Monday, February 6, 2012

Working With Jim

I received this the other day from one of my online clients, Eagle. This guy has done a great job- sticking with training even though he has a new child, a full time job....a busy life. He trains at home in his"Garage of Growth", which is awesome.

I have just finished a 12 week training consultation with Jim Steel and wanted to share my experience.

To provide a bit of background, I started training when I was 13 and to be honest have always trained fairly basic. My early years focused on Stuart McRobert type routines and also the Dorian Yates basic program.  I did this until I was in my early twenties and to be honest I’m not much stronger now than I was then. I had a few years of jumping programs a bit (I blame the Internet!!) and using GVT, Fat Loss Circuits, DeFranco’s WSFSB, Westside, Matt Kroc style program, Zach Even-Esh style etc etc.  More recently I have used Wendler’s 5/3/1 for 3 of the last 4 years as well as a stint using a standard Old School PL split. I train in my dad’s garage, ‘The Garage of Growth’ (love having my own little place and got sick of the extra trip to the gym). I have a fairly basic set-up but is does the job and has all I need.

I first heard of Jim when I saw his article The Truth on and loved it, I still refer to this as a reminder of what works from time to time when I feel myself getting sidetracked.  I then started following Jim’s log and Q&A at and also his posts on his blog.  I really enjoy his basic, no-nonsense style and also the fact he has worked/trained with some lifting legends over the years – Captain Kirk, Rob Wagner to name two.  He has probably seen every training fad ten times over and come out the other side sticking to the basic principles he believes in and knows work! It was after reading Steel Reflections, (see my review here: that I decided I really wanted to work with Jim so emailed him about setting up a consult.  He replied with an hour or so and I sent him details and away we went.

When I saw my first week’s workout I remember thinking VOLUME!! Same happened on weeks 2 and 3.  I remember almost having a little sulk about some of the stuff I had to do but it was just what I needed – to be pushed and taken out of my comfort zone.  There have been a few sessions I won’t forget in a hurry…how does 20 sets of Front Squats sound…Now the training has becoming second nature and it feels exactly like that…training, not just winging it.  While I’ve not tested my maxes I am confident that I have increased my strength in the big lifts, I have been working Military Press after Bench and have equaled old Mil Press PB’s despite being fatigued from Bench beforehand.  Also weights used in say Front Squats which are nearing on max have felt much easier than they previously would have done.  I can feel like I’ve definitely added some size especially in the chest, shoulders and arms…a couple of my work shirts are feeling pretty tight!

I’ve really enjoyed the stress being taken out of my programming for me, just getting an email on a Sunday and doing the workouts as written, no doubting the weights to use, being tempted to try a new routine or exercise. I think anyone who is passionate about their training will understand where I am coming from here.  While this may sound like a contradiction, it has also really motivated me to program my own training for a while too.  I feel like I have been given new motivation and have learnt so much about programming from working with Jim that I am looking forward to trying out some new ideas when designing my own sessions.

I would recommend working with Jim to anyone, my focus has increased week on week and I have progressed almost without realizing it, by that I mean the nature of Jim’s programming is that progression is eased along.  Jim has always answered my emails very promptly and given just enough encouragement and advice when needed. You can tell from working with Jim that he enjoys helping people and isn’t in this for the money.

Jim, thanks again for all your help.

All About Being a Lifer

What's a Lifer? Someone who isn't in to something for just a day, a month, a's for life. Whether its training or your family or your doesn't matter. You work at it, you build on it, you see the big picture . You don't miss workouts because it means something to you. You are like a Shakespearean actor- no matter what is going on in your life, you block it out when it's time to train. You walk into the weight room and all else disappears. Worry about it later.