All of us coaches at SAPT always get fired up about females making awesome progress in the gym (see A Witness to Female Strength and Some Female Pushup Goodness for a couple examples). There's something ridiculously cool about them realizing just how much they can achieve in the weight room, and how empowering it is for them to continue to make progress in that sphere. A few months ago, we started working with a young woman, Meredith, who signed up for our Distance Coaching program. Upon asking her what a few of her specific goals were, she replied with:
"I feel like I could use some help in designing a program and also most importantly to make sure I'm doing everything correctly. I realize that now is the time to do this because its only going to get more difficult as we get older.
One goal of mine is to master a pull-up. As a former dancer, my upper body strength my whole life has been pretty weak. I have tried using the assisted pull-up machine and have progressed to assistance of 20lbs but then when I try to use just the pull-up bar, I am nowhere near where I need to be. I think Ryan would be impressed if someday I could master a pull-up :) "
(Note: Ryan is her husband, an awesome dude whom I actually had the pleasure of meeting a few months ago.)
Given that one of Meredith's primary goals was to perform a complete, non-assisted chinup (she had never done it before), we embarked upon a program with a "chinup specialization" component in order to help her reach this goal.
Well, merely two months into the program, I received the video below of her performing not just one, but two bodyweight chinups, along with an email from Meredith:
Thank you so much for your help in achieving my first ever pull-up! Honestly when I signed up for the 3-month distance coaching program, I thought I would get stronger, but I never imagined being able to do not just one but two pullups within my first 2 months of training. I have really enjoyed the distance coaching and the programs you have created for me. I feel a sense of accountability to make sure I get all my workouts in each week and for once, I actually look forward to my workouts and seeing what I can accomplish each day. Thank you so much for all your help and I can't wait to see what the next 3 months holds for me!
In a word: Awesome!!!
The point I want to derive from this is that Meredith's success is NOT primarily attributed to some magical program I wrote for her (while popular opinion may hold that SAPT performs magic, I, personally speaking at least, was never instructed by Dumbledore over at Hogwarts), but rather, her success stemmed from the fact that she attacked each and every training day with focus, determination, and confidence. Also, once a month, she showed up at SAPT to go over the proceeding month's programming, to ensure that her technique was sound that she was executing everything correctly.
And, not to mention, while she knocked her chinup goal out of the park, she's also well on the road of "Picking Up Heavy Things" by hitting a pretty impressive Trap Bar Deadlift PR, nailing 140lbs for six reps:
In exchanging a couple emails with her husband, Ryan, he told me, "Since she started with you guys she hasn't missed a single training day and has been completely dialed in when she gets to the gym. She's working extremely hard and is focused and believes in your program. As you can see, she's getting awesome results. Hopefully you can use her story to help others experience what she has achieved."
I hope this serves as some encouragement to you reading what can be accomplished when you set your sights on a goal (be it a heavy deadlift or squat attempt, fat loss goal, or simply being able to lift pain-free), and refuse to waver in your quest for that particular accomplishment.