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Ode To My Coach: Shelby Starnes

Ode To My Coach: Shelby Starnes

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Yesterday my coach and I exchanged some emails; after 5 days of no carbs, 1 day (yesterday) of carbs and 6 days of 1 hour a day cardio – I owed him an update. After a few emails and a late submission of pictures; he sent me my marching orders for the next 4 days.

My reactions to the changes he made went something like this: First, What The Fudge Truck (keeping rated-G for my readers…wasn’t so in my mind) is the man trying to kill me?!? Followed by, chit, I best keep this email because if this doesn’t kill me – odds are good it will drive me to kill someone else and I’ll need this email as part of my defense for the jury and judge to understand my state of mind when the crime occurred. We’ll get to the next and final reaction in a bit; but first, let me shed some light on a few things. Oh, and for the record, my actual reply to him was “Rough stuff. Will do.”

My reply to him is a good representation of what our interaction has mostly consisted of.  It’s always been rather brief, direct and to the point.  It’s the kind of person I am and seems to be true of him as well.  I selected Shelby as my coach after following him on Facebook and reading his articles for a good 6-9 months. The results his clients were getting and the results he’s achieved for himself said a lot – the knowledge he imparts in his articles also solidify my choice.

I didn’t ask him a whole lot of questions and he didn’t ask me a whole lot of questions either; we simply got started.

Prep for Camellia was semi-intense.  Going 14 days without carbs was something I had never done before and the 45 minutes of cardio 7 days a week was expected. It all paid off and I won first place in my debut to the stage.

Prep for the Greater Gulf States was too easy, uncomfortably so and it cost me; finished last. We yo-yoed more with the carbs and my cardio went to only 30 minutes, 5 days a week. My physique was nothing to be ashamed of but my weakest area (Achilles Heel: My Legs) were glaringly not what they needed to be compared to my upper body.  Not entirely sure how Shelby felt about my 4th place finish.  We didn’t exactly have a pow wow about it. He coached me according to the feedback I got from the judges; whether or not he agreed with that feedback – I don’t know and didn’t ask.  Also, don’t know how he feels about the placements of his athletes…obviously happy and proud when they do well but how personally he takes a lost – that, I don’t know.  “Demons” no doubt to cope with that come with the territory of being a coach.

For about a day and a half; from Saturday night to Monday around noon; we both thought competing was done for me for the year. No huge pep talk ensued, but he did say we knew how to get me hard for a show and we would continue to work diligently to bring me up to where I needed to be to compete at the National level.

Then by the Grace of God the opportunity to do one more show presented itself. Right away his marching orders were no carbs next 5 days, 1 hour cardio every day then send him a full update. Bang! Cardio doubled and carbs went bye, bye. On the 6th day, I put carbs back in my first and 3rd meal but wasn’t able to get him pictures until after my 4th meal. His reply to the pictures was: next four days 2 hour cardio a day and cut my overall total calories as he outlined in the email.  Hence, my initial two reactions…

Now, on to my third and final reaction which came in the form of a question: Sun of beaches… “Have I started bagging it?” –  never did it cross my mind to turn up the intensity the way Shelby was now telling me to – so that left me begging the question; “Was I taking it easy on myself?”

What my coach is going after are my legs; he’s going after them with a vengeance that quite frankly I didn’t have in myself.

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Someone who isn’t coached by Shelby but knows him/of him said this about him “Shelby is known to be a “purist” and extreme, bringing clients in to their goals any means necessary within their framework! Hardcore!”

I want to highlight some keys words from that description “any means necessary within their framework” – Shelby never asked me to do anything or to take anything that I wasn’t comfortable with; he works with what his clients are comfortable with and willing to do/take. Second, this is our third competition working together in what’s been about 16 weeks; yes, our interactions have been brief but betcha he knows what kind of athlete I am…hence not hesitating to turn up the heat on me.  A great coach who believes in you shows you by asking more of you than you ask of yourself. No doubt that’s what you want in a coach; he’s got to push you much farther than you are willing to push yourself.

The more I thought about what he’s asking me to do in the next 4 days, the more I appreciated him as my coach.  The beauty of digging deep is there’s always more to find down there and that is after all why I’m competing in the first place!!

Thank you, Shelby

View Comments (2)
  • YOU ARE CRAZY! Quit prepping and take some time off and let your body recover. Metabolic damage is screaming at you directly in the face and you and your coach are ignoring it!!!

    • Juju,

      I have a policy to post all comments that are not spam and not mean spirited whether or not I agree with the comment(s) made. I really do believe you are concerned and I do appreciate your concern but although I have been dieting for a long time – it’s all been done with plenty of cheat meals and maintaining a healthy level of calorie intake. Up until now, I have also been doing average to minimal cardio – it isn’t until the last week that my calories dropped and cardio greatly increased hence why I am starving and struggling/whining about it. If I was about to cause metabolic damage I wouldn’t be starving anymore – my body would have been in conservation mode for awhile. My energy level isn’t great but it also not at the low level it would be if I was in the process of causing myself damage. I am extremely careful to not train or diet in a prolonged extreme way that will cause the type of damage you are referring to – it isn’t worth it in my book. One more week to go and I’ll be in an offseason 🙂

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