Miscellaneous Miscellany Monday: Upcoming Speaking Engagement, Mastery, and #CPfamily

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1.  I’ve got some pretty cool news to start off the week.  I’m heading home!  Well, to be more specific:  I was invited back to my alma mater – SUNY Cortland (which is ten minutes from my hometown) – to speak to a group of exercise science majors and graduate students.

The game plan is to arrive on Monday, April 1st, and after kissing a bunch of babies and attending the ticker-tape parade that’s going to be held in my honor (I think there may even be a statue unveiling as well), I’m going to be hanging out on campus the entire day.

I’ll be speaking to one exercise science class and discussing what it really takes to become a fitness professional.  Namely, lots and lots and lots of hours of hard work and understanding that you’re probably not going to be training professional athletes on day one.

Then I’m almost 99% positive that they’ll be an hour or two window of lifting heavy things, where I’m sure I’ll put on my coaching cap for a bit.

This will be followed by a possible cameo appearance at The Dark Horse (which, coincidentally, is the popular student hang-out where girls completely ignored me back in the day).

Then, later in the afternoon, will be the BIG event where I’ll speak for 2-3 hours and dig a little deeper on the whole notion of assessment, functional anatomy, and how to design effective “corrective” programs around common injuries and dysfunctions while still eliciting a training effect.

Thinking back to my own undergrad experience and where I felt my major knowledge gaps were…..assessment (and by extension, functional anatomy) was an area where I felt I wasn’t remotely prepared.

The bicep tendon thingamajiggy does what now?

To that end, I’ve been given the thumbs up to open this event up to the public, so anyone reading who lives in or around the central New York area, has a few hours to kill, and wants to spend them hanging out with me, please contact Justin Kompf at justin.kompf@cortland.edu for more details.

2.  For some reason people are curious as to what I’m currently reading and I’m constantly getting emails asking me for recommendations.

One book that I’ve dived into recently is Mastery by Robert Greene.

Written in the same vain as Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers or Talent is Overrated by Geoff Colvin, the premise of Mastery is that there’s really no such thing as innate talent, and that at the end of the day it comes down to putting in your 10,000 hours like everyone else.

What’s different about this book, however, is that Greene uses examples such as Charles Darwin, Henry Ford, and Temple Grandin to demonstrate that there’s a “master” inside all of us.

In many ways, the one thing that prevents us from succeeding and realizing our true potential is, well, us!  We just need to learn to get out of our own way.

Anyone addicted to behavorial economics such as myself will devour this book instantly.

3.  Speaking of Malcolm Gladwell, word on the street is that his new book, David and Goliath:  The Triumph of the Underdog hits the book shelves in October 2013. Likewise, another favorite author of mine, Michael Pollan (of The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food fame), will be releasing a new book later on this year as well.

After doing a little searching, I found this quote from Pollan himself:

“It’s about the transformation of food through cooking methods such as baking, fermentation, and cooking with liquids or heat. So it focuses on the science of cooking, the classical elements; I’ve been doing research about fire, for instance. It should be out in early 2013.”

4.  And since I’m on the topic of stuff I’m recommending, I can’t talk about books without making at least one reference to a movie.

Everyone who reads my blog knows I LOVE watching movies.  Sure, I like the “popcorn movie” flair of things like The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, and anything dealing with Star Wars.

I have a Y chromosome so that shouldn’t come as a surprise.  Pretty much anything with explosions, ninjas, zombies, or Gwenyth Paltrow’s character dying is cool in my book.

But I do have a softer, more movie-snobbish side of me that almost always prefers the independent, artsy-fartsy movies.

You are talking to a guy who went and saw both Brokeback Mountain and The King’s Speech on his own accord, sans kicking and screaming. 


Yep – that happened.

One movie which Lisa and I sat down and watched recently was The Perks of Being a Wallflower:

Based off the book of the same name, the guy who wrote the book – Stephen Chbosky –  also directed the movie; and for a first time director, he rocked it!

It’s definitely a “darker” movie compared to some, but for some reason I’m always drawn to those types anyways.

I think one of the reasons this movie appealed to me so much was because 1) it’s based in the early 90’s, and 2) the main character is more on the introverted side, and as such has a hard time fitting in in high school.  But I’m sure many of you reading can sorta commiserate with that, right?

Anyways, for those looking for a quirky, well acted, well-written, somewhat on the darker side (towards the end) movie, I’d definitely give this one a try.

And yes, that’s Hermione (Emma Watson, in her first “American” role)……;o)

5. Congrats to my boys – Bret Contreras, Ben Bruno, John Romaniello, Matt McGorry, PJ Striet (and others) who made Shape Magazine’s list of 50 Hottest Trainers in America.

** Credit to Ben Bruno (#34) for providing quite possibly the best photo in human history.

6. And lastly:  there are a lot of things that make Cressey Performance successful.  Sure, we have a top notch staff that can coach with the best of them and offer unparalleled programming to boot.  But I think that goes without saying.

One of the lesser known – albeit equally as important – factors, is the sense of camaraderie and “family” we’ve gone out of our way to establish amongst our athletes and clients alike.

As an example, both Pete and Eric are heading down to Florida later this week (I’m heading down a week after them) to visit several of the spring training camps to check in with our athletes.  Moreover, they’re also heading to Miami to support CP athletes Tim Collins and Steve Cishek as they represent Tean USA in the World Baseball Classic.

Along those same lines, it’s not unheard of to see CP staff members attend games of our high school and collegiate athletes throughout the year.  Extending it a bit further, we also attend weddings, birthdays, BBQs, and other “life events” of various CP clients.

In short, we go out of our way to demonstrate that we care and that we’re “invested” in the lives of our clients.

At first glance it may seem trivial, but something as simple as asking a client how their kids are doing or even just asking them how their weekend was can go a long ways.

As much as people come to CP to improve their strength and performance or to finally address that nagging shoulder or back problem, I believe a large reason why people consistently come back is that we’re also good dudes to just hang out with.

And this isn’t to say that this phenomenon is unique to us.  I think the same can be said for any strength and conditioning facility for that matter.

We have some people who will literally spend hours at the facility after they train hanging out, talking shop, and busting my chops for putting techno on.

To which I say: Deal with it…..;o)

To give you a vague idea of some of the shenanigans that go down, I made a friendly bet with one of our high-school athletes the other day.

To his credit he’s worked his tail off this off-season – to the tune of adding on a solid 20+ lbs of weight and setting himself up for a very successful season on the diamond.

We made the bet that if he were to double his homerun count from last season (3), that I would wash his car while wearing a bikini top.

Yeah, I’m really sorry for that visual.

If he doesn’t double his HR total, and hit at least six, he has to sing Carly Rae Jepsen’s Call Me Maybe in front of the entire staff and whoever else is at the facility that day (which, trust me, will be A LOT of people).

And I don’t mean just stand there and sing it.  He has to give a Broadway worthy performance and siiiiiing it.

Either way it should make for a nice viral video.

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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.

I don’t share email information. Ever. Because I’m not a jerk.

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