What I Learned - Perform Better One Day Seminar (Part II)

Two weekends ago I went to the South San Francisco Convention Center to attend the Perform Better One Day Seminar. Perform Better is perhaps best known as an fitness equipment and supply company, but they put on fantastic seminars. I'm considering going to the three day seminar in Long Beach, CA this summer instead of the NSCA weekend trainer's series this year.

Here is the second part of the series:

Dan John
Fitness for Everybody Else

This talk was about evaluating and handling the "everybody else" group. The aging athletes, or the inactive but motivated people. They differ by degrees, many needs are still the same, and he sums them up as:
 - Stretch what is tightening
 - Strengthen what is weakening
 - Keep all the tubes clean and moving
 - Live long & drop dead

Dan John: A legend in the strength and conditioning world.

He also emphasized that clients will, WILL, lie to you. For a few reasons. One is that they want you to like them and help them, and perhaps if they told you the truth about how awful their habits are, you won't be inclined to work with them.

But most importantly, they want you too see them as they want to be seen, not as they actually are. Many clients will come to you with the "this really isn't me" mentality, and it's our job as trainers and coaches to figure out how they see them selves and help them get there.

As such, Dan has come up with some questions for evaluation that get around many peoples' knee jerk reaction to lie.

1) Have them stand on one foot, either foot, for 20 seconds.
 - For some reason, and he sees this over and over again, if they can't do this, they need to be outsourced for a medical evaluation. There are many health issues that affect one's ability to balance on one foot, from inner ear issues, to effects of proprioception and strength.
Because people generally don't like being tested.
And even if you had this score, what would you do differently?
2) Two measurements: waist to height ratio and body weight.
 - The person's height should be twice their waist, and they should weigh under 300 lbs. (Don't start with me on powerlifters, this isn't the population we're talking about here.) If they don't pass either of these, have them get an evaluation from an eye doctor and dentist. Why? First, they're less intimidating than medical doctors, so they might actually go. Second, eye doctors can diagnose things like diabetes and heart disease because they are actually LOOKING at the vasculature in the eye. Dentists can diagnose various diseases based on the health of a patient's gums.

3) Three questions
   A) How many pillows do you sleep with?
     - Most people won't lie about this. Not how many do you NEED, how many do you use? Anything more than one means this will be a mobility client.
   B) How many colorful vegetables do you eat?
     - For some reason, Dan has noticed that if you add the word "colorful" to the question, people stop to think and give a real answer rather than the knee jerk "of course I eat vegetables" that is probably a lie.
   C) "Do you exercise at least half an hour a day?"
     - This one is tough because you often hear "well… what do you mean by exercise?" Housework? Walking to the store from the furthest parking spot? Coffee break stroll? So this one might not tell you as much as the others, but at least you've put the idea of getting movement wherever they can into their head.

4) Then Dan has three physical tests he uses:
   A) Two minute plank
   B) 100yd farmer's walk - using a trap bar loaded to body weight
   C) Standing long jump - should be able to jump their height

Using these results can give you the proportion of how to approach their training: mobility, strength, and body composition. Dan agrees with Coach Dos on most programming points: the movement are broken down into hinge, squat, push, pull, carry/crawl that you vary in weights, rep ranges, uni- and bilateral. It should be smart, but it shouldn't be hard.

For clients that need more work on body composition, you have to be careful giving nutritional guidelines. Never mind that the minimum wage guy at GNC can give the hard sell to some schmuck about what they should be putting in your body. Unless you're a registered dietician, giving too detailed a nutrition plan to clients is breaking the law. Makes no sense, but there we are…

So with them, you give them the guidelines:
 - Cut out added sugar
 - Cut out the "cardboard carbs"
 - Get rid of "FrankenFats" aka - Transfats
 - Eat your colorful veggies
 - Do something you are not good at. The more inefficient you are at an exercise, the more it will burn calories.

My Take Away:

Just because clients say things because they want to believe themselves to be who they see themselves as, doesn't mean we can't get some information out of them with some creative questions. Also, things just don't need to be complicated. Choose the basic human movements, give variation, get stronger, stay mobile.

Alwyn Cosgrove
Metabolic Resistance Training

So, honestly, it was a little harder to listen to this one. I was pretty distracted by his

After showing some studies that show traditional gym workouts with their long slow endurance and easy going circuit training don't make much of an effect on client body composition. In a study of 439 obese, post-menopausal women, they were divided into four groups with the following bodyweight change results: A) Diet only (-8.5%) B) Exercise only(-2.4%) C) Diet plus exercise (-10.8%) D) Control (-0.8%)

What you can see is that adding exercise was additive to the diet protocol. And it wasn't statistically significant between diet and control, whereas diet alone vs control was.

So are we fighting a losing battle here? I'm pretty sure we've all heard the phrase "you can't out run a donut" as a reason you shouldn't eat like crap just because you went for a jog. I've told people that you can't out train a bad diet.

Unless you can.

Alwyn believes in Metabolic Resistance Training - "a modification of traditional resistance training to maximize fat loss, by increasing caloric burn during the activity, and metabolic rate after the activity and long term."

This is where EPOC comes in. EPOC stands for Excess Postexercise Oxygen Consuption, which is the time it takes for your metabolism to return to pre-exercise rate. This could be very quick in the case of a lighter workout or slow endurance work. Or it could last for several hours when it comes to hard intervals and heavy lifting.

The best way to help clients lose weight is to increase the green area under the curve. 
Two papers that Cosgrove referred to (Heden T, 2011 and Schuenke at all 2002) how show that EPOC can last for 38 to 72 hours after a hard circuit set. So they're not saying the CICO (calories in vs calories out) is wrong. They're saying that we're not doing enough of the right things to maximize the calories out part of the equation.

And with the steady state cardio, why isn't it working? Does it trigger the person to eat more? Does it trigger the person to move less elsewhere, resting up after their exertion? Either way, the calories burned during steady state seem to be "made up for" elsewhere. So maximizing EPOC needs to happen for best results.

Cosgrove went through many studies and program designs that showed how these high intensity programs far, far out-shined traditional training programs. The caveat: it's brutal. This is the kind of training that you have to learn how to do and ramp up to.

My Take Away:

Awesome for my young clients, my clients who used to be athletes, and my clients who are in generally great shape. But guess what? Most of the people that come to me aren't in great shape and are usually a little older. That's why they come to me in the first place. I'm not going to ask a 60 year old woman who hasn't been active in years to do some of these protocols. I'm going to focus on general strength training, mobility work, and get the best "CrossFit-esque" circuit training in that I feel she can handle.

So that is the main limitation I see with the fervor in this. If you're too brutal to your clients, they will find reasons to not come back.