Home » Podcast » Matthew McKay, owner of Raw Strength Tasmania has provided the pathway for drug-free power lifting

Matthew McKay, owner of Raw Strength Tasmania has provided the pathway for drug-free power lifting



In this week’s episode, Josh is talking to Matthew McKay who was a Winner in the 2020 Tasmanian Young Achiever Awards.

Raw Strength Tasmania is providing affordable, top-quality training to athletes, especially the disabled, aged and disadvantaged people. Raw Strength Tasmania has provided the pathway for drug-free strength within Tasmania. They ran a not-for-profit event, where they flew Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) to test the competitors, and have since run 12 events. They have run the only Para Lifting Competition in TAS history. They recently proposed to start a very low-cost gym in Clarendon Vale neighbourhood centre to provide health, fitness and well-being at hugely discounted prices. During Covid-19 lockdown, they provided free programs designed for home training for the elderly and vulnerable people.


In this episode:

  • We hear how Power lifting can your increase confidence and self-worth, not just increase your strength. And also the benefits for older people
  • Matthew’s motto – You miss a 100 of the shots you don’t take
  • Matthew built Raw Strength gym from the grass roots, up – looking at the “little guy” first and making the gym truly inclusive



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00:00:04 Unknown :

Welcome to the inspirational australian’s podcast, where we chat to people making a difference in their communities and in the lives of others. And here’s your host for today. Josh with So for this week’s dose of inspiration was chatting to matthew mckay. And matt is, well, he’s behind wall Street tasmania, and I’m looking forward to chatting with Matt, finding out about that and all the great stuff that he’s done. And for those listening at home who have ever seen powerlifting, then you’ll be really interested in this. But I’ve mentioned some of the things i’ve kind of seen here and there, I’m keen to chat to matt, because I’ve heard there’s all these amazing health benefits, mental and wellbeing benefits associated with it. And the great to actually it’s about before we use matt to say hello. Just like know, he was the widow of the st. Luke’s health, healthy communities award as part of the twenty twenty one tasmanian tiger woods. And it was fantastic not to see that result because I know you were a finalist last year and I remember seeing you on the online event and remembering that sounds really cool. And then a year later you won. So matt, i welcome to the podcast and congrats on your recent win by josh. Thank you. Thank you so much for having me yet. It felt kind of unreal to, to receive that award, especially after I think it was my fourth year. So floating around the edge, absolute honor to receive it. That’s awesome. And could you tell us everyone listening, what did you win the award for a bunch of stuff really. So basically raw strength, tasmania is my business. I started at about five and a half years ago. At the time I was working in the disability industry, and I was myself interested in powerlifting as a sport. Now there was, there was no avenue in tasmania for disabled lifting. It just didn’t exist, even though there’s an olympic like it’s an olympic sport, but there was nowhere in tasmania to do it. And there was certainly nowhere in tasmania that was offering drug test and sport. It was just, you know, you could do it, but it was, was untested. So what we did was I went, well, if I’m going to do it, I want to do it to the highest standard possible, which is the olympic standard. And I want to do it as fair and balanced as possible, which is you need to incorporate drug testing. And so I did that. I created a pathway for people who wanted to do the sport that otherwise felt unapproachable because of those reasons allowed an avenue for disabled people to come through and begin training. And it took off pretty quickly to start, particularly with we had a very big uptake of women. So in tasmania, there’s a very, very big powerlifting following and that was a very well established network. It was mostly men doing it. So and I think when we brought in a slightly softer, softer approach drug testing, disabled friendly, things like that, it allowed a lot of a lot of women to feel. This is something that I can get involved with as well. And it’s been beneficial for everyone because now even other federations are getting a big boost of women as well because I realise it’s not just really big guys that can do the sport it’s. It’s everyone which has been great for tasmania. Yeah, I hinted at the top there that I heard a bit about it and seen a bit of intro’s. Actually. Someone on my linkedin who I follow from a professional standpoint is not a posting about powerlifting and this is quite demeaning. diminutive person, not a huge person. And I was like, how are they doing powerlifting? And then they had an article that was about the journey of their career increasing that went alongside powerlifting and I said ok, yeah. As you said, you don’t have to be this. You know, when maybe some people are unaware but think about it. They think of this huge arnold schwarzenegger in his prime looking kind of person and it’s not necessarily about that. Is that So can you tell us about your, I guess, entry into powerlifting how you got interested in studying it in the first place? Well, you see that’s, it’s interesting. You touched on that because that’s what khalistan used to be. Is it used to be all the really big guys, super, super strong humans, and that’s what it still was in tasmania. And they were starting to be a following of, well actually your 50 kilo women can do this. Sort of sport was in a transition period and we just, we got lucky, we came in at the right time and everyone down here has benefited from that. Not just us, but other people too. So I got started in it, coincidentally, so I hurt myself, playing against soccer, i tore my knee apart and I needed a surgery. And as part of the prerequisites of surgery was to strengthen your muscles as much as possible to aid in recovery. And I loved it. I loved getting stronger. I loved the sensation of training in the gym and building my body into something different. Had you done that? Sorry. Had you been involved with that previously doing that kind of strength training? Not really. I did a little bit of a strength and conditioning for soccer, but it was very, very, getting there with your friends, do some bicep curls because teenage girls love guys with Big muscles, you know, as I was 16. So, but sort of at 18, i had a critical injury in my sporting career was in my, my opinion over so I started looking at different avenues and like I really enjoy this, what options do I have? And there was a federation down here that was running the sport, but I just, personally, I don’t like on drug tested sport. So I work in alcohol and drug rehabilitation as my profession. Just it, it’s something that I’m passionate about. So I was like, well, I could do it here and be successful here, but what other options do I have? So I reached out to the the organization that was, that was running it and they said well we’ve got, we’ve got an opening for someone in tasmania, there’s no one down there. jump on board. And since then we’ve run multiple events . I run the entire australian wide championships for children, so schools aged stuff, we coordinate that from tasmania. We also run the australian masters division, so we run basically I run everyone up to 18 and everyone, 40 plus more or less. There’s different, different ways to do that. But we run the big ones and just yeah, my gym sort of slowly started to pick up and more and more women were getting into it. And then we’ve got some young guys coming through and it just sort of snowballed. Well, that’s pretty incredible. And so, you know, you made that sound pretty easy, like I reached out and they put me on. How did you get in contact with them in the first place? Look, I’m, I’m a big fan of you Miss one hundred percent of the shots. You don’t take, i’ve always sort of lived my life that way. So I literally just went, well that’s something I want to do. Let’s ask like, what’s the worst case scenario? They say? No, we don’t want you involved. I’m still where I’m going to be junction’s with the answer. So it was literally that easy. I went to a place down here that was a weightlifting academy. So weightlifting is a different sport. And that was the closest thing that we had to to really get involved with. And I went there and then they gave me this contact for this guy. So I emailed him. Anyone in the powerlifting world will know who he is. His name is Robert wilkes is the chief executive officer of powerlifting, australia. He’s been around our god, he’s got one hundred and forty one athletes. So I reached out to him and said, hi, I’m matt. I’m in tazi. What do I do? There’s lots of bad press about robert wilkes particularly in tasmania, but I’ve had nothing but he’s. He’s a shop character, but I’ve had nothing but good, good interactions with him and what he did for me and my and my wife. We were both pursuing it. He gave us free entry to the melbourne finisher, so he sent us down. He said, you’re not going to know what it is down there, fly to melbourne and come and watch an event. I said, well, there’s a big event coming up at the melbourne fitness show. How much is it? He said if you get here to the melbourne fitness show, we’ll let you in as competitive horses and you just wander around, you meet everyone, you get involved. So I mean we yeah. Ok. That’s a great deal. walked in, he introduced us to some of the highest level lifters in the world. Again, anyone who knows powerlifting that year. I believe that was blaine somers and there was definitely ray williams down here is most successful political time. So we walked in and we just basically got this red carpet treatment of this is what it is . And we fell in love. And from there he said, what you need to do is you need to invest this much money and do this and we did that and just, boom took off. I know it sounds easy, but we also, we picked the right time to do it. It was just as the sport was starting to get really popular and there was nobody else doing it. If we’d waited another year, someone else would have taken the shot. And if we’d have started a year earlier, it probably wasn’t popular enough to justify it. Plus with my, my entry into I was already working in the disability field. It gave me that extra extra avenue of, well, how about we look at some of these disabled people that can’t go play soccer. We don’t have a great sporting network in tasmania for the disadvantaged they can all bench press on this bench press and again he just kept sort of going. And I think without knowing the ins and outs, but you can tell me if I’m right or wrong here to have such an inclusive approach from the Start is probably unusual for something that was a growing sport and became newly official through you. I think what seems to happen is it starts off with the high level and then later it brings in the grassroots and the people who potentially have a disability or, or something else. We’ve had that issue. I’m going for a little bit down here. Not with powerlifting, but with other sports. Yeah. I’ve got to be honest, palliating down here. everyone’s pretty good. But there’s everyone looks up to the elite level lifters and stuff has to be like they’re the sport, but it’s actually the other way around. It’s a grassroots that give you everything because that’s where the champions come from . Is the guy that you see that has a bit of talent that might not have any money, you know, but you want him to do the sport because he’s got some talent. So and grassroots tends to pay for the elite lifters. Yeah, there’s not enough really good people in the world to run a full gym. It’s just not going to happen. You have to have what I refer to as your everyday athletes. You know, people that are pursuing it because they have passion for it but might not be as strong as someone else. That’s always been my mentality because that’s how soccer is so dominant. The reason it’s so popular is or so powerful is it’s got so many grassroot people playing division for and division five on a weekend that their money and their support goes up the chain to boost the sport overall. So we built it from grassroots up and I think having that approach of let’s look at the little guy first. Sort of got us. Got us that leg above the rest of the competition. Yep. Yeah, that’s cool. And I know exactly what you’re talking about with soccer. You know, I’ve heard that heaps. I’m a big football fan socceroos fan. And so you know, the time that the exorbitant fees that are at the lower levels. But it pays for. As you said, the pros. But I want to ask you, you know, with some of these people with disability and elderly and disadvantaged. What are some of the great stories that you’ve, you’ve seen come out of it? We got some great stories down here. So there’s, there’s a couple of the stand out, probably the most impressive from the outside looking in would be a guy down here called phillip menzies. He’s been around for a very long time back before powerlifting was popular. But phil, phil lost is his vision. He’s fully blind, he lost his vision when he was six years old. So to the point where he actually doesn’t have eyes, he’s got glass eyes really. And he reached out to me almost as I started. It was like, I’ve been injured for a while, but look at these powers, he’s back. I used to have to travel to melbourne to do it. You know, let’s, let’s do it. And since then he’s the last five years. He’s been training with us and not only does he, he win stuff, he wins a lot of stuff and against people that are fully visioned and whatever. I imagine it’s impossible to know just how difficult it is for him because you have to try and learn everything differently. And from a coaching point of view, there’s not a lot of people that could coach him because you’ve got a coach different. So one of the things we’re dealing with at the moment is he’s actually got a muscular imbalance in his hips. And his muscular imbalance comes from he has a guard dog. So he walks favoring his guide dog. He does that, how do you correct That? And then you’ve got to show him how to do the technique of something. But how do you show a blind person what you mean? Actually I get in the position I want to be in and then see how you see in movies and stuff. How a blind person touches your face to see what you look like. Yeah, basically that just very intimately, to learn the position. And I mean, he’s exceptionally looking at taking the squat record this year, and that’s not the blind spot record. That’s the squat record. Like it’s easier, so he definitely stands out. There’s too many to mention from the, the mental health side of things. And this is primarily a, I’m going to stereotype a little bit here. I get a lot of sort of 40 to 50 year old women who, I mean if 30 years ago, if you were, if you were a female and you wanted to play sport, you had three options. You want to play hockey, you want soccer or do you, like you didn’t have a lot to do and our old team by sports, and they were all sort of running back. And suddenly there’s this new sport that’s got entrainment. If you want, it makes you feel empowered because you’re like, yeah, look, I’m strong and you know, I feel my body getting stronger and you’re part of a team, but you’re also kind of an individual. So we’ve had lots of anxiety disorders and stuff of people come through and use it as a confidence building exercise. And a lot of those people I could think of five or six off the top of my head right now have gone on to become champions in international champions. Because they were not something I can do that makes me feel good about myself. And then just all of a sudden it’s five years later and they’re lifting the oceania championships or they’re the australian nationals and they’re fighting for a place. It’s very cool to see. And I guess that’s I hadn’t thought of that team. You’re right, that easiest sports to get into. You know, a lot of times people think is I got to go join the netball team, a baseball team, whatever. And when it’s not a team thing, actually then you can almost win every time you mentally because you’re challenging yourself. Like if I approach this the right way, I can, I can still achieve great results. I don’t have to rely on other people. I can do this myself. Well is one of the reasons I love. I love powerlifting in particular. I love the bench press that’s, that’s my specialty area, but I love powerlifting and the reason I love it is it’s academic. You either can or you cannot. There’s no lock, there’s no the wind went the wrong way. There’s no the other team got lucky or the ball bounced. funny. body-building for example, like the one judge could be saying, you’re from a different bit a lot. powerlifting is you either can or cannot pick up this way. That’s it. Like there’s no, there’s no one to blame. I mean, obviously there’s always going to be luck involved in human error and stuff like that. But all that it is when it comes to a competition in powerlifting is how hard have I worked? How well have I trained for this moment? That’s it. And I think a lot of people like that, particularly people that are a little bit inclined to anxiety and depression and stuff like that because it’s, it’s structured. There’s no chaos, it’s, it’s, this is how it is. And even if you get a bad result, there’s no external forces to blame for that. It’s literally like, oh, I’ll be better next time. Think it calms people to know that when I go to the gym, twenty five kilos is always twenty five kilos. And certainly it’s that way for me, I love it. I just, it’s cathartic to me. What’s, without knowing, can you tell me what, what’s the community like in terms of, is it supportive of something that’s extremely competitive? Well look, the great thing about housing is, it’s kind of both these teams, but it’s an individual sport. So when you’re there, and I think that’s one of the great things, individual clubs have different, different cultures. I mean, you’re always going to get that same as a soccer team. I have, I’m not going to swear on the last round of podcast, i’m assuming, or I have more of a nose with situation. I have a clause in my, my gym contract that let’s call it No silly people clause, which is basically if you aren’t supportive and you’re chasing people of equipment or you’re being on friendly, you know, let’s try to imagine like you, when you walk in, you say hello to everyone like it’s a, it’s a team environment, but you’re there to do your own individual thing. So it’s kind of both. Does that make sense? Yeah, and at events like you’ll get guys that have just squatted three hundred kilos. backstage cheering for someone who’s gone out there for their first event, that scoring 60 kilos. They’re in the same weight class and one guy’s just smashed in, but he’s like, it’s me versus me. Yep. That’s, that’s the great thing about it is it can, it can inspire community and friendliness within the backstage group because it’s actually not me versus the other person in my division because if they beat me, they’re stronger than me. That’s all it is. It’s not, they got lucky or it’s not a fight, it’s ok. I’ll need to train more and get stronger. So this is not as much competition as it is. friendly competition? Yeah, no, I love that. Actually. I actually think people should bring that ethos that thinking into their team sports or the other sports events are such a good way to look at it. Instead of saying, I can’t believe that other team did this. Ok, well obviously they were better than us that day. We need to be better. That’s the best. Yeah. And I mean, as someone who played a lot of team sports, I will say it’s very, very frustrating. When you know when you’re black and white know that you played the better game. But the wind caught the ball or bounced into a divot or something, and the other team got lucky and you lose because of that, it is mighty frustrating. Now, things like that might happen in powerlifting. It might be. So I’ve had an incident, for example, where the spotters saw the guys load the whites onto the plate at the bar, loaded the bar on evenly. So someone made a mistake, mistakes happen. And that sucks like I miss that lift because it was too heavy on one side, but they are really few and far between. Yeah. So it’s more or less it’s if I’ve trained well and I have a good day, I will win. And if I haven’t, well then I’ll have a better day next time there is just no luck and it’s yeah, I think it calms anxious people down to know that. You know what you’re walking into the. The situations are always the same when you’re at the gym, it’s never any different. It’s not a different field. You know, it’s not slightly on an angle. The wind’s not blowing in different direction, it’s not going to rain. It’s the same. It’s like watching your favorite sitcom over and over and over because it’s comforting to know for sure that it’s done something earlier that I wanted to, to revisit, to still want to Miss that. So I’ve written some notes on it. You mentioned, you know, you had, I guess a personal interest or a passion about drug free competition being from your background and alcohol and drugs. And then secondly that you had testa’s at your olympic kind of levels. So can you touch on your background in that field and alcohol and drugs and kind of how that’s impacted you as well? OK, so this is a very loaded question. It’s a couple of things that touch on their part of raw strength was I wanted to create a place that was inclusive for everyone. And I think the only way to do that is to make it as fair as possible. Now I believe the only way to make it fair is to not allow drugs in sport, simply because you then asking someone to go, well, I could be stronger if I did drugs, but there may be side effects of that. So if you just get rid of drugs, someone doesn’t have to go do I want to be stronger with side effects, it’s just becomes you versus whatever. And you can never make something fully fair, like someone with more money can get better coaching or better supplements. Like better protein powder or genetically, you know, but I think that is the only way to make it super fair. And we started draw strength a little bit to be inclusive because my, my mother wanted to, to do some stuff with me. But she felt she was too fat to go to the gym and like that logic didn’t make sense to me. So we created a gym without mirrors and stuff where people felt inclusive. You can’t do that if you’re going to allow people to take what I see is an unfair advantage. So that’s how it came about. Now my background with drug and rehabilitation, i grew up around a lot of that stuff. I grew up in pretty pretty poor rough neighborhoods, single mom housing commission. I’d seen what illicit drugs can do, and it’s so much fun to, to be around that. Obviously illicit drugs and performance enhancing drugs have a significantly different cultural impact. However, they’re still illegal and I still don’t want them involved in my facility. So we went, what we’re going to do is we’re going to make it clear that that’s not ok with us if you want to do those things, that’s fine. I’m not going to stop you, but you’re not going to do it in my facility. Go somewhere else and do that. I’m not going to go into the police or anything if you’re doing that that’s between you and what you’re doing in your own morals. You can’t do that, but you won’t be around my people, I want it to be inclusive. So we flew asada and I called asada out and said, hey, I’m running my first ever competition in hobart. There’s a pretty big drug culture at the moment in hobart and sport because there’s been no testing would complain people. I mean, if you’re not going to get caught, why wouldn’t you? So I said, I want to make it very, very clear that we’re serious. Can you come down? Can you show up, show your face, and can you test some people and credit to them? They did, they took that seriously and they showed up and they tested six people at our first event, no one tested positive. One of the great things about powerlifting within australia is powerlifting is a very unique sport in the sense that there’s two roads to success. There’s drug tested. So no, no steroids, no performance enhancing drugs. And then there’s untested and both of those are completely legitimate. Both have world championships in a way, you know? So if you get caught in Australia using drugs, an untested division, it’s not like other countries or other sports where people go, oh, they just got caught. Community itself hates you for it because there’s no excuse. You’ve got, it becomes absolutely cheating because you can, you can do that elsewhere. So we didn’t get any one test positive at that event. And we haven’t in tassie to date, had anyone test positive for drug use. fingers crossed and I’m very proud of the community for that. But it was part of us making people realize that this is, this is serious. We want to do this properly. So if you’re going to do it, let’s make it fair. Good on you for taking that approach and yeah, it’s very impressive that you got us out of there. As you said, it was somewhere something he didn’t have that culture of having testing. And yeah, kudos to you to a for starting this and B for doing it. So legitimately, it’s an incredible thank you. I took a lot of work. A lot of money. Yeah, really. So that’s what’s involved. You have to literally get them here and I guess fly them over pay for their accommodation, all that up. Well, so drug testing is covered in part of our membership, so I run my competitions under a national organization. So I’m an executive for that national organization. Now, so I’m one of the eight of the boards of management or whatever. So yeah, I worked to get there. Even though I’m getting old on the ufs manager, get that. So they pay for that. And that comes out of the membership that people pay yearly. So a lot of people are like, it’s cheaper to do untested powerlifting, it just is. So that’s why a lot of people that might not be using using performance enhancing drugs will go there because it’s cheaper. Yeah, but I’m happy to pay a little bit higher premium to to at least try and keep it as balanced as possible . Because testing is about five thousand dollars a test. It’s pretty, it’s pretty sexy. As far as where the cost comes in for us. powerlifting equipment is very, very expensive because it needs to be very, very high tensile steel. It needs to be calibrated. So why is exactly what it’s meant to weigh and it didn’t exist in tassie. So I don’t know if you know this, but getting stuff from the mainland to tasmania gets quite expensive at times, particularly when it’s heavy. So it was just a lot of money and set up fees and ongoing, but obviously very, very happy. I took that job because it’s clearly been recognised. The work’s been recognised and people are benefiting from it. I mean down here we took 12 people to the oceania championships recently and we came back with records, open records, and wins. And just it was incredible to see just this tiny little, tiny little club down here of like thirty six forty people or whatever we’ve got, take it to the world and do pretty damn well. That is very impressive from 12 people from from tassie over there, competing in oceania. It’s awesome. Yeah, well hopefully we get to, Well, it depends what the world does. Obviously you guys are in lockdown if the world opens up again. We’re hoping to take that same team to the world championships and just see what we can do, but we’ve got we’ve got joanne, she’s a multiple time world record holder. Now we’ve got a couple of young guys coming through that are just really on to something big as he back in the early 20s, had some of the best players in the world. And still does from time to time, turn out some really incredible stuff. I think it’s something to do with the climate like that hot. Well, it’s cold in winter. I mean it’s raining, it’s wet. One on the inside. And yeah, it turned out some genuinely incredible people over the years. Speaking of comps, i understand that you ran the only powerlifting competition in tasmania, is that right? I believe so very, very hard to find any information of anything before about the year 2000, like so at least in the last 20 years or so. We had a wounded veteran who was training for the invictus games. So the invictus games, obviously, soldiers and other military personnel service personnel to be injured in the line of battle to come and test their strength and stuff. So he was training up for that . So we flew in at the australian dollar, which again, thanks to them because they do look out, look out for us, pretty good. We flew in the National coach and referee for powerlifting, so he was the person behind our commonwealth australia team. So we flew him to tazi for our event to ref, that one person to do their thing before the games. We do have a few people in the pipeline that are looking at doing powerlifting again. A lot of those were with invictus. But a lot of that’s died off since covid because there’s nothing to build towards but yeah, so as far as, as far as we know, it’s the only time it’s been done and it was really popular actually. I hope we get more people. Yeah, that’s cool. Must be frustrating, not being able to, as you said, had those extra competitions extra levels to, to aim for when is that the u.s. Was international. The global one? Yes. So we’ve got nationals in August meant to be in St. kilda. We’ll see how that goes because obviously you guys are locked down now, but it’s far enough away. We’ll see. We’re meant to be going to the oceania. So the new zealand, australia, the islands and all that. competition in New zealand in November. At this stage, that’s looking pretty stable. But as we all know, you get one or two cases of covid and everything upturns. And the current theory is whorls, twenty, twenty two in America. So las Vegas america. Twenty twenty two worlds. Get everyone there and do a big welcome back. Yep. But who knows like that could. I mean, we don’t know what’s happening next week, really, we’re planning for that. But all that has to happen is a couple of cases of the border shut again and we’re stuck. Yes. Well, fingers crossed that for everyone’s sake that we can get things under control, get vaccines and we’ll all be traveling a bit more again. But I did want to ask you as well, you mentioned off before we were recording about your daughter and to do what was lifting with you as well how. How do you feel? I guess your own powerlifting with your business, with your family. How do you fit everything in? Well, I’m very lucky to my partner at the moment. She’s as high level lifter as I am, so we try and together we travel together. It makes it pretty, pretty easy to, to keep your life under control when the interests align. thankfully because we built the community of the gym based around inclusiveness. My daughter can come to work with me. So she’s five or she’s not five yet. She’s five and she’s almost five . So if I need to go into the gym, she’ll just come along with me and she chalks up her hands and she pretends to lift stuff and she plays with everyone. And she, she absolutely loves it. Obviously you can’t do that all the time because there is inherent risk with having someone running around, but she’s grown up around that environment that not only does she enjoy it, but everyone knows who she is and that little bit more careful with with her there . But business in its own is challenging, let alone you add business and high level sport. It’s very, very hard to have a life outside of that, which I think a lot of people don’t understand is that it is my life that’s all I do is my gym. My training and that’s pretty much it. But at the same time, I love it. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Yeah, that’s awesome. And we touched on the mental health benefits as well. But do you find that that’s an ongoing thing or that you’re constantly having that positive energy from, from lifting and, and that being part of your work as well look, lifting depression is a horrible disease and it’s particularly cruel because what it does is, is everything that makes it less likely to happen or makes it better. It takes from you. So we know things that make depression better, eating better, socializing more with, with people that are good for you, exercise. When you start to get depressed, you don’t want to exercise, you pull yourself away from your friends, you eat that food. One of the things that we do, and one of the reasons that I’m always at work because I’m always reachable by my clients. And there’s been times where I have had clients call me up critically suicidal and things like that because I’m always available to reached by them. So if I haven’t seen someone for about two weeks, I reach out to them. I go, hey, how about you? Come in for a free session on me and we catch up and we talk to them. We get them back in the gym and we try and break that. That snowball cycle of depression does snap your fingers start training again and often that’s enough to get it to get it working. But the benefits of palestinian outreach outweigh just the just that depression before exercising. What we’ve built is it’s going to sound really corny but we built like a second home for people, a place where they can come and be comfortable outside of their home and outside of their friendship group and be themselves and be supported for that and celebrated for that and so we often get people that will come in on a weekend and not do any training, but just coming to see everyone and just be like, oh no, I tried yesterday, but you know, I was feeling a bit down. So I wanted to be around people, and I think that sort of the reason rsl clubs exist more or less is that social element of people that are there for you and I can be myself. Yeah. So I think that’s one of the things greatest drawcard is the community that it builds. Yeah, it’s absolutely spot on. People want to just be valued and, and, and know that they can be themselves exactly as you said. And I think everything you’re describing is just sounds like such a wonderful community you built there, so that’s really cool. Now we’ve spoken about knocked down a few times. Obviously you over there in tassie went through your own last year. Were you able to keep your gym operating or did you have to kind of sense that because you were all at home or was it last year and locked in? Yeah, you see that’s coincidentally very, very lucky. lockdown happened when it did so. I had six hours notice before I had to shut my doors at the gym, so they made that announcement. On the sunday evening. I woke up to one hundred messages on my phone, literally. It was ninety nine plus messages. And it said by twelve o’clock today, monday that I think it was the twenty ninth of March cease trading. So I’m like, oh, panic. I didn’t want to work at the hospital that day because I work at a hospital. I’m like, what do I do? But I was actually out of contract at the place that I was in. So I didn’t have any rent that I had to pay. I just bought a contract. What I said was, I sent a message to all the people in my facebook group that keeps everyone touch. And I said, lockdown’s happening. Come and collect whatever you want. Pick it up, take it home if you can take it, if you can physically get a hold of it, pick it up, take it to your house. I’m not going to charge you for that, but what I do ask is that you continue to pay your gym membership fee while you have any of our equipment and people that minutes later picking stuff up taking home. So they effectively, i didn’t have to pay for storage fees. I canceled my, my gym contract there and shut it down entirely. And people were able to continue training at home. So that’s what kept us afloat was leasing out our equipment or less. That’s very quick, quick thinking on your behalf. Oh, I mean it was just a snap decision like, well people are going to want to keep training. I don’t want to pay to store my equipment. Just take it, just get it gone. And yeah, that happened really quickly, which was was wonderful. So when we came back from lockdown, there was actually when we noticed all the problems. So we moved to a new gym and everything but lockdown damaged and broke a lot of people. I don’t know if you guys have noticed that, but there was any underlying mental health conditions that people had before. lockdown were exacerbated massively by the social isolation and the fact that the term that I use is the constant looming dread of no control and no control over your life or whatever you were doing. Everything was at any minute you can be told stay inside, you can’t go anywhere that. Yeah, we definitely noticed that just even through the nomination to this year’s young achiever awards, the underlying current between a lot of the nominations against different fields, health fields, business fields, sport, whatever it was, there was an underlying theme of that. Absolutely. spot on. Yeah. The looming dread is what I, what I said. So unfortunately, after lockdown we had we had a lot of behavioral stuff from Long standing clients and, and new clients coming through that were just it damaged our business and it damaged a lot of people to the point that we almost had to start fresh again. Which is sad, but also I think it was really important for a lot of people to realize that, you know, sometimes the world does things that you don’t want it to do. And it’s about how you adapt to that. That’s important. So we came out of lockdown and that’s where we found out troubling point. But we build back up since then. So we started coming back. Yeah, coronavirus i think was good for a lot of ways because a lot of people realized how important exercise was. It wasn’t until they weren’t allowed to do it. They realized actually, you know what, I like my hours exercise a week just coming back. The hard part from a gym is that a lot of people bought equipment to train with at home. So now there’s not as many gym goes, the good part of running powerlifting is a lot of people, more gym equipment to try and from home. And now they want to test their new strength. So it’s a mixed bag of results for us coronavirus. And I guess we’ll just, we’ll see what happens if we get another lockdown down in tazi, which I don’t think we will, it’ll be about how you, how people come out of it. That’s important in itself. Yeah, very true. Interesting point. You made them about people working, sorry, working out from home and buying equipment. And as you said before, although you can’t replace that community kind of feel when you’re not part of a community. If that makes sense, that was one of the big problems we had was people came out of lockdown just as strong. But it’s almost like they’d forgotten how to socialize. They’d forgotten that actually, this is not your home. You can’t, you can’t do these things that you used to do there and there was a lot of tension and it just, it wasn’t very friendly place for a little while. And that wasn’t just with us that was across the board kind of everywhere. Which is, is just a very interesting look at human behavior that I totally, I haven’t heard stories about this in australian sports, but over in America, in the nba, i’m a big basketball fan myself. They’re just returning now to bigger crowds for their playoffs. And there’s been numerous in different cities, just disgusting fan behavior, spitting on player through food drink. So they’ve forgotten how to come and respect people. Pretty much we’ve got our first big event coming up or like two and a half weeks ago, six hundred and fifty people or something we’re allowed to have. It’s going to be fantastic. The first one in like nineteen eighteen months, something like that. But we had a lady in the gym recently this week talking about she was a local football game, she coaches football and there was a guy in the crowd that was slandering and slurring teenage girls. Not just horrible stuff. And I started crying and like people have forgotten whether or not they’re forgotten or I think from my point of view from what I saw, people became isolated and they were only surrounded by the people closest to them . And I don’t do this myself, but I know a lot of people who the people closest to you often tell you what you want to hear . Not what’s right or what necessarily is good for you. So a lot of people have come out of lockdown, thinking that what they’re doing is ok because it’s been three, six, nine months, however long i’ve reinforced. Do you want we don’t really care. And suddenly they’re back in the real world or the back of the office or whatever. And it’s actually, you can’t do that. That’s not ok. So I think it’ll tidy back up and those people will, will pull their head in as, as people would say. But I think it’s still going to get worse before it gets better. Yes. Well, hopefully it is a short term thing. And yeah, that event that you’re talking about. Sounds really exciting. That must be just something so many people looking forward to. Well, we’re running it so we work out of a cross section as well. crosthwaite resonate in tasmania, and they’re running a big event. We’re running a big event. We’re going to get a food truck. We’re going to open the doors up and just be like, let’s celebrate the fact that we did it. We got through it, we’re all still together. Come and support and throw you, throw your weight behind these guys as they do their thing. And we, we ran lots of events last year through lockdown, but it was all via camera and no crowd. And it’s just, it’s just a different sensation. So I think it will remind people, particularly the high level competitors. It will remind people just why we do it that joy of lifting and doing something that you love in front of, in front of people to show them. You know, look at what I can do is something that you can’t really match anywhere else. Speaking of in front of a camera, no crowd versus being at an actual event. I mean, you can probably comment better than most about being part of last year’s online awards presentation. And then this year, being a crowd of remembering the numbers was like 350, i think it was pretty awful. Yeah. At West point there. Can you give us a quick what your memories of last year’s online event and how was the event being there in person? Much different. So it was much different. So I thought it was, I’m very, very glad that I got renominated this year and obviously super thankful i won. But it was kind of hilarious that I’m like, this is the year that I’m a finalist, and I’ve got this chance to do all this stuff and meet all these people that can, you know, networks that I’m never going to meet again. And I’m sitting on my couch in my pajamas in a nice suit jacket. I just, it didn’t feel i had pajama pants on. And a pair of slippers, it was great. So it just didn’t feel it didn’t feel properly. It just didn’t feel right. But this year, like you could shake hands with Well over bump people, you could meet people and build this network. I’m not going to meet those people again in any other circle and are people that you run your ideas behind like the neighborhoods and stuff we’re doing. They go great. I know such and such and the online event, it just people will get out as soon as it was over and there was just no follow up to it all and it was much, much better. And being able to be around people. I mean, we’re social creatures. Yeah. You need you need that social interaction and yet the event was fantastic. It was great fun. This is more of a the people won’t get this one. But just for a while, I’m looking at you looking at your face and looking at your photo at the same time from the awards night. You are clean shaven, and now you’re going what can only be described as a wolverine beard? It’s pretty close to wolverine. It’s very excellent. You should have seen you want to have a mohawk. There’s this stigma with powerlifting. You also say I’m covered in tattoos and I’m not to toot my own horn. I’m a fairly muscly young man. It’s part of the sport. So there’s a certain level of presentation that you want to you want to give out and at an event like that, I guess I’m just a little bit old school where cleanly shaven, nice attire, you know, look your best. But I like, I don’t like shaving shaving too complicated. It’s irritating and tasmania’s cold, so shaving gets quite cold. I also grow my beard in about 13 hours, so I have to do it every single day or twice a day. So for me I’d much rather have some sort of silly beard on my face. handlebar mustache, mutton chops or something. For competition at the oceania, i had a monkey tail. Then if you know what that is, but that’s because it looks like a monkey, tyler goes around under the mustache, not one side of the face, and I had a blonde mohawk straight down the middle as a Brother would say, that’s a strong look very straight. It was actually surprisingly popular, believe it or not, with some people other people, not so much. But look, I’m, I’m a big believer in signs. I dress in clothes that I’m comfortable in. I’m, I’m a big believer of judge me by the merit of my actions rather than the presentation that you see at a distance. I’m a big believer in that. So I find that I get, well, I get good results from people. If I actually look like that, I get better results. I learn the character of a person a little bit better if they’re not judging me based off that they’re going ok, well this is what this guy does. Instead of look at him, cleanly shaven, dressed up in a suit. It’s just my approach to business. Yeah. No, that’s great. I love the movie. Maybe it’s fantastic. As you can see, I’m a big fan myself and it’s easy not to shave shaving, which my girlfriend liked it as much as you do. She’s very unimpressed by that. Just kind of makes it all the more enjoyable. It means the love is very strong, then she’s together that despite the face like a wake up, one night, shillyshallying me in my sleep, it sounds like you’ve been fantastic chatting to you. If this has piqued the interest of people that powerlifting can you give up and putting you on the spot here? What’s a couple of steps one could take if they’re interested in learning more? Oh look, I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t say, find a coach, find a gym, find a coach support local. Don’t try to do commercial gym, don’t try and at home. Don’t do it off your free youtube videos. Go meet someone support them and build, build the community because it’s, it’s better that way. The easiest step is going to the web page. powerlifting, australia, powerlifting, australia dot com. And you go to a thing that is called find a club. And that will pinpoint your location, you type in where you live, and it would give you an accurate distance to your local club. And whether it’s 20 kilometres or two thousand kilometres, depending on where you live. And that’ll put you in touch with someone. And then from there, go on to their instagram or their facebook and have a look at what sort of Community they look like they’re presenting. Normally, the socials are pretty good at describing what you’re walking into. Find who you like to look over and go from there. tips i like that are using the search terms to kind of see what the vibe is. That’s a, I think that’s a good tip. People do that. I think, you know, with a cafe or whatever or they want to go to a restaurant that’s actually really good. I like that in terms of the community can get a feel. Well, a lot of people judge sociales can also be misleading with that because a lot of people will get a coach based off that coach’s athletic performance. This guy’s stronger than me, therefore, he knows. I think you need a little bit of both. You need someone who represents the community that you want is relatively successful in the sport, but it should come down to. Are they good at teaching? So the social should be half of it. The rest of it should be. Look at reviews, look at the athletes. They’re putting out, you know, if you go, I want to pursue powerlifting, not just for the health benefits of which there are numerous particularly for, for aging people. But I want to pursue it as my sport. Well, instead of looking at a coach that might deadlift four hundred kilos, see what the coaches athletes are doing? Are they any good and if they are well, then he’s probably pretty good at his job. Yeah. Now it sounds like it’s a bit out of order here because I’ve asked all the questions, wrapping up, but you’ve said something very interesting. What are some of the benefits for the aging population? I didn’t I wasn’t aware of that. Oh yes sir. I just touch on that. Lots. So power a big compound lifting, so multiple muscles, multiple joints used to move weight, everything from bone density to reversal, diabetes, general health and fitness, mental health stuff like the list is quite numerous. And you can find a lot of information on that online. There’s several podcasts on a dedicated specifically to it, but you literally, i mean, you kind of trust about what twenty five percent of what you read on Google, i reckon. But if you Google the benefits of strength training for an aging populace, that would give you a pretty good idea as to why it’s good for you. Yeah, the reason I promote it as a style of fitness, not only because I enjoy it, but is because, unlike having to train for soccer, which is two hours on a Tuesday, thursday night after school. I can do forty five minutes on a Monday before I go to work, and I can do a quick session at lunchtime on a Tuesday, and I can go after work on a Friday, whatever I want. I pick the times that suit me because I mean it’s a building you walk in the building and everything’s there. It’s not reliant on anyone but you and your time. So as far as health goes, it’s bang for the buck in people’s work, life balance kind of yeah. And like you can shop and do five sets of five deadlifts that a good percentage and that’s enough and that’s what thirty minutes of that. So you can get really solid results in a short period of time in low impact. So there’s not a lot of pain involved. I mean, it can be if you do it as hard as we do it, but like it’s, it’s short, it’s easy to learn in the sense of how to be safe to do it. It’s not like soccer, which is ten years of practicing and drilling and is non reliant on other people. So I yeah, I absolutely promote it as a really good way to get strong and you know, the beginners or aged people we’re talking about. I’m guessing it’s fairly low weights to start off with. It’s all comes down to zero effort, effort versus result. So you’re only ever going to be as healthy fit or strong as the effort in which you put in. So the great thing is, as long as you’re putting in moderate effort, you’re going to get stronger. So something like deadlifts is you can be lifting weight that is comfortable enough for you to be like. This isn’t too bad. To learn to do it safely and you’ll still get stronger, and you’re always going to get stronger as long as you’re not slacking off as long as you doing moderately difficult stuff. You don’t have to train, you don’t have to go and do hill sprints for three hours to get more cardio vascular fit. You’ll always get stronger. So there’s a television program that’s around line called five, three, one forever. It never changes exactly the same thing over and over and over and over. And you always get stronger. It’s just a little bit slower if you’re trying a little bit softer. Yeah, that’s fantastic. And so we talked about people can get some more information you’ve given us, has great tips. What about football strength, anyone locally in terms of you, once again touch literally just jump on our socials, give me a call, whatever, whatever you want to do. So we’ve got facebook and instagram. Both of them are real strength tazmania, or our website real strength jazzmatazz dot com that I there’s contact us bartons. There you send us a message. Your first session with us is always free. So I always tell people that come in, have a look at the gym and do a training session. You will know after one session whether or not you like us will or you won’t. And if you don’t, I don’t want you to sign up online and then have to be like, oh I signed up, I better hang around. I don’t want that. I want you to want to sign up. So yeah, just in is brilliant. Well, that’s fantastic. Thanks for chatting with me, giving me some time. I know you’ve got a busy schedule and thanks for teaching me a bit about powerlifting. Not look. Absolutely wonderful pleasure. I’m very happy i got to do it. Thanks that. Thank you so much. Bye bye. Hope you enjoyed that interview, if you liked it or any of our other episodes, it would be great if you can write and review the inspirational australian’s podcast. 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