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.

Jim

Jim taking 565 for a ride.

Jim hails from the big apple, but is more of a big nacho kind of guy. He’s been lifting for 22 years!! He trains in a public gym, which can be a real drag in NY, but he’s brought his own Texas Bow Bar there – strong move for a strong man, Jim has a 565 squat, 450 bench, and 605 deadlift. Daaaaaang. Read on for some serious wisdom, like, “This might sound harsh, but definitely don’t pay any attention to the weak, dis-empowering mindset that (in my experience) most others tend to adopt and project. You will consistently surprise yourself with how much you’re capable of if you just put in the work.”

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

Wreck-it Ralph

What is your occupation?

Management Consultant

Who is your SSOC Coach?

Michael Wolf

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

Hmmm. Well, I suppose this changes every 6 months as I tend to fix one issue and another one might creep up. Recently it has been that my squeeze up on deficit deads is far better than my squeeze up on regular deads, so trying to apply the same level of focus that I demonstrate on deficits on regular deads is a recurring theme recently.  

What is your favorite lift?

Squat

Where do you live?

New York, NY

Gym cat or dog?

Texas Power Bar? I train at a Globo Gym so pets are not allowed but I do have my own barbell there to avoid using the gym’s terrible equipment.

Why did you start lifting?

Preparation for highschool football

What do you love about training?

Everything. The personal challenge, physical and psychological benefits, the structure and routine it provides, the lessons learned that apply outside the gym, the rush you get when doing a new 1 RM or a serious volume workout. Seriously love every part of it.  

What lifting achievement are you most proud of?

Over 22 years I’ve had different focuses at different times, and I feel like I’m proud of many things that I’ve accomplished along the way. Two that stand out are when, in my younger and less-informed years, I got SUPER lean, which although pretty uncomfortable, looked cool and taught me a lot about nutrition. I’m certainly proud of some of my PRs (565 squat, 450 bench, 605 deadlift). That said, overall I’m most proud about my long-term commitment and the enthusiasm I continue to have for lifting through various stages of life when everyone insisted I would stop for various reasons along the way (college partying would interfere, getting a job, getting married, having children).

Jim has built a massive 450 lb. bench!

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

No

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

The first time I can recall is sophomore year of high school. This was in the mid-1990s when access to information about lifting came mainly from the gym you went to. I was fortunate to have a very good high school weight coach who was a big fan of Bill Starr and who applied Bill’s principles to the program for our team. Most guys, if they actually lifted at all, dismissed the coach’s advice in favor of body part splits and staying lean (curls, bench presses, and eating like birds). I did exactly what my coach told me to do in the gym and ate like crazy person (gaining 90 lbs in 2 years). A few of the older guys on the team came into our school weight room and realized I was a lot stronger than they were and were asking if I was taking steroids (ignoring the painfully obvious reality that my home was the squat rack on every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and I ate probably 5x what they did). I was lucky to have learned an important lesson early on – squatting heavy and eating a lot produces incredible results.

How many shirts and pairs of pants have you torn?

20

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

For me this is a rare occurrence; training is not and has never been an option and I think the last time I missed a session, due to the flu, was perhaps 8 years ago (but I probably added a training session the following week to make up for the missed one). On the few occasions my motivation has been low, I usually take a little extra pre-workout and put on some good music and just get it done. As a wise man once said, there “ain’t nothing to it, but to do it.” Many times I find once I’m in the gym, the training sessions that begin with low energy turn out to be quite good.

Pre-workout of choice

Something fancy pantsy

What are some of your go-to lifting songs?

Go-to lifting music for me has to include Disturbed, Korn, Godsmack, and others. I like to mix in some Pearl Jam, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and others for lighter sets. I have pretty diverse taste in music so lots of other stuff mixed in, as well.

What is the most embarrassing song you like?

Katy Perry – Last Friday Night, although I’m not embarrassed that I like it, only think others would be embarrassed for me.

What’s one of your personal lifting superstitions?

None

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

2018 was about ironing out some squat form issues and hitting some new PRs which I did with a 565 squat, 450 bench and 605 deadlift. In 2019, I’m trying to reign in my diet a little bit and then will try to beat my previous PRs but at a slightly lower body weight.  

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

No

What have you learned about yourself from barbell training?

I can accomplish far more than I might initially imagine when I apply myself and work hard over a sustained period. This might sound harsh, but definitely don’t pay any attention to the weak, dis-empowering mindset that (in my experience) most others tend to adopt and project. You will consistently surprise yourself with how much you’re capable of if you just put in the work.

Fahve Fifty for Fahve.

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

Everyone. Seriously. I’m a firm believer that barbell training is the ABSOLUTE best form of exercise/ training BY FAR for EVERYONE. There is so much misinformation out there about the risks of lifting and what happens when you lift (i.e., you miraculously and suddenly get big and bulky – don’t we all wish it was that easy?). I’ve spent enough time in the gym to realize that the only people that make any progress are lifting heavy weights while the rest of the people on the treadmill, doing cross-training, or whatever other BS fad is hot that day, are generally regressing or AT BEST maintaining their current level of fitness (which is LOW).

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

Everyone. Seriously. I’m a firm believer that barbell training is the ABSOLUTE best form of exercise/ training BY FAR for EVERYONE. There is so much misinformation out there about the risks of lifting and what happens when you lift (i.e., you miraculously and suddenly get big and bulky – don’t we all wish it was that easy?). I’ve spent enough time in the gym to realize that the only people that make any progress are lifting heavy weights while the rest of the people on the treadmill, doing cross-training, or whatever other BS fad is hot that day, are generally regressing or AT BEST maintaining their current level of fitness (which is LOW).

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

Mark Rippetoe. Seriously. As long as I could pick the music.

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

Least likely to miss a training session

Do you love to eat?

“Love” is too weak a word to describe my feelings about food. If I ate what I actually wanted, I’d be 300 lbs no problem.

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

Given my love of food, a favorite meal must contain A LOT of food, and therefore I get to pick a few things here. The meal starts with buffalo wings, with extra blue cheese dipping sauce, and nachos loaded with meat, cheese, and sour cream. Next up is an enormous bacon cheeseburger and french fries. To wrap things up, I’d have a brownie ice cream sundae.  

Anything else you would like to share with your SSOC brethren and sistren?  

Trust your coach.  

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