Favorite Shankle Video?

March 30, 2014

Donny has recently been posting up new videos of his training and advices for weightlifters.  In this one, he’s wearing the shirt design I drew for him years ago.  I hope (in a very small way) that he still draws strength from it.

Probably like yourself, I’m a Donny Shankle fan.  Because I’m an American.  Even the driest most boring videos are made better by his baritone narration.  My personal favorite is the video in which he tells how he “got attempted to be mugged” at Euro Disney.  Which one is your favorite?

Stream: Void Worship.

March 26, 2014

Be prepared to listen to the frumpiest, doomiest, dustiest, most “just got home from a Dungeons and Dragons convention” record that’s come out so far this year.  I saw these guys play in SF a week ago.  In my opinion, their new material is step forward from their last record released in 2012.  While I liked it, I felt it relied heavily on standard doom archetypes.  And while that’s not necessarily even an issue in many cases, I felt like the band could do well to change their pace a little more frequently.  I’ve listened to the new record streaming HERE via Pitchfork and so far I’m very pleased with the direction that the band is headed.  I feel like they’re on par other popular contemporary doom acts like Pallbearer (one of my current favorite bands) by not shying away from their source material while still creating a NEW cohesive sound.

The guys are pretty nice too and sound great live.  Check ’em out.

I took this photo last Wednesday at Thee Parkside in SF.

I took this photo last Wednesday at Thee Parkside in SF.


Be warned.  This is mood music meant to be listened to in solitude while doing things like writing, drawing or thinking introspectively.  I wouldn’t expect most people to be into this sound.  Don’t try bumping this while riding shotgun in your girlfriend’s Jetta and expect to have a good time.


I’ve been on a Southern/Rockabilly kick lately.

Lots of Johnny Cash, Reverend Horton Heat, ZZ Top and this little number.


What’s that word that the kids are saying nowadays?  Swag?  Well if so,

(insert pound sign) swag.

(insert pound sign) swag.

Tara asked me if I was going to post this photo on my “Instagram” account.  I told her that I was just going to ride this one out and hope it dies off before I do.

A huge thank you to our friends from Caffeine and Kilos for setting us up with these bad boys.  Now we just gotta sell ’em.  Come by home base and pick up a shirt.  The money we raise will help get us to Nationals and The American Open.

Red on Black.

March 18, 2014


Check out these new Tees that our buddies at Caffeine and Kilos did for us. Hit me up if you want one. 20 bucks. Don’t expect to look as cool as Dean while wearing it though because that’s not possible.

If You Have Ghosts.

March 17, 2014

Check out the new training video I made, set to music from one of the most interesting (and weird) current rock acts, Ghost B.C.  I make these videos as a fun way to promote my training methods.  I think of them as a snapshot in time; a quick look into our current training goals and ideology.  But mostly it’s just for fun.  Enjoy!

The Kevin Open Footage.

March 14, 2014


So early on this year, I made a commitment to un-frumpify (I’m officially coining this term) myself and try to reach out into the fitness community.  I used to make a greater effort to get out and meet different fitness people and do fun workout play dates.  It was fun.  I’d be at a different Crossfit box every weekend trying to establish myself as “that guy” when it comes to weightlifting.  Over the years, I’ve gotten so focused on building myself and my team at home base that I’ve lost that drive to basically go out and meet people.  Establish connections.  Make friends.  And that stuff is important because as it turns out, Olympic weightlifting now has a recognizable foothold in the general fitness community and it’s up to the younger generations to un-frumpify our beloved fringe sport and show people how beautiful it is.

Let’s be real here, there’s a reason that weightlifting had been shoved into the dark fringe sport closet along with all the other unappealing sports.  Think about how many differences there are between weightlifting and powerlifting.  How about bodybuilding?  How about yoga? Running on a treadmill.  There’s just not a whole lot of common ground.  In fact, a lot of effort had been placed BY WEIGHTLIFTERS on how different we are from all other things weight related.  I’m guilty of that more than most.  2005.  18 year old Ben is at a party and has to explain on four different occasions (to four different young ladies) that he doesn’t actually bench press.  That he doesn’t have a “back and bicep day.”  Literally for years I would refuse to do ANY upper body whatsoever besides pull-ups because I was so focused on how different weightlifting is than just lifting weights at a conventional gym.

I got over it.  I got off my high horse.  I’ll bench once every three months so I can load up 315 and say “yep, still got it, BROTHER”  But more than that, I’ve just stopped caring so much what people think weightlifting is.  The rise of functional fitness and the company, Crossfit, has definitely helped with this.  27 year old Ben can now go to a party (LOL when was the last time I went to a party?) and I won’t even have to explain what weightlifting is.  That in itself is amazing.  And when I tell people that I’m a weightlifting coach and my job is to give people progress in the snatch and clean and jerk, people have an idea of what that might entail.  So back to my un-frumpication process.

"Hey, girl.  You like doing 7 sets of 1 at 85%?"

“Hey, girl. You like doing drop sets of paused snatches after going for a daily max”

I began taking steps this year to reach out and meet as many people as possible in the fitness community.  I began doing things like giving free seminars and going to dinners and workshops with the intention of building weightlifting in Sacramento, solidifying my place as a respected weightlifting coach and improving my communication skills.  Admittedly, I am somewhat introverted, so it’s not like my idea of a good time is going out and meeting new people.  But hey, as it turns out being a good communicator is being a good coach.  Who would’ve thought?

So I challenged myself.  I got out there and that’s how I met a few very awesome, very special people from Lululemon and I’m proud to say that I’m now an ambassador for Lululemon in Sacramento.  What that means, I honestly am not quite sure.  But I think it means I continue doing my part as an ambassador for weightlifting, build connections and continue my journey reaching out to different areas of the fitness community.  I’m motivated more than ever to make and surpass goals, build up my team and take them to the national level and to make connections with others both within my sport and outside of it.  Plus now I’ll dress better.  In the gym anyways; because I’m still gonna be that guy at the metal show rocking the Canadian cut-off tuxedo.

Speaking of style, when I think of weightlifting style, I always make the connection to those tapered leg Adidas soccer pants.  I mean, up until around 2010, that was THE uniform for weightlifters.  If you were the one dude at a national meet that wasn’t wearing Adidas soccer pants, well . . . you probably weren’t in the A session.  Just sayin.’  So for that reason, my old torn up Adidas pants will always hold a special place in my heart (even though I wasn’t even an A session lifter until last year).  So maybe it’s time for something new.  Weightlifting has changed since 2005 and so have I.  Maybe it’s time I change my pants too.


March 11, 2014

Check out this guest post I did for fellow 105+kg athlete Tom Sroka’s blog, The Strength Agenda.

The Biggin Warm-up.  

I’ve known Tom for a few years now so I can tell you firsthand that he is a stand up dude and a fierce competitor.  They say it’s not what you do in sport, but the connections you make along the way that make it worth while.  While there is still much I want to do before I hang up my singlet, I’m glad that I’ve met good people like Tom though my experiences in weightlifting.

Jon was right about that one.

Huge PR for our top female lifter the day AFTER competing at the Hassle Free Open.