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.