Starting Over, and Branching Out.

Oh boy, where to begin?

Let’s start with the big things, and go from there.

For those of you not in the know, I made the decision to go back to school to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Exercise and Movement Science at Missouri State University. I resisted making this move for a long time, mainly because I saw going back to school as an admission of defeat, but, I’m glad I finally bucked up and did it. My girlfriend, Caitlin, deserves the lion’s share of the credit, as she encouraged, pushed, and eventually coerced me into getting off my ass and becoming an adult.

My original intent was to pursue a full Bachelor’s degree, but that plan was waylaid in favor of something more promising–a position as a Graduate Assistant with the MSU Strength and Conditioning department, and a Master’s degree in Health Promotion and Wellness Management.

This opportunity, which seemed to manifest almost entirely from thin air, has been a lesson in the value of networking and making good impressions. Though knowledge and experience are invaluable in all walks of life and all fields, this has shown me that whom you know can be just as, if not more important, than what you know.

I’ll be starting my Master’s degree in the Fall of 2016, which is quickly approaching. In the meantime, I’ll continue working with the S&C department as a student assistant/volunteer, and will be assisting with football, baseball, softball, volleyball, and swimming. I’m thoroughly excited to begin this part of my life, and am pleased to be making forward progress, rather than simple lateral shifts in station and status.

My lifting career, if it could ever be called such a thing, has been sidelined, due to a variety of factors, amongst which time is chief.

There exists an undying sentiment within the lifting community that if one is sufficiently dedicated to the pursuit of betterment and improvement, that there should be naught but one’s own will and desire to stand and act as barrier, and that one will make time to lift or train. However, there exists a disconnect between the evangelicals of the Internet and the rigors of reality, and as such, time, among other resources, can not always be made so readily available.

Dave Tate, CEO of EliteFTS, once said that “passion trumps everything.” I agree with his statement, and appreciate what one can accomplish when possessed of sufficient motivation and drive. However, the converse is true as well. When passion is absent, when the drive is flatlined, and desire is deflated, there can be no progress. Since my last competition, in July of 2014, I have slowly (with bouts of resurgence) been sloping downward in my desire to lift and train, and thus, my progress has stalled.

Every athlete, whether strength or sport, knows the pain and frustration of injury. During the latest winter break, I somehow injured my back, probably as a result of intense and lengthy bouts Skyrim and general lethargy. I walked into the gym one day, and found myself suddenly unable to squat 135 without feeling like I was going to explode, shatter, or violently seize. To this day, I’m not entirely sure what really happened, but it turned out to be a real eye opener.

I started seeking intervention and recovery, and came across a YouTube channel called Smashwerkx, run and hosted by a guy named Trevor Bachmeyer. In coordination with help from the MSU Athletic Training staff, and a couple of visits to the chiropractor, I’ve found my way back to being able to move and lift again. I’m still not pain free, but I’m at a point that is manageable and tolerable. IcyHot has become my new best friend, and although it still hurts like a sum’bitch, I’ve found myself looking forward to doing mobility work.

I started my lifting career as a bodybuilder, then evolved into a powerlifter. I loved, and still love, powerlifting, but as a result of my injury, have had to make some adjustments to my training. Once I was able to move without pain, I started front squatting, because a) I’ve never spent any time doing them, and b) they didn’t make my back and spine feel quite so crispy. From there, I progressed to RDL’s, hamstring curls, glute bridges, and other posterior chain work.

As my back loosened up and got stronger, I started implementing more Olympic work. As a burgeoning strength and conditioning coach, I need to be able to perform the Olympic lifts effectively, and, tangentially, I needed something different to do in training, other than the squat, bench, and deadlift.

I didn’t think that I would enjoy working on the Olympic lifts, mainly because I’m a perfectionist, and find no joy in being unable to do something correctly right away. But, to be honest, I’m finding that I truly enjoy doing Oly work. Again, it’s something new and fresh, and is allowing me to progress again. I’m feeling stronger, more explosive, and more athletic, all of which are good things.

I’m working on a four day split right now, which looks something like this:

Day 1 (Olympic emphasis): Clean, front squat, push jerk, single leg, core, back/row.
Day 2 (Upper strength emphasis): Bench press OR OHP, box jump, press accessory, row, core.

Day 3 (Olympic emphasis): Snatch, snatch grip DL, single leg, core, back/row.
Day 4 (Lower strength emphasis): Squat OR deadlift, clean pull, single leg, core, back/row.

The movements will vary from week to week, depending on how I feel and what I feel like doing. I’m using this more as a template than anything else, but am making sure that I’m including certain things every training session.

I’m excited to continue with this and see where it goes. Hopefully I get stronger in not only the Olympic lifts, but the power lifts as well.

Thanks for reading, hopefully I can make this a regular thing again.

 

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3 thoughts on “Starting Over, and Branching Out.

  1. Kim says:

    Jim,
    I am very proud of you! Hard work and dedication always pay off! I changed careers at one point in my life and very happy I did. Strategy and planning is everything and it sounds like you are doing just that. Success is right around the corner.
    Love,
    Aunt Kim

  2. Thomas says:

    Proud of you big man!! Finally adulting and adulting good!! Definitely will be following in your blog!

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