“The beginnings of all things are small.” Marcus Tullius Cicero
Although I am not a talented writer, I am an honest writer. And I write from my heart about things which matter to me and hopefully to you. And as much as I love style, I think that the substance of this blog is what you’re really after, anyway; I’ll leave style to E! network.
I am an ACE-certified personal trainer residing in Pittsburgh, PA. But this hasn’t always been the case. And it came about only after much struggle and effort, like anything worth doing. I went to Slippery Rock University for 7 years due to switching majors often and almost failing out. I can’t blame going to school for so long on not knowing what I wanted to do with my life because I have always known, even before starting college. I simply wasn’t an attentive student, at least not early on. This disinterest wasn’t with school in general, but more a confusion and frustration with myself. Was I doing this for me or my parents? However long the road was, I am glad I went to college and went through everything I experienced because it has made me the person I am today. And I like this person. Now that I have a greater appreciation of learning, I read books. A lot of books. This started with books that were most obviously attractive to me: strength training books, nutrition books, and health books. Once you read about one topic, though, it springboards you to another, and that topic to still another until you find yourself leaping from philosophical books and science fiction to autobiographies and biographies and soon even to poetry and children’s books which you ignored or neglected when you were an actual child. I became my own teacher and my own student. And I must admit that I want to take this class forever.
I was 17 when I started to work out. I wanted to get stronger for basketball. My dad, who was heavily involved in exercising, started going with me to the gym at night (because I was embarrassed of how weak I was). We stuck to a body building type of split, hitting one body part each day. Some nights we fought, but most nights were really fun. Very soon, I wasn’t lifting to get stronger and bigger for basketball but because I wanted to be strong and big for myself. A couple of months into training I wasn’t getting the results I wanted as soon as I wanted. I remember my dad and I walking back to the car and my expressing how frustrated I was. The next sentence out of his mouth changed my life forever: “You have to eat better if you want to get bigger. You can’t put in all of this work and then eat shit and still expect to get the same results.” This was my introduction to the new me, started with a simple sentence by a loved one.
For my first four years of weight training, I only did 3 sets of 10 reps. Though I got good results from this, my knowledge at the time was based more or less on first-hand experience in the gym with my dad. I had a great body and was pretty strong, so I never opened myself up to any ideas of exploring anything beyond the same 3 sets of 10 reps. Not until I met someone whom I’ll refer to as ButtHead #1, did this basic routine of mine come to an end & open onto something new and more exciting. How did she do this? She introduced me to nutritionist Johnny Bowden and strength coach Charles Poliquin.
I am forever in debt to Butthead #1. I started reading everything about Charles Poliquin that I could find. I read all of his internet articles. I purchased his published books. I could not get enough. The way he explained his methods and his passion for strength training was inspiring. I’ll include one Poliquin story to let you know about his personality. The man learned German when he was younger because all of the good strength training information at the time came from Germany. In an article of his from 2010, he writes: “At the time I was in college, German sport scientists were leading the field in their research in the field of strength and conditioning; and two: In North America the researchers tended to focus on aerobic exercise. Now, however, the US has caught up and there are many excellent sport scientists in the US and many excellent journals. But you don’t just read journal articles like a novel.” The days of 3 sets of 10 repetitions were now long gone, along with a discovery to a whole new world.