SIX NATIONS – Twenty-two-year-old Jared Miller has found his sport on a less travelled path than most, especially here at Six Nations where lacrosse is King. Miller’s sport is weight lifting.
His love affair with lifting heavy things began in high school.
“I did a lot of weightlifting in highschool,” he recalls. “I seemed to be the guy always working on my legs while others were working on their chest or biceps.”
This was no accident. His older brother Jesse Miller had a personal trainer and coach in Larry Jusdanis and sometimes Jared would listen in.
“I overheard his advice to train the legs because that’s how you become a better athlete,” says Jared. “I guess that’s where that came from.”
In highschool, he recognized his aptitude for powerlifting and got serious about it at around 18 years old. He decided to change his technique to more of the Olympic style of lifting, which he says requires a different technique and more flexibility, and began to train himself, something he does not advise.
“Learning these skills without a coach can be very dangerous and I have suffered a few injuries along the way,” he warns. “Mostly in the shoulders.”
His home regimen included lifting more and more weight, requiring a solid foundation under him, so he began working outside on a concrete pad until it began to break up under him. A second wooden pad was built and it broke apart too. He now has a specially built platform he uses in the backyard.
“I couldn’t afford a gym membership, or a coach,” says Miller.
He started nursing school, which taught him some of the basics of biology, muscle and bone care and development, but was unable to complete his second year. But what he learned was valuable.
He decided to look up his brother’s coach in Burlington and signed him on as his personal trainer. With the help of his trainers, Larry Jusdanis, Sean Stewart, and John Blair from Sports Specific Training (SST), there was another spike in his development.
“Last year I contacted the Dreamcatchers and they sponsored a nine-month membership at the Burlington club,” says Miller.
“You are not a weightlifter until you have actually competed,” he says.
At 22, his eyes are currently set on the Blue Mountain Regional competitions coming up this summer in Collingwood.
Miller also scored a dream job as a personal trainer at Pro-Fit Health Club giving him access to all the equipment he will ever need. But he still trains at his coach’s gym in Burlington as well and brings what he learns there back to Six Nations to help his own clients.
“I like to train youth or young adults,” says Miller.
Miller is planning to host a summer evening, outdoors program through Pro-Fit.
“I call it ‘Fit and Functional Training’,” he explains.
The idea is not to train body builders, but more exploring natural movements like in real life applications.
“It’s like how a farm kid grows up strong just by doing what it takes to be a farmer,” he says.
Jared is grateful for the Dreamcatcher organization for helping make his dreams come true.