Coach Spotlight: Adam Skillin

"The fact that it feels heavy is entirely a function of your own mind. Treat the bar like it's afraid of you, not the other way around. Don't get loose or sloppy, but don't be so tentative that you make everything harder than it really is."

Coach: Adam Skillin

What do your parents or spouse call you when you are in trouble?


What actor or actress would you like to play you in a movie?

Scarface-era Pacino.

How long have you been coaching?

Professionally since 2014. With Barbell Logic since 12/1/2016.

Have you had other careers, or currently work in another field? What are they?

I was a Vice President in a community bank (not as prestigious a rank as it sounds), and head of the consumer lending department. I’ve been a full-time barbell strength coach since 8/1/2018, in large part thanks to BLOC!

What are some of your favorite things to do when you’re not working or training?

Getting food and drinks with my wife (where I usually get to eat my own meal and half of hers). Jukebox takeovers. Playing with my dog, Tiberius.

What is your favorite lift?


Where do you live?

Central Jersey, a place that may or may not actually exist, depending on who you ask.

What is your favorite animal print?

Giraffe. Helps me pretend I’m taller.

Gym cat, dog or something else?


How long have you been training?

“Lifting” for ~11 years, training for 7+

What is the most embarrassing moment from any dark days of “lifting” that you may have had?

Smashed myself in the face with a rubber medicine ball “doing abs” one time. Got a fat, bloody lip out of the deal.

What do you love about training? 

That feeling of racking the last set of squats and knowing I don’t have to do them again for at least 2 days.

What do you love about coaching? 

The quantifiable progress I can help clients achieve. Hearing stories about how their newly earned strength made a difference in their daily lives is especially rewarding.

What lifting achievement are you most proud of?

I’m probably most proud of my consistency. I guess I am also pretty proud of having deadlifted 531 lbs in competition at 160 bodyweight, even if my segments and levers are advantageous.

Would you rather magically increase each of your PRs by 20%, or magically increase one of your lifts by 100%?

Magically increase each of my PRs by 20%.

Would you rather not have to eat food and have your ideal body composition, or get to eat 6,000 calories per day and have your ideal body composition?

Get to eat 6,000 calories per day and have my ideal body composition.

How many lifting-related shirts do you own? 


What or who gets you to train when your motivation is really low?

Contemplating what all of my favorite BLOC clients would think if I missed a workout. Also, self-deception. I promise myself I can quit after the first exercise or lift less than prescribed if I just get into the gym. But then I keep telling myself to do one more set as called for in the program until I get it all done. Should I not admit that? I feel like I’m confessing to a mental illness.

Pre-workout of choice

Observing other gym members doing various nonsense. Watching pushups on 3 medicine balls beats ammonia every time.

What are some of your go-to lifting songs?

What is the most embarrassing song you like?

“Dancing On My Own” by Robyn.

What’s one of your personal lifting superstitions?

I would call this more of a compulsive obsession. Or maybe an obsessive compulsion. But bumper plate hubs all have to be placed on the bar with the bolts facing in, and barbell collars need to be oriented the same way.

Do you plan on competing in a meet this year? If so, what are your goals?

Probably. Gotta plan for and work towards a squat over 450, deadlift over 550, and press over 215.

What have you learned about yourself from barbell training?

What is this, a job interview? Don’t I already work for you people?! I guess I’d have to say how far left of the bell curve I am at neuromuscular efficiency. I’m very much a grinder, not an exploder.

Who is someone you’d love to try barbell training and why?

Is this a trick question? I think everybody should try barbell training.

Dead or alive, who would you love to lift with?

DJ Pauly D, for obvious reasons.

If BLOC made a yearbook, which do you think you’d most likely win?

Least skilled at the use of social media

How much do you love to eat? 1 – It’s a chore … 5 – What are we eating next???


What’s your favorite meal? Please use as much detail as possible.

There’s a local family-owned and operated Mexican restaurant that makes their own corn tortillas (completely different than the store-bought) and serves them on the side with their signature dish, which is a big steak, topped with a bunch of chicken breast, topped with a bunch of chorizo sausage, topped with 4 shrimp served with rice, beans, and guacamole. It’s pretty rich in both flavor and macros. But my actual favorite is obviously anything my wife cooks.

What was your favorite childhood TV show?

Diff’rent Strokes. Fun fact, Alan Thicke wrote the theme song.

What is a movie that you have watched over and over and over again?

Fight Club, the greatest philosophical work of my generation.

Tell us your best dad joke. 

The past, the present, and the future walked into a bar… It was tense.

What advice do you have for a new lifter? Or a lifter who’s been doing this a while? 

There’s so many. Technique is critical, but so is not allowing the perfect to be the enemy of the good. Walk the fine line between recklessness and paralysis by analysis. Turn your brain dial down to 6.5 when it’s time to get the set done.


The fact that it feels heavy is entirely a function of your own mind. Treat the bar like it’s afraid of you, not the other way around. Don’t get loose or sloppy, but don’t be so tentative that you make everything harder than it really is.


Consistency is the most important aspect of training in the long-term, assuming your programming and technique aren’t awful. But if you can’t train, do what you can do. If you have an injury, work travel, or some other life event that means you can’t train, show up at the gym anyway. Play with the machines. Challenge yourself, even if it’s only a couple 20-minute sessions a week.


Buy the good shoes, belts, and other lifting accessories. The same goes for equipment if you have a home gym. You’ll end up replacing them with the good stuff sooner than you think and the good stuff will last.

Anything else you would like to share with your BLOC brethren and sistren? 

In the immortal words of Bill S. Preston, Esq and and “Ted” Theodore Logan, “Be Excellent to Each Other.”




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