Smörgåstårta aka AAF


The smörgåstårta is a Scandahoovian dish, part sammich/part cake. Made with layers of cream and meat/cheese/fruit.

There’s a reason I stay off strength forums and stay away from watching training videos, usually because they are filled with so much nut swinging/misinformation/ignorance/shitty form grandstanding that it burns my eyes. Matt is much better at sifting through them quickly and giving me a heads up on the latest moronic statement or video. I’ve been a good girl most of the Highland Games season and just stay focused on my clients and my training/throwing. But as summer turns to fall and the weather changes, things are starting to slow down with the Games (only two left) and I’ve noticed on the worldwide some AAF (annoying as fuck) little habits of the silly strength population.

So here, in no particular order…

Squat: There are a few different ways to raw squat with a barbell. High bar; low bar; front squat; overhead squat. We don’t “goblet squat” here. If there’s a reason you can’t put a bar on your back or your delts or overhead, I’d address it then. Air squats are fine, they’re fun. I enjoy the pump of a good air squat volume day (ya, I said volume day with air squat.) But if you have a “coach” who will ONLY high bar or ONLY low bar, move on. Being stubborn to an overused/underproven ideal doesn’t make you a good coach, it makes you a bad democrat. (Heeeheee, got that one in too.) If I read one more squat video comment where someone says, ‘ya butt they’d lift moar if they used high bar/low bar’ I’ll quit the internet. True story. It’s old. It’s tired. It’s boring. There are many reasons why one or the other may be best for an individual, we figure that out as we go along. If something is chronically hurting because your coach refuses to adjust squat style to the point that you feel the need to quit, quit. They’re bad news to begin with. We can’t just say, ‘you’re not doing it good enough’ or ‘you need to stick with it to see improvement.’ Can’t. Don’t put up with that. It’s bad advice and clearly your coach DOESN’T KNOW HOW to fix you. Move along. Which brings me to another common sight that seems to be completely common (but not normal, there’s a difference):

Injuries:  I am amazed at how many times I see the same people over and over again re-setting due to injuries. No, they’re not professional athletes who put their bodies through such rigorous madness for a paycheck, they’re just dude’s and dudette’s in the gym. Seriously, if you can look back and identify 5 training injuries in the last two years or so without actually stepping up to a platform or a field or an arena of some sort what the fuck are you doing? Why is being constantly injured acceptable to you? Going beastmode on the YouTube really doesn’t have any payoff, at least to smart people. I hear WAYyyyy to often of people who have been injured by a deadlift session who decide then that they can’t deadlift. Uhhhhh, people in their 80’s deadlift, so can you. Could it be, ohhhhhIdunno, that your programming or your technique needs work? Yes, yes it could be. Could it be more fun to bitch and moan about injuries? I dunno, I hate not feeling 100%. Hate. It. So to stick to a form (see Squat above) or programming that is clearly not serving you well blows my mind. Yet there will be those who will and will love talking on the interwebz about current injuries. If ever there was an appropriate time for a face palm, this is it.

Food: Uh oh, bring on the religious zealotry of food. If you have a coach who tells you to cut out a macronutrient, run away. HEY! Ya know why body builders are so good at dieting (besides being completely Exorcist style possessed about it)? Because the good ones have figured out their perfect equation for FAT; PROTEIN; and CARBOHYDRATES. All three, working together maximizing lots (too much IMO) of training; cardio; and drugs. Yes, drugs. No, not all BB’s take drugs, but if they say they don’t they’re lying. But not really (mostly though.) Finding that balance that burns fat along with a shit ton of training and steriods have amazing results. If you don’t want to do all the training, then results will be less than a BB. If you don’t want to do the drugs, then don’t wonder why you’re not looking like those that do. If you don’t want to figure out the diet, then don’t wonder about anything. One of the biggest disservices I did to my body as I wandered into my 40’s is try to cut out Carbs constantly. It made me fatter, and fatter, and right now fattest. (Eating even 80 grams of Carbs in one day still freaks me out and that’s not very much, that’s how brainwashed I’ve been.) If you have a male coach in their 30’s who take additional testosterone (but doesn’t tell you) and tells you that if you cut out Carbs you’ll be more lean than you ever were in your 20’s and 30’s run away. It tells you that they don’t know how to deal with the hormonal profile of a pre-menopausal or outright menopausal woman. Think of stoking an older wood burning stove in Northern Minnesota all winter with old curtains. Uhhhh, sure it may burn a bit, but not optimally and you’ll probably fuck up your stove to the point of having to throw it out. Don’t do that. Your body needs wood in the form of fat, protein, AND carbs. If someone else wants to delete a Macro, let ’em. Just don’t play along ESPECIALLY if you’re a woman moving into 40’sLand. Just don’t.


Use Your Words: The surge of gyms using barbells in the last 10 years is a good thing. I learned how to use Barbells more efficiently and effectively as a result of hitting a CrossFit Barbell cert and I’m thankful for it. What I DIDN’T do; however; is believe I’m something I’m not. Showing up in the gym for a few years didn’t make me elite; or advanced; or a subject matter expert; or even a Coach. You can’t throw these words around just because you show up. I really have no idea why it’s not good enough for people to be dedicated to go to the gym week after week, month after month, year after year. You are taking care of your body (hopefully); you are enjoying the camaraderie of others and maybe even meet a mate out of the deal. Why isn’t that good enough? Why do you have to be told you’re an advanced anything to keep coming back? Do you know how many people who call themselves Elite have no idea what an Elite Total is? SRSLY. WTF! It reminds me of a very lovely person in my life who can never just say “My child is smart.” Or “I love my child.” They always have to say “I love my child UNCONDITIONALLY” or “My child is BRILLIANT.” Jesus, is your child so farking insecure that they can’t just be good? Good is good. It’s not bad. It’s the adult version of a participation medal. If you feel the need to have sunshine blown up your arse each training session don’t come here. It won’t happen. You’ll be given a good job, or nice work, or atta boy. We celebrate good work, but we don’t feel the need to make up our own meaning to words that already exist to over inflate your low self esteem. Be happy with good, it may lead you down a path of better or if you’re lucky, best.

General v. Specific: JHMFCOAPS, for the last time. Strength training gives us general strength. Sport Specific practice gives us specific skills. I’m not going to squat any differently because one way has the “best carryover to an open stone.” I squat because it makes me strong enough to apply more force to a stone and make it fly. I practice the stone throw because even though I’m strong, it’s not flying and I need to hammer in the technique to make it do so. I do that in the field, not the gym. I can run drills in the gym, but then I can’t say I’m squatting. See how that works? I snatch and clean and jerk A) cuz it’s fun for me and 2. because it helps me stay explosive which will help in various Highland Games events. I don’t do a WOB Snatch. It doesn’t exist. I want to be strong. I want to be explosive. I want to throw far. In order to do that I need to strength train; train the Snatch & Clean and Jerk; and PRACTICE THE THROWS!!! Ya, I totally just yelled that. If I hear, “well you should squat this way because it has the most carry over to ‘X” I’m going to barf. SRSLY, I’m dry heaving over here just thinking about it.

Here’s an honorable mention, Patience: I get tired of people who want greatness right now. Really, really tired. And ya know what? Sometimes I’m guilty of it. Last year I wanted to get my Light Weight for Distance throw to where I consistently threw 50’+. I’d have to look but I think my PR for last year was 49’11.5″. Bummer. The second half of this season, I consistently (minus World’s, that thing wasn’t flying for anyone) throw 60’+. I want 70′. I want it now. But since I only have two games left, I’m thinking it’s not going to happen this year. So, more practice and more time in the box. I need to be patient and remember where I started almost two years ago. We need to put in our time, pay our dues. Some may find success sooner than others, that’s life dude. Be patient; work hard; stick with it; stay positive, enjoy it all.

Before all else, enjoy it all.

Vegetarians, and their Hezbollah-like splinter faction, the Vegans…are the enemy of everything good and decent in the human spirit.

Anthony Bourdain

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.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s