Chest Thumping

Videos to Make Your Day Better

This week has been crazy busy both business and personally so I thought I would post some videos and showcase some of our clients and our student-athletes latest triumphs.  We've got a 9 year old pushing a prowler, adults smoking a 300lbs deadlift, a female walking around with 150lbs in her hands like its her job, and finally an 810lbs prowler push!  Enjoy my friends, I know I did. First here is our youngest athlete at SAPT, Sydney.  This little girl is on a mission to be anything but little.  She loves moving weight! Check our her Prowler Push.

Second is the infamous Lisa S. You may know her from her previous million pound PR's.  Well this was her last max out attempt for a while so she went all out and got 300lbs! Another 25lbs PR!

Third is our resident female badass, Nancy.  Nancy is going to be a freshman in college going in with a ROTC scholarship.  It's safe to say she will be one of the strongest people there! Here is her 150lbs farmer walk!

And last but not least is Red, perhaps one of most tenured athletes at SAPT.  Red is getting ready to head off to his freshman year at VMI to play baseball.  But before he left I allowed him to put on as much weight on the Prowler as he wanted.  He put 9 plates on EACH side, that's 810lbs!! It only took him 6 minutes to do.


As a side note I just want to say thank you to all of our athletes that are heading off to school.  You all worked so hard and showed tremendous drive and heart every time you came in.  I am truly blown away by your dedication and drive to be better than average.  You guys are the reason I love my job and I am thankful to know you all.  SAPT has become a second family to me and the appreciation you all have shown to all the coaches has been humbling.  To steal a line from Robert Griffin III... SAPT we are, and SAPT we'll always be...

A Confidence Booster

I read a great article on EliteFTS the other day which you can find here… A Case for Bullying .  I strongly advise you read it as it really struck a chord with me, although judging by the comments section some readers REALLY missed the point of the article.  Anyways, it inspired my post for this week not really because I was bullied but because of what weight training and powerlifting has done for me and what I feel it can do for younger kids and adults alike. Throughout the entire time I was in school I always had a good bit of friends, I was never the kid who felt so pushed away by other people they had to go eat their lunch in the bathroom (although I can empathize with those kids).  However, in elementary school I was a short fat kid who’s nickname amongst friends was Louie because I looked EXACTLY like the kid from the cartoon show Life with Louie.  Again at no point were people outwardly mean to me about it but I was still really self-conscious about the way I looked.

Onto middle school, once I was here I had lost the fat but gained a crazy amount of acne…. It was gross.  Again, I had a good bit of friends and no one really outwardly made fun of me about it (maybe it was my short temper who knows) but again I was really self-conscious about it.

Onto high school, now I’ve lost the fat, lost the acne, and started doing pull-ups, pushups, and bodyweight squats until it burned.  Only problem was I never really hit that growth spurt I was looking for.  I was standing at a whopping 5’7” on a good day (which I still am today).  Again, nothing that I was teased about but I was really self-conscious about being relatively shorter than a lot of the people I hung out with.

My point is not for you to feel bad for me because I don’t want you too that would be ridiculous.  My point is that all kids or adults no matter what circle of life they come from can feel bad about themselves or that they’ll never measure up to other people.  However, there has to be an outlet for these kids to make them feel better about themselves and be able to gain self-confidence and a way for them to be able to say “I honestly don’t care what you think about me”.  I feel like a lot of parents first instinct is sports which is great and works a great deal of the time.  It gives them an outlet for their aggression, makes them feel part of a team, and teaches them that some days you lose and some days you win.  What about the other kids?  The other kids who end up not making the team and ultimately feel even more isolated.  THEY NEED TO WEIGHT TRAIN!

When I got to college I read Arnold, the Education of a Bodybuilder and there it was the epiphany I was looking for my whole life.  I read that book cover to cover in two days, I wrote down what he ate and how he trained and I did it.  Somewhere along the line my confidence went through the roof, I got bigger and stronger and for the first time in my life I was able to truly not care what other people thought of me.  The only thing I cared about was how to get bigger and stronger.  I was no longer concerned with the people who didn’t matter in my life and their opinions of my clothes, hair, personality, job, etc.

Why did weight training work so well for me in that respect?  Because unlike most things, weight training gives you tangible results all the time; every month I saw myself becoming bigger and stronger and I loved it.  I played basketball my whole life and worked hard it but it was very hard for me to see gains because it was so hard to measure it against things.  But, weight training is something I could track each and every week.


I know I’ve kind of rambled a bit but the whole point I’m driving at is more kids should weight train and by kids I’m talking about 10 year olds and up.  Please don’t gasp, if you have a problem with 10 year olds weight training; then I have a bone to pick with you at a later date.  Are you concerned with your kid’s well-being and self-esteem?  For that matter are you concerned with your own well-being and self-esteem?  If you are I STRONGLY suggest you start a resistance training program.  I promise that you will be better off for it.

Since high school I knew that I wanted to work with kids in some fashion.  I had a lot of great coaches and teachers that helped me become a better person.  For me the best way to return the favor was by becoming a strength coach and showing kids how to become stronger.  Part of my job is to help kids become stronger and better for their sport.  Honestly though that is NOT my main priority.  My main priority is to help every kid who walks in our doors to feel better about themselves physically, mentally, and emotionally and to truly not care about what someone says about them or thinks about them.

And in case anyone is wondering what i look like now...

We All Need A Little Inspiration

It’s the times that you don’t want to train that will show your true desire and will to win… How often do you wake up and just do not want to go to the weight room, batting cage, football field, volleyball court?  What do you do in those situations; do you roll over and go back to bed?  Do you make compromises because you just aren’t feeling it today?  Do you say “alright starting Monday I’ll get back after it?” We have all been in these situations but as I said these are the situations that define us.  I’ve talked a lot about being average in past posts and how I refuse to be it and this is one of the ways I “beat” the average out of myself.  I have to train no matter what and no matter how I feel because I know the average person just rolls over and goes back to bed, the average person makes compromises.  I’m not trying to be high and mighty, there have been times when I’ve succumb to the state of averageness, and I absolutely hate it.  So when I feel the average part of me trying to take over I have put things in place to make my better half overcome.  This is usually in the form of watching a video or reading an article that really makes me want to get after it.  I’m not really sure why doing these things work for me.  Maybe it’s the fact that I’m seeing someone rise above their own feelings of being average and it makes me realize I need to do the same.  For you it might be something different but it’s up to you to find something to make you conquer those bad days, to rise above your negative thoughts and feelings of inadequacy.  We all have the ability to be great but it is only you that can unlock the potential.  Am I being corny? Maybe, but corny is what we need sometimes to get through those rough days; and I’d rather be corny than average. This was a short and to the point rant, but a rant that was needed.  If you’re like me and get jacked up watching inspirational videos and reading inspirational articles then take a look below at the things I currently look to when I’m having those lazy days.


The Walk On by Jim Wendler

A Letter To My Younger Self by Jim Wendler


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By far my favorite video to get me jacked up to go train

Former SAPT coach Chris Romanow is one of the people who got me interested in powerlifting so seeing him smash heavy weight makes me want to do the same

SAPT client and friend Ron Reed inspires me to achieve goals, his work ethic is second to none

I have no idea who this guy is but he is dedicated

Getting Stronger In-Season

One of the coolest things for us coaches at SAPT is to see the athletes continue to arrive at our facility to get after it, even when in-season. We have the special privilege of working with a large group of HIGHLY motivated individuals.....those individuals that are willing to drive 30 minutes (and more) to SAPT to train late in the evening immediately after they get out of their sports practice. Sometimes they show up ready to kick down the doors of the gym, and other times they  arrive feeling pretty beat up, but the point is they understand that the season is a great opportunity to get a leg up on the competition. While many of their friends and rivals are going home to lie down on the couch after practice, they drive over to SAPT to get their trainification on (yeah, I suppose I made up that word....).

Similarly, when their practice/game is canceled because of bad weather, they schedule in a last-minute appointment at SAPT to become stronger, more powerful, and undergo recovery modalities while their competition takes the time off to sit on the couch and watch late-afternoon sitcoms.

I think it goes without saying that it's extremely motivating to us coaches to watch them remain consistent throughout the demands of in-season sport, and it certainly makes our long days worth it, to have an opportunity to help further the physical qualities of our athletes.

As an example, catcher Red Dowdell (recently selected to the *All-Met baseball team for 2012, and will be playing DI baseball at VMI next year), has been driving 30+ minutes, 3 days a week, out to SAPT to train late in the evening after practice. Just this week he hit a 405lb deadlift, a 80lb increase compared to what he was pulling before the season!

And who says you can't get stronger in-season? This showed on the field, too, as his poptime decreased from 1.95 to 1.88, the speed of his throws increased from 80mph to 86mph, on top of the fact that his doubles, triples, and RBIs shot up. Not too shabby if you ask me.

He is just one example of MANY of our athletes who has made enormous strength/power gains throughout this past season, and we couldn't be more proud of each and every one of them.

I say all this to drive home the point that it is certainly possible, and should be desired, to get stronger while in-season, be you a high school athlete or even an adult runner/triathlete (where the "season" tends to last 6+ months).

Many people assume that training will only make you sore and tired for your sport-specific practice, but this is only if you don't understand how to design+implement the training plan appropriately, and fail to manage the competing demands and training stressors throughout the week. If you have a qualified coach to walk you through the process (Wink wink, nudge nudge, click HERE), the sky is the limit with what can be accomplished. While your opponents strength gains are diminishing rapidly by the time playoffs arrive (assuming they haven't trained since pre-season), you're only stronger and more ready to go than ever.

*A pretty freaking huge deal, for those of you who live outside the Metro/DC area. SAPT is also extremely proud of our other athletes who made the highly coveted All-Met teams, to be announced next week

A Witness to Female Strength

Today’s post is in honor of “Female Strength”. I had the privilege of seeing two feats of strength this past week. The first was with three of our softball girls who train with us at SAPT. They had their senior night last Friday and it was pretty cool to watch them perform on the field. Not only did I get to see them beat the other team 11-0 but I got to watch Nancy lay out for a line drive up the middle. I’m pretty sure at one point she was parallel to the ground. Did I mention that their team has 3 captains and it just so happens that all 3 girls who train at SAPT fill those slots. Coincidence?

These girls can drive me crazy sometimes but their work ethic and general awesomeness makes me feel privileged that I get to coach them. Great job girls!

The second feat of female greatness comes from one of our adult clients, Lisa. For anyone who reads our blog I’m sure you already know the legend of Lisa. This woman refuses to be weak and proves it just about every 12 weeks. I got to watch Lisa retest her bench press and deadlift from 12 weeks ago this past Saturday. Check out the video below to see her 15lbs bench press PR and her 35lbs deadlift PR!

2012 USAPL Richmond Open: Meet Results

I competed in the 2012 USAPL Richmond Open this past weekend and it was a huge success for me.  I hit a PR in the squat and deadlift as well as my meet total!  I competed at 181 and weighed in Saturday morning at 180.9 after cutting about 10lbs (first time I’ve had to cut weight).  For anyone who read my post last week you know that I was very unsure going into the meet so for me to come out with PRs and meeting my goal of an 1100lbs total (finished with 1136lbs)is a huge deal for me.  So without wasting any more time here is the video compilation of my attempts...

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The only thing that even remotely ruffled my feathers as far as judging went was on my squat.  On my first attempt I got red lighted for my depth even though I felt I was below parallel.  Then on my second I got a white light but the judge still told me I was almost high.  So for good measure on my third attempt I decided to hang out in the bottom so there wouldn’t be any question.

Bench press went alright.  I was hoping to get around 325 but after my second attempt I only took a little jump.  After all the trouble I’d been having with my shirt I was just glad to get on the board.  After watching the videos I noticed a bunch of problems.  My arch wasn’t as big as it could have been, I tucked my elbows too much then I didn’t flare them on the way up (this causes a loss in leverage), and for the position I started in I hit to low on my chest which threw off my whole stroke.

My deadlift went a lot better than expected.  I actually feel like I could have gone much heavier on my last one but whatever I got the weight and the total. I still need to sit back into my heels more and pull back more as opposed to standing straight up which is very evident on my last attempt.

Right now my upcoming goals are to get stronger and continue to refine my technique on my lifts.  I don’t like saying that I have to work on my weak points because as far as I’m concerned everything is weak and it all needs to be worked on.  Is this the wrong attitude to have? Absolutely not, as I’ve stated before I don’t like feeling content.  The moment I feel content and that I’m strong is the moment that I stop working hard and I don’t ever want to stop working hard.

I want to congratulate Carson on his first meet, he did a great job and we are all very proud of him.  I also want to thank everyone who came out to support me and who helped me out with my training and everything else.  Thanks to Gabe Naspinski who did my programming and also congratulations to him as well for totaling 2100 pounds at his meet in Tampa! Sean was a great training partner and it was a shame he couldn’t attend but he had some very important things to do in New York but thanks again man!  My friend and current SAPT intern Tadashi was my handler for the whole thing and did an awesome job taking the stress off me, wrapping my knees, picking weights, etc. so thanks a lot man I couldn’t have done it without you.  Steve was there to handle Carson but helped me out as well, he is a great friend and I’m glad he came down.

Tim Henriques was in attendance with his powerlifting team as well.  Tim is someone that I look up to in this industry and for him to help out and lend his support like he did was a huge deal for me so thanks Tim!

SAPT’s longtime client and friend Ron came down, which was awesome that he would take a whole Saturday to support Carson and I, thanks Ron!  Two of my buddies who I’ve been friends with for as long as I can remember came out as well which was cool for me to share this experience with them, thanks guys.  Part of my family made the trek to Richmond too.  This meant the world to me so thanks to my sisters, Sissy and Stephanie and to my nephew Trevor who is one of my best friends so that was doubly awesome that he came out.

Last but certainly not least I really want to thank my girlfriend Shannon for everything she did, has done, and will do.  She learned very quickly how important competing in powerlifting is for me and she jumped right on board. Without any hint of boredom or annoyance she listens to me day in and day out talk about my training successes and struggles which very few people can pull off.  She watches my videos and reads my articles and doesn’t think twice about it.  She made the trip with me to Philadelphia to spend two days watching a powerlifting meet that I wasn’t even in!  She even drove Tadashi and me to this meet and spent 7 hours waiting to film me and support me for only the 3 total minutes that I was on the platform.  I am truly lucky to have her in my life so thank you Shannon, I love you very much!