Miscellaneous Miscellany Monday: 10/24/11

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1.  Apparently with the conversion of the website back to WordPress last week there’s been a little glitch with the feed, and numerous people have mentioned that they didn’t receive any of the updates last week.  Rats!  So, for my own edification (and to help put my mind at ease), below is the actual feed that you’ll need to use to receive updates via email.  You should still be able to use the RSS feed located on the top right-hand side, but I’ll provide the direct feed directly below in this post as well.  I appreciate those of you who went out of their way to inform me of the issue, and I apologize for the inconvenience.

PLEASE:  if you notice anything else that’s “WTFish,” let me know and I’ll forward it to my web guy.  Thanks!


UPDATE:  It’s been brought to my attention that the feed above doesn’t work, either.  FAIL!  Needless to say, it will be fixed soon.  I promise.  With dark chocolate covered cherries on top

2.  Here’s something cool:  Muscle Imbalances Revealed – Upper Body will be available to purchase in DVD format very, very, very soon.

We’re going to be re-launching the product within the next few weeks, and while it will still be available in digital format, there will also be an option to purchase it in DVD format which many people who originally purchased the product expressed interest in.

What’s more, MIRU has officially been approved for 0.7 CEU’s by the NSCA, which means you’ll earn continuing education credits just for purchasing the product!  How badass is that?

More to follow soon.

3.  People are always asking me what I’m currently reading, and it’s funny, because I’m usually reading 3-4 different things at once.  Firstly, it goes without saying that I’m always reading something related to my field.  As it stands now, I’m currently perusing the following things:

Mass Made Simple – Dan John

It’s kind of hard NOT to take the advice of someone who’s been coaching longer than you’ve been alive.  I’ve always admired Dan John’s stuff, and this is no exception.   Unlike pretty much everyone, Dan John has an uncanny ability to put things into perspective.  And, as the title suggests, this book is perfect for anyone looking for a simple (albeit effective) plan to put on mass.

Power! – Joe Defranco and Jim “Smitty” Smith

Admittedly, I JUST received this in the mail from Smitty the other day, but will be viewing this in it’s entirety shortly.  Nevertheless, I have no doubts that it’s going to be awesome and that I’m going to want to jump through a brick wall after watching it for ten minutes.

Secondly, I’m and avid reader in general, so I’m not JUST reading things that are relevant to my profession.  I’m not opposed to reading some non-fiction material, and I just finished reading Michael Lewis’ book, The Big Short, which, besides making me want to punch a baby seal in the mouth, gave an excellent behind the scenes look into the economic collapse of 2008.  Seriously, I don’t think one book has made me more aggravated at how douchy people can be than this one.

On a lighter note, I’m currently listening to The Art of Fielding, written by Chad Harbach, which follows, among other things, a star collegiate baseball player as he deals with stardom, pressure, relationships, school, and teammates.  It’s a light read, but written spectacularly and in a way that’s more than JUST about baseball.

4.  Whenever I feel rundown and lose a little edge in my training, I always chalk in up to several factors:

  • I just need to cut down my training.  While I normally train 4-5 times per week, for the foreseeable future, I’m going to revert to 3x per week utilizing more of a full-body split.  In actuality, I’m going to be taking a page from Dan John’s book (see above), and follow more of a Train, Rest, Recharge split, where I’ll train/make people destroy the back of their pants one day, rest the next, and then follow that with more of an “active recovery/blood flow” day.  In the past, I’ve just found that this approach works really well for me in terms of allowing me to recoup from the ass-kickings I routinely give myself, as well as allow me the opportunity to focus more of the tissue quality side of things.  Ie:  more foam rolling, ART, massage work.  Basically, I just need a break.  I’m still going to be lifting heavy things, of course.  But I’m hoping that the additional days “off” will give me a little boost in the long-run.
  • I don’t drink nearly enough water.  I swear to god I live in a chronic state of dehydration, and it’s no surprise that I end up peeing battery acid once per day.  Sorry for the visual.  So, with that, Operation Hydration has commenced, and I’ve promised myself that I’m going to drink at least a gallon of water every day.
  • Not enough of cowbell. We all need a little more cowbell in our lives.

5.  I had an interesting conversation with one of my distance coaching clients who happened to make the trip up to CP this past weekend (with two of his clients).  He was curious as to what I do as far as measurements with my fat-loss clients, and he was surprised to hear me state that I don’t really go out of my way to do any skip caliper testing,  electrical impedance, or the like.

Sure, I do it from time to time (mainly only if it’s requested), but for all intents and purposes, I avoid it like the plague.

My thought process is this:  I want people to focus on the performance side of things.  One of the last things I want to do is make it so that someone’s only sense of accomplishment is boiled down to a freakin skip caliper test.  On numerous occasions I’ve had clients who, in the span of several weeks, went from not being able to perform a body-weight reverse lunge without falling over, to well, not falling over, to breaking PRs left and right.  Too, they improved on EVERY lift in terms of their quality movement and the amount of weight they were able to use.

And yes, they also started eating more veggies, thank you very much.

Moreover, they felt infinitely better from a mobility standpoint, and I could sense their confidence levels sky-rocketing.  Unfortunately, in the past, this was all for naught if they weren’t somehow satisfied with what the caliper told them; or if the impedance test wasn’t what they expected.

All the hard work they put in basically went down the drain.  All because they weren’t able to see the bigger picture.

To that end, today, I don’t really go out of my way to take “measurements” with my fat-loss clients.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m going out of my way to educate them.  I teach them why saturated fat isn’t their worst nightmare, or why they should emphasis eating more protein, or why steady state cardio probably shouldn’t be their first choice in terms of effective exercise.  Trust me, they’re learning.

I’m just not a fan of allowing one simple test dictate their progress.  Like I said, I want them to see the bigger picture, and I feel relying solely on ONE thing is a dangerous slope to walk on.

And that’s it for today.  I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on this last point.  Just to cover my own butt, though.  It’s NOT that I’m against using quantifiable measurements, and it’s NOT that I never take them.  I just don’t like setting a tone where people feel like the end-all-be-all of progress is dictated by what a piece of plastic tells them.

Did what you just read make your day? Ruin it? Either way, you should share it with your friends and/or comment below.

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Plus, get a copy of Tony’s Pick Things Up, a quick-tip guide to everything deadlift-related. See his butt? Yeah. It’s good. You should probably listen to him if you have any hope of getting a butt that good.

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Comments for This Entry

  • Emily Socolinsky

    Tony, #4. I could not agree more. In addition to lifting heavy, I also grace the stage as a modern dancer from time to time. Over a year ago, I started lifting to fix my back problems and now, I am able to take class and rehearse for six hours twice a week (something a year ago I thought was impossible until I started to seriously train). Of course, I have quickly discovered that I need days off from lifting and also need to cut back on some of my volume so I am good to go when I am in rehearsal. This past weekend, I performed in three shows so I spent the week leading up to the shows foam rolling, lacrosse ball work, doing tons of mobility work for my hips, shoulders and I felt great the whole weekend. The body needs a break from time to time. This happened to also be my de-load week so the timing was perfect. And kudos to you in regards to drinking water. I am in the same boat and literally have to make a concerted effort to drink water during the day. I have made huge improvements in this area. :-) Keep up the awesome work! Emily

    October 24, 2011 at 9:58 am | Reply to this comment

    • Anonymous

      Emily - Holy smokes - and here I thought I was fairly active! But you're right, tissue quality is HUGE, and something I'm always stressing to my clients. Unfortunately, sometimes, I just need to practice more of what I preach! Thanks for chiming in (glad to see you around more!).

      October 24, 2011 at 8:04 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Marshall Roy

    Tony: Two water tips. Kind of obvious but worth repeating. 1) Fill a gallon jug and make sure you drink it all over the course of the day. When I worked a desk job I had a 1L Sigg bottle, and I knew as long as I filled it three times over the course of the day, I was good to go. 2) Keep a pint glass in your bathroom or next to your kitchen sink. After you wake up, pee, and then IMMEDIATELY chug 16oz water. Even before you brush your teeth. Very important to start the day off hydrated. I read about Dan John's book a little bit ago (perhaps on TNation?) and was impressed, as always, with his ability to make things seem simple. I just began my third week of Rippetoe's Texas Method (trying to get strong as hell and HYOOOOOGE!) and the simplicity of it is both refreshing and challenging as hell. Hope the site stuff get fixed. Need my daily Gentilcore fix.

    October 24, 2011 at 11:01 am | Reply to this comment

    • Anonymous

      Marshall - 1. Got the gallon jug yesterday at Trader Joe's. Sadly, this is something I used to follow through with on a daily basis, but I just fell out of the habit. BUT, I've turned the page and drank for first gallon today (and peed like 14 times!). 2. I actually started using he 16 oz trick this past weekend! I fill my glass full of water and then add a heaping scoop of Athletic Greens (by far may most favorites Green's product. The CEO is an awesome guy), and chug it before I eat breakfast. 3. Concerning the site stuff: do you notice any other glitches??????

      October 24, 2011 at 8:07 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Scott Agee

    @ #5 Tony, I totally agree, there is nothing worse than seeing someone make great progress and knowing they are on the right track - only to see a number throw them into turmoil and cause so much doubt and frustration.

    October 24, 2011 at 11:07 am | Reply to this comment

    • Anonymous

      WHEW! I'm really glad that there are others out there who feel the same way as I do on this topic. I mean, I DO understand the importance of having quantifiable measurements to gauge progress - but more often than not, I just feel it's stressed TOO much. Thanks for agreeing with me. You're not banned......;o)

      October 24, 2011 at 8:09 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Juliet

    I very much like your last point and agree on it completely. When I first began wait training, my goal was fat loss. I'd be boldly lying if I said I was really concerned about anything else. The more I learn through educating myself from blogs such as your own and other reputable sources, the more I value improved movement patterns and performance. Hell, I actually wrote about that *very* subject this morning on my own blog. Sure, I had a lot of success losing fat when I started, and I am fortunate that I caught a lot of the things wrong with my mentality early on; but if I could start over, I would have put a lot more focus on the things you pointed out. That being said, I am sure I will say the same thing about how I currently think 5 years from now.

    October 24, 2011 at 11:17 am | Reply to this comment

    • Anonymous

      Juliet: Right on! Nia Shanks actually talks about this quite openly in many of her writings and products. Back when she first started, she was all about FAT LOSS. But a funny thing happened: she actually started focusing more in the performance side of things, and she noticed that she was getting leaner! I see this same phenomenon happen with all of my clients as well. It may take some arm bending here and there, but sooner or later, the come to the dark side! Glad to see you made it to the dark side yourself.....;o)

      October 24, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Matt

    Tony, glad to see you're checking out Chad's book - it was a great read (my thoughts on it are here: http://secondarylead.blogspot.com/2011/09/art-of-fiction-drinking-matt.html). If you liked that, in the non-sporting vein, you should have a look at some of Franzen's stuff - the ironic interplay and writing style is very similar. As for "sports fiction" (as discussed above), it being World Series season, Bang The Drum Slowly and The Natural are better books than movies, and Michael Lewis' new book is also great (Boomerang) and further illustrates the insanity of financial markets, this time on a global scale. On the psych. side of things, Daniel Kahneman, Nobel prize winning economist and the godfather of behavioural economics, has finally put out a book, entitled Thinking Fast and Slow. Although he's not the smoothest writer in the world, it is a great and fulfilling read and sums up so much crucial psychological and economic research. I think you'll get a lot out of it - I know I did.

    October 24, 2011 at 11:41 am | Reply to this comment

    • Anonymous

      Matt - SWEET!!! Thanks for the suggestions! I'm about half way through The Art of Fielding, and I'm about to start Boomerang shortly. I'll also have to check out that Thinking Fast and Slow book - sounds right up my alley.

      October 24, 2011 at 8:14 pm | Reply to this comment

  • J.B.

    I am with you on measuring BF% it's arbitrary, and borderline useless. Differences in how people store fat has such variance that the measurements are all over the place. If I accomplish nothing else in my time on this planet, but manage to boil down assessment of fat loss to: Do you look less fat? Can you do more awesome things than you could before? 2 yes answers =WIN! I will have lived a productive life.

    October 24, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Manny

    Feed still not working. Tony keep on rocking it!

    October 24, 2011 at 12:33 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Michael Gray

    I agree with previous comments-any focus on any number can throw people off. I used to use BF % as regular marker, but have become increasingly less convinced it has much merit. I've see people who have been totally psyched by their progress get disappointed in themselves because they were hoping for a different %. Anymore, I take measurements and tell clients to pay attention to how freshly washed jeans are fitting. Freshly washed jeans don't lie.

    October 24, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Reply to this comment

  • PJ Striet

    Tony: We don't do any BF or anthropometric measurements either, for the exact same reason you stated: people get obsessed with it and don't gauge their progress in more meaningful ways (performance improvements). As a matter of fact, when we do our initial consultation, we go out of our way to lay out the objectives of the program, and all of those objectives are centered around performance improvements. Trainers who try to sell themselves and their services on aesthetics go broke. Sorry, but you can't "transform" someones body in 2 or 3 training sessions per week. If their nutrition isn't on point, they butcher the 23/1 rule, etc., they are not going to see much in the way of cosmetic/aesthetic improvements. Don't get me wrong, we provide a ton of continuing education and coaching outside of the actual training sessions we conduct with our clients, but the actual training sessions themselves are meant to enhance performance and work capacity. We don't sell our program as a weight loss program, but, rather, as a fitness enhancement program.

    October 24, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Reply to this comment

    • Anonymous

      PJ - Thanks for chiming in on this buddy. I was really reluctant to go off on a rant about this, as I felt I was opening myself to public scrutiny, but it's nice to know that there are other professionals of your quality out there who feel the same as I do.

      October 24, 2011 at 8:21 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Wells

    Tony-- A nit pick: The expression is "All for naught." ( "Naught" meaning zero or nothing.) I tell you this because you are a terrific, natural writer with a lot of credibility...and a lot of followers. And you don't want to teach them to talk wrong.

    October 24, 2011 at 5:40 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Penny

    Inadequate water intake is probably my worst health habit. I was just thinking today that my forehead might not look like a freaking desert if I drank more water. I'm on it. Also found a solution to getting the your blog to load correctly for me.

    October 26, 2011 at 11:03 am | Reply to this comment

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