I just got back from Learn to Train (LTT) 8. It was another amazing experience. I think this was the biggest and best one yet, at least of the ones I've been a part of. It's always great to hang out with the elitefts™ staff and team members as well as work with the attendees. We had some repeat attendees and many new ones. It's always great to see the improvement in returning lifters and help out new ones. I'm also very proud of the money we raise for the Make-A-Wish® Foundation.

As usual, my experience began with air travel. It seems to be a tradition for me to write about my time in an overcrowded, overheated, flying tin can. My flight to Columbus started at the crack of what the hell is anyone doing up at this hour. Of course, I used my morning guy (friend) for a ride to the airport. He's my morning guy because for some insane reason, he wakes up early as hell. I had him pick me up for one of the other LTTs on a Sunday night and he fell asleep. I had to keep calling until I finally woke him up. I sat outside the airport trying to beat my own spit for distance for about half an hour. So now he's my morning guy.

To be honest, my flight there wasn’t too bad. I'd be lying if I said that I didn’t think about driving my elbow through the chest of the person next to me, but all in all, it wasn’t too bad. My flight home started out differently. I ended up rushing through my training session on Sunday and not finishing what I wanted to do because I needed to get to the airport. It turned out that my flight was delayed. The delay then turned into a cancellation. Luckily, big Jonathan Mike showed up while I was trying to reschedule and I ended up getting on the same flight as him. Like I said, it was luck and we got to spend some more time bullshitting. The flight was a little cramped, but I was happy to not have to spend the night in the airport. Plus, I was in the aisle on one side and Jonathan was in the aisle two seats ahead of me on the other side. I did get a kick out of watching people shimmy down the aisle like they were avoiding the tackling dummies in football training.

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This flight was late taking off and arriving, but I was scheduled for a three-hour layover, which ended up getting cut down to two because of the delay. I didn't mind because it gave me a chance to have some alone time in the handicap bathroom stall and get something to eat.

After eating, I got a massive nose bleed. I have a big hole in my septum, so a nose bleed in one nostril is automatically a nose bleed in both nostrils. So what do you do when you're charging your phone and have a massive nose bleed in an airport terminal? You shove a napkin in each nostril and watch people look at you with a puzzled expression as they walk by! If you ever want to know what a large, bearded man with two bloody napkins hanging out of his nostrils looks like, just hang out with me and eventually it will happen. On my flight back to Reno, I ended up getting a small miracle by having an empty seat next to me. This was a big thing because I was getting pretty irritated at that point and I couldn’t wait to get back home to my quiet, empty home. So all in all, it was OK traveling this time.

The first day of the LTT8 was the usual lecture day. There were some great speakers again. Jonathan Mike, Scott Stevenson, Harry Selkow, JL Holdsworth, Matt Rhodes, and Vinny Dizenzo all did amazing jobs and had tons of great information. This is never my favorite day because I'm a gym guy and not much of a classroom kind of guy. However, I was able to listen to many of the lectures and I walked away with some new information while agreeing with so much of what was said. After the lecture this year, we had a sort of meet and greet with all the attendees. I thought that this was a great idea and enjoyed getting to meet and talk to some of them. I hope this experience was just as enjoyable for them. Everyone seemed to be having a good time.

The second day is really my kind off day because it's an entire day in the gym. I know that the study of strength is important. Learning, training, programming, and nutrition definitely have their place, but getting in the gym and actually getting under weights are more what I'm about. I love training technique and the efficiency of movements. I love teaching people to reach deeper inside to find things that they may not have even known they had. I love getting pumped up, yelling at people, and then watching them hit new PRs. We had a lot of that again with this LTT.

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As usual, I was coaching in the nasty group. I still hate that name. This time was a bit different from past LTTs because we had many more raw lifters than geared lifters. Of course, I like helping all lifters and don't hold that grudge against any type of lifting unlike some people. It was interesting for me because technique is definitely different for raw versus geared lifters, so I got to coach a little differently than I usually do. We also had more girls (women) in this group than we usually do. Personally, I thought that this was very cool. I love seeing women in strength sports and lifting heavy weights.

We had a great group of coaches in the nasty group and, from what I could tell, the attendees were getting great information left and right all day long. It was a great pleasure coaching alongside Zane Greeting, Mike Szudarek, Molly Edwards, and Ted Toalston, all of whom are amazing lifters in their own right. It was also great hanging out with all the team guys after the training day and the Q&A were over.

Training on Sunday was great, except I didn’t have much time because of my flight. I was also a bit bummed out because Vinny was dealing with bronchitis and was pretty worn out after the weekend, so he didn't train. He's a pretty good guy, so I won’t hold it against him! I had brought my new Jacked shirt and was hoping to get some tips from him.

I did get to train with Casey "the Gift" and Dave Kirschen, which was a great experience. I worked up in my Jacked shirt. Vinny had told me that I would probably need to cut the sleeves. I hadn't done that though because I was hoping he'd be able to tell me where to cut. Luckily, Ted Toalston was there and I know that he has experience in that shirt. I talked to him and he even had some heavy duty scissors, so I cut them right there. What a difference that made. It was like a different shirt.

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I worked up to a three-board for something like 835 and then dropped to a two-board for 765, all of which were easy. I then wanted to go back up to 835 on the two-board and then down to a one-board, but my ride to the airport had to get going. Even with the training session being a bit rushed, I was happy with it. I'm very excited to keep working in this Jacked shirt and see what I can do in it.

This LTT ended up being a little more special for me because I seemed to have a little more time with the elitefts™ team members. To me, this weekend is all about the attendees because I know that they pay good money to be there. Personally, I want to give them as much information as I can. In my opinion, it's a big thing for them to travel and give three days of their time to a seminar. That being said, it's still really cool for me if I get to hang out with other team members during the down time.

Living out on the west coast, I don’t get to see many of these guys and girls very much, and I've gotten kind of sick of modern social media. I prefer talking face to face. At this LTT, I felt like I got to talk to so many other people and find out things about them that I didn't know. I had a really great time almost every night hanging out with different team members and talking about everything from training to regular life stuff. I learned new stuff about so many people. Hanging out with Steve Goggins, Zane Geeting, Mike Szudarek, Matt Rhodes, Vinny Dizenzo, Jonathan Mike, and Casey "the Gift" Williams was a lot of fun. Getting to talk to JL Holdsworth, Matt Wenning, Molly Edwards, Ted Toalston, and all the elite staff was great as usual. Even though some of those conversations were short, it's always great to be around such great athletes.

I'm always proud to be associated with these LTT seminars and with elitefts™. I'm honored to be asked to coach at these seminars and by the great things that the attendees write about the coaches. I like doing these seminars for many reasons. Personally, it's good for me because my anti-social nature can take over sometimes. These seminars force me to be out around people. Thankfully, they're lifters, and I tend to get along with them better!

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I really enjoy helping people improve and helping them meet their goals. I've never thought of myself as this great, genetic freak. Instead, I see myself as just a stubborn, German American with a ton of heart. I always felt that if I could achieve what I have, others can, too, and maybe I can help them avoid the mistakes that I've made. Maybe I can help them see the potential that they have and help them believe in themselves. Knowing that the profits of these seminars goes to the Make-A-Wish® Foundation is also a big motivation for me because I really believe in what they stand for and what they do for sick children. I look forward to seeing how elitefts™ moves forward with this piece of the business.