PowerSport Strength & Conditioning
If you're reading this then there is a good chance that you are serious about training. If you are, then read on but if not then click away because at PowerSport we are all about Strength and Conditioning, Sports Skills Training, and Athletic Performance Training.
PowerSport is a semi-private/private training facility. It is located in Cypress (Northwest Houston) Texas. Here you will receive real strength and conditioning training by a coach that has been to the 'top of the mountain' both as an athlete and as a coach. This is not a 'cookie cutter' operation where everyone is doing the same workout. "If your whole team is doing the same workout it can't be working for everyone...is it working for you?"
Using a unique and personal blend that combines more than 30 years of practical experience with scientific principles and educational studies. We train athletes to become champions by evaluating athletic qualities and developing rigorous Explosive Strength, Power, Speed, Multi-Directional Quickness, and Fitness programs. The training programs at PowerSport are tailored to the individual needs and are based on the needs of the sport and position played. This insures that gains made in training show up on the athletic field in the heat of competition.
Athletes with the greatest power and explosiveness will dominate their opponents.
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Cheers Y’all….so I’m up late and sitting in my office watching the replay of the Crusaders vs Highlanders Super Rugby quarter final game and writing Owen Franks’ next 6 weeks of training. I will be writing quite a few more programs and catching up on tons of emails and Instagram messages over the next few days because it seems with all of the things that happened lately I have gotten way behind on answering the inquiries that I’ve gotten since launching my new Instagram account Tight 5 Training and through my website. Looks like I’ll be in my office for a long time so I hope the rest of the quarter final games are as exciting and hard hitting as this game has started off and in some nasty Christchurch winter weather.
First I want to catch y’all up on something very special and that is for the first time ever I will be offering Online Training programs via Train Heroic. This is something that I have been reluctant to do because I never wanted to be one of those ‘Internet Gurus’ but I see the training programs and information that is available for the Tight Forwards in Rugby and…well I don’t care who gets their feelings hurt…it is ridiculous and actually disgusting to see the absolute bullshit that is passed off as ‘training’. There is so much more than lifting weights like a weightlifter or powerlifter and mindless running that goes into creating a dominate Tight Forward.
With Train Heroic and their awesome downloadable app I will be offering several levels of programming depending on training age, if you’re front row or second row, (maybe we will offer training to the tougher loose forwards that are out there!!!) and of course based on the needs of off season, pre season or in season training for the most physically demanding positions on the rugby pitch. They will include multi directional speed and quickness drills, building explosive power and strength, packing on ‘mass that lasts’ so it doesn't simply wash off in the shower an hour after you train and of course fitness/conditioning because none of this matters unless you can actually move around the pitch.
The programs will of course be a generic but they will be extremely effective and much more specific to the needs of the Tight Forward on the pitch than the bullshit that’s currently out there. I will also offer personalized training programs like I already do for some of the greatest Tight Forwards in the game of Rugby.
Now, I said I was always reluctant to do this and if you think I’m kidding just ask the folks from Train Heroic where I have had an account for over a year and have dragged my feet in putting anything up while I continue to see the monthly charge hit my credit card account. If you really want to hear about it just ask Sally my wife and she will fill your ear like she has mine!!! She understands what I have to offer and what is out there currently. So why now you ask, well I’ll tell you, a few months ago I started Tight 5 Training on Instagram to just to show some of the exercises, drills and more that I have been using to help create some monsters on the pitch. Since then I have been inundated and honestly a bit overwhelmed with training program requests and questions since I put up the first post. I just wanted to get some information out there in the world of training since I get asked about my training philosophy so often. The questions and videos of training I see along with finding out what/why folks are doing them made me sick to my stomach. I don’t care how much you polish a turd…it’s still a turd, its just got a prettier wrapper on it now and that's all some of these folks that call themselves ‘coach’ are offering.
Another reason for ‘why now’ was last November when the All Blacks came to Chicago and I had a chance to sit down with All Blacks Scrum Coach Mike “Crono” Cron and share my philosophy. This was after Head Coach Steve Hansen barreled his way though the crowd in the hotel lobby to introduce himself to me and thank me for what I have done with Owen!!! Talking to Crono in his room about specific exercises and the reasons I do them and showing him videos and more. I told him that being strong doesn’t mean shit if you are not strong in the correct biomechanical position only for him to exclaim “Why don’t strength and conditioning coaches in New Zealand think like you do?” This is the exact quote I have been using for years, “In Athletics Strength means nothing if you are not able to hold a position in order to create power”. Let’s talk adding muscle mass…insure that you are not only adding quality muscle mass but that you are not adding too much upper body mass and making yourself top heavy which will have a poor influence on your ability to change direction because you will change your body’s center of gravity. You also want to avoid the old “look like Tarzan and play like Jane” or about speed….now this is a particularly sensitive one for me….when you’re talking Tight Forward play why all of the emphasis on speed when it should be on Multi Directional Quickness.
So you can see a little of the way I think and the programs I will offer. Now if I can get a few free hours I can get this all written and uploaded on Train Heroic so you all can have access to it.
Play Hard...Train Harder...NO EXCUSES
When I was in the Army and stationed in Germany I use to visit and marvel at the magnificent Cathedrals throughout Europe. Have you ever just sat back and thought of just went into their design and construction? Their construction much like the Training Process is not something to step back from and admire only when it is completed. It is an ongoing process of design, laying the foundation, forming, building, bonding, changing, detailing, refining and renovation. We never get it quite right. It is never perfect. It is always under construction.
Am I talking about the building of the Cathedrals or the building of an Athlete?
Today's blog is something that I have been thinking of writing for quite some time now and it really is quite personal to me. As I step back and look over my own personal journey as both an athlete and a coach and see that long before I knew about Deliberate Practice I was living it in my daily pursuit in becoming a champion. I also look at the success of so many of the athletes at all levels that I have been blessed to coach both past and present and I am proud of each and every one of them no matter where their athletic talents took them. Many of them have their own stories of success that I am happy to have had a small part in but unfortunately not all of my athletes have achieved success in their athletic endeavors that they thought they'd have and many come back to me later and accept the blame for their own failings.
"I am but a guide on this journey." is what I tell them.
In the book "Talent is Overrated" the author makes a great statement. "It is more than apparent that in order to become significantly good at almost anything is extremely difficult without the help of a coach or teacher. Without a clear and unbiased view of the subject's performance then choosing the best practice activity will be impossible for reasons that may be simply physical or psychological. Very few of us can make a clear and honest assessment of our own performance." (Big Thanks to LeCharles Bentley of OLine Performance for the book recommendation and Ben Crookston of Train Heroic for even more insight on Deliberate Practice)
On my Coaching Journey it seems too many people I come in contact with want the prize without doing the work. They want to rush the process and can't seem to get out of their own damn way. They want to achieve success right away and don't want to do the work month after month and damn sure not year after year but that's exactly what it takes. This really is a Journey and to those that understand and embrace this philosophy well, they are the ones that put themselves in a position to achieve success. Now, I'm not saying if you simply do X' you'll be guaranteed a championship but if you do you will achieve your' success whatever that success may be. Of course there are many factors that influence The Journey just don't let your ego be one of them.
My Masters Weightlifter Darren Williams had a great quote concerning ego the other day that had me laughing and thinking at the same time. He says "I make sure that I keep my ass off my shoulders so I can always be coachable" and he damn sure does he's one of the more coachable athletes I have ever worked with.
If you're wondering what's got me thinking about all of this is its an email I got from Owen Franks of New Zealand All Blacks Rugby expressing that our training together the last couple of years has been an eye opener and pretty much has gone the way I told him. He feels the best and is healthier, moving and playing better than anytime in his career and he is at his heaviest bodyweight and is in his 8th season with the All Blacks. He is looking towards playing in the 2019 Rugby Word Cup in Japan. Owen and I began training together in 2014 at the suggestion of his brother Ben who was also an All Black (started training Ben in 2011). Now, understand that each of these boys were at the top of their sport and considered the absolute best at their position on the pitch when I came in to train them. They are now 2 time Rugby World Cup Champions and elite athletes and with that in mind so many other coaches go into training guys at this level with the adage of just don't fuck them up' and to keep doing what they've been doing because of the level of success they have already achieved'. I come in with the idea of what can I do to make them even better!!! After all, isn't that why I was brought in? Honest assessments, effective communication and a lot of work not just designing a program but making sure that program evolves and continues to grow. This is a process that is years long not weeksâ€¦not months but YEARS LONG!!
Let's go back to Masters Weightlifter Darren Williams who walked into my gym over 2½ years ago to improve his lifting and to learn to catch his lifts in the squat position instead of the split technique he had been using. Think about itâ€¦he was 54 years old and wanting to relearn technique. We spoke at length about the work both in the gym and on his own that this would take to achieve. He was more than up of the task. Fast forward to today and he is stronger than he's ever been in his life and with that increase in strength came increases in his lifting abilities and the poundage he moves combine that with the ability to hold more effective positions and you have a better weightlifter. Did this come easy or quickly? NO it didn't!! It did come with a big dose of pain, sweat, frustration, and mind numbing drills. Even though we've achieved a level of success he is still not satisfied and continues to do the work that is required to achieve the championships he wants so badly.
What am I trying to tell you is that this is process and no matter how badly you want it or how much talent you may or may not have you just simply cannot rush he process. Deliberate Practice by definition is not fun and it is not flash. It is hard and it hurts but it works and more of it equals better performance and tons of it equals great performance. I am often asked well if its not fun why do it?' My answer is always the same, "Don't get me wrong I love training but it's just work. You want to know what is really funâ€¦winning championships is really fun". Like my logo says and I believe it to be true.
Question: Are you willing to make the sacrifices to achieve your success?
Play Hardâ€¦Train Harderâ€¦NO EXCUSES
Today is a very special day for me as I along with millions of survivors celebrate World Heart Day by LIVING and continuing to kick heart disease's ass!!! Heart Disease is the leading cause of death and yet this day will receive so very little media coverage since they are too busy wasting our precious time with bullshit than actually supporting something worthwhile like "Public Health Education". Yesterday was National Beer Day and I'll bet it got more publicity than World Heart Day will receive.
Since my heart attacks and triple bypass surgery 2 years ago back in June of 2014 I have worked hard to come back to the life that I know as a strength athlete and a strength and conditioning coach but I've worked equally as hard on acting like this shit didn't really happen to me!!! Denialâ€¦yeah sure why not? Who in the hell wants to admit that they could possibly be mortal'?! It sure as shit ain't ME!! Well the Good Lord spared me that night when my heart had had enough of being ignored since it sent me warning signs for a couple of weeks or maybe more.
My question has always been how and why did I survive when 95% of the people with similar blockages do not? Seems like a pretty simple question only I'm learning that it comes with a complex answer.
I think that it's time to stop running away like it never happened to me and stand up proudly and sayâ€¦.
I AM A SURVIVOR!!!
I'd like to give you a little insight of when I rolled into Memorial Hermann Hospital at Memorial City here in Houston Texas about 2am on 7 June 2014 and when I say rolled' I mean on a gurney and not because I called EMSâ€¦nope not me I had Sally drive me to a MedClinic' because there was no way I was having a heart attack. Nope not meâ€¦.I looked that shit up on Google and only had a couple of symptoms!! Of course as we got going and I told her to hurry because I didn't think I was going to last much longer as reality began to slap the shit out of me as I pounded on my chest in an attempt to keep my heart beating since it felt like it was about to stop beating a few different times on the drive. Sally found a MedClinic and we pulled in and within a couple of seconds of being hooked up the the EKG the doctor comes in with the look on his face that told me something bad was about to happen. He asked me how I was feeling and I told him a little out of sorts to which his answer wasâ€¦'out of sorts? you're in the middle of a serious heart attack' as he handed me some pills to take then told me that they were sending me across the street to the hospital. I said okay and started to stand up and he asked what I was doing and I told him..'going to the hospital'. He said we've got an ambulance coming for you'â€¦."oh it must be serious then" was all I said.
Please let me begin by saying that the nurses, doctors and staff in the Emergency Room of Memorial Hermann at Memorial City are unbelievable and bottom line in spite of my stupidity and ego they managed to saved my life. Within seconds of being wheeled in I was stripped naked and put in a hospital gown, blood drawn, IV in my arm and had these professionals calling out orders and responding quickly all while calming my fears and anxieties. I'd like to go back and give each and every one of them a hug and my sincere thanks.
Then Dr. Morris walks into the room and asksâ€¦
Doc: "what's the pain feel like?"
Me: "like a damn Rhino sitting in the middle of my chest"
Doc: "have you had anything like this before?"
Me: "wellâ€¦.umâ€¦yeahâ€¦.(the long pause sure wasn't for dramatic effect it was more out of embarrassment) yeah so 4 days ago I was running to catch a flight in Dallas and I had to stop a few times to catch my breath as I was sweating though my shirt."
Me: "hold on Doc that was just the first time!!"
Doc: "the FIRST TIME!!"
Me: "well yeah then it happened again when I realized I lost my boarding pass and had to go back to my gate and again when they announced a gate changeâ€¦but HEYâ€¦that was a few hours apart. Come to think about it while I was in Laredo speaking I took a late night walk to HEB for some stuff and felt the same way walking back to the hotel"
Doc: "so 3 times at the airport and it happened and a couple days earlier as well, so what hospital did they send you too?"
Me: "hospital? no Doc I got on my flight and came home"
Doc: "you got on your flight?"
Me: "well here I am ain't I?!"
Doc: "wellâ€¦.you shouldn't be!! Listen, those were heart attacks and by all means any or all of them should have killed you and then you board a flight and come home the simple change in pressure should have stopped your heart"
Me: no words spokenâ€¦just a prayer, a tear and a desire to hold Sally's hand!!
Doc: (with all the confidence in the world) "Ed, I think it's the artery behind your heart that is blocked but I won't know for sure until we get you upstairs to the Catheter Lab and your heart is in distress but we have to try and wait until the Heparin you were given at the clinic clears your system because we don't want you bleeding out"
Doc to Sally: "so do you guys have a Cardiologist?"
Me: "hell no Doc that's for old people"
As Doc hands Sally his cardâ€¦."well you do now!!"
Me: "what are you selling used cars on the side?"
Doc: "it's 2am I got to get something out of this"
Me "shit Doc I like you!!"
Now to the more serious part of my story. In the elevator on the way to the Catheter Lab I don't remember much but I can vividly remember fighting to keep my eyes open and talk with the guys. It's difficult to think about it as you fight to keep your eyes open but you have no control and you can feel them beginning to close and you fight because in the back of your mind you know that you just might not wake upâ€¦so you fight and you fight hard. I remember the techs, nurses and Dr. Morris telling me to stay with them and to keep talking and to keep fighting. A couple of times I awoke to them tapping my chest telling to to stay with them. Dr. Morris prepped me to cut into my femoral blood vessel as he reassured me and I told him to hurry because the Rhino now had a couple of friends join him in the middle of my chest and I think they're drinking beer and eating BBQ. I struggled to breathe and the nurses and techs applied more Nitroglycerin paste, talked with me, held my hand and gave me a sternum rub as my heart struggled to keep beating while it was being suffocated from the blockages. Lord my eyes were heavy and I fought to keep them open.
I began to pray and to ask for forgiveness because I truly felt that my time here had come to an end. I told God that if he was ready to call me home I was ready to follow Him and take my place but I asked for more time on this earth but not so I could do things I wished I had doneâ€¦.Nope!! I prayed and told Him that for the very first time in my life I felt that I was unconditionally loved. I finally had a family of my own with Sally and our Bulldogs Butters and Marsha Mellow and also our cats Miss Pissy Bitch, Miss Fatty and Mila. After such a long time being alone in this world I had a family that loved and needed me and to tell you the truth I needed them.
Finally the stent was inserted into the artery behind my heart but it takes some time for you to start feeling the weight coming off of your chest and while you're laying there fighting for your life it seems like time is standing still!! Finally, the Rhino took his friends and got off my chest. Dr. Morris began to explain that there were a few more serious blockages that he couldn't stent and that I was going to need bypass surgery. I really didn't hear much after that and the only thing I remember is asking for him to bring Sally in and explain it again. We were devastated but Dr. Morris looked at me and said, "usually with these kind of blockages especially the Widow Maker I tell the patient I'm going to make you as comfortable as possible' which means you probably won't be going home from the hospitalâ€¦.he told me "with you, you'll be good in 4-5 months and in 8-9 months you'll be back lifting with a cool scar down your chest."
Dr. Morris would later tell me that my heart was in some serious distress and the only real option was to stent that artery and hope it stabilized me so I didn't need emergency bypass surgery and they could wait and be better prepared for such a surgery. He told me my heart tried to stop a couple of times but I was one tough dude and he asked about my background and I proudly told him that I have been a Strength Athlete for the past almost 40 years and Strength and Conditioning Coach but I am also a former Army Special Operations Solider and I've been known to play some rugby and lift some big damn weights although that was some time ago. We talked about all I had endured in my life and how much I love lifting heavy weights and why I loved it so much. He looked at me and told my that I survived where others do not and it was because I was physically strong but more importantly I was mentally strong and the strength I have from a lifetime of perseverance is why I am still alive.
In private I am often left to wonder and pray asking God why He choose to spared me. I am learning that there is so much more on this earth left for me to do and through the His Good Graces I will do His work. I have discovered that I was left here to bring awareness to Heart Diease to us old dudes in the Strength World that refuse to give up or give in or do cardio!!! I am learning there are more of us' out there than the doctors and associations think and mainly that we are a different breed. We all don't fit into the same neat little boxâ€¦some of us are busy busting the seams of the box and our shirts!!! We simply don't have time to slow down when we feel like crap and we think that cardio is a few sets of 8 in the squat because if you can't get in shape with squats what the hell is the world coming to!!! If there were more doctors like Dr. Morris out there that understood not everyone wants to loose weight and go for a walkâ€¦.some of us love to lift heavy things and feel if you take that away from us we'd rather be dead. Lifting heavy weights, stones and throwing heavy stuff is simply part of my DNA and it's what I truly love to do.
In future blogs I'll share more of this journey to recovery I have been on since I took my first wobbly walk in the halls of the hospital 2 days after my bypass surgery. I'll also share the stupidity of not taking care of your heart and health beyond lifting weights, it really doesn't take much time or energy away from what you love like lifting heavy shit. We will talk about not self diagnosing by looking up symptoms on Google and then delaying medical attention because you don't want to bother anyone because it might just be indigestion not a heart attack!! How the delay in seeking medical attention could have and in all honesty should have cost me my life and how I survived in spite of my own male ego. Also the depression that is common from the heart and lung bypass machine that is used during the surgery to keep you technically alive while they stop your heart to repair it with a vein they rip out of your leg!!!
I AM A SURVIVOR!!!
Before I go and get back to living life on my own terms I have to tell everyone that while my Cardiologist Dr. Morris, my Cardiothoracic Surgeon Dr. Gibson and the unbelievable staff at Memorial Hermann saved my life the real strength and leader of my recovery was Sally. Beyond my best efforts I survived and healed because of her. She rarely left my bedside often catching small naps in the chair next to my bed in CICU and if I moved she was right there to make sure I was okay. Hour after long agonizing hour she was there. She'd go home and take care of our family and try to sleep but when I opened my eyes in morning she was already there going over things with the nurses and doctors. When I was discharged 8 days later that's when the real recovery began for me not just the physical but the mental and emotional recovery. Sally would wake up after working all night and make me breakfast and we'd eat and talk then we'd go for a small walk but when we got home instead of relaxing and getting ready for work she had to help me shower and clean up as I could barely lift my arms to shave or wash. She'd then make me lunch and organized my meals for the day in the order when wanted me to eat them. I'd walk her to the car and once back inside I'd take my nap and she'd worry while at work until I texted her that I had indeed woken up. I know that this has been tougher on Sally than on me as she had to be strong for both of us. If I had succumbed to my heart disease I would have simply slipped into unconsciousness and been with God leaving behind my grieving Sally. That is what usually happens and why they call the artery that was blocked the widow maker'. I wonder if my using a CPAP saved me as it pushes air into my lungs while I sleepâ€¦guess it saved my life in more ways than one!!!
I don't think that I can ever repay Sally for the strength, love and encouragement as we continue on our journey together. She knows exactly what I need like when I needed a swift kick in the ass one day while I sat around depressed at what I was going through. She told me that wasn't the man I am and to pull my head out of my ass, get off the couch and move like the doctor told me. That day I decided to go to Memorial Park and just sit and watch people go byâ€¦well as I drove into the park I somehow ended up in front of the Church and being the tough guy' I am I saidâ€¦"sure you wanna talkâ€¦let's talk" as I opened the doors to the Church I was hit with a feeling that took me to my knees and as I looked at the Cross on the Alter though the tears in my eyes I understood that God has a plan for me and that I am truly a blessed man. I have not had another bad day since that day at the Church. Ask me again why my Faith is so strong.
I have a very special place in my heart for David Anderson who dropped everything to bring Sally's sister to Houston from San Antonio. Sandra was Sally's rock and help throughout all of this. They'd be right by my bedside making sure I didn't need or want anything but when they'd leave the hospital and go home Sandra would help Sally with everything but mostly by being the big sister and friend that she is. She's another that I don't think I can ever thank enough of what she did. Don't tell her but I really love and admire her.
There were so many others that visited me in the hospital like Andy Vincent and Spencer Tyler who flustered my CICU nurse and of course made me laugh with their comments as they removed the catheter from my groin.
My dearest friends Dan and Dana Burk who came just to spend time with me giving me strength but also taking care of Sally.
My training partner, brother and friend Darren Williams who Sally called early in that morning after I was stabilized and by 5am Darren was roaming the halls of the CICU and when the nurses told him he wasn't suppose to be there he saidâ€¦"I'm looking for my brother". Darren was in the middle of training for Masters Pan American Weightlifting Championships but he was right there every day and when Sally thought I needed to restâ€¦.Darren cleared the room!!! When I had my bypass surgery he took Sally and her sister Sandra to eat breakfast and for a small moment while I was in surgery they were able to somewhat relax and talk and he was there to listen, of course he had a plate of bacon while I was in surgery!! Back in my room he'd have us laughing especially when the Cardiac Rehab Nurse came in to talk recovery...anyone for checkers?!
Then there is my brother Chad Crawford who helped Sally so much by visiting and keeping all of my friends up to date on what was happening via social media and set up a GoFundMe to help us out. I still want to thank every person who helped us by donating. It's something that was, and still is, seriously overwhelming to us.
All the way from New Zealand in the middle of his All Blacks season my mate and brother Ben Franks and his awesome wife Genna and my cartoon buddy Annabel who checked on me via email and Skype making me laugh as Ben told me that there was nothing so bad that could happen to me that I needed to do cardio!!! I looked forward to his emails and messages and the care package they sent with my favorite puzzles, pictures colored by Annabel and a stuffed lion that is still next to my bed and of course they remembered Sally with New Zealand chocolates. What an honor it was for me only 6 months later to be asked to stand in their wedding in New Zealand.
My San Antonio Highland Games brother Larry Sears who came up from San Antonio just to sit with us to talk and pray. Our dear friend Cristina who would go by and check on the dogs and cats during the day for Sally. One of the wonderful young men I am blessed to have trained Edwin came by to visit and a couple of my oldest friends Rob and Nancy Kamman who both scolded me for not calling EMS then were joined by my CICU Head Nurse and I was educated' on the importance of calling EMS and not just showing up at the ER!!! Once in normal room my weightlifting buddy Mike Calley came by to brighten up my dayâ€¦maybe he was gonna bring me some food and maybe Sally told him NO!!! I like to think he was going to if I had asked!!!
I want to Thank each of you for reading my story but it doesn't end here. My next blog will be about what I did to get back to the gym and start lifting in week 8 of my recovery and the support of my Brothers and Sisters in the Strength Community that made it all happen.
pictured is the man who saved my life Dr. Randall Morris of Memorial Cardiology Associates
Play Hard...Train Harder...NO EXCUSES
A year ago today my father took his own life leaving my family devastated and searching for answers. Unfortunately, there are no answers and as I am not close to my family I am left to deal with things the only way I know how. To say that my dad and I had a difficult relationship as I grew up would be the understatement of the century but we really worked hard on it over the years, It really got better for us over the last 10 years or so thanks in part to my dad and his wife Carol's love, respect and admiration for my wonderful Sally. She is a strong woman who helped both of us express a bit more than either was comfortable with but we became comfortable and we began to grow as Father and Son and more importantly to me as Friends. My dad and Carol made great efforts to visit us in San Antonio and Houston but my dad loved to drive like we would do every summer and Christmas break while growing up in Michigan. Funny, I love to drive long distances and just look at the world just as I love to drive around and look at houses like we'd do on a Sunday drive down Jefferson Avenue way back when. Anyways, twice a year we'd head to Florida and visit Disney World and Bush Gardens...back when you didn't need to mortgage your home for admission!!! But over the past couple of years we could see the drive started taking its toll on him. In the spring he called to tell me he wouldn't be coming for a visit see my dad had injured his hip pretty badly and struggled with the pain. He said he'd come in the fall...in September like he did every year. We talked throughout the year and he finally took my advice and visited the doctor but he got no relief from the injections and the "wait and see" and "medicate" attitude of too many doctors, especially with the elderly. Maybe some physical therapy because my dad was active....his whole life he was active and even more active in retirement. Shit, I remember struggled to keep up with him sometimes when he'd visit!!! Take away his activity and his schedule (the man was the most predictable and on-time man on earth) and he was left to a life he did not want to continue living. He could see no relief in his future and worse....my dad was deathly afraid of falling back into his old life of addiction. My dad was a recovering alcoholic (do you ever recover or do you learn to deal with addiction on a daily basis?) The very thing that took his family away from him but he had conquered his demons many years ago when he walked next door to the church that he use to complained about waking him on Sunday mornings after a Saturday night of drinking...he walked in and was Baptized and Reborn. He put down the beer and did NOT pick it up again!!! No meetings...no support groups....no talking about you feelings....he allowed God into his life. I later learned that my Dad was so afraid to fall back into his addiction that he saw no other way of fighting the pain but to take his own life.
So many things have gone through my head during this year just like anyone who has dealt with suicide. Left to second guess ourselves and often wondering if we could have done more.
What I know is that the one unbreakable bond that my dad and I had was the Love of the Iron Game that he introduced me to. So, today and Thursday I have special workouts planned in Memory of my Dad.
I miss you and I think about you often.
Signed, Your Son
2015 Rugby World Cup Final is quickly approaching and the All Blacks have named their squad that will take pitch against Australia on Saturday in this epic battle. When the All Blacks are victorious they will become the first ever back-to-back Champions.
PowerSport Strength and Conditioning will be well represented Saturday as Ben and Owen Franks have been named to the squad. It will be the final time for the boys to take the field as teammates. After World Cup Ben will join his new team London-Irish and Owen will head back to Christchurch and begin his off season training in preparation for the 2016 Rugby Super 15 season.
I have been coaching for some 20+ years and for the past 5 years I have been involved in the strength training for the boys and I will tell you that you will NOT find 2 athletes that are more dedicated professionals in every aspect of their lives than they are and that's one of the reasons for their continued success on the rugby pitch and in life. Add to it that they are damn fun to train and even more fun to train with!!! Eager to embrace and understand the proven old school methods and not mesmerized by the pseudo-scientific bullshit that seems to have infected the strength and conditioning field. Now before some of you start your whining and crying I am not talking about the legitimate scientific advancements that have been made I'm specifically talking about the fakes, fraud, & snake oil salesmen that are out there peddling crap training as the next greatest advancement in performance training. I refer to myself and so do others as old school but I'm not a dumbass either I just choose to stick with what works!! I have been using both scientific ideas and practical experience as a basis for my training principles my entire athletic career. We can discuss and debate training principles and the science behind what each of us believes at a later time. I'm always up to defend what it is that I believe and why!!!
Luck is for the unprepared and the All Blacks are without a doubt PREPARED to meet this challenge head-on. I know that the Wallabies will be bringing their best game as well but.....ALL BLACKS are going to kick some ASS!!!
Play Hard...Train Harder...NO EXCUSES
Every athlete has an inner voice of pride. It is the voice only athletes can hear pushing them to the brink of exhaustion, demanding excellence and condemning failure. Failure you have to understand is the driving force behind an athlete. Every athlete has experienced failure and now trains so they will not experience it again. This inner voice knows the difference between training and exercising. Many athletes exercise stopping when they have reached a perceived limit or when it becomes uncomfortable to continue but only a select few athletes have the heart, desire and discipline to train unconditionally. Only a select few push past their physical and mental limits, Only a select few push past the pain and discomfort. Only a few have the courage and the character to understand that training makes them quicker, faster, stronger but most importantly, allows them to gain the mental edge over their opponents. So when failure laughs in my face as I desperately try an learn the respect of that last repetition it must realize one thing: Each time I train, I not only hear but I answer....The Inner Voice.
Play Hard...Train Harder...NO EXCUSES
Do you know a man...
Who gives you the same respect he demands?
Who understands your motivations and goals?
Who knows your limitations as well as his own?
Who isn't threatened by expert opinion?
Whose passion for excellence has no bounds?
Who knows the man MUST be developed before the TEAM?
Who knows the value of perfect practice?
Who is able to discover what perfect practice is?
Who knows the true value of sport in your life?
If you ever meet such a man, you must, for all sake of becoming all you can become, call him...COACH
Kind of a simple idea but oh so difficult to implement at times!!! I've become a victim of some success here at PowerSport Strength and Conditioning and I have certainly been a bit absent in updating the website with all of the exciting things I have been doing, the places I have visited, clinics I have attended and/or spoke at, and putting up pictures!!! All it takes is to manage your time....again sounds easy but DAMN!!! So look for several updates to the website and it's content in the next coming weeks!!!!
Play Hard...Train Harder...NO EXCUSES
Tonight I was watching the NBA Playoffs and thinking back to my first year as an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach with the San Antonio Spurs. Today is Memorial Day and Steve Kerr,(a former Spurs player) is coaching the Warriors and that is what's gotten me thinking way back to 1999. ,We were doing well in the playoffs.....in Western Conference Championships after only dropping 1 game to the Timberwolves in the first round and SWEEPING the Lakers out of the second round while closing the Great Western Forum....yeah I'd say we were doing just damn fine!!! We are up 1-0 on the Blazers and fighting our asses off in Game 2 and we finally take the lead on an unbelievable shot from #32 Sean Elliott with 9.0 seconds left in game and the shot will forever be known as the Memorial Day Miracle!!!
It's been 16 years and it still gives me chills to watch and I remember it like it was yesterday but to me that was only part of the miracle. What not too many knew,was that Sean was in the battle of his life against kidney failure and only a short time after we would go on win our first NBA Championship Sean's brother would donate a kidney to his brother's life.
I could tell you stories about being in the locker room before, during and after games....on the floor and in the weightroom everyday during practices....and of course sitting right behind Coach Popovich,for every game but I don't want to take away from the story of perseverance ,and toughness that is Sean Elliott or a message I'd really like to SCREAM from the rooftops.....ORGAN DONATION.
Play Hard...Train Harder...NO EXCUSES
watch all the way to the end and you'll see a good looking dude who's goatee isn't so 'blonde' back then
Over that past few weeks I've added several new faces to the gym and it seems that the my Old Strong Guys Rule training idea is taking off. My young athletes and their parents never really ask me much other than the 'who' and 'where' I have coached but for some reason the adults that come to train with me want to know more like, 'how the hell I started doing what I do'? Most can't imagine what it was like to coach at the highest level in sports and nor can they ever imagine leaving that level to own a private facility. They step into my office and look at the walls that are filled with pictures, trophies and plaques of my personal championships and records along with championships that I have been a part of as a coach. They see my diplomas from University of Texas at San Antonio and Baylor University, coaching certifications from around the world, and of course my Honorable Discharge from the Army.
Now the question comes out againâ€¦..'HOW and WHY'
So what did get me into coaching and more importantly becoming a Strength and Conditioning Coach? Ever since I was about 15 years old I have known and I let everyone know that being a Strength Coach was my #1 Goal in life. What you have to understand is that this was back in the mid 70's and there sure as hell weren't many strength and conditioning coaches out there and in fact most sport coaches frowned on lifting weights since you know it made you 'muscle bound' whatever in the hell that means!!! Of course you tell your teachers, coaches or even your buddies this and I can guarantee you will be mocked and made fun of I even had a teacher tell me that with dreams (not goal a dream) like this I would amount to nothing in life and trust me it sure as hell wasn't any better at home!!
Where did I get such a notion that one could be a Strength Coach and make an athlete better by lifting weights. Strength and Health magazine was the 'shits' back then and it covered weightlifting (notice I didn't say Olympic weightlifting), powerlifting and a little bit of bodybuilding. One day I got a copy and there it was my motivation in a big old dude standing in the doorway of the weight room at St. Bodaventure University in New York. I can still see the picture of him standing there all 70's Big and the article that went with pictures of that weight room created in a boiler room the article talked about how he had coached with the Buffalo Bills in the AFL and worked as a lifeguard at Jones Beach in New York and how he had brought the idea of training with weights to improve athletes performance to St. Bonaventure where he was also the Cross Country Coach. WHAT??â€¦.you say a guy that likes to run long distance though the woods also advocates strength training for athletesâ€¦NO WAY that doesn't work I'm gonna have to take your Strength Athlete card away from you!!! Well now there are a few people out there promoting this very thing and promoting it like it's something new and just discovered by them sorry boys that shit was thought of long before you came on the scene!!!
Anyways, I promptly tore the pages out and put them the wall in my bedroom right by my Farrah Fawcett Majors poster that every boy in America had back then!!! Later, as my life took me from Northern Michigan all over the world and finally dropped me in South Texas, I am telling this story to the Head of the Kinesiology at UTSA as I finally begin to work towards my degree. He listens to my story as he roots though his desk and then produces the very Strength and Health magazine I had been talking about and turns to the page and asks me if this was the article? Hell YES it is and then I lookâ€¦..the man I am standing in front of the Head of the Kinesiology Department and now my Advisor Dr. George Colferâ€¦..that Strength Coach in the magazine that started this wonderful journey of mine is George Colfer one in the same.
So when people ask me 'why I do what it is I do' I simply smile at them and tell them that this is my Calling in Life it is what I was destined to do.
Play Hard...Train Harder...NO EXCUSES
The other week I decided to tag along with Sally to Austin so I could get a nice undisturbed workout in at Hyde Park Gym. Lately, we've been spending a lot of talking about my time in competitive Strength Athletics. It seems since my recovery from the heart issues I have been much more driven towards returning to competing on the platform and the field. So as we drove towards Bastrop I talked about my first ever powerlifting meet and according to Sally she could not only hear but feel and see the passion and love for a sport that she hadn't seen before in me. Sure I'm like most in I love telling stories about my past glory and exploits in the Iron Game hell just ask some of the kids I train but for some reason this time was different. Not only could I remember so much more of the path I took to my first time to walk onto a powerlifting platform I could feel it so deep inside of me that it almost brought me to tears. So we stopped at Buc-ee's for some food and coffee and there in the beautiful Texas morning I told her and if you don't mind I'll tell you....what the hell it's my blog....Let me tell you a story.........
April 1985 my training partners and I are headed down the back roads of Texas on our way from Corpus Christi towards Austin to a little town (not so little anymore) of Bastrop, Texas. I'll tell you what it didn't take long for Rodney and Dan to figure out that I was indeed a city boy from Detroit (or a Yankee as Rick Gaugler our coach calls me still to this day) when I yelled from the backseat of the car to STOP!!! There it was something I have never seen before....a damn steer with a big ole set of horns grazing by the barbed wire fence and I had to have a picture!!!! Great start to the trip for sure because I doubt we were very far out of Corpus Christi.
I was going to compete in the Region 9 Championships in the 198 pound class!!!
Saturday morning and I'm enjoying breakfast when Rick comes to the table and scolds the hell out of me because I still had to weigh in and I was close on making weight....well breakfast proved to be a bad idea because when I stepped on the scale I was 4 pounds over so off to the I go car to bundle up, turn on the heater and spit off the weight and I've only got 2 hours to do it!! Yeah back then you not only had weigh-ins 2 hours before the competition but you had to have all of your gear inspected and marked not like the shit is now!! Since I'm out in the car trying to make weight the 'story telling' side of me will get a bit off track....1985 they are no bench press shirts, wrist wraps were an ACE bandage (1 1/2" wide) that was cut in half...well to be honest we never cut the thing we'd stretch it out on a weight tree and beat a 2 1/2 pound plate on it until it was cut in half and our knee wraps were nice and soft (you can see mine in the picture and they are still the office at my gym).
Well I finally made weight and got warmed up but I guess I was in the wrong area but because I never heard them call my name to tell me where in the lifting order I was but what I do remember is Rick coming and grabbing me by the hair and shoving me in a chair and he wrapped one knee, Stan wrapped the other and with a slap on my back and a shove towards the correct platform my opener of 551 pounds was waiting for me. I had a great day in the squat hitting my goal of 606.5 pounds (275kg) but it is my favorite lift and now we move to my least favorite the bench press!! There I get a nice 352.75 (160kg) and we finally eat some lunch!!! The meet ends with the deadlift and it's a lift that I am starting to love. Thankfully because that pathic bench press has a few people closing in on me. I love the brutal mindset you have to possess to walk up to a heavy ass weight, break an amonia cap and pull that damn thing off of the floor while gravity is fighting like mad to keep it on the ground. Well, I finish my day with a winning pull of 578.75 (262.5kg) and won my class with a total of 1528 pounds (697.5kg) and I am hooked on the sport of Powerlifting!!
Well the meet is over and now it's time to eat and drink a beer!!! We head out to find somewhere to buy some beer and we happen to drive by a couple of cops stopped so we pull up and ask them where....they looked at us like we were idiots and told us Austin!! Bastrop was a dry county and there was no beer sales....what the crap is that!!?? So we got some pizza and headed back to our motel room where Rodney and I decided we were sore and needed to soak in the hot tub WITH our pizza!! I can remember floating the pizza box back and forth to each other and why do I remember this....because we both got sick as dogs. Yeah it was a great trip home laying across the back seat of the car dying!!! I'll tell you honestly I would not change any part of this story for the world.
I must thank Rodney Serpa and Dan Deweese for inviting me onto the platform at Bradshaw's Gym to train with them, Rick Gaugler who taught me the sport that I still love today and to Pete Alaniz who supplied me not only my gear but a friendship that has lasted since we met back in 1984. Pete owns Titan Support Systems the #1 company in the world for all of your gear.
What an awesome introduction to a sport that has taught me many lessons in competition, in life and now in coaching.
Always find love and passion in whatever you do.
Play Hard...Train Harder...NO EXCUSES
San Antonio, Texas,,This past weekend saw Darren Williams place first at the Texas Weightlifting Championships and break 3 state records with an 85kg snatch, 100kg clean & jerk to post a 185kg total and qualify for the Masters World Championships. Darren competes in the Masters Division at the 105+kg class 55-59 age class. That 85kg snatch was 10kg more than the record that he set last year while winning a Texas Championship (this was his second) and goes along with the Bronze medal he won at the Masters Pan American Championship in June 2014. Think that as a Masters athlete that its impossible to improve your technique, your strength, your power or your quickness....if you do or have been told that it is impossible then clearly you've got the wrong coach!!! Please feel free to come by and visit PowerSport and see what a real coach with a real program that has a clue how to coach can do for you.
Congratulations Darren....now let's get back to work we've got more championships to WIN!!!
(footnote to the story Monday while everyone else was celebrating the Martin Luther King Holiday, Darren was in the gym working hard on getting even better and while I read about others who are taking a few weeks off after not even placing I have to ask 'do you really deserve time off if you didn't hit your goals?' Yeah...I didn't think so well maybe that's why you didn't achieve your goals. Just a little food for thought)
Play Hard...Train Harder...NO EXCUSES
The other day Sally needed to go to Austin to take care of the labs she's in charge of there (she has one of those 'real job' things!!) and since I had just gotten back from New Zealand I decided I could use a day off and hang with my sweetie and of course head to Austin to hang out for a few hours...always easy to find something to do in Austin. So, me being the good 'meathead' that I am packed up my gym bag and grabbed some snacks (it is 2 hours from Houston...a man gets hungry) and we headed out.
After dropping Sally off at her lab I headed to an old gym I use to train at way back in the mid-80's when I'd come up from Corpus Christi to compete in powerlifting meets at the Villa Capri Motel (which is now a parking lot for UT) or Gregory Gym at UT. Come to think of it there were times I came to Austin just to train at Hyde Park Gym the atmosphere was that good!! What's a few hours drive to train? Now listen up keyboard warriors unless you've acutally competed back in the middle-late 1980's you have no idea the meets that use to happen at the Villa Capri Motel....to put it in one word they were....AWESOME as was the celebrations afterwards!! No cliques or pompous asses allowed...we all went out and had a blast together.
Walked in, paid my $10 daily fee and headed to the platforms!! Hunted down a decent bar (spoiled at my gym with 5 Eleiko Bars) and the plates needed for the day's training of Squats, Cleans, Clean Pulls & Good Mornings were on the menu for the day. From the moment I walked in I could feel the 'eyes' on me and as I loaded up the bar to 180kg for pause squats even more decided to come back to the back and 'see' just who the hell was doing this!! Well there was a pretty fit and muscular guy back there training a powerlifter and we began talking about the 'days of old' and discovered not only had we shared the powerlifting platform but the bodybuilding stage as well and we indeed knew each other (it had been some 25 years) and had shared more than a beer or two!! Dave Goodin,is the former owner of Hyde Park Gym and I'll tell ya it didn't take us long to catch up. Alright its time for his lifter to get to work and it was time for me to move on to my cleans!!
I had a great workout and it's one that seemed to help me 'turn the corner' mentally in my training. It really is a great gym and 25 years later it still has the atmosphere and equipment necessary for success in the Iron Game!! You're in the right place when the benches and racks are heavy gauge steel and painted Nautilus Blue!!
Thanks Hyde Park Gym....I will be back soon for another training session!! Actually I'll be back next Thursday!!
Old Strong Guys Rule
Play Hard...Train Harder...NO EXCUSES
Sadly my time here in Christchurch has come to an end for another year BUT I will be back in 2015 to once again begin the Off Season Strength Training for Ben and Owen (and anyone else who is not afraid to join in the fun).
We have had some great workouts over these past 3 weeks and I'm talking workouts that honor my basic tenets of strength training:
We have moved some tonnage, we have had the sweat soak through our shirts and dripped from our brows, we have pushed each other well beyond any comfort zones that ever existed in the mind and dammit we have had a blast doing it. There's no bullshit that goes on during trainingâ€¦you're either lifting, spotting or loading there's no time or energy for anything else (if you do then you ain't working hard enough PUT SOME MORE DAMN WEIGHT ON THE BAR). This is the atmosphere necessary to create a CHAMPION.
"The atmosphere is dictated by the INTENSITY created by the people within the gym's walls!"
-National and World Champion Powerlifter Rick Gaugler
So until next yearâ€¦Good Bye Christchurch!!
p.s. You'll want to check back here I've got several more blogs to add when I get time the to clean them up and post them!!!
Play Hardâ€¦Train Harderâ€¦NO EXCUSES
Saturday before last I conducted a workshop that I have been creating for a long time!!! I presented it at Franks Brothers CrossFit here in Christchurch, New Zealand to about 40 trainers and athletes. I titled it "Got Strength; The Journey Back to Old School Strength Training" No Fluff...No Bullshit...No Magic Potions....No Gimmicks...Just HARD WORK. Anyone that knows me knows that this is a subject very near and dear to my heart and it is exactly where my training philosophy gets its solid base. I always refer to it as a journey not a destination and indeed it's been an almost 40 year journey for me that has taken me all over the world as both an athlete and coach.
I began by asking everyone what their basic philosophy on training was and I was amazed at how many did NOT have a philosophy or even a clue. So I began by telling them that there was no one way to do anything in this world and you sure as hell ain't going to be in 100% agreement with anyone...nor should you!! I explained that I learned early in my career never have too much of an ego and try and learn something from everyone you can, I like to feel I've kept to that. So back to our discussion on philosophy, to me it is your core belief it's what guides you and your training and while it may similar to someone else's it should be unique to you. It grows but it doesn't change please don't be that person who changes their philosophy more times than I change underwear....I've worked for a few coaches like this and have been around way too many others that do exactly that. I like to call them 'fakes, frauds, and snake oil salesmen'. We then progressed to cover everything from the practical science to individual exercises (including the how and why) and everything in between. I'm not going to go into detail here...you'll just have to attend a workshop to find out.
From the feedback I received the workshop was a huge success. I really enjoyed sharing my love and passion for training and what I believe is...the meat and potatoes approach to strength training.
Next thing is to take the feedback I received, ideas/discussions I have had since doing the workshop, and what I have already written and creating a longer workshop and presentation so I can share more of The Journey Back to Old School Strength Training because as my friend and strength coach Carl Jennings says; "old school is the real school and you are the headmaster, Ed" this is indeed an honor to hear someone say this.
Train Hard...Play Harder...NO EXCUSES
Week 2 training is just Owen and I which is a great way for us to get to know each other even more and forging a strong relationship. This really helps me design of his training programs through out the year. Not only do I learn his goals (both short and long term) as well as his likes and dislikes in training. I get to look in his eyes and listen when he talks as well as ask questions to get even more information from him that most times the athlete doesn't even realizing they are giving up. So when I combine all of this information I can truly program for Owen Franks.
This isn't some generic program that I just send off and if you do not have this type of relationship with your athlete/coach and that's exactly what most of these fakes and frauds that call themselves coaches are doing and too many 'coaches' that have athletes right in front of them don't have the faintest fucking idea what they're doing anyways!!! I know there is a guy right down the street from my facility in Houston Texas that does that exact thing, as he 'baffles the parents with his bullshit' and most don't find out until its too late that all the time and money invested is wasted or worse they never figure it out. Okay that rant is almost over.
"I don't know what's worse, the absence of a training program or an improper training program."
Do you have a program that you follow?
Who wrote it? What qualifications do they have? Practical or Educational?
What evaluation did they do, ask questions or observe and test you?
Did you discuss your goals? Short and Long Term?
Do you have any ideas what your goals are? If not how do you know if your training is headed in the right direction.
What are the things you enjoy doing in training? Exercises? How much time do you have to devote to training? I am asking for the time you have to devote 100% of your concentration to the task at hand.
Do you keep a training log? Again, if you are not charting your progress how do you know if you're indeed making progress.
These and so many more questions are what I ask my athletes through out the training year.
Play Hardâ€¦Train Harderâ€¦NO EXCUSES
Playing rugby for 10 straight monthsâ€¦traveling all over the globe to play 30+ games is a hell of a season and definitely a beating on the mind and body. I seriously doubt that there are many athletes anywhere in the world that can handle this workload. Ben & Owen Franks have been doing it for at least 5 solid years in their roles with the All Blacks and of course, Ben with the Hurricanes and Owen with the Crusaders. We have a 2 month off season before they report back to their Super 15 teams so there is no rest for the wicked here in Christchurch, New Zealand and that is where I come inâ€¦literally I come to Christchurch to train them for the beginning of the off season and before I go home I'll have the groundwork laid to program our 10 month in season plan.
For me its a 'think outside of the box' kind of programming for sure and even more so since both boys play the same position and both are at the top of the rugby food chain (obviously playing for the All Blacks) and both boys love to train but each enjoy a different approach to their strength training with Ben leaning more towards the power building with some weightlifting movements and Owen loving weightlifting with some power building thrown in to keep some muscle on during the long season.
So there in lies the programming dilemma that I have but not really because I never bothered to 'only' follow the norm in my coaching, instead I choose to test, evaluate, & think on my own not just going with what some scientist constructed in an experiment at a lab in Russia. We constantly talk though out the year and change our training as needed or as I see necessary during the 10 months of in season workouts. Hell after that the 2 months of off season is a breeze to program!!!
So there we areâ€¦first week of off season finished with some great training in the books.
Sunday, Ben and Genna are heading to Nelson for their wedding where I have been asked to be part of the wedding party as one of Ben's groomsmen an honor for me. I am headed to invade Emma and Owen's house for the next few days before we head to Nelson ourselves.
Play Hard...Train Harder...NO EXCUSES
Time to take this show on the roadâ€¦.PowerSport Strength and Conditioning is heading to New Zealand for the next 3 weeks to start the Off Season Training for Ben & Owen Franks of the All Blacks.
Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and of course right here on the website (for much more content) on the training of two of the best rugby props on the planet as we head into what could be the most important off season of their careers with Rugby World Cup coming in 2015 and we all know the All Blacks are the defending CHAMPIONS.
Watch how the greatest train for the toughest sport on the planet while playing the most physically demanding position on the pitch. You'll be surprised at the Meat and Potatoes approach to training there's no fluff or bullshit happening here just Hardâ€¦Basicâ€¦Disciplined Training.
Cheers all and I'll see y'all in New Zealand!!!
Play Hard...Train Harder...NO EXCUSES
Cheers everyone....I know it's been a while since I've written anything but I've been busy getting strong and fit again. Lifting heavier and heavier but also doing my daily walks as well as heading to the beach once a week to run....that's right you read that correctly...I said RUN!! Perhaps I should describe it 'as rhino stampeding through peanut butter' but dammit I'm going faster than a mall walker!!! I have really been focused and driven towards regaining my lost strength but I have to be careful as my doctor has given one very important bit of advice that I can no longer do but that has been engrained into my DNA and that is holding my breath when I lift or the Valsalva Method. Boy I'll tell you that is seemingly the hardest part about lifting heavy again!!!
I've posted a few pictures and videos to my Instagram, Facebook and Twitter pages and I always get awesome and inspiring messages from people all over the world (along with a few messages warning me to be careful....yeah I think I know the limits of body a little better than you.) When I first started to share my story I was touched by the people that reached out to me with their own stories of recovery and how I was an inspiration to them but in their words every one of them shared the same thing and that was a desire to go back to lifting the way they had been before and wanting to know how I talked my doctor into letting me go back to strength training at week 10. News flash.....He told me to go back to lifting!!! I learned there are guys out there that are 8+ months post surgery and only allowed to use rubber bands or light weights while I'm at 5 months and I'm in the gym doing snatches, cleans, pulls, presses and tons and tons of squats.
So I began to ask myself and Sally
What makes me so different?
Why did my body heal so quickly? (believe me it sure as hell doesn't feel that way)
How am I able to do everything in the gym that I had been doing prior to the surgery?
and now my biggest question....Why did the Good Lord decide it wasn't my time?
As I progress in My Journey I am getting a better understanding that the Good Lord spared my life for a reason and believe me when I tell you I was begging him for a second chance as I struggled to breathe during my heart attack but also during the 3 days I laid in CICU leading up to my triple bypass surgery. I feel that the Good Lord wanted me to remain here on Earth to inspire others in the same boat as I am in and to challenge them into getting back to the gym but also for others to know the importance of strength training in combination to the cardiovascular fitness that is so important in recovery and the battle against Heart Disease. I also want to challenge the world of medicine into accepting the fact that not everyone that has a heart attack and/or bypass surgery is the same. There are some of us out there need to get back to the gym and feel the iron again. I will warn you right here and now that it is an unbelievably humbling experience that not everyone's psyche can handle. It was very difficult for me to accept the fact of where I had to begin and how hard things were but also how damn heavy the empty bar felt in my hands. I reluctantly went all the way back to square 1 so I could progress safely and not injure myself but I worked hard and there were times I wanted to quit and just sit my fat ass on the couch but thankfully I have Sally who wouldn't hear any of that nonsense and helped me work through these times. I am truly blessed to have her at my side. I also spent and continue to spend time on my knees in prayer and that has given me strength as well.
Today, I am 5 months from my heart attack and triple bypass surgery. The sternum that was glued and wired back together is healed (and yes the wire is still in there), the scar on my chest has healed so well that I will need to shave my chest and get a tan just so you can see the scar but the scars in my mind are still there and healing and yes when I'm lifting and running I am a little afraid sometimes but I drive on and push myself. I am not doing this because I think I am some badass or anything I am doing this because I have to heal so I can live my life on my terms.
Strength Training has always been my love and passion....I can remember back in Kindergarten lifting the end of the long class table spilling everyone's milk because I wanted to prove how strong I was!! I have many goals that I will accomplish in the World of Strength and I will also continue to challenge the thoughts about recovery and rehabilitation from this nasty disease.
Play Hard...Train Harder...NO EXCUSES
Most of you know that back on June 6th of this year I suffered a very bad heart attack (not that there is a good one) and then got blindsided by the doctors that I would need triple bypass surgery. As I continue to come to grips and understand just what happened to me and the biggest question...WHY it happened I will tell more of my story because it is not just a story of details and things that lead to but also things I choose to ignore and more importantly I will tell of my journey back to being an Elite Strength Athlete. Nothing will stop this quest that I am on.
Yesterday the world celebrated World Heart Day but shit you couldn't tell because not one event or anything was covered by by the so called main stream media or even publicized by the very organizations that are responsible for educating the public about Cardiovascular Disease. I learned about it from listening to talk radio here in Houston on News92FM.com,.,
So please allow me to share a little of my story and why this is such a passion of mine....it's not just because I am a masters level athlete and coach but because I am a now survivor of heart disease.,
Let me tell you that the doctors, nurses and staff at,Memorial Hermann Heart and Vascular Institute-Memorial City,were amazing.....unbelievably amazing!!! With an increase in the number of Masters Level athletes and competitions ,out there specifically targeting the masters or senior level athletes along with a large increase in the population of active and fit older folks. Finally people are realizing that the need for strength training in your later years is important to your overall health and how you will live out those 'Golden Years'. I have spoken to several Strength Athletes and all of them have the same story about how great the Cardio Thoracic Surgeon's skills and the unbelievable advancements in the surgery but the rehabilitation process treats everyone the same with no regards to the lifestyle before surgery we are all treated like an 80 year old who has done nothing other than sit chair all day. I'm not stupid in that I understand and even more importantly I have personally experienced each and every day leading to my recovery but seriously not everyone is the damn same and the people that are responsible and researching better start waking up to this fact!! ,Once you repair our hearts the job is only partially finished.,
Stay tuned as I start to share my journey back!!!
Play Hard...Train Harder...NO EXCUSES