Getting To Ohio
Most people would not consider a weekend spent with a bunch of meatheads a vacation. My wife, Gina, and I always look forward to traveling to London, Ohio to the BADDEST STRENGTH FACILITY in the world! There you will find the strongest and best strength coaches in the industry who are there to share there knowledge with those who are willing to learn. To make this event even more special, all of the coaches volunteer their time and all of the proceeds to the seminar are donated to the Make a Wish Foundation. We were lucky enough to be able to attend such a great event and learn many things in the process.
The trip started with us packing the necessities, clean underwear, Elitefts & TEAM HPF apparel, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. The car was packed and we were off to Ohio! The peanut butter and jelly sandwiches didn’t stand a chance and only lasted the first 10 minutes of our drive. During our trip we passed through fields of HUGE windmills. Am I the only one that is freaked out by them? Fortunately, I was able to maintain my composure and drive past them without any incidents. As we continued to drive I was starting to get hungry again. After seeing signs that read “Hardees. Exit now.” who was I to say no? I ordered a monstrous double bacon cheese burger. Keep this in mind because this meal will set the tone for the rest of the trip.
We Made It
Finally, after reaching the hotel in downtown Columbus, Ohio I quickly began to notice that we were in the right place. I saw BIG guys walking around the lobby with a walk that only powerlifters have. As we checked in and registered to the seminar, we were kindly greeted by Mark Watts, Joe Schillero, the lovely Alycia Israel, and Michael Tanner. I felt as if I was talking with family because they made us feel very welcomed. That’s one of the things that is special about Elitefts. There is an unspoken bond between everyone who is involved.
After checking in, Gina and I met with her sister who lives in the area for dinner. Mind you, I was still full from eating the monster of a burger from Hardees a short while earlier. We went to a burger joint called “Son of Thurman” and ordered the THURMANATOR. Two 12 oz patties, loads of ham, cheese and all the works. I forced myself to finish the beast and needless to say I did not feel well.
The next morning I woke up and was ready to have some knowledge dropped on me. The only problem was that my stomach didn’t feel too well for some reason and had to visit the bathroom twice before we went downstairs for the seminar. The conference room of the hotel was filled with people who were passionate about training. We are able to get a seat in the front row so we could see the Power Point the presenters were using.
The presentations were very informative. The first one of the day was by Jon Mike who spoke about over training an athlete. In a society where “more is better” his presentation put it in perspective that that may not be the case. Scott Stevenson spoke on the research of peri-workout recovery, nutrients taken before, during, and after your training session. I have been using peri-workout recovery during my training recently and I can tell a difference in how I feel during and after my training session. Harry Selkow is always awesome to listen to. He spoke on training like a linebacker, not only physically, but mentally. J.L. Holdsworth was the next speaker. His passion and knowledge really came through when he talked about the business aspect. His advice lit a fire under my ass and made me consider different strategies on how to improve HPF. Matt Rhodes is always a pleasure to listen to. His demeanor reminds me of my college days in the weight room. His presentation on programming for athletes reinforced the good things we are doing for our athletes at HPF and also gave me some great ideas on what to incorporate in the future. Vincent Dizenzo talked about creating programs and said any program will work if you give it time and tweak what you need to tweak, which I fully believe. The last presentation of the day was by Dave Tate. He broke down the process of supplementary work and accessories in your training. He dug deep into a training program where the end result will get you strong(er). It really opened my eyes on what I needed to do to improve the training of my clients, as well as myself. Never have I been more excited to start training than after listening to these amazing presentations.
Once the presentations were finished we made our way to another banquet room for some awesome food! This gave the attendees a chance to meet and greet with the Elitefts team members. I met people from different states and even different countries. Gina and I were able to talk shop with David Allen, owner of NBS Fitness just outside Memphis, Tennessee. He shined light on a lot of ideas that will help the growth of HPF. Traci Arnold-Tate spent time at our table as we talked about the amazing food in Chicago. After the meet and greet, Brandon Smitley and David Allen joined Gina and I for some ice cream at Ohio’s famous Jeni’s Ice Cream and it was amazing! We then got back to the hotel and rested up for the next morning of training at the Compound.
Training at the Elitefts Compound
There is an indescribable feeling you get when first stepping into the Elitefts Compound. The huge warehouse-style gym is filled wall to wall with the best training equipment in the world. The coaches of our group were Dave Tate, owner of Elitefts, and Matt Wenning, Elitefts sponsored lifter and world record holder. We were coached on the squat, bench press, and deadlift by the best in the industry. Our coaches reinforced what I am teaching and practicing as well as taught us a many tricks of the trade to improve our lifts.
We started the day off with squats. We box squatted because it’s easier to teach and breakdown someone’s squat. Nobody went too heavy at this time because of the technical focus. Gina squatted for a PR of 210 lbs though! After squats we moved on to the bench. Dave Tate surprised me and had ME teach our group the bench press. I was in my realm and felt confident with what I taught. Dave approved of the lessons and techniques I spoke of and he broke down the bench technique to the group even further. Matt Wenning really opened my eyes to the possibilities to improve my bench. His insight and advice will be implemented when I get back home to train. I am going to make a change a few things on my bench and I feel it will be for the better. Gina hit another PR on the bench with 115 lbs!
After the bench press we took a break and ate lunch. BBQ! Too bad my stomach still wasn’t feeling well or I would have eaten a lot more because the food was really good! After lunch we went to say hello to two very important people who are a big part of the backbone of Elitefts’s success, Matt Goodwin and Ronda Blakenship. These two people are great at what they do and are the definition of excellent customer service. It was good to catch up with them!
Once lunch was finished it was time to deadlift. My stomach was feeling better at this time and I had set out to pull a PR, more than 510 lbs. The whole group was doing an awesome job of deadlifting and taking in what the coaches were teaching. I worked up to my previous PR, 510 and wanted to go to 525. Matt Wenning then said to me, “525 is a good bench. 545 is ok for a deadlift.” That did it for me. 545 it was. I missed my first attempt because my grip failed as I was locking the rep out. During my second attempt my body leaned forward and I fell out of position so I just stopped pulling. 545 will be mine in the near future! Gina was having a hell of a day because she pulled at PR of 225!
Q & A with Elitefts
Being in front of the strongest and smartest people in the industry only happens at seminars like LTT. I was able to listen to the advice of people who have decades of experience and I will take that with me to improve my business, training, and life. The passion that the people of Elitefts have is not hidden. They do what they do because they absolutely love it. I was brought to the brink of tears when Dave Tate spoke at the end. His passion and his vision was right in front of him. He created such an amazing culture of people who Live Learn and Pass On and we were lucky to be there.
The weekend was unlike any other. We shared stories, ideas, and valuable training lessons all weekend. We spent time with people who are driven and share many of the the same values in life. Better than that, we created a connection with many people whom if it wasn’t for Elitefts, would not have ever met. We are very proud to be part of the culture that makes Elitefts what it is. This LTT was very special to because it was the last one of its kind. Attending the LTT seminars has changed my life and has allowed me to change the lives of those around me. If I would have never attended LTT a few years back, I am not sure my life would be the same as it is today. I attended my first LTT as someone who only dreamed of opening a training facility in my neighborhood. I drove home from London, Ohio after the seminar with a spark in my heart that ignited and I KNEW I had what it takes to MAKE IT HAPPEN. The words that Dave spoke to me on that day still play in my head on a daily basis, “The passion for what you do can’t be in can’t be in your head and it can’t be in your wallet. It’s gotta be in your heart.” To Dave, Traci, Matt, Mark, Ronda, Steve, Ken, Sheena and to the many people who make Elitefts a life changing company, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Our training and lives have been positively changed because Elitefts has the values to Live Learn and Pass On.