A Chat with Trainer and Client: Erin Buck and Jason Dahlstrom
Jason came to me and asked for some periodic management. He had a basic weight training regiment that he followed. A program that was laid down for him over a decade ago when he coached rowing at UNH. It was clear to me that he is a strength training devotee and that there was a lot of comfort in these old routines. However, the repetition had created muscle imbalances and hadn’t been giving him the push he needed for quite some time. Some might say why change it if it wasn’t broken? Well… The human body is a master at adaptation and the truth was Jason had become very efficient at these workouts. He may have been getting the psychological benefits but was not getting the physiological improvements.
Oftentimes, we discuss with clients the following: What do you want to get out of your workouts and why, what has stopped you in the past, and how can we avoid these obstacles? I was lucky, Jason knew exactly what he wanted and what he didn’t. During our first session, I started to create a personalized plan that would give him both the mental break he needed from his work but also the physical drive to reach new heights. Our approach is to re-evaluate his plan at any time, meeting at the 4-6 week mark to introduce new material.
Jason likes to master the fundamentals, ask any coach, we take pride in watching when clients are doing it right and take the time to improve their mobility and prepare their bodies for their workouts. Jason has taken on the challenge of building a solid foundation and values its importance. Significant changes take longer than anyone thinks and are often willing to work toward. As a coach, I know that he is happy to work through the different programs and learn more about himself in the process as well as evaluate where he can improve and or scale back. Jason has a great energy in the gym and works hard to keep his progress moving in the right direction with both consistency and focus.
Great work so far Jason!
When collegiate rowing came to an end and career and family entered my life, I assumed that my days as an athlete were over. Fast-forwarding a few decades to December, 2021; I still exercised regularly, running the same workout scripts I knew in my 20s, adjusted downward in intensity and expectations for middle-age. But exercising was mostly an excuse to get away from the desk for an hour. The gym was a fixture in my schedule, but I was otherwise on “fitness maintenance auto-pilot,” without any major objectives or complaints.
I approached Erin for instruction on the new squat racks when, as part of the recent fitness center updates, as a few of the machines I was familiar with were displaced. In our first session Erin dug into my routine, my history, my (lack of) greater ambitions, and suggested that – despite my skepticism – there might still be an athlete buried in me somewhere under twenty years of accumulated dust, scar tissue, and Cherry Garcia. “Did I want to try formal training to find out?” In the last week of December 2021 I thought, “Sure, why not, let’s try an experiment for a while.” So I took my hands off the wheel and let Erin drive.
I am writing this 12 weeks into training with Erin and I have a hard time believing what those weeks have yielded. My approach to fitness and conditioning has fundamentally changed. I am in the best shape I have been in since my rowing days. Physically the changes are undeniable: strength, endurance, stability, and recovery – now regularly measured and assessed – are rapidly and continuously increasing.
But my favorite outcome is psychological: I am starting to feel like an athlete again. I can’t wait to get to the gym, every session, to assess and adjust the plan with “coach Erin” on our 1:1 days and to execute the plan on the days between. I suspect that we are still just getting started. I am excited to see what direction this takes me in and just how far it can go.