Welcome back to the barbell therapy podcast. I’m your host, Dr. Brett Scott. And with me here today is probably probably the biggest burliest man we might ever have on the podcast. His name is Eric Dawson. And he is the owner of Titan barbell in Stoneham, Massachusetts. It’s a pretty kick ass gym. And I’ve known Eric for quite some time now. And he’s quite the accomplished gym owner, strongman and coach himself. So I wanted to have him on today to share some wisdom about training, strength, longevity in mindset in the sport. So, Eric, welcome to the show. And just Could you share some of your accolades with people here so they know what you can do? And also, how tall are you? And how much do you weigh?
Sure. Thanks for having me on, Brett. I guess I’ll start off. So obviously, as you said, my name is Eric Dawson, my vitals, if you will, I’m six foot five inches tall. And currently I’m sitting between like 355 and 360. That’s kind of where I’m sitting right now. And then as far as accolades go, I’ve competed in strongman for the better part of 15 years, the last 10, of which I’ve done, I’ve been a professional strongman, which I’ve competed internationally. Let’s see, I think I’m at 1010, or 12, international competitions that I’ve done, as well as international competition here in the US. But when I say 10, or 12, I mean, overseas, I’ve, I’ve flown and competed overseas, about a dozen times. I’ve been fortunate enough, I’ve won, like three or four of those, I’ve podiumed. A few more of those. And beyond that, one point, I had a record for stolen steel, which is a specific type. It’s not an atlas stone, it’s something kind of adjacent to that. I currently am still the record holder for the rogue anvil, which has a grip event. So if you imagine a the horn of an anvil, so the annual turn 90 degrees, pick it up by that. Then, let’s see what else I would say that kind of generally summarizes the accomplishments and probably the short window.
What what is the grip strength do you have or what how is that measured? For the road? wreckers?
Yeah, so for the Rogue One, that one specifically is an anvil. So it’s a it’s a cone like, implement, it’s made out of steel that you pick up with one hand, and then the weight is attached underneath, you have to pick it up. Display Control at the top like a lockout, like a deadlift, like a powerlifting deadlift, and then display control on the way back down. It can’t slip out of your hands again, just like a powerlifting. deadlift.
Yeah. And so how much weight or how much time did you hold that for?
So it was it’s for one rep. Max, and I did 240 pounds of my best to date. Wow,
it’s pretty impressive. And what about the stone? How much did you look for the stone of steel?
Okay, you know, it’s funny, it’s, I don’t even remember at this point. It was over 400 pounds, which at the time was if I’m gonna toot my own horn, impressive because there was nothing but chalk allowed. Now they’ve they’ve done where they’re allowing like a tacky towel, and that makes the grip on the stone much better. So since that one point, I had actually done a 500 pound stone to steel for two reps. But that was with, like, I said, that tacky towel, which definitely ate in the grip, obviously, if you can, you know, I was able to do 100 more pounds, it’s a significant difference, versus just doing chalk. And what I had done it with just chalk. I think at that point that implement was on the market for just a couple of months at that point. So not a lot of people have gotten their hands on on one.
Yeah. And so what what is the big difference with that, because that’s something I’ve always seen too. So where I was at spindle barbell for a long time, I had the opportunity to do stones. And to me, it was not that fun. As a weightlifter. I was like alright, this sucks. This is like manual labor of like, I got stuff stuck to me everywhere. Yeah, all over the place. My hands are cut wide open, my arms are banged up. But what was the big difference of like using the implement because I was no expert at it by any means the few times that I was able to do it. So what was it that makes the stone of steel different? Because I know it’s like the big the big thing? Is it steel for one, but how does it affect training with it?
Sure. So the simplest answer other than what you would already said was the fact that it’s made out of steel versus concrete, is it’s loadable. Right? So you can you could theoretically load it in as small as like, you know, one and a quarter pound jumps or two and a half pound jumps. Which can be it can be really nice because Sometimes you’re limited with concrete stones where the jumps may be 20 3050 pounds between some stones, sometimes even more in certain strongman gyms, that you may have a 70 pound jump between one stone and another. So this allows you to, you know, not unlike a barbell loaded however you want it, you know, the potential downside, if you want to think of it like that is it just takes it does take more time than to open it up, it has a special tool, you’ve got to make sure that everything is set or loaded out, if you can imagine, right, so the heavier weights in the middle, and then you load it out from the center, and you got to make sure it’s equally you can’t just drop it from the bottom to the top, because it’ll be lopsided when you’re trying to pick it up. And so there’s a trade off of that, right? Obviously, what you get with being able to load it in those small increments you trade off for, like, sometimes it can take five to 10 minutes just to load the damn thing between attempts. Whereas with a concrete stone, it’s just sitting there. Right? If you want to do it, you can do it. And you want to wait two minutes to do the next one, you can do that, you know, and not have to be bent over the thing adding 10 pound plates.
Yeah, you guys put some work into training implements with strong man. So 100% Yeah. Like I’ve seen guys come into the gym on a Saturday and spend their whole day loading sand into bags, or into cakes, or just fixing up equipment. So the dedication you guys have to the sport is very, very portable. So now you’ve been doing this for 15 years. So what makes you just love, love this and be dedicated to it so much?
That’s, that’s a complicated question to answer in the sense of it’s hard to put it exactly in the words I’ve just I’ve always been drawn to the sport ever since I was a kid, I watched world Strongest Man, I still to this day, go back and watch like, world strongest band episodes from, you know, lighting 7778 You know, all those. So I’ve watched every single one of those competitions at least five times each probably right? I’ve always been fascinated with the combination of having to be strong, having to be mobile, explosive, right? Having to learn how to adapt on the fly, right? Because you’re doing things a lot of times that they’re not standard, right? So and good promoters will put in new events that people haven’t seen before. So learning how to adapt on the fly. But I already know how to pick this up. Now what’s the most efficient way to do it? And how do I do that going forward versus a barbell. You know, for the last, you know, however, many hundreds, you know, 10s, or hundreds of years haven’t changed much decades, they haven’t really changed, right? Maybe the knurling has changed, the amount of whip is change. But a barbell is a barbell, right, and plates are plates for the most part, right. So that’s something that has always drawn, drawn me to it. Just that, like I said that it keeps me mentally a lot more engaged, right, I don’t I truly don’t know that I could compete in powerlifting or Olympic lifting. Just because I like the variety in the sport that strawmen provides.
I always did have an appreciation to for strong men when it’s you come in and what was cool was like people would travel from all different gyms to certain gyms to train because this gym had this implement that no other gym had. And go all over the place, depending on what what competition they had coming up. And then going into a few competitions through and seeing like some of the things that was always like a mystery of it. And to see, you know, who was really the athlete to just come in and like figure it out on on the fly is very interesting versus, you know, weightlifting, you know, what you’re doing, you know, what the bar is gonna feel like, you know, you might not know how strong you’re gonna feel that day. But the barbell is the barbell and doesn’t move where in your sport, there is very much this dynamic approach to it, which I just have a big appreciation for. So, Eric, you mentioned to you had a big, you know, you’ve had a lot of conversations lately about athletes on mindset, and training. So what, what things had been brought up that you think you could share with some people out there?
Sure, I would say one of the things that’s been kicking around a lot in conversations is kind of mindset as as you age in, in the sport, both physically as a person as you age, but then kind of your training age too. Right. And I don’t know, you know, I know, you probably understand that, but most people don’t understand it. So, obviously, if I’m, you know, 40 But I just started two years ago, my training age is two years, right? versus me at 41. My actual training age is closer to I think I met like 27 years of training, though, right? I think I started Yeah, coming up on 27 years of training with a barbell. You know, so just there’s a huge difference between even though we’re both say, for example, 40 or 41 years old, I’ve got a lot more mileage on me. So being a lot more intelligent about my training, and I’ve laid a lot of that foundational work in over 27 years that I might not need to push to the limit that people might think I need to right a lot of times it’s about being smarter and kind of waiting you know to shoot your shot if you will. Right then kind of properly peaking for a contest and not just redline in 12 months a year right I think that’s where both mentally and obviously physically it’s allowed me to stay honestly really fresh and in the game still and then competing at a pretty high level right? I’ve in the last year or so decided to do more masters competitions than then open pro competitions but I still will hop into some of the open pro stuff from time to time. But even that the the Masters competitions of the the athletes in there are no slouches. It’s the last official Straw Man games I did. There was at least five or six guys who have made it the finals, the World’s Strongest Man, one of them was considered the best straw man of all times to CIVICUS was there competing, like, so you can actually see that same approach. It’s not, it’s not by accident, right? That all of those guys that are doing it, and I’m, I’m even in that group on the younger side, right? There’s guys in their late 40s. And there’s a guy named Mark Felix, I think he might be up to like, 56 right now. And he’s still competing at an extremely high level. And again, when talking to them, that approach of not just going nuts, 12 months a year, right has allowed you to do that year after year and just get 1% Better, 2% better, right? Or rather, at, you know, as you age a little more, it’s the term I you know, like for this rate of decay, like I can slow my rate of decay, right? Like, let’s be honest, too, right? Like, yeah, let’s also, let’s just call a spade a spade, like, for natural athletes, like myself, like, the rate of decay is going to happen, right? So if we can slow that rate of decay by making smart choices in our training, that will allow us to compete at a higher level for longer than if we just go nuts. And then either we’re physically just broken, right? Or mentally just totally burned out. Right? Within three years of competing, or five years competing. I’ve, in my time of competing, I’ve seen people have meteoric rises, and also just become totally out of the sport. So it’s, it’s, it’s, it actually makes me sad. It’s not even like a judgment on from my side. It makes me sad, because I saw the joy that that, that the sport brought them. And it’s sad to see that joy leave, right? It’s not a judgment thing. From my side, it’s more of a like, Yeah, that sucks. You’re no longer doing it right, like, so if I can kind of help people find that balance. And I understand it’s tough, right light. It’s going to be tough to balance that mindset with, I gotta work my ass off to get to the point I want to get to. Right. I don’t want to ever make it seem like, you know, over the course of the last 15 years in strongman, or 27 years of training that I didn’t work extremely hard, right? I did everything under the sun in terms of like training, like pushing myself to just complete exhaustion, right when I was a lot younger, right. And I felt like at that time I did, that wasn’t necessary for me, both mentally and physically. But as I age, I just can’t write I got to a point where I don’t know what it was, it might have been. Ironically, it might have been right around the time I turned pro or a little bit past that point. Just like me a year past that point, I would have just pushed myself physically and mentally to a point where I remember talking to one of the guys I’d seen for doing body work and stuff like that. I said, the next step is just duct tape, just keep me together via duct tape for this competition. Right? Because
it wasn’t long after that. They just said, Alright, I have to have a little more balanced approach. And not ironically, I had better performances from there as a pro going forward. Right? Again, not a shock when you really think about in the moment you’re like, I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know if I can do this. I’m not going to be the same athlete I was before. And it turned out to be better. I turned out to be able to perform better at that point, having a little more of a balanced approach. Right and still working hard but being smart in that process. Yeah,
certainly. And I that’s one thing I was thinking of before we even hopped on this call is longevity in the sports and you know, even for me, I was in SPIN Dell for almost four years. And it was just like, there were so many people you’d see come in and they were so gung ho about, you know, whether it be weightlifting, powerlifting strongman, and, you know, three to six months, you know, they’re in there, they’re crushing it, they’re making all kinds of progress, and then just poof in and all of a sudden they’re gone. So like what happened this person is like maybe they just quit, they gave up they didn’t want do it anymore, like the worth was there and it is sad. And it’s like, how do we? How do we balance that like hunger to get better in that obsession with something new, that’s fun, there’s a lot of reward to it with, I think for some people too, it’s like you get to maybe that six month mark or so. And it’s just like, gets kind of where the rubber hits the road and cigarette shit hits the fan. Now. Now, you know, plateaus start kicking in now, the reward isn’t going to be there as much. And now it gets really hard because now you’re putting in a ton of time, effort energy, and you’re not seeing the big gains that you were getting in the beginning when you just started. So how do we? How do we combat that in the sport to make people see it? Because I think there’s a lot of benefits to all the sports, you know, the community, the health benefits of just exercise and strength, training everything. But how should people approach things maybe a little bit differently? Do you think
it’s gonna sound very hokey and cliche, but find, find the joy in it? And if it’s not something, if you can’t find joy in what it is you’re doing, find something else? Right? I don’t know that I’ve ever actually tried to talk someone into strongman training, or tried to keep someone who I knew their heart wasn’t in it. In it. I never once have had that conversation. You know, I’ve had conversation, I’m like, awesome. You want to train for 5k? Now, instead of strongman, I’m totally onboard. If that’s what you want to do, and you find joy in it. That’s great. Right? Yeah, I think that’s what’s allowed me and others that have that longevity, to stay in it is it’s it truly, again, it’s very cliche, but it is the journey. It’s not the destination, right? You get to a point, you’re like, I won this contest, and maybe even a local contest. And you’re like, that’s it, right? And there’s that almost sense of like, Oh, that was it, right? Or you win a big national level contest, right. And you’re like, I thought this was going to be the mountain top and I thought I’d have this just amazing sense of not self worth. It might be a little too strong by but a lot of that is kind of wrapped up into it for people. And then when it doesn’t satisfy that, then they’re just completely devastated. asked. Yeah, yeah. Depressed, devastated. Right. Whereas the the people that just the enjoy the process the day in, day out, and know, do I love every single second of every exercise? I do? No, of course not. But I don’t know, I truly, truly don’t know. Especially since I started strongman. I don’t know the last time I’ve ever dreaded a workout. One single training session. Right? I may have certain, my own little anxieties about like, alright, this is what the program says, I’ve got a deadlift this much today. And like, that’s a lot of weight from it, right? Like, that’s different. I’ve never once been like, Man, fuck this, right? Like, I don’t want to train. You know, I don’t have that I truly don’t. Right. And if I ever, if I ever, ever, ever have that moment. I know, either I’ll just not train that day, and just come back another day. Or I’ll have to re examine at that point, right? Like, I always tell people I got into the sport, to have fun. I’ve still been having fun. 15 years later, and the moment it’s not fun for me, and or I don’t want to put in the work necessary. I’ll move on. I’m totally fine with that. I’ll move on. But I haven’t hit that point. And honestly, I don’t see myself at that point anytime soon. Right?
Has has been being a coach or owning a gym or working in a gym or any of that, like changed your motivation level or anything at all.
It’s totally reinvigorated, not reinvigorated. That’s the wrong way to say because like I said, it’s not like I ever lost it. But I do get little like bursts of energy, if you will, from people competing. Absolutely. Right, because I get back to that point of seeing that that person who kind of quit like seeing that person start their journey. And be like, you know that that 10 pound PR and an overhead that was enough to hit contest weight is such an awesome feeling as a coach, and even if I’m though coach, the person just seeing him in the gym, hitting those things like that definitely provides me with a lot of energy and in that extra little, little motivation to to keep going and again, not that I even need it, but it’s just a fun, fun thing to be around. Right? Yeah,
I think I think there’s sir there’s like two types of people like that, right? It’s like, there’s some of us that are psychopaths like that, that can do that and be in the gym and like that’s our love, that’s our passion, but we also can do this and it still has the fun component to it and there’s still a reward there. Which is very similar for me of like, you know, sometimes I feel banged up or whatever and it’s like I don’t really want to like think about computer now and then I go coach I’m at a competition like I I ended to sign up for a meet now and get back on Yeah, like this is too awesome. And then same thing you see people PR, but then there’s a lot of people that get into the sports or whatever. And then they go, my next step is I’m going to be a personal trainer and work in the gym. And it’s like, that’s so fast. Yeah, you know, I’ve seen a lot of people like do a complete 180, where they start working in a gym, whether it’s, you know, high school, college, can whatever do in the front desk, or, you know, cleaning the bathrooms or whatever, and you start doing a lot of time. And those four walls and all of a sudden that that emotional stimulus you got from being in the gym just wasn’t there anymore. Now, their motivation train is just completely gone downhill. And I’ve seen too many people go down that that train of like, all of a sudden, you see someone become a trainer, and then they become the most out of shape person in the room. Because it’s just like the last thing they want to do after training, you know, 10 sessions a day, it’s like, I don’t want to push any more weight myself, because I’ve been here all day.
It’s work, right? It’s still, your, your brain still thinks it’s work, you’re still in the physical space, of where you’re working. Right. And I think that’s, that’s another thing that I think certain people, if you’re a lot, if you are able to switch that mindset between you as the you as the athlete, and then you as the coach, right or at work versus at play, if you will, right? That helps tremendously, right? So there’s times where I’ll just go into my office, I may close my eyes for five minutes. I put on it. It might sound weird to some people, but I put on 432 hertz beats, right, I’ll close my eyes for 10 minutes, and it totally just helps my mind reset. So when I go back out on the floor, I feel like I’m walking into the gym as if I was I just drove to a new gym. Right? And it helps that helps me tremendously.
Well, what is it? 432? Beats
400? Yeah, if you look it up, I this is my my coach got me on this. Andy train is very, very, very intelligent. Guy. So it’s 432 Hertz.
I believe it’s beats per minute, which are the
Yeah, binaural beats, I think, is the actual term. So there’s a whole bunch of different stuff. There’s stuff that’s those, that specific tone is set to different stuff. There’s, there’s generally no lyrics involved. Right? It’s almost like if you can imagine, it’s almost kind of like what’s playing in the background of what you would think is in the background of like, a acupuncture studio or something like that. Okay, right. Yeah. Right. That’s a terrible like, for anybody who’s visually inclined, I apologize, because that’s a terrible, impressive person
I am. So I’m going to come back.
But I am right about the name 432 Hertz. Like I said, it just, I know, it doesn’t work for everybody, it does work for me, I find like, it just kind of helps totally clear my mind. I’ll close my eyes for 510 minutes. And it just, I feel like I’m in a different mental space.
I’ll have to try that. Because that is one thing where I have the new gym and everything too. It’s like, I find difficulty sometimes if like, I work from seven to five, sometimes are eight to five, whatever it may be. And then I’m in the same four walls. And so you know, you can look up to go, why is this that way? Like, why didn’t we fix this yet? Like what’s going on here. And I haven’t separated myself from work and my training is half and half out. And I’ve needed something like that to just be like an I’ve got a what I started doing recently, I got an acupressure mat. And I’ll just lay on that. And like that completely separates me from everything else. And I kind of just get into that mental space. Totally. Okay, work is off train is on. Let’s go. Yeah.
But you know, and to be honest with you, at least in in, in my experience, I don’t know that you’re ever able to 100 100% shut off that part of your brain that owns that, right? Like, if you’re the owner, that’s everything. 24/7 365 Right. You know? Absolutely. If I’m resting between sets, I’m like, Huh, well, why didn’t why didn’t they do that? I have to fix this. Or I literally go and like, get a mop and clean something up in between sets and stuff like that. Right? It’s a weird analogy. And the people that that don’t know that like Marvel Universe, but like the more recent version of the Hulk, where he talks about, like, we thought we had to be two different people that were battling and then he ends up being like the smart, intelligent Hulk at the end, right where he’s both right. That’s kind of how I envisioned myself in the gym, right? Like, I’m not only a gym owner, and I’m not only an athlete in that moment, I am both simultaneously. Right? And it does help I do. I do think people have been really respectful at the gym about understanding that it’s my time to train them. There’ll be a lot less questions or they’ll see that I’m training to like I’ll hit you up later. Don’t worry about it. Right. Yeah. Yeah. So that’s been a huge help.
Yeah. setting boundaries for sure. It’s one thing. Yeah. We have, you know, sometimes new people come in and like, they’ll be like, hey, like, what’s the section? Like, talk to Julie over there or whatever. Like she’s coaching right now. I’m working out sorry. Like what you have to do? And I think at the end of the day, people respect you for it. Yeah. For sure. And then. So as far as as your longevity in the sport, so 616 years, you’ve been in strongman now?
Let’s see, it’s 20 to 15. Actually, I think we are coming up on 16. Yeah.
So what are your big tricks there? Because I don’t know how many other people have been doing the sport for 16 years, especially naturally. And for those of you that don’t know much about strongman, not that there’s anything wrong with it, but a lot of people are physiologically enhanced on performance enhancing drugs. Eric here is not so what, you know, what pieces of training are, you know, what is it that that’s kept you in at this long?
I think so I don’t know the answer in terms of how many people I know that I’m certainly not the someone who’s done it the longest, right? Like I said, there’s guys that are guys and, and some women who have been doing it even longer than that. But just from my own experience, I will say, you know, from the get go, I’ve prioritized mobility and stability, right? Like, I was very fortunate that the person I had learned strength training from at 14, prioritize not going too heavy too quickly, making sure you’re you’re stretching, you know, back then static stretching and stuff like that, right? Just making sure you’re staying mobile. So there’s always that balanced approach, making sure you stay conditioned. So it’s not you the pendulum doesn’t swing too far into like, just care about one rep max and not care about the rest of everything else with your health. So I think that’s been a big, big, big part of it for me as well. Prioritizing recovery, right, I get I’m very regimented with my sleep. Right, especially when I’m leading up to a contest. I’m extremely regimented with my sleep. Hydration, managing stress levels, even nutrition, right? Um, I am on the heavier side, I’m not gonna sit here and act like I’m a, you know, 6% body fat guy, but like, Well, as I’ve aged, my, my diet has gotten a lot better, which, you know, is allowed me I at one point was, let’s see, I was for 10 at one point At my heaviest. Right. And I while I was technically I was strong, I, I just felt like I was giving up more than I wanted. And I also just didn’t like the fact that it was just harder to move around was harder to play with my daughters at that point and stuff like that. So I had made a conscious decision. And they just said, even if it negatively impacted performance, I didn’t care. But honestly, not again, not surprisingly, people didn’t know like, it didn’t, I actually performed better. Once I started dropping some of that weight back at all those little nagging injuries weren’t nagging anymore. And that helped a lot. being smart about listening to the difference between pain and discomfort. Right? You don’t want to just push through everything. Yeah, you got to push through in the middle of a set. And it’s challenging. Yeah, push through it. But ignoring pain in you know, a joint or something like that. You’re like, Man, this hamstring just feels like garbage. And just ignoring it for week after week, month after month. And then all of a sudden, like a week before your contest, and you’re put, you know, two weeks out, you’re doing your last deadlift session, and it goes, it wasn’t because of that session, right? It’s because oftentimes, you ignored it over the last several months. Right. And I think I’ve, I’ve, you know, again, I’m not perfect. I’ve had stuff that’s that’s gone on, you know, too long, if you will, right. But I’ve, I’ve avoided those major, major things, just from listening to my body and kind of understanding that balance. Again, because I’ve never cared enough. I’ve never cared solely about one date for the sacrifice of everything else. Right. It’s not as if I’ve said, Alright, I’m putting everything I have into this date. And no matter what happens at the end, like, you know, if I end up with two broken legs in the end, I don’t care, right. Like, I’ve always thought of things. Yeah. Right. Like, I’ve always thought of things more in long terms, right. Like, honestly, from my career, I’ve never thought anything in shorter terms and like five years, like I’ve, you know, people are like, yeah, in six months, I want to do this. I’m like, That’s too short of a timeframe in my head, right? Like, I never thought of anything less than, like, where are we going to be in five years from now? Because to take that approach, like that’s what it takes to your point as a natural athlete. It just takes time. It takes It’s time and that’s the thing that people, I think struggle with that struggle with whether they do it or not doing it, they, they choose to not do it, then they’re comparing themselves with people that are and they’re getting the results a lot quicker. Well, no crap, right? Like, you can make it to that mountaintop. It’s just gonna take you a lot longer. A lot more, you got to be more patient, you’ve got to learn to win in the margins, if you will, right. Do all those other little things like I said, focus on sleep focus on this that right? And, and pay attention to all those little things. And that’s what will add up a lot more and ironically, or not, ironically, but although same principles applies for even if you aren’t stuff, right, like you can’t sleep two hours a day, eat like absolute garbage, right? be stressed out of your mind, not not hydrate, stick a needle in your ass and then expected that nothing’s gonna go wrong. Of course, that’s not the case. Right? Yeah, but but I think some people who don’t really understand a lot of that stuff, think it’s just this total, like, you know, Genie in a bottle, just rub it and just boom, here it is. Right? You’re right at the top. No, it’s not how it goes.
Yeah, for sure. And I want to backtrack a little bit, because this happens, especially with guys in all of these sports, but trying to get big. Yeah. And it’s like, why are we trying to get big is one of the big things. Some guys just want to look big, or have this masculine look or be the strongest looking guy in the gym, you know, everyone has their different reasons. But from a PT perspective, I’ve seen like guys go to lay on my table, and I’m like, Dude, are you okay? Like, your heart is ticking fast, and you’re just laying down, we know what’s going on. And I’m like, you know how many calories you’re eating whatever, in a lot of times, too. I’ve seen I’ve seen, you know, and it’s just anecdotal. But the guys that are trying to get big, and they’re eating a lot and more than like, as you know, physiologically normal, they just moving so much poorly. And it’s like, everything’s inflamed. And like, your body can only do so much with, you know, to get rid of, you know, filter metabolites of everything else, and you’re just fueling yourself. And we see all these interests are popping up, it’s like, well, you know, it’s not that they’re malnourished by any means, but like the body can only him handle so much strain. And when it’s growing that in a sense of some type of strain on the body, especially, you know, your wants to get faster all day, they’re working harder. The body system, the stress state, and then all of a sudden, you see these people go to start cutting weight, and they might not have even lost much weight yet, but give it a few weeks and like must be something with like, inflammation is down you’re just seeing these people like all of a sudden their mobility is better through you know, systemically through all their joints and everything. It was just really interesting to to see someone go through that. And then like you mentioned to with that on top of people trying to just train to get to the highest mountain as fast as they can is usually a surefire way to to not get there and just those those unrealistic expectations which which are hard to battle, sometimes it’s a coach too, but I think there’s a lot especially now too with like social media, people just see it. Like, all this guy’s doing this, I’m as good as him or I’m stronger him. It’s like, No, this guy’s been in his garage every day practicing, you know, it’s not just strength, its speed, its conditioning, its volume capacity to do this. And I think the other thing people, especially newbies don’t see in the sports is repeatability, right. Like you said, like, I don’t care if I can deadlift 500 pounds today. Like, if if I herniated a disc in my back and I can’t do it for four months. Well, that one day, that didn’t really matter. I will see that I can do this repeatedly, at least on like maybe a weekly to monthly basis that I can come in. And you know, as you get bigger and stronger and more technical, you want to you have less bullets in the chamber to do those things. But at some caliber, I won’t be able to get at least over 90% pain free. You know, maybe once a month or every eight weeks or so depending on what caliber of athlete you’re at. Now, like I said, like, you know, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. A lot of people want to just redline it in their, their in there slinging it to 10 out of 10 every day and said no, no, no. Let’s slow it down.
Yeah, and, you know one of the things with that, like sometimes people just have to learn, right, no matter what, no matter what we say as coaches. Right? It’s just it’s like a kid right? Like tell a kid don’t put their hand on the stove. Don’t put your hand on the stove to put your hand on a stove. They just can I just needed I just need to know what it feels like to put my hand on the stove right here. No matter what we say like no matter how Willington and they know it right, like, I mean a lot of athletes that are like no, no, I understand I’m not trying to rebel against you, but I just kind of got to do this right? They’ll they’ll fight right like it works or like one of my favorite things is like, it works until it doesn’t work, right? They’ll go along and be like, Okay, right? They’ll tell me the plan of what they’re going to do. Right? They’re gonna push, you know, dirt and I’m like, okay, okay, right. And then I’m like, that’s gonna Nick, what do you think I’m like, that’s going to work? And they’re like, Yeah, and I said, Yep, it’s gonna work, right until it doesn’t. And then it’s gonna go horribly. And at that point, they will have another conversation. Right? Yeah. And that’s happened. And they’re like, yeah, it happened. Like you said, right. It worked. It worked. It worked. It worked. And then it didn’t. And then either they got injured or totally plateaued. Right? And then they have to come back, right, and kind of like reassess and reevaluate. And it’s not, like I said, it’s not even it’s 100%. Not I told you. So I’m not that type of guy at all. It’s just more of a like, I want to, I want you to avoid the frustration that I and other people have experienced. Right? If I have this knowledge, I’d like to try to pass it on. It’s not because I want to sit here and tell you, I told you so it’s the opposite. It’s because I’d like to see you go through all that without the mistakes that myself and other people made along the way.
Yep. Yeah, we see that. In the training side, that’s one thing and yet it can stop working, or people will get hurt and rehab, it’s the same thing, like people come in with pain. And like I had a kid the other day sciatica, really bad sciatic all the way down as like shooting pain, and his foot got better. And I told him, I was like, Look, we’re gonna get to this point about four to six weeks into this where your pain is going to go away, and everything’s going to feel really good. And now we’re in this really vulnerable and volatile spot, where you’re gonna have this brain that says, Let’s go do things like deadlift, again, where we used to, but we don’t have the capacity to do that. So don’t do it. Don’t do it. Because you’ll pay for it. I was like, if we’re gonna do it, we got to start small. But let’s not do it until I tell you to. You came in like raging sciatic against what happened. He’s like, I dead lifted. I was like, What did you like, you know, 75% of my max. I was like, Well, you know, there we go. It was like, I know, you told me, and I think it’s having that the expectation there. You know, if I just told him, Yeah, you’re good to deadlift. And he goes and does, that’s one thing. But he had an expectation where it was very much. And I think this is part of like, being a good coach, it’s not that you have to say I told you, so. Although I can do that a fair amount. But giving someone that expectation of yes, this can work. But there’s also the downside of like, there’s plenty of chances, these certain things won’t work at a certain point. And I think, as an athlete, listening to your coach, and, and realizing that because I think a lot of people to see this, and they want to, they don’t want to always take ownership of things for themselves anymore. You know, I’ve had athletes where it’s like, they have these goals, and we surpass them. And I saw that this person could do more, and you get them there. And then it’s like, you go to this national competition. And then it’s like, why want to work with this other coach that had more athletes, whatever it’s like, Alright, cool. If you want to send your videos remotely to someone, even though you could be in the gym with me five days a week, and get feedback, and we’ve put 40 more kilos on your toll than you thought possible. Go ahead. Yeah. So just having those expectations of like, what can work, what’s not gonna work? How this is gonna go in the future, is really important, I think for athletes to realize, like, you know, what, my coach didn’t tell me this six months ago, or like, when your coach is having these conversations with you be cognizant and see what happens, you know, six from six months from now of, was he right? Was he wrong? You know, is there something to what he was telling me before that I need to go back and listen to a little bit more? Because most of us have seen a lot of it that have been doing it for a while. And there’s there’s a lot there that people think they have this, this capacity to do more sometimes than they actually do?
Yeah. 100% 100% And to be honest with you, at a certain point, again, going back to the aging process, like the answer isn’t more, it’s often less it’s often way less than you think. Or, or rather, more recovery, more the everything that isn’t lifting super heavy, right? Yep. Right. But that’s not what feeds the ego. Right? Like so if you can put that aside and understand, right, like I had one friend who like i said, i i credit Andy, my coach Andy, a lot with this. I forget I honestly don’t even remember when I started working with a couple years ago. I knew I was at a point where I just said, I know how to beat the EverLiving hell out of myself. I can do that. I did my own programming for a while right. And it worked. It truly did like I’d done well, I’d won, you know, one big competitions. But I also knew that like I was aging, and if I had kept pushing in the manner that I was, I wasn’t going to be in the sport much longer. Right? And part of me hiring him was to twofold. One, I didn’t want to think about programming for myself, right? You write enough programs, you’re like, I just, I just want just like everybody else who hires us, right? Like, I want somebody else to just send me that whatever it is the program, I followed blindly, right? Not blind, that’s too strong, but without thinking about it without without thinking about it ahead of time, right? It a lot of his approaches. We’re not pushing heavy weight a ton of the time, certainly in the offseason are coming off of the context of something else coming up. It’s a lot more form based and being cognizant of movement patterns and, and those kinds of things that I think are really important to kind of help address those things. So potential injuries down the road are occurring with heavier load, right? I think that’s, that’s something that’s too often overlooked. And in strength sports is peeling back enough, like well, what well, if I’m not dead lifting super heavy, you’re gonna mean nine months, a year, 12 months a year, I’ll just lose all of it. Right? If I’m not doing this heavy or that heavy all the time, I’ll lose it. Not really, right. Like, there may be certain things where like, you’ve got to keep a certain baseline, right? Like I’m not saying just totally stopped deadlifting that’s not my point. Right? But, but feeling like you need to go heavy, often enough is actually not the answer, especially as you as you age, right?
No, it’s interesting, you bring that up. So weightlifting, for me is a really good example. So I’ve always been a pretty decent dead lifter. I love deadlift to like sumo deadlift is my thing. I’m probably better at that than anything else I do in weightlifting, honestly. But I just don’t enjoy training for powerlifting like I do weightlifting. So I chose weightlifting, I just I have an infatuation with that sport. Yeah. You know, in weight, weightlifting, powerlifting, very different because our intensities, and our loads are different. So you know, with powerlifting, you are lifting a very high neurological level threshold or intensity of load where, and weightlifting, relatively speaking, like, you can squat a lot more than you can snatch or you can clean, right, you can deadlift a lot more than you can clean. So we’re just not lifting the same weights. But we’re doing the frequency probably two to three times as much. So every day, you know, we have three main movements. And two of them are SNATCH and CLEAN. So everything’s coming from the floor, everything is a deadlift. And everything is some form of a squat. So I never saw I when I really got into weightlifting, I didn’t deadlifts like a conventional or a sumo deadlift. I didn’t touch it for nine months. And I had a 485 deadlift at the time, I came back. And I had a big competition, I took a few weeks off, and I went back and within three weeks, I four hit 485 For not a single but a double. And it was just like a big piece of music. I don’t have to push everywhere all the time. Because, you know, I had a 485 deadlift, but my the most I was lifting a weight lifting was just around 300 pounds. Sure, so a big difference in weight, and just that frequency in your training different aspects of the speed, the power, you know, just force vectors into the ground and everything are all similar enough where, you know, not the same pattern, not the same exercise, none of the intensity there. The trait stayed stayed there the whole time. So it definitely is something it was a good, like, reflection for me to be like, oh, you know, we don’t have to kill ourselves all the time to be strong when we want to be if I just choose a couple of weeks to actually ramp it up and train that aspect again. So
yeah, 100% election. Oh, go ahead. I’m sorry.
I know you go ahead. No, I
was just gonna say it. Stuff like that. Always reiterated it like when I talk to other people. When I was out in Norway, I was actually Ed Cohen was there for the whole week. We were there in chatting. He was doing a seminar talk, and we were catching up afterward. And he was saying that in his offseason, he wouldn’t do any conventional power lifts. So his deadlift might be SNATCH GRIP deficit, right like or stiff leg he do stiff leg or like RDLs for like nine weeks after probably for me where he wouldn’t do his traditional right his like, modified sumo stance. He’s like, he’s like, I know. He’s like, my technique was perfect with that. He’s like, I know how to do that. I’m sorry. Hang with that in order to get the stimulus out of that, I need to push it away that I shouldn’t that far out from the next meet. Right? So he was doing that or he do high bar close down squats for weeks on end. Right. Then bench he, you know, he talked about doing different bench variations. The whole point is that like, you know, think about that, right? Like who that is and what he’s accomplished. And he’s saying like, after meat when he started or rather when he starts his meat prep for the the following one, right? He always worked. He always said he worked backwards. Like, this is what I want to hit at the meat on that day. And he worked backwards. Now, the first eight weeks or nine weeks of that prep are nothing to do with what he’s actually competing in. Right. And I think that’s an important lesson that, again, longevity, a guy who competed at a very high level for very long, right? is telling you stuff like that you don’t need to bang your head against the wall doing the same thing, you know, trying to hit 8590 plus percent week in week out with the same three lifts or same two lifts. Right?
Yeah, absolutely. And, I mean, something we see too in physical therapy all the time. And we call it the movement pyramid of you know, just like you have your old the old school food pyramid, but with movement is at the top we have skill. So that could be your competition level strength movements, whether it be strongman, weightlifting, whatever. These are going to take, you know, agility, strength, speed, coordination, endurance, what have you. And then under that you have your capacity of this is your endurance, your strength, your power outputs, things, we’re gonna typically train the straights in the gym. And then under that we have your basic movement competencies of mobility, stability, balance, motor control, whatever. And so many times, it’s just like, you hear people tell you their story of what, how they ended up in my office. And it’s just like, yeah, you put the horse before the car or the cart before the horse. And it’s like, you’re missing all these little basic competencies or capacities, and you’re trying to do this high level skilled work. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And it’s, it’s like, yeah, you’re right. I did. Yeah. Show them a visual. Oh, yeah. And 90% of training injuries could probably be prevented. If we just had more time with the fundamentals. To like, specially power lifters getting a powerlifter stand on one leg, if you’re a power lifter, and you’re listening to this, like you, there’s a 99% chance you need to stand on one leg more often an exercise in a single leg variation. And 199% of your issues will probably go away
100% along with to that exact point, right one of the things that I do we do like in foundational stuff, you know, post post competition, stuff like that. Things I suck at that I’ve been getting better at over the years Single Leg deadlifts Copenhagen last right, like dead bugs, bird dog stop, right? Like, all those little things, right? It’s not putting 1100 pounds of yoke on my back, right? I’ve done that. I know how to do that. But like, that’ll beat the hell out of me. But if I don’t have those foundational things, right, set in place, if I go take that deliver her pony yoke again. It could be catastrophic, right?
Yeah. Have you ever had any big injuries? I remember a couple years ago, I heard you like, you torn Achilles or strained a calf or something.
I tore a calf. Yep. That so that’s the only muscle I’ve torn, torn calf doing a tire flip. And that was really, I mean, so I’ve had a lifelong kind of battle with a low back injury that over the years, I had heard everything like I saw one guy wanted to put me in a brace basically from my chest to my pelvis, right, because he thought my spine hadn’t fused together. To one guy just said, you’re just not doing enough sit ups and planks, right? To everything in between. Right and they ended up getting what through kind of just self discovery I ended up listening to Greg Cook speaking he talked about how what’s the basically the summarize like the what’s the issue is not actually the issue, right? He’s like, go look up or down the chain. Right. And he’s, you know, basically talked about the hips a lot more. And if there’s a dispute, if there’s, you know, pain in the low back and maybe dysfunction in the hips, the glutes, right, like all of that, and that kind of led me into that. And so, over the years, it’s gotten a lot better for sure. It’ll flare up every once in a while, but I now know so much more about it to know when a flare up might happen and totally headed off or if it does happen, learn to just shut it down immediately. And Only we don’t for me are down quote unquote, like, for the year two versus like two weeks, right? Plus we’re like, in the past, I had had times where like for a week I couldn’t, I could barely get out of bed that type of like locked up pain, right. So
that’s something I was thinking of, too. I was wondering about your back, because I’ve seen Eric a couple of times for his back, something I might want to revisit with you. Because you saw the very young Brett as a clinician, and now I’ve got a couple more years of experience under my belt, and a lot more training. So it’s other we could talk about after, because I almost just want to revisit and reflect on it for my own good to sure it might be. That might be good to go back to but yeah. Anything else you have that you wanted to speak on about? You know, training recovery longevity here?
I would say yeah, one one last thing. I think one of the things that mentality wise, especially as you age comparison, right? Meaning, I don’t one of the things that helped me and I just had this conversation with a friend of mine, I don’t compare myself to the 32 year old version of me, right? Because guess what, I’m probably going to come up short in certain nests, right? Like, I compare myself to, you know, I’m trying to be the best 41 year old version of myself, right. Because if you if you if you’re comparing yourself to the best version, you know, quote, unquote, you know, if you’re at a point where like, you feel like the best years you are behind you, you’re always going to fall short. Right? If you’re using that, that mentality, that comparison, I don’t do that. I just say, Alright, here’s the best, I’m gonna try to be the best, you know, 41 year old version of myself, right? And that’s helped out a lot, because then my mind is free of thing. Like, yeah, I, you know, I did do something heavier than that at one point, right. And part of the other thing is, I actually am getting stronger, and a lot of like, I’m actually I just had somebody build me, an atlas stone, it’s gonna be heavier, I’m gonna try to go for like a 550 pound Atlas stone in the next few months, and I’m hitting certain PRs on certain things I truly like all time prs? Right, but certain things. I think some of my better lifts are probably behind me. And I’m totally fine with that. Right? If I if I only do you know, 98% of what I did before 95% of what I did before, I’m happy with that. Right? So like I said, I think trying to not compare yourself because again, at a certain point, it’s, it’s totally a losing battle. Nobody knows. 55 year old version of somebody is better than the 35 year old version of them, or 25 year old version of them, assuming, again, assuming that 25 year old version of them was like the peak, right, like physical and everything, right? Like if they got into it at 54 That, of course, maybe a 55 year old version of that was better, right. But you know, what I’m trying to say?
Yeah, there’s a lot there to have comparing yourself. I think at that level too, especially day to day in the gym of there’s less you need to compare to your prior Soph or just to others, whether these people are your age younger than you older than you whatever, like, I feel like the older you get in the sports, especially with your training age. Because the thing with training age too, is you learn to become much more efficient with firing motor neurons and patterns and things. So there I found this to have like, and when I was, you know, when I was younger, I was younger, just, you know, physiologically, nerves fire faster, we recover faster, and hormones are in better levels, genetics are just more at our advantage than they are as we age after 26 or so. But then there’s the whole life stress to have like, yeah, when I was in college, and I literally just I had to find food. Yeah, well work 10 hours a week study and go to the gym whenever I had the free time. And now it’s like, okay, now I have a business now I have 10 employees, now I have a home I have to make sure like we’re, you know, putting money down for and whatever else. And I have all these different plans on top of, I’m just older. But I’ve noticed with my own training now too, is like, I have many more unsuspecting good days and also just as many like unsuspecting bad days, which is okay. Just like not every day the only day that really matters is your competition day, right? Yeah. And there will maybe like peak days before that where it’s like, I don’t you know, it doesn’t matter if someone next to me had a good day like good for them. But no shame on me. Like this is part of training in a way of yeah, if you just keep getting down on yourself because you’re having bad days, you know, then you’re taking the fun out of it for yourself. It’s really important to not be doing or comparing yourself to you or the others because as As we get older and thanks to we don’t want to be, we only we get less shots in the chamber or less bolts in the chamber so we can be okay with not having a really hard training day. And you know, you mentioned and Triana, and I actually want to have him on the podcast. I’ve never really talked to him. I’ve heard him speak before. And I’ve seen a lot of guys trained under him. It seems like he just has a very different style of like, programming and things to where I haven’t seen many in like, phenomenal coach, like he has a lot of high level guys. He coaches now, right? Yeah. Yeah. And a lot of it seems like it’s like, and I’ve seen him talk a lot to just about, like, energy systems and intention. And this and that, like, very few days, it seemed like his guys are slinging a lot of weight around.
Yeah. And maybe they are like, just by the nature of just how strong they are. But it’s not only for them. Yeah, yeah, exactly. Compared to live for them. Not as much. Yeah. And it goes back to, to that exact point you were just making to is like, one of the things I like to try to tell people is like, train for the date, not the day, meaning, you know, if you’re competing, you’re competing on October 30. Trained, so that you’re at your peak October 30. I don’t need you to set a PR wants you to set a PR September 12. Right. Yeah. Yeah, right. Too many people are like, Yes, I won today. I won today’s training session, right. Like, I went off program and I hit a PR you’re like, great, like, and then they just totally bomb at out of meat. Yeah. Right. You’re like, I don’t need you to be at your best today. I need you to be at your best that day. Right? Which is also it also goes it ties in with. I always joke with people and tell them like, oh, yeah, go ask like Brian Shaw or go ask like, Steffi Cohen. Like, what’s the one training day that you can remember that led to that championship? Right? They’d look at you like, You’re crazy, because there is no one single day of training that led to that. The point is that it’s a cumulative effect, right. They’re like, I remember on July 12, I put on this DMX song. And that totally is what won me world Strongest Man six months later. Yeah, that’s not how it works. Right?
Yep. That’s actually that’s a really good point is I’ve seen this as a coach too. And you see this with this has nothing to do with with people that are new, the sport is like, don’t let that that first competition freak you out and stress you out. Because like, at the end of the day, at the end of the day, no one really cares. Except you like yourself competing now. And and use see everyone like, you know, two, three weeks out from their first competition, like everything becomes super important. Every trading day, is you know, they’re so so gung ho about and like when, when something goes a little bit off or a little bit wrong than perfect. Everyone loses their minds. Yeah. And it’s like, and then a lot of them got they have just just very good, you know, competition day and the adrenaline zero or whatever. And every good athlete, I’ve had anyone not not good athlete, like, you’re at the meet and I always kind of reflect on after and I’m like, what was it it’s like, this person just they have a good mindset. They’ve been training consistently. We didn’t have sleep, just like a slew of like, you know, some, some athletes will go through a funk of like months, especially in weightlifting, like just your snatch will be off your clean, a jerk will be off, and then all of a sudden they switch. And I think I know, some of these things happen. But it’s not like there was one bad day that ruin this person, or, you know, one really good day that landed them in the position they got to today. The the other piece with that, too, like you said, and this is something I test weightlifting is interesting, where it’s one of the only sports because I think it’s the the intensity is lower the recovery is faster, that a lot of times you will some coaches will have people PR or try to like hit the heavy singles The week before the competition, and then you taper down for that week. But I’ve also kind of beta test this all the time with athletes have like, one meet will do will max out. And then the next meet, I won’t have them go past 95% And they’re like, What the fuck? And I’m like, Yeah, that’s that’s all we’re doing. I’m like, Why, like, I should be trying like to see what I can do. I’m like, we’ll find out on Monday. Like, yeah, you know, you’re still gonna if you can hit 95% and it’s clean, like, you should have good confidence going into that meet. I was like, God forbid we try to hit 100 and you miss. Yeah. And then you’ve got to do it on meat and you don’t know if you can do it. That’s not a good headspace to be in. And I want to find the percent. I’ve been finding been finding that people do much better with that like 95% Keep it hungry. Does a lot better than they just have, you know, they won their trend because they hit what Coach said to do, even though they couldn’t go heavier. But yeah, it’s definitely, definitely a little mind games we can play with people sometimes, too. Yeah. So, yeah. That was a lot of good stuff we had there. And Geez, how do we summarize this? I don’t usually have like an agenda to write it down. But COVID had killed me. So yeah, I guess the big main themes there is. Take it slow train for train for the competition date and not to just beat the day. You usually need to do less than you think more is not always better. Do some of the things you suck at and their offseason, don’t always just do what’s fun, or what you feel is like you want to do. What else do we have there? Binaural Beats, I’m gonna listen to binaural beats now. 432 hertz, 432 hertz, does it? Does it not work? If I go to 433?
That’s a good question. I don’t know. I’ve never been brave enough to try. At the lat The only other thing I’d say is just fine. Find something you find joy in, right? Whether it’s a string sport, something else, right? You want to just be like, I just hate this, then go do something else. Right? You and everybody else around you will be will be better for it. Yeah, right. Go find something you have you find joy in that, when when it really, really sucks. And those training sessions are really, really hard. You still want to do it. Right? Fine, whatever that is.
Yeah. And, and when it does suck too, don’t be afraid to take time off and go do something else. Because you don’t the sport is not there and you’re not gonna lose it all from not training that intensity all the time. Just like I said, with my deadlift, you can you could not do it for eight months and it’s still there, do something a little more fun. And you might come back and even be better at it so well, thank you Eric for coming on. This is just a good chat coach to coach and a business owner to business owner gym owner. And where can people find you?
Yeah, Jim on social media and Instagram is Titan barbells just add Titan barbell on Instagram. Same thing on Facebook just Titan barbell. I also have my own personal page on Instagram Cookie Monster strongman is my own personal page where I’ll put up some my own training stuff. What is your tagline
on there? I saw that I laugh last night actually.
What do they say? They call me a monster but I just love cookies. Yeah. Yeah, then or email if you want to email you want to check out the gym. Just Eric errc at Titan barbell dotnet
pretty cool gym. It’s a pretty cool environment. I’ve had the opportunity to myself to do probably the biggest seminar is still done in there. So maybe I’ll have to come back to do another one at some point. Definitely live myself. And yeah, Eric’s a great guy. He’s got a lot of information and wisdom under his belt. So feel free to check out his gym and you won’t be disappointed there. And for all of you that enjoy the podcast, we have a few awesome guests coming on in the next few weeks. We’ve got some more lined up. So we’ll be talking about TRT and steroids female pelvic health, and I got a couple others lined up that I just can’t think of off the top of my head. So everyone thanks for listening in. Hope to see you back next time. Take care.