Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Thirty Days to Freedom

When I’m in front of a group of athletes, teaching basic barbell movements, the nuances of the sprint, or proper kipping technique, I’m an expert. I tell them what I know, and I hold it out there as gospel. They usually become better athletes for it, and it makes me very happy.

Still, it turns out that I don’t know a damn thing. When I hit the platform to clean and jerk or throw up a few snatches, I feel like an utter and complete novice. When I set my back on the bench for a few presses, I feel as weak as the first time I set foot in a gym. I attempted a one-legged squat the other day, and I would’ve fallen on my ass if I wasn’t holding onto the pull-up bar uprights.

I get a similar feeling when I read the works of the masters. I’m not talking about Milton, Moliere, and Shakespeare. I’m talking about the guys who have been slinging iron and pounding plywood longer than I’ve been alive—Mark Rippetoe, Glenn Pendlay, John Drewes, and Bill Starr make me feel downright slow.

These men have accumulated decades of training wisdom, the type borne of witnessing tens of thousands of attempts, and they have the wherewithal to get their observations down on paper. When I read these treatises on lifting, I hope to absorb a tenth of what’s there, knowing that I’ll probably have to settle for less. Without tens of thousands of observations of my own, I can’t fully assimilate their knowledge.

These men made a commitment to strength training that I cannot match while working a nine to five.

So be it. In the name of progress, I’ve handed in my resignation. I’m trading a 401(k) and dental coverage for financial uncertainty and a shot at becoming a veteran of the iron game. Starting June 1st, I will be a full-time trainer, author, equipment vendor, and business manager, taking up a station in the back offices of Crossfit Boston.

With the blessing of my girlfriend, a $400 plane ticket, and a pair of lifting shoes, I’ll spend my first week on the job at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, taking the preliminary steps toward a USAW Club Coach Certification. It seems like as decent a start as any.

I don't have decades of time under the bar, but I’m working on it. In twenty years, I may stand in front of a group of athletes and actually know what I’m talking about. That’ll be a good day.

Go faster!

Picture of Coach Rip with Nicole Carroll, courtesy of Crossfit Eastside.


Anonymous Ian Carver said...

Go for it, Jon!! Best of luck, I'd love to be in your shoes and once my rugrats get a bit bigger, I may finally cash in my chips. I have been VERY impressed by the knowledge you present on your site and after reading about your background on an old CF Forum post, I am doubly impressed by your depth of knowledge in such a short time. With your ability to learn, experiment, and teach, you will do great. Keep up the great work!

On a side note, that picture just reinforces the fact Nicole is an eye pleasing, bad ass!!

Take care and stay fit!

Ian Carver

4/26/2007 12:36:00 AM  
Blogger CrossFit Cape Fear & Designs In Fitness said...

I'm reading this at 0442 and so I'll call later - but I just wanted to say, I'm proud of you. That leap of faith will propel you to achieve your goals and dreams.

The only road to true success as a trainer is to do what you're doing; every other way let's you be only adequate and frustrated, but with no true way of building what you want or believe in.

It's scary as crap when you put yourself out there, but it allows you to fly and excel in so many ways. Hell, I've been doing this full-time since 97 and still am enthralled by it.



4/26/2007 09:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Matt CrossFitRVA said...

Yeah! This is a good thing for everyone in the community. Good luck, Jon!

4/26/2007 02:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Dan V said...

Glad to hear it John, I'm sure we will all be better for it! Good luck at USAW.

4/26/2007 09:02:00 PM  
Blogger Carrie said...

I've said before, but I'll say it again: Congrats, Jon! It's a bold thing you're doing, and--one way or another--ultimately a Good One.

5/01/2007 09:48:00 AM  

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