Episode 71. The Client Assessment File for Online Coaches

Episode 71. The Client Assessment File for Online Coaches

★★★★★
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Show Notes

Scott and Mike discuss the coaching “Assessment file”, a tool for online coaches to use to assess and track their clients’ progress and specific needs.

The Client Assessment File

  • Give Scott a breakdown of your current training regimen and how long you have been following it.
  • Your vital stats: height, age, weight.
  • A brief breakdown of your lifestyle and lifestyle stressors.
  • A detailed 3 day diet – current history.
  • Provide information on how many days per week you can realistically workout and for how many hours per training day.
  • A breakdown of your training goals: physique transformation, get fit, feel more energetic, gain muscle, lose fat, get strong etc…
  • Pictures of yourself from front side and back.
  • List any injuries or medical conditions and medications which may affect training protocol.

This is deliberately open-ended and not a specific form that people fill out, because “how” any client answers these questions provides Scott with a lot of info. How much do they know about diet and training? How do they approach their daily diet? Are they buying into buzzwords?

An example: in the case of the 3-day diet history, compare these three:

  • The person who sends in screenshots or exports of their MyFitnessPal with an explanation of “the macros I’m trying to hit.”
  • The person who just says “Oh, uh, usually it’s a cereal in the morning, then the lunch truck at lunch, then whatever my spouse makes at dinner.”
  • The person who emails the contest prep meal plan they got from their last coach.

Scott is always open with clients about what’s “coming up.” E.g., if someone has hormonal and metabolic issues, it’s going to take some work, and “dieting down” can’t be the priority, and he won’t coach with that in mind.

Scott bases his assessment file on his experience in social work, where every patient has an ongoing file that needs to be updated on a regular basis.

 

[LINKS & RESOURCES]

The Scott Abel Starter Set – scottabelfitness.com/starter

How to Be An Insanely Good Fitness Coach – http://scottabelfitness.com/ebooks/online-fitness-coach/

	
	
	

Episode 70. Learning to Calibrate Training Intensity and Pattern Recognition

Episode 70. Learning to Calibrate Training Intensity and Pattern Recognition

★★★★★
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Show Notes

Scott wanted to talk briefly about an interview with Tom Brady, where he felt there were important lessons about making training progress in the real world.

Calibrating Training Intensity

In the interview, Brady mentions there’s a difference between working hard, and then “working hard at the right things” and then “working hard at the right things consistently.” He says too many athletes work hard at the wrong stuff and then see no benefit, so they double down and get hurt or burned out (or as Scott adds: overtrained). This is one reason why, as we’ll see below, it’s not one thing, it’s everything. Various elements of training influence one another. For example, doing the “wrong stuff” is already wrong, but on top of that, it also tends to cause some athletes to double down and hurt themselves. Whereas if someone is doing a program that works, they’re more likely to ride the wave of progress it’s giving them, without panicking and driving themselves into the ground.

Key quote from Brady: “It’s not one thing, it’s everything.”

This is because various elements tend to feed into and mutually reinforce one another. Getting a good sleep helps you train better, and training better helps with sleep. Having good nutrition helps with training, and training helps with hunger, cravings and motivation. Aside from the obvious benefits of doing so, sticking to a program for a reasonable period of time allows you to learn to feel what the “mastery phase” of a program should feel like, and this gives you (the trainee) insight into the cumulative realms of time with respect to training effects — something “program hoppers” will miss out on —. All these things, taken together, add up. Doing “just one thing” won’t have the same effect as doing all these things together.

Progress is not always measurable. If you’re training for physique development, strength is not the only indicator of progress, and yes, it is FINE for your weights not to go up for months.

Often, your 1-RM won’t go up, but what Scott calls your “strength density” will improve. This means maybe your 5 X 5 of squat doesn’t improve, but the intensity with which you’re able to hit isolation work later on in the workout is slowly improving over time.

Scott thinks the phrase “All it takes is all you’ve got” is downright misleading. What is “optimal” is not always what is “maximal.” Optimal is optimal!

Yes, you can nudge or edge your way into the “red zone,” just to be sure you’re not being lazy, but be careful and be aware of what you’re doing. This is just about being realistic and honest. There’s no secret.

LINKS & RESOURCES

Link to Tom Brady’s Interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBwf6vB1hyc

The Innervation Primer: https://scottabelfitness.com/primer

Program Design Masterclass: http://programdesignmasterclass.com/

Hardgainer Solution: http://hardgainersolution.com/

Episode 69. JC Santana on Social Media, Balance and Lifestyle in the Modern World

Episode 69. JC Santana on Social Media, Balance and Lifestyle in the Modern World

★★★★★
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Show Notes

How to balance work, life, balance in an increasingly frenzied modern culture.

JC's Facebook Post About His Knee

Mike’s new book is available now!

Be a cool dude and read it:

Social Media, Lifestyle and Balance in the Modern World

  • Key Quote from JC: “Sleeping is food for your Central Nervous System.” This was in the context of talking about athletes who starve themselves of food and then wonder why they have no energy. Well, athletes also “starve” themselves of sleep (and then wonder why they’re so lacking in energy…).
  • Social Media offers consumers a way to find information, but also lures them into believing things that aren’t necessarily true. For JC, personal trainers that constantly publish ‘selfies’ of their physical state is just a showoff without providing valuable content. Scott points this issue to a form of attracting consumers – and personal trainers as well – into a baseless ‘black and white’ answer system that fails to address real problems that needs more indebt analysis.
  • Can great athletes be great coaches? According to JC, it’s not common. Despite the similar focus they might seem to have, the difference relies not only on their physical capacities and performance (even genetics), but on how they approach their chosen field. This distinction can be seen during a combine (a test for performance and endurance). Unfortunately, combines do not illustrate specific field tests (grind, vision on the field, etc), and because of this some of the best athletes are dismissed early on.
  • Technology has the power to measure the finest detail of the body’s movement and give precise data, but having this objective information for most situations can be unnecessary or even misleading (over-quantification of data) when a subjective view can easily and logically dictate that the training is working the proper way.
  • JC: “You don’t need to go to failure”. Scott agreed.
    Some of the negative side effects that Social Media presents to the North-American and western culture are focused on the acquisition of stuff, not just material stuff but ‘doing’ more, ‘showing’ more, all as a way to display success. In a diet context, Scott says, “We think the more we’re circling the exhausted state, the more we deserve weight loss when it’s actually the opposite“.
  • Finding a balanced lifestyle is becoming increasingly more difficult as time and resources are being cut shorter, thus creating a necessity to consume or mass-consume mind numbing substances like drugs, liquids or food –as a chemical- to try to keep up with the demands and rhythm of modern life. Being able to not abuse and instead moderate these and other damaging factors will physically, spiritually and mentally help to keep a well-balanced, healthy lifestyle. Creating small strategies to day by day combat hunger, lack of sleep, and lack of exercise can change a person instantly.
  • According to eastern philosophy, balance as an external goal creates imbalance. In Scott’s point-of-view, “Balance is something that is experience-based and never thought-based” and “the engagement produces the reality”. In JC’s view, “Balance is a state of mind, it’s not an action or a lifestyle” were both working and relaxation states have to coexist within each other.
  • Generally, a generation tends to blame their current problems on previous generations, but what makes a generation thrive is learning to be resilient and take responsibility for their own problems regardless.

Relevant Quotes from JC’s book Functional Training

  • “When we look at training from a functional perspective, progress is less objectively quantified and more subjectively evaluated” (loc. 818).
  • “The last thing I want to do is turn your training into a nightmare of calculations and measurements” (loc. 2566).
  • “I haven’t used the percentage-of-1RM method since the 1990s” (loc. 2538).
  • “Volume is the best variable to increase, especially at the beginning of training. Volume allows learning, reinforces good patterns, helps to eliminate imbalances, provides strength, and burns calories, which is important to athletes trying to lose excess fat” (loc. 1844).
  • “Once you master an exercise, then and only then perform the more dynamic or difficult versions. The biggest mistake in training is not mastering a movement before moving on to a more advanced progression” (loc. 1096).

Find out more about our guest today,
JC Santana

JC’s Main Website – IHPfit.com

Instagram – Instagram.com/ihpfit

Facebook – Facebook.com/JCSIHP

JC posted a picture of his knee here: http://bit.ly/jcs_knee_fb

See a video of JC recording the podcast with us: http://bit.ly/jcs_vid_podcast_rec

Episode 68. Optimizing Metabolism

Episode 68. Optimizing Metabolism

★★★★★
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Show Notes

We discussed optimizing metabolism and what that means in the real world. There’s more to it than just having a “faster” metabolism.

Ways to Optimize your Metabolism

  • In terms of optimizing your metabolism, think of it as a puzzle: the more pieces you put together, the more clear the picture becomes. No system of the body acts by itself; they all influence each other.
  • One way to optimize metabolism is to within a relative caloric deficit. If you’re eating just short of daily needs, you create a more efficient machine to burn those calories. You function better. This is different from an absolute caloric deficit.
  • If you want to build muscle, you can increase the frequency of cheat days and refeeds.
  • One should always focus on metabolic optimization in the longer term. A lot of positive changes that take place tend to happen in what Scott often calls the “residual” and “cumulative” realms of time. (Similarly, a lot of the things that are damaging to a metabolism might look good in the “immediate” realm of time, so they go unnoticed.)
  • One of the most underrated methods of optimizing metabolism is the 5X5 reps scheme.
  • Aerobic cardio has been proven to not have a great effect on metabolism. Scott’s written about this in many of his books. (See the Intro to MET in the Starter Set at scottabelfitness.com/starter). If you go on a long run, you can feel your body trying to be more efficient and use as little energy as it can to maintain the rhythm, which is the opposite of what you want.
  • To burn fat with cardio, you have to cycle the cardio – 8 weeks on, 6 weeks off (depending). You get a way better fat burning effect, than if you just do it all the time.
  • If you do something where you binge a weekend, and don’t train the next week, you won’t make much progress. You need to figure out what lifestyle changes need to happen.
  • A lot of the times “over analyzing” and questioning whether something is working kills the potential benefit of what you’re doing. 
  • Maintaining regular sleep and wake times, as well as meal times as much as possible helps to train and optimize your metabolism.
  • When sugar isn’t a part of your normal diet, it can have a narcotizing effect once you do finally have some (e.g., like on a refeed). This can be a benefit if you think of it as a way to get a really good sleep, and plan your days/weeks accordingly.
  • Low-carb diets can get in the way of reading your body’s signals: hunger, lack of energy, etc. Scott always advocates a diet with plenty of carbs.

Links and Resources:

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