I have been a strength and conditioning coach in the truest sense of the word since I was around 20 years old. I was coaching athletes to get them better at their sports by using strength and performance methods to improve what they could do, outside of traditional skills.
I began lifting weights when I was 13 years old. I began reading about fitness when I was even younger. The first two books I can remember reading on strength training and physical betterment were the Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding by Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the Tao of Jeet Kun Do, by Bruce Lee.
In Arnold’s book I learned science, I learned lifts, I learned what the best at building their body at the time believed to be the best methods.
In Bruce Lee’s book, I learned about the rejection of conformity and the traditionalism of previous customs, in order to invite new understanding of how to use old methods. Why stay tied to an old idea in order to stay true, when better is better.
I read these books when I was 10. I read them both 10 or more times
When I first began lifting with the Varsity football team between the summer of 7th and 8th grade, I wasn’t trying to learn anything. I was just experiencing what I had read in the past. I was strong from the start, and I was hooked on knowing more.
My dad began purchasing me books from the Barnes and Noble around the corner. Everything was great, but the purchase my dad made next was the best thing that happened.
He ordered Powerlifting USA
In Powerlifting USA I began reading about Louie Simmons of Westside barbell. At the age of 14 this meant little to me. However, he was talking about training people who lifted the most in the world. Obviously I would listen to him.
My father later purchased Force Training, a VHS that had insight into how Westside trained and performed their lifts. It also had speed and power training work by the then Green Bay Packers S&C coach.
How many people now can say their first exposures were this good to weights and all its modalities?
My father trained me my freshman year. Some nights we didn’t get out into the gym until 930/10pm at night, and did sessions that lasted an hour and a half or more.
My freshman year at 14 I benched pressed 245 lbs and squatted 365 for 6 reps.
I was slow though. We read countless info on getting faster, but we couldn’t connect it. Looking back, I was bad at something and good at another, it was easier to just lift weights and forget about the “other” things that I needed.
Everyone said anyway that you couldn’t train speed, so why bother.
I read Tate, Cosgrove, Verstegen, Gambetta, Boyle, Berardi, and Martin Rooney all before I graduated high school.
I then started to actually train speed.
My final 40 I ever ran for a coach was 4.73 seconds at 230 lbs. Wish I hadn’t listened to the bad info when I was younger. I wish I had Parisi info when I was just starting out.
Fast forward to 20 and I was training my ex-girlfriends brother and a few of my friends. Little did I know that the things I would devise and the ideas I would have eventually would be the well established rules.
My Ex’s brother went from bench warmer to all-star – my doing? No idea. I helped how I could.
Another friend received a regional award after not being much in HS. Got a scholarship as well
Another to D1
I kept learning, and training and learning about fitness straight through till I was 23 and came to the crossroads that every person will come to in life. I had gone to school for Marketing, because it was believed that I couldn’t make money “just being a trainer”. It was an extra job, it was a side job. I didn’t have formal education and I didn’t have a support network to tell me it was for me.
Everyone wanted the safe job, the safe life.
None of those things felt fulfilling
I denied working in Marketing consulting to set a path for my own life. On my own terms
I made mistakes, I listened to others say that I needed this and that to get here or there. I didn’t have the trust in myself to do it right.
One day I said enough, it was time
At one point in time I was power cleaning weights and placing them on athletes backs in order to get them to squat (squatting! For shame!). I had 3 athletes working out of a garage and doing active warmups in the driveway. The garage could fit 1 car, and was half filled, the mudroom was the pullup room. Pushing cars happened. Bear crawls up hills, alternating sets, corrective exercise, snatches.
We had a group that lifted at my house, in a 2 car garage and an outside area, where we deadlifted and created my tagline GSDS
From the 1 car garage group each athlete went from bench to starter. One athlete had never started at any level and was now starting at a new position. Another athlete never wrestled and was undefeated – in one match he was on his back and was so much stronger he just rolled and pinned the other athlete.
The GSDS group had 3/4 go on to college athletics. One plays for Marquette now
I began training adults in the early mornings in order to save enough money to open my own place. That was 2 years ago.
In that time I have: been named a top 10 producer regionally for a large company, worked with well over 400 total athletes effected by my programming within my gyms, trained All-Americans, Alpine skiers, corporate vice presidents, grandmothers, NFL athletes, and professional baseball players. I have been published a number of times in S&C sites and have interviewed other professional athletes and coaches.
I am 27 years old
In Outliers and the Talent Code, the 10,000 hour rule is use to describe how someone who purposefully practices a craft for 10,000 hours can be considered an expert in their field.
I think it is wrong.
I can practice purposefully the wrong things for 10,000 hours and not be an expert globally, but can be considered the best and doing it the worst.
How many hours do I have?
From 10-27 years old
I have trained myself or others for up 20-30 hours a week for 11 years prior to the last 2. (14,300)
I have read well over 250 books within the last 5 years (750 hours at 3 hours per book)
I have read 2 hours within my industry every day for the last 4 years (2,920)
I have watched 500+ hours of video and instruction on lifting (500)
I have trained 30-50 hours per week for the last 2 years (4,160)
You see, this is a conservative estimate. In many cases I could contend I have done much more than that, and I used the lower end to justify my point in some of these equations.
My point for this is to say a few things.
– No one can decide how long you should “cook” before you become a chef – some people are naturals at what they do
– The direction and path that you choose to take doesn’t have to fit someones else’s perception of right – just because it took them longer, shouldn’t mean it takes YOU longer.
– Those who fail to learn from the past are doomed to relive it’s mistakes – to the opposite, if I learn from you I should move faster and better than you.
I am proud of the work do and the things that I have done until this point in my life, I will continue to provide the BEST can for each person that walks in front of me.
I will continue to be, in my mind, the best practitioner of what I do within the state that I do it.
Some can disagree. Some can contend I haven’t done it long enough to justify my claims
Yet my declaration is this: My hours are up, and I intend to teach the world what I have learned
Bill Rom is the top strength and conditioning coach on Long Island.