If you were to ask James Taulbee about his life prior to now, his answer, “touring Iraq as an Infantry Marine,” might surprise you. Taulbee, of York, Pa. is the founder and owner of Fire for Effect Athletics and his training facility embodies his 20 years of service in the United States Armed Forces.
The former three-sport athlete and Combat Veteran turned to strength training after suffering issues with his back as a result of his deployment. Trading common medicine for exercise ultimately saved his life and led him to launch Fire for Effect Athletics.
“Fire for Effect is a military term in the artillery community. If I, as an infantryman, see a target that I can effectively engage by talking to the artillery on the radio, I talk them onto target. Once they are on target, I relay the command ‘Fire for Effect’ which means ‘hit it with everything you’ve got.’ I want people to give their own health and fitness their absolute all, while also waving a flag to Veterans in the community; they instantly know it is a Veteran owned business.”
The gym officially opened in December of 2017 offering a one-hour group workout of the day (WOD for short), private personal training and an Olympic barbell class. When asked what kind of equipment they have, Taulbee explained.
“Not machines. We do things that emulate life, functional movements. We focus our programming and methodology around Strongman and Powerlifting…scary words at first glance, but they aren’t. Barbells and bumper plates, pull-up bars, kegs ranging from empty and light up to hundreds of pounds, atlas stones, gymnastics rings, monkey bars, kettlebells, medicine balls, tires, boxes, and most importantly of all … your body!”
If that’s not an ode to the military, then you can bet this is: Fire for Effect Athletics has eight coaches, four of whom are also Veterans like Taulbee himself. The staff is an important part of the training facility and one of the key components to the client and company’s overall success.
Here is some advice from both Taulbee and myself on what to do and what not to do if you are weight lifting or strength training. Make sure you hit it with everything you’ve got!
James: Work with a good coach who will place emphasis on your total development … that includes nutrition (if you hear things like “cleanse” and “shakes” run). One of the biggest roadblocks we run into is people not getting the correct caloric intake and not hydrating. Make sure you are resting; rest days are equally important as training days. Old school strength is what we have here. Stay away from machines because they don’t mimic real life demands that you run into every day, like picking up children and dog food.
Alex: Make recovery a priority. This can be done by rest days, stretching, foam rolling, traditional or deep-tissue massages or techniques like float therapy and cryotherapy. Also, set yourself up for success. If you have an early morning class, then pack your gym bag the night before and sleep in your workout clothes. Prepare your meals or order from a meal prep company. Wash and cut up your fruits and vegetables so they are simple to grab and go. Make things effortless so you are not tempted to resort to old behavior.
James: Don’t overtrain. Listen to your body, know the difference between “I’m sore,” and “I need to take a rest day.” Don’t get wrapped around cycles and numbers and percentages. Life is not X week cycle, so what sense does it make to focus on such arbitrary things? Don’t feel the need to run miles and miles every day. As a matter of fact, limit distance running. There’s a reason why no other creature on the planet runs for extended periods of time. Don’t punish yourself with food… EAT. Eat ENOUGH and eat the CORRECT things.
Alex: Don’t lift too heavy. Lift with purpose instead of ego. As tempting as it is to crank out some heavy reps, most likely you are compromising your form in the process, which in turn compromises your overall progress. Bump the weight down a little and shift your focus from heavy weight to correct form. I bet you will notice a difference.
Taulbee summed up his philosophy this way:
Fire for Effect Athletics is located at 123 Leverington Avenue in Philadelphia. For more information or to register for a class, please visit www.fireforeffectath.com. Your first workout is free!
Facebook: Fire For Effect Athletics