Daniel Jackowicz, Twoguns Training Systems, DVRT Master
We all know a person or may be that personal where anything physically related come easy or at the very most, with a slight bit of practice. And since all things physical and athletic come easy, so do things like fat loss, muscle gain and other aesthetic endeavors. Gosh, we hate those people right?!;) Just kidding, but it does seem like things are a lot easier for them.
I am the exact opposite of that person.
As I write this, I am currently 29 years old and I have an orthopedic and injury history list longer than those double my age, mostly through no fault of my own. I’ve been called an “old man” since High School (and even before) from all of the injuries, creaking, cracking, popping etc. If there was a body shop for people, I would be first in line!
It has always been this way. If I were to list all of the injuries and ailments, we’d have an article so long no one would read, but I’ll list the major landmarks…
In 2nd grade, I broke my arm. Both bones of the lower arm (radius and ulna), the bone of your upper arm (humerus) and also dislocated my elbow in a fall on my elementary school playground.
Multiple and various injuries (stitches, shoulder dislocations, knee and hip injuries etc) occurred over the next 10 years but no other major orthopedic surgeries until…
In 12th grade/my senior year I “blew out” my knee in pre-season baseball (simply rounding 2nd base on a hit) and had an arthroscopic surgery to repair it. I had missed most of the previous season due to shoulder injuries as well.
One year later, I had a more invasive surgery on that same knee to fix what the previous surgery wasn’t able to and had what they called an Osteochondral Transfer Graft surgery which in non-doctor speak could be described as a teenage knee replacement – they graft bone/muscle/ligaments etc from another part of my leg into my knee. The size of what they took out was bigger than I thought my actual knee was.
Now, all these unfortunate experiences could easily have turned me off from all physical activity, but instead, I used this time as inspiration to lose 100 pounds over the next year and officially started my journey into training and the fitness industry (although I was doing everything wrong but that is another story – aerobic training for fat loss, right?).
Things didn’t become roses just because I lost the weight. A bad shoulder injury that resulted in more surgeries caused me to regain the 100 pounds I had lost – and then a few more. When you don’t lose weight the right way, lose it too quickly etc, you damage your body and inevitably gain the weight back – and that’s exactly what happened to me.
And that is what officially sparked my journey to learn anything and everything fitness – at first to fix myself and then leading to helping other people not have to follow the same path I did. My story is not unlike so many other fitness professionals I know and love. Those who got into fitness as both a means to help themselves, but for a larger purpose to genuinely help others.
But finding how to fix myself was easier said than done. There isnt a magical end to this injury story. Traditional training methodologies and striving for impressive strength feats are simply not possible for me. I cannot and never could do a barbell bench press pain free. I tried for a long time because I thought I was “supposed to” but only spun my wheels…
To this day, my Deadlift PR stands at 485. Ive never attempted 500 without it tweaking something in my upper back, grip or hamstring. I can barbell squat 315 pain-free during the workout, but the next few days are a completely different story. Before you jump on the “he must have bad form” idea, I’ve had top strength coaches watch me and nothing is wrong with technique. However, when you have suffered enough injuries to build the orthopedic wing at a hospital, sometimes not all lifts are for you!
I spent my time trying the “traditional” means of getting strong
I say none of this in any way to impress you, but rather impress upon you that traditional “feats of strength” and traditional training methodologies based around progressing exercises with absolute load do not work for me at all and most likely don’t work for the “average person” either.
And that is completely okay.
It took me a long time to accept this.
“How can this guy get clients amazing results but he keeps injuring himself and cant even train himself?” Was a constant limiting belief in my head, especially in my “early days” of becoming a fitness professional.
I still struggle with this myself to this day, but I can find acceptance with it because it is what inevitably led me to Josh and DVRT, then continuing the pursuit of knowledge and becoming a DVRT Master Instructor and completely exemplifies the beauty of the DVRT system.
How am I able to get stronger, progress in the gym and get in/stay in shape when all of the other ways have failed me time and time again?
Being able to progress and regress exercises through plane of motion, load position, stance position and stability of the implement not only gave me injury free and pain free ways to get stronger, but it got me and my clients amazing and sustainable results in the process.
Want to make a 50 pound Ultimate Sandbag feel like hundreds?
Ultimate Sandbag Training Shouldered Stagger Stance Squats with a 3 second eccentric and a 3 second hold at the bottom. Pain free, completely safe and delightful torture.
But for me it is more than a system and more than exercises.
Fitness should fit the individual, not the individual being squeezed into a program.
It is the elimination of frustration and feeling like I could never make progress or get stronger. The ability to feel like I can do something physically impressive, get stronger and not get injured while doing so? For 25 years I didn’t have that. How do I become strong and my best fitness without also suffering through pain? That is what DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training allows me to do. Even now coming off a freak injury, I am able to build back due to the system. I don’t have to feel restricted to any one exercise, I can find the RIGHT exercises for myself.
The reality is most people are more like me (hopefully not to the extent though ☺ ) than they are “those people” or “that person” I mentioned in the beginning and they can find passion through truly getting stronger, more safely and injury free.
Confidence. Progress. Strength. Results. And the ability to be able to do the same with my clients and truly change their lives and mine for that matter – that is what DVRT means to me.
My fitness journey will hopefully last a lifetime, constantly striving to be more connected to my body, overcome obstacles, and lead by example.
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