Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Get better at applying what you already know

Regardless of how much or how little you know about the human body and how it adapts to any particular stimulus, if you’re not applying that knowledge you’re cutting yourself short.  This should be pretty obvious, but in the 8 years of training clients and watching other trainers train clients I hardly ever see someone who really applies everything they know. We are so guilty of falling back on old systems, even though we know about new theories which prove those very systems to be outdated.  I’m guilty of this too. We all are. The truth is, the more we know the harder it gets to apply all of it properly, in the correct ratios, at the right time, in the right setting.

It has become something that really bothers me: trainers doing stupid shit. I used to be of the opinion that more education was the only remedy, but it’s often not the case. Truth is, they are often far smarter than the autopilot trainer that starts to show when they’re getting lazy. Basic training principles like progressive overload, specificity, and the law of individualization are all understood, but what they are doing with their clients does not represent this knowledge. Six clients back to back have taken their toll and all of a sudden the same hour long workout gets dished out on repeat. 

If you want to keep that autopilot trainer at bay you have to do two things; sit down and spend time planning the workout beforehand, then reflect on how the session went afterwards. You have to work really hard at not letting the autopilot training take over. This extends far passed the many training variables like exercise selection, tempo, rest intervals, sets and reps. Evaluate the cues you use and your personal interaction with the client as well. Question your whole program and how you deliver it. Resist the urge to fall into old systems. Make the decision to get better at applying what you already know and constantly strive to become brilliant at it. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Courses in Vancouver

I started this list a while ago in order to keep track of all the courses in Vancouver this year. As there's so many I thought that I'd post it on my blog so that anyone interested in continuing education would have a place to go to see what's available. Hopefully this will help the constant progression of our industry up here in the north west. Get ready to empty the piggy bank!!

DNS Sport Level 1 - April 20th - 21st - More info

Dan John - April 26th - 27th - More info

NSCA BC Clinic - April 27th - More info

Primal Moves - April 28th - More info

Athletes Performance Mentorship Phase 1 - May 6th - 9th - More info 

FMS Level 1 & 2 Combo Course - May 11th & 12th - More info

DVRT Level I and II - May 18th -19th - More info

Functional Range Conditioning (Dr. Andreo Spina) - June 8th - 9th - More info

Evolution Kettlebell Groundwork with John Wolf - July 20th - 21st - More info

Tara Keller Assessment and Corrective Exercise Workshops - September 28th & 29th - More info

Strong First Kettlebell Instructor Level 1 - November 8th - 10th - More info

Behnad and the Fit to Train crew will no doubt be putting on another FMS Level 1 & 2 (as well as the SFMA counterpart for the clinicians out there). I've also heard provisional plans for another exciting course in June and I'm sure the BC Weightlifting Association will be putting on another Olympic Lifting Certification. No doubt I've missed a few as well. There's also a lot happening just south of the border that I didn't include and I know there will be the second annual strength conference in the Okanagan during the summer. UPDATE: more info

In all of this it becomes clear that dollar bills will become an issue which is why I think it`s important to note that the NSCA BC Clinic is the best value for money course this year. You get to see 3 of the top coaches in the industry and it's only $90 for NSCA members ($100 for non-members) and $75 for students (are you effin` kidding me!!!). It`s limited to 125 people and I can guarantee it'll sell out. Seriously, go sign up now.

Looking for free information? Shameless plug for my previous blog "The Orchestration of Movement", go here to read it.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Orchestration of Movement

Movement is the most fundamental form of expression. It can be powerful, aggressive and even brutal in the world of contact sports, or it can be delicate, graceful and even exquisite in the world of performing arts. There is an immense world of possibilities when it comes to movement and the human body. How the brain coordinates all of those possibilities as well as the expressive nature of that coordination is what really fascinates me. When you really start to tune in and listen, movement can be viewed as a window into something much deeper, a window into the central nervous system.

The nervous system is like a symphony orchestra and when it plays a tune the melody of movement begins. This is the analogy I want to present today. A symphony orchestra is comprised of many individual musicians, and for every moment in time each one can vary what note they play, their tempo as well as their volume. They could sequence these variables into any arrangement they want when playing their instrument. The beauty of the orchestra is that even though every individual has near endless options, they all choose the right way, at exactly the right time, so that as a whole they produce a beautiful composition. 
The nervous system is no different. To continue with the analogy, view each muscle as you would the individual musician. Just like the musician, each muscle has near endless ways of coordinating a contraction. It can vary tempo (speed of contraction), volume (firing frequency) and notes they play (motor units). The beauty of the nervous system is that even though every muscle has near endless ways of coordinating a contraction, they all choose the right way, at exactly the right time, so that as a whole they produce beautiful movement. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Learn to Lift Clinic

Who is this suited for?
This clinic is for anyone looking to learn or refine proper technique in order to get maximum benefits from free weight strength training. If you have not spent time with a technical coach in the gym this clinic is for you.

What will you learn?
We will focus on the common movements such as the hip hinge, squat, push and pull patterns as all strength training exercises are variations or combinations of these. For example, the technique to perform a push-up is very similar to a bench press or shoulder press. Yes, there are subtle differences, but once you learn how to press you can apply that knowledge to a variety of different pressing exercises.

More than anything this clinic will focus on teaching you the proper techniques rather than a variety of exercises. For example, packing your shoulders, rooting your feet and stabilize your core are necessary techniques in nearly every exercise you’ll do. It’s about leaning a skill set that we will practice applying in the primary movements. From there, you can take that knowledge back to whatever type of workout you would like to do.

What does the clinic include?
A 60 minute class every week. The clinic will run for 6 weeks. Participants will also receive “The Fundamentals”, a 10 page e-book which summarizes all the basic techniques and movements we will cover in the clinic.

How many people will be attending?
I’ve limited this class to just 4 people. The reason for this is to maximize the amount of personal coaching you will receive. Although we’ll be covering the fundamental techniques and movements, how everyone applies these to their own body will vary slightly due to past injuries, flexibility restrictions etc. I want to make sure that everyone attending will have enough personal coaching to adapt the general techniques and movement to the own unique body.

What are my credentials?
I am a certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS) with a bachelor in sport and exercise sciences. However, far more important than the letters after my name is the fact that I am, and have been for the last decade, extremely passionate about training. This passion has taken me to several workshops each year where I’ve had the privilege of leaning from some of the best in the industry. I've trained under some great coaches too. This is my passion in life, and I can confidently say that although there is more for me to learn, I am very good at my job.

Money back guarantee.
If you leave this clinic without feeling confident in your ability to safely perform a basic strength training program with good technique I will give you a full refund.

How do I sign up?

I would love to attend but the day/time doesn't work.
Email me with your preferred times. If 3 people email me with the same time I will run another clinic. Organizing a group (3-4 people) with friends or co-workers would be a great way to get your preferred times.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Foam Rolling Clinic 2012

Enhanced Performance is putting on two foam rolling clinics. During these hour long clinics we will be going over the the how and the why of foam rolling or self myofasical release (SMFR). Enhanced Performance has quickly become a leader in this area having presented at the 3rd International Fascial Congress as well as having research about to be published in the Journal of Bodywork and Massage. We've learned the science so that we can show you how to put it into practice. Both dates are limited to 8 people to ensure participants can get the most of of the session so be sure to register before it sells out!

Date: Sunday the 20th of May at 9.30am or Tuesday the 22nd of May at 8pm
Location: Creekside, 1 Athletes Way, Vancouver. (the Olympic Village).
Cost: $75 including a trigger point foam roller. $50 without a foam roller.
Register by emailing

Please pass this on to any interested friends or colleagues who may be interested in learning the correct methods for adding this great tool into your warmup and recovery.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Day 3 - Fascia Congress 2012

I arrived 5 minutes late for the third and last day of the congress after staying out late the night before. Hitting the snooze button one two many times was a big mistake as one of the best keynote presentations kicked things off. Dr. Carla Stecco's overview of fascial anatomy was simply top notch.

Side point: Fascial anatomy, I think, is the most important aspect in the world of fascia for trainers, movement therapist and strength coaches. The biochemistry and physiological changes that can occur are interesting, yes, but the anatomy of the fascial network is what gives use people that deal with movement the justification on a structural level for compound, multi-joint movements. From a structural point of view, we don't have any good rational for prioritizing these multi-joint movements if we just look at muscles and bones. In fact, if we just look and muscles and bones we'll conclude that machine based, isolation type exercises are the way to go. And that's exactly what happened in the eighties and nineties. It's why gyms are full of equipment and don't have open space to move. The academic textbooks that detailed the structure of the human body were (and still are) missing one key building material and it has fundamentally sent us down the wrong path. This is all changing now due to the work being done by people like the Stecco family.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Day 2 - Fascia Congress 2012

Day two, the 29th of March 2012, was one of the best days of my life! You see Thursday was the day I got to stand up in front of a packed out room and present my research. Needless to say, this simple fact completely changed my ability to take in the days activities.

I arrived just in time for Rolf Reed's presentation on burns and frostbite. In the interest of honesty, I will admit that I took in about 5% of it. I've no doubt that it was a interesting presentation, but not really in any way relevant to me. The combination of this, and the fact my brain was already running at 100% doing practice runs of my own presentation, resulted in me clapping at the end simply because everyone else was. Sorry Dr. Reed, but I was just too nervous to take anything in.