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Bryan Doberdruk Returns to Full Power Pro at 2019 XPCs - Tue, 03/05/2019 - 14:29
I moved back to northeastern Ohio and started training with a new group to prepare for the 2019 XPCs. For the last couple of years, I've only done the 21-Deadlift Salute. This year, though, I decided to come back and do the full meet, and here are the final results.
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The JuggLife | J Aggabao-Mamba Sports Academy - Tue, 03/05/2019 - 08:56

J Aggabao, Director of Elite Football, at the Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, CA joins Chad to talk about their incredible facility, NFL combine prep and coaching development.

The post The JuggLife | J Aggabao-Mamba Sports Academy appeared first on Juggernaut Training Systems.

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Reload vs Plan Strong—What is the Difference? - Tue, 03/05/2019 - 05:00

By Fabio Zonin, Master SFG and Pavel Tsatsouline

Earlier this year, we launched “Reload: Your Barbell Strength Blueprint,” a concise e-book featuring individually-tailored, nearly-foolproof strength programming. Some of our readers asked the question that became the title of this article. Here is our answer.

Let us start by clearly stating which training philosophy each represents:

On to the background and details.

Powerlifting Cycling: Progressive Overload, the Smart Way

Everyone is familiar with the concept of progressive overload. Tomorrow you will lift more weight, do more reps, or get the same work done in less time than yesterday. Next week, the volume, intensity, or density will be higher than this week… and so on and so forth.

If only getting strong were as simple as adding a rep or a pound a week…

Reality, however, has its own rules and timeline: if you keep going up and up in the name of progressive overload, you will reach the inevitable point when your body just calls it quits. Why? We do not yet know exactly, but nervous and endocrine systems’ fatigue definitely plays a part. Russian specialists concluded that the latter can tolerate only two weeks of hard loading out of four. Violate the “2 out of 4 rule” at your own risk.

Unlike many gym bros brainwashed by the “high intensity” propaganda, successful lifters are a smart and analytical lot. They learned to deload. “There were guys around who worked to their limit either on reps or singles all the time in their training, but they didn’t last long,” recalls powerlifting pioneer Dr. Terry Todd. “They either burned out or got an injury of some sort. Those of us who lasted and continued to improve found that we had to start out conservatively—to use light weights for a while and then go on to the increasingly heavier poundages. Then, following a meet, we’d always take a break before coming back, to begin with light weights.” 

This is the essence of powerlifting “cycling” or “American periodization” born in the 1970s and refined in the 1980s. Philosophically, it is still progressive overload—a linear progression—but one that complies with the body’s natural rhythms.

In power cycles designed by coach extraordinaire Marty Gallagher, you will see four-week phases abiding by the “2 out of 4 rule.” The weight starts light and goes up every week, typically matching an old rep PR in week three, and setting a new one in week four. This deceptively simple tactic produced some of the strongest men in history, from Lamar Gant to Kirk Karwoski. Other than the Soviet Olympic weightlifting system of the same vintage, no other training system has ever asserted such decisive and lasting dominance on the lifting platform.

The power of cycling: Lamar Gant stood up with 693 pounds at 123 pounds of bodyweight—pound per pound, more than anyone in history.
Set in 1982, this record is still untouchable. Soviet Weightlifting Methodology: Surprising the Body, the Right Way

The Soviet system, unlike cycling—or pretty much any other method out there—does not prescribe progressive overload. There are no goals of a PR triple in week eight and such. Instead, it employs Prof. Arkady Vorobyev’s revolutionary variable overload.

Specific numbers well within the lifter’s ability are prescribed. Here is an example from Plan Strong™ plan 501G for a girevik with a 40kg kettlebell military press max (one of the high volume weeks):

Intensity, and especially volume, whiplash from day to day and week to week in a very non-linear manner. And then comes the competition or test day—and you suddenly put up a PR. 85% of the gireviks who followed plan 501 pressed 44kg or 48kg eight weeks later.

Variable overload is the proven alternative to the bro wisdom of “constantly surprising the body.” Only instead of changing the exercises or lifts, which prevents one from getting traction in any one of them, the volume and the intensity keep changing. The exact loading parameters and the patterns of their change have been refined over decades of trial and error on Soviet weightlifters of all levels.

Which is Better?

Which system should you choose, Soviet variable overload or American cycling?

Both systems are second to none, as witnessed by their track records. Refer to Forward to the Past blog for details.

The power of variable overload: Yurik Vardanyan totalled 400kg in the 82.5kg weight class at the 1980 Moscow Olympics. This record still stands after almost four decades.

And both have their own edges.

The Russian system offers an unmatched opportunity for finessing one’s lifting skills to the elite level. Every lift is trained several times a week, mostly with loads heavy enough to demand respect yet light enough not to question your ability to lift them.

In contrast, the American system usually calls for much lower volume and frequency—and many of the weights are either too light or too heavy for optimal practice.

Of course, the negative is also a positive: the American system is much more time efficient.

Cycling works best when one builds muscle along with strength. Marty Gallagher’s classic guideline calls for eating enough to add a pound of bodyweight per week in a twelve-week cycle. A perfect prescription for one—and disastrous for another.

With Plan Strong™, the number of ~90% 1RM lifts is low—but they are practiced regularly. That means you are never too far from your peak. And you are always confident with heavy weights. In contrast, when cycling, you are going heavy only towards the end of a cycle, after months of not touching anything heavy. This could make you man up or woman up—or mess with your head and make you question your ability. And no matter how tough you are, the cycle gets progressively more stressful towards the peak and you risk burning out.

On the other hand, once you have run two or three Plan Strong™ plans back to back, you might end up feeling mentally tired. After all, for up to six months you have been handling weights above 70% 1RM at almost every training session and up to 90-95% 1RM on a regular basis. Your joints might appreciate a break too.

Thus, a cycling plan, with its several initial light weeks, will turn out to be very restorative for your body and your spirit. Your mind will be hungry for new PRs and your connective tissues will be ready to support them. This is one of the reasons why even the biggest fans of the Soviet system will enjoy the benefits of a good ole’ American cycle once or twice in a year. 

Plan Strong™ is highly customized—which is an asset and a liability. It takes an experienced coach four hours to write an eight-week Plan Strong™ plan for one lift (we also offer Plan Strong™ individualized plans if you do not feel like sweating with a calculator).

Cycling plans are much easier to write—but they are also much more hit and miss.

“[Cycling] works well for some, but I commonly hear lifters say they tripled more in training than they did for a single in a meet,” observed Louie Simmons. “Missing a peak is one problem with this type of training.”

The problem is, traditional cycling imposes the same rate of progression on athletes with different strength endurance—the number of reps they can do with 80% 1RM. As a result, two lifters with the same 1RM but different ability to rep out will have totally different experiences with the same cycle. One might undertrain and the other overtrain.

Enter Reload

At StrongFirst we enjoy the challenge of polishing the chrome of classic methods. We stand by “cycling” as one of the best ways to build barbell strength. We also recognize that even timeless methods benefit from periodic updates.

While cycling works great for many, it can fail others by imposing a cookie cutter progression rhythm. To tackle this problem, StrongFirst developed a series of straightforward tests and instructions that will enable you to build a power cycle just for you. While at it, we kept the original system’s spirit and simplicity. We tested and retested Reload. It delivered over and over.

Classic cycling has a tremendous legacy and it is with the greatest respect and humility that we have attempted to improve it.

In The Pleasure of Finding Things Out, the great scientist Richard Feynman wrote: “Each generation that discovers something from its experience must pass that on, but it must pass that on with a delicate balance of respect and disrespect, so that the race does not inflict its errors too rigidly on its youth, but it does pass on the accumulated wisdom… It is necessary to teach both to accept and to reject the past with a kind of balance that takes considerable skill…”

Get your digital download of Reload HERE.

The post Reload vs Plan Strong—What is the Difference? appeared first on StrongFirst.

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How To Stay Connected For A Better Jerk Dip and Drive

A critical part of the jerk is keeping the bar connected to the shoulders in the dip to maintain its security in the rack, preserve balance, and allow maximal force transfer. We stand normally with a passive knee lock; that is, we’re hyperextending knees and not using much muscular tension to keep from falling over. If we initiate the jerk dip from this passive knee lock, there will be a moment of slack during in which we freefall before the quads catch up and gain control. This a
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Muscle Clean & Muscle Snatch Variations – Jordan Tingman - Mon, 03/04/2019 - 15:00

Add the muscle clean and muscle snatch to your toolbox

As a collegiate strength and conditioning coach, we deal a lot with rookies coming into the weight room with little-to-no technique with regard to the Olympic variations.  Many people think the Olympic lifts are simple, but we spend a great deal of time teaching them and cleaning up errors that have been developed as a result of poor instruction.  Take your time when teaching these lifts to young athletes so they learn good habits, and progress slowly instead of focusing on how much weight is on the bar.  muscle clean

In order for an athlete to reach his/her full potential in executing a great Olympic lift, bar path is absolutely critical.

During my time at Eastern Washington University, I have had the opportunity to work under, and learn from, Coach Nate Barry. As much as I thought I previously knew about the Olympic lifts, he has really helped me understand exactly how much the technique and bar path can differentiate between a great and poor lift.  Teaching athletes how to perform the lifts is one thing.  Recognizing mistakes is another.  But, having the skills to correct faulty technique is one of the most important skills coaches can learn.   While they are certainly not the main portion of our program, we use “muscle” variations (muscle clean & muscle snatch) as a way to teach and correct certain aspects of the clean and snatch.  

As much as I knew about the muscle variations of lifts, I never thought to incorporate them into my athletes’ programs, until I recognized how well they can reinforce correct weightlifting positions as well as reaching full extension in the second pull.  Other benefits of the muscle variations include staying balanced (for better bar path) and improving the rack/lock-out positions when either of these is an issue.  

We can take an athlete with very little weightlifting experience, and regress them back to a muscle variation in order to learn proper positioning.  We also include the muscle variations in barbell warm-up routines or in programming to reinforce correct positioning and triple extension.  Of course, athletes can still mess things up, but having the muscle variations in your toolbox gives you another way to teach positions and extension with athletes who need extra work.  

BARBELL Working on Position 1 with the Muscle Clean or Muscle Snatch

Teach from the “high hang” position or “Position 1.”

  • Have the athlete find their correct grip, reinforcing utilizing a hook grip
  • The athlete will maintain an upright torso, hinging slightly at the knee and hip joints, leaving arms long, but lats engaged
  • Reinforcing this position with a pause to correct torso, knee or hip angles can lead to better execution later in the movement
  • Once Position 1 has been established, cue the athlete to violently extend knees and hips without jumping off the ground to their rack position.
    • This reinforces an aggressive triple extension in the 2nd pull of the movement, and can translate to a better understanding of timing and when to extend the knees and hips together.  This is a very common problem with inexperienced lifters, so this exercise can help athletes understand the timing and full extension of the 2nd pull.
    • Ensure that the athlete keeps the bar as close as possible, shrugging up and letting the bar float until pulling into the rack position is necessary.  This feeling is often uncomfortable or foreign to new lifters, so this can help them experience it.
    • Cueing “push through the floor” can allow athletes to create more force when extending the bar.  Because the first pull is eliminated in the muscle variations, athletes must feel the entire push in order to move the bar.  If they lack this push, they’ll end up using their arms too much which will ultimately lead to other issues.  

Ways to progress this exercise:

  • Add a front squat after the muscle clean
  • Add an overhead squat after the muscle snatch

This video demonstrates the muscle clean:

This video demonstrates the muscle snatch:

KETTLEBELL Muscle Clean Variation:

If your athlete is not quite ready to utilize a barbell, or equipment is limited, a great way to get movement patterns started is by executing the same sequence as listed above utilizing a kettlebell for the muscle clean.

Ways to Progress this exercise:

  • Add in a goblet squat following the muscle clean
  • Pull the kettlebell from the floor
  • KB Muscle clean from the floor + Front squat

DUMBELL (DB) Muscle Snatch:

Another option for reinforcing the movement is the DB muscle snatch. This exercise can be utilized alongside a snatch variation in a program to reinforce extension and unilateral balance.

This video demonstrates both the KB and DB muscle variations:

The Olympic lifts can be a great way to develop strength and power, but we need to teach them thoroughly so that young athletes can properly progress and stay safe.  The muscle variations give you another way to improve areas of the lifts such as the second pull and rack position.  These are just one small part of the process, but having them in your toolbox will give you another teaching option the next time you work with an athlete who needs to clean up certain areas of the lifts.


Jordan Tingman – CSCS*, USAW L1, ACE CPT, CFL1 is a graduate of Washington State University with a B.S. in Sports Science with a Minor in Strength and Conditioning. She completed internships with the strength & conditioning programs at both Washington State University and Ohio State University, and is currently a Graduate Assistant S & C Coach at Eastern Washington University.



The IYCA High School Strength & Conditioning Specialist is the only certification created specifically for coaches training high school athletes.  The course includes several hours of video instruction (including the Olympic lifts) and two textbooks with contributions from some of the top strength and conditioning coaches in America.  Click on the image below to learn more about how to become a certified high school strength & conditioning coach.

The post Muscle Clean & Muscle Snatch Variations – Jordan Tingman appeared first on IYCA - The International Youth Conditioning Association.

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Jo Jordan Cuts Squat Suit to Lift 965 Pounds at 2019 XPCs - Mon, 03/04/2019 - 12:49
"It got to a point where I couldn't feel my legs... I got the up call, and nothing happened." Join Team elitefts athlete Jo Jordan as he receives his medal on-stage for the 2019 XPC Worlds competition. He recounts his lucky comeback in the squat event and shares a sneak peek at what happens behind the curtain...
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Your Checklist for a Perfect Personal Training Session - Mon, 03/04/2019 - 10:36
Through my 22 years of coaching, I've found that all great personal trainers have things in common. While there's no one single script we follow, it helps me to have a checklist. So I'm sharing a checklist I give to my staff when they start one-on-one training at my gym.
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The Barbell Life Podcast - Mon, 03/04/2019 - 09:31

I had the opportunity to hop onto The Barbell Life Podcast with my man Travis Mash recently.

Copyright: dr911 / 123RF Stock Photo


Travis is an amazing coach – he recently posted a video of one of his 15-year old athletes smoking a 450 lb front squat (no big deal) – and I was honored to be invited onto his show to talk some shop.

Amongst other things we chatted about:

  • Having Eric Cressey as a roommate (and what he learned)
  • Why growing a business is sometimes the worst thing
  • How he’s working now based on his plan for the future
  • Why he started a gym even though he said he never wanted to
  • How a good workout should make you feel like Mario
  • and more…

Go HERE to give it a listen.

The post The Barbell Life Podcast appeared first on Tony Gentilcore.

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 3/4/19 - Mon, 03/04/2019 - 04:49

I’m working on getting back on an every Monday schedule with this recommended reading feature. Here goes!

8 Training Tips for the New Dad – My wife is scheduled for a C-section this Friday as we make the Cressey crew a party of five. It seemed like a good time to bring this article I wrote back in 2016 (two years after our twin daughters were born) to the forefront again.

Dr. Stu McGill on the Strongfirst Podcast – Interviews with Stu never disappoint, and this is a great example.

Assessments: Can Your Clients Actually Do What You Want Them To Do? – This was an excellent post from my long-time friend, Tony Gentilcore.

Top Tweet of the Week

Continuing to train power with aging clients is incredibly important. It’s also, however, a quick way to injure people if you don’t use the right methods to do so. Embrace options like med ball throws, hill sprints, KB swings, etc. as joint-friendly ways to get the job done.

— Eric Cressey (@EricCressey) March 3, 2019

Top Instagram Post of the Week

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How to build a successful and rewarding career in fitness. A step-by-step guide for personal trainers & coaches. - Sun, 03/03/2019 - 22:01

Every year, thousands of people consider starting a career in fitness and health. But most have no idea how to make their dream a reality. This article—written for both new and experienced fitness professionals—outlines a new curriculum for building a successful career. 


Change your body, change your… career?

Becoming passionate about health and fitness put the rest of my life into perspective.

I caught the fitness bug early. I started working out and reading articles about nutrition and fitness when I was in high school. By the time I was 21, I’d put on 30 pounds of muscle, felt awesome, and vanquished my skinny guy genetics.

Like many people who start living the “healthy lifestyle”, I quickly became the go-to fitness and nutrition expert for my friends and family, a position and responsibility I enjoyed and cherished.

My new-found love for exercising and eating healthy—coupled with the results I saw in the mirror and my ability to help others get in shape—made me feel like a brand new person.

Well, almost.

Because even though I looked and felt different, the rest of my life seemed tethered to the “old me”. I’d transformed my mind and body… but I was still doing the same old stuff.

Working the same unsatisfying job. Going through the motions at my local community college. Following the same routines.

Taking control of my own health and fitness had shown me how much potential I had to change things in my life. To become happier. To find meaning and purpose. To make a difference.

So why the hell was I doing all the boring stuff I was “supposed” to do when I could do something that actually mattered?

A crazy idea popped into my head: What if I became a personal trainer and tried helping others transform their bodies? What if that was my job?

As I thought about the possibilities, I got excited. And then reality slapped me in the face. The way I saw it, I had one huge problem:

I had no formal education, no certification, and worse… absolutely no idea where to start.

Dream job

How do you become successful in the fitness industry?

I wasn’t alone. And I’m still not.

There are thousands of people who are passionate about health and fitness and considering a career change. But like me back then, they don’t know where to start.

Should they go back to school for a new degree? Get certified as a personal trainer? Or maybe something else entirely?

I remember thinking through the positives and negatives of each before deciding on a course of action.

Option 1: Go back to school.


  • Earn a degree.
  • Learn all about biochemistry, anatomy, and exercise physiology.


  • Takes at least two years to finish (and more likely, four to six years).
  • Costs tens of thousands of dollars and could leave me deep in debt.
  • Doesn’t prepare me for the day-to-day work of training real people (i.e. doesn’t show me how to write training programs or nutritional plans people will actually follow).
  • Delivers few (if any) classes or resources on change psychology or business development.
Option 2: Get certified as a personal trainer.


  • Faster than going back to school (Usually self-study, so I could go at my own pace.)
  • Costs way less money.
  • Learn enough anatomy and physiology to feel semi-competent.
  • The certificate I earned after taking the test would make me seem more credible to potential clients.


  • Doesn’t seem as “credible” as a degree.
  • I don’t know which certification is “good” and which certification is “bad”.
  • Still doesn’t teach me much about change psychology or business development.

So what did I do?

I got a crappy personal training certification, sweet-talked my way into a job as a “fitness assistant” at a local gym, and started training clients. (I eventually earned a better certification.)

At times, I felt like I was on top of the world. I had gamed the system! Here I was working with people, building my business, reading nutrition and exercise text books, and attending seminars. I felt like I had a big head-start.

But at other times, I felt like a fraud. I worried that everyone would look at my lack of formal education and know I was unfit to work with people, even if I was a certified trainer.

I worried that because I didn’t follow any sort of “path”, my new career in fitness was a joke. It was debilitating and even a little depressing.

But as I would later learn, my lack of a formal fitness and nutrition education put me in good company.

Be a world-class strength coach in 3 easy steps

When people ask renowned strength coach Dan John what they should do to become a successful trainer or coach, here’s what he tells them:

Step 1: Get a degree in English, study Theology, score a job as a high school teacher.

Step 2: Spend evenings teaching an online religious studies course.

Step 3: Volunteer as a strength coach with your high school track team.

Voilá, just 25 years later, you’ll be a household name in strength and conditioning.

While Dan laughs when he says this, that’s exactly what he did. And his hint of sarcasm isn’t missed, largely because Dan knows something most people don’t:

Unlike in certain fields like law and medicine, there are no clear, predetermined paths in fitness.

In other words, there is no single—or obvious—path to becoming a successful health and fitness coach.

When I realized that, I felt a huge burden lift off me. I wasn’t a fraud. I was just a guy who wanted to help people get in good shape. And, like Dan, I had simply taken an “unconventional” path to get there.

What does that mean for you?

It means that you can find the path that suits you. The path that matches your experience, personality, character, and principles.

You can create your own unique path to the dream job you want.

But how?

Start here: The new fitness industry curriculum

Of course, even though there’s no single template, you can still follow and adapt some of the patterns of the top coaches. Here’s how.

1. Start coaching immediately.

You don’t have to do anything fancy from the start. You don’t need to get a degree, rent space in a gym, or start your own studio.

In other words, you don’t need permission from anyone to get started.

All you have to do is help someone get in shape and improve their life, one step at a time.

It doesn’t matter if that someone is a friend, family member, or a paying client. The only way to see if you actually enjoy working with people is to start working with people.

And if you’re not feeling confident enough to coach on your own, ask if you can “shadow” a personal trainer or another experienced coach for a day.

Remember: You don’t have to know everything about exercise and nutrition to help someone get in shape and improve their life. All you need is to know a little bit more about health and fitness than the person you’re trying to help.

Becoming great at something (like coaching) is always about trial and error.

No matter how well prepared you think you are, no matter how many tests you pass, no matter how many internships you do, you will eventually have to try stuff and you will still have to make mistakes. On your own.

So start doing—and learning—now.

2. Get certified.

While you’re coaching, start earning your credentials.

Yes, we all know that a lot of certifications in the fitness industry are considered a joke. Many require a single weekend of “effort” (and I put that in quotations deliberately).

Most barely scratch the surface of what a trainer really needs to know to work effectively with a client.

But if you want to be viewed as a professional—and if you want insurance—you’ll need the paperwork. So get some kind of certification anyway.

Start with a basic certification like one of the following:

Once you’ve cleared the initial hurdle and have rounded out your skill set (see below), you can consider more advanced certifications and mentorships.

3. Become a “complete” fitness professional.

Once you get your basic personal training certification, it’s time to take it a step further and expand your education. We know that exercise alone won’t get your clients the kind of results they’re hiring you for.

And your clients will need more help than just the two or three sessions a week they have with you.

So what you should you do?

Nutrition education

First, learn more about nutrition, so you can feel more confident discussing food and diet with your clients.

Nutrition is where people 1) need the most help and 2) will see the greatest results.

In fact, including nutrition coaching with your training advice can increase your effectiveness as a trainer by at least five times.

In other words:

  • That could be 25 pounds lost, instead of 5.
  • That could be 20 points knocked off the blood pressure score, instead of 4.
  • That could be 5 inches off someone’s waist, not 1.

That could be at least five times more client commitment, confidence, motivation, retention, and satisfaction… with five times less effort from you.

Since a high-quality, real-world nutrition certification didn’t exist a few years ago, we set out to create one: The Precision Nutrition Certification. It’s quickly become the industry’s most respected nutrition certification, a fact we’re very proud of.

And if you’re already a student or graduate of the Level 1 program, we’ve got something for you too. Check out this Level 2 page where you can learn more about the Master Class.

Also, if you want more research on the different nutrition education options out there, check out this site. It compares and contrasts the best schools and online education platforms. That way you can make an educated decision on what’s best for you.

Movement education

After establishing your nutrition system, I recommend one more thing to round out your basic skill set: improving your ability to assess movement.

Most exercise programming assumes that clients move well to begin with. And that might be true, if you were training child circus performers, instead of office workers or athletes and manual laborers with years of repetitive stresses and strains.

As physical therapist Gray Cook says, you shouldn’t load dysfunctional movement patterns. Adding weight to a structure that can’t support it isn’t going to make that structure any better.

Your exercise programming can actually hurt your clients if you don’t first learn how to help them fix their dysfunctional movement patterns.

So, consider checking out one of the following education tracks for better understanding and programming movement.

4. Learn how to coach real people.

After you’ve spent some time learning about movement, nutrition, and exercise programing it’s time to learn how to coach your clients. 

That means understanding the deeper psychology at play and saying the right things in the right ways at the right times. It means really connecting with your clients and helping them through their body  transformations one step at a time.

You can have someone do all the squats and eat all the broccoli you want, but until you learn “change psychology” and the art of coaching, you’ll never be able to actually help your clients change their habits.

Where should you start?

Here are two must-read resources to check out:

Note: In the second article we share six books that will teach you the basics of change psychology. Use it as a jumping off point for digging deeper into this area.

And if you’ve done all that and you’re ready to level up, you might consider these courses:

5. Get some business training.

You’ve gotta keep the lights on, your financials in order, and clients coming in the door. But how?

If you’re considering opening your own personal training studio or gym—or if you work at a bigger gym and want to learn how to get more clients—you’ll need to get some business training.

I’m not talking about a MBA here. I’m talking about fitness-specific training taught by people who’ve actually had success in the field.

Here’s are some great options:

(And here’s a great article outlining the 5 key stages of a successful fitness business).

The better you get at marketing and running your business, the more people you can help, and the more money you can make.

6. A career of learning and development.

Once you’ve built a strong foundation of training, nutrition, movement, change, and business knowledge, it’s time to commit to a lifetime of learning and personal development.

Feel free to pick the books, courses, internships, and certifications that most resonate with you. Or will most help your clients.

Now is the time to geek out about advanced programming for different populations, nutrient timing, soft-tissue therapy, hormonal issues, advanced exercise and diet techniques, and more.

If you’re interested in finally leveling up that basic training certification from Step 2 above, consider:

And if you’re ready for internships and mentorships, these come highly recommended:

If you’re interested in different areas of nutrition:

If you’re interested in more athletic populations:

If you’re interested in high intensity and group training:

If you’re interested in special populations:

Personal trainer

Remember: There is no one “right” way to make it in the fitness industry

Fitness and nutrition is still a young industry. There is no one “right” path to success. In fact, there may never be.

And I kinda like it that way. It means that possibilities are infinite. 

The best trainers can come from anywhere: four-year colleges. Doctoral programs. Theology school. College drop-outs. Someone who found a gym flyer in the parking lot.

It doesn’t matter.

If you’ve got the energy, the drive, and the interest to do this work, you can eventually do it… no matter what you’re doing as a career now.

What to do

While there isn’t one “right” path, there are six things you can do to set yourself apart from 99% of other trainers out there:

  1. Start coaching now—even if it’s just family or friends.
  2. Get certified—even if it’s a basic entry-level certification.
  3. Become a “complete” fitness professional—someone who understands exercise, but also nutrition and quality movement.
  4. Learn how to coach real people—by focusing on change psychology and connections.
  5. Get business training—so you can take your fitness “pipe dream” and turn it into something meaningful and profitable.
  6. Commit to a career of learning and development—geek out on advanced programs and build your skills and specialties.
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 helps them adopt simple but effective habits they can sustain—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, April 3rd, 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 How to build a successful and rewarding career in fitness. A step-by-step guide for personal trainers & coaches. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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Learn to Train X — Dave Tate Teaches the Max Effort Method - Sun, 03/03/2019 - 01:59
"How do you get better at lifting heavier weights? Well, you do it by lifting heavier fucking weights!" In this video from Learn to Train X, Dave focuses on instructing the max effort method, which is working up to a “heavy fucking weight that’s generally going to be 90 percent or above," including technical breakdown.
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A Snapshot of My Off-Season Diet — Health, Recovery, and Efficiency - Sun, 03/03/2019 - 01:05
Despite my absence from the stage, I often get emails asking about my diet. Yes, it’s different and much looser than my approach when I'm highly focused on professional bodybuilding. In fact, that makes this article more applicable to the majority of people.
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My Heroes at the Arnold Sports Festival

When I walk through the Arnold Sports Festival people tell me I’m their hero, and I appreciate it. But I wanted to introduce the crowd at the Arnold Sports Festival to some of my heroes.
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WATCH: How to Properly Do a Bench Press Lift-Off - Sat, 03/02/2019 - 01:39
Ideally, a good lifter should also be a good spotter. Unfortunately, that's not always the case. Dave Tate will walk you through how to do a bench press lift-off — the proper way. This means you're not putting your nuts in the lifter's face and aren't taking the majority of the lift.
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The Future of CrossFit - Sat, 03/02/2019 - 01:27
I've seen an influx of CrossFit boxes close over this last year — more than prior years. This tells me that we need to change CrossFit if it's to survive. My suggestion? Pull away from the hardcore CrossFit audience and focus more on programming for the general population.
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Why Fitness Industry Hiring is Different Than What You Think It Is - Fri, 03/01/2019 - 12:34

In the past, I’ve written a few times about how when we want to expand our staff at Cressey Sports Performance, we only hire from our internship program. In hiring, the goal is to get someone who is both competent for the job AND a good fit for your culture. We can teach that competency in an internship, but just as importantly, an internship give us 3-5 months to evaluate whether an individual is the right fit from a personality standpoint. We actively involve our current staff in hiring to make sure that they’re the ones helping to shape this culture. I can’t recall exactly, but I believe I initially heard the competency/fit discussion in a book from Richard Branson and his hiring practices at Virgin.

This is an important lesson for all businesses, but I’d argue that the fitness industry is unique in that the pendulum swings much more in the direction of “fit.” Why? My theory is that it’s because the barrier to entry in this industry is so low that very few candidates show a level of competency so overwhelming that they’re “must-hires.”

Just last week, my theory was put to the test when a large company reached out to me on a reference check on one of our former interns who’d applied for a job. Here was the email I received:

Hi Eric,

I was given your information from <name removed> regarding a professional reference. Would you be able to answer the following questions, in a timely manner?

How long have you know him or her?

What is him or her work ethic?

What management style is conducive to their success?

What is one strength and one opportunity for improvement?


Eligible for rehire?

Thank you!

You see where I’m going with this? Not a single one of those questions was specific to this candidate’s competency for the position? She didn’t ask me whether he had memorized the Krebs Cycle or could differentiate between linear and conjugate periodization.

It’s crazy, but competency is actually either a) assumed or b) viewed in a way that the organization thinks they can teach a candidate everything they need to know to be successful…as long as they’re a good fit.

What does this mean for up-and-coming fitness and strength and conditioning professionals? Let your resume speak to your competencies, but utilize interviews and your references to show just how awesome you are from a fit standpoint. And, if you’re looking for a job at a particular location, get in front of your potential employer in person before applying. That might mean doing a facility visit to observe, dropping off your resume in person, or actually doing a lengthier internship at that location.

Our hiring processes are one of the subjects Cressey Sports Performance co-founder Pete Dupuis and I cover in great detail in our Business Building Mentorship. Our next offering is April 7 at our Jupiter, FL location. For more information, click here

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Always Have a Plan - Fri, 03/01/2019 - 12:25
It’s never been about making these “New Year, new me” resolutions; it’s about dedicating yourself to the daily process, having a vision, and having a plan in every aspect of your life. Want to be a head strength coach? Have a plan and dedicate yourself daily to the process.
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Returning From Injury After a Layoff - Fri, 03/01/2019 - 12:23
Coming back after a layoff can be a chance to address imbalances, but it also presents the opportunity for new imbalances to develop. Common sense suggests that testing strength after a layoff isn't the best idea. But if you are going to do it, keep these things in mind.
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Drop-in Boot-campers: 3 Steps to a Safe and Positive Fitness Experience - Fri, 03/01/2019 - 10:50

The following is a guest post by Georgette Pann.

Drop-in boot-campers: Every group fitness program or boot camp fitness business gets them from time to time. There’s no time to do a full assessment, but turning them away or dumbing-down their workout too far leaves the newcomer frustrated and can leave a stain on your program’s reputation. In my 25+ years of leading boot camps and group fitness programs, I’ve identified key strategies to enable drop-ins to participate fully without risking their safety. 

In this article I’m sharing how I and my team handle fitness assessments on the fly and our top 3 methods for adapting workouts for unexpected newcomers.

My 3-Step System for Assessing on the Fly 

Just as with every training client, working with a drop-in boot-camper requires three steps:

1.     Assessment – determining the fitness level and ability of the client

2.     Programming – prescribing a workout program to meet the needs and abilities of the client

3.     Observation and adjustment – monitoring the client’s progress and making changes to the program as needed

Let’s look at each of the three steps and how to handle this challenging set of circumstances in a way that provides a safe and satisfactory experience for everyone involved.

First, though, I want to note that it’s critical that you have a pre-planned workout for each session. Trying to develop a workout on the fly while also conjuring up modifications for newcomers turns into a hot mess real fast. Most likely, you’ll end up having the whole class doing exercises at the newcomer’s level to save your brain from overloading. The result is a poor workout for everyone. For more about the necessity of planning your workouts and overall programming, see my article on the 5 Biggest Boot Camp Workout Blunders.

3 Questions for On-the-Fly Fitness Assessment

Any good fitness trainer knows that it takes more than three questions to get a complete assessment of a client’s fitness level and training needs. But we don’t need – and don’t have time for – a thorough assessment with drop-ins. Before we schedule them for a full assessments at another date, we just need to know enough to keep them safe from injury during this single workout. We can do this with some simple observations and by asking the following questions:

1.     Do you have any medical conditions or take any medications? If so, what are they?

2.     What are you currently doing for exercise? (If the answer is “nothing,” then also ask when they last worked out.)

3.     Do you have any injuries, physical limitations or exercises that you cannot do or that hurt to perform?

Always measure the client’s responses against what you observe about the client. Ask yourself these questions:

– Do they claim to exercise daily but look like its more of an annual event? 

– Did they deny having any physical limitations, but walk in with a limp? 

Always get clarification on any responses that raise concern or don’t jive with what you observe. 

Now it’s time to move on to the programming phase. First let me start by saying If none of the participant’s answers raise concerns,  I would integrate them into the planned workout and pay close attention to them and adjust accordingly 

Top 3 Exercise Modification Strategies for Newcomers

Now that you have a rough idea what their physical capabilities are, it’s time to adapt your planned workout to their fitness levels. In most cases, drop-in participants will need to have the workout intensity reduced for them. It may just be because they aren’t accustomed to the workout yet, or it may be because they have an injury, pain point or physical limitation they need to work around. In any case, let’s look at some good ways to modify exercises to accommodate this need. Keep in mind, this is for a generalized group workout scenario involving and a common starting point.

A comprehensive total body Boot Camp style work out which would include push pull squat deadlifts lunge I am going to share my approach starting with the top 3 regressions if the person is unable to do exercise technically correct or has an injury/pain (note: there will still be exceptions and we must keep in mind the boot camp type programs include lighter loads and/ or bodyweight work)

My top 3 regressions/ modifications for several main upper- and lower-body movement patterns.

Find the exercises that most closely resemble the ones in your scheduled workout and adjust downward a step or two.

Hip Dominant: Deadlift  =>  Resistance Band Deadlift  =>  Bodyweight Deadlift  =>  Bodyweight Hip Thrust

Quad Dominant: Squats  =>  Goblet/Front Squat  =>  Bodyweight Prisoner Squat  =>  Bodyweight Squat

Push: Press =>  Resistance Band Chest Press  =>  Elevated Pushup  =>  Pushup  =>  Incline or Wall Pushup

Pull: Inverted Rows  =>  TRX row  =>  BD Rows  =>  Resistance Band Rows

Lunge: Lunges  =>   Reverse Lunges  =>  Split Squats  =>  Split Squat Isometric Hold

Note: Weighted Exercises may be performed with dumbbells, kettlebells, medicine balls.

As I mentioned this list is not anywhere near comprehensive but rather a starting point for general scenarios. The only time I would deviate from this was if someone was having pain with certain exercise. 

Once the initial class was completed I would make sure to set up a private
 session for a planned assessment/evaluation properly assess and get more in-depth with clients goals.

Monitoring and Adjusting a Newcomer’s Workout for a Safe and Positive Experience

Even when following the exercise regression strategies above, it’s important to note that a person’s true fitness level won’t be revealed until they begin working out. Even though you’ve done your best to adjust the exercises appropriately for a newcomer, you need to keep a close eye on them during the workout. 

If you have overestimated their abilities, the newcomer will be at risk for injury. Newcomers may also get frustrated if they are not able to keep up with the rest of the class, such as still doing pushup number three when everyone else is on number 10. So, you need to be on the alert for signs that they are struggling

On the other side of the coin, if you have underestimated their abilities, a newcomer will get bored or frustrated. A bored or frustrated newcomer is less likely to become a permanent member of the boot camp. Some people may attempt to increase the exercise difficulty on their own, potentially overestimating their own abilities and risking injury. If their workout needs an extra kick to make it more interesting, make sure you’re the one to prescribe it, so you can be sure it is safe. The newcomer will appreciate this extra attention. 

Up-front Communication Clears the Way for a Positive Drop-in Experience

The most important rule to successfully integrating a drop-in participant into your workout session is communicating clearly and openly. The key points to communicate are:

  • They are welcome and you want them to have a positive experience. 
  • They are coming into the program outside of the normal intake procedure, so some concessions will need to be made.
  • You will provide them with as full an experience as possible, but will change their exercises and rest periods as necessary to ensure their safety and enable them to keep up with the class.
  • They need to let you know any time they are struggling, need extra rest, experience pain, or are having any trouble at all. 

Establishing open communication early and using the above strategies for quickly assessing abilities and programming a workout should allow for smoothly integrating a new participant into your boot camp or group training session, even when they have dropped in unexpectedly. I hope these tips enable you to fearlessly accept new drop-in participants and add a ton of new and profitable members to your program.

Nick’s Upcoming Live Events

In Spokane, WA on April 12-13 attending the Inland Empire Fitness Conference.

In Boston, MA on May 12, 2019 teaching a Strength Training for Fat Loss & Conditioning: Practical Program Design Course.

In Toronto, Ontario on June 1-2, 2019 teaching at the Strong Summit.

In Mexico City, Mexico on June 28-30, 2019 teaching at the One Fitness Weekend congress.

In Bangkok, Thailand on October 10-14, 2019 teaching at the Asia Fit Conference.

Author Bio:

Georgette Pannis the owner of NutriFitness LLC/Fitness Bootcamp Pros. She has 25+ years experience in the Health and Fitness field with expertise in fitness bootcamps. She is author and creator of the best selling Sure Victory Fitness Bootcamp Business in a Box and publisher of Done-for-You products and programs for Fit Pros SmartFitProWorkouts.

You can learn more about Georgette on here facebook page and website blog for Fit Pros:

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Stuff to Read While You’re Pretending to Work: 3/1/19 - Fri, 03/01/2019 - 09:57

Lisa, Julian, and myself are heading down to Florida this weekend for a little vacation.

See ya!

PS: Don’t worry: I’ll have a scattering of blog posts and guest posts all next week lined up. I don’t want you to miss me too much.

Copyright: wamsler / 123RF Stock Photo

BUT FIRST…CHECK THIS STUFF OUT 1. (Even More) Complete Shoulder & Hip Blueprint – 2019 Locations & Dates

Philadelphia, PA: April 27-28th (<– EARLY BIRD rate ending soon).

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada: May 25-26th

Sydney, Australia: July 13-14th

Singapore, Republic of Singapore: July 20-21st

This workshop will piggyback on the material Dean Somerset and I covered in the original Complete Shoulder & Hip Blueprint.

With this iteration, though, we’ll be going a bit deeper into the coaching and programming side of things:

  • How to program around common injuries.
  • How to “connect” the appropriate exercises to the client/athlete.
  • How to squat and deadlift like a boss.

Find out more details HERE.

NOTE: For the Singapore event you’ll need to use THIS link.

2. Coaching Competency Workshop – Raleigh, NC

I’ll be making my first appearance – ever (<— how’s that possible?) – in the wonderful state of North Carolina this coming March to put on my popular Coaching Competency Workshop.

This is a great opportunity for other fitness professionals to gain better insight into my assessment and program design process.

And cat memes.

Can’t forget the cat memes.

Full details (date, location, itinerary, how to register) can be found HERE.

3. Strategic Strength Workshop – Boston, MA

Luke and I did this workshop last summer in London and figured it’s only fair to bring it State side. Combined we have 30+ years of coaching experience (I.e., one Mike Boyle or Dan John) and this workshop will be two days where we uncover every nook and cranny as it relates to how we assess our clients/athletes and how we best prepare them for the rigors of every day life/sport.

This will be a unique opportunity for people to learn from myself, but especially Luke, who I think is one of the best and brightest coaches I know.

For more information and to register you can go HERE.


I deadlifted.


Spent 4 hours this morning getting an unofficial private tour of the NASA facilities today courtesy of their training staff.

This is a vid of me deadlifting 300 lb on their contraption that’s on the MIR Space Station.

— Tony Gentilcore (@tonygentilcore1) February 22, 2019



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Reverse Nordic Curls. . This is a doozy I stole from @sivan_fagan_fitness who got it from @nick_tumminello (I think) who got it from He-Man (definitely). . A nice way to eccentrically train the quads with accommodating resistance without placing too much strain on the joints. . Started toying around with these myself last week (and with a few clients) and I really dig the “stretch” feeling and ever so slight quad pump at the end. . I’ve been using high(er) reps here: 15-20 more towards the end of a workout after squats or deadlifts. . Cameo appearance by the NT Loop.

A post shared by Tony Gentilcore (@tonygentilcore) on Feb 26, 2019 at 5:19am PST


Travis trains some of THE best and strongest lifters in the world.

Listen to him.

5 Great Kettlebell Exercises For Baseball Players – Dan Swinscoe (via Eric

Honestly, these are excellent exercises to do even if you can’t throw or hit a baseball…;o)

What it REALLY Takes to Transform the Body – Brian St. Pierre

Over 1,000,000 data points were used to write this article. And if ANYONE has the data to show for it it’s Precision Nutrition.

Awesome infographics in here as well.

The post Stuff to Read While You’re Pretending to Work: 3/1/19 appeared first on Tony Gentilcore.

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