Arm yourself with the knowledge to be confident in the gym, the skill to understand any workout design, and the power to crush any challenge.

Here’s a question for you…

  • Have you ever started a fitness program only to quit after getting bored or seeing no results?
  • Have you ever walked into a gym motivated to workout but found yourself uncomfortable in the gym environment?
  • Are you a Soldier who is always nervous when taking the APFT?

These are the questions that motivated me to create this place. There are plenty of fitness professionals with slick websites and fancy credentials out there; I’m just not one of them. Like you, I’m just a guy on a fitness journey.

Hi, I’m Justin (aka. “JM”), and I would like to personally welcome you to Barbell Journey. I’m the husband to a beautiful wife, father to an incredible daughter, and mentor to an amazing group of Soldiers that inspire me to be just a little bit better every day.

I’m not a fitness guru. As a professional warfighter fitness is an integral part of my life’s journey. Other than a few exceptional moments (graduating basic combat and airborne school, or that time I ran a marathon) I feel like I struggled with fitness most of my life. But I know how to set a goal and I enjoy the process, the struggle, of accomplishing it (I also enjoy celebrating the accomplishment).

Barbell Journey is about me. It’s a collection of thoughts, advice, research and experimentation in endurance, tactical fitness, strength training, and bodybuilding. I use the gym as my personal research and experimentation lab where I work to achieve a perfect balance between being an instrument of war and day-to-day life. I believe it is provision of knowledge (instead of bullshit marketing) that will be the real key to successful avoidance of misinformation, disinformation and the flat-out lies of the fitness industry. There are no magic bullets, potions, or short term dietary interventions that will turn you superhuman.

You’ve read this far…

That must mean you are ready to make a change. Well, you’re in the right place. I’m not a trainer. I’m not here to whimsically dispense professional or medical advice. But I am here to teach, coach, and mentor. I’m here to point you in the right direction when you have questions, to help pick you up and get you moving when you need a little motivation, to help you find your goals, and to help you achieve them decisively.

Here at Barbell Journey, I’m building the fitness website that I always wanted. Full-disclosure. I’ll show you what works (and doesn’t work) for me, teach you about the training principles I follow, point out my successes, failures, and struggles, and try to debunk the bro-science taught in the gym and on the PT field. I’ll even share with you my exact daily training regimen, every rep, every weight, every goal, and every result.

Today, I'm starting a @BarbellJourney to become smarter, stronger, and harder to kill. Click To Tweet

Three things to do next…

  1. Jump start your fitness journey with a free, simple weight training workout.
  2. Connect with me by leaving a comment on a blog post. I’d love to hear from you.
  3. Consider contributing to the journey and get Insider Access.


Why is this site called “Barbell Journey”?

Because fitness is nothing more than a journey. Most people are not where they want to be. Even people that workout everyday have goals in mind that they want to achieve. So don’t worry about where you are starting from, and don’t let where you are today discourage you from getting to where you want to be tomorrow. Everyone starts from somewhere. So enjoy it and have some fun.

So you’re in the Army?

Yes. I’m a Chief Warrant Officer in the U.S. Army with 16 years of Active Duty service. Find me on Instagram for more.

Isn’t the Army full of super-fit people?

Yes. We call those guy’s Rangers and Special Forces Operators, and they are very unique and talented athletes. But an overwhelming majority of the Army is just regular people from all walks of life that have a desire to serve their country. Not everyone in the Army is blessed with the genetics of Captain America. And that’s okay. Being a Soldier is about managing your movement patterns, stress, sleep, and overall health.

“The important thing for people to recognize is that not everyone wants to be a [bodybuilder]. Not everyone has the desire to stand on stage, to stay up there on stage and win Mr. Universe or Mr. America or the World’s Best Built Manand all of those kind of titles.  But they can apply the same principles.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger

Don’t Soldiers already work out everyday?

Yes. You see, Army Physical Readiness Training (PRT) is the same one-size-fits-all “fast food fitness” sold to us on late-night TV infomercials. You can get on that bus and it will take you somewhere, but you’re not the one driving. Eventually you’ll get dropped off and it probably won’t be where you wanted to go. It probably won’t even be the place you thought you were going. This is because you have to get on and get off at the same place as everyone else.

Is there a secret to passing the APFT?

Yes. In combat everything is broken down into hasty and deliberate action. Hasty action is defensive in nature and often taken in response to an event in order to win despite the enemy’s terms.

“I have to take an APFT, so I guess I better workout.”

Deliberate action is offensive in nature and is taken in order to win on your own terms.

“I’m going to master physical fitness so I can DOMINATE the next PT test.”

It seems so obvious now, but it took me so long to figure out. This is because most people are content with mediocrity. They don’t want to do what it takes to make themselves better, because it’s hard. I know because I was one of them.

Just enough effort to pass the APFT was all I aimed for. Just enough effort to get by, this time, and yet struggle just as hard the next time. I was caught in a cycle of always passing yet always worried about failing. I spent more time trying to figure out how to “game the system” than trying to educate and train myself to do it right. It’s a terrible, stressful feeling.