HOUGHTON - Jeff Hauswirth has been helping teenagers and adults start out in weight training for years, but the Houghton Middle School physical education teacher and former U.S. Navy combat medic is pushing for maximum impact through a new book he wrote on the subject.
"What are you Waiting For? A Beginner's Guide to Weight Training" started as an idea Hauswirth got while supervising a seventh-grade study hall, and from those humble beginnings in January 2011, came his 160-page paperback book and e-book, from Tate Publishing, slated to hit online bookstores nationwide Aug. 21.
"I like to think of this as a pocket trainer, a personal trainer that you only have to pay once," Hauswirth said. "It's got everything, you can refer to it. It's part my philosophy, part manual."
The first-time author knows all about humble beginnings from his personal weight training experience. His brother Bill played football for Michigan Technological University in the mid-1980s, and ambitious soon-to-be high school brother Jeff tagged along for a trip to the weight room.
"There were these humongous college players, and I'm this little pipsqueek," recounted Jeff. "My first lift I'll never forget was 95 pounds. I thought I'd warm up."
But he couldn't do it.
"I thought I was going to die. I left, I ran out of the weight room, ran down to the locker room, and thought this is not going to happen," he said. "Lucky for me, my brother followed and I started learning these guys weren't born (weighing) 250 pounds. You have to start somewhere."
That's just what he did, and now decades of experience later, Hauswirth is helping others understand the same principles that led to his success.
On its back cover, the book asks two questions, which are answered inside the book: "Have you ever wanted to start weight training, but didn't know where to start?" and "Have you ever gone to the gym, only to be frustrated because you don't know what you should be doing?"
The book covers all the basics, including reasons to get started, how to get started, setting goals, staying disciplined, the art of lifting - "Form and technique is everything," Hauswirth said - "The Great 8 Workout" and an appendix with sample workout pages that can be copied.
"The Great 8 Workout," which includes photos, is broken down into two basic muscle groupings of four muscles each to help divide workouts appropriately and not overwork any individual muscle. The workout is effective for both athletes and non-sport-oriented people who want to stay fit, said Hauswirth, and it provides the building blocks for more complex workouts down the road.
"You wouldn't want to take a bunch of lumber and try to build a house unless you had a good blueprint. This is a blueprint," he said. "This is a great starter program. You could do this your whole life and you'd get a great benefit your whole life, but this is something that will get you going and you can branch out."
Hauswirth compares it to math: you have to learn addition and subtraction before you can learn algebra.
"Where you go from there is completely up to you, but whatever your exercise routine, the form I discuss in the second half (of the book) will fit wherever you are," he said.
Hauswirth finished the first draft of the book in six months, got it accepted by Tate Publishing - the first and only publisher he tried - and worked back and forth with editors and publicists for several months. He received the final version in early June of this year.
"It was a great process," he said, acknowledging that the next step of promotion is just beginning. "My publisher told me it's a marathon, not a sprint."
He held a local book signing June 30 at By Nature, and he has two more coming soon. The first is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (CST) Aug. 11 at Book World in Iron Mountain, and the second is from Aug. 23 to 26 at the Houghton County Fair.
It is available for purchase now at jeffhauswirth.com and tatepublishing.com, and it can be pre-ordered on major online book retailers such as amazon.com now before the official Aug. 21 release date. It will be available locally at Book World and at Bookworm, both in Houghton.
Hauswirth has big plans for the book: "My goal ultimately, and people think I'm crazy, I want to reach minimum 1 million people with this book."
He's hoping to branch out into speaking engagements and weightlifting clinics as well.
His website, jeffhauswirth.com includes more information about the book, a regularly updated blog, details about upcoming events, photos, a contact form - he can also be reached by emailing email@example.com - and reviews of the book.