I'm sure a lot of you took economics back in the day - either in college or high school (or both). I don't know about you, but one concept that stuck in my mind - besides the fact that one of my professors was a ridiculously annoying Yankees fan - was that of opportunity cost. Rather than define it myself and risk missing an important component, I'll defer to Wikipedia:
"Opportunity cost or economic opportunity loss is the value of the next best alternative forgone as the result of making a decision. Opportunity cost analysis is an important part of a company's decision-making processes but is not treated as an actual cost in any financial statement. The next best thing that a person can engage in is referred to as the opportunity cost of doing the best thing and ignoring the next best thing to be done.
"Opportunity cost is a key concept in economic because it implies the choice between desirable, yet mutually exclusive results. It is a calculating factor used in mixed markets which favour social change in favour of purely individualistic economics. It has been described as expressing 'the basic relationship between scarcity and choice.' The notion of opportunity cost plays a crucial part in ensuring that scarce resources are used efficiently. Thus, opportunity costs are not restricted to monetary or financial costs: the real cost of output forgone, lost time, swag, pleasure or any other benefit that provides utility should also be considered opportunity costs."
I see opportunity cost all the time in the world of training - both in clients/athletes and their trainers/coaches.
On the fitness side of things, we know there are certainly exercise modalities that yield more effective results than others in the least amount of time. In fact, this was the entire premise behind Alwyn Cosgrove's Hierarchy of Fat Loss article.
If you want to get stronger, bigger, and more athletic, you're better off doing squats than you are leg extensions.
If you only have an hour to exercise and your goal is to get stronger, drop body fat, and improve your overall fitness, then you're probably better off skipping the Hip-Hop class and instead going to the gym to do:
5 minutes foam rolling
All of these modalities can be individualized, whereas a group exercise class is more one-size-fits-all. So, if you have imbalances or injury concerns, the individualization is a major benefit.
Plus, the added benefit is that you're much less likely to get tortured on by your friends if you lift heavy stuff and push the sled than you are with Hip-Hop class. Just throwing it out there. That's just a purely hypothetical example, though...
You'll see a lot of really business-savvy trainers who are always reading personal development books, but never actually pick up a book or attend a seminar to learn how to train people. They are really just good salespeople in revealing and/or tight workout clothes. In fact, if you search Google Images for "personal trainer," photos like this are just about all that you get!
The opportunity cost of their time is that they could have spent time becoming better trainers instead of just prioritizing something at which they're already effective. Or, perhaps they're better off hiring a good trainer to take that duty over so that they can best leverage their selling.
Likewise, you'll see some trainers who are great at assessment, programming, coaching, and getting results, but clueless on the business side of things. These people need to be reading more business books and attending seminars on how to run a business effectively. And, as with the previous case, they should consider collaborating with someone who has good business know-how so that they can leverage their strengths. I actually do a lot of this myself at Cressey Performance; while I'm about 80/20 training/business, having Pete as our full-time business guy allows me to spend more time specializing in various contexts to expand our market segment.
Just some food for thought. I'd encourage you to look at what you do on a daily basis, and consider the concept of opportunity cost as it relates to your fitness and professional development. I know I do it all the time.
New Blog ContentThings I Learned from Smart People: Installment 1Random Friday ThoughtsThings I Learned from Smart People: Installment 2
Have a great week!
At the presenters' Q&A in Long Beach a few weekends ago, one of the questions posed to me (as the "young guy") was "how did you get to where you are at such a young age?"
I gave a response about getting my 10,000 hours (Outliers reference)in early in my career thanks to some chance occurences that worked in my favor as well as some excellent opportunities to surround myself with very bright people. And, of course, I'm a workaholic, so I put a lot of time toward these opportunities. Mike Boyle referred to me as the "Doogie Howser" of the industry, and I can say that a lot of this comes more easily to me just because I love it so much.
However, after the roundtable wrapped up, my fiancee and I got to chatting about the question at dinner that night about how I am so incredibly "niched" and specialized in my chosen field that it shouldn't come as a surprise that I'm where I am today. I mean, I...
a) don't know how to drive a manual transmission
b) am an average cook (at best) and let Anna do all the grocery shopping
c) don't manage my own brokerage account or IRA or do my own taxes
d) always seem to gash myself on the shins every time I try to empty the dishwasher
e) have put off using my new laptop for three months because I haven't had time to learn the subtle changes that went into effect with Microsoft Office 2007 (I have 2000 now)
Homer Simpson once said, "How is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain. Remember when I took that home winemaking course, and I forgot how to drive?"
I think he kind of hit the nail on the head. Luckily, it seems to be working out okay for me...
1. I work about 315 days per year at Cressey Performance, so when I can get a weekday off, it's pretty darn special - and that's the case today. I got in a great squatting session last night, so I don't feel quite so bad about staying home today to sit on my duff and catch up on writing, programming, reading, and planning Tony's Sweet 16 Party (he's 32, so we're going to have double the fun with both Hannah Montana and the Jonas Brothers as themes; isn't he lucky?). Actually, it won't be that exciting; the goal is to get all of the following done before noon (and I'm writing this at 7:13am):
a. this blog
b. the first two blogs for next week
c. one tag-along manual for our new products
d. five programs
e. some emails
f. reading with any time that's left over
I'm hoping that by mentioning all of this to you that it will make me more accountable to going into tunnel-vision-mode to get it all done. We shall see...
2. Congratulations to Chad Jenkins of Kennesaw St. - and now the Toronto Blue Jays, who signed a good ol' $1.359 million contract on Wednesday after being drafted in the first round back in June. Chad's been an incredibly hard worker on my programs and deserves all the success that comes his way. Nice work, buddy!
3. Here's a pretty good articleabout why eggs are actually GOOD for you. I say "pretty good" not because I think it's new information to those of us in the know, but because it comes from a registered dietitian in a mainstream publication, who are normally brainwashed to adhere to stupid guidelines. Kudos to Yahoo on this one, but I'm sorry to say that Dr. John Berardi and others have been preaching this for over a decade.
4. Here is a landmark study on how athletes have gotten taller, heavier, and faster during the past century. You can tell that the study was done by an engineer, because any strength coach could have easily told him that this was the case because resistance training and better nutrition habits were implemented over the course of that time.
5. Right now, in addition to a more geeky textbook, I'm reading Blunder, by Zachary Shore, on Gray Cook's recommendation. So far, so good, although I haven't gotten too far into it (hopefully will this weekend).
Males and Females: Similar, but Different
During my weekly Pubmed scan, I came across this study the other day:
The Core and Hip in Soccer Athletes Compared by Gender
It seemed like a good fit for this week's newsletter for a few reasons.
First, we always hear that men and women should train exactly the same. While there are certainly a lot of similarities between how I personally approach the training of men and women, as I noted in a previous newsletter, there are also a lot of important considerations specific to females. This study highlights on such consideration: increased hip internal rotation as compared with their male counterparts.
Ask anyone who has ever trained male soccer or hockey players or powerlifters, and if they know anything about assessment, they'll tell you that a hip internal rotation deficit (HIRD) is a huge problem. It can lead to knee, hip, or lower back pain and have a markedly negative impact on movement. Improving length of the hip external rotators - with flexibility drills like the knee-to-knee stretch - is of paramount importance.
Well, those exact same drills would actually increase the typical female's injury risk. Excessive hip internal rotation and knee valgus are just a few of the many reasons (also including the hip abductor and core control weaknesses outlined in this study) that most females have more anterior cruciate ligament injuries than males.
The lesson could end there - but it won't. Why?
I had a female distance runner in for an evaluation on Saturday, and she had very poor hip internal rotation. A flexibility drill that would be inappropriate for the female "masses" is a great fit for her. Cases like this make it very clear that it's important to assess and not just assume.
This is why I'm so excited about the impending release of our new product, which outlines a series of self-assessments and corrective exercises one can use to pinpoint these issues and address them in a targeted fashion. Keep an eye out for an announcement on its release in the weeks to come.
Feedback on Maximum Strength
"This program took me to the next level of performance with my lifting. After using a variety of programs focusing on fat-loss and hypertrophy and having limited results from them it was great to see such solid increases in strength and physique changes from the program. In addition, the program focus on dynamic flexibility and foam rolling has resulted in an injury free training cycle and major flexibility and posture improvements. I would highly recommend this program and book to anyone wanting to make real progress with strength, performance and body composition."
Dan Hibbert - Calgary, AlbertaIncreased body weight by 14 pounds, broad jump by seven inches, box squat by 80 pounds, bench press by 30 pounds, deadlift by 70 pounds, and 3-rep max chin-up by 27.5 pounds.
Today is the fourth part of a guest blog series from Eric Talmant. In case you missed them, check out Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.
Building Vibrant Health: Part 4
By: Eric Talmant
There are several options for getting started with Bill Wolcott's Metabolic Typing®. The first option, what I would refer to as the "Entry Level" option, is to buy The Metabolic Typing® Diet. This involves taking the self-test, which allows the reader to identify his or her general Metabolic Type® category and follow the appropriate Metabolic Type® dietary recommendations. It also provides additional self-tests to further customize the diet.
The advantage to this option is that it involves a minor financial commitment, and it is certainly much better for you in terms of following a diet plan rather than just arbitrarily eating 'healthy foods'. I feel so strongly about this that I believe there really is no reason every single person should not know their general Metabolic Type®. Once you know your general type, it is very much like turning on a flashlight in a dark room. Since you know what foods you should generally be eating to push body chemistry in the proper direction, you can actually begin to build health. The very first thing you will notice is improvement in energy levels; followed shortly by the disappearance of food cravings. For a cost of probably $10 or less for a used copy, it just does not make any sense to me NOT to at least take this basic first step.
The second option is to take the Advanced Metabolic Typing® Test from a certified Metabolic Typing® advisor. You are certainly welcome to take the test from me, or if you feel more comfortable working with a local Metabolic Typing® advisor, then visit this link for a list of advisors in your area.
The Metabolic Typing® Test offered by Certified Metabolic Typing® Advisors is the most specific test you can take to determine your Metabolic Type®.
The HealthExcel System of Metabolic Typing® analyzes 11 Fundamental Homeostatic Controls (FHC) to determine and define one's Metabolic Type®. These FHCs are:
1. Autonomic Nervous System (NeuroEndocrine-Sympathetic/Balanced/Parasympathetic)
2. CarboOxidative (Fast/Slow/Mixed Oxidation)
3. Steroidal Hormone Balance (Pregnenolone/DHEA/Androgens/Estrogens/Progesterone/Cortisol)
4. Neurotransmitter Balance (Excitatory/Inhibitory)
5. LipoOxidative (Anabolic/Catabolic)
6. Electrolyte (Stress/Insufficiency)
7. Acid/Alkaline (6 different kinds of imbalances)
8. Endocrine Type
9. Blood Type
10. Constitutional Type
11. Prostaglandin Balance
The Metabolic Typing® Test is the most accurate method of determining Metabolic Types® available in the world today. It is the result of an evolutionary process spanning nearly 30 years, and is based on the input of thousands of practitioners around the world and hundreds of thousands of users.
This online test contains a series of questions about physical traits, diet-related traits, and psychological traits that will identify your dominance and sub-dominance, as well as your endocrine type. There are 9 possible Metabolic Type® combinations involving the pairing of the Autonomic and Oxidative systems. Within each type, one Fundamental Homeostatic Control will be dominant and dictates how nutrients behave in your body.
Knowing your dominance and sub-dominance will guide you in choosing the best foods for your type. The endocrine system plays a role in shaping external physical features and therefore should be considered as you select the best foods for you from the approved food list. Consulting with your Certified Metabolic Typing® Advisor will help you fine-tune your meals for optimal health.
(Example of Part of one Metabolic Type's® Food List that you would get with the Advanced Test)
If you do not have access to a computer, the test can be mailed to you and returned to your advisor for data entry.
Services with the Metabolic Typing® Test often include:
The most specific, up-to-date color coded diet plan that Metabolic Typing® has for each type, that clearly shows which foods are ideal, neutral, least desirable, and to be avoided for your particular Metabolic Type®,
Many more documents on how to integrate the Metabolic Typing® lifestyle into your own,
Sample menus for your type
These resources are extremely helpful in putting you on the right path to a Metabolic Typing® lifestyle. Consultation sessions are also available with the Metabolic Typing® Program, so contact you advisor to find out their rates. In my practice, I have found that it is not uncommon for someone to take the test and put all of the pieces together for a relatively inexpensive initial investment (on my site this whole package is only $50). However, when it comes to fine tuning one's diet and supplements, a Metabolic Typing® advisor sometimes can make all of the difference. Try the program out for yourself at first and see how comfortable you are with the whole thing. Then, decide whether working with an advisor would be right for you.
Finally, if you would like to really get serious about building and maintaining vibrant health, then most Metabolic Typing ® advisors offer what can be referred to as a "Comprehensive" Metabolic Typing® program. Comprised of the Metabolic Typing® Program, in addition to the Signet MRT food sensitivity blood test, the BioHealth 205 saliva functional adrenal stress profile, the BioHealth 101 urine metabolic assessment profile, a Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis from Trace Elements, Inc. and if necessary Neurotransmitter testing for the brain. This program analyzes all 11 Fundamental Homeostatic Controls and makes appropriate the Metabolic Type® diet, Metabolic Type® supplementation and detoxification, exercise, and lifestyle recommendations.
The Comprehensive Metabolic Typing® Program is designed as a complete lifestyle and advanced health-building program. It is intended as an "optimum health-building program" to help your body rebuild and regain its health, if you've lost it, or maximize your potential and keep your good health, if you already have it.The program typically includes the following components:
Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis from Trace Elements, Inc.
All lab fees for the MRT, 205, 101, and HTMA
Neurotransmitter testing for the brain (if necessary)
Analysis and interpretation of all test results
Customized food list
2 months of email and telephonic MTA support
This is absolutely the most individualized and advanced program for building health that caters to your unique biochemistry that you will find anywhere.
Now that you all have a basic understanding of the three main options for getting started in the Metabolic Typing® lifestyle, I encourage you to go out and do some more research on your own and perhaps contact a local advisor. Begin by asking questions about their services. Then, describe to them where you currently are with your health and diet including your level of commitment. Your advisor will be able to recommend the best options for you.
In Part 5, I will discuss some of the tests mentioned in the Comprehensive Metabolic Typing® program, describe what each one "does", and discuss why they are important pieces in the puzzle of building and maintaining vibrant health.
About the Author
Eric Talmant is a top lightweight powerlifter and has a "passion for all things nutrition." A 1996 graduate of the University of Evansville, Eric is a certified Metabolic Typing® advisor. Talmant is certified to offer the Advanced Metabolic Typing® Test as well as order blood work (the Signet MRT Test, U.S. BioTek ELISA IgG allergy test, the High Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein heart health test); as well as the BioHealth Diagnostics Adrenal and Hormone saliva test Profiles.
Eric has competed in the ADFPA, NASA, AAPF, APF, APA, the WPO, and the Raw Unity Meet. He holds the APF Florida state men's open equipped squat record of 678 pounds. He has been ranked in the top in the 75K class among all raw lifters in the United States for the past two years and he was a top equipped lifter in the two years before that.
His best equipped lifts are a 683 pound squat, 391 pound bench press, and a 650 pound deadlift in the 75K weight class. His best raw lifts to date are 485 pound squat without knee wraps, 290 pound bench press, and 635 pound deadlift.
He is also the founder and contest director of the Raw Unity Meet, which experienced great success in 2008 and 2009.
Talmant brings a unique skill set and 16 years of nutritional experience to his sponsors BMF Sports, Ultra Life, Inc., Critical Bench, and Titan Support Systems. He lives in rural Spring Hill, Florida, and can be reached through his web site at www.EricTalmant.com.
A few good reading recommendations for this week...
Sucker Punch: Alwyn Cosgrove - This is a fantastic interview at T-Muscle with one of my best friends and mentors in the industry. Alwyn calls it like he sees it (which is sadly becoming less and less common in this industry). He even gives some schmuck named "Cressey" a shout-out in the interview.
The Influence of Strength and Power on Muscular Endurance Test Performance - This recent study from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research confirms what we already know - but also gives a quantifiable number for which we can shoot when training for something like the 225 bench test - or even in dealing with endurance athletes. Here are the sentences I like the most:
"...the current research suggests that the initial goal of a training program to enhance muscular endurance should be to increase maximum strength to a point that the specific load being lifted during repeated actions is less than 40% of the individuals' 1RM. Subsequent training should then focus on maintaining maximal strength levels and improving local muscular endurance in the specific task."
So, if your goal is to get better on the 225 bench press test, unless you've got a 562.5-pound bench press, it's still going to help you to train for maximum strength.
And, more significantly to what we see on a daily basis, you need to get fit to run, not run to get fit. A 200+ pound woman who takes up jogging as her initial form of exercise to lose weight is just asking to get hurt because she is far too weak for the load (at least 800 pounds of ground reactive forces) that is imposed on each leg with each stride.
Someone like this would be better off focusing on programs like Afterburn or Warp Speed Fat Loss - which focus on using resistance training, interval training, and nutritional modifications to get unwanted weight off folks.
It's impressive how I brought this entire blog post back to Alwyn in a big circle, huh?
Back to the Friday randomness...
1. A few weeks ago, Matt Fitzgerald (my co-author from Maximum Strength) and I filmed a series of "Monday Minute" segements for Competitor.com. Basically, it's a weekly one-minute exercise demonstration and description along with the rationale for that exercise. Here's this week's:
Wasn't that fun?
2. One of the resounding themes at this past weekend's Perform Better Summit in Long Beach was "invest in yourself." It's no coincidence that all the presenters at this year's event agreed that devoting time, effort, and funds to continuing education was a huge part of their success. In a dynamic field like fitness/strength and conditioning, if you're not getting better, you're falling behind.
Alwyn Cosgrove wrote a good blog the other day about how he and his wife Rachel have used this mindset to establish one of the best staffs of trainers in the country. Likewise, Mike Reinold published an essential list of the best titles in physical therapy, athletic training, strength and conditioning, manual therapy, etc. here last week. Just being around guys like Alwyn and the rest of the presenters makes you want to get better and better, and reading stuff like this from Mike reaffirms that mindset. Not coincidentally, this weekend preceded my twice-a-year book buying shopping spree. I purchased ten books online last night and can't wait to start devouring them.
So, I guess the question for the weekend is, "What are you doing to get better?" Let's hear what you are going to do in the next week to set yourself apart in your chosen field. Are you going to read a book? Attend a seminar? Watch a colleague in practice or call him/her to talk shop? If you're not getting better, you're falling behind.
3. This is the most flat-out atrocious piece of journalism I've seen in my entire life:
Why Exercise Won't Make You Thin
Talk about skewing research to tell the story to which you're clearly biased in order to generate some controversy! There is no mention of excess post-exercise oxygen consumption or the difference among different types of exercise (steady-state cardio, interval training, resistance training). There isn't any discussion of visceral versus subcanteous fat loss.
And, it isn't that exercise won't make you thinner; it's that exercise combined with increased calories may not make you thinner. In other words, exercise is good, but morons are bad.
This is a perfect example of a journalist who clearly knows NOTHING about exercise interviewing a bunch of experts and then presenting one side of a story without making some very important qualifying statements (trust me, I've seen this multiple times before when freelance writers have interviewed me for stories for mainstream magazines). In this writer's case, those qualifying statements should be:
a. "Research has shown that exercise in conjunction with a maintenance or reduction in calories does increase fat loss as compared to maintaining or reducing calories alone."
b. "I really am in no way qualified to write this article. In fact, I'm probably not even smart enough to turn on a treadmill, so they just put me on this hamster wheel in my cubicle to make me feel somewhat qualified to discuss exercise."
Honestly, I could go on all day ranting and raving about this, but such rubbish journalism isn't even worth my time. Instead, I'd just encourage you to give up Time Magazine altogether for publishing such crap. I know I will be doing so.
Have a good weekend.
You probably noticed that there wasn't a blog post on Tuesday, and I'm only now getting around to this at 9PM on Wednesday night. It's because my fiancee and I returned from California early this morning after five days of fun - including the Perform Better Summit in Long Beach, my staff in-service for Alwyn and Rachel Cosgrove's staff at their facility in Newhall, and a visit to my buddy Scot Prohaska and his place down in Huntington Beach. Needless to say, it was a very busy trip - but that's not to say that we didn't have some fun. Muscle Beach, anyone?
Don't worry, though; I actually did get a bit of relaxation in. Just give me a day to get back in the groove, dig myself out of the giant landfill that is my email inbox, and I'll be kicking out new content in no time.