Shrugged Collective

Do what you want – How to live the Barbell Life w/ Mike Bledsoe

I’ll be perfectly honest. There was a time when I thought Mike Bledsoe was full of sh*t. 

We met in college, which is to say, while we were both still puppies. Our blinders were on tight. We worked very hard at every opportunity, both on and off the platform. We studied continuously, practiced thinking big, and traded our best ideas over pints of IPA down at the Flying Saucer.

I should note that none of us were very impressive at the start. But we haven’t stopped trying, and that seems to have made all the difference. As William Blake wrote, “The fool who persists in his folly will become wise.”

As a puppy I had no real vision of the future, I just didn’t trust Mike’s all that much. I loved teaching and talking about training, but I didn’t really believe that I could build a life around it. Mike’s vision wasn’t any clearer, but he never let fear or external expectations sway his decisions. He always knew that something incredible would happen, if we kept working and giving. If we stayed honest and curious.

He was right, of course. Persistence pays.

The culture of Barbell Shrugged hasn’t changed much since the saucer days. We still work hard doing what we love. We still trade ideas incessantly. And although we’re far from finished, we have no plans of stopping anytime soon. Who know’s where that might take us?

3 years ago I went to our intern’s college graduation. I’m now proud to have @ctpcam as a business partner.

A photo posted by Mike Bledsoe (@mike_bledsoe) on


Mike recently chatted with Travis Mash on The Barbell Life Podcast about the future of Barbell Shrugged. He also shared a few key lessons that have allowed him to transform his personal and business life in recent years.

1. Don’t wait for it. 

You could wait until retirement to do what you want. Maybe you plan on making a move soon, down the road in just a few years time. Once conditions are better. Once the timing is right. But there’s no such thing.

Maybe Led Zeppelin was just as wise as William Blake with the lyric from Ramble On, “Now’s the time, and the time is now.” That’s simple enough advice. There’s no time to wait around. Start now and keep at it. You don’t have to have a perfect vision, that will develop in time.

2. Find out what really matters to you. 

Most of us are surrounded by relative abundance. It can be very hard at times to see what matters most, and where we should focus our efforts. What’s more, it’s super easy to get anchored down by possessions and commitments.

Mike got around this problem by purging his worldly possessions and moving into a trailer. He was willing to get uncomfortable for a while in order to find out what he really needed and wanted in life. You can certainly do the same. No, I don’t recommend that you move into a trailer. But you need to find out what’s necessary.

If you’re in doubt, do without it for awhile. Drop all the anchors you can. The lighter you can make your life, the more likely you will be to capitalize on present opportunities.

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Listen to Mike’s full interview on The Barbell Life Podcast

3. Beware the cultural norms.

We live in a fascinating time. There is no shortage of information in the world. If you have a smart phone then you can learn to do anything you want, if you make the time and apply your focus. So, why not take advantage?

You could go to college if you want to be a great coach and gym owner, but you don’t have to. You certainly shouldn’t do it just to make your parents happy. Likewise, you don’t have to get a job that you hate just to pay for a mortgage that you don’t need. These are only heavier anchors in waiting. They are common cultural norms, not your destiny.

Do not do what is expected of you. Instead, do what makes sense. Do what you love. Pounce on present opportunities. Utilize all of the information at your disposal, this is your responsibility.

4. Fun is important for two key reasons. 

Above everything you need to have a good time doing what you’re doing. Life is short, right? Why be miserable or bored in your work? But that’s the obvious thing. The real reason for fun is that it fuels the effort.

If you’re having a blast working hard with people you love and trust, then you will always be able to put in the work. You will always do what it takes to persist because that’s the easiest decision to make.

For more nuggets and pearls make sure to listen to Mike’s full interview on The Barbell Life podcast.

Enjoy the show,



For more

  • Check out more from Travis Mash’s Barbell Life HERE.
  • How to become a world champion Weightlifter with Travis Mash, Episode 141 of Barbell Shrugged.
  • Barbell Shrugged is putting together a Weightlifting Team. Learn how you can take FLIGHT.


Chris Moore is a writer, recovering meathead, fledgling raconteur and rabid imbiber. He's also cohost and resident potty mouth on Barbell Shrugged, a weekly podcast devoted to Crossfit, strength, fitness and all things brash. His experience is drawn from over twenty-years spent training for and competing in American Football, Powerlifting, a bit of strongman and a dash of mixed martial arts. Also, it's possible that he's had one too many cups of coffee. A caffeine fever is a hell of a thing, you know?


  • It is amazing reading this. So many boundaries that I put in my path, based around fear, that stop me from taking risks. I admire what Mike did to find his path. You guys are all killin’ it right now.

  • That podcast was everything. Was all of it. I guess all I can say is that though I don’t know you guys personally, I feel like I share the same admiration as Travis. Mike and the whole team are incredible, and how you are effecting the world and individuals is incredible. Not only inspiring, but really empowering.

  • I haven’t heard the podcast yet, but will right after work.

    I really wanted to thank you for shaking my whole idea of moving into a trailer. When Mike said he was doing it, I was thinking that’s one of those crazy nomads that’ll never settle down. But you just opened my eyes to the idea that it could be an experiment. It really could teach you things and prepare you for settling down.

    That may not have been Mike’s plan and I may have my own twist on it. I just love the idea that living in a trailer could be the best prep for settling down! Ironic but I love it.

    Thanks for adjusting my thinking… again!

  • That was one of the most empowering podcasts that I have ever listened to.

    I feel appreciate being able to connect with amazing people such as yourselves on a daily basis from thousands of kilometers away. Thanks for sharing.

    Can’t wait to start school again!

  • As a 19 year old college student, I truly love all Barbell Shrugged has to offer. I constantly struggle with how I want to get where I want to be in life, and articles like this get me really stoked. Thanks dudes!

  • Chris –
    Your writing really jibes with me – it seems like you strike such a clear path from your mind to the page. Any tips on how you found your writing “voice”?

    • Thanks. I got the best tip from Hitchens. “Write as you speak.” I always pretend I’m talking to one person, someone close to me.

  • “If you’re in doubt, do without it for awhile. Drop all the anchors you can. The lighter you can make your life, the more likely you will be to capitalize on present opportunities.”


    Great read and great advice!

  • I need to book flights one day ( Australian ) so I can come out and hang out with the most inspiring knowledgable, intelligent, witty group of experts !!!! Love your podcasts, love your passion! Please never ever stop!

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