Monthly Archives: August 2013

Weightlifting Talk Answers


Weightlifting Talk Answers

Guys we got cut off, so I answered a few more of the Twitter and Facebook questions here on my blog! I’m going to start doing this every time because we owe you guys for listening and being a part of The Nation and MashElite! I seriously love you guys!

1. Question one of my athletes had: When following a program that requires using a max to base percentages off of, should that max me a max you can hit almost all the time or should it be a PR..? I know for myself there is a difference in getting psyched up and hitting a PR and my max.. Usually I tell them to go 10 or 15 pounds below there PR..Smolov squat program, Hatch, Etc..

Answer: We base our percentages off our PR, but when an athlete is having a bad day, I will lower his number. It’s all about being a good coach, knowing your athlete, and having a good eye. Definitely in the squat I would base it off the PR. The less neuromuscular the lift is, the more true to the PR one should stay.

2. Few questions:
Any tips to save the lifts if I am missing behind in the snatch?

In the catapult is there a difference in technique when doing powers? And how do you prevent feet from going too wide in powers (especially the clean). If I try to keep the feet in the proper catch position I end up riding the weight down in a heavy power clean attempt.


Answer: In the Snatch if you feel the bar going behind, shift your knees and butt back. That will bring the bar back forward, and you can do the opposite from losing the bar behind.

With the powers if you have to ride it down, then you aren’t powerful enough for the weight. A bad power is an indicator that you lack strength, so I would spend some more time squatting. Remember though Jon isn’t great at Powers, but he kills people in the lift.

3. Travis can you talk about how you would train a boxer as far as strength and conditioning goes? Thanks boss!

Answer: I would stay away from a lot of hypertrophy in the upper body. I would do the Olympic lifts and squats because if a person has powerful hips, they are going to throw a powerful punch. I would work a lot of rotational exercises into the mix with med balls, cables, and/or bands. Last I would focus on relative strength which basically means pound for pound a lot of body weight work.

4. @ACalex919: @attitudenation @mashelite i have slight pain in my left high hamstring when a2g squat. Should i do some mobility and keep lifting or rest?

Answer: No mobility!!! It depends on what happened. If you received a slight tear, you will tear it worse. Go to a practitioner! Guys find a Doc that is versed in A.R.T.,, Graston, etc.! A soft tissue practitioner is Gold! @DrGSportsDoc is my guy! Dr. Gray baby!

5. @pa_fit: @MashElite @ryanpatrick24 @AttitudeNation If could chg 1 thg bout each others sport what would it be? #crossfit #weightlifting #powerlifting

That’s easy! Weightlifting should be more exciting like Jon makes it! Enough of the golf claps and following the bar down. Powerlifting needs to get rid of the equipment, and make all their lifts more legit! Crossfit needs to tighten their form up on all of their Olympic and Power lifts!

If you have any more questions, email me at:

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Great Coaches Notice


Great coaches don’t just write a program, and tell their athletes good-luck! Great coaches take notes on their athletes daily. They notice the warm ups their athletes perform. They notice how certain programming affects the athlete. They notice their attempts, and make note if the athlete should take small or big jumps. They look at their movement patterns. They look at how the athlete is designed. They look at the strengths and weaknesses of each of their athletes. My friend and partner Ox Mason wrote a blog about cookie cutter programs, and I am in total agreement. Let’s look at two of my athletes, and I will show you the differences.

First I have Caleb Tilson a 94 KG Weightlifter. Caleb has strong legs, and he can take all the volume that you throw at him. His weaknesses are movement and mobility. His thoracic spine and ankles are his biggest enemies. Caleb must have more warm up time, and his programs must be high in volume. Low volume programming wouldn’t trigger the adaptation response required to get stronger and more efficient in the lifts. The more he practices the more his body learns the movement patterns, and therefore adapts with a more efficient movement pattern. His Front Squat is 350, but his Clean & Jerk is only 300. That tells me that he needs more time practicing the lifts.

Eze Onwurah is also a 94 KG lifter. Eze has great movement patterns and mobility, however high volume wrecks his body. Eze Clean & Jerks 325lbs, and he Front Squats 350lbs. This is fairly efficient, so he needs equal work in both the lifts and squats. Eze is better off with slightly higher intensity and lower volume workouts. Keeping Eze healthy is the ticket to success for his weightlifting career, so his warm up must be substantial. Our goal is to keep him optimally mobile, and to stabilize any weakness that we find.

I recommend that coaches keep a pad close by to make note of all the questions that I names earlier. Coaches get to know your athletes inside and out! They are looking for you to help them reach their goals, so it is up to you to do the little things that other coaches won’t. For a list of my upcoming Learn 2 Lift Seminars go to:

Or if you are interested in hosting a seminar, you desire online programming or you want remote coaching via Skype, email me at:

Dream Are Manifested With A Plan Part II


Last time we talked about “Dreams”, and I made the point to Dream Big because that is how people do great things. No one became President of the United States by wanting to be a County Commissioner. Once you Dream Big then you are going to want to write your Dream down. Once a Dream is written down it becomes reality. It is now a realistic target or goal, and now it is time to formulate a plan. The planning process is a time to really get out the thinking cap because this is the heart of the goal setting process.

During this part of the process I recommend finding someone who has already accomplished what you are trying to do and compile as much information as possible on the life of this individual. You will want to find out everything that person did to obtain that goal. For example if you want to be a great American Weightlifter, I would read and research as much as possible about people like Jon North, Kendrick Farris, Donnie Shankle, and/or Wes Barnett. Find out who coached them, what was their program, what did they eat, how did they recover, and any other facts that are important to reaching that level. Then research new and better ideas and formulate your plan. This plan will continue to grow and evolve as you learn more and meet new people, but the original plan is crucial. That original plan will put you on the right track, and it will keep you from making those initial mistakes.

This process works for everything in life. If you want to run a profitable gym, ask me. If you want to be President, study Abraham Lincoln. Don’t just Dream It! Write It Down, and Make a Plan! Next we will finish the process, and explain how it all ties together.

We are quickly getting the calendar filled with Level I & II Seminars see below:!news/cuc

If you are interested in hosting one or you are needing remote coaching or programming, email me at:

My Thoughts on The Westside Meet


First off let me say that I love Donnie Thompson, Dave Hoff, and Louie Simmons, and I believe them all to be the heart of powerlifting. With that being said Dave’s 1210 squat was high. We all know that it was, but that dude killed his 975lb bench and 820lb deadlift. He is the strongest dude in powerlifting! No Doubt! It’s not Dave’s fault that the judge gave him the lift, but everyone in powerlifting needs to squatting lower. I’ve heard a lot of people talk about the equipment being too tight. Well then get a suit that fits or learn to squat in a suit. My friend Brent Mikesell squatted 1100 in a canvas suit and deep. Only the powers that be can stop this! Guys start doing things right, and stop worrying about a world record every time. If you set a record, let it be flawless. That is the only way to get the credibility back in powerlifting.

Guys let’s take the equipment off, or at least limit this mess. I know that I’ve competed in equipment, but I love raw so much more. Then it’s not up to who can buy the best equipment, but it’s up to the strongest man. If we ever want to take our sport to the world, raw is the only way. Guys like Dan Green and Chad Wesley Smith are showing the world that the USA guys can lift a ton of weight raw. Let’s get behind them and bring our sport to world. Dave Hoff would no doubt rock the raw world as well, so let’s see. Let’s put all of our studs together, and really see who the best is. I believe that we all started the same in the sport of powerlifting. I know that I wanted to be the strongest man in the world. I wanted to be the strongest raw, single ply, or however I had to lift to be the strongest. This equipment things has been a slippery slope, and I say let’s just be strong again. Forget about being master’s of the suit! What is that anyway? How did it get started? Let’s just be strong!

Learn to Open Your Own Gym Part II: Marketing!


Open Your Own Gym Part II: Marketing 101

There are two things that have to be done right away, and that is find your niche and target market. Pick a section within the industry that you are absolutely going to master. You should become the go to coach in your area on something like: speed, Olympic weightlifting, jumping, nutrition, weight loss, or whatever. Your goal should be to narrow that niche as much as possible for example if you teach Crossfit, target the people who prefer strength. At Mash Elite Performance we are the experts in Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting, and athletic performance all of our areas go together well. After you choose your niche, then you must define your target market for example children, high school age, young adults, middle age, or older. The niche needs to match the market for example sports performance is great for middle school thru high school age children.

Once you’ve chosen your niche and market now it’s time to sit down and look at your marketing budget. If you have the funds, I would recommend an initial blitz of direct mail, groupon, living social, or any other highly effective advertising source. Direct mail, groupon, and living social are awesome sources because you can see the return come directly back into your facility. I am going to write a whole article about these three advertising tools specifically.

The heart of my marketing however has always been a free source of advertising called Social Media. BECOME AN EXPERT! I am still looking for ways to improve in this area, and I suggest that you never stop improving in this area. The way that I quickly built my business was to give free seminars almost every week. The seminar will give you a focused audience that will quickly learn that you are the expert, and everyone likes free. The first question that you might ask is , “What topic do I choose?” The answer is a topic that will attract the market that you are after. When I first started, athletes were my only market, so a reasonable topic was “How to Improve Speed”. I would target the athletes, the coaches, but more importantly the parents. When you are coaching athletes, you have to have the parents on your side. They have to trust you, and they have to like you. You are going to be a huge part of raising their children.

The seminars give you a lead in to email, call, and visit coaches and parents. I emailed every coach and parent in the area. I then followed up with calls and visits, but I didn’t have to aggravate anyone. I was telling them about something free that would actually teach them something. This quickly got my name all throughout the community, and it brought some key people to my seminars. I used Facebook to do Events where I could invite all of my friends in the area, and I used Twittter to further market the event. I recommend learning to blog, learning to make videos for Youtube, make a cool website, but more importantly blog about topics that teach people something which leads to followers. Your blog, your videos, and everything else should lead back to your website. The website should give a clear and exciting description of your facility, and it should lead to a seminar visit or generate a person asking about your facility. The web between youtube, facebook, twitter, Instagram, and your website is an important puzzle to piece together. I also recommend that whatever you put out into the community that you spend some time making it a quality product. Your blogs and videos will be a reflection of you and your organization.

Last put as much or more time in marketing as you do in coaching at the beginning of your career. Don’t be the person who thinks that they can open their facility and people will come filing in your doors. Hit the streets! Get to know everyone and every business in your area! Definitely get some business cards and fliers, but then get’em in the hands of all the people within a 3-5 mile radius. I recommend setting goals for your daily, weekly, and monthly marketing for example give out 10 business cards per day, hand out 20 fliers per day, send out 100 emails per week, make 10 phone calls per day, have 5 in-person appointments per week, make 5 videos per week, write 6 blogs per week, and two facebook/twitter messages per day. If you follow that plan in a month’s time, you would give out 300 business cards, 600 fliers, send out 430 emails, 300 phone calls, have 22 appointments, make 22 videos, write 26 blogs, and 60 facebook/twitter messages. I hope this blog gets your new facility booming, so you can focus on what you love, Coaching!

If you have any questions about this blog, or you are interested in an up coming Level “Learn 2 Open Your Own Gym” Seminar email me at:

or check out my website at:


Will You Jump Off The Cliff?


Today on Weightlifting Talk ( a question was asked about what it takes to be a world champion. I have talked about this subject a lot, but today I answered the question a little differently. I told the Nation a story about my Bachelor Party in Boone, NC, and right away I knew that I had explained the will of a world champion. Weeks before my wedding and bachelor party my now wife Emily Drew told me that I could do anything other than jump off anything into water. She was more concerned with my life than any other thing that could possibly happen. I tried to obey her wishes, but there is something inside of me that will still show its ugly face at times. A Darkness! A place that others just simply won’t go! I grew up with this unexplainable side of me! A chip on my shoulder! A desire to prove to the world that I was different.

Late the night of my bachelor party I was starting to get that feeling of one more crazy episode of all out madness. I actually started yelling at a guy for beating my Best Man Kevin Jones in a game of pool. Well him and Ox knew me well enough to get me out of the pub, so it was Kevin’s idea to go to one of our childhood spots, Houndear’s Dam. It’s a 30 ft high dam that hoovers above a cold Boone, NC lake. By the time that we got to the spot it was 3 am, and I decided to back flip off the thing. Kevin and I were the only two out of the group of twelve that were crazy enough to jump. It was insane, but is it a coincidence that Kevin owns his own corporation, and I’m a world champion that owns my own corporation?

During my jump I over rotated and fell on my shoulder. I dang near drowned, but I managed to survive. One night while on my honeymoon Drew rolled over on my shoulder, and I screamed in all out agony. I had to be honest, so I told her what happened. She was furious with me! I then asked her a series of questions. Did you fall in love with me the athlete? Did you fall in love with me the world champion? She answered yes, and I answered that she had fell in love with the guy that jumps off a Dam when no one else will! The guy that does what others won’t!

I’m not telling you guys that you have to jump off a Dam to win a world championship, but you better be willing to jump if you have to. You better be willing to do what the normal person won’t! You better be willing to train when you don’t feel like it! My question to you in life is:

Will You Jump Off The Dam?

Don’t lie to yourself! Be honest! It’s ok whatever the answer, just know that I am that guy!

If you want to learn more about being a champion, email me at:

or check out my website at:

Dreams Are Manifested With a Plan


To bring anything great to life a plan has to be in place. Anyone that accomplishes anything that is amazing is a great goal setter. At MashElite we talk a lot about goal setting, and I express that all of my great athletes are great goal setters. On my podcast Weightlifting Talk ( search weightlifting talk) a lot of our listeners are people that want to succeed in life. We are constantly preaching the message of “love your life or change it”, and we celebrate people that are “black sheep” meaning people that go against the grain. To do that one needs a plan in place. I heard the great coach Lou Holtz give a lecture about goal setting back in 1997 when I was at the Olympic Training Center. His story stuck with me ever since.

During Lou Holtz’s youth he was an uneducated Irishman that was working a blue collar job. I can’t really remember the job, but I think that the job was in a steel mill. Most people would go home crying, but Lou locked himself in a room and wrote down dreams. He came up with 100 dreams, and one was to be the head football coach of Notre Dame. What if he had told you his dream? Most people would have told him that he was crazy. At the time of the lecture he had already achieved 97 of the dreams. This is the process: Dream it, write it down, formulate a plan, commit it to reality, and reevaluate. I am going to do a series on goal setting over the next few weeks to help my MashEliters and The Attitude Nation to reach their dreams.

Today I am starting with “Dream It”! First you need to check your mindset. A paradigm is your view of reality. Shift that sucker up man! What I mean by that is whatever your view of reality is now shift it higher. No one becomes President of the United States without first having the Dream. No one becomes the best basketball player in the world without having the Dream. Michael Jordan had that Dream! Don’t put limits on yourself. I hear excuses all the time like: I’m not smart enough, I’m not strong enough, or I’m not tall enough. Tell Muggsy Bogues that! He was 5’3” playing in the NBA. When you find challenges in your life, those aren’t reasons not to succeed. They are points that you have identified that need to be rectified. Get to work man! What I’m trying to say is don’t have limits! Let your brain run free! Have the courage to Dream and Dream Big! God has given you one chance to be on this earth, so I say use what He has given you to bring Him the most glory. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to be president. Maybe you want to be the best parent in the world. That’s awesome, and should be in everyone’s list of Dreams. I’m just saying Dream Big, and do your best to achieve those Dreams!

I have a lot of online clients that I train, and I write their programs. I have hundreds of athletes and adults that I work with at MashElite. I tell them all to Dream Big! Don’t set limits because those limits will definitely become the ceiling! Next week we will talk about writing your dreams down and formulating a plan.

If you have any questions about this, online training, or training at MashElite, email me at:

We have a lot of new Level I “Learn 2 Lift” Seminars coming up, so for that and more information, go to:

Start Your Own Strength Business Part I


On Weightlifting Talk we are constantly preaching “love your life or change it”. My co-host Jon North and I have a little different view on how quick or when to make the change, but we both agree to change it. My other co-host Ryan Grady and I agree that the change needs to be thought out and planned. I get a lot of emails and messages from people wanting to change their lives. I always answer them with a question, “If money didn’t matter, what would you do with your life? What is your wildest dream?” Most of our listeners and most of my MashEliters out their respond by saying, “Open my own gym!” Drew and I have been blessed with an awesome group at Mash Elite Performance. These people are without a doubt our family, and some of them have been there from the start. We started in 2008 within a gym in Advance, NC training athletes and adults. We then rented a 400 square foot section out of the back of the gym, but we quickly out grew the gym all together. We then moved to a 2000 Square foot section of a strip mall right beside of the gym. Now a lot of people might say that I am competing with the gym, but neither one of us look at it like that. We are two totally different facilities. The people that come to me are not the type of people that are going to pay $30/month to ride a treadmill, and there people aren’t going to pay $240+ to get jacked by me. We work well with each other. Now we are in a 4000 square foot facility still in the same shopping center, and we just put in a bid for 2000 square feet more. That will be a total of 6000 square feet, and all the while in a small town in North Carolina. Now we have Athletic Development, Smashed Crossfit, Adult Weightlifting, Small Group Training, Personal Training, Kung Fu, Training for Warriors, and a Smoothie Bar with a Pro-Shop. We also have a website with a store providing T-Shirts, supplements, and educational DVDs at, perform seminars throughout the US called Learn 2 Lift, provide on-line training, Personal Training via Skype or FaceTime, and perform consultations via telephone. I tell you all of this not to brag, but to let you know what I am going to be teaching in this weekly blog. I am also going to start seminars teaching people how to start their own business if you are interested in one email me at

In Part I we are going to discuss picking out your location. I have to say that starting in a local gym really helped me build a base of MashEliters, and it gave me access to several perspective clients. It also gave me access to hundreds of parents with children that needed my services. At the time my specialty was athletes and adults that liked training like athletes. I built my business within a business, and it saved thousands of dollars. Most people open a facility, and then they market in hopes of building a business big enough to support their overhead and one day pays them a salary. I opened my business with a steady income of at least $10000 per month, and that really helped ease the pains of opening a new business. I recommend shopping the gyms in your area. The bigger franchise gyms are really hard to cut a deal with, and they want to kill their trainers with a 40/60 split in their favor. That’s ridiculous! The smaller locations are friendlier with trainers, and if you can find a gym that will let you pay a small rent to train your clients, take it. I recommend looking for a $200-600 per month range. If you charge properly, that will be easy to make. I’ll go over what to charge in a later edition. Another big concern should be the area that you the gym is located. I definitely believe in location, location, location! When you are getting started, nobody knows your name. After you are established, you can move almost anywhere, and your loyal clients will follow. If you do move, just look for a location within a 3 mile radius out of respect for your people.

If you can’t find a deal like this, I recommend being very patient in choosing the right location for starting your own gym. I would try to keep the rent as close to $1000 per month as possible because you are going to have several expected and unexpected costs involved which means if you charge $200/person, you will need at least five to just pay for your lease. Remember you are going to have electricity, water, upkeep, insurance, taxes, etc. Try to find an area that is visible as possible, but more importantly in an area that has the median income that will support your business. Once you sign your deal hit the streets and get to know everyone in the community. If you are not into marketing, then I suggest working for someone because marketing is what it takes. Throw free seminars, hit the social media, and absolutely blitz your name all over the place. Your goal should be to have everyone in the area know your name and business. I will go over marketing next time because if you don’t get people in your location, equipment, layout, or programming doesn’t matter.

This is my new passion, so if anyone wants to know more about a “Open your own gym” seminar, email me at:

For More information about Mash Elite, go to:

Being Thankful


I am sitting here at Kure Beach, NC with my amazing wife and daughter. I am staring out over the Atlantic, and I am reminded just how blessed that I am. Right now I have the freedom to take a vacation, sit on the front porch, and to let my imagination run wild as I glare out over the ocean. I have a wife that amazes me daily. I have a daughter that will still give me kissed on the cheek and hold my hand. I have a job that allows me to help people reach their fitness and athletic goals. I am a part of a podcast (Weightlifting Talk on that is changing lives. I get to work with the absolute best in my industry: Chad Wesley Smith from Juggernaut Strength, Greg Everett from Catalyst Athletics, Jon North from The Attitude Nation, Donnie Shankle, Zach Even-Esh, and the list goes on and on. I have a mother and in-laws that love Drew and me to the end. I have the best church, and a savior that died for me. I say all of this to make a point.

I am constantly telling people to set goals, commit, and to forge ahead in the process of reaching the goals, but there is more to the equation. Don’t forget to be thankful and content with what God has already given you. Wise people will tell you that it is the journey and not the end that is awesome. These people are so right! Jon talks about the time when him and Jess lived in their Dodge Neon, so that they could train full-time. I remember being almost homeless, but these times in my life seem to be wrapped with happiness. Possibilities seem endless! The small things in life then appear wonderful like a DVD and Pizza on a Saturday night.

Having big goals is a great thing, but remember to find happiness along the journey. Results are ultimately left up to God, so work hard, be smart, be committed, and enjoy what God has already given you. Right now I am so thankful to be at the ocean with my daughter and wife. I am also thankful for some time to read, to dream, and to make plans to bring even more to my MashElite Family. I know that they all dread when I have too much time to read and think because that normally means new workouts and exercises. This time they are probably right!

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Online Programming with a FaceTime or Skype Twist!


I just wanted to say how excited I am about my new online training via Skype or FaceTime. I have been doing Online Programming for years now, but I have always wanted a way to actually train my online MashEliters. Now I can! Ilene Winters is one of my online athletes, and she was my first to be trained via FaceTime. I have for years analyzed videos, but it works so much better to correct the athlete during the session. Now I can! Whether it is snatch, clean & jerk, squat, bench, deadlift, jumping mechanics, or sprinting mechanics, now I can coach the whole world.

There is something so fun to be able to help thousands throughout the US. I could even help Australians, English, or anyone. I love the Internet! Now I can really affect lives!

For more information go to


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