Where Stanton Strength athletes are featured that have accomplished amazing feats of strength or physical transformation.
I first met Laura’s husband Greg. Greg trains with SSOC and wanted to come out for an intermediate lifting class. Greg talked Laura into doing one of the novice classes. Six months ago Laura signed up for her first novice class.
Laura wanted to get stronger and more capable and had seen what barbells had done for her husband. Laura began like any other novice, a little uncoordinated, unsure, and not very strong. Most notable Laura was unable to manage an unloaded squat to depth without falling down. I don’t know if she believed me but I told her she would be squatting 135 in no time.
I started Laura on a box, a very cute tiny little box for Laura’s tiny leg shank. She would lower herself down as far as she could before plopping down. She would then rock and get herself back to standing. In two weeks she was able to control herself all the way to the box and we were able to remove it. Laura performed her first loaded squat all the way to depth!
Once Laura found her confidence and place within the team she began to excel. Adding weight every session, moving with better form. I still remember when she was able to load her first plate onto the bar from standing height and when she came in excited that she was able to put a heavy object up in the cupboards. Strength is important.
Laura is early to every single class. She is eager to support her classmates. While not always enthusiastic about adding more weight to the bar, she commits to every rep. She is very coachable. But please don’t ask her to do bar math. “Laura math” as we call it is something like plus/mins 75% bar weight.
Laura has been a regular at the monthly team dinners and even competed in one of Stanton Strength’s King of the Hill. The other ladies took notice as Laura had flown under the radar to become a very threatening competitor in a very short time.
I had the pleasure of spending 24 weeks with Laura over three novice classes and the improvement I saw was dramatic. Laura began with a 35lb bench press, a 15lb press, a 65lb deadlift, and was unable to squat. As of the final week of her last novice class Laura can now bench 135lbs, overhead press 95lbs, deadlift 275lbs, and squat 265lbs! Laura is almost literally 7x stronger then she was before!
There was no secret to here training. In fact, many would call it boring. But simple and hard gets results. We performed a Novice Linear Progression pretty much as described in Starting Strength. We performed three sets of five squats, press, and bench press. We performed a single set of five deadlifts. Over time we added in a light squat day with paused work. Laura spent a little time with Romanian deadlifts and good mornings to provide a break from heavy deadlifts. Later in her progression we split deadlifts into a light volume day of two by five and a heavy day of one by three. The final adjustment we made was performing a top set of five with two back off sets of five at eighty percent for the squat. Only six movements in total and one variation. Getting strong isn’t complicated, its just hard.
Laura has now joined Marie for the Thursday intermediate class and is looking to compete in the very near future. With Marie as a mentor Laura will be a dangerous force indeed. I couldn’t ask for a kinder, more dedicated, coachable trainee. Here is to a bright future and many more pr’s together!
So much has happened in six months since we announced Jeremy Elder as Stanton Strength’s first Starting Strength intern. Where to begin?
Looking to the past: We put on the most epic of competitions with the King of the Hill four. Over 60 people packed into 270 square feet. Personal bests were smashed, competitors were crushed, and a select few rose to the top of the ranks.
Stanton Strength moved the location of Next Level Barbell studio from Milwaukie to Portland. With 600 more square feet to work we now have three racks, over 10 bars, and 2000lbs of calibrated bumpers/iron. I am awaiting the logo’d pulling platforms and then I will post pictures of the completed location.
Jeremy Elder has done a fantastic job interning and will be moving into his new role as a junior strength coach, ready to take on new clients. Jeremy has a fantastic eye and is more then ready to take a more direct role. I look forward to continuing to develop Jeremy’s coaching practice and to prepare him for the rigors of the Starting Strength exam. Contact me now if you are looking for an extremely affordable coaching option.
Stanton Strength has also welcomed a new Starting Strength coach into its roster with Ryan O’Connell Peller. Ryan brings a wealth of experience and comes with the highest recommendations of his peers. He is available for clients immediately.
The team continues to grow every week. We welcomed Rick, Kalab, Ken, Zoe, Tom, Joseph, Glen, Sheri, Lindsay, Aimee, Stephen, Jia, Sharon, Jim, Seth, Josh, James, Brian, Tyler, Earl, Spencer, Matt, Jason, Annmarie and more!
Presently: With the rate of the growth of the team, Stanton Strength is in need of some new management tools. At Stanton Strength we have avoided raising our prices for 3 full years. In order to continue to grow and develop its finally time to raise our prices. Single session prices are increasing to $85 per session. Monthly subscription model will be increasing to $325/month and includes programming, conveniently delivered through fitbot. Nutrition, for new members, will become an add-on item and will be managed through fitbot. The subscription model will now require a 3 month commitment for new members. Novice classes will increase to $250/month and include up to 6 members in accordance with our increased space. Intermediate classes will increase to $175/month and include up to 6 members. These changes will go into effect starting June 1st for new clients and July 1st for existing clients. For existing clients that just gasped, please do not fret. I am committed to you. If this is beyond your financial means, please contact me individually. I want there to always be a place on this team for you.
With the hard part out of the way, lets discuss the newest goodie that this allow us to purchase. Fitbot is an online training service that will completely revamp our current excel based training platform. Fitbot is a client and coach platform. Programming will be delivered via email on a daily basis. You, the client, can rapidly relay your progress to your coach, ask questions, and post videos. Your coach is given a suite of tools that allow better tracking of your progress, and allows better communication of what you the client should be doing. Less wasted time in emails, or text messages, trying to figure out what you are supposed to be doing, and more worry-free training! In addition, during periods of time that there is an active intern, any video you upload will be analyzed and broken down within 24 hours and feedback given!
Another perk we will be offering is automatic bank withdrawal services. No more having to chase me down and throw money at me. It will be conveniently relocated on a monthly basis.
Lastly in the present, I have completed my nursing career and am now retired. That means 100% of my attention is focused solely on this venture.
Charging towards the future: I see a very bright future ahead. A future where you are all jacked, probably not tan, but crushing 1000lbs squats.
We will continue to run the team dinners every month but these will be moving to Saturday’s after our trip to Saylor’s. My hope is that it will be easier for all to attend. I love seeing you all outside the gym.
A new novice class time has opened from 6-7:30am with Ryan. There is also an available slot still at 6-7:30pm.
June 24th Ryan and I will be putting on a squat camp at Rekovery Athletics. Come and learn not only how to squat, but why we squat the way we do. Lecture and instruction is provided. To get signed up see: https://aasgaardco.com/…/starting-s…/vancouver-wa-squat-camp
June 30th will be the first bench’s and brews. Come get your bench on while sampling delicious beverages from a local brewery. More information to follow.
The next King of the Hill is scheduled for August 18th. We have special guess Rebecca Roberts coming to crush the female records. We will have a ton of new space so I am hoping to get some awesome pictures of you all lifting.
Lastly, we are on schedule to open a commercial facility. My goal is to open in less than a years’ time. In conversation with Mark Rippetoe, the west coast is in need of a training facility to host seminars. That could and will be us. I have a goal to have the best Starting Strength gym on the west coast. And I know you are all behind me and I cannot thank you enough for your support. Every day I feel so lucky to know you.
We have expanded our capacity. We have moved from Milwaukie to Portland Oregon, conveniently located off I-205. More equipment to be available in the near future.
New Address: 11234 SE Clinton ST, Portland Oregon 97266.
Just one year ago the sacred right of the King of the Hill was performed. Only a very strong few battled the elements and tight quarters to determine the great pecking order. On Saturday, April 14th the King of the Hill hosted over 60 persons and more than 25 combatants, vying for the revered bobblehead trophy. Only eight survived and we celebrate them here!
Truly this was an epic event. I am proud to say that I hosted some of the most generous, amazing, and welcoming strength athletes on the planet. The energy contained within the tiny garage was infectious. More then 30 personal best were accomplished in front of a roaring crowd. You all demonstrated with conviction what we stand for:
Guest Column - Amanda Soares
Hopefully by now youʼve gotten your hands on:
A big-ass Instant Pot
A Costco membership
An 8x8 baking dish or at least a good brownie pan
because without them, this installment is going to be reeeeeeeally boring for you. (Youʼve been warned!)
Today weʼre going to talk CHICKEN PREP.
AND! Because youʼve been so patient waiting for episode #2, Iʼm going to let you in on the secret of my delicious and nutritious CAULIFLOWER-BEEF STUFFED PEPPERS.
You can thank me later.
First up: CHICKEN! Donʼt blink or youʼre really going to miss this.
Itʼs going to take you THREE MINUTES or less to get it together, and then youʼre going to eat like a BOSS
All. Week. Long. Yes, itʼs that easy.
Yes it will keep that long.
Yes itʼll be moist and perfect and amazing.
Itʼs amazing because it is VERSATILE.
An often overlooked part of food prep is VERSATILITY.
The more things you can make with one component, the less sick of it youʼll get, basically.
For prepped chicken, you can eat it straight out of the storage container for a quick delicious protein snack. You can shred and throw in salads, put on a sandwich, or in a lettuce wrap, add to a stir-fry, put some curry or bbq or jerk sauce on it, shred it into a taco or burrito, add it to rice and beans.
Cold, hot, microwave it…. Have fun with it.
This is why chicken is one of my go-to meal prep staples week after week. Hereʼs how you knock it out:
STEP 1— GET THYSELF TO COSTCO and get yourself a giant pack of organic chicken breasts.
Like 5 or 6 pounds of boneless skinless raw breasts.
STEP 2— GET OUT YOUR GIANT INSTANT POT. Put 3 cups of water in it.
STEP 3— SEASON THE COOKING WATER by adding 2TBS of salt and 2TBS black pepper to the water. STIR IT UP.
(******BEEFBEAR LEVEL + TIP: this is the step later on…. When youʼre getting fancy in the future, you can play with the cooking water and add things like lemons, garlic, ginger, or whatever spices you like to party with and get a different FLAVOR PROFILE. Because once you realize how ridiculously fucking easy this is to do youʼre totally going to come back and play with this recipe A TON.)
STEP 4— put all that chicken in the instant pot water you just made. Layer it in and fill that pot. Donʼt be a dumbass and go past the “MAX FILL LINE” on the Instant Pot, nobody will be able to help you. If thereʼs not at least A LITTLE water on the top layer of chicken at this point, top it off. You DO NOT have to submerge the chicken. Just make sure thereʼs at least some water up at the top to hang out and poach it.
STEP 5— Close the Instant Pot, close the vent to SEALING, hit MANUAL at high pressure for 30 MINUTES and walk away because youʼre golden and you nailed it.
Whether you come back 40 minutes or 3 hours later…. Your masterpiece of cooking magic will be intact.
When you return, let the pressure out if there is any left, open that lid, and BEHOLD your delicious falling-apart chicken.
Remove carefully with tongs or a big spoon into containers or a giant ziploc bag. You may have to use a straining spoon to get the last juicy bits out because you just made chicken so delicious it is FALLING APART. Go you!
(********BEEFBEAR LEVEL + TIP: strain out that cooking liquid and put it in jars because itʼs gonna be tasty-ass chicken stock full of flavor. Make your rice with it, make your beans with it, sautéed veggies in it, or add veggies and more water to taste and make yourself some delicious SOUP.)
NOW THAT YOUʼRE CHICKEN GAME IS ON POINT….. LETʼS PARTY WITH PEPPERS!!!
While you were at Costco, I know you ALSO picked up some: diced tomatoes (2 cans)
a sleeve of 6 bell peppers (you need 5 of them. Use #6 for a snack, you saucy savage.)
a 2lb bag of organic riced cauliflower (weʼre using 1lb) some big-ass (1.33lb) packages of organic ground beef,
right? RIGHT! Letʼs do this!
Youʼre gonna have lunch ALL WEEK NOW. Just you wait.
Guest Column - Amanda Soares
So you wanna eat properly, but meal prep "takes too long," is "is too much work," or "is too expensive.
Here’s where I call bullshit on you, ladies and gents. Stop deceiving yourselves.
We all need to eat, multiple times a day. So we’re going to pay now, or pay later.
And I mean for all of it. From what you put in your facehole, to how long it took you to get there. Time and energy is going to get spent.
So, let’s get efficient, and work smarter not harder, to get better results.
Meals for an entire week take around 2-3 hours to create.
YES FOR THE WEEK.
And then you don’t have to think about it again.
YOU HAVE YOUR WHOLE WEEK BACK.
Think on that for a second. Think about all the time and energy it takes, MULTIPLE TIMES A DAY, to hunt and peck, gather and annoy yourself with repetitive prep work, figuring out what to make… breaking down in desperation and hanger (YES HANGER IS A REAL EMOTION), and eating crap, meal bars, or something way expensive... and on and on and on.
Wouldn’t you rather have it all there ready to go? Dishes got knocked out in one shot? Ready for the whole week to just eat as-needed, or quickly heat up?
It can be this way. And it feels so good when you’re done.
I promise, promise, PROMISE you that you can find your rhythm and knock this out.
“But Amanda…… I hate to cook! I don’t know how to cook!”
To which I say: “If you like to eat, you can like to cook.” And let’s be real: if you’re reading this you hate eating like shit too. So, let’s just get over ourselves and party.
This guest blog is going to help you get there.
Prescription strength becomes Next Level Barbell Studio
One year ago we began operation Prescription Strength, now known as Next Level Barbell Studio.
I must admit, I had no idea how the market would respond to my vision. But after training out of two local commercial gyms with considerable conflict, a move needed to be made.
I pulled the trigger and could not be happier that I did. I turned a tiny business of a small handful of personal training clients to a roster of 57 active clients. We launched the King of the Hill competitions with amazing success. And becoming involved with SSOC was a giant step in the right direction. I thank you all with the sincerest gratitude for supporting my vision.
I had an excellent discussion with a person whom I consider my mentor, Matt Reynolds, about the future of Stanton Strength. I know you are all excited to see the commercial gym open but its just a little too early yet. Rest assured that it will happen soon. Bench and Brews now has an official sponsor and the necessary equipment. The first event will be scheduled in the very near future. For today I want to announce Stanton Strength's very first Starting Strength intern, Jeremy Elder.
Jeremy has been a competitive cross county skier and mountain biker. As a younger man on adventure, a terrible rock slide caused serious injury to Jeremy's leg, challenging his capacity to enjoy the sports he loved. He has since turned to strength training under my personal guidance. Jeremy is eager to learn more and to to help others overcome their own hurdles, while guiding them towards stronger and more empowered lives.
Here is to a great 2018 and a huge welcome to Jeremy Elder!
Jeremy Elder - Starting Strength Intern
Eating healthy does not have to be time consuming and expensive
The importance of preparing and cooking your own food cannot be understated. Allowing food companies, supermarkets, and restaurants to dictate the quality and preparation of your food can have real consequences for your nutrition. While many would agree with this sentiment, how many times have you heard or even given the excuse that eating healthy food is too costly or time consuming? That quality ingredients are too expensive and that cooking every night is a chore. The truth is that with some preplanning, some easy to learn skills, and some advanced preparation you can eat nutritious food morning, afternoon, night, all week, year-round.
Food costs are at an all time high with food consuming a greater proportion of everyone’s budget than ever before. It is only natural to attempt to reduce food costs and at first glance less nutritious food appears to win out. Pre-prepared, boxed, and canned foods certainly have higher number of calories per dollar then raw supplies in a store. However, people who consume quality meats, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains naturally reduce their overall caloric intake related to the satiety that these foods provide in comparison to their pre-prepared, sugar added, salt laden, pretend food. And let’s be honest, most people could use to be consuming less but better calories. Less calories less dollars.
In 2013 greater than 50% of meals were eaten outside the home, often at a significantly increased cost in comparison to a home prepared meal. How many times have you yourself, gone out for a meal simply because you did not have food readily available in the home? Can you imagine how much money could be saved just by reducing meals outside the home by 50%? For the average American in 2017 that would equate to $116 per month. More meals in-home, less dollars required.
Finally, there is the incalculable cost of health savings. With chronic disease increasing at a rapid rate, many of which are directly and indirectly related to poor nutrition, maintaining good health is extremely important to your overall financial picture. The 99-cent frozen pre-prepared dinner contains significant and dangerous hidden costs. Better health, less dollars on healthcare. Eating healthy does not have to be expensive!
So even if the overall costs are roughly equivalent, how are you supposed to dedicate time every day, multiple times a day, to cooking nutritious food. No one has time for that, right? I certainly do not. So, let’s make a simple adjustment. Let’s prepare several meals ahead of time and refrigerate them for later consumption. Let’s prepare all of the meals for an entire week in one or two cooking sessions. Depending on your skill as a cook and your food selections, an entire week of meals can be cooked in two to three hours. You certainly spend as much time traveling to, within, and from restaurants as that. Everyone has two to three hours to dedicate each week to healthy food.
Refrigerated meals can be safely kept for four days and for months if frozen. There are many options available for what to prepare: soup, chili, steak, chicken, roasts, rice, sautéed vegetables, casseroles, pastas, hard-boiled eggs, and salads. You are only limited by what you can store. When you are ready to eat, the meal simply needs to be pulled from the refrigerator and reheated. For many people it is an adjustment eating the same meal several times in a week but truly good food never really gets old.
By buying food in bulk and preparing food in advance for the week, you can eat nutritious food every single day of the year, with equal to or less time commitment and money than you are currently spending. I have attached an example shopping list with recipes for you to give it try! Happy eating.
A great war was waged and the dust has settled... the King of the Hill has emerged. Many new personal bests were set and records shattered. The winners are immortalized below.
Winner for best lift of the night is Jesse D.
Client in the spotlight – Where Stanton Strength athletes are featured that have accomplished amazing feats of strength or physical transformation.
I first met Alan during my time at Elite Performance Center. Alan was an unassuming older adult that initially caught my attention when he ripped a 400-pound deadlift from the floor and knocked out 12+ strict pull ups in his mid-sixties. Alan had a wonderful way of telling the driest, absent of facial expression, and sometimes terribly inappropriate jokes. To this day he still catches me off guard and I love that quality about him. Alan and I trained alongside one another on Saturday mornings.
After a period of time we had a conversation about his bench press and how I noticed he was continuing to hit the same numbers over and over without advancement. Each session Alan would work up to a near max, possibly attempt and miss 225, and call it a day for bench. Apparently, this had gone on for almost 2 years. I suggested that he allow me to make some small adjustments to his bench programming and form and that I thought this goal was achievable. After a short time, he nailed his first 225-pound bench press and so began our semi-professional relationship.
I would later work with Alan as an occasional training partner and friend with small form tips and periods of strength programming. Alan would go on to win IPL worlds two times under my programming guidance but mostly under his own direction. This year however, Alan sought me out to be directly involved with his training and to prepare him walk on the stage in his best shape yet. Now 68 years old, it can be a challenge to stem the tides of age and maintain what has already been accomplished. Alan was not satisfied with that and expected more, and therefore, so did I.
We had seventeen weeks to prepare for one of the biggest stages in Powerlifting, IPL World Championships. Alan would compete in the Masters 90kg weight class and he already weighed towards the top or slightly above the weight cutoff. No easy gains from bulking for us. The general nutrition strategy was therefore maintenance with an adequate intake of protein spread evenly throughout the day.
Upon first assessment Alan was very good at displaying his strength but severely lacked training capacity and positional endurance. To address this, we began with 4 weeks of accumulation (high volume, low intensity), a recovery week, then another 3 weeks of accumulation. Accumulation of volume for older adults is always a difficult task due to their diminished capacity to recover. To address this, we focused on positional endurance, or the ability to maintain proper position under load. A movement performed with adequate positional endurance is performed with less variance, consumes less recovery resources, and establishes or reaffirms an effective motor pattern. Positional endurance was improved through light sets of eight and selective use of 2 count paused secondary movements. Sets of 3’s at moderate weight provided the necessary skill practice and accumulation of heavier weights. By utilizing excellent movement, we were able to improve Alan’s training capacity and decrease the recovery demands of each individual set.
With a solid foundation established we moved on to 3 weeks of intensification (moderate load, moderate volume) followed by a week of realization (de-loaded volume, high intensity). Moderate sets of 5 and heavy sets of 2’s were utilized with increasing weights. Paused repetitions continued to be very useful but were performed for with higher loads for less repetitions. It was determined that 3 sets of volume, while adequate for lower body movements, was inadequate for upper body movements. Upper body movements were adjusted up to 4 sets and down to 4 repetitions to maintain the same volume at the same relative intensity. The higher absolute intensity and increased number of hard sets allowed progress to continue. The training block culminated in establishing a 2-rep maximum. As we exited this block a considerable amount of fatigue had been accumulated. Good thing we still had four more weeks to prepare and carefully remove volume and dissipate fatigue.
The final four weeks focused almost entirely on the competition movements with the highest loads performed for minimal sets. Openers were established three weeks out, seconds were attempted and thirds predicted 1 week out. Fatigue was still very present at 1 week out and Alan’s second attempts were performed extremely slowly or had to be adjusted downward in weight to be accomplished. Had we created to much fatigue to recover in time? The final week Alan worked up to a single squat and bench at opening weight, then a single at 60% four days out, and finally a single at 70% two days before competition.
I met Alan in Las Vegas for IPL worlds at the Golden Nugget Hotel. Game day had arrived. Alan made weight without a weight cut and called it in for an early night. Alan was instructed to only consume his normal foods with a focus on carbohydrates in preparation for the event. I met Alan at 8am in the morning to begin warming up squats. From the first few sets it was evident I was working with more rested and determined athlete. Another week of rest was just right, and Alan was prepared for war.
For those that have not experienced the first squat on a big stage, it can be overwhelming. So much training invested, the noise, crowds, and serious atmosphere of the judges can cause some to falter while other rise to occasion. First attempt was set at 130 kg, a weight intended to be far too easy. I called Alan to depth and with ease the first squat was in the books! For the next repetition we adjusted depth about 1” higher. Second attempt of 145 kg, which the previous week Alan had cut high, looked like a warmup. The third attempt of 154 kg would be the Masters 90kg class world record. Alan descended into the hole very uneven but hit depth exactly correct and with a significant struggle took the record. A fourth attempt was called at 155 kg in order to advance the record by a small margin. That lift can be viewed below.
With a very successful squat showing, we headed off to get some food. Alan stuck to familiar foods and made an effort to hydrate. Warming up for bench press demonstrated that Alan remained very prepared. 95 kg was called. In non-dramatic fashion the lift was executed perfectly. Second attempt of 100 kg faltered on the way down to his chest as the wrists extended back. Alan fought it back into position for three white lights! Attempt three was called at 108kg in order to break his own world record. The descent this time was much more controlled and despite a little sticking point about half way through the lift, he made the attempt. A fourth attempt was called at 110kg to further his own record. That video is below.
As the saying goes, the meet doesn’t start until the bar hits the ground. Alan and I made an audible to increase his opening attempt from 165kg to 180kg in order to take the total world record with the first attempt. Alan was a little nervous warming up, but it was obvious to me that this would be no issue. First attempt was setup correctly and locked out to cheers and three white lights. Second attempt Alan did not set his back correctly and allowed the bar to drift from the shins with 190kg on the bar. Through determination and grit he pulled it back in and locked it out. Repetition three, the final lift of the day, we called 195kg. That repetition can be seen below.
When all was said and done, Alan completed 11/11 attempts, achieved personal bests in all three lifts, and achieved three world records for the 90kg master class. Oh… and he won his third world championship title. Celebration of his success was done in Las Vegas style. Alan the 3-time master world champion.
Reflecting on our time together I feel as if we nailed the programming perfect. Given more time and advancement we would probably have had to use escalating intensity sets for volume work instead of working straight across. If we were able to work more often in person I think we could still achieve some more pounds through form adjustments. Alan’s total increased from an estimated 865lbs to an actual 1009lbs. I am very proud of Alan and his hard work and perfect execution. At Stanton Strength we are proud to have such an accomplished team member and friend. One more year at his current master class and then we need to obliterate the 70+ records. We got work to do!
Thank you to Cameron Martinot for the photographs and to the encouraging words of our teammates, family, and friends. Congratulations to the World Slayer, Alan Levine!