After some serious time to recall the events of the North American Open Series 1 meet (held at the Arnold), I have finally been able to sit down and write about the experience. I have really struggled to put my thoughts about this event on paper, for one very major reason. Every time I try to think about it, I am almost transported back into the meet, the excitement, the moment.
For me as a coach, the event itself was full of constantly changing emotions. I will discuss some of these feelings below; however, the strongest feeling I had throughout the weekend was pride. Overall, I spent most of the event feeling proud of PFP's lifters. Their hard work, positive and coachable attitudes, and especially their commitment to their teammates made me feel overwhelmingly proud to be part of PFP Barbell and East Coast Gold.
Initially I was struck by two conflicting emotions. The first was sheer excitement to be part of the largest weightlifting meet in history. The second feeling; however, was stress about finding East Coast Gold coaches to help with our ten lifters from PFP. Between Gina, Caleb, and myself, we expected to be stretched thin to keep sessions covered. While we were all very confident in our abilities as coaches, coaching at a historically large weightlifting meet left us all worried about doing the best possible job we could for PFP's team. Luckily for us, we quickly realized that the East Coast Gold family had us covered. Once we knew that our lifters would be well supported, the stress gave way and let us turn our focus on the team.
Our first lifter of the weekend, Mo, lifted in the very first session on Thursday morning. While she wasn't thrilled about having to wake up before 6:00am to get to weigh-ins, Mo started us off super strong. Once she was able to have breakfast, Mo did an incredible job. Watching Mo compete is always a blast, as she has some of the best post-lift celebrations out there! In addition to her enthusiasm, Mo showed up all of the competition with a singlet that was truly out of this world. She made 5 of 6 lifts and had a very memorable session!
Next up on Thursday was Andre. As an experienced competitor, Andre had some big goals for himself, and we felt very confident in him. During both his snatch and clean & jerk sessions, Andre received some tough calls from the refs. That aside, Andre made 2 of 6 lifts, putting up a total that earned him 3 gold medals! Even better than medals, Andre also put a Clean & Jerk PR overhead! Andre was awarded a 4th gold medal for his distinguished facial hair and dedication to recording the live stream for every single PFP lifter that he could capture.
Our third session on Thursday was split across two platforms. On the red platform we had Gina, Beth, and Nicole. On the white platform was Amanda. Since Gina was lifting this session, Caleb and I split up for this session. Caleb coached for Amanda and I helped out with Gina, Beth, and Nicole.
On the red platform with Gina, Beth, and Nicole, things really got interesting. Their session was a close race, as most of the lifters' totals varied only by 5 or fewer kilos. These three strong ladies handled it in stride! They warmed up well, were prepared for their lifts, and overall were successful!
A few weeks before the meet, Gina suffered a minor hip injury and had to catch all of her lifts in a power position. For Gina, this meet was about making as many lifts as possible while being careful of her injury. Between catching her lifts in a power position, and the adrenaline of the competition, Gina absolutely smoked it! She made 5 of 6 lifts, and nearly threw each lift through the ceiling!
Next up in the same session was Beth. Beth has been lifting and competing for a while, and this was not her first time competing at the Arnold. Regardless of how she may have felt on the inside, Beth remained calm and collected throughout her session. After a tough fight with snatches, Beth was able to refocus herself and come back for a much better clean and jerk session. In the end, Beth made 3 of 6 lifts and put up a great total!
The final lifter on the red platform was Nicole. Nicole entered the meet with a goal total, but very few expectations. Nicole has been lifting at 64kg, but wanted to make a total that would allow her to lift at 71kg in the future. Her goal was a 130kg total, and she CRUSHED it. It is clear that Nicole comes to life on the competition stage, as her smile lit up the platform on every lift. Nicole made all 6 lifts AND hit a snatch PR, a meet clean & jerk PR, and a PR total!
Amanda rounded out the end of the 49B session, coming into the weekend with a chance to medal for University Nationals. Still relatively new to competitive weightlifting, Amanda shows tremendous platform awareness while still making a point to make some new friends in the training hall. Despite the pressure, she started her session with laser focus and was able to remain level headed throughout her warmups. She over-pulled her second snatch at 58 and missed it behind, but kept her composure and fought back to make 59 on her third attempt. She kept that momentum going for the clean and jerks, making 73 on her third attempt for a meet PR and locking in bronze medals for Snatch, Clean & Jerk, and Total! Amanda is an incredible competitor and we can't wait to see her take over the platform at Under 25 Nationals in Vegas this summer!
After a great showing on Thursday, Gina, Caleb, and I were ready to refocus on PFP's Friday sessions. First up on Friday was Abby. Abby is a super strong youth lifter, and has been lifting and competing with her dad for the last few years. Abby is known for showing up to the competition platform with a cool, calm, and confident attitude. Abby worked hard on the platform. After a tough fight in both the snatch and clean & jerk sessions, Abby made 2 of 6 lifts and put up a medal-worthy total. Abby maintained her calm nature throughout her session, and was ultimately happy to have made both of her openers for the first time in any meet! Abby will be competing in Youth Nationals this summer and is hungry to get back on the platform and give it her all!
Next up on Friday were Robert and Joe. They were lifting on different platforms at opposite ends of the building, so again we had to divide and conquer. Gina and I hung out with Robert for his session, while Caleb worked with Joe.
Robert has been lifting and competing for some time, and works hard both on and off the platform. Robert came into the meet with a goal total of 212kg. Thanks to hard work, great focus, a well-planned lifting strategy, and maybe a little bit of luck, Robert exceeded that goal by 8 whole kilos! Robert stayed calm, focused, and prepared throughout his entire session. In the end, he made all 6 lifts, hit three competition PRs, and swept gold! We are so proud of this moment for Robert and we can't wait to see him compete at Master's Nationals this summer.
Joe showed up Thursday afternoon, a day before he competed, and didn't stop smiling the whole weekend. After a rough showing at his previous meet, Joe came into his first national level event on a mission and ready to redeem himself. Joe kept his cool after getting a tough no-lift call on his third snatch attempt at 105, saying to me "let's send it into the clean and jerks!" Joe finished his session going 4 for 6 with a 230 total, and is ready to carry that momentum into training for Finals/Nationals. In addition to a great meet, Joe also spent all of his free time working hard to support his teammates throughout the weekend. Joe was ready for anything and spent all four days loading barbells, giving pep talks, and smiling until his cheeks hurt. Joe will be headed to Vegas this summer for Under 25 Nationals and is excited to keep the momentum going!
Closing out the weekend for PFP was Leo. Leo entered to compete in University Nationals, and was a blast to work with. His adrenaline was through the roof throughout his session, but he used that adrenaline to fuel him on the platform. Overall Leo had a great session! Despite numerous technical delays during his clean & jerk session, Leo put up a serious fight and hit competition PRs on both lifts and his total! He made 3 of 6 lifts with unmatched enthusiasm! Like his peers, Leo will also be competing at Under 25 Nationals in Vegas this summer and is ready to put his lifts through the roof!
At PFP, we often discuss how being part of the barbell club is about more than medals. The community, care, and fun that we promote within the gym means more to us than perfect meets or podium finishes. Throughout the weekend, this became clearer to me than ever before. I am beyond proud of the work our lifters have done, the positive attitudes they displayed, and the incredible effort they put into showing up for their teammates. Weights were lifted, snacks were shared, and even a few tears were shed. As Tom often says, "The strength of the lifter is in their team, and the strength of the team is in the lifter."
At PFP Barbell we deliver our programming via an app called TrueCoach . Below are some suggestions on how to maximize your experience with your app and your coach.
I have been competing in the sport of Weightlifting for about 5 years now and coaching for the better part of 4. I am a big believer in training being "Process Driven". If we can focus on the process of getting better then the results will come. The more we focus on results the slower they come. I also am guilty of harping on "enjoying the process" .
Your experience in weightlifting as a whole should be enjoyable. If you're not having a good time with the overall experience , you should probably do something else. For 99.9% of us its not how we support ourselves, its too hard, to frustrating , and too complicated to do if we don't like it.
Here is the thing, sometimes training sucks. It may be for days , weeks, or possibly even months. After nationals every year , I have a tough time with my training. Generally its over 30 weeks away from my next big meet. I am coming down from a peak, my body hurts, and my motivation is low. In general it stinks. I have to literally drag myself to my sessions for while.
Rehabbing an injury can be the same . It can seem like you never will feel better. Training is slow and difficult. You watch your friends and teammates move heavy weights and your stuck with modifications and rehab. Its frustrating , difficult , and not a lot of fun.
So whats my point? The process won't always be enjoyable . One of the most rewarding parts of Weightlifting is how difficult it is. The high's of hitting a new PR , qualifying for that big meet, or landing on the podium , feel so great because of the adversity of your training. The vast majority of the work we do won't make our highlight reel. Most of the things that will make us great is mastery of the mundane. Consistency trumps intensity every time.
If you're going through a period of training that just sucks....keep going! Growth is on the other side of adversity! The reality is thats what separates the good athletes from the great ones. The great athletes keep showing up .
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This Spring, Head Coach Tom Duer, is set to compete in the IWF Las Vegas International Open in Las Vegas. After moving down to the 109kg class for last winters American Open Final , Tom secured his spot on Team USA for this Bronze Level International Competition.
This will be Tom's first time competing internationally. Competing at this event is the first step to becoming eligible for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. After participating in the 2016 USAW National Championships and watching the Olympic Trials , Tom set a goal for himself to be part of the Olympic Trials on the next quad ( 2016-2020 ) .
In order to be eligible for this opportunity , he needs to compete internationally 6 times in the 18 months prior to the Olympics . One of those times has to be as part of the World Championship or Pan American Championship team. There is a lot of work to do in order to make this goal a reality but each one of these competition opportunities are extremely important.
Most of these lower tier International Competitions are Self-Funded. This means that Tom is solely responsible for the costs of competing at these events. To compound this Tom's wife and Assistant Head Coach Maggie Duer is one of his coaches in the back room at meets so their costs double for each event Tom Qualifies for. In order to help with this PFP Barbell is selling fundraiser shirts . Click the Link below to help out!
Shirts : pfpbeaduer2019.itemorder.com/sale
If you don't want or need another shirt to add to your collection all support is welcome !
Email : Tom@Pittsburghfitnessproject.com
To see how you can help !
Full Disclosure I didn't finish my workout yesterday. I did about half of it , looked at the rest of my workout, then the rest of the weeks workouts, got overwhelmed and called it a day. It may have been one of the first times , in a long time, I let the gravity of a workout overwhelm me. Lifting heavy weights can be scary, terrifying even. At this point in my weightlifting career , I am training with weights heaver than I ever thought my Maxes would be. There is a little part of me questions , on every set, "how the heck am I even going to do this." Typically I still get it done, but not yesterday .
Interestingly enough , I got a great reminder of bravery from one of our newer personal training clients at our facility . She really didn't want to come in for her workout, in fact she skipped the last one and was trying to do the same that day. Luckily her trainer talked her into coming in and she had a wonderful workout and really enjoyed herself. On her way out she thanked us and talked about how much anxiety getting to the gym gives her , but that when she is here she had a really good experience. Before she left we had a conversation about bravery and how important it is for growth.
Bravery is not the absence of fear. Bravery is recognizing fear and acting anyway. Learning to be brave is interesting. The fear never really goes away , we just get more skilled at facing our fears. Every time we decide to act and face the things that scare us , our ability to act in the presence of fear increases. The monster in our head is almost always worse than the monster(whatever we are scared of ) in front of us.
So what does this have to do with Weightlifting ?
Like I said earlier , lifting heavy weights can be terrifying ! The injury rate in the sport of weightlifting is incredibly low. This doesn't change the face that lifting 2 and 3 times your bodyweight has inherent risks and if done incorrectly can have life changing consequences . However, the reality is, in order to lift big weights and live up to our potential on the platform we need to learn to thrive in the presence of fear.
How do we do that ?
Act! There are no shortcuts. Go out and expose yourself to situations( on the platform) that cause you anxiety and fear. Get under big weights and practice. The more you experience these things the more that fear can become your friend. You can learn to harness that fear and anxiety and it will unlock a level of performance you may have never imagined!
Nervous about how to get started?
Follow the link and get over your fear today : Get Started
Dale Carnegie may have said it best!
Practice!?!? We Talking about Practice!?!? : How Approaching my training like football practice made me a better Weightlifter.
For the vast majority of my weightlifting career , I approached my training like ...well training . Like I trained for bodybuilding , general fitness , or even Crossfit. Around a year ago I realized my approach wasn't working the way I wanted it to . I decided to change my way of thinking about training for weightlifting.
After putting some serious thought about my athletic background , I thought about what weightlifting training really was. I realized that more than traditional training , training for weightlifting was more like a sports practice. My approach had been wrong this entire time! I made the conscious decision to treat my training like I treated practices for most of my life .
With a quick google search I looked up traditional structure of a football practice to see how I could apply it to my own training and this is what I found:
If you want to improve your lifts head over to : Get Started and set up a Barbell Evaluation today!
At PFP Barbell each athlete gets individualized programming. This doesn't necessarily mean that every single athletes is doing their own unique program . What it does mean is that each athletes is on a program that best fits their needs .
Recently one of our athletes reached out to me because they were having some recurring issues with the program they currently on. I spend some time listening to their concerns and got to work on a program to address their needs. Literally that day , they were on a new program designed for them .
What is the point of me mentioning this? No, just because you don't like your program , you will not get a brand new one . Yes, if you have a legitimate need for a more specific specialized program , you will be taken care of to the best of our ability.
Communication is important. Our role here is to develop the best athletes/people that we can. Coaches are not mind readers. Feedback is not only encouraged it is vital. If something doesn't make sense, ask for clarification. If you want to know why you're doing something, ask. If we can't properly explain it to you, you probably shouldn't be doing it.
There is an exception to this . Do not be an Askhole ! An askhole is a person who asks a question in order to get the answer that they want. If they don't get the answer they wanted then they will ask someone else until they find the person who will tell them what they want to hear. Thats is not how you get better. We will tell you what you NEED to hear.
We are about developing people here. That takes a team effort of the coaches and athletes each being honest and direct with each other. If you need something , say something . Lets work together to help you reach your potential !
Follow the Link to get started with the PFP Barbell Team!
In our first post of the new year I wanted to take a look back at the year we had at PFP Barbell. We went through a lot of growth and changes last year. From coaching changes, joining East Coast Gold, and holding our first weightlifting meet the gym and team transformed and was filled with a bunch of firsts in the past year.
East Coast Gold
This year started with Head Coach , Tom Duer, joining ECG as an athlete under the coaching of Phil Sabatini and Brenden McDaniel . Soon after our entire team was invited to be a satellite location for the East Coast Gold team . This has given our team and coaches access to the best coaching in the USA and we have reaped the benefits ....big time. From Programming to meet management we have taken massive strides as coaches and athletes this year .
We have also been given the opportunity to attend a few ECG Camps this year to get to work with the ECG Coaches in person. I always leave beaming with pride from all of the positive feedback we receive about how our athletes lift and more importantly carry themselves as people .
Joining ECG has also given our athletes a higher level to strive to as when they qualify for nationals they join the ECG National team and qualify for performance incentives and bonuses . We have not qualified any athletes yet, but I am certain we will have a handful of athletes on the team in 2019.
PFP Barbell participated in multiple meets throughout the year and again helped multiple athletes compete in their first weightlifting meets. Our first time competitors ranged from 11 years old to over 50. We also took our team to two USAW American Open Series meets last year. We went from coaching 1 athlete at the AO series in 2017 to coaching over 50 sessions as a staff at the Series this year. We also helped coach many East Coast Gold athletes to Medals and Records at the AO2 as we served on the ECG coaching staff for that event.
Laura Woodward, Andre Ainsworth , Tonja Ayala and Brandi Darby became the first PFP Barbell Athletes to Head Coach Tom Duer Competed at USAW Nationals and finished 7th in the 105+ category and at the American Open Final and Finished 5th in the newly formed 109kg weight class. Assistant Head Coach and resident lady boss Maggie Duer also made her competition comeback this year competing twice .
One of the coolest aspects of PFP Barbell is how much we have grown as a team in the back room of meets. Coaches Tom Duer, Maggie Duer , and Dom Gomez have helped develop a culture of success as new Barbell Coach Marisa Galli has taken on more responsibility taking the lead coaching athletes of her own . Gerald Hayes, Andre Ainsworth , Laura Woodward , and Bre Prinkey have been invaluable members of our team loading and helping with whatever our team needs during meets. I am looking forward to more growth and development from our awesome group.
PFP Liftmas Open
We hosted our first meet ever in December. 35 athletes competed including a handful of our own athletes. Running a sanctioned meet for the first time, I was not sure what to expect . It ended up running really smoothly thanks to the PFP Barbell crew and with help from our friends over at Relentless Barbell. This was our first , but definitely not the last. I am excited to host 2 or 3 more meets in 2019 !
As I am the head coach of PFP Barbell and an athlete for the East Coast Gold Weightlifting National team, I have two big roles. One as a coach and the other as an athlete.
As a coach , I am thrilled with our development as a team in 2018. We completely revamped how we program and approach training. Our meet management has improved and we have improved each meet with how we take care of our athletes. I say we , because if it doesn't matter if I personally improve if It doesn't spread to our entire coaching staff. Overall our development as coaches has exceeded my expectations and I am looking forward to our growth in 2019.
As an athlete I had my best year so far. I added 19kg to my competition total 318-337kg . This year I competed in the AO1 ( 325kg total 5th ), USAW Nationals (333kg 7th) , ECG Fall Brawl ( 337kg 1st) , USAW AO Final (328kg 5th) . In the AO final I was one lift away from my first National Medals . There is lots to build on from here and I expect to carry the momentum into 2019 and bring some hardware back for PFP and ECG in both national meets this year.
In 2019 I expect PFP to continue to grow and develop. At year end we had 32 barbell members , this year I expect that number to grow to 50+. We should have 4-6 national qualifiers by AO finals time. As I write this we found out yesterday that Laura Woodward became our first athlete to qualify for Senior Nationals . She should be joined by a handful of her peers by years end . Overall I expect our team to continue to work hard, grow , and support each other. I am not sure exactly what 2019 will bring , but with our team , the sky is the limit.
If you want to find out what we are all about contact :
Come drop-in, do a complementary Barbell Assessment , or dive right in and join the squad!
This Blog was originally posted here: joesbarbell.com/2017/04/26/make-time/
Having a garage gym is great. The time you don’t waste in the car alone traveling to and from the gym makes it worth having.
Also, as a dad who wants his kiddos to take up training I like having my kiddos around the gym. I want them to access the gym and equipment to tinker on their own. I also like for them to see mom and dad getting after it regularly. This aspect of a garage gym is also worth its weight in kilos. A 2010 article in the Journal of International Pediatrics demonstrated that children who perceived their parents as physically active were themselves physically active
That said, to successful train in your own garage set up you need to have few rules in place.
1 – Carve out a designated space.
Your gym space needs to be your gym space. This needs to be the place you get work done. I am a big fan of a compartmentalized place that is just for training. We don’t even park the cars in the garage. Now, we do store some things in the garage along with the training gear but the matts are for training and that is that.
If you don’t have the space to carve out your very own training place, but do get after it at home, I would suggest setting up the same way, in the same place, all the time. My wife for instance likes to do yoga in the living room with the kids. When she does this she does it in the same spot and has a routine for setting that up, but more on that later.
The point is your at home training space needs to be as consistent a training place as a stand along gym as possible. This will ensure for more consistent training.
2 – Have a pre training routine.
If you are going to be training at home you need to set your switch and hit the go button! Regardless of the amount of time I have to train or the type of training I am going to get into I do a few things beforehand to set the mood. My routine consists of writing down my work, informing my little ones that daddy is hitting the gym, and setting my computer up for tunes.
Yes, these are really simple things. But, they also ready my mind and my kids for the training session to come.
3 – Have rules in place
I mentioned above that I like to have my kids around when I hit the weights. Check out this video from a recent session and you will see my son is a few feet away as I perform a Jerk variation. Inevitably misses happen and unpredictable events take place. Never, not once, or ever is one of those events allowed to be one of my kids getting hurt.
In order to keep my kids safe while I’m moving heavy loads the kiddos know, and I check to make sure they are out of danger. One rule is that when Daddy is training kiddos have to be on the other half of the garage or off the training mats. As you can see Mason understands this and stays clear.
Be sure to have, and most importantly, enforce ground rules for the safety of participants and nonparticipants.
4 – It’s not your job to throw them a party
Now this rule is for those of us with kiddos at home while training is going down. It may also apply to a spouse or frisky friend so be sure to still pay attention if you don’t have kiddos. I don’t go out of my way to schedule events for my kids when I train. As I mentioned before I want them around training, plus I want them to take care of their own business and be independent – which mine are.
I see parents over schedule, over stimulate, and underestimate their child’s ability to fill time – all the time. If you do any of these things your kiddos will be dependent on you to get through every minute of the day and that will inevitably eat up your training time.
On the other hand, don’t schedule anything. Don’t lay out extra stuff. In fact, don’t go out of your way to set up anything to keep your kids busy at all. I think you’d be surprised at how well they will fill in the gaps. I am fortunate enough to have three kids close in age. Mason is 6, Charlie is 4, and Luci is 2. These 3 play very well together because they spend a lot of time playing well together!
And yes, they play with each other. When Daddy trains that is not code word for movie time. When Daddy trains that does not mean the iPads come out.
Take the drawing of the New York skyline that Mason created yesterday.
The only hand I had in the creation of this picture was taking the picture and providing the freedom for him to be creative. While he did this he also pulled out a few extra crayons and pieces of paper for his little sisters to create as well.
The major takeaway is when Daddy trains that is his time, but it’s also the kids time! They can play, train, create, and figure out how to manage themselves quite well.
That said, these are still little kids. They can’t manage themselves for hours. Give yourself a time frame so you can truly be productive. Our house is not Lord of the Flies. 60 minutes tops is what my kids get to be independent! Not to mention when they are in that state I am a door away and constantly checking in!
If you don’t have a garage or home set up I would highly recommend it! I would also highly recommend coming up with a system so you can train productively. Mine is simple. I Carve out a space, I set the stage, I have some rules, and I make that time productive by making it mine.
If you train at home I’d love to know what your system is. If you don’t train at home try mine and let me know what you think. Comment below, give this a share!
As part of East Coast Gold Weightlifting we have access to some of the best athletes and coaches in the USA. This article was written by my coach and President of ECG , Phil Sabaitini
The link for the original article is here :
So often, I hear athletes say things like “I’m going to come in to fix my Jerk”, or “Can you fix my snatch?”
This is implying that one cue, one exercise, or even within one day that you can miraculously obtain perfect technique in a certain area.
Two things that are very important in the sport of Weightlifting: Patience and Expectation Management.
The thought that you can spend minimal amount of time and obtain a quick fix is absurd. It offends the long-time athletes and coaches that have spent decades trying to correct improper movement patterns. Great athletes of any sport have spent countless hours in perfect conditions perfecting a very specific technique that allows for them to excel at their sport.
For example, the baseball pitcher who seeks a perfect, fluid wind-up, or the gymnast who seeks the perfect dismount and the quarterback who seeks the perfect throwing motion. These movement patterns weren’t built or rebuilt in one single session. In some cases, it has taken a lifetime to finally have the proficiency that the training for it deserves. One thing that those athletes who have succeeded in doing so have in common are the 2 attributes listed above; Patience and Expectation Management.
Consistency and exposure to the movement is what allows for us to create the neurological education that we call “muscle memory”. Unfortunately, this is also what has allowed us to create an improper movement pattern to begin with. The challenging part is that not only do we have to learn how to do the movement correctly, but it also may involve an unlearning of the previous movement in order to obtain that. This process takes months and years. The more times you can do it correctly, the closer you get. This is why having patience is essential to the process.
In order to create this new neurological pattern, we must work at it. This process is full of frustration, fatigue, frustration, regression, and more frustration. But, perspective is a very powerful tool that can make this process much more enjoyable. The ability to manage your expectations on both a small and large scale and from a short-term “fix” to a long-term adaptation will dictate your level of frustration. Managing expectations takes more than just patience alone. It means that you must understand that you may not make progress every day. You may have to understand that sometimes it may feel like you have gotten worse at the movement and that you have no clue what you are even doing at times. Also, you must understand that some days fatigue will get the best of you and even if you are trying to correctly perform movements with certain weights, it is proving to be extremely difficult.
Lastly, manage the time frame in which you are expecting perfection. Learn to accept small victories when they come and learn from the days that they don’t. Switch your focus to a process rather than a performance, and learn to embrace that process and attack it with enthusiasm and positivity. Understand that progress is not always shown in the amount of weight that is on the barbell. And be in it for the long-haul, because it is a long haul.
Come join team PFP and ECG by emailing me at : email@example.com
Coaches and Athletes will be contributing to this blog. We will be discussing lifting tips, smashing goals, and much more.