Incomplete Is My Training: Postponing 5/3/1

arnold deadlift
Credit: Flex.com

I’m postponing my 5/3/1 Powerlifting Program because my wife and I agreed that my progress would probably go a lot faster if I knew what I was doing. Actually, she said six sessions with a trainer would probably be cheaper than the cost of a doctor, physical therapist, chiropractor, and time lost at the office if I decided to really hurt myself.

The missus got the business card of one of the trainers at the gym I go to, and I gave him a call. I had intended to make an appointment just to interview him, but by the time he got back to me later that day, I figured “what the heck.” After a phone conversation with him, Chase and I set up a meeting for 5 a.m. this coming Thursday to start my training.

I feel a little like Luke Skywalker on Dagobah hearing Yoda complain “Incomplete is your training.” Sure enough, I could use some improvement, particularly in establishing and maintaining a neutral spine through the duration of my lifts, particularly the squat and deadlift.

Just for giggles, I Googled “how to find a personal trainer,” which returned lots of results including Hire the Right Trainer and How Do I find a Personal Trainer.

Of the suggestions in the first article, I glommed onto number 2: “Know What Motivates You.” I choose to interpret that as “know what you want.” I know exactly what I want. I want to improve my back squat, deadlift, bench press, and overhead press, specifically by learning to establish and maintain a neutral spine, as well as any other necessary aspects of lifting form that’s necessary to maximize my effort and minimize the possibility of injury, particularly as a person over 60 years old.

Unfortunately, choosing a personal trainer is just like hiring anyone else. You can look at their qualifications, interview the person in question, even seek out references and past employers, but you will only know how the person truly performs once they start doing the work.

yoda trains lukeThe only experience I have with Chase is watching him lead the morning class at my gym Tuesdays and Fridays (I thought he was there more often, but he told me those are the only two days he’s present, and only in the mornings). As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, I tend to find his class a tad annoying, not because they’re bad people or anything, but they tend to get inside my “bubble” when I’m lifting, and they’re noisy enough (and kinetic enough) to be distracting when I’m lifting heavy (for me).

You can find out more about Chase by scrolling to the bottom of this web page. I looked up his certification, and it means he’s qualified to develop exercise programs for healthy people. He’s also got his B.S. degree in “Exercise Science, Fitness Evaluation and Programming Emphasis.” from our local university. I’ve heard of the program and it’s supposed to be pretty good.

He’s also got a background in martial arts, having trained “with UFC fighter BJ Penn at his academy learning boxing, kickboxing, wrestling and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.” I’m not into learning martial arts, but it’s an interesting detail.

He’s quoted as saying:

My training philosophy is simple and the workouts are complex! I will work you out from head to toe, front to back, left to right and everywhere in-between. I incorporate functional training with traditional weight training. I throw in some good old fashioned bodybuilding techniques, and then toss that around with some athletic based performance training. Every individual’s workout is different and I make the intensity difficult but not impossible.

seabeesThe inscription on the memorial to the Seabees (U.S. Naval Construction Batallions), between Memorial Bridge and Arlington Cemetery says something like, The difficult we can do at once. The impossible takes a little longer.” I’m not quite that “b@lls to the wall,” but I do what to push through my barriers.

Since Chase is the professional involved in this endeavor, I’ll defer to his judgment…up to a point. I’m still the consumer and I know what I want. It’s his job to determine the best way to deliver on my request, and this is a paid service, so I want my money’s worth.

It’ll be interesting to see how my attitude toward him and his morning class changes as we get into the training program. Hopefully, our personalities will match up or at least not clash too much. Even if he knows his stuff, I still have to relate to him well enough to take his instruction.

I’m excited and intimidated at the same time. So far, except from some advice from my son David and various people online, I’ve been in charge of designing and implementing my exercise programs. I’m a lone wolf lifter and for the most part, I like it that way.

I lifted last Sunday (after cardio) and Monday, and today I just did cardio and ab work, so tomorrow I’ll probably just do more cardio and then make my training day on Thursday my “lift” day. We haven’t settled on a schedule after that, but we’ll see how it goes after the first session.

How long am I postponing my newly selected program? Not sure. Depends on how often I train with Chase and how quickly I become competent. I’ll keep you posted.

What lies behind us or before us are tiny matters — compared with what lies within us.

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