Home 2009 September

A Sweet Deal for the Manual Therapists in the Crowd

Last year, I wrote a newsletter on my awesome experience at Dr. William Brady's biomechanics course in Boston, MA.  It was without a doubt one of the most beneficial events I've attended in recent years (in spite of being the only non-manual therapist in attendance). It's that time of year again; Dr. Brady's 2009 event is scheduled for October 17-18 (in Boston again).  If you treat patients, it's well worth the investment. You can sign up HERE. Now, Dr. Brady also has a new online subscription that's loaded with similarly great content.  It's already a great deal, but to sweeten it even further, he hooked me up with a discount for my readers who plan to attend.  Here's what he's got for you (straight from the man himself): I went ahead and set up a discount for the guys who sign up from your site. The professionals can get $75 off and students can get $49 off the regular price of $180 and $118 - so it ends up as $105 and $69 per month, respectively. Professional (anyone not in school) can type "cresseypro" and students currently in school or graduated in the last six months (yes, we check) "cresseystudent" in the promotion code area. Definitely check it out; you can get more information at www.IntegrativeDiagnosis.
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Alwyn Cosgrove on “The Evolution of Personal Training”

Alwyn Cosgrove has been a great friend and mentor to me for almost five years now.  I can directly attribute a lot of the success I've had to the fantastic advice he's given me on the business side of things.  Since Alwyn just released a DVD (of a seminar I had the privilege of attending), I thought it'd be the perfect time to chat with him about the new product and some other thoughts he has on the state of the fitness industry.  If you make a living training clients, this is must-view material.


EC: In your experience, what are the biggest mistakes aspiring fitness professionals make? AC: Here are my top four: 1) They don't understand that they are running a business!!!! Most fitness professionals are running a hobby and trying to make money at it. That will never work long-term. Being a great trainer is imperative in today's market. You aren't going to succeed unless your skill-set is of a high enough level. However, it's not just training skills - that's only part of the big picture - the "client fulfillment "portion. It's also business skills. Michael Gerber - the author of The E-myth - calls this the seven essential skills: Leadership, Marketing, Money, Management, Lead Generation, Lead Conversion and Client Fulfillment.


You have to understand how to lead and motivate your team: leadership. You have to understand marketing, which results in lead generation. You have to have good sales skills - which converts leads to customers. And you have to be able to understand cash flow and operating expenses before you can create a profit. You need to have mindset AND skill-set before you can be successful. But skill-set consists of seven areas. Make sure you are studying each area (not just training) equally. 2) They don't understand the client mindset. Ask yourself these questions if you're a trainer: Do you think a good fitness professional is a valuable investment? Do you think a good fitness professional can get someone to their goals faster than they can get there on their own? Are you personally in the greatest physical condition of your life right now? Are you ecstatic with your own strength levels and conditioning? I bet that 80-90% of those who answered will say - yes, yes, no, no. So - extrapolating from that - what is YOUR trainers name? Why did you hire him or her? I bet most trainers don't even have training partners - never mind a coach to help them with programming and getting to the next level. In other words - if you tell me right now that you DON'T have a trainer - despite not being in the best shape of your life, not being ecstatic at your own fitness, and believing that a good trainer can get you there faster than you can alone, and is valuable --- then deep down - you don't believe that a trainer IS valuable. What I'm getting at - is WHY, despite all the knowledge and beliefs and goals, most trainers haven't hired (or used) another trainer to help them? It's the same reason prospects aren't hiring you -- they aren't in great shape, and maybe don't know (as we do) how much a trainer can help? Lawyers hire other lawyers. Barbers hire other barbers. Doctors see other doctors. So list the reasons why you didn't hire a trainer personally. That's why people don't hire you.  And that's the WHY we need to figure out for your next career move: the client mindset. "If you can see John Smith through John Smith's eyes, you can sell John Smith what John Smith buys." 3) They Don't Create TOMA. Have you ever had a client tell you that "I'm definitely going to hire you as my trainer, but I am going to lose ten pounds first!" I'm sure you have. But while we think it's crazy, it's a sign that you don't have weight loss TOMA in your area. TOMA is Top Of Mind Awareness. Are you the first person or business that jumps into a client's mind when they think "weight loss?" Or "sports conditioning?" Quick, name a soft drink company. I bet it was either Coca-Cola or Pepsi. What is the number one sneaker brand? I bet you came up with one of three names: Nike, Adidas, or Reebok.


Your goal with all of your marketing is to position yourself, in your area, for your target market as the "top of mind awareness" obvious choice for that particular topic. A lot of fitness businesses get hurt here by dividing their efforts and marketing to different demographics - and that's ok - but two demographics should mean two different campaigns - not two "half" campaigns. What do you want to be known for? This is something that you've actually done very well, Eric (probably before you actually had your business systems in place). Think baseball conditioning in Boston and Cressey Performance springs to mind. 4. They don't find mentors and coaches for the business side, and they don't mastermind with like-minded successful individuals. Okay, this is really two for one! Mentoring: "All successful individuals have coaches" - James Malinchak. Think about this: boxing and MMA are probably the ultimate "one-on-one" sports. Two guys, with no equipment (or even shirts!) face one another. But when you look back to the corner - there are usually three or more guys helping him. They include a coach (known as the "chief second") and several other teammates. To me, a mentor is nothing more than someone who is climbing or has climbed the mountain before you, and has reached back and is helping you up, way faster and easier than you can climb yourself. One of the fastest ways to success in any field is to find a mentor who will help you, and a "mastermind" group of likeminded people with whom to network. The key phrase there is "likeminded;" we've all had the situation of asking a family member or friend for feedback on a project and being shut down when they don't realize or understand the big picture. You need to be around people who are thinking the same way as you. Your mind is like a garden. Be careful what you plant in there. EC: That's fantastic stuff - and #4 certainly hits home for me, as you've been my primary mentor in getting my facility off the ground.  To that end, while all my education came via email exchanges between the two of us, you've now made it easier for folks to learn what's made you successful by introducing some products. Most recently, there is "The Evolution of Personal Training" DVD, and just a few months ago, you released "55 Fitness Business Tips for Success" book.  I've checked out each of them, and in my eyes, people should buy both!  However, can you go into a bit of detail on the difference between the two?


AC: The DVD is a live shoot of a presentation I did for Perform Better this year where I really go into detail about how to evolve your business in today's economy. The old methods of one-on-one training, weight-training-only workouts, and charging people for a "ten-pack" of sessions are just inadequate or outdated practices. I cover a few things in more detail - like transitioning into a semi-private model, repositioning yourself as a consultant as opposed to a "rep counter," and understanding the client or prospect mindset. If you don't understand that, you're dead in the water as a business owner. The book "55 Fitness Business Tips for Success" should have been titled "55 things that we did wrong when we opened our facility and somehow managed to survive, but make sure you don't repeat these!" It's kind of like a "pocket guide" to basic business tips for fitness professionals. And when I say "basic," I mean stuff everyone NEEDS to know and practice but usually don't! I tell my business coaching group to keep that book in their office and read a couple of pages every day to make sure you don't ignore anything crucial. EC: Thanks for the time, Alwyn. I'd strongly encourage those readers of mine in the fitness industry to check out these resources, as Alwyn's stuff is fantastic.  You can find out more and order at Alwyn's site.
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Combat Core Reloaded

Just a quick FYI for today's blog: Jim "Smitty" Smith is re-launching his Combat Core e-manual.  As some of you know, I think it's a fantastic product that I've heartily endorsed in the past.  You can read a full review I wrote HERE.

combatbook Anyway, with the relaunch, Jim's offering a ton of new bonuses - from articles to audio teleseminars.  Needless to say, it's a great product independent of these bonuses, so the deal is just even sweeter for now.  Check it out HERE.

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Random Friday Thoughts: 9/25/09

1. I started a little deadlift specialization program this week.  So far, it's beating me up like a rented mule - and this is just the introductory week.  I don't know if it will get me to 700, but at the very least, it'll prove whether deadlifts to excess really can kill someone.  I'll let you know how it goes.

(I still get a kick out of how disinterested the air conditioning repair guy in the background is during this video)

2.A big congratulations goes out to CP athlete Danny O'Connor, who ran his professional boxing record to 9-0 with a third round knockout on Thursday night.  I can honestly say that I've never seen anyone get knocked out with a body shot, but let's just say that this was one for the ages.  When his opponent actually regains the ability to speak, digest, and walk upright, I'm sure he'll agree.


Next up for Danny is a big fight on November 7 at the Hartford Civic Center, so we're back in the gym getting after it today.

3. My fiancee went to get her annual physical the other day, and because she started a new job with a new insurance plan, it was her first time with a new primary care doctor.  Since she knew bloodwork was going to be part of the drill, I had encouraged her to ask to get her Vitamin D levels checked.  The doctor replied with, "No, we won't do that.  You're not post-menopausal."

Are you serious????  Um, Vitamin D isn't just about bone health.  As Chris Shugart covered in a recent article, it has some pretty darn extensive roles in the body, and it's been established that a large chunk of the population has insufficient - if not deficient - levels of Vitamin D.

I find it fascinating that this doctor wouldn't hesitate to order cholesterol and glucose measurements for a second year in a row, yet would rigidly oppose testing for something that's a heck of a lot more useful (even in someone under the age of 30).

Not surprisingly, from what my fiancee (who is also a doctor) told me, she had a terrible bedside manner to go along with her complete lack of preparedness and openmindedness.  She even busted out the body mass index line with a female patient who deadlifts over 250 pounds and can do ten body weight chin-ups.  Women can have muscle, you know.

Needless to say, she is down one patient now.

4.  Here's a great, comprehensive article on antioxidants by John Romaniello and Joel Marion; it covers what works and what doesn't, and does so in an entertaining format: Movie Stars, Blockbuster Berries, and You

5. Chris Frankel from TRX is in town to do an in-service for our staff this morning.  We started using these just a few weeks ago and are excited to see all the new tricks and tips Chris has for them.  Check them out for yourself HERE.


Have a kick-ass weekend. This kid definitely will!

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Stuff You Should Read: 9/24/09

Here are a few good reads from a variety of disciplines: Organic vs. Kind of Organic vs. Wait, I'm Confused - This was a great blog post by Tony Gentilcore that tells you everything you ought to know (but might not want to know) about organic food. Clean Eating Gone Wrong - Another great post, this one from Dr. John Berardi.  It just goes to show you that being on the money with your nutrition can quickly and easily hit the fan. Blood and Chalk: Jim Wendler Talks Big Weights - Jim is a great dude and one of the most amusing guys you'll encounter in this industry; he's always got something funny, but incredibly valuable to say.  Check out this interview with him at T-Muscle.
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Looking for a Web Guy…

Never thought I'd turn this blog into a classified ad, but I'm looking for someone to design a few websites for me.  I'm technologically illiterate, but I know training and could certainly help you out on that front.  If you're up for creating a website and getting some free training programs written for you as part of the deal, please shoot me an email at ec@ericcressey.com. PS - For those of you who don't know anything about websites and derived absolutely no benefit from the previous paragraph, here is a kangaroo kicking a dude in a pond to brighten up your day.  Zing!

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“My Coach Says I Shouldn’t Lift…”

I got this question in person from the parent of a new athlete the other day and thought I'd turn it into a blog post, as I've received the email before on many occasions. Q: I read with great interest your blog on Crossfit for Baseball, but my question would be what your response would be to a coach that insists that baseball players shouldn't lift weights PERIOD?  My son's baseball coach is completely against it. A:  This is definitely going to be one of those "where to even begin" responses, but I'll do my best.  Rather than reinvent the wheel, I'll start with a quote directly from my e-book, The Truth About Unstable Surface Training: "...resistance training exercises performed on stable surfaces have been demonstrated effective in numerous research studies with respect to improving a variety of athletic qualities, including:
  • muscular strength (5)
  • power (5)
  • aerobic endurance (53)
  • running efficiency (54)
  • anaerobic endurance (5)
  • rate of force development (66,90)
  • hypertrophy (5)
  • reactive strength (66,90)
  • agility (47)
These qualities transfer to improved performance in a variety of sporting tasks, including vertical jump (74), throwing velocity (79), sprinting speed (22), and running economy (53)." (FYI, these numbers are references from the e-book, so if any of you would like the exact studies, please just request them in the comments section) Now, I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that your coach IS NOT looking to field a team that lacks agility, sprinting speed, jumping prowess, throwing velocity, rate of force development (think of a catcher's pop time).  In fact, even those who are clinging to a worthless training initiative like long-distance running for pitchers can get closer to their chosen training effect (as silly as it is) from lifting! Taking this a step further, we know that resistance training can enhance immune and endocrine function, so players will get sick less often and feel better when game time rolls around. And, just as importantly, remember that resistance training is one of the foundations of modern physical therapy.  Would your coach tell a physical therapist that resistance training as part of a rehabilitation program was inappropriate? Of course not!  How in the world it is within his scope of practice to tell a kid that lifting is bad for him - either in terms of increasing injury potential or decreasing performance - is completely beyond me.  Throwing a baseball is the single-fastest motion in sports; you simply don't decelerate 7,500 degrees/second of humeral internal rotation without at least a bit of muscular contribution. And, let's not forget that an ideal strength and conditioning program encompasses a lot more than just strength exercises. It includes good self massage work (foam rollers, etc), mobility training, sprinting/agility/plyos, and much, much more.  It begins with a detailed assessment to determine what mobility or stability deficits may lead to injury down the road.  It may also be the only avenue through which an athlete learns proper nutrition. The fundamental problem is that many baseball coaches think of garbage like this when they hear the words "lifting weights:"

Can someone please tell me how my "biceps will develop" with this?  Only at "Expert Village" does the biceps EXTEND the elbow.  Yikes.


The take-home message is that a lot of coaches think that lifting programs are either a) a waste of time or b) flat-out dangerous.  Sadly, as the videos above demonstrate, in many cases, they're right. However, completely contraindicating lifting can really stunt the development of players and predispose them to injuries.  Throwing is dangerous when done incorrectly, and so are sprinting, fielding ground balls, and taking batting practice.  We don't contraindicate those, though, do we?  We educate athletes on how to participate in these training initiatives properly.

I can tell you that at Cressey Performance, each one of our pro baseball players lifts four times a week, throws the medicine ball 2-3 times a week, and does supplemental movement training 2-3 days per week during the off-season - and they continue lifting during the season (at a lower frequency and volume).  This is true of both position players and pitchers.

Our high school guys get after it as well; I don't know of many other private sector facilities in the country who have eight high school guys throwing 90mph+ before the age of 18 (with several more right on the cusp of this milestone).  Something is working.

And, beyond just the direct training benefits of this system, there is something to be said for the camaraderie strength and conditioning does for teammates on top of regular practices.  The fact that kids actually requested this says volumes!

Hopefully, blogs like this - and bright coaches who are "in the know" - will help to spread the word about what safe, effective training is - and where to get it.

Sign-up Today for our FREE Baseball Newsletter and Receive a Copy of the Exact Stretches used by Cressey Performance Pitchers after they Throw!
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Random Friday Thoughts: 9/18/09

The theme of this week's random thoughts is "questions" (even though I know that having a theme makes it pretty non-random). 1. Yesterday, one of our high school guys was throwing - or tossing, I should say - the medicine ball with less than stellar velocity.  So, I went over and pinned a $20 bill to the floor with a dumbbell, and told him that if he broke a medicine ball, he could keep it.  He didn't break one, but at the very least, it got him throwing the ball harder. Seconds later, I hear a thud - only to look over and see that my fiancee had dropped a dumbbell directly on one of our stopwatches. Her question?  "Do I get $20 for breaking a stopwatch?" Sorry, honey, breaking stopwatches doesn't get you the $20 when you already have access to my credit cards and checkbook. 2. Do you watch The Biggest Loser? If so, you have to read this blog post by Robert do Remedios. 3. Can someone tell me why this kid doesn't just put down the controller? Weird.

5. Was that video just woefully inappropriate? 6. Does anyone think there is actually hope for Matt Forte as a legitimate fantasy football running back this year? He really let me down in Week 1 (five points, and I lost by one), and I have a bad feeling that it's going to be a looooonnnnggg year in this regard.  Some #4 overall pick... 7. For the record, I think it's a disgrace if Zach Greinke doesn't win the AL Cy Young award.  He'll be punished because he plays for a team that is isn't very good (four of his eight losses have been in games where the Royals were shut-out), but seriously, how can you ignore these numbers? He's got 244 strikeouts and just 44 walks in 210 innings right now.  Filthy numbers. 8. Have you watched Mike Boyle's Advanced Program Design DVD set?  I'm in the process of updating my resources page, and I came across it.  It made me realize what a great product it was, yet how it seems to get overlooked.  It's definitely worth checking out, if you haven't already.


Have a great weekend!

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Thursday Poll: Are Some Athletes Really THIS Stupid?

One of my pro guys came in wearing these socks the other day.  Look closely and you'll see that they're actually labeled "R" and "L."


I've heard of dumbing things down for athletes, but this might be a bit over the top.  Hmm...

Post your thoughts below.

(FYI, I should qualify this post by saying that this athlete is not an idiot; he actually picks things up really quickly)

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Stuff You Should Read: 9/16/09

I'm headed to a Sox game tonight and have plenty to do around the facility before I go, so I thought I'd just use today to throw out a few quick reading recommendations: Re-Building the Reverse Hyper - This great newsletter from Mike Robertson goes into some excellent detail on the biomechanics of a very controversial exercise - and how we can make it safer and more effective. Wiggling Their Toes at the Show Giants - This is a piece in the NY Times that is actually surprisingly good.  It goes hand-in-hand with my recommendation of Born to Run from a few weeks ago.  Definitely check both the article and the book out. Super Bowl Super Shakes - Dr. John Berardi just published this collection of shake recipes this week.  It's definitely worth checking out if you're looking for some new ideas to add variety to your diet.
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  • Avoid the most common deadlifting mistakes
  • 9 - minute instructional video
  • 3 part follow up series