Peggy Dutcher, an Inspiration


Over the last ten years of working in the training business I have had the good fortune of working with many great people. You get a unique opportunity to interact with people as personal trainer on a different level. There is a connection built and a trust that must be maintained in order to effectively work together. I am truly thankful for all of the relationships I have built.

My role as a trainer is pretty straightforward, I help people get strong and in shape. There have been a few tricks I have developed, but most of my approach is built around basic training principles. I have never been a fan of most of the fads that have come and gone over the years. The people who have stuck with me have shared a passion for the slow and steady approach. Peggy is one such example.

When I was first getting started at the YMCA she was one of my first long-term clients. In those days a person that came in every week for a few months was considered a long-term client, but looking back now we have been working together on and off for almost ten years. Life happens and we have taken plenty of time off, but we have accomplished a lot working together.

Back in the early days of working together I was a super skinny, malnourished, obsessive-compulsive, ultra-runner and all she wanted to do some powerlifting. It was a perfect match. Even at the height of my running obession I always trained all of my clients in the power rack. I may have not known that much yet, but I knew that the power rack is where strength is built.

We competed in a few events in those early years. I believe Peggy broke a state record in bench at the time. It was fun and eye-opening. Peggy taught me that in order to get something done you have to first decide you are going to do it. Of course these decisions do not always go as planned, but if you take a shot you will learn from the experience. She is the type of person who goes out there and does it, rather than just talking about it like everyone else.

Peggy has a background in athletic training and is now a semi-retired professional working as much as ever as an anatomy teacher at the local community college. She is a great teacher and has helped my development as a coach. I am actively working on getting her to get into coaching and I am pretty sure after this competitive run she will.

Peggy had a hip replacement a few years ago. That slowed down her training for awhile, but we are back at it now. She is coming into Black Iron regularly and chasing down the goal of getting strong. I am glad because when she was competing earlier in her powerlifting career I did not know much and couldn't help all that much, but I can now. We have a target of doing well at the upcoming Michigan Senior Olympic's in August. She will compete in the deadlift and the bench. Prior to that there is a meet in South Bend, Indiana for the American Drug Free Powerlifting Association that we have to get ready for. Peggy's progress so far has been great.

She lost a lot of strength from the hip replacement and from all of the time off from training she had to take. When she decided to compete again it was with herself. She wasn't interested in trophies or metals, but simply to improve her quality of life. She is an avid golfer, gardener, and active person. Strength helps keep her going and she wanted it back. From previous experience she knew that signing up for a competition is a very effective way to stay motivated for training.

She started back slowly, the only effective way to get started. We focused on deadlifts, presses, bench, and a little assistance work for support. We started light. We worked on form. We added weight each workout and we remained consistent. No big surprises. Just things that work.

At her first meet back competing a few weeks ago she placed first overall. Her numbers exceeded her expecatations. I was not surprised because I know the strength that she possesses. Like many people she has a tendency to have the bar loaded too lightly in her mind and it takes her a little time to get over that hurdle. I knew she would. I do not pretend to know everything about training, but I do know that most people just need a little encouragement.

Peggy is an inspiration. At an age when most people can hardly move, she is out picking up heavy barbells. Instead of calling it quits after having her hip redone, she is finding ways to get stronger and rebuilding herself. I am excited for the training sessions we have coming up and to see what we can do. It is always the process that is most rewarding. Regardless if she sets any more records or collects anymore hardware, she is still in the fight. That is all that matters.

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