A regular member for 4+ years, Tom Melvin has seen his share of ups and downs with his training. Recently, Tom began a new journey, mixing our group classes with personal sessions, directed by Coach Tom Flaherty. The results have been nothing short of amazing! Here’s Tom’s story:
Tell us about your fitness journey.
Before CrossFit DelVal, the only fitness activities I did were pickup basketball and the occasional hamster wheel session [treadmill]. I got bored of doing that and after searching, found CrossFit. The program was really different and I liked that the workouts changed everyday. The hardest part was getting the courage just to walk in the door! Once I took the first step it took me about a week to get used to the format and after that, I was hooked.
The bodyweight and gymnastic exercises came easy and natural to me. The weight training, however, was like learning a foreign language. I had never trained with weights before, let alone done deadlifts, cleans and snatches. From about 2014 onwards I committed hard and became a ‘regular’ in class, attending 4-5 days a week. I started to feel myself getting pretty good with the weights and seeing good results with the group classes.
In the past, I had experienced lower back pain that started to creep up on me again. I lost some time getting to the gym and the consistency that I had established was gone. When I wanted to get back into it, I contacted Tom Flaherty, who had recently converted from being a fellow athlete to a group coach and personal trainer at DelVal. He was a familiar face and friend and this felt like the right way to restart.
What were your goals during your sessions with Tom Flaherty?
My goals were to improve my weight training and to gain size and strength. This was unfamiliar territory and something that I didn’t really know if I could do.
What have you accomplished working with Tom?
When I started with Tom, I weighted 148 pounds. I now weight 183 (~35lb gain) and I feel like most of the gain has been muscle. I’m also a LOT stronger, and I can move weights that I never thought I’d be able to.
When we started together, Tom would create workouts and I wouldn't be able to finish them! Other times, I just wouldn’t feel comfortable doing one (or more) components of the workout. Now I can basically perform whatever he writes down that day. I have no choice: I'm doing it and I’m finishing it!
My back issues are completely resolved. Not being in pain is obviously a good thing but I really love not having to fear certain movements. I feel like I have no limitations.
My favorite change has been the mental aspects of my training. I now have complete confidence lifting weights! I used to avoid classes that would include heavy lifting (squatting, deadlifting, etc). With Tom’s help, I really feel like I know what I’m doing and the comfort is there.
Tom really puts our friendship first. He makes me feel confident and comfortable lifting, which I never did before. As much as I want to throw a dumbbell at him sometimes, he still makes it worth coming back because I see the results!
Any advice for those looking to start training?
Just walk in and give it a shot! It looks hard and intimidating, but once you try it it’s easy to follow along. The hardest part for me was just walking into the building. Now I’m hooked.
If you’re considering personal training, my advice would be to clearly understand your goals and really stick to them. Consistency is huge. I thought about quitting after the first week and just kept showing up, day after day. It works if you’re willing to work at it and keep coming.
Working with Tom, we were able to figure out my weaknesses. Now those weaknesses are my strengths! That has really made training fun. I always leave feeling like I’ve accomplished something.