Thursday, May 23, 2024

Full Circle: and ready to train again - By Ted Peterson

My name is Ted and I am 53 years old. You might be thinking that's great Ted, now who are you and why are you writing an article for Natural Strength?

Read on and you might understand, relate, and become motivated to press on with life and your training goals. Let me start by going back to the late 1990's and early 2000's. I was in my late 20's and early 30's. Coming out of the military I was in "good" shape and lifted weights regularly. I trained with passion and loved being in the gym pushing myself and anyone around me physically and mentally.

All that being said I hit a place in my training where I thought that I had "plateaued." I was training faithfully and taking all the popular protein powders of the era. I went to a locally owned nutrition store and spoke with an "older guy" that looked serious about his training. He didn't have a Hollywood muscle for show build, but had an I can pick up a truck kind of look. I shared my frustrations of not making anymore gains in the gym and he asked how many days a week I trained. I answered proudly that I lift weights five or more days a week. I will never forget him rolling his eyes at me and saying come here as he walked toward the books section. He proceeded to explain to me that I was training too frequently and focusing on "body parts" instead of full body, big muscle movements. He handed me several free copies of Hardgainer and encouraged me to read through them.

This is when I was introduced to the writing of "Maximum" Bob Whelan. Although there were many great articles by other contributors I always seemed to gravitate towards Bob's articles. When I began reading hardgainer back then I was 6' tall and weighed about 186. I am not going to lie, these hardgainer articles challenged me mentally. They went against almost everything that I had been taught about strength training. Train less often and quit wasting your money on protein powder!? Eat a big fat steak was, and to this day is, one of Bob's main protein recommendations. So I read hardgainer articles and began to apply the principles of Bob's coaching in them.

Beyond the training tips I found the articles to be incredibly motivating as Bob would describe the brutal sessions, toughness, and attitudes of so many he trained. I applied many of the principles and went from weighing 186 to eventually peaking at 210 pounds! 210 for me was maximizing my genetics for sure and with the increased muscle mass my strength also increased incredibly. My buddies kept asking what magic protein supplement I was on. Some even hinted that roids might be involved, which really pissed me off. Many would "work out" for two hours at the gym, yet the only thing that grew might have been their mandibles. I am no better, or lesser than any man, but my gains were steady, over the course of time, and were made through honest and consistent hard work. I wasn't going to allow people to take that from me especially after I would share the training principles, knowledge, and Bob's articles with them.

I have many life experiences and one thing I've unfortunately noticed is that many people are good with living mediocre lives and want things easy. Enough of that. Let's fast forward to injuries at 43. After 9/11 I served in the military for another 4 years and then as a first responder for an additional 15 years until cumulative injuries took their toll on me. My careers were ended, I was facing surgeries, training was reduced to doctors approving "doing cardio", and I went into a depression. At the urging of family and a couple of close friends I went to the VA and began to tackle some of the intrusive memories that I had from the types of professions I had chosen. I had to dig in mentally and I pressed on. I can't say how challenging it was and to this day I have to work on keeping my mind strong.

I met with a physical therapist, Dr. Erik Salley, from Restore Performance Institute and he said that I could be restored physically. Wait, what!? The next year and a half would be challenging and rewarding. Erik believes that the mind, body, and spirit are all intertwined. Erik went against most of the don't do anything and take these pain meds norms. Over the next year Erik would help me physically and mentally to believe that I was in fact on track to be able to train again. Eventually he had me begin training with a young man named Rian on the human performance side of the house. I can't express how grateful I am to Erik and Rian for the patience and motivation that they provided during this time in my life.

So here I was back in the gym. At first I was just excited to be back in the gym training and then I had a "what am I doing at 53" moment. I am at a different place in life, what are my training goals? I believe I have more in the tank and remembered Bob Whelan's coaching articles. I went to Natural There they were, so many of the articles and kick ass motivated attitudes that I remembered, and I knew that I had the itch again and I want to train with goals.

I reached out to Bob in an email and to my surprise he responded. I say surprised because in my mind this has got to be one of the most sought after strength coaches in the country and he took the time to email me. I shared where I was at in life and about my desire to train with some purpose again. Bob scheduled a phone consultation with me and my goal was to shut up, listen, and have a pen and paper ready to write. I did plenty of writing, but we also enjoyed some great conversation about life. Bob is the real deal. He does not care to impress anyone, he is exactly the person behind the articles that I read 25 years ago. He is very direct, which I appreciate, and he is very genuine and passionate about coaching people to better themselves physically, mentally, and spiritually. I was humbled when he asked me to share some of my story and now with a fresh set of coaching notes I look forward to the hard work and making progress with my training. Thanks for allowing me to share and I encourage you to not give up, get after it, no matter what chapter of life you are in. Thanks "Maximum" Bob!
Does modern bodybuilding make you sick? You should write for Natural Strength! I always need good articles about drug-free weight training. It only has to be at least a page and nothing fancy. Just write it strong and truthful with passion! Send your articles directly to me:

Vintage Bodybuilding Literature

Vintage Bodybuilding Literature
Oldtime Strongman Books

This site does not provide medical advice. We assume no liability for the information provided in NaturalStrength articles. Please consult your physician before beginning any exercise or nutrition program. Copyright © 1999-2024 | All Rights Reserved.