I am writing this on the plane headed home from the Iron Man 3 Gun 2016 Competition. For those of you that are not involved in action shooting, Iron Man is a 3 day 3 Gun event (Pistols, Rifles and Shotguns) in Parma Idaho. Iron Man combines 3 days of intense shooting with unusual stage designs and physical challenges to create one of the most difficult and entertaining matches in the sport.

About 4 weeks before the match I realized that my self-guided lifting regiment was insufficient for the rigors of Iron Man but was unsure what to do. Enter Andy Smith and Anytime Fitness Eden Prairie. After a quick consultation with Andy it was very clear that I was on the wrong track altogether for action shooting. Andy pointed out that while I was reasonable strong for my size and age, strength wasn’t helping my speed and explosiveness. After 2 or 3 bites of humble pie I agreed to meet with him for coaching.

I am not going to lie here and tell you I enjoyed the first week or so. It was tough. Andy worked me to the edge of puking 2 times per week and prescribed a workout regiment that filled the rest of the week with 60-90 minutes in the gym. For those of you keeping score that is 7-10 hours a week in the gym without days off. Trainer guided workouts consisted of lighter lifts done explosively followed by high intensity interval training. 2 of the self guided days continued the HIIT training and the remaining days were for conditioning only.

After the fist week and a half I began to notice greater speed and endurance. By week 3 I could even see notable changes in my physique. I began to relish the time spent with the trainer because he could push me farther than I could myself. Whether it was male ego or just my competitive mindset, when Andy was guiding the workout I pushed myself beyond what I thought I could do.

So… Clearly, I am now pro-training when I was indifferent before but, did it help? I wish I could say I crushed it at Iron Man. I ended up placing 51st. Not exactly what I had hoped for. Clearly, I have some work to do but it isn’t in the gym. I encountered some shooting that challenged me in a way that I have not been challenged before, a fact that I intend to remedy with a quickness. Physically, I did really well. Check out the included video from my best stage. This run led to a 12th place stage finish. Over the course of the stage the shooter was required to engage rifle targets, run roughly 200 meters over rough terrain, engage pistol and shotgun targets, carry 90 pounds for 40 meters, place the weight on a raised platform and then engage several pistol targets over a 50 meter run and gun. No way I could have done this as fast as I did with a pure lifting regiment.

Thanks so much to Andy and the crew at Anytime Fitness Eden Prairie for all the help. I encourage anyone that has a fitness goal for action shooting, or any other sport, to engage a good trainer if the budget allows. Be careful though, you just might get what you ask for.