From A Stopped Heart to Weightlifting Rebirth (Jon North)

Today we’re talking to weightlifter, coach, and former bodybuilder Jon North, who has been a prominent figure in American Strength Sports for nearly a decade.

Jon’s story is one with a number of twists and turns: From overcoming addiction to earn his way among the top ranks of American weightlifters, Jon was one of the first virtual weightlifting coaches to build a large following online, and he also competed in bodybuilding. He’s also caused a stir in weightlifting, and at one point created his own competition federation separate from USA Weightlifting. Jon is reflective and thoughtful when it comes to his career in strength.

In our conversation, Jon talks about some fundamental changes in his life after he suffered a heart attack and was diagnosed with a hereditary heart condition. He also details his evolution as a coach and why he’s happier coaching far fewer athletes than he did years ago. 

 

On this episode of The BarBend Podcast, host David Thomas Tao talks to Jon North about:

  • Meet Jon North (0:40)
  • Why not wanting more makes him a better coach and athlete (3:45)
  • Drug addiction, Pumping Iron, and how Jon got into weightlifting, then bodybuilding (5:00)
  • Being overloaded in life, in sport, and how that resulted in a near death experience (9:10)
  • Trying to find the balance as an athlete and coach (15:45)
  • His approach to coaching his weightlifting team (21:00)

Relevant links and further reading:

Transcription

Jon NorthJon North

I was drinking a lot. I was materialistic. The traveling was hurting my marriage. I tell you, man, having that cardiac arrest at the zoo and dying, falling flat on my face for 16 minutes and coming back to life is the best thing that ever happened to me. It completely changed me.

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, weightlifting coach, and former bodybuilder Jon North, who’s been a prominent figure in American strength sports for nearly a decade. Jon’s story is one with a number of twists and turns, from overcoming addiction to earning his way among the top ranks of American weightlifters.

 

Jon was one of the first virtual weightlifting coaches to build a large following online. He also competed in bodybuilding in addition to weightlifting. He’s also caused some stirs in weightlifting in years past and at one point, created his own competition federation separate from USA weightlifting.

 

It’s been about four years since I last talked to Jon. I’ll say this. He’s reflective and thoughtful when it comes to his career in strength and a lot of things in life. He’s always been a thoughtful guy. It’s interesting to see how his thinking and approach has evolved.

 

In our conversation, Jon talks about some fundamental changes in his life after he suffered a heart attack and was diagnosed with a hereditary heart condition. He also details his evolution as a coach, and why he’s happier coaching far fewer athletics than he did years ago.

 

I do 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. Now, let’s get to it.

 

Jon, thanks so much for joining me. It’s hard to believe it’s been four years since we’ve chatted. I believe it was at a local weightlifting meet on Long Island. The Move Fast Lift Heavy Invitational. It was about four years ago.

 

A lot has changed in the world in the strength community since then. What are you up to these days? What is your primary focus in the strength training and strength space?

Jon NorthJon North

David, it’s good to see you again. Thanks for having me on the BarBend Podcast here. It’s good to see you again, man. I do appreciate you having me on. We definitely need to stay in touch more.

 

It’s been too long, you know what I mean? Glad to be here. You know David, it’s a good question. I’m a simple man. I’m a simple man. That’s really how I live my life these days is I’m a simple man.

 

I run a barbell club. I have a weightlifting team called Attitude Nation Barbell Club. It’s online, but I do have a local gym here in Prineville, Oregon. I coach here locally, and I coach online. It’s a great team. I love my athletes. I coach weightlifting, and that’s it.

 

I don’t run any weightlifting federations anymore. I don’t do as much traveling as I used to. I might do one or two seminars a year. That’s about it. Run a few camps here and there for the barbell club, and I’m at all the weightlifting meets for the most part. Just staying on that weightlifting path, as far as being a coach and being an athlete.

 

Trying to simplify my life. Stay in my lane, and focus on the athletes that I have, rather than always trying to do more and want more. I think that’s a big problem a lot of people have is wanting more, wanting more, wanting to do more. More and more. I actually did an Instagram live video a few days ago talking about how I’m content. I’m actually OK with that.

 

I think in the strength world, David, a lot of people…That’s like they’re shocked to hear that. “Content? You can never be content! Let’s go. Let’s PR. Let’s lift big. Let’s want more.”

 

I’m like “No.” I’m actually content as a human right now. That’s what I’m doing.

David TaoDavid Tao

That’s interesting to hear. I was actually wondering if the bodybuilding bug had reared its head and bitten you again. I know that was a passion of yours for a while in the middle of your weightlifting career in many ways. Tell us a little bit about that experience.

 

Why bodybuilding? What we’ll see is we’ll see is a lot of powerlifters go to bodybuilding or bodybuilders go to powerlifting. We don’t see a lot of weightlifters cross that bridge like you did for a little while. Take us through [indecipherable 5:01] career.

Jon NorthJon North

I started weightlifting because of bodybuilding, because of “Pumping Iron.” 1977 Pumping Iron with Arnold Schwarzenegger, of course. I had a drug issue, a drug problem, and I was actually in a crack house. I was up for three nights straight, hitting the old meth pipe. All of a sudden, somebody put in Pumping Iron. I watched it for the first time.

 

I’d really never lifted weights before seeing that documentary, that movie. I watched it for the first time. I’d never lifted weights before seeing that documentary, that movie. When I saw it, I was so inspired by Arnold. I wanted to be free like him. I wanted to be Arnold pretty much.

 

I got into bodybuilding. Somehow bodybuilding has led me to Olympic weightlifting. Then, later in my career in weightlifting, I said, “This is a big bucket list for me.” This is something I’ve always wanted to do is to compete in a bodybuilding show. I respect the sport like crazy. I think it’s one of the greatest sports of all time. I respect the athletes that compete in bodybuilding.

 

I went for it. I trained, got a coach, did the diet, did the cutting, did the workouts, did everything, the posing, and went out and did a show with my wife. I have a lot of respect for the sport. David, I will say the greatest time period of my life is that year I trained for the show because me and my wife trained every day together.

 

We were on this new journey together. We’d just had our firstborn child named Lincoln, our son. We take him to kids club. He even went with us to some of the gyms. We’d have him in a, what do you call that, a little buggy cart [indecipherable 6:40] .

 

We basically placed them down like a gym bag right next to all the machines that we’re using. The gym was OK with it. It was a locally-owned place. Some of the best times in my life, training with my wife, and having that relationship with her that was so close. We have a close relationship with doing something like that.

 

Weightlifting is such an individual sport. Even when you’re training with somebody, it still feels individual. When you’re bodybuilding with somebody, there’s more of a bond there.

David TaoDavid Tao

Bodybuilding is everything. It is a life. It’s an all encompassing sport. Every moment of your day in that sport is built around that goal. It’s what you eat. It’s how you sleep. It’s how you’re recovering. It’s your time in the gym. It’s all the hours. It’s nonstop.

 

You don’t have a true rest day from the bodybuilding lifestyle as you would in maybe…When I was weightlifting, I’d go out on the weekends, get some pizza and ice cream, have a day when I was off the diet, not really training, taking it as a rest day.

 

Bodybuilding, especially when you’re prepping for a show, which is a months, sometimes years-long endeavor early on in the sport, every single day, you have to be locked in. There’s no time off.

Jon NorthJon North

Yeah, there’s none, zero. A cheat meal is having some little pasta or something on a Sunday night.

David TaoDavid Tao

Peanut butter and celery. That’s the cheat meal, right there.

Jon NorthJon North

That’s a cheat meal. It’s a very demanding sport.

David TaoDavid Tao

Let’s talk a little bit about Attitude Nation and your Barbell Club. During the current time of COVID-19, 2020, it seems everything’s online. It seems virtual coaching has been around for a long time, and it really hasn’t.

 

Back in, I want to say it was like 2014, 2015, you were one of the first I was seeing, at least in the United States, to take coaching online and try and build an online Barbell Club or an online community of lifters. That was at a time when people were still saying, “Weightlifting isn’t the sport that’s going online.” Virtual coaching people were making fun of it.

 

We look back at it now, we’re like, “That’s the norm. It’s what most people are dealing with.” Tell us about the idea to originally build that Barbell Club online and how it evolved.

Jon NorthJon North

It was huge, but I didn’t know anybody’s name.

David TaoDavid Tao

Just their Instagram handles.

Jon NorthJon North

That’s the problem is because it was so big. I went about it incorrectly. There was high points with Team Dark Orchestra. It’s started out with a sincere endeavor. It started out with an organic idea. Then it became a monster form of itself, swallowed me up, and swallowed everybody else up.

 

It became more about the numbers, the money, the fame, the power, taking over. How many athletes can I get on the team? We had a ton, but I didn’t know anybody’s name. I didn’t know what their favorite movie was. I didn’t know their lifts. I didn’t know if anybody was competing locally, hardly nationally.

 

I was doing 20 other things at the time. I was running a weightlifting federation. I was bodybuilding. I was still weightlifting. I was doing a million seminars, I felt like, a month. I was traveling all the time. Then, I had this weightlifting team that was online.

 

I have to admit, man, it came a point where I felt like a fake, felt like a fraud. Like, “Man, I don’t even know who’s on my own team. This ain’t a team.” There was a lot of things in my life before I died at the zoo — as you know, I had a cardiac arrest — that were just going a direction that I didn’t want them to go.

 

I was doing things in bodybuilding that I highly regret. I think most people might know what I mean by that. I just kind of went darker and darker, and I took definitely some dark paths that I regret taking in bodybuilding.

 

I was drinking a lot. I was materialistic. The traveling was hurting my marriage. I tell you, man, having that cardiac arrest at the zoo and dying, falling flat on my face for 16 minutes and coming back to life was just the best thing that ever happened to me. It completely changed me.

 

Now, the barbell club is 100 percent different. I run it the exact [inaudible 11:26] . We cap it. If you go to the site right now to join my online team, it’s closed. I won’t even let you on because I want to make sure I have a relationship with every athlete.

 

To me, it’s not about the money. It’s not about anything like that. It’s just about being sincere as a weightlifting coach. I’ve grown a lot. I’ll tell you that. Since 2014 and now, I’ve grown a lot. I’m happy about that.

David TaoDavid Tao

Very few people in life get that hard reset button — it’s almost like unplugging your modem and plugging it back in — that you got there.

Jon NorthJon North

Right.

David TaoDavid Tao

We chatted, it was a few months after that. Was that September of 2016 that happened to you?

Jon NorthJon North

’16. Yeah, and thank you guys, BarBend. You guys were super awesome with announcements and updates on my recovery and when I was in the ICU and stuff. I do appreciate that.

David TaoDavid Tao

A lot of people were tuned in, and it was something that I think that you were very open about in the months after we sat down and you chatted with us on that livestream for that weightlifting. Just a few months after I think was your first time snatching 300 pounds since you’d come back from that.

Jon NorthJon North

Yeah, right.

David TaoDavid Tao

I got to say how’s your health these days? How are you feeling these days? What does your training look like based around that?

Jon NorthJon North

Big shout-out to Chris Harris from Freedom Weightlifting. Oh.

David TaoDavid Tao

Freedom Athletic Academy.

Jon NorthJon North

Move Fast Lift Heavy, I’m sorry. I messed that up. Move Fast Lift Heavy out in New York, Chris Harris out there, for having me out for that event.

 

My health is good. My heart has fully recovered. It’s back to normal. I’m healthy as an ox. I get check-ups all the time. I have the heart defibrillator in me, and it hasn’t gone off. That’s a good thing, of course. It’s not a pacemaker. It’s a defibrillator, so it’s just there in case.

 

I’m healthy, man. My daughter’s healthy. She had a heart issue. She still might need a heart transplant in the future, but as of right now, her heart’s progressing and stuff like that. It’s been definitely a tough few years, but it’s also been a blessed few years.

 

Sometimes when you’re going through something in life, you think, man, all this bad is happening. The Lord works in mysterious ways. We don’t know His full plan. Now, I look back and think I’m so glad that we went through all that. It’s such a blessing now. Sometimes in the moment, we just can’t see it.

 

Anybody listening right now, if they’re going through something, it could be one of the best things to ever happen to you.

David TaoDavid Tao

I think a lot of people are going through dark times right now. It’s been a long time since they’ve seen their families. Maybe they’re not training the way they’re used to. One thing I’ve heard from a lot of people is community is hard to come by with gym shut down, or people, or things not open.

 

Fitness and strength sports, we’re not all competing at an elite level. Most people listening to this podcast are never going to set a world record. They’re never going to set a state record. They might not ever set a gym record.

 

What attracts them isn’t necessarily the lonesome pursuit. For some people that’s it. Some people want that head down self improvement aspect. That wasn’t ever the purpose for me.

 

For me, it was finding a community of like-minded individuals and gutting it out together or in close proximity, even if you’re training alone. I think it’s an important thing to bring up during these times.

 

What does your training look like these days? Are you still lifting? What are you doing to stay fit, stay active?

Jon NorthJon North

My life in weightlifting is an athlete because my number one priority is coaching. I love my barbell club so dearly and my athletes. I’m just so blessed to be a weightlifting coach. USAW, too, because there was a big portion of Team Do where I was not with USAW. I was running the federation.

 

Me and USAW, we were butting heads. I’m so glad to have shaken a few hands in USAW. I’ve had a few sit-downs with people in USAW, and we hashed it out. I apologized about some things, and they did as well. We were men about it. I’m really glad to be back with USAW. It’s huge.

 

Me as an athlete, to sum up my career as an athlete in weightlifting is the Al Pacino “Godfather Part II.” Was it Part II or Part III where it’s the famous, “Right when I thought I was out…”

David TaoDavid Tao

 [laughs] “They pull be back in.”

Jon NorthJon North

“Back in.” I think it was III, when they were shooting up his crib. That’s my life. I actually haven’t been doing a lot of weightlifting at all. I’ve been focusing on coaching, family, life, things like that.

 

Now, I’m kind of throwing weight over my head again. I go in spurts. The bar’s always calling my name, whispering at me. I go on these stretches where I start to put together some hard training.

 

Something I struggle in my life, David, is balance and just being able to like, “OK, Jon. Just get in a few times a week. Focus on coaching, of course, and family, but continue doing weightlifting. Maybe do some local meets. Have fun with it.”

 

It’s like, man, if I’m not going to the top, I have struggled even doing it in the first place. I’m really working on balance in my life of being OK with just going in the gym a few days a week and getting some sessions in.

 

My relationship with being an athlete in weightlifting is so that scene in Godfather. I’m out. I’m in. I’m out. I’m in. That’s it.

David TaoDavid Tao

That’s interesting. I think that I’ve talked to athletes [inaudible 17:08] about it. It calls [inaudible 17:11] Cheryl Haworth pretty recently. She’s obviously one of the most accomplished lifters in American history. A true legend. A resume that just like…She won a bronze medal at the Olympics when she was 17. Start there. Start there, and expand on.

Jon NorthJon North

Start there. Yeah. She’s an amazing person, too.

David TaoDavid Tao

She was mentioning, she’s like, “You know, it’s 20 years later.” She was talking me recently, and she was like, “I’m feeling the call again of the platform, of getting back.”

Jon NorthJon North

Right. Yes. Look at Chad Vaughn. I was at 2019 Nationals competing, actually, in the A session. I was sitting there like, “Wow, how did I end up back here? This is crazy.” It took me five meets and one bomb out to get there, but I was there last year at 2019 Nationals.

 

I’m looking around. I got to admit, I’m looking around. I’m seeing the same [indecipherable 17:58] . I’m seeing a lot of the old-school weightlifters, and I’m like, man, we’re all still kind of here. Of course, there’s a lot of new lifters, but it is interesting how you grow in a sport. You go back to it after some time — because I left USAW for a while — and you’re like a lot of the OGs are still here.

 

That foundation, the root of the sport, is still there. I thought I was going to see a lot more new people walking around, strutting, their chest popped out.

 

Of course, there were some young bucks there that were swooping medals that kicked my butt. Don’t get me wrong. I took 10th, but I was just happy to be there. You know what I mean? Just to be there.

David TaoDavid Tao

It’s interesting to me because we see strength sports often as you have your prime, but there’s some people across these sports that have very long careers. I was fortunate enough to talk to David Ricks who’s a very famous powerlifter on a recent podcast.

 

His powerlifting history, his first national level meet was at 1982, and he set an open world record. Not a Master’s World Record, an open world record most recently in 2017. He’s still [indecipherable 19:09] in the open division at age 61.

Jon NorthJon North

Oh, my gosh. See, that’s the great thing. I was talking about this the other day. The great thing about an iron sports, the iron world that we live in, if you’re powerlifter, bodybuilder, strongman at weightlifting, CrossFit, whatever it might be, is the fact that it never ends. That’s the beauty. We have Masters Division. We have youth all the way to Masters Division.

 

I’ve an athlete named Stephen Powell who’s 61 years old. He just won gold at Masters PanAms. 61, this guy’s kicking ass and taking names. He trains fight four days a week. Four days a week on, I may add. I don’t have a Master’s Program.

 

We’re all in the same program. If you’re 14 or if you’re 61, you’re on the same program. They’re a little modified, but for the most part of the foundation is the same. I’m a big believer in team programming.

 

That’s the beauty is that even as I’m almost 35, which I’m almost a master, I sit here now. It’s not like football, when you’re done with football in high school or college, you’re pretty much done. Basketball, you’re done unless you do a rec league at the YMCA, you’re done.

 

To compete at a high level, it’s a never-ending story in a sport like weightlifting, and that’s so awesome.

David TaoDavid Tao

It’s always interesting to see too how quickly you can come back for people with that base of training. People who might have taken a couple of years off or even longer. There’s something about building that training and that foundation when you’re younger.

 

Now, that’s not to say people can’t get into the sport for the first time when they’re older. There’s some supremely talented masters athletes we’ve seen get into it when they’re older, but it’s always interesting to see folks like once a weightlifter, always a weightlifter. You just have to shake the rust off sometime [indecipherable 20:56] yourself.

Jon NorthJon North

Yeah, absolutely. A hundred percent

David TaoDavid Tao

I want to talk a little bit about your approach to coaching your team now and your online team now. It’s much smaller than it was. Much, much smaller it sounds like. It seems like it’s a much more intimate experience. You’re much closer with the lifters you have.

 

With so much dominating the kind of virtual fitness space these days, what are some things you do to make sure you build that close relationship with your lifters even at a distance or virtually?

Jon NorthJon North

If I tell everybody, someone’s going to copy me now.

David TaoDavid Tao

Oh, this is a secret source? [laughs]

Jon NorthJon North

This is a secret source. One thing that I do is I’m at all the meets. I make it my passion and effort to be at the meets. I don’t want to be one of these weightlifting coaches that just have an online weightlifting team, but don’t show up for the meets. I’m there. You go to AO Series, you go to AO, you go to Nationals, you go to the Arnold, I’m there. A lot of local meets.

 

I was in Reno a few weeks at a Hassle Free competition. I’m there. Any local meet I can get to, I’m there. Obviously, I can’t go to all of them, of course, but the big national-style meets, I’m there. I think that’s important.

 

Last year at the Arnold, we rolled in. I think we had 27 athletes that I coached. In Reno, we actually had just about 20. Just shy of 20; 19. That was a local competition. I got three athletes at nationals coming up in a few weeks.

 

My goal is to get all 74 athletes to compete at the Arnold next year in March. If they don’t want to compete, or let’s say they’re just not qualified or something like that because it’s an AO Series 1 technically, then I want at least everybody to go just to be a team.

 

So just team aspect. We do team meetings on Sunday on Facebook. I text, I call. I say this, David — I don’t want to ramble on about this — here’s my main thing. I don’t want to take shots on anybody, but if you’re an online weightlifting team, and you can’t pick up the phone and call your coach, you need to find a new team.

 

If you can’t pick up the phone and call your weightlifting coach directly and get a hold of him within the hour, or her, to me, that’s the separation between an online team and a legit team.

 

Look, I’m saying back in the Team Do days, nobody had my phone number. It wasn’t that close-knit community like it is now. If you are an athlete of mine and you call my phone, I’m answering the phone right away. That’s something that I strive for. It’s just having that personal relationship with my athletes.

David TaoDavid Tao

I appreciate you sharing that. Not to give away too much of the secret sauce you’ve built over a long period of time.

 

You mentioned that you’re a big believer in team programming. It’s something we’ve only talked lightly about on the podcasts before when we’ve had weightlifting coaches on. There are a lot of different opinions on this.

 

Having the same program or at least the same base program that’s slightly modified for lifters, but everyone is sharing that same template. I’m curious if you picked up, did you pick that up during your California strength days?

Jon NorthJon North

Yeah, [indecipherable 24:11] , David, on the head. My background is so heavily influenced by Coach Pendlay, of course, and Dave Spitz. Even in Hassle Free, Jackie Mah, Kevin and Paul Doherty. This is just team, team, team. It’s all team.

 

I’m open when I say I was spoiled rotten as a weightlifting athlete. These lifters, David, they go training in the garage by themselves. Salute to them. So much respect for a garage lifter in there grinding at 6:00 AM before work, or eight o’clock at night after work once they are done with the family dinner, by themselves. That is remarkable.

 

I was blessed to be on these big teams as you know. I was getting worked on by [indecipherable 25:03] . I was fully sponsored. Travel was taken care of. I was getting hot paths and ice baths. I had to work to get there. Don’t get me wrong. That’s a whole different podcast. The journey to get there is a whole different podcast, but I salute these lifters that didn’t have the team.

 

My goal is I want that team camaraderie that I had coming up with athletes across the country and the world. We have a few athletes overseas. How can I take that team camaraderie from an online team and basically bring everybody together?

 

The number one thing, I can talk about team meetings, phone calls and text messages, showing up all the meets. Our team Facebook page is just absolutely so fun. I think the number one thing that brings us together honestly is everybody being on the same program because it creates that unspoken understanding.

 

Everyone is going through the same stuff. Everyone is going through the same dark times. Everyone is talking about the program, talking about the workout, relating to each other. That just builds that tight-knit team that you’re really going for as a coach.

David TaoDavid Tao

Who in the strength community — it could be in weightlifting, it could be outside of weightlifting — do you look at these days with admiration or respect, or you look at them you see what they are doing and you are going, “OK, that’s something cool”?

Jon NorthJon North

Right now?

David TaoDavid Tao

Yeah, right now.

Jon NorthJon North

In weightlifting?

David TaoDavid Tao

It could be weightlifting. It could be broader. It could be something in a different strength sport. You like to say the iron game or iron sports. It could be something in the community. It could be general training. Somebody you look at or a few people you look at and you’re like, “Hey, I like what they are doing. It’s interesting.”

Jon NorthJon North

It’s a really good question. I first want to give two answers. The first two people that come up in my mind — when I say two people, I mean three — is the Doherty brothers, Kevin and Paul Doherty.

 

What they do out there at Hassle Free Barbell Club with the kids and, how they are so committed to the sport. They have so much passion. They have no social media. They’re high school teachers and coaches. They’re all about just getting kids into weightlifting and producing champions.

 

They just love the sport. You can feel that and see that. There needs to be more people like that. I really respect them.

 

Dave Spitz of Cal Strength, what he’s created from the first chapter of Cal Strength all the way to now is just 100 percent remarkable. It is amazing what Dave has done. Every weightlifting coach, every weightlifting team strives to be Cal Strength in their own identity. Cal Strength is the model.

David TaoDavid Tao

In the US, 100 percent.

Jon NorthJon North

In the US, yes. I give a lot of respect to Dave Spitz there. Some people new up in the game? I don’t know. Gosh. That’s a tough one. I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know, man. That’s tough. I don’t know.

 

I think Sean Waxman is the greatest commentator. He’s an amazing coach, of course, a legendary coach, but his commentary at the Worlds and stuff I love.

David TaoDavid Tao

It’s off the charts. Getting on the mic with him is the highlight of my year.

Jon NorthJon North

I love Sean Waxman so much. He’s an amazing human. That’d be my answer. I’m sorry I didn’t give you a better one. I don’t know a lot of the new cats, man. I keep my head down these days. I don’t want to ruffle feathers like I used to.

 

I used to be the bad boy of weightlifting, the Johnny Cash. I don’t want that anymore. I just want to get along with everybody and keep my head down.

David TaoDavid Tao

I will say in my experience, getting to know you during the end of that phase of your career, I think a lot of people might have seen you as the bad boy. I don’t think it was intentional on your part because you were never a tough guy to get along with.

 

Look, I work in media. I can piss people off as a profession. Sometimes I do. But you were never a tough guy to get along with. You did want to move quickly. You did want to push the boundaries, whether it was in your own training. When you started your federation, you were like, “Cool. We have a new federation. These are the competitions. Let’s go.”

Jon NorthJon North

Right, yeah.

David TaoDavid Tao

It’s you move very quickly. Sometimes — in anything, but especially in sports — people like to do it the way it’s always been done. Change takes patience. That’s something we develop as we get older. It’s something you seem to have developed a lot as you’ve gotten older, had kids, made your team smaller, work more closely with your athletes.

 

It’s easy for people to get labeled as the bad boy just because they want things to progress really quickly. I wonder if that was kind of what might have happened with you? I don’t know. I don’t want to speak too much for you, though.

Jon NorthJon North

The biggest thing that happened to me really too is, becoming a Christian, and finding God, and laying my sword down, and dying for Jesus. Honestly, that is the number one thing, and I’m glad you brought this up. I won’t rant about this too long.

 

I used to be very prideful. I used to be very cocky, confident. When I got saved and I laid my sword down, what I work on every day is not to be prideful, not to be cocky, not to boast.

 

Just live my life for God. Just walk as close as I can to Jesus, which is obviously impossible to walk right next to him. I fall short every day. I’m a wretched sinner, but I try darn hard. That’s been a big impact in my life as well, since we’re talking about it. It’s been a big one; the biggest one.

David TaoDavid Tao

I appreciate you sharing that, Jon. Everyone goes through their journey. This podcast is it’s not just about the numbers on the bar. It’s not just about your most recent PR. We’re trying to learn about the people behind the sports because that’s what makes it interesting.

 

Seeing someone snatch 400 pounds on television might get you in the gym. It doesn’t ever keep you there, it’s the people who do, I think, sometimes.

 

Jon, where is the best place for people to keep up to date with what you’re doing these days?

Jon NorthJon North

You can follow me at Attitude Nation. Let me see. That’s it. I got rid of Twitter.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

Probably a good thing. Probably a good thing overall.

Jon NorthJon North

[indecipherable 31:46] on there. You can just follow me at Attitude Nation. That is pretty much it. My website, doweightlifting.com, a real simple site. We sell straps, and I got a few seminars booked, and doing a few camps. I’ve got some clothing stuff up there. The podcast link is there. Some cool stuff there.

 

That’s pretty much it. If you want to come find me, I’m in Prineville, Oregon, out here in the desert of Oregon. You can swing by here.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

Jon, I really appreciate you taking the time. It’s always a pleasure to catch up. Well, it won’t be four years until the next time. I can promise you that.

Jon NorthJon North

I’d love to jump back on, David. This has been a great show, man. You’re an awesome interviewer by the way. I was doing a podcast myself for so long. Interviewing someone is an art form. It’s harder than people think. I just want to say on air right now that you’re a killer at this man. It’s awesome.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

I appreciate it, Jon. It’s easy when you get people with good stories who are willing to tell them. That’s the hardest thing. If you can get the good guests, hey, most of the other stuff falls into place.

All that to say I appreciate you taking the time, and we’re really excited to share this perspective and some of your story with our audience. Appreciate it, man.

Jon NorthJon North

Cool. Hey thanks, David. Appreciate it.

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