Athlete of the Month — Ross

This month we had a chance to catch up with Ross! Ross has been with Brentwood Barbell for only a short time but has already done some incredible things!


I’m a 57 year old guy who dabbles in airplane engineering when I’m not training. Growing up in the early 70s when bodybuilding became hugely popular with the help of Arnold, Frank Zane, Lou Ferigno, and others, I really wanted to be strong and ‘have muscles’.  With this I started training at 12 with a barbell set and bench my mom got me at Sears where she worked.  From then I’ve trained with weights on and off my whole life, based on books and articles I’d read, but things got really interesting when my now son-in-law, Mark Manera, a former Brentwood Barbell coach, starting doing my programming.  It was amazing how much more effective the training was and how fast the gains came, and I started to think maybe someday I could be competitive as a powerlifter.

Why Did Things Have to Change?

I finally decided to register for a powerlifting meet, but when I started training for it I thought I had to do a lot of one rep max efforts in all three lifts, like once a week, and ended up with a very angry back only a couple months from the meet.  I didn’t think there was much chance I’d be able to compete due to the pain.  At this point it was obvious I needed help, and I knew of Brentwood Barbell from Mark as well as two seminars I attended there, so I thought I’d give it a try, given that I had a positive opinion from the seminars and also it was reassuring to know James was a physical therapist. Amazingly, my coach Alex came up with a training plan that allowed me to keep building strength and skill in the three lifts while allowing the back to get better.  By the day of the meet I felt great and we had a really good day.

What have been some barriers getting in the way of reaching some of these goals in the past? What is some advice you can give to someone who is looking to get into strength training and overcoming some of these barriers? 

My do-it-yourself programming and self-coaching was probably my biggest barrier.  For someone looking to get into strength training I’d recommend working with a good coach if you can afford it.   A good coach will help make sure the time you spend training is effective, safe, and fun for you, with a good amount of variety to keep it interesting and challenging, and will be a person you enjoy working with.  You won’t have to worry or second-guess about whether you’re wasting your time with ineffective selection of exercises, weights, reps, sets, or any number of other things, or if you’re doing something that might cause you to have a setback.  Also I’d recommend training in person at a gym if possible.  Online training can certainly work, but I was amazed at how much faster I progressed, how much more I learned, and how much more I enjoyed training when I started training at a gym with a coach and alongside fellow athletes.  You might be surprised how cost competitive gym costs can be with online training.  Also I’d recommend finding a place you feel comfortable and at home at, because in the best case you’ll be spending a good amount of time with the people and at the facility.  Then, for the icing on the cake, if the gym also offers a hybrid model so you have the flexibility to train at home or elsewhere if needed, you’ll be all set.  All you’ll have to do is show up, do the work, and collaborate with your coach to fine-tune things to your liking, and you’ll be amazed at how fit and strong you’ll get and how much fun and satisfaction it will bring you.  Also make sure to take advantage of your coach’s knowledge and creativity by asking them lots of questions on training, nutrition, sleep, and other factors and how they can can be leveraged to meet your specific goals.

What have been some recent “successes” or proud moments both in and out of the gym recently for you?

In our training since the meet, I’ve been amazed that I’ve been able to add significant weight to the bar in all three lifts, and at the same time feeling like I’m resilient and not fragile like it sometimes felt before the meet.  Outside the gym, I’m extremely proud of my daughter Amanda and my son-in-law Mark Manera graduating as doctors of physical therapy and passing their state board exams.

Athlete of the Month Series

Each month our spotlight series will focus on an athlete that is putting in a great effort and making our gym a better place to train! Our hope is that you’ll share this post with your friends and family or someone that you think could benefit from resistance training and professional coaching.

Interested in learning more about our programs at Brentwood Barbell? Drop us a Coaching Application and we’ll get right back to you.