What started as a solo adventure quickly became a social media phenomenon. Learn how Clay Cooper's outdoor approach is building a community and a movement.
► Read Clay's Full Story: https://bbcom.me/3m3HQyR
► Learn How Different Athletes Are Addressing Their Mental Health: https://bbcom.me/3BZtncv
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Watch Episode 1: https://youtu.be/BZjEsldGLlU
Watch Episode 2: https://youtu.be/Sx1cEUzKFoA
If you're scrolling through your feed and see a big, bearded dude deadlifting near a waterfall, your first reaction might naturally be, "What the heck is this?"
But as powerlifter Clay Cooper explains, somebody who sees what he's trying to do might be inspired to take similar action in their own life. That's the driving force behind Discovery Deadlift, the movement born out of Cooper's need to find an outlet for his anxiety during lockdowns.
At a time when so many people were missing the solace of the gym, Cooper found greater fulfillment by taking his deadlifts farther and farther into the wilderness, capturing magnificent footage while he gained greater peace and joy.
Now, Discovery Deadlift has a growing community of like-minded lifters who are finding equally creative ways to rediscover their favorite lift by taking the barbell outdoors. Learn how Cooper and family worked together to build a movement by turning a perceived weakness into the ultimate strength
Usually with powerlifting I film myself because I'm self-taught and never had a coach, so I'm just trying to figure things out in the gym and make sure my form looks OK. While I was lifting that first time by the lake, I just took a couple of quick shots. I reviewed the footage and was like, "That's actually kind of cool." I talked to my friends about it, and they encouraged me to post it online.
I was just driving back and I remember texting my wife and saying, "Hey, you're going to laugh at me, but I feel kind of led to do this. It feels like there's something here."
How Discovery Deadlift Started
My wife, who is more artistic than I am, started to say, "Let me record some of the stuff." Then I could just actually do the workout while she was getting the shots and the video. She likes doing that part and I like lifting and just spending time with her and the kids.
That's how it kind of evolved into a family endeavor where we basically go out every weekend and find someplace new and go hike, and sometimes camp, and deadlift. My kids are going to grow up thinking it's totally normal to bring a barbell and Olympic plates camping and hiking with you.
It just started really small, but it gained a little bit of traction. People might just like seeing the locations, but I think the idea of doing something that you are passionate about that helps your mental health and helps your physical strength, I think that's what resonated the most.
How People Reacted
By and large, the overwhelming majority of responses have been positive. I have these big, strong powerlifting guys being like, "Hey, brother, I really appreciate you saying this. I have anxiety, I have depression."
I get that it's really easy to discredit an idea or a person or a post that you see online under the guise of anonymity. For those folks who don't vibe with it, I basically just remind them that I'm a real person. I let them know I understand if it's not for them, and then I just try to explain why I like it. Usually, when they see I'm a normal person, they're just like, "Well, I guess it's OK."
I have no illusions to the fact that not everyone's going to love it, but my family likes it, it's good for me, and my experience has been overwhelmingly good. Hopefully it helps to destigmatize some of this stuff and make it easier for us to talk about.
Throughout the month of October, we’ll be telling the stories of individuals who are fighting to destigmatize a very present and growing issue within our community, anxiety and depression. We’ll be working with the ADAA @triumphoveranxiety to provide the help everyone deserves. We have also been working with experts, sports psychologists, clinicians and other professionals on how to help manage anxiety and depression through exercise.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with anxiety or depression and needs helps, please contact the ADAA @triumphoveranxiety
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