Jason Ivesdal was always the strongest boy in his class. The odds of being the strongest boy in your class are good while you’re growing up in Binford, North Dakota, population 240. Jason did put in his hours pumping iron too, modeling his own routine after that of his father, a high school teacher. Jason admired his dad, and his dad was proud of a son who could knock other kids around on a football field like they were filled with straw.
“I realized early on, hey – if you lift weights, you not only become a better athlete. You become more confident, too.” Jason has all the confidence of a captain standing on the deck of his battleship as he speaks in his Eden Prairie gym, Higher Power Training. He shows me around his 15 thousand square foot facility, replete with the machines, weights, and equipment he has deemed the most effective at their jobs over the years. Jason folds his arms as he explains the proper use of the hyper extension bench, revealing biceps that look like sequoias.
“I’ve always had a passion for physical training and sports performance training, and knew they would be my career,” Jason continued. “I studied Exercise science at North Dakota State University and in 1997 took an internship in Dallas where I learned hands-on with career personal trainers. I worked alongside Everett Aaberg, one of the top trainers in the country. He taught me the practical side to physical training, and as a businessman he also taught me how to run my own gym. In 2004 I became a mentee under Charles Poliquin, who probably worked with the most Olympians of any man on earth. He trained athletes in about 40 different sports.
“With so much great experience, I was ready to start Higher Power Training. We’re a real mom and pop operation, and people are always surprised by how much we have here: a three-lane 50 yard sprint track for speed and agility training, a massive amount of free weights and machines, and power racks like you’d find in a collegiate weight room.
“As much space as we have, I still want to use it efficiently. Chest press and rotator cuff machines just take up space in a gym because free weights and bands let you train more effectively. We don’t have those kinds of machines here, but we do have three different leg curl machines because they’re simply the best way to target hamstrings.
“Fitness is the best stress reduction. Whatever comes your way, you can get through it with exercise. It will give you a more relaxed approach to life, and looking good will make you feel more confident in general. Helping people get that kind of strength is really what inspires me most.
“If you want to get fit, the first place you should put your time and energy in is strength training. That requires a plan, and that plan can be complicated. We live in a world with so much available information that you can find a lot of conflicting answers. A personal trainer has heard all of them before, and knows which ones are right. A personal trainer also helps you feel accountable for sticking to your plan, and continually adapts it to keep pushing you and making you stronger. They will let you avoid the mistakes that lead to stagnating results.
“One of the first things we do with anyone who comes to Higher Power Training is talk about nutrition. You’ve got to treat a body transformation like a home remodeling process. If working out is the teardown, then nutrition, which determines the new materials you’re getting, is the actual remodel. It doesn’t have to be too complicated – pretty much just controlled portions of protein, fruits and vegetables, healthy fats like olive oil, avocado, and nuts and seeds, and finally slow carbs like brown rice, sweet potato, and quinoa.
“We also talk to a new client about their schedule and how much time they can commit to exercise. We can still help you a lot even if you only have a few hours a week to spare, because our nutrition coaching really does make the time you invest that much more effective. But I have to warn you: exercise is addicting, so you’ll only want to do it more and more.”
Jason and the trainers of Higher Power Training can help just about anyone get into better shape. They work with people recovering from injuries, people who want to see how good they can look, and even professional athletes – Jason has called more than 20 different Minnesota Vikings his clients over the years. He wouldn’t let me print their names, as it is probably not wise to annoy so many pro ballers by sharing their personal information. Jason would let me print his website, though. It is higherpowertraining.com.