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Starting Strength is common today, but, back then (2006ish), it was nothing (popularity-wise). my self-proclaimed mentor was cutting edge. and i was lucky to have picked him because i needed ss.

it was a book.

but it became my coach.

i remember reading though the book and being blown away. not only did it help me from a technical perspective (with body position and exercise technique), but it also transformed my outlook on strength training.

(because it was basically non-existant)

i had a standard barbell at the time, which oxford defines as “a shitty version of an Olympic barbell that's about as sturdy as a string of toothpicks glued together”

i had a cheap ass bench. third world countries have better benches, really. my shoulders didn't fit through the uprights.

considering i was a skinny-fat dude with narrow as piss shoulders, i'm starting to wonder if my bench was actually a toddler play toy made by Fisher-Price.

and this equipment set up was actually a second iteration.

first was some adjustable dumbbells my parents got me one Christmas, which (based on my previous Christmas lists) had to have been a curve ball.

but kudos to my ‘rents. I woke up on December 25th and there were boxes of heavy iron things in my garage. Even though they had already contacted the local scrap yard to see how much money they'd be able to resell the iron for.

Despite doing absolutely nothing with these dumbbells, I bought more equipment. I thought more stuff would solve my problems. How original.

and the new stuff i bought still sucked. I used the uprights of my terrible to (somehow) zercher squat. I deadlifted. I knew what was good, and I was going through the motions, but I wasn’t really connected to my training.

I didn’t have sight beyond sight.

reading ss was like realizing i wanted to take a road trip across the country, but my mode of transportation was a barbie jeep power wheels.

so the first thing i did was upgrade. i bought an olympic barbell and a good squat stand. a better bench. My garage gym upgrade was complete…once I shimmed up sides of the rack and bench on account of the crooked floor, of course.

it wasn't a lot, but ss didn't call for a lot.

my parents were still able to park in the garage, is what i'm saying, which was a big deal for me because that was our arrangement. no matter what i did, that CR-V needed to be able to fit.

My garage gym upgrade was complete…

…once I shimmed up sides of the rack and bench on account of the crooked floor, of course.

and then i did the thing.

Which is why everything changed when I read (and followed) Starting Strength. It shifted the paradigm, in some way, like

Here doth lie Starting Strength. Read it. Then you will know the truth. And the truth will set you free.

at the time, for me.

I wouldn't be where I am today without my Starting Strength backbone. I owe many beers to Rippetoe and Kilgore, and they're welcome to cash in whenever they please.

And yet, if I could go back in time, I wouldn't do Starting Strength. And, if you're reading this, there's an above average chance you shouldn't be doing Starting Strength either.

No doubt Starting Strength had giveth mucho. But it also had also taketh mucho. And I intend to explore the details of this because, well, I have to heighten the downsides of my competition in order to sound credible.

(You know how it goes.)

I intend on getting to WHY, eventually.

But not now.

I'm writing this to tell what I'd do if I had a chance to start over. the program i'd recommend to new newbs wearing shoes like my old ones.

I was a skinny-fat nerd that wanted to look better (more specifically, build an x-physique) and move better.

But, in order to get what I would do if i had a second chance, have to dissect SS methodology.

Because what I bring to the table is sort of a Bruce Lee'd version of Starting Strength. Me Jeet Kune Doing the shit out of SS. Taking what I found most useful, rejecting what I found useless, adding my own…


i'm glad opinions are like assholes.

002 →

Trying to lose fat, build muscle, and build a body you’re proud of?

Maybe you’re a little lost right now.

Maybe you don’t have much motivation.

Maybe you don’t what program or diet to use.

I don’t know…

But what I do know is this:

Everything you need is inside of you.

You’re capable of more than know.

You just have to open your eyes.

My weekly column can help.

Just a small little honest note from me sent every Sunday.

Unless I’m hungover.

And then it comes Monday.

What I’m trying to say is that it’ll come Monday.

(These weekly columns don’t get posted to the site.)

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