If you have ever visited the Atlas Strength Shop in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, or if you have ever checked out our social media pages, you have likely heard of our weekly event called Strongman Saturday. This event has become my favorite day of the week, and I am sure other members of the gym feel the same way. Saturdays are the social day for all the members of the gym. We all have our own lives, responsibilities and schedules, and Saturdays give us an opportunity to hang out and train together when other times may not be convenient for that. Strongman Saturday, however, is more than just an opportunity to hang out amongst friends. It is a reflection of a set of values and ambitions instilled by the owner, Cameron Ray.
A School of Strength Training
There are a lot of warehouse, box style gyms across the country today. Just about any town with a sizable population is bound to have at least one non-commercial style gym or boutique style gym. Sometimes these gyms are catering to a specific type of clientele. One gym can be a powerlifting gym, and that is it. Another gym might only cater to crossfit competitors. The other gym down the road may only be designed with olympic lifting in mind. A lot of these styles of gyms only like to cater to a specific style of strength training, and sometimes these gyms have a specific culture and atmosphere driven by the members. To outsiders and beginners, that can be very intimidating. On some occasions, it’s possible to find a gym that has a downright toxic environment. The Atlas Strength Shop strives to be just that, a strength shop. The goal is to provide a training ground for any and all strength sports enthusiast and style of strength training. The purpose is to provide a home for anyone who enjoys strength sports instead of only catering to specific people. Obviously, strongman is sort of the bread and butter of the Atlas Strength Shop, since so many of its members compete in the sport. We even have a professional strongwoman, Lauren Wells. However, there exists a spectrum of athletes across all strength sports. We have members who compete in powerlifting, crossfit, the Highland Games and olympic lifting. Through this non-exclusivity approach, it has become possible to be exposed to and participate in several disciplines of strength training. Through sharing philosophies and training ideals, anyone who takes the time to listen to their fellow members has an opportunity to better themselves and be a more well rounded athlete. On Strongman Saturday, it’s a sight to behold. On the turf, you will see someone training with the Husafell or the yoke walk. Behind them you’ll have someone training with the Atlas stones. In the corner, you’ll see a powerlifter squatting six plates. On one of our platforms you can watch someone pulling heavy deadlifts, and at the same time on the other platform see someone doing heavy power snatches. In front of them will be a crossfitter...doing whatever it is that they’re doing, and outside someone is pulling a truck, and someone else is slinging sandbags over a high bar. The Atlas Strength Shop has become a strength enthusiast’s paradise.
Building a Community
The Atlas Strength Shop is more than just a home for meatheads and strength junkies. It is about bringing people together. The world around us does a pretty good job of pitting us against each other and tearing us apart. At Atlas, we strive to put those things aside to build a community. There aren’t many rules at the gym, but respect for the facility and respect for everyone in the gym are non-negotiable. Through strength and competition, we try to build a sense of camaraderie and friendship. All egos are to be left at the door; the only things necessary to be a part of the Atlas community are a strong work ethic and good attitude. We strive to build an environment that not only promotes gains in strength, but develops a sense of self confidence and personal responsibility and accountability. On Strongman Saturday, this is on full display. There, you will see quite an interesting mixture of personalities and backgrounds. Everyone is training, talking and competing together. At the end of the day, everyone there is just trying to have fun and be a stronger, healthier individual. Because of Strongman Saturday, people who may have never interacted for one reason or another, come together to train. Not only do these people train together, you will see them laughing, talking and having a great time. This kind of atmosphere is great for beginners who have never set foot in a strength facility. It’s easy enough to get a membership at a corporate gym, but a lot of people want to be a part of something a little bit more personal. Sometimes, warehouse style gyms can be a bit intimidating and overwhelming. It can be difficult to be a part of a group when you either don’t know what you’re doing, or you aren’t advanced enough to participate. Our goal is to create an environment that is fostering growth from the ground up. It’s easy to throw a bunch of equipment in a room and have people train there. To build a community that focuses on development and growth is entirely different. This requires the cooperation from everyone who steps in the front door. It does not matter if someone is an elite level lifter or someone totally green; everyone at Atlas is there to grow and be a part of the culture. I’ve seen an advanced powerlifter strip hundreds of pounds off the barbell to teach a beginner how to squat. I’ve seen seasoned strongmen go out of their way to accommodate someone who couldn’t perform the same exercise with the same intensity. Everyone watches each other’s backs, and everyone is trying to be supportive and encouraging. We don’t allow anyone to tear another person down for any reason.
Promoting the Sport of Strongman
The sport of strongman is still very new in the state of Louisiana. One of the goals of Strongman Saturday is to promote the sport at the state level. We openly invite anyone from any sport to come out and try strongman. There is something primal and simplistic about strongman that makes it a lot of fun. Don’t get me wrong; there are a lot of skills and techniques involved in strongman, but there is still a level of simplicity that makes it attractive to just about anyone. The gist of just about everything is can you pick it up and can you move it? The state of Louisiana is home to a lot of stellar athletes and strong individuals who might find enjoyment in strongman competitions. It is our goal to use Strongman Saturday as an opportunity to expose the sport to athletes who could potentially help the sport grow in Louisiana and maybe represent the state at a national level. It would be a disservice to do otherwise. There are a lot of people in Louisiana with natural physical abilities who may not want to be a part of team sports but who may like to try strongman. Strongman Saturday gives them a chance to come out and give the sport a try. More often than not, I find that people tend to enjoy it. It would be very interesting to see what a freak athlete could do within the sport of strongman, and Louisiana is home to quite a few freak athletes.
If you are someone you know wants to try their hand at strongman, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your next visit. Be sure to like our Facebook page here, and follow us on Instagram here to keep up with all the happening at the Atlas Strength Shop. If you need some high quality energy supplements to fuel your next training session or event, check out veteran owned strikeforceenergy.com and use promo code ATLASSTRENGTH at checkout to get 20% off of your order.
On October 30, 2021, the Atlas Strength Shop will be hosting its second annual strongman competition, the Rougarou Classic. If you are interested in competing, check out the Facebook page here, or visit ironpodium.com for registration information. If you own a business and are looking for a chance to expose your company to a new clientele, send an email to email@example.com for sponsorship opportunities.
“Sure I am of this, that you have only to endure, to conquer.” -Winston Churchill