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Very few academics can lay claim to such a varied and deep background relative to science, exercise, and the fitness industry. But before he earned a BSc in Biology from Lincoln University, an MSc in Physical Education from Kansas State University, and a PhD from the Department of Anatomy & Physiology from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University, and had been awarded multiple research prizes along the way, he had previously won a Governor’s Art Award (pencil media) and sold paintings to galleries … and dropped out of art school.

During his scientific tenure in higher academia, he earned the rank of professor (full) at three universities (US, IRL, UK) and published many dozens of academic papers. His students have been from over sixty countries and have come from massively diverse backgrounds and interests. Olympians, World champions, the Fittest on Earth, national champions, conference champions, state champions, local athletes, non-athletes, international coaches, national coaches, soon to be national coaches, beginning coaches, physicians, allied health professionals of all types, scientists of all types, have taken courses under him.

He is highly sought as a teacher as he talks to his students, not at or over them, he is one of them, a life-long student during a long life that has seen him work as a pre-school arts & crafts instructor, a roofer, a department store assistant manager, a restaurant manager, a provider of security services, and as an autopsy assistant. Between his bachelors degree and entry into graduate school, he was a Sergeant in the US Army, earning multiple commendations for his work in chemical weapons disarmament and disposal. He believes the Ivory Tower cannot be singular and self-informing, those within it have to have the abilities and real-world experiences to frame knowledge for wider understanding, and they must actually do so.

Athletically, he has appeared on many national and international event podiums in weightlifting and powerlifting over his half century of competition (schoolage, junior, collegiate, open, masters). He has competed, less successfully to be polite, abysmally to be accurate, in wrestling, rowing, volleyball, track & field, and golf. He has a coaching portfolio that includes tutelage from old guard elite coaches such as Carl Miller, Russ Knipp, Tommy Kono, Bill Clark, Marty Cypher, and even Bob Hoffman. His coaching delivery background includes providing long term coaching to many top US weightlifters, provision of short term consultancy to several international level athletes in a variety of sports, years as a NCAA head strength coach, and more than a decade of experience teaching USA Weightlifting coach certifications on the road and at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. He was the first external scientist to be awarded a USOC Performance Enhancement Team Project, co-authored with Professor Mike Stone (a USOC Scientist at the time).

Academia is not a highly visible domain, so Lon may be best known for his industry changing work with Mark Rippetoe, as concept originator, co-author, illustrator, and book designer for Starting Strength and for Practical Programming (first and second editions of both books). He also conceived and co-created the Basic Barbell Training and Exercise Science specialty certifications offered through CrossFit in the mid-2000s. Lon was also a regular contributing author to the CrossFit Journal and main Crossfit website, with more than 150 articles appearing there since 2005, a large percentage of which form a significant portion of the study materials within the CrossFit trainer and coach education pathways. He also has provided a number of volunteer services to a variety of academic and corporate education committees. He has been a small business owner and business consultant within the fitness industry.

With all that said, he currently spends his days thinking, reading, writing, illustrating, doing e-mails, and a bunch of other work stuff in his remote backwoods hilltop home office, studio, and gym. He just recently (after leaving university life) seems to have arrived at a decent work-life balance where he trains for powerlifting, weightlifting, the occasional CrossFit event (when they don’t conflict with lifting competitions), or does some other weird experimental training stuff as it occurs to him.

Experimentation is still important as he considers his life in training, and out of training, a potentially useful and informative longitudinal case study that currently has substantial data points across six decades. He plans on training, competing, taking breaks intentionally or unintentionally, training more, competing more, and so forth for decades to come. His thoughts on aging, and his experience in actually getting old may one day, supported by his lifetime of data, be written up as a case study for a science journal.

Ugh! Let’s switch to first person.

Later life work-life balance has been pleasantly odd post-university life, and aside from the above noted activities, there is also time allocated for the most out of character, for me, recreational endeavor ever. The youngest and oldest sons recruited me to play D&D at the local gaming shop and in homebrews (since 2014). Barbarians rule!

Generally people are quite surprised when they meet me. They will have read some, or many of my works and know my name and the ideas I espouse, but there is a content-personal visage mismatch. I tend to think they aren’t expecting the guy that wrote all that stuff to look like a character from Tolkien, or more specifically a mergeance of two races, Dwarf and Hobbit. That similarity is strong enough that my kids have referred to me as a Dwobbit since they saw the Fellowship of the Rings in 2001. Or maybe people just expect Einstein hair, or Lex Luther, or Professor Indiana Jones? Well, I do know that in the UK and EU they expected me to be a foot taller and weigh 300lbs. I know that because they would tell me.

And all of that’s OK. I really don’t go out of my way to be visible or build a high profile. And I actually sort of like being the guy you know but never see. In fact, if you know me through my work, I am truly happy. My work is more important and better to know than me.