Bill has been training with us at Chicago S&C for four months and is one of the most consistent members in the gym, usually training with us in the evening. Bill often wears a shirt that says “Discipline Equals Freedom” to the gym because he believes that when you are disciplined, only then are you truly free to pursue your goals and enjoy your life. Everyone loves training with Bill! He never misses a training day, has an infectiously positive attitude, and always has interesting things to talk about between sets.
Bill just completed his first strength meet and made all nine of his lifts, including squatting to depth with two artificial hips!
One of the things that we love about Bill is that he is always happy to be training. He checks into Chicago S&C on Facebook pretty much every time he comes in to train, exclaiming how excited he is to be pressing and deadlifting, or doing whatever lifts are programmed for him for the day. Whether he just finished grinding out a successful set, missed a rep, or set a PR, Bill is always smiling. So let’s learn some more about Bill:
Please share a little about yourself. Profession, family, age, background…
I’m 54 years old. I am an IT Senior Manager by trade. I’m originally from Chicago and have lived here my whole life. My wife’s name is Harumi and she is from Japan. We have been married for 5 years. We LOVE sushi!
I think I must be one of the most challenging clients for Coach Dave and Coach Karl because I have two artificial hips as a result of playing rugby. But I do really love to train!!
What was your exercise history before Chicago S&C?
I was a wrestler in grade school, high school, and college. I also played rugby for 12 years.
How did you find out about Chicago S&C and what was the catalyst to get you to contact us and come on your first day?
Two years ago I became interested in strength training. In my research, I found that the Starting Strength program is THE best methodology for getting stronger. I found Coach Karl on the Starting Strength website and had several training sessions with him. Subsequently, in April of 2016, I attended a Starting Strength pulling camp led by Coach Dave and Coach Karl. I was very impressed with the knowledge, experience, and professionalism that they both brought to the table.
When I heard that Coach Dave was going to be opening Chicago S&C in Edgebrook, I was really excited because it is a very convenient location for me and I would be able to train regularly with two really great coaches.
What are your current personal bests for all the lifts? (Squat, bench press, deadlift, press)
- Squat: 118 kg
- Bench Press: 104 kg
- Deadlift: 172 kg
- Press: 68 kg
However, these were all done at a weight of 211 lbs. I am now 162 lbs so my lifts are a little bit below that but Coach Dave and Coach Karl have done a great job of helping me to maintain my strength as I cut the weight. This is something that is not easy to do.
What is your favorite lift and why?
I don’t really have a favorite lift. I like them all. I like to do difficult things that challenge me. I find each of the lifts that we do at Chicago S&C is very challenging in its own way.
How long after starting at Chicago S&C before you noticed a difference and how has barbell training made a difference in your life?
I noticed a big difference right away. By joining Chicago S&C, I feel I have not just joined any other Big Box gym but I feel I have made a real commitment to myself, my training, and to do whatever it takes to get stronger and healthier. I have not just joined a gym but a community of like-minded individuals who are also just as committed to their training as I am.
As we lift heavier weights and do more difficult things, we gain confidence in our own abilities. Speaking for myself, this confidence spills over into other areas of my life. One thing that we learn at Chicago S&C that is a very important life skill is the attitude of consistent effort and incremental effort. If you are dedicated and committed, you will improve and see positive results. We also learn that it is OK if we fail but it is not OK to quit. We sometimes struggle to press a certain weight. We might not get it the first time. We might not even get it the second time. But eventually, when we press the heavy weight, it’s the greatest feeling in the world.
One of the things that have happened since I started training, is that I have become very committed to my training and health. It has motivated me to lose nearly 50 lbs. This has led to a dramatic improvement in both my blood pressure and cholesterol.
How is strength training different than what you did before for exercise?
Strength training requires a lot more discipline and mental fortitude than other exercises that I have done. The work we do at Chicago S&C is harder than other types of exercise. Taking the back squat as an example, there is no other exercise that requires the same amount of concentration and effort as sitting back and lifting a weight resting on your shoulders that feels like it’s going to crush you. When you successfully complete the lift, you feel you can accomplish anything.
What would you say to someone who is unsure about starting a barbell strength training program? How would you convince a friend to get started training?
I would encourage anybody who is unsure about starting a barbell strength training program to absolutely give it a try. I wish I had found out about it when I was much younger.
As I mentioned above, Chicago S&C is not just a gym but it is a community of like-minded individuals with very similar goals for their training. I personally believe that to have any kind of success in life, you need a solid support system. You will get that at Chicago S&C.