Lifting for Youth

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Lifting has many benefits for youth. We put together a short PDF to explain these benefits, why lifting works, and also to dispel some common misconceptions.

If you’d like a copy, please email and we’ll gladly send you one!

Progress Report – October 2014

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Yet another month has flown by since the last Progress Report! As with the last one, we’ll take the opportunity to share what we’re working on at the moment.

NCCP Weightlifting Coaching and Technical Official clinics

The clinics are officially booked! The host venue will be Alchemy CrossFit and they will run December 12, and December 13-14. The clinics are open to anyone with an interest in weightlifting, though probably most beneficial to current coaches at CrossFit or chain gyms.

Technical Official Clinic Registration (December 12):

NCCP Weightlifting Competition Introduction Clinic Registration (December 13-14):



New #barbell day! That spin…

View on Instagram

We have a nice new IWF standard 20kg barbell to play with. A kilo set of competition plates is on its way so we’ll soon be able to train with some nice equipment (no excuses anymore!). Once there is demand we’ll look for an IWF 15kg barbell as well.

Business Planning

UToronto offered entrepreneurs a chance to take one of their business courses in exchange for blogging about the experience. Hamilton Barbell applied for a spot and got one! It’s been very information-dense and yet another load on top of a busy schedule, but I can say it has been worth it so far. There are two weeks left in the course and you can find the posts at Paul’s site,

Content, Content, Content

Still on its way! The last month has been hectic and so not as much has been released as hoped. We’re full of quotables for #motivationMonday and #wisdomWednesdays, so expect a lot more if you follow our twitter feed. With our own equipment we have the opportunity to move around and shoot promotional content ‘on location’ which will be fun – though we’ll have to move fast before winter rolls in!

Progress Report – September 2014

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Hard to believe a month has flown by since the last Progress Report! As with the last one, we’ll take the opportunity to share what we’re working on at the moment.

OWA Sanctioned

Hamilton Barbell is recognized as an official weightlifting club by the Ontario Weightlifting Association! This means that athletes can join Hamilton Barbell and compete in official sanctioned meets. We’ll set up a page with competition information shortly.

OPA Application

The next affiliation we are pursuing is with the Ontario Powerlifting Association. Athletes do not need to be a member of a club in order to compete, but we feel there is benefit to being part of a team that can support the competitive experience.

NCCP Weightlifting Coaching and Technical Official clinics

Hamilton Barbell is organizing both coaching and technical official clinics in Hamilton this December. The host venue will be Alchemy CrossFit. The clinics are open to anyone with an interest in weightlifting, though probably most beneficial to current coaches at CrossFit or chain gyms.

Coaching Certifications

It turns out the qualifications for full certification are more stringent than previously thought. Prospective coaches will have to put together a coaching portfolio for 4-8 months, which is then reviewed by experienced coaches. Only once that is complete can one be ‘Certified’. Hamilton Barbell fully supports the NCCP pathway because it demonstrates the quality required to progress through the system. We expect to have fully certified coaches by the end of the year.

Content, Content, Content

We’ve been hard at work creating informational content to promote barbell sports and resistance training. The first is a free PDF which will be sent out directly to youth groups and high schools, and also be available on our website. We’ve also set up our social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, etc.) so with our laptops, smartphones, cameras and mics, we’ll be sharing our love for barbells all over the net.

Business Planning

Hamilton Barbell is officially a registered company. Its path is still unclear but it was a necessary step in order to protect the business’ name. We have a basic business plan underway as well as a marketing/branding strategy but we’re still learning as we go along. UToronto is offering entrepreneurs a chance to take one of their business courses in exchange for blogging about the experience. We’ve applied for a spot – as you can see we don’t mind sharing our experiences as we grow – and we’re always glad to accept help.

Mohawk College on Google Maps

Back to School – Mohawk

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Welcome back to school Mohawk students!

Are you looking to lift weights? Wondering what the fitness options are near campus? Here’s some places to check out:

David Braley Athletic & Recreation Centre (map)
135 Fennell Ave W Hamilton, ON L9C 1E9
(905) 575-2072
Fitness Centre

Crossfit Opus (map)
730 Upper James St Hamilton, ON L9C 2Z9
(905) 575-7785

GoodLife Fitness (map)
883 Upper Wentworth St Hamilton, ON L9A 4Y6
(905) 575-1010

Give each of them a try – most will offer a trial class as well as special student pricing so you can reach your fitness goals!

Map of McMaster in Hamilton Ontario

Back to School – McMaster

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Welcome back to school McMaster students!

Are you looking to lift weights? Wondering what the fitness options are near campus? Here’s some places to check out:

David Braley Athletic Centre (map)
1280 East Main Street, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON L8S 4E8
(905) 525-9140 ext. 27644
Marauder Athletics

Alchemy CrossFit (map)
67 Frid Street, Hamilton, ON L8P 4M3
(289) 389-3595

CrossFit Odeon (map)
816 King St. W, Hamilton, ON L8S 1K1
(905) 730-9107

Steel City CrossFit Hamilton / World Gym Hamilton (map)
1685 Main St W, Hamilton, ON L8S 1G5
(905) 577-0626 /

Give each of them a try – most will offer a trial class as well as special student pricing so you can reach your fitness goals!

Hamilton Barbell Weightlifting team logo

Weightlifting in Hamilton

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Today we are happy to announce that Hamilton Barbell is officially a registered club with the Ontario Weightlifting Association!

To compete in sanctioned events, the OWA requires that athletes register with them. In order to do that, the athlete must first be a member of an OWA-affiliated club.

We are happy to be the first to offer Hamilton a weightlifting club – we want to support local athletes interested in pursuing competitive weightlifting, and grow the community!

We are in the process of developing and scheduling programs for competitive and interested lifters with NCCP-trained coaches. There is a lot that goes on before and during an official event. We want to provide those resources to those who would benefit from this coaching. Stay tuned to or watch for news on Twitter or Facebook.

Until then, email for information about registration. We’d love to welcome you to the team!

Designing the Brand

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Hamilton Barbell was originally created to accomplish a social mission: to get more people fit by way of barbell training. We think it’s important to create a brand that communicates what this mission means to us.

A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that account for a consumer’s decision — Seth Godin

The Name

It is obvious in retrospect, but Hamilton Barbell wasn’t the first choice. Initially it was tempting to follow the ‘epic name’ path (using words like Elite, Machine, Victory, etc). These types of names evoke a certain perception of the culture – a focus on hard work and high performance. Since we have a broader community goal, however, these words did not feel inclusive enough.

Hamilton is Steeltown; the Hammer – again, very industrial connotations. It is also known as the Ambitious City, and that’s something that was fun to work with. There are a few sketches floating around for the Ambitious Barbell Club (ABC).

In the end, the choice came back to the most simple: Hamilton Barbell Club. Then we made it simpler: Hamilton Barbell.

The Logo

Work for the logo happened in tandem with picking a name. In fact, the creation of our current logo is what sealed the deal for the name – they just worked well together.

During research, I found that many barbell club logos are aggressive, bold and retro in nature to represent how intense they are.


The challenge:


  • we want to represent Hamilton
  • the logo should include a barbell


  • we want to convey inclusiveness, community etc
  • we want to represent youthfulness, playfulness
  • we want to be clean and modern

Research led to the cinquefoil (translates to ‘five leaves’) – a marque of Clan Hamilton which is found on the city’s flag and coat of arms. The links around the cinquefoil represent the city’s neighbourhoods.


Using the cinquefoil as the focal point, a broad stroke connects two links – now weight plates – into a barbell shape.


The logotype process was similar. When looking at existing logos, the font choice was usually large and bold, sometimes with a vintage feel.


I looked for a lighter font that still packed a little impact. The search took me to the League of Moveable Type and the Ostrich Sans font-family. A balance of modern and classic combined with an open license? Sign me up.


Now here it is together in the original colours – yellow/royal blue:


My first thought was that a gold/yellow logo won’t print well on white paper, so it would always be tied to a background colour. The gold did convey a very happy mood so we didn’t want to lose it altogether – instead we determined a colour scheme that remained lighthearted and that would work well behind a gold logo, or work as the primary colour itself.


Identity System

Generally speaking, a brand’s visual identity is the overall look of its communications. Consistency is key when using elements to create distinction, such as specific fonts, colours, and graphics, including the logo.

All elements of the logo are available in vector format, which allows for crisp outputs at any size necessary. The mark and type work well on their own, but together also allows for a system that is easily identifiable. Aside, as an exercise I quickly whipped up what it might look like for other organizations:


The barbell is a constant, acting both figuratively and literally as an umbrella, under which the organization can put their unique mark. The type is simple, with the location emphasized with a different stroke. You can see that the order of words is a matter of preference; yet all logos are clearly from the same family.

This consistency translates well over mediums.



This was a very exciting project to work on. I feel like the logo is successful in representing Hamilton and strength training in a clean, modern and approachable fashion. Of course, a lot of hard work remains to build it into a respected brand that evokes quality and community – and I’m looking forward to that journey too.

This post was first published at:

Progress Report – August 2014

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Hamilton Barbell is still very much a fledgling idea, but the ball is rolling and picking up speed. We’d like to share what we’re working on at the moment.

Registration with OWA

The application and payment for the club has been sent in to the Ontario Weightlifting Association for approval. Once it clears, Hamilton will have an official weightlifting club! This means that athletes can join Hamilton Barbell and compete in official sanctioned meets.

Registration with SportHamilton

SportHamilton is a community group dedicated to the development and promotion of quality amateur sport for all in the Hamilton community. Hamilton Barbell has applied to be included as a representative and advocate for Powerlifting and Weightlifting.

NCCP Weightlifting Coaching and Technical Official clinics

Hamilton Barbell is looking to host both coaching and technical official clinics in Hamilton later this year. Tentatively aiming for December 2014, location TBD.

Coaching Certifications

We have members actively pursuing coaching certifications – by the end of September we will have an NCCP ‘Certified’ Instructor Beginner coach and an NCCP ‘Trained’ Competition Introduction coach (both for Weightlifting) in our ranks.


Hamilton Barbell will be presenting at CoderCamp on Wednesday August 20th at The Pheasant Plucker. CoderCamp is a Software Hamilton gathering of local professionals exchanging knowledge – usually about code! This time we’ll be sharing knowledge about fitness for a demographic that spends its 9-5 seated at a desk. Tickets available for free at:


This past weekend a group from Alchemy CrossFit brought a barbell out to Bayfront Park and threw together a few fun workouts. It caught a bit of attention and smiles from passers-by. It was a great time and hopefully something that we can organize on a more frequent basis.

Financial Planning

All of this so far has been achieved with minimal financial input from each individual towards their own initiative (certification, club registration, website, etc.) As we look to host larger events for the community, we’re looking to evolve in such a way that Hamilton Barbell can sustain itself financially. To that end, a big thanks goes to Hamilton Economic Development for their help and guidance as we navigate those waters.

Hello Hamilton!

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Welcome to Hamilton Barbell!

This is still a fledgling idea born over burgers after a day at the gym – to provide a structured format by which youth can be introduced to some lesser-known sports: powerlifting and weightlifting, as well as preparing them for an overall healthy, active lifestyle. Eventually a more formal document will be produced to explain our vision, but for now I’d like to give a brief overview.

A call to action

  • Recently, a study found that Hamilton had one of the highest poverty rates in Ontario
  • Our society is facing an obesity epidemic based on increasingly sedentary lifestyles
  • As a result, there is a shortfall in ‘physical literacy’ within youth and adults alike

Sport as a solution

Organized play at a young age is key to develop skills that translate to a healthy, active life. Luckily, there are a myriad of opportunities with traditional sports around the community (hockey, soccer, baseball, etc). There is room for improvement, however:

  • Some sports can be prohibitively expensive, more so for youth in a high-poverty region
  • Some systems may overemphasize competition and/or sport-specific skill development too early, resulting in:
    • Athlete burnout (the sport is no longer fun)
    • Lack of overall physical preparedness (due to focus on very specific skills)
  • Venues that would prepare them (gyms/camps) are either targeted towards adults (with means) or are seasonal (eg. summer camp)

A simple tool

Mastering the use of a barbell develops nearly all of the foundational movements and body awareness to be successful in most sports. It is for this reason that professional athletes from figure skating to football incorporate this training into their routines. Most say they wish they had found the sport earlier, so they wouldn’t have to spend so much time starting from scratch, and balancing that with advanced development in their sport.

Hamilton Barbell’s (envisioned) role

1. To promote the sports of Weightlifting and Powerlifting to Hamilton’s youth and larger community

These sports are simple to learn, and take a lifetime to master. We’d like to share the love we have for our sport to those who may not know it exists, or who may have misconceptions about the sports. We would like to be at the forefront of weightlifting/powerlifting advocacy in the region as they begin a renaissance across the country.

2. To provide a space and opportunity for youth to learn barbell techniques

There is a gap in what is currently offered for young boys and girls as far as barbell sports are concerned.

  • Large gyms may be affordable, but members are left to their own devices (no training), or worse, youth aren’t allowed near free-weights
  • Smaller gyms cost more almost by necessity, since they have fewer members. As a result, the majority are geared towards affluent adults, leaving out the youth demographic

Hamilton Barbell’s vision is to close that gap and get more youth involved so that they may get appropriate training at an affordable price.

3. To champion the use of the Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD) methodology in the community

Canadian Sport For Life is developing an LTAD methodology in partnership with each sport’s governing body. The aim is to create pathways “whereby athletes follow optimal training, competition, and recovery regimens from childhood through all phases of adulthood.”

We recognize that it may not be appropriate to drill advanced movement patterns into a young athlete – rather, we would use the LTAD methodology to determine what type of training is most suitable. For very young athletes, this would be an emphasis on general fitness, with a bit of lighthearted  lifting techniques thrown in. As the athlete advances, so to can the training.

Should an athlete decide they would like to focus on another sport, ideally they will be in a position where they are physically literate, and have the basic lifting tools available to them as they continue to train.

If an athlete decides that they would like to pursue competitive lifting, Hamilton Barbell would like to connect that athlete with the provincial and national governing bodies, as well as provide advanced training leading up to competitions.

And if an athlete just wants to have fun, then we’d like to provide an atmosphere where they can challenge themselves and be fit for life.


I’d love to hear any feedback – send an email to; find us on twitter @hamiltonbarbell; or leave a comment below!