Straight to the Bar

All Things Strength


How They Got Started : John Keating
Written By : Scott Bird
The enigmatic John Keating

The enigmatic John Keating.
I love hearing everyones’ fitness backgrounds, it’s always fascinating to hear how someone got started. Here’s how John Keating began his own training journey.

Thank you for the warm welcome.
Up to age 18 I played sports, cycled and ran cross country (badly). At 18 I was 8 and a half stone (about 53kg/115lb). I started doing push-ups, chins and sit-ups for about six months; then I got Arnold’s ‘Bobybuilding for Teens‘ from the library and started doing weights in a gym in town.
I mixed Arnold with Stuart McRobert’s ‘Hardgainer‘ approach and started training twice a week – focusing on the powerlifts. That worked well for the next 6 years (I got to eleven stone of pure muscle).
Then I blew my ACL. I spent five years running, cycling, swimming and doing yoga; before I said “Lets lift again like we did last summer”. It took a couple of years to kick back in and I discovered the fitness world was filled with wonderful gurus; notably Pavel, Dan John and Paul Wade. Now I deadlift to the max (140kg at 70kg bodyweight), do regular kettlebell and calisthenics work and have lifetime goal of deadlifting with 5 plates on either side. I’d also like 15 clean chins, 60 push ups in a minute, 200x24kg kb snatches in ten mins, 5 handstand wall push ups; and focus on health rather than muscle.

Cheers John, appreciated.

Over to you. Drop us a line on Twitter ( @scottbird ), or add a comment below.



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Straight to the Bar is the online home of fitness enthusiast Scott Bird, and looks at the many training approaches, essential techniques, uncommon exercises and superb equipment to help you become as strong as humanly possible. In short, this site is the home of all things strength.

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Written By Scott Bird
Scott is a long-time fitness enthusiast (Jan 2004!), writer and photographer living in Sydney, Australia. If you share the passion for spending a bit of time under a bar, welcome. Love hearing how everyone else trains. You can connect via Twitter, Facebook and the various networks listed in the sidebar.
Drawing of Scott Andrew Bird performing a deadlift. Artwork by Vince Palko.