This young woman called Holly Butcher posted her advice to the world, 24 hours before she died of cancer

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This was her message…

“It’s a strange thing to realise and accept your mortality at 26 years young. It’s just one of those things you ignore. The days tick by and you just expect they will keep on coming; Until the unexpected happens. I always imagined myself growing old, wrinkled and grey- most likely caused by the beautiful family (lots of kiddies) I planned on building with the love of my life. I want that so bad it hurts.

That’s the thing about life; It is fragile, precious and unpredictable and each day is a gift, not a given right.

I’m 27 now. I don’t want to go. I love my life. I am happy.. I owe that to my loved ones. But the control is out of my hands.

I haven’t started this ‘note before I die’ so that death is feared – I like the fact that we are mostly ignorant to it’s inevitability.. Except when I want to talk about it and it is treated like a ‘taboo’ topic that will never happen to any of us.. That’s been a bit tough. I just want people to stop worrying so much about the small, meaningless stresses in life and try to remember that we all have the same fate after it all so do what you can to make your time feel worthy and great, minus the bullshit.

I have dropped lots of my thoughts below as I have had a lot of time to ponder life these last few months. Of course it’s the middle of the night when these random things pop in my head most!

1) Those times you are whinging about ridiculous things (something I have noticed so much these past few months), just think about someone who is really facing a problem. Be grateful for your minor issue and get over it. It’s okay to acknowledge that something is annoying but try not to carry on about it and negatively effect other people’s days.

2) Once you do that, get out there and take a freaking big breath of that fresh Aussie air deep in your lungs, look at how blue the sky is and how green the trees are; It is so beautiful. Think how lucky you are to be able to do just that – breathe.

3) You might have got caught in bad traffic today, or had a bad sleep because your beautiful babies kept you awake, or your hairdresser cut your hair too short. Your new fake nails might have got a chip, your boobs are too small, or you have cellulite on your arse and your belly is wobbling.

Let all that shit go.. I swear you will not be thinking of those things when it is your turn to go. It is all SO insignificant when you look at life as a whole. I’m watching my body waste away right before my eyes with nothing I can do about it and all I wish for now is that I could have just one more Birthday or Christmas with my family, or just one more day with my partner and dog. Just one more.

4) I hear people complaining about how terrible work is or about how hard it is to exercise – Be grateful you are physically able to. Work and exercise may seem like such trivial things … until your body doesn’t allow you to do either of them.

I tried to live a healthy life, in fact, that was probably my major passion. Appreciate your good health and functioning body- even if it isn’t your ideal size. Look after it and embrace how amazing it is. Move it and nourish it with fresh food. Don’t obsess over it.

5) Remember there are more aspects to good health than the physical body.. work just as hard on finding your mental, emotional and spiritual happiness too. That way you might realise just how insignificant and unimportant having this stupidly portrayed perfect social media body really is.. While on this topic, delete any account that pops up on your news feeds that gives you any sense of feeling shit about yourself. Friend or not.. Be ruthless for your own well-being.

6) Be grateful for each day you don’t have pain and even the days where you are unwell with man flu, a sore back or a sprained ankle, accept it is shit but be thankful it isn’t life threatening and will go away.

7) Whinge less, people! .. And help each other more.

😎 Give, give, give. It is true that you gain more happiness doing things for others than doing them for yourself. I wish I did this more. Since I have been sick, I have met the most incredibly giving and kind people and been the receiver of the most thoughtful and loving words and support from my family, friends and strangers; More than I could I ever give in return. I will never forget this and will be forever grateful to all of these people.

9) It is a weird thing having money to spend at the end.. when you’re dying. It’s not a time you go out and buy material things that you usually would, like a new dress. It makes you think how silly it is that we think it is worth spending so much money on new clothes and ‘things’ in our lives.

Buy your friend something kind instead of another dress, beauty product or jewellery for that next wedding. 1. No-one cares if you wear the same thing twice 2. It feels good. Take them out for a meal, or better yet, cook them a meal. Shout their coffee. Give/ buy them a plant, a massage or a candle and tell them you love them when you give it to them.

10) Value other people’s time. Don’t keep them waiting because you are shit at being on time. Get ready earlier if you are one of those people and appreciate that your friends want to share their time with you, not sit by themselves, waiting on a mate. You will gain respect too! Amen sister.

11) This year, our family agreed to do no presents and despite the tree looking rather sad and empty (I nearly cracked Christmas Eve!), it was so nice because people didn’t have the pressure of shopping and the effort went into writing a nice card for each other. Plus imagine my family trying to buy me a present knowing they would probably end up with it themselves.. strange! It might seem lame but those cards mean more to me than any impulse purchase could. Mind you, it was also easier to do in our house because we had no little kiddies there. Anyway, moral of the story- presents are not needed for a meaningful Christmas. Moving on.

12) Use your money on experiences.. Or at least don’t miss out on experiences because you spent all your money on material shit.

13) Put in the effort to do that day trip to the beach you keep putting off. Dip your feet in the water and dig your toes in the sand. Wet your face with salt water.

14) Get amongst nature.

15) Try just enjoying and being in moments rather than capturing them through the screen of your phone. Life isn’t meant to be lived through a screen nor is it about getting the perfect photo.. enjoy the bloody moment, people! Stop trying to capture it for everyone else.

Random rhetorical question. Are those several hours you spend doing your hair and make up each day or to go out for one night really worth it? I’ve never understood this about females

🤔.

16) Get up early sometimes and listen to the birds while you watch the beautiful colours the sun makes as it rises.

17) Listen to music.. really listen. Music is therapy. Old is best.

18) Cuddle your dog. Far out, I will miss that.

19) Talk to your friends. Put down your phone. Are they doing okay?

20) Travel if it’s your desire, don’t if it’s not.

21) Work to live, don’t live to work.

Seriously, do what makes your heart feel happy.

22) Eat the cake. Zero guilt.

23) Say no to things you really don’t want to do.

24) Don’t feel pressured to do what other people might think is a fulfilling life.. you might want a mediocre life and that is so okay.

25) Tell your loved ones you love them every time you get the chance and love them with everything you have.

26) Also, remember if something is making you miserable, you do have the power to change it – in work or love or whatever it may be. Have the guts to change. You don’t know how much time you’ve got on this earth so don’t waste it being miserable. I know that is said all the time but it couldn’t be more true.

Anyway, that’s just this one young gals life advice. Take it or leave it, I don’t mind!

Oh and one last thing, if you can, do a good deed for humanity (and myself) and start regularly donating blood. It will make you feel good with the added bonus of saving lives. I feel like it is something that is so overlooked considering every donation can save 3 lives! That is a massive impact each person can have and the process really is so simple.

Blood donation (more bags than I could keep up with counting) helped keep me alive for an extra year – a year I will be forever grateful that I got to spend it here on Earth with my family, friends and dog. A year I had some of the greatest times of my life.

..’Til we meet again.

Hol

Xoxo”

Essentials in competing and training

 

Singlets
Make sure the singlets are within the rules of the federation you compete in. Please don’t just assume especially because of regional event let you wear it and then someone that is actually enforcing the rules says “No. You can’t wear that to compete in.” I have seen it happen ALOT. Know the rules!

https://inzernet.com/collections/singlets/products/singlet
Amazon is always an option where I purchased before.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AS13NOG/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_re7bDbE4FB0DV

Belts
10 or 13mm refers to the thickness of the belt.  A beginner especially female will be fine with a 10mm. If they company has in stock that is great but some take a while to have made so plan ahead. All belts will need to be 4″ in height. It is standard.  Also Velcro is generally a no go…and poor quality anyway.
https://www.andersonpowerlifting.com/powerlifting-belts-toro-texas-s/1833.htm

Knee sleeves
SBD is great and the long lasting standard. Are they essential? No. Great for training and keep the joints warm. Know the rules for your federation that you compete in. Is one federation ok while another isnt BUT you plan on competing in a couple of different feds? Cross reference and see what will make the most sense financially. Keep it simple in the end.
https://www.sbd-usa.com/

Wrist wraps
YES! USE THEM! Notice I said wraps not straps. Protect the wrists as much as possible please. Benching and yes squatting can beat your wrists up. You don’t want to be some old hip replaced, has-been with wrist issues because he didn’t use enough preventative care…I have heard.

Wraps can be softer material or very stiff which for some is distracting and uncomfortable. If you have the option start with a softer wrap and go from there. Again find out the rules for the length of wrap you are allowed to have in competition.


Additional tools I recommend:
Chalk
https://www.handarmorchalk.com/
Bands
https://www.elitefts.com/shop/accessories/bands-1.html
Having bands up to an average band for most is pretty fantastic if financially affordable

Bench Blokz
Great to have the 1/2 board all the way to 5 board. Saves on the shoulders and let’s you do overload work.
https://www.amazon.com/stores/node/13204798011?_encoding=UTF8&field-lbr_brands_browse-bin=BenchBlokz&ref_=bl_dp_s_web_13204798011
ProLoc Collars
http://proloccollars.com/
https://www.roguefitness.com/rogue-proloc-collars
Fat grips
Standard blue is perfect!
https://www.amazon.com/stores/page/219A4664-5B04-463F-93A4-BFE99DB15683?store_ref=storeRecs_Instant_13204798011
Tourniquets (blood flow restriction training)
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GYLLHG3/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_U_x_RB7bDbH4KCH7F
Lacrosse balls or “peanuts” are great to always have for self care.

“But wait! You didn’t mention shoes Shawn.”

No I didn’t. I have watched the industry capitalize on the shoe “need” for lifters. In general, your squat sucks because you are weak in some capacity. That can be fixed. Adding a shoe isn’t the issue. The fractional differences isn’t worth addressing. Wear a firm stable shoe. Leave it at that.

June 16 Updates

Quote:
“Be careful to leave your sons well instructed rather than rich, for the hopes of the instructed are better than the wealth of the ignorant.”
– Epictetus


Recipe:
Best Tuna Salad (1 serving)
Nutrition Info

Calories: 296.7
Fat: 1.8g
Carbohydrates: 38.2g
Protein: 32.8g

Ingredients
1 can tuna in water (drained)
1/3 c dried cranberries
1/2 Fuji apple chopped
1 green onion chopped
2 tbs fat free miracle whip( to taste)
Salt (to taste)
Romaine lettuce
Directions (duh)
Mix all ingredients in a medium sized bowl except lettuce. Place lettuce on plate and top with tuna salad.


Video Tutorial:

 

Dr. Rhonda Patrick discusses how conditioning the body to heat stress through sauna use, called “hyperthermic conditioning” causes adaptations that increase athletic endurance (by increasing plasma volume and blood flow to heart and muscles) and muscle mass (by boosting levels of heat shock proteins and growth hormone). She also discusses the profound effects of hyperthermic conditioning on the brain including cognitive function.



Competitions upcoming
1. Emma APF meet June 22 THIS WEEKEND!!!
2. Chris USPA Nationals June 29
3. Lexington USPA Sunflower State Games July 27 & Conquer fundraiser
here in SLC where I am not sure who is all lifting again.


Can BCAAs alone build muscle?

“Technically, no, since your muscles are composed of all 20 amino acids. In practice, BCAAs taken alone can promote muscle growth — if your body can get the 17 other amino acids in some other way (it can synthesize 11 of them; the other 6 it may find in BCAAs some food you’re still digesting, for instance). Still, BCAAs or even EAAs taken alone stimulate MPS less than the same amount of BCAAs or EAAs from whey protein.

But isn’t leucine the most anabolic of the amino acids? It is, and yet, taken alone in a fasted state, it increases MPS (MUSLCE PROTEIN SYNTHESIS) and anabolic signaling (notably through the mTOR/p70S6K pathway) for about 1.5 hours only. MPS stops as soon as another of the EAAs gets depleted. BCAAs contain only 3 of the 9 EAAs: leucine, isoleucine, and valine.

One study compared 25 grams of whey protein (providing 3 grams of leucine), 6.25 grams of whey protein mixed with leucine (3 grams of leucine in total), and 6.25 grams of whey protein mixed with EAAs (0.75 grams of leucine in total, and as much of the other EAAs as in 25 grams of whey protein). At the 3-hour mark post-fasted-exercise, all three supplements stimulated MPS similarly, but at the 5-hour mark, only the pure whey protein still stimulated MPS. Without the exercise stimulus, however, even the pure whey protein could not increase MPS past the 3-hour mark.

All right. But it isn’t too surprising that, for a same amount of leucine, the pure whey protein (which contains more amino acids total) should win out. What would happen, though, if you increased the dose of added leucine? A follow-up study set to answer that question. It found that, at the 4.5-hour mark post-fasted-exercise, 25 grams of whey protein (providing 3 grams of leucine) and 6.25 grams of whey protein plus 4.25 grams of leucine (5 grams of leucine in total) stimulated MPS similarly, whereas 6.25 grams of whey protein plus 2.25 grams of leucine (3 grams of leucine in total) no longer stimulated MPS.

Interestingly, this same study also found that 6.25 grams of whey protein mixed with
BCAAs (5 grams of leucine in total) stimulated MPS less than 6.25 grams of whey protein plus 4.25 grams of leucine (also 5 grams of leucine in total). In other words, leucine stimulated MPS more when not taken alongside the two other BCAAs, possibly because all three BCAAs share intestinal and muscular transporters, so that isoleucine and valine compete with leucine for both absorption in the gut and entry into muscle tissue.

If you don’t get enough protein, you can take small doses of leucine to compensate — to some extent, and only with regard to muscle building. Importantly, BCAAs or EAAs taken alone stimulate MPS less than the same amount of BCAAs or EAAs from whey protein, which contains all 20 amino acids.”

Source: Examine.com

My Storytelling Moment

In May, I was invited to attend a training class to formulate and express my story in regards to mental health.  After I was selected to attend the training and the speaking event I was emailed a questionnaire.  The instructors wanted to know the subject area of what I wanted to share.  I truthfully had no idea what to discuss.  Knowing that the story sharing time was a mere 5-7 minutes was intimidating to remain relevant while within the guidelines expected.

I asked my wife, Kristen what she thought regarding a topic to speak on.  She encouraged me to just pray about it and give it time; adding that whatever I pick will be great.  There is nothing like that vote of confidence that isn’t lip service, full of genuine belief.  Encouraged with my pep talk from Kristen I decided to weigh the topics I found to be most relevant for this actual event.

The JED Foundation was the group footing the bill for this amazing opportunity and their focus is suicide education with high schools and colleges.  I considered my personal experiences in relationship to this very current and devastating topic.  Unfortunately, I have alot of choices riddled with the epidemic that is suicide.

I decided on story from my life that profoundly impacted me for years.  The video in this is that story.  I hope it is helpful for you or someone you care about.  I am always open to questions and dialogue.  I am not a therapist but I have alot of personal experience to share or just listen.

**TRIGGER WARNING: GRAPHIC DETAILS**

Since sharing this video I have been contacted by numerous people looking to thank me, find resources, talk or just to say it helped them to find the words to talk to a friend.

Dave Tate of EliteFTS even reshared the video that I hope keeps speaking to a group of people that need to be reminded that strength isn’t always about what you can lift.

https://www.elitefts.com/coaching-logs/remembering-wes-mental-health-awareness-month/

If you need support please check out the link below.

https://afsp.org/find-support/
American Federation for Suicide Prevention

https://www.nami.org/Find-Support
National Alliance on Mental Illness

https://www.crisistextline.org
Get free help now: Text CONNECT to 741741

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
800-273-TALK

https://safeut.med.utah.edu/
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Train the way you expect to compete

Squatting was always something I was just built to do well.  Add in hard work and study with good genes; you get some great results.   A good coach works with the lifter constantly.  No part is more important than the other.  It is always a partnership! Here are some tips that I have shared with lifters.  These are guidelines while working with a client in person I might make different adjustments as the lifter can have nuances that are very beneficial to the lifter already.


Warm ups:

These are a combination of active and direct warm ups.  Active can be cardio, rolling etc. Direct warm ups are done with the actual lift itself.  Never tire yourself out during warm ups and always use this as assessment time to see how you are feeling.  If things feel heavy maybe go lighter. Seems like common sense but too many times people are married to the idea of the set numbers.  Flexibility in programming is a precursor to long term success and longevity.

Warm Up Options

Set up:

Bar placement, bracing and the walkout are all part of the set up not excluding feet spacing as well.  Bar placement is the foundation to you success in the squat. So long as the bar is stable and works with your mechanics that is what matters whether low, middle or high bar placement.  Keep the humerus pulled in tight to keep the upper back engaged along with the rear delts. This will keep you from rounding as much when in trouble. Bracing is just learning to take in air in the stomach and lungs and holding to support the spine to a higher degree than the belt alone.  The idea is to push into your belt while sort of crunching down. Brace when lifting the bar off the rack and before you start your squat. Walkouts need no explanation beyond what we discussed but please practice them.

Squat Tips

Bracing

Environment:

Be aware of your surroundings particularly in a mainstream facility.  Never be afraid to approach people to give you space. Safety is paramount.

Foot placement:

This is partly comfort based but also based on the bar placement and the shoes you wear.  Be aware how these variables impact you as a lifter. A close stance in heels with a high bar is prone to balance issues for example.  Too wide can make depth challenging as too narrow can throw balance off. Remember regardless of the foot placement the power is from the midfoot to the heel.  Experiment and take the time to see what feels good based on our first rule: STABILITY.

Bar placement:

Already mentioned but learn and understand why you use the bar the way you do.  Understand which placement is best for your mechanics. This is always going to be something that is individual.  Be willing to experiment. Low bar is optimal for a powerlifter many times but can cause shoulder and bicep tendon pain over time for some.  High bar can work great if the person is very quad dominant and squats upright but getting out of that upright position can be devastating to a strong finish.

Depth:

If not competing find a comfortable range of motion period.  If competing learn to lift every time like on the platform which includes depth on every rep.  Know what is good by feel not others telling you. The ping effect of the lifter hearing creates tentativeness and is very robotic.  The first sign of an unprepared lifter is bombing out of a meet for depth.

Opening Knees For Better Depth

Mobility:

Your feet, bar ride and depth are all factors of mobility.  Heels can  come     up because of high bar position pitching the lifter forward as can tight achilles      and hips.  When squatting your descent is based on bending at the hips first. Lifters than bend at the waist often get stuck being pitched forward and can even “lean into parallel” which is a crap shoot for white lights.

Mobility WOD for Ankles

Bar Path:

Sitting back is incorrect.  Drop. Drop it like its hot. Whatever helps you to understand. Raw lifters drop but we do stick our butts out. The bar should really travel in a straight line up and down.  Try some of the apps around to see the difference of a box squat and a regular squat. Perfect practice makes perfect so consider box squats as a secondary or assistance exercise at best.

Using elbow torque

Questions?  Feel free to email me.