Thursday, July 5, 2012

Opportunity Knocks

I've written in the past that I consider myself a student of the Strength and Conditioning field: I spend quite a bit of my free time reading materials written by people who are smarter than me about the best ways to get people fitter, faster, stronger and more injury-proof. As a result, I've always got a thousand thoughts floating around in my head.

Recently, I've garnered a few opportunities to put some of this knowledge to use! I consider myself a programming nerd; I like reading programs written by other coaches and trying to figure out why they are using the exercises, sets and reps that they chose. Theres a rhyme and/or a reason, and I want to know why. As a result, I'm always interested in writing a new program for someone just so I can see what the results end up being; what's effective and what's not. 

A few weeks ago, we got a new trainer at my gym. She is a former D1 Softball player for Boston University where she was a four-time America-East All-Conference selection, a First Team All-Region honoree once, and a National Strength and Conditioning Association All-American. During, I think, her first week with us she received an offer from the Olympic Bobsled Team to come to Lake Placid at the end of August for a tryout in their combine. Holy shit! She wanted to jump at the opportunity to try out for an Olympic team, but needed a program. Enter me and Dan. We both were eager to write her training program for her. Why were we so eager? Because it's not every day you get to write something for a high-level athlete trying to make an Olympic team. If she happens to make it, then we get to go forth and put on our resume that we successfully prepped an athlete for their Olympic combine. Awesome.

Shortly after, we got a new babysitter at work. Turns out she is also a former D1 athlete! She was a middle-distance, distance and cross-country runner at Wright State in Ohio. Normally this isn't something that would hold my attention for very long, except she happened to mention that she "wanted to get stronger and gain some muscle mass." Um, yes. Yes, I can make that happen. She also still competes in races fairly regularly, so we can help improve her performance too. I ran her through a quick movement screen and found out that she was basically free of the normal distance-runner contraindications. Her posture is pretty good, her flexibility/mobility is really good and her movement patterns are damn near perfect. Cool! I just wrote her a quick program to start her off on her road to joining the Swole Patrol, and hopefully we will have some before/after pictures to show off her progress. By the way, this girl also enjoys eating large amounts of food and Leinenkugel beer; winner winner chicken dinner!

The most recent opportunity, which I've yet to fully jump into, is to help a classmate of mine with a bikini competition that she is interested in entering into. This particular classmate has been a distance runner for a long time, and fairly recently discovered CrossFit. I know she's in pretty good shape, but I'm unsure exactly what kind of shape we are talking about. I need to get together with her soon so that I can see what kind of work we need to do, and to find out how long I have to get her competition-ready. Prepping someone for a competition that is strictly aesthetics-based is very new to me and is something that I'm interested in pursuing. I have some pretty good ideas about how to go about getting the greatest results for a competition like this, but I've never actually done it before. I'll be, hopefully, meeting with her soon to do her bodyfat testing, and then I can start writing her program. Photos to come, I hope!

There we go; three very different opportunities to make myself better at my job. Three different types of people who will all finish the program that I write for them. A new challenge and a new opportunity to find out how good I am! What can you do to get better? Figure it out, and go do it...then lift some heavy shit!

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