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How to Get Clients Working in a Commercial Gym - Wed, 05/15/2019 - 14:35

I received the following question from another trainer via Instagram the other day:

“I wanted to know how you got clients when working in a commercial gym?”

I felt it prudent to share my thoughts as a blog post in the hopes it may help some fitness pros out there.

Copyright: ruigsantos / 123RF Stock Photo

#1 Rule: Wear T-Shirts That Are One Size Too Small

Hahahaha – just kidding.1

In all seriousness I haven’t worked in a commercial gym since the summer 0f 2007 when I “retired” to go off and help co-find Cressey Sports Performance.

It’s been a while.

That said, I did spend the first five years of my career working in both corporate and commercial fitness and even though I may be a bit rusty much of what follows is still relevant and undoubtedly help some of you reading to separate yourself from the masses.

Lets assume the obvious: 1) You have a degree or certification, 2) you’re competent in the areas of assessment, exercise prescription & technique, and Shaolin shadowboxing (hey, I don’t make the rules),  3) you practice basic hygiene and don’t smell like an old lady fart passing through an onion, and 4) at the very least you can name all four muscles of the rotator cuff and their functions (you’d be surprised how many trainers are unable to do this).

You’re already a step a head of your competition if you can place a checkmark next to all of those things.

And while I can sit here and wax poetic on the importance of all the things mentioned above in addition to the nuances of psychology, basic anatomy, undulated vs. concurrent periodization (what they are and when you’d use them), how to write a program for someone dealing with secondary external impingement, breaking down the Kreb’s cycle, or, I don’t know, even knowing what the fuck the Kreb’s Cycle is….

…..none of that, truly, will be the “x-factor” in determining whether or not any one specific trainer is capable of filling their client roster.


Although, if you know this by heart we should hang out.

Will possessing those attributes help?

You betcha.

However, I think it was my good friend, former business partner, and Cressey Sports Performance business director, Pete Dupuis, who stated it best:

“If you can’t hold a basic conversation and make small talk with people, you’re going to have a hard time in this industry.

Also, Tony’s pecs can cut diamonds.”

You’re Always Being Watched…Always

The best piece of advice I can give any trainer is to always act as if you’re being watched and observed.

Because you are.

When I was a commercial gym trainer I always treated every session as an opportunity to audition for other prospective clients. Meaning, my actual client – you know, the person who was paying good money for a service – got my undivided attention.

I didn’t want to come across as the cliche trainer who just stood there counting reps waiting for the hour to be over with.

Or worse, this trainer:

An acquaintance of mine, who’s a coach himself, posted this picture on my Twitter feed today. This is a trainer  “working” as his client attempts a 2x bodyweight squat.


Now, if you’re a trainer struggling to fill your client roster or struggling to hit session quotas every month and EVERY other member of the gym saw that this is what they’d be paying for, would you have any room to bitch and moan about how the man is keeping you down?

A few months ago my wife and I were in Florida visiting family and we needed a place to train for a few days. We ended up going to a CrossFit that was two miles away. The first morning we arrived was Day #1 of the 2019 Open. The energy when we walked in was palpable.

Loud music, people getting after it, coaches coaching, it was awesome.

I just went into one of the corners and did deadlifts.

Fast forward 30 minutes, everyone left, and the next group came in which happened to be two older women not competing in the Open. The coach then sat down in a chair and maybe every ten minutes who would look up and half-heartedly say “nice job” and then go on doing whatever the hell she was doing.

Talk about a 180 (and a complete letdown as an observer).

Be a shark, in motion at all times.

Be an active coach…always.

Give feedback, provide cues, give a shit.

Be a participant for crying out loud.

That’s how you’ll get clients.

Oh, and Don’t Be An Asshole

This is Mike Boyle 101.

People don’t want to train with an asshole. They don’t want to train with someone who talks over their head and uses big words all the time and they don’t want to train with someone who’s a judgmental jackass.


Smile, say hello to other members, introduce yourself, offer some pointers here and there, put on free 15-30 minute clinics to get more eyes in front of you to showcase your value, and, if you’re going to train where you work, maybe consider not turning into “I’m wearing headphones, I’m a psychopath, don’t you dare look at me guy,” or be overtly obnoxious, hooting and hollering all over the place and sniffing ammonia packs before a set of deadlifts.

Being approachable is part of the game.

If members are watching you sniff ammonia packs before every set deadlifts you’re not doing yourself any favors.

The post How to Get Clients Working in a Commercial Gym appeared first on Tony Gentilcore.

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Elite Baseball Development Podcast with Scott Oberg - Wed, 05/15/2019 - 05:33

We’re excited to welcome Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Scott Oberg to the podcast. A special thanks to this show’s sponsor, Athletic Greens. Head to and you’ll receive a free 20-pack of Athletic Greens travel packets with your first order.

Show Outline

  • What Scott’s college recruiting process was like as a late-blooming pitcher from the Northeast and why he chose to attend the University of Connecticut
  • How Scott persevered to overcome multiple injuries/conditions over his college baseball career
  • How Scott advanced quickly through the ranks of pro ball
  • How Scott’s journey through adversity has molded his mindset and what his advice is to young players looking to remain resilient through obstacles in their baseball career
  • Why Scott favored a two-seam fastball in college and how reintroducing a four-seam fastball back into his repertoire improved his game in pro ball
  • How becoming more self-aware and instilling confidence improved Scott’s command and transformed him from a fringe big leaguer to a mainstay in a big league bullpen
  • How controlling the count and competing from 0-0 makes pitching easier and allows pitchers to play the games within the game of baseball
  • How Scott developed a relationship with Texas Rangers minor league pitcher Tyler Phillips and what lessons Scott passes on to the aspiring big leaguer in their offseason training.

You can follow Scott on Instagram at @scottoberg45.

Sponsor Reminder

This episode is brought to you by Athletic Greens. It’s an all-in-one superfood supplement with 75 whole-food sourced ingredients designed to support your body’s nutrition needs across 5 critical areas of health: 1) energy, 2) immunity, 3) gut health, 4) hormonal support, and 5) healthy aging. Head to and claim my special offer today – 20 FREE travel packs (valued at $79) – with your first purchase. I use this product daily myself and highly recommend it to our athletes as well. I’d encourage you to give it a shot, too – especially with this great offer.

Podcast Feedback

If you like what you hear, we’d be thrilled if you’d consider subscribing to the podcast and leaving us an iTunes review. You can do so HERE.

And, we welcome your suggestions for future guests and questions. Just email

Thank you for your continued support!

Sign-up Today for our FREE Baseball Newsletter and Receive Instant Access to a 47-minute Presentation from Eric Cressey on Individualizing the Management of Overhead Athletes!

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Learn to Control Anterior Pelvic Tilt with THIS Exercise

Many clients and athletes have some degree of anterior pelvic tilt (APT).

And while APT isn’t the awful disease or malady we once thought, the fact of the matter is if it goes unchecked, bad things tend to happen.

As such, as a trainer, coach or athlete, you need tools in the toolbox to help you control it.

One of my personal favorite exercises is the bench hamstring curl. In many ways it’s an entry-level exercise, but it’s fantastic for learning to “feel” the hamstrings, and working to get the pelvis back into a more neutral position.

Give this exercise a shot and let me know what you think of it!

Here are a few notes to get the most out of this exercise:

  • Think REACH and PEEL. Reach long with the arms to open up the upper back, and then think about peeling the pelvis and hips off the ground. If you do this right you should feel your hammies engage immediately.
  • Hold in a position where you have abs. This part is really important – pull yourself up as high as you can while still keeping your pelvis underneath you (i.e. your abs on). The second you start to drive with your back, you’re not getting what you want to out of the exercise.
  • OWN the top position. In that top position, think about keeping the hammies engaged, and when you exhale, try to reach and tuck the pelvis even more.

Whether it’s the standard variation or going one leg at a time, this is a powerful exercise to have in the toolbox. Enjoy!

All the best,

The post Learn to Control Anterior Pelvic Tilt with THIS Exercise appeared first on Robertson Training Systems.

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How to cheat death (or die trying) - Wed, 05/15/2019 - 00:43

conditioning for longevity and performance

When I was in middle school, I used to walk to the local bookstore and pick up the latest copy of FLEX magazine every month without fail. I was a teenager, so my motivation was pretty simple: I wanted to learn how to get big arms and six pack abs to impress the girls.

I don’t think I even knew what the word “conditioning” meant. My bodybuilding magazines talked about doing fasted cardio to get lean, so that’s all I did.

My first real introduction to conditioning for performance

As I grew up and started studying strength & conditioning in college, I realized there was another world of training that I knew nothing about.

I remember the first time I saw a collegiate football strength and conditioning program at the University of Washington. The training days weren’t broken up by body part, like I was used to. The exact same lifts were being done three, even four, days a week. There were all kinds of conditioning drills and exercises I had never seen in FLEX magazine.

I was lost.

This was my first real introduction to the idea of conditioning for performance.

I have to admit that I still spent a lot more time studying strength than I did conditioning. But, while I didn’t really understand energy systems or conditioning, at least I knew it was a real part of training.

When I opened my gym in 2003 and quickly started training fighters, my real conditioning education began. I was forced to dive head-first into everything I could find about conditioning, because I didn’t want to be the reason one of my athletes lost a fight.

The only thing that matters is winning

There’s no second place in MMA, only a winner and a loser.

So, for the next ten years, I focused almost exclusively on training athletes and understanding conditioning. I started 8WeeksOut, wrote Ultimate MMA Conditioning, and created BioForce HRV. Almost everything I studied, practiced and preached revolved around one thing: performance.

It wasn’t until my mom suffered a stroke (I wrote about that here) and I started to get old (or at least older) that my perspective started to change. I realized that while I loved helping athletes get in competition shape—and I was good at it—I needed to use conditioning for something even more important: helping my clients stay alive.

On a personal level, I also knew that I was screwed by the genetic lottery. Both sides of my family have a strong history of major heart problems and dying young.

I didn’t think much about it when I was in my 20’s. That changed as I got older and watched family members fall apart. I knew I didn’t want to be next.

A much younger version of me (repping my new gym’s logo on a sweet polo).

My plan to cheat death… or at least die trying

We’ll all die sooner or later, but I’m determined to use conditioning to make that much later, rather than sooner. And just as importantly, to make sure I stay healthy enough to enjoy my life while it lasts.

I had no idea that conditioning was so important when I was younger. It’s not just for burning fat, improving performance, or fighting back against the ticking clock of time.

It’s about all three. Conditioning has many faces.

But the key is that each goal requires a different conditioning strategy. If you want to look like a bodybuilder, you train like one. If you want to be as strong as a powerlifter, you lift like one.

Conditioning is the same way. If your goal is to maximize your lifespan and stay healthy, you shouldn’t use the same conditioning strategies as a fighter preparing to step in the cage.

I teach how to build conditioning programs around each of these goals in my BioForce Conditioning Coach Certification (which you can learn more about here), but to give you an example of what I mean, I want to share “the big 3” conditioning strategies that I follow myself.

#1 Use HRV on a daily basis to track your improvements (or lack thereof) in conditioning.

It’s easy to know if you’re getting stronger or not. The weights either go up, or they don’t.

Conditioning isn’t always so obvious. This is especially true if you—like me, these days—are just training to stay alive as long as possible.

How do you really know if your conditioning is good enough or not? Or if your program is actually making it better?

To get a good answer, you could go to a lab every month and spend a bunch of time/money testing things like VO2max and lactate threshold… Or, you could spend a few minutes each day monitoring your heart rate variability (HRV). It’s a pretty easy choice.

I first started using HRV almost 20 years ago, long before most people had ever heard of it.

Since then, I’ve created two HRV apps and used them with everyone I’ve trained. It’s by far the closest way to see “if the weights are going up or not” when it comes to conditioning.

Your HRV is either increasing over time—meaning your conditioning is getting better—or it’s not. For health purposes, there’s also a ton of research correlating higher HRV with better longevity.

As you age, your HRV naturally declines (and this is a bad thing). It means you’re more susceptible to a range of health problems, and your risk of dying from things like cardiovascular disease, stroke, and even cancer goes up.

You can see this decline clearly in the graph below, which shows over 1.5 million HRV measurements collected using my older HRV system, BioForce HRV:

the relationship between age and HRV

The colors you see represent three categories of people: those with high average HRV (in blue), moderate HRV (in red) and low HRV (in purple). The people with higher HRV values tend to be much younger than those with lower values. The trend line down the middle tells the same story: HRV decreases with age.

But you’re not entirely off the hook. Even though your HRV will decline as you age, you have complete control over how slowly this happens. Take 40 year-olds, for example: you can see that people had average HRV values as low as 60 or as high as the mid-80’s.

That’s a massive difference. It means that a 40 year-old can have the same HRV as the average 20 year-old, if they do everything right.

I use my own HRV system, Morpheus (which you can learn more here), and I try to keep my HRV at least in the low 80’s. I know if I can keep it there, my risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke are much lower.

If you don’t know how to increase your HRV, you can check out my article on 5 Tips to Increase Your HRV.

#2 Make conditioning fun—or you won’t do it.

When I’m training an athlete, I’m not too worried about making their conditioning workouts fun. I care about making them effective. (I’ll be honest, most of them are not fun.)

Training for performance isn’t about enjoyment. It’s about winning. Nobody says, “Well, at least we had fun at practice,” after they lose a game.

Training to win often means doing the same things over, and over and over again. It can quickly get monotonous.

But, when it comes to conditioning for health and longevity, people (including you) won’t do it unless it’s fun. There is no fear of losing. Most people lose interest —and quit—after doing the same things over and over.

This is particularly true when it comes to doing cardio. It doesn’t matter how effective a program is if you quit because it’s boring as all hell.

That’s why my most of my conditioning comes from doing things I actually enjoy: riding my mountain bike and playing racquetball. I don’t have to exert any willpower to get myself to do them.

I still vary my volume and intensity to get the most out of these activities within my overall program. For my cardiac output work, I can go on longer, slower bike rides. Or, I can ride uphill slowly to get in some HICT. I can practice my technique at lower intensities on the racquetball court, or I can play games competitively to drive my heart rate up.

This makes my conditioning both fun and effective.

conditioning to live longer

If you want to improve someone’s conditioning long term, you have to help them find activities they enjoy.

Most average people consistently train with me for only two or three days a week. Conditioning to stay alive and be healthy takes more than that.

If you’re a coach or trainer, that’s why it’s so important to help people find a conditioning activity they A.) can do on their own, and B.) have fun doing.

From there, you can help them use tools like Morpheus to track their heart rates and train at the right intensities to make those activities not just fun, but as effective as possible, too.

#3 Alternate high-intensity training with recovery workouts (Rebound Training)

When you’re young, you can usually get away with smashing yourself into the ground more often than you should. The hormones of youth that drive recovery like testosterone and growth hormone are powerful.

As you get older and these hormones decline, your body doesn’t work the same way anymore. You can’t do the same things you used to without paying the price.

After spending a few years experimenting with all kinds of different weekly periodization models, I found a very simple strategy to counteract this. The strategy is to follow a high-intensity session with one aimed at recovery. Avoid back-to-back high-intensity conditioning days as much as possible.

How do I define “high intensity,” exactly?

When it comes to conditioning, I’d classify any workout where your heart rate gets up to 90% of your max as a high-intensity session. If you use Morpheus, any workout where your heart rate gets into the red zone and your recovery decreases by more than 15% is definitely high intensity.

how high intensity affects your recovery

Lots of time in the red “overload” heart rate zone, causing a significant level of fatigue.

Personally, I do about two of these high-intensity conditioning workouts per week—usually on Tuesdays and Fridays. For most people who aren’t professional athletes, two per week is the right amount. More than this is rarely better. Often, it’s worse.

To speed up recovery, I follow each high-intensity workout with what I call Rebound Training. This is a specific type of workout that I’ve written about extensively before.

increasing recovery with rebound training

Plenty of time in blue “recovery” heart rate zone to stimulate regeneration.

The goal of these workouts is to stimulate recovery rather than fatigue. If you want to see exactly what I do and download a free Rebound Training template, click here.

Over the past few months, I’ve also started incorporating more body tempering with the IASTM tools from Kabuki Strength. I’ve found this to be a tremendously effective way to keep my soft tissues and joints healthy.

You can see quick example of one of these regeneration methods by watching a short video on the Ultimate 5-minute Regeneration Method with Kabuki.

This approach of alternating high-intensity conditioning (while doing things I enjoy) with recovery-driven training and regeneration flat out works. I feel great. My joints don’t hurt and I can’t remember the last time I missed a workout because of an injury.

Most importantly, my conditioning and HRV are exactly where they need to be for my ultimate goal: cheat death (and stay healthy) as long as possible.

Sooner or later, I’ll to lose the race against time. But for now, I’m still ahead of the game and enjoying every minute of it.

What to do next

If have the same goal as me, to live a longer, healthier life, start by evaluating your own conditioning level and plan. Are you using HRV or some other means of tracking your conditioning? Do you enjoy your training? Do you do a good job of not overdoing the intensity?

If the answer to all of these is “yes” then keep it up. If it’s “no” then take a step back and consider making some changes. It’s worth the effort. In the long run, getting your conditioning program right is about more than winning and losing. It’s about staying alive.

If you’re a coach or trainer and want to dive deep into conditioning and learn how to create not just game-changing, but life-changing, conditioning programs, make sure to get on the Insider’s List for my BioForce Conditioning Certification below. You’ll save $200 off the registration price when the cert opens next on May 28th.

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The post How to cheat death (or die trying) appeared first on 8 Weeks Out.

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Redefining success in health and fitness coaching. How 7 coaches are rethinking their careers & how you can too. - Tue, 05/14/2019 - 23:01

“Success” in coaching used to mean a nice roster of ~30 in-person clients, full ownership of your practice, and a net profit that afforded you a vacation or two a year. These days, health and fitness coaches are ditching the cookie cutter definitions and building businesses their own way. Here are 7 inspiring coaches who are redefining success in health and fitness coaching and how you can too.


“Making it” as a fitness and health coach used to be pretty straightforward.

“Success” meant having a steady stream of clients knocking on your door, and making enough money to easily pay the bills, live comfortably, and take your family on vacation from time to time.

But, lately, we’ve noticed that health and fitness coaches are getting more creative with their definition of “success”. They’re building their businesses to support specific personal and professional goals.

Everything from: building a practice that allows them to work from anywhere in the world (even amazing, exotic locations), to setting flexible work hours so they can hang out more with their children or pursue other hobbies and interests, to working with specific groups that are most meaningful to them because of past experiences or future aspirations.

It’s awesome to watch.

That’s why we decided to ask a few of our ProCoaches:

What does success look like for you?
And how are you achieving it?

Their stories were so good — so inspiring — that I wanted to share them with you today. They might even help you re-define what success means for you.


Success is… living life on your own terms.

Daniel Hennessey is living the dream.

Thailand, Costa Rica, California… Dan travels around the world with his business partner and fiancé, Wendy, while coaching fitness and nutrition online (and creating an enviable Instagram while he’s at it).

Dan used to live his life on the gym floor (or sitting in traffic on the long commute to work.) But after years as a trainer and gym owner, he finally said to himself, “what am I doing?”

The truth is, life in the gym just wasn’t for him. He wanted to be in the outdoors. To travel. To seek out new perspectives on life, and new ways of being healthy.

Most of all, “I wanted to do things my own way.”

Dan took the plunge. He sold his possessions and embraced the minimalist life, traveling with just a backpack. Meanwhile, he established a new business for himself as an online coach.

Now, at 30, Dan focuses on people who he feels are better served by online, rather than in-person coaching — such as busy moms, or people who feel intimidated by the mere thought of setting foot in a gym.

“With online coaching, a lot more people can have access to this thing called health, and I can coach you while sitting at home.”

How he does it:
Dan uses Procoach to deliver online nutrition coaching. At the higher-end, his services are priced at $200/month; at the lower-end, he offers a “90 day for 90 dollars” program that helps people get started.

Dan’s advice:
“All that really matters is this: What do you want to do, and why? What gives you joy and purpose? Whatever it is, go after it. There’s more to life than living scared.”

Success is… making coaching accessible and inclusive.

Ten years ago, Jon Mills walked into a martial arts studio where he was introduced to a simple mantra: “Anyone who is willing to put in the work is welcome here.”

Unfortunately, he began to notice this approach didn’t seem to apply across the board in health, fitness, or martial arts. Many people were being excluded, especially those from low-income backgrounds. And some, such as LGBTQ folks, found that gyms and studios could be downright hostile.

Today, Jon, 30, offers personal training, martial arts, and mindfulness coaching, and he provides online nutrition coaching through Procoach.

His mission: Make coaching welcoming for anyone.

Jon focuses on providing an inclusive, safe coaching experience for everyone, especially queer and trans clients. And he invites folks with lower incomes to pay what they can — or even train for free.

It might sound crazy, but for Jon, it works.

“The funny thing is, not only am I helping others, it’s working as a business. I’ve learned that people will give what they can, when they can. And they’ll definitely refer you. Plus, because of how I work, I have no competition. My referrals come from the community.”

Jon’s approach is people-focused. “I don’t worry about getting money, and I just concentrate on helping folks,” says Jon. “I’ve come to realize that this isn’t just an ideal, but something that can be fulfilling and sustainable.”

How he does it:
Jon uses Patreon, an online donation service, to collect donations. Clients who can afford to pay do so, and if they wish, add donations to pay for those who can’t afford it. Jon offers his nutrition coaching services through Procoach to both in-person and exclusively online clients.

Jon’s words of advice:
“There’s a lot of stuff in the fitness industry that will tell you to fit a mold. But being yourself is the key to being a great coach, because that’s how people will connect with you. You have to embrace who you are.”

Success is… turning your job into your dream career.

As a Registered Dietician working in a clinic alongside doctors in Kitchener, Ontario, Irene Pace had started to notice something important: Certain clients don’t seem to get the results they want through the health system’s traditional model of nutrition care.

“Whether it was the psychology of my coaching or the system itself, I just couldn’t provide what they needed. I remember one client in particular who I worked with over a couple of years. Despite my best efforts, her health declined, and her weight went up. I failed to help her.”

Irene thought to herself, “I have to do better.”

So recently, at 40, Irene decided to do a deep dive into the art of nutrition coaching. She got her PN Level 1 Certification, and in time, became an assistant coach at PN.  And she’s continued to strengthen her skills with the Level 2 Certification.

Now, Irene has added ProCoach to her RD services — and is seeing the kinds of results she had always hoped to witness.  Her clients are surpassing their ‘stuckness’ like they never did before.

“Using this platform, clients can communicate with me on an ongoing basis. They can reach out whenever they feel stuck instead of waiting weeks for an appointment… Having regular contact with clients throughout their change process instead of intermittent visits adds up to big change. It seems magical.”

Irene is feeling the reward of seeing her clients succeed. At the same time, she’s also able to prioritize her family and spend time with her three children.

The result: Irene is building a career that is both personally and professionally rewarding, in a way she never thought possible.

How she does it:
Irene started using ProCoach with a ‘test group’ of friends and family paying $35/month. With the test round done, she launched another cohort paying $50/month. She’s now working on her plans for her next cohort launch of full-paying clients, as she continues to build her business, and find her niche.

Irene’s advice:
“We all come into coaching with many transferable skills. Don’t ever discount the unique things you can bring to the table. There’s something from the experience you’ve had, whether it’s a previous job or your life, that can make you a better coach — if you let it.”

Success is… creating a gym that’s so much more than a gym.

Michael Espinosa runs a gym… but it’s so much more than that.

In addition to in-person training (with a focus on strength/conditioning and Olympic weightlifting), Michael also offers nutrition coaching through ProCoach for free, to any members who want it.

According to Mike, 33, ProCoach adds an important element to the in-person coaching experience: “It allows me to connect better with clients and teach them things like mindset and body awareness… things you can’t think about between your clean and jerk.”

Notably, the gym runs as a non-profit, with the goal of creating an integrated, accessible community. Middle and high school students get free training; university students get a discounted rate.

In addition, the gym boasts a community garden, “so that kids can see what broccoli or radish looks like when it’s growing,” and a small outdoor calisthenics park that’s free to the public.

Why give so much stuff away for free? Michael says it comes down to his core values.

“Justice is one of my values. The area we’re in has seen a lot of injustice. This is my way of tipping the scales. I provide a safe space for people to work out together, and make it a diverse community. Families, professors, university students, kids in the neighborhood, anyone is welcome here.”

How he does it:
Those who can afford it pay a monthly membership fee ($144 for adults; $100 for students), which fund the gym. Michael acknowledges that it’s not a lucrative business. For him, the success lies in having a positive impact on the community and changing people’s lives — things he strongly values.

Michael’s advice:
“Be unapologetically aware of what you’re doing and why. Do some honest reflection with yourself. And keep learning and growing; flowing water never goes stale.”

Success is… helping people build stronger communities.

“The last thing you want to talk about is nutrition when you’re standing on the roof of your house.”

After seeing the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey, A’Tondra, 35, decided she didn’t just want to help people get healthier, she wanted to help them get stronger so they could serve their communities better.

To do that, A’Tondra made the choice to serve a smaller group of people, some in-person and some online. She tailored her services to provide a high degree of personalized attention and accountability, and to help her clients develop their own support systems.

“I’ve learned that when a person feels supported, they’re able to find purpose. And that makes everything better not only for themselves, but for all the people in their life.”

At first, reducing her number of clients was scary. But after the first year, “I had fewer clients but had nearly tripled my income. Plus, I was having a bigger impact on my clients.”

A’Tondra has watched her clients not only get healthier and stronger, but also give more back to their work, families, and neighborhoods.

At the same time, she’s able to spend more time with her own community, especially her family. “I have four children, and I’m able to make all their science competitions, basketball games and chess tournaments. That means a lot to me.”

How she does it:
For three months of in-person exercise, nutrition, and lifestyle coaching, A’Tondra charges $3,500 for individuals and $6,800 per couple, upfront. (She finds that couples who train together tend to support each other well.) Online clients, who she serves through ProCoach, pay approximately half the in-person price.

A’Tondra’s advice:
“Learn to appreciate what’s good about where you’re at. It can be easy to think you need hundreds of clients, people banging down your door to work with you. But with fewer clients, I make a bigger impact on them, it’s better for me financially, and I own my time.”

Success is… loving what you do, and earning a good living at it.

Living and working just steps away from the beach, Christie Miller has something many people aspire to: She truly loves what she does for a living — and she makes good money at it.

Not only is she passionate about health and fitness, she’s able to coach at a price point that is financially rewarding. As a result, “I wake up every morning and think… ‘I get to do this for a living — and get paid for it?’.”

Christie, 53, wasn’t an overnight success. After a number of different careers, she started her online coaching business — only to be met with frustration and stacks of bills.

(In fact, after her second year of business, the IRS came calling; they didn’t believe anyone could lose that much money. But she had.)

But after a few years, Christie identified her ideal clientele, and that made all the difference. Now, she helps “ambitious women who want to lose weight and play to win in all aspects of their lives.”

For this type of client, a higher price point was more effective. It attracted the kind of dedicated, driven clients she was looking for: people who were determined to get results and willing to pay for it.

Christie’s income absolutely exploded: By the second quarter of year three, she earned $57,789 — more than she made in the first two years of her business combined.

How she does it:
Christie incorporates ProCoach into her six-month group program and reaches women all over Europe, North America, and even Dubai. New clients are offered this program at $597 a month. After the initial six months, some clients are invited to continue for another six.

Christie’s advice:
“Be polarizing. Know exactly who your target audience is, and who they aren’t. It can be scary and can be a rollercoaster ride sometimes. But it’s absolutely worth it.”

Success is… helping women take back their health and empowerment.

Once upon a time, Stephanie Hinders found herself in an abusive relationship. Once she managed to get out, and get healthy (with support from her community at a local gym), she made it her mission to help other women take back control over their own lives too.

“I thought to myself, ‘Why did I go through all of that, if not to use the experience to help others?’.”

Today, 29-year-old Stephanie provides a combination of in-person and online coaching services to help women who feel disempowered regain their health, strength and self-confidence.

Seeing the changes in her clients is incredibly meaningful to Stephanie.

“I’m able to see clients go from berating themselves to celebrating their own progress. They find the light on the other side of the tunnel. They regain their confidence, mentally, physically, and emotionally. It’s hard to describe how much that means to me.”

How she does it:
Stephanie has been training people in a local gym in Powell, Ohio, for more than four years. This past year, she added ProCoach services, beginning with an offer of three months free, in exchange for feedback. Stephanie is currently working on implementing a new pricing structure, and expanding her online client base. She’s pregnant and is excited that ProCoach will allow her to continue coaching with a flexible schedule when her new baby arrives.

Stephanie’s advice:
“Be truthful to your own story. It can be intimidating when you look at other coaches, and easy to second guess yourself. You might look around and think ‘maybe I should be doing it like that.’ But you know your own reasons for doing what you do, and it’s important to remember that.”

Ready to build a thriving coaching practice?

Tested with over 100,000 clients now, Precision Nutrition’s ProCoach makes it easy to deliver the sustainable, research-proven nutrition and lifestyle coaching discussed in this article to anyone who needs it… from paying clients and patients, to family, to co-workers, to loved ones.

Want to coach in-person? Online? A combination of the two? Whatever fits your ideal lifestyle, it’s all possible with ProCoach.

With the ProCoach curriculum, coaching tools, and software, you’ll be able to turn what you learned in the Precision Nutrition Certification into a thriving practice, getting better results with dozens, even hundreds, of people while working less and living life on your own terms.

Interested? Add your name to the presale list. You’ll save 30% and secure your spot 24 hours before everyone else.

On Wednesday, June 5th, 2019, ProCoach becomes available to all Precision Nutrition Certification students and graduates.

If you’re interested and want to find out more, I’d encourage you to join our presale list. Being on the presale list gives you two special advantages.

  • You’ll pay less than everyone else. At Precision Nutrition, we like to reward the most interested and motivated professionals, because they always make the best students and clients. Join the presale list and we’ll give you 30% off the monthly cost of Precision Nutrition’s ProCoach.
  • You’re more likely to get a spot. Remember, last time we sold out within hours. But by joining the presale list you’ll get the opportunity to register 24 hours before everyone else, increasing your chances of getting in.

If you’re ready to help more people live their healthiest lives, grow your business, and worry less about time and money… ProCoach is your chance.

The post Redefining success in health and fitness coaching. How 7 coaches are rethinking their careers & how you can too. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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Does Having More Muscle Really Increase Your Metabolism? - Tue, 05/14/2019 - 20:26

Recently we received the following question from a reader: “I’ve always thought that adding muscle speeds up your metabolism. But then I read this isn’t correct. So what’s the truth: Does increasing your muscle mass really increase your metabolism?” -Phil, Vancouver

For as long as I can remember, a lot of people have believed that for every 1 pound of muscle you gain, your body burns an additional 50 calories. On paper, this sounds awesome. But unfortunately, it’s not true.

Does Increasing Muscle Mass Increase Metabolism?

The answer is “yes, but not by a whole lot.”

Research shows that every pound of hard-earned muscle burns about an additional 4-7 calories per day. Translation: if you wanted to burn 100 calories extra per day, then you need to add a solid 10-20 pounds of muscle to your body — and that’s a lot of muscle.

But Here’s The Good News

The ever-wise Dean Somerset wrote a great post on why this seemingly depressing news can be a bit deceiving. Let’s start with basics: even if you were able to add 10 to 20 pounds of muscle (and that would take you years, not months, to do), that extra 100 calories burned per day still wouldn’t give you “the fat-burning capabilities of a furnace on high in Phoenix in July.” But gaining that muscle would still be very helpful for your body — and your fat loss goals.

More Muscle Moving Means More Calories Burned Faster

While the caloric burn of a single pound of muscle at rest is very much overstated, the work you’d need to do in order to build that muscle would still create positive changes for your body. And then, as Somerset goes on to explain, when the now-more-muscular you exercises, you’d be able to burn more calories faster.

So the big outline of this is that adding muscle mass on its own won’t help you to burn a lot of calories, but can help you to do more work, which is what will actually burn more calories,” Somerset writes.

The Takeaway

While adding more muscle doesn’t speed up your metabolism as much as you’d like, don’t overstress the impact on your baseline metabolism. Instead, realize that there are many good reasons to exercise and add more muscle (and drop fat) as a means to being healthier and looking better.

Read More:

How Much Fat Should I Eat?

Is Sugar Bad For You? (You’ll Be Surprised)

Understanding Proteins, Carbs and Fats

The post Does Having More Muscle Really Increase Your Metabolism? appeared first on Born Fitness.

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The Best Damn Specialty Bar on the Market - Tue, 05/14/2019 - 15:51
I can't get over how versatile the American Cambered Grip Bar is. You can use it forward and backward, giving you a total of 8 grip options. Flip it over, you've got a total of 16. I've found 250 options, and I'm sure there are more to find.
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How to Prepare for a Strongman Death Medley - Tue, 05/14/2019 - 13:04
Programming for a death medley event can be tricky. Many people make the mistake of going too heavy right away with maybe one top set — a recipe for disaster. Instead, try out my recipe for a successful death medley.
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Getting to the Bottom of a Great Pistol Squat: 3 Tips to Improve Yours - Tue, 05/14/2019 - 12:01

The pistol squat is one of the hallowed movements among fitness lovers—especially bodyweight aficionados. While they’re not for everyone, if they’re in your repertoire you want them to be as clean as possible. A great pistol is smooth like a hot spoon through ice cream and effortless like this is how I always pick up my keys when I drop them. It is a classic demonstration of strength, balance, and mobility that is guaranteed to make you feel superhuman. Pistols require precise coordination of nearly every muscle in your body. Even advanced practitioners can feel sluggish, lopsided, or disharmonious as they move, especially at the bottom of the squat. These glitches can be corrected with some focused effort on what’s going on behind the scenes.

Hit the Bottom of the Pistol

If you’ve been training pistol squats for some time and you’re still stumped by the bottom range of motion (ROM), you’re not alone. Falling backward, tightness through the leg joints, loss of balance, and loss of confidence are all common puzzles for the would-be pistoler. In response to all four issues, there is a sketchy tactic that seems like a good solution but rarely is: the Slam ‘N’ Bounce. This is a high-speed drop which bounces your hamstrings against your calf to get past the sticking point. Moving fast might get you upright again, but training without addressing the problem is Sisyphean at best. Plus it skips the concept of skill mastery. Good news for Slam ‘N’ Bouncers who would like to get the rock to the top of the hill: you don’t have to sacrifice your knee and your strict pistol credibility to learn this lift. The way across the breach is through the elegance of physics, geometry, and biomechanics. Here are three simple corrections to help you cut the crusts off your stale pistol squat and feast on the delicious center instead.

Befriend the Low Single-leg Squat

Of all the things that can inhibit a clean pistol, simply being uncomfortable at the bottom range of motion is the most common. It’s a long way down, and many of your joints are moving quickly into compromised positions. As with any end-ROM work, your brain is the governor of the action and it will slam on the brakes if it is scared you’ll get hurt. This can not only lead to a reduction of ROM but also pain and loss of balance. Therefore, being comfortable with the low single-leg squat by itself is a requirement before trying to move into or out of it.

First try crouching down on two legs, and then shifting your weight onto one leg and see if you can steady yourself. Note: if you cannot get to a clean crouch on two feet, you probably have some work to do before attempting it on one foot. Checking your ankle and foot mobility is a good place to start. If your free-leg hip flexor gets cranky in this hyper-contracted position, you can put your heel on a furniture slider or towel and slowly slide the leg in and out. You’ll need to be able to pick it up eventually, but this is a good middle ground for practice.

Be patient while you experiment with this low hold. The bottom of a squat isn’t as biomechanically powerful as the middle of a squat so it isn’t supposed to feel that way. (Can you imagine Lebron sinking into a frog shape before taking a jump shot?) Don’t let the sensation of weakness at the bottom flummox you. Just because it’s less strong does not mean it’s not strong. The more time you spend down there the better you’ll understand where you are and aren’t yet capable.

Understand Your Tension Volume

The second mistake in pistol squatting is misunderstanding which parts of your body should be tense and which ought to be more relaxed. Logistically, it makes sense to try and squeeze your leg as hard as possible in order to generate the tension you need under load. But these social norms are better for pull-ups and deadlifts, whereas pistols prefer to be part of the counterculture. Rather than letting your lower body stiffen up, it’s your upper body which should be braced. This leaves your base leg more relaxed to fold up into live-action origami.

When you’re beginning the pistol, establish a strong front-to-back pull from your hips to your fingertips. This should happen before you ever start moving downwards because it will keep your center of mass right where you want it: centered. Most pistol disciples already understand that their hips must move backward, but many don’t realize that they need an equal and opposite reaction to the front. Reach your arms, shoulders, and even collarbones towards the wall in front of you, trying to touch it. Don’t reach for something ten feet away. Reach for twenty. You are searching for the sensation that your fingers and tailbone are in a tug of war, each pulling as hard as they can against the other. As you lower down, you’ll need to keep reaching your hands ever more forward, to continue counterbalancing your booty. If you do this properly, the end result will be a well-balanced torso, stabilized over the arch of the foot at every portion of the movement.

Synchronize Your Joint Action

The third mistake preventing you from a full ROM pistol is forgetting about joint rhythm. All of your joint movements should be synchronized, and errors usually happen when uncertainty creeps in. You might start aggressively folding at the hip, leaving your knee to catch up later. Or maybe you’re so focused on trying to sit back into your heel and glutes that you lose pressure between your toes and the floor. Don’t forget that your weight should sit in the center of the foot, not the heel—so you are using the springy arch to balance—and that it’s perfectly fine to let your knee come forward a bit over the toes. A well-executed squat should spread your foot bones and simultaneously flex (or extend) the ankle, knee, hip, spine, and shoulders. You will feel an equal pull and push in every one of these joints as you descend and ascend. The idea is that every joint’s ROM converges at the bottom and then diverges again as you return to standing. It’s this beautiful body folding which makes a pistol squat look effortless.

It is critical to move in a smooth, pain-free manner. If the bottom of your pistol squat feels tight or oblique, you’ll want to mitigate any threats on the way. If it’s simply that your leg tissues aren’t strong enough to handle a deep single-leg squat, try holding onto a fixed bar, a light kettlebell for a counterweight, or working the negative descent until you can lower yourself with control. These can all help your alignment stay on track while you develop the necessary strength.

If you’re limited by poor ankle or hip mobility, start developing those concurrently. The movement of the knee is global: the subtalar joint and the hip joint both contribute directly to knee function and dysfunction. You’ll need good ankle dorsiflexion and good hip adductor strength to complete a good pistol. As tempting as it may be, never force your joints through a restricted or painful ROM. As they (sort of) say, pride goeth before the degenerating medial meniscus.

Progress Your Pistol

As you understand your pistol squat better, you’ll start looking for ways to make it more difficult. The traditional approach is to systematically increase the weight you’re holding, and there is room for that in a program. However, after reaching a quality loaded pistol, I find the challenge of leverage changes to be smarter, safer, and more interesting than struggling to hoist a giant and gianter kettlebell to your chest. To change leverage, simply modify your arm position to mess with the front-to-back pull we discussed earlier. A small shift can make you feel like a beginner all over again. In increasing level of difficulty, try crossing your arms over your chest, clasping them behind your head, or even folding them behind your lower back. You will still need your push-pull tension through your upper body, but the moment arm will be altered (you’ll have less counterbalance), so don’t be surprised if you butt plant a few times while trying. And if you’d like to make any version of a pistol much harder, close your eyes. Make sure that you aren’t sacrificing fluid movement through the joints while scrapping to keep your balance.

Alongside technique, the preconditions for long-term pistol squat development are consistency and patience. Always give your body time to learn what you’d like it to do. Practice confidence in unfamiliar body positions, a strong and steady torso, and excellent balance. This increased self-awareness will help give you the pistol squat you’ve always dreamed of showing off.

Try these tips out and let us know how it goes in the comments below or in the StrongFirst online forum.

The post Getting to the Bottom of a Great Pistol Squat: 3 Tips to Improve Yours appeared first on StrongFirst.

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How Does A Weightlifter Qualify for the Olympics? - Tue, 05/14/2019 - 09:06

The recently passed Pan Am Championships in Guatemala were a critical checkpoint in the qualifying process for the Toyko 2020 Olympics. The road for a Weightlifter to qualify can be very confusing so we tried to clear some things up for you.

Visit for a free month trial.

The post How Does A Weightlifter Qualify for the Olympics? appeared first on Juggernaut Training Systems.

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Alyssa Ritchey | 2019 Pan Ams - Mon, 05/13/2019 - 08:51

Alyssa Ritchey had a historic performance at the 2019 Pan-Am Championships in Guatemala, breaking American and Pan-Am Records in the Clean & Jerk and Total. See her and her coach, Max Aita’s, reactions to her big day.

The post Alyssa Ritchey | 2019 Pan Ams appeared first on Juggernaut Training Systems.

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Diagnosing Limiting Factors to Speed Development - Mon, 05/13/2019 - 08:33

Today’s guest post comes courtesy of long-time friend (and current Head Performance Coach for the Boston Bruins) Kevin Neeld.

His new resource, Speed Training For Hockey, is now available.

Kevin knows how to train hockey players. However, the information below can be applied to any athlete. In short: when it comes to making someone faster the answer is rarely “just go do some sprints.” Digging deeper and understanding inherent limitations from athlete to athlete needs to be considered.

Copyright: bialasiewicz / 123RF Stock Photo

Diagnosing Limiting Factors to Speed Training

Speed is one of the most highly coveted physical attributes in almost any sport, but particularly in ice hockey.

Unfortunately, many speed development programs take a bunch of dynamic warm-up and sprint exercises from track and field, scramble them together, and assume players will get faster.

There are two fundamental flaws in this line of thinking.

First, there is a lot more to speed development than simply sprinting.

Second, the assumption that all players (regardless of age, training background, physical development, etc.) will respond favorably to this type of program is clearly misguided.

The “this is what most people need” logic leading to this type of program is unique to the fitness industry and clearly unacceptable in almost every other area. For example, can you imagine picking your car up from a mechanic, and having he/she tell you…

“I rotated your tires, changed your oil, and topped off your windshield wiper fluid.”

“Why’d you do that?”

“Well that’s what most people need.”

“Yes…but I came in because my car is leaking transmission fluid.”


Having a diagnostic system to help identify limiting factors to speed development will help you avoid both of these mistakes by providing clarity on which physical qualities need to be the focus of a training program, and by tracking progress to ensure the training is actually leading to the results you desire.

Limiting Factors to Speed Development

Below is a slide from a talk I gave at the NSCA’s Training for Hockey Clinic a few years ago. While this is overly simplistic, it provides a starting point for understanding the key elements that underlie performance in each area, and therefore what areas need to be “tested.”

Focusing in on speed, there are 4 key areas that contribute to speed development and expression.

1. Technique/Pattern

Speed can be limited by a player’s technique or skating pattern. This is why skating coaches are so important – if players aren’t taught to skate efficiently, to find their optimal skating depth, feel comfortable on their edges, learn optimal transition mechanics, etc., they’ll inevitably be wasting energy and skating slower than they could if they improved their mechanics.

2. Mobility/Stability

That said, from an off-ice training perspective, one of the major goals of training is to remove barriers that may be preventing a player from skating with optimal technique, which brings us down to the rest of the items on this list.

From a mobility standpoint, if a player doesn’t have the ankle and hip mobility to get into an optimal skating position and execute an effective stride, they’ll be leaving speed on the table.

In support of this concept, Upjohn et al. (2008) compared the skating patterns of high and low caliber players, and found that high caliber players set up with their hips, knees, and ankles all flexed more, and this allowed them to have a longer and wider stride length, and greater knee and ankle extension during the push-off phase of skating. In other words, a lower skating position translated into a longer stride length, which allowed for a more powerful push-off with each stride.

In this way, ensuring that the player has the adequate range of motion to get into a deeper skating position can be viewed as speed training.

This research is insightful because it highlights the importance of having adequate ankle mobility. A lack of dorsiflexion, or knees going over the toes, will limit your skating depth, and a lack of plantar flexion, or pointing the toes away from the ankle, will limit your power through the end of the push-off. What isn’t as readily apparent, is how a deeper skating stance will require increases in other components of hip mobility, notably hip abduction or moving the foot out to the side away from the hip.

Another way to illustrate this is to consider the lateral split.

The further apart the feet spread, or the further the hips move into this abduction position, the lower the hips drop. So if someone doesn’t possess the hip mobility in this direction, they’ll have to stand up higher to allow for a full stride.

This, along with a lack of ankle mobility, is one of the major reasons players will adopt a higher skating position. Again, all of this just illustrates that mobility in very specific areas can improve skating position, stride length, power through push-off, and ultimately speed. In other words, mobility work IS speed training, and if a player with a mobility restriction just runs more sprints, they’ll be missing out on a huge opportunity to improve their speed.

Note how greater hip abduction range of motion allows the player in red to achieve a much lower hip position, despite being several inches taller than the player in gray.

3. Muscle Size/Strength

Within a similar context, one of the major limitations to skating speed, particularly in high school and younger aged players, is a lack of lower body strength. Strength is a function of both how large the muscles are, listed as “muscle size” on the chart, and how effectively the brain can activate those muscles to produce force.

Strength can limit skating speed in two important ways.

First, if a player doesn’t possess the strength and local muscular endurance, listed in the stamina column, to maintain a low skating position, they’ll start to stand up taller as fatigue sets in. As they stand up taller, their skating stride shortens, they produce less push-off force with each stride, and they slow down.

Secondly, speed is largely determined by how much force a player can put into the ice with each stride. The more force that pushes into the ice, the further the player is propelled forward. By improving the player’s ability to produce high levels of force, you allow them to increase their propulsion with each stride, which simply means that each stride will push them further forward, allowing them to cover more ice with the same number of strides. Force is really just another way of saying strength. So in this way, strength training is really speed training.


Great example of a player possessing significant relative strength in a single-leg pattern.

4. Rate of Force Development

Lastly, ROFD stands for rate of force development. If a player produces the same amount of force, but does it faster, it will shorten the time it takes for them to complete the stride, allowing them to initiate their next stride sooner.

I don’t see this a lot, but in some players that have spent a lot of time developing strength using traditional bodybuilding or powerlifting methods, they’re capable of producing high levels of force, but they do so slowly, so the thing that’s limiting their speed the most is their ability to produce that force at a faster rate.

This is really the first time in this discussion where sprinting, plyometrics, and other more traditional speed and power work has a place in improving a limiting factor to speed.

That isn’t to say that these methods aren’t important in a comprehensive speed development program, but hopefully you now have a better appreciation for how speed training is MUCH more than just simply running.

Relevant Tests for Tracking Progress

There are a lot of performance tests available to help provide insight into limiting factors to speed development, and many of them have merit. Below are a few that I’ve found particularly effective, both in terms of the information they provide and the ease of implementation.


This section could easily be its own article, but in the interest of simplicity, players should have some assessment of ankle mobility, hip range of motion, and single-leg stability. I’ve used several tests over the years to accomplish this, but want to highlight the Y-Balance Test, which has a few notable benefits:

  • Performance in this test correlates with ankle dorsiflexion and hip flexion range of motion, two important areas for achieving an optimal skating depth
  • The test serves as a reasonable off-ice assessment of stride length
  • Some studies have found a relationship between performance in this test and injury risk

The Y-Balance Test is really designed to be an end-range stability assessment, but if you watch how the player goes through it closely, you can get a sense of what may be limiting them from going further. For example, if the knee doesn’t smoothly drift forward over the toes without the heel popping up, the player may have an ankle mobility restriction.

Addressing mobility restrictions and improving single-leg stability should improve performance in this test AND stride length on the ice.


20-Yard Sprint with 10-Yard Split Time: The body positions, movement pattern, and ground contact time in the first few strides of acceleration more closely resemble the characteristics of skating than top-speed running.

With this in mind, a 10-yard sprint provides valuable information about a player’s ability to accelerate.

However, because hockey players aren’t the most polished sprinters (and they don’t need to be, as mentioned above), there can be a lot of variability in the start. Extending the sprint 20-yards gives a great indication of the players early and late phase acceleration while minimizing the impact a variable start will have on the overall time.

Lower Body Power

Vertical Jump: The vertical jump is one of the most commonly used tests to assess lower body power, and has been shown to moderately correlate to on-ice sprinting speed.

Aside from published research studies, I’ve personally been involved with testing a wide range of players both on and off the ice (youth players, junior teams, NHL Development Camps, NHL Training Camps, Olympic Training Camps, etc.) and the relationship between VJ height and on-ice speed is consistent across all of these groups, making it a suitable option for all players.

Part of the value of the test is that it’s so heavily used that it’s fairly easy to find normative data to look at how a given player compares to others in his or her age group, playing level, etc.

Equipment can be a limitation for some, so using a broad jump (or long jump) is a reasonable alternative. However, I’ve found that broad jump distance correlates with height, so ideally you’d divide the jump distance by height to get a scaled number to track over time.

Lateral Bound: This is a movement included in most hockey training programs, but not one many players are using to track progress.

Compared to the vertical and broad jump, this tests power in a lateral/horizontal pattern, which is more specific to skating, and provides an opportunity to identify side to side imbalances. I’ve also found that in players that are quick on the ice, but don’t have great vertical jumps, they tend to perform well in this test. Including both tests gives a more complete picture of the power profile of the player.


Leg length also plays into jump distance in this test, so it’s important to take a quick measurement of that (or split distance) as well.

I’ve published normative data for players in different age groups here: Hockey Power Testing.

Lower Body Strength

Dumbbell Reverse Lunge (5-RM): For strength testing, it’s possible to get a really good snapshot of the player’s ability to produce force through their lower body with this test.

Similar to the lateral bound, the reverse lunge is a unilateral exercise requiring single-leg stability and dissociated movement between the two legs, two fundamental characteristics of skating. It’s also a fairly easy movement to teach, so it’s safe to implement with players across all age groups.

Strength will fluctuate across developmental years, but by the time players hit high school, they should be able to use at least their body weight in external load (e.g. 90lb dumbbells for a 180lb player).

Wrap Up

There are two major points I want to leave you with.

First, developing speed involves a lot more than running sprints. It’s important to recognize the potential limiting factors to a player developing and expressing higher levels of speed to ensure these are being addressed through a comprehensive training program.

Second, running through these (or similar) tests can be helpful in both identifying individual areas for improvement and ensuring that a player’s training program is leading to the desired results.

The ability to produce force is the foundation for producing force quickly, the recipe for speed. If a player does not have adequate strength, that should be the primary focus. If the player is very strong, but doesn’t perform well in the jumping or sprinting tests, then exercises to improve rate of force development and acceleration should be the primary focus.

A well-designed, comprehensive speed training program should lead to improvements in all of these areas. Addressing a player’s limiting factors is the key to optimizing his or her speed development.

Speed Training for Hockey

This is a no-brainer if you happen to work with hockey players.

What’s refreshing about this resource is that, while Kevin works with NHL players and has worked with many elite level hockey players throughout his coaching career, this is about keeping things simple and honing in on the basics.

This is about making better athletes.

Speed Training for Hockey is currently on sale at a hefty discount for the next two weeks, so act quickly before the price jumps up.


The post Diagnosing Limiting Factors to Speed Development appeared first on Tony Gentilcore.

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Mental May — Destroying Demons - Mon, 05/13/2019 - 08:30
Put on your helmet, fasten your breastplate tight, and with one arm supporting your shield, allow the other to gather your sword. Go to battle with your demons. Win the war every day. Every breath you have is a victory.
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Under the Baa-r: Lessons Learned in Herding, From Me to Ewe - Mon, 05/13/2019 - 08:18
In a week, my girlfriend and I went from the APF Women's Pro-Am in Cincinnati to taking our dog an Intro to Herding Class in Nova, Ohio. I didn't know what I was getting into, but I learned a lot about dogs, sports, and life in general.
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How To Train Around Hip Pain for Hockey: Your Off-Season Survival Guide - Mon, 05/13/2019 - 07:05

With hockey players entering into off-season training, I wanted to showcase some ways to get jacked and swole while also avoiding some common issues hockey players wind up facing on a regular basis.

Today I have a guest post by NHL performance coach Kevin Neeld and co-author Travis Pollen. Kevin and Travis just released Speed Training for Hockey, a brand new book and series of age-specific off-season training programs for hockey players.


Speed Training for Hockey is ON SALE NOW through midnight on Sunday, May 26th for 38% off. For more information and to grab your copy, CLICK HERE.


Hip pain is exceedingly common in hockey players. Due to the repetitive nature of the skating motion, every player – even the “healthy” ones – flirts with some sort of overuse or under-recovery of their hip musculature over the course of a season.


This pain can correspond to a range of diagnoses, from adductor-related groin pain to osteitis pubis, sacroiliac joint dysfunction, and sports hernias (i.e. lower abdominal tears). The most common diagnosis of all, though, is femoroacetabular impingement (FAI).


FAI is a structural abnormality of the hip characterized by a bony overgrowth of either the head/neck of the thigh bone (“cam impingement”), hip socket (“pincer impingement”), or both (“mixed”). In fact, one study reported that by the time they reach their late teens, a whopping 9 out of every 10 hockey players have FAI (Philippon et al., 2013).


While not every athlete with FAI will be symptomatic, FAI tends to affect a player’s ability to flex their hip (i.e. bring their knee closer to the chest), causing end range of motion to be painful. While normal hip flexion range of motion is about 120°, it’s not uncommon for a hockey player to be limited to 90°. FAI can also limit range of motion in other directions, too (adduction in the frontal plane and internal rotation in the transverse plane).


These range of motion restrictions affect players both on and off the ice. Players with FAI struggle to assume an optimally deep skating position. They also tend to push up instead of out when they start to skate from a stop. In training, these athletes find it difficult to squat to parallel (let alone below).


There are a number of factors that influence the recommended course of action for dealing with FAI. These factors include the degree of bony overgrowth, severity and longevity of symptoms, and history of attempted treatment approaches. Depending on the severity of FAI, surgery may even be warranted.


No doubt, FAI is a physical limitation that we can’t directly change through training. After all, you can’t “un-grow” bone. But in many cases, a few simple workarounds can keep an athlete on the ice and making performance gains.


Training Around Femoroacetabular Impingement


Step 1. Be Aware & Minimize Damage


When it comes to training around FAI, the first step is awareness. Many coaches assume their athletes have full hip range of motion. They think that if an athlete is skating high or not squatting deep, then the athlete is either lazy or not strong enough. While those explanations certainly aren’t out of the question, given the data they’re not great assumptions – and the consequences can be costly. Forcing players with FAI to skate or squat lower can actually cause additional damage to their hip labrum.


One quick and dirty way to determine the amount of hip flexion range of motion an athlete has is the quadruped rock test. Have the athlete get into a quadruped or all-fours position with their hips over their knees, their shoulders over their wrists, and their backs flat. Instruct them to slowly rock their hips back towards their heels. Stop them as soon as their hips start to tuck under and their lower back rounds.


With this test, we want to note two things: (1) the athlete’s hip angle in the rock-back position and (2) any pain provocation. The hip angle here represents the individual’s available hip flexion range of motion. To minimize damage, athletes should avoid exceeding this hip angle whenever possible both on and off the ice.


We also want to ask the athlete if they have pain during the test. Pinching in the front of the hip is a tell-tale sign of FAI and/or labral issues. Obviously, it’s not within a coach or trainer’s scope of practice to diagnose anything, but knowing an athlete’s hip flexion end-range is important information to have from an exercise selection standpoint.


For this test, it’s especially important that the athlete sets up in a “neutral” spine position to start. Many players will gravitate toward a more extended starting position and will therefore start to “tuck” early as they rock back, which can lead to a false positive on the test.


One way to ballpark neutral is to find the midway point between the cow and cat yoga positions. Of course, if the athlete has more range of motion into extension (cow), the middle may not be a perfect indicator of neutral, but it puts you in the ballpark.

Step 2. Work Around Common Issues in Training


Once we know that an athlete has a limitation, we can start to develop workarounds in training. Again, we want to remove provocative positions and opt for exercise variations that honor the athlete’s non-compensatory, pain-free range of motion.


This process often means making the following substitutions for bilateral lower body exercises:



For each of these exercises, we’re looking for the hip range of motion through which the athlete can maintain a flat back. Just like in the quadruped rock, once an athlete exhausts their hip flexion range of motion, their hips and lower back will compensate by tucking under/rounding. Range of motion on these exercises (i.e. box height for squats and box jumps, pin/block height for deadlifts) should be adjusted to the individual.


In addition to bilateral movements, we can also emphasize unilateral (single-leg) exercises. Unilateral exercises are often better tolerated than bilateral ones, as they provide more “wiggle room” for the hip and spine in the frontal plane. A few go-to unilateral exercises for hockey players are step-ups, rear foot elevated split squats, and singe-leg “reverse deadlifts.”


To avoid deep hip flexion, we can use a low box for step-ups (12-18 inches).


For rear foot elevated split squats, we can aim for an upright torso position (as opposed to a forward lean), and we can stack a pad or two under the knee of the back leg.


For the single-leg reverse deadlift, instead of reaching straight behind you with the non-working foot (as you would in a traditional single-leg stiff-legged deadlift), reach for and tap the floor behind you with your back toes. This modification requires less hip flexion than its stiff-legged counterpart.


For athletes with more progressive or persistent limitations, sled pushing and dragging are great options for both speed and conditioning work. With the sled, the athlete is free to stand as tall as necessary to stay clear of their hip restrictions.


In terms of speed work, another consideration is the athlete’s starting position. Athletes with FAI should avoid 3-point, 4-point, and half-kneeling starts. Instead, they should prioritize 2-point (standing) starts. They can also modify the half-kneeling position by placing pads under their back knee (as with the rear foot elevated split squat). Once the athlete is in motion, we won’t emphasize knee drive as much as we normally would with asymptomatic athletes.


Bottom Line on Training Around Hip Pain


To reiterate, the first step in training around hip pain is to identify each individual’s unique, pain-free hip range of motion. In reality, given human anatomical variation, this is what we should be doing with every joint on every athlete. Hopefully, the days of coaching everyone into some arbitrary movement norm are a thing of the past.


From there, it’s about avoiding ranges of motion the athlete doesn’t have access to. We do this by selecting appropriate bilateral and unilateral strength and speed training variations. Finally – and above all else – we use pain as a guide to avoid doing anything that hurts.


Over time and with practice, these modifications will become automatic. Athletes will learn to move within the confines of their anatomical joint limitations without conscious thought. It’s important to note, however, that while we can do our best to avoid provocative positions in training, we can’t always do so in sport. Even though not all of the above modifications will transfer to the ice, we can at least minimize the damage we do in training.


Want to learn more about training for hockey around hip pain?


Speed Training for Hockey is both a brand-new book and series of age-specific off-season training programs for hockey players. It’s specifically designed to help hockey players reach their genetic speed potential – no matter their age, current skill level, or injury history.


Speed Training for Hockey includes


  • Comprehensive training programs for U-14, U-18, and 18 & over players totaling 36 weeks of programming, all designed with the specific purpose of increasing speed
  • An extensive exercise video database demonstrating proper technique for every exercise and drill included in the program
  • A systematic 20-item performance testing battery, which enables you to identify individual strengths and weaknesses and track training progress over time
  • A user-friendly text that describes all of the factors that influence speed development, so you can understand exactly why the methods work


Every aspect of the training programs — from the dynamic warm-up, to the speed and power drills, strength training, conditioning, and cool-down — is tailored not only to maximize on-ice performance, but also maximize durability and minimize risk of injury. The training programs even specify systematic weekly progressions to improve speed every single session.

Speed Training for Hockey is ON SALE NOW through midnight on Sunday, May 26th for 38% off.


For more information and to grab your copy, click the following link: Speed Training for Hockey.



About the Authors


Kevin Neeld is the Head Performance Coach for the Boston Bruins, where he oversees all aspects of designing and implementing the team’s performance training program, as well as monitoring the players’ performance, workload, and recovery. Prior to Boston, Kevin spent two years as an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach for the San Jose Sharks, and before that he was the director of a private sports performance facility in New Jersey for seven years, working with pro, college, junior, and elite level youth hockey players. He has also served as a strength and conditioning coach with the U.S. Women’s National Ice Hockey Team for the last five years.


Kevin is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and Licensed Massage Therapist holding a master’s degree in Kinesiology & Exercise Neuroscience from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and a bachelor’s degree in Health Behavior Science & Fitness Management with a minor in Strength and Conditioning from the University of Delaware. He’s currently a doctoral candidate in Rocky Mountain University’s Human and Sport Performance program. Kevin lives in Newton, MA, with his wife Emily and son Cameron.


Travis Pollen is a PhD candidate in Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at Drexel University. His research explores the relationships between core stability, movement screening, load monitoring, and injury risk assessment in athletes. In addition to his scholarly activities, he is an NPTI-certified personal trainer and fitness writer with a special interest in the intersection between rehabilitation and

The post How To Train Around Hip Pain for Hockey: Your Off-Season Survival Guide appeared first on

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 5/13/19 - Mon, 05/13/2019 - 06:13

I hope you had a great weekend. After being a bit all over the place on when I published these features, we’re back on a Monday schedule with these recommended readings.

Table for One: How Eating Alone is Radically Changing Our Diets – I came across this article on The Guardian the other day and found it really interesting socially and nutritionally.

Speed Training for Hockey – I don’t have a big hockey following on this blog, but Kevin Neeld (Head Performance Coach for the Boston Bruins) is a good friend, former intern, and super bright mind in the hockey training field. He just released this resource, and it’s available at an excellent discount. If you train hockey players (or are one), it’s a no brainer to pick it up. I actually went through it and found some excellent ideas we can use with our baseball athletes as well.

5 Important Lessons on Balance Training – I wrote this article about a year ago, and a recent social media discussion brought it back to the forefront.

Top Tweet of the Week

Young coaches: there are key coaching qualities that immediately differentiate you, yet require no experience or academic preparation:

1⃣ punctuality
2⃣ spring in your step

Nobody wants to train w/someone who’s always late and just mopes around. Act like you want to be there.

— Eric Cressey (@EricCressey) May 7, 2019

Top Instagram Post of the Week

        View this post on Instagram                  

Here’s a preliminary rendering of the new 10,000-square-foot @cresseysportsperformance FL facility in #palmbeachgardens. It’ll open up this winter. Some notes: 1⃣ the grassy area in front of the building will actually be a turfed infield and double as a Miracle League field 2⃣ the West (left, in this photo) end of the roof will extend out to cover hitting cages and pitching mounds 3⃣ we aren’t renaming CSP as “The Sports Center;” we’re just working through signage logistics 4⃣ the building will back up to the right field line of a showcase stadium field 5⃣ this is the view from @lomogram’s parking spot

Long-Term Athletic Development Applications to Speed Training

Note from MR: The following is a guest article from Boston Bruins strength coach Kevin Neeld. If you enjoy this article, I’d highly suggest picking up a copy of his new released Speed Training for Hockey book as well.


Anyone that has been around sports for a long time has seen both of these seemingly conflicting scenarios…

  • An athlete that seems “elite” at young ages gets passed by the crowd in high school or college
  • An athlete that seems behind at young ages outperforms early expectations to reach an elite status at older ages

In an effort to better understand the developmental processes that lead to these types of “failures” and “successes”, researchers and applied practitioners have developed several different Long-Term Athletic Development (LTAD) models.

As an early disclaimer, I put failures and successes in quotes above because there is A LOT more value in sport than just reaching a level where you get paid to play. In fact, I would argue that the overemphasis on being “elite” in youth sports is one of the most profoundly negative trends in all of child development.

LTAD models serve two primary purposes:

  1. Part of ensuring that coaches, parents, and training professionals are sending the right messages to youth athletes at the right time lies in understanding the development process.
  2. Understanding the development process may help training professionals and sport coaches emphasize specific qualities at specific times to help maximize an athlete’s development at a given age to help them peak at the right

The below image offers an inclusive look at many notable LTAD principles (image from Ford et al., 2011).

Model of Long-Term Athletic Development from Ford et al., 2011

Within it, there are a few important concepts that are worth pointing out:

  1. Different stages of development are associated with the accelerated improvement in specific physical qualities (e.g. speed, aerobic development, strength, etc.)
  2. The most appropriate emphasis on structured training changes throughout development based on physical, mental, and emotional growth
  3. There are significant differences in the age at which these changes/milestones occur from individual to individual, so everything above should be interpreted on an individual basis.

To simplify the first point above, below are the ages at which accelerated development occurs for specific physical qualities:

These periods are based on specific changes that occur naturally throughout development.

At first glance, it seems pretty simple.

Run more sprints in the speed windows, do more aerobic work in the aerobic window, etc.

But there’s some missing information that is really important.

Namely, WHY do these qualities progress faster at these ages?

One of the biggest misuses of LTAD models is doing exactly what I suggested above – taking the windows of accelerated adaptation at face value, and just drilling more work for those qualities.

Here’s the thing – the accelerated development occurs naturally. There isn’t really any evidence to suggest that doing MORE of that type of work will actually lead to larger improvements.

However, understanding the underlying mechanisms causing these rapid improvements will help shed some light on which training qualities the athlete IS primed to adapt to.

Most of these adaptations can be explained by looking at the development of three (really four) systems:

  • Neurological
  • Skeletal
  • Muscular/Hormonal

You’ve probably heard at some point that it’s easier for kids to learn new languages at really young ages than it is for an adult. This is because young kids are going through rapid neurological growth that makes it easier for them to learn new information, including movement skills.

This natural neurological growth is the driver behind the first speed window and augmented movement skill development. These things really go hand in hand – as the brain learns better movement strategies, it’s able to coordinate specific patterns faster.


If you look back at the LTAD graph above, you’ll see PHV at the bottom. This stands for “Peak Height Velocity”, which basically means the fastest part of the growth spurt.

This rapid growth changes limb lengths, muscle architecture/insertions, and cardiac development. This ultimately leads to improvements in aerobic fitness and the second speed window.

Regarding speed, these improvements are largely the result of structural changes – that is, longer levers cover more distance. Unfortunately, as you’ve likely seen, rapid growth spurts also come with considerable coordination challenges, at least at first. In other words, the athlete may get from point A to point B faster, but it’s not always pretty.


Lastly, at some point in the development process kids experience a significant change in their hormonal environment. This change makes it easier to develop muscle mass, and as a result, strength.

To be fair, things aren’t this simple. There is a lot of overlap between when these changes occur, and development is much more complex than what I’ve outlined above. However, the primary driving factors for the outlined changes can still be useful for guiding training decisions for athletes at different ages.

Training Applications

While this information is interesting, putting it into practice to enhance the athlete’s training experience and deliver better outcomes is really where the rubber meets the road. Here are 3 ways to integrate this information into your training programs:

#1 – With kids younger than 12, focus on the 3 E’s: Exposure, Engagement, and Enjoyment.

The rapid brain development makes kids this age sponges for new movement information, so integrate new movements, activities, challenges, and coaching cues.

From a psychosocial standpoint, overly structured programs can be extremely harmful to the long-term integration of training for these kids.

Keep things  interactive and fun. Fun for them; fun for the coach.

Think gym class games like:

  • Obstacle courses,
  • Tag,
  • Relay races,
  • Playing catch,
  • Etc.

All of these activities can  use varied constraints to help keep it fun, but also challenge different movement strategies.

For example, relay races could be performed using a variety of movement patterns (e.g. split the distance or reps between shuffling, single-leg hopping, bear crawling, and running).

#2 – During periods of rapid growth (typically starting around age 12), slow things down to speed things up.

This is a turbulent time for kids.

I liken it to waking up one morning and having to go through your day wearing shoes with a 6” block underneath.

Everything about the athlete’s movement needs to be reorganized based on a rapidly changing environment and feedback from joints/muscles.

This period coincides with the stage where it’s appropriate to introduce more structured training. Teach basic movement patterns (e.g. squat, lunge, hip hinge, push, pull, etc.) using isometrics or long eccentrics to help the athlete better feel and internalize optimal positioning and controlled movement.

Speed increases naturally because of the structural changes referenced above, but improving strength, end-range control and overall coordination will help facilitate larger improvements.

#3 – When height changes start to stabilize (i.e. slower changes, starting around age 16), start to ramp up training intensity.

It may seem logical to take advantage of hormonal changes to put on muscle mass, and for many athletes, this may be appropriate.

However, remember that these hormonal changes are naturally occurring. Athletes are likely to put on some muscle mass anyway, with or without hypertrophy-focused training, and as many team sports have shifted toward prioritizing elite speed (and skill), maximizing weight gain shouldn’t be the goal.

This is the perfect time, though, to start to ramp up intensity with sprinting, more  advanced plyometrics, and heavier resistance training.

Because the overall output in these exercises will be higher, there should also be longer rest periods between sprint repeats, and sets of power and strength exercises.

In general, the focus should be on quality, maximal effort reps, with enough rest to minimize  drop-off.

Wrap Up

Understanding the development process can help athletes maximize the improvement of specific qualities during periods of time when their bodies are primed to adapt. Speed development isn’t as simple as just running sprints, so having an appreciation for why physical qualities adapt an accelerated rate will help coaches understand which qualities to prioritize during different stages to support maximal training progress.


Ford, P., De Ste Croix, M., Lloyd, R., Meyers, R., Moosavi, M., Oliver, J., Till, K., & Williams, C. (2011). The Long-Term Athlete Development model: Physiological evidence and application. Journal of Sports Sciences, 29(4), 389-402.

About the Author

Kevin Neeld is the Head Performance Coach for the Boston Bruins, where he oversees all aspects of designing and implementing the team’s performance training program, as well as monitoring the players’ performance, workload, and recovery.

Prior to Boston, Kevin spent two years as an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach for the San Jose Sharks, after serving as the director of a private sports performance facility in New Jersey for seven years. Kevin also worked as a strength and conditioning coach with the U.S. Women’s Olympic Ice Hockey Team for five years.

Kevin is currently a PhD candidate in Rocky Mountain University’s Human and Sport Performance program. An accomplished author, Kevin recently released his new book Speed Training for Hockey.

Speed Training for Hockey is a 150-page book that dissects all aspects of speed development for ice hockey players, written in language that can be easily understood by hockey coaches, players, and parents. It includes three 12-week training programs for players in the U-14, 14-18, and 18+ age groups, and a video database of all the exercises included in the programs.

The post Long-Term Athletic Development Applications to Speed Training appeared first on Robertson Training Systems.

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Will a high-protein diet harm your health? The real story on the risks (and rewards) of eating more protein. - Sun, 05/12/2019 - 23:01

Will protein help me lose weight? Should I eat it at every meal? Could too much damage my kidneys? At Precision Nutrition, our inbox is filled with questions about the pros and cons of eating more protein. In this article we’ll set the record straight, so you can finally separate the facts from the fiction.


Maybe you’re a protein promoter.

You buy protein powder in “bucket with a handle” format. You know the protein counts of every food you eat.

After every workout, you jam those amino acids into your cells. You swear you can feel them getting swole.

Or maybe you’re a protein avoider.

Maybe you’ve heard bad things.

Like: Protein will damage your kidneys.

Or: Protein will give you cancer.

Or simply: We all eat too much protein.

Maybe you want to lose fat. Or gain muscle. Or be healthy.

You just want to do the right thing and eat better. But with conflicting information about protein, you don’t know what to think.

Or, if you’re a fitness and nutrition coach, you’re wondering how the heck to clear up the confusion about protein among your clients.

Let’s get into it.

In this article, we’ll explore:

  • What are high-protein diets?
  • What does the evidence say about high-protein diets and health?
  • Does protein source matter?
  • How much protein is right for me?
How to read this article

If you’re just curious about high-protein diets:

  • Feel free to skim and learn whatever you like.

If you want to change your body and/or health:

  • You don’t need to know every detail. Just get the general idea.
  • Check out our advice at the end.

If you’re an athlete interested in performance:

  • Pay special attention to the section on athletic performance.
  • Check out our advice for athletes at the end.

If you’re a fitness pro, or interested in geeking out with nutritional science:

  • We’ve given you some “extra credit” material in sidebars throughout.
  • Check out our advice for fitness pros at the end.
Why protein?

A quick intro if you aren’t a nutrition pro:

  • Protein is one of the three main macronutrients that makes up the food we eat. (The other two are fat and carbohydrate.)
  • Protein itself is made up of amino acids.
  • Amino acids are the building blocks for most stuff in our bodies. They’re like Legos that can be broken down and re-assembled in different ways.
  • Unlike extra fat (which we can store very easily on our bums and bellies), we don’t store lots of extra amino acids. Protein is always getting used, recycled, and sometimes excreted.
  • If we don’t get enough protein, our body will start to plunder it from parts that we need, such as our muscles.
  • So we have to constantly replenish protein by eating it.
We need protein.

Protein is so important that without it, we die or become seriously malnourished.

(This protein-deficiency disease is known as kwashiorkor, and we often see it in people who have suffered famines or who are living on a low-protein diet.)

All your enzymes and cell transporters; all your blood transporters; all your cells’ scaffolding and structures; 100 percent of your hair and fingernails; much of your muscle, bone, and internal organs; and many hormones are made of mostly protein. Hence, protein enables most of our bodies’ functions.

Put simply, you are basically a pile of protein.

No protein, no you.

How much protein do we need?

Short answer: It depends.

Let’s look first at the current Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA).

The RDA for protein is  0.8 g/kg (0.36 g/lb) — the more you weigh, the more protein you need:

  • A 150-lb (68 kg) person would need 68 x 0.8, or about 54 grams of protein a day.
  • A 200-lb (91 kg) person would need 91 x 0.8, or about 73 grams of protein a day.

That generally works out to about 10 percent of daily calories coming from protein.


RDAs were originally developed as a way to prevent malnutrition — to represent the minimum amount of a nutrient we need to not die (or get sick).

“You’re not dead” is not the same thing as “You’re kicking ass.”

The RDA for surviving may be different than what we need to thrive.

The RDA is also a very general recommendation. It doesn’t take other things into account, such as:

  • How much total energy (i.e. calories) we eat or need
  • Our carbohydrate intake
  • When we eat the protein
  • Our biological sex
  • Our age
  • How active we are
  • What activities we do
  • How “eco-friendly” various protein sources are

The Institute of Medicine (US) suggests a huge range in individual protein requirements — from 0.375 g/kg to 1.625 g/kg body weight (0.17 to 0.74g/lb body weight).

In other words, our hypothetical 150-lb person might have protein needs ranging from 26 to 111 grams per day.

Well that narrows it down nicely, doesn’t it!?

Let’s take a deeper look: Amino acids

Protein in our food is made up of many different building blocks, or amino acids.

Most people focus on Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for total protein, but they don’t think about how much of each amino acid they might need.

If your diet isn’t varied enough, you may be eating enough total protein, but not enough of a specific essential amino acid.

Every day, you need this much of these essential amino acids:

  • 14 mg/kg of histidine
  • 19 mg/kg of isoleucine
  • 42 mg/kg of leucine
  • 38 mg/kg of lysine
  • 19 mg/kg of methionine + cysteine
  • 33 mg/kg of phenylalanine + tyrosine
  • 20 mg/kg of threonine
  • 5 mg/kg of tryptophan
  • 24 mg/kg of valine

Of course, you don’t need to spend hours in your kitchen with an eyedropper of lysine solution, carefully calibrating your intake.

Just eat a variety of protein-rich foods and let nature do the rest. What does a high-protein diet look like?

People often assume that “high protein” means “low carbohydrate”. In fact, you can eat more protein without making any drastic changes to other things in your diet.

Many types of diets can be considered high-protein. “High protein” is a bit of a relative concept; there’s no clear rule.

The average protein intake for adults in the US is about 15 percent of calories coming from protein.

The Institute of Medicine suggests that up to 35 percent of total calories is an OK proportion of protein for healthy adults.

And most researchers would say that once you get more than 25 percent of total calories from protein, you’re in “high protein” territory.

Here’s what high- and low-protein diets might look like for a given meal.

2016.08-Pn-Low protein-American-Meals-1

The upper tolerable limit (UL) of something tells you how much you can eat without having health problems.

Currently, there’s no established UL for protein.

Does that mean you can eat as much protein as you’d like without any negative side effects? No. It just means researchers haven’t figured it out yet.

But we do know that eating up to 4.4 g/kg (2 g/lb) body weight didn’t cause any short term health problems in clinical studies.

Let’s take a deeper look: Calculating maximum protein

The Institute of Medicine suggests that high protein intake, where about 35 percent of your calories comes from protein, is safe.

What does that mean in grams per kilogram body weight (or g/lb body weight)?

Say you’re 74.8 kg (165 lb) and reasonably active. You need about 2,475 calories per day to maintain your weight.

If you get 35 percent of your total energy intake from protein, you’d be eating about 866 calories from protein each day.

1 gram of protein has 4 calories. So 866 calories is around 217 grams of protein per day.

That’s about 1.3 grams per pound of body weight, or 2.9 g/kg. Will eating a high-protein diet hurt me?

For years, people have been concerned with the safety of eating too much protein.

Will eating too much protein explode my kidneys?

How about my liver? My left femur?

The most common health concerns of eating more protein are:

  • kidney damage
  • liver damage
  • osteoporosis
  • heart disease
  • cancer

Let’s explore these.

Claim: High protein causes kidney damage.

This concern about high protein and kidneys began with a misunderstanding of why doctors tell people with poorly functioning kidneys (usually from pre-existing kidney disease) to a eat a low-protein diet.

But there’s a big difference between avoiding protein because your kidneys are already damaged and protein actively damaging healthy kidneys.

It’s the difference between jogging with a broken leg and jogging with a perfectly healthy leg.

Jogging with a broken leg is a bad idea. Doctors would probably tell you not to jog if your leg is broken. But does jogging cause legs to break? No.

That’s the same thing with protein and kidneys.

Eating more protein does increase how much your kidneys have to work (glomerular filtration rate and creatinine clearance), just like jogging increases how much your legs have to work.

But protein hasn’t been shown to cause kidney damage — again, just like jogging isn’t going to suddenly snap your leg like a twig.

High-protein diets do result in increased metabolic waste being excreted in the urine, though, so it’s particularly important to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.

Verdict: There’s no evidence that high protein diets (2.2g/kg body weight) cause kidney damage in healthy adults.

Claim: High protein causes liver damage.

The liver, like the kidneys, is a major processing organ. Thus, it’s the same deal as with kidneys: People with liver damage (such as cirrhosis) are told to eat less protein.

Yes, if you have liver damage or disease you should eat less protein. But if your liver is healthy, then a high-protein diet will not cause liver damage.

Verdict: There’s no evidence that high-protein diets (2.2g/kg body weight) cause liver damage in healthy adults.

Claim: High protein causes osteoporosis.

Eating more protein without also upping your fruit and vegetable intake will increase the amount of calcium you’ll lose in your pee.

That finding made some people think that eating more protein will cause osteoporosis because you’re losing bone calcium.

But there is no evidence that high protein causes osteoporosis.

If anything, not eating enough protein has been shown to cause bone loss. Bones aren’t just inert sticks of minerals — a significant proportion of bone is also protein, mostly collagen-type proteins.

Like muscle, bone is an active tissue that is constantly being broken down and rebuilt. And like muscle, bone needs those Lego building blocks.

Women aged 55 to 92 who eat more protein have higher bone density. So eating more protein improves bone density in people most at risk of having osteoporosis.

(Eating more protein plus adding resistance training: Double win for bone density.)

Verdict: High protein diets do not cause osteoporosis, and actually may prevent osteoporosis.

Claim: High protein causes cancer

Unfortunately, we still don’t have conclusive human studies on the cause of cancer and the role of protein.

There are studies that asked people how much protein they ate over their lifetime, and then looked at how often people got cancer. The research shows a connection between protein intake and cancer rates.

But these studies are correlational studies and don’t prove that protein is the cause of cancers. Plus, some researchers have gone so far to say that studies relying on subjects to recall what they ate are basically worthless because human memory is so inaccurate.

A big part of the proposed cancer and protein link comes down to confounding factors, like:

  • where you get your protein from — plant or animal
  • how you cook your protein (i.e. carbonized grilled meat)
  • what types of protein you’re eating (e.g. grass-fed steak versus a hot dog)

And so on.

In other words, we can’t say that any particular amount of protein causes cancer.

Verdict: Limited evidence that protein causes cancer; many other confounding factors.

Let’s take a deeper look: Protein and cancer

A study from 2014 looked at protein and cancer risk. It was widely misinterpreted as proof that eating a lot of protein caused cancer.

First, it was actually two studies, one asking people questions and following them for years; and one that fed mice a high-protein diet and implanted them with cancer.

With the human study, researchers looked at people’s self-reported protein intake and their rates of cancer over the following 18 years.

They found that people aged 50-65 who ate diets high in animal protein (≥20% of total calories) had a 4-fold greater risk of dying of cancer over the next 18 years compared to people who ate a moderate amount of protein (10-20% of total calories).

(Just so you get an idea, smoking increases your risk of cancer by 20-fold.)

Then, it gets more interesting, because for people over 65, eating more protein decreased cancer risk by more than half. In summary:

Eating more protein from 50-65 years old was associated with a higher risk of death from cancer, but over 65 years old that association was reversed.

The second part of the study is where people really misunderstood what the study had proven.

Researchers fed mice a high-protein diet (18% of total calories), then implanted cancerous cells. They found that the high-protein diet increased tumor size. This is not a surprise, since protein increases IGF-1 (an anabolic protein) that stimulates growth in pretty much all tissues, including cancerous tissue.

Higher protein diets stimulated cancerous growth in mice.

So, while eating more protein might increase the size of existing tumors (depending on what treatment someone is undergoing), this study does not show that high-protein diets cause cancer.
Claim: High protein causes heart disease.

Eating animal-based protein daily is associated with an increased risk of fatal coronary heart disease (70 percent for men and 37 percent for women), whereas plant-based proteins aren’t linked to higher rates of heart disease.

This suggests that where you get your protein from may matter more than how much protein you eat.

However, just like cancer, the link between heart disease and high-protein diets is from questionnaires rather than a double-blind randomized study (the gold standard in research).

There are many confounding factors. For one, consider the type of animal — does seafood cause the same issues as red meat, for example?

We don’t yet know the whole story here.

Verdict: Limited evidence that protein causes heart disease and the source of protein is a major confounding factor.

Let’s take a deeper look: Protein source

A new study in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) looks not only at protein intake, but where people got their protein from.

More than 131,000 people were asked:

  • how much protein they ate; and
  • if it came from animals or plants.

This study took over 35 years to do (starting in the 1980s).

What they found:

Eating more animal protein was associated with a higher risk of death… if you were also doing something else that was a risk factor.

Such as:

  • smoking
  • being overweight
  • not exercising
  • drinking alcohol
  • history of high blood pressure
  • low intake of whole grains, fiber, and fruits and vegetables

Eating more plant protein was found to be associated with lower risk of early death.

What does this mean?

You might think at first glance that you should eat less animal protein, since this study seems to say that animal protein is bad for you.

But there’s more to it.

If you’re doing everything else “right”, then eating more animal protein doesn’t seem to be a problem.

Likely, it’s not the animal protein on its own but a lot of lifestyle things that come with eating more animal protein.

For instance, this study began in the 80s. At that time, nearly every doctor told their patients to eat less fat and meat, and to avoid eggs.

So if you were a somewhat health-conscious person, then you’d likely be eating less animal protein compared to someone who was less health-conscious (or if you went against your doctor’s advice) — but you’d also likely be engaging in a bunch of other health-supporting decisions and activities.

The problem with these types of studies, called correlational studies, is that you can never be sure whether the associations are caused by one onto the other or if they’re simply happening at the same time. Protein quality matters

Most people think about how much protein, but they don’t think all that much about the quality of the protein they’re eating.

There are huge differences in the chemical makeup of a given protein source, and how valuable that protein is nutritionally.

The higher a protein’s quality, the more easily it can give your body the amino acids it needs to grow, repair and maintain your body.

The two big factors that make a protein high or low quality are:

  • Digestibility:
    • How easy is it to digest?
    • How much do you digest — and absorb and use?
  • Amino acid composition:
    • What amino acids is it made of?

A high-quality protein has a good ratio of essential amino acids, and allows our body to use them effectively.

Amino acid composition is more important than digestibility.

You can have way more protein than you need, but if the protein you’re eating is low in an important amino acid (known as the limiting amino acid), it causes a bottleneck that stops everything else from working (or at least slows things down).

High-quality proteins have more limiting amino acids, which means the bottleneck is lessened and our bodies can use that protein source better.

Let’s take a deeper look: Measuring protein’s worth

Scientists use many ways to calculate protein quality, or how well we might digest, absorb, and use a given protein.

Here are a couple.

Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS)

PDCAAS is calculated using a ratio of limiting amino acids and a factor of true digestibility to give you a value that lets you know how much of a given protein is digestible.

The higher the score, the higher the quality of protein.

PDCAAS is the current gold standard for measuring protein quality, but there are a few other protein quality scoring methods that we cover in the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification program.

Indicator amino acid oxidation (IAAO)

When we don’t have enough of a particular indispensable amino acid, then all the other amino acids, including that indispensable one, will be oxidized (i.e. essentially wasted) rather than used for stuff like repairing tissues.

It’s kind of like a team sport: You can’t play without the goalie, so all the players sit around twiddling their thumbs, even though they’re all great players in their own right.

But if we’re getting enough of that particular amino acid, then we won’t see all that oxidation. We have a goalie and the rest of the players can play.

So, you want the IAAO score to be low, indicating that all your amino acids are doing their jobs to rebuild you.

Thus far, the IAAO method seems like a very useful way to judge the metabolic availability of amino acids from different protein-containing foods, and to determine total protein requirements for all kinds of people.

New assessment techniques like IAAO are giving us a more precise idea of protein use, which means that we may see recommendations change in future.

Most likely, based on these recent findings, the RDA for protein will increase — i.e. doctors may tell us to eat more protein. “Complete” and “incomplete” proteins

Back in the day, scientists used to talk about “complete” and “incomplete” proteins.

If you had a plant-based diet (i.e. vegetarian or vegan), you were told that you had to eat a mix of incomplete proteins (i.e. protein from a variety of plants) at each meal in order to meet your needs.

We now know this isn’t true.

As long as you eat a mix of different protein sources, you’ll get all the amino acids you need. No need for mealtime protein algebra to make sure you’re getting all your amino acids.

That being said, many plant-based sources are less protein-dense than animal sources. So if you choose not to eat animal products, you’ll have to work a little harder to get more protein from a wide variety of plant sources to make up the difference and meet your protein needs.

2016.08-Protein per serving chart-1.1-01

Animal vs. plant proteins

More and more, it seems that where you get your protein has a huge impact on your health.

Eating a high-protein plant-based diet improves health outcomes compared to low-protein diets and high-protein animal-based diets. Again, it comes down to the quality of your protein more than how much protein you’re eating.

If you’re a diehard carnivore, no worries — just add some more plant protein to your diet. Diversity is good. Hug some lentils today.

Why might you eat MORE protein?

Since we need protein to grow, maintain, and repair our tissues, hormones and immune system, there are times we need more protein.

The standard RDA of 0.8 g/kg is great if you’re sedentary and not building or repairing your tissue.

But you may need more protein if you are:

  • physically active, either through workouts or your job
  • injured or sick
  • not absorbing protein normally
  • pregnant / breastfeeding
  • younger (and growing)
  • older (and potentially losing lean mass)

Higher protein diets can also:

  • lower blood pressure;
  • improve glucose regulation;
  • improve blood cholesterol; and
  • improve other indicators of cardiometabolic health.

Win all around.

Here are some specific scenarios that might call for more protein.

Protein for athletes

Athletes and active people should eat more protein, but we don’t know exactly how much more.

The current recommendations vary from 1.2 to 2.2 g/ kg of body weight.

The International Society of Sports Nutrition says a range of 1.4-2.0 g/kg is safe and may help with recovering from exercise.

It looks like 2.2 g/kg (1g/lb of body weight) is the highest recommendation, but this shouldn’t be confused with the idea that more than 2.2 g/kg is unsafe.

More may not be necessary, but there is little evidence that more is unsafe.

Protein for aging

As you get older, you lose lean mass — both muscle and bone. This affects how long you live, as well as how functional and healthy that life is.

New research shows that most older people, particularly women over 65, need more protein than the current recommendations to slow down muscle loss.

Experts now recommend over 2.0 g/kg of body weight for people older than 65.

Protein for building muscle

The more protein in your muscles, the bigger and stronger your muscles can get.

Bodybuilders have long known that there is an “anabolic window” after a workout (24-48 hours) during which muscles are especially greedy for amino acids.

So, if you’d like to build muscle, make sure you eat a protein-rich meal within a few hours after training. Some advanced folks also like to add branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) or essential amino acids (EAAs) as a during-workout or after-workout supplement.

Here, it seems that a fast-digesting animal protein supplement (whey) is better at getting your body to make more muscle compared to plant-based protein (soy). Of course, you can also just eat “real food” after working out.

Protein for losing fat

Eating protein helps with losing fat, for a few reasons.

1. When you eat more protein, you tend to feel fuller longer.

Protein stimulates the release of satiety (stop-eating) hormones in the gut. So when you eat protein, you naturally tend to eat less, without feeling hungry.

(You can test this theory if you want. Go and try to eat an entire plain skinless chicken, or a few pounds of lean fish.)

2. Protein makes your body work to digest it.

Not all nutrients take the same energy to digest. Fat and carbohydrates are pretty easy for your body to digest and absorb, but protein takes more energy to digest and absorb.

If you eat 100 calories of protein, you’ll only use about 70 calories of it. (This thermic, or heat-producing, effect of protein is why you sometimes get the “meat sweats” after a big protein-heavy meal.)

3. Protein also helps you hang on to lean mass while you’re losing fat.

When you’re in a significant energy deficit (i.e. eating less than you burn), your body tries to throw out everything — fat, muscle, bone, hormones, etc. — all the stuff you need. It doesn’t tend to throw out just fat and keep muscle… unless you eat lots of protein.

Let’s take a deeper look: Protein, lean mass, and energy restriction

A recent study at McMaster University in Canada explored what would happen if people who were on a very low-calorie diet (about 40 percent less than normal energy needs), ate a lot of protein, and worked out hard.

For 4 weeks, a group of young men in their 20s were basically starved, but on a high-protein diet — about 2.4 g/kg.

So, for instance, a 200 lb (91 kg), relatively active young man whose energy needs would normally be 3000 calories per day might get:

  • 1800 calories per day (40 percent less than normal)
  • 218 grams of protein per day (2.4 x 91 kg)

This means that out of those 1800 calories per day, about 48 percent of them were from protein.

The men trained hard — lifting weights and doing high-intensity intervals 6 days a week.

After 4 weeks, on average:

  • The men gained about 1.2 kg (2.6 lb) of lean body mass (LBM).
  • They lost about 4.8 kg (10.5 lb) of fat.

The fact that they lost fat isn’t surprising, though that amount of fat loss in 4 weeks is pretty impressive.

What is surprising is that they gained LBM.

There was a control group, who ate more of a normal-protein, low-energy diet — about 1.2 grams of protein per kg (so, for our 200 lb / 91 kg man, that would be around 109 grams per day). This group, on average:

  • Gained 0.1 kg (0.2 lb) of LBM
  • Lost 3.5 kg (7.7 lb) of fat

This study was only 4 weeks long, and on a specific population group under close supervision, but it’s a cool experiment that suggests protein might be able to do some nifty things even under difficult and demanding conditions.

It’s particularly useful because it’s a randomized controlled trial. In other words, it’s not a food questionnaire where you try to remember what you ate last year — it’s a direct comparison of two similar groups whose food parameters are being closely monitored.

We don’t recommend a highly restrictive, high-protein diet combined with a Spartan-style workout plan as a long-term strategy, but if you want to try something crazy for 4 weeks, see if you can replicate these results! Why might you eat LESS protein? Protein and longevity

Everybody is looking for the elixir of life; from 17th-century chemists to Monty Python.

And for years, living in a semi-starvation state has been shown to increase lifespan in nearly every animal from flatworms to rats to humans.

Looking into it more closely, it looks like restricting protein rather than calories, is the key to longevity.

Protein is anabolic: It triggers your body to build more tissues and other body bits. This is great if you want to build muscle, but there’s seems to be a downside: Eating protein triggers the body to release and make more IGF-1. In some people, this decreases longevity.

There’s a lot of work on lower IGF-1 and longer lifespan in animals (flatworms, rats and mice mostly) and some in people.

But it’s more complicated than saying that less protein leads to less IGF-1, which means living longer. There’s a genetic component. Some people do better with more IGF-1. In their case, more IGF-1 later in life actually increase lifespan.

And in terms of quality of life and functional longevity, a higher protein intake is probably still better. A semi-starved body may indeed live longer… but probably not better.

Age-related muscle loss alone could have serious consequences for metabolic health and mobility.

So: It’s difficult to say whether this is a good idea, despite interesting data. We probably need more research to say for sure.

What this means for you If you’re a “regular person” who just wants to be healthy and fit:
  • If you’re over 65, eat more protein.
    This helps slow down age-related muscle loss, which improves long-term health and quality of life.
  • If you’re a plant-based eater: Plan your meals carefully.
    Without animal products, you’ll probably have to work a little harder to get enough protein. You might consider adding a plant-based protein powder to help yourself out.
If you’re an athlete:
  • Follow our PN portion recommendations.
    We suggest a portion of lean protein at every meal, to keep that protein pool full and ready to help your body repair and rebuild. You may need more than this if you are especially active.
  • Boost your protein intake around exercise.
    Eating protein around workouts may improve your body’s response to exercise. If you can tolerate whey protein, that’s one of the best options. Or, stick with real food.
  • Increase plant-based protein sources.
    The more the merrier.
If you’re a fitness professional / nutrition coach:
  • Help people understand as much as they need to understand in order to make an informed choice, with your guidance.
    Your clients will likely have questions. Prepare your answers in advance.
  • Refer out as needed.
    If you think a client might have an underlying health condition, work with their doctor to make sure they don’t have kidney or liver disease that a high-protein diet should be avoided.
If you’re a coach, or you want to be…

Learning how to coach clients, patients, friends, or family members through healthy eating and lifestyle changes—in a way that’s evidenced-based and personalized for their unique body, goals, and preferences—is both an art and a science.

If you’d like to learn more about both, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification. The next group kicks off shortly.

What’s it all about?

The Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification is the world’s most respected nutrition education program. It gives you the knowledge, systems, and tools you need to really understand how food influences a person’s health and fitness. Plus the ability to turn that knowledge into a thriving coaching practice.

Developed over 15 years, and proven with over 100,000 clients and patients, the Level 1 curriculum stands alone as the authority on the science of nutrition and the art of coaching.

Whether you’re already mid-career, or just starting out, the Level 1 Certification is your springboard to a deeper understanding of nutrition, the authority to coach it, and the ability to turn what you know into results.

[Of course, if you’re already a student or graduate of the Level 1 Certification, check out our Level 2 Certification Master Class. It’s an exclusive, year-long mentorship designed for elite professionals looking to master the art of coaching and be part of the top 1% of health and fitness coaches in the world.]

Interested? Add your name to the presale list. You’ll save up to 33% and secure your spot 24 hours before everyone else.

We’ll be opening up spots in our next Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification on Wednesday, October 2nd, 2019.

If you want to find out more, we’ve set up the following presale list, which gives you two advantages.

  • Pay less than everyone else. We like to reward people who are eager to boost their credentials and are ready to commit to getting the education they need. So we’re offering a discount of up to 33% off the general price when you sign up for the presale list.
  • Sign up 24 hours before the general public and increase your chances of getting a spot. We only open the certification program twice per year. Due to high demand, spots in the program are limited and have historically sold out in a matter of hours. But when you sign up for the presale list, we’ll give you the opportunity to register a full 24 hours before anyone else.

If you’re ready for a deeper understanding of nutrition, the authority to coach it, and the ability to turn what you know into results… this is your chance to see what the world’s top professional nutrition coaching system can do for you.

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The post Will a high-protein diet harm your health? The real story on the risks (and rewards) of eating more protein. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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“Why won’t clients just do what I say?!?!” How to fix every coach’s #1 frustration. - Sun, 05/12/2019 - 23:01

Sick of your clients not following the plan? It might not be their fault. It might be… yours. The reason: Just telling clients what to do isn’t very effective. After all, it’s hard to make people do anything—even when they know it’s good for them. (That’s why we still have texting-while-walking accidents.) But in this article, we’ll show you a proven way to get your clients… to get with the program. For better results and the lasting change you both want.


Clients rarely say, “There’s no way I’m doing that.”

Even though that’s often what they’re thinking.

Maybe you prescribe a new eating or exercise habit, and in return, they give you the side eye.

Or they say, “No problem!”, but later admit they always knew they’d never follow through.

Perhaps you could sense they just weren’t that into:

  • eating more vegetables
  • going to bed an hour earlier
  • cutting out soda

But you forced it anyway because, hey, it’s what they needed to do.

Here’s the truth:

Telling clients what to do doesn’t work.

There’s a far better way. It starts with a simple question, and it ends with a plan that doesn’t just help clients thrive—it almost guarantees they will.

So much so, we can tell you straight-faced: This method could change the way you coach forever. (It did for us.)


No one wants to be a minion.

In the health and fitness industry, most people are trained to use a “coach-centric” approach.

It goes something like this:

“I’m the expert, and you’re going to do what I say. Because it’s good for you.”

That works… when your client’s a Navy Seal. Read: highly disciplined, does what it takes (no matter the cost), and always follows the “chain of command.”

But everyone else? Not so much. That makes it a very ineffective strategy, at least in the long term.

By telling a client you know what’s best for them, you’ve minimized their input.

They don’t see it as their plan; they see it as your plan. As a result, they’re not 100% invested. (Often not even close.)

The fix: a “client-centric” approach.

The concept is simple.

Before a client attempts any new habit or type of change, ask them to rate how they feel about it.

For example, say they’re not exercising now, but you want them to work out hard at least five days a week.

On a scale of 0 (no way in hell) to 10 (a trained monkey could do it), how do they rank their confidence that they will follow through?

Ask them, and emphasize the need for honesty. Not only is it okay for them to voice doubts and concerns now, it’s the absolute right thing to do. For everyone involved.

If they say “9” or “10,” you’re good to go.

But anything less? You need to scale back the proposed plan, and ask again.

What does it take to get them to a solid 9?

Maybe it’s only doing hard workouts four days a week. Or three days. Or perhaps it’s just one 20-minute brisk walk.

Sometimes you’ll have to scale back so much, you might think, ‘This will never work! It’s too easy.’

It doesn’t matter.

Because if they can stick with the change for 2 weeks, they’ll start to gain the confidence to scale up. As they do, you can push them a little further, as long as it’s not beyond their capabilities.

This makes them an active participant in their own plan, instead of an order-taking minion.

They’re now adopting habits and making changes at a pace that’s comfortable for them.

And since you’re making these decisions together, they’re helping create the prescription themselves. One that matches their abilities, preferences, and lifestyle.

The result: You get full buy-in. Which is the catalyst for sustainable change.

Now, that’s the basic version of the client-centric method. You can keep it this simple to start, but if you want to take it to the next level, keep reading.

Supercharge this strategy.

Okay, so you can ask one simple question, and make some serious progress with your clients. But if you want true mastery, you need to dig a little deeper by asking three questions.

  • How ready are you to do this task?
  • How willing are you to do this task?
  • How able are you to do this task?

These might sound similar, but each can spark unique conversations and provide you—and your client—with greater insight and better strategies.

Let’s look at them one by one.

1. “Are you ready?”

Being “ready” means you see the need for change and feel an urgency to take action.

It doesn’t mean it’s the perfect time to change.

In fact, you can’t ever count on that.

Sometimes, clients say they’re not ready because they don’t feel like they have it “together.” Their lives are crazy, and now just doesn’t feel like the right time to add something new.

But here’s the truth: There’s never going to be a time when things are magically easier.

Life doesn’t come with a pause button.

Let’s say you’ve suggested your client stop using electronics 30 minutes before bed in the name of better sleep, recovery, and overall health. You ask, “How ready are you to do this?”

And… they give you a “5.”

They agree shutting down earlier would be good for their health (and sanity), but work is crazy right now… and they have all the emails… and they need to use every waking moment to stay on top of their inbox.

Maybe it’d be better to do this later on, they say. Like in a few weeks, when their job isn’t so hectic. (The work gods laugh about this at their cocktail parties.)

The message: They’re not quite ready.

But what if you scaled it back?

For instance, what if they signed off email just 5 minutes before bed? While 5 minutes might seem irrelevant, it could be what it takes for your client to feel ready now.

It’s not 30 minutes, but it is progress.

And progress is what matters, not perfection. After all, consistently doing a little bit better adds up to major change over time. (Exhibit A: Our clients, who show how even small efforts can lead to impressive health transformations.)

In a couple of weeks, your client might be ready to shut down 10 minutes early, and ultimately, work up to 30 minutes over time. So eventually, you get them where you wanted—but you do it on their schedule.

Conversation starters

Anytime you ask, “How ready are you?” and your client answers 8, 5, or even 1, it’s time to probe for “why.” Asking these questions can lead to helpful (and even surprising) insights.

Ask this:

“What does being ‘ready to change’ mean to you?”

How it can help: This answer shows you where your client really is. Do they want to change, but like our examples, just feel like they’re too busy, or it’s not right time? It’s an opportunity to help them see perfection isn’t a prerequisite.

Ask this:

“Imagine a world where you’re completely ready to make a change. What would that world look like?”

How it can help: Considering what the “perfect” time would look like helps a client see there won’t ever be a perfect time. What’s more, you might be able to steal something from this imaginary “completely ready” world, and incorporate it into their life right now—to help them feel more ready.

Ask this:

“What’s pushing you away from making this change right now? Is there anything pulling you toward trying something different?”

How it can help: Many clients feel ambivalent about change. Read: They want to, but they also don’t want to. Instead of trying to talk your client into changing, this question gets them to do it themselves—by reminding them why they came to you in the first place.

Ask this:

“Instead of making a big, massive change you don’t feel ready for, how could you do just a little bit better in this area today?”

How it can help: This question gives your client the opportunity to tell you what feels reasonable and sane to them at this moment in their life. Work from there.

2: “Are you willing?”

Being willing to change doesn’t mean you have zero reservations about doing things differently.

It means you’re game for pushing past those doubts.

Imagine you’ve trained to be a cliff diver for several months. Your body’s in great shape, and all techniques have been honed. You’re ready.

When you get to the top of the cliff, you start thinking, ’What if I slip? What if I didn’t train right? What if the tide is too low?’ But you jump anyway. Because you’re willing.

That’s often not how it goes with clients, though. Their doubts create resistance they can’t get past. Only they may not tell you that directly.

True story…

A coach is assessing a new client, and discovers he’s drinking 10-20 Diet Cokes a day.

She tells him he should drink more water instead. He replies: “Isn’t Diet Coke made of water?” (Smart client.) Plenty of back and forth followed, but it was more of the same.

The client didn’t say, “I’m not willing to give up Diet Coke,” but through his endless debating, yeah, that’s pretty much what he said. He wasn’t a 9 or 10; he was more like a 1 or 2.

Don’t push against a client’s resistance. You’ll only meet more.

Instead, get them to “notice and name” where their resistance is coming from, so you can explore the reason for it.

You may find it’s not the change itself that’s the problem; it’s what the change represents.

Suppose you have a client who wants to improve their body composition, but doesn’t like the idea of “eating to 80 percent full.”

This is one of the core habits in the Precision Nutrition coaching method, because it can help people better tune into hunger and fullness cues.

But after years of eating until stuffed, it can feel like a big—and unwelcome—change.

Maybe your client rates this a 4, and voices their resistance like this:

“I like eating until I’m totally full. There’s just something so satisfying about it.”

You might ask them:

  • What would happen if they stopped eating until they were stuffed?
  • How would they feel?
  • Why don’t they want to feel that way?

They might respond with something like:

“My life is so busy and stressful. I feel like I deserve a big meal at the end of the day. It just makes me feel happy and comfortable. I’m afraid I’ll lose that feeling if I stop.”

And there it is.

They’ve just noticed and named the real reason they’re not willing to eat to 80 percent full.

From there, you can work with your client to find other ways they can comfort themselves at the end of a hard day, if they’re open to it.

Conversation starters

Use the questions that follow to delve into the source of a client’s resistance. Also: Remind your clients they always have the option not to change. Often just knowing this makes them more willing to change.

Ask this:

“What comes up for you when you think about making this change?

How it can help: This question gives your client an opportunity to notice and name the resistance they feel when they think about starting a particular habit.

Ask this:

“Imagine what would happen if you did make the change, despite your reservations. What do you think the outcome would be?”

How it can help: Picturing the benefits can help a client decide that even though the change might be challenging, it could also be worth it. (Or not—that’s okay too.)

Ask this:

“What would happen if you didn’t make the change? What would that look like?”

How it can help: The natural answer is, “Well, things would stay the same as they are now.” And no one invests in coaching because they want things to stay the same, right?

Ask this:

“How would making this change help you achieve your goals? Are there any ways it could keep you from losing weight or feeling healthier or moving better or [insert client objective here].”

How it can help: Getting your client to weigh the pros and cons of making a change helps them reevaluate their willingness to try it.

3: “Are you able?”

Being able to change doesn’t mean your path is free of obstacles.

It means you’ve figured out how to remove—or dodge—the stuff blocking your way.

Let’s say your client lives on an isolated military base. They’re ready and willing to add lean protein to each meal—another of our core principles—but they don’t feel able.

Their food choices on the base aren’t so great. The grocery options are limited, and they often eat their meals in a cafeteria, so they have no control over what’s served.

The good news: The problem isn’t coming from your client; it’s coming from their circumstances. So by brainstorming together, you can “engineer” the habit to fit their life.

Maybe they could:

  • Order portable protein options like packets of tuna or single-serving protein powders.
  • Be better at checking the cafeteria menu ahead of time, and strategically plan around the most protein-challenged meals.
  • Work on their meal prep skills to make sure there’s always a good option in the freezer.
  • Discover smart solutions in the store they hadn’t considered.

If all else fails, perhaps it means accepting that eating lean protein with each meal just isn’t going to happen. But could they eat lean protein at two out of three meals a day?

Remember: Perfection isn’t required for progress.

Conversation starters

There’s always a solution. Make sure your clients know that. After all, humans managed to send people to the moon with less computing power than what’s on an iPhone. (Android, too, of course!) We can surely troubleshoot healthy eating obstacles. Use these questions to help identify and overcome their obstacles.

Ask this:

“What does being ‘able to change’ look like to you?”

How it can help: Just as there’s no perfect time to change, there’s also no scenario where there are zero barriers to change. Asking this question helps your client realize with some creative problem solving, they probably can change right now.

Ask this:

“What obstacles are in your way? How are they limiting you?”

How it can help: Narrowing down exactly why an obstacle is limiting your client may make previously hidden solutions more obvious.

Ask this:

“Let’s say you can’t remove the obstacles completely. How could you ‘dodge’ them?”

How it can help: This question opens up a brainstorming session, allowing your client to come up with solutions that make sense for them as an individual.

What to do next

Let’s say your client is ready, willing, and able (for whatever habits and changes you’re agreed upon).

Now it’s time to see what happens.

Observe and monitor how they’re doing with the habit. Gather your data. You may want to keep track of the following in regard to their new habit or task:

  • how often they’re getting it done
  • how well they’re completing it
  • the questions and concerns that come up for them
  • how it’s impacting their chosen progress markers (weight, girth measurements, energy levels, and so on)

Ask yourself: Is your client getting closer to the result they’re looking for? Are there any patterns or trends that are becoming clear to you?

Once you’ve analyzed your data, decide what’s next.

If you determine the new habit isn’t taking your client in the right direction, maybe you want to try something completely different.

If the client had a tough time completing the task, perhaps you want to scale back and make it more approachable (decrease from 5 servings of veggies a day to 3).

Did they totally master their habit or task? Then consider increasing the difficulty (ramp up from 15 minutes of screen-free time before bed to 30).

And if they haven’t nailed the habit yet, but they feel confident they can, maybe you keep things exactly as they are for a little longer.

No matter which path you choose, remember:

Your clients will tell you what they need to change. You just have to listen.

If you’re a coach, or you want to be…

Learning how to coach clients, patients, friends, or family members through healthy eating and lifestyle changes—in way that gets them to fully invest in the plan and achieve sustainable results—is both an art and a science.

If you’d like to learn more about both, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification. The next group kicks off shortly.

What’s it all about?

The Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification is the world’s most respected nutrition education program. It gives you the knowledge, systems, and tools you need to really understand how food influences a person’s health and fitness. Plus the ability to turn that knowledge into a thriving coaching practice.

Developed over 15 years, and proven with over 100,000 clients and patients, the Level 1 curriculum stands alone as the authority on the science of nutrition and the art of coaching.

Whether you’re already mid-career, or just starting out, the Level 1 Certification is your springboard to a deeper understanding of nutrition, the authority to coach it, and the ability to turn what you know into results.

[Of course, if you’re already a student or graduate of the Level 1 Certification, check out our Level 2 Certification Master Class. It’s an exclusive, year-long mentorship designed for elite professionals looking to master the art of coaching and be part of the top 1% of health and fitness coaches in the world.]

Interested? Add your name to the presale list. You’ll save up to 33% and secure your spot 24 hours before everyone else.

We’ll be opening up spots in our next Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification on Wednesday, October 2nd, 2019.

If you want to find out more, we’ve set up the following presale list, which gives you two advantages.

  • Pay less than everyone else. We like to reward people who are eager to boost their credentials and are ready to commit to getting the education they need. So we’re offering a discount of up to 33% off the general price when you sign up for the presale list.
  • Sign up 24 hours before the general public and increase your chances of getting a spot. We only open the certification program twice per year. Due to high demand, spots in the program are limited and have historically sold out in a matter of hours. But when you sign up for the presale list, we’ll give you the opportunity to register a full 24 hours before anyone else.

If you’re ready for a deeper understanding of nutrition, the authority to coach it, and the ability to turn what you know into results… this is your chance to see what the world’s top professional nutrition coaching system can do for you.

The post “Why won’t clients just do what I say?!?!” How to fix every coach’s #1 frustration. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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Powerlifting for the Bodybuilder — Are Deadlifts Overrated? - Sun, 05/12/2019 - 01:15
Part of my journey to getting that IFBB pro card includes getting more active in the online bodybuilding community... which also gets me into situations where I answer questions like this one: Are deadlifts overrated?
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