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Fat Loss for the “Joes” and the “Pros”

I often get questions on what the best approach for fat loss is - and the truth is that there is no one correct way.  Everyone responds differently, and different fat loss programs have different outcomes for different people. That said, I wanted to outline two resources and the population to which they appeal the most. First, for the general fitness "Joes" (and "Janes") that read this blog, I wanted to give a shout-out to Dr. Kareem Samhouri's Double-Edged Fat Loss program , which is a resource that I'd highly recommend if you (or a family member or friend) is someone who is new to exercise and looking for a program that can deliver excellent results without much equipment.  It certainly isn't right for everyone (particularly a lot of the hardcore fitness enthusiasts and fitness professionals) reading this blog, but Kareem definitely offers an excellent resource to those who need help getting the ball rolling on an exercise program and want to do so without a ton of equipment.  He's also a great dude and an excellent motivator, so I think you'll find it to be good reading, should you make the investment.  Click here for more information and to see if it's a good fit for you.

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Second, for the fitness professionals out there, Alwyn and Rachel Cosgrove recently introduced an online education series, Counting Reps to Counting Revenue, about how they have built up their gym, Results Fitness, which is arguably the most profitable gym per square foot in the country.  What does this have to do with fat loss?  Well, the fat loss market is their bread and butter - so you can't have a successful business model without a successful training model. For more information, click here. I hope you all had a great weekend.  I'll be back tomorrow with more fresh, new content. Sign-up Today for our FREE Newsletter and receive a four-part video series on how to deadlift!
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Strength and Conditioning Programs: How Hard Are You Working?

Everyone likes to think that they bust their butt all the time in their strength and conditioning programs. The truth is that deep down, we all know that we dog it sometimes. Nobody can give 100% every single day (or 110%...ever; I hate that adage). Along those same lines, here is a pretty amusing study that shows just how much your mind can get in the way of the efforts you SHOULD be putting out in your workout routine.  Researchers had three groups each perform ten 6s sprints on a cycle with 24s rest between sets.  The first group (control trial, or CL) knew they were doing ten before the session.  The second group (deception trial, DC) was told they were only doing five - but then informed that they had five more to go after the fifth sprint.  The third group (unknown trial, or UN) weren't told anything; they were just stopped after ten sprints.

When researchers examined the total work performed over the first five sprints, they found that the deception trial group was 6.5% greater than the control and unknown trials.  The others had paced themselves because they knew the ending was further off.  People are going to pace themselves and hold back a bit whenever you give them a reason to do so - so plan accordingly in your exercise prescriptions. What's one way to work around this if you aren't being coached in-person? Make yourself accountable to a program. There is a tendency to want to skip the last set or strength exercise when you design your own programs, but when you're answering to someone else's program, you're more likely to stick to it. Show and Go: High Performance Training to Look, Feel, and Move Better is a great resource to check out in this regard.  Just ask James Cipriani, a personal trainer who used the program to kick his own personal gains up a notch: “I just read your recent blog post in which you mentioned sending Show and Go testimonials.  Well…it would be a travesty if I didn’t give you a shout out. “I’m a personal trainer myself.  And after over 23 years of training myself and 16 years of training others, to say I grow “bored” with conventional weight training programs would be an understatement.  I first trained to augment sport (football), then I got into powerlifting, and really became addicted to it when I started bodybuilding.  I competed for eight years in the sport and did very well.  But…I outgrew it.  Yes…I was bored.

“I, like many others that I train, look to other sources to not only motivate me in my own training (mentally more than physically), but also to broaden my horizons as a trainer.  That is what led me to purchase your Show & Go program.  I have to say, Eric, it is the most comprehensive, integrated program I have ever used.  From the warm-ups, to the strength exercises, to the stretching, to the cardio enhancement….my strength, flexibility, conditioning, and muscularity all improved ten-fold.  And my bodyfat level went noticeably down without me tweaking my normal diet.  I even had nagging shoulder and low back pain that inhibited me from doing certain movements that are now gone.  I was able to deadlift weight I haven’t been able to use since my powerlifting days.  Plus, a couple of the core movements you include are ones I have never seen or done and I loved them!  I now use many of them with my own clients. “One last thing to note…I very rarely get through a 16 week program.  I tend to grow bored and need a different style of training.  That never happened.  Not only that…I am starting a second go-round this week of it with a few of my own personal tweaks to it.    Great product, Eric!  Thank you so much!” James Cipriani - CFT, CSCS, NS Brookfield, CT

Click here to check out Show and Go: High Performance Training to Look, Feel, and Move Better for yourself.

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Strength Training Programs: When Did “Just Rest” Become a Viable Recommendation?

I suppose this blog title is more of a rhetorical statement than an actual question, but I'm going to write it anyway.

Just about every week, I get someone who comes to Cressey Performance - either as a new client, or as a one-time consultation from out of town - and they have some issue that is bugging them to the point that they opted to see a doctor about it.  This doctor may have been a general practitioner or an actual sports orthopedist.  In many cases, the response from this medical professional is the same "Just rest."

"It hurts when you lift? Then stop lifting."

Huh?  When did COMPLETE rest because a viable recommendation?

In case folks haven't noticed, 64% of Americans are overweight or obese.  Even if rest was the absolute key to getting healthy, telling them to not move is like not seeing the forest through the trees.  Your bum knee will feel better, but you'll have a heart attack at age 43 because you're 379 pounds.

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Oh, and nevermind the fact that exercise generally improves sleep quality, mooed, and immune, endocrine, and digestive function.  I'm not going to lie: I would rather have an achy lower back than be fat, chronically ill, sleep-deprived, impotent, angry, and constipated.

But you know what?  The good news is that you can still exercise and avoid all these issues - regardless of symptoms.  I can honestly say that in my entire career, I've never come across a single case who couldn't find some way to stay active.

I've trained clients in back braces.

I've trained clients on crutches.

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I've trained clients with poison ivy.

I've trained clients less than a week post-surgery.

I've trained a client with a punctured lung.

And, when I  did an internship in clinical exercise physiology, we trained pulmonary rehab patients in spite of the fact that they often had interruptions during their sessions to cough up phlegm for 2-3 minutes at a time.

All over the world, people are using exercise to rehabilitate themselves from strokes, heart attacks, spinal cord injuries - you name it.

However, Joe Average who sleeps on his shoulder funny and wakes up with a little niggle needs complete rest and enough NSAIDs to make John Daly's liver cringe.

Sorry, but you're going to need to be on crutches, in a back brace, with poison ivy and a punctured lung to get my sympathy.  And, you're sure as heck not going to get it if you're just "really sore" from your workout routine.  Seriously, dude?

I don't care what your issue is: "just rest" is almost never the answer (a concussion would be an exception, FYI).  When a health care practitioner says it, it's because he/she either a) doesn't have the time, intelligence, or network to be able to set you up for a situation where you can benefit from exercise or b) doesn't think you have enough self control to approach exercise in a fashion that doesn't make it more harm than good.

There is almost always something you can do to get better and maintain a training effect.  While adequate rest for injured tissues is certainly part of the equation, it is just one piece in a more complex puzzle that almost always still affords people the benefits of exercise.

A great resource along these lines with respect to shoulders is our Optimal Shoulder Performance DVD set.  If you haven't checked it out already, I'd highly recommend it, as I go into great detail in my presentations on how to work around various shoulder issues.

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Managing Sidearm and Submarine Pitchers

Q: I just saw your post about Strasberg and pitching injuries.  This may be hopelessly naive, but - do "submarine" throwers face the same perils?  I'm old enough to remember Kent Telkulve, so it made me think.  It seems as though I see a fair number of throws from SS and 3B positions that appear somewhat submarine-like in motion, so the technique wouldn't be completely unknown. Thoughts? A: In short, the answer would be "yes," they do face the same perils. If you actually slow things down and example joint angles, you'll see that the shoulder and elbow positioning most of these guys get to is very similar to what you see in more overhand throwers.  The difference is in how much lateral trunk tilt they have; the more trunk tilt, the lower the release point.

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The primary difference you'll see is that sidearm/submarine throwers will typically break down at the elbow a lot more than the shoulder.  Aguinaldo and Chambers found that sidearm throwers had significantly higher elbow valgus torques than overhand throwers. It's not surprising, given that they do tend to lead with the elbow a bit more. Position players who throw more sidearm can largely get away with it because a) they don't have anywhere near the volume of throwing in a single outing or a season that pitchers do, and b) they aren't throwing off a mound.  We know that just stepping up onto the elevated mound dramatically increases arm stress.

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So, what are the practical applications of knowing the demands are, for the most part, very similar? First, spend a considerable amount more time focusing on core stability and working to iron out excessive right-left asymmetries that arise secondary to all the lateral trunk tilt.  In other words, worry as much about the spine as you do about the arm.

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Second, I'd put an even greater emphasis on soft tissue work at the medial elbow - particularly on the common flexor tendon (the muscles that join to create this tendon protect the ulnar collateral ligament from excessive valgus stress).

Third, as is usually the case, use these guys as relievers to keep their throwing volume lower while still maximizing their utility. Other than that, manage them as if you would any other pitcher - which should always be a tremendously individualized process, anyway! Please enter your email below to sign up for our FREE newsletter.

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