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Sunday, October 30, 2011


 My son, Parker, once asked me some time ago 'why do runners look old in the face and neck but the legs look young?' I went on to explain the reason and the myth that runners STILL believe strength training will slow them down. I won't  go off script on how runners can build muscle to improve efficiency but I will explain to you why runners get that
 emaciated look in the face, chest and arms.

No matter what level of runner you are, casual or competitive, one thing that holds true is that you burn glycogen!: the fuel that provides muscle energy. Fat plays a role too, but in this scenario, glycogen is a key player. When you run, you burn glycogen and the next day the body is able to replenish its glycogen stores. It's called the glycogen overshoot phenomenon. But when the running program does not allow for recovery those glycogen stores get depleted. In fact, it takes about 3-4 days to totally deplete this warehouse of fuel.

So its your 4th consecutive day of running and the glycogen 'gas tank' is on 'E'; the muscles now are looking for another form of glycogen. So the body cleverly strips a couple of amino acids off a protein and 'ta daaa!!' you have a 'knock off'  glycogen!  And where do you think those amino acids are taken from? guessed it: the muscles of the face, chest, and arms!

If this sounds like you, the simple strategy is to give the body time to restore its glycogen by taking a day or two off from running.  And do some strength training. This even applies to when you are preparing for competition. Yes, fat burns when you run but it burns even 'hotter' when you add muscle resistance to your fitness program. ALL the runners that have come through BSI will attest to the benefits of proper strength and conditioning for improved running performance.

Below are some suggestions for maintaining performance muscle. I will share just two.

  • THE CLASSIC PUSH-UP. YES!  'Old'  form suggested you get the chest one fist away from floor. I am not in favor of this because it can irritate the front of the shoulder.
  1.  Just go down far enough that your shoulder does NOT go past the bend in your elbow.
  2.  HOW MANY?  5-10 reps for 2 sets. Increase the reps and sets as you get stronger.  if you have not done them in a while keep the reps low. You veterans should have a good idea of how many you can rep out!. You don't have to do them all the time, but be consistent. Set your own bench mark. Then hit that bench mark on a consistent basis and add accordingly.
  3.  ALTERNATIVE: Use the wall if you have issues getting up/down off the floor. Simply stand just far away from a wall so the body is approximately at a 45 degree angle. This works great using a stability ball also.
  • SITTING FLIES: This technique is an excellent technique for postural strength (which originates not just from abdominals but the pelvic muscle floor and entire back). 
  1. Grab two dumbbells. No more than 10 pounds. One for each hand. Sit on the floor. Legs crossed. Upper body at 45 degree angle;just leaning back enough to fell abs reflexively contract.
  2.  Take dumbbells and do the flies. Think of 'hugging'  a tree.   Chest should be up and out with elbows level with arm pits and elbows at 90 degree bend. Now move those weights toward each other.
  3.  HOW MANY? 5-10 reps for 2 sets. This is an excellent technique for postural stamina that runners lack. In fact, hamstring problems can stem from poor upper torso strength! We in fact treat the hamstring from the shoulders down! As you get stronger, challenge yourself by raising legs off floor.
Now you know why some runners look 'emaciated' and more importantly how to prevent it. Young runners especially can prevent this. I am still surprised though at the number of runners who don't use skin protection against the elements. There are so many good natural ones out there that can prevent damage and skin cancers. More importantly give yourself time to recover so the glycogen can replenish itself. 

Lets face it (no pun intended), we train because we like the positive side effects: It makes us look good! The feeling we get knowing we are prolonging our quality of life is an added bonus! So why not  manage the effects and rigors of running so we have a nice 'mug' to compliment that killer physique!?

"In a moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing to do"
-Theodore Roosevelt

Friday, October 28, 2011

part 1 of 2

VIBRAM sole running shoes are the newest craze and they are selling like hot cakes!!...Why? because they are touted as increasing the forefoot strike and improving the intrinsic muscles in the foot. For those of you just crawling out from under a rock, this running shoe is designed to give 'little piggy' its own home!;The toes are separated. The sole of the shoe is made of a durable rubber making the shoe flexible. Again the idea is to keep you running on your forefoot.

Running mechanics are complex and shoe companies for years have tried to make a shoe that provides the  greatest economy of energy return when the foot hits the ground; ground reaction is generated back through the foot up the leg providing greater propulsion. When the stride frequency increases, along with reduced stride length, you begin to move faster. As you do this the energy that is absorbed at the heel now gets transferred to the front or forefoot. There are many runners who have difficulty engaging this positon, thus the Vibram does this for you: 'trains'  you to land on the forefoot when you accelerate. Before I go on, I must emphasize that the running mechanic as described here in laymans terms. The study of biomechanics and the influences on muscle and return economy during running is way beyond the scope of this blog. It is described here in very basic terms to make a point on the Vibram.

Several years ago just as I was starting my business , there was talk of a Nike shoe called the 'Barefoot trainer' that was to get the runner close to running 'natural'(barefoot) as possible by reducing the amount of shoe sole. The thought is that this would increase the strength of the muscles/ligaments throughout the foot. Researchers for years have investigated ways to 'replicate' or 'duplicate' the efficiency of Kenyan runners. The Kenyans are known for their dominance in long distance events especially at Boston marathons where they always impress (with shoes on!)  The shoes were popular until people realized they did not have the 'right' type of foot for this shoe when there were reports of increased foot and lower leg discomfort. These people happily resorted back to the 'bulky' running shoe. In fact, Podiatry(foot and ankle doctors) Association spoke against such shoes due to the fact that shoe companies are preying on the ignorance of the public to not know whether they should be in a shoe like a barefoot trainer. Also, was the fact I mentioned earlier about  the lack of support at the arch and plantar fascia.

The arch of the foot is maintained by the plantar fascia and an arch that is created my several bones. One of the key bones is the navicular bone. Think about the center stone in the center of an arched bridge. If this center stone falls then runners fall into the brink. Anyhow, there are common foot formations that make this bone 'drop'  or what you call 'flat footed'. The technical term for this is pes planus and this makes for a very pliable foot, especially at toe-off during the propulsive stage of the run. The foot is supposed be rigid at this stage. When it isn't then there is increased tension on the ligaments of the foot especially at the plantar fascia, arch,  and as far up as the knee! Enter the Vibram shoe that does NOT account for this. Simply, a foot like I described SHOULD NOT be in this shoe!

PART 2: "That was a stupid question!"


This old blog was inspired by the number of athletes going through rehabilitation after ACL surgery. I am often called for second opinions on ACL outcomes. I know that athletes are scared, anxious, nervous to return to sport. I would be. So yes, it is in your head and those feelings and fears should be validated. If it is in your 'head' you are right. ALL matter of athletic performance starts in your head. If you can't see yourself excelling in 'your head' then you will surely fail. My experience with hundreds of these cases affirms this. My job, when I get a case, as aforementioned, is to talk to them MORE about what is in their head and less about the ACL. It has never failed me;though its never easy, they ultimately return to extraordinary performance. They seemed relieved or shocked that I am addressing, what is really a matter of confidence, to be able to play at optimal levels. It does not matter if you are a professional or not. That fear of optimal performance is ominipresent and THAT is all in your HEAD and very real.
Anyway, read on...

Several years ago I attended a leadership workshop called the LANDMARK FOURM. Intense and revealing approach to leadership. Former President Bill Clinton had taken the course some years before me. Anyhow, during day 3 we talked about PC, persistent complaints. We were told to write down our PC and share what we wrote with another (we did not know this in advance). We were told to read our complaint  over and over till the leadership 'coaches' said switch, where we then listen our partners PC.

After we stopped they wanted us to listen to a recording that would bring more clarity as too why we were doing this. We hear this cracking sound like an old dusty album playing. Then the sound of music that sounded like somehting from a nursery rhyme........It was 'OLD MACDONALD!

I got to admit I thought 'wtf!'- but wait for it, wait for it..............................................the coaches then said to us, after listening to the classic farmers lament,"'pigs oink, cows moo, the coaches said and "humans complain!!!"

So YEAH! IT IS ALL IN YOUR HEAD!! We set up obstacles, or PC's in our head as to why we are not getting results; we all got'em running in our head everyday. Whats' yours and is it keeping you from where you want to be?

"Why do people say "Grow some balls"? Balls are weak and sensitive! If you really wanna get tough, grow a vagina! Those things take a pounding!" -Betty White

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Many of you, by now have heard of CrossFit. It was developed by Greg Glassman in 1995 when he used his training format on police, firefighters and SWAT team members in Santa Cruz, California and it has been building popularity ever since. He uses techniques that you are all familiar with, just in a timed manner with predetermined times, reps and sets. MENS HEALTH Novemeber 2011 issue does interesting article on CrossFit. Check it out 'INSIDE THE CULT OF CROSSFIT'

Those of you who train with me know how I feel about CF. Simply, I wished I had started BSF!  years ago back in the 80's when I was a competitive bodybuilder and clinical therapist. Nevertheless, instead of castigating the CF philosophy (Glassman has cleverly taken what we have been doing for decades and put a name on it. You simply know them as Circuits or what we call in the professional parlance 'metabolic circuits). Allow me to remind you or share with you the difference between BSI and CF. NOTE: This is NOT intended to be a critique. There are many true believers in CF just like there are true believers of BSI. The article in MENS HEALTH inspired me to detail what has made our training unique in the years I  started this business 26 years ago.

Lets begin.................

  • Original and customized training. CF applies the same format no matter what. So you got a bad shoulder, knee problems, etc. they would not know how to design a program, unless they got it online.
  •  We have Original Class formats that are intense and unpredictable. Think BREATHTAKERZ and REPS. 
  • We have been training using timed circuits since BSI inception for creating challenging training environments at all levels. CF promotes this as revolutionary. 
  • PUKING is not required or encouraged even though it can happen. For the record, this is the heart under stress! Puking is not an indication of how good a training program is. CF thinks so.
  • CF DOES sports performance/training and condition. We KNOW how. There is a HUGH difference.
  • We are NOT A CULT [see article above]
  • We train kids. They train kids like they train adults.
  • Their trainers are CF! Ours are educated in the field of sports performance and orthopedic assessment and rehab. BSI staff are certified by NASM, &USAT, we are educational providers for ACSM and NASM. Highest degrees earned in the field of human performance/sports injury management MS, and ATC. Combined staff experience: 53 yrs. The most current addition June 2011.
  • Certification does NOT denote competence. Even at my workshops, when I hand out certificates of completion, does NOT mean you are competent in the science of human performance and orthopedic assessment.   
  • CF training is pretty much the same...we know because we have seen it and have former CF clients
  • We don't intimidate by showing blood and bandages or puking clowns on IV (see article. I don't make this up. In fact, one local CF gym had a cat with one of those 'circle and cross bars' over it. Use your imagination.)
  • We teach multiple techniques using medicine balls, plates, barbells, chin up bars, cable tower, biomotor, kettlebells, mulitple plyometeric techniques, etc. CF uses the same format of training in ALL their gyms. The all look the same and follow the same formula. Very little creativity or variety.
  • We got Randy and Edie!!..where else can you get the real feel of fighting when Randy or Mark put on that vest....!! and if you've been to REPS then you know how Edie gets down. CF has the same format ALLLLLLL THEEEE TIMMMME!!!
  • What we have been teaching for years, CF is taking credit for science and training formulas established a long time ago.
  • ANDDDD...CF thinks there formula produces the fittest, but we have had their clients in our facility and they barely can finish a REPS, BREATHTAKERZ or classic BSI training! You, BSI client, just did not know who they were.  Even though they admit they liked it, said the training is different and more intense...[???}. We had the same challengers in Wyandotte who heard about our style of class during the spinning and Tae Bo craze. Remember that!? And they too never returned or could not finish. And these included instructors! 
  • Yes. There are hard techniques I DON'T teach to certain clients. Injury risk too high. With CF you are learning lifts where injury risks are high. At least if you get hurt at BSI we take you to the exam room, make an injury assessment and commence rehab by re-calibrating the training.
  • You all know anytime someone comes to class we warn them to take it easy, this is a very different class, with a different tempo: move at own pace. They don't listen though.......CF tries to intimidate and challenge BEFORE you even become a client! Makes me laugh- like they have the hardest training. They don't.
  • We welcome EVERYBODY;just look at our video testimonials. We pride ourselves on taking on ANYBODY no matter what their goals are.
  • CF tries to intimidate. I visited them incognito 5 years ago. My cover was that I was from out of town and looking for a training facility.... For more on what happened ask me at your next session!!
  • There is a CF gym in the area that was voted best gym in Detroit. Congratulations. Well deserved I'm sure.. Well, I was voted top 100 trainers in America by MENS JOURNAL 2 years in a row!!!!!!!!!!!... using MY OWN methods! I was honored to be on this list with some of the most popular and accomplished  trainers who have been published in juried journals and have spoken on the national level.

 I could go on. But why.? Glassman deserves to be congratulated on his success. The CF games are cool, but familiar; But don't stand on the shoulders of others who have been doing this for years and then claim it as 'the next new thing'. There is so much of this it's maddening. I often read where trainers will say they have 'the secret' to alter physiology. With the internet there are so many 'experts' who pontificate the benefits of their 'new way' of training. Training for weight loss or muscle gain is hard. Period. If you want to improve your ability to burn fat or gain muscle there must be a steady progression of multiple disciplines and techniques. Not doing so leads to plataues and injuries.  There is no magic bullet or 'new thing' out there. There is, for lack of a better word, a regurgitating of the significant research and results done by others.

In closing, I encourage you to go and try CF. What? You say. 'Skip,you just ranted on CF and now you want us to try them?!'. Yes. I KNOW we are the best. In fact, when clients have had to move due to job relocations they call to tell us that they have found a good training facility but nothing like BSI!   But its always good to have a reminder by visiting other trainers. Our former clients Downriver found this out when we left.   My staff understands our mission to be beyond the best. We are always working to bring you different training formats and techniques.

I have taken on challenges before because I know I deliver an original and superior product.  I TRAIN THE TRAINERS and have been doing so since 1984! when my methods were seen as too aggressive and too different. I was castigated in an editorial for my training methods and won an award for the same article! So bring it on! I'm still here...

Oh. One more thing. CF has some good elements to it, but it's not original or the hardest, just well marketed.

Skip Bunton
Director of Operations
Body Specs

Sunday, October 23, 2011


AT BSI we, of course, stress the 'warm-up' before we start our training. IF you are not a client, our training is multifaceted; meaning the sessions involve multiple stations of power, coordination and stamina demands This is how I have been training clients for the past 28 years. Our warm up, like our training is functional based. This is based on my years in the treatment, assessment and management of sport related injuries. Besides the 'loosening' up feeling you get from warming up, did you know there are interesting things happening in the blood and to the nervous system when you do this? Check it out

You ever wonder why you get winded the first few moments of a work out? Most likely because you did not warm up! The blood contains, fat, plasma, red cells, white cells, natural killer cells, sugars  etc; it is an impressive concoction that it is truly  awesome when you consider the function of each blood component. Anyhow, there is what is called hemoglobin, (HG) that circulates in the blood. The HG carries oxygen, (O2) throughout the blood stream. Now this is where the warm up gets interesting: When you begin to do the, treadmill, Versa climber, Xbike, jump rope, etc the HG 'gives up' its O2 so it, the O2, can get shuttled to the muscle where it gets used to prepare the muscle for the intense work ahead.  If the HG does not give up its O2 then there is no oxygenated blood for the muscle and you feel yourself breathing harder than normal. When you jump right into an activity the muscles are actually 'starved' of O2 because the muscles have not warmed up enough.  

Another interesting thing happens in the muscles during a warm up. The nervous system sends volley of impulses to [afferent] and away [efferent] from the brain all day. When you begin to warm up, these impulses speed up and andrenaline begins to flow, the muscle and bone joint nerve endings prepare to distribute loads that are then transmitted to the tendon which is attached to bone then the session begins!Of course I have simplified things a bit, but basically that is what is happening. So if you want to reduce your risk of injury: WARM UP THE BSI WAY!!!!!

Perhaps the most important feature of a warmed up muscle is its capacity to burn fat more efficiently than a cold muscle. Fat is released during stress. The stress of sudden intense exercises deluges the blood stream with fatty acids. A cold muscle won't 'burn' the fat and therefore that fat ends up in places it is not wanted: the arteries!

So in summary, just know a warm-up is important because:

  • Provides O2 to muscle 
  • Enhances coordination
  • Reduces risk of injury 
  • Speeds up combustion of fatty acids and glucose

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

MENS JOURNAL did an informative piece on 'Superfoods'. The subtitle was 'can exotic foods from places with less disease and obesity make Americans healthy and thin too'. I will highlight some of them in upcoming blogs. Here are a few of my favorites that you may already familiar with:


My staff trainer Joan has been drinking this before it was popular. My wife, superwomen, KYLE, RD introduced me to the actual fruit in the early nineties(highly recommend it. (when you get it roll it so you here the 'pop' of the seeds as they release the juice. Then pierce the skin and squeeze the juice into your mouth. D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S!!).

  • Claims to improve circulation, reduce high cholesterol and lower the risk of heart disease.
  • Dense in Vitamin C, K and folate and fiber
  • Try POM JUICE. Found in produce section. 
  • Seeds are good but will need to eat a bunch to get benefit. Drink it instead.
Some of you know how much I love the Monavie product with the key ingredient being the Acai berry. I especially love the energy drink which we carry. The bottled product that looks like a wine bottle is dense with fiber and other exotic high fiber fruit., but there are other less expensive alternatives...
  • Rich anti-oxidants but no more than mangoes, grapes or strawberries. 
  • Found to kill cancer cells in test tubes...which is also true of other berries
  • Does not transport well so won't find fresh berries in the US. Many juice blends but most have too much sugar
  • Use frozen unsweetened pulp, like those from Sambazon 


My suggestion is common sense: eat close to the real thing as possible. There are many other 'superfoods' like:

  •  Greek yogurt, (Kyle says get FAGE, pronounced fa-yeh great protein content),
  •  Oatmeal (not the prepackage kind, but the REAL oats you have to boil then add blueberries and a bit of Fage yogurt!),
  •  Salmon. if you don't like fish take Omega 3 in pill form. Krill pills (yes, Whale food!) are also available. . On the horizon are Chia seeds that have unique effect of producing a viscous gel in the stomach that may trigger fullness and satiety.
  • Walnuts are also rich in healthy can put these in your oatmeal!
  • Kale. Spinach (it was good enough for Popeye!)

Sunday, October 9, 2011 PART ONE

When I was a competitive bodybuilder in the earlier eighties, there were not many fitness or training magazines that instructed you on how to get fit, bigger muscles, get faster etc. About the later 80's saw an explosion of fitness magazines for men and women. Then the internet...

It was not long that you began to see fitness magazines (which were quite conservative showing two bodies, usually male and female simply on the cover just posing)change to where you would see models in seductive poses or topics announcing the best technique for improving sexual prowess. When you look at any magazine or TV commercial you don't know if they are selling a subscription to PLAYBOY OR HUSTLER (you know what I'm talking about..remember Cher and Sheena Easton in those Bally comercials?!)

All Im a saying is if you need to feel sexy or look sexy there is no doubt that having a great physique helps. Women like a man that is confident, men feel that having a muscular physique gives them confidence. Women know that men are visual beings (very true) thus the endess hours of training, classses and The whole point is this: DON'T BELIEVE THE HYPE! There are no new profound techniques or training secret that is going to make you feel sexy or make you more sexual. There are OTHER books and magazines that can give better advice than MENS JOURNAL, COSMO, MUSCLE AND FITNESS OR ELLE!

Continued on SEX part 2


....Well a digital library with our fave TRAINING COMBOS AND SPORTS PERFORMANCE TECHNIQUES! This is being done with the help of my assistant manager and apprentice, Mark Phillips who will be recoding your training sessions. Specifically, he will capture a technique being executed, about 20 secs.

Also coming on the scene is a program called FITOCRACY this is a very cool site for charting your fitness progress. It is a site that makes a 'game' or compeition of your fitness conquests! I think I have reached the pinnacle of respect of my peers and members so that if I endorse it then its worthy of attention. FITOCRACY I endorse. More to follow on how to sign up and stuff...and its FREE!!

THIS IS a moment to mention that I have biggest brains in IT helping me. Two VERY talented 'bit heads' Prior and Johnson. My mentors encouraged me to surround myself with people that are brighter than myself. I have done that. There are many things I am good at besides being the greatest trainer I know: shooting before I aim(ask Edie!) and skating on thin ice. So like Cher told Nick Cage 'SNAP OUT OF IT' these two along with Edie have 'snapped' me many times!

Stay tuned for upcoming announcements as we build our digital library for your access anytime and anywhere! I will NEVER cease my quest to deliver the best service anywhere or to be the greatest training mecca in the area! Your involvement and support is why I will not let you down!