This past weekend I had the chance to watch a screener of the upcoming American Weightlifting: A Documentary. This film was a passion project by Greg Everett of Catalyst Athletics, one of the premiere weightlifting facilities in the United States.
The film itself runs about two hours, and takes a detailed look at the state of Olympic Weightlifting in this country and the inherent struggles the United States faces to becoming successful on a worldwide stage. We get to hear from experienced coaches, see a ton of footage of both modern facilities and ‘original’ gyms, and marvel at the dedication of the athletes. The film feels episodic – like a survey course of Olympic Weightlifting rather than having a specific theme. Perhaps my favorite parts were learning more about the history of weightlifting (see: Father Lange of Notre Dame) and watching one of the young US phenoms, D’Angelo Osorio, go through a weightlifting competition. I would love to see a full documentary just following one of these athletes some day!
I was lucky to have the chance to ask Greg about the state of Olympic Weightlifting in the US and what the future holds in store. Here’s what he had to say:
Matt: What motivated you to film this documentary, and what do you hope the film will accomplish for the weightlifting community?
Greg: “I thought it was something that needed to be done for the sake of helping the sport grow and recognizing the people who keep it alive, and I was fairly confident that no one else would be jumping on the task any time soon. Really I have no business making a movie, having no experience, no training, and no money, but the reality of the sport is that those are exactly the kind of circumstances we’re operating in much of the time. I think that despite it not being the greatest achievement of filmmaking, the way in which it was made is important part of the message it conveys, namely that we need to put in the work and find ways to get things done no matter what kind of disadvantages we’re facing.” Continue reading →
In the previous post of this series, I revealed why we are already in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. Enough of the madness! It’s time to arm yourself with strategies to survive and thrive in the modern world.
1. Avoid Mindless Eating
This is a great tool I got from my good friend and fellow coach Nate Miller. Before each meal, try practicing this mindfulness routine -
Why am I eating?
Is it making me healthy, or is it making me sick?
Is it worth it?
OWN your decisions, and begin to understand your motivations for those decisions. Brain de-zombified!
2. Remove Environmental Toxins
We need to think about our food as a part of our environment. Our environment modifies our genes, our phenotype, and can exacerbate autoimmune and other inflammatory conditions. Your mission – eliminate grains, legumes, sugar, dairy, and alcohol for 4 weeks. Add them back and see how you look, feel, and perform. Health de-zombified!
I finally had a chance to sit down and read “The Practicing Mind” by Thomas Sterner while on a plane to Ireland. This is part of a kick I’ve been on recently on how to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of practice. Not only do I want to improve my ability to learn new skills quickly, I want to be a more effective coach as well. I only get to work with people three hours a week, max. It is super important that these sessions be as successful as possible, and that the new movement patterns “stick” with clients long outside their time with me.
Though there are several lessons to be learned from this book, the one that stuck with me the most is this: Maintain your focus on practice in the moment, not comparing yourself to your end goal. This produces short-term satisfaction and long-term success.
Searching for Bobby Handstand
I saw immediate feedback with my quest to master the handstand. I realized that I was falling into the trap of wanting the handstand so badly, that my practice suffered. Every day was a failure because I hadn’t reached my end goal – a solid freestanding handstand. As soon as I switched my goal from “I want to do a handstand” to “I am going to practicea handstand for 5 minutes today”, my practice sessions took off. Now, every time I spent 5 minutes working on a handstand, I was a success. Continue reading →
I wanted to share with you a couple of quick videos of some training I’ve been working on with my main-man Nate. These are movements I’ve been progressing up to over the past year, so it was awesome when it all came together! Also, I’ll be leaving for Ireland for a week (yay for family vacations!) but hope to shoot some cool movement sequences to share with you all while I’m over there.
To build your own MovNat program, it’s important to understand the relationship between conditioning and skill acquisition. Far from being mutually exclusive, your current strength and conditioning program can absolutely feed into a rich natural movement practice. The key is progression – a relationship I call theskill-conditioning continuum.
Gray Cook writes in his book “Movement” that we should never add strength to a movement dysfunction. This sentiment is echoed in MovNat’s philosophy – you will gain conditioning through training movement skills, but not necessarily the other way around. Continue reading →