As a lifelong athlete in different sports, I’ve experienced a lot of different training programs over the years. Some have been just a boilerplate training program for a specific event and others have been more personalized to one degree or another. Now that I am on the north side of 50 years old and have a career that has extremely high physical demands I realize that I need more than just a calendar with a plan for each day. I am an older guy in a young guy’s game, both at work and in sport. Imbalances and training errors are simply detrimental to performance, regardless of age.

I started “coach shopping” a year ago and talked to a teammate (Lis Kenyon) who immediately directed me to Al. I know that my situation is somewhat difficult with a unusual job in the Government and yet still want to be competitive in endurance sports. I need both strength and power at work and I know that my triathlon “perfect” race weight isn’t conducive to good performance at work. I needed a hybrid program from someone that would accept the challenge of my situation. After chatting on the phone with Al I realized that this is exactly the person I need. The approach to training isn’t about sacrificing all else in order to get faster like I’ve seen so many times. It’s about being a better human machine, which will then beget competitive success. Physically re-training those most important core systems creates amazing results. Speed improves, balance improves, the body simply functions as it was designed. Had I only known these things a few decades ago!

No matter how “sold” I was, the cost is some that must be considered and this was the first time I was going to commit financially to this extent for coaching. It was a reason for pause but I decided to make it work and see what happens. I now realize that it’s the best money I spend each month. Injuries that plagued me every year are now resolved due to vastly improved balance and function. That all carries over to the rest of my life of course. Work tasks and challenges are easier and I usually out perform guys way younger me on a regular basis. Even compared to when I was doing iron distance events, I’m now stronger, faster, and healthier than I was 5 or even 10 years ago.

Al isn’t just a Coach for the human body but a student of it as well. New movements get added. New exercises are plugged in to address your individual deficit in one area or another. It’s unlike anything I’ve done before and It simply WORKS. It’s not easy, but it’s amazingly effective for me. Most of all, I have a Coach that is right at the end of the phone (or computer) whenever I have an issue or concern.

I am a better performing human thanks to Al. He’s not only my Coach, but a motivator and more importantly, someone I now count as a friend. I can’t recommend his services more highly to anyone that is serious about their training.

Tom Groff
Meeting Al was by far the best thing that has happened to me in my athletic career.

1. The only obstacle that would have prevented me from buying Al’s coaching would have been cost, but having priced out other coaches in the past, and knowing how much I have spent on rehabilitation from injury, Al’s prices were reasonable for the service that you get. The great thing is that there are different levels of plans that can fit into any budget. I have found that Coach Al’s attention to me as an athlete has far surpassed what I anticipated. If I have a question about a workout, there is always a quick response.

2. As a result of working with Al, I have found that in a short period of time, I have successfully recovered from a 3 year injury battle, strengthened (and continue) to strengthen my weaknesses, learned to develop an appreciation of what I can do in the moment, learned the importance of recovery days and generally started to like the sport of triathlon again. It had been three years of “getting by” and not enjoying my training because I knew I could not train to my potential because of injury. I had started to become very sour on the sport I loved. I spent so much money on PT, acupuncture, massage, chiropractic that kept me going but didn’t address the underlying issues that kept me in the injury zone. Working with Al, those issues were identified. I then went into an “uncomfortable” zone of allowing myself the time to work on them without running. It was hard, but necessary if I wanted to heal.

3. What I love about working with Coach Al is how much I am learning about the sport, the human body, the kinetic chain, and about myself. Al challenges me in ways that I don’t think I have ever been challenged, and I am seeing and feeling the benefits quickly. I am learning to do things in a way that I have not done before. Al also takes the time to work with me on scheduling, i.e. I have workouts that I do with friends that are important to me and Al works around those and incorporates them into my plans. There is more personalization to each individual athlete taking into account goals, history, family and work life. There is no cookie cutter planning.

4. The three other benefits would be 1. free from injury!!!! 2. a better understanding of the role of rest and recovery 3. learning to be kind to myself

I know the last one sounds kind of funny, but I, like I am sure most athletes are, am very hard on myself. Al has really helped me focus on what I can do, how far I have come in the short time we have worked together, and how much potential I still have to uncover. He makes it exciting and fun.

5. I have already referred numerous friends to Coach Al, both for gait analysis and injury recovery and for his Get Strong group, which is how I met Al. My friends and fellow athletes see me now and I am smiling when I talk about training again. They can see, and I can see how much better I am feeling. The recovery from my hip injuries were all due to deep imbalances that had gone unidentified for a long time. After meeting with Al for the first time, I knew that I had hope for recovery if I listened and most importantly was patient. I always joked with Al that patience was not one of the virtues that I had, but I have developed. I have since recovered and continue to improve my strength to stay injury free. My goal is to make my 11th Ironman race my best one to date, and if I continue to work hard, listen to my body, take the recovery, continue to get stronger, I know I will achieve that goal.

6. I guess this is what I would add. In November of 2016 I had gotten an email regarding Al Lyman doing a Get Strong Move Right Facebook group. I was at my wits end, not having run since September 29th (IM Chattanooga), I reached out to Lisbeth Kenyon who had just won her 5th IM World Championship for her age group. I asked her if it was worth doing. She told me she had been with Al for 8 years and how much she learned and how much success she has had staying injury free. I signed up. After 2 weeks, my massage therapist noticed differences in my muscle tissue, my PT knew my alignment was better. They were asking me, “What are you doing different?”. The group ended, I signed up for the next one. I then did a gait analysis with Al and learned I had been in the wrong shoe (which I had previously been told was fine, but my intuition told me it wasn’t), learned about my imbalances and developed a plan to correct them. Al asked me to not run until we had hit some of these goals.

I was feeling so good, I wanted to run!!!! But I listened. At the end of February of 2017 I bought a return to run plan that started out with 30seconds on 30seconds off of running. I stuck to it, even though I wanted to go more, I was feeling good I wanted to keep going!!!! By the middle of April I was up to a 25 minute run. The smile was plastered on my face. I then talked to Al about his coaching options and we determined a plan that fit my goals and budget. In June of 2017 I completed a 70.3 PAIN FREE!!!! AND PAIN FREE AFTER!!!! 6 days later I did a 134 mile bike ride PAIN FREE! I am now hearing from my massage therapist that my body, after 3 years, feels in balance. I feel good. I want to be active for the rest of my life and I know working with Al will allow that to be.

Opening that email changed my life. That may sound corny, but it is true. I am enjoying the sport I fell in love with 15 years ago and doing it the right way.

Kristin Wilkes-White