The event will be live on cuppajoeweightlifting – instagram
The 2021 Hudson Valley Open is almost here!
Please note the updated session times. Updated as of 6/11/21.
- Please remember to bring proof of current USAW Membership along with ID
- All weigh ins will be in a singlet in an open area
- Spectators can come (some room inside, more outside)
We are looking forward to hosting the Hudson Valley’s comeback to live weightlifting competitions.
In Part I, I discussed the importance of investing in yourself by getting a good coach to guide you. Now, I’d like to expand on the topic with my personal experience. Let’s go back a bit for some perspective.
When I was a kid, I was active, but rarely trained in a gym. When I was about 18 years old, I hurt my back. Being young, I dealt with the pain until it went away about a month later. Four years after that, I was in a great deal of pain related to that injury. After six months of chiropractic care, I was on a better path. The big takeaway from the doctor was to exercise to strengthen my core to hold my spine in line and to stretch my notoriously tight hamstrings so that they wouldn’t pull my lower back out – everything affects everything else. Over those first few years, I worked out following what I would read in bodybuilding type books (The Poliquin Principles was priceless). Eventually, someone at work got me to try Powerlifting. By that point, I had taught myself decent form between what I read in magazines and some VHS tapes. Ken Leistner and Louie Simmons were early influences in my development as a powerlifter. Louie Simmons was a big proponent of variety in training. That’s what lead me to want to try Olympic Weightlifting.
I knew I stood a better chance at learning weightlifting properly if I had a coach. This was a far more technical sport. I was very lucky to be referred to National Coach, Jim Hanlon. From the beginning of my weightlifting journey, I had a great coach and soon to be friend. With Jim giving me a proper foundation, I excelled as a weightlifter. This same foundation has served me well as a coach. Now, all these years later, I still compete in the Master’s division. Although, we’re talking about an older crowd, don’t sell them short. There is some phenomenal talent in the Master’s that includes former Olympians and national team members from many countries. Your “A” game is required.
I had a break in the action around the time my son was born. After some years, I saw that my buddy, David Miller broke a couple of Master’s records. That friendly rivalry got me back in the action. So here I am years later. My coaching evolved to starting my own team and moving into a great gym as we’ve expanded (props to our extended family – Locomotive Fitness Co). As I’ve continued competing, I’ve coached myself. With nagging little injuries, I found myself in a place where I knew I needed help. I needed objectivity. My first step was to go to a great PT. Again, serendipity has smiled upon me as I’ve worked with Justin Feldman and Ashley Witson of Feldman Physical Therapy. Here they helped me to identify my weaknesses and gave me a path to taking care of that part of my problem. My next step was to get a coach again. I had to choose someone else who I could vibe with that I knew would be a remote coach. This was a really tough decision. I’m fortunate to know quite a few really good coaches. Without getting into all of my internal deliberations on the matter, I chose a friend and fellow NY Coach Steve Titus.
I am very happy with my decision. We have great communication and similar philosophies. When he points out something, I know deep down, he’s right. I might have made the same call in the past, or I might have ignored it and pushed forward, sliding backward. Now, this relationship has renewed my motivation and in a couple of months together, we’re seeing real progress. Sometimes, to get where you want to go, you must recognize that you shouldn’t do it alone. Get the right support, whether it be a coach, PT, chiropractor, nutritionist… whatever you need to move forward. Find the support team that works for YOU. Stop gambling and start investing.
You may have heard the phrase, “Playing lotto is not a financial plan.” It makes sense, right? So why do people still gamble? Maybe it’s the thrill. Maybe it’s laziness and simply a poorly planned shortcut. It can be both. What does this have to do with weightlifting?
Look at it this way. Gambling is working out without a plan, or possibly making the plan yourself. Investing is finding the right person to program for you. There are some who can write a program for themselves that are quite successful at it. I believe these are outliers. I’ve been coaching for many years and have written programs for myself that did help me to improve. But, was my training optimal? Despite being a DIY guy, I’ve come to terms with the knowledge that I shouldn’t do everything for myself. Look at it this way. If you’re in a relationship, your emotions and ego cloud your thinking and there’s a good chance you’re going to misread something and approach a problem the wrong way. However, you can objectively look at your friend’s relationship and see exactly what they may be doing wrong. That objective perspective is priceless. You may have heard the saying, “A man who represents himself in court has a fool for a lawyer.” The same goes for coaching.
Here’s where the investment comes in. I don’t mean the cost involved in working with a good coach. Although, you should recognize the value a good coach will bring to your life. I’m talking about “buy in.” This is about investing your time, your effort, and most importantly your trust in your coach. Trust that your coach has your best interest at heart and sees what you need to keep you on a successful path. Once you’ve established that trust, now you need to put in the time and effort to make this partnership work. The Coach/Athlete relationship is a partnership with the goal of making the athlete better. A perfect program (if that unicorn exists), is useless if the athlete doesn’t believe in it. If you don’t believe in what you’re doing, how much effort do you really put into it?
Ok, you’ve listened. You’ve found a great coach. Now what? Communicate! Your coach needs to know what’s going on in your head, not just what they see. They should be doing their best to explain what they want you to do. You should be doing your best to let them know what you feel is working, not working, painful, mentally taxing, scary… Lifting can be more mental than physical. Knowing where you are mentally, will help your coach properly prepare you to progress.
You want to be better, right? Don’t gamble. Invest!
This pandemic has thrown everyone into a bizarro world. There are real concerns on every side with understandable anxiety and fear for our welfare – physically, mentally, financially and for our friends and families. One thing weightlifting has taught me is that through stress, we can come out of a situation stronger. We may take a beating for a time, but we usually come out of it in a better place mentally and physically.
For a time, we were scared of losing the gym – our sanctuary. Thankfully, we’re still there. In fact, after some tough losses, we’re starting to grow again. There is real excitement and a great communal vibe in the air. With reduced capacity, masks, etc., we are not only managing, we are starting to thrive again and it feels great. I am very excited about our new members and our vets that continue to put in the work and improve regularly.
Many pundits were writing off gyms after they were closed for so long and people set up home gyms to keep lifting. The fact is a home gym is great, but it doesn’t give you the communal vibe that training together does. We are communal by nature and do better when we’re around others who support us, push us to be better than we sometimes allow ourselves to be. There is an undeniable energy that’s shared in a good gym. It’s a great feeling to be training and coaching in a great gym. We’re not only blessed with our team’s synergy, we also vibe off our extended family – Locomotive Fitness Co. Come on down and join us. Be part of our renaissance.
It pains us to announce that we have to cancel the Hudson Valley Open that was scheduled for 8/8/20. We hope things get better soon. As weightlifters, we are accustomed to the physical and mental challenges of our sport. As we strengthen our minds and bodies in this environment, we also become stronger in handling many of life’s other curve balls. Use that strength and a positive mindset to overcome this latest obstacle.
Thank you to all who have supported us. We will be back hosting competitions! We hope that it can happen sooner than later.