BL&T No. 079: Ending Strength Sundays, Last-Minute Requests, & Gut Checks

Agency Leadership

This post originally appeared in my newsletter, Borrowed, Learned, & Thought. BL&T is sent weekly on Mondays. In every edition, I share lessons learned in agency leadership, life, and e-commerce. This post does not include all the details shared in the newsletter sent via email. Subscribe here.


"Listening is a way of offering others our scarcest, most precious gift: our attention. Once we’ve demonstrated that we care about them and their goals, they’re more willing to listen to us."

From “Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don't Know” by Adam Grant [Book]


Yesterday marked the end of an 8-week workout series I've been doing with Joey Szatmary at his gym, The Lion's Den Elite Training. With most of his time spent as a content creator, gym owner, and online coach, Joey offered these sessions to get back into in-person coaching and bring together a group of guys with shared goals.

A few months after leaving Brooklyn, I became a member at The Lion's Den, so I was familiar with the community and style of workouts, but I still wasn't sure what to expect. It was a blast.

Sessions lasted just under two hours. While I train in my new home gym space during the week, they offered a ton of variety and required us to give it our all. No matter what was going on in my life or how I felt waking up at 8 am on a Sunday, I found myself eager to get to work every weekend.

There was something special about bringing together this group, from the school wrestling coach to dog trainer to the welder to the high school student. Had we not joined these sessions, I doubt many of us would have met, and yet, each week we rallied around our shared visions, showed up, and pushed each other.

Coach Joey mixed up the sessions, so we never knew what was coming. Some highlights for me were:

  • Learning how to trap bar deadlift and getting up to 385 lbs.
  • "Death by sandbag" workout in the snow which meant holding a 100 lb. sandbag while doing laps around the parking lot. When you couldn't hold on any longer, you dropped it, and your teammate carried on.
  • Plyo box jump warm-ups. We did this a few times to get the blood flowing. I had no idea how high I'd get but loved the challenge. Yesterday, I got up to a 30" box with 2x 45 lb and 1x 25 lb bumper plates stacked on top. Roughly 38.5".
  • Carrying a 150 lb. keg for the first time.
  • "Death by sled" workout. Any "death by" exercise meant going until we couldn't go anymore. This one involved pushing a weighted sled, followed by burpees, then adding weight. I was proud of myself for getting up to around 425 lbs. before giving in.
  • I've always wanted to do a tire flip and got to do one yesterday. I was surprised at how well I could flip the ~400 lb. tire. So, I went for the larger ~550 lb. tire. Heavy. I got it off the ground with my second attempt but couldn't flip it without some help. Regardless, there's nothing quite like flipping a tire covered in snow and ice in 25 F° weather.

I'll miss this group and Sunday ritual, but I'm grateful for the experience. As a music and art kid growing up, I carried a strong limiting belief about what I could do athletically for so long. I've loved seriously challenging this belief over the last several years and pushing myself to see what I can accomplish.

After my second powerlifting competition a couple of years back, I had this vision of competing in strongman but didn't know where to start. The Sunday Sessions gave me a taste. In July, I'll be competing in my first strongman competition at The Lion's Den. Appreciate the support of Coach Joey and making me feel like competing was an obvious choice. Can't wait.

Here are a couple of themes that bubbled up to the surface last week:

Thought Starter

Where might I benefit from asking questions and getting a gut check before jumping into work?

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