Magic Friends


I first met Liz and Loz in Ruka, Finland last year when Bigg competed in the Iceman IV for Champions League. Liz and I quickly became BFF’s cuz we spoke English and lots of other wives/girlfriends only spoke Finnish. We also became BFF’s cuz we’re both incredibly witty and cool. True story.

Actually, her ‘witty’ factor is higher only because she’s English and ya know, the English are a witty people. Anyways. We bonded over fags and spiked hot cocoa and the rest is history. Matt has competed with Loz since 2008 and had remained one of his favorites over the years and I can see why. Although one of the Strongest on the planet, Loz is warm; soft spoken; concise; incredibly smart; friendly as hell; a helluva competitor and one of the best deadlifters in the world.

Here they are after Loz kicked ass in Ruka…


…heeeheeee. Sneaky Juli with a camera.

Anyways. We clicked and hanging with Liz while the boys were doing their thang out in the 30 below arctic circle weather was an absolute blast.

Luckily for us, the Facebook helped us stay in touch here and there. Keep current on goings on with competitions, training, the kids (while we didn’t get a chance to meet Loz’s daughter Ava, we were able to take in the whole Lewis experience. Lewis is Liz’s son and an absolute character. He also now owns a piece of my heart, miss you bud.) While we were hoping to meet again at a competition, things haven’t worked out that way and so last spring when we started making our plans for Scotland we thought it would be fun to stop in London and hook up again with our English BFF’s.

While London may be fun, it’s a big jaunt for two people and kids who actually AREN’T on holiday like we were. Matt had a meeting scheduled but when we kicked around the idea of staying outside London in Swindon, where Liz and Loz live, his Rep said that he’ll come out and they can have the meeting there. Shweet!

So Swindon it is. The day we flew in, Liz was working near the city and said she’d pick us up. It took her 3 hours to drive less than 20 miles due to general London traffic PLUS a huge demonstration by Brits who wanted Scotland to stay part of Clan U.K. Her running late worked out for us since my bags had decided to spend an extra night in Amsterdam (they know how to party) and we spent an hour dealing with that fun.

So we were all a bit fried when we finally hooked up at the airport (NEVER fly into London City. EVER!) Nonetheless, Liz had smiles on and even made us our own sign so we wouldn’t get lost among the locals…



And away we went. Once we got out of the city, we got to enjoy the English countryside and reconnect with Liz. As we entered Swindon, she told us about their Magic Roundabout. Ummmm, huh? Yup, magic. See, it’s foShizzle five roundabouts that go around one ginormous roundabout. They actually make the poor children of Swindon learn this thing during Drivers Ed. Which I guess is a good thing, but geez, it’s brutal. Here’s a video of some poor Finnlander couple trying to get in and out of it…

I thought it was funny. During our few days there, we cabbed a couple of times and at each roundabout I’d ask the driver if we’re going on the Magic Roundabout. They’d laugh and say no, not this time.

Our days with Liz and Loz (and Lewis!) WERE magical. We got to train with Loz on Matt’s birthday; have an awesome birthday Italian dinner at one of their favorite restaurants; train AGAIN with Liz and her sister and Mum and I got to deadlift with one of the world’s greatest sitting right next to me. What a treat! And that Lewis, Oooooooo, what a gem. One of the first things he did was teach me how to get my pinky up to drink a proper cup of tea:


He helped me pick out a proper English Gnome (we picked the one reading a book because Lewis said he loves to read.) I taught him that the best way to be woken up in the morning is for Mum or Loz to say, “It’s uppy uppy time Lewis” and we practiced in the car on the way home from Tea. He helped pick out an Angry Birds mask book for Bigg’s birthday AND found an Angry Birds cake for later…


…and we DID send home a piece for Lewis.

The entire visit was an absolute perfect way to end our UK time. It just reinforced that we’re exceptionally good judges of character and are fortunate enough to have so many wonderful people in our lives that we can call friends. But our MAGIC friends? They’re in Swindon…


Our training crew the night before we left. Liz and her sis and Mum. So much fun! #liz’sgunztho

…strong and awesome.

Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.

Mark Twain

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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