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 career in competitive Strength Athletics. It seems since my recovery from the heart issues I have been much more driven towards returning to competing both on the platform and in the field. So as we drove towards Bastrop and I talked about my first ever powerlifting meet, according to Sally she could not only hear but she could feel the passion and love for a sport that she just hadn't seen before in me. Sure I'm like most 'Old Strong Guys' 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 but 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.... STOP!!! There was something that I had never seen before....a damn steer with a big ole set of horns grazing by the barbed wire fence and I just 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 headed to compete in the Region 9 Championships in the 198 pound class!!!
It's 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 too close to making weight to be eating and well breakfast proved to be a bad idea because when I stepped on the scale I was 4 pounds over so its off to the car to bundle up, turn on the heater and chew some sour gum so I can spit off the 4 pounds and I've only got 2 hours to do it!! Yeah back then you not only had weigh-in 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, there was 1 guy in the USA making powerlifting belts so you ordered it and waited for Bob Morris to send it to you and wrist wraps was 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 the sqaut is my favorite lift and now we move on to my least favorite the damn bench press!! I did get a nice 352.75 (160kg) and we finally eat some lunch a traditional Texas Powerlifting lunch... its Whataburger time!!! Shit I think Whataburger should be sponsoring powerlifting the way we seem to eat it every meet!! Well the meet ends with the deadlift and it's a lift that I was starting to love and because of that pathic bench press I had a few people closing in on me. I love the brutal mindset you have to possess to walk up to a heavy ass weight, snort 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 lab 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 at an awesome gym with a great atmosphere?! 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 were allowed we all went out together and had a blast eating, drinking and telling stories. Guess you can see why I love Story Telling Time.
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 the recovery phase of the day and that includes a trip to the original Whole Foods Market then head to Zilker Park to eat and watch people do that 'running thing' hahah
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 and created by the people within the gym's walls!"
-National and World Champion Powerlifter Rick Gaugler
So until next year...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 Hard...Train Harder...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. I told 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 to never have too much of an ego and try to learn something from everyone you can I like to feel I've kept to that thinking. 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 my 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
Well it's Sunday morning and anyone that knows me knows I'm sitting in a coffee shop enjoying a cup or three of coffee (so I don't bother Sally) and cruising some training websites and catching up on some reading. Then of course, I'm drawn to the ultimate time waster that is Facebook so I can catch up with my friends all over the world only to be bombarded with posts from all of the awesome fitness experts out there. (I swear that many of them are still frustrated they were cut from the 6th grade jump rope team). Anyways, it always mystifies me just how many of them are forever changing their training philosophy and I wonder why? Did you take any time to develop and research your philosophy or are you just 'parroting' whatever happens to be the craze at the moment!! One of my favorites....a total 180 degree change in philosophy....a couple of years ago 'parroting' Joe DeFranco that the Olympic Weightlifting movements were not necessary for improved performance in sports and now after a weekend course you're not only a weightlifting coach but you can coach/teach/program like world class coach. Highly doubtful there princess!!! Hell I've worked around top level coaches who seem to change their training philosophy as oten as I change underwear!!! One training camp their doing Olympic Lifts, the next training camp it's like Louie Simmons disigned the training program only to see it change 2 years later to strongman training along with some training circuits with weird ass names attached to them!! What the hell is going on?
REALLY!!! How does this happen? How do you change your entire training philosophy? Must have been a hell of an epiphany!! My question is where/when did you start to develop your training philosophy? I'm not saying for a second to not continue to learn and develop as a coach and as a person but you've got to have some core beliefs that guide you. Lord knows I continue to travel all over this globe to do just that...LEARN and I've learned a few things from coaches that I don't even remotely agree with their philosophy but I damn sure know exactly not only where my training philosophy comes from but I can tell you exactly what it is. See, I've put the time in researching, developing and experimenting on myself and anyone that would let me!! I've spent most of my life training for something and coaching. I've also known since I was about 15 that I wanted to be a Strength and Conditioning Coach and this is way back in the late 70's when there weren't very many of them out there as weight training was still taboo in many sports. I've been blessed to have trained under some great coaches and military instructors, yeah I know exactly where my philosophy comes from and where I'm going with it!! Do you know exactly what your training philosophy is?
"If you don't stand for something you'll fall for anything"
Play Hard...Train Harder...NO EXCUSES,
A huge CONGRATS to Darren who has been training extremely hard over this past year here at PowerSport and that training has paid off in a Bronze Medal (50-54 105+kg class) at the 2014 Master's Pan American Championships held June 21st in Toronto, Canada and we couldn't be more proud of him and excited about his future in the sport he loves.
Back in May of 2013 Darren walked in the doors of the gym ready to begin his quest on improving his weightlifting technique. I'm going to tell you right here and now that it was a damn tough road he choose and it takes a dedicated and motivated athlete to take this type of challenge on....Darren was up to the task!! It's not easy to completely change your technique and that is exactly what we did and we did it together. There is perfect technique that most try to learn when they take that weekend course to become 'certified' and then there is optimal technique for YOU!! I believe that there is much more to coaching than taking a weekend course, reading an article, watching videos or parroting some other coach while running around telling folks how great you are. It takes years of being in there coaching, pursuing your education and in my opinion being on the platform competing.
You really serious about being a champion then train where the champions train...PowerSport.
Play Hard...Train Harder...NO EXCUSES
As I sit outside this morning enjoying breakfast on a cool morning with Sally, our cats and dogs it occurs to me that today marks my 2 year anniversary from almost loosing my leg (and life) to infection after my Achilles and ankle reconstruction and of course the pathetic excuse for a doctor I had in San Antonio who not only ignored and then when it exploded did a horrible job cleaning out and treating the infection. I would not let this ass-hat for an orthopedic surgeon operate on a stuffed toy!! If you are in San Antonio NEVER go to Dr. Marvin Brown or his equally worthless PA Mark Duschine at San Antonio Orthopedic.
But today's blog is not about these 2 idiots or the fact that after all of their screw ups that damn near killed me, I can find no justice because between the doctors, lawyers and politicians protecting each other and their donors make it impossible to not only prove medical malpractice but to even get a lawyer to listen to you and fight for what is right and just. To read and hear about lawsuits for so many ridiculous things and not be able to get even a chance of a little justice had left me angry and bitter to a point of it affecting my life and happiness.....'had' is the opportune word here!!! I've dealt with enough heartache, hard times and turmoil in my life to let this shit beat me!!
Today's blog is about the amazing doctors of Fondren Orthopedic Group and staff at Texas Orthopedic Hospital who saved me!! It really is as simple as that...they saved me and healed me and for that I owe them a huge debt of gratitude, in fact Sally and I both do. I went in to have surgery 2 years ago, I was in constant pain (since January and here it was May) and had my tendon graft hanging out of my ankle where the infection was so bad that it literally ate the ligament that was used to repair my ankle and spit out the graft. I ain't kidding when I say spit out either!! The infection also cannibalized my big toe tendon that was used to repair my Achilles tendon. The infection also did a number on my heart too. I found that out when I wasn't able to be cleared for surgery and had to visit a cardiologist where I got the joy of doing a stress test when I was barely able to walk. I left the hospital 2 1/2 weeks later after 3 surgeries on crutches with a PICC line in my arm but I left with both of my legs and I was thankful for that. Sally told me a few months later when Dr. Oates came out after that first surgery the first thing he told her was that they were able to save my leg, don't really think she heard much more than that. My doctors were awesome!! They are not in a hurry to get out of the room and to another person they actually care and listen. Dr. Oates and Dr. David Loncarich are the greatest but they also brought in the big gun with reconstructive surgeon Dr. Brinker to assist in the debridement. My nurses were equally as great but one in particular really was the key to my recovery, Salma (hope that's how you spell her name) is everything a nurse is suppose to be and more. Her and Sally really teamed up to make sure I was comfortable as I could be and that I was taken care of. You always hear 'it starts at the top' well at Texas Orthopedic it does, it starts and ends with CEO Trent Lind. I was waiting on Dr. Brinker to arrive for my second surgery it happened to be nurses week and the management of the hospital was delivering food to the wonderful nurses and Trent went by with a few plates of food, now my surgery was scheduled for 9 am but with delays it was now about 3 something and I hadn't eaten since midnight!! I asked him to bring Sally some food and she could eat it and then give me a kiss so I could have something before I died of hunger, anyway during my surgery Trent and Sally got to talking and he made sure I was well fed when I was done. Two years later and we are still friends, guess something good came from all of this after all. Now I can't forget my Infectious Disease doctor, the great super doctor Dr. Victor Fainstein, who always came in with a joke and great attitude. He and Sally would team up and make sure I understood everything that was happening no matter if I wanted to or not.
My journey has taken time, patience and a hell of a lot of work to get where I am today and I'm not done yet. I've went from barely able to walk to lifting heavy again and back to competing. There are a few people to thank that helped me, encouraged me, visited me while I was in the hospital in San Antonio, helped me load and unload the moving truck at the gym and they know who they are. I don't think I'll ever be able to thank the great people of Texas Orthopedic enough without them I probably loose my leg or worse, Ben Franks always listened and encouraged me and in fact made sure I walked out and competed on the platform with him this past January, my training partner Darren Williams who continues to make sure my squats and pulls are correct but the biggest thanks as I'm walking down this road remembering this journey I've been on.....the biggest thanks goes to the love of my life SALLY. She's been with me every step of the way believing and encouraging me even when I didn't believe I'd ever heal. I don't know how she did it because I am a big baby when I'm not feeling well and she put up with me being like that for a long time. The Good Lord has really blessed me with her.
Alright...back to the gym I've got some squats to knock out!!
Play Hard...Train Harder...NO EXCUSES.
While this phenomenon of 'Throw Back Thursday' always amuses me, today it has me thinking and wishing I had more pictures from my past. Since everyone loves posting pictures of themselves I decided to post one of the entire gym set up that helped create my love for strength training and to reflect on my Journey in Strength.
This was at my first duty station in 1980, I was a Military Police Officer at a Nuclear Missile Defense Battery in West Germany, I say 'West' because this was during the Cold War and the Berlin Wall was still standing and Germany was divided into East and West.
The gym you see in the picture just happens to also be my barracks room and this massive weight set was passed down from meathead to meathead and was probably 5-8 years old when I got it. About 30 miles away in Wertheim there was a larger base a decent gym but I could only get there a couple of times a week and getting there was an ordeal in itself!!! We worked 24 hours on duty and 24 hours off duty guarding the launch pads and missiles so when you finally made it back to the barracks at 6am all you wanted to do was shower, eat the nasty gruel they tried to pass off as food and get some sleep. Now the bus that went to the base in Wertheim left at 11am so if you missed the bus and didn't have a ride you'd be forced to hitch hike which back then was very popular and you could generally get a ride then just catch the bus back to base when it left at 4pm. There were a few other guys that enjoyed training as much as I did and since our base was at the top of a big ass hill we had a great training schedule set up. On off days we would head to Wertheim and do our cleans, squats and pulls then head back to base and get a jeep or load up a wheel barrow and take turns pushing it up the hill. On days we would be on duty we did our presses and pullups then we would carry each other up the divider berms between the missile pads or lift the big ole stones we had found or our duffel bags that we had loaded with sand.
Here we are in 2014 and I still train the same way as I did way back in 1980. The lessons of hard work, sacrifice, dedication, motivation and passion still live deep within my soul as they have for almost 35 years. I am blessed with my very own awesome gym and to be able to pass on my training philosophy to others that are not afraid of the hard work and sacrifice it takes to become a CHAMPION.
While I never claim that my buddies and I invented our way of training it sure helped form my own philosophy in strength development that continues today. With that in mind, I will say what I find less than amusing is reading or listening to some of the fakes, frauds, and snake oil salesmen out there that like to create the image that they invented all of the training that people have been doing for generations. NO YOU DID NOT!! Maybe you put a different name to it or a little different approach or maybe your own twist on it but it is still strength training and it has been happening long before you and will continue long after you have left it behind so just because you recently became exposed to it does not mean that you invented it.
I sit here at Revival Market enjoying a flat white coffee and have to smile as I think back to 1980 when after training my buddies and I would head to the little town of Hardheim at the bottom of the hill to enjoy a coffee and pastry and watch the world go by. Although I have been very successful as a Strength Athlete, I have to wonder what type of athlete I could have become had I had someone like me coaching me way back then or had access to the gyms that are out there now. Maybe it's part of the reason I am so passionate about not just the training but the journey as well. I guess its always something to ponder while I enjoy my coffee and watch the world go by.
Play Hard...Train Harder...NO EXCUSES
I cannot begin to express how proud I am of former PowerSport Strength and Conditioning Athlete US Army Captain David Taliaferro of the New York National Guard's 133rd Quartermasters Company / U.S. Central Command Material Recovery Element based out of Ft. Hamilton, NY. David has been chosen to lead 130 soldiers who are now placed under his command during their mobilization and deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
David is a 2007 graduate of the United States Merchant Marine Academy where he played football and ran track. I met David while I was an assistant strength and conditioning coach for the San Antonio Spurs and he was busy working as a ball boy for them. He would stand by the weightroom door as long as he possibly could watching and listening to me as I coached the players both before and after games all the while he would enquire about my training and my philosophy and soon began comparing what he saw in my coaching and training to that of what he saw in my my boss' but that right there is a whole story in itself!!! When our season ended David soon began training with my off-season groups to experience first hand my training and he blossomed into one of my most dedicated and motivated athletes, often motivating others as we ran and did drills in the 100F (37C) sun drenched San Antonio summers (where it seems that you owe the damn sun money and he's there to collect it) or at the equally as hot Olympic Gym!!
Over the years and to this very day David, his family, Sally and I have remained friends. Having proudly served in the US Army myself and Sally in the US Air Force, we cannot fully put into words how we both feel about this leader of men but David and his family know and that's all that is important.
Sometimes, you never know the depth of your influence on those that you are blessed to coach.
Please read a little of what David says about his time training with me: "I credit Ed with intially preparing me as a high school athlete, continually as a college athlete, and ultimately as a leader of Infantry Soldiers. In my experience during multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, mental toughness and physical fitness go hand in hand. In the words of General David Patreaus, "fit minds equals fit bodies". Ed has been, and continues to be, an invaluable resourse to condition the mind and body. While I cannot directly say that a few of the close calls I have experienced overseas were a reflection of the training ethos Ed instilled in me, I am damn glad that I did utilize his training techniques in preparing for combat. There is no higher recommendation I could give for a strength, conditioning, and life coach."
some of the informantion for this blog post is from a press release from the Merchant Marine Academy dated 6 March 2014
"100 games in this competition is not a small achievement-it's massive and we're very proud of Ben and he deserves this recognition" Mark Hammett Hurricanes Head Coach
This past weekend in South Africa Ben Franks achieved a milestone in Super Rugby when he walked onto the field for his 100th game (83 with the Crusaders and 17 with the Hurricanes).
Ben has achieved this milestone with very few injuries playing probably one of the most physical games in sport and one of the most physically demanding positions on the pitch as well. His disciplined approach to training and taking care of his physical self is above any of the athletes I've had the immense pleasure to train. Long before he began training with me his dad had set in motion the training and motivation that continues to help Ben achieve his goals. Everyday he wakes up early to eat a big breakfast and then packs his lunches and snacks to take to training not expecting anyone to do it for him. No one really wants to head out after training to jump in the COLD damn ocean (I'm still cold from him challenging me to stay in for 20 minutes!!) but he does so he can help his body recover. Since he plays about 10 months we have a small 2 month window in which we call 'off-season' so I call upon his dedicated approach to insure we are working hard throughout both Super Rugby and the All Blacks seasons....WE HAVE NO IN-SEASON TRAINING...we have a realistic approach to our training and it works...and it works well!!!
The evidence is in the the achievement.
Ben also has another person in his corner to help him in what he's achieved and that is his partner (and in December his wife) Genna. In every great man's life is a great woman to walk with him and help him achieve his dreams and goals. This simple fact cannot be overlooked!!
To give a little context, I met Ben back in 2006 as he was coming off of his first season with the Crusaders and I was in Christchurch, New Zealand to work the Crusaders Wider Training Group Camp for 5 weeks. Way back then I had a feeling he was going to be someone special in regards to his professional approach to training for his sport. We had several conversations during my time there on training as he was keen to learn all he could in what I call the Physical Development for Sport. We continued to build our friendship over the next couple of years and after the horrible earthquakes in Christchurch he contacted me to become his personal physical development coach. After the All Blacks won the 2011 Rugby World Cup I was brought to Christchurch for a month to train Ben....moved right into the spare bedroom of his new home with Genna and their newborn daughter Annabel and he's brought me back the past 3 years to train him and set up our training program for the season, so we must be doing something right!!
Congratulations Ben and I am very proud to be a small part of your success
Play Hard...Train Harder...NO EXCUSES
Genna created the picture of Ben's professional career.
Want to give a HUGE shout out and Good Luck to Chris Kendig as he goes to St.Lake City to attend USA Bobsled's Drivers School....kind of like going to Drivers Ed. way back when only this is learning how to drive a bobsled downhill at about 80 MPH and not wreck!!! I remember talking to 3-time Olympian and 2002 Silver Medalist driver Todd Hayes, when I trained him about not only the physical requirements to succeed but the intelligence required to properly navigate the course.
Chris came to PowerSport Strength and Conditioning after 'training' at or meeting with several other supposedly Sports Specific facilities around Houston, needless to say he wasn't impressed with any of them....not one of them had any idea about how to properly prepare him for the goals he wanted to achieve. They wanted him to train like everyone else at their place...in other words...bullshit cookie cutter programs put together by someone who calls themselves a coach!! Since he was a member of the Auburn University Rowing Team and had already been to the USA Bobsled Combine he knew exactly what he needed to improve upon and that he needed a real coach...not someone that thinks they are and that is where I came in!!
Chris is dedicated, motivated and consistant in his training and because of that he has made huge improvements since beginning his training with PowerSport. A great testament to his hard work is being invited to Drivers School!! When he comes back we will begin our next training phase towards the next goals we have established.
pictured is Chris' 125kg power clean and 42" box jump
Play Hard...Train Harder...NO EXCUSES
The Greater Houston Strength Coaches Association has awarded me the honor of 'Coach of the Month. This is not something that I expected or even I was up for. I've never been one to 'toot your own horn' like too many others, I feel that the success of the athletes I train speaks more than I ever could. However, it sure is quite an honor for me and is awesome to get some deserved recognition in my Physical Development Training that I do here at PowerSport Strength and Conditioning!!
Play Hard...Train Harder...NO EXCUSES