About Steve Freides
As a child growing up in the northeastern suburbs of Philadelphia, PA, Steve suffered from severe but undiagnosed asthma and allergies, unable to run more than a few feet without turning blue in the face. He missed 20 to 30 days of school each year sick (about one day of every five or six) until puberty, at which point his health improved dramatically. Able to be more active, he added 15 pounds of muscle and lost two inches from his waistline during the summer between sixth and seventh grades and has continued to be active ever since. However, again as with many asthmatics, his asthma and allergies returned in his early forties. Thanks to modern medicine, Steve remains an active adult.
Everyone thought Steve would grow up to be a mathematics or physics professor. He was gifted in mathematics, so much so that his 8th grade math teacher, when absent, left instructions that Steve was to teach his own Algebra class.
Steve's paternal grandfather was a professional musician and Steve appeared to have his grandfather's gift. He began studying guitar at age eight. After a stint as a guitar major at the local community College, Steve transferred as a voice major to Temple University in Philadelphia where he earned his Bachelors degree. During his time at Temple U. Steve taught himself audio recording and ran a small studio. He also sang professionally, most often as a chorus "ringer" (because he was an exceptional sight-reader, someone who could pick up a piece of music and sing it without having first heard it played or sung). It turned out that Steve had "perfect pitch" which meant he could identify the pitch of any sound without an external frame of reference. During this time Steve also was asked, even though he had no prior conducting experience, to take over as conductor of the Arbel Choral, a community chorus sponsored by the Hillel Foundation at the University of Pennsylvania. Steve conducted the Choral in concert at Philadelphia's famed Walnut Street Theater and also took the group on tour to Israel.
Steve graduated from the Masters program in Choral Conducting at the Mannes College of Music in New York City at the age of 29 in 1984, receiving the award for excellence in Techniques of Music (Theory). He continued his musical education in the doctoral program at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, again majoring in Choral Conducting. During this time he returned to the Mannes College to teach Theory and also to teach and conduct in its Extension and Preparatory divisions.
While earning his doctoral degree Steve discovered computers and his old interest in mathematics. Soon, although a music major, he was entrusted with responsibility for the computer lab as if he were a graduate assistant in computers. One thing led to another and soon Steve was a software developer known around the world for his expertise in PC databased languages, particularly dBase and FoxPro. Steve authored many articles, spoke at the 1992 and 1993 FoxPro International Developers Conferences and was a Contributing Editor at FoxPro Advisor Magazine. As his computer work increased, he formed a company and that grew to seven people. The demands of the computer business soon overwhelmed his time to teach so Steve "retired" from college teaching at the age of 41 to run his company, Friday's Computer, Inc.
Injury, Then Strength
Steve suffered a very severe back injury in 1997, a laterally herniated L4/L5 disc for which there was no apparent cause, which caused him to be bedridden for several months and to be unable to walk without a limp for over a year. This experience led Steve to the realization that his physical health was very important to him and, even though he had been running since his late 20's, he began to take his exercise more seriously.
Steve earned certification as a Personal Trainer through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and as a Kettlebell Instructor by Pavel Tsatsouline, both in 2003. Steve served as an Assistant Instructor at the August, 2006 certification and earned his Level 2 status in June, 2007. He was appointed a Team Leader in 2010 and taught at several instructor certification trainings. Steve has now left the original program to join its founder, Pavel Tsatsouline, in his new endeavor, StrongFirst, first continuing as a Team Leader, and appointed to Senior Instructor in 2014. Steve has scaled back his computer business greatly has also returned to music teaching full-time. Steve lifts kettlebells and trains at powerlifting. He used to run regularly (20:10 5k and 1:36:40 half-marathon PRs) but now keeps his resting pulse in the low 40's with kettlebell swings. He used to swim, teaching swimming at his local YMCA) and bicycle (he was an "A" level amateur road cyclist).
At his second Powerlifting meet in December, 2004, Steve became the Deadlift World Champion in his age/weight class, M45-49, 148 lbs., for the AAU Raw (no assistive clothing) Division, pulling 347 lbs and setting a World Record in the AAU's Raw Lifetime Drug Free division. At the December, 2005 AAU meet, Steve again won the gold medal for his age (now 50-54) and weight (still 148 lbs.) with a 364 lb. deadlift, setting new AAU world records in both the Raw and Raw Lifetime Drug Free divisions. After a 7 year hiatus, Steve returned to powerlifting and has since set several WNPF national and world records in Powerlifting and as a deadlift specialist in the M55-59, 148 lb, Raw division. Steve attended his first USAPL meet in December, 2012, pulling 342 lbs. (155 kg) .
Steve also achieved Level III Girevoy Sport (GS) ranking, with 17 jerks of two 24 kg bells and 33 snatches with each arm of one 24 kg. bell at an NAKF meet in 2003. (Those numbers are no longer Level III.)
In February, 2014, Steve was appointed a Senior StrongFirst Girya instructor (Senior SFG). Steve is an active participant in the StrongFirst discussion forum and encourages everyone interested in strength to participate as well.
Steve also holds a number of records in the Allround Weightlifting Association including the Van Dam Lift and the Inman Mile.
Advanced Buteyko Breathing
After first discovering Buteyko Breathing and practicing on his own for 15 years, Steve became an instructor in the Advanced Buteyko breathing method and now offers private and group instruction. See http://AdvancedButeyko.com for more.
Steve give lessons in all styles of guitar, piano, upright and electric bass, trumpet, and French Horn privately from his home. For the last 30+ years, he has been Director of the High Holy Day Professional Choir at Temple Sinai in Dresher, PA, near where he grew up. He also substitutes as a church organist.
Read Steve's StrongFirst Manifesto