Monday Bacon: Eat!


At the beginning of my second summer in north Texas, a little blond came into the gym with her two older brothers and said she was a powerlifter; wanted to get her weights up; and kick some 132# arse the next season.  Sounded good to me.

Katy is also a singer; a volleyball player; involved in her church group; and forty other things that I’m forgetting right now. She was a busy gal. Her brothers were successful powerlifters in their high school days and I could tell from the get go that she had an awesome support system. As we began training the lifts and breaking very crappy habits from high school lifting, we decided to go ahead and power clean one night.

We went through the teaching method and just as she cleaned her first one off the floor, she put a smile on her face and proceeded to (very smoothly) faint. Huh? That’s not normal. So “not normal” that after we put the equipment away, I asked her what she had ate that day. Her answer was along the lines of a granola bar at 6:30 am and a little lunch…this was six o’clock at night. Ah! Bingo. She assured me after that; however; that she LOVES to eat. I sent her home, told her to come back the next session AFTER she had snack and we’d talk.

I gave this some thought. Now, the entire time I was in Texas, I was not in a financial position to fire a client but if I had a very busy teenager walk into the gym on about 600 calories, ethically, I couldn’t train her.  When she came in for her next session, we sat down and looked at what she’s eating and the fact that, actually, she doesn’t like to eat and if she continued this little process, I couldn’t train her. A few tears were shed, she promised she’d eat exactly what I told her and she went on her way.

About two days later her dad walked into the gym. Now Joe isn’t a tall man, but he is an imposing man who gives the impression of a kind, but stern kind’f guy. He told me he wanted to talk to me about my discussion with Katy the other day. Uh oh…ummmkay. He then told me that if it were appropriate, he’d give me a huge hug. Seems they’ve been encouraging her for a while to take better care of herself and this is what it took to turn that corner.

Now, Katy does not have an issue with eating. She wasn’t lying, she loves to eat. But her perception of what’s needed to train for strength was completely off. She started eating, trained hard and had an incredibly successful season. You’ll hear more about Katy in the future.

If you think you’re eating enough but stalling in the gym, look at your food. Track it. Check it’s values. No excuses. Just eat!

BTW…from her first PC session on, whenever anyone struggled in the gym with their cleans, the standard line became, “At least you didn’t pull a Katy.” We’re supportive like that.

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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