Using the Non-Zero Day method to continue to stay disciplined and work towards my goals this year, I decided to seek out some help from experts in weight lifting and strength training to help me progress. This led me to the mecca of strength training, the Wichita Falls Athletic Club in Wichita Falls, Texas.
The WFAC is owned by the godfather of modern strength training, Mark Rippetoe. “Coach Rip” has tons of great articles and videos online on his website, StartingStrength.com, for those looking to increase their strength levels and learn about basic weight training. Coach Rip and his staff developed the best beginner strength training program in the country, known as Starting Strength, which is used by hardcore lifters and athletes down to the average desk jockey, and even many seniors who want to lessen the effects of old age. He and his staff also do seminars on his program all over the country, but primarily they use Rippetoe’s gym in Wichita Falls as their home base for training.
I’ve previously done Starting Strength for a long time so I can attest to how well it works. I saw incredible strength gains in both my deadlift and squat numbers in only a six-twelve month period. If you’re looking to make some solid progress in basic weightlifting and strength training, Starting Strength is an excellent starting method. I encourage you to purchase the namesake book on Amazon.com and read it for yourself. In addition to learning the Starting Strength programming, there’s tons of excellent knowledge about how to correctly perform all of the major powerlifting lifts: Deadlifts, squats, bench press, press, and power cleans. Even if you don’t have goals of being a powerlifter, those are some of the most important exercises any amateur should incorporate into their workouts if they want to build muscle mass and avoid being a weakling when you get older.
Moving Towards Mastery
Fitness and strength training has been a part of my life for over a decade and I’ve spent thousands of hours devouring countless articles, books, and Reddit posts on the subjects of fitness, bodybuilding, weight training, and nutrition. In spite of all of that time I’ve spent learning about fitness, I’m always amazed at how much I still have to learn. No matter what subject you’re working towards mastering (fitness, sports, a foreign language, a musical instrument, etc.) never be afraid to sit down with a coach or an expert to improve your skillset and to get feedback. Even the best athletes in the world, from LeBron James to JJ Watt to Phil Heath, all spend countless hours seeking out additional coaching and feedback from experts in their field.
Having family north of Wichita Falls and knowing I was going to be in the area this past MLK weekend I decided to call up the WFAC and see if I could schedule a workout session. I scheduled a session with coach Nick Delgadillo and coach-in-training Joey Gaona and a few days later I headed to downtown Wichita Falls for my workout session. Both Nick and Joey were extremely helpful in helping me tweak and improve my form for all of the major Starting Strength lifts: Deadlifts, Squats, Press, and Bench Press. Unfortunately, coach Rippetoe wasn’t in, but I still got in an awesome workout and learned a lot in my coaching session.
Non-Zero Days At The Gym!
I’ve previously discussed how I use the Non-Zero Day method to stay disciplined and on track to reach my goals. One of my goals is to continue to build strength and stay in shape via strength training and cardio. In the original post, I discuss how one should never have any days where you don’t do anything towards your goals. With fitness and strength training that becomes a little difficult as one needs sufficient rest days to allow the body to recover, the amount of rest days depending on the specific training program. Bodybuilders may train 5-6 days per week and powerlifters may lift only 3 or 4 days per week, taking every other day off to rest. With the Non-Zero Day method, I don’t mean you should get your calendar and hit the gym 7 days per week or 30 days per month. That’ll quickly lead to burnout! Instead, if your goal is to do a program like Starting Strength that has you train three days per week (ex: Monday, Wednesday, Friday) then use the Non-Zero Day method to make sure you train every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday! You can use a calendar or spreadsheet to track your workouts, just make sure you have no zero days on the days you’re scheduled to hit the gym!
My Training Regiment
While I swear by Starting Strength’s program, today my goals and daily schedule are slightly different. I’m now doing a PPL routine (Push, Pull, Legs) which hits one of the major lifts every session (splitting deadlifts and squats on different days) and I shoot for six days a week at the gym with one day of rest. I have no plans to compete, so I’m not as worried about my numbers in my lifts and am more focused on lifting as consistently as I can but also releasing stress and gaining endorphins. I prefer a six-day schedule as opposed to three, but your mileage may vary. I still do the big three lifts twice a week.
Come With Me If You Want To Lift!
Now that you know all about Starting Strength don’t take my word for it! Go purchase the book and get started on the path towards success and remember Coach Rippetoe’s wise words as you continue along your journey:
“Stronger people are harder to kill than weak people and are more useful in general”
Now go pump some iron!