Catching up on Athletes in the News

Erin Ginsberg has come back from two surgically repaired knees to fulfill her dream of playing college soccer.  A lot can be said about what it takes and how you never give up, no matter what the obstacle may be:

Jackson Smith, takes part in almost taking out the Varsity Squad in McHenry and a great performance regardless:

Ali wins Basketball Athlete of the week

Austin Rodgers leads area scoring before an injury has him sidelined for the rest of the season.  Unfortunate for this very gifted athlete.
Tate, Ephrain, Danny, Bennett all prove to be wicked smart in addition to being great athletes


2014 World Championships-Time to come clean

This blog post has changed shape several times.  Originally was going to be a post about how one gets older their training methods must change to accommodate different changes that come with that increased age.  Due to several events happening since I started writing this it has now changed shape and scope about 12 times and if i don’t send it out now, not sure it will ever get sent out.  So this may be a little bit all over the place, but aren’t we all sometimes.

There comes a time when every athlete has to accept the realization that they need to change the way they train.  When you realize it takes you longer to recover from a workout.  Your joints hurt just a little bit more.  The minor aches, pains, and injuries start to happen more often.  You need to start taking care of your body more effectively.  Make sure you get to bed early, not eat with reckless abandon.

It is not all about your biological age.  As athletes or anyone gets older more responsibilities come into play.  In a sport like mine where you are likely not going to make enough money to make a living there are a lot of things that making training more difficult and less convenient.  Work and responsibilities increase as you get older, some may have a family to take care of, a business to run, any number of things that make having time to train more difficult.  Or at least making excuses not to train easier to justify.

This is not excuse nor is this something I just learned this week.  Quite the contrary.  I have been aware of this for a while.  I am one of the old men in this sport and I have to train smarter than the rest to stay competitive.  All that being said, you can do everything right and still have things happen.

I am usually not one to talk about my insecurities, or fears.  Not something I share often.  But I am no different from anyone else and yes these things exist in me.  I am as human as anyone else and as J.C. Quinn taught me from the movie Barfly ”no more full of shit than anyone else”.  I have been dealing with a shoulder issue that has gotten to the point that I have to shower with my left arm only.  I have a hip injury from Nationals that still hasn’t healed.  I have a right hand torn open making gripping even the lightest of implements feel like my hand is on a hot stove.  Only 6 weeks to the world championship and I will have a slew of people who will accompany me to the big dance.  I hadn’t told anyone about my shoulder till a recent post on facebook and I have been receiving messages of support and concern ever since.  Unfortunately, I think I gave off the wrong impression of why I finally came clean.  It was not to make excuses or show weakness or vulnerability believe me in the beginning as they injuries were piling up I had plenty of that.  It was my way of saying that I am not worried about these injuries anymore.  That I no matter how hard I get hit on my road to Worlds I am going to hit back harder.  I will be the best I ever have been on Competition day, no matter what I have to do to make it happen.   Lets go back a couple of weeks to where my mind-set started to change.

I had my right hand man Kevin back for the better part of the last month.  The timing was nice as it is the end of a grueling season that will culminate in said World Championships at the End of February.  Was able to take a little extra time off, recharge my batteries, and heal up a little bit to get ready for my final surge for the big stage.  I Took some time to catch up with some family I haven’t spoken to in a while, some old friends that I don’t get to see often these days and my fellow competitors across the country.  Was nice to check in and see what was going on.   I had a few talks with a new (and quickly becoming good) friend, fellow old man competitor, former NFL trainer, and one of the most elite strength coaches I have ever met (one I really look up to as a strength coach myself).  He will be at the Arnold as a competitor himself and one of the first things he said to me was “I am looking forward to you finishing things off at the Arnold”.

It hit me hard.  I have had a hell of a year and finishing things at the Arnold would be a perfect ending.  In the last 12 months I set a National record, finished 2nd in the Country, won 2 NAS titles, and had a blast all the way.  Debated on coming clean to him or not.  I eventually did.  Told him I was feeling strong but dealing with injuries of the not so minor variety.  That I was to the point that what I was looking forward to most was just the opportunity to play.  While I would be as ready as I could be and give my all, I was just happy to be there.  Then he said this:  “Be appreciative, but never satisfied! The joy in eating comes while eating thus the joy is in the process!”

I knew exactly what he was saying.  What the hell was I complaining about?  Or worried about for that matter?  I just had one of the most respected coaches in the Nation tell me he thinks I am a favorite, despite what I just told him.  And you know what?  He was right.  It got me thinking way past just me, and the part of me being a baby that these injuries came at a bad time.  BAD TIME?  How can any of this be a bad time?  Let me elaborate.

Last year I was fortunate enough to take part in a piece of this sports history.  The first ever World Championships for 175 lb strongmen.  It is something I will never forget and something that will always be special for me.  Making it even more special, I got to coach one of my athletes compete at the same show.  A record-breaking female athlete of mine for that matter (shameless plug).  Making this team bigger than me is the ultimate goal and some coaches may never get to see their athletes on that stage.

This year?  I get to compete with and against a teammate, Adam Corra.  Little Crystal Lake IL and Davis Speed Center sends 2 to the world championships two years in a row.  It is humbling and proud moment of mine knowing I have had a part in Adam’s success as a strongman.

So I will be side by side with my training partner, thinking about how I have already coached an athlete to the World stage, thinking about my records, my accomplishments, but mostly thinking about all the amazing people I have met along the way.  All the experience I have had and the support I have earned.  It kind of makes the pain go away, well actually it doesn’t make the pain go away but it certainly makes it easier to deal with.  It makes you remember why you do all this, why you are so hungry.  That you are a positive influence on the people you encounter, and it is you’re calling to inspire and lead by example.  It tells me that if it is not bad enough to keep me from getting out of bed in the morning, that nothing is going to stop me this year.  I have so many people behind me that it sometimes doesn’t even seem real.  We all want the same thing.

Seems like Everyone has my back

1 More month of training.  Champions are made in the gym.  There is a positive and even advantageous side to this story.  Not being able to train everything lets me get really good at that I can do.  Time to out work this field of fellow lunatics and leave it all out there.

I wouldn’t have any of this it wasn’t for all of you who are reading this right now, all of you who have helped along the way, all of you who have ever cheered for me.  Going to try and do this done for all of us.

I hope that clears some things up.



It’s not the size of the person, It’s the size of their Heart

Been slacking on getting my new blog posts up here.  Have a few that I just haven’t finished but after seeing what I did a week ago at the event we hosted, I didn’t want to wait on this one, because as a trainer seeing this stuff is the coolest thing in the world.

I love competitions, serious ones, or just for fun.  I think it is healthy and teaches athletes young and old a whole lot of lessons that will help them in their sport and in life.  On the other side of the spectrum nothing drives me more crazy than hearing a capable athlete tell me they would like to do the competition and it sounds fun but they don’t feel “I can win” or “I am not ready for this one going against ________.

There is a lot more I could write on why doing these competitions are beneficial and why I try to get all my athletes to do them.  Instead I am going to share 4 stories of 4 very inspiring females with their videos who competed, and kicked ass.  These are 4 females who if you heard them say they were not ready for this competition, or didn’t feel it was for them, you would probably understand.  The contestants in this contest included at least 8 collegiate level athletes, 4 of which are division I, 3 top level strongman competitors and 1 that should be, and rounded out by some of the top high school athletes and strength coaches in the area.  Me, well, I wasn’t the least bit surprised that they did compete and did so well.  I am not sure anyone can read this and watch the video attached and not be motivated.

Athlete 1:  The athlete you will see first in this video is 15 years old, competes in cheerleading and track and field.  She was a member of the youngest team in the competition.  She also has 3 less fingers than, probably, everyone who is going to read this post.  I have worked with this young lady for a couple of months and not once has she ever used anything about anything as an excuse of what she can or can’t do.  The Friday before the contest I was not working.  My employee was working with her on picking up an Atlas Stone (an event in the contest and something she had never done). For anyone who has lifted a stone before you can imagine how hard it would be only being able to use one hand fully.  Even an experienced stone loader may not be able to pull this off.  I received a message on facebook from someone watching her try that said “_________ really struggles with the stone; I don’t think it is fair to have her do it, maybe we should have her do the keg twice tomorrow”.  No more than 5 minutes later I got a text from the young female competitor saying the same thing.  Here was my reply and the actual conversation:

Me:  Don’t worry about it.  You will load the stone, I will show you how in the morning.

Her:  Ok sounds good.

Not a question of how.  Not a doubt of ‘what if it doesn’t work?’  But you have to be around this young woman to understand that she knows there is nothing that can stop her, there are just some things that she doesn’t know yet.  Watch her load the stone, albeit unorthodox, no problem.

Athlete 2:  The second lady you will see in this video is 48 years old, an age where most adults have long since slowed down.  Those who haven’t slowed are usually trying to keep their weight manageable and/or doing what they need to play with their kids or keep up with day to day activities.  Not this woman.  She has quickly become a motivating factor for everyone who sees her at the gym.  Turning heads with every feat of strength she accomplishes and goal she reaches.  In about 6 months of lifting weights this 5’2 115 lb woman deadlifts 225 lbs for reps and carries farmer handles that weigh 140 lbs each as easily as she carries groceries.  Competing on a badly injured ankle this Saturday you will see her put the doubters to rest and guaranteed to impress you all.  Age doesn’t dictate old or young, you activity does.  She doesn’t train to add years to her life; she is training to add life to her years.  Nothing like a friendly competition to bring that out.

Athlete 3:  The third young lady in this video I have only had a chance to work with on a few occasions.  Still in middle school, everyone can learn a lot from observing her in action.  She is a member of our speed program and the first thing she ever said to me at the gym was, “I want to lift that” (this was in reference to a 650+ lb tire).  She has zero to very minimal weight training experience and would be called upon to load three implements that weighed more than she does to a platform 42 inches high.  In addition to this she would be required to carry an implement that weighed more than her, Put it in a wheelbarrow that also contained me (fatty), and a 60 lb sandbag and carry it 50 feet, push a sled that was 3x her body weight, and hold on for dear life while I lumbered like a bear for 80 feet.  The amount of heart, toughness, perseverance, and never-say-die, never quit in this girl is not even measurable.  As you will see in the video when she does the loading event, how happy I am.  Because I know exactly what she was feeling and I know how bad she wanted it.  Very cool to see from a (her) coach.  Loved every second of competing side by side with her and watching her fight for every inch.  In fact I didn’t even something so small could have so much fight.

Athlete 4:  The final athlete in this video is also still in middle school.  Had to take on a new partner the day of the contest due to her regular partner coming down sick.  She was nervous, she was uncomfortable, and she was smaller than just about everyone.  In training this young lady has already reached unbelievable levels of strength for her size and age, pulling deadlifts of 220 lbs just weeks after a broken arm had her sidelined for over a month.  She is little more tentative than the other females in this competition, she doubts herself more than she should, even questions her ability at times.  What I know with 100% confidence is that she is starting to believe in herself more and more, and when the day comes that she realizes and achieves what she is capable of she is going to astonish people with her feats.  Few have as much raw strength as she possesses, tolerance for training through pain and being uncomfortable, and ability to smile for over 34 hours each day (yep I don’t know how either).  My favorite part (yes it is in the video) was when she loaded the stone in the contest Saturday.  The stone was her third and final implement and I was right next to her.  She picked it up to her lap and struggled with a couple attempts at the load.  I saw the look on her face and knew exactly what was going through her head and what she was going through.  There were only 2 things that happen when you are in this situation (and I have experienced them both).  Option 1.  This is what you know is going to happen, because you have nothing left and you wasted it on your first two attempts, and you are about to disappoint your teammate.  You’re going to miss the rep and know that if you did it the first time right you would have had it.  You will be mad at yourself, disappointed, and for lack of a better phrase be really pissed off at the World.    Option 2:  You know this is impossible.  Your body is at exhaustion, everything hurts doing one of the most taxing total body exercises there is.  You dig down to that place only you know exists and you give one more leave-it-all-on-the-table lift.  Before you even know if it is reality yet you realize that you just pulled off what even you didn’t think would happen.  Then you see what you are made of and no one can take the smile off your face.  Unfortunately the video cuts off right before she makes the load.  I promise you that it was successful, and I also wanted to take a vote on who was happier after it happened.  Her or me.  Because I was right there, and it was nothing short of awesome.

Nothing more to say on this; just have a look at the video here:

Watch them in Action here

2nd Annual Coed Fitness Challenge Dec. 28th/Athlete Headlines

The 2nd Annual Holiday Coed Challenge is coming December 28th.  Grab you special someone, or the best athlete of the opposite sex you can find and come have absolutely awesome time.  The only thing more fun than competing is watching your fellow teams compete.  Below is the entry flier with details on the events and rules.  And of course the potential Mistletoe Medley, always a crowd favorite.  Ok that last event is made up, but could be good one in the future.

2 Divisions:  Open and 40 and over

If you are interested but don’t have a partner we will match you up and we promise to make it a good one.  Email me at

Check out the most recent Athletes in the News:

I unfortunately Couldn’t find the article to along with this picture.  But the picture was too good not to include of Kelly Klentworth:

Tim Haak wins Coach of the Year
I had the pleasure of working with Tim and his football team over the last 3 years.  No one is more deserving of this award, his players and staff are always a pleasure to work with.
All Area Football (lots mentioned):  Lee, Ortner, Olson, Evans, Nolan, Rogers, Miller, Daniels, Lavand, Williams, Giffels, Tomlin, Hines and Nirva all 1st or second team.  Too many honorable mentions to even mention on this list.  Very Proud.

DSC has 2 first team all area Volleyball players (Carly, Lauren), 3 Second Team (Annie, Avalon, and Taylor) and no less than 3 honorable mentions.

Athletes in the News-Lots to catch up on

Kelly Klendworth gets things started on the right foot for Prairie Ridge:

Volleyball all conference:  Lauren Leverenz, Taylor Otto, Annie Fox, Kassi Dvoracek, Krissy Pratt, All making all conference (Dave’s program added a couple others in this article)

Ephraim Lee, you know the drill he is almost a weekly addition to these posts

Big Shane Evans makes headlines a couple time, Congrats on the All State Big man.

Shane Makes all State:

CLC Hoops with Team Curran - Been a part of this program for years

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