Favorite Weightlifter


I’ve seen Noobs raise their hand like this when they win their first white belt bjj match. Ummmm, no.

This past January, I had the awesome opportunity to spend the weekend at a Catalyst Athletics weightlifting seminar. It was amazing. Tell ya what, I never knew that pvc and an empty bar could wreak such havoc on the abs until the middle of the night in between days when I woke up to TT and basically had to just roll out of bed. Yowzer. (Yes, we put weight on the bar. Duh.) Holding positions for moments that turned into hours was intense.

And incredibly helpful. My lifts are still improving and after this throwing thing, I’ll be right back at it. Yeah lifting.

During lunch one of the days, a few other attendees and I were talking about various social media weightlifting scams and other such fun when the topic of our favorite weightlifter came up. Folks went around the circle and stated mostly the latest and greatest crossfit turned weigtlifter athlete but when they got to me, I looked them square in the eye (tough to do in a circle;) and simply said, “Me.”

Greg Everett laughed out loud. A couple of the ladies threw me some crusty looks and rolled their eyes and a Minnesota guy said, “Right on.” (Dude, you’re from Minnesota. No one from Minnesota says ‘right on’ but that’s not the point.) I went on to say, I’m my favorite athlete. I invest more in myself whether it be hard work or time  or money or diet or sleep or whatever is needed to succeed. While I can and do appreciate the talents of far higher athletes, I’m my favorite. If I wasn’t, what am I doing here?

Well, the girls calmed down a bit and one woman from Washington came over later and shared that she’s never looked at herself like that but will from now on.


Photo by the amazing Douglas Sisk. Also, #mrscrowleyisactuallymyfavorite.

Ya know who doesn’t apologize for doing what is necessary to succeed? Successful people. I know far too many adults who won’t take that last cookie even if they want it. Me? Fuck that. (I wouldn’t eat the cookie though. If it were the last glass of wine I’d cut a bitch and drink happily.) I know far too many adults who were always taught that their needs and even wants were far less important than the stranger’s in front of them. Including me. That whole sharing myth bullshit thing.

And no, I’m not talking about the Mother Teresa’s of the world. Obviously. But there is a not so fine line between being present for others and throwing your own needs away while allowing people to suck the life out of you.

Why in the world would I apologize for working hard? For doing what is necessary to (most importantly) feel strong and healthy and work to succeed in various ventures in life. WTF do I care about Tatiana Kashirina? Zero. I care zero. Am I amazed by her accomplishments and feats of strength? Totes. Supes impressed. (That’s how the kids talk.) But my investment in her is zero. My investment in myself is 100%. My hope for those I love is that their investment in themselves is 100%. Thrive. Even in tough times. ThriveAnd that still leaves plenty of time to not be an asshole. Really. It amazes me that so many people have an ‘all or nothing’ view on putting themselves first. There are 24 hours in each day. 9 is meant for bed if you’re lucky. That leaves 15. We’ll spend, what, 2 hours eating or preparing to eat or traveling to eat? 13. We have an hour of “personal time” (#brownchickenbrowncow!!) with your spouses/partners/tinder hook-ups. 12. Eight hours working. Four. We now have four hours (probably more cuz few people don’t actually sleep 9 hours a night, including me.) Four hours to power clean the house; talk; read; watch America Ninja Warrior; snuggle your dogs; reach out to others; push the prowler; grocery shop (I HATE when people with money bitch about grocery shopping. Dude, you live in fucking America where you get to just walk into a store and buy food and beer. WTF is your problem that you’re bitching about that?)

Where was I? Oh ya, hours in the day not to be a self absorbed asshole while still investing in yourself. In fact, I would contend that the more you are used to investing in yourself, the better you feel (physically and emotionally) and are able to reach out to others. Share a little love. Pay it forward. Whatever the meme of the day says about such things. Investing in yourself is not the same as being self absorbed. It just means you’re spending the time necessary to be better. Stop apologizing for wanting to be better. Sure, many people will be threatened by it. Especially those who want you to be stuck (with them.) Get above that shit. You’ve always been too good for it. And don’t even apologize for climbing. I abhor people who do well or accomplish something and when praised, say something like, ‘Oh well, it was luck. I’m really not that good.’ Jeezus. STFU Donny! Here, let me shovel empowering shit into your face until you can’t breath and choke from your low self esteem.


Also, and this is more observation vs. science, when investing and believing in yourself is your normal you are far more able to detect when unhealthy people are trying to leech onto you. Because they want that. But they don’t want to work for it. They will align themselves to you and talk mad shit about you at the same time. I assume I’m not the only one who’s had difficulty with this, even as an adult. Sometimes I’m successful at heading that shit off at the pass; other times I’ve been a miserable failure and then get very down on myself for allowing that to happen. Damn me for not being perfectly brilliant.

Me. I’m my favorite athlete. If I wasn’t, what am I doing this all for?


I told that kraut a fucking thousand times I don’t roll on Shabbos!

Walter Sobchak

About tosabarbell

For training opportunities at tosabarbell, call or text Juli at 320-296-9313. e-mail to jep6095@gmail.com 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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