Strength Training is About More Than the Weight on the Bar: Testimonial of a Rising Collegiate Baseball Player

August is a bittersweet time for us, as a number of our college-bound athletes are leaving town and won't be training under our roof for the Fall. We're certainly excited to see them move on to continued successes, but we also miss having them around in the facility as they provide a great example to the younger guys/girls, not to mention adding a significant piece to our community. The other day, Ryan Dickt (headed to to play baseball at Randolph Macon this Fall), was foam rolling after his session, and he was sharing the improvements he's noticed in his playing and overall movement quality on the field. I asked him, "Hmmm, would you possibly mind jotting down a few of those thoughts on paper to encourage our younger guys, and/or athletes unsure of whether or not our programs are "right" for them?"

He sent me an email a few days later, going above and beyond what I was originally thinking:

            My SAPT training journey began back in the summer after my junior year. I had torn my medial meniscus in my left knee in the playoffs that year of the high school baseball season. Due to the surgery that removed one third of my meniscus I was off of my legs for about 2 months. I had just been cleared to play and train again by the doctors, but my dad knew I would need to be watched closely and eased back into training, which he did not trust me to do on my own. A couple of my high school teammates, and coach suggested SAPT to me because Chris was a baseball player at one point and said that they would be able to help me train specifically for baseball. So I went and signed up.

            At first I thought all the mobility and technique training that Chris and Steve had me doing was pretty dumb, but that was my first lesson. Check the ego at the door; you can pick it up on your way out. Through the rest of the summer I gained my old flexibility and muscle back, which was very encouraging and exciting. Going into the fall I knew that I would be gaining a lot from training with SAPT, but I never really knew how much I would gain till the following season. Through the fall I put on a solid amount of weight and come baseball season I was the most prepared player on my team. I felt that the weight and strength was great, but the flexibility I gained was amazing. Second lesson: training is not just about the weight you throw around it’s also about getting your body in all-around better shape, and this includes flexibility and body movements.

            The baseball season was in full swing and I was so addicted to SAPT that I couldn’t stop going. It was like a second home. I enjoyed it so much that I never stopped going during the season, which helped me keep my strength gains from the winter through the whole season. I saw the work that Chris and Steve had me do in the winter translate into results on the field. Doubles turned into homeruns, weak ground balls turned into hard hits and throwing was easier than ever because of the muscle and flexibility I gained. Over all I hit 7 more homeruns than junior year, raised my batting average by .230 points, and dropped off .10 of a second on my throws to second base as a catcher. Aside from all the on the field gains I saw, the most important part of SAPT to me was that I enjoyed going to train and seeing Chris and Steve along with the rest of the SAPT community.

              When looking for a place to train, a major factor to consider is whether there is a community that wants to help you succeed, not just a gym to lift weights at.  SAPT has that special feel, which I will miss when I go off to college this year, but again I know I will be the most prepared player on my team going into fall practice.

A huge congratulations goes out to Ryan, along with ALL of our athletes that are headed to compete in the collegiate sphere this year! You've worked both hard and smart, and we wish you the best.

(If you've been toying with the prospect of joining a results-driven training program to take your playing to the next level, click HERE for more information)

The Ron Reed Project

It's been awesome to see the number of adults training at SAPT consistently growing. I tip my hat to all those who work all day, drive their kids to every nook and cranny of NOVA, keep their kids from killing themselves on a regular basis, and still make time arrive at SAPT ready to get after it! It's very inspiring to see, and I'm excited to see more and more adults making vast improvements with us. One of our clients, Ron, recently went through an incredible body transformation that I wanted to share with you. Ron had been training with us for a little while already, but he told us that he wanted to enter a focused fat-loss plan as his health was beginning to suffer due to some weight he had put on.

We gave him an individualized nutrition plan, and tweaked his workouts so they would be a bit more "fat loss" oriented in nature. His results were nothing short of fantastic! See the video below.

I'd like to point out a few things that may be helpful to those of you reading:

  1. Ron works full-time, both in the business world and at home as a dedicated father and husband. So, a transformation like this is certainly possible if you consider yourself a busy person (and I don't know anyone that doesn't).
  2. Ron FREQUENTLY has to travel for work - often for 5-7 days at a time. So, even for those you that travel, you can definitely make worlds of progress with a schedule that demands regular travel. Ron would tell me what equipment he had available at the hotel (sometimes the hotels didn't even have a gym), so I would give him some "hotel room workouts" in which he could still get in some training with just his bodyweight, a chair, and a bed as his gym equipment. Your improvements in the physique realm will never depend on what fancy gym equipment you do or do not have available. It's the mindset that is going to be the difference maker.
  3. Honestly, most of Ron's success was due to his consistency in the kitchen. I've said it before and I'll say it again: You can't out train a bad diet. Ron was constantly emailing me to make sure something was "approved" before he picked it up at the grocery store or added it to his meal. When he was on the road, he was sure to pick items on the restaurant menus that were going to help his progress, not hinder it.
  4. He did not count calories, eliminate carbs from his diet, or partake in anything extremely complicated. It's important to note that nutrition plans really don't have to be as complicated or tedious as many may make it seem.
  5. We did not do any carb cycling or sodium depletion leading up to his "After" picture (or at any point in his program).
  6. Ron did not do a single crunch or sit-up throughout his program. Proof that you don't need to (in fact, you can't) sit-up your way to a lean midsection. It won't happen.
  7. He performed zero steady state running throughout his program. Again, it is unwise (and unnecessary) to prescribe long distance running for someone in need of weight loss. Considering that all of Ron's blood levels returned to healthy levels during his program, this also goes to show you don't need long distance running to improve the health of your heart. Can it help? Absolutely. But I wouldn't recommend it as a modality of choice for a weight loss client.
  8. He not only maintained, but increased his strength during this phase. I can't tell you how many times I talk to people (primarily males) that are frightened they're going to "lose all their muscle" if they enter a fat loss program. It's not going to happen if you design the program appropriately. As shown in the video, Ron hit a 40lb PR on his weighted chinup, a 30lb PR on his front squat, a 15lb PR on his close-grip bench press, and a 20lb PR on his trap bar deadlift. Note that these personal records occurred during this particular 16-week program (not throughout the few years he's been training with us).
  9. Ron just turned 51 years old. 'Nuff said.

Here are his Before and After pictures (the before picture was taken while he was on vacation shortly before the start of the program):

After (front)
After (side)
After (back)

Congratulations, Ron!

Who is ready to join him?