doing.
March 3, 2014
Congratulations, sucker! Now you’re gonna be hooked for life! WE GOT YOU. But seriously, thank you for playing our sport. As someone that’s officially been playing since November of 2005, I mean that from the bottom of my rusted iron heart. Hopefully by now, you’ve found yourself a reputable weightlifting coach, so this post will be completely unnecessary. But for those of you out there that are more or less doing this stuff on your own or with others who don’t have a lot of meet experience, here’s a little advice:
1) Your main objective is to make lifts and to look good while doing it. I don’t care if your best snatch in the gym is 80kg and you really want to go for that 85 or 90 that you’ve tried time and time again to hit. Don’t do it. Don’t. Do. It. Go for a PR on your 3rd attempt by no more than 2-3kg, taking reasonable attempts to get there. And if you miss one of your attempts, don’t go up anyway. Make lifts. Why? Your family, friends and your local weightlifting community are there to watch you lift. Chances are that most of them will have no frame of reference of what or how much you’re actually lifting, nor will they care. No one will remember if you made 82 or 87kg. They’ll just remember how you looked when you lifted it. So look good.
2) Find someone to count your attempts. If you don’t know what that is then ask your coach. If your coach doesn’t know what that is then chances are your weightlifting coach is not an actual weightlifting coach but rather someone who just likes to lift weights. This is one of the PRIMARY functions of an actual weightlifting coach. I don’t care if you can throw a baseball 100mph, it doesn’t make you a pitcher if you don’t know how to play the game. The same is true for weightlifting so learn and understand the rules of play (or at least pay someone who does).
3) Have fun. Chances are if you follow steps one and two, you’ll have a good time. Even if you don’t or have a bad meet, you’ll still probably have a good time. Either way, I’d like to welcome you to the club.
Here’s me at my first WL meet. I had found a coach at that time and went 77/106. And I’m still playing and enjoying the game today.
February 28, 2014
I picked up a couple of new lifters recently. One of them was warming up for clean and jerks last night before I quickly pulled him aside and drew him a quick sketch.
This represented an exaggerated sketch of what he was doing vs. what I was looking for. I explained to him my criteria while watching a successfully performed jerk ending the brief lesson with, “I want more stuff stacked on top of stuff.” Eloquent, I know. This is true for everybody but especially important for people with lanky body types. The dude is 6 foot, 75kg. soaking wet in a Dragonball Z gravity chamber so mastering correct posture and footwork is “CROOCHE” (crucial). For more “rotund” bodies this may not be as big of a deal (but still correct).
February 24, 2014
I went old school Wu-Tang on the newest team training video.
I make these as a fun and creative way to highlight my training processes that I put the team through. This video represents what a typical week pretty much looks like. I’ve become very picky as to what the team actually does and how much of it. Not much room is left over for extra volume especially since we’ve begun to push doubles on our percentage based workouts.
February 21, 2014
I’m no fashionista, be every now and then I’ll find myself in a non-gym situation. These situations require pants. For the most part, you’ll need jeans. Let’s just say you’re a big guy like me and you weigh 240+ (assuming you’re not tall) and squat between five and six hundred pounds. What are you going to do? Forget Levi’s. That ship sailed once you passed 240, you big biscuit.
I’d recommend taking the designer jean approach and get yourself a pair of Sevens. Seriously. If you ever want to have full ROM wearing jeans, you’ll get yourself a pair of Sevens. Don’t be deterred by your bros who are required by law to start hating on you for paying 100 bucks on jeans. “Nice skinny jeans.” They’re not skinny jeans bro. If you had anything resembling an ass and quads, you would know that. And honestly, at a higher bodyweight, you don’t want to have a whole lot of excess room in your clothes otherwise you end up looking like The Thing from the Fantastic Four trying to blend into the crowd. Sevens have a tiny bit of spandex blended into the fabric so you can now do things like tie your shoe or climb into your vehicle without fear of a blowout. Now obviously at this price point, you can only afford to pick up one or two pairs per year, so choose a wash that will suit most occasions. Take note that the dye will fade as you wash so I’d recommend a darker color so you have the option to dress them up or down. Don’t let the price point rule this option out for you if that’s a key determining factor. Look for deals online or hip consignment boutiques. I’ve found them for as low as 35 bucks (SCORE).
Lets say you lose a little bodyweight and can now afford to wear non-stretchy clothes with a little more room. Or you’d just prefer not to wear designer or form fitting clothes. That’s cool too, bro. For this, I’d recommend all things Carhartt. At a very competitive price point, their clothes are basically indestructible, sporting heavy duty rivets, triple stitching and heavyweight materials. Plus you get the added benefit of feeling like a real DUDE while wearing them. Fair warning: when I say non-stretchy, I mean non-stretchy. So you really need to let that imaginary size 32 waist when you were in high-school go, bro. Because it’s just not gonna happen. With such competitive pricing, you can now afford to diversify your color scheme. Or you can blend both approaches together and save your designer stuff for nice occasions.
Your results may vary and obviously personal taste plays a role in your options. But in my opinion, these two options give you enough leeway to fit most stylistic tastes and you will have the added confidence that dat 600lb squatting ass won’t blow your jeans out while you are out bowling with your buddies (true story).
If your are familiar with the brands, feel free to list some other competitive options in the comments section below. Keep in mind the two different price points noted above.
February 19, 2014
I’m going to go on a brief rant on nutrition and it will probably be the only one I ever do because unlike many people working in the fitness industry, I still have respect for actual professionals who went to school to study specific things like nutrition. As a weightlifting coach, I automatically fall under the wishy washy, sensationalist money machine that is the fitness industry and I have to do my best to work within certain confines set by the industry. Lucky for me, weightlifting is actually in vogue (or at least way more so than back in 2005). Thank you functional fitness. Thank you to the company, Crossfit. I can now go in public, tell people that I’m a weightlifter and 3/10 people will actually have a rough idea of what that entails. You have no idea how frustrated 18 year old Ben was when he had to describe to people how he spent his time. Eventually, I just gave up and started telling people that I bench 505 because what difference does it make. Without any frame of reference for what weightlifting actually is, it’s like trying to speak Mayan to a bunch of Spaniards (I can only assume). What I’m getting at is the fitness industry is incredibly frustrating for a number of reasons and I often feel like a frumpy curmudgeon when trying to preach common sense over sensationalist, black and white approaches to all things fitness. “This good. This bad” simply does not work for me and leaves me with the desire to flip over tables in frustration.
The latest personal insult to common sense that I unfortunately read was an “article” warning people about the dangers of sugar. First of all, just because somebody somewhere wrote something and posted it on the always viable internet, it in no way shape or form makes it an article. You know those “such and such reasons why you should such and such” posts? Yeah, I’ll take one look at the title and automatically file in the “not viable” category of all the other random stuff I see thrown around the internet. Hey, your results may vary. I’m not saying stuff written like that is automatically untrue, I’m just saying that if I was a researcher who actually went to grad school so I could publish a peer reviewed study and have it carry weight, I would be offended that people read those and throw them in the same category as my work. But that’s a different issue and I’m sure there are a bunch of people that would disagree with me.
Sugar is not bad. Sugar is sugar. Just like meat is meat and water is water. Are there healthy sources vs. non-healthy sources? Sure. Are most people consuming too much and from non-healthy sources? Probably. And most people could do with more exercise too. But the fact of the matter is that sugar is your body’s preferred energy source and when you don’t eat it, your body goes through the extra effort to make it. I, myself limit how much sugar and carbohydrates I consume (for the most part) because I have put myself on a “weight management” diet and putting my body in a state of ketosis (for the most part) works best for my lifestyle. Does that interfere with my performance goals? Maybe, somewhat. But honestly, I can’t really tell the difference most of the time except my body won’t hold as much water. But notice how I said “weight management” vs. “performance” or “healthy lifestyle” diet. The goal is very important in what is considered “good” vs. ‘bad.” So are things like potatoes and fruit inherently “bad?” No. They’re goddamn potatoes and fruit. But they will play a different part or perhaps no part in your diet depending on your body and specific goals. I think we can all agree that things like soda or poptarts are not inherently “good” for us. But what are you gonna do? You’ve already been conditioned to like that stuff. Are you just going to pretend like it doesn’t exist? That shit is delicious and I for one like to indulge every now and then. I mean, I can tell when I’ve overdone it on the junk food. Can you? Are you gonna go over to grandma’s and NOT eat a piece of that pie that she spent all day baking? I’m just saying, common sense is always the best diet.
Alright. I’m done.
For the record. I am NOT a diet expert. I had to take nutrition in college but they were still on that 90’s low fat kick. I grew up a fat kid until I discovered the joys of pushing my body though sport and exercise. I purposely bulked myself up to a whopping 126kg last year because I thought it would help my weightlifting goals (I hover around a comfortable 115 now). I don’t think it did but now I know better.
February 17, 2014
I usually lift pretty dece’ on my birthdays. Yesterday was no exception. As a matter of fact, all of my athletes did a bang up job.
My boss, Camilo, also lifted, hitting 100 and 130.
I made myself a special little montage because I’m stoked off of how well training has been going lately. Honestly, cleaning 190 off the blocks the other day was a huge wake up call for me. I’m definitely going to be pushing hard going into Nationals.
My best meet total before this weekend was 319. Now 332.
My best competition snatch before this was 145. Now 150.
My best competition clean and jerk before this was 177. Now 182. BUT I CLEANED 187!!
February 14, 2014
Here’s a short video I made highlighting our snatch clinic from last weekend. It was SO MUCH FUN. A sincere thank you to everyone who came out, I was so stoked to have you in our gym. Big thanks to my trusty team who volunteered their Sunday to make sure I didn’t look like a fool. Thank you to Tara, the coolest boss I’ve ever had.
I’m gonna do my little plug now. If you run a CF gym in Norcal and are interested in having me come to your gym for two and a half hours of technique work, fun times, smiles and Diet Pepsi, get in contact with me.