Exclusive Interview: Chris Mohr

About the Author: Eric Cressey

Following its release last week, I received a lot of interest in my latest project, The Ultimate Off-Season Training Manual.  All the feedback I’ve received thus far has been fantastic; people literally haven’t been able to put the manual down once they start reading it!  Here’s what a few readers had to say:

“I just received your manual and opened it up to take what I thought would be a quick glance.  ‘Suddenly,’ I found myself three hours later not wanting to put it down. The information you provided in this manual is absolutely fantastic.  I’ve competed in two professional sports, getting only so far with each one; I can honestly say that the off-season training I did for both is really what ultimately got me there.

“This manual would have had a tremendous impact on my training. It would have taken the guessing and hoping out of my routines and instead given me the confidence needed to attack my training sessions. The routines provided are also extremely helpful, as they not only guide you in the beginning, but take you all the way through a legitimate off-season.  I can’t say enough how I wish I had something like this while in college and through out my professional athletic career. This is a must-have for athletes and coaches; I highly recommend it.”

Al Caslow

Elite Powerlifter, Former NFL Wide Receiver


“I just finished reading your off-season training manual and had to email to tell you how awesome it was. This manual is going to have a huge impact on the Strength and Conditioning world. I love how it is not just a cookie cutter program and rather a presentation that leaves the reader with the tools to design his/her own off-season programs for their individual sports.

“Congrats on a great product!”

AJ Roberts



“The Ultimate Off-Season Training Manual  is a complete training resource that provides for the practical application of the subject matter that it contains. Through the use of scientific foundations and anecdotal evidence, Eric effectively spans the spectrum of planning considerations specific to non-competitive phases of training. Well done.”

James Smith



With that said, I thought it might be a good idea to give you all a little taste of what you can expect; here’s the foreword to the manual:


“One’s first step in wisdom is to question everything –

and one’s last is to come to terms with everything.”

–                                                           -Georg Christoph Lichtenburg

Not a week goes by that I don’t receive a dozen emails from athletes who want the secret to getting bigger, leaner, faster, stronger, and more agile in the off-season. They don’t want to just improve; they want to dominate their competition when the next season arrives.

While I absolutely love their enthusiasm, dealing with these individuals can actually be extremely frustrating. They all want results, and they all want them yesterday, but apparently they don’t like it when I refuse to tell them what they want to hear.

As you scan the pages that follow, many of you will probably feel just as confused as those emailing me do; you might even disagree with me to the point of refusing to read on. However, before you do, ask yourself if you disagree with me because you feel that I’m genuinely wrong in my reasoning, or because my reasoning simply calls into question principles and practices to which you’ve adhered for years.

Whether you’re a coach, parent, or an athlete yourself, this book might not be what you want to hear, but it is something that you need to hear.

In reading this novel, you can expect to rethink what you are doing and possibly even regret what you have done in the past. In the process, I hope that you’ll all walk away from this text with a new paradigm with which to view off-season training.

Conversely, you should not expect to find programming that you can simply copy and paste to use with your athletes, clients, children, or yourself. I am a firm believer that the single-most important component of preparing for athletic success and physical transformation is individualization, and that belief will resound throughout this book. All athletes are unique, and programming must reflect each athlete’s distinctive needs.

Yes, I have included sample templates at the end of this manual; however, the purpose of these templates is to demonstrate a sample “whole” created from dozens of constituent parts. If you want to learn how to create programs that address your unique needs as a coach and athlete, it’s imperative that you first look to the chapters that precede the sample programming. These chapters outline the means to the end; the programs alone will not tell you much – and they may not be suitable for you.

If you’re a coach looking to existing literature as a means of “pirating” programs for your athletes, you need to consider whether doing so is in the best interests of your athletes or just the individual marketing the cookie-cutter program. In no way am I intending to come across as condescending, as I’ll be the first to admit that all coaches – myself included – have areas in which they need to grow.

Rather, my message is that downright terrible coaches don’t look to the literature at all. Mediocre coaches look to these resources so that they can have someone else tell them exactly what to do. The best coaches read diligently and critically, scrutinizing everything they encounter to determine if it is correct and, if so, how it can be incorporated into their existing philosophies.

It is my hope that you’ll treat the information that follows in this final context. You’ve already taken a key step; you purchased this book in hopes of making your coaching and programming more effective in order to help your athletes.

As an accomplished exercise scientist, coach, and athlete myself, it never ceases to amaze me that the problems I will outline are even commonly found in the off-season programs of some of the most prominent strength and conditioning professionals at the highest levels. The shortcomings of such programming errors are “merely” significant at the intermediate level; however, at the elite level, these programming flaws may cost athletes Olympic medals, national championships, individual honors, and millions of dollars in salaries and bonuses.

Those of you who are familiar with my writing will likely notice that this work deviates somewhat from my traditional style, which often includes dozens of references. My rationale is very simple: you won’t find this information in your undergraduate textbooks or the peer-reviewed publications most commonly references in our industry. Instead, you’ll only find this information from getting in the trenches, working with athletes, and seeing what works. That’s what I’ve done, and that’s what dozens of fantastic coaches with whom I correspond on a weekly basis have done.

If there is information in this text, you can assume that it is the result of countless hours of planning, coaching, and interpreting the results we’ve found. It’s all about reading between the lines – not just referencing what’s on the lines.

This is a guide for the practitioner – whether he is a coach or an athlete. If you are someone interested in reading a review of scientific literature that simply doesn’t cut it in the real world – where “what is” predominates over “what should be” – this manual isn’t for you.

As powerlifter and coach Dave Tate, one of my mentors and friends, has said: “Science tells us what we did.” Science might point you in the right direction, but it should never tell you what to do. Instead, experimentation validated with results should tell you what works – and just as importantly, what you use in future situations to guarantee success.

Therefore, it should come as no surprise that experimentation in training settings around the world is occurring every day. New anecdotal and scientific evidence abounds, and we must seek it out. Our perspectives should be constantly evolving as new information becomes available to us.

With that in mind, interpret the information in this book as a 2006 snapshot; many of these ideas may evolve in the years to come. Continue to read and scrutinize, and you’ll be at the top of your field and your game.

It’s time to put hidden agendas aside and apply scientific principles and some actual thought to our off-season training programs. It’s time to get to the truth.

Eric M. Cressey

May 24, 2006

Pick up your copy today!

Exclusive Interview: Chris Mohr, PhD, RD

As you read this interview, I’ll actually be lifting and grabbing a bit to eat up in Boston with this week’s interviewee.  Some of you might not be familiar with Dr. Chris Mohr, so after reading this interview, you might be inclined to think that he’s and “up-and-coming star” in the world of nutrition for health and human performance.  I beg to differ; Chris is already a star – you just might not know about him yet.

Dr. Mohr has Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Nutrition, from Penn State University and the University of Massachusetts, respectively.  He received his PhD in exercise physiology from the University of Pittsburgh and is also a registered dietitian.  He has consulted with various media outlets and corporations, including the Discovery Health Channel, Clif Bar, Fit Fuel, and Labrada Nutrition.  Chris works with all types of individuals, from soccer moms to collegiate and professional athletes.  He has authored or co-authored several textbooks that are to be published in 2007, including a sports nutrition textbook for Human Kinetics and a book, The Platinum Body, on which he consulted with LL Cool J.  In all, Chris has written over 500 articles for consumer publications such as Men’s Fitness, Men’s Health, and Muscle and Fitness, to name a few.  In short, this guy knows his stuff!

EC: Hi Chris, thanks for taking the time to be with us today.  We typically focus a lot on the training end of the spectrum with our interviews, but I think that having more nutrition talk will be a good thing with “beach season” upon us.  Let’s get right to it…randomly toss out ten things that our readers can do right now to optimize their nutritional plans?


  1. Add at least one fruit and/or vegetable to EVERY meal.
  2. Replace saturated and trans fats with fish oil, flax, olive oil, and other healthy fats.
  3. Drink more tea – green and black, as both offer a ton of benefits.
  4. Use a pre-, during-, and post-workout product that offers a carbohydrate:protein blend of about 2-3:1
  5. Drink more water.
  6. Think fiber, not carbs; whole grains are awesome, unless it’s pre-, during-, or post-workout.
  7. Write down what you eat on a daily basis/
  8. Eat at least one handful of almonds and/or walnuts daily.
  9. Add berries to your diet.
  10. Always eat breakfast.

EC: It goes without saying that you’re one of the industry leaders in the field of nutrition for health, performance, and body composition, but who were your mentors?  Likewise, who are the other individuals within the industry with whom you communicate on a daily basis for advanced nutrition knowledge?

CM:  I like to read all that I can – the good, the bad, and the ugly – to keep me in the loop of what’s out there being said, promoted, etc.  With that said, here are some folks I really trust for their nutrition knowledge – well, it’s nobody; I know all the answers!  Just kidding, of course.  John Berardi is great and a good friend, Tom Incledon is very knowledgeable, and I also look to Dave Ellis, who is a dietitian and strength coach who works with many pro/college teams or athletes in every sport.

EC: We’ve talked about the good guys, so how about the bad?  What frustrates you the most about this industry?

CM: The thing that frustrates me the most are those who only want that quick fix; they want all the results, with none of the work.  I hate the different fad diets that come out nearly every day.  Carbs are bad; now they’re good.  Fat is the devil; now it’s the greatest thing in the world.  Nutrition does not have to be that difficult; sure, there are some intricacies that will help you improve body comp, achieve goals, etc., but stick with the basics.  And don’t live off of supplements.  I received an email from a reader the other day with a list of EIGHTEEN different products he was taking and there were about three of each product, just different brands (creatine with dextrose, without, effervescent, three different multivitamins, and more).  Food works pretty damn well – and supplements can of course be beneficial, but don’t try to live off them!

EC: Let’s go with a little word association game.  What 2-3 sentences come to mind when I mention the following words/phrases?

The Food Guide Pyramid – Wish there was more focus on quality of nutrients.  If you’re stuck on a pyramid, I like the Mediterranean Food Pyramid, which emphasizes whole grains, fish, fruits and veggies, and healthy fats.

John Berardi – John is a great guy, very knowledgeable, and a good friend.  Although when he lumps all sports dietitians together as not knowing their head from their ass, he’s barking up the wrong tree!

Fasting – If you want to lose a lot of lean body mass, it’s REALLY effective.  You may be 120 years old when you die because of the extended life from caloric restriction, but you’ll wish you died when you started fasting.

Digestive Enzymes – Depends on your situation.  I don’t believe everyone needs them; the body works pretty darn well, but some folks may benefit from adding them to their regimen.

Eating Organic – Great if you can afford it.  I’m more concerned with folks first getting some healthier foods in their diets; many folks eat less than one fruit and/or vegetable each day.  I’d rather have them start there and just add healthier foods than worrying about paying a lot for organic foods.  If you can afford it, great, but more importantly, start making positive changes from your current diet without worrying too much about the organic thing and then “graduate” to that.

EC: If our readers want to be at the top of their game nutrition-wise, what are a few resources they need to check out?


Yes, the first two are shameless, self-promoting plugs:

  1. Human Inferno – A manual to help you with fat loss; I wrote it with Alwyn Cosgrove
  2. Weapons for Mass – Another manual I co-authored, this time with Dr. Greg Bradley-Popovich.
  3. Gourmet Nutrition by John Berardi and John Williams
  4. Fundamental Fueling Tactics DVD by Dave Ellis, RD, CSCS

EC: Similarly, who are five speakers they should see present?

CM: Alwyn Cosgrove, Craig Ballantyne, John Berardi, Phil Kaplan, and, of course, Eric Cressey.  Well, they should see me too.

EC: What’s new in your world?  I know you’re traveling a ton this summer; please fill us in on what has been on your agenda. Any new projects coming up?

CM:  I am traveling a ton this summer – lots of work, but of course some pleasure too.  So aside from being all over the country in the next few months, I’m working on another cool fat loss project with Alwyn Cosgrove and am in the early stages of a very cool project with someone else in my company that we plan to launch in the fall.  Stay tuned for more details.  I also just wrapped up some work on a book I did with LL Cool J and his trainer that will be coming out in January, in addition to a Sports Nutrition Textbook I co-authored for Human Kinetics that will be out in February 2007.  So, lots of stuff on the horizon!

EC: Thanks for being with us today, Chris.  Where can our readers find out more about you?

CM:  Thanks, Eric!

Check out www.MohrResults.com, www.WeaponsForMass.com, and www.HumanInferno.com.

That’s all for this week.  Before I sign off, I want to remind our readers in the NY/NJ and New England area that we have a few spots remaining for Mike Robertson and my “Building the Efficient Athlete” seminar in New York City on July 22-23.  If you’re interested, please drop me an email at ec@ericcressey.com.

We’ll be back next week with more exclusive material and another exciting announcement.