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Monday, January 30, 2012


Hey, it’s good to see you.  Do you have everything?  I am glad you could make it.  Are you sure you want to take this tour?  Hold my hand in case it gets too dark.  Remember you are just in my memories; this is not your reality.  The time machine portal opens in 5 minutes, so make sure you are prepared to enter. There is no turning back once the smell and smoke hit your face.  Here we go. 
We got in later than I thought.  It’s three AM and the orange light in the white room is swaying back and forth from the bass of the music creating a strobe light of shadows on the wall.  See…. in this world sleep doesn’t exist.  People’s eyes are much too wide open to shut, and the black part in the middle is how much energy is left in that individual.  If you are hungry, there is some wheat bread and some mayo in the frig, just don’t eat the cheese.  Find a cup that doesn’t have cigarettes in it, wash it out no matter what, and you can get some water from the fosit.  I am sorry about the smell; I agree with you, it does have a sense of thick sticky mill steam that seeps out of everyone’s skin like sweat after a night of drinking.  If you are feeling claustrophobic in this small room with all of these people, then we can go outside and get some fresh air.  But you won’t because your body is tired from the nightly activities, and the nothing you have been doing for two nights straight.  So you will just sit here like everyone else, itching your head and waiting your turn for the next time the glass choo choo train comes around to you.
Your mind is racing a million miles an hour as you sit on a baby’s red trike in the corner of the room.  Your mind wants to be active and outgoing, but your body is weak, fragile, and shaky from the smoke that has made you skinny and pale white.  Not only pale, but now you are getting red sores on your face, and they itch…bad.  No matter how attractive the opposite sex is that enters the room, no one looks or cares.  There is nothing more sexy than the glass train.  There is no better feeling than the thick cloud of smoke entering your lungs and taking you to a faraway galaxy.  Your smile is so big that it starts to hurt your face.  You have so many ideas and emotions that you just start crying, then laughing while the stranger next to you rubs your head and tells you everything will be alright.  Your legs won’t move but your hands will, and your hands are the ones that are ripping out your hair from the scratching that is taking place.  You can’t stop because it feels so good.  You have no idea what time it is as you wait for your turn to talk.  Everyone is talking over each other, no one is really listening.  Your teeth start to feel loose, only because they are.  The white smoke is now a part of you.  You are a cloud with no name, a dream that has no chance to accomplish, so you sit and wait for nothing. 
You are in a room full of strangers, including yourself.  The light seeps through the window shades as people duck for cover.  A brave blank face gets up and covers the window with a black blanket.  A movie starts to play, and you watch their black eyes watch, wondering if they realize that what they are watching is reality outside the black blanket.  I guess the movie to them is make believe, and the world is really a place full of living-room skeletons that suck the blood from one another as the sun rises and sets.  The smoke is thick and bright white, so dense you could make it a meal.  You feel alive even though you are dead.  The talking never stops. Their chatter toward each other is intense, almost tricking you to believe they are going to put down the glass train and walk the walk in the real world.  But no, it’s just talk. 
The high is beautiful, the high is fantastic....and that’s how it traps you.  The smoke that dances around the junky house might as well be guards not letting you leave.  You forget how it feels to go to the bathroom because you stopped eating days ago.  Your conscience makes your stomach turn when your phone blinks from an outside caller.  Like an alien from another world just made contact with you for the first time.  It wakes you up for a split second, and you are shocked at what you see.  You are shocked to find that you are a fly on the wall, nothing more.  Your reflection from the mirror makes you look away fast.  You then proceed to beg someone for another hit, because you have no money.  You are taken over by the smoke, and you will do anything to forget where and what you are.    There are no names or faces, just who can offer what, and who knows someone who knows someone else who can get what you need.  It’s like a bad pyramid scheme, and you don’t want to be at the bottom. 
It’s time to go.....I know you want to stay; please don’t fight me.  We need to leave and get back to reality.  Remember this is not really happening; you are just in my memories of the past.  I left this world with only a few scars.  I am just glad you can leave clean and untouched.  Grab my hand, the portal leaves in 2 minutes, you have already seen too much.  Say goodbye to the land of Meth, and don’t look back.  Attitude Nation 2012

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Johnny Cash

Today it’s Red Bull, I left Monster for tomorrow.  Three iced coffees in the morning, a shot of chalk for training, and now I am typing with wings.  Johnny Cash in my ear piece, is it a coincidence that I am dressed in all black?  I put my middle finger to the world, as I march with the Nation of attitude.  I have been driving with no license for 5 years now, no insurance, don’t wear a seatbelt, and don’t tell me what to do government.  If I hit someone I will pay it out of my own pocket, I don’t need you telling me to give my money to a company that will take my money in the first place and spend it on "in case shit happens".  Seat I putting any body in harm by not wearing one besides myself?  I feel that’s my choice.  Life is a game, and I play it well.  Attitude Nation is growing by the day, my e mail is about to make my computer explode from people who march with me, who do what they want with training and life, who take life by the horns and slam the bulls head into the dirt.  Make money young soldier, love your mom son, and train ‘til you piss blood.  I peed blood for the first four months of training with Coach Pendlay......boy I hit that bar hard.  My goal is to break it before I retire.  Tyson hips would be an understatement. 
Shanlke thank you for this song.  My wings flap to the beat of Cash walking down the open dirt road.  I admire Cash’s outlook on life, and the way he lived it.  All of the NFL and College football players are training at Cal Strength now.  I looked up at all of them with my finger waving in the air and I said, "Shankle is the captain on this ship of weights, and you better respect him or I will break your knee caps."  Me, well I am just the soldier that does what the Don says.  But right when I exit the door, two people that were waiting outside with their back against the wall immediately link to each side of me like magnets.  The further I walk the more join in to the march.  I don’t walk I March, and I don’t drink coffee, I chug coffee.  No one walks in front or behind, only side to side.  All black clothes, with white hands from the chalk.  Blood drips as we walk, the ground shakes as we stomp, liberals call the cops from the confidence we carry.  "Ok Mr. North would you like to deposite this check or cash it"?  Always cash ma’am, cash is motivation and I need to feel it in my hands throughout the day.  And I love listening to him as I cut off one of those bikers who rides right down the middle of the road.  I’ll run your ass over, move. 
I like to smoke cigarettes with all my medals around my neck with no shirt on.  It’s awesome, comfortable, so I do it.  Usually this only happens when I am between training sessions, and I am on my third iced coffee.  I listen to Norah Jones a lot while I drive to practice in the morning, she has a beautiful voice.  But I must say that my new favorite is Adele.  That girl can sing, and I love her music.  Sometimes I lay in my king size bed and count cash while I drink my grapefruit juice through a straw while the Office is playing.  It’s one of my favorite things to do.  My wife sits next to me with three computers on her lap as she is running jonnorthattitude, putting together more videos, working, working working, all the time.  She is the General of the Attitude Nation, she never stops! Babe put down the computer and lets go hot tub!!!    Johnny Cash 2012

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


The definition of insanity is snatch clean and jerk.  Everyday is dejavu, where hell is like Heaven.  I cried today in training.  The tears started falling down my face, like the sweat from my forehead.  By looking at me you probably couldn't see the difference between the salt and the river of emotion.  I have no idea why I was crying.  The tears came with no warning, no invite, no reason at all.  Maybe because today was one of the hardest training days of my life.  It's been a week straight of maxing out twice a day....with no end in sight.  Maybe my body wanted to shut down and rest.  Maybe the devil in the red dress wanted to trap me in her room.  I pushed through and finished the lashing that coach put on my back.  Not because it sounds motivational, or because I am trying to show people I can, or because it makes me sound bad ass.  I pushed through and finished because I have no other option in life.  I am a one trick pony. I am the old show that keeps playing over and over 'til people get sick of it and leave.  I pushed through because that's just what I do.  Welcome to my roller coaster of insanity.  I live in the never ending story that is filled with hurt shoulders and a future of hip replacements and walkers. ik

You think I am cocky and have no idea.  I am the exact opposite.  Between reps I sometimes sit and watch the others train, forgeting that I am on the team.  I watch with amazement as monsters lift weight.  I am the biggest Cal strength fan there is.  I clap when the giants who stand 15 feet tall lift weights.  I am like a little kid whose dad brought him to watch his first football  But then all the eyes turn to me. The cameras red light blinding me as it rudely waits for what I am going to do next. Who am I?  Let me check......o wow I can snatch 166, I am a national champion.......and good lord I am more crazy than all these guys.  This guy is nuts, and I guess that makes me nuts.  The pressure makes it hard to sleep.  I find myself talking to myself throughout the day to take my mind off the hype, and that damn bar that sits high above me.  How many more minutes do we have in this therapy session?  10, ok perfect.  I sometimes catch myself laughing in training when training gets hard, thinking about a funny movie I saw, what my dog did the other day, the joke my wife made, JON YOUR UP!  Sorry Coach here I go. 

Home sick, that's the feeling I had today.  I felt like I was on a school trip away from home and I miss my mom.  It's like playing video games by yourself late at night, you lose a sense of reality which brings your stomach a creepy pain.  I hug myself and wish I didnt have to lift another weight.  My body and mind don't see eye to eye, as they fight with each other everyday.  If they could just get along, we as a team could lift more weight.  There was a moment where I saw the outside light peeking through the door.  My body said run!  My mind said stay.  When coach is not looking I am running for freedom!  Sorry mind but I am with body on this one!  Green fields and small town America sounds like a different kind of heaven.  I should have been a biker, so I could see the landscape and breath the fresh air.  Weightlifters only see the bench, barbell and weight.  But in reality there is nothing outide the gym.  In the gym is a never ending story of lifting.  I am really just a kid who yells a lot, because that's what a person does when you have a concusion and you have no idea where you are.   Its 3 AM in the morning and I am still up playing this video game. 

Weightlifting is like The Shining.  Snatch Clean and Jerk Snatch Clean and Jerk Snatch Clean and Jerk Snatch Clean and Jerk Snatch Clean and Jerk Snatch Clean and Jerk Snatch Clean and Jerk Snatch Clean and Jerk

Home sick 2012

Saturday, January 21, 2012


How many wings from hooters do you think you can eat?  Do you think you can beat Donny Shankle?  If eating is a sport, then I guess Donny is a pro at two things!  When you train hard you need to eat, and eating is what we all did, or some of us tried to do.  We all have never been the same after this battle took place. I still have nightmares of fallen soldiers. I still will not eat around Donny, and not a day goes by where that brown owl doesn't haunt me.

It was a Tuesday afternoon here at California Strength, and all the weightlifting soldiers and coaching captions battled hard all day.  On this heroic day Coach Glenn Pendlay coached well and
hard, Donny Shankle hit big weight, Caleb Ward moved fast, and I yelled out some bad ass phrases before I lifted my bar full of red Kilo plates.

After practice was over, everybody agreed how hungry they were and how we should all go out and eat.  We all had a big meet that we were getting ready for, so eating was very important.  There was silence in the big gym, as we all looked at each other back and forth waiting for someone to speak up about where we should go eat.  Finally, Coach Pendlay made a suggestion, only if we knew how much this suggestion would change our lives for the best, or worse,  I haven’t figured that one out yet.  “Hooters has all you can eat wings today,”  Coach Pendlay said with a little smile on his face, like a kid getting ready to enter a candy shop.  Without any hesitation, we all said “ok” and started off to the land of boobs, wings, and more wings, and even more boobs, but mostly wings!   We all rode in coach Pendlay’s big Texas truck, with the Captain Pendlay driving, the team leader Donny in the front seat and
the two soldiers Caleb and I in the back.  I remember the whole Texas truck ride over like it was yesterday.  It was dead silent as if we were heading into war, and the truck was our tank.  This was not lunch, this was a mission.  Donny and coach Pendlay take their food very seriously, like it’s a job, like it’s a sport, like its game time baby.  I on the other hand, view and approach food with much less intensity, and I eat just because I have to; but these guys are on a whole different level. I tried to spark up a few conversations in the car but was quickly shut down by coach and Donny, “Jon no time for talking, just preparation,” Donny said in his deep southern voice, as if he was saying his most famous
line, “Kids these days”  hahaha  I love it.  I soon came to the realization that this was not just a fun team lunch, instead this was a battle, and I was caught right in the middle!  I found myself scared and nervous like maybe I should have just went and got lunch by myself!  I took a deep breath and thought to myself, “come on Jon, its only hooters”!   And boy was I wrong. 

When we walked into Hooters two very big-boobed girls greeted us at the front door ready to seat us, but Coach Pendlay and Donny pushed them to the side, knocking them both down while keeping their focus completely on the task at hand.  Coach Pendlay started looking around in circles, with his arms out to the side like he was being surrounded by a group of ninjas.  In a panicky manner, Coach finally found the table he was destined to find.  Coach and Donny sat down like knights at the Round Table, while Caleb and I just sat down like normal people wanting to eat lunch. Caleb and I had a great little conversation while Donny and coach stared at each other from across the table.  Their four heads were already sweating, their napkins tucked in their shirt, their hot sauce just inches from their hands as if they were cowboys ready to draw at any moment.  The innocent happy little waitress came skipping over,  as if it was her first day.  Let me skip forward by telling you that after we left the war zone of Hooters, that little innocent happy skipping waitress on her first day, was no longer innocent, happy, or skipping and that first day was probably her last. 

The hot wings started coming out in trays one after another.  Waitresses where running around the restaurant like the building was just hit by those North Korean commies.  Donny and coach never took a breath.  Their hot sauce never left their hands, while each wings soul rode the grooved tracks to their final destination into the abyss.  Both of these crazed men never took there eyes off each other.  Both of these men were in another world, and each of these magnificent creatures refused to be beaten by the other. Wings kept piling up as if they were building a fort of bones to live in.  Kids were crying and women were running for safety as Caleb and I could only sit back and watch this massacre.  Donny was approaching 80 wings when Coach finally had to throw in the towel at a very impressive 87 wings, not because he was full and couldn’t eat anymore, but he was late for a meeting he could not miss.  While coach stood up to leave, Donny’s eyes followed.  There were no words spoken, coach just left.

Donny was at 93 wings, and at this point the whole restaurant was watching in amazement as Donny kept fighting those chickens one after another.  His goal was to eat one hundred, and he could already taste victory. At 96 wings the most amazing thing I have ever seen happened, he stopped eating and spoke. The whole place went quiet and Donny said, “I am full” as he looked over at me like he needed help or even a hug.  He quit at 96 wings, but I refused to see my team mate lose; a soldier was down and I needed to pick him back up, that’s what team mates are for.  So I leaned across the wing grave yard, and
looked at him right in the eyes and said, “don’t you quit on me Donny, don’t you even think about stopping when you are this close, you pick up those last few wings and you eat them with everything you have boy”!!  This California Strength soldier finished those last 4 wings, stood up with pride and we walked out of that restaurant like he owned the place.  That day changed my life, and I will never forget it.  We never did see Coach Pendlay again, some say that after his defeat on that sunny Tuesday afternoon at Hooters, he packed up his stuff, bought a pair of board shorts and joined a Crossfit gym near a retirement community in Miami Beach.    100 wings 2012

The end

Friday, January 20, 2012

Attitude Nation

The glossy fire in my eyes is a reflection of the burning gym that is slowly being put to its knees.  The flames of the fire slowly rise above me, casting a black shadow over an army called the Attitude Nation.  I will burn your gym down and take your athletes with me.  I am not brain washed by the puppet masters of this sport.  I throw up my hands and take on the whole dictatorship that has coaches and athletes caged in there castle.  We are not robots!  The kids will be set free!  Your castle will be burned down. 
People always ask me what my favorite lift is, and my answer is I hate them both.  I should have been a fighter; I should have made a million by now.  Fucken concussions, you are the one who moved my chess piece to check mate.   Either bomb out or go for the PR.  That’s my weightlifting program.  The ups and downs of a weightlifter will get the average Joe Sea sick just by standing next to me.
Back in the gym again today after being sick. Maxed out and missed almost all my lifts, fuck it, I’ll try again at two.  Local meet on Sunday, max out again and cross my fingers.  Nationals a month out, see you all there with a big beard, a chip on my shoulder, a stronger jerk, and some crazy high openers to win my gold again.
 I drive my car like I am skiing, a lift weights like Ali, and I will be the first to tell someone to get out of my gym.  I must be miserable at all times so I can adapt to misery.  Tie me to the post and whip me tell I can’t feel anymore.  Spider Sylvia where you at?  I want to fight you.  20 plus streets fights and still undefeated.  It’s been a while because now I am mature and responsible.  I still have it, I know it.  I have been jumped once, and I deserved it.  Actually that was one of the best things that ever happened to me.  Getting my head kicked around made me grow up. 
Saw one of my teachers the other day who always told me I was a piece of shit, and then I saw him driving a piece of shit.  Sorry buddy but I have no change for you, and yes I dropped out of college.  And yes my account has an extra zero in it than yours.  Sorry councilor, I went my own way.  Stay with me, I know my writing is taking you all over the place..... But let’s keep going.  The song writes the blog, I am just the puppet.  Donny gave me a crazy song that has taken my fingers over like my coffee has to my mind.  Shall we move on?
Interviews are hard for me, because I have nothing to say, there is nothing to talk about.  It’s hard, it’s a bitch, leave me the fuck alone.  Take your sissy training program out of my gym buddy; this is Cal strength, where only the strong survive.  Has my blog offended you?  Good, don’t read it again.  Three fingers means three back to back Pan Ams, two fingers mean two back to back National titles, and one finger means I am the Johnny Cash of weightlifting.  Sorry to the old crows in the sport, I know I am evil and the anti-Christ of weightlifting, but fuck you too.  I will not be scared of the gang that runs this sport.  The behind the certain chatter bugs and brain washers, who pull the strings of the young weightlifters and coaches who are molded into their beliefs and ways.  I am rising up to stop you from the control you have cast over this sport.  I will teach my way, I will lift my way, and I will express my emotions as an athlete any way I please.  I am the robin hood of weightlifting.  I will save the youth from there ball and chains.  I will rip the roof off this sport and give the green vine more room to grow higher.  Climb kids climb!  Let this sport grow!  We are free from the 1920's way of lifting now!  Slam your bar and show the world how you feel!  is going to start sponsoring young athletes.  Soon enough I will grow an army to take back this sport and give it to the people.  Let the weightlifter be a weightlifter, and not a caged puppet that has his hands tied and his mouth sewed shut!  Coaches rebel from the norm, and let you’re coaching beliefs grow into a wave that crashes over the zombies!  Spread the Attitude Nation to become bigger than Crossfit.  Crossfit is now on ESPN!  We as weightlifters must fight to have more freedom in this sport.  Throw your USA weightlifting handbook out, and write your own.  Attitude Nation 2012

Thursday, January 19, 2012

South Park and Pizza

I feel good enough to write today.  I woke up this morning to my lab top staring at me like a puppy wanting food.  My left leg was hanging out over the bed, while my body was completely sideways.  The covers and sheets looked as if there was a break dance competition that took place in my bed. I smiled at the thought of someone seeing me like this, but then again, is there any other way to sleep when you are sick? I thought the rule book stated that you can sleep as long as you wanted, any way you wanted.  Playing the sick card allows you to eat pizza while watching South Park in the middle of the day without making you feel like a loser.  I am sicker than sick and I don’t know how or where it came from.  It’s funny how much writing can suck the life right out of you.  All that emotion racing through your body can build up quite the workout.  I’m not saying that’s how a got sick, but then again I’m not saying that’s how I didn’t get sick.  Who knows, maybe it’s been the hard training that Coach Pendlay has been cooking up for me lately.  Or the extremely cold weather outside that makes you feel you are in an alternative rock video as you walk down the side walk.
 It’s weird writing this blog in my bed with no coffee.  I am so use to my green jungle that my chi is all messed up.  Tomorrow I must write again, and try to make sense of my next blog, because this one is all over the place.  Boy, being sick not only shuts the body down, but the mind as well.  Tomorrow everything should be back to normal.
I have been sober now for 3 months, and I love it.  It’s been hard to stop, but I am on the right path.  I have put alcohol back on its sail boat, and pushed him back out to sea. Goodbye alcohol, travel safe and far from me.  When nights get lonely and long I will miss you and remember the fun times we had.  But you have done much more harm to me than good, and for that I must let you go.  Goodbye my old friend, safe sails as you enter back into the foggy waters, looking for another young kid to make friends with.
I could go into the alcohol thing much more, but I don’t want to waste your time while I play my violin.  Everyone has their skeletons, so I will move on from this topic that has hurt many people throughout my life. I do want to say sorry to everyone who I have hurt throughout my days with alcohol.  I will stop at that.  Words through a key board don’t do enough justice. 
The PWA meet in San Fran is this weekend and I am very excited.  Kevin Doherty and Hassle free always puts on great meets at Lincoln High.  Paul Doherty does the same up in Sacramento at Sac High.  Both of these brothers are the weightlifting Godfathers.  We need more of them in this sport and in life in general.  They have been there for me from the very start, so I want to take time out of this blog and say thank you to both of them.
Even though I have been sick for the last three days, I am going to put my head down and lift anyways. I am more excited to see a few of my athletes compete, for a few of them it’s there first time.    Let’s go Tim and Jake!! 
I saw the Machinist last night with Christian bail.  Amazing movie and it reminded me how much I like Bail as an actor.  So much he might even be on my top 10 favorite actors list.  Here it is.  See you guys tomorrow.  
Top ten favorite actors
1.  Leonardo diCaprio
2.  Denzel Washington
3.  Al Pacino
4.  Philip Seymour Hoffman
5   Edward Norton
6   Giovanni Ribisi
7.  James Gandolfini
8.  Christian Bail
9.  Jim Carey
10. Vince Vaughn
I love you Jessica North 2012

Monday, January 16, 2012

Run Danny

Chapter one
BW (Before Weightlifting)
He walked with pep in his step.  He wore his Bright Reebok clothing that made him feel athletic and fit.   His smile was of confidence and joy as he hopped down from his freshly washed truck.   His shoes were tied tight; vitamin water in his right and his salad in his left.  My cold Starbucks chair outside soon became warmer, as his glow of light from across the parking lot lit up the whole city.  The two white doves that flew right by him, gave him a corny chuckle and a” gosh darn those birds” fist pump.  His glowing shaved face got closer to our meeting point. He saw me drinking my coffee right outside the green jungle.  His open hand raised high in the air while his heels lifted off the ground onto his toes like a ballerina. His eyes opened as if lightning struck him from above, and he began to wave at me as if I couldn’t see him.   His walk was long and powerful, that created a gust of wind that hit me from his energy. 

He was so excited to start his first session with me; he was excited to become a weightlifter. What he didn't know was that soon his excitement was facing its last days.   My face was half cover by the shade, with my smile showing in the sun, and my sad frown being hidden in the dark.  He reminded me so much of myself when I first got into this sport.  His innocence and determination gave me a warm feeling that made me feel free again.   His arm stuck straight out like a soldier’s sword running at the enemy.  But this was no attack, just a much anticipated hand shake.   His grip was tight, and his eyes burned right through mine. 

Hopefully he saw the tears running down the left side of my cheek, so he could see what I Have turned into.  Don’t come any closer Danny Lehr, please run away.  He was blind from excitement, only seeing my USA weightlifting shirt, not the blood stains around it.  He saw my happy mask, not my sorrowed beat up face. 

My national gold medal looked intriguing to him, like a new drug you want to try for the first time, or the first time you fall in love on the football bleachers under the stars.  He had no idea what kind of world lived behind the gold medal, and what kind of creatures lurked in the darkness.  His mouth moved a thousand miles an hour, but I couldn’t hear a word he was saying.   It was like I was seeing my mother for the first time.  

I was drawn to his positive presence and enthusiasm.  I wanted to reach out and touch his face.   I am trapped in this dark symphony, screaming at him to save me, but he could only see my smile.   Why can’t he hear me?  Please Danny Lehr save me, and then run far away and never look back.  Every minute you sit with me, you fall further away from reality and deeper into my dark world.  You are not talking to me Danny; you are talking to a weightlifting slave that has trapped me for life.   Can’t you see! Can’t you see the black bird that sits on my shoulder?  Can you see that my coffee is red and not brown?  Your tree is green and blooming, mine is burnt and dark.  How can you not see the handcuffs I wear and the thorn in my heart? 

Please Danny Lehr, run away while you still can. 

Chapter Two
(AW) After Weightlifting

He walked with a limp, dragging his right foot behind him.  His loose gray sweat suit was stained with coffee and ketchup from McDonald's.  His eye lids were heavy, as they drooped down his face like window shades.  His presents was followed by a red sky, and a barbell tied to his ankle.  The black bird was now sitting on his shoulder, while he started mumbling to himself.  The mumbling is the first sign of insanity, and that’s when I knew I had ruined his life.  Danny’s five fingered shoes were now broken sandals that made a sound of a chain rather than a flop.  We made eye contact from a distance, but this time there was no wave of excitement.  Just a sad look, that spoke two words that said “save me”.   This time I was completely in the dark sitting in the chair outside the green jungle, and my half smile was now a sagging smile of hot dripping wax.  

I feel for him, I really do, but there is nothing I can do now, I already tried.  Every PR he gets he slips deeper into hell.  We are now brothers, we are now just alike.  The white dove’s now lay dead on the ground as he walked over them.   This time he had nothing corny to say, just a small ache in his lower back and shaky hands from his coffee withdrawals.  Now we can play together Danny, now we are best friends forever.  I wanted you to run and be free, but now that you are here I am happy.  We can train together and cry together.  We can play tag around the concert hall, while the others sleep.  Don’t worry Danny; I left the green light on in case they need to find us.   You are family now, and I will never let anything happen to you.  We will ride the monsters together and slap hands while the skeletons try to kill us.
See Danny your loneliness becomes your best friend, and your eyes will adjust to the dark over time.  Please trust me. It will make this a lot easier.  Danny stop looking around….there is no way out, now come help me lift this bar.  Danny to answer your question, the white eyes you keep seeing are the blog viewers who check up on us from time to time, don’t be scared, they are friends.  Now go back to your cell for the night Danny Lehr, we have a big day ahead of us.  And Danny………I know you miss your old life, family and wife, but your crying is keeping me up at night, so please keep it down.  Good night brother, and welcome to hell. 

Here Is a video of Danny Lehr in his new world of weightlifting attacking a PR.  

Danny Lehr 2016

Friday, January 13, 2012


I wonder what kind of blog this one will be.  How will I make these words dance today?  Will it be a happy Irish jig, or a slow dance to a sad song?  I want this symphony of words to be a master piece, legendary and unforgotten.  Hey Beethoven wait for me, I want to join you.  I wave my coffee in the air composing a thousand buttons that push their hearts out.  An orchestra of crescendos, that strictly depends on my mood.  A thousand white eyes are looking for more, as they hover in the black air.  The world has stopped around me, as the violin creates pink elephants that dance in my head.  Memories of my child hood play in a wave of coffee that carries me out deeper into my subconscious.  As the music picks up I start to rise.  Now I fly with the storks.  It’s a good feeling dropping off little weightlifting babies to their mothers down below.  There is a dark stage wearing one black dress, playing one black piano as soft as an angel.  I have no idea how she got there, or even where "there" is.  This world is filled with brick houses lined up for miles that all look exactly the same.  Have you ever woke up on a farm in the middle of the night, and couldn't find your parents?  Have the trees at night ever made patterns that scared you when you were a kid?  This is a concert of all things that you are still unsure of to this day. What did you really see?  And where were you when this all happened?  I dream when I write, so I love to write.  I sing with a mask on, and I hide in my blog.  This concert hall is so quiet at night once you have all left.  When a pen drops, I hope it’s you coming back for me.  I patiently wait ‘til I can compose again, so you will float down and join me.  I feel alive once you are with me, and suicidal once you have left.  I am the green blinking light on your computer while you sleep, just in case you wake and can’t find me.  I am here for you whenever you need me.

My orchestra is filled with skeletons and angels.  They play happy songs that make me write beautiful things. The skeletons sometimes turn my symphony into a painful memory of sadness.  At night it gets worse when you are not around.  As you read this you become more confused. The reason being is because you have entered my insane mind.  To become a weightlifter you must already be crazy.  To stick with this sport you must be out of your mind.  Maybe that's why you are attracted to my twisted dark symphony.  You are just as crazy as I am. You clap, when most people would run.  You are the phantom that appears, but then you leave me all alone.  Please stay with me and train.  Let’s write together and become best friends.  My dad left will you be my new one?  This blog can be your new home. Your seat is 24b, enjoy the show.  Phantom 2012    

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Devil In a Red Dress

She looks so tempting with her silky red dress and her plump red lips.  Her almond shaped eyes are half covered from her long black eye lashes, which seem to bring you in closer every time she blinks.  Her long finger dances back and forth telling you to come closer.  The slit that rides up the side of her dress cries out to hurry.  You are brain washed by her breasts, by her comfort, by her smell.  She walks backwards into the room while her eyes stay locked onto your nailed-open eyes.  She enters her room, and sits on her red heart-shaped bed.  She gently pats the mattress on the side of her right leg, telling you to sit by her.  The fire place is roaring with flames.  There is a warm meal cooking in the kitchen, and now she starts to undress.  You never want to leave this warm house.  You don’t really know where you are but you like it.  It’s like a dream where only some of it makes sense, but the other half is just black and blank.  You are now lying in her arms like a kid that just scraped his knees.  You have completely surrendered to her, you are now hopeless and love lost.  Her name is your body and she is the devil in the red dress.  
You just made love to the devil without even knowing it.  Her sharp red tail is actually your tail that is now wrapped around your throat.  Your training is being suffocated.  She has locked you away forever into a world of comfort.  She has taken your soul and thrown it in the fire.  She has taken your dreams and swallowed them whole.  You listened to her when you should have trained.  She walked you into your own downfall.  She made you quit the good fight, for her comfort and sex appeal.  Her horns were covered by her dark hair. Her smile was a tattoo on her face so you would make love to her.  It worked.  Now you are a prisoner of your own body.  She is the gingerbread lady and you eat all the candy because it was good at the time.  But afterword’s you are a prisoner.  Your own body has tricked you. 
I promise your body will adapt to the hard training.  Taking days off only make you more sore and run down for the next time you train.  It’s a doubled-edged sword.  You think you are being nice to your body by resting, but you are only hurting it.  Your body must be trained like a dog to train.  You have to let your body understand that it’s a weightlifting machine, and by training 6 days a week, it will understand with a smile on its face. Yes it will take time, but so does training your dog to sit. Now if I even take Sunday off,  I can’t move on Monday.  My body gets confused.  Now Sundays are bar work days.  Now every day is training day.  Kill the devil and never let her take your soul 2012

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Behind The Gym

Behind the gym is where I smile.  Behind the gym is where Donny and I both smile.  Behind the gym is a happy place, a place where we can finally breathe.  A place where apples and oranges the size of our fists grow on every tree.  We our sheltered by lines of shade from the trees that bend over the top of us, as if they were ease dropping.  There are cows that sit right next to us.  Green pastures as far as the eye can see.  Smells that will make your nose twitch and your eyes water.  The smoke sometimes stays motionless right in front of my eyes.  Creating patters as if there was a small Indian making smoke signals on my nose.  Donny is still talking about how he thought training went, and I am just glad to be out of the gym, even though I can still feel the wall shake from the weights dropping.  The air I inhale is not just air, but a cloud of relaxation that gives me peace; Intel the Indian makes his smoke signal again. I love this fort, this getaway, this little world Donny and I built together.  I think I might make a no girls allowed sign and have a secrete hand shake just to get in.  The pressure, the negative forums, and the training, would all take me under like the Titanic if it wasn’t for this beautiful alley behind my gym.  Shankle Just picked an apple off the tree, asked me what I thought about Asian women, and then took a bite with power and conviction…..this man means business. 

There is a half broken old chair that sits in the alley, in my eyes it’s a golden thrown only for the man who has the most achievements in this sport.  Donny sits in the chair and I sit on the rocky ground.... that I have to say, is always very comfortable.  Hopefully someday I can sit in that chair, while Shankle looks up to me.  I guess that’s going to take more training days, more alley getaways, more Pendlay, and more hell.  I guess I will have many more days and nights chatting with Donny on the ground about training.  Don’t tell him, but when is he not there I sometimes sit on the chair with my head held high.  I always feel like a bad ass.  Hey maybe if you ever come out to Cal Strength and visit Donny and I,  you can learn the secrete hand shake and breath the peaceful air in the ally I call home.  Just remember, Shankle gets the chair.  Behind the gym 2012

Sunday, January 8, 2012


Sleep well my weightlifting child, for you have a big day ahead of you.  Let your chalky mind wonder in a world of magic and peace.  Sleep for a good ten hours.  Dream about something besides weightlifting, because you will be attacked by it the minute you wake up.  Buy your ticket to dream land and leave this world for the night.  It is your time to escape, and enter a place where you can lay by the beach and ride unicorns with Dimas.  A place where the bar can't find you, a place where coach doesn’t exists.  A place where you can hang out with your Dad again, play monster with your step sisters again, and see your old friends who you have lost over the years.  Sleep is the best thing God ever invented, right next to sitting in the hot tub while snow falls.  A weightlifter needs at least 10 hours of sleep, like Donald trump needs his money.  There is no other option.  If you are not a soldier of weightlifting then stay up late and get your 4 or 5 hours.  But if you are a fighter of the barbell, then you must rest the body for battle, you must rest your mind for complete focus and concentration.  Tomorrow will be hell, so get ready. 

The barbell just sits there waiting for you.  The weights never sleeps.  The barbell and the weights stay up all night plotting on how they are going to beat us.  They are on no program besides kicking our ass.  They max out every day so we must do the same. While we sleep they occasionally play poker and smoke cigars.  They study the blue print of the weightlifters destruction.  They write to other barbells in other country's making sure they are all on the same plan.  They laugh and high five one another when a weightlifter gets hurt. They are an army of the steel, and they will stop at nothing.  We must get our sleep to fight back; we must never stop slamming them down, throwing them over our heads, and shankle kicking them when we miss a lift.  Punch em in the teeth and roar like a lion!   The Attitude Nation will not back down! 

For now you dream with a smile on your face.  You are safe when under the covers, as if your mom just tucked you in.  The house is quiet, the coffee machine is silent, the fan turns with rhythm, and a light from a car lights up your room just for a moment, but you don’t wake. You are too far gone in your dream land.  Sleep tight young weightlifter, for you have many battles ahead of you.  Sleep 2012

Thursday, January 5, 2012


Sunny but crisp, that’s the perfect weather.  Your freezing car in the morning doesn’t stop you from slightly rolling your window down while driving.  Even though your heater is on, you must take in the day; you must smell the smells and feel the wind.  You must wake up for the day, for you are a soldier of life and it’s time to attack. You are free, thank you America.  Thank you to all our troops.  Freedom is beautiful thanks to them.  Thank you Donny for not only being my mentor, but protecting this great country from your service as a Marine.  There are many days I feel bad for not joining the good fight.  All this freedom, and I havn't even fought for it.  I just might join before I get to old. I must fight with my brothers and sisters, I need to earn my freedom. 
I pull over for some gas.  I pump and stand, and so does everyone else.  We are all motionless like horses getting ready to be shot out from the gate, it’s a race and I am ready coach.  "Click", the pump stopped and I win.  See you liberals later, the attitude nation is out of here!  Next stop.......Green Jungle.
The green Jungle knows me by name, and they know I have a nation behind me by the sound of a thousand marching boots that follow me around side by side.  No one can see them but me, but people can feel there presents.  I kiss my coffee, and then exit.  Move buddy, I have training soon.  Move little old lady, I am a selfish weightlifter who needs to make the Olympics.  No time bum, get a job.......well ok here is two bucks. 
I pull up to my second home and park down the street.  My boss Dave Spitz doesn’t like when we take up the parking spots for the parents and high school kids, and I always do what my boss says.  I am a good Cal Strength soldier.  I walk into the gym and now I am safe from this crazy world.  I slap many hands, hug a hand full, only listen to a few, salute the Nation, salute the Cal strength logo, and touch the rings on the wall.  Now I am ready for what I am good  Attitude Nation salutes the men in women in service, thank you for giving me the opportunity to do what I do.  Military 2012

Monday, January 2, 2012

local meets and more excuses

Your excuses are cancer to my ears.  Leave me be.  Take your weak mind somewhere else; take your defeat out of my gym.  I see people like you everywhere I go like infected zombies walking around, just living, and hiding away when the sun is out.  The only reason why you tell me you want to train is because you feel better about yourself just for asking, just for wanting.  You want to be a weightlifter but you have no idea what it takes.  You have no idea what hard work is. You have no idea what those two balls are for.  If another person tells me they want to become a weightlifter and then gives me 10 reasons why they cant right now, I will just walk away from you.  You disgust me, you sicken me, I don’t understand your species and I will not let you infect my life with your sickness.  Don’t e-mail me, don’t call me, stop telling me your goals and then not show.  Don’t you dare play your violin in front of me, I don’t listen to that type of nonsense and just because your hamstring is tight does not mean you cant train, it means you are a pussy.  Here is your refund, now go away.  What did I ever do to you?  You contacted me, and now you give me the run around like I am a door to door salesman. 

I was going to write this blog about local meets and the importance of them.  I was going to write about how a weightlifter should compete as much as possible, but my phone and e-mail keep over loading with zombies, they are breaking into my mom’s house in Oregon.  I will not let them get to my mom and wife.  I will fight them off by removing them from my life.

 Its dark and everyone is asleep.  I am still drinking coffee, and I keep going outside to have my fire stick.  I pace back and forth outside thinking about training, nationals, my future, more training, and why these people love harassing me with their excuses.  I put out my fire stick and go back to typing to you, to the Attitude Nation, the only people who seem to get me.  I trained great today at the Crossfit gym, it was fun.  I competed in every meet I could get my hands on.  I traveled far and long to compete, to become someone, to make it, to get better and someday…….well, end up where I am now.  It worked.  I always say that weightlifting is like dating.  If you ask 100 girls out on a date, at least one will go out with you.  Just like weightlifting, if you always swing for the fences and always compete, you will soon win that gold. 

I lived dead broke for more than a year in this sport.  I slept in my car, struggled for change to eat at McDonald’s, and ran out of gas many times. You can bet your bottom dollar I was at every meet though, lifting my ass off.  I fought everyday to lift and compete.  I dropped out of school to lift weights, I became homeless to lift weights, I did everything in my power to compete.  I had no excuses, well actually I had a bunch but I never mentioned them, I just lifted the barbell.  I wanted to make it so bad, I wanted to be good more than ever.  All I wanted was to win a gold medal at a local meet.  I wanted people to notice me and respect me.  I wanted to make something of my life.  So there I was, some raggedy kid who wanted fame and fortune.  A kid who wanted success, a kid who wanted to be a champion, a kid who would have done anything to get where he is now.  I competed at every meet there was, and I still do.   How bad do you really want it, how far will you really go?  Now I eat steak in my big house, with a fancy bank account that buys me lots of gas, and my very first local gold medal that sits high on my desk.  To all you zombies out there, leave me alone.  Goodnight.  Local meets 2012 

Sunday, January 1, 2012


I am back home in Oregon with my family for New Year’s.  Bend, Oregon is so beautiful, a place I can see myself settling down in after I retire from this sport.  It is so good to see my family; it is so good to be home.  It is weird being away from my platform, my gym, my coach and my team.  I wonder how my small lonely corner of the gym is doing.  I wonder if it misses me.  Looking at my life from outside looking in is a very different picture and feeling.  I woke up abruptly this morning, and for a split second I thought that the last four years was a dream, and I never left home.  I thought I was still in high school and was late for football practice.  What has happened to me?  How did I end up here?  Is California Strength real?  Am I really that crazy guy on YouTube?  Is the legendary coach Pendlay really my coach?  There is no way I was actually on the USA team with the Donny Shankle.... impossible.  I soon realized that my dream wasn’t a dream, it was real.  I figured out who I was when Coach texted me, asking how my workout went.  Holy moly.... I really am a Cal Strength soldier.  I stayed motionless in bed staring at the ceiling fan, trying to piece everything together so it all made sense to me.

Laugh, eat, hugs, smiles, and more laughs.....this is what I have been doing for the last few days, and I never want to leave.  It feels nice talking to family and friends about other things rather than the usual weightlifting talk.  I remember sitting back and watching them all talk about everything from their businesses, kids, homes, and the local schools.  I realized that none of my family knows anything about my world; my world to them is a far away galaxy full of wonder and assumptions.  I might as well have jumped on a space ship and flew to another planet.  To them I am just Jonny Boy, nobody else.  They don’t care how much I lift, what meet I won or lost, or what training program I am on getting ready for nationals.  I am the little boy who said twuck instead of truck, not a 166kg snatcher.   

Writing this blog has made me realize that I don’t live here, I don’t work for my family's business, I don’t compare grass fertilizer with the neighbors, I don’t ride dirt bikes, I don’t fit in.  Their blood is red, mine is green.  They do fun stuff on the weekends, I am not allowed to. They talk a lot; I am in pain a lot. I now remember that I am a weightlifter. Weightlifting misses me, and I miss it.  I train tomorrow at central Oregon Croosfit in Redmond, great people, great gym.  My Grandpa Poppy loves to go with me and watch.....but then ends up chatting everyone’s ear off!  I love him.  He is the hardest working man I ever met.  Training with new people is always exciting and motivating for me, I wish we did it more often, but the leash is tight around my neck.  Tonight I will wear my Santa Clause sweater, switch the Adidas sweats for khakis, talk golf, and then say goodnight.  Tomorrow I will wake up ready for war. I will wake up a weightlifter.  I will march again with the attitude nation.  Family 2012