Good Contents Are Everywhere, But Here, We Deliver The Best of The Best.Please Hold on!
Data is Loading...
Your address will show here +12 34 56 78
    The most powerful force in the human mind is past experience.  We put our own personal history first and foremost in our belief system, often despite significant evidence to the contrary.  In the groundbreaking book Influencer, author Kerry Patterson explains that when trying to win the hearts and minds of others, a mountain of data and evidence is useless against even one personal experience that runs counter to the viewpoint you are trying to instill.  A great example is fat loss.  Despite mountains of evidence that the best way to lose fat is to resistance train, eliminate processed foods, and perform higher intensity cardio, everyone always knows SOMEONE who lost fifty pounds eating cookies and wearing a vibrating belt 24/7.  This presents an enormous barrier because while I have all my fancy data, coaching experience, and education, this person’s personal connection will more often than not get the benefit of the doubt because we are wired to believe what we know and experience firsthand.   This effect is even more significant when dealing with someone’s past successes and failures.  Let’s take a busy working mother of three who desperately wants to lose thirty pounds as an example.  What’s her most common objection to starting an exercise program? I don’t have time!  But hold on, what is she really saying? What she is really saying is, relative to her personal experience with exercise, she doesn’t have time for THAT program.  Let’s say she was in the best shape of her life in her early 20’s, and at that time she worked out 5-6 times a week for up to two hours a session.  So that becomes her story, her personal definition of “working out.”  She looks at her hectic life now, and of course she can’t make that fit in.  So she does nothing because in her mind there are no options; it’s an all or nothing, yes or no, proposition.  Her greatest challenge is to be willing to be able to edit her personal encyclopedia so that she can adapt a fitness plan to meet her goals utilizing a different strategy than what she did in the past.     While clearly there are many disadvantages with getting older (including not having the time nor the unending well of energy to train like an animal 24/7), one distinct tool aging gives us is hindsight, should you be willing to use it.  Hindsight lets us look at the past and analyze what components of what we were doing worked, and what we could change.  When I played summer baseball in the collegiate league in New England, we were somewhat isolated and had little to do all day.  So, I trained.  A lot.  I ran mile after mile, lifted every day, worked out at the gym, worked out at home, worked out at the field, whatever I could possibly do I did.  I avoided fat, ate very little given my size, and emerged from the summer incredibly lean, fast, and strong.  However, if this became my only method of training for the rest of my life I too would probably fall victim to the trap our working mother example fell into.  What hindsight and experience has allowed me to do is pick out the most important things I did (strength training, eating clean) and eliminate what wasn’t relevant to my goals (extended running, training everyday, seeing how many pushups I could do between innings).  What I have now whittled that down to is an efficient training and eating strategy that allows me to look and feel the way I want while maintaining an incredibly busy schedule.  Quite simply, if it takes less time and produces the same results, it’s better.   The best program for you is the one you can do right now.  Don’t worry about the methods you have used in the past, but look deeper at the principles.  So you used to do a 6-day body-part split and measured and cooked all your meals down to the calorie but now you only have two hours a week to workout and are constantly on the run?  Well, we can pull out the major principles behind your old program and determine that strength training to failure with progressively more resistance and eating a clean protein rich diet were big factors to your success.  Instead of body-part splits, do a full-body training session hitting compound movements twice a week and try to get your diet right 5 out of 7 days of the week.   Congratulations, you have successfully hacked your training and are on the way to success!   Let go of the past, but don’t forget to learn from it first.

0

Speed and agility training is the pilates and yoga of athletic performance training.  Too much time committed to something that is only a component of a larger system.  Like yoga and pilates, much of this “SAQ” training feels good to do, seems like it helps, but lacks a lot of scientific backing as to its effectiveness.  As with flexible people in yoga, naturally quick athletes love doing “speed” drills because it’s what they are good at.    Certainly there may be some slight coordination benefits to many of these drills, but they are merely details in the larger concept of how to improve speed. keep reading

0

I was recently interviewed for an article featured on the U.S. News’s fitness portion of their website about alternatives to hiring a personal trainer.  While this may seem cannibalistic the reality is not everyone can afford training services and there are many other great options out there. That being said they left out my description of our (SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT!!!!) semi-private training system, the best value there is!!!   http://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/on-fitness/2011/04/07/5-cheap-alternatives-to-hiring-a-personal-trainer

0

I have received notice that someone actually thinks I qualify as an expert and therefore wants to use me as a reference for an upcoming online article.  Because I am lazy I’m going to copy what I sent to the author regarding choosing a personal trainer. “….Our philosophy and business model is based on creating a training product that is affordable, motivating, and challenging enough to be done for an indefinite period of time.  I hate the idea of hiring a trainer “for a little while” then going out on their own because that’s not the point of what we do.  I’ve NEVER seen anyone be successful “going out on their own.”  Our job is to take care of the thinking and stay up to date with proper training techniques and exercises so you don’t have to.  We literally spend hours a day learning and practicing what we do.  Personal Training shouldn’t be used to “jump start” a workout program, it should be the architecture of it.   We have a better way to make that possible. Our business model is what is called Semi-Private Training.  Rather than one-on-one, our clients are on individual personalized programs in groups of up to four.  That dramatically lowers the cost per session while creating a more exciting and supportive atmosphere.  I don’t feel one-on-one works because it isn’t affordable for most people (Around $80 an hour down here) vs. our model which is more like $35/hour. To answer your other questions, the most important factors in hiring a trainer is credibility, professionalism, and accountability.  Unfortunately, anyone can call themselves a “personal trainer,” or take a less then credible certification course and they have a license to severely injure a potential client.  Contrary to popular belief, the body isn’t just a collection of individual muscles that can be “toned” or worked by themselves.  A lot of people assume just because someone looks in great shape they must know what they are doing and how to handle other people.  This couldn’t be farther from the truth.  Beware the “Born-Again” fitness person who wants everyone to get fit the way “they did.” The best trainers in the world are highly educated, constantly improving, and very well organized.  Also, you’ve probably never heard of them.  They don’t scream at fat people on the Biggest Loser or steal already fit celebrity’s money.  They are in the trenches with real clients getting real results safely and efficiently. Another important factor in hiring a Trainer is philosophy and program design.  We design our programs one month at a time.  A bad trainer will often scribble something before the workout, or just make it up as they go.  If they never do any sort of assessment when you first start, that’s a bad sign.  These days everyone has issues and they need to be identified and addressed to progress safely.  If they are trying to get everyone to do the same exercise, that’s another warning sign. Professionalism is a huge issue in training.  Beware the guy who takes cash and isn’t affiliated with the gym.  I’ve seen a lot of “gypsy” trainers illegally operating in commercial gyms.  They aren’t insured by the facility and likely don’t carry liability insurance themselves, either.  We have one person who designs our programs and all of our trainers execute them.  This is a better way to maintain a consistent program and philosophy, and allows our trainers to take vacations, sick days, etc… THAT being said, most commercial gym training staffs are a nightmare.  As a general rule, if the training department has a dedicated sales staff that doesn’t train clients, the trainers are vastly underpaid and under motivated.  Often you will bounce from one trainer to another with totally inconsistent programs and exercises.  Ask the trainer what the last non-certification seminar was that they attended.  Great trainers seek education and read, watch, study and listen all the time. As an alternative to hiring a trainer or becoming involved in a semi-private program, many coaches and trainers offer program design services.  Many are even online now.  Typically you would receive an assessment in person or through video, and then receive an individualized program for the month.  Usually this costs $75-$100 a month and is a great option on a budget.  I can’t stress enough the need for someone else to design your program.  Even I, as a fitness Professional do not design my own.  You will always lean towards stuff that is easy and you are good at and avoid what is necessary.”

0

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/education/ct-met-body-mass-20110118,0,7965554.story As I found myself cruising the internet today, I came upon this story and I thought I’d weigh in (Big day for puns). A school in Chicago is taking heat from parents for linking students BMI scores to their Physical Education grade. Now, there’s a TON of stuff to debate here, so I’ll start with the obvious. The BMI sucks. It’s a terrible test. Actually it’s not even a test. On a personal note I had to fudge a health insurance application at one point because at 6 feet and 210 pounds my BMI put me in a “high-risk” category, despite being able to take my shirt off at the beach and reveal a “situation,” albeit a slightly more pale version. Trying to apply the BMI to growing children is even more useless because of the rapid height and weight fluctuations that occur through adolescence. But now that we’ve established that, let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. I applaud the school for trying to do SOMETHING to combat childhood obesity and disease. Most schools are eliminating physical activity altogether, so we NEED to push back the other way. I am sensitive to kids getting picked on for being fat, I owned a couple pairs of Husky size jeans way back in the day myself. But I’m tired of the attitude that it shouldn’t be addressed or should be celebrated. Yes, we are all different and not everyone was born to be a Size 0. But the OVERWHELMING majority of childhood obesity cases aren’t being caused by genetics alone. The parent’s attitude in this debate was that the school shouldn’t have any say in kid’s health. Then who does???? Kelloggs??? McDonald’s??? Justin Bieber??? We have an enormous healthcare problem in this country. How much of that is preventable? How many productive work hours are we losing due to disease and medical problems? What is it costing us? Freedom is our fundamental principle in America. With freedom comes responsibility. If these parents don’t want someone else trying to help their kids, will they? Can they toss aside the prevailing indignant “everyone is ok” attitude and admit that they are failing their children if they don’t guide them down a healthy path? We live in polarizing times. Our opinions, beliefs, and actions are driven 3 standard deviations from the mean. But the answer is always near the middle. We don’t need to be Sparta and expose our weak on sides of cliffs, but we have to do something. There seems to be an implication that “I do what I want” is part of the Declaration of Independence. The right to determine your own path comes with the responsibility of contributing to the greater good. We’ve tried letting parents keep their children healthy and it’s not working. Blame it on corporate greed, a bad education system, one-parent households, TV, the Hamburgler, it doesn’t matter. America is losing, one bag of Dorito’s and Xbox Live deathmatch at a time. I saw a scary statistic from the military. Fewer than 3 out of 10 American Males between the age of 17 and 24 would meet the minimum qualifications for military service (Army Times, 2006). Granted, we aren’t going to have to turn back the Red Coats anytime soon, but it shows how far we’ve come in just a couple of generations from our finest hour in World War II. Well, this got a little long and ranty, I apologize. As for an answer to the problem? We need to find a way to get kids to love being active from a young age, and turn the tide against the lack of anything slightly nutritious in the S.A.D. (Standard American Diet). If it takes a school coming up with a productive way to do that, so be it. I’m ready for someone to own the issue before it’s too late.

1

  I’m sure many of you have seen the new Lebron Nike ads.  Like them or not, no one markets as well or as innovatively as the guys from Oregon.  It got me thinking about a lot of their other campaigns and their effect on the fitness business.  The Nike Air has been a HUGELY successful footwear product for decades.  It has evolved into other products like the recent Nike Shox.  While I respect Nike from a business and marketing view, I’m questioning more and more everyday how detrimental an effect these shoes have had on athletes and everyday people alike. Why all the bitter hostility?  Well, the modern running shoe claims to be improving the health, safety, and performance of everyone who laces them up.  Yet the numbers would indicate otherwise.  Knees, lower backs, Achilles and plantar fasciaitis, ailments relatively uncommon prior to the running shoe revolution are now standard diagnoses.  Fifty percent of endurance athletes will be hurt this year.  There are definitely a few factors in play here; as I’ve often said, sedentary adults who decide to hit the pavement out of nowhere WILL be injured.  You need to be in shape to run, you can’t run to get in shape.  The force absorbed by the body in a typical jogging stride is 1.5x bodyweight.  Multiply that by about a thousand strides in a mile run and you can see how breakdown will occur.  So lack of physical readiness definitely has a hand in injury. But this is post is about shoes, or more accurately, what’s inside the shoe.  The foot is the next frontier in performance.  It’s been largely ignored in Western exercise research for years, but in most sports it’s the ONLY thing between us and the ground.  The foot’s design is a marvel of engineering.  An intricate web of bones and muscles unlike any other area of the body.  It is perfectly suited to handle normal human movement, things like squatting, jumping, running, and climbing.  It hasn’t evolved to handle the demands of skating or sports requiring cleats yet, so special equipment to handle those movements are probably warranted.  But putting a clunky heavily cushioned running shoe on completely changes the dynamics of how the foot interacts with the ground.  A heel full of air, gel, or whatever space goo they shove in there allows the running stride to lengthen and land on the back of the foot.  Try this barefoot and see how it feels.  You won’t do it for very long.  But the modern shoe lets us do this pain-free, at least for the moment.  But farther up the body, knees, lower backs and hips aren’t as lucky. Beyond the changes in running technique, these shoes are causing other problems.  We literally live with shoes on these days from our first steps onward.  If I strapped a cast onto your arms for years at a time, what would they look like if we cracked it open?  Our feet are suffering the same fate.  Even worse, women wear heels constantly, leaving the ankle with a serious mobility deficit.  Our feet need to get stronger. So, what are better alternatives for athletic footwear?  Surprisingly, Nike’s entry in the minimalist market, the Free, is a good mix of function and style.  For those looking for an even better yet slightly stranger option, the Vibram Five Fingers looks like a glove for the foot.  I can personally say that these work extremely well.   One word of caution though, take it easy when starting a barefoot or minimalist shoe approach.  Your feet are likely deconditioned and will be pretty sore if you try to do a lot of training right away.  Also, use caution where you are training.  Although we were never designed to wear shoes, we were also never designed to run on unforgiving man-made surfaces like concrete or asphalt either.   BH

0

What is Fitness? It’s always amazing when you ask someone to define something that they take for granted, they struggle mightily with it.  So then, what is fitness?  That’s easy, right, its being “in shape.”  But for what?  We used to have the Presidential Physical Fitness Test, and your score on that was your level of fitness.  Maybe it’s how far you can run.  Or how much wait you can lift.  Or maybe your likelihood to avoid the stairs and take the escalator. The best definition I have heard of fitness is simply your ability to accomplish a task.  John Daly is fit to play golf.  WHAT? No way he’s out of shape, right?  Actually, believe it or not, his golf fitness is pretty good.  John moves well and really doesn’t get hurt very much.  He won’t be running a 5k, but that’s my entire point.  When you say I need to get “in-shape”, you have to define what it is you are getting in shape for.  It drives me crazy when I hear young kids that play explosive sports talking about jogging long distances to “get in shape.”  There is no general “in-shape,” unless your goal is to be kind of decent at everything.  Generalists eat last. This is why we need clear-cut goals and standards before we set out in the gym.  Now, for most people, a large part of their fitness goals are to look good.  Unfortunately, this usually leads to less-than effective training modalities “borrowed” from the world of bodybuilding.  Isolate everything, feel the burn, light jog on the treadmill, and take it to the house.  Great program right?  For a genetic freak with no day job, perhaps.  For the rest of the world, not so much.  If looking good is your primary fitness goal, you need to address several key areas. For one, if your job or lifestyle has you seated at a computer for much of the day, your posture sucks.  Sorry, was that too direct?  There’s nothing attractive about rounded shoulders, forward head posture, and no ass to hold your pants up.  More sets at the “pec deck” is only going to exacerbate the problem. So, the next time someone tells you they are “fit,” consider what they should be “fit” to accomplish.  If it’s looking good and being injury-free, drop the machine circuits and crunch marathons and start fixing what you aren’t doing the rest of the day.

0