Friday, October 30, 2009


Here's some stats:

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says that 21% of the American population is obese. In 1991, it was only 12%.

The CDC also said that the number of overweight children aged 6-11 has doubled since 1980 and the percentage of overweight adolescents has tripled!

The surgeon general states that 300,000 deaths each year are directly related to obesity. This is second only to tobacco.

The Goliath Casket Company , a manufacturer of over - sized caskets, has increased their sales of the triple wide model exponentially in the past few years.

Can't we do better?

Here's why:

1. Weight loss is hard. Most people tend to look for the easy way out, and when it gets tough, they quit. Losing weight may very well be the toughest thing many people will do, but it is also the most rewarding.

2. People eat way to much. A Monster Thickburger at Hardee's has over 1400 calories and more that 100 grams of fat. The average female gains weight on 1800 calories and the average male gains weight with 2200 calories. You do the math.

This is why you're fat

3. People don't move enough. The more technologically advanced our society becomes, the more sedintary it becomes.

4. Too many experts. You cannot turn on the television during the day, without seeing at least three ads like this:

So, my simple advise on how to lose the weight:

A. Stop watching the TV

B. Start exercising more

C. Stop eating so much

D. Repeat.

Thanks for reading and have a great halloween!

Friday, October 23, 2009

To Squat or Not to Squat?

In a recent release, world renowned strength coach Mike Boyle said that he has pulled conventional squating from his program entirely! Here's the link:

His reasoning is that, in squating, the weakest link in the kinetic chain is the lower back. He states that to better work the legs, you must switch to single leg supported squats. By switching to single leg supported squats, it takes the entire core out of the picture.

I agree with MOST of what Coach Boyle puts out. However, I think he is being a little extreme here. Here is my take on the subject:

I think that single leg movements are a very essential part of every well rounded strength training program. I personally incorporate multi - planer lunges and step ups in every program I write. However, I WILL NOT remove the conventional squat and other types of squats from my programs.

The reason for this is simple. As strength coaches and trainers, it is our responsibility to get the athlete or client to transfer as much force as possible from the ground up. His example is a freshman who did a single leg supported squat (SLSS) with 115 pounds for 15 reps. His argument was that since the athlete was not able to perform the back squat with both legs with 230 pounds for 15 reps, the single leg supported squat is superior to the conventional back squat.

If you look at the back squat as just a lower body exercise, then I would say you are correct. But, here's the problem. It's not just a lower body exercise. Let's break this down a little bit. We'll look at it as two separate muscular systems (I know they all work together but just follow me here). You have the lower body muscles (legs), and you have the torso musculature (core). Let's remember that WORK = FORCE X DISTANCE.

So, for lower body work, SLSS results in greater work for the lower body muscles but less work for the core muscles. Inversely, the back squat will lessen the work on the legs but increase the work load for the the core. So here's what I'm trying to say:

Conventional Squat - Good lower body exercise but great for core strengthening and power transfer

Single Leg Exercises - Great lower body exercise but not as great for core strengthening and power transfer

So, in conclusion, my opinion is that you should squat (any variation: front, zercher, etc) at least once per week and do single leg exercises at least once per week because


Monday, October 19, 2009

Got Back Pain? QUIT SMOKING!!!!

More and more information is starting come out on the negative effects of smoking and nicotine in general. Not only is it harmful to the respiratory and cardiovascular system, but ANY ingestion of nicotine (including chewing tobacco and nicotine gums) will slow the recovery process of exercise and injury to the skeletal system and muscular system! Check this out:

Monday, October 12, 2009


Growth of a Trainer (Growth of an Individual)

I look at a person’s knowledge as if it were a circle. For some, that circle is a dashed line and all information is coming in. For some, it is solid line with no information coming in. For some it is large with lots of information, and for some, it is small with very little information coming it. People with solid line circles also tend to have very small ones and people with dashed line circles tend to have very large ones. Let me tell you about the growth of my professional circle.

When I was nine years old, my mom bought me my first weight set. It was one of those sand filled jobs with an aluminum bar. The whole thing weighed about 40lbs. I opened it at Christmas and was ecstatic. I ripped open the box, threw away the instructions (of course) and began doing the exercises I saw on TV. So, there I was nine years old and my circle had just begun. It included deadlifts, squats (of course I didn’t have a squat rack, so it was more like clean and press to lower the weight on the back!), bicep curls, and floor press (I didn’t know what these were, I just laid on the floor and pressed the weight). My dashed line circle had begun.

From there, I entered middle school. I was lucky enough to go to a middle school in South Carolina that emphasized weight training for kids. Our coaches weren’t the most knowledgeable in the field of strength and conditioning, but they were passionate about what they did and managed to teach us the basics of the powerlifts (bench, squat, and deadlift). My circle got a little bigger.

By the time I got through high school, I had learned some rudimentary olympic lifting and powerlifting skills, as well as, some basic knowledge of periodization schemes. Now, I was going into college and my circle had become quite large. Anytime anyone had a question involving fitness and strength training, I could go to my circle and provide them with an answer. In retrospect, I can kind of see my line on my circle becoming more solid. Whether this was due to ego or immaturity, I’ll never know, but there was a definite closing of the circle in undergrad.

Next for me was grad school. Of course, there was not much left for me to learn after undergrad, my circle was already closed. Or, so I thought. Luckily for me, I was hired as a GA strength coach at Indiana State University where the head strength coach politely (note the sarcasm) let me know that I didn’t know half as much as I thought I did. Once I realized this, I sought out to learn more and continue to increase the size of my circle. I’m now almost three years removed from grad school and I can honestly say that I continue to increase my knowledge base daily.

The point that I am trying to make is this:

There is always someone who knows more than you. Don’t be uncoachable. And always strive to make your circle bigger.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Is it Sciatica or Piriformis Syndrome?

Sciatic Nerve and Piriformis

What's the difference?

Piriformis Syndrome is caused by an inflamed and overactive piriformis, weak or inhibited glutes, and overactive hip flexors. Basically, what happens is the inflamed piriformis puts pressure on the sciatic nerve causing pain, tingling, and numbness down the buttocks and leg.

This condition can be corrected by a combination of Non-steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), Foam Rolling the Piriformis, static stretching the hip flexors, and strengthening the glutes and spinal stabilizers. (Feel free to shoot me an email for some examples)

Piriformis syndrome is usually the result of a person's everyday activities. Sitting on a wallet or sitting for long periods of time in general are usually the culprit.

Sciatica is often misunderstood. Sciatica is not a diagnosis. It is merely a set of symptoms usually resulting compression of the sciatic nerve root causing sever pain, tingling, numbness, and weakness. Piriformis Syndrome, Spinal Stenosis, and Spinal Disk Herniation being the most common causes.

The treatment of sciatica will depend on the diagnosis. It can range from physical therapy like listed above to surgery. It is important that if you are experiencing these symptoms, that you find out EXACTLY which condition you have!

Thanks for reading!