Beach Battle

When Bigg told me that we had an opportunity to spend the day at the beach and watch a Strongman event, I thought it was a trick. For those of you who don’t know him, Matt avoids the sun more than a Bram Stoker main character. Lucky for us both, this past Saturday on the beaches of Lake Michigan had cool temps, enough sun to make me happy (and had Bigg ducking in the shade), but enough cloud cover that he didn’t turn to ash when he ventured out to sit with me.

The Strongman world proved again it has some of the friendliest folks around as I was able to connect with a couple of people I’d met on brief visits and met new friends in the strength game. The Swede (above) fits in both categories as I’ve briefly met him before and instantly warmed to his sense of humor, great energy, and obvious love of all things strength related but he and Bigg go back a ways. Obviously.

We arrived to the party late due to my getting out of a morning session later than expected and a stop for breakfast at Hamburger Mary’s Milwaukee.  By now, it was past 11 but we hadn’t ate yet so we needed a brunch burger. And Mary delivered! Bigg had a double meat French Toast burger that came with bacon, peanut butter, and homemade strawberry jam that came between two tasty pieces of cinnamon french toast.  I had the ‘Gouda Morning’ burger that came with Gouda (duh!), bacon, and an egg. It was delicious. I highly recommend hitting Mary’s if you’re in town. The food and the atmosphere are top notch. We’ll be going back for more burgers and Bingo after training soon.

Anyways, onto the competition. We missed the first two events and came just as the Husafell event got underway. We knew how tough this was from recent experience but add the fact that these guys are walking in the sand and that’s just nuts. The crowd did a great job cheering on the competitors and NAS State Chair and event organizer Sam McMahon made sure these guys went as far as they could possibly go with his constant chatter at them with each lap. It was very cool.


The Keg toss afterwards was lots of fun as some of these guys made it look as if they were throwing baseballs over the bar. Now, understanding that I’m limited in my experience in attending these events, the Atlas stone load reminds me of the old saying at powerlifting meets, “The meet doesn’t start until the bar leaves the ground.” And this one didn’t disappoint. The placings were such that five people were vying for third place so loading the six stones prior to getting to the 405# stone as quickly as possible was very serious business. Local favorite Jacob Bodi (above) smoked the event in a very steady, no nonsense fashion. It was very impressive. Congratulations to all of the competitors, organizers, and helpers. It was a blast and I’m already excited for next year.

One of the best things about having a Strongman event on the beach? Beach bars…of course.

Photo: Post contest

About tosabarbell

For training opportunities at tosabarbell, call or text Juli at 320-296-9313. e-mail to At tosabarbell, I build relationships cultivated in a strength and learning environment. There is no 12 week magic pill program to strength but rather a lifetime commitment to be the very best and most useful human you can be. tosabarbell is a private, home grown gym with three lifting platforms; squat rack; prowlers; throwing implements; bars, bumpers and everything else needed for an effective strength and conditioning program. Straightforward barbell programming including the Olympic lifts; sound (read: not fancy bullshit) diet advance for weight gain or loss; and strong coaching will ensure you will meet your goals such as becoming stronger, more explosive, and better conditioned. I have been coaching teams and athletes for over 30 years. I grew up participating in various sports at various levels but was always drawn to those that require strength training. I have multiple local, national, and world records in the sports of Weightlifting and Highland Games Heavy Events as well as a combined total of 5 World Championships. My 5 years of training and coaching under Mark Rippetoe provided a wide range of influence from some of the top strength & conditioning and throwing coaches in the country. I will strongly encourage tosabarbell athletes to compete (and prepare you to do so.) However, tosabarbell is also for those who wish to be stronger and go through life feeling better. Matt WanAt is a retired Professional Strongman who competed frequently with Strongman Champions League in Europe. He played a year of D1 football with Iowa before concentrating on his Chemical Engineering degree in Iowa City. He is a native of Wauwatosa and still remains a staunch supporter of Tosa East. This blog will be a mixture of strength notes, coaching and nutrition tips, personal shit; bacon delicacies, and a whole lot of fun.
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2 Responses to Beach Battle

  1. bob g says:

    OK- I’m sitting in Hamburger Mary’s waiting on a Gouda Morning burger. The waiter was stoked when I chose it. This place is a lot of fun. I’m off to see Gov’t Mule as soon as I down the burger. Thanks for the tip.

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