7 Exercises Using Only A Skateboard

Skateboard can be an incredibly useful exercise tool to develop strength, stability, balance, cardio, etc.

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Week 1: 7 exercises for Building an “Athletic Core”

An athlete’s core needs to be stable! Too often the the fitness industry push core exercises that lack the proper amounts of load, task specificity, and also lack dynamic motion. In this article I cover 7 exercises that will greatly improve an athletes core training!

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My Frustration with Personal Trainer’s Obsession With Burpees

Every year you hear the same New Years resolution from your family at christmas dinner and your friends on social media,  “This year I am going to lose 20 pounds and become a healthier version of myself.”  This is a fantastic goal as our society is facing another health epidemic besides Covid-19 and that would be obesity.  The Obesity rate has significantly increased over the last 50 years. This is not because people aren’t trying to lose weight. Research has shown in the USA between 25 and 50% of females constantly trying to lose weight.  Another astounding fact, is that 80% of new gym members will quit within 5 months.  What these statistics say to me is that people are trying to lose weight and become a healthier version of themselves, however us as a fitness and health industry are failing them.  Too many in this industry push “lose 20 lbs in 20 days”, “magic pills” and “booty bootcamps” that are blatantly ineffective and cause people to lose faith in our industry and themselves. Too many rush into their new year’s resolution like they are rushing into war, however, we do not do a proper job of preparing them. We need to spend more time preparing our bodys, strategizing and creating a plan that will last.

Now there is one particular exercise that I associate with this dilemma more than any other.  BURPEES.  Almost every lose weight quick scam or personal trainer who takes on countless new years resolution clients uses in extreme excess.  Don’t get me wrong burpees can be an extremely effective exercise for metabolic conditioning circuits for individuals who are in great shape.  However, for most new year resolution clients they do not have either the aerobic base or required strength to make this an effective exercise to lose weight. Listed below are my main issues with Burpees.

Sport, Fitness, Exercise, Pilates, Face Man, Body Man
  1. Destroy Adherence Rates
    • I don’t know about you, but I hate burpees.  We know that the biggest issue with getting people to lose weight is that we struggle with getting them to stick to both a workout and diet plan.  Giving them exercises that can absolutely destroys a sole is probably not the best way to get them to stick around
  2. Ineffective at Burning Calories
    • Now this will be a controversial statement, as one of the biggest reasons you should do burpees is that it will turn you into a “fat burning machine”(yes i read that in a magazine article)  However, I would argue against that. My argument would be the same as my argument against swimming. If you throw Michael Phelps in a pool, yes he is going to burn an incredible amount of calories(i.e. why he could eat 12,000 during the 2008 Olympics) However, if you threw me in a pool, I will only be able to swim for maybe 3 minutes before I would drown. Those 3 minutes is not nearly enough of a stimulus to trigger major fat burning.  The same thing can be said for burpees; if you take someone who can do burpees all day, then yes it will be a great exercise to burn calories, however if you take someone who can only do 12 burpees before being fried, you may have only burned 20 total calories. In my professional opinion getting someone to do a walk/jog for 25 minutes it will be a much more effective measure to burn calories and build an aerobic base. 
  3. Does 3 thing poorly and nothing extremely well
    • Many describe burpees to be the perfect exercise because it is a “total body exercise”. Personal trainers promise clients it’s going to strengthen their lower body, upper body and cardiovascular system.  However, many times when we try to create this perfect exercise, it does not create enough of a stimulus to create optimal stimulus to improve any of these areas.
  4. Most trainers don’t care about form with Burpees
    • Most trainers view this as a way to get the heart rate up.  However, when we have not trained our clients on how to do a burpee properly and how to safely load our joints/muscles, we put them at risk for injury.  This becomes amplified when we have them doing this exercise at high speeds for high reps.
  5. Most trainers include Burpees because they look fancy and make you feel the “burn”
    • As I discussed above Burpees suck.  We are quite literally repeatedly throwing our body onto the ground generating tremendous amounts of stress on joints that haven’t been stressed like this in years.  The next day there is no doubt you will feel like you got hit by a truck. Many personal trainers, view this as a win and makes them think they did their job.  However, for long term success this is a terrible idea.This puts the client at great risk for injury and takes away much of the joy of training.  Also we are not creating strategic adaptation that will lead to long term success

The Physical Risk of Academic Finals:Modifying Load

As I reflect upon my marathon training over the last 4 month, I began to notice some interesting trends. Throughout the 4 months I suffered some mild setbacks(knee pains, decrease performance, trigger points etc) that hindered my training. However, when I went back and compared when these setbacks occurred, almost every single one coincided with a stressful week in school and clinicals. With this I realized that these set backs were on me. I should’ve modified my training load.

A couple months ago I posted the picture above on @compass_performance. Here is a visual I like to use to demonstrate how biopsychosocial factors influence and limit our training. When we have low levels of emotional and school stress, great sleep and proper nutrition, we have a ton of room for activities(training load), before we get injured or start to experience pain.

However, as these factors become less optimal, our room for training load quickly diminishes and injury risk quickly rises.

What does the research say?

There have been a few studies that have looked at the relationship between stressful life events and injury rates in athletes. The findings of these studies are listed below….

1. Petrie 1992: college gymnasts with higher life event scores experienced more minor injuries than athletes with lower scores

2. Cryan and Alles 1983: Athletes in a high stress score group were more likely to become injured

3. Gunnoe 2001: “(1) high school football players with high levels of total and negative life stress were more likely to become injured; (2) high school football players with high levels of total and negative life stress were more likely to sustain multiple injuries”

4. Bryan 2016: “Division 1 Collegiate Football Players suffers more than double the amount of injuries during periods of High Academic Stress doubled compared with periods of Low Academic Stress(from 6.2 injuries per week during Low stress weeks to 12.0 injuries per week during High Stress Weeks)

These results should not come as a surprise…

During finals week, at least in my experience, it is pure survival mode. There is little self care, little sleep, poor nutrition(love myself some late night McDonalds during finals week, and you always have to treat yourself to chik fil a minis after an 8 am test), and ofcourse copious amounts of caffeine and stress. All of these factors on their own have been linked to negative relationships with health and injury risk. However, when all these factors come together, it creates a perfect storm for injury

How do we combat this?

The ideal unrealistic answer is to schedule your time better, meal prep before all hell breaks loose and be sure to set time limits to ensure you get proper amounts of sleep. The sad truth is my personality trait, PROCRASTINATION, and the fact finals, no matter what you do finals will always be stressful; this isn’t an option. Instead during these weeks, our training should decrease in load and intensity**DO NOT go completely Sedentary!!!Being completly sedentary can cause significant amounts of muscle atrophy and decrease our insulin sensistivity. Also exercise can be a POWERFUL mental health tool to utilize during these stressful time*** Thus, these weeks can serve as useful deload period which has been shown significantly improve training results. Here are some of my favorite workouts to do during final weeks.

Walking:

Many of my post have been centered around my love of walking and all the health benefits it serves. Bonus, little hack I use is to listen to any recorded lectures during my walk

“Kelly P, Williamson C, Niven AG, et alWalking on sunshine: scoping review of the evidence for walking and mental healthBritish Journal of Sports Medicine 2018;52:800-806”

Deload in the Weight Room:

Deload in the weight room typically means significantly decreasing volume( decreasing amount of sets and reps) and moderately decreasing load. Deloads are a critical part of the theory of periodization. It is believed that deloads primes our body for the next training block and may offer an increased super compensation effect.

Yoga/Meditation:

Yoga and Meditation are both great at producing a relaxation effect and calming our sympathetic nervous system, which is running on the diesel fuel of dark roast coffee. They are also both great at developing optimal breathing techniques. Yoga’s mobility benefits is an additional plus, that I most definitely need.