SWIS 2018 – Part 2

A little background going into SWIS 2018. 

I know I’m not the only one; When I’m pushing toward a meet (or for you, something else you may be uber passionate about), I have a tough time focusing on any other thing(s) in my life- enjoying them, for that matter, is nearly impossible. I won’t deal with distractions (people or other) and cannot focus on anything else besides the bare minimum; extreme tunnel vision is what I’d call it.

The tunnel vision and being on edge is one of my biggest regrets I have over the last 15-20 years. Though I have done some serious work to be better at this, it’s still so hard for me (and others) to be hyper-focused on something due to the consequences I inevitably face and things I push off.

This distraction/obstacle issue/too many irons in the fire will lead to my departure from competitive lifting far before my body makes me as I’ve written about in past articles/posts. I had no idea it would be this tough working full time in the ‘industry,’ while still pushing for my own lifting goals. One always seems to pull from the other. There are no free passes, and you can only go to the well so many times before it starts to run dry.

The good news is helping others, and coaching is so much better on my mind, body, and spirit. The bad news is it takes away and has taken away from focusing on my lifting and is at times, exhausting. The best thing I ever did was separate different parts of my life and create boundaries.

My point is I’m just now, a little over four weeks after the SWIS 2018 weekend, am I capable to fully embrace how much of a timeless a weekend SWIS 2018 was for me since the meet has come and gone and my head is starting to clear, and things are settling out, sort-of.

Don’t get me wrong; I thoroughly enjoyed the SWIS weekend, but now I can take it all in and see how much of a blessing and honor it is to have been a part of this fantastic weekend. I’m a little slow to realize things at times, especially when so much is going on at once.

When I was invited to SWIS back in March, I knew it would take place two weeks out from my first meet in 20months. I was hesitant for about 5min, but since it was two weeks, I knew I could figure out the details with the amount of time I had. Also, the opportunity was something I didn’t feel I could pass up.

I made a pro’s and con’s list, and the pro’s far outweighed the cons. Most of the cons were only short-term and small.

Now, this is not only because I was invited to speak/joust/insult and debate on the powerlifting panel (old School vs. New school) with Kaz, Coan, Whetham, Holdsworth, Wendler, Wenning but was also fortunate enough to be able to roll out a mini-version of our Gift of Injury course with Stu McGill.

I guess that was the sort-of-a humblebrag, in retrospect but not my intent; After seeing the roster (if not in prep for a meet) I would have 100% gone to SWIS 2018 to learn whether I was invited to participate or not.

From the Saturday night “Supplement” panel to Stan’s (and other’s) diet talk (I got to pop in many very informative discussions throughout the weekend), Stemcells/PRP, Rehab, Recovery, Powerlifting, Bodybuilding General Strength Training, KB work, Grip, Drugs – you name it, it was covered.

Here is the incredible full line-up from SWIS 2018 and the price was extremely affordable for just about anyone: ROSTER 

Imagine getting to see and hear Kaz (the greatest strength athlete IMO), and Coan (the greatest Powerlifter ever) go back and forth busting balls and tell lifting-war stories and even better anecdote and tall-tales you’ve NEVER HEARD because they won’t be put in print, nor should they. Kaz at one time was “telling us” about experimenting with Piano wire in his Medium sized tee shirt and some of his tales of ‘philanthropy.’

To sum up the Old School vs. New School PL panel: JL, Ken, Matt, Ed, Jim, myself and Kaz just really threw down for about an hour and a half about all things powerlifting without gloves or a sensor, nor concern for anyone’s feelings but everyone showed respect.

The worst part is they all had the angle on me as I pushed back my chair as it was too crowded, so in the video and pictures, I look extra small.

Anyway, we ran a little bit over on time as we were having so much fun and then we started to pull questions from the audience, so I had to hit the bathroom and then literally run to get my computer, etc. and prepare in the next room with Stu McGill as he was setting up for our talk. I mowed down a banana and cliff bar, and it was time.

The room was filled up to beyond capacity with no standing or sitting room which was cool but a little unexpected to be honest. I knew many people had already bought the GOI book, and some fantastic speakers were on at the same time as us like Matt Wenning covering the bench press, just next door.  We planned to include the process of recovery and the return to sport and put on a good show, so we weren’t only covering/ talking about a book most had already read. It was much more than just my story.

Presenting with Stu was an absolute honor as we strive to help as many people as possible. Assisting strength athletes going through back injury/ recovering from back injury and letting them know it’s not the end will keep me busy. Another focus is and in the best case – helping others avoid the mistakes I made will be my focus for a long time while fine-tuning performance. I appreciate the opportunity and trust.

The SWIS weekend set-up our first full-day joint gig “Gift of Injury” which happens is scheduled for this weekend – December 1 at The Spot Athletics in Dublin, Ohio. You can still register here: Register for GOI Dublin, Ohio. 

…And if you don’t want to go to Ohio, because face it, it sucks in the winter, we are in Seattle Feb 16. You can register here: Register for GOI Seattle, WA.

As I wrap this up, I want to thank Ria for coming up and helping us with the entire weekend; table and coordination, for the ideas and support overall. Thank you so much for everything you do and have done.

Thank you, Sarah McGill, for coming too and for the help with the table and providing feedback. Thank you, Stu, for the trust and opportunity. Thank you, Ken Whetham, for the assistance with hands-on.

And almost most importantly, thank you to EVERYONE that came and supported the weekend, whether you attended as a delegate, presented or was part of the great SWIS staff. This fantastic weekend wouldn’t have happened if you didn’t show up.

I don’t know that it gets much better than this and for that, I’m grateful to Ken Kenakin for having me up. I have to admit; I have some regrets and wish I could have taken these moments in, more, savored and enjoyed as I don’t know if the stars will not likely align like this again.

You won’t get too many chances like this to interact with such legends of strength sports, and I appreciate this the more I think about it all. I got to meet and see so many people that I ordinarily wouldn’t likely run into like Stan, Ed, Matt, Jim, Ken & Sheri, JL, Dani, Eric Bowman, Rusin and Kaz – whom I’ve never met, Andrew & Paul from this website as well as countless others I hardly get to see (sorry if I missed you).

The good news is you can purchase the video if you missed it! You can contact Ken Kinakin for more information: swisadmin@gmail.com — The video series should be on sale now here: SWIS 2018 

I’m more and more grateful as the days go on and it all sinks in.

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Brian Carroll

Owner and Founder at PowerRackStrength.com
Brian Carroll is committed to helping people overcome back pain and optimizing lifts and movement. After years of suffering, he met back specialist Prof. McGill in 2013, which led to a life-changing transformation. In 2017, they co-authored the best-selling book "Gift of Injury." On October 3, 2020, Carroll made history in powerlifting by squatting 1306 lbs, becoming the first person to break this record. He retired with a secure legacy and a life free from back pain.
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