It’s said a person is only one injury away from ending your sports career. When dealing with that kind of injury, we often neglect how it affects our minds, which are almost just as easy to break as our bodies.
The legendary Frantz Gym was the place where the top powerlifters trained, where the collective whole was greater than the sum of its parts. “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” can often be tossed around, but that was a large part of the magic that was Frantz Gym.
As I close in on turning 50 this next March, I admit that death has had a much more profound impact on me, to the point of almost making me dwell on it… and taking a 3,000-mile-long trip to spend time with my mother-in-law who has stage-4 cancer didn’t really help much, either.
I hope my story encourages you to realize that your past does not hold you back, no matter the story. There is always a way to use negative experiences for good and help others. It is also at that point you are no longer pushed by pain, but otherwise, pulled by purpose.
Wealth, power, and fame. Some might say those are inherently negative characteristics. I, however, believe the way those characteristics are wielded determines whether they are good or bad.
Recording a podcast episode with my mentor (and cousin) John Alvino made me reflect on the pivotal role training has played in my life. Quite frankly, without it, I don’t know where I’d be. Inside these four walls, training has been my therapy, my drug, and my anchor.
My bodybuilding mentor invited me to run a training seminar for inmates at the second-largest prison in Washington state. Let’s say I learned a few things while I did my time… teaching inmates, that is.
One elitefts article is changing my life, and it was a completely unexpected article! Thanks to Matt Ladewski’s “4 Non-Training Podcasts you Should Listen To,” I’m a third of the way done with a 75-day challenge. It’s taught me a lot about myself and my habits, both good and bad.
Quitting social media will help you realize how you’re spending your time and where you’re spending your time. Most of us, myself included, are wasting entirely too much time on stupid stuff. Stop wasting your time there and start putting it where it’s most important.
Whenever I ask for topics people want to learn about in my column, “how to stay motivated” is always at the top of the list. Motivation is in high demand: you see it all over Instagram in memes, pictures, and captions. Despite the high demand, it sure seems like it’s in short supply….
What is it about powerlifting that draws people to it like a magnet? Is it the parts of us that start as iron ore and are melted down into knurled steel through training? Is it a religion we worship? What power does powerlifting have over us?
Believe it or not, sometimes words can be heavier than your PR. These words and the ones that follow are my weights to bear… and also, to share with you and others who may need to hear them. This is my story.
Sometimes, I have to remember I am not Superman. I remembered how I have been feeling, sleeping, and how much I have been working. So I took a break and slept in… and managed to get this article done, too.
For many, bearing the title of “father” is a great blessing. But even if you aren’t on good terms with your father, just know that there is another father somewhere out there who is willing to take you in as his son.
If we all sat inside a cage and didn’t go anywhere, we would certainly be safer with less chance of injury or death. But what kind of life would that be? No one cares what you think, so shut up.
Toughness is something deeper than the scene in The Terminator when a biker puts out a cigar on an unflinching Arnold Schwarzenegger’s chest. So what does it really mean to be tough? Let’s find out.
I don’t know why my tae-kwon-do instructor did this after I told him I couldn’t afford lessons, but he said, “You’ll be back, and you’ll teach the kids’ class.” He gave me an opportunity to become a coach, which changed the direction of my life.
Self-determination theory is an approach to shift motivation from extrinsic to intrinsic. As coaches, we can make small changes to the way we already do things to cause great changes to the athlete’s performance and motivation source.
I have two monsters perched on my left shoulder, whispering what-ifs and morbid thoughts and suggestions into my ear. No matter what I do, they won’t go away. That’s the most difficult part of having a mental illness.
Joe Sullivan has some choice words for powerlifters who think that the weight room is their therapy. It’s not. Go get help. See a therapist.
Put on your helmet, fasten your breastplate tight, and with one arm supporting your shield, allow the other to gather your sword. Go to battle with your demons. Win the war every day. Every breath you have is a victory.
Marge Tate could have allowed labels, sickness, and loss to paralyze her legacy. Instead, through passion, tradition, and communication, her commitment to human connection and service is alive — and she passed it on to Dave.
Remember how I said the first part of my story wasn’t the worst part? Well, this is it. But here’s the thing: after those shitty events happened to me, I became pulled by purpose instead of pain.
When you tuck the ball and fall for a yard, and when you get rolling, take three steps forward and get pushed back two, remember: you still fell forward one step.
Motivation is good to get the ball rolling, but as soon as the terrain shifts to uphill, the motivation dies, and your ball comes to a screeching halt. Instead, you’ll need to develop enough discipline to move forward on a daily basis.
Special education is an unfunded federal mandate. Contrary to popular belief, it is not funded by the feds at 100%. Not even close to a third. Cutbacks and downsizing are hitting education hard, and it’s directly impacting student delivery in the classroom.
As someone who often trains alone, I tend to have time to reflect on things between sets. It’s in those moments that I see connections between training and everyday life. Here are a few ways that training and life are closely woven together, particularly in the area of discipline.
I’ve realized I’ve never told my story, save for a couple of people. Those who’ve heard it were surprised because, against all odds, I didn’t end up completely fucked up because of everything that happened. Instead, I became strong and independent. So here it is. My story.
Just the other day, I was listening to a motivational speech that got me going. That speech made it clear to me that an evolution of the thought process and perception of what training should be is how lifters and strength athletes progress to the higher levels.
I pose the following questions: How mindful are you of your feet? Do you think about where you want to go versus where you are heading? Are your feet on the right path, and if not, why? These questions and the wisdom you can obtain from them extend far beyond chalk and iron.
We associate the word “heart” with an emotional response and driving purpose, when it is, in fact, the opposite. It’s the act of leaving emotions and connections behind, if only for a short while.
If I can go through hell and back and find success and happiness, so can you. Rise up out of the ashes like a phoenix.
New Year’s resolutions have been around for thousands of years, which gave the elitefts staff plenty of time to share their opinions on the subject and a few goals of their own…
Society has set these standards, and as a result, many people are overworked, underpaid, in debt, divorced, and unhappy. I call them traps.
There are many cases where medications are overprescribed and are used only to treat the surface of a deeper issue rather than resolving the underlying cause. So, what should we do to address these common issues that persist amongst our society?
You hear people in an attempt to salvage their fragile egos say they are afraid of nothing. But I have never understood why being afraid of something is a bad thing.
These training samples, along with hard work, allowed me to get a 20” neck, sizeable traps, and a sizeable upper back—all done with minimal equipment, mostly at home, and with extremely high rep counts.
When the dust settles and I turn the lights off in that weight room for that final time, what legacy will I leave, how many lives did I touch?
What does it take to completely transform your training, lifestyle, and eating habits after years of the same goal?
Mental strength and physical strength are two necessary components for a healthy, happy life of abundance, but you have to get uncomfortable to start building them.
People who succeed in this world have an iron will and a never-say-die mentality. Do you?
I would not be the person or the lifter I am today without the influence of these seven people and the lessons they taught me.
I feel that, along with some financial security and fulfillment, you also need these six variables to achieve true happiness.
Even in powerlifting, when it feels like you’re one-on-one with the bar, you’re not alone.
Being married to a physique sport competitor isn’t easy. I want this article to provide some authentic insight from the real pillars of strength: the women who play the support role.
If you’ve read Under the Bar you know who Bill Shoop is — he’s the high school football coach Dave credits with changing his life forever.
This one still makes us laugh. Funny how some things change while others stay the same. Enjoy…
Making progress in training or in life means taking ownership of your future. Are you a passenger sitting quietly or are you grabbing the wheel and pressing the gas pedal?
Sometimes rather than serving as an escape from real life, our obsessions can become a source of something that everyday life cannot always provide. Here’s how it’s worked for me.
I can’t tell you how many people I’ve met who have no time under the bar, no idea of why they’re training, and no vision for their future powerlifting career. Once I started to understand why I lift, I became a better lifter overnight.
I thought about just putting my workout off until tomorrow. That would have been the smart thing to do.
It is nice to think we should always be ‘motivated’ and ‘inspired’ to achieve our dreams or goals. Shit, I wish it were like that. The truth is that that we all have ups and downs.
I’m a judgmental dick, but technically, I’m no different than some of the people I judge.
There’s nothing that will ever replace good old-fashioned hard work and practice. Not only that, this is where your life happens one plateau at a time.
You’re on this planet for a reason. You have a purpose. Don’t let it die inside you so that you can live a safe life.
If life is a juggling act, some balls are rubber and some are glass. You can get another job, buy a new car, or pay someone to fix your house, but if you drop the ball with your family, it is broken forever.