Strength Basics

Getting stronger, fitter, and healthier by sticking to the basics. It's not rocket science, it's doing the simple stuff the right way. Strength-Basics updates every Monday, plus extra posts during the week.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Personal Trainer advice

Dub over on the exrx forums posted a link to this site in a thread there:

The Personal Trainer Development Center

It's got a lot of good, easy-to-read articles on personal training from the perspective of a trainer. It's worth digging around in if you do this for a living, or if you train under a personal trainer.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Aerobic Exercise: The Pendulum Swings Back

For most of the past few years, "aerobic" has been a pejorative adjective for cardiovascular conditioning. Interval training, buoyed by studies showing an increase in initial oxygen volume of the respiratory system (VO2 max) and relatively better fat reduction, was the rage. Many people, online and elsewhere, mocked the "cardio bunnies" who put in long, aerobic conditioning sessions and pointed to the supposedly interval-like nature of sporting events.

But now, aerobic is making a comeback. Here are some recent discussions on the subject:

Roadwork 2.0 at 8weeksout. I linked to this before.

Another bit by Joel, a long video discussing energy systems. Also previously linked.

The Return of Aerobic Work on T-Nation

This stuff isn't new - Rocky ran in the movie because practically every boxer did steady-state cardio in the old days, back when fights ran up to 15 rounds.

You can see the trend here - aerobic training isn't bad, it's actually quite good, and here's why. That interval stuff? Important but not like this is. The pendulum is swinging back. In a year or two, maybe more, maybe less, we'll hear "What happened to intervals? Everyone's doing aerobic conditioning now, and forgot how good these are."

For my part, I hate to see any tool tossed out of the toolbox, or any tool recommended as the one-and-only tool you need to reach any and all goals. A good cardio base can't hurt, and it's a mistake to try to get one purely by interval training. This tool is coming back into vogue but it never should have left.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Article Review: Doctor Detective

Over on Precision Nutrition, there is an excellent series called the Doctor Detective.

Doctor Detective 3 was just recently published.

This article is really about sleep and sleep quality, as well as nutrition, but there is an interesting moment in it:

"He and his wife were intrigued by the notion of increasing testosterone naturally. I explained the relationship behind healthy dietary habits and testosterone. His wife, the household cook, insisted that her food was healthy. Discussion closed."

So an obvious way to address his issue of low testosterone was dismissed out of hand by the clients. Basically, no, I'm not doing that, what else have you got?

As a trainer, how do you overcome this? It's not often someone just rejects changes out of hand, but it's common to have someone just no do something that they need to do to succeed. That could be dietary changes, extra workouts, stretching, rehab protocols, more sleep, or whatever. Sometimes you can succeed with only a partial change (here, they add an easy breakfast shake to get in some nutrition he wouldn't get otherwise), sometimes you can't. Working around an "End of discussion" pronouncement can you your job much harder.

As a client, how do you overcome this? Learn to recognize your roadblocks. If quitting drinking or eating a good breakfast or stretching on your off days will get you much improved results, can you do it? Will you? Are you putting up "End of discussion" blocks that make it harder to get you the results you are after?

This article is interesting in and of itself, but the question of working around a client refusal (or a self-refusal) is especially so. Well worth reading.
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