Outgrowing the Room

By Elliot Coulombe Woznica

Published 2/24/22

Training at Titan Barbell in Massachusetts

On Wednesday of this week, I was given the opportunity to lift at a powerlifting/strongman gym in Mass called Titan Barbell. The experience was a ton of fun and really eye opening, and I wanted to take this blog post to explain my progress thus far (more specifically, my deadlift progress) as well as my mentality when it comes to the atmosphere you decide to exist in (I will be talking about powerlifitng, but I think this can apply to almost anything). Without further adieu, this was my trip to Titan Barbell.

Wednesdays are for Deadlifts

First off, the only reason I know about Titan is because of my friends. Everyone on my powerlifting team lifts there. Needless to say, everyone showed up yesterday for my pilgrimage. On top of this, we all had the same workout programmed in: Deadlifts. This made for a great environment and led me to push myself harder than I would’ve had I just been at Saco Sport and Fitness (my beautiful commercial gym). I ended up following through on a pretty beautiful paused deadlift single because of all this. Here’s the clip:

As you may be able to tell from the title of this video, this was 180kg (396lbs) paused!!! And it was relatively easy given the context of my goals for this block (I’m not supposed to be pushing myself to the max every workout). This pull meant a lot to me, but I think the best part of this is that it’s only 6lbs under my best ever deadlift in a meet and I still paused it for an easy rep! In another two weeks I’ll really be pushing this lift to the max, so at that point I’ll be able to accurately quantify how much progress I’ve made from the end of my last meet to this moment. For now, though, I’m extremely happy with this.

When the biggest in the room…

Now, I’d like to talk about some of my takeaways from this trip to Titan, as well as some important pieces of advice that I think many people would benefit from hearing. To keep things concise, It’s important to surround yourself with people who can push you, who want to see you succeed, and who have similar goals to you. For me, this was the biggest takeaway from Titan Barbell. Because I lift at a crumby commercial gym most of the time, It’s hard to quantify exactly how much i scale with my peers. I do lift with my coach, but other than that, there’s no one to push me or hold me accountable at my gym. Because of all this, it’s easy to feel like I’m on top of the world when, quite frankly, I’m really not. It reminds me of the expression, “when you’re the smartest person in the room…you’re in the wrong room”. I’m so used to being the strongest at my gym, but that mentality had probably led to a certain level of laziness and complacency. I think this is a lesson we all need to learn. Sometimes, the environment we put ourselves in have a profound effect on how we act and what we can achieve. I, for one, know that I would not have been able to complete this deadlift had I not been surrounded by like-minded people who push me to grow as a lifter.


It was so fun lifting with the bigger guys on my team. Check this out…

buffed up!

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