My passion for fitness began when I was 10 years old in 1957. I sent away for the muscle building courses advertised on the back of comic books. (Yes, I’m the one). I got my first York 110# Weight Set when I was 12 and began training in a hardcore gym with bodybuilders, powerlifters and pro wrestlers when I was 16. My favorite strength training magazine was the original Ironman Magazine published by Peary Rader and his wife Mable. Even at a young age, I recognized the content quality difference between it and the Hoffman and Weider publications. From the very beginning, I had great teachers.
In addition to strength training, I briefly competed in bodybuilding and powerlifting. In the ‘70s, I confronted my lack of cardiovascular conditioning by taking part in the running explosion and tried cycling as well. After some trial and error, I found something cardiovascular I truly enjoyed, rowing. Until recent shoulder reconstruction, I rowed seriously for 35 years.
After college, I continued a life long study of exercise physiology, functional anatomy, biomechanics and nutrition that has only accelerated throughout the years. I am currently certified CSCS and NSCA-CPT by the National Strength and Conditioning Association and I was the first certified Kettlebell Instructor (RKC) in the State of Indiana (’02). In 2008, I was the first RKC to qualify for the CK-FMS which combines the Functional Movement Screen assessment and corrective approach with Kettlebell training.
I continued my study of the Russia Kettlebell by exploring what is called in Russia “Official Kettlebell Lifting” with Valery Fedorenko, 10 time Kettlebell Lifting World Champion and Honored Master Sport. 3 years and 5 certifictions later, I was appointed to the level of Master Trainer, the highest certification for the World Kettlebell Club (WKC).
Because of concern for the number of my clients who had back pain, I invested a considerable amount of time and effort studying lower back disorder. My major influences in this area of study have been Stuart McGill, PhD. (www.backfitpro.com) and Dr. Ryan Van Matre, who has been not only my friend but also my medical mentor. This study has been one the most exciting endeavors and rewarding periods of my professional career.
The study of lower back disorder opened the door to new methods of core training and a greater understanding the importance of the functional approach to exercise. What was believed to be only relevant to the athletic fitness world has now been brought to the general population much like the developments of auto racing showing up on the family car. I believe that we are all athletes. Just getting out of bed in the morning, moving throughout the day and returning to bed at night is a series of unnoticed athletic events. We all move through the same gravitational field, pushing, pulling, lunging, bending and rotating. “Athletes” just get paid more for doing similar movements but their risk for serious injury is much greater.
It is said that a person can be judged by the company they keep. I have had excellent teachers, mentors and friends who have helped me and continue to assist me on my fitness professional journey: Peary Rader, Loren Comstock and Larry Beam were my earliest influences during my teenage years. If you were alive during the ‘70’s and ‘80’s, for better or worse, you would have been affected by Arthur Jones and the Nautilus movement. I kept what was important and dropped the rest.
More recent major influences include: Pavel Tsatsouline for opening the door to a new view for strength training and a constant source inspiration, Valery Fedorenko for guiding me into the world of “Official Kettlebell Lifting” and for his friendship, Stuart McGill and Shirley Sahrmann for providing a greater understanding human movement, Alwyn Cosgrove for breaking down gym myths and guidance for program design, Mark Rippetoe for the best strength coaching information for the “big lifts” and my friends, Ryan Van Matre, Bill Hartman and Mike Robertson for their knowledge and encouragement.