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Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Milk Cow

The Song I wrote This Blog To

Yes, coach.  Yes, I know coach.  Stay on my heels, chest up, dip and drive on both legs, head through, Shankle, Shankle, Shankle..... down.  Two whites, one red, thank God.  Wrap my knees tight like Klokov, like an athlete, like a person who is wrapping their knees to lift as much as that one person can lift.  I drink my iced coffee with love as coach opens the gym door to let the sun in, to let the breeze in, to let life in.  I never seem to remember what day it is, only the weight that is loaded on that quietly awaiting Pendlay bar, as it rudely sits and stares at me.  I am a part of the gym now, my life is 100% dedicated to achieving greatness in this sport.  Whether that may be finally breaking the American snatch record officially, or just staying the course and seeing what else this body and mind has to offer.  The grassy hill behind the gym looks so beautiful in the sun.  I have this strong urge to run around the grassy field, jumping and pushing over the cows as they roam the field.  Every time I am about to jump the fence into the grassy world of freedom, coach comes calling for me to get my shoes on for training.  Oh, that damn training, that damn training has got me again.  Oh well, someday soon when coach is out of town I will skip training and try to take down one of those milk cows all on my own.  Just the thought alone makes me smile while chalking up for my first attempt.  Sunny days make training hard, staying focused on the task at hand became difficult when you hear the laughter of others outside.  I should paint the gym walls and ceilings with a blue sky, sun and fluffy white clouds.  Boy, would that be awesome.  I would paint in the milk cows over by my resting bench so I have someone to talk to between attempts.  I love those damn cows.

 Everything in the gym is touchable, everything is seeable, but the future is completely dark.  The path just seems to drop off.  Right behind where coach sits is a sea of black water that goes forever.  I hope coach doesn't fall in.  If he did I would save him, for he has saved me many times before.  If coach got into a little boat and started paddling off into the dark nowhere........ well, I would jump off my resting bench into the water.  I would do it without even blinking.  I would swim, swim as fast as I could with all the strength he gave me to grab the side of his boat, and climb in.  "I am with you coach, my USA singlet is yours, my National Gold medal is yours, you can't travel without it, so here it all is... let's go".  See I believe in loyalty.  I believe in friendship.  I believe in training hard.  I believe in winning.  I believe in working hard.  I believe in grabbing the world by its throat and taking complete control over your life.  I believe in the Attitude Nation.  I believe in myself.   I love to buy breakfast for my teammates, my money is their money, my car is their car, my house is their house.  The people who are close to me are family, period.  There is family, and then there are people I know.  I will die fighting for the people I love, I will die fighting in this sport, I will die fighting in every aspect of life.

Doesn't that first pull feel good?  That heavy weight in your hands that you are lifting yourself can change ones life.  That weight that you have worked so hard to lift, the weight you have given up so much for to just get over your head, is finally moving, moving because of you and the team you have around you.  I love it, I am addicted to it like I am addicted to coffee.

The stars are bright as they reflect off the dark black water we are sailing in.  A new land has bursted through the water like Shankle standing up from a clean.  A powerful feeling has arrived in our guts, an eye opening adventure turns the boat and all its surroundings in complete silence.  A remarkable world of weightlifting, a world of hard work, more bad days than good, and little reward.  But the little reward is bigger than any reward out there, a reward that money can't buy.  A reward that keeps us doing what we do, even with many other options out there.  Trees of golden apples that we choose not to pick, a house full of candy that we walk right past, an army of only a few as we set out to sea with eyes upon the rings that bring us joy and happiness.  Yes my body hurts, and yes my mind aches with doubt and troublesome thoughts of failure, but this does not stop us brave soldiers from taking one step forward everyday in training.

Yes, I tell a lot on this blog about my journey and who I am as a person.  Some see me writing and question if I should let people in on some of these things that make me, me.  Some say that it's too much, and that people will turn their backs with disagreement.  Some say that what I write is not what people want to read, or that my writing is unimportant.  I guess I don't disagree with anyone's opinions, it's theirs to have, but this does not stop from speaking the truth.  This does not stop me from letting out my once caged emotions and feeling's.  I will never stop being real, I will never lie to you, or sugar coat anything.  This is who I am, this blog will tell many stories of what I have been through, good and bad.  I write to you on the water with Shankle by my side, even though he is far from our boat.  I feel comfort and at ease sailing with coach. So I keep writing with many forgotten thoughts and emotions racing through my head.  I feel like it's important to tell all about myself, so hopefully you can take something good from me, or take something I have done bad, and know to avoid it.  Thank you for being with me, and being a part of my crazy journey through life and the sport of weightlifting.  Thank you for not leaving me all alone in this dark orchestra.  Thank you for giving me the freedom to write without being scared of the negative and controversial feed back.  Thank you for allowing me to write with complete freedom.  I salute you, the Attitude Nation, as we set to sea for another training day ahead of us.

The Cows 2016

Thursday, April 26, 2012

"Sit....Good Boy"

Training has been hard the last few weeks.  Its funny how the harder the training becomes, the easier the weight goes up.  Almost as if your body starts to morph and adapt  into a weightlifting machine.  Your body becomes numb to the heavy weight, and soon you don't feel sore, tired, or all around beat down.  The training becomes as if you are training your dog to sit, after a while the weightlifter just starts to sit without thinking or trying. Training to max daily is a sport of it's own, and rest will never get you there.  Rest will make you weak.  Rest will never put your body into the shock of becoming a weightlifting robot.  For more about how rest affects your training negatively, here is an old but classic article (one of Shankle's favorites) called "Devil In A Red Dress" I wrote a few months back, just in case you missed it, or want to check it out again.  Also, the latest Cal Strength video is below the article.  Salute, and talk to you guys tomorrow.  Train hard, never rest.   

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 

The Latest Cal Strength Video
Train 7 days a week 2016

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The No No No Life

I have been driving with no License for 7 years now, and I have no plans on getting it back.  I have been driving with no car insurance for just as long, and also have no plans in getting myself into that scam as well.  I raise my middle finger to the world as I ride my black horse into the distance on the trail unpaved, untouched, and what some call "the not right trail".  I lay in the dark, hidden from the world as I take a bite from my apple, while watching the white sheep march in a straight line like jail birds walking from cell to work yard.  I am free, I am me, I am happy.  I am my own boss, I have no boss.  A shirtless lifestyle as I drive with a smile on my face, with stacks and stacks of cash rolled in a rubber band in my trunk, like I just robbed a bank.  Zero in the bank so "they" can’t trace me, my trunk makes it impossible for "them" to tell me anything. Why do people feel the urge to tell me how to live my life?  Why?  I never asked them for their advice or help, so why give it to me.  Why judge me?  I think it makes them feel better about themselves as they lay their head down at night.  They don't show their emotions in weightlifting because they were told not to.  They can’t slam the bar because the old people get mad.  They don't smoke cigarettes because they were told it effects their lifting.  I am not saying you need to do what I do, just don't judge me or tell me to roll my fucken windows up while I am pumping the AC in MY car.....not yours.  

I don't stretch, never have.  I personally believe that stretching causes more injury.  I take only hot baths never cold baths.  I should add I have no scientific backing on this, but fuck it, it works for me. The last time I did an ab workout was a decade ago. I eat fast food daily because I love it. A college drop out that seems to make people uneasy for some strange reason, like any day they are waiting for me to go back and finish.  Maybe that's what I am supposed to do....I really have no idea. I choose the dark shade and my little village I call my wife and dog.  I love life, I love my wife, I love my dog, and I love weightlifting.  These are just some examples of the ongoing scrutiny that I am attacked with on a daily basis.  Vicodin and coffee seem to blanket the pain at nights, as I write to you while tears sometime slowly drip down my face onto the key board.  I am the happiest sad guy you have ever met.  My supporters like yourself is the only thing that keeps me going, without you, without this blog, I would be back home in Oregon at a motel six trying to bum a light.

2 time American Silver medalist......I want Gold this year. Win Gold, and then get ready for the 2013 season. I want Attitude Nation tattooed across my for head. Now that sounds like a brilliant idea.  I am fully committed to this weightlifting galaxy.  This body has many more years of winning left in it. Then when I retire from competing as a senior, I will become the best master’s lifter the world has ever seen.  I have told coach many times, "I might not win every meet, but I will always be there like an annoying Mosquito".

I miss you Shankle, Shankle? Can you hear me?  Are you out there? I hope you are doing well and training hard for the Pan Am Championships my friend.  I am still your biggest fan even though we are best of team mates.  I promise you I will be on the World team with you next year; I am sorry for abandoning you on this year’s international meet. Two years in a row traveling the world with you, and this year I guess I will stay back and watch the home base while you drink the blood of other lifters.  I take a drink of coffee for you; I will train hard for you, and wait for you. 

God Bless America.  God Bless The Attitude Nation, and God Bless Donny Fucken Shankle.  Salute.

American Open 2016   

Sunday, April 22, 2012

24 Hour Fitness

A family of hard workers, hard workers and professional mess-a-rounders. Great people who made the job even greater, and finalizing it with the crown of "best job I have ever had".  It was a job I will never forget, a job that to this day makes me smile from great memories.  It was a job that made me excited and alive while I drove to work, a job that I looked forward to every morning.  It was a second home that brought me comfort, stability, and a meaning to my life.  A band of brothers is what my co-workers were, brothers in arms who I couldn't wait to mess with and sell more than.  24 Hour Fitness was a fucken blast, and also the start of the most hated man in USA weightlifting, Jon North.

Walking into work at 24 hour fitness you would think the busy bees and bright lights never shut off for closing.  It was an ongoing coffee break without the break.  I looked out to a sea of money through the window my desk sat by everyday, a desk crushed next to many other desks like bunk beds full of sales people...wait no, sales friends, while people and cars past by.  Grumpy elf is what we called him, grumpy in a good way I should add, a funny "ok ok boss man I will get back to work and stop playing table football" way.  I should also add even though I got yelled at for messing around with the triangle piece of folded paper, grumpy elf was the one playing with me!  I think it's because I was winning that made him snap out of fun time and back into work time.  The best boss, leader, friend, and all around person that I have ever met, Greg Husten.  Thank you Greg for hiring me and taking me under your wing when I needed one so very badly.  Thank you for everything you have taught me in sales and in life.  I looked up to you then, and I still do now.

Greg Husten aka the boss man

Charles Shipman, yes you might know this name; he is a weightlifter, and my best friend.  Charles's first day at 24 was my second day, and we hit it off right away.  Beat boxing and free-styling was not unusual.  Actually, we sold more memberships after a good rap battle.  Nice cloths, gelled hair, coffee in hand, and the world at our feet. We were membership salesmen and we were damn good at what we did.  Well.....Charles was, I was too busy watching Shankle videos on my phone at a time before I ever met Donny, or became part of the Cal Strength Mafia.  Wow.....just thinking about the 24 hour fitness days seems like a lifetime ago, but then again I can remember everything so clearly.  I was a firecracker back then, keep in mind this was right when I first became a weightlifter.  If you think I am crazy and wild now, then you should of seen "Jumping Jonathan North" back then.
Charles Shipman
It was never about the commission, it was about beating Charles and Greg in sales. When a client walked in it was all business, the gym changed into a white house meeting.  All three of us concentrating on our sale in front of us, but always with one eye cocked to the side seeing how Greg, Charles and any other rookie (not apart of the cool crew)  was doing.  Either high fives at the end or throwing of a pen or clip board. Sales was a lot like weightlifting, a bitch.  But at often times a high that kept you coming back for more.  I have smoked meth, and done my fare share of coke back in my party days, and I will be the first person to tell you that making a big lift or landing a membership sale is the exact same high.  Having my boss Greg tell me "good job" made my day, and only made me want to sell more.  I loved Greg's style of leading, very much the same style as my coach Glenn Pendlay.  They let me breath, they lead from behind, and they both let me create my own style of training or selling.  A leader who leads from behind has always pushed me more, and made me want to achieve the goal at hand, not only for myself but for them as well.  Working with Greg and Charles was a lot like training with my weightlifting teammates now; there is very little difference the more I think about it.  A lifestyle full of goals and hard work, intertwined with a healthy dose of laughter and fun, which in my opinion is the key for success in anything.

A statue of a strong buff man holding the world over his head some how climbed itself onto Greg's desk.  I think it was a sales award he won, and a well deserved one at that.  Greg was magic when it came to selling.  Greg is not the type to go showing off, but one morning the statue was just there, sitting on his desk for all to see. Lol, just writing this blog is hard because I am already laughing so hard from the image I see in my head.  I see Greg sitting there, typing at his desk with his long chin stuck out as he types so relaxed and confidently.  I walk in a few minutes late like I have been known for still to this day.  He does not stop typing, but his eyes look over to the side giving me the "your late look". I sit down at my desk scrambling to begin my work day trying to show him that I have a "busy" day ahead, even though we both know that's a lie.  He finally stopped typing, and this time his whole head turned with his eyes along for the ride, he said, "glad you could join us today Jon boy".  It was so hard to keep a straight face with Charles at his desk quietly laughing at the situation.  Before I even gave him an excuse or told him, "sorry it want happen again" line, I looked at his overly big and bright statue and without thinking replied, "hey look, statue looks like me".  LOL!!!!!!  I slightly laughed while looking back and forth from the statue to Greg, waiting to see his reaction.  But there was none, he just stared at me for a good minute until he  slowly turned back to his computer screen and began typing again.  I looked over to see Charles's reaction, and yes, Charles was almost on the floor laughing.

Ever since that morning anytime anybody would walk by Greg's desk, he would say very loudly and cartoon like "Ooooo yea, statue looks like you".  And then he would come back into himself and under his breath say, "God dude, get over it," The best part about this was that the people Greg joked with never said anything about the statue, or even knew about the inside joke in the first place!  The poor guy would just walk away scratching his head.  LOL!!!!!  I am dying laughing, and if you don't think this is funny that I am sorry, I guess you just had to be there, or I am not writing this correctly.  At the end of the day Greg would crack a small smile and tell a joke, letting you know that deep down he was just messing around.

After a year went by we all got broken up and went our own ways, but we all still stay in touch, and are very good friends to this day.

24 Hour Fitness 2016

Saturday, April 21, 2012


Imagine a maniac has a gun with one bullet. He has your dog, and a random person held captive. YOU have the choice to save only one... WHO WILL IT BE?


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Bond.....James Bond

Here are my top 15 favorite video games of all time in order. Salute!

1.) James Bond GoldenEye (Nintendo 64) Power weapons, complex, anytime, any day people.

2.) Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1 (PlayStation 1) Middle School sleep overs, up all nights, homework finally finished, and then this is all we would play. lol

3.) Super Mario (Nintendo 64) Still only at 100 stars...I need to beat this game! I think you need 120 stars to win…right?

3.) Super Mario World (Super Nintendo) wow the childhood memories

4.) Aladdin (Super Nintendo) Great memories playing this game with my sister as a kid.
5.) Duke Nukem (Nintendo 64) Just a Bad ass, eye opening game for its time, and even to this day.

6. Fallout 3 (PlayStation 3) Shankle and I can play this game for a week straight. Better yet a month straight.

7.) Doom (1993 computer game) Scary as hell, plus great memories with my step dad.

8.) Killer Instinct (Nintendo 64) I Can’t be beaten in this game, no joke. Yes I play with Glacier.

9.) Wave Race (Nintendo 64) Race your friends for hours in this game....then either throw your controller against the wall or do a victory dance.

10.) Grand theft Auto Liberty City (PlayStation 2) Really I like all of the Grand theft auto's, but this bad boy is the Original.

11.) Red Dead Redemption (PlayStation 3) A peaceful, relaxing, and all around fun game. This game has the best graphics I have ever seen right behind Fallout 3, plus its an open world game and I love open world games.

12.) Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers (Super Nintendo) Many Child hood memories of playing this game while wearing my power rangers

13.) Godfather (PlayStation 3) Bad ass, way better than the second one.

14.) TuroK 2 Seeds of Evil (N64) An instant classic. Very Scary though, and for some reason if I played this game too long I always got that awful homesick feeling. This game throws you into a very weird and cold world.

15.) Far Cry 2 (PS3) A great open World game. Love the story plot, options and the freedom the game gives you.

N64 2016

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Muscle Snatch

I love the Muscle Snatch, Spencer is great at the muscle Snatch, so without further ado....the Muscle Snatch!

Strong Shoulders 2016

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A Shirtless Lifestyle

Thank you Donny Shankle for showing me this great song to write this blog to. (song above)

A change has occurred deep inside the soul of a weightlifter. A tilted light follows a wondering boy chasing nothing, knows the tail is nothing, but loves chasing it... what is it? I have no idea but it's exciting. A dream has woken me on a different side of the bed, a side that lifted my wide shut eyes with a baker's smell face, high above my sheets and then without warning, slammed me into the closet door knocking down the picture of the lady and the red tree. A picture that I just can't seem to figure out, a picture that jumps out and kicks my head to the side while my mind runs away to a random childhood memory, how I got there... I have no idea. A shirtless drive to the gym for no apparent reason at all. A shirtless lifestyle that frees us from the restraints a shirt provides. We must feel the breeze against our skin, we must be free at all times. A yellow light now seems to wave you good morning as you pass him by without even looking in your rear view mirror. Tapping your fingers to your favorite song while you drive carelessly throughout the streets like laws don't apply to you. This is not non sense but pure freedom. Some might jump into my front seat and roar into my right ear nay!... nay this is not a weightlifting article, but yes, yes I say, this has everything to do with weightlifting. A wide awake dream that has not ended yet as it stalks your every move. A big gulp coffee doesn't make any sense, but I also have no care in the world, for now I am just drinking coffee. Simple is better, leave the long list for Safeway and begin to back your car out with your arm behind the passenger seat while sipping the coffee from the side of your mouth. Your view that you see is the front window looking out as everything moves fast and blurry. You spin the wheel fast, and then off you go, off I go. I am a strong superhero who spits laughter and ball breaking jokes at only my closest teammates. A one finger wave for the you can never catch me people, the AC windows up folks that try to tell the nation what's right and wrong. I can fly throughout this gym, a giant gym full of toys that I only share with Shankle.

A shirtless lifestyle

Can weightlifting break a man? I think so. I think the mind game alone can climb its way to your brain making it see and feel unusual things. You or I's go back and forth in my writing. I feel that you are me and I am you when you are reading this, so should I use "I" or "you" consistently in this article of some sort?

I went and bought two BMX bikes, and for the last three days I have ridden them all over my city. I have been a kid again for a short while. I have been free from being a grown up. A new challenge has arrived in a dream and I have accepted the gentleman's game full throttle ahead. Is this an escape from training? I have not the slightest idea. At this point, you know more than me. I have been obsessed with biking, even talking of wanting to become pro. Wasteful thinking because I just sold them both today. The dream has ended and now I wake on my usual right side of the bed. Scared of getting injured? Or a weird child like virus that raced throughout my body as my usual self being turned into a child monster. Money never came to mind, and the thought of goals and dreams seemed to live in a far away land full of parents and minivans. The care takers would take care of it, I just needed to ride my bike.

Peter Pan I must be, or was in a different life. Now I have caught the mean old Hook and killed the alligator. I must get back to my studies, studies meaning training, for this sport is a ongoing study of science, bravery, human race, and a shirtless lifestyle that only weightlifting can create. A mind game of emotions, a constant jail cell of scared feelings that you never confront, tired, hard life, hard training, all mixed together over time and you have yourself Peter pan. An adult that buckles and loses it, a grown ass man who only for a few days just wants to ride a bike.

"Ill Never Grow up" 2016

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Butcher

My team mate Max Aita trained under Ivan Abadjiev for 5 months before I came to Cal Strength. I was a little too late, but Max has filled me in on the war stories, funny stories, and the hell he and the others endured while training under the "Butcher" (Ivan). Donny Shankle once just shook his head and began to stare off into the distance for a good long while when asked how training under Ivan was. Donny had know words, just a look that made you walk away and never bring it up again. A coach of little words, besides the anticipated "more weight" and "again". Snatch Clean and Jerk Squat to max, repeat 4 to 5 times a day, 7 days a week, no rest, more weight. Hints the Butcher, hints the Bulgaria success, the dream team of the 70's 80's and 90's. The untouchable power house of weightlifting that to this day has not been touched.

One man has finally come out to talk about the training method, programing and mind set of the Bulgarian system. A man who experienced it first hand, My good friend, and my teammate Max Aita. I also want to thank Max for taking me under his wing when I first arrived to my new world of cal strength. He helped me in so many ways, and made me feel right at home. So Max I thank you.

Here is the video below. Salute!!

Squats 2016

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Crossroad

Stay motivated, stay motivated, stay motivated. (repeat)

Just hit 5 years, body hurts more than ever. The 2016 career will be hard, and the pain will grow more each day. My Hell is sunny from the window looking in, like a wide eyed kid glued to the zoo window watching the bears wrestling in their unnatural habitat. My hell is what some call envy, a dream gym, an "if only I lived closer gym". A "bad ass" gym that some even think about dropping their current freedom to enter our invisible caged freedom. I don't want to get burnt out, I truly don't, and I am scared that the dark hole will finally suck me into its sea of normalcy; a land of joggers saying good morning and pick up basketball games at the YMCA. A nine to fiver with friends, drinks at the ball game, a looking forward to the weeker, a non fucken weightlifter is what I am really saying.... and o yes how good that sounds. Yes, its my choice, and I understand I choose this lifestyle because I love this lifestyle. I love being a weightlifter. But I am not going to sit here and tell you that I never think about what lies on the other side of that white fence. I wonder if the grass is really any greener just like you. A man with a mission is what I am, a mission that at times fades away out the front door of the gym as my wide eyes and open mouth try to catch what everyone is laughing about.

They call me for seminars all over the world... Wow, that's a beautiful feeling. What have I created? I have woken a sleeping giant after coaching my first seminar. A smile appears on my face, and a joyful feeling comes over me, like seeing my mom cry from happiness. I skip to training as dreams turn into reality and ideas flood my mind like over pouring my morning coffee. Wave after wave of excitement crashes against me, telling me to go! The world has opened its doors to me from the prison of room 2.... I have finally made it... I am finally free from everyone.

This dreamful blog has been boarded shut, and this unoriginal "you can do it" bullshit blog is not reality. I can't even ride my fucken bike without the "you can get hurt talk", ended with "stop riding your fucken bike" talk. I watch my calendar full of hopeful seminars and weightlifting clinics burn in the fire from the broomstick bar yelling in my ear. His loud voice and sturdy hands overwhelm me with fear as I surrender and listen to him. I have one hand out towards coaching like a small child dragging their parent to the carnival ride they want to go on, and the other being grabbed by the broomstick bar. This life has constant moments of sudden possible change, that never seem to happen. I want to coach; I want to spread my ideas and personal experience to everyone and anyone who would care to listen. The only person I am frustrated with is me, know one else. I say this to you, I express my frustration to you, but then again I want to make the 2016 Olympic team and dedicating my life to training is the only path that will get me there. I am trapped, but then again I don't want to leave.

I will always wonder what the other side may feel like, how much greener the grass is, or if it's really any greener at all. I will endure the pain and do whatever is in my power to stay motivated and positive. I will strive to stay focused and committed to the task at hand even with the many temptations that try to lure you down the..... well not the wrong road, but just the not right now road. I will try my hardest to put coaching to the side for now as I walk down the dusty road called weightlifting. Weightlifting is a mind game, nothing more, nothing less.

Here is the latest Cal Strength video. Talk to you all tomorrow. Salute.

Athlete 2016

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


A new movie has pushed its way into my top 20 favorite movie list. Of course not in my untouchable golden top ten, but Mr. 11 and on is never too safe. Just two days ago a change happened in my list that even surprised me. This is a very impressive achievement that doesn’t happen too often. The movie that undeniably crowned itself top 20 is called Pontypool, and it’s 100 percent awesome. I have so much to say about this movie, but to be honest I don’t want to say too much about it, for your self enjoyment. I don’t want to ruin the movie for you. I can’t stand when people blabber on about a movie that I made perfectly clear I still haven’t seen and want to see in the near future. This pisses me off even worse than listening to someone eating with their mouth open. I was going to put the preview up underneath, but decided not to. Don’t watch the preview! It doesn’t do the movie any justice, plus it tells you way too much. If I ever do watch a preview it’s only the first 10 or 15 seconds, then I click close. If the movie in the first 15 seconds doesn’t catch my attention like a fish caught in a fisherman’s net, then I don’t care to see it, and I simply won’t watch it. I am very picky about my movies which people make fun of me for constantly, But I proudly don’t care. I appreciate and respect a well- made movie, good acting, and good writing. I love movies dearly. I feel that watching them is a hobby of mine…if such a thing even exists. I think the greatest job in the world would be a movie critic. But then again you would have to sit through hundreds of dreadful movies that would make you want to jump off a building. So I think I will stick to Weightlifting.

I shouldn’t have to be sold to watch a movie; it should connect with me immediately. The best part of this movie is that I had no idea what it was about, or even what the genera was, which made the movie so much more intriguing and fun to watch. I want you to go into this movie with the same blind fold I wore, and emerge yourself into the unknown. So with that said I will now shut up and stop talking about it, and let you experience it for yourself. If you don’t like this movie… then I am sorry! Please don’t be mad at me!

I listed my top ten favorite movie list a few months ago on my blog here. If you didn’t get to read it and want to check it out, then go to the search box on the upper right hand corner and type in the title of the blog called “Truman”. Here is the rest of my list from 11 to 20 (top 20). If you haven’t seen any of these movies then you need to ASAP. Or else I will tell Donny Shankle on you, and he will break down your front door and clean and jerk you!!! Salute
A picture from a new member of the list "Dead Man's Shoes" A very deep and hard movie to watch.

And Now the List!

11.) Drive
12.) Dead Man’s Shoes
13.) Boiler Room
14.) The Illusionist
15.) Blow
16.) Synecdoche New York
17.) Ali
18.) The Family Man
19.) Moon
20.) Pontypool

Truman Show always number one 2012

Monday, April 9, 2012

Friday, April 6, 2012


I am letting the monster out this Sunday, and he is more excited than I am. I have been working on him day and night for four years now, in my brown dusty basement where trial and error has been a consistent fight with much hard work. A crazed mind and an ongoing vision of a perfect monster has kept me poring green liquid and using all of the electricity in my house. A creation that has been perfected, performed, and well tested. Now it’s time to let the monster's impact and teaching spread all over the world, now that he has full confidence and self-assurance of who he his. Starting in San Ramon this Sunday at Cal Strength, the birth of the very first Attitude Nation Certification Seminar will take place. Four plus years of up all nights, blue prints, Gold medals, silver medals, USA teams, bomb outs, missed lifts, American records, great training and bad training have been performed with this project, or better yet this certification. A certification that has gone through the depths of hell to have seen heaven. A seminar that has wear and tear to it, like a baseball mitt that has been broken in. This monster has cries and smiles, scars and pains, success and beauty, hate and love.

I want to take what I have learned in my career and give it to you, and then from there you can toss it or keep it. I have tried everything under the sun in this sport, from different techniques, different dynamic starts, approaches to the bar, diet, recovery, training programs, the mental game and so on. I want to give back anyway I can, and I guess with this seminar I can do that. I would say this blog, but this blog means more to me than just giving my personal advice on weightlifting. This blog is where I can talk to you about anything, this blog is my journal and you are my friend. So yes, I hope you get some helpful weightlifting advice and tips from this dark orchestra, but mostly I am just glad that us gladiators have a place to go and talk while our minds wonder with thoughts and emotions.

I can’t wait to teach my way, to show the world how great the superman pull really is. How beautiful the arched angel can be if done right. How fast those Ali feet can move when the lift just falls in place like the gumball that shoots down the windy ramp into your hand...perfect. I am excited to give you my thoughts about training, give you the proper tools you need to get through the hell before someday seeing the light of weightlifting. I just feel that there is so much about weightlifting that is never talked about. I feel this energy that is pushing me from behind to speak out about the Alice in Wonderland world that seems to be called weightlifting. I want to talk about what I have seen and felt. I want to explain to people how I succeeded and at times why I failed. I might just be crazy, but for some reason I feel I can make a shift in this sport, make it more popular, more entertaining, more fun, more exciting, and more interesting by talking about the lifestyle and mind games this sport puts you through. I admire boxing and how it's marketed and how excitement seems to hit you in the face. I catch myself lying in bed picturing weightlifting like boxing, and all the different things we can be doing to make this sport...well, more in your face.

I write most of my blogs to the A.I soundtrack. I love all the songs very much. Tonight I am drinking hot coffee, even though cold is my lover. I have a soft spot in my heart for miss hot as well. Training was fun today... Wow, I can’t believe I used the word fun. Usually the word that comes to mind is hell or pain, but today really was a blasty. I went head to head with Spencer in the 7 singles at 90 percent workout, which would have been hell but competing on the live stream with money on the line makes it a great exciting battle for everyone. He won, yes I know, damn that kid. Boy he is a freak athlete and a strong Mo fo as well. He made every lift. I made all my snatches at 146kg and four of my clean and jerks at 172kg. After missing some, punching the wall some, and kicking the bench and bar some....I came back making one more for pride, and pride alone. I couldn’t let the Nation down or myself, so I smoked it, spit on it, and then gave it the bird letting the weight know that we won, not him.

Hopefully, some of you can make it out this Sunday. I know it's short notice and you might live far away, but I thought I might as well mention it. I just hate "plugging” shit on this blog. I don’t want to be "that guy” every chance I get plugging a new product on my site, a seminar, or whatever else I am involved in. Some might call this a plug, but I call it chatting about something I am excited about and looking forward to. I have a hand full of seminars set up across the country in the next few months, and I can’t wait to hit them head on, and grow this Nation bigger and bigger.

Here is the newest Cal Strength video below. A good battle is good training. Salute!

The Growth Of The Attitude Nation 2012

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

2 Minutes

Your hands rub your thighs up and down in a fast motion, not because they are sore, but because you...well you really don’t know. Your mind is tired but your body is in such shock from the training that it can’t help but to constantly move and twitch. You begin to rock back and forth as your head looks all around the gym like a little kid in an orchestra looking for his parents. You smile, not to anyone one person, not even to yourself, you just smile. Not an upward smile, but a sideways smile, a fake smile, a smile that lets you know that you are still ok and not dead from this battle called weightlifting. You watch your teammate attempt a big lift with your head slightly down and facing away, as you watch from the corner of your eyes. Watching straight on will infect you with the pain disease that man is going through.

In the 2 minutes of self-reflecting and heavy breathing you are intimidated,weak, scared,unsure, and nervous for what awaits you when coach tells you to lift. Your mind wonders off into the past like someone rewinding a video tape. You forget you are a weightlifter and that you have been doing the same two lifts for 4 years now, and looking at the same broken white wall just as long. You forget your life consists of chalk,bars,plates,and a big bearded man that never seems to forget that you are a weightlifter…damn. You have a feeling that a minute has gone by, and that you are half way to hell again. Your head drops back against the wall as your droopy eyes still face down toward your Ali feet. You start to count the sweat drops that fall from your face. You don’t wipe your face because you are just too tired, and honestly,you just don’t care anymore. You have surrendered to this lifestyle, you have surrendered to your own imprisonment.

Someone walks by you and says hi all perky and happy. You are suddenly woken from your exorcism of thoughts and silence. You reply with an over the top "hey how’s it going" with wide eyes and a large still fake smile. But once your paths have past you sink back into peace and tranquility. A world with no lifting, a 2 minute world of heaven and peace as you slide down snowy banks with penguins and polar bears. I wonder how my dad is doing. I wonder why Jake hasn’t called me back. I wonder what I am going write about in my blog today. Shit,180kg awaits me,just sitting there loaded and awaiting my arrival. I wish I could just sit here forever and never move. What if I fail and nobody likes me anymore. What if I never win Gold again or even get on the Podium again, then what? I am glad people don’t really know how insecure I am.....I feel insecure right I think on this lift I will yell even louder and slam the bar much harder than usual. I should super glue this mask to my face so it won’t fall off, just in case Donny rushes me with a Shankle hug.

"Jon you’re up"! Fuck, my happy purple dinosaur has run away with another group of kids,and now I am left with a mean broomstick from the movie Fantasia. I can’t wait to get this lift over and return back to memories of wooden skate ramps and 50 cent pop. Let’s go! I am the Champ! Attitude fuckin Nation baby! I will smoke you 180, I will smoke you then slam you then cut your throat tell you bleed your red paint all over the fuckin platform. I am strong,I am fast, and I am fearless. I have the Shankle blood in me, and I will rip this bar like I am ripping the head off a lion. I will win more meets, make more teams, and piss more people off. I will chalk my hands like Russell crow feeling the dirt before battle. I am a cocky, in your face National Champion that will piss on every platform I lift on. Get out of my way rookies, the Nation is about to lift.

Thank you Nicoli Trefil for this blog topic

Love Liza 2012

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Hit and Catch Part III

Sundays are beautiful. I love Sundays with all my heart. Food, movies, nap, more food, more movies, hot tub, then bed. Wait….no training either…Sunday will you marry me? Rest that tired body and Dream about PR's, slamming bars, and the rush you get after making a big lift. Dream about eating at In and Out, all hunched over with a three by three like it’s your last meal giving off the vibe that if anyone gets close to you you will rip there fucken head off because you are a bad ass stronger than them weightlifter. Damn...I am rambling again, Here is the new part three "Hit and Catch" video. I hope you like it, goodnight.

Godfather Part III 2012