Monday Bacon: Lessons Learned

The last day of the year. The time to look ahead, expect better, and put the past 12 months behind us. Some face 2013 with daunting tasks;  to those I say, you are in the hearts of your loved ones.

I’ve spent a few days thinking about some of the more important lessons I’ve learned through the years that I hope to bring into the new year.

1. SHOW happiness to see (or hear from) a loved one. Years ago I was in Mukilteo staying with my Auntie and Uncle. My cousin Denise was very pregnant with their first bambino and a bit worn out. We were hanging out in the kitchen when my Uncle walked in from outside and noticed Denise had arrived (at the time, she lived about a 1/2 hour away.) His entire face lit up and he gave her a big hug. It gave Denise a huge boost and I thought to myself, I would love to be greeted like that. So I try to pass it on. I don’t always succeed, but trying is a start.

2. PIVOT. One of my favorite ‘Friends’ episodes is when Rachel and Chandler helped Ross move a new couch upstairs. Ross (obnoxiously) keeps yelling “PIVOT! PIVOT!PIVOT!” until Chandler completely loses it. I laughed my arse off for quite a while and still do when it’s repeated. Learn to PIVOT! When something isn’t working, change direction. PIVOT! There are too many times in my life where I’ve hung on to a situation/job/friendship that was actually quite destructive to my heart, my finances, or my family. While commitment is important, so is your well being.

3. STRONG today. There is way too much talk in the gym about how “strong I’ll be for my meet in 8 months” or some other redunkulousness. Look, no one knows what’s ahead. While we may be training for upcoming events, we need to be good with our strength today. We have one friend who is just getting back into the gym after a layoff and some injury rehab who is gearing up for a big meet this spring. His comment the other day of “I can’t believe how much strength I’ve lost on the bench, but it’ll come back quick” was spoken by a true veteran. Training today is a stepping stone for future PR’s. Respect the journey.

4. Beastmode is bullshit. Knock it off. There are very few people (if any) on the planet who do not have someone else stronger than them. If you need silly jargon to pump you up, you’re too weak to train. While we need to push ourselves in our training (or else we’re just exercising) there really is no need to be special. The daily benefit of our work is that we’re not hunched over with a walker. We expect more of ourselves without being Dick about it. Don’t be Dick.

5. THANKFUL. Do it. Be thankful for your health, your loved one’s health, your pet’s health. Don’t take it for granted, you’re a horrible split second away from losing it. Be thankful for your gym, even if it’s a crappy one. Be thankful that you get to miss training because you’re able to take your family to Disney World for a week. It amazes me how many people complain that they’ll miss a few days training because they’ll be on vacation. SRSLY? Dude, you’re on vacation. Enjoy! Making your family feel like you’re sacrificing yourself for their benefit is a quiet form of attention whoring. Don’t do that.

6. CHILL…mon. This is the hardest for me. I’ve spent time with some very intense people and let too much of that rub off on me. My intensity causes stress to me and those I love. It’s a constant conscious effort to chill out and I usually fail at it. But that doesn’t mean I don’t try. The good news is that next time I visit the relatives in Seattle, I get to legally chill. Heeeheee. Okay, not really. I’m too old for pot. So I’m going to have to do it the old fashioned way, to just be disciplined. No fair!

I don’t know what 2013 has planned for me. I hope it’s good. I’ll do my best to control my destiny and hopefully address life’s curve balls with grace. We’ll see. Happy New Year yo! Be safe, be strong.

Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.

Benjamin Franklin

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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