Archive for the ‘Good Reads’ Category

Good Reads – 5/16/11

Posted: May 16, 2011 in Good Reads

What’s the deal with being fat and fit?  Tom Venuto breaks down some recent research that highlights how some people can smash the scales yet be healthy, metabolically speaking.  Tom then goes onto to explain in his opinion why it’s still important to lose weight even if you’re a member of the fat and fit group.

Joel Jamieson is quickly becoming one of my favorite people to read.  While he’s primarily a strength coach for MMA fighters, he’s always writing things that make you think.  His site is worth checking out – and it does need a membership.  But membership is free.  In one of his more recent blog posts, he made a gem of a book available for free download.  One of the orginal texts on periodization, Fundamentals of Sports Training by Matveyev, can be downloaded here.  This will appeal to the trainers and coaches out there more than anyone else.

Maintaining a neutral spine is a concept that seems to be taken for granted more often than not nowadays.  The vast majority of my clients coming throug the doors of my gym, however, are lacking the body awareness, mobility or stability required for maintaining a neutral spine in static and dynamic postures.  Check out Mike Robertson’s brief video tutorial of teaching neutral spine dynamics.

Here’s a great piece Lyle McDonald wrote a while back regarding the importance of context. The only absolute is there are no absolutes.  I know that’s not what the gimmicky marketers would like for you to believe.  But it’s the truth.


Good Reads 4/18/11

Posted: April 18, 2011 in Good Reads

Matt Perryman recently wrote about patience in the game of strength training.  In this blog post he attempts to redefine “progress” for the sake of sanity.  The noob in the weight room can bank on weekly gains in strength and even size.  As experience under the bar accumulates though and you venture closer to your genetic limits, whatever that might mean, framing how you look at success in the weight room makes a heck of a lot of sense.  Matt offers up some very sage wisdom here.

The starvation mode caused by excessive cardio?  That’s what Tom Venuto discusses in his most recent article which you can read here.  It seems that many of today’s exercisers become a tad neurotic when it comes to volume and calorie intake.  Slash calories as low as possible while ramping up exercise volume to the moon and I’ll get the best of both worlds, right?  Wrong.  I can’t explain how many times I’ve had women email me asking for help with their plateaus who were training for a marathon while eating 1200 calories.  Tom does a great job explaining why this simply isn’t The Way.  Energy availability matters!

Anthony Colpo isn’t subtle when he wrote Why Most People are Overweight, Out of Shape & Likely to Stay that Way.  Rightfully so, too.  It gets tiring telling people to focus on what we know – the basics – all the while they’re out throwing their money at con men in hopes of a quick fix.

I reviewed Jamie Hale’s book, Should I Eat the Yolk, back in October.  It’s a fun, easy read that dispels a lot of the myths that plague the fitness industry.   He covers this topic in the book, but he also wrote about Is Bottled Water Safer Than Tap Water on his site, which is an eye-opening read.

In this article, James Krieger answers the question, Why Is It So Easy to Regain Weight?  In reality he’s really doing some investigation into what many of my readers label as the “starvation mode.”  He explains how a reduction in basal metabolic rate might not be the primary culprit at play in adaptive thermogenesis.  Instead, a reduction in non-exercise activity thermogenesis may play a greater role.  Put differently, people who lost considerable weight were expending less energy than what would be predicted given their weight simply because they were moving less.

Lyle McDonald is one of the best writers out there in the fitness field in my opinion.  Most of his articles and all of his books go into great detail about the topic he’s writing about.  Amusingly, one of my favorite articles of his has to do with “subordinating” the finer details to the fundamental principles.  This is something you always hear me harping about – “You’ll get most of your mileage out of the basics so focus on them.”  Lyle’s Fundamental Principles Versus Minor Details is definitely worth a read.

Inaugural Good Reads – 3/28/11

Posted: March 28, 2011 in Good Reads

Okay.  I admit it.  This is a completely unoriginal idea.  I don’t know who started it.  I know I saw Cressey doing something like this a year or two ago.  I know Bret Contreras, who I recently interviewed, used to do it.  Ben Bruno still does it.  I’m not much for bandwagons but I think this is a worthy cause.  Spreading quality information in an industry that is chock full with B.S. has to be good, right?

What I’m talking about is blogging lists of recommended readings.  Let’s face it, it’s stuff to stay abreast of all the blogs even when you’re trying.  That’s one of the beauties of RSS feeds.  If you don’t use a feeder and you visit a number of sources on a consistent basis on the web, you’re really missing out.  They make staying up-to-date so much easier.  But even still… it can be tough.

I’ve a lot of readers who don’t spend time on the Internet reading fitness authors/trainers.  They’re clients who train with me in my gym.  They use me as their sole source of fitness information.  They don’t have the time or inclination to search beyond me.  While I’m extremely honored to have the opportunity to work with each and every one of my clients, there are plenty of other professionals who are worth paying attention to.  If they’re not going to seek out additional information, I’ll bring the information to them.

I don’t want to go nuts with a “good reads” list.  Bret and Ben have put out some massive lists.  I’ve a love/hate relationship with their lists as, on the one hand, they’re amazingly useful and diverse.  On the other hand, they’re time consuming to get through.  And that’s not a gripe.  Their readers are free to pick and choose what sounds interesting and what doesn’t.  I’ve nothing but respect for the amount of time and energy they put into their lists.

Mine will be much shorter.  And it won’t always be the author’s most recent content.  Blogs tend to promote “flavor of the day” mentalities where people either catch what you’re blogging about on the day you post it or they don’t.  And if they don’t, they’re probably not going to dig back through the archives to see what you had to say yesterday, last week, last month or whatever.  Not when you’re sure to post something new today or tomorrow. In an effort to highlight stuff that may have been missed, I’ll throw up links to older content as well.

Here’s the inaugural list in no particular order.

  • Matt Perryman’s Why goals do more harm than good article.  This article was short and sweet and something I talk about quite a bit with my clients and readers.  So many folks focus on the outcomes to such a degree that the process is forgotten.  Because progress in body and performance improvements occurs slowly, anxiety eventually builds up in those folks who are intently focusing on the destination.  They want it here and they want it now.  More anxiety equals more stress and frustration, neither of which is good for consistency and progress.
  • Lyle McDonald’s research review on Normal Weight Men & Women Overestimating Energy Expenditure.  In this review, Lyle highlights a recent study that had subjects expend a certain amount of energy via walking, estimate how much energy they expended, then eat back enough food to cover their expected energy expenditure.  Needless to say, just as people suck at gauging how much energy they’re consuming, they also suck at gauging how much energy they’re expending when they exercise.  Granted, there was a large variance in the estimated energy expenditures which hints that more informed people have a better idea about energy expenditure.
  • You’ll have to sign up to Joel Jamieson’s site to hear the first part of his audio series dealing with plateaus.  Signing up is free so don’t hesitate… there’s a ton of great information on the site.  In this particular series Joel explains why stress management is so vital to long-term progress.
  • In this article, James Krieger educates us on some of the common fears regarding fructose.
  • Last but not least, here is Martin Berkhan talking about the fanaticism of some low-carb dieters.  If you have the time, I highly suggest checking out the comment section under the blog post for some very interesting conversation regarding metabolism from a lot of the big hitters in the industry.