Wow… what an absolute whirlwind! If you caught my last blog post, you know that I spent my weekend at the EliteFTS Learn to Train Seminar in London, Ohio, and boy was it ever fantastic!
I arrived in London on Thursday, as the seminar started Friday and I didn’t want to miss a beat! I was convinced that I would have time to make daily updates while I was there but I was totally wrong! Every day was so jam packed with learning, coaching, teaching, socializing, and trying to soak up as much knowledge as possible that I barely has time to breathe… much less update my blog! Below I will give a quick run-down of each day, and then over the next day or two, I will summarize the presentations that were given and present you all with the major takeaways from each of the presenters (who were all amazing!)
Left for London around 10:30 am. Arrived in Columbus at 1:20. Yeah… I guess you could say I made good time. =)
I got adjusted by Dr. Ryan Smith (aka Doc). I will admit I was scared to death of getting my neck adjusted, but he made me feel very comfortable and it was actually a very cool experience. After I got adjusted, we filmed the videos of the pre-hab/re-hab exercises which I will post in the next couple of days for you all to watch. Once I left there, I met Julia and Matt Ladewski at the EliteFTS compound. Julia was coaching a group of kids when I got there and it was so cool to watch. She is so talented at coaching, especially with that age group! I was in awe. I was supposed to get a workout in, but I was tired and feeling extra relaxed after my adjustment, so I just did a few sets of chins and swings and called it a day. After that, we left the compound and checked into our hotel, and then went to meet some friends (John and Mandy Stafford and their son Nathan) for dinner at Red Robin. After dinner, Mandy, Julia and I split off from the guys and did a little shopping. Then we went back to the hotel and called it a night!
The seminar started at 9 am this morning, so we left the hotel around 8:15 (it’s a 10 minutes drive) and got there early to see what we could help with. First, I ran into my friend and Red Point Fitness nutrition client Chris Bartl! Chris has been working with us for several months now and is a fantastic lifter and super inspirational person! You can more about him here. Then Julia and I ran into Beth White Garrison, and awesome women who was there with her husband for their anniversary! How awesome is that? AND… she was sporting her GGS gear! So cool! (curious about where to get GGS gear? Click here!)
The seminar started almost on time and Jeremy Frey was the first speaker. He talked about his work as a college strength and conditioning coach.. His presentation was awesome! Next up was my good friend John Meadows aka Mountain Dog. John is one of the smartest people you will ever meet and is well-versed on both training and nutrition. He gave a fantastic, easy-to-follow presentation about nutrition and I definitely learned a ton! He also asked Julia and me to train legs with him on Sunday. Since we are both very familiar with his absolutely insane training programs, and we both needed to be able to walk this week, we politely declined. (although training with Dave Tate and John and the rest of the crew would have been legendary). Oh, one more thing… I got an awesome Mountain Dog t-shirt! (Pics to follow!) After John, THE Steve Pulcinella spoke and had all of us in fits! I didn’t get to hear the whole presentation because I had to take a quick bathroom break, but he was an absolute riot and shared a ton of great info as well!
After the speakers, we broke for lunch (BBQ…yum!) and after lunch, we broke into our stations. Doc and I ran everyone through a quick 5 minute upper body warm-up and then they benched. After bench, they split up into two groups: rehab/mobility, and strongman. We worked with our group for a little over an hour, and then the groups switched and we worked with the next group that long. Of course, our station tends to be everyone’s least favorite, but often it’s the one they need the most. The first group dwindled down to a dedictaed group of 6 or 7 people, but the second group did a great job of sticking around until the end.
After the hands-on session was over, we broke for dinner, so Julia, Matt, and I went back to our hotel room to clean up and get ready for dinner. Harry Selkow joined up with us and we all rode to dinner together. Having 30 minutes in the car with Harry was a blast! He is super knowledgeable and I feel blessed to know him!
Dinner was awesome… roast, turkey, potatoes, rice, pie… the whole nine yards! Since it was my night to carb up, I had plenty of everything, and then asked (OK I badgered) everyone into coming to get ice cream with me! We ended up driving through the sticks and finally found a Graeters where I got a triple scoop of caramel, chocolate, and black raspberry chip ice cream. Heavenly. Al Caslow and Mick Manley joined us on our ice cream adventure and it was really cool getting to chat with both of them. They are both super strong and very cool guys and I enjoyed my time with them!
After ice cream, we went back to the hotel and hung out in the lobby with THE CJ Murphy among others. He is practically a legend in this field and I enjoyed shooting the breeze with him. After that it was bedtime. We were supposed to train the next morning!
Most of the coaches and volunteers got up early Saturday morning to train at the compound before the seminar started at 10. I knew I wasn’t going to be doing much, so I got there around 8:30. I did some pull-throughs, single arm bench press, chins, and swings and called it a day (after my breathing and PRI of course) of which my new enemy Andy Deck snapped a picture and promptly posted on FB since it looks like I’m in a compromising position. Thanks Andy!
But seriously… I was at the EliteFTS compound with a foam roller between my knees. What did I expect?
After that, CJ Murphy (aka Murph) spoke about Strongman training for the general population. Also very cool and possibly applicable to my business when we move into our new space.
Finally, Josh Bryant spoke about powerlifting accessory work for raw lifters… again… right up my alley! I learned so much from everyone on Saturday! I also had the chance to run into my friends Ryan Brown and Waylon Humphrey from Darkside Strength and Conditioning in Louisville and that’s always fnn!
After a quick break for lunch, everyone split up into their groups and started to squat. This was one of the highlights of my entire trip. Since there was no formal mobility station going on at this point, I got to walk from rack to rack and watch some of the smartest and strongest coaches in the world, coach lifters from beginner to high level intermediates. I got to see what they saw and watch how they coached and cued… it was beyond awesome.
Probably one of the best hands-on learning experiences I have ever had. I walked away with lots of new tips and cues, and a lot more knowledge of the squat and how to coach it. Next up was the deadlift. Unfortunately I had to take a business call during this time and missed the DL portion…but there wasn’t much I could do! =(
After this was over, Dave Tate got up and spoke. He talked a little training and a lot of business, with plenty of life sprinkled in. He is a fantastic storyteller and I could listen to him speak for hours (and I would have if I didn’t have to go grab a shower before I came back for the cookout). The cookout was fantastic… burgers, chicken, the whole nine yards! After the cookout, dozens of us sat around chatting for hours, talking training, life, and everything in between. I had the chance to chat with Ryan Smith, lil’ Stevie, Jordan Crespi, Zach Leff and others.
After that we went back to the hotel and I ended up in the lobby chit-chatting more with Mick Manley, Al Caslow, Bobby Walters, and Dave Kirschen. Before we knew it, it was 2 am and it was time for us to crash!
This day is usually the Underground Strength Session at EliteFTS. This means all the training log team members, sponsored lifters, and other staff members get together and train. I wasn’t planning on doing anything this day as my back has been acting up. I was just going to do my regular routine, until a guy asked me what I was training that day. I sighed and replied, “Umm… I dunno. Some goblet squats… maybe some incline push-ups or something.” He looked at me and said, “Really?!?!?!?” At that moment I realized… when you have the chance to lift at EliteFTS, you do one of three things:
1. Work on technique
2. Hit a PR
I did both.
Since squatting has never been what bothered my back, I decided I would squat and I would stop if I felt any pain. I did a nice and thorough warm-up and got started. I grabbed one of the power bars and set it up on the monolift and walked away to go put my Oly shoes on. In the meantime, Dave Tate walked over and moved my bar off the monolift and put his bar there. So I walked over and said,
“ahem… excuse me Dave! I was using that monolift! You have plenty of other ones to choose from!”
OK… so that’s a lie. I played a lovely game of ‘shut the hell up’ and found another monolift to use. =) After all… Dave kinda owns the place and I just felt lucky just to be there. That woulda been kind of funny though… or maybe not.
When it came time to squat, I was lucky enough to have Al Caslowand Jeremy Frey watching me. After a couple of sets I asked what they thought, and they all said… “That was pretty good.” (I almost passed out when they said that. World class lifters just watched my squat and they all said it was good… WTH!?!?)
They did end up cuing me to drive my elbows under the bar a bit more, bring my head back a bit more on the way up, and get a little tighter with my upper back, but those were all minor tweaks, so I was very pleased. Squats were feeling awesome so I decided to go for a PR since I already worked on my technique. I ended up working up to a single at 275 and while it was a bit of a grinder about an inch or two above parallel it flew up after that and I am convinced that with a little more sleep, less heat, and a couple of months of the right accessory work, 300 is right around the corner! =)
After the main set of back squats, we did some Anderson Squats, and then some split squats paired with T-bar rows. All in all it was a fantastic training session! And you know what really didn’t hurt when it came time to hit a PR?
Having John Meadows, Dave Tate and the crew lifting in the next rack over. Man… their intensity is something that you have to see to believe. Talk about motivating! (Oh, and watching Matt Kroc and his beautiful wife Lauren lift a couple of racks over wasn’t too shabby either. He was training arms and I think it’s more intense than most people’s max effort squat day!)
After my training session, I sat around and chatted with Dave and John Meadows a bit, and listened to Dave tell more stories. Then I got another adjustment from Doc since I had just squatted, and then I grabbed a bit to eat, and headed back to Lexington.
All in all, this past weekend was one of the most incredible weekends of my life. I spent 4 days surrounded by some of the strongest, smartest, and most selfless and genuine people that I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. I also got to coach dozens of really smart people who sacrificed a ton just to be able to come to LTT! And best of all, the proceeds from this whole weekend went to the Make-A-Wish Foundation! Every year, the LTT seminars donate tens of thousands of dollars to the cause and I was so grateful to be a part of it!
Thank you again to Dave Tate, Tracy Tate, EliteFTS, and the whole staff and crew of coaches, volunteers, training log team members, sponsored lifters, and the attendees. Each of you played a special part in making this one of the best weekends of my life!