Strength advice to our younger selves!

Strength Sports

Strength Sports have seen an incredible influx of growth over the past few years. We have new lifters coming into the fold all the time. This is awesome not just from a growth standpoint but it keeps veteran lifters training hard and creating unique ways to keep improving for fear of getting shown up by our younger counterparts. Veterans of these strength sports often hold a wealth of advice whether it be for injury prevention/recovery or training strategies.

We asked some of the strongest and smartest lifters we know in our network (Mettle and not Mettle) the same question: If you could give your younger, better looking self your best advice regarding your strength path what would it be?

We will not share their ages for fear of getting our windows smashed but lets just say they are all well seasoned.

The answers received back were all incredible knowledge-gems. They range from straightforward and to the point to downright philosophical. Listen up you young-ins! The people below are all very strong and have made their mistakes so you don’t have to! Success leaves clues you just need to decipher them!

Brad Kleefeld (Mettle PTC)
Canadian Powerlifting Union National Silver Medalist:

“I would totally stress the importance of proper nutrition. Or more importantly, eating enough quality foods. The other thing is patience. Rome wasn’t built in a day. As most big lifts or totals are a result of years of hard work. New lifter gains only last so long and I think at that point a lot of people get frustrated and quit when gains slow down. Also, I would tell myself, don’t worry about the size of my head. I will eventually grow into it”.

Brad’s Instagram

Taunia Stevens (Mettle PTC)
Biggest (Single Ply) Equipped Female Bench Press in Canadian History:

“Don’t judge your chapter 1 by someone else’s chapter 20”.

Taunia’s Instagram

Brad Provick (Mettle PTC)
Multiple Time Western Canada’s Strongest Man:

“The reality of strength training is that progress is not linear. The gains you will make in your first year or two in a strength sport will very very likely not be emulated in years 3 and 4 and so on. You WILL hit a sticking point in one or more facets of your training that could last 6 months, a year, two years or even more. At some point some small thing in your training will change and that will be the impetus for a big jump. Sometimes you will do nothing new and it jumps! Patience and consistency are always rewarded”.

Brad P’s Instagram

Tracey Halladay (Mettle PTC)
2x Western Canada’s Strongest Woman:

“Train harder and smarter. Eat more. Don’t be scared to lose. Learn from your mistakes. Get massages. Stretch more”.

Tracey’s Instagram

Ryan Stinn (Unparalleled Performance)
Heaviest Single Ply Equipped total in Canadian Powerlifting Union History:

“My best piece of advice is two fold: Powerlifting is not a sprint, its a marathon. So with that in mind, listen to your body, if something is hurting, not just sore but hurts, chronically, get it fixed before trying to hit the next PB”.

Ryan’s Instagram

Kanako MacDonald (4 Horsemen Fitness)
Sask Provincial record holder in both powerlifting and weightlifting:

“From my experience I have learned: 1. Training hard is good but training smart is better. 2. Take your sleep and rest days as seriously as training days. 3. Work on mobility and stretching regularly. 4. Eat well, eat lots but eat good quality food, nut junk food”.

Kanako’s Instagram

Travis Krushelnicki (Mettle PTC)
700lb+ Deadlifter and long time Strongman Competitor

“Make better food choices. Learn about nutrition as much as you can and don’t neglect mobility and recovery work”.

Trav’s Instagram

Melissa Pylypchuk (Synergy Strength)
Multi-Sport competitor (physique and powerlifting)

“Learn the big 3 lifts (squat, bench and deadlift) at an early age, learning the movements technically, and as priority; the strength comes as you grow and train. Accessory training should be complimentary to the big 3, but get better and stronger at the priority movements first – don’t train only accessory. Strength training is more important than cardio, don’t waste time running or doing aerobics classes; just train for strength and play sports to stay generally conditioned. Nutrition is huge – eat for a purpose of fueling for your best performance”.

Melissa’s Instagram

Dana Molander (Mettle PTC)
400lb+ Competition bench press. Long time powerlifter.

“1) Compete – training will have way more meaning and likely be far more disciplined than just working out. 2) Find training partners who are as crazy or more crazy than your are. 3) Learn about nutrition early – learn how to eat. Too many people live off garbage. 4) Have goals that are huge and give yourself adequate time to achieve them, but put yourself on a deadline. You should have enough “positive anxiety” to make sure you eat, drink and sleep enough for your next training session. 5) Obsess about your training. Read everything you can on it. Find out what strong SOBs are doing and see if it would work for you. 6) Never take “time off”. Resting is part of training, not showing up to the gym for a month is giving up. Never be the guy that “used to bench 225″. No one cares what you did in high school. 7) Looks matter. If you don’t like how you look figure out what is wrong with your training and nutrition. If you feel gross you might be making gross decisions”.

Dana’s Instagram

Melanie Ziffle (Unparalleled Performance)
Provincial record holder and long time national and international competitive powerlifter

“You need to be mentally strong, be adaptable and prepare for ups and downs as the powerlifting world is rough. Just because you hit numbers in the gym doesn’t mean you’ll hit them on the platform. Every meet is different, depending on your prep and your stress level going into it, so prepare for anything and roll with it! Train smart & build a solid base to lengthen your career and prevent injuries!”

Mel’s Instagram

Stephen Pritchard (Articles by Stephen)
IPF Classic World’s Silver Medalist. Long time International Powerlifting Competitor

“Best advice: Specificity and variation. Strength training is about developing and improved movement patterns. For that reason it makes sense to train the movements. Training movements that mirror those you want to improve is the absolute priority. You need a good reason to deviate from that. The second part of this is that the body adapts so well, you need to introduce variation into the training to keep improving. This is best done through volume, intensity and loading. Those two considerations are really the map to success. It took me a long time of mucking around with all sorts of things to learn this”.

Stephen’s Instagram

Scott Cummine (Mettle PTC)
Multiple time Western Canada’s Strongest Man. 2x World’s Strongest Man Competitor

“Don’t complain, no one wants to hear it. Don’t tell anyone your dreams, keep it to yourself. Life is hard, so is competing, learn to deal with the pain or quit”.

Scott’s Instagram

Shantelle Szuch (Unparalleled Performance)
National and International Level Competitive Powerlifter

“A few things I wish I knew: – Don’t be afraid of food – Physical strength really does translate to psychological strength – It doesn’t make you “better” as a female if you are skinny, have a “thigh gap”, eat only lettuce, put down other females, etc – Your body weight only matters for weight class and Wilks points. It is not a valid representation of your value, athleticism, or work ethic – It’s more fun than you think it will be when you can lift more than the average guy in a standard gym haha”.

Shantelle’s Instagram

Kris Sunneson (Mettle PTC)
GPC Powerlifting Record Holder and longtime Powerlifting and Strongman Competitor

“Trust in your abilities more than any magic potions. Focus on form and technique above the amount of weight on the bar always. Stay consistent with your training (avoid program jumping) and learn to love your craft”.

Kris’s Instagram

Angela Desjarlais (B Squad Fitness)
National Level Powerlifting Competitor

“Don’t be afraid to follow the path least taken.
Trying something new doesn’t make you weird or attention seeking.
It makes you brave and interesting.
Becoming strong and discovering what you are capable of is the greatest way to love yourself.
Don’t allow yourself to be defined by what others think you should be. Be You.
P.S. I’m proud of who you’ve become and the athlete you’ve evolved to be”.

Angela’s Instagram

There you have it. Remember to always use that muscle between your ears. Train hard and use that youthful enthusiasm to crush PRs but trust in what is said above. 

-Mettle PTC