Lil Nuggets


B Fox and Moser (Maui No Ka Oi!)

Years ago, I participated in a weekend of Olympic Weightlifting with the Texas crew as they were trying to form a training cert to compliment their strength training cert. I had already been warned that it would be a grueling 36 hours that would include lecture time along with 5 hard training sessions. Truth be told, I was honored to be able to participate and I held my own as the eldest lifter of the group.

One of the visiting coaches was Jim Moser, fresh in from Maui (Maui No Ka Oi!) and ready to bring his Island coaching to the weekend. His relax man approach was a fun detour from the structured, no rest for the weary, weekends we were used to. His lecture style was shoot from the hip and it took me a little while to adjust from the bullet points and ultra prepared cert style I’d spent so many weekends listening to.


Hunter looks on as Jim Moser compliments Anthony Pomponio’s lat spread. (Maui No Ka Oi!)

I found myself drifting off here and there when Jim laid down this Lil Nugget of knowledge…Always strive to raise your minimum in the gym. Wait, what? Yup, every time you walk into the gym, know what your absolute; feel like shit; ate like crap; no sleep, minimum is for a lift and work to raise that number over time. Top numbers are for meets, get better in your everyday. I loved it.

I still think about that advice a lot. It’s the most meaningful advice I took away from a weekend of intense lifting and lecture time. OH! Also, in true York Barbell fashion, we would line up to lift a weight and once the person in front of you was done, you would be expected to be lifting that bar as soon as it settled on the platform. At some point on Sunday morning, I finally threw the white flag and said I needed to rest more than the 40 seconds I was allotted with our small group of women. Jim looked over at the men’s platform and sheepishly said, “Oh right, the men have almost three times as many people as you girls. You can slow down.” NO FUCKING SHIT!!!!! Our pace significantly slowed enough for us to actually hit some of our top lifts. While it was actually kind of funny, always be thankful if you’re sucking air to have an old lady or man speak up and give you an extra few seconds of rest. You’re welcome.

There ya go, 36 hours; 5 hard training sessions; countless lectures, and one amazing steak dinner on Saturday night and I took away one thing that has stuck with me.

And really, I learned an even bigger thing that weekend. That no matter how much time or money is invested into becoming a better athlete (this applies in all walks of life actually but we’ll focus on lifting and throwing for now cuz it’s mah jam) you may only walk away with one little nugget of information that will pay out dividends in the future. And that’s awesome. If you get more out of something, kudos. Good on ya. But that one golden nugget may have an amazing impact on how you approach training for success and aren’t you a lucky girl?

Because of that weekend, I now look for those Lil Nuggets that will turn my training or practicing on it’s ears and suddenly make sense of confusing concepts. Enter last week and a Facebook post by our good friend, Big Daddy (that’s all you need to say, if you’re a thrower, you know who that is) who made a comment that someone without “X” years of experience shouldn’t be writing a book on training. Yes, he was calling someone out specifically. Yes, it is the main reason I’ve deactivated my Facebook account for now. JC folks, there are real problems in the world and this post garnered over 150 comments. I.Just.Can’t.

Anyways, the post had the usual suspects of Ya Man, fok that! and the other side of Uh Uh, they may have something to say. Give ’em a chance. Boring. While I’m a firm believer that we all get to have our own opinion on shit (usually mine is right), I also have a different point of view from our pal. See, that training/throwing manual (that I haven’t read) may have just ONE lil nugget in there that will affect your gym or field time and pay out dividends. Just ONE. Maybe more, but unless the book is in the hundreds of dollars isn’t it worth a few bucks for ONE POSSIBLE AH-HA MOMENT?

I’ve been around throwers now for about 5 years. It’s been fabulous; and so much fun, and so incredibly frustrating that not telling someone to shut the fuck up becomes the focus of the day rather than throwing far. Standard cues are repeated for every toss that actually means shit to what the person is doing mechanically. Even throwers who throw supes far don’t always know what they’re doing right or wrong and will give a novice thrower supes stupid advice because it’s what they do and they throw far.(Attention novice throwers everywhere! Sometimes people throw really far with technical imperfections that doesn’t mean shit because at the end of the day, they understand how to move in the space; are super strong, and have physical aptitude to be an awesome thrower. They’ve been throwing since they were in junior high and have been removed from novice status for so long, they’ve forgotten what it feels like to not understand how to instantly place a hammer into “orbit” or block or whatever else the cue is. You’re not them. You need solid mechanics. Go see K.O.)

I’ve literally asked some Pro’s questions and received answers such as, “I have no idea, I just do it.” I appreciate those answers though, because then I don’t waste my time trying to replicate whatever I saw that seemed to bring success.

On to Instagram. It belongs here, really. (This is where a judge on Law & Order would say, “get there faster counselor.”) I have stated before that I have learned more from Instagram than I ever thought I could. One throw that scrolls across my feed can make sense of concepts and attempts to do things than practice ever could. A stone throw from Mike Beech is one of these posts (you can tell me all day to use more legs in a throw but until I see it and try it, it will fall on deaf ears.) People I don’t know toss out those Lil Nuggets every day and all I have to do is sift through the attention whoring; sports bra and shortie shorts wearing, bikini clad date seeking bimbo’s with the “I just hate my body, see all of it here. Isn’t it horrible, here, look up my ass and tell me how I have value” posts to find them.

Lifting is the same way on the IG. Sometimes it’s subtle and at other times it is a punch in the face, DO THIS! I try it and OH HEY, it works! It has accelerated progress at very low cost (my time. There are too many minutes spent on social networks, another reason Facebook is out. I must be better than that. I must give attention to around me rather than in FB land. IG has value for me so that stays…for now.)

In conclusion, buy that books. Watch those videos. Listen to that thrower/lifter. Hit those throws practices. Seek Lil Nuggets that will set you apart from others BUT, do so with discerning eyes and ears. Just because someone does something better than you doesn’t mean things out of their mouth are valuable.  On the flip side of that, just because someone hasn’t been doing something very long doesn’t mean everything out of their mouth is wrong. In fact, I believe that someone newer to a sport later in life who has figured things out faster than others has VERY valuable things to say. Hell, I’ve taught hammer throwing to women who never touched the thing and instantly threw further than my average on day one. Yay that I understand it enough to teach; Boo that I suck throwing it.

Ask questions, don’t ever (IMO) show blind faith in someone’s words. Make them explain the reason for exercises. If mechanics can’t be explained, well, buyer beware. Seek, but be selective in what you find.

And don’t fight on Facebook. Find something better to do. Go make coffee; or have sex; or train; or throw; or carry an old ladies groceries (but not mine. I’m good.)


A very normal image as to what my desk looked liked at the end of those home field work weekends looked like.

Maui No Ka Oi!

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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