Please Know…

Dear all potential strength trainees:

Thank you for showing an interest in strength training. Thank you for giving a thought to getting off the gerbil wheel of exercise and doing something different. Something that will make a difference in how you feel; how you look; and the confidence in which you walk through life. Being interested in starting a strength program is good. Very good. However…

…please know,

 from the start this won’t be easy. There will be no instant gratification most people seek when working out on a day by day basis. There will be no pump. For most of the beginning sessions, you will be frustrated that you can’t learn the squat as easily as you can master the Lat Pull down mechanism you’re used to. There is no treadmill, there is no elliptical, there is only a prowler. And it hates you. Also…

…please know,

the coach you’ve hired to teach you knows what they’re doing. Cuz you hired them. So when you want to argue what is happening on a lift you’ve just started and have no accurate perception as to what is happening behind you, a good coach will want to beat you down. But won’t.  A bad coach will. In addition….

…please know,

this is hard work. Harder than you’ve imagined. The bar doesn’t back off when you’re not “feeling it.” It doesn’t care. You will make slow and steady progress and it will take patience. Your coach isn’t here to blow fake science sunshine up your arse, we’re here to ensure you do this right. We won’t use trendy slang, we’ll tell you to get your knees out and if you don’t we’ll tell you again. If you’re not willing to work hard in and out of the gym, HARD, like how hard you great-grandparents worked to survive when they arrived in this country, don’t call me. We’re not for each other.  You’ll experience failure in this endeavor, if that scares you then move on. Strong people aren’t afraid of failing, cuz we all have at some point in time and we’re okay. See? Okay…

…please know,

you’re not fat and out of shape because of an occasional snicker bar. I know it, you know it. On the flip side, understand that I know you’re 20 pounds underweight, hooked on the idea of soy, and leaving yourself open to injury and disease because you have a redunkulous ideal in your head as to what is sexy to the modern day media.  If you don’t want to change your diet, don’t call me. You don’t need me. I first heard it from Jim Wendler (so I’ll give him the credit) “You can’t out train a shitty diet.” I don’t expect you to go Atkins on your first session, in fact I don’t recommend it at all. On the flip side I don’t expect you to instantly gain 30 pounds. But being strong and useful is your goal, so changes will be made.   Lastly…

…please know,

the first time you grind out a heavy lift will cause a desire to storm castles. As you become stronger and feeling better with a healthier diet, you’ll walk straighter…perhaps even saunter a bit. You’ll become aware of the awful mis-conception of what healthy is in this country and soon beg and plead for loved ones to pick up a barbell. If they’re lucky.

So now you know. Are you up for it?

I would hope that understanding and reconciliation are not limited to the 19th hole alone.

Gerald R. Ford

Training Log

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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1 Response to Please Know…

  1. Dave says:

    My current training partner was struggling with his last set. After he finishes, he starts talking about backing off the weight and trying to come up with reasons as to why he struggles and should not add more weight on the bar. I listened to him than asked “what time did you go to bed last night?” He tells me, “3 am., maybe that’s the problem?”. I’m like, you think!

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