Arya came wandering into my gym a few months ago. Every so often I offer a free demo. It is my way of spreading the good news. These events are not usually crowded. People contact me about them, but very few of them actually show up. This doesn't surprise me. I know that the general public isn't really all that interested in working like we do at Black Iron.
The upside is the people that show up are pretty excited about what we do. Almost everyone of them becomes a client. I find that people who are serious about training like what they hear.
The last few demos I gave resulted in new clients. Arya was one of them. She came in for a talk one night and was the only person to show up. I gave her the whole story about what we do. I included the parts about basic barbell training, progressive overload, expert coaching, attention to detail on each of the big lifts, and how hard it is. My presentation would not be complete without a few stories about life-changing results, past clients who overcame tremendous obstacles, and what an impact increasing physical strength has on a person's life.
Arya paid close attention to what I had to say. She seemed curious to learn more. She told me that she didn't have an athletic bone in her body and had absolutely no background in any sort of exercise, but would like to give barbell training a try. I told her we should start the next day.
Before she left I asked her what got her interested in coming in to learn about barbell training. She told me that the idea of getting stronger sounded cool. I chuckled.
The first workout at Black Iron is always the same. I ask a few questions. Everyone signs the waiver. We start squatting.
I find out what I need to know within about 2 minutes of the squatting portion of the workout. Reading Starting Strength, becoming a Starting Strength Coach, and being a platform coach at Starting Strength Seminars has taught me a few things about how to teach the squat. It takes about 5 minutes. You can learn a lot about a person in this time.
Arya struggled at first. That is not all that uncommon. I actually like working with people who struggle. It is a challenge that I welcome.
Arya fell down a few times during our first session. Arya is super smart and super sweet, but I found out that she was also pretty weak and uncoordinated. The falling down made it clear.
I told her she would do just fine, but it would take awhile. The first training session also includes the press and the deadlift. Pressing overhead is the most important upper body movement a person can do, so we make it a priority. Arya started out pressing with about 20 pounds. I just wanted to make sure she had the technique down.
After pressing we stepped on the deadlift platform. Arya was getting pretty tired at this point. It was rather obvious that she was about done for the day, but I wanted her to experience the deadlift teaching method if at all possible. I quickly explained to her the five steps and got her set up. When I got to the part where she had to bend down without bending her knees, I noticed her legs started to shake. By the time she dropped her shins to the bar the shaking was getting out of control. About the time I was ready to tell her to pull she fell down.
Her muscles had reached their limit. They decided that it would be in their best interest to just shut down for a little while.
As she picked herself up and dusted off, I asked her if she was okay. She just laughed. I sensed a touch of embarassment. I told her it was alright and that she had a good first day. We had plenty of momentum to build on. She seemed genuinely excited and told me she would be ready for the next training session. I didn't doubt it.
She came back in a few days later and continued to come in consistently after that. It took awhile to get her squatting correctly, but it did happen. We took a slow approach, but once she was dialed in the results started coming. Her strength grew steadily and so did her confidence under the bar. It was nice to see.
I wish I had video of Arya's first few workouts. She struggled trying to learn how to squat. But she listened and remained committed. Her squatting looks better today than I ever could have imagined after watching her fall down during the first session.
Arya keeps doing what all of my favorite clients do. She listens. She shows up. She works hard. She keeps coming back. And she pays me. These are the main things I look for in a client.
Like I mentioned earlier, I used Arya as a testimonial every day for weeks. I told everyone how she had fallen down on the first day and how much she had improved. I was proud of her and I wanted to use her story to inspire others.
After awhile I realized that I probably should quit referring to Arya as the girl who fell down. I think she was getting tired of hearing me tell every person that walked in about it. I decided to write this post and reserve her tale for future clients that truly need to hear it.
There is of course more to the story. There always is. But I will just end with the fact that Arya is still training hard . She comes strutting into the gym after work ready to go. Her increase in strength is obvious to anyone who has watched her progress.
The picture at the top of this article is of her getting ready for her first work set this past Wednesday night with 150 pounds on the barbell. She has come along way from falling down the first day.
If you want to learn more about the process of getting stronger you should come to our next demo. You will not be disappointed.