Archive for recommended resources, tips for trainers

Fitness in 2017 and How to Get Up to Speed

by Meaghan posted January 17, 2017

Those of us who have been in the fitness game for more than a decade now have seen a host of trends come and go – thankfully, for some… – and the evolution that has taken place these past several years, especially. The “functional” movement characterized by stability balls and bands that plagued the field in the ’90s is now officially a thing of the past, and these tools have been mostly replaced by the barbells and bumper plates required to perform functional movements at high intensities. The term “functional movement” is, therefore, still quite prevalent in fitness; it has just been largely redefined with the rise of CrossFit and other barbell-focused training methods.

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So why the shift? Well, believe it or not, exercise science research is actually starting to catch up and become useful (not completely, but more so than before). And while society becomes more plagued with chronic disease, musculoskeletal dysfunction and weakness brought on by sedentary behavior, we finally have enough good evidence that working at high intensities improves physiology faster and to a greater extent than low-intensity training, and that being strong and able to perform daily “functional” activities is perhaps the greatest predictor of longevity. (Shout out to the Starting Strength movement!)

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It’s Mobility Week at Focus

by Meaghan posted September 30, 2015

It’s Mobility week in FPTI‘s Advanced Concepts class! This week, our AC students are learning various mobility assessments and drills to improve range of motion and overall function in their clients and prevent injury, as well as how to incorporate mobility into both first sessions (as assessments) and overall programs to enhance progress toward other goals. They’ll even learn how to communicate the importance of mobility to prospective clients to get buy-in.

Among other great resources, one that we like to share with them is MobilityWOD.

MobilityWOD

Mobility Workout of the Day, that is. MobilityWOD is a website put out by Kelly Starrett, DPT in attempt to provide athletes with drills to increase mobility and improve their training and performance. His goal was originally to get a video-based mobility blog post up every day for a whole year. What happened, though, was that he became a go-to source for the industry’s mobility needs.

We like him for another reason as well: Even though Kelly is a physical therapist, he really “gets” the strength world and takes an intelligent approach to training. What’s great about MobilityWOD is that he doesn’t just put up a video of himself doing an exercise. Rather, he includes explanations (in both text and video) of how and why the mobility problems usually occur, along with how his drills work to improve them, as well as other strategies to prevent recurring problems. He also includes ways to test and retest mobility to evaluate and monitor progress, as well as questions and even assignments designed to get you thinking about how and why things work the way they do.

So whether you train just yourself or other people, I guarantee you’ll learn a thing or two from MobilityWOD that will enhance your results – so check it out!

10 Fitness Resources to Check Out in 2015

by Meaghan posted January 21, 2015

Every January, a list of the “Top 100 Most Influential People in Fitness” makes its way around the Interweb. You can find the 2015 list HERE.

But while this list is certainly great for exposing our industry leaders, “influential” does not always guarantee positive influence…Granted, I think most of those who made this year’s list are both well-rounded and well-respected in fitness. The bigger problem is, there are A LOT of names on that list and “fitness” is a broad term…

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That said, I wanted to compile a smaller list of respectable resources more specific to personal trainers. So, here it is:

1. The Personal Trainer Development Center. Much like what we aim to do at FPTI, this comprehensive site aims to improve the fitness industry through education. With a collection of relevant articles and videos for personal from personal trainers, it’s a great go-to site to learn from others who share the goal of raising the bar in this field. And with wonderful contributing coaches like female strength advocates Neghar Fonooni and Cassandra Forsythe, and the innovative and practical Nick Tumminello, you’ll have access to a host of useful information from highly successful industry professionals.

2. PT on the NET. This is a similar comprehensive site with contributions from top personal trainers. From programming to client communication strategies, this site covers all you need to be successful as a personal trainer.

3. The Strength Coach Podcast. Though slightly more specific to strength and conditioning, Mike Boyle and Anthony Renna have done a fantastic  job getting top coaches on the podcast to talk about the day-to-day demands of a fitness coach. If you want an audio option for education, I highly recommend listening in to the biweekly interviews.

4. Strength and Conditioning Research Review. If you’re a research nerd like Bret Contreras, great. If you’re not but want applicable, peer-reviewed evidence to make  you a better coach, this is the source for  you. And at previously $10/month for a summary of 50 relevant studies per month, there is now also a condensed option for FREE.

5. Eric Cressey’s BlogThis has always been and continues to be my go-to site for fast information from one of the most educated, well-rounded and successful young trainers in the field. Between coaching teams and clients, and running the renowned and growing Cressey Performance, I’m not quite sure how Eric manages to keep up with his blog – but he seems to do an even more fantastic  job the busier he gets!

6. Mobility WOD. Run by former CrossFitter Kelly Starrett, this video blog covers all things mobility. From dynamic stretches to voodoo bands to whether or not we should really use ice, this site has information applicable to banged up athletes and desk jockeys alike.

7. Precision Nutrition. Whether the goal is sports performance or body composition change, if there’s one thing that blunts the effects of a good training program, it’s good nutrition. Fortunately, Dr. John Berardi understands this and is aiming to bridge the gap between fitness coaches and nutritionists with a certification specifically  geared to help personal trainers improve their behavioral coaching skills with clients when it comes to compliance with nutrition.

8. Todd DurkinHaving won ‘Personal Trainer of the Year’ titles on multiple occasions, I couldn’t exclude Todd from my list. With influential books, DVDs and a true passion for people, Todd has influenced everyone from elite athletes to stay-at-home moms with his positive energy and motivating attitude.

9. Starting StrengthWhere would be without Mark Rippetoe to make us stronger? His influence through the growing Starting Strength organization and simple philosophy of training continues to spread through the masses and improve the quality of life of those who follow.

10. Gray CookRegardless of your thoughts on his Functional Movement Screen (FMS), it’s hard to argue that Gray is one of the smartest men in the field, and one of the few to successfully run the gamut from physical therapist to strength and conditioning coach. And now that he’s increased his online presence in recent years, it’s a lot easier to gain access to his wealth of knowledge and experience.

 

Carb-dense Foods at Most Meals?

by Meaghan posted February 20, 2014

If there is one consistent point of controversy in the health field right now, it’s carbohydrate intake. Read opinions found in major media publications or headlines like ‘Learning to Cut the Sugar,’ and you’ll probably find yourself on the low-carb bandwagon.

 

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H.I.I.T. Workouts May Help You Eat Less

by Meaghan posted October 12, 2013

Looks like we have one more reason to favor high-intensity interval training over long slow distance for fat loss: In addition to enhanced levels of EPOC that lead to more caloric expenditure, harder workouts may also help you eat fewer calories. 

A study published in the International Journal of Obesity looked at 17 sedentary, overweight men who participated in four 30-minute exercise sessions. In one session, they simply rested. In the other three sessions, they exercised on a stationary bike for a continuous moderate pace, at a high-intensity pace with intervals, and at a VERY high-intensity pace with intervals. After each session, they were given a meal that was monitored, and later given as much oatmeal as they wanted to eat.

On the high- and very high-intensity workout days, their caloric intake was significantly lower - by about 200 calories. Caloric consumption was also assessed for the rest of the test day as well as the following day, and the men did NOT overcompensate by eating more once they had recovered their appetite after the harder workouts.

Bottom line: High-intensity interval training (H.I.I.T.) may help you burn more and consume less, resulting in greater fat loss.

To learn more about H.I.I.T. and how to do it, check out the courses at the Focus Personal Training Institute!

 

It’s OK to HIRT

by Meaghan posted October 5, 2013

“Metabolic resistance training” – or what Italian researchers and authors of a new study call “High-Intensity Interval Resistance Training” (HIRT) – is all the rage these days. And when compared against traditional resistance training, it’s easy to see why. We experience a much greater rise in EPOC (excessive post-exercise oxygen consumption, or “afterburn”) following high-intensity work.

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Strength-On Demand

by Meaghan posted August 25, 2013

For anyone who is a fan of Mike Boyle’s StrengthCoach.com, another great resource called Strength-On Demand recently became available and you should definitely check it out. Creators Ron McKeeferey and Rob Taylor thought it would be great to deliver the best of industry conferences straight to your computer or digital device to watch on your own schedule.  Here’s a preview of what you get:

 

 

When you take away the travel time, missed work hours and cost of attending a live workshop, a $4.95 weekly trial offer and $19.95 monthly membership is a very worthy investment. But don’t take my word for it; try it out for yourself HERE.

 

Becoming A Supple Leopard

by Meaghan posted April 21, 2013

A while back, we featured Kelly Starrett’s awesome site MobilityWOD.com. (You can check out that post here.)

Kelly’s use of insightful educational videos and unique combination of strategies from both the worlds of strength and conditioning and physical therapy make him a valuable resource in the fitness field. And lucky for us, that valuable resource has compiled his years of work into a book that becomes available THIS TUESDAY, April 23rd:

 

 

Kelly’s motto is ‘All human beings should be able to perform basic maintenance on themselves.’  Well, in Becoming a Supple Leopard: The Ultimate Guide to Resolving Pain, Preventing Injury and Optimizing Athletic Performance, he teaches you exactly how to do that so you can reach your maximum performance potential and stay injury-free. Here are just some of the things you’ll learn how to do:

 

  • Prevent and rehabilitate common athletic injuries
  • Overhaul your movement habits and efficiently channel the most powerful muscles in the body
  • Quickly identify and fix inefficient movement patterns in yourseld and others
  • Problem solve for pain and dysfunction with little equipment
  • Unlock reservoirs of athletic capacity you didn’t know you had
  • Develop strategies that restore function to your joints and tissues
  • Accelerate recovery after training sessions and competition
  • Create personalized mobility prescriptions to improve movement efficiency
  • Improve your quality of life through regained work capacity

 

If any of this sounds good to you, pick up a copy of Becoming a Supple Leopard at a local retailer or order it HERE.

Mobile Apps For Fitness Research

by Meaghan posted April 1, 2013

Because of the nature of their jobs, fitness professionals often have long days with little access to computers and come to rely on iPhones to stay connected to the world. They also tend to have some down time during those long days, and some choose to spend it getting smarter. Personally, I’ve always been a fan of the advice to spend at least an hour a day on career-related reading.

But carrying books around all day can get cumbersome. Enter these mobile apps:

There are now apps for iPhones that allow you to search for fitness-related research via sites like iResearch, PubMed and Google Scholar. You can even get access to full text through some of them.

 

No joke – April Fool’s Day or other.

And when it comes time to get a new phone, here’s a really cool thing you can do with your old one: DONATE IT HERE and help provide meals to those in need while also doing your part to improve the environment – courtesy of fellow fitness professionals John Romaniello, Eric Cressey and Ben Bruno. Now that it’s an option, you’d be April foolish not to partake in such a worthy cause.

Complete Spinal Health and Core Training

by Meaghan posted March 13, 2013

I think anyone in this industry who knows me also knows I’m a little opinionated when it comes to core training… Research aside (and there’s a lot of it), a simple consideration of kinesiology tells us that certain joints were meant to move – the hips and thoracic spine, for example – while others were meant to NOT move – like the lumbar spine. This simple joint-by-joint analysis should, for the most part, dictate how we train.

Of course, there are always structural abnormalities, postural deviations, conditions, etc. that may warrant a different approach, and this is precisely why assessments are so important. I’ve always admired Tony Gentilcore for constantly acknowledging these things, and I admire him even more now for making his recent core training seminar available:

Together with Dean Somerset, Jeff Cubos and Rick Kaselj, Tony discusses how he assesses his athletes to determine things like whether or not back pain (or the potential for back pain) is flexion- or extension-based, the role of posture and breathing, the importance of hip mobility and glute strength in the prevention and treatment of low back pain, and where foam rolling/massage and core stability fit in. BUT, he does so without losing focus of the goal: PERFORMANCE.

As trainers, we don’t treat pain, and most of our clients don’t want to spend money doing just “corrective exercise.” They want to train. We just have to understand what movements and loading patterns are likely to cause pain and what interventions are likely to help prevent or improve symptoms.

I don’t want to give away too much, so check out this video for a little more about Tony Gentilcore and Spinal Health and Core Training:

 

If you like what you see so far, the full seminar is available HERE.