The MONSTER GARAGE GYM/MAROSCHER COACHING LOG is a weekly Coaching Log by MGG owner, 2-Time WPC World Powerlifting Champion, Eric Maroscher, and is one of the Featured Coaching Logs at EliteFTS.

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Monster Garage Gym/Maroscher Coaching Log: (Log number LXVIII). “A SNEAK PEEK BEHIND THE DOORS OF THE ELITEFTS COMPOUND: 2016 ARNOLD EXPO PART III!!!!”

The purpose of this log is to give you a sneak peek into what happens behind closed doors of the ELITEFTS Compound in London, Ohio as well as a final look back at the 2016 ARNOLD.

Looking back with a few weeks perspective, the build-up to the 2016 ARNOLD was an amazing experience in and of itself. Elite level athletes from gyms all over the world as well as right here in Waukegan, Illinois at the Monster Garage Gym had qualified for this show-case event, months and months ago. From the qualifying meets up until the final deload week prior the Arnold Expo, the training sessions for these athletes was simply ravenous, and leading up to the training crescendo at the MGG, the energy was absolutely palpable.

Within the body-violent sports of powerlifting and strongman, your last time on the platform could actually become your last time on the platform….and if you are not aware of that, YOU WILL BE. That said, no lifter wants the pain of regret so they endure the pain of discipline.
And within that pain are those moments when the lifter claws for each and every strength gain knowing that in the end, by leaving nothing on the platform, and having left no energy unspent during their training cycle, they will have victory regardless of the meet’s outcome as we can only control our own path toward destiny and that is the magic of strength sports.

At the MGG we qualified three athletes for the ARNOLD. For the 2016 Amateur Strongman World Championships, MONSTERETTE Kristin Johnson qualified. You can find the log of Kristin’s competition where she placed 5th in the world, here:
And for the 2016 XPC Powerlifting Championships the MGG qualified WPC World Powerlifting Champion, Steve Brock and ALL TIME RAW Record holder and MONSTERETTE, Crystal Tate. You can find the log of Crystal’s competition where she squatted and ALL TIME record of 610LBS RAW here:

All total, some 20 MGG’ers made the trek out to Columbus, Ohio for this annual juggernaut of events. It was a family affair.

IMG_71351Photo by Monster Garage Gym: “Family.” Some of the M.G.G. family who make the trek to the 2016 Arnold in one of the warm up rooms at the XPC Powerlifting Finals.

By the end of the weekend, which started off with a bang or more accurately, a fiery boom (the Monsters know of what I am referring too) every bit of anticipation prior to the expo was met and surpassed by the experiences of this competition itself. There is something indescribably special watching the athletes who you care for, who you train alongside, who come to your gym, constantly striving to be the best they can, actually achieve what so very few ever achieve, and that is to meet destiny on their own terms. Competition day with all its stress and fear will be there ready for you regardless if you are ready for it. As I have said in the past, “You have to WANT it, more than you are AFRAID of it.” To see members of your team looking deep into the eyes of their own fear and destiny while sipping confidently from a chalice filled with the preparation and strength they alone produced, well, that is a site to behold.

Leaving Columbus after a long weekend of competition, but prior to heading back to the M.G.G. in Waukegan, Illinois, some of my team headed to London, Ohio to get in a training session at the EliteFTS Compound aka S4 Compound.

IMG_725911Photo by Monster Garage Gym: “THE door!!!!”

The EliteFTS Compound is not so much a gym. What I mean by that is, it is technically a gym in that there are weights and machines, dumbbells, barbells, all the “things” that make a weight room. The fact is, there is every single EliteFTS toy you have ever dreamed about playing on and with all around you, but really the EliteFTS compound is less of a gym and is more of an “ideal.” An ideal being something that is, (if I can be so bold as to go French) nonpareil. To me at least, that is what the EliteFTS Compound is, it is a place that has no equal, and it is unrivaled and inimitable.

The compound is a place steeped in powerlifting history as Dave Tate is steeped in powerlifting history. With the S4 Compound you have Dave and thus Dave’s history with WSBB (1991-2005) and before that his history of powerlifting dating back to his first meet way back in 1983. You also multiply Dave’s history exponentially with the members of Team EliteFTS. Team EliteFTS is a team comprised of members that have been vetted as harshly as a presidential hopeful and to that end, there have been fewer than 150 total members over the entire history of the team. As such, each of them have a history with roots firmly planted into the fertile ground that are the sports of powerlifting, bodybuilding, and strongman. H*ll, EliteFTS team member Steve Goggins alone gives the compound gravitas for that matter, so now exponentially couple the history of Dave, legends like Steve, consultants like G.O.A.T., Ed Coan with the who’s who of the rest of Team EliteFTS and you start to get a glimmer of the picture I am trying to paint here. Even as a member of Team EliteFTS myself, walking through the door of the compound is always somewhat surreal.

Prior to actually being there, most folks have caught glimmers of what S4 looks like via photos or video, but actually being there….well, I can tell you, as can anyone who has trained there or attended a LLT seminar there, you can literally feel the history when you walk through the door.

On this particular day, I arrived to train at the compound with Robert and Kristin from the M.G.G. Robert, one of the members of the RAW Squad at the M.G.G. was my travel partner as well as my roomie for the trip to the 2016 Arnold. Kristin had just competed on Friday and as of that competition, is now the top 5 ranked Amateur Strongman/woman in the world for 2016. Despite having just competed in some amazingly grueling strongman events merely a day and a half ago, you can bet she still jumped at the chance to train at the EliteFTS Compound.

Kristin has been immersed in the world of EliteFTS since joining the M.G.G. some years back, and as a teacher in “the real world” she embodies and thus deeply relates to, Live, Learn and Pass On. But being immersed in EliteFTS and religiously following Dave and EliteFTS is not something that can even remotely prepare you for experiencing first hand, EliteFTS through an actual training session at the S4 Compound. As for many, getting to train at the Compound and getting to meet Dave was a dream come true for Kristin and a huge check mark box on her strength-world bucked list.

Upon arrival Sunday morning, the compound was, as it often is, alive with activity and filled with a who’s who of the strength game. As we opened the door to the compound, literally the first person we see is Dave Tate himself. Dave, the walking embodiment of WSBB and the spirit of EliteFTS was engaged in conversation, talking all things business and strength. In the background were a number of Team EliteFTS members including ALL-TIME Record holder and 2016 Arnold/XPC Powerlifting Finals competitor Brandon Smitley, Top 10 ALL-TIME ranked squat, bench and total Julia Ladewski, 2016 Arnold/XPC Powerlifting Finals competitor and the current #1 ranked multi-ply powerlifter Jo Jordan, 2016 Arnold/XPC Powerlifting Finals competitor and WPC World Powerlifting Champion, Ken Whetham, WPC World Powerlifting Champion, Sheri Whetham, EliteFTS staple and THE man behind the curtain, Matt Goodwin was there, as well as others who came through the Compound on this particular day.

Some of the team were training, some of them coaching some of them recovering from the weekend’s competitions. Immediately to our right of us as we entered the compound, 2016 Arnold body building competitor and 5th place over all in the 212LB class, John Meadows was in the midst of a photo shoot. John is the bodybuilder’s, bodybuilder with that classic bodybuilding physique, but put together with all the grain and hardened granite like muscle that only work, work and more work in the weight room can achieve. John was coming off his 5th place showing at the 2016 Arnold in the 212LB division and looking every bit stage ready.

IMG_71551Photo by Monster Garage Gym: 2016 Arnold Competitor and IFBB pro bodybuilder, John Meadows. “Iron hooks grasping iron hooks.”

IMG_72112Photo by Monster Garage Gym: M.G.G. owner, Eric Maroscher, 2016 Strongman competitor (5th in the world for 2016) Kristin Johnson of the M.G.G., All Time Record Holder, Brandon Smitley of Team EliteFTS. “S4.”

Now with all this going on, you would think your workout might be doomed to the distractions all around you, but this is where the magic of the S4 Compound gets you. You just can’t feel all that there is around you and not have a great session. It is simply not possible and on this day, even following all the adrenalin rush of the days prior, this training session was as great as it was memorable, and trust me, in between sets you do take mental photos as being in the moment at this very special place is exactly where you want to be.

IMG_72451Photo by Monster Garage Gym: “TOYS.”

IMG_71641Photo by Monster Garage Gym: Inside the EliteFTS Compound. “Monsters in the Compound.”

IMG_723912Photo by Monster Garage Gym: “STRONG IS HAPPY.”

IMG_716711Photo by Monster Garage Gym: “Top Secret Conversation???”

The follow video footage is from this training session, and it hopefully gives you a little idea, a small glimpse as to what the EliteFTS Compound is all about. Having said that, if you are serious about your training, and you wouldn’t be reading this if you weren’t, I strongly urge you to take advantage of the LLT seminars, the PLE sessions and the like and make a pilgrimage out to the EliteFTS Compound because if you don’t do it now, when will you ever do it? Carpe diem….seize the day!!!!!!!!!!

All of the training footage in this coaching log is filmed in HD.

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You can find ALL of the prior EliteFTS/Maroscher Coaching Logs at this link:
As always, thank you for following EliteFTS and the MONSTER GARAGE GYM. We hope you find this coaching log as a whole of use to you in your training. Please let us know by your comment(s) if these logs are useful to you and what we can do to make the better. If you like them, we would appreciate it if you would share them. Ever Onward, Eric Maroscher.
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