Each week, we shine the spotlight on one of our online coaching clients. The simple idea of making ourselves stronger through training brings together people of all different backgrounds and for all different purposes. In sharing our clients’ experiences we hope to share part of what makes our online community of lifters unique.

Edmund White

Meet Edmund! He is pretty new to lifting (remember when you were new to lifting?), but holy moly, it’s made some amazing changes in his life. I love this line of his, “ I don’t think I fully get how strong I am or will be.” That’s deep Edmund, good one. 

What do your parents or spouse call you when you are in trouble?

I’m never in trouble

What is your occupation?

Business Development for an enterprise software company

Who is your BLOC Coach?

Nikki Burman, the people’s hero

What is something your coach has had to tell you a million and one times?

That I am doing a great job. And to keep my wrists straight.

What is your favorite lift?


Where do you live?

Brooklyn, NY

Do you lift in a home gym or a public gym?

Public gym

Gym cat or dog?

I don’t know what this means

How long have you been training?

My test session was Jan 21, 2019 so almost 5 months

Why did you start lifting?

I quit drinking alcohol last year and lost over 20 pounds in a few months. I wanted to find something to continue to improve my health and physique (little did I know I would have to gain all that weight back again). I also started an executive MBA program and wanted to have a fitness habit that was straightforward, repeatable and long-term to maintain while balancing work, school and life. I was a fairly competent climber and boulderer (hence the love for chin ups) but had trouble fitting it into my schedule. Also, Last year I moved across the street from a YMCA which seemed like a waste to not use. I was considering running or lifting and after reading about the benefits of strength decided it was something I wanted to pursue and fit what I was looking for. It was a case of wanting something badly, but having no idea how to achieve it in my life, so hiring a coach was a natural choice, and I am very glad I did.

What do you love about training? 

I love how it has completely changed my relationship to exercise, to the gym, to gym culture, to my body, to food, to strength, and to health. So far, picking up and putting down the weights has been a relatively small part of the experience. I am glad I didn’t know how much of a change it would be ahead of time and I am glad that Nikki has been amazing at supporting me through every step.

What lifting achievement are you most proud of?

I am most proud of actually doing it. I had never touched a barbell before starting and was very intimidated to even go to a gym and exercise. I achieved my original goals in the first three months and now I have mostly strength goals. Most recently, I am proud of picking up 300lb. That is a number that generally seems impressive, something I would probably tell somebody I can do.

Did you ever think at any point in your life that someday you’d be as strong as you are now?

I am definitely stronger now than I have ever been but I have been strong at other times and enjoyed it. Lifting helped me clarify that it was the strength that I enjoyed and not necessarily the specific activity that caused it. I don’t think I fully get how strong I am or will be.

Describe a time after you started training when someone noticed your gains. What was it like?

I think I am still 2-3 months away from getting regular comments like that. I am well aware which I guess is what matters.

What or who gets you to train when your motivation is really low?

I think I just make small steps towards getting to the gym, like getting my bag out and changing clothes. Once I am there everything generally goes fine. I also find it important to remind myself that it isn’t one trip to the gym that accomplishes my goals but the consistency. I try to use consistency and time as my biggest advantages.

Pre-workout of choice

I never really thought about this.

What are some of your go-to lifting songs?

My gym plays Power 105.1 so it is pretty much the same ten songs over and over, so I am very familiar with the top of the current hip-hop charts. It makes me do things like look forward to the summer jamz coming and wondering who will have the song of the summer. Somehow I prefer this to headphones.

What is the most embarrassing song you like?

Drip to Hard by Lil Baby & Gunna is my jam when it comes on at the gym

What’s one of your personal lifting superstitions?

I don’t think I do this yet but am always down for good new neuroses.

What are some of your lifting-related goals for this year? 

I want to add 100lb to my squat and deadlift, 50lb to my press and bench, and 20lb to my body. I am currently about 25% of the way there on all of them.

Do you plan on competing in a meet this year? If so, what are your goals?

No plans. I might go watch the meet in Woodmere in September.

What have you learned about yourself from barbell training?

I learned that I didn’t know how to properly feed my body and that I have more body image hang-ups then I was previously willing to admit.

Who is someone you’d love to try barbell training and why?

My partner. She has spent many years doing different diets and different versions of cardio and has not been happy with the results. I think it would be great to see her try something different and see if she gets results she is happier with. My mom is actually pretty interested and might go for it. She just turned 69 and interested in getting strong and staying active as she gets older.

Do you have a role model? Who is it and why?

Can’t think of anyone

Dead or alive, who would you love to lift with?

I’ve never lifted with anyone so that would be a cool experience. I don’t count the other people lifting at the gym because I don’t really talk with them.

If BLOC made a yearbook, which do you think you’d most likely win?

Most likely to submit a saga check-in

Do you love to eat? 

I would prefer not to. I was pretty happy being a little hungry most of the time and now I feel full and gross all of the time. However, there is no denying how good it is for performance during workouts and recovery. I think it is also better for my mental health.

What’s your favorite meal? Please use as much detail as possible.

Most of the eating I am doing is not very exciting, which is why I avoided it in the first place: yogurts, frozen mac and cheese, oatmeal, protein bars, etc. I do have a passion for fine dining which we love doing here in Brooklyn and when we travel. We vacationed in Mexico City this winter and ate our way through some of the world’s top restaurants and through the world’s top street food. Highly recommended. Highlights were ten course prix fix taco bar at Pujol at the high end and huitlacoche quesadillas washed down with some jugo verde while exploring the city.

What was your favorite childhood TV show?

Bill Nye the Science Guy. I got to meet him at the children’s museum in Boston and had the picture hanging above my desk for years.

What are a couple of your favorite books?

White Noise by Don DeLillo, The Odyssey by Homer, Founding Fish by John McPhee, The Goal by Eliyahu Goldratt, everything by Michael Lewis, The Three-Body Problem (the whole remembrance of things past series) by Cixin Liu, The New Gold Standard by Joseph Michelli

Tell us your best dad joke. 

I’ll give you two because you asked:

Two peanuts were walking down the street and one was assaulted.


Knock Knock

Who’s there?


To who?

To whom.



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