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Friday, December 28, 2012

Don't leave that couch just yet..

2013 GUIDE 
for 'realistic' healthy lifestyle changes  
'Grown up' approach to health and fitness without reps and sets!

I'm at an age where I despise list especially around the NewYear. Those tenuous commitments last just about as long as you decided to do them.  So I compiled a pragmatic New Years 'guide' to remind us that the hurdle shouldn't so high if you have never hurdled. Will it work? It will if you work it!...
  • COMMIT. COMMIT NOW!: Look. We all think we can start and stop when we feel like it because there is zero accountability! So our commitment is tenuous at best. A true formula for failure. We break promises to others but it is absolutely a heinous act when you break a promise to yourself....Jeez!! And you can see where that has gotten you.
  • DON'T BUY EQUIPMENT! Ah yes the classic psychology of 'if I buy it I will do IT' No you won't! At least not for long. It's the biggest 'head fake' you can do to yourself. So this is what you do:  Use somebody else's treadmill! Gyms all over the country love offering deals this time of year because they hedge that you won't last long.  Join up and stay for 3 months (see #1!). And not only will you set a new precedent for not letting yourself down but you'll look good too!
  • QUIT STARVING!: The biggest fallacy in weight loss is "Dude. Just start eating nuts and 5 hour energy, you'll be ripped!' Oh Really? This is the stupidest advice. The opposite is true. Eat more.. healthier foods! A large part of weight loss is eating. Unfortunately, there is so much erroneous information out there, it is easy to get confused. Hire a registered dietitian, RD for short. NOT A PERSONAL TRAINER WITH A SPORT NUTRITION CERTIFICATE! A RD has a background that far surpasses a week long course! RD'S spend countless clinical hours working with all sorts of populations. Some of those populations have sophisticated and complicated health histories. Don't rely on limited education here. You would not go to a dentist that took a 3 day dentistry course. This is your health we're talking about! Invest in a team of health professionals. 
  • I'M TELL'N!! Trust me. You will 'mess up' but relax. Its built in. You have been conditioned to eat when you 'think' your are hungry. Those olfactory cells will fail us every time. Olfactory [smell] is closely related to memory. And those memories of eating fried chicken, mac and cheese, apple pie and stuff. Whew!!....Anyway what I'm getting at is give in to those cravings. Yes. But be grown up about it! If you know you can eat 6 pieces of pizza, try 3 with a small salad. Salad will help decrease the cravings and you may not even make it to the third slice!
  • YOUR FRIENDS WILL LET YOU DOWN: Ok. Friends mean well. But if they are used to seeing you do something and not see it through, well....Keep your goals and intentions to yourself unless you are with others that are on the same path. This is what a real training partner is for: support when you having 'one of those days' cuz you gonna have'em!
  • YOU GOT ISSUES!: My wife is great at this stuff. She is a RD. She calls those moments when people eat and are not hungry: 'Triggers' We all got'em. And you KNOW  what yours is! Don't lie! Weight gain is a behavior issue. If you don't believe me watch any reality show with people struggling with weight problems. Happiness is an inside job!
  • AEROBICS IS DEAD!!: Straight to the point on this one. You have to gain muscle to keep fat off as well as managing eating. Aerobics alone will NOT WORK! Anaerobic training: circuit training, sprints, progressive weight training, medicine ball work, kettle bell etc. is the KEY! Women are notorious at staying away from weights because they think it will make them bulky. Biggest impediment to keeping weight off for men and women is not adding a progressive resistance training program to your fitness regiment.
  • DON'T BUY IT IF YOU LIKE IT!: I love Amish Farm licorice. The red flavor of course. The finest tasting licorice in the whole universe. I have been know to eat a whole bag of these twisted sticks of I don't buy them. I also have been know to devour Hagen das Swiss almond in one fell swoop. A spectacle to see. So I don't buy it. You see what I'm getting at? To tell yourself you can 'regulate' your weakness is the same mentality that got you tipping the scales at 20# overweight IN THE FIRST PLACE......Focus, man focus! 
  • IT WILL NOT BE FUN: I hate when they show commercials of these real chiseled bodies in fitness/supplement commercials all smiling and shit as if its a piece of cake. It's not! Body change takes work. Don't believe the hype of fast weight loss. Biggest Loser is the biggest distraction for the public because the circumstances are NOT real life. These people are sequestered for 3 months with trainers, RD's, and sociologists. So when you here they lost 80lbs in 2 months that is under very unique conditions. Conditions that most of our economics don't allow. Our clients lose that and then some within 3-5  months and more afterwards which is more realistic.
  • THERE'S A REASON ITS CALLED COMMENCEMENT: Three days before high school graduation, my Psychology teacher, Mr. McRae, made a most profound statement to the entire class: "Commencement means to start or begin." Then he paused for effect then finished with "your lives will never be the same after graduation as you 'begin' a new life".  So as you renew your 'vow' to get better, look better and feel better remember its JUST  the beginning!...

Laziness is nothing more than the habit of resting before you get tired
-Jules Renard

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Just arrived!!!..

WELL the new BSI skulls are in and they will look MUCH better on YOUR head! Our partnership with ADIDAS has been a good one so when they sent us the catologue of popular sports gear I knew I just had to get these! 

We wanted to get these in earlier, but due to shipping delays, they arrived  a little late. However, they feel  and look great on the 'dome' and they are comfortably warm. Not too thick and not too light. So if you training out in the cold then then this is a MUST have..and they're cool look'n!

So Come on in and get yours while supplies last! Mark and I have been sporting ours and I gotta say 'we likes'!..

Happy holidays to all!!!

Friday, December 21, 2012

but we won't stop...
I am proud to announce that upon my return to the mainlands, that BODY SPECS INC received THE BEST OF ANN ARBOR. award!!!  Right?! How cool is that? Previous recipients have been Merrill Lynch, Best Buy, Edward Jones, Shell Gas Co, ZipCar, INC. magazine  and even Trump Palace! (BSI is in good company)

Edie, Mark, Randy, Kyle and Joan we deserve this! My staff puts up with my demanding moods as we work tirelessly to provide the best service anywhere. They are also the most patient, coolest bunch of people I have the pleasure to be around. And they make me laugh when they mock me and my quirky eccentric ways!  This award is PROOF that we don't take you, the customer, for granted. And it is further proof of what I have been saying all along for 25 years; we are excellent at what we do. But don't worry, we're working on getting better!!!

This award won't go to our heads and don't expect us to change! But we will be in the 'clouds' for a little while and our bloated heads my get in the way, but then it's  back to work as usual.
There is much that goes on behind the scenes at the training mecca. We are like those swans on that pond in front of our facility: Gliding effortlessly on top of water but underwater OUR feet are moving non-stop! This award has been earned.

To the best clients a business can have, THANK YOU for your undying loyalty, referrals and support. You make us work hard EVERYDAY...(cue Rocky theme)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

R  U  S  H  !
Zipline in eXotica

The last day in paradise we went to PIIHOLO ZIPLINE Makowa town, Hawaii. There we met two really cool cats, Alika and Grant. Awesome guides through some impressive vistas.
But the coolest thing was when we approached the 'launch' site there was a rainbow. Earlier I was being cynical about rainbows because they are EVERYWHERE here. BUT! what made this rainbow siting super cool at Piiholo was I was staring at the end of it. You know? Where the pot of gold is supposed to be! My mind blown. Right?!...(no bling or that Luck Charm mascot)!

Anyway, zipping was outta site! We launched from tree top octagon shaped platforms. Due to stiff winds and rain the trees swayed adding a level of adrenaline dump when you are on a slippery moving surface! Nevertheless, the lines were fast, the guides competent and funny, the experience one to be remembered for a long time.....

Special thanks to Greg Rose, and my incredible family, US3. To the new friends I made, Mahalo, til we meet again!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


  TRAINING DAY 1.....'OMG. ..'Can't believe I'm in Hawaii '
*sprints done where surf 'breaks'(ankle to low calf deep)
Also special thanks to Parker for being a great training partner and student. He will carry on the legacy!
  • [5] 60 yd sprints and 15 inverted[wide hand] push-ups at end..15 sec rest between each set
  • 1min rest
  • [4] 60 yd sprints with lateral leg lifts in surf holding on to partners ankles for stability..15 sec rest between each set
  • 1 min rest
  • [3] 60 yd sprints with lateral lifts/push-up
  • Sessions Over!!!
NOW we chill for the rest of the day until...

TRAINING DAY 2......'Another day in paradise' 

This starts with being in ab high ocean ,facing the shore. In this case, from where we start from [hydro sprints] and end up on shoreline to the lounging part of beach,  there are a few low hanging trees....

  • [3] 40 yd hydro sprints 15 kip chin ups [hanging off tree]...15 sec rest between sets
  • 1 min rest
  • [3] 40 yd hydro sprints 15 inverted push ups...15 sec rest between sets
  • 1 min rest
  • [3] 40 yd hydro sprints 10 lateral leg lifts
  • Sessions Over!!!

TRAINING DAY 3....'I'm stay'n!'

The final training day on the beach had a moderate intensity up-tick. The 'pump' was  sweet though!
  • [3] 60 yd sprints
  • [6] sets each:
  1. Inverted push up, every 5 one leg up on descent 20x e.g. 5 with right leg up, 5 with left leg up etc
  2. 15 chins w/kip
  3. 20 pummels over low lying tree
  4. Sprint 20 yds from shore to chest hi ocean. 
  5. Run back to shore
  6. 15 sec rest between each set.
  7. After completing 3 sets take 1 minute rest then... 
  9. Sessions Over!

This is the end of my trip. So if you were on an island or just anywhere with water and sand this would have been the perfect program for you. Thanks. See you on the mainland!


Monday, December 17, 2012

without swimming.
PART 1 of 2

Yes. I have the good fortune to be in Hawaii on the beautiful island of Maui. Which I learned stands for  the name of the demigod who snared the sun. My kinda god....Anyhow, I m not going to bore you with all the cool stuff I have done and seen, cause the trip is not over, but
I will share how to train when in an exotic place like Maui. BSI style of course.

First ignore the awesome view of volcanoes in the distance, whales coming up for air and water that is emerald green, and do this:

  TRAINING DAY 1.....'OMG. ..'Can't believe I'm in Hawaii '
*sprints done where surf 'breaks'(ankle to low calf deep)
Also special thanks to Parker for being a great training partner and student. He will carry on the legacy!
  • [5] 60 yd sprints and 15 inverted[wide hand] push-ups at end..15 sec rest between each set
  • 1min rest
  • [4] 60 yd sprints with lateral leg lifts in surf holding on to partners ankles for stability..15 sec rest between each set
  • 1 min rest
  • [3] 60 yd sprints with lateral lifts/push-up
  • Sessions Over!!!
NOW we chill for the rest of the day until...

TRAINING DAY 2......'Another day in paradise' 

This starts with being in ab high ocean ,facing the shore. In this case, from where we start from [hydro sprints] and end up on shoreline to the lounging part of beach,  there are a few low hanging trees....
  • [3] 40 yd hydro sprints 15 kip chin ups [hanging off tree]...15 sec rest between sets
  • 1 min rest
  • [3] 40 yd hydro sprints 15 inverted push ups...15 sec rest between sets
  • 1 min rest
  • [3] 40 yd hydro sprints 10 lateral leg lifts
  • Sessions Over!!!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

habits I love...But..
We just finished a brutal training session today. The group I like to  call the 'elite'  (Mark, Sam, Gerald and John)are a tough group. We experiment with new techniques and training sequences. The intensity is NOT for the meek. Anyhow, the topic of 'habits that are hard to break' came up. Foods we just can't get enough of...BUT because we're all grown we find ways to manage those cravings. Fave craves that I like to call manageable HABITS....
  1. Old Amish Farm licorice..... sorta like eating smooth cherry ice cream with a little bit of 'dammmn'(pardon me Amish folks). Twizzlers. Naw.
  2. Fried ANYTHING! Especially chicken....NO. Not KFC but the kind you soak in buttermilk, sugar and salt...WHOA! almost gave way secrets!
  3. ANY fast food fries....OH. I'm the only one in 1 billion sold that does't crave those crispy stix of grease?!
  4. Peanut M&Ms.. and are those commercials the S#$t or what?!
  5. McCallan 12, 18, 24, 30....close to heaven as you gonna get. If you gotta ask what McCallan is then...
  6. Hagen Daz....what else is there to say EXCEPT  Dove ice cream with the chocolate ganache shell topping your spoon gotta bust through before you reach the creamy vanilla 'crack'!
  7. ANYTHING by  Calder's Diary...Their chocolate milk is unlike anything on this planet. If you haven't tried it, be prepared to become addicted... Oh yeah. Stay away from ANY flavor of their ice cream too!!
  8. Doritos. YES. Doritos.
  9. Boynton sodas...America company. The pop is JUST good. Better than your commercial brands and that includes JONES which I also love
  10. Frozen Snickers bites....those little squares of delight at the right time; one is all you need. Unfrozen just as good.
  11. ..and who can resist THE doughnut....Doms. Made fresh and in walking distance from my house. Just about every Sunday morning. 
What I'm saying is it's perfectly normal to want to enjoy such ''habits'. Notice I said 'enjoy' . Not indulge. If you identify foods to be 'bad' then you will be more apt to be drawn to THAT food.( chomp. chomp.) Instead, notice the amount or servings you consume or JUST DON'T BUY it if you aren't strong enough to restrain yourself from the pantry. 
I like eating these fun foods, but I also like salmon, brussle sprouts, egg plant, a good steak, whole grain/flax seed bread, Shredded Wheat cereal soy milk etc. You get the picture.....B A L A N C E and M O D E R A T I O N 

Monday, November 26, 2012

 ITS that time of year where BSI reaches out to help disadvantaged familes this holiday season. So in conjunction with WTKA1050 and Sam Webb checkout what we want YOUR help with...

 It is called the Magic of Christmas Adopt A Child Program which is to help many disadvantaged families in the Ann Arbor, Saline, and Ypsilanti areas! 

To participate, drop off donation: $50-$100 at BSI. 
Make checks out to:
Pledge what you can. Size of donation is up to you! You can drop of your donations at BODY SPECS.
Deaadline for donations: MONDAY DECEMBER 9

Thank you in advance for your generous contributions!!

'As long as the day lasts, let's give it all we've got'
-David o. Mckay

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

how we do it.....everyday
 I was contemplating what my next blog should be about. 25 years gives me a lot of choices. But Mark, our manager, suggested scribing about our days at the training mecca: BODY SPECS INC. Sorta a day in the life of what we do.  I relented at first, then thought, Mark, thats a good idea....

OUR day starts at 630am. Most of you often kid me by asking 'do I stay awake making this stuff up?' I have. Any business wants to keep their customers happy. Not us. We want our customers to be EXTREMELY happy! Lets face it. Having a personal trainer is a luxury. I mean when it comes down to cost cutting we know we're gonna be on the chopping block as a non-necessity. (we don't have a chance against cable and utility bills!) The goal is to design a 'training experience' that you can't do without. In other words, we want to be a necessity! I tell my staff to ask often themselves 'why would I train at BSI?' More importantly, 'are we providing more value than the cost of our service?' That has been and continues to be our trademark and core business philosophy of Body Specs since 1986.

Some of our clients range from fit, to not so fit, injury rehab, sports performance, total knee, 8-10 year old soccer players, ACL reconstruction, bad spine, race preparation, D1,2,3 bound athletes, the list is endless. Really.  Endless. I remember treating a kayaker who was navigating across the Great Lakes for Finlandia Vodka. I mean he was actually in route. Heard about BSI from a friend who drove him by. Who knew? Right!?{gotta a million stories like that}. Anyhow I wanted our business to be a training facility where no matter who walked through our doors they would not be turned away no matter what their current physical status is and that is where our work begins.You would be surprised at some of the clients we turn away and who leave. The ones we turn away are those who have a 3 week goal to fit into a wedding dress! Uhhhhh. No. The other category are referrals who want to do it but don't realize how demanding the work is. WE warned them it is not for everybody. But they are adamant until they realize this is NOT a typical training program!  Refund. And thanks for choosing BSI!

Many of you have seen me go to my podium just prior to a session. Often times it is to book clients or to get an idea who is coming in next or my agenda for the day. I won't bore you with the behind the scenes stuff, there is a lot that goes on that our clients don't know about ie. marketing plans, state of the business, client review, projects, continuing education, blah blah blah. The analogy I like to use is a duck moving across a pond. Above water the duck glides effortlessly while underwater the feet are moving at feverish pace!....I digress. Back to the podium: I keep a 'cheat' sheet called MFC2 (my fave combo circuits). These are techniques I record once we have designed a combination of training modes that we can apply to any client. Hey. It's labor intensive training you all. It can be exhaustive making sure we stay 'fresh' for every client that walks through that door till we close up for the evening. And of course there is our signature BREATHTAKEZ. The genesis of this form of anaerobic training was to counter the boring aerobic classes that did not work for producing long lasting physique changes. You call it crossfit. But the key difference is that we would expose you to different 'stresses' and energy demands. Again, this is our trademark of providing a TRAIN DIFFERENT environment for our bold members that keep us working hard every class. Hats off to Randy, Edie and Mark.

Depending on when you come in you may be our 12th, 18th or 25th client. So imagine doing 25 motivational presentations in one day! We have to be 'on' ALL the time. My staff knows I can be demanding in this regard and are well up to the task. Our reputation is staked on it. So if you see a blank or poundering look on our faces we are trying to disengage a previous client to prepare for YOU!  or we're thinking: 1. 'can you do this, 2. is it safe, 3 how many reps, 4. have you done this before and is it time to increase the level of difficulty, and I gotta eat something, etc

Because we study and strive to deliver the kind of service other competitors envy,  more often than not we are compared to other popular programs such as P90x cCrossfit,(for more on that see 'encore' blog that was written several months ago) or Insanity. Yes. It annoys me! . The science of training is well documented. Many of you may not know that everything we do in our training facility is researched based. NOT based off of 'well I train a lot so I know what I m talking about'. nor do we follow the latest fad or trendWe have seen clients who have been to those trainers. And its not pretty.  When I would give workshops at other gyms I was stunned at the amount of incompetence and lack of innovation especially when it came to knowing what training techniques had the highest potential for injury. More importantly is knowing what to do if a client is 'struggling' with a technique; what to substitue to still get the training effect you want.

There are 'true' training professionals who operate facilities like ours who understand that you cannot train everyone the same way. Programs must be progressive and upgraded as you get stronger. And if you are an athlete then those programs are more specialized. We pride ourselves on having formal educations in these matters along with years of clinical orthopedic/sports performance experience. Anyone who has been in a p90x,crossfit, insanity program will attest our programs are far more challenging. The common response is 'I thought I was in batter shape'. That is all I will say on this topic. The rest you can judge based on your experience with us!

 There is more I could say about what is it like being a trainer at BSI but it would be long, emotional, and boring with some dramas of deceit, betrayal and espionage (love that word)!  In fact, until just a few seconds ago I was going to make this part 1 of 2. I have said enough though. Experience has taught me that I should tell the world what I plan to do but first show it.  I Think I've done that, and there is more to show...........Sessions over!

PS: To our current clients this was dedicated to you for  your patience, support and great referrals. You give us a reason to be better at what we do everyday. To stay ahead on the latest in fitness, sports performance and sports injury management is our commitment to you.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The most 
exercise for 
speed, cardio and 

I have been in this business long enough to see many fads and trends;There are those who 'do it' but don't 'know it'. The 'it' of course being training. But when it comes to coordination in training I am not surprised by the lack of attention it receives in many training programs. Coordination in training is erroneously left out of muscle building and cardio programs. But my fave for improving coordination, speed and cardiovascular fitness: the jump rope!

I have blathered on about the advantage of lo tech v. hi tech training techniques. Obviously  I put the jump rope in the lo tech category. However, rope jumping can have postiive implications on your weight loss and overall training regiment. You can take it anywhere, do it anywhere, and work on a multitude of coordination patterns. Its a great supplement as an interset training tool.  In fact, research bears it out that adding cardio during a weight training program increases weight loss and Vo2 efficency.

I mean you could have an 'epic' hardcore weight training sequence with 2-5 minute jump rope added in there! Yup. I am often shocked at the number of people who don't jump rope especially when they ask me for basic coordination or speed training tips. When I say 'jump rope' the response is typically " I haven't jumped rope since..."And to the ladies, especially, who ask "how can I improve my my legs/hips/butt"? My answer is of course jumping rope. Now, before I get 'yeah but what about squats and stuff ?' I am not saying to exclude those I am suggesting adding the jump rope as an alternate when you want a different 'feel' and look(ladies) for leg symmetry and cardiovascular impact.

Jumping rope does several things:
  • Teaches coordination and timing
  • Can be challenging especially when you learn different patterns to engage entire planes of motion for the leg
  • Engages ALL the proprioceptors(tiny receptors that sense direction change)from the hip to the ankle
  • Great interset technique when doing training combinations e.g. dead lift, chin ups, 2 min heavy bag and 2 minute JUMP ROPE!. Do this 3x each and it changes the tempo and intensity of training!
  • Great for enhancing speed since there needs to be a certain amount of 'stiffness' at toe-off when accelerating. Jumping rope improves this reflex
  • Portable and cheap
  • Also a great 'what to do when I am not at BSI and on vacation?' exercise.  For example, it would look like this: push-up{your choice of technique}, 2 min jump rope, core technique{your choice of technique. I'm just say'n!
 So if you are looking for ANOTHER way to improve your training add the jump rope. Its as simple as that. And don't even get me started on heavy-rope training....

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Beautiful day for a run!

Taper week, and carbo loading, done. Clothes set out, done. Multiple alarms set, up, dressed and out the door, done. Parking, done. Multiple trips to the porta-jons, done. Find my place in the coral, done. Watch turned on, done. Grove with the music, done. The gun goes off and away we go. Beginning the 35th annual Detroit Free Press races, done.

The environment was electrified with the runners all around, spectators cheering us on, the coolness of the dark morning, the race was there for us to conquer. As we ran over the Ambassador Bridge, the sun began to rise and I took a moment to enjoy it and felt so blessed. Now in Canada, a friend, I hadn't seen in a couple of years, turns and says "hello". When asked, he said "heard me" versus seen me. It was great seeing and catching up with him. We wished each other luck and continued on our race. As we finish our "underwater mile" Detroit welcomed us back into the country enthusiastically. Continuing through the streets of Detroit, watching my pace, smiling and thanking the spectators, I realized that, as I turn onto Michigan Ave, I only had a mile to go. I "think" I see the finish line, so I pick up my pace. "Oh man" it's not the finish, "oh well, keep running" and I did. Now, I see the finish line, thank goodness. Not forgetting to smile, I cross the finish line.

Medal, check. Post race food and meeting up with loved ones, check. Now stretch and continue to smile for  the day I was blessed with. What a GREAT day.

I want to send out a big CONGRATULATIONS to all of those who participated in the 35th Free press Detroit festival of races. I know that all of your training payed off and that you enjoyed the race. So now the big question is "What's next"?


Sunday, September 23, 2012

OH SH@#$%^TTTT!!!!

Training in a facility like ours you will often here expressions of strain and effort. What you may not know is that  strain is called the guttural yell and is well researched phenomenon in sports performance.

This 'yell' is common in all sports. It is well documented that this vociferous training partner can be the difference in generating a powerful tennis serve to clean and jerking 5x your body weight! The mechanisms are not quite clear accept that it provokes a biochemical release of epinephrine and adrenaline. As you know these endogenous steroid like chemicals induce power and acceleration within seconds:The 'HULK' effect. Unfortunately, this form of yelling is deemed so barbaric and intimidating behavior in some  'gym' chains that you may be asked to leave![wtf!] This is to keep the hard core heavy lifters away(hardcore is the ONLY way to go; gets the physique to change by YOUR will and force of your intensity. So keep yelling!}. Anyway to further discourage 'the' yell, these gyms will not rack any more than 50lb dumbbells and limited weight plates. The thinking is you cannot go super heavy with a 50lb dumbbell or limited plates to even elicit a whimper! (wimps)  Nevertheless if you feel the need to get a little extra to finish out a set, rep or serve: YELL!!!  It can make that much difference: GO HARD OR GO HOME!!!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

part 2 of 2 on How to build an Athlete

In PART 1 of How to Build an Athlete  I left off with the crucial ingredients to building an athlete:
  • Mobility
  • Agility 
  • Speed
  • Power
  • Well being [replaces strength]

MOBILITY. This may come as a shocker but, just because I mentioned this first doesn't mean it is the most important. However, it is essential as an athlete develops to maintain the prerequisite mobility for their respective sport. Ages 5-11 years of age is the crucial time to begin working on mobility since this is the critical stage for enhancing flexibility. Gender does make a difference. Boys between the ages of 9-12 begin to lose forward trunk flexibility. Girls accelerate flexibility gains at the age of 11. Maintainence of flexibility should be preservered through adolescence.

AGILITY is the most under researced in adolescent sports performance and paradoxically it is the most important for developing athletic prowess. Agility development should be targeted at prepubescence  and adolescence. Limb strength and running speed are key components of agility, thus it is important coordination and movement patterns are taught in the early years. That is why I strongly recommend the park for introducing agility. This playful environment allows for the commencement of neural enhancement i.e. coordination. Prepubescent has already been established as a key stage for strength and speed development.

SPEED may be developed through maturation which means speed is trainable throughout childhood and adolescence . Prepubescents neural activation for speed includes high levels of plyometerics and sprint training. Adolescents responded more to neural and structural development ie. strength and plyometerics. I would encourage prepubescents to work on technical competency, speed work and plyometerics to provide an infrastructure for existing physical qualities. Adolescents, on the other hand, should focus on strength training, plyometerics and sprint training for overall speed gains.

POWER development commences at adolescence and continues throughout adulthood. That is not to say this stage cannot begin in the prepubertal phase. However, the rate and magnitude of development  may differ before and after the onset of puberty. I disagree with the implement of 'popular' training programs to introduce power. Since strutural maturity is not completed during this stage the chance for injury is high.

WELL BEING is the most underrated in developing the young athlete no matter how talented. I am reminded by the recent comments made by Michael Phelps, the Olympic swimmer who dominated this year. He said "After my last Olympics, I was burned out and didn't want to swim anymore...." Now, for the lay person, this was a shocker but, what he expressed is very common among high performance athletes in our field. We call this a Low Positive Cell. (save for another blog). Yet, it is important for parents to preserve a healthy well being when your child is maturing and the demands of athletic training and competition increase. It is important that the child's intrinsic drive is greater than extrinsic forces (parents living vicariously through their kids). I have seen this more times than I can count.

As long as development is augmented and re-calibrated to meet the maturation of neural and structural components, and the child feels positive about their progress in mastering tasks for being a good athlete, well being will be maintained. Task mastery is associated with increased enjoyment, perceived competence and beliefs that effort causes success. This alone will result in transferable life skills. As long as their is variability, progressing and challenging training environments.

Kids are NOT little adults! The training of young athletes should not be taken lightly. This blog has content based on years of established research and experience. The components described in this blog are to be taught by degreed and certified/qualified persons with an understanding of adolsecent development.  This doesn't mean programs like Crossfit, Insanity or bootcamp type classes and the many other programs out there not designed for this young group. A safe age for increasing training complexity is 13 and older

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Parents Guide on:
easier than you think and NOT what you think!
Part 1 of 2
Training athletes of all ages and skill levels, I am often intrigued by what parents and athletes think what they know about getting 'better' at their respective sports. And lets just say I won't  being going out of business anytime soon! Business is good. I often here though the lament of uninformed parents: 'He/She got two left feet", 'he/she needs to get 'mean'", and my favorite "I been training 'em but need someone that he will listen too". A priceless classic. These are the most popular phrases I hear regarding how parents want their kids to be a 'better' athlete. The irony is they have not the slightest idea what that means!

During pre-adolescent, both male and female bodies, go through a natural maturation process. Muscle, skeletal structure and neural conduction (coordination) are developing at remarkable rates especially if the proper environment is provided. Before there is an attempt to push your child into a sport YOU think they should try,  the best environment, in my opinion as a father and sports performance specialist is teaching your kids to play. Yes. I said teach. Some years ago I read this New York Times piece on parents who actually hired people to teach their kids to ride a bike! HIuh?! The coolest thing to watch your kid do is conquer their first challenge.  So teaching your kid how to ride a bike, go down a slide, do the 'monkey' bars etc is essential in stimulating coordination and strength. I believe playing is the best way.

When my son was born, I vowed to practice what I preached, and took him to the parks often. This encouraged play and confidence building (get into later) as he conquered climbing up the slide ladder and eventually down the slide! I see many parents make the mistake, usually dads, who will pick football or basketball as a sport they want their child to pursue without regard to other sports. Ignorance is the key denominator in this decision making. They are choosing sports they KNOW! I purchased basketball, lacrosse sticks, football, baseball, soccer, hockey sticks, golf, and boxing gloves. My son tried them all and his mom took him swimming! I'd put this equipment all in a bag and when we arrived at  the park he would pick which one he wanted to play. Oh. Did I mention we played dodge ball?  He would simply try to hit me with a nerf ball, but I was moving. Now that is tough for a 4 year old! Talk about agility training! We did this random game play till he was 7.

When introducing your child to sport and training it is important to keep the first 6 years of their 'sports' life unstructured. That means not sending them to every sports camp in the state or signing them up for Gymboree classes. Take them to the park! The park has other kids that are developing functional motor skills, and they don't even realize they are off to a great start to becoming a good athlete. More importantly you can see how kids problem solve obstacles, how they fall and get up ( an under rated   motor skill), how they interact with other kids i.e. can they play together? The beauty of this is that you have introduced them to the basic tenets of sport specific skills:

  • Mobility
  • Agility 
  • Speed
  • Power
  • Strength

PART 2: Takes more than 'GOT MILK?' coming in future blog!

Thursday, July 19, 2012



Come on people!... This just in:FLASH: you cannot lose fat weight running in 100 deg heat!!
Man, does it drive me crazy seeing people running in this oppressive heat! There is nothing but BAD that comes of this and I will explain in brief, yet, vivid details what is happening to the you boil it by driving up core temperatures to dangerous levels. Folks, heat does not  burn off fat!!! It boils at 360 degrees!

The purpose of sweating is to cool the body. It does this by dilating the blood vessels just under the skin so the blood can get to the surface to cool off. That 'blush' you see on most people is the blood cooling the surface via evaporation. This is very important to prevent overheating which can lead to heat stroke where you stop sweating, but are hot to the touch. This is NOT GOOD. Most of the water from sweating comes from the blood. Lets say you are out for a run and your sweating like crazy. The heart begins to pump harder to cool the other organs but as you begin to exercise vigorously the blood gets warm which ultimately starts the sweating mechanism.

Now the sweat collecting on the skin now gets cooled through evaporation. So as soon as sweat hits the skin surface the blood gets cooled; you feel this  when there is no humidity and the sweat can evaporate pretty easy. However, when the humidity is high the evaporation rate slows down due to the excess moisture already in the air making it harder for the sweat, now sitting on the body, to evaporate. Get the picture?!

So lets say that you keep running, pretty soon the blood gets 'sludgy' because you continue to sweat as more water is drawn from the blood in an attempt to cool the body. Nevertheless, the body core is increasing and as the blood goes to the lungs to pick up oxygen, it does not deliver it to the muscles efficiently enough. Next thing you know you are feeling  clumsy and disoriented. STOP. This is 'true' dehydration! To ensure that blood gets to the muscles in your dehydrated state the flow of blood to the skin decreases and sweating diminishes in order to conserve water. This drives up the body core temp which leads to the dreaded heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

Unfortunately, this chain of events happens often during August when football teams, especially,gather to begin preseason training. Often kids come to these preseason practices overweight and outta shape. So they will attempt to cut weight by 'layering' clothes to increase sweat output thinking it will cause weight loss. True: weight loss in water form NOT fat form!! Sadly, the result has been death in some cases.

My recommendation to prevent the deleterious of effect of training in the heat is simple. DON'T RUN WHEN IT IS 95+ DEGREES AND THE HUMIDITY IS HIGH! Duh!! There is NO evidence to support this training method. N-O-N-E. Now before you think I am an alarmist I want to stress I am talking about the brutal heat wave washing over the city these past few weeks. Otherwise, unless you will be competing in arid conditions and you must acclimate,then by all means go for it. For most of us though it is senseless. Swim laps in a pool if you want to do cardio!  if you have read my other blogs, I under rate running as the only method of weight loss. Instead, go to an air conditioned gym and pump some iron to maintain good core posture and lower extremity stability.


UPDATE TRAINING WEAR: Cotton is dead!!! Buy dri-fit. Dri-fit is a 'wicking' fabric that keeps the body cool. I am still amazed at the number of clients that still wear cotton. We take notice when we see they are struggling through a session especially if it is their 4 one. I will often take note of what they have on. Often times it is layered!! two cotton shirts and it is soaked with sweat! Remember we want the body cooled by the sweat via evaporation. Dri-fit facilitates that and can be found in any sport goods store ie. Dicks, Dunhams, ect.

ACCLIMATE! ACCLIMATE! ACCLIMATE!: I only use air conditioning at home. No matter how hot it is I don't turn on the AC in my car, unless my darling wife is with me! Don't spend too much time insulated from this climate then boldly go out and train in it! I am suggesting you try not using the car AC ALL the time.  I encourage our young athletes to do this because I know they are inside all day in AC.  My son has been doing this since he started playing sports and he is glad he does. He often sees his lacrosse teammates having a hard time adjusting due to this 'insulation' effect and understands the benefit and adaptive effects of acclimating. You to should 'feel' the heat and when you do this you will be surprised how cool 85 degrees is from 102 degrees. ACCLIMATE!!!

HYPERHYDRATION AND EUHYDRATION: The first term, hyperhydration is consuming liquids before training. I suggest 1 hour before training to consume a 160z gatorade type drink.  Drink, euhydrate, throughtout your training every 15 minutes or depending on conditions. This is highly recommended especially if you will be training more than 90 minutes. If you read my previous blog then you know what to consume after training! If you are training less than one hour then water is sufficient. There is water in food too, so you are getting your share hydration there especially if your training diet is solid.

WATER FOR DOUSING: I have what I call a 'hot head'bottle for clients who need to cool off quick. We have a water spicket on our building. We simply have our client fill it (water bottle) and douse their heads with it. Great relief. Sometimes better than the cold water for instant cooling! This method increases cooling due to evaporation. So if you are running take enough to consume and douse!!

SAFETY ROUTE: If you go out at least make the destination a 'cooling station' or safety route. It can be the library for instance where you can literally chill and get water or my fave, a 7-11store  where its always a brisk 50 deg in the summer time! Damnn its chilly in there..and don't get me started on the Slurpee's..

DON'T GO OUT: Common sense is under rated so I m not going to say much here.
*if you are experienced this may not matter to you. More for the neophyte.

Follow these tips and you will find the challenge of running in this heat not  so insurmountable. However, my recommendation is to redesign your training day to stay inside or go early in a.m. or later p.m. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Chocolate milk is the real deal!!...low fat at that!!

Well research is finally confirmed: Chocolate milk(CM), low fat even, is a great substitute for a recovery drink! That is great news for parents who are concerned about what is a healthy supplement that is not harmful. Well chocolate is as tame as it gets and here is why.

CM actually has more restoration components than other commercial flavored carbohydrate drinks (Gatorade, Acclerade etc). Check out the differences in nutrients offered in a 240 ml(1 cup)  drink:                          
Nutrient                         Low fat milk           Gatorade
Energy(Kcal)               160, 669                     50,2009
Protein (g)                    8                                            0
Fat (g)                          3                                            0
Carbohydrate(g)          27                                         14
Calcium (mg)              300                                         0
Sodium(mg)                240                                     110

We train a lot of young athletes and we know they eat just about anything! But what is even more crucial is what they do in between preseason workouts. Many athletes are now or will be engaged in intense summer 2 a day workouts. It is crucial that recovery BEFORE the next session is attained. Low fat chocolate milk is the perfect antidote!

Although the mechanisms are not completely clear, the combination of carbohydrate, milk protein, fluid and electrolytes may improve muscle glycogen resynthesis(producing more glycogen, the muscles key element for sustaining contractions), and rehydration to speed recovery between exercise sessions.
The fat in the milk helps delay glycogen depletion. One of the biggest secrets in maintaining carbohydrate stores is consuming healthy carbohydrates all day, everyday, during these preseason practice weeks that usually last two weeks,  especially at night ie. dinner time.

I suggest drinking low fat chocolate milk immediately after exercise and throughout the recovery period in a volume that will help athletes obtain about 1g carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight per hour.(To convert to kilograms take your weight divide it by 2.2). Now the kids don't care about all the science they just know that it taste good!  

Finally, low fat chocolate milk is a great recovery drink especially if you are engaged in 2 a day practice sessions. It appears CM helps provide more glycogen and more electrolytes that other popular carbohydrate drinks do not. Fat in these drinks actually appears to help reduce glycogen depletion. You should consume CM immediately after the first session and continue to consume a carbohydrate every hour up until you return for the second. The Carbohydrate does not have to be just CM by the way. Fruit, yogurt, bagels and chicken or turkey sandwich.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

"I pulled a hammie'. I know what I'm about to say is cliche as all get out but, if I had a dollar every time I heard that I'd be living next to that Facebook kid! I would have even MORE than that if you could see the looks on those same faces when I say your hamstring(Hs) is fine: Priceless!! Allow me to explain.

The Hs does more than bend the leg. It also controls rotation of the tibia(lower leg) every time we take a step. This is even more important when you accelerate the stride frequency; sprinting. The Hs is comprised several muscles that originate behind the gluteus maximus(you sit on both). They travel the length of the leg towards several attachment sites behind, and on both sides of the knee. When I show this to people with Hs  injuries they are shocked at how long it is and where it attaches. Because of its complex network of muscles the Hs controls rotation of the femur as it sits on top of the tibia. This relationship has far reaching influences on the ankle and foot.  Mind blowing  I know. Now while you are wrapping your brain around that, consider how the Hs can get 'hurt'.

The upper body and lower body are inextricably linked to lower body locomotion. In fact, running  speed depends a great deal on the mobility, joint timing(coordination) and power of the shoulders, trunk and hip complex! So when you suffer a hammie pull I can guarantee you that you lack proper mobility in those areas.

When we are training athletes at BSI to improve  mobility, power and stability. we won't focus on strength of the hamstring,  directly, but we work from the 'top down'.  Therefore we address how to engage  lower quarter joint timing as it relates to the shoulder, trunk and hips. These are the true drivers of running. NOT the legs. If you are not convinced then try running  with your arms across your chest. We will often do this in our training to help engage trunk power, postural stabilty/balance and demonstrate how important the upper body is in running. Attempting to strengthen the Hs using resistance machines is a waste of time. It simply is not effective enough especially if you are engaged in athletics.

Finally,  the Hs works in concert with the upper and lower body. When you sprint the implications are far reaching.  The orchestrated contraction of muscles from the shoulders to the hip and finally into the lower leg are paramount for protecting the Hs from injury. So if you are suffering from chronic hamstring pulls, but you keep doing hamstring resistance curls at the gym, I would STRONGLY recommend starting from the 'top down'! Doing resistance training for the Hs is a waste of time and counter productive!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Did you see that?!
Rewind that!"

 Those words fittingly describe the Olympic trials that took place this weekend. The Olympics, if you just crawling from under that rock, are slated to begin July 27, 2012 in London, England. You gotta love the intensity of the performances and the unbridled passion only found at the Olympics. 
The training is arduous and long.  Injuries can occur that can shatter a dream in a matter of seconds . Hours of training gone down the drain. The real 'agony of defeat'. Some of you know injuries, are a specialty of mind, sport orthopedic injuries to be exact. You may find what I am about to say morbid, but I am fascinated by the injuries and how I would have prevented and how I would manage them.

Injuries at this level I refer to as disease of excellence. I am often asked how can injuries occur at this level. The answer is simple: why wouldn't they occur at this level?  I often get the same question regarding professional athletes. Injuries have symptoms that lead up to the injury that puts an athlete out of play. Many athletes ignore the symptoms. You would be surprised  at some of the popular yet dated training methodology that can predispose an athlete to injury. I had an opportunity to work with Olympic athletes and you would be surprised at what they don't know regarding injury prevention and training to reduce the risk of injury.

Back in grad school I presented a paper discussing the tensile capacity of muscle, ligaments, bone and tendon. These structures molecular composition give them the characteristics to absorb and distribute energy commensurate with the amplitude(stress via weight training, running, landing, etc) applied at any given moment. Now, unfortunately these structures are NOT designed to tolerate such 'capacities' and high frequencies. High impact events like gymnastics are a good example of this(you will notice the taped ankles and knees). Nevertheless, they compete and push themselves to the brink for a chance to be on that podium.

Finally the Olympics is a moment to observe prodigious and extraordinary athletic feats. Many of these athletes have logged thousands of hours of demanding training regiments , mind numbing drills to perfect 'the' technique, and a limited social life all for this one glorious moment to see if they got what it takes to be an Olympiad. Injuries or not there will be moments that will inspire us to do better, push harder, run longer and never quit no matter what the odds are. USA! USA! USA! USA!.......


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Some time a go I left you with a promise that I would discuss the 5 most common injuries among young athletes. I am breaking that promise because there is really 4 worth mentioning for this age group. Now before I begin there are a few disclaimers I must mention::
 DO NOT SUBSTITUTE THIS (blog) FOR MEDICAL ADVICE. See a physician:  A REAL ONE!  NOT WEB MD! or Dr. Oz! Preferably one who specializes in sports medicine or an athletic trainer who is qualified to treat, assess and management sport related injuries
  • This article addresses injuries in a unique population: Adolescent athletes
  • Don't rely on ' sports camps' to teach proper training and conditioning. They don't!
  • If your child tells you they 'hurt' especially after hours of practice and playing don't say. "its just growing pains. Man up" Most likely it is a legitimate injury and you are a terrible parent (just kidding)
This is a common site where rookie assessments are made as 'growing pains'! Often hip pain can be referred to the knee. Because these young athletes have not structurally matured, there are injuries to the growth plates that are quite common. Osgood-Shlatters is one of those 'injuries' that can manifest with increased joint stress: especially running and jumping sports. The patella (kneecap) tendon attaches to

 the bone below the knee joint. That bone does not completely harden, so as the the muscle contracts, that force is transferred to this incomplete ossification which can cause pain.

Along with knee pain is the dreaded ACL tear. Now the difference with an adolescent ACL is that when it tears it usually takes a hunk of bone with it! With the increase in kids participating in sports these are becoming more common. This is the one injury where gender plays a big role. Females for example have certain orthopedic predispositions to ACL injuries. One, oddly enough, is too much flexibility at the wrong time. Second is poor hamstring and calf strength. You thought I was going to say quadriceps! Not so. The ability of the female to change direction or decelerate a landing requires a co-contraction(same time)  from the quadriceps and a strong hamstring. Another unique feature is valgus syndrome. Its where the knees 'collapse' inward after landing from a jump. This is bad and should be detrained. Again this is where a trained professional in sports performance should be sought out to fix this early in a young females budding sports pursuits.

Shoulder pain in young athletes is common among overhead sport athletes. The shoulder is inherently unstable, thus making it one of the most vexing of body parts to protect. Nevertheless, the rotator cuff is by far the most popular BUT it is not the primary culprit. When we evaluate a rotator cuff we evaluate mechanics of how the shoulder moves with respect to sport. Often times there are weaknesses that predisposes the RC to injury. In adolescent the offending activity is overuse and poor preseason, and in season conditioning.

Rotator cuff injuries are not as common in this age group as shoulder separation. This is not to be confused with shoulder dislocation. They are NOT the same. Shoulder separation involves the top of the shoulder where the end of the clavicle (collar bone) and scapula (shoulder blade) meet. You can place your index finger directly on top of this joint. Its boney and connected by a series of ligaments. Pain here can be mistaken for rotator cuff pain. Shoulder dislocation is when the humerus bone is displace out of it's socket. This is very painful and causes disability. There is a distinct look to a dislocated shoulder. A normal looking shoulder has a nice 'cap' or mound to it when you look at it from the side, front and back. Image that mound looking 'sunk' in from the side!
Get to a hospital right away if there is not someone on site who can reduce (put back in place) it.

Shin splints is the most annoying of all sport related injuries and the most misunderstood among coaches who actually think it is acceptable to get these pains as part of the sport! And its this mentality that causes unnecessary and preventable injuries such as shin splints. Shin splints is a 'waste basket' term for Anterior tibiaitis. This simply means that the muscle in front of the leg, anterior tibialis is inflamed! It gets inflamed due to it's inability to 'decelerate' foot 'slap'(when the foot lands to the ground after heel strike). This is the easiest to prevent when taught properly. Harder to treat when its full blown during in-season training. The symptoms are innocuous at first during preseason training and this is when it should be treated promptly.

saved the best for last! Who HASN'T had one of the most common rite of passage injuries of all time? The most misunderstood injury in terms of treatment and prevention. There are many degrees of ankle sprains. The most common that puts athletes out for awhile is a grade 2 ankle sprain. This is swelling with some disability and mild to moderate ligament damage. Grade 3 is severe swelling, disability, and possible fracture combined with severe  ligament damage. Its what sportscasters erroneously call a 'high ankle sprain. This is an inappropriate term because the ankle sprains only occur at the ankle and BELOW it!

Now the key is aggressive treatment to prevent what can lead to a functional instability from not addressing stability during the healing phase. I'm still shocked at the conservative approach to ankle sprains since we understand them better and the implications it has in providing stability a far up as the lumbar spine!

 Always ice ankle sprains. Epsom salt in warm water does not work! Ice compression and elevation are key and early calibrated weight bearing and balance training. CAUTION: this should only be done by a trained professional! We have our proprietary technique to reducing ankle sprains as well as treatment protocols. Coaches would do themselves and their athletes justice by coming in and learning how to reduce the risk of this common problem.

"Rule #1 Do no harm to the patient
Rule #2 Be aggressive as you can
Rule #3 See rule #1"
-Gary Gray,PT on my first clinical day and the father of function and world renowned speaker on innovative orthopedic rehabilitation of sport injuries