By: Brian Smith
He and the second coach present, Jeremy Elder, explained and demonstrated the movements. Then, as I took my place under the bar, I was mystified by the precision of the cues he spoke to me. How did he know that my balance was off just be looking when I couldn’t tell myself? And how was it even possible that he could direct me with precision how to shift in order to improve it? After following his cues as well as I could, I could feel the difference. It wasn’t just understanding a new concept, though that was happening – it was embodied learning that I could feel and own. I walked out of that session having performed an awkward squat, but it was by far the best one I’d ever performed.
The next week I started the beginner class he offers, and I learned why Jordan seemed liked some kind of barbell psychic to me that first day. As an RN, he’s experienced with the physicality and the mentality of all sorts of folks. As an athlete himself, he speaks from experience. As a Starting Strength coach, he’s been through an education and training process that consistently produces coaches of the highest caliber. Beyond that, Jordan balances professional business practice with causal friendliness, and somehow manages to run a very structured program while remaining flexible to work with.
I was expecting that the other folks in the program would be some sort of experienced athlete – embodiments of the jocks and bros and meatheads that I always found intimidating and inscrutable. Instead, I found a community of men and women of all ages and from many walks of life and all sorts of styles. The jocks are there along with the moms, professionals, students, clergy, and others, and the jocks are competitive in an encouraging way that makes them inspiring. There has been no hint of cultish peer pressure that can be found in some fitness programs. Jordan hosts monthly and quarterly events where people get together, and there’s a real sense of togetherness from training with the others in the program.
As I showed up session after session for the class, I was able to make progress as he and Jeremy both challenged and supported everyone doing the program. I was getting more flexible, developing greater body awareness, and getting stronger. I noticed the improved strength when I walked up stairs, when I got out of a low chair, and when needed to move something heavy. I noticed when the way people reacted to me started shifting. I noticed when my mood, motivation, and focus improved. I noticed, too, when presented with life’s challenges and difficulties that new confidence and assertiveness were changing the way I approached my relationships, my career, and my hobbies.
I decided to add in the nutrition coaching that Jordan offers, and that experience echoed the flavor of the strength training. That was more than 30 pounds ago, and now I’m approaching the weight goal that eluded me for many years. Losing weight while gaining strength isn’t an easy trick to pull off, and having Jordan manage my nutrition and training was a real benefit. Jordan provided a consistent and encouraging direction for me which was invaluable, especially as my weight and my emotions about weight fluctuated all over. Jordan has a deep well of knowledge and support to draw on through Starting Strength and Starting Strength Online Coaching.
After finishing the beginner program, I began working with Ryan O’Conner-Peller of Stanton Strength, another Starting Strength coach who is both proficient, professional, and a great guy to work with. This far out, I’m able to perform the main lifts from double to triple that initial performance. Jordan’s organization has been, for me, the perfect way to learn and benefit from Mark Rippetoe’s Starting Strength program.
When you work with Stanton Strength, Jordan and the other coaches here, provide strong leadership for a fantastic community working through a proven program. There’s no way to articulate how strongly I recommend that you get involved right now.