Shrugged Collective

The Future of Barbell Shrugged with Anders Varner— 307

Welcome Anders Varner, the new host of Barbell Shrugged Podcast! Anders has a similar background to Mike and Doug, he has been an athlete since high school, studied strength and conditioning, and opened his own gym.

Anders is co-creator of The Low Back Fix, The Knee Fix, and The Shoulder Fix, and owns Anders Varner Training located in San Diego, CA. Anders found the weight room at age 13 and decided he would call it home for the rest of his life.

A four- time CrossFit regional competitor and member of John Cena’s “One Ton Club”, Anders has trained with and coached high level athletes from the worlds of the NFL, WWE, and CrossFit.

A true believer in self-discovery, Anders finds his true passion in helping the everyday person live a pain free, empowered life through mindful movement. Anders Varner’s approach has helped transform the lives of stroke victims, pre and postpartum moms, extreme weight loss clientele, and individuals recovering from drug and alcohol addiction.

In this episode, Mike passes the torch to Anders, and we dive into how Barbell Shrugged was born, what gets us fired up to keep recording shows, the future of Barbell Shrugged and Shrugged Collective, and much more. Enjoy!

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Learning ‘til infinity

Anders Varner went through a similar process to Mike and Doug. He used to care about getting bigger, stronger, and faster, but over the years changed his main priority to longevity.

Today, the Shrugged Crew is focused on how to maintain fitness levels without worrying about health for the rest of their lives. There is no end for learning. There are always deeper and deeper levels on how to get stronger, fitter, live longer, perform better in a specific sport, etc.

The Shrugged Crew will continue to explore strength, conditioning, health, fitness, nutrition and everything around it. Instead of a few guys, there will now be a collective of hosts looking out for the best information and sharing it.

“The goal in life is always to be in the middle of the highest levels of conversation in an area that you are very interested in, and you guys are and have been, for the last 6–7 years the facilitators of that conversation. The fact that I get to facilitate this conversation going forward is the highest of honor.” — Anders Varner


  • Barbell Shrugged recorded episode 1 around 3 times before they published it — We all gotta start somewhere. During the first few shows, the BBS crew consumed alcohol on the show, but it didn’t work out. Conversation on alcohol turned out to be not too interesting and not in a great flow. It was emotionally hard for the crew to publish episodes thinking why would people want to listen to what they had to say. They also thought they would run out of content after 12 episodes, but that obviously wasn’t the case. If you want to do something, just get started. It won’t be perfect, great, or possibly even good, but you just need to start creating and the quality of your work will increase over time.
  • If you know your shit on something, people want to learn from you — Everybody lives in some sort of a bubble. The Shrugged Crew didn’t realize lots of people would want to learn from them about strength training, programming, weightlifting, etc. Being surrounded by like-minded folks, they didn’t see their knowledge so valuable. They thought everybody already had the knowledge they had. Once they started receiving more and more feedback, they realized they were creating and sharing valuable stuff for a lot of people. Most likely, if you are knowledgeable and passionate about something, there’s someone who wants to learn from you.
  • It’s a big disservice to be small — Some people are protective of their ideas, businesses, and don’t want to open it up to other people. On the other hand, Shrugged Collective was created to expand the conversation and cultivate the best of the best to grow the pool of knowledge pool. Barbell Shrugged has been very strength and conditioning focused, but over the years the crew discovered there are many other things that contribute to strength and health that are worth mentioning.
  • Mike isn’t going anywhere — Every Monday, Mike will share a health and fitness show on The Bledsoe Show. Mike is highly involved in the Shrugged Collective and you’ll have more opportunities than ever to connect with him. Check out The Bledsoe Show Events page where you can attend one of his workshop and meet Mike in person.

Connect with Anders Varner

Connect on social: InstagramFacebook

Resources: The Low Back FixKnee Fix

Book: The Performance Lifestyle: Nutrition: A How to Guide to Fuel Your Life for Performance

Doug Larson Fitness

Doug’s new website is live! Check it out at DougLarsonFitness.com

The Bledsoe Show

The Bledsoe Show (Mike’s personal show) is back! Check out new episodes and the new website at TheBledsoeShow.com

Listen to the show

Subscribe to iTunes (iPhone) or Stitcher (android) for audio:

Check out our FREE 50+ page OLYMPIC WEIGHTLIFTING GUIDE! Includes: The Basics, Sample Programming, Links to Technique Videos, and more!


Train smart,

Mike, Doug and Anders

Mike Bledsoe


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