Hello folks!

I'm a firefighter and have been with the San Antonio Fire Dept for almost 7 years now. I grew up skinny and weak, never lifting weights but opting instead for lots of basketball, sand volleyball, and patellar tendonitis. I entered the training academy at 6'1 and 145lbs in 2009, and after 6 months of boot camp-esque PT every day and running the FAD (SAFD FAD - YouTube) twice a week in our bunker gear, I graduated at 172lbs.

After doing Crossfit for a few years and dabbling in occasional weightlifting and olympic lifting, I realized I wasn't getting stronger and was getting injured too often. I'd strain my back picking up patients incorrectly, screw up my shoulder doing kipping pullups, or any number of other things. Through reading various articles and doing research, I eventually stumbled on Starting Strength in 2013 and devoured the content, reading it cover to cover in a few days. I started the program and focused on getting strong (while being pigheaded and still doing Crossfit) and put on a decent amount of strength and mass the next year, adding another 13lbs to round out at 185 with a 245 squat, 325 deadlift, 215 bench, 145 press, and 195 C&J.

It wasn't until a couple of years ago that I realized I needed to drop the extracurricular stuff to make progress and get stronger. I started weightlifting almost exclusively and dropped most of the conditioning (still did it once or twice a week since it's necessary for my job). I had the privilege of getting to attend a SS seminar set up by our dept in November 2015. I'd read the book three times through and had been training for about 2.5 years, but it was so immensely helpful having SS coaches teaching in person and critiquing / correcting in real time. It was a pleasure meeting the whole staff and getting to pick their brains. After doing another couple months of training, I tested my 1RM's again in December with a 315 squat (Squat check), 405 deadlift (Deadlift check), 250 bench, 180 press, and 235 C&J at a bodyweight of 205.

I'm grateful for Rip's book and all of the content I've watched and read online. It has made me move better, pick things up correctly, decreased my incidence of injuries, and most importantly, made me stronger mentally and physically. I'm a better firefighter, husband, and father because of it. Thank you Rip and staff for everything you guys do!