Written by Matt Vincent
I am back home after an 8 day trip. Perfect deload mentally and physically. Had some life stress that needed escaping as well. I am back home now after 5 days in Iceland and 3 days (unplanned) in NYC. I had a blog a couple years ago that covered my traveling more then this one. So I ma going to start putting more of this in here as well. I love traveling and getting to eat and drink my through places. I try to find local places and get a feel for where I am at. Similar to shows like No reservations or FOB(vice youtube). I love food, I take that back I love great food made with passion. I feel the same about alcohol. These things are my vices that I will never likely abandon. One of the reasons I train and try and watch my diet while I am home is so that when I go somewhere I can do as I want. Everything should be done in moderation, including moderation. Sometime you just have to go after it and eat yourself sick on delicious tacos or pizza cause it makes you awesome for living.
I have said this before and I’ll always stick to it. I love throwing and training, these are constants for me. Getting to compete in the Highland games at a high level has allowed me travel I would have only dreamed of. I now have connections and great friends in a number of countries. If you want to experience somewhere you have to know the locals. I do not know how long I will be fortunate enough to compete at the level in HG I am now, but I am building my network so that no matter what I can still keep seeing the world. This is also the reason I have a career as well as a serious hobby in strength sports. I want to see and experience as much as I can all over the world. I don’t want read about it, I want to live, taste, smell, and feel it. At the end of my time here on the planet the only thing that is truly mine is my life experiences. And I am proud to say so far I have some great ones.
I have been to Iceland numerous times now. This was my 4th trip and my second with my wife. I love it there, it immediately felt like home to me. If you are thinking of getting away it is a great place to go. It is very welcoming to Americans, they speak English and eat familiar food (hamburgers and hotdogs). 73 in Reykjavik has soe really badass burgers. They are served with a Bearnaise sauce, so whats not to love. Also ate with good friend and Pro Strongman Stefan Solvi Peturson at one of his favorite places and had a lobster sandwich. Lobster in Iceland is much different. Smaller sweeter tails. Either way this place kicked the ass of anywhere in the states I have had a lobster roll. Way more flavor to it. Sorry Bar Harbor you have been demoted. Over the last three years that I have been going it has been exciting to see the changes occurring. Iceland after its major financial breakdown is now growing again. Local Beer was fantastic this go round. Enstok Dopplebock was excellent and easily one of my favorite Christmas beers. Also all of the Borges brewing company beers were great as well.
We got to spend NYE in Reykjavik with a friend of mines family. Really a great time. We ate a ton of turkey and familiar dishes with slightly different takes on them. There was a sweet potato casserole done with cheese and yogurt that was savory and awesome. A huge spread and a giant 11k turkey. After dinner we played a quiz game invented by his daughter. This was a ton of fun. I couldn’t help but notice how little TV was watched compared to here. Nothing wrong with watching TV at family gatherings but it was just something that stuck out in my head. More drinks then watching the ICELAND year end review comedy show. Watching this was interesting. being that it all was in Icelandic which may as well be a series of knocks and whistles. Seriously a tough language to grasp as a foreigner. It was basically like a year in review if SNL did it. Parody videos and political stuff. I mostly watched the room and continued drinking more beer and Brennivin. Brennivin is a Schnapps that is not sweet, has a slight licorice flavor, and taste like booze for sure. Bit of an acquired taste but I seem to have it now. Eventually we made our way outside for the big show.
When it hits 12 the fireworks really start. This is not a normal firework show, or even a big firework show for that matter. This covers everything and continues for over 30 min. I stood outside till almost 2:30am watching. There are massive amounts of fireworks going off in every direction and as far as you can see to the horizon. Petur’s house is positioned up on a hill and over looks all of downtown. Other than the Grand Canyon this was one of the most incredible things I have ever got to see. Really an amazing experience. I refer to the Grand Canyon because it is the only thing I have felt that I just couldn’t grasp how big it was while looking at it. They do have something special happening over there. Inside we went back in continued the with more drinks including some German Bitters I believe, kinda taste like Jager, and Topas which is like if the good parts of Jager and Rumpelmintz had a child who just kept wanting to kick you in the shins.
The night eventually ended and the next night we made a sketchy icy excursion into the mountains to see the northern lights. Again Iceland takes the cake and provides one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. As we arrived on the shore of a lake in the empty dark outside of the cities we could see the faint green lights. Within 10 min they were absolutely glowing and stretching from one horizon to the other. As I figured these are really tough to capture on photo, especially for an Iphone. This really was the icing on the cake for the trip. The weather was great considering. It is cold but not crazy. Most of our country is much colder right now. Temp stayed around 30* with varying amounts of wind. When the wind gets going the temp drops pretty good.
Anyway we finished up by eating a bit then heading to airport on Thursday afternoon. I always notice that while I am in the country eating and drinking like a fucking maniac I still actually drop weight. I think this is mostly due to how fresh and unprocessed most of the food is. Being an Island with a relatively small population everything is pretty fresh and raised pretty close. I always come back wanting to try this here, and lose steam due to the effort. Try again I guess.
On the way home we got hit by that nasty dude Hercules and got stranded in NY. I found an affordable hotel out in Long Beach. I wasn’t going to sleep in the airport cause I didn’t have to. So we made the best of it. They finally rescheduled my flight for Sunday morning early. This worked out pretty good. We spent Friday in the hotel resting and resetting. The Saturday we got off our asses and headed into NYC for the whole day to eat and drink some more.
NEW YORK CITY:
I have been before, but those have been much different trips. two time with Track while in college which i spent all my free time riding around the city in the subway going form bike shop to bike shop. This was fun but I had no money and did it solo. The next trip was with two friends Adventure Kevin and Dant. We packed up to see our friends band play at CBGB’s before it closed. We landed on a Sunday and had to be at the show on Monday night. We didn’t have any plans at all or reservations for anything. We literally walked around and drank our way through a weekend with luggage in tow the entire time. But that is another story all together. Really I can’t imagine living that way now, but you should be a savage for awhile.
Ash and I headed into the city at about 7:00am and did some touristy shit. We went up the empire state building, 30 rock, and times square. Then promptly after getting a bagel with lox got the fuck outa mid town. We headed to Chelsea and had a great rest of the day. Our first stop for lunch was at a great little place called CO. They do some neat stuff and had some good craft beer on tap. We started with a great cheese and meat plate. They had these home made pickles that were worth the trip alone.
After eating and pounding a couple beers, we made our way to the High Line. This was really cool. It is an elevated park built on an old rail track. So we walked down and stopped at a recommended place called Artichoke Bastille’s for more food and drinks. Thanks Will. This place was a solid bar and Pizza was pretty good. Artichoke Pizza with a white sauce was pretty awesome. Again more beer. This time went with a Brooklyn Lager. We have that down here now but it doesn’t change that it is really good. The bar also serves shots with a pickle back. Basically Jameson’s Whiskey and pickle juice chaser. When in Rome, Ill do as Romans. So we did our shots and not surprisingly the pickle juice gets rid of all the after taste. No kidding. So would any strong tasting thing. Novelty for sure. Was stoked to see there was a bit of graffiti on the server stand. It was a small portrait done by David Choe. Then I noticed via instagram he had been there the night before. Shit just missed him, oh well onward.
Next was to kill time before dinner at the Chelsea Market. This place was great. Cool little stores and people making awesome stuff. We had some more drinks from a local beer brewer inside called Founder’s. They had an IPA that was great. Also smashed some baked goods, and then had probably my favorite taco I have ever had. I was kinda drunk, and that definitely adds to how awesome tacos are. With that in mind these were fucking awesome. I love street tacos and this place hit it out of the park. The main ingredient was the fresh made, strait off the grill corn tortillas.
After escaping we dragged our gorged bodies the 5 blocks to the Guilty Goose. This is a cool little place with a solid menu and a great selection of craft beers. I wish I had more to say but we both were exhausted by then, and stuffed with food. My beer there was really good though I had a Green Flash Palate Wrecker and a Ommegang BPA.
After than we cabbed back to Penn Station and back out to Long Beach to get ready to leave for the airport at 4am the next morning. Needless to say it was a great date day wiht my wife in NYC. Made sweet lemonade here out of a shitty travel circumstance.
Get out and see the world. Experience it all.
Finally back home and settled. Trying to get my rhythm again with work, food, and training. The Arnold is coming up quick. Time to get focused. Throwing consistently will start this week. I am going out today to hit it.
last night was the start of my max strength training. Happy to be putting some weight on the bar.
lots of rolling
stretches and rehab for elbow and ankle
210 x 5 x 4
220 x 5
140 x 5 x 5
Sling shot 140 x 5 x 3 short rest
band pull aparts 3 x 30
good mornings 3 x 25
sling shot push ups
3 x failure
Planks: 4 sets
Matt Vincent is a top Professional Highland Games World Champion. Matt has spent the last 15 years strength training with a focus on functional strength for athletics. Track and Field for LSU as a shotput, discus, and hammer thrower, two top 3 finishes in SEC and two top 5 Regional finishes in Discus. In the last 6 years he as traveled all over country and trained with many of the top coaches and athletes in various fields form Weightlifting, Strongman, Powerlifting (both Geared and Raw) and now focus on Highland Games. Matt also has competed in all of these different disciplines to make sure he has a 1st hand knowledge of training and competing. With success as a top AM Strongman qualified for nationals 3 times. Powerlifting numbers of (875-700-700 in APF @275) and (675-425-665 @ 275 RAW). Weightlifting numbers of (319 Snatch and 400 Clean and Jerk @ 105+). Highland Games he won 3 AM World Championships and 1 Professional World Championship as my first year Pro. Matt is also the Author of Best Selling Highland Games Training Manual for Developing Max Strength and Power: Training LAB. and Throwing LAB, the only technical resource of its kind for throwing athletes. Website, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter