Powerlifting World Champion and Olympic Weightlifting coach, Travis Mash, joins us today to talk about some of the learnings he’s had since episode #3. He’s been coaching athletes for over 21 years from all walks of life. He’s worked with NFL players, Olympic Weightlifters, Powerlifters, and athletes across many other disciplines. Travis is known for shifting paradigms and doing big things to grow the sport of Weightlifting that we love so much. We talk about youth/teen development, what conversations with athletes might look like outside of programming, bar speed, overtraining, business, and so much more.
Bite-sized action items to go from dreaming to streaming your podcast.
· (7:06) – Training Youth vs. Adults
· (13:31) – Change in Routine
· (15:02) – Performance Zone
· (24:26) – Overtraining
· (30:12) – Chinese Weightlifting
· (33:58) – Evaluating Mistakes
· (43:36) – Creative Content
· (55:04) – Bringing Joy
Hey, it’s Coach Travis Mash, and you’re listening to the Airborne Mind Show.
Misbah Haque (00:12:
Welcome to the airborne mind show. I am your host, Misbah Haque. And in these conversations, I like to explore what mental frameworks drive people to do what they do. I have strong feelings about talking to people who are deeply entrenched in and passionate about their work. I’ve always been drawn to ideas, art, and people that have a perspective that I can learn from. And so along the way, we’re going to share and explore ideas that leave you with more context, you’ll pick up things that might be educational, empowering, inspirational, or simply entertaining. And because you’re listening, I have a free gift only for podcast listeners that you can grab, if you head over to mizhq.com. Again, that’s mizhq.com.
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Today, my guest is Travis Smash. This is such a fun conversation for me because I think of episode number three, where Travis said yes to coming on the show when it wasn’t even a thing yet. And this was in my first three episodes that I launched all up front. And I remember how excited I was for this conversation but also how nervous I was. And circling back to now. I don’t think anything changed in terms of how nervous I was. But I had such a fun time connecting with Travis on all that he has been up to since he last came on the show, you know him and his entire team is absolutely crushing it right now in the game of weightlifting. So we talk about training without programming. We talk about business, we talk about bar speed. And one of my favorite areas of conversation. And this one was when I asked him about what his conversations look like, with his athletes when it’s outside of programming, what does it look like to coach through the mental game and the mental side of things? And what’s that look like in real time? A lot of great stories in this one great conversation with Travis as always. So I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did. More importantly, I hope you do something with it. Travis, welcome back to the show, man.
Hey, glad. Glad to be back. And thanks for having me on. Super pumped.
Misbah Haque (03:33):
Absolutely. And for those of you who are listening, if you haven’t listened to episode number three, that was the first time that you came on. And so much has happened since then. And that’s why I’m excited to just kind of dig into your brain a little bit. But right now you have two senior and two youth men on Team USA that are headed to the Pan Am championships. How are you feeling about that overall?
I’m super pumped because not only the only team that like joined kintra is like he’s tied for second overall and all senior men and the cool thing about him is he came out of nowhere but before the end of last year no one was even looking for him to have a spot and so I think that’s more exciting because certain people like Maven Damron everyone knows he’s gonna be in the mix. Like to see Jordan go from like, pretty much, no one even knew existed to now they’re like, oh my god is killing us. That’s pretty exciting. He didn’t stand in the same weight class to 30 kilos in total in 28 weeks. So that was exciting. needs to see Nathan in the year. Hotter than he’s ever been.
And then now we got to youth which is exciting because that means we got a future in the sport for sure we have a 14-year-old Morgan now is on the team. He’s the number one youth in America now. And then Ryan Grimsley, it is even cooler because I don’t like a cooler. He’s cool, too, because he does CrossFit and weightlifting. So I’m excited to see if we can make a boy good enough to make the CrossFit Games. And, obviously to say don’t step on Team USA, but now we’re in the middle of the open teams we can make. Make the games.
Misbah Haque (05:21):
I mean, it seems like you’re working a lot more with youth and teen athletes altogether than you were two years ago. I mean, you were definitely working with some then. But since then, it seems like you have just so many more that are kind of on your roster.
Thank God and we got to move in here all the time. And we’ve said Derrick Bryant moved from Indiana, who’s going to be like Jordan because right now, no one knows what I know. But he’s gonna be he’ll be Team USA, I think by the end of the year, looking to make the junior financing. There’s another one that’s, I don’t know if I can tell you it’s really top secret. Isn’t there another one that’s coming that could very well be one of the best juniors in the country? No one even knows about him. But hey just moved here we got no, we trained a navy Clifton online. He’s already a CrossFit Games athlete. So now you guys both do it but he mainly does weightlifting. To get good across and he has a True Blood. I’m unbelievable. crossfitter.
But tell you what stepped it up,, he went from being me, he was not known for strength at all to this, the 18 to 18 to 18 is a set of clean PR did was to the 297 pound clean at the end of that awful. He’s always 16 years old, into that awful workout. So yeah, we in the boys, man, listen, those boys get along so well. That’s the thing. Those young boys for some reason, ended up the best culture like they love each other. Even if a couple is more alive, and they go compete together. They’re like their brothers. It’s really cool to see and be a part of.
Training Youth vs. Adults
Misbah Haque (07:06):
Yeah, I mean, what do you think it is that you have to really keep in mind when you’re working with youth and teen athletes versus seniors? Like how, what nuances are you paying attention to, when you’re really working with these kids and helping them develop into,hopefully having a career that’s going to last them quite some time?
Well, step one, are they smiling a lot, they’re not having a good time and start to work out. I really, it’s really important to me that they’re joking and laughing, while they’re working. But, for some reason, whether it’s the culture we formed, or just my personality, having them work hard is not the problem, the exam, they are getting there and killing it. I was even smiling and laughing. And no phones for the sport is fun. It’s not shouldn’t be like a concentration camp. It should be fun and it is in something, that’s what we’re doing but at that age, we do a lot of general physical preparedness. Almost every single one of my youth and juniors does CrossFit too. They do a watered-down version. I’m not trying to make them Rich Froning. But I want them to be athletic. I want to see them do handstand push-ups, handstand walks, muscle-ups, no, my 14-year-old giant Morgan can do handstand walks, he can do muscle-ups. And so it’s important. I want them to be athletes, like? So that’s the biggest, nothing that I’m looking at with them versus Nathan? No, we do a little of that. But the main focus is that screen you’re trying to make the Olympics.
Misbah Haque (08:45):
I mean, that’s kind of what I really admire about you as a coach is that you have such an open mind when it comes to coaching, programming, like learning from anyone. And I’m curious to know, what do you think when you look at the weightlifting community, and you think about all the other kinds of coaches that are out there? What are some things that you believe in that are somewhat unconventional or that traditional weightlifting coaches might see is just like, whoa, what why are you doing that?
There are probably two things like the fact that I use CrossFit. I know a lot of them. I know there’s a new girl who came to a free clinic I put on Saturday and she was at East Tennessee State University. I’m just gonna put it out there. She was with them and she did a little easy CrossFit work competition. When we got there they found out they kicked off the team. I’m like, come on like this year is worse, she got worse. Maybe you have a point, or did you tell her not to and she did it anyway. But I’m not gonna do that, Jackie is bigger. The more CrossFit she does, the better she gets away. So why in the world, I tell him to do CrossFit because I didn’t do it when I was a kid no eight, so that would be one and two. No, I bring a lot of things I’ve learned from Westside barbell as he’s learned from powerlifting into sport away from the team where I’m just trying to make him stronger. Overall, love accessory movements are very specific. We’re trying to target any weaknesses. No, we don’t just focus on the snatch, clean jerk, and squatting. All my lifters will be doing carries that we do. We use a lot of the belt squat machine reverse hypers. And so I don’t know, now this is 123 teams in a row where we have the most athletes on the team and on Team USA. So something’s working. You know what I mean?
Misbah Haque (10:38):
Yeah. So, speaking of Westside, I mean, you wrote a book called conjugate on where you’ve learned from Louis, and I know, You’ve been kind of under, like, under his tutelage from for such a long time now, and you’ve probably picked up so many gems, but recently, when you think about, last year or last two years, has there been any, any nugget that you’ve taken away that you now like, truly kind of, stand by?
Absolutely. Let me tell you this, like, what, you’re gonna be like, This dude is selling for them. I’m not, don’t give up, I don’t get one dime from a sidebar. But we took a couple of our athletes up there last year, it was Jackie bigger, and Frank ball rat. And he put them on the belt, squat machine, the reverse hyper and all the inverse, like, he wanted to see whether we were their weaknesses and so it’s really cool, you can pinpoint those three machines. Now the belt squat is really going to show extension glute activity, the inverse like curls, gonna show hamstrings and then reverse hyper is going to show low back capacity. Athletes did really well on the inverse leg curl, the image like curls is, it can be used, you can use assistance to do like the old Russian leads for basically, you do a leg curl or someone’s holding your ankles, you’ve been at the knee joint and pull yourself back up. But man, he’s killed that, which is surprising, because not uncommon.
And then the verse eyebrow, they all had low back capacity, which makes sense. They do polls everyday the way that but what they suck that was hip extension. So even though weightlifters have all these massive butts and glutes, their activity was not that good. And so we bought the belt squat machine, and now everyone in my gym uses it. It’s been a huge, huge tool to growing and strengthening people’s glutes, and personally has been a miracle bro. It’s like I was last year, I started scheduling, I was gonna do hip replacement. You know, just my hip is jacked from the use of powerlifting. And I started doing that belt squat machine. And I’m now able to train without any kind of pain in my hips to miracle. Here’s why I figured it happened. Stuart McGill visited my gym, Dr. McGill. And I told him what I’m telling you. And we both agreed it had to be the fact that what I do, I do it before I train. And I’m assuming that by activating my glutes,, getting a little bit off, where I had the interior side strips, syndrome with the femur,, the glutes activate, pull it back, just enough to give me relief to be able to squat. So they work great.
Change in Routine
Misbah Haque (13:31):
Yeah, I mean, speaking of what your training looks like now compared to how it was, about two years ago, has there been a big difference in how you’re kind of attacking whatever it is that you’re getting into, and you’re in the gym.
Right now, I’m writing a book about concurrent training. We’re gonna do what you want. We’re talking about, whether it’s weight, the power, the straw, man, endurance, cross it. Anyway, bodybuilding, so teed up wired to combine these different disciplines. So right now I’m doing a super total, which is what I’m pretty known for. But I’m also doing bodybuilding endurance. When I say bodybuilding, really, it’s no different than what I’ve always done is doing a lot of accessory movements. But I’m running a five kg gate. Well, I am getting ready to run five kg. Well, so yeah, these are weighed every month. Yes, and I’m enjoying it though.
Misbah Haque (14:30):
When I think of all the athletes that you’re kind of working with, regardless of whether they’re youth teens or seniors, I think about what the conversations look like between you and them outside of just, the program design and outside of maybe just, you kind of on the floor? Do you ever kind of take time, outside of just training to discuss things with them and work on mindset or you then just talk about lifestyle and things like that.
That is the best question anyone’s ever asked. And I do a lot of that. Funny you say that because just before the show, I sent a few emails, and one was to December Garcia, who’s one of my top females, and she’s a 63-kilo lifter. And the only thing keeping her off to say is December Garcia. And so I told her, but now I’m really dialing in things. She’s getting better. We’ve come through some shoulder issues. And so now we’re making the march for EO too. They qualified for team USA the World Championships. So like little messages, I sent her this message was like, no, look, now’s the time, clean up your life. No, every time you make a bad decision, it is a decision that somebody else did not make, that you’re trying to beat. Every time you cut your hours of sleep at night, every time you eat the wrong thing, every time you don’t stress when you should have. Anytime you skip work capacity, skip accessory movements, somebody that you’re trying to be did not. So that’s a loss, you had that last opportunity.
So I gave her that little message I’m just telling you, on the other hand, you’ve got Hunter, Elon is just as good. Who does all these things, right? But like is not as confident as December. So she got an email, saying, reminding her about the thing she said, will come to pass, meaning she’ll come in and show it she’ll say it jokingly, but she’s saying it, she’ll make a negative comment. But about herself, not about other people to do. I hear I’m gonna when I have another bad staff day, haha, it’s not funny, Like, you’re not, you’re not gonna have a bad sense day. You’re unbelievable. You should be the best in the country. And you need to say those things. So they both got very different emails, both addressing their own specific needs. I think about it like you wrote a whole book called performance zone, right, that was dedicated to molding your mindset. And so I think about you talking previously about shifting mental paradigms, right, and how to do that with your athletes.
That was a subtle way that you just mentioned right there. Does anything else come to mind for you, which is like, almost maybe a technique that coaches can take away and use with their athletes? Like you got to, here’s where knowing your athletes come into play, like every single day I go in, I know that Morgan doesn’t need a lot of likes, pump him up. Because he’s very focused. Morgan needs a reminder of being a master in the mundane. So he gets a daily reminder, it’s about the daily reminders. And then sometimes it’s about homework with Morgan, for example, it means 14 years old, but he has big goals, these are my goals. But if he tells me at 14 years old, I want to be the best in the country. Even at 14, your actions have to match your words. So now he keeps his nutritional log on his phone. So now I’m starting to see him writing down and starting to have more and more expectations. So now we still need to shift that, his paradigm about what he’s capable of know, most 14-year-olds would, they’re going to cop out Sam 14, I can eat, Fruity Pebbles.
But Morgan, now shifting, says, I’m different, I want to be he’s trying to make the Youth Olympics this year. So no, I need my food journal to look more like rich phones. And so, so we’re shifting the expectations of his own interest in or, Ryan, Ryan grid, for example, who is like, it’s terrible at resting, now I know these are, believe it or not, their actions, and their mindsets, equals the same exact thing. So like, if Ryan doesn’t believe that you should be the best processor in the country, he’s not going to be so then if he doesn’t think he can be then, staying up late at night is not a big deal. However, the moment he starts to start to say, look, Ryan, you darn well should be yours good or better than every customer out there. But like your actions is the max that will then the moment he starts to believe it here enough. The moment he starts saying I should go to bed, it’s all the same thing. It’s exactly the exact same thing and all matches up, so I know all my athletes say that I could go through each and every one. So either mental paradigm weaknesses and their shifts.
Misbah Haque (19:53):
Interesting. I’ve never heard that comparison, but it makes a lot of sense where you think about it. Table. Yeah, the mindset is one thing. But at the same time mindset and action together can truly be integrated.
That’s the truth. And then it’s the truth. It’s not just you saying some master made me feel good, the moment you are going to sleep at night is you believe in it. And then your actions, your actions are showing me that your brain is starting to believe.
Misbah Haque (20:21):
Yeah. How about now, when, because you’re working with a lot of athletes who have sports specific goals, right? And big goals, like, they want to compete on Team USA, they want to go up againsts ome of the best athletes in the world. And I’m curious to know, when you’re going through a training cycle, and you get to a point where things just, you feel beat up, right? Or you’re not feeling at the top of your game? How do you differentiate between when there is too much? Like how much do you feel just beat up too much, and it’s not being productive anymore? Versus okay, this is just that low that that peak and valley type of thing in the cycle that we have to kind of push through? How do you differentiate between that?
Well, I would say that these three ways, there’s two very, measurable ways, you can look at velocity, you can if you have the tools to do it, if you could look at say the speed of someone’s pull, that 80% Say, the summer Garcia 80% of for best snacks, she’s moving the bar, 1.7 meters per second. And then one day she comes in, and 80%. Now, that is moving 1.4, we got a problem like this, that’s a major dip, when it starts to dip below 10 to 15% of normal, then there’s more than just, she’s not just sore, there’s a big decrease in performance. So that would be a good day to say, Okay, it’s time to back up a bit. And the other one would be artery variability, we can all measure that. And then, when things get out of whack things can vary, but when they get 20% is a problem,what I mean? There’s more just, there’s more than just, I don’t feel good that day, your body now is beat up. Now it’s time to reboot. When the other one, all great coaches can see it. I know, when I see it in their face, and I see it at bar speed. I think personally, bar speed is, is the way someone is warming up, I can tell you right away, but using velocity can make it more quantified.
Misbah Haque (22:35):
Interesting. So I mean, with velocity said, if somebody has the right tools, right, so let’s assume that we don’t have something that measures that directly. So we can technically use a bar speed as well to get somewhat of a gauge. Right. Right. And how, how does somebody go about doing that? I mean, I’ve seen you, you wrote a whole book on that topic, as well. And I know you mentioned how, like, you could use your smartphone to kind of pick up on some of these things.
He can, was it called, there is an app I forget, I couldn’t put it in the notes. I’ll give it to you again. But there’s an app that you can use, or you can use Jim aware, which is a very expensive measuring tool, or there’s an open barbell, which is not very, it’s like 200 bucks, it’s well worth it. And so, there’s a lot that can happen. If you want to use velocity, there’s a lot more than just knowing somebody getting beat up. But that’s one of the good things. You can like, you can see if someone is dipped, 20% below what they normally are, that’s a problem. You can look at, like intent. So like, if I’m teaching you how to be explosive on squats, and I’m like, faster, what does that even mean to you, you might be thinking, you’re moving fast, I know you’re not. And then finally, you hit like a 1.0 meter percent of squat, and I’m like, That’s it. And then you have a number to go with the way it felt. So now you’re starting to understand. So another thing too, with velocity too, is like safety is like gas and high schools, you saw, I see that the elbow to knee injuries where the risk gets hurt on the claims, but just putting the speed on it and saying, look, the minute you dropped below 1.3 meters per second, you got to stop.
Misbah Haque (24:26):
Interesting. So now when you think about backing off like you’re, this person has dipped, they’re maybe on the verge of overtraining. They’re a little beat up. What is that backing off look like? Is that saying, hey, go home and recover? Or what’s the change in training? What does that look like?
As your recovery will always be superior to just going on and laying and getting stiff? but like, no, then it would be a tiny day. Let’s say that you’re scheduled to go 90% above. So now we know that that’s not in the cards. So now we’re gonna say 8% and we’re gonna do maybe eight singles, and we’re going to perfect those singles. And like, we’re not going to work on, destroying, PR, we’re gonna work on getting better at the movement, Goulding Olympic weightlifting, there are so many aspects to it is the movement there’s the rate of force development, there’s absolute strength, there’s mobility, there’s stability, there’s muscular balance. So like on a day or so was beat up like that we focus on the things that won’t continue to beat them up.
So maybe go lighter, and the SNATCH and CLEAN (inaudible) maybe we’ll with the squats, we could start in, we could, we could do dynamic squats, we’re focused on, the speed at a very low weight, so there’s not not even use a box, because boxes are easier to recover from, you can avoid doing RDL things that are really going to create muscular damage, that would be a good day to do reverse hypers. And then maybe just do some good stretching, yoga, whatever you do to recover, and go to maybe three exercises, really focused on what you’re doing. Don’t create any more muscular damage and be gone.
Misbah Haque (26:13):
I mean, it seems to me that a huge part of being successful in the long game in a sport is having that awareness, like knowing yourself so well that okay, I’m at a point right now where I need to do what you just said, or I need to push through. So how do your athletes respond to that conversation right there, which is like, Hey, you’re your little tap right now, I want you to focus on these things versus just going hard again, because we know athletes are strong me ntally and can be like what, it’s all good. I’m fine. I’m going to push through this anyways.
Anyone who’s ever trained with me knows that if they’re capable of going hard, they’re going to go on. They know I want them to go on. So when I tell them not to, they know it’s time not to. I’ve never had one of them say no, I’m good today. Because they know, they know I’m going to go like I wanted to go, I want the same thing they want. And so and I was a world-class athlete, so I know what it takes. I’m not ever going to ask someone to back off unless it’s time to back off. So that’s where your trust is involved? No, I don’t think let me, I don’t think an athlete will ever disagree with me. Like that. They know I will push the heck out of my athletes. No, you come to watch Miley’s work, they work. But when I tell them no, they know they can. Well, it’s time to back off. So trust.
Misbah Haque (27:40):
Yeah, trust, right. I mean, the other part to that question originally was like, okay, so if you aren’t truly in that dip, where you’re like, Okay, you need to back off right now? Is it? Is it normal during, let’s say, one of your 12 week cycles that you get to a point where you’re not feeling so hot, right, like or is and then you need to push through that or? Is this right, so what have you found around what time period? Might that be around for most people?
Oh, it’s easy. Like now, since we talked last time, things have changed a lot. You’re gonna find that twice in programming. Now you’re gonna find like, we do more 20 We’d say that we’re preparing for a big competition. The majority of the of the training starts about two weeks out at about, week seven, no, yeah, at about week seven, they’re going to feel tired, more muscularly because we’re going to we’re, we’re about to get ready to pique their back squats that pulls, and then presses. Then fast forward, about to see week to week 14, we’re really trying to force adaptation, we try super compensation. We’re trying to beat them to a Paul to where we can back off and therefore recover and get stronger. But then it’s week 14, they’re probably gonna have more than joints. Because we’ve gone hard in the stacks, the clean and jerk body mass adapts to those movements. So it’s twice to where they can expect to feel like crap. And they do so I said, a sinner wrong. So we got, we can and then we did and then week 14, there you go.
Misbah Haque (29:36):
Got it. Okay. So during those periods, it’s like, that you’re not going to be feeling your best but at that point, it’s just dial in on all the be the mandate and type of thing.
Yeah, just keep your hood up and down. I call it because he’s gonna, grind through it because the next week will be in those weeks after those weeks there’ll be a Dlo so in They’ll probably feel worse during that dealer week, because they’re still feeling the effects of the week before, right? Next week will be the reload. And that’ll be where we peak them. And magic happens.
Misbah Haque (30:12):
Gotcha. All right. I want to loop back to when I was asking about your, like influences from West Side in the last two years or so. But now kind of thinking about something like Chinese weightlifting, has there been anything you’ve picked up from them that you find that we should really pay attention to?
Most of what I know about Chinese is like, it’s now that there’s not a lot of literature out there. But luckily, I had a friend and visited there. So in from the nose, a guy cuts my guess at hearing in America, but from what I know, there’s a couple of things. One, they do bodybuilding accessory movements, even the week of the competition, just like Westside barbells, and that weird thing anyway. So, we do too, we don’t want to do a lot of things that are going to be like where you’re, loading the muscle whilst being lifted, say, RDL, it’s probably not a good idea, then, because it creates too much damage. But they do like a lot of plate lateral raises. Those are fine. No, there’s no, there’s no damage, it’s mostly metabolic stress.
So you may get a pop, but you recover quickly, things like that. So yeah, we do that too, like those dudes do, like in the backroom, say, for a female, like, they train their men and women. Totally different, which so do I more so since I know what they do, they’ll take their women up to their especially in the snatch, they’ll go to their opener in the backroom twice before they go out into their opener on the platform because each time the women get better their CNS gets better and better. You do that with a dude, you crush it, you’re gonna be able to finish it, but really still go pretty hard, even for men in the back room. So anyway, so that was just knowing and wanting to learn more about the women CNS. Definitely got that from them.
Misbah Haque (32:07):
Yeah, I’ve heard. CJ from Invictus has heard James Fitzgerald, and quite a few other people talk about the differences between how men and women respond differently to just different types of training stimulus. What else have you found now that you’re really starting to pay attention to that, aside from maybe on competition day, but maybe thinking about training? Is there a difference in approach and how you’re training the females versus males?
High volume, definitely blue different intensities. For example, you can take a guy like Nathan Dhamra, or (inaudible) Morgan McAuliffe, that he can squat and Max squat the week of a meet. But if a girl does that, along while she’s trying to peak, Assassin Cringer, could cause some major damage, so like, it’s, they can do high volume, but the intensity has to be well thought out, we don’t know after week 12 with females, we dropped the intensity way down. And our whole goal is to maintain strength. And so that has been a big difference. I will still max out Morgan or navan. Like I said, up to the week of the competition doesn’t affect because their system is so high, maybe squat 700. So he’s got plenty of strength in reserve, but like with, with simmer, Garcia, you gotta leave that alone, or Jackie to emotionally are women to, I would before tried to Matt, peak their, their squat, SNATCH and CLEAN JERK all at the same time. That was a bad mistake because it was just too much. They would be trying to go hard on sets, clean jerk, it’d be tiring, and then not standing squat heavy, and it was just too much. And so splitting them up has been much better for me.
Misbah Haque (33:58):
What you just said, Right? There was kind of profound to me where you’re like, This is what I used to do. But it was a mistake, And now Yes, right. Like your ability to kind of evaluate your own kind of thought process, and then be like, that wasn’t so great. But that was what I knew at the time. And that’s kind of that was, that’s judgment. What is it for you? Has that always been the case for you? Have you always been that type of person that can do that? Or have you had to actively kind of work at that being able to kind of evaluate your own thought process and then being like, being comfortable being able to admit it.
I am here to win. And my desire to win will always outweigh my desire to be prideful. These are great questions, by the way, but like so many judges, it’s so important for them to say, hey, my program is a perfect look in my system. It’s the best of the world, what you might have the best system, I’m winning, my athletes now are on. Now I’ve got 14 years. I mean, do I mean, so it’s like, what’s important to me is different than was one of the most coaches, I want to be the best fan, I want my, my athletes have moved all over the world to train with me, for me to help them reach their goals, I owe it to them to always be taking whatever I’m doing, analyze it, get rid of anything that could be getting rid of, and bringing anything that needs to be brought in, like, I’m going to perfect their program. I’ll do this until the day I die.
My program is guaranteed 10 years from now, we’ll be waiting in the news right now. And by then it’ll be darn near perfect, I’ll be in heaven with it because it’s so perfect because that is my goal. I don’t care about I don’t care to stay here and saying my system is the best. My athletes are the best. I’m winning, I’m beating. So therefore my system is better than yours. But it’s not perfect yet, but it’ll be better next year. So you really better step up your game, not perform. We still don’t, we were all set. A few people made Team USA. But it was not up to my expectations. And I, it drove me crazy. For two weeks, I analyzed every single aspect of that come to know leading up to it, decisions I made the athletes I had. And then I released my own blog about it. And I read myself. So I was like before Reddit gets it, I’m gonna go ahead and do it. So they don’t have anything to say. But tell you what, since that moment, we’ve gotten so much better. Even the way I look at competition changed after that competition. Everything is,it was the way I was when I was an athlete. When I would have a bad competition, I would totally disappear for a minute, reevaluate and get better and say these ideas occur.
Misbah Haque (37:05):
For sure. I mean, it seems like this idea of change, if you’re comfortable with saying that, like what, 10 years from now, this could be totally different, right? Even two years from now, it could be completely different. I’m sure it will be. Yeah, yes. I want to switch gears a little bit and talk to you a little more about business. Now. I know, we touched on this a little bit last time. But thinking about, your on site facility at the moment, right? Would you say there are more strength and conditioning facilities or fitness facilities near you than there was when you first started?
Oh, yeah, there’s a lot, like everywhere. The boxes are popping up. Everywhere. I think there’s going to be a reckoning, they’re coming in which it has been you agree there’s a lot of them that go out of business. And so yeah, yeah, they pop up everywhere.
Misbah Haque (37:57):
So that wave is happening, right? Like, not just there, but just all over the country in general. And I’m curious to know, when you think about, like, at this point, your facility and your coaching system is so well known that you’ve got, you’ve got people coming to you, right? Like, you’re not going to go and find people. So when you think of let’s say that you had to do that in today’s day and age right now, where you’re surrounded by other fitness facilities, and you’re trying to assemble, a team together, if that’s kind of the goal, or just fill up your facility with on site members, what would be the difference in your approach now versus when you first started?
So what I would do now, for anybody listening who wants to start your own gym, is I would put in the time and save the money to do a really nice one. I think the error of opening up some small box that’s filled with crappy equipment. And like some stall mats that’s come and gone. And that’s a wrap. I don’t want to break anyone’s heart out there. But it’s just the truth. So I would like either to say my money was given to investors. I think it’s totally getting investors but near as hard as you think it is. And like I would do it right. Like our place now is nice. We have men and women’s locker room shower facilities. The flooring is perfect, it’s a beautiful facility now. If I were you guys, I would wait until you do something like that. I know, again, face it. You don’t want to work for anybody and I understand that and act like you might prove me wrong. But like, I’m just seeing that a lot of the smaller little boxes are just not going to survive. To give you can come to mind and get the best coaches with the best equipment with the most beautiful facility. You’re probably going to do that when you get straight spin 107 75 of mine, versus going 125 For crap, without a sour. So like, do it right for me.
Misbah Haque (40:08):
Yeah, I mean, you’re this is kind of random, but the art that’s on your walls is to me is like kind of the most profound part like I love when I see videos and I see all the art that’s all over the facility.
Bro my wife, she’ll get her. She’ll be so happy. Yeah, that’s her. It’s my wife.
Misbah Haque (40:26):
Oh, really? That’s amazing. Well now when we think about like, so there’s that right. But then I want to kind of come back to the online world because that’s another area. I remember when I talked to you, you were about two years in. And you were blogging, essentially, almost every single day, you had the podcast going and you’re just pumping out a bunch of content. And I’m curious now, how do you feel like that may have shifted for you? I mean, you’re still putting out a ton of content. But what has changed in the last year and a half or two years?
I don’t put out as much personal information like now. What I do is I try to put out like one really good article every week, when we have other coaches now that put out and that coaches are awesome. We’re really lucky in the fact that like the people who work for us online, like Matt Scheiber, who’s about to become a physical therapist, the serial season is like a semester away from being a doctorate in physical therapy. Jackie bigger, who has her Master’s crystal who asked her master crystal, MacArthur’s Morgan’s mom says she has her master’s degree. Two of them, three of them as CSCs. Let’s read these. They are awesome. So when they write, and when they write or say something, I’m not worried about it, because I know it’s gonna be good. They have a good attitude now. And so. So yeah, things have changed a lot I really focus on one article per day. What we’re saying is we met and thought about what I needed to say. So it worked much better. So now every article I write gets a ton more views than it did, like a year ago, where I was just throwing out content every day, much more thought out. And so we’re about to do a whole lot more to do the same thing now with, we don’t do a great job with YouTube, like we should, but we’re going to be taking steps to do just that.
Misbah Haque (42:24):
Out of all those mediums, right, because that’s essentially what they are. It’s like, at the end of the day, you’re putting out content for sure. But it’s just a different medium. It’s like with blogging, you’re doing it the writing with podcasting, audio, YouTube video, for what for you is the most enjoyable.
You’re sure like, I’m not, I’m not like, let’s say, Mark Twain or anything, but like, I just love to write. And like I just, once I was with my wife once, and she was at this, it was her professor in college, who had an opening a gallery, he’s super famous guy, and he was talking that he’s like, whether it’s art, or whether it’s writing, you should do it. So you leave a trail for your children, and just, it just hits all like I want my son’s to know, everything there is to know about me, see the world through things I’ve written. I feel like I’m just better at expressing what I won’t be able to know through a written word versus like, normal camera, and I’m trying to like, play a part. Yeah, when I’m writing, I’m just who I am. This is me, communicating with the world when I want them to know.
Misbah Haque (43:36):
I love the idea of that, because that to me is like, okay, regardless of whether it has the intention to maybe drive business or not, it’s like anybody could benefit from burning out some type of content regularly. Because even if it’s just for yourself, it’s like something you can look back on a year from now, two years from now and learn a lot.
Yeah, man, you’re gonna have kids and their kids like, what don’t you want them? I mean, don’t you wish that you could have several articles or blogs written by your parents, or your parents, parents? I would love to know what my grandfather was thinking. No, 100 years ago, what was it? What was it like growing up in 1920? Like, what was the Great Depression? Like, I would love to know his thoughts, but they’re, they’re not there. And so, but my children were my thoughts.
Misbah Haque (44:30):
Yeah. I mean, now, let’s tie it back to if you think about the same aspect of how I was saying, with your onsite facility, right, but now if you’re thinking about the online game, right, and the online world, you’re putting out this type of content. In today’s day and age where you see like, social has become such a big thing too. It’s like, what would you do? Is there anything you would do differently at this point, if you had to start over again and you were putting out blogs again?
I don’t know, things have gone so well online,, I would probably do the same thing. I would probably like, try to say, that really focus on quality a lot sooner, like, getting a super nice camera and just, doing it providing quality content a little bit more, but like, with writing, I don’t know, there’s someone out there that’s wanting to do it, I would definitely tell them that they should find out whatever they love these questions asked me. And like perfect at first, a lot of people will just go in and they just like, throw a lot of stuff on the wall and see what sticks to like. If you love to write the right if you love to, podcast by guests, and you love to do videos and do that. And perfect that instead of trying to do that people will start in the back and we’ll do it all and then they suck it all in, like, perfect. And one thing that you love first, and then slowly dabble and see what happens. But, like Greg Knuckles is like, he’s a great writer, like that dude makes his living from writing. And so he doesn’t need to do any YouTube. He’s good on YouTube because he’s smart, but he’s a much better writer than he is in front of a camera. So he doesn’t have to do the other stuff.
Misbah Haque (46:19):
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned? And let’s go with both. There’s online, and then also just brick and mortar, for your, on site facility? What’s the biggest business lesson you’ve learned in each of those worlds?
I would say these are almost the same. Let me say on life versus like, stay away from negativity. I talk about this all the time with my friends. We are like that so many people online are negative right now people that maybe please pass them by, and like old friends. And by always on social media being super negative, don’t do that, like you just like, number one, it’s a huge turnoff to the rest of the world. If you have someone out there, you don’t like to just keep it to yourself. Because, if they’re putting out videos, and 10 million people are watching those videos, then good for them should go learn from them. Maybe you can learn what to do like to stay away from anything negative. And don’t ever, I made one mistake once, where I still don’t agree with the guy. But the way I went about it was wrong. I posted a blog about a certain someone, the way I did it was wrong. I totally attacked this guy, it was stupid, but I definitely think the guy is not a good coach. But that’s neither here nor there. .
There was a way, no one, why not saving why I needed to focus on what I’m doing right now. So, and then, as far as like, on-site, or what to do, oh, just make sure you have a good system, that people will open up an on-site, and they’ll just start going, guns blazing. And then they see that they can’t keep track of anything. So having a really good system in place is important, with our new facility, we’ve got a great system in place. It makes life so easy. I can see better at night. Not trying to attract rundown members to give them alike. So that would be my two words of advice
Misbah Haque (48:25):
Sweet. I have a couple rapid fires for you. Alright. So the first one is, when I think of anybody who has achieved a high level of success, that’s relative to what they wanted, right? So what you set out to do, and when there’s always a point where you have to kind of make this decision where you have to leap, right? You don’t know what’s going to happen. You don’t know if the parachute is going to open. I mean, you think it is right, but then it’s like, okay, you get torn up by cliffs, your clothes come off, all sorts of crazy stuff happens. And then finally, there’s this safe landing at the end of that where that parachute opens usually much later than you kind of wanted it to. Does that resonate for you at all? Is there a story that comes to mind for you?
Like for example. My whole life has been stories like that. But like when I graduated college, my sister said, No, maybe she continued to pursue it and the way that thing and honor when I got in a car and drove from North Carolina to Colorado Springs, I knew that there was a Coach West Barnett, two time Olympian, who was working with weightlifters in Colorado Springs on the side while he was at the Olympic chasing so I was assuming what the how the coach if I got good enough to limit chases right there. So I got in my car and packed everything for 200 bucks, which is even that in the 90s was not much money. Kissed my mom and drove 23 hours to Colorado Springs. Got there. This one I want to tell you is crazy. So don’t try this. Don’t try this at home. But so I drove there and drove straight, didn’t go look for a place to live, drove to the gym, walked to the door. West Barnett was there. I might look, I just drove 23 hours. Will you coach me? He said yes. Then he gets good. From there.
The owner of the gym is World gym on a street in Colorado Springs. Don Ramos was the owner and he’s like, we’re gonna work on my I have no idea. I just drove here. He’s like, give me a job. I’ll give you a job. So they’re on my way from there. I mean, the place that they did weightlifting was in the back. So from walking to the back to the front to go back to my car. One of the trainers is like, bro, where are you going to live? And I’m like, I don’t know. Do you need to crash with me for a while?
So in a matter of one hour, I had my coach a place to live and a job. So it just all worked out. I didn’t really see. I guess I jumped out without a parachute. did hit rocks and found a parachute. That’s basically what happened. I’ve done this so many times. Like, when I was a muscle driver, you say, I just bounced, like the owner was, he and I were conflicting.
They were paying me really well. But as I looked at it, luckily, I was already doing my own thing online. But I was like, I can’t do this. So I just up and left and it just worked out. I’ve always trusted my instinct. I try to make educated guesses nowadays. Obviously, John Carr Springs was not an educated guess that was a win. But if I feel strongly about something I’m not afraid. really confident in my abilities.
Misbah Haque (51:57):
I feel like that story is so similar to what a d a d cashew did with you?
Yes, he tried to email me and I wondered about her emails, and she just showed up. Now I love her nasty, dude. And then the whole thing with WAG, but this was me. Do that story? Like one day I called her and she was kind of messing around with Wang. And I was like, I was like, lady, can you do this whole macro thing? She’s, uh, yeah. So we do a little bit of that now. I was like, so can we do that online thing? She’s like, Yeah, so we really were that. This was me. That was she knew this. Right? And so she’s like, let’s try it. So I announced it to me and we thought I got there, and it just blew up. And so I, so I love a D she is, uh, what’s cool about my job is that there’s a D, there’s John, north, Jared into all these people at Bo. They’ve all come through my door. And so it’s been cool to watch them come in Greg knuckles. It’s crazy to think of the people who’ve come in and just madly narrow, like, killing it in life. It makes me like a proud father.
Misbah Haque (53:14):
You’ve been able to be a part of their journey in some way. Yeah, mentor
them and like, the direct I love her so much. And like, I want to every so often see it, like, I want to tell her not tell her give her advice and, or to keep killing it and flourishing. She’s amazing.
Misbah Haque (53:31):
Yeah, I love that. So now, let me create the situation here, right? Where you have a couple billion dollars, okay. And you have a staff of 40 people, these 40 people can be either people that are already working for you. It can be a combination of like, the top performers and top thinkers in the world, right? Like think like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, anybody you have access to time, energy, money. That’s not an issue, right? And you want it to use that to do something. What kind of comes to mind for you? What would you do with it?
I would do what I’m doing. I always would provide for my athletes. I would provide more content to the people. But I just want to die knowing I’ve helped people, like, there’s a certain skill I was giving a mega with. I can give you strength. No, I know my way around the barbel peep I love helping people get healthy. So I would just become the biggest source of information it’s ever been known to man and just like help other people in like, I make sure that my athletes have everything they could ever dream of to prepare and then bros from our prices and way more time with my family and just write more but that’s what I buy that I do exactly what I love, like so like, there’s nothing out there that I want to do that can do because I don’t have enough money. So I would just do more of what I do. I probably provide a place to live for my athletes and I probably have more Please come in. But I wouldn’t do much differently.
Misbah Haque (55:04):
I mean, he just said there like you want it to be kind of the biggest source of information out there because you think it would help people, right? What is it about information that makes you feel like that’s it like that seems to be a key. That’s a driver to help people.
But I’ll give you an example. Like right before your show. Somebody messaged me on Facebook, from New Queensland, Australia, who is a Spry wife. I don’t know if you remember earlier, I was like, hey, from Australia, I don’t know. Yeah, well, like, in there, show me a video of this. somewhere. I don’t know. Like we always use your programming. We just wanted to say thank you. And like, when you show you this squat, PR one of my athletes, and Dude, I show my wife. I’m like, This is exactly why I do what I do. Because someone in Australia is smiling, right this moment, because of some information I put out there to help them reach their goal. I just want to help people, if it’s fitness, if it’s nutrition is like, whatever makes them smile makes their lives a little bit better. This is a tough world like things are gonna happen. People are gonna die. No pyramid money. But if you can do something that makes someone smile one more time than they would, that wouldn’t have happened. Had you not been on this earth. That’s a pretty good day. You know what I mean?
Misbah Haque (56:28):
Yeah, I love the simplicity of that for you. Like it comes back to just making people smile.
Yeah. Number one, I’m not sure not, not to institute kind of theological anything. But like, I’m a believer, I believe in God. And so like, I don’t think I have the ability to change the world in any dramatic way. That’s up to him. He does what he wants. But like, if I can use the skills that he gave me to meet people, out a little bit more joy, a little bit more sunshine in their life. I’m good. When I check out and when I die in my life, I will be smiling. I know that I did everything I could to do as far as athletically. Oh, no, I did everything I could do as far as my abilities. As a coach. I’m good. I want to do this more than most people.
Misbah Haque (57:20):
Sure. Let’s say that you had only $500 and a laptop, right? And everything that Travis mash has done is kind of wiped, like it’s just been erased. And you’re only left with those two things. $500 and a laptop, what would you do with it?
No, I will probably go. I probably would go get a decent website. Exactly what I’m doing now and just started all over. Because I got a laptop, I will start writing here. I guess I would be pretty discouraged because it’s all gone. But I didn’t, did I do it again? Yes. That’s, that’s what I would do. I do say I would say that. Someday I would like to write a novel A couple, I like to someday outside of fitness, I’m sure it would have fitness involved. But like I would write a couple of novels, my best friend, Kevin Jones, who lives in Dallas, Texas, we both grew up super poor in the mountains and both struggled in our youth. Now he owns a $100 million business in Dallas, Texas. And like, I would like to write a novel about growing up, with him and how we, if you guys only knew where we grew up, it’s like the deep Appalachian mountains of North Carolina. It’s like my grandfather was a coal miner. It’s like, there’s stuff. It’s, so like to see this, to go on to do such extraordinary things. So yeah, like to write a novel that is kind of like, models, what happened in your lives?
No, I will probably go. I probably would go get a decent website. Exactly what I’m doing now and just started all over. Because I got a laptop, I will start writing here. I guess I would be pretty discouraged because it’s all gone. But I didn’t, did I do it again? Yes. That’s, that’s what I would do.kI do say I would say that. Someday I would like to write a novel A couple,, I like to someday, like, outside of fitness, I’m sure it would have fitness involved. But like I would write a couple of novels, my best friend, Kevin Jones, who lives in Dallas, Texas, we both grew up super poor in the mountains and both struggled in our youth. Now he owns a $100 million business in Dallas, Texas. And like, I would like to write a novel about growing up, with him and how we, if you guys only knew where we grew up, it’s like the deep Appalachian mountains of North Carolina. It’s like, my grandfather was a coal miner. It’s like, there’s stuff. It’s, so like to see this, to go on to do such extraordinary things. So yeah, like to write a novel that is kind of like, models, what happened in your lives?
Misbah Haque (59:02):
Would it? Would it be fiction, or would it be like almost a biography?
Fiction that’s modeled after the last so it’d be my blog. So most people when they arrived, like Mark Twain, there were things that happened in his life that he would write about them. It’s fiction, but there was substance to it and like that there would be lots of substance. We had so many like this, for example, like so many stories, I wouldn’t want to be a biography because I want my kids to know these things happen, so he says, I would like to tell it as a fiction, but I know goodwill. It’s not fiction. And that’s all anyone needs to know. So I can be like, people will be laughing, but that never really happened to anybody, but I’m saying, Well, it did.
Misbah Haque (59:49):
Is there anything that you feel like people would ask you more about? Like, what I mean by that is, let’s use podcasting as an example. It’s like Oh, hey, what microphone do you use? What software do you use? Right? Like the surface level questions, which really could be Googled, if we really think about it, right. But at the same time, it’s like, if I was to think somebody’s asking questions about potheads like, hey, how do I ask better questions? How do I improve my listening skills? Like how do I get better? Kind of like the craft itself? Is there anything like that that’s comparable to you? I’m sure you get a ton of questions around weightlifting and things like that. But do you wish there’s something that people would ask you more about?
I wish people would ask me about how do you actually network? One, number two, I wish they would ask me about, like, how do you spend more time with your family? You know what brings you to join your life? Yeah, I do wish that I think a lot of young guys your age are going to miss out on a lot of joy. Because they were so focused on one thing, so you want to see this when you’re not saying See, have you seen a lot of young guys? They’re so focused on so they want to grow a billion-dollar business, that’s what they want to do. They grow this billion-dollar business, and at the end of the day, they find out that joy did not lie there. So like, like, I mean, look at guys, like Michael Jackson, or Prince or, Robin Williams, who’s like, always depressed, like you don’t know the source of your joy, then you gotta ask yourself, why do you want to be a billionaire? Why do you want to go into this, million-dollar business? Because is it going to help you attain that joy, the only thing that helps me attain joy is more time in my family.
I love helping people, but also love being with my family more, my family will always come first, no offense to anyone, my sons, my wife, my daughter, they’re going to be first, if I didn’t do something that will help more people, but also allow me to spend more time with their kids. That’s my job. So like, I can define that. And would want people like you to define that before you go galbani into the future, without knowing what it is, it really does when you join, maybe you don’t ever want to do you need to identify that first? Or maybe you do. But you need to know that before you end up in a very dark place, you end up exactly where you thought you wanted to be. And it’s not where you want to be. So that would be one. What was the other one told you like? Yeah, networking, like, Man, this is great advice for you listening, if you just find people that you like, and that doesn’t build your network with. But here’s what I mean by that, like, these people I hang out with all the time. I love that dude. And like, I didn’t go up to him to network with him or try to find a business partner to go to cuz I like that guy.
There’s Kevin kilos, those dudes. Man. I love those dudes, and I didn’t do it to network or to become famous or did a delay because I liked them. Matt Vincent, that dude is my boy. Like I didn’t go after my vintage because I thought he had something that I wanted. I met him, I listened to what he had to say. And then boom, we’re friends. That’s the way to network. Those are relationships where they will be vague, they’ll be very valuable to you. But you won’t even have to think about cultivating. You’ll do it because you want to go. I might remember the moment I met the dude I was at, I was with him and John north, and we’re at my barbershop. Yeah. And we’re sitting at lunch. And I didn’t know it was I’m eating, so I started listening to him talk, also not stopping. And listen, and we became friends. And the rest is history and like, So, learn to network or learn to, I hate the word network. Just create, like regular relationships with people that you want to be around people that are like-minded. You want to be around you’ll never have to network.
Misbah Haque (1:04:00):
Travis, thank you so much for coming back and dropping knowledge and sharing this conversation with me. Is there anything else you’d like to leave listeners with?
Now, it’s been a good show, you get some really good questions. I love those like less. I hate the surface-level questions. These are good like deep like let me say some things I’ve been wanting to say. So that’s good.
Misbah Haque (1:04:23):
Thank you. Thank you. I appreciate that. Where can we point people to to learn more about you learn more about what you’re up to and really just to support you and your message.
mashelite.com. We’re about. I don’t know when the show’s going to air but in another two weeks, we’re going to release my newest book, do what you want, which is all about concurrent chains. There’s going to be a crazy product. Let me just tell you, in that book, there’s gonna be a program where weightlifting, powerlifting, bodybuilding, strongman, CrossFit and five came during square. So like, it is really when you look at the program that it is not as crazy as you might think.
Misbah Haque (1:05:03):
That’s really exciting. Well, I’ll be sure to link that up in the show notes. And thank you once again for coming on and joining me.
You’re welcome. Thank you for having me on.
Misbah Haque (1:05:15):
Thank you so much for listening. I appreciate you lending me your ears. Before you head out. I wanted to share a free gift with you. It’s only available for podcast listeners at mizhq.com. Again, that’s mizhq.com. So go ahead and grab that. If you want to support the show. The best compliment that you can give is by leaving a review with your thoughts. We have no idea how much that helps. And I always love hearing from you guys. So once again, thank you again for tuning in. Until next time.
Resources we may have talked about:
“Do What You Want” Ebook