I spent this weekend in the historic city of Birmingham Alabama “Masterminding” with a few of the most interesting strength and fitness coaches in our industry. This was a symposium of brains and brawn brought together by my friend and colleague Dave Hall.
Dave’s intention with what he has come to call the “Mental Meathead Meeting“, was to bring together fitness professionals and coaches who not only display competence in the developments of muscular strength and performance, but also approach their work in a poetic or philosophical manner.
If you been following my work for a while you know exactly why Dave invited me to speak. My talk extended far beyond the simplistic ideas about how to add more weight to a barbell or how to shape your biceps.
In a moment I’ll share an outline of my speech on body psychology as well as the dynamic meditation session that followed. But first I would like to share some of the ideas that I gained while listening to the other speakers.
The first speaker was Jason C Brown. If you’ve been in the fitness industry for a while, you might remember Jason as an accomplished kettle bell coach who owned a successful gym training clients and athletes.
As Jason has evolved as a man so has his style of training And his mission which he calls The Pathfinder Method. The philosophy that he follows is very Zen-like, in that training should be an end in itself and not only a means to an end. It is his mission to make training a pleasurable experience for people. In a world where fitness is more masochistic than life-affirming it is a breath of fresh air to find a man who simply wants people to enjoy exercise, free from any egocentric drive.
Jason’s workouts are very similar to what you might experience in a mixed martial arts training center. Jason is a big believer in body weight training and opening the nervous system to new and unique expressions of movement. Like myself, Jason realizes that the mind and body can easily get locked into habitual patterns that over time grow pathological and generally land people into the proverbial rut. Both in life and in fitness.
I offered my presentation after Jason’s, but it wasn’t without first overcoming a hurdle. My presentation required that loud music be played for the participants to engage with, but there was no stereo system available at the gym. So Dave and I traveled around Birmingham during our lunch break to find a Bluetooth speaker system that would allow the music to play loud during my presentation.
I opened the talk by teaching the participants how to deepen their breath and ground their energy with two bioenergetic exercises that I have taught you in some of my videos. First was The Bow, second was shaking and vibrating the body. As the shaking and vibrating rose in their bodies I played the following song for them to freely express themselves through dance.
After the dance I taught them some of the ideas brought to us by Wilhelm Reich, specifically with regard to the muscular armoring, or what I’ve referred to as “neurotic holding patterns”, that physically and mentally stifles our ability to become the strongest version of ourselves.
This was followed by a dynamic meditation where myself and the participants exhausted ourselves for an entire hour while going through various exercises and emotional release techniques but ultimately concluded with a silent meditation and discussion on how our experiences with it.
The next speaker was Matt Wichlinski, who owns The Strength Shop gym in Fort Lauderdale Florida.
If you’ve ever met Matt or have seen him on YouTube, you already know just how freakishly strong, energetic, entertaining, and brilliant he is.
Matt’s presentation was centered around his method for program design at his gym. He described the stages that he takes his clients through during each strength training session. Of course every session is tailored to the goals and needs of the individual client, but Matt follows a structure that ensures that everyone’s needs are met.
What struck me as most powerful in Matt’s methods is the amount of body weight, specifically gymnastic, exercises that he does. Much work is done on rings, chin up bars, with bands, and even leaning against a wall.
Here again is confirmation that all of the best and strongest coaches around are focusing heavily on bodyweight training, structural integrity, and core strength.
The final speaker was Chip Conrad. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to participate in Chip’s presentation as I had a flight that would bring me home just in time to have dinner and bath-time with my little ones.
Chip is the brain behind Body Tribe Fitness. I invite you to explore his website read his blog posts, or even invest in some of his books as his ideas are, again, very progressive and resourceful for those looking to evolve their strength.
Once I get in touch with chip and get a feel for what he spoke about this weekend I will bring you up-to-date and share some of his ideas with you.
Also, Dave have the entire event recorded and will be available on DVD or video download within a few weeks. I’ll keep you posted on when that is available.
Before I conclude I just like to share my gratitude for you and let you know just how much I appreciate having you as a reader, viewer, supporter and fan.
There are many brilliant strength, fitness and bodybuilding coaches on the Internet, published in books, and found in seminars throughout the world. To know that you have chosen to invest your time, energy and resources in exploring my ideas is humbling.
Keep growing stronger,