To Be or Not

TAGS: heart surgery, herniated lumbar disks, heart health, meets, Jeff Guller, coaching, arthritis, powerlifting

column-gray-032715

Before we start, I’d like to wish everyone a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year, filled with PRs. This time of year, I see a lot of “New Year, New Me” slogans being paraded around. I want everyone to be assured that in the coming year, I will continue to be the same joyful, sarcastic SOB I was last year.

I have been asked by others and by myself, with whom I converse frequently, “How long do you intend to continue to train at a high level and compete?”

My answer to them and to myself is, “I don’t know. I’d like to continue as long as I can.”


RECENT: 2018 in Review


That is not a good answer. That shows that there is no plan involved, long-term or short. I do, however, have a plan for 2019 — lose weight, get freaking stronger, and do better than you have done. That is the first line of my program book for the year. Thereafter, I have my program until my first meet in March.

I was telling these plans to a friend of mine who is so afraid of planning that he won’t buy green bananas. My plan includes three meets, possibly four, in March, May, October, and one other. I also want to compete in the 181s. I started at that weight, but after open-heart surgery a few years ago, I gained weight, and it has fluctuated above 181. I am close but not there yet, and the holidays didn’t help. Plans, plans, plans, but can I execute them? The problem is that there are issues.

I don’t mean to whine, but there are issues. Many men my age have similar, the same, or more severe issues that may thwart our plans. With me, both knees are severely arthritic, and one needs to be replaced. Both shoulders are severely arthritic, and one needs to be replaced. Both hips are severely arthritic, and one has been replaced. There are six herniated discs in my lumbar spine that have necessitated the surgical implantation of a spinal cord stimulator. That has not been an issue in recent years but is now rearing its ugly head. I don’t know what an MRI would reveal and don’t have time to find out. I stopped taking the prescribed anti-inflammatory because it seemed to cause edema. Stopping helped with the edema.

jeff guller to be

Now, what to do about the knees, shoulders, and back? It is difficult to train, and whether I can effectively compete remains to be seen. The good news is that I have a heart from hell. Five bypasses from a few years ago have given me the heart of a much younger man. I still, however, remain an orthopedic nightmare. Having recently had a battery of tests for kidneys, liver, and sleep apnea, it is now up to my primary care provider to get my old ass back in the game. I am up for whatever the medical profession can devise.


WATCH: I Am Dr. Tyrel Detweiler


I am not, however, ready for the replacement of joints. That is only because I don’t have the time it would take to get back in the game, and I’m not ready to stop. So, I’ve got to get all my medical providers to get off their asses and get me ready. Right this minute, the problems seem to outweigh the benefits. I’ve got to stop being a wuss and get my old ass ready, however we get it done.

I don’t consider myself a warrior, and it is not my intent to inspire others. I really like what I am doing. It has become an integral part of who I am. While there are days that everything hurts and I dread going to the gym, but I can’t imagine life without it. To the extent that others derive any benefit from what I do, I am both grateful and honored.

Can someone my age get stronger or merely strive not to get weaker? I have not done the research and don’t know. I wish one of my learned teammates at elitefts would do the research and publish the results. I am eminently fortunate to have improved every year since I began this madness. Stronger? I don’t know. Improvement in form and technique? Without question. Better gear? Most assuredly. As long as I can continue to improve and get my old ass to the platform, that is where I intend TO BE.

We also have training and coaching plans and goals for 2019. My trainees, inspired by their improvement in strength and technique, have decided to compete in 2019. I will be as happy for their performances as I have been for my own. I’m looking forward to many PRs from them as we proceed.

Fortunately for me, my trainees are over 40. It is much easier to communicate with them than the youngsters on the Flex team. It seems I may have a tendency to hurt some feelings. I was coached in the ‘50s, and that was the very least of any coaches’ concern. We were made to take responsibility for both our physical and mental mistakes. Most of our coaches could overlook physical mistakes but railed against mental mistakes. Today, I can’t get the youngsters to even acknowledge their mistakes.


RELATED: Earn Student-Athlete Respect with These Principles


“The bar was in the wrong place,” I’ve been told. How the fuck did the bar get in the wrong place? It doesn’t have a mind of its own or go where it wants.

“You put it there!” Now do it again and put the bar in the right place.

“My feet weren’t right.” I didn’t put your feet there. They didn’t just go where they want.

“You put them there.” Now do it again and put your damn feet where they are supposed to be. You didn’t sit back on that squat.

“I didn’t have a belt on.” What the fuck does wearing a belt have to do with correct technique?

These are some of the conversations I have had. Young people are going to have to assume responsibility for their conduct.

As you may know, I am a “coach-aholic.” I too often give unsolicited advice. Often, I am thanked. Occasionally, I’m told to go to hell. Increasingly, however, I am asked for advice or to critique a lift. Both of these are my opinion, based on what I have learned over the years. Accept it, reject it, or ignore it.

However, what pisses me off are those individuals who, after asking for advice, argue with me about it. This is not a seminar; you asked. Don’t argue with me. It’s my opinion and it’s not likely to change. If you don’t want to hear it, don’t ask.

Actually, I do love coaching, and when the day comes that I can no longer compete, that is what I intend to do. So, the answer, for now, is TO BE.

knee-sleeves-home (2)

Loading Comments... Loading Comments...