Strictly Strength


Your WHY doesn't have to be bigger muscles, less fat, more weight lifted. In fact, I would say that, although there's nothing wrong with those goals, I hope that people dig a little deeper. 

In this edition of "What's Your Why?", Tyler says with us what he's discovered while training at TCS. 

Ps. This one gave me chills so I won't waste any more time.


Today marks the 1-year anniversary of operations at Travis County Strength! It's been a crazy whirlwind, but I wouldn't change a damn thing! It's been amazing!

There have been challenges and obstacles along the way, but they have been far outweighed by the amazing people that form our community. Having the privilege to provide a unique service to these people is what makes our job so awesome! Suffice it to say that TCS would not be here today in the capacity that it is without the outstanding people that bust their asses each day.

So, as much as this post is about reflection, it is also just as much about gratitude. Thank you to everyone that has made this 1st year possible.

Complex Of the Week #3

It's been kind of a crazy week of "road blocks" popping up randomly and preventing me from planting my ass in front of the computer to knock out some posts. However, you can rest assured that your weekly delivery of COW (Complex Of the Week) is hot'n'ready!

This week's complex has a completely different look and feel to it. Nevertheless, it's a complex that is to be done without setting the bar down or re-racking it. In other words, this must be done UNBROKEN!


  • Complete 20 Unbroken Back Squats @ approximately 65% of 1RM
    • A mandatory 3 breaths must be taken between each of the 20 reps.

Now, before you jump up out of your chair to knock this one out, here are a couple things to think about:

If you haven't been squatting consistently - or If you can't accurately perform a high-quality squat(technically sound + full ROM) - this COW may demand that you perform your 20 at a lower percentage. That's fine. The overarching purpose of this stuff is to make you stronger - one workout at a time. It is NOT provided to you so that you can go overboard and fuck yourself up. Be smart. Work Hard. Go!


This theme of "redefining" has presented itself on numerous occasions this week, so I thought that I would take that as a sign that others of you out there could somehow use this post. So here we go.

I think that most of you would agree that we as humans often assume that once something has a definition, that definition can not be altered. Correct? 

In some cases I would agree with that. But in the case of how we process information, events, or situations I think that being able to redefine what these things mean is an incredibly valuable tool. Let me give you an example....

And, of course, like most of my examples - this one will be workout-centric:

I have recently been in a "rebuilding" and "relearning" phase with my workouts lately. Why? Over years and years of training and weightlifting, I have taught myself to move in ways that allow for large loads to be moved quickly....BUT....the way I've been moving has stressed specific areas in my back due to poor mechanics.

Now, these issues that are just now making themselves known have been due to countless repetitions while hyper-extending my back. And, just to be clear, this is not an issue of sloppy lifting, but rather the opposite. I was working so hard to maintain a tight lower back that I overshot it and ended up overusing it and pissing it off.

Now - and this is where we get back to today's lesson - I am having to step away from the loads that I used to attack with zero hesitation and refocus on moving lighter loads with more dialed-in mechanics and better positions.

As you can imagine, forcing yourself to lift less than you're accustomed to can be super frustrating. I kept finding myself pissed off and unmotivated to do anything just because I felt unable to lift like usual.

In order to move past this road-block, I had to sit down with myself and redefine what "heavy" was for me. I told myself that training heavy just to say that I can do a 415 back squat is really not what I'm in this shit for. I do this so that I am strong and healthy and able to take on any new challenges that pop up.

Needless to say, if my back is so f*cked up that I can't stand up, I am missing my target....BIG TIME!

By redefining "heavy", I was able to accept the situation and look at it as a positive challenge to take on. Getting to the point where I can move 415 again will be a major accomplishment - especially when I can do it without sacrificing solid positions and mechanics!


Now, with this new goal and challenge, I've found my groove again and am fired up to build an even stronger version of myself. It's going to be a fun project for me, and one that I think will offer many important lessons that I will undoubtedly share with y'all. (Get excited!)

Does all of that make sense? I hope so, because I feel like it's human nature to beat ourselves down based on what we "usedacould", rather than accepting the fact that life is not a linear progression. There will be ups and downs, but if our average outcome is in an upward, positive direction......we win!

This is all to say that if you're able to use the practice of redefinition in a positive manner, you will be setting yourself up for a lot less stress and much more success.

Give it shot the next time you're faced with a difficult situation. Ask yourself how you could redefine the meaning of (blank) to better deal with the obstacle and ultimately navigate it successfully.

I hope that you find this useful. 

TCS Free Community Workout +

Just a quick post today to let y'all know that the next Travis County Strength FREE Community workout is coming up fast!  We would love for you to join us and get a taste of what it's like to train at TCS.  I may be a little biased.....but we have something special going on under the TCS roof.

As always, we encourage our current community members to bring a "newbie" that you see as someone that would thrive in the TCS environment.  No prerequisites are necessary...this is open to everyone that is willing to work hard and maintain a PMA(positive mental attitude).  If you already have someone in mind, it's time to register for your spot because they are going fast!

TCS Free Community Workout
August 23, 2014
8:30 AM to 9:30 AM

Along the same lines, Coach Nick Mounce will be hosting another Strongman Seminar the following day (8/24/14) at Travis County Strength.  As I type this I am getting pumped to see what Coach has up his sleeve for this session.  His only hint....Yoke, Grip and Trucks!! OH SH*T!!! 

Strongman Seminar - Yoke, Grip and Trucks
August 24, 2014
10:00 AM to 11:30 AM

Holiday Schedule for the 4th

Because we know how much y'all love your grilling out, your time on the water, your fireworks, and all other things 4th of July.....we have made some changes to the schedule that we want everyone to be aware of.

Friday, July 4th will go as follows:

  • 700 - 800am --- Strictly Strength
  • 800 - 900am --- LIFT
  • 900 - 1000am --- Strictly Strength & LIFT
    **Running at the same time but separate from each other.**

If you have any questions about the schedule change please feel free to contact us.  If not, you can use the following link to SIGN UP for the class of your choice for some 4th of July fitness!  

Lead From The Front

If you've been with us for a while, you've undoubtedly seen or heard the phrase, "Lead From The Front".  This is a phrase that was first introduced to me by one of my mentors, Zach Even Esh.  He used it in several contexts, but it ended up being far more than just a phrase to me.  I adopted it as a mantra and applied it as a way of life.

I'm not going to sit here and spell it out for you.  It's such a simple and perfect idea that it deserves to be left untouched...un-f*cked with.  It would also be silly for me to inadvertently  influence your understanding of "Lead From The Front" with mine.

All you really need to understand is that this is part of what makes TCS such an awesome place to be a part of.  The people busting their ass on the floor day in, and day out, apply this idea - whether they know it or not.

In fact, the inspiration for this post was not some amazing act of athleticism or human performance, but something vastly more important and profound.  The inspiration for all of this is an image that was caught during the Women's Only Friday Night SWOD.  

Take a second to really look at this picture.  This is what "Lead From The Front" is all about.

A strong, powerful woman providing an amazing example for her daughter. LEAD FROM THE FRONT.

A strong, powerful woman providing an amazing example for her daughter. LEAD FROM THE FRONT.


GunFighter3 - 2014

On Saturday, April 26th, the 3rd Annual GunFighter3 Reunion Workout took place at Travis County Strength.  I know that most of you have never heard of it or know anything about it, but let me just start by saying that this event is by far one of the most rewarding experiences I have the honor to be a part of each year. 

To keep this from becoming a freaking book, I'll give you the basic run-down:  Marines from all over the country come to reunite with the brothers they fought with in Fallujah in 2005 under the call-sign, "GunFighter3".

This reunion is so much more than a workout.  It's a way for the men of GF3 to continue to strengthen the bonds they established in the worst of scenarios back in 2005 and before.  The workout also serves as an educational and empowerment tool for some of the guys that have had to re-learn how to perform the tasks we take for granted - like walking, running, climbing stairs, picking objects up off the floor, etc.  These basic human skills have been re-learned, but some of the "auxiliary" tasks, like working out, have taken such a different twist that many of the Marines needed guidance on how to perform beneficial movements given their specific obstacles.

This is where I really feel fortunate to be a part of this.  My years of education and practical experiences working with a wide variety of people, and their obstacles, has allowed me to effectively give these men tools to take home with them.  These tools and ideas are so inherently powerful that just by performing basic routines, these once limited men may now be better able to strengthen their bodies and minds and surpass old limitations.

Now, I've always believed that there is no way to repay the men and women that fight for us and those that stand next to them in battle.  But I'd like to think that this is my way of giving something back to those that have given so much.  It's truly my honor to serve these Marines...these men.

If you'd like to hear a bit more about GF3, check out "Lead From The Front".  Otherwise, here's just a glimpse into what Saturday was all about....


He's Baaaaaack!


In this strength and conditioning business you develop relationships.  As a coach, you watch your clients put everything they've got in to the task you give them.  You watch them struggle, fight, sweat, bleed, cry.  You also have the privilege of watching them overcome, succeed, celebrate, focus, achieve, and re-focus on the next dragon to be slayed.  It should go without saying, but with all of this emotion and these powerful experiences, strong bonds are made between coach and athlete. 

This is especially the case for my relationship with my long-time personal training client, Mike.  Mike was my very first personal training client when I first moved to Austin and during that time we've made some massive changes in health, strength, mental toughness, etc.  It's truly been an absolute joy to train Mike over the last several years.

Mike would put everything he had in to our hour-long sessions.  He busted is ass as hard as any one in the gym and was positive - even when he was near his breaking point.  In fact, the only thing that halted our steady progression was a shoulder injury - the cause of which is still unknown.  

In any case, Mike took a step back from our training and began physical therapy for what they were calling a "misalignment of the shoulder".  With the PT taking priority, we decided to take some time off and get back to when we had the OK from the docs.  

Well, we all know that when you start sliding it can be hard to stop, right?  That's kind of what happened in Mike's case.  He had stepped out of our training routine and started slipping.  That is, until I touched base with him two weeks ago....

It's amazing what a simple "check in" can yield!  Mike received my text and responded back that just that week he had stopped by my old stomping grounds in an effort to find me so that we could start up again!  Needless to say, I was PUMPED!

So that's that.  We started back up again on Wednesday after a year hiatus!  Our first session was awesome.  It seemed as though we hadn't missed a day!  And just as I expected, Mike worked his ass off from start to finish.

 gotta say....It's good to have him back! 


On a final note - this should be more than just a story for you to read.  This should be a call to action to get back to doing the things that were producing results in your life....regardless of whether they were hard or not.  Do those things that required great things of you so as to challenge yourself and exceed expectations. 

The Addition of "The Power Hour".

New Class

This week at Travis County Strength, LIFT Coach, Jen Shaw kick-started her brand new "Power Hour" class! This class is specifically designed to help female athletes improve their power/slow lifts.  By doing so, athletes will also encounter auxiliary work such as core stabilization, mobility, and accessory muscle group training/isolation exercises.  STRENGTH is the name of the game!

Jen's been itching to do this for a long time and she's pumped to get it started!  This Wednesday night (6pm) class is only open to 5 women, so reserving your training slot will be very important!

Here we go!

TCS Free Workout

This past weekend, Coach Randal Setzler lead his first Free Community Kettlebell Workout at TCS, and there was a great showing!  Approximately 20 (new and familiar) swingers showed up to see the new digs and be coached by the very best in kettlebell.  It was awesome to see!

The coaches of LIFT and Strictly Strength have been sitting on the idea of a Free Community SWOD and we are ready to pull the trigger as well!  I realize it's short notice, but we'd love to see y'all bring some new faces around the TCS stomping grounds. 

Here are the details:

WHEN: Saturday, March 1st at 8:30am(Start time, not arrival time.)

REGISTRATION:  Open to 10 current TCS clients, and their PLUS ONE.  The goal is to have 10 TCS athletes bring one new person each. That would be a total of 20 people. (Yay, math!)

That's pretty much it.  Simple, right?  Because this is open to only 20 people I need to stress the fact that there needs to be 10 NEW faces on Saturday morning.  As things develop, we may open the registration to more, but we don't want to dilute the quality and the methods that we utilize in LIFT and SS.  That being the case, numbers must stay relatively low to insure this high quality workout experience. 

If you're ready to signup for the Free ComSWOD, and you already have a buddy to bring,


We'll see y'all soon!


New Toys! And Why.

As things develop here at Travis County Strength, one thing that you'll notice is all the new stuff we have to do "fun activities" with!  The methods that we use to develop mental and physical strength require a wide range of tools.  

We do NOT specialize.  
We do NOT periodize.  
We simply WORK.

For some of you out there, the idea of not having a 12-month training plan with mirco-cycles and transition phases is blasphemy.  I get it.  The notion that each and every day that you enter TCS your one and only job is to work hard is crazy.  That's OK.....we are kinda crazy....  

You see, every single day that you and I walk this earth, we face new stimuli in unique combinations.  To simplify: Every day is completely different and unique.  The same can be said for the demands that are placed on you.

So, if you agree....which I think you probably do...Why would you then schedule, plan, set-up, complicate something so simple as WORK?  The only answer I'll accept is that you are a specialist, in which case, continue on your way.  Otherwise, you have been mislead.

Of course, all of this is my opinion, which you can agree with or completely discount - either is fine, really.  I bring this up only to present some compelling questions that (hopefully) get you thinking about what you're doing and why you're doing it.

In the mean time, we'll be having one helluva time working hard and challenging ourselves in as many unique scenarios as we can possibly think of - Just so we're ready for whatever tomorrow brings our way. 

Besides showing off our super sweet new farmers handles, I wanted to share this as an example of the "Train by Braille" mentality that we base our work on.  This was completely impromptu....and one helluva good workout!

A Strong Showing!

You may have heard....The Fittest Games happened. Hahaha.

I laugh because if you're a part of this ever-growing fitness community, you were probably very, very aware of the event that took place this past weekend.
..It's kind of a big deal around these parts.

In any case, The Fittest Games brings some of CrossFit's best athletes out of the woodwork and on to a proving ground.  It also provides a platform for all athletes - at any level - to see what it means to compete in the sport of fitness.  And as the CrossFit Open is just around the corner, It offers a true test, a check-in, for all athletes as they prep for the "CrossFit in-season".

Despite the fact that Travis County Strength has only been operational for almost 2 months, we had a strong showing at The Fittest Games.

Coach Jen Shaw had 3 badass LIFT/TCS chicks take on the challenges that The Fittest Games' Amateur division had to offer, while two of my Strictly Strength athletes represented TCS in the Masters Men's and Women's divisions.

Now, I will get to their placings in a moment, but I would rather spend the time sharing how impressed I was with their performances, durability, and most importantly - the fact that they enjoyed themselves throughout the 2-day event.

I'll be honest, I was only able to see our athletes compete on the 2nd day, but that was enough for me to know that they were having a great time and enjoying the challenges this competition had to offer.  In fact, this year's FG's was the first major competition for majority of our competitors.  So, like a nervous father watching over his kid play a sport for the first time, I was anxious to see how they handled the experience.  I can only say that I am so proud of how each of them worked their asses off during the workout, then were able to "turn off" and move passed that workout and ready themselves for the next - all while maintaining the highest of spirits.

To be completely honest, I didn't really give a shit where they placed.  Of course I wanted them all do well, but more importantly - I wanted them to enjoy the fruits of their labor....

Every.  Single. Person. at our gym works their ass off.  We demand that from them.  They demand that of themselves.  So for the competitors to have enjoyed themselves on this proving ground was the best feeling a coach could have.  It means that they were prepared and confidently accepted that they would have to work....and possibly fail at attaining a goal that they had set for themselves.  The point is that they accepted the challenged, were forced to work and prove themselves, and had FUN doing this!  That's a WIN in my book!  If you think otherwise, you may want to refocus your priorities.....

So with the important part out of the way, we can get to the final placings.

Coach Jen Shaw's LIFT/TCS Competitors

NOTE: Both Tina "TeeTee" Spears AND Meghan McCraken are LIFT competitors

NOTE: Both Tina "TeeTee" Spears AND Meghan McCraken are LIFT competitors

If you look closely you'll see that Taylor took 1st in one of the workouts and 5th in another!  Hahaha!  Not bad at all!

If you look closely you'll see that Taylor took 1st in one of the workouts and 5th in another!  Hahaha!  Not bad at all!

Strictly Strength/TCS Competitors

Richard splits his time between Travis County Strength and another badass training facility,  Of The Lion Fitness .  His coach there is the one and only David DeLeon.  Let's just say Richard was ready for anything.  Again, notice the 1st and 4th place finishes.  That doesn't suck.

Richard splits his time between Travis County Strength and another badass training facility, Of The Lion Fitness.  His coach there is the one and only David DeLeon.  Let's just say Richard was ready for anything.  Again, notice the 1st and 4th place finishes.  That doesn't suck.

4th Place?!?!?!  That's f*cking bonkers!  Why, you ask?  This was here first major competition!  Watch for her next year...

4th Place?!?!?!  That's f*cking bonkers!  Why, you ask?  This was here first major competition!  Watch for her next year...

In closing, I just want to say Thank You to the competitors for doing such an amazing job of representing Travis County Strength, your respective programs, your coaches, and most importantly yourselves and the hard work you have put in.  Great Job! 

Now....we get back to #work.


Friday Night SWOD - Results

It's taken us a while to come back down off of the high that we had after this most recent Friday Night SWOD, but now that we're here, we wanted to share the results.

Before we do that, though, I wanted to extend a massive THANK YOU to all of the athletes, volunteers, judges and spectators that showed up and created an incredible environment for the event.  It goes without saying, but without all of the support - shown in all capacities - the event would not have been the success that it was.  So, again....Thank You!

For anyone that didn't get to make it out to see what this whole Friday Night SWOD thing is all about -- you're in luck!  We will undoubtedly be doing another FNS in the coming months.  This time we will have some new toys to play with, so it should be very interesting. 

Also, if you missed us last Friday, we had one of our very own LIFT ladies, Maggie G., do a brief report on her experience that you will find extremely entertaining should you take the time to read it - which we highly recommend.  It's hilarious! GAME FACE

Ok.  Enough jibber-jabber.  The results.


Rx'd Female:

  1. Allison
  2. Taylor
  3. Iris/Meghan
  4. Franki
  5. Dani
  6. Stacey/Jenny
  7. Genny/Maria
  8. Nichole

Rx'd Male:

  1. Brian
  2. Mike L
  3. Joey
  4. Josh
  5. Wyatt
  6. Stephen
  7. Elliot
  8. Jordan
  9. Nathan
  10. James
  11. Chris
  12. Dominic
  13. Billy

Scaled Female:

  1. Iona
  2. Jen
  3. Savannah
  4. Erin
  5. Norah
  6. Maggie
  7. Suzanne

Scaled Male:

  1. Jeff H.
  2. Orlando

T-minus 6 hours...

Tonight's the night!!!  It's going to an action-packed, fast-moving, work-doin' kinda night.....and you're all invited!

We had a huge response with registration and have oversold the event by 5 spots!  15 men and 20 women - some familiar faces, as well as many new ones - will throw down tonight.  It's going to be a blast!

Now, this is the really important stuff to pay attention tune in and READ IT ALL(schedule at bottom)!


SWOD#1 - "Grip'n'Rip"

6min AMRAP:

  • 1 set of the BB Complex:
    • 5 Deadlift
    • 3 Front Squat
    • 1 Shoulder-to-Overhead
  • 2 (4,6,8,10,12...) Single-Arm KB Ground-to-Overhead

**Athletes will start each new round with the BB Complex, then move to the KB work where each round increases reps by 2.

Male Rx'd: 155 BB/75 KB
Female Rx'd: 110 BB/55 KB
Male Scaled: 135 BB/55 KB
Female Scaled: 85 BB/35 KB


SWOD#2 - "Rock Solid"

  • 1min 45sec AMRAP:
    • Burpee Box Jumps
  • 15sec Transition to Rack and BB

  • Max Effort BB Hold(5min cap)

**Athletes MUST have the BB un-racked and loaded across their back by the end of the 15sec transition.  Once there, athletes will hold this loaded, standing position for as long as possible.  For the effort to count, athletes MUST re-rack the BB safely on the squat rack.  DROPPING = DQ

Male Rx'd: 24" Box/2x Bodyweight
Female Rx'd: 20" Box/1.75x Bodyweight
Male Scaled: 20" Box/1.75x Bodyweight
Female Scaled: 16" Box/ 1.5x Bodyweight


SWOD#3 - "Get Up and GO!"

5min cap to accomplish:

  • 5 Sandbag Getups
    • Shuttle Sprint
  • 4 Sandbag Getups
    • Shuttle Sprint
  • 3 Sandbag Getups
    • Shuttle Sprint
  • 2 Sandbag Getups
    • Shuttle Sprint
  • 1 Sandbag Getup
    • Shuttle Sprint

**Every GetUp rep must start on the ground AND finish on the ground for it to count.  Athletes will be required to touch each line of the shuttle sprint with his/her hand.

Male Rx'd: 80# SB
Female Rx'd: 50# SB
Male Scaled: 50# SB
Female Scaled:
Turkish Getup with Athlete's Choice


**Don't be THAT person that holds it up.**

  • 515pm - Judges and Volunteers Arrive
  • 530pm- Judge's Meeting
  • 530pm - Athlete Registration CLOSES
    • Athletes will be required to select their division at the time of check-in.
  • 545pm - Welcome & SWOD Lecture/Demo
  • 600pm - 1st Heat Kicks off!!!
  • Have a blast 'til it's done!  See ya soon!


Friday Night SWOD - The TCS Edition

The mat drag. FNSwod - NBCF Edition.

The mat drag. FNSwod - NBCF Edition.

This is an official "Save the Date" for the next FRIDAY NIGHT SWOD - The Travis County Strength Edition.

  • WHEN: 6:00pm Friday, January 10th
  • WHERE: Travis County Strength
  • WHO: Open to anyone(Scaled/Rx'd options)
  • PRICE: $25(Portion of each athlete's entry fee goes towards ca$H prize)
  • WHAT: 3 fast'n'nasty workouts with a bias towards strength and moving heavy sh*t.  Simple....NOT easy.

More information will be available soon.  Until then, ready yourself for a night packed full of badass workouts and a great community.

Guilty, or just faking it?

This past weekend I was at a social event with a lot of people I didn't know.  As to be expected, there was a lot of small talk as newly introduced individuals mingle for the first time.  What I found interesting, though, was that as soon as I mentioned that I owned a gym and was a strength and conditioning coach - people lost their shit!

What I mean by that is that the tone of the conversation automatically shifted.  What was a casual conversation turned into what you might expect if you walked in on a parent disciplining a child.  I mean, they were practically beating themselves up for their lack of fitness.


Now, before I continue, this is by no means a bash session on these people or anyone else that doesn't see fitness as a priority in their life.  Really this is just a post posing a question to anyone and everyone:

"Are you really guilty, or are you just faking it?"

I ask this question because the situation I was in over the weekend is pretty common when I step foot into a new social circle.....and it just makes me wonder.

I guess this is where I stand:

If you truly feel guilty about how you've neglected your health and fitness, GREAT!  That's a fantastic start.  Often times, people must encounter tremendous pain before being driven enough to make a massive change.  If you're ready to make that change and work hard for it, I welcome you to come be a part of what we do at Travis County Strength.  You will evolve and transform.

BUT.....and this is a big one......if you merely speak about what you should do, what you used to be able to do, and what keeps you from doing what you "want" to do - then I would encourage you to simply stop pretending and own your beliefs.

To put it simply....If you're going to do something about it, do it!  If you're not, stop talking about it!

Either way, I wish you the best.  Our doors will always be open to those that are ready to work for their change.