Updated: Jul 27, 2020
Hello, and welcome to II Strong Training! My name is Jordan Gayer and I am here to help you with your strength and conditioning goals. First let me tell you a little about me, I am a former Olympic Weightlifter and collegiate baseball player. I am now a proud USA Weightlifting coach and I have trained hundreds of athletes in the Iowa Great Lakes area at a local Athletic Republic under the leadership of Levi Markwardt, a local trainer and USA Kettlebell athlete. Levi educated me on strength and conditioning with concepts from his favorite strength and conditioning coaches at the time Ross Enamait and Cal Dietz. Their explanations of programming periodization, and constant experimentation with training variations got me hooked on strength and conditioning. Thus began my endless journey to learn about everything strength!
It all started with baseball. I played catcher at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa for a division 3 powerhouse baseball program that consistently won conference titles and placed well at the division 3 college world series. I was living my dream, playing baseball all the time for a great team. I however left baseball to never return after only one year at BVU because of an elbow injury. Being a baseball player was all I knew, and really was the only reason I went to college in the first place. Now at this point playing division 3 baseball and realizing I was far from where I needed to be I knew I was not going to the MLB, but it was my childhood dream to be a professional baseball player. The thought that I was done and all of that work from my childhood was for nothing was a debilitating. I was lost, crushed, and to be honest depressed.
Luckily, I found comfort in strength and conditioning, and since the only real problem with my elbow injury was throwing related I went at the gym full force. I had been working with Levi Markwardt on strength and conditioning since early high school and he introduced me to the Olympic Lifts. I found a new dream, weightlifters moved so fast and the prospect of lifting massive weights overhead even though I wasn't a huge person had my attention. I then met a very talented weightlifter by the name of Jared Enderton, who talked to me about competing in USA Weightlifting. He taught me how to taper for meets and introduced me to one of his old coaches Greg Kustra. Greg is a tremendous weightlifting coach who has coached more high level weightlifting athletes than you can imagine, and helped me progress rapidly through minimal coaching. I would drive a couple of hours to lift with Greg and work on my weightlifting technique whenever possible. I progressed rapidly and began training with some very high level weightlifters within a couple of years. I was invited to join a weightlifting team based out of Charlotte, NC and I moved to be a full-time weightlifter.
These guys trained harder than I had imagined anyone being able to, and the weights I witnessed people lift was amazing. The dirty secret was everyone ended up injured. All of these guys had significant, if not career ending injuries, and they were my coaches and heroes. So of course, I followed along and pushed myself to the brink of my own destruction. I woke up more days than I can remember with no control or feeling in an arm or leg from pinched nerves in my neck and back. I took ice baths and endless amounts of fish oil but nothing worked. I just continued to become more and more beat up and injuries piled up. I finally couldn't push anymore and along with all of my former teammates and friends eventually retired from weightlifting.
You may be thinking why would I lift now? Well, in the end it was not weightlifting or baseball that injured me. It was my own mismanagement of my body. I rarely took any time to recover, I was pushing it as hard as I could every workout, and I burned out because of it. A highly motivated athlete is great, but the athlete's mind can trick them. I often witnessed athletes thinking they are too good for work, or in my case, never good enough. This led me to brush off the good coaches around me who were looking out for my best interests and continue to push myself to injury. They all knew, as well as I do now, with proper management and coaching I could have had a long and successful weightlifting career free of any major injuries. I believe all of you can as well. Every athlete will experience injury at some point, and in a way it is an essential part of learning to push through adversity. It is impossible to replicate the psychological ups and downs of the injured athlete, and the uncertainty of athletics after an injury can be crippling to a young athlete. It doesn't have to be the end though, an injury can be the beginning of you managing yourself properly. Or hopefully my story is enough to get you to start now!
My attack every day approach was great most of the time and I attribute it to a lot of my success, but it is not the key to a long career. You have to push in bursts and recover in between! Allow yourself to adapt and improve. Coaches can help you decide when you are pushing too hard, or not hard enough, and a good coach will allow you to learn from your own mistakes but also needs to educate you on the proper ways to manage yourself as an athlete. So if I can do anything here it is to encourage you to find a good coach! And if you are interested in working with me I would be more than happy to do what I can to help you find a training plan/coach that is right for you. Even with all of this I dream of weightlifting again, it is a rush you will not feel anywhere else. I hope that I can share that feeling with all of you through weightlifting!
USA Weightlifting Level 1 Coach