So I've been weight training for a little over 4 years now. You accumulate a lot of knowledge doing something daily for 4 years, along with some bad habits which I'm sure I'll address. Maybe. I'll stretch tomorrow, promise.

This year, I've been asked to coach some of the younger gym-goers. Initially I was asked by a member of a powerlifting federation to help train a young man - 15 years old, 6ft 5, 120kg and legally blind. He was super keen to get into weight lifting and maybe compete for NZ in the Paralympics (if possible). It was a bit nerve-wracking but I was plied with compliments and eventually I agreed.

I met the young man and most of his family, as they all wanted to check out the gym and meet the people who agreed to get him up to speed for free. We showed him round the gym and I was careful to point out barbells sticking out in their usual spots, so he could notice them too and get used to navigating. I got him used to the feel of the different bars and pads, so he could identify them by touch rather than sight - then we got into the lifting. The guy is incredibly strong - twice my weight when I was his age, his first day in the gym he was warming up with weights I couldn't touch until months of training.

It was so much fun teaching someone the basics and watching them tweak things to match what I suggested. Then watching the movement become smoother as a result. One of the coolest things was how he navigated the gym by himself at the end of the session, he was able to remember how things were laid out with his limited vision and wandered to the exit around the usual obstacles without an issue. Incredible how well he can adjust to his surroundings.

He sadly injured himself riding a dirt-bike and is almost out of his leg cast, I don't know why he was riding it, but I assume it's because someone told him he couldn't. Training will pick up again eventually!

Since then, there's been two young girls at my gym who have expressed an interest in powerlifting. What started as casual questions about why I did something a certain way, eventually turned into an up-front request to help them get ready for their first competition. Aside from being flattered that they thought I would be useful enough to learn from, I was also pleased that they were happy to ask a male member of the gym - they've had to fend off the occasional gym-goer who was less interested in the training and more into what they were doing afterwards. So to be considered both approachable and someone to learn off was honestly, really rewarding.

They had their first competition just this weekend past, I turned up at 9am on the Saturday for their weigh-in, and to help them warm-up for the lifts, then stayed to support and give feedback in between their attempts. Despite some very understandable nerves, they came 1st and 2nd in their respective weight grades, with PBs recorded in 2/3 lifts! The smaller of the two shifted more than double her bodyweight in the final deadlift attempt. Most importantly, they had heaps of fun and have already registered for the next competition in November!

Now there's a young lad who started training because he was being bullied at school. Initially he wanted to be strong enough to beat them up in return, but has since grown past that after seeing what he can do when he focuses and commits to something less violent. He's also signed up for the November competition, and I'm helping him get ready for it as well.

The down side is that my usual 90 minute sessions go into 2 and a half hours now, as I'll do my training alongside helping the above mentioned people. But honestly, it's worth it. Seeing people take advice and adjustments with such a positive attitude is so cool. It's also helped me develop these skills for at work, when giving constructive feedback - rather than "that squat was high, it'd be a failed lift", instead it's "I think you can go even deeper. Overshoot that and you'll never have to worry about making it in a competition". I take that approach and apply it to my work interactions. Things have never been smoother.

Anyway just wanted to share it. It's left me all positive and warm/fuzzy the last few months seeing these people make such great progress.


Teaching is what it’s all about in my book. Great for you.

posted 306 days ago