Day 5: The Human Movement Training Tour - Elite Performance Center

THMTT – Day 5

Three things you need to know:

1. The best gyms are hard to find
2. Everyday heroes come in all shapes and sizes
3. Hardwork isn’t shiny

“So are you a powerlifter?”

“Well I like burgers and picking up things.”

“Yeah, you’re a powerlifter.”

This has to be one of the easiest ways that I have been initiated into a community.

Although, in all honesty, it is almost offensive to call the people I met today at Elite Performance Center a community.

These guys are family. No doubt about it.

Watching from when people get out of their car in the industrial area of Portland, Oregon dressed in work clothes and formal wear, they walk into the front door of the gym and then almost like superman does in a phone booth, walk out of the change rooms a completely different person.

It's as if they have thrown away the façade that is their day job and now their life really starts. I can't call it their “me” time because there wasn’t one single person in this room today that was selfish with their time, words or energy.

Like most things in life, you have to do some work to find the best gyms. The ones that are barely advertised. That you don’t just happen to stumble past. The ones with no mirrors, used equipment, whiteboards with nicknames.

A gym needs to have character.

It needs to come alive.

At EPC, if the walls could talk then rather than showing before and after photos and telling stories of weightloss, they would tell stories of triumph, passion, defeat, victories and persistence. Weightloss and strength are just by products.

They are the minor details of the major transformations people undertake when training in a gym like this.

They would talk about warriors and leadership. Where “everyday people” come to be everyday heroes.

It might sound like I am stretching this a little bit for a well articulated visual.

Like so what? A few people throw around some iron in a warehouse.

That’s the thing. It’s a few people. That’s what makes it so special.

That’s what makes it a family. They actually care about you.

From an outsiders first inspection, this gym could possibly be one of the most intimidating I have seen. Until you look closer. Until you see every person is the same as you. They felt the same way walking through the door. They are here for the same reason. It's weird to think that you can walk into a place like this and only months later call these people family and these walls home.

That’s a gym.

A hybrid version of a playground and a classroom with people who are willing to suffer together.

The weights look used. The walls are marked. The frames are scratched and the barbells don’t hold the shine they once had.


That tells me records have been set. The sign of sweat means work. It’s not dusty or rusty. It’s been tried and tested. None of this shiny sterile “healthy hospital” illusion shit that most “gyms” create.

This place gives birth to the opportunity of improvement if you are willing to take it.

It is actually that simple.

I was fortunate enough to train with those who compete in strongman and powerlifting tonight. Following our own programs whilst spoting and shooting the shit. What I learnt is that in order to be a part of a family like this, all you need is to have the desire to want to get better. That becomes infectious. Like a cool drink down a parched throat you can feel it spread right through to your core.

That’s a gym.

I have the opportunity of training with the founder Chris Duffin tomorrow morning. Once again, a world class leader giving their time for a student. I see a pattern here.

One last thing before I finish up – I wrote a short piece a few months ago that I believe sits extremely well with what I experienced today. I want to share that with you to lead you into tomorrows blog. It reads:

"You think this is a post about lifting.

It's not.

Lifting is just the vehicle.

It's about development.

It's always about development.

Mental development.

Most of you won't read this far, it's already too long. Those that strive for instant satisfaction. Itch for a sudden reward.

A fools life.

For those that have, you are the minority.

The few that get it.

Getting stronger isn't the goal. It's the by product.

There is no end result and short term gain is sacrificed for long term. We invest pain for a long term reward.

Trusting a unknown process is hard.

Staying average is harder.

Basic is not for me. I am no zombie.

Each plate on this bar represents a struggle that only I truly know. And when my brothers and sisters rack up there's, regardless of the load, I nod in respect because we share the same vehicle but not the same story.

To some, it's about lifting. To those that stick around, it goes so much deeper.

Patience is not an option, it's the process. The time will pass anyway.

Lifting is a form of self expression. And when treated like art, should be displayed for all to see."

Dave Nixon