DULUTH - Ryan Goldin isn't trying to sound cocky. No, that's not what he's trying to do.
But there's a reason the Atlanta-based strength-and-conditioning guru and former power lifting champion is such a sought-after trainer, not only by high school youngsters hoping to better their game, but college athletes and professional notables looking to stay on top of theirs.
"I been doing this for 12 years. I'm a professional at weightlifting. Where they go to school, whatever, they are football coaches. I'm a professional at weightlifting. That's it, that's the name of the game," Goldin said. "We will perfect form; we will do everything perfect - in weightlifting. When they play football, I would expect their coaches to do everything perfect on the football field. But as far as maximizing their physical potential, that's what we do."
During short break recently between his sessions which he conducts at the noted training facility, Competitive Edge Sports, Goldin took time for an interview with UGASports where he broached a wide range of subjects, ranging from his philosophy as a trainer to the athletes he's helped reach the peak of physical health.
Among them, former Georgia standout Rennie Curran, current Bulldogs Fred Munzenmaier and Clint Boling, current top prep prospects like C.J. Uzumah, twins Tyler and Tanner Botts, along with Bulldog commitment David Andrews, all who swear by Goldin and impact he's made on their respective careers.
"I came into my sophomore year knowing I needed to make an impact and start on varsity. I came in about 210 and I left that year about 240-250," Andrews said. "I was just a changed person. My clean went from a max of 155 to a max of 265 from November to July. I started working here all the time and Ryan's just helped me build my body. Now I'm up to 286 (pounds) and Ryan's just opened a bunch of doors. He's a great connection to have."
With Goldin, it's all about getting an athlete in the best possible shape for competition. But ultimately, it's up to each individual athlete whether or not that goal is actually achieved.
"I have no control over whether a guy is going to gain 40, 20, 60 pounds. Clint gained 60 pounds. It's our job to maximize their physical potential, overturn everything whether it's nutrition, flexibility routine - which is enormous - or balancing out what they do at school," Goldin said. "At school, everybody's on the frontal plan where they want to bench and squat. They might power clean but they don't get a lot of upper back, core, hamstrings or anything like that."
Balance, balance, balance: That's one word that Goldin's pupils know well.
No matter what level of expertise, from the eighth-grader getting into strength and conditioning for the first time, to the seasoned collegian or NFL player, getting his pupils t achieve perfect balance with their bodies will always be the common goal.
"My whole methodology is based on balance, balancing out the body, make muscle coordination better, injury prevention, make them grow the right way, make them become a bigger version of themselves," Goldin said. "The way it becomes individualized depends on what their weaknesses are. We always go weakness to strength."
Munzenmaier is a classic example.
When Munzenmaier came to train with Goldin as an 11th grader at Norcross High, the fullback's shoulders and arms were outstanding, but his chest and core weren't as defined as they needed to be.
Munzenmaier needed balancing out. After several months of working with Goldin, Munzenmaier achieved the balance needed balance and rushed for 800 yards his senior season.
"We just make their form perfect," Goldin said.
This is where having the proper physical balance comes into play.
"The balance method is working weaknesses to strength. There's weakness in everybody, whether it's through flexibility, an imbalance in size or an imbalance in strength," Goldin said. "Even when I was at the top of my game in power lifting there were imbalances. My hamstrings were weak, which meant that they were tight, which meant my back was tight, which meant that my core was weak. But we attacked those weaknesses.
"Now we have - I don't know - probably 70 percent of the workout that we're going to do to get stronger as an overall player but that 30 percent we're going to break off to make those weaknesses stronger so they can perform better and perform at a more explosive, coordinated manner and decrease the risk of injury. That's the name of the game, to have them on the field."
Sessions with Goldin and his staff of eight trainers are extremely precise and intense.
Each session (consisting of 12-15 people) lasts an hour and 15 minutes with each pupil expected to adhere to a strict, coordinated routine.
Athletes are instructed to arrive for their respective sessions 10 minutes early before warm-ups, and depending on individual needs, each pupil will go through a certain stretch routine.
Goldin allows athletes to pick out the weights. Goldin and his staff determine their sets and reps
"Say we're on hand cleans, and Tanner and Tyler Botts, they'll want to go 345. They'll tell me 345, I say 'OK, you warm up 135, then you've got 225 265, 305, 345. We take even jumps and the reason we take even jumps is your form stays absolutely perfect at all times," he said. "Then we do the major lift and if they miss it, it's on them. They're not going to pick their weight again. But that doesn't happen here. People don't miss."
After lifts are completed, depending on their respective football position, athletes will break into groups with specific trainers and continue with different exercises and drills that Goldin has set up for the day.
Although some of Goldin developed some of his methods himself, many are tried and true techniques.
"I've developed very little. I've developed the form on my hang cleans and stuff like that but my squats and my bench, somebody taught me," Goldin said. "I learned under United States power lifting coach. I'm a five-time national champion and lifted all over the world, so that's my base, that's my background.
"I've never been accused of turning a football player into a power lifter. That's not what we do."
Clients are expected to be self-motivated. Those that aren't don't last very long under Goldin's strict regimen.
Even first-time pupils are expected to toe the proverbial line from the very beginning.
"They come in motivated to work because if they don't they last about three days. We weed them out very, very fast and we tell their parents. The parents have to understand, their kids are going to be held accountable for everything," he said. "That's how we get our results. If we have somebody who thinks they're going to bring their kid in and miss a session without telling us, or do something they're not supposed to do, then sure, they can play out the 12 sessions that they paid for but that's it. That's the way it's got to be. It's a very uniformed deal. Everybody has to be treated the exact same way. Everybody has to be held accountable for things like food, to their workouts, to sleeping right, to being here 10 minutes early - all that stuff."
The first couple of days are typically difficult.
Goldin figures he has between 30 or40 rules per lift and hammering them home can sometimes be a chore.
"It's everything from getting their feet right, hooking their hands, getting maximum capacity through their lungs, air and abs," Goldin said. "Breaking them of their old ways and setting the new way is kind of tough, so that said the older athletes are generally easier to work with. Eighth-graders, they don't listen well, but we make them listen. We hold them accountable to do right. It just differs with maturity levels."
Even so, Goldin admits there's something very satisfying about working with a youngster and playing a part in his development like he has with Curran, who he began training as a 10th grader at Brookwood High.
"It's great, it's definitely great," Goldin said. "When I was younger I used to feel like a proud big brother. Now, it's like a proud father."
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