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Five Years Isn’t Just One Year Times Five

“People often overestimate what they can reasonably achieve in a year. But they vastly underestimate what they can achieve in 5 years.” - Steve Pavlina

Something odd happens when the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Take a human being for example. I’ve been keen on saying we’re $7 worth of carbon and some other stuff, but each living person can achieve a lot more than a Brita water filter if they do anything at all.

Time is sort of like that. I’ve enjoyed writing for most of my life. It used to help me dream and since my brother is a good writer it gave me something to share with him - another way for us to be similar. I think he’s a better writer than I am, but he’s also an avid reader and he seems to understand words in a way that I don’t. He has a low emotional affect and his prefrontal cortex seems loaded with glucose such that logic seems to be his baseline state.

But Des is one of those mentors who just says do it, fake it till you make it and swing a lot, you’ll eventually get good enough to hit something.

So I started writing publicly more than 5 years ago and now, a half decade later, I’m still writing. This makes me a writer. I’m not as good as I would like to be so my 10000 hours are no where near up, but I’m still plugging away at it.

About a month after I started writing I met Rachel and she directed me towards Larry at SST to get a job. I was hired as a manager but watching how his team of coaches interacted and facilitated change within athletes really excited me. I told Rachel that I thought the coaches were amazing and she said that I could be one of them if I worked at it and she also reminded me that I was in one of the best learning environments in Canada to gain the skills needed. So I asked a lot of questions and Larry didn’t answer many of them, he pushed them back to me to give him the answers and when I did, he’d coach me on the finer points so I was able to apply the principles of science and physiology to get predictable outcomes. One day I noticed that I was a personal trainer and strength coach.

For most of my life I have wanted to look a particular way physically - my upper chest was always kind of small and my shoulders never really looked wide enough for me. My legs were functional but not really well muscled. The skills gained at SST allowed me to create programs to address these perceived short comings. The upper chest and shoulders grow when your legs grow. And the legs will only grow when you train the hell out of them. Squatting, dead-lifting and posterior chain work caused the hormonal release that promotes growth and eating massive amounts of good quality food provides the building blocks needed to make a battle ready body. After years of training like this, I’m still very lean, with a layer of muscle all over that looks more appealing.

In an around the time I met Rachel I decided to become a Group cycling instructor. We took the training together because we were the only two people from our club who were going to do it. She was already a great instructor - strong stage presence, very friendly and happy and intensely strong. She intimated the hell out of me and after the first day of training I considered quitting. When I told her this on the drive in on Sunday she just laughed and said “you have no idea how inspiring it is to see someone work as hard as you do to try and learn something. You HAVE to do this Pat, not just for you, but for the members who don’t think they can do it either.” I just accepted what she said and when I thought about all the puking on the drive home after the first day and all through that evening I handed off responsibility to her and went for it. Five years later, I know I don’t teach like they do in the master video’s but I teach a class that is different but equally effective. I’ve mentored a few instructors and when I see them develop I tell them “I wish I could teach like you.” They laugh at me and say “you don’t need to Pat, you teach like YOU.”

Now all of this is to say that 5 years ago I made some choices to try some new things and if I had stopped any of them after 1 year, I wouldn’t have been all that good at them. But I kept doing them for another 4 years and the improvements were anything BUT linear. You grind it out for months feeling like nothing is happening and suddenly you find yourself lost in the moment wondering how you end up being good at it. It seems easy looking back, but looking forward it seemed impossible.

Half a decade seems like a long time, one year doesn’t. But we get it wrong when we think about how good we’ll be in 1 year and we get it wrong when we think about how good we’ll be after five years of sustained effort. If you start it today, by March 2013 you won’t feel embarrassed by your level of proficiency and by March 2017, if you stick with it, you’ll wonder if you were ever NOT able to do it.

New Interns, New Enthusiasm

Over the last few weeks a few interns started working with us at SST Vaughan. I have always really enjoyed the first few months working with trainers / coach who are new to the industry because of their enthusiasm and because it reminds me of how far I have come.

When I look back on my first training job I kind of laugh because I’m not sure why I was hired. I didn’t know what I didn’t know and thought that I had all the answers. I was pretty certain that I was a better trainer than most of the ones on staff. Over time I began to realize that I didn’t really have a clue. The three things that I brought to the table were passion, enthusiasm and only just enough knowledge to not seriously injure someone.

The last number of years have seen me build on the big three traits of a trainer adding knowledge, experience and possibly some wisdom to the mix. I have evolved from a person who helps motivate sedentary people to move to a professional who possess sufficient abilities to advance people towards their athletic or fitness potential all while maintaining my personal integrity and behaving in an ethical way. I no longer say things that I have read or believe to be true and now say things that I KNOW to be true. Today I have no difficulty saying “I don’t know” when asked a question and I do not fear not having the answer as I can either research and find the answer or direct the person to a more knowledgeable coach / trainer. I understand where I fit into the big picture and make sure I do not venture where I do not belong.

This is something that I try to impart to the interns. The reputation of the company rides on our ability to get results from our athletes and members and NOT on our trainers ability to have an answer for every question they are asked. There is nothing wrong with taking a few days to get the correct information and in the grand scheme of things, taking your time to dispense accurate advice is more important than giving the wrong advice for fear of losing esteem in the eyes of the people you train.

These are exciting time for the interns because they are at the start of their careers in a great field. Working with them is in many ways more rewarding than working with the athletes.

So You Want To Train Athletes eh?

People who want to work in the strength and conditioning industry often say that they want to work with athlete. When they say this to me I always ask why. Usually they cite some belief that athletes will work harder than the general population and that it will be fun to train them. When I ask them why they think this most are left scratching their heads because it is based on the belief that ALL athletes work hard.

Then they join the industry and their preconceived notions disappear very quickly because most people who come to strength and conditioning centers do not train like athlete, at least when it comes to their time in the gym. They play higher level sport and are considered athletes because they are talented, have been given an enriched head start or they have enjoyed some sort of political advantage when it comes to joining the best teams. There are not a lot of them who have the work ethic to excel in the gym and that is why most of them are there.

Working with elite athletes can be very rewarding as they are able to learn faster, train more effectively and train using more diverse training methods than the general population BUT this is only true for elite athletes. It falls on its face when dealing with talented general population athletes because, unless they have had to work hard to get to their level, most are not prepared for the demands of intense sessions in the gym and their talent may actually work against them.

If we think about it, great hockey players are great because they are able to do things that other players can’t. One of the key difference I have noticed is that great players achieve equal or greater results with LESS effort. Their efficiency means they move less than other players. This works great on the ice, but when it comes to the gym where efficiency of movement isn’t the goal, they are at a big disadvantage because they are programmed to cut corners and get the job done in less time. This translates into incomplete reps, increased rest time, decreased loads and a difficulty understanding why they are not make progress or why the strength coach is riding them so hard. Some of the time, the laziest people in the gym are the best athletes or the most talented players.

When I ask them how they are playing, what line they are on, how many points they have it is more to find out if there is a possible mental predisposition towards slacking than for any other reason. They answer the questions with pride and I gain a sense of what their work ethic may be. With anyone under the age of 14 or 15, the best players are likely going to be a complete pain in the ass when it comes to training because they are ill prepared for the true demands of intense training and they are prone to frustration when they cannot acquire skills immediately.

With these individuals the first goal of training is to help them break down the mental barrier that talent creates - that which dictates that success should be effortless. This is a draining task and it is, in my opinion, more draining than working with the adult population because adults KNOW their is a connection between hard work and success, the young and talented tend to have no idea. The good news is that with some the break down occurs very quickly - usually within a few months - but there are some people I have been working with for the last 3 months and they are no closer to working hard now than they were when they started training with me.

Other than elite athletes the best group to work with is the moderately talented - those individuals who are not the best and have had to work hard to enjoy any level of success. These athletes do what they are told, when they are told and they follow direction to the letter. They have learned that listening and applying the lessons with as much effort as possible is the first step in achieving their potential. But they also know that reaching their potential isn’t a certainty. They are well aware that it will take sustained effort for a long time to reach it and even then it may not happen.

If you are thinking of making the jump into the strength and conditioning field you need to be aware that MOST of the people you will be training will not be elite athletes. Most of them will not be untalented hardworking athletes. Most of your clients will be talented players who have yet to learn that their talent isn’t enough to move their play to the next level and they may fight you the entire way until they actually realize that hard work AND talent make great players. Your effort as a coach is worth it when you finally break through and help them, but until that moment your time with these athletes it’s pretty thankless.

Train Your Rotator Cuff Always And Forever

As a result of the way I trained for years, I found that my shoulders hurt a lot. In high school I trained chest too much and when I found my way back into the gym as an adult, I trained only the big muscle groups - chest, back, legs, shoulders and arms - because that’s what people do. I figured I was just unlucky and had bad shoulders.

When I started working with SST, I was introduced to rotator cuff training because they have found that too many young athletes trained the way I used to - building up the glory muscles while ignoring the ones that keep the machine moving perfectly. To say that I was imbalanced would be an understatement. When I was tested on external rotations, I was only able to lift about 5lbs for 8 reps - to be considered balanced I should have been able to lift about between 17.5 and 22.5 lbs for 8. The consequence of this weakness is an unstable shoulder and pain - given that the rotator cuff muscles are the body’s primary way of adding stability to the shoulder.

Over the last few years I have trained the rotator cuff consistently through a number of different angle and positions so it is now more than 400% stronger than before. I would now consider myself balanced since I’m able to move 22.5 lbs for 8 reps. My shoulder pain disappeared and my other lifts have gone up dramatically - even ones I didn’t train - because my body is working the way it is supposed to.

I got cocky and stopped training rotator cuff thinking that now that I’m balanced, I don’t need to work at it anymore. It didn’t take long for the pain to return and the pain was as bad as it was in high school - a sharp stabbing pain that pulls you out of a deep sleep and leaves you thinking that maybe the shoulder is dissolving. It’s a pain that you cannot turn off by changing lying or arm positions. I put up with it for a couple of weeks hoping that by doing nothing to address it, it would go away. It didn’t.

So on Monday I go to the gym and before I train my shoulders and back, I train rotator cuff - 2 movements (low cable external rotations and elbow on knee external rotations) and 1 movement for the scapula retractors. My back and shoulder workout did suffer slightly - I wasn’t able to lift as much weight as I could when I didn’t train rotator cuff, but the pain went away. I slept right through the night without even thinking about my shoulders. The pain hasn’t come back either. Who would have thought that 15 minutes of work before my glory muscle work would have made me feel like new again?

Sadly, I should have thought about that. I wouldn’t let my athletes get away with not training rotator cuff. Structural balance is not a short term thing, it’s an always and forever thing because life does not provide enough opportunities to work these muscle in a way that keeps them stronger than they need to be.

Strength Training For Figure Skaters

Figure skating is one of the most demanding sports in the world because it is the combination of the requirements for middle distance running (programs last between three and five minutes), Olympic lifting (extremely explosive movements), gymnastics (holding difficult positions for 10-15 seconds) and the hitting aspects of hockey or football (the sudden impact with the ice when a jump doesn’t go according to plan). For this reason, it is important that figure skaters train for all of these events. If you are a parent of a figure skater, you should consider the 5 facts below when making the decision whether or not to have them strength train.

1) Your child is going to have muscle imbalances that are hurting their on-ice performance.

Figuring skating is a very repetitive sport that places a disproportionate amount of demand on landing leg. Most of the skaters I have worked with tend to have well balanced landing legs due to the sheer number of jumps and landings they perform during their practices - 100’s of reps per week. The other legs however do not function as well. Their knees tend to buckle during testing which is a good indication of a weakness in one of the muscle responsible for straightening the leg {most skaters tend to have a weakness in the vastus medialis obliquus which is the tear drop shaped muscle on the front of the leg to the inside of the knee.} It is important to correct this imbalance and doing so will improve the skaters’ performance.

2) Your child would be safer and more resistant to injury if they where stronger.

Figure skating can be a contact sport, particularly when learning a new jump. Falling is inevitable so it makes sense to build up the body to help absorb the impact. You can also help to prevent knee injuries by training the hamstring muscles given that they play an important role in knee stability - if the knee doesn’t twist ACL injuries will be avoided. Figure skaters tend to have weak ankle stabilizers because their skates are fairly ridged and this also puts them at an increased risk of injury.

3) Your child is going to need to get stronger to progress at their sport.

To advance from doubles to triples a skater is going to need to jump higher and rotate faster and this is only possible if they get stronger. The strength required to make this leap will come with lots of practice but if they strength train a skater will achieve these gains more quickly. This could save them a lot of time and move them through the ranks faster than their non-training competition.

4) Your child should have a good sense of body awareness.

Skaters need to have a very good sense of where they are in relation to the ice and the rest of their body. This sense develops over time and is enhanced with completion of all types of movements. Strength training that takes a joint through the complete range of motion is going to enhance body awareness because it puts the body into all types of positions. It will also be enhanced by performing movements were the skater holds a position so they can feel the muscle contract e.g. a front plank or a superman hold. These movements, called isometric holds, help to establish the mind/body connection that is critical for improving body awareness.

5) Your child’s brain is going to develop to be better at the things it does more frequently.

One of the marvelous things about the human brain is its ability to devote greater portions of itself to the things that happen more often. This means is we get more brain power to do something the more we do it - the more we move the better we get at moving. By incorporating strength movements into a training regime, we increase a skater’s ability at controlling their movement. While there may be no direct carry-over from split squats to triple axels, performing splits squats will cause changes to the nervous system that WILL help the skater’s movement.

When it comes to strength training for figure skaters, there are really no reasons for them NOT to do it - provided they are trained by a strength coach who understands the needs of the athlete and the demands of the sport. Assuming their coach knows what they are doing it’s only going to make the skater more athletic and improve their chances of winning and avoiding injury.

Going To An Auction

A few weeks ago I went to a fitness equipment auction to buy some equipment for the new SST that is opening in Richmond Hill. This was my first auction and it was an eye opener.

On the day of the auction they have a viewing period to allow you to look at the stuff they are selling. I got there about 30 minutes before the auction started and took full advantage of this opportunity. There was a lot of traditional cardio machine, a bunch of spinning bikes, some benches, some weight machines and a bunches of Olympic plates. I had my eye on one of the spinning bikes for home and for the new center I wanted to buy a bench for bench press, a preacher curl bench, a lat pull down machine and maybe some of the weights. The stuff was in really good condition, better than I had anticipated so if the price was right people were going to be getting a very good deal.

If you have never been to an auction before, it’s very much like what you see on TV - the auctioneer calls the item number, talks about the item a little and suggests an opening bid. If someone likes the suggested bid they will raise their hand or say something to alert the auctioneer that they accept the bid. If they don’t like the bid, there is an uncomfortable silence and the auctioneer will fill it with a joke, some begging, or a truthful comment that we (the people at the auction) are “hammering his balls trying to steal the stuff from him”. It was kind of embarrassing and very funny. The auctioneer did a really good job.

There were a few bidding wars that I didn’t participate in - we do need the rubber flooring, but I wasn’t going to pay $55 a sheet for it because it costs about $80 new. I would have paid up to $30 for 90 lbs worth of bummer plates but when the price went over $100 I thought the people had lost their mind (these two plates sold for $160 which isn’t a bad price but way more than what I was willing to part with).

The deal of the night was $450 for 3 Free Motion pulley Machines. These three pieces were way too big for what we need them for, but they were practically new and they are beautiful machines. I think these items would have cost up to $2000 EACH new. If our location was bigger I would have bought them.

We ended up with 3 items. A Hammer Strength military press bench, a preacher curl bench with Olympic EZ curl bar, and a back extension bench. The total cost with taxes and the sellers cut was about $550. To get these items new it would cost over $2200 so it was a good deal.

I’ll be going to more of these auctions as time goes on. I’m sure there will be plenty of deals coming up.

Finding Our Space - New Facility

On Tuesday we started our search for a space for the new SST location in Richmond Hill. This isn’t the same as looking for a new place to live. There are so many things to consider that one doesn’t even have to think about when they are looking for a new apartment or house. For example, my concerns when house hunting are grocery shopping, proximity to riding, proximity to a decent gym, space and safety. These things aren’t of much concern when looking for a place to open a gym.

So far our concerns are focused on a few key areas:

Parking. We need lots of parking. Our needs are somewhat different from a typical commercial or industrial business in that our peak times are going to be early in the morning (6-10) and after school (from 4 PM on). This offers some flexibility but we do need to be sure there is room for all of the people who come to the facility to park regardless of when they come to workout.

Location relative to where the people live, where they are coming from and where they are going to. We need to be easy to get to. While our services are first rate, people won’t show up if it takes them too long to get there or if they have a difficult time getting home. We saw a few locations that were the ideal space - very long for a good running track - but they were well away from the residential areas, which took them out of the running.

Dimensions. We’re looking for a space that is between 3500 - 6000 sq feet but it needs to have a track / turf area. Given that SST focuses on making athletes faster, the track needs to be long enough to allow the athletes to get up to top speed but leave them with enough room to slow down. For this reason, a 60 / 60 space isn’t going to provide us with the length we need. The space we’re looking for needs to be a rectangle and not a square.

Lighting. A location that has poor lighting inside is not going to help motivate people to work hard. If there are no windows people may feel closed in and not like coming to workout. If the lighting outside is bad, people won’t feel safe coming to the center when it is dark.

Feeling we get from the space. Can we see a functioning gym existing in the space and one that we are happy to work in? Once we sign the lease and open the center we are there for years. If the space cannot be made into a comfortable location, there’s no point in setting-up shop. The center’s success will be determined by the attitudes of the people who work there so we need to make sure that we can be upbeat all of the time. The space itself needs to motivate people to push past their perceived limitations and achieve what they believe is impossible.

Vision for the final product. We need to be able to visualize the finished facility from a layout perspective. There needs to be a logical layout for the offices, track and workout areas where nothing presently exists and this layout needs to make the most of the available space.

The process of finding the perfect space is a challenge but one that I’m enjoying and learning from. It’s a challenge that almost every business goes through so I know we’re going to open in a great location that meets the needs of our athletes and our team!

The Opportunity I’ve Been Waiting For

My best friend once told me that if you don’t go looking for what you want, you’ll end up settling for what you get. He was right. Before I took his advice I had lots of jobs that were soul destroying and very unsatisfying. Right before I took his advice I quit my job and spend a month travelling the east coast with a tent, my bike and enough money to buy food, beer and a few other things that I may need along the way. I’ll tell you this, it was one of the best months of my life and I learned a lot about myself during my time on the trails, roads and sitting in the tidal water with a belly full of Keith’s Light and growing desire to find my purpose in life.

When I made the decision to quit my job and take the trip I hadn’t realized that my old life was ending and that a new one was beginning - life is funny like that, you really don’t know that a paradigm shift has occurred until you look back on it and that see something new started.

Fast forward to now. I have just started the next chapter of my purpose filled life. Larry, my old boss, friend and owner of Sports Specific Training is expanding his company into Richmond Hill and helped me secure the role as Director Of Sports Programing for the facility. This is the dream role for me. This is the job that I have always wanted (at least since that trip out east when I began dream of getting what I wanted out of life vs. getting what I get).

I am a helper, a guide and a facilitator of change. My purpose in life is to help others achieve their potential. The role I play is to add something to the equation that allows one to move past their plateaus or sticking points and find greater success in their life. As a strength and conditioning coach, the opportunities to do this are huge. As the Director of Sports Programing, these opportunities are almost limitless given that I’ll be creating the programs for the athletes along with leading the team of strength and conditioning coaches.

To say that I am happy or excited about this opportunity would be a modest understatement. I am ecstatic! This role is a singular accumulation of all of my past work experience - my 3 years in IT management, 2 years in fitness club management, 2 years of personal training, 2 years of sales, 2 years of instructing fitness classes and my endless hours in the gym training. It will even draw from unsatisfying soul destroying jobs I took before I realized I had a choice to do what I wanted. I am grateful and see myself as lucky for having decided to work at what am passionate about for long enough to earn the opportunity to do this role.

Over the next few months I will be writing about the experience of opening the new center and my experience of starting this dream role. Check back often to get the updates of the important changes, benchmarks and personal growth steps I take along the way. I look forward to all of it!

What I Learned At SST - Part 2

Here is part two of the What I Learned At SST article - you can read part one here.

  1. GVT, GBC, and rest-pause. Taught well by Charles Poliquin, Larry passed along a few program pointers to me that made a world of difference in my body composition. German Volume Training, German Body Composition and rest-pause are a few of the methods that I was able to incorporate quickly. Basic GVT is 10 sets of 10 reps (or 10 sets of 8 or 6 reps with the same weight) super setted with antagonistic opposite movements. 10 sets of 10 is mentally draining because after 6 or 7 reps your mind is screaming “that’s about enough work for now”. GBC is lactate inducing workouts which are more metabolic and help to boost growth hormone - great for making you feel very sick. Rest pause is a 3 part set with 15 seconds of rest separating each of the 3 parts. The goal is to give your body enough recovery to allow for a few more reps. While not as mentally tough as 10 sets of 10, it is a fantastic method for boosting performance in the later sections of a climbing attack on the trail.
  2. How to dead-lift and squat. Probably the most important things I learned while at SST to be completely honest. My body grew once I started doing these movements consistently - not surprising given that they recruit more muscle than any other movements. There’s something special about driving from a deep squat to lock-out on rep 6 of what should have been a 5 rep set or pulling twice your body weight from the floor. These movements have given me a huge increase in strength for my standing attacks or climbing on the bike. Plus, it’s pretty sweet to actually know how to do them.
  3. Training should be cycled with the athlete increasing focus in one area of training while maintaining fitness in all other areas. Basically, if you train for strength from September to February spend some time maintaining your cardiovascular fitness and lactate tolerance.
  4. The enthusiasm of younger athletes is contagious. Most young people are not bitter and have not yet learned to be cynical towards the world. In fact, most of them haven’t realized that you can be anything but passionate towards the things you do. When you observe someone engage their work-out or their life with passion you cannot help yourself from adopting some of this passion. Any time my management role would start to get me down I would leave my desk and hit the floor to coach some of the athletes. Almost immediately my stress would be gone and I would be reminded why I took the job in the first place - because I want to see people achieve their potential. Without fail this would lift me up and allow me to focus on the important stuff.
  5. I am happier when I get evenings and the weekend off. I really do enjoy sleeping in, but it’s tough to get up and get your day going when you don’t have to start work until 11:30. I don’t sleep in until noon on weekend and seem to have accomplish more each day waking at 5:30 am vs. 10:30 am.
  6. Great people can make bad first impressions. Given that it was a great place to work, a lot of people applied to work there. I got to look at a lot of resumes and interview a number of different people. The best hire I made was Sean and, for one reason or another, his resume had spelling mistakes on it. I passed on it initially because it figured the spelling mistakes were an indication of how he would pay attention to detail. However, I ended up calling him, bringing him in for an interview and we hired him immediately. Sean turned out to be the best hire I made while I was there and he is a truly remarkable individual who pays special attention to needs of the athletes. How he is in real life is nothing like how I thought he would be, but given that his first impression was made with a resume with spelling mistakes I made the same call that most other people would. Looking back I’m really glad I didn’t hold onto this judgement too strongly.
  7. Hamstring and rotator cuff muscles are primarily fast twitch fibers and should be trained accordingly. For these muscles I rarely take the reps above 10 and usually keep the sets around 8 reps. My cycling pedal stroke changed when I learned that hamstrings are fast twitch. When I stand-up and ride, I try to use my quads, glutes and hip flexors to push and pull and I move between 60 and 80 RPMs. When I am sitting on the saddle the pedal rate is faster - around 75 - 100 -  and I focus on tightening my core to stabilize my hips. The end result is that I really feel the hamstrings working when the RPMs go above 80 and this takes some of the focus off of my quads. Since I didn’t train rotator cuff muscles before I started working at SST, learning that they are fast twitch didn’t have any practical impact on the way I trained them; I just started training them.

SST is a fantastic place to work and those who put in the time to learn while they are there DO learn a lot. It’s a tough job but the environment is conducive to self-improvement if you’re willing and able to invest in yourself. I was lucky to have had the opportunity to work with so many dedicated athletes and hard working strength coaches, and of course Larry, Laura, Jermane and Grant.

What I Learned At SST - Part 1

Inspired by Chris Brown’s What I Learned At SST, here is part 1 of my list of the top things that I took out of my time there:

  1. Talent is obvious but training is necessary. You can tell an athlete by watching them move and you can predict performance based on how a person performs certain tasks. While their gift may be sufficient to help them get pretty far in sport, they need training to achieve the highest level. If a person does not have talent, they are fighting an uphill battle to make their mark; drive can make up for the talent gap, it just doesn’t happen very often.
  2. Drive is a shared characteristic among high performance athletes. Regardless of talent, all athletes who want to perform at a high level are incredibly driven. Most of the athletes at SST had exceptionally high drive and this made working with them a breeze. They did everything they were told, they applied the coaching suggestions whenever they could and they pushed themselves to improve. There were a few that required more motivation and it was fairly obvious to the coaching team that these individuals would not enjoy the same level of success as most of the others. Watching elite athletes train made me feel more comfortable with my own training style as I enjoy working-out with a lot of intensity.
  3. A trained body adapts to changes in training very quickly. Larry, the owner, would say that an athlete should never do the same hamstring workout more than once every 4 weeks. His mentor Charles Poliquin says that the body adapts to a particular workout after 6 times. Both of these points of view come from working with elite level athlete so one should keep their training and skill level in mind when they are designing their own program; but the essence of what they are saying applies to everyone. No matter what you do, the body will adapt to it in an attempt to make it very easy and cost effective. This is why people need to change their programs frequently in terms of reps, sets, movement speeds and movement patterns. The more trained you are, the more frequently you need to change things up.
  4. A good base of structural balance should be achieved before proceeding to loaded resistance training. Seems obvious but most people including myself don’t go about it this way. Instead we work on building muscle and only start to fix the imbalances once the injuries start. The fact of the matter is that someone who is well balanced will have much better movement patterns which will result in fewer injuries than someone who isn’t balanced.
  5. People make working at a job either fun or work. Work is what we do to make money that frees us from having to make and grow everything we consume. It’s a necessary evil in life. However, how we engage work and the level of satisfaction we get out if it is impacted a lot by other people. This is not to say that we don’t choose our own attitude. I’m just saying that it is easier to say happy when those around us are happy. The dark cloud will bring down the moral of a successful organization faster than anything while a failing company that has happy workers will be a fun place to work.

Part 2 will be coming in a few days so stop back and check it out.