Ashley Svendbye: Can Powerlifters and Weightlifters Get Along? (Podcast)

Today we’re talking to weightlifter, powerlifter, and gamer Ashley Svendbye. After discovering strength training, Ashley trained as a powerlifter for a number of years before making the switch to weightlifting. What she learned about the two strength communities – especially as a cross sport athlete — provides some interesting context on the similarities and differences between the two. Are strength athletes more or less accepting of iron athletes across different sports? We chat on the group dynamics there, along with much, much more.

In this episode of the BarBend Podcast, David Thomas Tao talks to Ashley Svendbye about:

  • Quarantine and “trash can” workouts (1:50)
  • The benefit of bodyweight work for powerlifters and weightlifters (5:10)
  • Ashley’s background in fitness, and learning from her martial artist father (6:30)
  • Ashley’s best powerlifting numbers during her time competing in that sport (13:20)
  • Transitioning from powerlifting to weightlifting (16:00)
  • The first time you see yourself lifting on camera…and the terror of that moment (19:30)
  • Differences between communities in powerlifting and weightlifting (22:00)
  • Social circles in strength sports (24:10)
  • The strength sports Ashley wants to try next (specifically Mas Wrestling) (26:40)
  • Arm wrestling a magician (30:00)

Relevant links and further reading:

Transcription

Ashley SvendbyeAshley Svendbye

 

I was getting certain attitudes from weightlifters about being a powerlifter. I was also getting the same back from the powerlifters because I was going into weightlifting. I felt like this very [laughs] this fit-toy type situation. I was like, “Damn, nobody, [laughs] nobody likes this.”

David TaoDavid Tao

Welcome to the “BarBend Podcast” where we talk to the smartest athletes, coaches, and minds from around the world of strength. I’m your host, David Thomas Tao, and this podcast is presented by barbend.com.

 

Today, I’m talking to weightlifter and powerlifter Ashley Svenby. After discovering strength training, Ashley trained as a powerlifter for a number of years before making the switch to weightlifting. What she learned about the two strengths communities, especially as a cross-sport athlete, provides some interesting context on the similarities and differences between the two.

 

Are strength athletes more or less accepting of iron athletes across different sports? We chat on the group dynamics there along with much, much more.

 

Also, I want to take a second to say, we’re incredibly thankful that you listen to this podcast. If you haven’t already, be sure to leave a rating and review of the BarBend Podcast, in your app of choice.

 

I’d also recommend subscribing to the BarBend Newsletter, to stay up to date on all things strength. Just go to barbend.com/newsletter, to start becoming the smartest person in your gym today. Now let’s get to it.

 

Ashley, thanks for taking the time to join us today. I know you’re back to training at Providence Barbell Club. You were one of the most prolific posters of at home, as you call them, trash can workouts that I had seen online. Did you come out of quarantine having lost much strength?

 

Ashley SvendbyeAshley Svendbye

Not really. After a while, obviously, as things went along with COVID and stuff, I realized the gym was going to close. It was going to happen, but it hasn’t happened yet. I woke up one morning and it happened. I remember it was weird. My brain wanted to break, but it was like, “No, no. It’s fine.”

 

It was dark. I was just doing some weird, horrible bodyweight workout, watching anime in the dark. That’s when it all started. I think I came out pretty good, actually, for the most part, and I’m not super crazy, at least I think.

David TaoDavid Tao

Well, I think we all lost a little bit of sanity and some people lost strength, but it’s good to see you didn’t lose too much of that. What’s the stuff you were prioritizing at home? What were you working on at home?

Ashley SvendbyeAshley Svendbye

I was doing a ton of bodyweight work. I don’t even know how to…I guess I’ve dabbled if you will, in multiple strength sports over the years. I tried to like Frankenstein together all of the things that I used to do or have done before that didn’t really involve any weight.

 

Then we had the Island of Misfit Toys of stuff to use in the house too. After that I just tried to combine it all together. It was a lot of squats and lunges and really basic stuff but just focusing on doing it correctly in a billion times. Not for nothing but the RP.

 

Whoever made that program is a wonderful monster because I was running that every day. I had like a six-day week workout on that thing. It was crushing me and I was like, “Wow, this is sad.” [laughs]

 

I’ve been doing this heavyweight, always loaded under pressure workouts for so many years. I’m dying doing like 100 air squats. It was eye opening.

David TaoDavid Tao

It’s amazing how many athletes I’ve talked to during and coming out of quarantine, who when I asked them, “Oh, have you just done 100 bodyweight squats?”

 

These are people who squat like six or seven hundred pounds, some of them, and they’re like, “Yeah, I did 100 bodyweight squats and I can’t walk the next day.”

Ashley SvendbyeAshley Svendbye

 [laughs] That’s horrible. At one point, I think it was up to like 400 and I was like, “No, I have to go back down. This is stupid.” Then it was getting crazy.

 

You always want to keep progressing no matter what it is. If you’re used to being a competitive athlete so then you get into this weird little mindset. I had this box jail workout going pretty far. I kept the workouts, actually. I’m still doing the bodyweight workouts at home as accessory work.

David TaoDavid Tao

I think a lot of weightlifters and powerlifters are going to come out of this period with such better body composition because they’ve been doing hypertrophy work.

Ashley SvendbyeAshley Svendbye

[laughs] I have better mobility right now. I’m not even entirely sure why.

David TaoDavid Tao

I saw so many memes that were heading into quarantine. That guy who’s poking from around the tree, rubbing his hands together, like you see something delicious. It’s my joints, when they realize they’re going to have a month off from heavyweights.

Ashley SvendbyeAshley Svendbye

[laughs] Nuts, yeah. It sort of feels like to rest, this is crazy.

David TaoDavid Tao

A little bit of background, backing up in a big way. You say you dabbled in a number of strength sports. I think maybe we need a better word, because I think you’ve done a bit more than dabbled. I’d say been competitive at pretty high levels in multiple strength sports is more accurate, but sure, dabbled works.

 

When did you first find strength training and strength sports, and what is your evolution in that been?

Ashley SvendbyeAshley Svendbye

 Oh!

David TaoDavid Tao

Great answer.

Ashley SvendbyeAshley Svendbye

What at so much? OK. [laughs] It was all a really super awesome accident, actually. When I was…I don’t even know what to call it, I’m going to say tween. When I got to my tweens, I was in my super awkward what-am-I-doing phase. I was also very heavy for my body.

 

I don’t think it got super serious, but I would like to say it was at least a solid 20 to 30 pounds that I didn’t need to have on me. I just didn’t know what to do. I had no education at all on nutrition or exercise. That frigging pyramid I was looking at when I was a kid, the main food group was bread, and cereal, saying…

David TaoDavid Tao

Yeah, you have to have 12 servings of bread a day, Ashley. Don’t you know?

Ashley SvendbyeAshley Svendbye

hen lay on the ice cream, it’s only on the top of the pyramid, guys. Be careful when you eat it every day. Cool, thanks.

 

I wasn’t doing great. [laughs] I had no idea what to do. Then that spiraled into very deep nerd cycle where I went, very far down back into video games I used to play when I was really young, and then newer things coming out for my age.

 

I was watching a lot of anime. I had this little, I don’t know, this Goblin phase with myself. It just didn’t really go away, and I went to my first anime convention. I bawled my little eyes out, because I cosplayed as somebody, and I couldn’t get over the fact that I was heavy.

 

I didn’t know how to change it. That’s how I first started exercising because my brain broke, but I really started because of anime, if we think about it. I’m just going to throw that out there.

 

After that, I only was running and doing a bodybuilding diet. I was doing some stuff with my father who completely changed everything.

 

He taught me how to eat correctly. He would give me cardio workouts, because he was a martial artist. He only knew very high intensity training with pretty much just bodyweight all the time. It was a ton of running and some combat stuff. Lots of stretching, and sprints. Lots of sprints, not very far, but a lot of them. I did that for a long time and then I plateaued.

 

I met somebody through that, another friend, who was obsessed with CrossFit. They dragged me to a YMCA, and randomly taught me some powerlifting moves. I was horrified of going into gyms. Did not want to go, had zero interest in learning, and never wanted to go back again. I was literally going so he would shut up. I fell in love with it.

 

It was only squat, bench, dips, and deadlifts. I lost my mind. Then from there, I got here.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

How long were you training in powerlifting primarily? Right now, I think you’re better known as a weightlifter. How long were you a powerlifter? I could have made a joke. I was really trying not to make too many powerlifting jokes. How long were you a powerlifter, Ashley?

Ashley SvendbyeAshley Svendbye

I think three or four years, because I remember I started learning when it was becoming 2014. I was on the brink of the year changing and like, “OK. I’m going to try this thing.” Then four months in, I was competing. Because I was like, “Nope, I’m in. I love it, I’m ready.” I decided that I love it.

 

David TaoDavid Tao

Wait, you went from terrified of stepping foot in the gym to competing in powerlifting in four months?

Ashley SvendbyeAshley Svendbye

Yes, because that powerlifting, these are the community I met in that gym, and that sport, that combination of those two things, cured like 90 percent of my social anxiety. [laughs] It’s very good for your mental health. I don’t know what to say, and I really enjoyed competing. It was fun people weren’t rude they were supportive.

 

It was like you are doing this for you. It’s nobody else. We’re all here together doing the same thing, and we’re enjoying it, and I loved that. We were all getting stronger, but like at the same time, it had helped me as human.

 

I was like, “OK, I’m not leaving, but what else is there?” Eventually, I started going into other sports, and I love all of them, I do. But weightlifting is so hard man. [laughs]

David TaoDavid Tao

 

Looks like it was split. Let’s keep talking about powerlifting for a second here, just for a quick second. What weight class did you start competing in? What were some of the numbers you hit when you were a powerlifter? Because I know you better as a weightlifter, but I am curious to learn a little bit more about your powerlifting days.

Ashley SvendbyeAshley Svendbye

 

That’s fine. We’ll go there. I can go there. I started as a 63, and if we get super, super first one ever, I think I was actually weighted in pounds, because it was a rando. “Whoever was local federation, we’re having a powerlifting meet in our gym and…”

David TaoDavid Tao

The XYZ PCDB Federation, or whatever.

Ashley SvendbyeAshley Svendbye

Yeah. “Let’s go have a party.” I went to one of those. I think I was either like 135 or like near 140. I was like in the realm of there. My squat was 275. I don’t even remember. I don’t know what my bench was.

 

I remember enjoying my deadlift. I was either near, or at 300 pounds, but I was very happy, and that was my very, very first meet. I don’t know. [laughs] It took all day because everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong.

 

Everyone was so nice, and brought food, and there’s music and you’re in a gym. You’re like, “It’s whatever,” and it was just fun. I can’t remember if there was an in-between weight class, but I eventually ended up at like 57 kilos as a powerlifter, competitively.

 

My best meet, I think I hit like…The conversion hurts. Maybe low 140s for a squat, because I completely tore down and re-did my squat…

David TaoDavid Tao

 

We’re in kilograms, by the way, for those who are listening. We’re converting back to kilograms.

Ashley SvendbyeAshley Svendbye

Math hurts. Then bench, I was on the cusp of 200 pounds. So that’s high 90s in kilos, if you get a comparison, but my bench was always not great. Then my deadlift was not good, but very heavy. I hit 190, but I don’t think I hit it at the place where it mattered.

 

My shoulders were stuck because I was in this extravagant McDonald’s Arch spinal trap I had made for myself by not learning how to download properly and just like going for it. Everybody do it right. Don’t do it bad.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

Don’t deadlift over 400 pounds, when your spine looks like the golden arches. OK.

Ashley SvendbyeAshley Svendbye

 

Don’t do it.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

So, that’s powerlifting. What made you want to get into weightlifting? Because weightlifting is hard by the way.

Ashley SvendbyeAshley Svendbye

It is. The first gym I went to, that I started and everything was this YMCA and I saw it, I saw him in the same gym. It was some kid, he was there and he was like snatching. I had no idea what he was doing but those, “Whoa, that’s crazy.”

 

My friend and I are talking to him about it and he was like, “Oh, I learned that blah blah gym.” We find that gym, because at this point, we’re like, “OK, what else is there? We saw it in CrossFit this one time. So what is it?” Because now these are the only tools we have, because I’m old, I’m 30. OK? This was awhile ago, six years ago.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

You can’t call 30 old. I’m also 30. I refuse for it to be implied that I’m old. I’m on my own podcast.

Ashley SvendbyeAshley Svendbye

 

In crisp? I don’t know. Yeah, but [laughs] where was I going with this? I’m not even sure…

David TaoDavid Tao

 

Find it weightlifting. What made you want to start this sport that looks cool, but is objectively very difficult?

Ashley SvendbyeAshley Svendbye

The winner here was this person was going to also sign up with me if I tried it, because normally I had crazy…I still have this anxiety thing in how they showed how they teach you. You would have to go on like a platform, and people are looking at the platform and I was like, “Oh God, I don’t know if I can do that.”

 

Since others were going with me, I ended up joining. It was actually awesome. The people were awesome. I didn’t know at the time, my mobility was absolutely trashed. People were straight up being like, “Yeah, you probably can’t do this.”

 

I’d try it for maybe a month or so and then stopping, completely focused on powerlifting, and then I do it again for a month or two, and then completely focus on powerlifting, because I just couldn’t actually do it. I was doing shortcut versions of the movement regardless of whether or not they may be getting heavier. They weren’t correct.

 

It was aggravating me, because the whole reason I liked it was because I thought it was beautiful. I was like, “I’m not going to do this ugly disgusting thing.” [laughs] Call it that, because it’s not bad. I can’t do this.

 

Eventually I found more educated people to teach me over the years, and a lot of my time was spent just stretching. I think I spent two years just stretching because I couldn’t even break parallel and then overhead position. It was not going to happen. You could try and push me down, but I would not go.

 

My left ankle is a trash can, and I’m also not sure why, but there’s like scar tissue and all sorts of crap in there. It always pivoted to the left and I wouldn’t be able to break parallel, which is why I had a lot of squat issues when I first started lifting.

 

I had to do a lot of work on that as well, but it was all tissue work and mobility stuff like things you would never think of, very simple things that you can do every day for a couple of minutes. Now you won’t be broken.

 

I now do those things every day, and I’m very, for those I prioritize those things because I want to move better, but because I took the time to do that, I got to focus on weightlifting.

 

That’s why I’ve taken all this time to specifically focus on weightlifting because I feel like I did everything I wanted to with powerlifting because I was just trying to hit numbers and have fun and compete and do things with the stuff.

 

I did, and it was fun and then like, “Now what do I do?” This has been really challenging for me. I’m on the edge to see [laughs] how the competitions are because I’m not very good, but I’m at an intermediate level, I would say.

 

I’m far enough that if I go to compete, it’s great to see because I can see people that are insane. I see these crazy athletes show up. It’s mind-blowing what these people throw over their heads or how people move.

 

Everybody has a slightly different style. They do it a slightly different way. Some people are super fast. Some people are super limber. It’s crazy. I enjoy just watching weightlifting.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

I think that everyone who’s tried weightlifting for any period of time has a moment when they see…like the first time you see footage of yourself attempting a snatch or a clean and jerk, you have that realization like, “Oh my God, what hideous creature am I.”

Ashley SvendbyeAshley Svendbye

 

[laughs] Like, “What are you doing?”

David TaoDavid Tao

got in the way of thinking the early days of YouTube. I remember what the first videos I watched was of Chad Vaughn, clean and jerking, which is just an amazing thing to watch. I get to work a lot with Chad Vaughn these days. I have to try not to fanboy with this guy who’s like a colleague in doing color commentary, but he moves beautifully.

 

You can tell that this is a guy who just…every movement he does is precise and calculated. He has excellent mobility, which he works on a lot. Then I saw a video of myself attempting what could be called a clean and jerk. This is in the early days of smartphones. It was a zero megapixel grainy video. I was…

Ashley SvendbyeAshley Svendbye

 

I got one of those, yeah. [laughs]

David TaoDavid Tao

 

I was just like, “What am I doing here? What am I doing with my life?”

All that to say, that’s a very universal feeling that I think a lot of people feel. I don’t want to say it’s unique to weightlifting because I’m sure people feel this in other sports. You see weightlifting at a high level, it’s like ballet meets gymnastics. It’s something beautiful with a barbell, and it’s so fast.

Ashley SvendbyeAshley Svendbye

 

It’s crazy, yeah.

David TaoDavid Tao

It’s very difficult. It takes so many years, and so much work, a lot of natural ability, to get to that high level where your movement looks what a textbook snatch, or clean and jerk is.

 

Ashley SvendbyeAshley Svendbye

It becomes purposeful. You spend all those time like, “What am I doing?” Actually, little things start clicking. It’s so technical, you don’t even think about how technical it is until a couple years go by and you’re like, “Oh my God, two inches.”

 

It’s crazy.

David TaoDavid Tao

I remember waking up in the middle of the night and being like, “Wait a minute, that’s the first pull?” Something clicks, and you’re like…

Ashley SvendbyeAshley Svendbye

 

[laughs] You are like pulling in sleep. It’s horrible.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

They are like, “Wait a minute, that’s lockout. Oh, OK.” Enough about just talking about weightlifting, because this is a podcast for all strength sports and strength training. I’m curious if you noticed any major differences between the powerlifting community and the weightlifting community when you switched over?

Ashley SvendbyeAshley Svendbye

At first, yeah. It was actually weird. I was almost a little upset by it. I had become a part of this community because it was so welcoming. During a crossover, it’s not super friendly. [laughs] I was getting…

David TaoDavid Tao

Why is that? Is that because you were coming from powerlifting?

Ashley SvendbyeAshley Svendbye

I think so. I was getting certain attitudes from weightlifters about being a powerlifter. I was also getting the same back from the powerlifters because I was going to weightlifting. I felt this very [laughs] misfit toy-type situation.

 

I was like, “Damn, nobody likes this. Everybody hates me right now, this sucks,” but I want to learn it. Oops, so it was just not the best at first.

 

I think that’s just because…I’m not entirely sure, but I think a lot of the time, people in general, it doesn’t matter what you’re coming from. I think people, they don’t take into full consideration what it means to learn how to weightlift, especially competitively.

 

There are so many more technical aspects of it that go into dynamic movements than you would find in something like powerlifting. I can see, maybe a resentment, thinking, I can just learn, or something. Other than that, I don’t really understand what’s wrong with wanting to learn something that’s challenging for me.

 

I can’t really find any other, I don’t know, reasoning behind…It almost felt like a quickiness. It goes away, it’s really weird. I don’t like those things at all. I was the dork in high school that would eat by myself, because I didn’t want to [laughs] be at a table with people. I was a goblin person for a while.

 

Whenever I see any type of social clicking starting, I’m like, “Oh no, please. I need to remain an adult. I don’t want to participate in this. I don’t want to participate.”

David TaoDavid Tao

My mental image of powerlifters being clicky is that a few powerlifters are going to take their mountainous piles of post-training food, and go eat them separately from everyone else.

 

Ashley SvendbyeAshley Svendbye

 

[laughs] Do whatever you want but don’t be mad at people, when they try other things.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

Are there any strength sports that you could see yourself wanting to, and to use your quote, “dabble-in” in the future that you haven’t tried already?

Ashley SvendbyeAshley Svendbye

There’s this, I don’t even know how to explain it, I forget what it’s called. Wait for it. It’s not a long word, and I should remember it. I’m a jerk. Is it Massa?

David TaoDavid Tao

 

Mas-wrestling?

Ashley SvendbyeAshley Svendbye

 

Thank you.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

Yeah, where you have a stick, and you’re pulling against someone, and your feet are on a board.

Ashley SvendbyeAshley Svendbye

Yes, I met a wonderful Norwegian man at a powerlifting meet one day, who explained it. The outline of the point of the sport, and allowed me to try it with one of his athletes. [laughs] It was so hard, and I think it felt like it was an hour, and it was maybe, a minute of my life.

 

I was like, “Oh man, I need to do that again.” I’ve never found it. That’s something I would really like to try…

David TaoDavid Tao

 

You are on the right podcast. We’ve had mas-wrestlers on this podcast before.

I know a lot of mas-wrestlers. Thomas Rook is a friend of mine. He’s a weightlifter, powerlifter, weightlifting coach. You’ve probably seen him at weightlifting competitions, and he’s one of the best mas-wrestlers in the United States. He trains out of Chicago.

Ashley SvendbyeAshley Svendbye

 

Oh God, that’s crazy.

David TaoDavid Tao

He has a great story about going to the World Championships in Siberia, where it was 50 degrees below 0. This is on an early episode of “The BarBend Podcast.” He’s this big guy, he’s from Chicago. He’s like, “I’m going to show them, I can handle the cold.”

 

His guide that met them at the airport, I guess, it was in Novosibirsk, or somewhere in Siberia, was like, “No, no, no, you have to wear more clothes or you will die on the walk from the plane to the terminal.”

Ashley SvendbyeAshley Svendbye

 

Oh, that’s insane.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

A lot of great mas-wrestling stories. I think the world championships are still in Siberia, in the dead of winter. It’s for hardy people, let’s put it that way. If you want, I can connect you with Tom. He might be able to give you some pointers on getting into mas-wrestling.

Ashley SvendbyeAshley Svendbye

 

Yes, please. That sounds wonderful.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

Anything else? Mas-wrestling, that’s a great answer, by the way.

Ashley SvendbyeAshley Svendbye

 

[laughs] Thanks. I don’t know, part of me wants to go back into martial art, but I have facial piercings. I would never be able to do anything real. Maybe, when I get over them. Maybe, when I’m over it, I’ll do that.

David TaoDavid Tao

By the way, this is maybe a personal question. Facial piercings and tattoos, are those great excuses to not do things? Someone challenges you to a fight. You’re like, “I would but you know, I got my piercings. I don’t want things to get…you know. It’s just like, I can’t, I can’t fight you because the…You know, you get it.”

Ashley SvendbyeAshley Svendbye

No. You can put a Band-Aid. If you have a micro dermal in your face, you can put a Band-Aid over that. If you do like circle Band-Aid than normal Band -Aids, you can just take gauges out and you can usually flip a septum ring up into your nose.

 

It’s so many things to do just to go back in that and I’m not sure if I want to. I have to see how badly I would want to do that basically. I want to give the intro like reintroduction of weightlifting at least the equivalent amount of time as I have been quarantined to see how my progress comes back in terms of speed. Then depending on that, I may or may not dabble in that. [laughs]

David TaoDavid Tao

 

One thing I never thought I’d learned on “The BarBend Podcast” was how to deal with the septum piercing if you’re going into a combat sport but…

Ashley SvendbyeAshley Svendbye

Not up. [laughs]

David TaoDavid Tao

Now I know. We’re good to go. The thing that I want to make sure I ask before the end of the podcast. There’s a viral video of you arm-wrestling in Las Vegas. [laughs] I think it is.

 

This video has been shared. You’ve shared it. It’s also been just ripped and shared by all these different Instagram accounts and not given credit. You have to explain the situation. I think it’s you arm-wrestling a magician in Las Vegas.

Ashley SvendbyeAshley Svendbye

 

laughs] Yes. That’s exactly what it is.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

This video has been seen millions of times. How did that happen?

Ashley SvendbyeAshley Svendbye

[laughs] Whatever year that was, a couple of years ago, went to one of the AO series in Vegas. It was fairly recent because they had the hyper X Arena in the Luxor which is an awesome gaming place if anybody is in Las Vegas go into the Luxor and go play video games.

 

They have old and new video games and bars and food and it’s lovely. I went there to do the AO but then afterwards. You’re just in Las Vegas. I used to live there too so I know some people I want to eat stuff. I want to hang out a little bit.

 

I haven’t been there since I used to be there. I went to Planet Hollywood with a couple of my friends. I was done lifting so I got accidental drunk at this Mexican place because they did house margaritas that we’re like gigantic [inaudible 30:40] Las Vegas.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

Also after a weightlifting competition. It takes like…

Ashley SvendbyeAshley Svendbye

I’m done. It’s over.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

You need to smell alcohol and you’re basically drunk. You’ve been cutting weight and exerting yourself.

Ashley SvendbyeAshley Svendbye

 [laughs] I got all this food, but it didn’t even matter. We were like, “OK, whatever, we’ll just drink this.” Then literally it was going to happen across the way from this place is a magic store. We’re like, “OK, we’ll go inside. Sure.”

 

We’re looking at stuff and there’s two guys in there and they’re super nice. They’re like, “Hey, like you guys look kind of jacked. What are you doing here?” They thought there was a bodybuilding show, because that’s usually what people think of when they think of anything.

 

They’re like, “Oh, it’s bodybuilding.” We were like, “Oh no.” We were trying to explain. [laughs] We were trying to briefly explain what happens. We were like, “Oh, no, it was like a lifting event here but I’m done now. So we’re just hanging out.” They were like, “Oh, cool.”

 

They were actually super, super into arm-wrestling. I was like, “No way.” Because I also met people in Vegas that were competitive arm wrestlers. I had never heard of it before until I went there. I was like, “Oh man, this is super real and it’s like crazy.” They started talking all about it.

 

They’re getting super amped. They’re telling me all these bodybuilders that went into it and other athletes that just got crazy at arm-wrestling. They were these huge fans and then [laughs] the guys like, “Will you arm-wrestle me?” I was like, [laughs] “Fuck it. Are you sure?”

 

The whole thing was ridiculous. We were on a glass table. I think we used a mouse pad to lean on. Then my friend was filming it, which I later found out, which everybody later found out. It was horrible because we started and he was so strong.

 

He was so strong and my arm was shaking. I was like, “I’m going to lose, I’m going to lose, I’m going to lose, I’m going to lose, I’m going to lose.” All of a sudden his arm just gave. I was like, “Dude, you just let me win?” He was like, “I have no endurance.” [laughs] We just started laughing at each other and I was like, “OK, sure man.”

 

He started telling me about more arm wrestlers. Then he did a bunch of magic tricks for us. Then we were like, “OK, peace,” and we left. Later, I looked at my phone and everybody lost their minds for no reason.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

That’s a great viral video story.

That’s fantastic. Also, I think Las Vegas is a great place for strength athletes. I might get in trouble for saying this.

Ashley SvendbyeAshley Svendbye

It is so great.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

Because it’s all these little niche communities. Right? These weird little communities.

Ashley SvendbyeAshley Svendbye

[laughs] [inaudible 33:31] so hard. So hard and it’s awesome. It’s like living in a video game. [laughs] So crazy.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

Ashley, where’s the best place for people to keep up to date with what you’re doing? Your training and whatever strength sport you’re doing at the time because it could be different.

Ashley SvendbyeAshley Svendbye

I guess there’s two ways. There’s Instagram, which is my personal account. It’s my full name but with two letters in front of it so it’s Smashley Svenby.

 

The other thing would be my nerdy little anime/strength podcast I have with my friend Nick. It would be the Instagram as well or the YouTube to get in touch with either of us for updates on training because we’ve been doing a lot of anime stuff. [laughs]

 

If that tickles your fancy please do come by. It’s called Weebs & Weights with an ampersand in the middle or an N. It is not and there was a whole thing with blizzard. There was a situation. There is no longer a situation.

 

Yes, either Smashley Svenby or Weebs & Weights. [laughs]

David TaoDavid Tao

Excellent. Ashley, thanks so much for joining us today. Appreciate your time.

Ashley SvendbyeAshley Svendbye

Thank you.

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