I remember the first time talking to Wayne on the phone when calling I-FAST (was very informative), my first assessment with Bill and picking Mike’s brain when I decided to join.
I was skeptical about how much value you guys could add since, let’s face it, I already knew eveything there was to know. I had poured through Arnold’s Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding [even read the extinct Education of a Modern Bodybuilder], watched Pumping Iron a handful of times, read everything I could get my hands on from Frank Zane, poured through 10 years of Muscle & Fitness, knew about Louie Simmons and Westside Barbell, loved training legs, and had an 1005# total at a powerlifting meet in college (which makes you strong, right?).
I mean, how much more information is really out there?
And then I looked at my first program.
My head was swimming with thoughts like “wow this warmup stuff looks like a huge waste of time”, “what the hell is all this split stance crap and when can I move some real weight?”, and “I have to squat now with a friggin 10 pound plate out in front of me?!?!?! You’ve gotta be kidding me!”
Truth be told it was, hands down, the most humbling experience I’ve ever gone through.
Every single exercise where I had to stablize my trunk (which lets face it, was almost all of them) made me feel like I was having an epileptic seizure.
Internally I was wondering how the hell I could be quivering like a little schoolgirl doing a split stance cable push with 20 pounds. 20 freaking pounds.
On top of it all I was the fattest I’d ever been, my waist would baloon to 40″ post eating and I felt miserable. [I have to think Bill and Mark thought I had no chance of achieving my goals when I walked it like a (fat) bigshot know it all for my assessment]
After a few weeks of warmups, mobility work, and humbling stabilization work (and following Mike Rousell’s 6 pillars in Naked Nutrition) I felt like a totally new person. It is difficult to put into words how different I felt – it was that profound.
Mike and Bill’s passion for training and helping others is evident in every aspect of I-FAST. Besides feeling like I was training at a gym owned by fitness celebrities (yes, you guys are that cool), the thing that impressed me the most is that every single employee knew my name the first day I entered the building (and I hadn’t met them!). In a world of twitter, ipods and texting that little extra effort was 100% noticed and extremely appreciated.
When a job change required me to leave Indianapolis the thing I was most devestated about leaving behind I-FAST (save for a few close friends). It is more than a gym. It is a community. I-FAST was my Third Place . There was a part of me that wanted to stay at a job that wasn’t for me just to continue to train with Mike & Bill.
The new gym I joined is a higher end cookie cutter gym with tons of cardio equipement, some 25 machines, 5 flat benches, 2 smith machines, and one heavily underused power rack. Needless to say the last few months of 2010 I felt like a bit of an anomaly there since I was the only person squatting with free weights instead of a smith machine, used a trap bar, trained abs without excessive lumbar flexion (doing “weird” exercises like wall press abs, planks, side planks, pallof presses), didn’t stare at myself in the mirror, and didn’t buy tickets to the gunz show every workout.
The magnitude of what Mike and Bill taught me only really hit home after my workout the first Monday in 2011. Prior to then I hadn’t really observed any of the dozen trainers at the gym conduct private sessions because there just hasn’t been enough foot traffic for them to get in my way. The large number of resolutionaries who opted to get personal trainers (and kudos to them for trying to get extra help) provided me with ample opporutnities to observe.
Holy crap Batman was it a train wreck!
Some observations during the 1 hour or so I was in the gym (~30 people lifting weights):
- Rope battling… wait for it…while standing on a Bosu ball,
- ~250lb older woman doing “situps” (followed by 1 legged squats),
- A middle aged woman doing pushups with a sagging butt and knees and zero scapular stability, and
- 2 separate instances of older overweight women “dancing” side to side on one of those aerobic step up things while holding a medicine ball.
And to think these people are charging $50/hour.
And the funniest thing of all is that I’m the one getting all the funny looks doing soft tissue work, hip thrusts, glute bridges, heavy squats and deadlifts, ITYs, glute crushers, windsheild wipers, rock backs, bird dogs, floor presses, prone rows to external rotation, scapular wall slides and EQIs.
Miss training with you guys,