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On Goal Selection

Aug 13, 2019
What’s behind a goal? Is it born out of expertise or ignorance, inherent motivations or (often arbitrary) social norms?
In my experience the majority of potential clients that I’ve interacted with have come to me with a goal, but very little knowledge of the lifestyle considerations or cost involved in achieving that goal. How do you turn the subjective to the objective, the qualitative to the quantitative, the abstract to reality? How do you bridge the gap and set them up to succeed?
Understanding WHO your client is, WHAT they want to achieve, and WHY they are pursuing it will allow you to intelligently discuss HOW you can help them along the way. Your intake process matters, the questions you ask matter, and allowing them to articulate their perceptions without interrupting matters. As trainers, we tend to see training as a priority as that is what our bias dictates, but often fail to understand the obstacles our clients face from a coherence standpoint. Questions to...
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Are You Setting The Table?

Aug 13, 2019

Environment often dictates the quality of a workout. A mix of familiarity, anticipation, and the right community (lifting partners/demographic/coaches) can create an overall feeling of eustress (as opposed to distress) respective to the session. This often impacts your experience much more than your program design and available equipment selection, and these are things that everyone recognizes (often subconsciously) and inherently appreciates.
This is service, creating an environment that drives engagement and perpetuates adherence. THIS is what creates a platform for your message to be heard.
As a trainer you should be trying to recreate those variables respective to each clients needs.
Ask yourself, how do you set the environment to create eustress rather than distress?
How do you communicate with them?
Do you care?
Would you train with you?

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The Educated Meathead Episode 2: pH Regulation

May 06, 2018
 
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The Educated Meathead Episode 1: Gas Exchange at the Tissue

Apr 25, 2018
 
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Position Defined: Part 2

Mar 04, 2018

Part 1 explored how certain exercise techniques, cues, or improper prescription of stress can have consequences. The strength and conditioning professional or personal trainer, who is a stress manager, dictates exercise prescription. We discussed how appreciating the starting POSITION of the axial skeleton and pelvis is the foundation for movement of the entire system.  Appreciating the starting POSITION of the axial skeleton and pelvis can reduce stress, unnecessary wear and tear, allow for optimal length-tension relationship of muscles being targeted, and improve the range of motion at joints involved in the movement.

Part 2 will explore a summary of the steps involved in the process of appreciating how you are setting up an athlete or client during the start of an exercise and how to think about ways in which you can reduce unnecessary stress on a system.  We will then explore techniques for advanced POSITIONS you can consider with your athletes or clients when...

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Position Defined: Part 1

Feb 25, 2018

 “The most dangerous phrase in the language is ‘we’ve always done it this way’”- Grace Hopper

Do you ever think about what you’re doing?

Do you ever think about the consequences of what you may be doing? As strength and conditioning and fitness professionals we need to begin to re-examine sacred cows with a more discerning eye in relation to technique cues, what exercises should look like, and the purpose of the exercises selected.

Sacred cows are ideas, customs, institutions held, or beliefs that are above criticism and viewed as incontrovertibly true. We need to start questioning the cues of ‘chest up’ and ‘butt out’ that were shoved down our throats as students and young coaches. We tend to think we are eliciting positive adaptations in training but training has consequences, which implies both positive and negative results. In the opening remarks, I presented a question because you should constantly be...

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An Athlete's Relationship With An Exercise Environment Via Afferenation and Energy

Aug 11, 2017

Sensory information dictates our perception of the world around us-whatever world that may be to you. That world may be walking down the street feeling the sunlight on your face, holding a barbell in a gym, or sitting at a table holding a loved one’s hand. Our brain needs accurate sensory information from our environment, in order to connect. Sensory information includes the linkage of both the external environment (sensory) and internal environment (emotions). Representations of our environment can occur with both real and remembered stimuli (1). Human behavior and motor control is based upon ACCURATE sensory information (19,21,22). Vision, vestibular, and somatosensory (pain, touch, temperature, and proprioception) input provides our brain with the information it needs to make accurate motor and behavioral responses. The brain needs this afferent information in order to feel safe and know that it can protect itself against threat. You need the ability to sense and feel.

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Allostatic Overload: Stress and Emotional Context Part 2

Jul 26, 2017

What we have learned from Part 1 is that physiological adaptations during training are due to the planning of stress. As humans, we need the stress response to survive. Stress is training variables (i.e reps, sets, intensity, loads, velocities, etc.) and the cascade of the HPA axis is the window into performance. But we also need to be able to turn it off when it is not needed.

A chronic state of stress will limit adaptation and performance. A chronic state can lead to changes in environmental perception, behavior, and anxiety (level of tension). Allostatic overload is a term that reflects the pathophysiology that chronic over activation of the stress response of regulating systems can create. These changes can reflect compensation patterns for movement and be reflected physically, emotionally, and behaviorally. Part 2 will be dedicated to the physical adaptations to allostatic overload.

However, we need to appreciate that it is not just physical. Part 1 discussed...

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Allostatic Overload: Stress and Emotional Context Part 1

Jul 21, 2017

Okay, I get it... ‘Allostasis’ has become the new catch phrase. However, I think it places an emphasis and understanding on the consequences of training adaptations. No, not every adaptation we make to training is positive for health and well-being; training can be associated with a cost. Consequence can have both a positive and negative result, but cost is associated with a price to pay. Training is stress. Stress can change the way we think, process information, and behave. As a coach, you need to be a thoughtful stress manager and understand that everything you do has a consequence.

Before an adaptation to training can be acquired, the payment in stress is required. The consequence of that stress depends on how it is managed. As strength and conditioning coaches, we are stress managers. Stress is a bodily or mental tension resulting from factors that tend to alter an existent equilibrium (8). Exercise is planned stress (i.e. periodization). The same chemical...

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Why Your Coach Might Be Wrong About Your Squat: Knees In For The Win

Jun 27, 2017

Whether you're an elite powerlifter, a strength and conditioning coach, a personal trainer, or a physical therapist, you've probably been versed in the concept that proper cueing for the squat with the lower extremities is, spread the floor with the feet, and push the knees out. Perhaps you've even gotten the tid bit about screwing the floor with your feet in the direction of external rotation as well. If you've learned that these particular cues are the way to go, then you've probably also learned that knees caving in towards midline, or valgus is the devil. You've probably seen the technique involving putting a band around the knees so that you reflexively push the knees outwards (varus) against the input of the band. The rationale for squatting this way usually involves the concept that you're going to utilize more gluteal tissues since the actions of the femur will feature external rotation, via the feet screwing, and abduction with the feet spreading the floor and the knees...

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