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Thread: Thanks Coach Rip

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Warren, MI

    Default Thanks Coach Rip

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    Coach Rip,

    I imagine you get a lot of these messages, and I suspect mine is not particularly interesting or impressive, so Ill fight my long-winded nature and try to keep this to a tolerable length.

    I started to mentally draft this message a few times, giving you varying degrees of credit. Sometimes it begun something like Rip, you changed my life! Other times (when the DOMS is grueling) I take more personal credit - after all, I am the one who put the work into the training. At the very least I have you to thank for guiding me to a path of effective strength gains, confidence, and personal improvement. Were it not for you, I might have adopted one of those programs where a squat is a motion done with a Bosu Ball instead of a barbell.

    I was recommended your book. I weighed 325 lbs, 39 years old, 64, and a couple decades in front of a computer monitor with little physical activity had taken its toll. I was never very strong, and often a bit overweight, but at 39 I was at the worst state of my life.

    I was skeptical of a strength training program. I have suffered from lower back issues that would occasionally flare up and cause me a lot of pain. The idea of doing a deadlift scared me to death; I assumed it would hurt my back. I recall a (crazy strong) person I respected a great deal who asserted that back problems in our culture are a result of weak backs, saying the back is a muscle, and weak backs directly caused problems. Perhaps oversimplified, but that certainly seemed to make a lot of sense, so I tempered that against my fear of injuring myself trying to lift something heavy off the ground.

    I stuck my toe in the water of lifting weights, but found my lack of mobility prevented me from squatting properly, and it took months (with poor focus) to gain required flexibility. For a few months I screwed around, but finally started to see some results, gain some range of motion, and make the transition from exercise to training.

    6 months ago 325 body weight
    press 80
    bench 116
    squat 148
    deadlift 185

    4 months later 300 body weight
    press 125
    bench 175
    squat 260
    deadlift 345

    I still have a long way to go. My numbers are poor by the standards of a 64 guy who lifts weights, but moving in the right direction. Im fairly excited to see where my numbers end up when I exit the novice stage.

    I feel strong and capable. My back feels the best it has in years, and while Ive tweaked it good a couple times using bad form on lifts, I can look myself in the mirror having tweaked my back lifting weights instead of sleeping on it funny. I recover better, and feel better.

    I did not expect to lose weight doing strength training, but Ive dropped a few pounds, and my clothes fit a lot better. Just as you mention in SS, I dropped belt notch before the scale moved at all. Im eating really hearty, and getting stronger. I have not tried to adopt a better diet with much deliberate energy, but I find I crave and eat more normal whole foods. Im focused on strength gains vs weight loss, but both are getting done despite eating twice as much as I used to.

    I sleep better, I feel better, my wife is happy with the improvement in my body composition which has obvious rewards. My sweet elderly neighbors occasionally needs help getting up from a fall, and Im thrilled that when I get a call from her and go to pick her up, I dont worry about hurting my back. I know I have the strength to lift her holding a couple 45 pound plates for reps. Hows that for functional strength?

    Starting Strength did great things for me, and I thank you for putting together a no-bullshit roadmap to get strong.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2009


    Well done. Keep going.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Warren, MI

    Default update

    Today I turn 40. I had set a goal of joining the 900 pound club where I work by my 40th birthday. I do not actually go to the gym here at work, but it was a goal I was shooting for. It was looking grim for a while, but I hit it my last session. Also, these are my working weights; I have little motivation of trying for a 1RM. I had debated pushing for a 1RM if my working weights were not up to the 900 lb threshold, but luckily I did not have to go that route.

    These totals may not be impressive, especially for a bigger guy, but Ive doubled my totals in less than a year.

    For my birthday/reward, Im treating myself to the Rogue Ohio Power Bar.

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