I just celebrated 2 years of being coached by Sam with a trip to the Arnold Pro American. I can’t believe what we’ve done together in two years. This wasn’t even a goal I knew existed two years ago. I just wanted to go to meets and feel like I truly performed to my potential and to partner with someone who could help me consistently address gaps and incrementally improve in this sport I’d started to really enjoy.
I knew Sam was the coach for me from our first Skype call about training. She asked all the right questions and while I had inklings about what I thought I needed, she brought such a wealth of experience both as an athlete and coach, she was able to temper my novice desires to experiment with everything.
We set up a block to start working together and between the overall approach Sam brings and her ability to adjust based on feedback and progress, I knew I was started on as upward curve of progress. I couldn’t measure it at the time but I could tell we were gaining ground with a confidence I didn’t have before.
I went from an October 2017 Nationals where I was happy with my performance but knew I didn’t come close to my potential with (est. lbs):
-Gigi Walentiny, Virginia Beach, VA
I can honestly say the best decision Ive made over the past year and a half was to start working with her. As far as I can remember, I’ve prided myself on strength. I always wanted to be the best athlete on the team, the strongest person (not girl) in the weight room. I’ve always gone above and beyond the required training and did what I felt was best for my body to take it to the next level. I’ve been blessed to work with some great coaches in all sports that I’ve participated in, but there’s something different about powerlifting, especially now with Sam’s guidance. I’m always confident that I can accomplish my goals. I’m stubborn to a fault. The personal traits that can cause me anxiety and discontent are the same traits that will make me great. Sam gets it. Not only is she great at periodization and programming numbers, but helping me redefine my focus and outlook on the sport to unlock my long term potential and find happiness while constantly chasing success. She sees the bigger picture and how the small wins add up. I’m grateful for the time and energy she puts into understanding me as an athlete and as a person off the platform. I appreciate our 5am life talks between sets just as much as the game day coaching. It’s pretty cool to be coached by someone who’s so accomplished yet so humble and down to earth. Don’t get me wrong, she’ll put me in my place real quick with my outlandish requests and it’s exactly what I need. I appreciate you Sam. I don’t think I could trust another coach at this point so it’s safe to say you’re stuck with me for a while.
-Susan Ottey, Hampton, Virginia
Sam has probably kicked herself every day since she met me – but I have certainly benefited! A friend of mine, who is also a client of Sam’s, had urged me to contact Sam. When I did, I arrived at the gym prepared with vague goals and a lot of uncertainty. I had no idea what to expect, and I had a lot of doubts about what I would be able to do. My body had endured numerous shoulder surgeries, and I had both knees replaced before I turned 55 years old. Range of motion was a definite concern, and I was convinced that I would never be able to do more than a few simple movements and some light weights. However, Sam took what I brought to her and began to work it. She created a plan that was manageable, and worked all the major muscle groups. We worked around some of my range of movement issues, while continuing to stretch and strengthen my joints. The best part is that Sam did it all with a little patience and a lot of humor. It took some time, but I am now able to do a full squat workout, as well as deadlift and bench press. I still don’t know what the ultimate goal for my weight lifting will be, but I am confident that I will be able to do it – whatever it is - when the time comes thanks to Sam!
-Danielle A., Virginia Beach, Va
Sam has been coaching me since December 2017. Since then, she has helped me achieve goals I never imagined, let alone thought possible. Being stronger and in the best condition of my life at the tender age of 52 years is near the top of the list. Along with good nutrition, I’ve had more success in accomplishing my physique goals since I’ve been training with Sam than I had in over 10 years of training without a coach. Her programming methods are second to none. Although I’m a competitive powerlifter, Sam makes sure my training is well rounded. She leaves no stone unturned. As a coach, Sam brings out the best in her athletes and lifts them up while setting a high standard of excellence in the process. Her high standards never waver. Whether I’m training with Sam or training on my own, the standard is still the same. Working at that level consistently has not only made me a better lifter, it’s also made me better at life. I thank Sam for that.
- Mel M., Virginia Beach, VA
Having moved from New York in 2015, I joined our local gym. I had previously worked out with several trainers in New York so when they recommended Sam, I didn't know what to expect, but she completely exceeded my expectations! She listened to what my goals were and had not only the knowledge to get me there but had the patience to work with me during some injuries. Sam is not only a very hardworking person while training others and with her own workout ethics, but she is a very humble person. I would highly recommend her to anyone at any level. I have been blessed to have worked out and been trained by Sam these past 3 1/2 years
- Jeannine, Chesapeake, VA
I didn’t play team sports growing up but I was athletic and loved challenges. I joined the Army at 17 and fell in love with health and fitness. CrossFit led me to my first barbell and I was hooked. For about five years, I lived at the gym. And all of a sudden, I didn’t. Pregnant with my third son, I wanted a fit and healthy pregnancy. Those weren’t the cards I was dealt. I was sick, tired, and miserable. And heavy. I had gained 60 pounds in just 9 months. Read more >>
- Tara, Virginia Beach, VA
Sam is amazing. I came to her looking to be the athlete I have always wanted to be. With her encouragement and knowledge, I’m not only losing weight and inches, but gaining confidence and stamina. I appreciate her motivating attitude and her help in and out of the gym. She keeps things realistic but doesn’t let me lose sight of my long term goals. No doubt Sam brings a lot to the table and is so willing to share her knowledge and experiences with me. Thanks Sam!
- Lindsey, Virginia Beach, VA
Sam is an amazing coach. It is evident just in talking to her that she has done her research and has allowed her own experiences and hard work to grow her into both an impeccable coach and an elite athlete. She is knowledgeable and humble. She is the one who first planted the seed of pursuing strength and powerlifting in my head, and I am so glad she has been the one to guide me this far in my journey. Two years ago, I never imagined I'd be putting up numbers like I am now, and I have Sam to thank for getting me here.
- Jordan D., Richmond, VA
At the age of 50, I had reached a point when I realized I needed to change my lifestyle. I was gaining weight, had little to no energy, and was frankly unhappy with the way I looked. I asked my son (a long time member of The Iron Asylum and serious and dedicated power lifter) to check into trainers for me. He had taken notice of Sam, and how she trains, and promptly referred me to her. I liked her from the minute we met! After each session, I couldn’t wait until my next. That was January 2017, and I am still at it! I’m down 30+ lbs, lost a ton of inches, and wearing sizes I didn’t think I’d ever see again. But Sam inspired me to do even more; she inspired me to compete. I signed up for my first meet at the age of 51, and continue to compete. I have learned so much from Sam. She is extremely knowledgeable, patient, personable, and always inspiring. I couldn’t have ever dreamed that I could achieve what she has inspired me to achieve, and she continues to push me to bigger and better goals. Thanks Sam!
- Leah, Virginia Beach, VA
No less dramatic than it sounds, Sam has changed my self-image and the way I view my body. I started training with her in October 2016 and came her to with some fitness experience. I wanted to decrease my body fat and increase my strength after 2 children and years away from the gym. I've reached those goals and enthusiastically continue forward in this journey with her. She brings forth the best in me as a woman, listens to my goals and even mildly tolerates some complaining! Her work ethic and passion for her career is contagious. Sam uses her professional and educational experience to guide me through any struggles I experience. My favorite time in the gym is one on one personal training with Sam, but when I am alone I have complete confidence with the machines and weights because she has instilled in me proper form and safety. If you know Sam, it's easy to agree that there isn't anyone like her and there definitely isn't anyone more qualified to help you reach your fitness goals. I definitely enjoy the recognition I get from friends and family about the differences in my body, but my peace of mind and body confidence is even better!
- Daniellle B., Chesapeake, VA
As a highschool graduate with no prior coach I looked to Sam to be my first. I have been very satisfied with the results that she has helped me achieve. She not only made me stronger physically but mentally also. My lifts have increased exponentially in just a short time period of about 3 months. I'm moving weights I never once thought I'd be able to.
Sam is not only a great coach but a great person as well; always ready to offer a helping hand or crack a smile. I highly reccomend Sams coaching/programming to anyone who desires moving some heavy weight and seeing amazing progress.
- Michael W., Virginia Beach, VA
I met Sam in the fall of 2014 when she became my personal trainer. She taught me to set SMART goals that were Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. Within a year I had lost 40 pounds and 60 points off my cholesterol. There have been many bumps along the road with minor injuries or health events but with Sam's guidance the path of exercise health has remained clear.
My world is not powerlifting, but it is going "9 for 9" in life at 70 years young. I often remark "Thank you Sam" in amazement when climbing stairs without needing to catch my breath or squatting to pull weeds for an hour. Sam Strong is more than weight on the bar, it is lifting yourself up and making life improvement through strength exercise.
- Richard B., Chesapeake, VA
Sam is by far the greatest coach I've ever had. She's helped me surpass all my goals when it comes to lifting. Any time I have any questions she's is very responsive, I am happy to have her as my coach. She is simply, the best!
- Isabella M., Colorado Springs, CO
Sam has all the qualities of a great coach. She is highly educated and experienced. She tailors programming to your individual needs, especially when it comes to avoiding injury or recovering from injury. She communicates well, and has the patience of a saint (trust me, I've tested it). I'm especially impressed with her remote coaching, as I am a remote client. She reviews my lift videos and keeps a close eye on things. Lastly, you'd be hard-pressed to find such a great coach at such a moderate rate! Lastly lastly, I'd been powerlifting for a year before starting with Sam. In just 5 months she helped me put over 120 lbs on my total! Don't be weak! Be SAM STRONG!!!
- Amy S., Yorktown, VA
Those who can, do; those who can't, teach Well, Sam can do both! Not only an elite level competitor, she is also an elite coach. I trust her completely with my programming, attempt selection and everything else with my training. If you want to improve your lifting, fitness, or sport performance she will get you there. Pretty much guaranteed....if you follow her programming.
- Ryan E., Virginia Beach, VA
I’ve been working with Samantha since the start of 2017, both professionally and as a client. Samantha has been a tremendous help with my personal programming and mental mindset on the platform. With her support I’ve been able improve all 3 competition lifts at a lower body weight with significant improvements in the squat and deadlift this year [recent 524x5 and 529x4x2 squat, 607x5 deadlift, 380.3 bench @ 197-lbs, 39-years old].
Samantha has helped me ‘fine-tune’ my individual programming to allow for sufficient volume/intensity to progress without excessive fatigue that would historically bleed into future workouts leading to a significant reduction of the weight on the bar. With Samantha I’m just training more efficiently – not leaving a workout recked but not under-training either. Moreover, Samantha has helped me select appropriate exercises to increase training volume but still have good fatigue management.
Samantha provides feedback to my lifts routinely and offers solid critique with positive encouragement. She has a way of explaining why a lift could be improved (using sound logic) while still making me feel good about the attempt. Without good feedback I’d be lost (and have been). Samantha has a way of making me think. You know, she asks questions like, “Why did you do this? Why did you decide not to stick to the plan? Why can’t you stick to an RPE?”
Finally, training under Samantha’s guidance keeps the daily push/pull motivation strong – day in and day out. She sets the example of how to train, how not to complain, and just continue to become a better lifter. Happy to be with #TeamSamStrong.
- Jake B., Virginia Beach, VA
My experience working with Sam has been one of best decisions I have ever made! She is one of the top raw lifters in the nation, and her coaching shows it. She is very experienced and educated not only within the scope of powerlifting, but overall strength and fitness as well as helping with other important factors such as mental focus and positive encouragement. I've dealt with a fair share of injuries during my prep for Raw Nationals, and Sam was very receptive to my conditions and needs. She adjusted the program to keep me in the gym training and performing as optimally and efficiently as possible. I honestly would not have made it to Nationals if it wasn't for her encouragement and intelligent programming. Highly recommend!!!
- Kai R, Norfolk, VA
When I first started working with Sam my goal was just to get stronger and improve my technique so that I could execute the big 3 lifts safely. I didn't expect that lifting would become such a big part of my life and that I'd sign up for a competition. It's awesome that even for her online clients, she doesn't just copy and paste the same template for all of us to do; she really focuses in on your individual goals and points for improvement. My strength and my confidence have both increased tremendously since I started working with Sam, and I now have the "don't be weak" mentality every time I approach the bar. I'd recommend Sam as a coach to any lifter at any level!
- Aly S., Chesapeake, VA
I have known Sam for three years now and have been coached by her for the last three months. She is extremely knowledgeable and one of the hardest working people I know. Programming is always solid and she always pushes me to test my limits. I have absolutely no complaints and look forward to the numbers I can achieve on the platform in the future under her coaching!
- Dan K., Chesapeake,VA
Before being coached by Sam I had nothing but terrible experiences with coaches. After just one session with Sam I knew it was going to be a completely different experience. Sam answers all of my questions, explains why she wants me lift a certain way and genuinely cares.
Sam listened to my goals and has shown me those were "baby weight" goals. She is preparing me for my first powerlifting competition and pushing me to be stronger than I thought I could be. She always has such a positive attitude and is truly an amazing coach!
- Nicci P., Virginia Beach, VA
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