Archive for the ‘StrengthandConditioning’ Category

“We’re almost going home!”

“Psst! We’re going home!”

“Just a few more days!”

That’s what Lauri Ann keeps reminding me as I wake up every morning. All I can think about was just how awesome Star Wars was. Suffice it to say, I am pretty excited that I get to be home with my family for the holidays. It’s tough being away when you’re trying to climb the proverbial ladder of success, so to speak.

The predicament I always seem to have when I’m back home though, is trying to stay on track with my nutrition.  Call me bias, but I think Saipan makes the best food (Hawaii would be second on my list), so it’s pretty obvious as to why I have such a difficult time staying on track.  The food is just too damn good!

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Saipan

With 2015 coming to a close, the vast majority are getting ready to hop on the “get fit” wagon in hopes of becoming a better version of themselves. They’re all probably going to start “eating clean” and cut back on carbohydrate rich foods such as rice and bread, in an attempt to start strong on their new year’s resolution.

Let me make this clear: Carbohydrates are not inherently fattening. *Gasp*

What?!

You heard me… carbs are not fattening.

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Much like fat back in the early 90’s (when I was still in diapers), carbs are being demonized for the cause of weight gain. People who are looking to get lean are quick to dismiss certain foods that are high in carbs.  While it has been shown that a reduction in carbohydrates are extremely beneficial for fat loss (topic for another day), it’s not the real cause of why we’re failing miserably to get the body we want.

Get Your Protein, You Must

In reality, many of us don’t get enough protein in our diet.  Funny thing, before I started to meticulously track my clients macronutrient intake, they weren’t getting enough protein either. Earlier this month, I came across an article online on protein intake and why we necessarily don’t need that much.  Interestingly enough, the author stated that we only need 40-60g of protein. All I could do was scratch my head at such misleading information — don’t believe everything you read, folks.

Without a doubt, the most important macronutrient for fat loss and improving body composition is, protein. People don’t realize that it does such a good job at increasing your metabolism and limiting hunger. It’s damn near impossible to find a fit person who doesn’t consume a moderate to high protein diet. If you’re adamant on living a sedentary lifestyle then yes, a minimal intake will suffice.  However, that minimalistic approach just won’t do, when your goal is to get lean.

Strength training is catabolic (breakdown), so when you’re strength training on a consistent basis, you’re increasing the rate of muscle-protein breakdown, with the goal of building more muscle, so eating minimal amounts of protein isn’t going to give your body enough supply to rebuild itself.  Hit the gym and get your protein; supply and demand.

How Much?

It is suggested that athletes or highly active individuals should make it a priority to get in anywhere from 0.68 – 1 gram per pound of bodyweight.  If you weigh 160 pounds, your daily protein intake should range from 108 grams to 160 grams.  Now just to make things clear, this is purely dependent on your goals and activity level. If you are training to build muscle and/or preserve what you have while losing fat, then you should absolutely make it a priority to consume a high amount. With most of my clients, I’ve found a gram per pound to be just right. The only time I’ll increase their protein intake above that mark is if I reduce their daily calories.

Obviously, the take home message here is to eat protein in every meal and combine nutrient-dense vegetables with sources of protein and fats such as meats, eggs, seafood, and dairy for sustainable fat loss and improvements in body composition.

And as always, don’t forget to continually get stronger in the gym.

 

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I’ve been seeing quite a few trainers do a lot of questionable things recently and it has me wondering, “What the hell are you doing?!” Considering I’ve only been a strength coach for two years, I’ve progressed fairly quickly in terms of gaining the knowledge and experience necessary to make an impact.  Much of that can be attributed to having great mentors, and I was very fortunate to have worked with like-minded individuals when I started at 24 Hour Fitness.

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24 Hour Fitness – Bishop St. Honolulu, HI

While other coaches and trainers may not have had the same opportunities, that doesn’t negate the fact that they should take the time to continually improve as a fitness professional — or as I like to put it, sharpening the sword.  I cringe every time I see a coach or trainer putting their clients through ridiculous workouts.  I’m not one to criticize, but you’re doing a disservice to your clients  if all you’re trying to do is impress them.  Educating them should be the number one priority, period. Below are two stupid things coaches do.

1. Plyometric Conditioning

 

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Movements that require a high amount of force production should be taken lightly when it comes to conditioning work. Treating box jumps as a means for improving endurance is asinine. I’ve said this time and time again, the purpose of plyometric work is to learn how to generate force — but more so, how to absorb it.  Taking your clients and having them repetitively do rebounding box jumps in a circuit fashion defeats the purpose. Training should yield some positive results. I can stand right in front of you and tell you to give me 20 burpees and 20 box jumps for three rounds, but the only thing you will have gotten in return is a “workout.”

The goal of implementing conditioning work is to elevate your heart rate, and improve both muscular and cardiovascular endurance. There are types of movements that don’t require a lot of coordination and those are the ones you can have your clients grind through.  Incorporating prowler/plate pushes, medicine ball stomps, battle ropes and kettlebell variations are much better choices than the former.

2. Lack of Assessment and Individualization

 

It amazes me how many coaches and trainers don’t even bother to thoroughly assess their clients.  Joint congruency and structural integrity should be prioritized before anything else.  Moreover, assessing allows you to individualize your strength program for each client.  It gives you insight as to what movements are applicable to them. For instance, incorporating a boat load of mobility work with someone who is already hypermobile to begin with is counter-productive.  Conversely, some may need to spend an ample amount of time doing mobility work in order to perform at a high level.

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What I’m trying to convey is that completely disregarding an individual’s limitations and restrictions at the expense of burning calories is irresponsible and is the very reason why our profession still gets a bad rap. Every aspect of the training program should differ from one individual to the next — this is critical as a coach.  You have to respect each and every individual’s anatomy and anthropometry. Training programs should not be the same across the board.  Take the time to evaluate your clients.

Takeaway

 

As coaches, it’s our moral obligation to motivate and push our clients so that they can perform at their best and yield the results. Granted, there are much more stupid things coaches do, but I’ve narrowed it down to the ones I see most.

And please, for the love of God, stop with the kipping pull ups and burpee box jumps.

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kettlebell

If I was given only a handful of exercises to choose from, it would be:

  1. Deadlift
  2. Squat
  3. Chin Ups
  4. Prowler Sprints
  5. Farmer Carries
  6. Turkish Get Ups

Sorry! Fads and gimmicks have no place in my training philosophy. I have a simplistic approach in that regard, and I do not believe in shortcuts. If someone tries to sell you on a “magic” program, they’re snake oil salesmen, not coaches.

Turkish What?

 

Turkish Get Ups (TGU) is a dynamic movement I picked up from Dr. Mark Cheng when I was out in Los Angeles last November and I have been incorporating it into my programming since.  Interestingly enough, it has also become one of my all-time favorite exercises because of the complexity it presents.

I love a challenge!

The TGU is really difficult to classify because of the series of movement one must go through just to complete one repetition, so for simplicity’s sake I’ll be concise on why they’re awesome and how you can incorporate them into your training.

Kettlebell Turkish Get Up

Why They’re Awesome

 

My ego took a beating when I first started doing this exercise.  It was a reality check, if you will, because the amount of load I was only able to lift was laughable to say the least.

What I’ve found as I started to refine my technique is that it improved my shoulder stability.  Now if you didn’t know, the shoulder joint is the most mobile joint in the body, therefore; it’s the most prone to injuries. It only made sense because I had to hold a relatively heavy object steady while moving through multiple planes of motion — doing so requires a tremendous amount of shoulder stability.

Another benefit of the TGU is increased core stability and hip mobility, which translates into improved strength gains in your heavy lifts. “Who doesn’t want that?” That’s what makes the TGU a bang for your buck exercise. And since you are moving through multiple planes of motion while holding a relatively heavy object in one arm, you need to have an appreciable amount of strength and control, otherwise, you’d fall over. Not a good sight!

One thing I’ve learned now that they are a staple in my programming is, the slower the better. I made the mistake of treating it like a squat or a deadlift, where the only objective for them was to move the weight as quickly as possible.  You have to be cognizant that this is a different scenario and this is not an exercise you want to rush through. The slower and more controlled you are in executing the movement, the better.

How To Program the Turkish Get Up

 

There are various ways of incorporating this boss movement into your program.  You can apply them as “fillers” in between heavy sets of squats or deadlifts. You can also use them in a tri-set routine, which I often do for my clients. They love it, by the way 😉

1A) KB Turkish Get Ups

1B) KB Goblet Squats

1C) KB Swings

Personally, I like to implement them into my dynamic warm up and I’ve found them to be tremendously beneficial when I want to lift some heavy a** weights. I’ve always said that improved stability = better control = strong.

Squat

To put things all into perspective, I think everybody should learn this movement and incorporate it into their training.  It’s a dynamic movement that will not only make you learn more about your body (restrictions, limitations, and capabilities ), but you’ll also become a boss in the process.

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