What's Your Why?


Kyle is relatively new to TCS, but has already made a huge impact at the gym with his positive attitude, sense of humor and hard work. Not to mention, he's got some of the best hair in the gym - and he knows it. Hahaha.


I really can't say enough about Kyle's work ethic. From day one, Kyle has always brought his best effort, regardless of what his shift may have looked like or whether or not their new baby girl, Iona, slept like shit. This consistent effort has obviously resulted in some real progress(#gainZ) for Kyle. He's become stronger and more mentally and physically capable to do hard work. But honestly, the thing I'm most proud of Kyle for is his vastly improved ability to find proper positions while lifting. In the beginning, this was a huge hurdle. We had to essentially start from square one and rebuild his lifting technique, which is very difficult, but he never let ego get in the way and never stopped working at it, which has paid off BIG for him! 

This type of mentality is exactly why Kyle makes TCS a better place. He's here to get better, even if it means slowing down, swallowing his pride, and putting in the time and effort to do it the right way - even it may not be the easy way.




In our latest edition of "WHAT'S YOUR WHY?", we sit down with TCS athlete, Wendy Vaughan. Tattoos, stylin' chucks and moving heavy weight are just a snapshot of a much larger picture in regards to Wendy's reason for working hard in the gym and out.  


Carrey Bull has been a mainstay at TCS since day one. Her positivity and ridiculous work ethic influence everyone that has the privilege of training with her. To put it simply, Carrey makes TCS a far better place. 

What I really love about Carrey's story is that she truly finds value in the work that we do in the gym because it serves her outside of the gym. The last thing I want is for our athletes to be great worker-outters and then flop when it comes to real life shit. We do this stuff so that you can do the things you do better!

Here's Carrey's WHY:


At TCS, one thing we consistently preach is that the work we do here makes you better at the stuff your life demands of you. We work very hard to provide training that will serve you outside of the gym. But, as we all know, life outside of the gym (real life) is random and inconsistent, which does not lend itself well to testing and retesting specific fitness attributes.

Our goal with Drop The Hammer is to provide consistent testing opportunities in a way that best resembles the random nature of real-life. To us, being able to execute at the drop of a hat (or,in this case - a hammer) is invaluable. Will your effort in the gym pay off when you need it outside of the gym? Now we have a way to find a clear answer to that question. DTH is our way of preparing our athletes for obstacles and challenges they'll encounter while also providing specific data points that clearly indicate improvement, plateau or decline. And, as always, the DTH workouts will be kept fresh and FUN! Not all tests have to suck.

"Being fit isn't about being better than someone else. It's about being better than you used to be." - Gym Jones


  • Implementation Date: August 1st 
  • 1st DTH Workout: Unknown
  • DTH Workout Retest Date: Approx. 3 months
  • Some form of logging/tracking is encouraged.


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.



**We will run this as tight as possible. Don't be that person.**

  • 630-715am -- Athlete Check In
  • 700am -- Volunteers & Judges Meeting
  • 720am -- Athlete Briefing
  • 745-800am -- Warmup
  • 800am -- Workout 1 / Heat 1 -- GO TIME!


One member of each team will complete one of the following:

  • 1min Max Calorie Airdyne
  • 2min Max Calorie Row


  • Athletes will have one shot to earn as many calories as possible on their given task.
  • Team score will be the total calories earned by each member of the team.

WORKOUT#2 -- (7.5min Cap)

A) In 5 minutes, each team member will establish a 1-rep max of the following barbell complex:

  • 1 Ground-to-Overhead
  • 1 Front Squat
    • Athletes may go in any order, but once a weight has been loaded, it cannot be taken off. Weight can only increase during the 5min work period.

B) Once 5 minutes has elapsed, athletes will be given a 30 second transition period to ready themselves for the following:

  • 2 minute AMRAP of Dual Kettlebell Farmers Carry in alternating fashion.
    • M: Dual 72/F: Dual 53

WORKOUT#3 -- (10min Cap)

With a 10 minute running clock, athletes will complete the following AFAP:

  • 600m Loaded Run @ M:90/F:60
  • 60 Single-Arm Dumbbell Thrusters @ M:60/F:35
  • 40 Stone-over-Shoulder @ M:90/F:60
  • Teams will use the remaining time to accumulate as many strict pull-ups as possible. 


  • Athletes may switch the load as they see fit during the run.
  • Athletes may not contact the DB with the off hand during the thrusters.
  • Judges will signal a good rep at the top of each thruster. Only after this call can the DB be lowered back to the shoulder/front rack position.
  • Athletes must place the DB on the ground when performing a transition to their teammate. It cannot be dropped or handed off.
  • Athletes may complete the 40 SOS's in any fashion.
  • Athletes will be signaled by their judge when to pull ("UP"), and when the rep is completed at the top (sounding off the rep count). 
    • For example: "UP"....."ONE"....."UP"....."TWO".....
  • Athletes can work through their pull-ups in any fashion.

WORKOUT#4 -- (8min Cap)

Teams will work to accomplish the following AFAP:

  • 40 Trap Bar Deadlifts @ M:225/F:155
  • 40 Rope Jumps
  • 30 Trap Bar Deadlifts @ M:255/F:185
  • 30 Rope Jumps
  • 20 Trap Bar Deadlifts @ M:275/F:205
  • 20 Rope Jumps


  • Only one person works at a time.
  • Athletes may complete the reps in any fashion they wish, but one task must be completed before moving on to the next.
  • Athletes will be responsible for weight changes and fully securing the weight with clamps.
  • Athletes may not bounce or drop the weight while deadlifting. This will be at the discretion of your judge.


The top two M/F teams will face off to complete the following AFAP for the top spot:



To say that our athletes at TCS fit a stereotypical mold would be absurd. Each person has thousands of unique variables that make them them. Just as unique is the "WHY" that drives that individual to put time, effort, money, etc. into there training program. If there wasn't a strong "WHY", our athletes would be entering and exiting through a revolving door, never staying long enough to get any real worth from the program. Fortunately, that is not the case. 

Mindy Minto is a prime example of someone that has a very strong "WHY" pushing her to view obstacles as opportunities to test herself mentally and physically. Her life demands unique attributes that are developed each and every time she steps foot into Travis County Strength. 

This is Mindy Minto's WHY:

That That Must Not Be Named

Workout Credit goes to Pat Sherwood of CF Linchpin.

Workout Credit goes to Pat Sherwood of CF Linchpin.

The past couple of weeks have been a practice of doing shit that I don't enjoy, and doing so consistently. Things like 40min Airdyne sessions and the sexy beast you see above have not only proven to be physically challenging, but more importantly, they have forced me to get out of my own head and just put in the work.

It would be pretty damn hilarious if I could somehow include y'all in on the mental conversations I have before and during these types of sessions. It's pure gold. Regardless of what goes through my head, the key is that the work gets done and it gets done to the highest quality I can muster. 

At times, I have to be my own coach and remind myself that the work can't always be fun and enjoyable. Yes, in the long run your program needs to something you enjoy(in a sick,twisted way) - otherwise you will not stick with it. But on the flipside, if you're not hitting that stuff that makes you turn in to a whiny 5 year old (at least mentally) you're really not creating a solid level of strength & conditioning that is well-rounded. 

Whether it be burpees, running, lifting heavy, sandbag getups, or enjoying a pleasant cruise on the airdyne - put in the work and you'll find that it no longer sits outside of your wheelhouse.


Two Roads Diverged In A Yellow Wood

I know, I know. Shit is about to get cliche`.  I promise it won't last long - hang in there with me.

There are always at least two choices a person can make in any situation they're faced with. The difficulty comes in actually seeing all of the options rather than feeling trapped. Again I repeat - There are always choices. 

What's really cool is that people that dose themselves with a bit of adversity on a regular basis are then better able to handle shitty situations when they pop up. They've been training for those times that the shit hits the fan - and they are ready.

It may not always be a physically demanding challenge. Sometimes, it is purely psychological. For example, having to make a difficult decision and being able to keep a cool head while searching out all of the available options might come in handy in life, right? Thought so.

As a coach driven to build physically and mentally strong people, it's my job to dish out dosages of suck. If I don't, I am doing my athletes a disservice and not helping the prepare for adversity. And I don't want that on my conscience. 

This week, our primary dosage of suck was an abbreviated version of "Airdyne to Hell". Some of you out there know what I'm talking about, others haven't had the pleasure.

"Airdyne to Hell"(abbreviated)

  • 40 calories AFAP
  • 30 calories AFAP
  • 20 calories AFAP
  • 10 calories AFAP
  • Rest = 1:1 

This may not sound like much on paper, but if done correctly, shit gets spiritual. 

Why did we do this? Because it's really, really hard. It's also something that we've never done before. Suffice it to say, it created a ton of adversity for each individual to deal with - both physically and mentally.

When it was all said and done, I was proud of how each individual handled themselves. It was one of those moments that confirmed that these people are tough and can manage themselves better than most. It was a good day!

Be sure to add a little adversity in your life every once in a while. A muscle does not get bigger or stronger if it is not worked. The same is true of your ability to taken on challenging situations. Choose the difficult path. Take the one less traveled by - It will make all the difference.

Strength AND Conditioning

We all have our "thing". Some of us like to breathe heavy.... others like to lift heavy. But, if we were to only do our "thing",what do we risk when the other stuff is needed? Would you be able to perform task "X" on the other side of the fitness coin?

Look, I go through phases of only wanting to lift AHA(F)P and take my time doing so. And when that phase passes, I find myself including more movement and pace. But regardless of what I want to do, I always include the flipside.


Because I never want to be caught off guard and unable to perform and handle....whatever comes down the pipeline. I guess you could consider my philosophy on training one of a "Prepper". You know, those people that stockpile water, gas, food, ammo, medical supplies, and whatever they may need when shit hits the fan. You may find this "prepping" mentality crazy as shit, but I like the idea and have applied  it to  training.

Being well-rounded as an person(in fitness and in life) is - in my opinion - far more valuable than being one-dimensional and as a result, being left out to dry. This is exactly why TCS is a Strength AND Conditioning gym. It's also a Conditioning AND Strength gym. See there, you can have it your way.


I'm not going to lie....

I have very high expectations for the men and women in my program. I know that each and every coach here at TCS also expects a lot out of their athletes. We don't make unrealistic requests of you. We ask for just a little bit more than what you think you can muster....just so you can prove yourself wrong (in the best way possible). And in doing so, we expect you hold your standards - whatever your capabilities and fitness level may be. 

Standards are there for a very specific purpose: they indicate when you have developed a certain skill past a previously set standard and now need to raise that standard to a new level.....ultimately leading to mastery of that skill.

Wavering in your determination to maintain what is your standard at the time, means you have decided and allowed yourself to slide. You have given yourself a pass to perform at a lower level than you know your capable of. And that just will not do. Not here.

We ask a lot of you. We get that. But, again, we only ask these things of you so that you can push past limitations and find new standards. Scaling and subbing movements may not be fun, sexy or cool, but it is appropriate at times in order for you to build the capability to reach that next level. You can't get there unless you've met your current standards and are unwavering in your commitment to them.

Standards, holding your standards and raising your standards are all things that are not often seen in this time. Complacency is far more common, unfortunately. Apply this idea of standards consciously, and you will find tremendous value in it......In the gym and out.