In October 2010, after over 30 years of lifting, I ripped both of my triceps tendons off at the elbows. My doctors and surgeon had never heard of anyone having this injury to both arms at the same time and made it clear that my lifting days were over. The injury, the surgery to re-attach the tendons, and the recovery process was all very painful and frustrating.
At the time of my injury Dave Johnston and I had been training at the same gyms for about 2 years. We had not worked together as client and trainer, but we would talk occasionally about exercises or different lifting techniques. It was clear to me that Dave was not only a student of the history of bodybuilding, but also understood the actual science behind diet and exercise and kept himself up-to-date on the latest research.
As I faithfully went to the gym everyday to do my rehab exercises Dave was always helpful and supportive. When I would get disgusted that I was only able to lift 10lbs . Dave would remind me of how serious my injury was and assure me that things would get better. As I improved he reminded me of how far I had come since the injury and encouraged me to keep at it.
Over the course of the next six months I continued to lift and to recover. In the spring of 2011 I considered entering the Maryland State bodybuilding show in the over 50 category. I waffled back and forth for several weeks until Dave convinced me that I should do it. It had been 25 years since I had last competed; Dave was a great help with dieting, posing routines, and general contest preparation.
In the weeks leading up to the show we reduced my body fat significantly with Dave’s diet and cardio programs. With his help and support I achieved my goal of getting on stage one last time. Until next year anyway, when he will probably manage to convince me to do it again.
In 30 years of lifting Dave is one of the few trainers I have known who truly understands why things work; most trainers provide a one-size-fits-all program for every client. By watching him you can tell that he genuinely cares about his clients enough to hold them accountable and push them beyond their comfort zone.