Interview with Hardcore Strength and Conditioning Specialist Travis Stoetzel

Happy Monday!  I got a killer expert interview for you today from my man Travis Stoetzel.

Travis is a highly unconventional hardcore strength and conditioning specialist that focuses in on serious athletes and trainees to help them improve their overall performance and physique.

He specializes training athletes specifically in aggressive sports such as wrestling, MMA, and football and does this with his unique “Aggressive Strength Method” of training.

He owns a gym in Omaha NE, called The Forged Athlete where he helps athletes and serious trainees alike accomplish their performance and physique enhancement goals.

For more information on Travis, go to his personal blog at and look into all of the other articles, posts, and videos available or grab his FREE training system, the Lean and Mean Blueprint at

Take it away, Travis –

1. Travis, what exactly is your main program all about?

My main program Bags, Bells, and Bodyweight is first and foremost geared towards improving performance. So increases in strength, power, and conditioning all at once are my main focuses with that. Typically I focus on blending together different modalities of training such as barbell training, power and explosive training, kettlebells, sandbags, and of course body weight.

With this, drops in body fat are normal as well as gains in lean mass. One of my main focuses besides improving overall performance is improving your mindset. Tough workouts will not only make you stronger physically, I’m a HUGE believer in the mental side of things.

2. Your workouts incorporate all different forms of training – body weight, kettlebells, metabolic conditioning – and they’re HARD! What exercise methods have you studied and how do they influence your work?

From a young age I’ve been involved with bodyweight training. This was due to me being involved in wrestling at a young age. My dad got me hooked on pull ups, push ups, and sprinting very early. I LOVED it all. When I got into Middle School, that’s when I started training with weights and fell in love even more with training.

After college was done and I was finished playing in competitive sports, that when I started training with other tools such as kettlebells and sandbags. I wish I would have known about these strength tools back when I was in school!

Now, I continue to travel around to different seminars learning new things. I’ll forever be a student of strength. If there’s been a workshop or seminar on training, I’ve more then likely been there… Strongman, Olympic Lifting, Kettlebells, Sandbags, Bodyweight, Gymnastics… I love it all and I’ll forever be devoted to improving my craft.

3. Who exactly is your program for? As in is your program only for advanced folks? Or do you provide workout/exercise modifications for people who are still building up their overall fitness level?

Since my training programs are geared mainly towards performance, most people think that they are only for athletes but it’s my belief that everyone is an athlete at heart. We all need to be able to move freely, we all need to be strong, and we all need to be conditioned.

With that in mind, my programs are mainly geared towards the hardcore fitness enthusiast and power / combat athlete such as football players, wrestlers, and fighters. My programs are not typically for beginners.

With beginners, I direct them towards developing a solid base level of strength and conditioning via bodyweight training.  You can NEVER be too strong or conditioned with your own bodyweight, but that is where you need to always start in building your level of fitness.

4. What type of results have individuals experienced with your program? Could you provide a few examples?

The results that are produced through my training programs go across the board.

One client was able to shed 25 lbs of fat and at the same time add back on 10 lbs of muscle. In the same time he improved his levels of strength, power, and overall conditioning. He started from being an out-of-shape college slacker to being accepted into the Marine OCS program and winning the “Gung Ho” award that was out of 300 different candidates.  He was also able to complete the infamous, Spartan “Death Race”.

As I mentioned before, my programs not only make you stronger, more explosive, leaner, and highly conditioned physically, they will also transform you mentally as well.

There’s been literally hundreds of testimonials I’ve received over the years from clients online but one of the best I can remember is from a man I will call RD to keep his identity private. His results and feedback from my programs have truly left me speechless and proud beyond belief.

When he first found me via my YouTube channel, he was not able to complete a single workout I posted within my videos.  He stuck with it and after a while, he took the next step and invested into my program, Warrior Ripped. In short, RD lost a total of 45 lbs, gained back a solid 15 lbs of muscle and dropped 20% bodyfat going from 36% down to 16% in 12 weeks. I can remember how serious he was as he would email me every week on his progress. He told me my program not only changed his life, it saved his life. Before starting he was in a dark place at the time and was severely depressed. Building up a stronger and leaner body helped him gain his confidence of old back and now has a totally new outlook on life.
That’s what it’s all about!

Another testimonial I like to share is with one of my clients that was able to make it just a few match away from qualifying for the 2012 US Olympic Wrestling Team. I’ve trained him for the last couple of years now using the methods I have within my Bags, Bells, and Bodyweight Training System. The guy started out strong but overtime we’ve made him stronger and even more of a killer within his mind.

5. Would you be kind enough to provide a sample workout or two for my readers to try out at home?

Yeah, here’s a couple of my favorites from Bags, Bells, and Bodyweight…

Phase II – Day 3

1A) KB High Pull OR Snatch (If advanced) 5 x 10/arm (for high pulls) OR 5 x 5/arm (snatch)

2A) HSPU or Wall Walks 4 x sub
2B) Bent KB 1arm Rows 4 x 8 OR Bent SB Rows 4 x 8

3A) KB 1 Leg RDL 3 x 8/leg OR SB RDL 3 x 15
3B) Inch worms 3 x 5 total

4A) SB OR KB Complex 3 rounds x 5 movements x 8 reps each
a) Clean
b) Front Squat
c) Overhead Press
d) Drop Lunge
e) Front Carry to Failure

Phase 10 – Day 2

1A) 15/30 ALL OUT Goes x 4 rounds of each of the following (15 secs ON / 30 secs REST):
a) Vertical Jumps
b) Ice Skaters

2A) SUPER HEAVY SB Shouldering – 1 rep each shoulder every 20 secs x 5 mins
3A) 1A KB Bottoms Up Press 3 x 5-8/arm – regress to regular press if need be
3B) 1A KB Bent Row 3 x 5-8/arm
3C) 1A KB Swing 3 x 8/arm

4A) HEAVY Sled Drags 4 x 50 yards (forwards x 25 yards then backwards x 25 yards)



That was awesome!  Thanks again, Travis.

Have a great week, and talk soon –


PS – To learn more about Travis’ main training system Bags, Bells and Bodyweight system, click here

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