Neon Indian-Annie.

May 31, 2015

I am currently finalizing the playlist for the next installment in my series of mixtapes.  Oh, it’s going to be space themed.

Here’s a new track from Neon Indian.

Kinda fun to try and identify all the different possible influences.  I like the direction that the group (and the electronic music scene in general) is moving in; a clear progression from the short lived “chill-wave” era of 2010 towards straight forward funk and disco.

Hey there, Yamdancers!

Here’s my current list of stuff that the gang and I will be doing this summer.  Of course, the moment I post this, 5 other things will come up.

May 30: I’m hosting a technique clinic at CF Another Level.  I’ve been working with the folks from this gym for some time now and I can tell you that they are a fantastic group who are extremely supportive and just plain love to train and build their community.  We still got room so if you’re in the area and want to bone up on your technique or see my teaching progression for beginners, cough up 40 bones and I’ll see you this Saturday at 9AM.

June 6: Myself and a couple of my lifters will be competing at the Butch Curry Classic held at Warriorz Fitness in Elk Grove.  This will be my first time competing in a while so I’m using it as an opportunity to clean the rust off before nationals as well as decide which weight class I’d like to compete in.  Right now I walk around at exactly 105kg but I can literally gain 5kg in like 3 days if I wanted to.  I’m not in top shape right now but I’d at least like to get out there and do what I’ve loved for the past decade.

June 12-14: the bulk of my gang will compete at the PWA Championships in Reno.  Kevin D from Hassle Free has done a lot for the weightlifting community in Nor-Cal including turning this meet into a huge production.  In Doherty we trust.

That’s as far as I’ve planned.  If you know me, you know I try to do as little of that as possible.  Hopefully I’ll see your bright and shiny faces at a few of these things.

Trust the process.

-Ben

Check it out.  I finally threw down and made some shirts.  If you’re in town, pick one up for 25 bucks cash.  If you’re out of town, I’m working on it.

swolfie allie 2 image1These shirts are actually pretty significant for me. For one, it’s a design that I drew.  It’s honest.  The design is based off of actual photos of us training.  There’s no lions or other popular fitsperation gimmicks.  The figures on the bottom represent our Yamdancer philosophy, a concept that I stole from Coach Paul of Hassle Free.  On the back I chose to go with, “Trust the process.” This has been personally significant to me since 2005 after I went on a religious retreat.

I’ll still sell some of my work in the future.  You can probably pick out which one is mine from Jon North’s new line.  But this one is all me.  All us.

Trust the process.

-Ben

As I sat in the Kansas City Airport eating what must assuredly be the worst pastrami sandwich of my adult life, I finely found time for some self reflection; time to understand what a transformative experience I had just went through. As I sat in the Kansas city Airport eating the the worst pastrami sandwich I’ve had since 4th grade, I began to understand the depth of what I’ve been missing in my life and what I have to look forward to once this sandwich is eaten; banished to the depths so that it can no longer infect the world with it’s presence. It was a poor excuse for sandwich if I’ve ever seen one; possessing the minimum requirements of what could be considered a hand held vessel for meat consumption but without the soul required to satisfy discerning palettes.

I’m 28 now. Young enough to be at a station where it’s ok to still not have a finite plan together but old enough to know that there are consequences to every decision we make in this life; old enough to know that the cost of every decision is far too great to quantify. Time isn’t money. Time is life. It’s the only thing we really own before we return as dust. My sister just had a kid. I’m flying home from a wedding I was graciously invited to be in as a groomsman. Sitting in the Kansas City airport eating a vile excuse for a sandwich is somehow personally significant. It’s the first time since 2012 I’ve taken 4 consecutive days off from work for a non-work related trip; Not for the sandwich of course but for the wedding.

That in itself was a hard realization. The past 3 years have taught me much. But they’ve cost me just as much. If you re-read the paragraph above and interpret time as the only true currency, then consider me bankrupt. I’ve spent it all chasing dreams and unicorns. I’ve spent it turning this thing from a hobby to an obsession to a bonafide job. My church is now my office. In the past I’ve looked to nature for short jaunts away from my day to day. Self reflection had become a top priority. In my mind, it was the only legitimate reason I would need an escape. I am an exceptionally brief person by nature, so the last thing I considered as a means of self refection would be to surround myself with other people. People I don’t know. People who are not the gym. I never thought that my buddy’s wedding in Kansas City and the sandwich that followed would be the catalyst that would allow me to truly look inward.

What do you get when you try and photograph one collegiate strength coach, one private strength and conditioning coach and one weightlifting coach?  Not a lot of room for anything else.

What do you get when you try and photograph one collegiate strength coach, one private strength and conditioning coach and one weightlifting coach? Not a lot of room for anything else.

I learned a few things this weekend:

1) The longer I chase this thing, and by “this thing” I mean the last 2-3 years of my high level athletic career, the more it will “cost” me personally.

2) I have a profound need for self validation at the end of all this. No one will truly care how far I get, at least as much as I do. But still I NEED to get to the end and tell myself it was worth it. In my mind, I think that’s getting a medal at Nationals or the American Open. I’ll know for sure after one of those things happen.

3) After it’s over, I’m going to be ok. I shove a lot of my basic needs on the back burner so I can focus on the day to day grind. I love it. I thrive on it. It completes me. But someday soon, I’m going to go on that extra long hike or that trip across Europe or pick up martial arts and rock climbing again or get a dog or move in with a girl. I see the light at the end of the tunnel and honestly it looks pretty good.

4) Weightlifting will always be a part of my life. After all, I’ve always identified more with Obi Wan Kenobi than Luke Skywalker . . . Han Solo too but that’s a different story.

5) I don’t have an excuse to not succeed. Neither do you if you think about it.

6) One day, I’m going to buy my own cat. In 2014, I realized that I spent my entire life not knowing that I liked them. He’s going to be a fat, furry, gnarly looking asshole.

My fellow man taught me a lot this weekend. I met the families and I was accepted as one of their own for a whole weekend, all because I love Nate. A few closing thoughts before I get on this plane: visit Kansas City if you get the chance, go to Arthur Bryants and order the burnt ends. Follow your bliss but never forget that you need at least a few other people to share that bliss with. If you set your eyes on a goal, go forth and fucking destroy it. If it’s worth your time, it’s worth your effort too.

This post is dedicated to Nate and Ryann and the awful, self reflective sandwich that followed a wonderful weekend with your family. For reference, Nate and I are exactly the same age, we have similar jobs but for as many similarities we share, we share just as many differences. I’ve learned a lot about myself from our friendship as you can probably gather.

April was a huge month for me.  Check it out.

Also, this is one of my all time favorite songs.

I love my job.  I love what I do.  But gosh darn it, is it hard to find balance in life sometimes.  Every year has been a learning experience for me.  And every year I get deeper and deeper.  Right now I’m thinking about Nationals.  I’m thinking about coaching my team in the next 3 meets.  I think it’s about time I turned on the gas and really put my head down going into the summer.  If it’s not one of those things chances are it will be on the back burner indefinitely.  I’ve got one more week where I’ll be out of town and then it’s full steam ahead, baby.

If you are a coach as well as an athlete, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section.

Faith Re-Post.

May 10, 2015

THIS is worth a re-post.  From the one and only Glenn Pendlay.

Darth_Vader_and_Emperor_Palpatine

“Knockout.”

May 7, 2015

Let’s play a game.

85%.

Both lifts.

8 attempts max.

2 misses allowed before the player is “knocked out.”

Clean and jerks went OK.  I only made like 4.  I blame it on me doing my squats in the morning session beforehand.

EMOMs aren’t all that common for us but this video is a good example of the team training cycle right now.