After nearly 10 years of lurking here (i.e. reading and training) I thought it was high time to extend some sincere gratitude to Mark, the SS Coaches, and all the other experienced lifters and contributors on this site. I have long meant to acknowledge and thank you all for begin a tremendous resource over the years.

Like many, I would have considered myself a bit of a gym rat having been committed to being strong (or at least, looking so) since the age of 14. Although my early lifting was based heavily on the bodybuilding magazines of the 80’s and 90’s, and the influence of those whose advice would now make for a good laugh, it was well-intentioned and clearly yielded enough of a return to keep me coming back. I can definitely say now at 52 years old that as competitive sports and related interests have come and go, lifting (in some way, shape or form) has been by far the most consistent physical activity (and probably activity of any kind) throughout my life. However, I do remember somewhere in my mid- to late-30’s realizing intuitively that all of the isolation work and emphasis on appearance that I had been effectively brainwashed into was probably not very “functional”, while at the same time being a bit perplexed as to how to make it so.

Eventually my internet searching lead me to SS and thankfully I quickly recognized it as the perfect “true north” for me to pursue. Over the last decade I’ve trained more effectively, put in a home gym, learned how to work through/around injuries and tweaks, and even alleviated some existing annoyances (e.g. lower back pain). I have a scientific background and gravitated immediately to the empirical approach and inarguable logic that SS espouses. Of course with all the stops and starts associated with life events and set-backs that sometimes seem to increase exponentially with age, it’s easy to wish (and even expect) that I was stronger, particularly when reading about the tremendous progress of so many in these forums. I try to relegate those sentiments to additional motivation, but I am simultaneously very pleased to be able to continue to participate in most any physical activity that interests me and keep up with my kids through almost anything (given a few extra minutes to warm up). I’m not on a single prescription drug, move my own furniture, and open stubborn pickle jars with ease. When I look at my peers, particularly fellow middle-aged desk-jockeys, it is both surprising and frightening how rare these things are becoming. Friends are often either unduly impressed (probably that I’m not yet sporting the full-on “dad-bod”) or, in the case of my kids’ friends, probably just weirded-out by the guy grunting in the basement while they’re hanging out at our house. I am by no means genetically gifted or unusually strong, so in trying to set a good example I try to make it clear that the only real difference between myself and them is the willingness to get under the bar week-in and week-out, particularly when I just don’t feel up to it. I find that the best (and most empowered) I feel all week is about 10 seconds after I rack the last set of heavy squats.

Along with the books of course, this site has been a source of education and endless entertainment from you folks. I now find it difficult to come up with questions that haven’t already been addressed in some way. Of course, there are the still some particularly rich articles and posts that I continue to come back to time-and-time again to help keep me on track. I am still occasionally setting PRs and, on average, stronger now than at any other point in my life. I’ve probably bought a dozen or so books for friends and family and trained about that many as well. Successes have ranged from getting young teens started with the barbell (and watching in awe and jealousy how fast they progress) to helping some aging family members regain functionality and independence with carefully titrated versions of the program, to understanding when and how to prepare for my own recent shoulder (rotator cuff repair) surgery.

It is for all these reasons that I am very grateful for those in the SS community that give their time freely here to provide guidance and support - the learnings have truly been a gift that keeps on giving. It is my sincere wish to be able to contribute or somehow give something back so I will do my best to look for opportunities to perhaps post more and share some of my personal experiences in case they might help someone out there. I have learned by observation to choose my spots carefully!

Thanks again for everything – with any luck the shoulder will be back in working order soon and I’ll be able to make a seminar or two (as has long been my intent) and meet some of you folks in person.

Stay strong…..