My name is Aaron Martin. I’m a personal trainer and strength coach and the Downtown YMCA and Charles E. Lakin YMCA and also Athletes Training Center. Recently, I have gone through a few of life’s big climbs, those being my weight loss about 5 years ago and my journey into the commonly unknown (yet highly beneficial) world of Olympic lifting. These two separate treks of life gave me one common mindset, that is “If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.” And this can be applied to the entirety of life if you so choose!
The summer of 2014, sometime in late May is when this journey started for me. I started at about 290 pounds, 6 feet 4 inches tall and probably 30-35% body fat (not good!). I decided to go on tour with a drum and bugle corps out of Dubuque, Iowa, The Colts. This was something I’ve never done before in terms of intensity and the sheer amount of work that has to be put in, both physically and mentally. I had competed in lower-level circuits, but this was and still is the best of the best in the business. I knew I was going to lose weight but not as fast or as much as I thought. Almost immediately, I started dropping 5-7 pounds per week until I found a steady weight of about 225 pounds and closer to 6 feet 5 inches tall. Fun fact, losing weight decreases spinal compression and therefore may lead to a slight increase in height along with core strengthening! This, in turn gave me something that I had never had, a healthy body composition and I WAS SKINNY. I was always the fat kid in school and now I was this tall, slender, very fit young man. It was a very nice change of pace. My joints stopped hurting all the time, inflammation went down, and I could do things, athletically, that I could only have imagined before. My general quality of life skyrocketed as a result and all thanks to doing something that I’ve never done before, challenging myself, and putting the work in.
Finding a new passion:
About 4-5 years into the future starts my Olympic weightlifting journey. At this point I have gained quite a bit of muscle now sitting at around 240 pounds. By now I knew that if I wanted something better for myself, I had to be the one to put the work in and do something different that I may have not experienced before. You can’t wait for someone else to tell you that you’re ready or for them to be the ones pushing you. This was an opportunity for me to both increase my knowledge about exercise science, in hopes that it carries over into the athletic training field and beyond, while also bettering myself as a lifter.
Aaron M., Strength Coach and Personal Trainer
If you are interested in learning more about Olympic weightlifting, or wish to train with Aaron, click here to email John Whitmyre, Downtown YMCA and Charles E. Lakin YMCA Health & Wellness Director.