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Starting Strength in the Real World


Kim: Coming Back to SSOC

by Brooke Haubenstricker, SSC | August 16, 2018

kim curtsinger prepares to deadlift

Kim Curtsinger is my client at Starting Strength Online Coaching, but I knew who she was before she became my client. I’m a member of the Starting Strength and Starting Strength Bar-Belles Facebook groups, and over the past few months Kim had become increasingly active in these groups, often posting questions about intermediate programming. Even with all the advice she was receiving, she was clearly stressed by the complexity of not only programming but coaching herself.

Kim had been a client of SSOC previously, but had to cancel her membership after only a short time for financial reasons. She thought that after running her novice linear progression with SSOC she would be able to coach herself, supplemented by the Starting Strength books and free online resources. It ended up being much more difficult than she had anticipated, and she struggled and grew frustrated. After talking with SSC Bill Hannon about some possible programming options, Kim realized that she truly wanted to be training under the guidance of SSOC. In May, she re-joined the service and jumped back in with both feet.

Kim was fired up and ready to get back on track with her training. I started her off on a short linear progression program so I could take a look at her form and get an idea of what her current levels of strength were and if there were any issues that needed to be ironed out before progressing her to heavier weights. Her technique was solid, which wasn’t too surprising since Kim is a bit of a perfectionist and she had already been coached by a SSC. A few weeks later, I transitioned Kim to the three-day Greysteel Texas Method. Now into her third month back, she has squatted 135 lb for 1x5, achieved a new press PR of 60 lb, and recently pulled 200 for 1x5. All at 59 years old!

I asked Kim to share her thoughts on her experience with SSOC, and why she decided to come back for a second round, and this is what she had to say:

I had been working out with dumbbells for many years, and was growing stagnant with them. I was looking for something to increase overall body strength. I don’t recall how I found out about Starting Strength, but I would take a good bet it was on a bodybuilding forum I followed. They had a section about different programs and I most likely was introduced to it there. I liked the idea of three or four basic exercises providing a total body workout so in November 2017 I invested in a very, very cheap barbell and plates from a big box store that were really a joke. I purchased a better set in December and in mid-December I had my first Starting Strength NLP workout. After a few weeks of that I knew if I were going to commit to the NLP I needed proper equipment so I went all-out and purchased a rack, plates, and bar from Rogue Fitness.
I had never touched a barbell until I started in November, so my form was not very good. I posted videos to the SS and the Bar-Belles Facebook pages and received encouraging feedback from them. I knew I needed to get some coaching because I was totally new to this, and 58 years old at the time. I chose to try Starting Strength Online Coaching (SSOC) because I could train at home (albeit on my back porch – it’s closed in on three sides but still kind of nippy in the dead of winter).
When I began my SSOC training, I made a deal with myself that I would do three months of training then go at it on my own. This was made mainly because I am closing in on retirement and trying to manage my money better. So after three months I stopped my SSOC training.
I felt that with the basic knowledge I had of programming combined with the accessibility of video reviews from the SS and SS Bar-Belles Facebook pages, that I could manage okay by myself. It only took one week for me to see that leaving SSOC was a bad decision. My biggest issue was with programming. I was spending way too much time each week planning the following weeks’ workouts. I was practically living on the aforementioned Facebook pages. I had worked too hard with my coach to lose it all because I was delusional enough to think after only three months of training that I even remotely knew enough to do it alone.

At this point, Kim reached out to Bill Hannon, who was her coach's Team Leader during Kim’s first stint with SSOC. Bill and Kim discussed some options for programming and also talked about why Kim had left SSOC.

Bill asked me the question, “Why did you leave SSOC?” I told him the reason was strictly financial and he understood that, but it got me thinking of how I could rearrange my finances to do a few more months with SSOC. Before the afternoon was over, thanks entirely to Bill, I was back in with SSOC, and one very happy camper to be back. I simply did not have the knowledge to do this alone, and do it right. Thankfully, I have never been one to hesitate asking for help when I didn’t know the answer. I was so confused at this point that I didn’t even know the questions. The relief I felt to be back with SSOC was palpable.
Since I returned to SSOC things have been amazing. My new coach is Brooke Haubenstricker and she is wonderful! My lifts are steadily increasing. I am still having issues with the press, but Brooke believes in me so much and is very encouraging on the press. That means a lot to me. We started out running a short NLP and now we’re into the Greysteel Texas Method and things are going very well. The programming makes so much sense to me and I can see how each session builds up for the following session. We have already hit a landmark on the squat when I just recently squatted my body weight. We’re closing in on a landmark deadlift, 200 lbs, and the bench press is coming along as well. Brooke has such extensive knowledge of so many little things. Seemingly minor training adjustments have made a big difference in my performance – things I would have never known had I not started and then returned to professional coaching. I look forward to training and I am no longer intimidated by the bar.


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