Friday Jams

Watching Zydrunas Savickas compete last weekend was an incredible experience. We all know he’s strong. Strongest IMO. His speed took me by surprise and I believe is wrapped up in his competitiveness. He is, obviously, an amazing competitor. The rate at which he’s able to recover from each event and calmly wait for the next shows the conditioning that’s hidden within his large frame. The other top guys are no slouches actually. Probably the most impressive showing was the small Norwegian amateur, Bjorn Solvang. He was fast, so fast. Strong. Tenancious. Hungry. You know, the hunger athletes have when they want to make it in the big time. Also, you know, the hungry you feel if you’ve not eaten in two days? Only that’s Bjorn after 15 minutes. The dude is always eating.

But Big Z is rockstar. Literally. On Saturday after dinner, a few of us were waiting outside the arena waiting for the bus to return for the second batch of folks, when Z came out and said some of us can go back to the hotel with him in his car. We jumped and had Bigg and Rob Frampton, Marcel (Champions League co-founder and promoter), Svend Karlsen the Viking and little ‘ol me pile in the SUV. I was sandwiched between Rob and Bigg in the back seat and marveled how I am really the luckiest girl in the world to be sitting amongst such strength giants. But then I noticed this at a stop light…

The car to the right of us had a normal looking man (read: small) in the drivers seat and a woman next to him with a person I couldn’t see very well in the back seat. When the driver looked over and saw Big Z was driving the car next to him, his eyes got huge as he did a double take and started to excitedly talk to the woman next to him. She then leaned forward and started speaking quickly and the person in back started leaning into the front seat to see. Cuz Z is Rockstar. Totally.

We were in his town, his turf. The looks he gets and the excitement he stirs wherever he goes was a treat to see. Each meal we had at the neighboring mall had people gathering and staring as he’d quietly walk or eat his dinner.  He is more than the World’s Strongest, he is Big Z. Their hero.

As we were packing up on Sunday evening at the Arena, I finally got up the nerve to ask for a quick pic. I like the shadowy result. Yes, it’s nerdy and I was so starstruck over the weekend at these giants in the strength world that I probably was nerdy more than usual. But I don’t care. I got Taxi’d by a Rockstar. F* Ya!

Enjoy the weekend. Nickelback: Rockstar.

Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men.

John F. Kennedy

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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