Meet our intern, Erik McLeod, a Kinesiology major at George Mason University and a lover of barbells. Erik is soaking up knowledge at the TrueFN studio and he's having some serious fun too. And oh yeah, and he's stronger and leaner since he joined on. Imagine that!
TrueFN: How long have you been working with TrueFN?
EM: I started interning here on January 24th, so it's been just about 3 months.
TrueFN: Why did you pursue an internship at TrueFN?
EM: You’d be hard pressed to find a better facility for me to intern at. My career aspirations align with exactly what TrueFN has to offer. My dream is to succeed in strength coaching and personal training, and TrueFN is all about that life. I also have never been coached as a strength athlete, and I've never trained alongside competitive powerlifters. On that front, I'm gaining firsthand experience from my internship, and that is absolutely invaluable and too often overlooked.
TrueFN: How has your physique, strength, and/or mindset changed since you started? And how has your expertise about training the body (yours and clients) evolved since then?
EM: So far a lot of my training has been centered on technique (my bench press has been completely revamped, for instance) and volume, so 1RM improvements have been minimal. My strength gains have been manifested as better trunk stabilization and work capacity. On those fronts, strength gains have been huge. My mindset has changed in that I no longer dread or look down on volume work. This is huge. Lack of volume (due to laziness) was by far the biggest problem with my previous training habits. Additionally, Dylan's lectures/discussions on programming have clarified a myriad of concepts concerning strength programming, so that will only help how I program for future clients and athletes.
TrueFN: How many days a week do you train?
EM: 5 days per week - Monday-Thursday, and Saturday.
TrueFN: Life gets busy and people miss workouts, what’s your strategy to stay on track?
EM: I’ve become addicted to the mental effects of exercise, so for me, missing a workout is never an option. Even if I’m so busy that lifting on a particular day means I’ll be going to sleep an hour late, then so be it. Sometimes (Saturdays, for me) I’ll even do homework in bits and pieces in between sets. I studied for my last exercise physiology exam during my Saturday deadlifts. Don't let workouts be a complication, make them part of your routine.
TrueFN: How has your nutrition work at TrueFN gotten you further toward your goals?
EM: It’s done everything you could imagine nutritional advice could do. The last time I tried to cut weight, I thought numbers were everything, and the rest didn't matter. The result of this approach was constant hunger, mistimed and unbalanced meals, sub-par training, a lot of grumpiness, and a lack of sustainability. Now here I am at the densest weight I’ve ever been with the most vicious appetite I’ve ever had, and I’m losing fat while maintaining muscle without feeling hungry, sacrificing training, or being the grump that I was before, all thanks to Jenn's nutritional advice. I'm eating far more vegetables than before, my protein intake has almost doubled, and my carb intake is more aligned with my activity, but it doesn't feel like I've made drastic changes to my diet.
TrueFN: On a scale of 1 to 10, how hard do you work during your workouts?
TrueFN: What is your favorite exercise?
EM: Deadlifting for heavy singles. Nothing beats them.
TrueFN: What’s your #1 piece of advice to someone who wants to make significant fitness progress?
EM: The magic happens outside of your comfort zone, so get out there.