#173 – The Chronicles of Andy Baker
Fan favorite Andy Baker returns to the podcast… this time to talk about himself, not programming (though he manages to sneak some programming talk in anyway). Andy of course is the programming mastermind behind the Baker Barbell Club, and the co-author of Practical Programming and The Barbell Prescription. Today he shares his story of training as a kid in a sweltering attic in Houston, to learning from top lifters in college, to a career of military service… and explains how each of these experiences contributed to the master barbell coach we know today.
Andy found an early mentor in powerlifter Bill Windschief (Deep Squatter has an interview with Bill here), a USPF Texas State Champion and top-3 finisher in the USAPL Nationals in the late 90’s. Bill taught Andy the value of simple, effective programming, and was a proponent of the three week, 8-5-2 rep scheme cycle that Andy still uses with his lifters today. Andy also points out that during the 90’s, with the internet still in its infancy, the gym served as the main source of information on lifting technique and programming. Lifters met face to face, talked between sets, and shared what was working and what was not… quite a different atmosphere from today, where lifters are more likely to spend their rest time checking Instagram or arguing on forums. Consequently, he learned to have an open mind and pull from many sources — powerlifters, bodybuilders, Olympic lifters, even strong recreational lifters — when designing his own training routines and thinking about fitness.
In college Andy trained as a bodybuilder, though he never competed. He later shifted to powerlifting, while studying for a degree in Exercise Science. He found the curriculum disappointingly endurance-focused, however, and was frequently bored in class. Then September 11th happened, and he made the snap decision to sign up for the Marine Corp. While on tour in Iraq, he turned to the base gym for peace, and continued to work on his academics when possible. After completing his four year contract with the Marines, Andy opened his gym, Kingwood Strength & Conditioning. He has operated the gym successfully now for over twelve years, which he credits to the personal attention, coaching expertise, and small, manageable overhead he has cultivated there.
Check out the classic Lee Haney workout video that started it all for Andy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_XeJKhO6M4
You can find Andy at http://www.andybaker.com, where he offers online and in-person coaching, custom programming design, and programming templates.
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