When I was 20 I was coming off a tough high ankle sprain. It was relatively a new injury and many coaches thought it wasn’t as bad as it was because it wasn’t “broken”… it might have been even worse to be honest. I had spent the last 3 years training at BC (Boston College), thought I had a great grasp on diet and training, but in all honesty I was 20… soooooo arrogant and naive to say the least. I had a coach on my team (Ron Rolston) approach me and say, “To fix your ankle, jump start your senior year, and get a leg up on your professional career I really think you need to go train and workout with Charles Poliquin. He is currently in your home state (Arizona) and knows things about diet and training that are very revolutionary.” At this point I was ready to do anything to get back to the successes I was having the prior seasons.
Charles at this time only took referred clients. So I show up around middle of May for my initial meeting. I was 5’10 175lbs, and was sitting in his gym’s waiting room (which by the way you had to ring a bell and be buzzed in to be allowed access in the first place). It was 8:00 am and the athletes that were rolling through one at a time were Nail Digg’s (NFL), Chris Hetherington (NFL), Doug Weight (NHL), Dwight Phillips (Olympic gold medalist long jump), Brian Rolston (NHL), and a few other freaks of nature that left me with a dry throat and sense of … where the hell am I? And what the hell is past this front desk?
There is a huge aura that he carries and at 20 I was in awe/scared of this guru on all things Strength and Conditioning related.
Meeting Charles is unique, he speaks like 5 languages, is about 6% body fat and his arms were bigger than my legs. There is a huge aura that he carries and at 20 I was in awe/scared of this guru on all things Strength and Conditioning related. He didn’t say a word to me and took some testing measures, put me through some specific exercises, and after he said “You are too weak in (and listed about 5 technical terms). You are actually 13% body fat which at 175lbs makes you only about 125 lbs of muscles and the rest useless….. But after the summer we will fix of all this.”
The next 16 weeks I prepared myself for the physical pain and discomfort that was to come, the one thing I was not prepared for was Charles saying, “To get to where you want to be, it will be 30% what you do in the gym, 20% rest, and 50% your diet.” I literally was shocked, I thought I was right on my diet and figured nothing replaced hard work. He started to have me eat organic, high vegetable and protein diet, limited carbs, nothing processed, and to gain mass even had me get up at 4 am to get another meal in and back to bed. I was lifting twice a day and eating between every other breath every day all day.
“To get to where you want to be, it will be 30% what you do in the gym, 20% rest, and 50% your diet.”
The diet was crazy strict and we really only supplemented in areas that I was deficient or not getting enough nutrition for his liking. When I left for school he said “Enjoy a little and stay on the diet as well as you can, don’t stress about everything, the cortisol production from stressing can sometimes outweigh the effects of the cheat meal.” By this point Charles and I were much more than a few word discussions and I used every workout session and meeting with him to pry as much information out of him as I could. I headed back to school in the best shape of my life at the time 7% body fat, and 190 lbs. much stronger, faster, and explosive than I have ever been.
I am a believer there is no training that can out perform a bad diet.
During the last 13 years, more and more people are eating healthier and I believe most would probably relate to the same foundation I was put in back when I was 20. At first I was viewed like I was an absolute idiot eating that way, with too much focus on what was going into my body. I heard of lot of “You can eat whatever you want! You’re young and an athlete! You’ll burn it all off.” Now it is not only accepted, but extremely popular by other athletes and people who are trying to improve body composition, or just be healthy. I am a believer there is no training that can out perform a bad diet. I owe Charles a lot when it comes to impacting my career in a positive way, but I owe him even more for impacting my health and my families forever.