I recently had the pleasure of attending one of the industry’s premier educational events, the Rhode Island Perform Better Functional Training Summit. If you’re in the biz, I can only say you’d better try to get to one of these at least once a year. Not only do you learn tons, you get to meet a ton of awesome folks.
I’m gonna try to keep it simple and share some things I learned that will be helpful for my beloved readers. But I have to comment on one thing first.
My heroes are the best people ever. I had the chance to meet with several folks over the weekend that have been an inspiration to me throughout my career. And I have the great fortune to be able to say that they were kind and gracious and humble and everything I hoped they would be. I got to personally thank world famous Coach Mike Boyle for teaching me it’s not only ok to keep changing my mind, it’s NECESSARY if I want to be the best.
I got to meet the Warrior Philosopher Poet King of Strength and Conditioning Dan John. This is a man who must hear “you’re my hero” a LOT. And you know what his response was? ”Mark, I want you to let me know if I can ever help you in any way at any time.” He’s gonna be my instructor this August when I get my first kettlebell certification. How friggin’ lucky am I?
One of the highlights of the weekend was getting to meet Gray Cook and Lee Burton, the men behind the Functional Movement Screen. Not only had they seen my silly ass video, they thought it was hilarious, they want to use it for some of their certifications, and the Functional Movement folks have asked me to write them an article about how I use the FMS in my training. Look Ma… I’m gonna be the featured Functional Movement expert on the FMS website!!!
These men are truly world class. I’m happy to say their expertise is matched only by their personal awesomeness.
So enough gushing… let’s get to the Health and Hotness take-aways!!
Mark Verstegen: One of the superstars of the industry, Verstegen is the brains behind Athlete’s Performance, one of the industry’s premier centers for performance enhancement (with several world class facilities). He made a lot of great points about barefoot training and the value of properly teaching folks how to do stuff with less support.
THE TAKEAWAY: Minimalist shoe wear is great, but it may not be wise to toss your Nike Shox and then go do windsprints on cement. You’ve got to work your way out of over-supportive shoe wear. Also, “don’t confuse activity with achievement.” Another way of saying don’t train to get tired, train to get BETTER.
Dr. Stuart “Sexy Moustache” McGill: Dr. McGill is a highly respected fella in our industry and one of the world’s foremost back health experts, and I can say he did NOT disappoint with his lectures and hands on. He also did a “mobilization” on me to open up my upper spine that blew my friggin’ mind.
THE TAKEAWAY: Make sure you do assymetrical work where you load one side of the body. Bilateral stuff doesn’t do enough to train fancy sounding muscles that are crucial for back health. Also, sit-ups still suck. Big time.
Thomas Myers: Myers is a deeply needed voice in our industry, precisely because he’s NOT a fitness professional. He’s a soft tissue guru and has studied with Drs. Ida Rolf, Moshe Feldenkreiss, and Buckminster Fuller. Although I can’t say there was a ton of info that will directly change exercise selection or training variables, his philosophical point of view has already started to deepen and enrichen my understanding of movement.
THE TAKEAWAY: You’re not just a collection of bones and muscles. There’s an underlying network of tissue called fascia running through and over pretty much everything. You can’t isolate one particular muscle, so don’t even try. ”We are grown from a seed, not put together in parts.”
Alwyn Cosgrove: While Cosgrove does a lot of work with business coaching these days, he’s still our industry’s premier fat loss guru. He’s also funny as hell. And has a Scottish accent. He also says fuck a lot, hence we’re soul mates.
THE TAKEAWAY: Weight training is the key to fat loss. Research strongly suggests aerboics isn’t very helpful for fat loss. Lift fast and get your heart rate up. If you don’t take Snatched in 6 Weeks, you’re kind of a dumb ass. (Ok, he didn’t say that, but honestly I was super pumped to see my Snatched programming is pretty much EXACTLY what Cosgrove recommends for optimal fat loss speed and safety.)
Eric Beard: Another super smart dude, Beard is one of my certifying body’s star educators (NASM). Beard’s speech had to do with butts… hence I HAD to go as I’m obsessed with the glutes.
THE TAKEAWAY: Men who sit more than 6 hours a day are 18% more likely to die than those that don’t. Women who sit more than 6 hours a day are 37% more likely to die than those that don’t. For the love of gawd my desk jockeys… please make sure you take frequent breaks to get up and move around. Or get one of those sweet stand up desks!
While I could go on and on, this should be a few helpful things to consider, straight from the industry’s brightest folks. Thanks again to Perform Better for being so classy and helping me get better at taking care of my peeps!