When Jeff and John Serini came to Complete Human Performance, they had one thing in mind: finish their first Iron Man. They were hardly able to complete a mile without walking part of the way prior to our programming. After coming to CHP, they were able to finish a full IronMan triathlon and exceed their goals by gaining more strength than they ever imagined. The brothers had a truly remarkable experience that will warm your heart.
1) What was your athletic background prior to working with Complete Human Performance?
John: Prior to working with Complete Human Performance and Alex, I was inconsistently lifting for roughly a year. I had no program or set plans, I would just go to the gym with my brother and do what he said. In high school I swam, but with a 4 year gap between that and working with Alex, I did next to nothing in regards to cardiovascular. When I first started with CHP, I couldn’t even run a full mile.
Jeff: I was strength training for about two years prior to working with Alex. Leading up to CHP, I hit a massive plateau with strength training. As far as running and other forms of endurance, I had virtually no background whatsoever. I remember the first run Alex prescribed me: I experienced the worst shin splints and could hardly finish. Swimming, biking, and running did not exist in my training regimen.
2) How did your training change after you started working with CHP?
John: Prior to CHP, I really didn’t track my progress because I wasn’t on a set plan. Once I started having a set plan through CHP, it motivated me a lot more because I could see my lifts, runs, bikes, swims, etc. improve from the previous week. In terms of mentality, it became a lot more gratifying and rewarding because I was able to directly see the results. My training also became a lot more intense, which was good because it was what I needed. It became a lot more serious as well, but not to the point where it wasn’t enjoyable, rather it took me to the next level.
Jeff: So for me, it was a few different things: I had a little bit of history in terms of strength programs in the past. I’d done a few programs like 5×5, 5-3-1, etc. I think one of the biggest changes working with CHP from the strength side, was all the new lifts I was introduced to. They helped push through a lot of plateaus and made me a better lifter overall. Alex and the whole team are such a tremendous resource. I remember one time Alex prescribed me a particular lift I’d no idea how to do. The guy, who more or less invented it, was a member of CHP so he just posted a tutorial video in the group page within a few hours. It’s just extremely beneficial to have access to those kind of resources. Another big change was programmed runs: cool down runs, long runs, running post lifts.
3) How have these changes affected your lifestyle?
John: The biggest change was my sleep. I used to always be tired and sore, but now I am getting full nights worth of sleep and feeling rested and recovered. Other than that, Jeff and I both are self-employed so we’re both in a very fortunate situation where we are able to go on a 60 mile bike ride on a Wednesday afternoon where some people are stuck in the office or something like that. The main transition was having to cut back on work to train. It was refreshing because it’s nice to work towards a really big goal and dedicating yourself to something other to working. I also really started to enjoy biking and running.
Jeff: For me, there were three components that changed my lifestyle. Exercising has always been an outlet for stress management. Because we’re self employed, we generate a lot of stress. So I know these sessions pre-programmed for me are coming from an intelligent resource. The structure was such a benefit to our professional life. Not only does that exercise help manage stress, but having that all done for you also helps manage my stress because I reached my goal without worrying about what I’d do for training. The second change includes starting to enjoy running. Running, and any kind of cardio, has become such a tool for managing stress. Previously I hadn’t done hardly any cardio and now it’s such a great life tool to have, a great life interest and passion.
4) What were your goals when you came to CHP for coaching? How successful were we in helping you achieve these goals?
John: Before we found CHP, I had no plans to do serious training for the Iron Man. Then I thought about it, “Why not?” Initially, my goal was to maintain as much strength as possible while completing the Iron Man, no specific times, just to finish. Without CHP, I would not have achieved my goals. The programming CHP offered me was extremely beneficial and exceeded my expectations. Not only did I finish the Iron Man, but I also maintained, and even gained strength along the way as well.
Jeff: I originally contacted Alex because of his athletic history and accomplishments. Having that background in strength training and endurance was such an appeal. You hear about this old school conventional way of thinking where strength and cardio don’t go hand in hand, and that cardio “kills your gains.” Even though I definitely had an interest in the scientific and the mechanical side of exercise and nutrition, I wasn’t aware you can do the types of things Alex does like doing ultras and Iron Mans while lifting crazy numbers. When we’d decided to do the Iron Man, I knew right away I had to talk to this guy. I 100% agree that CHP went above and beyond with helping me achieve my goals. I originally thought I’d lose some muscle mass and strength in order to complete the IM. But in reality it ended up being so much better than that. I ended up hitting lifetime strength PRs in pretty much every lift, all while I was training for the Iron Man. I was hitting strength PRs and speed PRs all simultaneously.
5) What have you learned the most about yourself during this process?
John: The hardest and longest part is obviously the training. Being able to enjoy the training helped me realize that it’s important to enjoy the journey in life. Discovering that finishing the Iron Man isn’t necessarily the end result and that it’s so important to enjoy the training as well. I learned to enjoy the process of living and not just achieving goals.
The reason we decided to do this was because of our Dad. He’s 64 and he’s completed two other Iron Man races before. He approached us and invited us to do one with him. We spent a lot of time training with him where we’d do our long runs and rides together. It was a wonderful experience being able to spend that much time together and do something we love. CHP helped create and facilitate a special bond with our dad.
Jeff: When we were originally signing up for this, I was unsure if my body was actually capable of this because the distances are long and intimidating. When my dad did his first Iron Man, I thought he was off the deep end. But when we crossed the finish line, there was a huge wave of newfound confidence. With excellent programming from a
great team like CHP, and enough personal dedication, the human body is capable of doing some really amazing things. At the end of the Iron Man, I was able to come down the chute and cross the finish line with my dad. That’s something I’ll remember forever. I owe CHP for giving me the ability to experience this with my dad.