Where did you start to learn to lift?

I don’t mean workout, I mean lift.

There is a difference. Working out is staying in shape, “toning” up, doing 30 minutes on the elliptical three times a week.

Lifting is sweating in the squat rack, being sore for 3 days after multiple sets, straining so hard you see stars.

Where was that?

I can point to a singular place and it wasn’t where I first started working out.

Gold’s Gym in Reading, PA and the training partner was John Manino.

You may have never heard of him and you don’t have to. He was an inch or two shorter than me, about 50 pounds heavier, did the occasional PL meet and bent steel bars into random shaped shit.

He carried a bag of tricks such as heavy duty wrist rollers, his own farmer’s walk handles, chalk (which at that time most every gym didn’t allow chalk) and other types of grip tools.

He taught me how to fucking train. I bled from the hands into the mirror with that wrist roller because the knurling was so sharp. I walked with 300+ per hand, trained after blacking out. This was in the late 1990’s, he was the first one to show me there was a better way than bodypart splits and 15 exercises per day.

Our sessions lasted about 2-3 hours at times and they were ripe with stories from our childhood and we had a blast.

With him I bought my first real belt, an Inzer lever belt.

With him I bought knee wraps for the first time.

With him I learned how to eat for size and not just to get big.

He didn’t have a college degree, he ran heavy equipment for a living. He didn’t have fancy letters after his name, he forged his craft by using the weights, not by reading and writing about them.

All the education doesn’t mean jack shit if you don’t have the years under the bar. I don’t mean a few years, I mean years. The best minds in this business have spent several years honing their knowledge, not just who know how to write a sweet sounding article.

John was a man who knew how to get strong, he know how to teach and he knew what it meant to train.

I learned almost everything I could as a younger guy, I listened and I absorbed.

Every gym that is worth the money to join has a John Manino in it. Are you going to listen or are you going to spend time online just reading about it?

Get to the fucking rack …


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