A 2018 Recap and Look Ahead

Everyone likes lists

2018 was unlike any other year for me. A lot of new, some old, some reinforced, and some unexpected.

Without further fanfare and bullshittery…


The opening of Kansas City Barbell

A lifelong dream came to fruition. In an era when more and more “trainers” want to solely work online from the comfort of their couch, I opened a gym with my friend and my wife. While I maintain a thriving online coaching business, I also program workouts for our gym, answer all emails, make the phone calls, teach the classes, and oversee a rapidly growing powerlifting coaching program.

I could go on for paragraphs about it, as this leads the list for a reason, but there is so much more to write about which adds more insight.

Remembering who my friends are

This business is full of mutual back slapping and “you the man”. People travel in cliques and that is incredibly evident if you spend any amount of time online. The thing is, the online world and the real world aren’t the same. People fake the funk, write how they want you to perceive them, act like experts despite being fresh in the business, and have minimal personal credentials other than a college degree or a certification to show for it.

I have lost friends, and I have willingly thrown those friendships away. I have a difficult time separating how a person is online with their reality. To me, there is no line, there is how you are as a human despite what medium you use. If I feel as if your values don’t line up with me, I will gladly throw that friendship away and move on.

Is that selfish? I am not 100% sure, but I have some amazing humans in my corner from the friendships I have made around the country. They are people I can rely on, and I hope they can rely on me, to be a real friend despite “status” or perceived status.

Programs mean little

This is a reinforced one. Programs mean little in the scheme of things, as coaching and consistency is everything. I have taken a long hard look at my own progress over the years. I looked back on training logs, notes, spreadsheets, and came to a hard conclusion.

The best progress I made was when I followed a template and not a set program. I changed exercises weekly. I cycled intensities. If I had a day when I felt good, I pushed it hard. If I felt off, I went lighter and hammered reps. What that did for me was create a guy who was big, strong, and in shape.

I never expect to return to that apex, but for me that was ideal to keeping my sanity and giving me the ultimate progress.

It isn’t for everyone, as some people truly need tight structure and a regimented “do this and do that” program; however, I grew up in an environment when lifting wasn’t so dependent on whose program you are following but instead dependent on the effort you put forth in the gym. I don’t recall my formative years ever being spent listening to someone say, “buy xxx book”. It was watching, learning, lifting, growing, fucking up, having better training partners, working with professional athletes, lifting with legendary lifters, and more.

I am fucking lucky to have been exposed to who and what I have been, and truth be told I learned more from those years than I have ever learned from a single book or article.

The importance of local connections

Being that I opened a gym, and we are in the black rather quickly, a few people have asked me how I did it so fast. The specifics require a blog post, but there is one detail that I cannot emphasize enough:

People need to know you.

If you cannot put yourself out there to meet people locally, introduce yourself, make connections, break out of your shell, be a walking business card, or describe your business without being cute about it; rethink why the fuck you are a trainer or a gym owner.

The truth is, people buy genuine. They are buying from you. You can manufacture the sweetest elevator pitch and talk about “empowering” all you want but if you have the authenticity of a sleazy politician, you will be looked at as a fraud.

There is a reason why people come to our gym, because I do my goddamn best to be real. I don’t tone down my language, I am rough around the edges. I have tattoos, even on my head, I look like a meathead, but I come across as a dude who gives a shit and wants to know you… because I do want to know you and I listen.

Being yourself, and being genuine towards people in your town is the greatest thing you can do for your business and it was hammered home exponentially the moment we opened the doors to KC Barbell.

That work helped us grow from 1 committed member to trying to figure out how to manage a fast growth in 31 weeks.

What’s ahead

Destination Gym

I have made this known and I will write it here again.

My goal is to make Kansas City Barbell a destination gym.

What does that mean?

Superb coaching and hiring people who will communicate their expertise.

Owning our niche and being one of the gyms people come to get results.

Having a competitive team who continually raises the bar for themselves.

Members who are proud to come here and proud to refer their friends.

Staying true to our mission statement and value system and exuding those values with every passing day.

My goal is simple, to be the best goddamn strength gym in the Midwest. Will that happen? I don’t know, but if we stay true to our goals, we will create a gym that people will come to, stay at, and thrive in with us.

Write more often

I have knowledge and I forget that I can write a little. Time to change that and actually stick to it.

Business mastermind program

Actually no, you will never see me do this. I have no desire to charge somebody 1500 dollars a month to tell them how to run their own shit.

I will gladly save that for someone else to do because I will be too busy running my own shit, and managing my own clients/members, to give one fuck how you run yours.

Happy New Year.

2019 is ours.


Check out the SECOND AND BRAND NEW Ashman Strength System e-book.

Join the Ashman Strength Facebook Page.

Check out Pump, Dump, and Hump; a fitness group based around health, lifting, and sexuality run by my wife and myself.

To inquire about training, contact us for more information or to set up a call about remote coaching.

If you are local to Kansas City and wish to kickass at my gym, visit us at Kansas City Barbell for the ultimate training experience.


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