Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Ah-Ha Moments...

Inspired by an Alwyn Cosgrove article over on T-nation I will try to provide you with some of my ah-ha moments in my career...

1) "Muscles are dumb - they only do what the neurological system tells them to do." Juan Carlos Santana. I had made the trip to Columbus for one of the early "Learn by Doing" workshops put on by Perform Better (Juan, Mike Clark, and Vern Gambetta) and Juan Carlos made that statement about 5 minutes into his presentation and it changed everything for me.
This was back in late 97 or early 98 (can't remember exactly) and I was a HIT Jedi at the time - yes I was a one set to failure I can only train every 7-10 days or I'll overtrain Jedi - at least I can talk about it now ;)
HIT Jedi's are obsessed with "maximum stimulation of the muscle fiber to induce hypertrophy" and they try to accomplish this through training to "failure". Well Juan Carlos's statement brought that paradigm down with a thunderous crash. You just can't reconcile the two. If you place your emphasis on the muscle fiber you are really missing the big Neurological picture!

2) Strength is a skill. Pavel.
Another paradigm shift and principle to grasp - coming from the HIT Jedi background the idea of frequent, not to failure training was about as comfortable as a tight wool sweater on a hot summer day - not very. Since I adopted this simple principle I have achieved things I never thought possible. (Look into Power to the People and Naked Warrior by Pavel)
Deadlift 5 days a week, pull-ups every hour...Yes - done properly you groove the skill of strength.

3) Knowledge is not power - Application of knowledge is power. Me - at least that is who I am going to give credit to for that statement as I cannot remember hearing it before I had that epiphany. What brought about that epiphany? Measuring my waist and finding a HUGE 40" bowl of fat instead!
I was running a hospital fitness center and a certified personal trainer at this point and I was not applying ANY of my knowledge.
The result - an immediate and vicious change of diet and exercise - No sugar or refined carbs and High Intensity Intervals and I was down to a 32" waist in less than 3 months.
Application is the key!

4) RKC - Kettlebells and the RKC School of Strength
I ordered the original RKC book sometime in 2000 or early 2001 (see how good I am with my dates) and promptly read it and did nothing with it - but couldn't get it out of my head until one day after rereading it I loaded up a 50# dumbbell and tried to do some dumbbell snatches. After a near death experience I decided to attend the second ever RKC in February 2001 in Minneapolis. Nothing has been the same since then.

5) Movement Skill and Z Health
Think you move well? So did I until I tried Z Health. Just as there is a difference between swinging a kettlebell and knowing how to perform the kettlebell swing - there is a universe of difference between mobility work and Z Health.
This is the single most important thing that poeple are not working on. Even as a powerlifter and strength guy I realize that my strength is limited in its effectiveness by how I move. Mobile and Strong will beat "just strong" anyday.
So what are you doing to improve your movement skill?

So there is a quick list of Ah-Ha moments - there are more but it usally involved dropping some object on myself or some other "unique" situation ;)


Mike T Nelson said...

Great stuff and an awesome snapshot into your journey! Excellent points that should be required reading for all fitness professionals.
Rock on
Mike N

Taikei Matsushita said...

"What separates elite from the rest, they do better at basics"

I have this on notepad from RKC at Kenneth Jay's segment. I may have heard you saying it somewhere.
Who's words would it be?

Brett Jones said...

Thanks Mike - its been an interesting journey getting to where I am and looking ahead to where I want to be.

Taikei - that is a saying from an individual in the special forces that is quoted in the RKC manual - should be in your copy.
I use that saying a LOT as it reminds everyone to keep it simple.

Mark Reifkind said...

great post and compliations of some incredibly simple but exact rules to live by.good stuff.

Lauren Brooks said...

I wish more people knew about this! It's so frustrating trying to explain to people and other fitness professionals that you don't need to train to failure to get optimal results.

As far as Z health is concerned, you and Sara C. have really sparked my interested. Unfortunately with my schedule and being a mom it's not possible for me to take a week off to attend. Any chance you will be covering a little bit at the RKC Level 2? I'd love to get a small taste of it so I can see what I'm missing. I'm sure there would be others that would be very interested as well.

Anonymous said...

Glad to see that you are interested in Z Health. The Level 1 (R Phase) Cert is taught in two different ways:

1.)There are the East and West Coast certs where it is taught in 6 consecutive days.

2.) Any of the others are split into 2 weekends (3 days each), 2 months apart. It's basically taught in the same time frame as the RKC; Fri-Sun 9-6pm.

I hope you can find time in your schedule as both a mom and a trainer to make it to the R Phase cert. You won't regret your decision!

Z Health Level 3

Geoff Neupert said...

Brilliant Brett!

However, JC "stole" that line from Gary Gray.

And you're absolutely 100% correct--there's a world of difference between the "mobility" work that many fitness professionals are engaged in and Z--the contrast is about as stark as HIT and PTP...

fawn said...

Excellent message Brett! I love "Knowledge is not power... application of knowledge is power". I am going to steal that one!

Brett Jones said...

Thanks Rif

Thanks Aaron

Thanks Lauren - I think Andrea DuCane will cover some Z warm-up during her section of the level 2.

Thanks Geoff - I can only quote it from where I heard it - Gary Gray being behind that one doesn't surprise me.

Thanks Fawn - steal away.

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