Posted on August 12th, 2015
Training/Program Design: An overarching strategy that changes as you change to insure delivery of the desired fitness and body comp result. This is what the best athletes in the world do to insure success in their sport. Time is the enemy for an athlete so the design, both strategically and tactically, is constantly being assessed and reassessed. Why are you not doing this?
Exercise: Randomly pick workouts that make you go as hard, easy, intermediate, for as long as your body will tolerate or time permits with the belief that this will lead to a lean and athletic body. Usually ends with the statement “It is better than doing nothing”. This statement is true, but this type of random approach can be easily remedied with the proper coaching and program design. This means that with no additional time spent on exercise the result would be dramatically improved.
Coach vs Trainer: We consider ourselves coaches because our goal for our clients is to come up with strategies and tactics that will take them to their highest level of genetic potential in the time we have to train them. Kind of like a parent for exercise. Parents don’t care that one cigarette won’t kill you as a child, they just know that strategically that is not good for the long run. Most trainers are good at creating exercise entertainment for an hour and have great abs and a smile. Look at how most Trainers market themselves. If you want results you need to have program design.
If the fitness industry was judged on results being delivered there would only be a handful of companies that would exist today. This business is driven by top line sales with very little concern about results!
Everybody laments why they do not see results in their body composition or fitness. Yet they continue to buy into the marketing hype that the fitness industry is great at providing. This leads people to do the same metabolic conditioning workout day after day and usually couple that with a nutrition plan that includes starving themselves. These workouts can be great exercise, but are poor training and typically are unsustainable. The difference between exercise and training is that training is not random and has a well thought out design in order to deliver a change in body or fitness that is desired.
There is a place for a metabolic workout, but most people feel that peddle to metal is what is important in each workout or they are not going to make change. Quite the opposite!! What type of Facebook response would come from someone posting about the ease of their one hour workout? It is always a killer workout… This workout will bury you etc., etc. This is what grabs attention. A great workout in the eyes of the uninformed is that it has to be hard to be great. This is so much BS. It is not to say that hard workouts are not good. However, it is to say that great workouts can also seem really easy and also some easy workouts can be really hard. Communicating this to the client is the job of a coach.
No program design= Short term results and minimal change with lots of time and money spent and regular failure.
Treadmill “sprints” and lift some weights, burpees and lift some light weights, run a sprint and do some cleans, pull ups followed by box jumps. Get the heart rate as high as possible and do a “strength” exercise. This has reached a fever pitch. The array of modalities is starting to become comical. The common thread with all of these workouts is harder is better in all cases.
I will admit that if someone that has not exercised much, or is just new to exercise may see some gain if they can get through the initial shock of these types of workouts. I call this post traumatic exercise syndrome. Clients are so hurt by the initial workout they never want to do it again. It is part of our DNA for survival to avoid trauma of this nature so there are a lot of people who could have really changed their health and just threw in the towel because of poor program design.
Great for marketing, poor for results. Idiotic!
The predominate workout available today is Metabolic conditioning. It creates an environment where you never lift heavy enough to make change and in addition you are too winded during the workout to really get an overload in your cardio effort. I call this zone zero. Most people spend too much time in this zone which results in a constant feeling of fatigue, overuse injuries, or chronically feeling under the weather with a mild cold etc. You make some early gains and then you stall quickly. I mean seriously where do you go from a workout that makes your eyeballs bleed? Do you go harder? Throw-up twice in a workout instead of once? If it is intense and can make you throw up it must be good, so everyone puts a high value on this type of workout. CNS (Central Nervous System) fatigue is real and needs to be understood or you will soon be getting up in the morning after a good night’s sleep exhausted and overweight even though you are training like crazy.
It is like a 16 year old just getting their driver’s license saying ” I am a great formula one race car driver because I can take my car point it straight ahead and just stomp on the accelerator. This is not driving and usually ends poorly. Lack of program design usually ends poorly as well.
This type of sales pitch is the big deception of the fitness industry today.
The public’s belief is that calories burned is the greatest way to lose weight and change body composition so therefore closer to throwing up must be the better choice. Clients are conditioned to never rest between sets of exercise so even if they do try to do a strength training session it is more strength endurance and then turns into a cardio workout as they never get heavy enough and rest long enough between exercises to get any types of overloads. Design for individual improvement is rarely implemented. Every client we have goes through an extensive evaluation and discussion of goals, limitations, expectations and responsibilities for both of us. We are coaches building a winning team. However, so many clients feel the evaluation is unnecessary. How can you establish a winning strategy without knowing where you are starting from and your strengths and weaknesses?
It reminds me of a line from one of the Godfather movies “when I finally think I am out they pull me back in” (not an exact quote). However, this is what happens in most workouts today. When you finally think you are going to do some real strength training they pull you back into a cardio workout. To make big increases in strength, fitness, body composition change, you need to manage all rest. That includes during a workout, after a workout, week by week. You ask a real strength athlete to jump rope right before a max lift or do a sprint, and they would look at you like you are insane.
Regeneration says it all!! You must have design that includes rest, recovery, light days, easy days, mobility, stability, strength, power, power endurance, cardio endurance, nutrition! Look at your weeks and months like you would a workout. Clients freak out if they do the same workout two days in a row, and if during a workout I told them to just do the same exercise without rest for the entire workout they would look at me like an alien. However, they do this all the time with the overall design of their exercise loads for weeks and months and sometimes years. Within a workout thought must be given to rest between sets, and reps, order of exercise etc. if you want to make gains. Total number of sets, exercises, order of exercises, volume intensity. I am sorry, but grabbing some light dumbbells on a spin bike is not strength training.
YOU HAVE TO HAVE AN OVERLOAD IN ORDER TO CHANGE YOUR BODY AND FITNESS!! An overload in simple terms is defined as anything over the norm in volume or intensity.
There are a number of ways to approach this in exercise, but volume and intensity is the broadest stroke. Simple example: 20lb overhead press. You regularly do 10 repetitions. An overload in volume would be to increase to 12 reps, 15, 20 with the same weight. Or you could overload by a greater number of total sets in a workout, a week, a month, a year etc. Increasing intensity would be to fewer than 10 reps with a greater amount of weight. You could also rest less between the efforts, workouts, etc. This is a very simplistic analysis but you get the idea of how overload is achieved. You can calculate this by total weight lifted relative to total repetitions. Your body has to have an overload that is big enough to signal the body to change.
If you wanted to improve your ability to lift a greater amount of weight in a particular movement pattern, would you just keep lifting a light weight multiple times? Of course not. You would have to lift a weight that is heavier than the norm. You could add some speed to the movement, which would add some overload, but eventually the training stimulus would become less and less and the changes in your body would slow to a crawl or stop completely.
So find yourself a coach that understands program design and workout design. This will save you years of frustration in reaching your optimum body comp and fitness.
By the way, as you get fitter the design of your program has greater and greater importance. People think because they are fit that it is not as necessary. That is a myth and a major error.
The WHYS of fitness.
This industry is poor at understanding why you do a particular type of workout, they just add some cool AV to the room and hope you will do it and pay for it. For example ask your trainer why a deadlift over a squat (outside of biomechanical differences in the exercise, why would you do one over the other?). What is the reason for the order of the exercises? Why 3 sets of 10. Why not 6 sets of 3? Why not 20 reps straight? Why not more? Why are you doing deadlifts at all? Why on Tuesday. Why are you doing cardio at the end of the workout? Why not the beginning of a workout for cardio or why cardio at all? Why not power over strength? What is power? What is strength? What is the difference? If you are doing intervals why 20 on 10 off? Why not a 20 sec rest or a complete recovery? Why not 30 secs all out? Why not 45 secs? Why not 2 min? Why are you really doing HIIT (high intensity intervals) in the first place? Why not 30 min easy? What is really considered high intensity? Why are you doing 5 days of exercise in a week? Why not one? Why not 7?
The wheels come off real quickly. Typically in the first few whys. If your coach cannot answer this and you do not have the answers yourself then you need to re-evaluate your program design. The real answer typically is that someone told me to do it that way.
If your coach is not truthful enough to insist that you rest and regenerate what are you paying for?
There is little Truth in Exercise today and I am constantly learning more. I do not have a monopoly on all the good ideas and I am always figuring out ways to improve my ability to answer the WHYS and bring the Truth to my clients.
“Truth in Exercise.”
Jacques DeVore, CSCS
Founder and CEO of Sirens & Titans Fitness
Posted on June 29th, 2015
The local market has noticed our FUBAR VersaClimber Workout – The first VersaClimber group class in the Nation!
On-line and Traditional Media:
LA times article in the Health & Fitness Section. Click on this link to see the original article: http://www.latimes.com/health/la-he-gymrat-versaclimber-westwood-20140809-story.html
ABC7 morning segment with correspondent Lori Corbin. Click on this link to watch the spot: http://abc7.com/268426/
We were featured on the Daily Buzz a nationally syndicated program distributed by KDOC – Click on this link to watch the spot: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CkyGSyjNHP0&feature=youtu.be
A great article in Outside Magazine featuring our S&TF FUBAR Group VersaClimber Workout. To see full article click, on this link:
Featured in the online Fall issue of the National Fitness Trade Journal, on page 10. To read and see the full feature, click on this link: http://www.nationalfitnesstradejournal.com/nftj-fall-2014/
Men’s Journal article featuring Jacques DeVore and his client Dave Zabriskie, 7 X US National Time Trial Champion: http://www.mensjournal.com/health-fitness/nutrition/paleos-latest-converts-20130618
We came in 2nd on the LA HOT List, out of 48 nominees in the Best Gym Category! As the 2014 Runner-up we are proud of this accomplishment, including the fact we have only been open since January 20th 2014. Click on link to see results and rankings: http://la.cityvoter.com/best/gym/fitness/los-angeles
Posted on June 16th, 2015
Everybody is pretty familiar with the idea of genetics. You oftentimes hear that the supermodel is blessed with “great genetics,” the world class athlete is blessed with “great genetics.” However, how does exercise allow you to realize the best of your own “great genetics”. The latest in the series of “Avengers” movies is out and each character is blessed with a certain expression of their genetics in the form of a particular superpower.
We all know that exercise is good for us however which exercise is going to give you the greatest benefit of your personal DNA and how does one modality of exercise versus another impact the expression of your genes. Understanding about epigenetics will help you to realize your own personal superpower and have a better understanding of how this works. The science is emerging, but having some understanding of how epigenetic adaptations to exercise takes place is important.
Enter the science of Epigenetics! The word epigenetic means over the gene. In other words the expression of the gene over the underlying DNA that you are born with is the epigenetics’ of the gene. A simpler definition is the expression of the gene. We all have a face, but how we express ourselves through frowns, smiles etc. are expressions of our face.
The study of epigenetics is one of the leading areas of genetic research today. What the research is finding is that different stresses on your body (resistance exercise would be one stress, cardio exercise another, nutrition) will mark your genes through a process of DNA methylation to behave in a particular way and result in a different types of gene expression. Better health, leaner body mass, more insulin sensitivity, are all characteristics of the gene expression as a result of exercise.
Our gene expressions are influenced directly and indirectly with our genes and the environment. Some environments you cannot control (pollution etc.), but exercise is one that you can control. Understand that this is a complicated process and much is still unknown. However, when you exercise, signals are sent to your DNA to make changes to adapt to a particular exercise stress by turning genes on or off or suppressing or accelerating the on off switch. In fact there is a signaling system that will try to accommodate the new environment immediately, however it takes repetitive signals to make the change more pronounced and long lasting and it is also important that you are consistent with the stressor to maintain the benefits. The science today does not fully understand how long the change will last without repeated signals being created.
Much of the research has revolved around mapping the markers that result in negative expressions of the genes that subsequently express themselves through diseases of the body. Researchers are trying to determine how to remark your genes to block particular diseases. The same principle of gene expression is also evidenced in exercise because exercise is a controlled form of stress that you get determine and maintain. In fact the scientific community is finding that a lot of the training adaptation of an athlete is more a result of the epigenetic marker than the training itself.
Exercise and Epigenetics:
Anecdotally, we see the expression of genes based on exercise. If you had two identical twins and one was a body builder and one a marathon runner they would have completely different body types even though they have identical DNA. The different types of bodies are a result of the gene expression of one twin vs the other. So we do have an idea of a framework for types of exercises that will produce a resulting gene expression. If you were to find another set of twins with the same age and one was a body builder and one a marathon runner, the amount of change in their bodies may be much different than the first set of twins. This is because the DNA is different. However the relative change between the two would be similar if the exercise stressors were the same. This is where the science is heading. Why one twin get cancer and one does not? They have identical DNA. Why are the genes expressing themselves in a tumor for only one of the twins? The answer is in gene expression and this concept applies to exercise and the resulting gene expression.
Resistance exercise causes anabolic gene expression and the evidence supports the impact on gene expression for both cardio exercise and resistance training, however the research is newer on resistance training. It is suspected that it does have impact on gene expression. Scientists know that certain genes turn on or off based on exercise. This is evidenced through training. Heavy resistance training as well as cardio exercise and the type of cardio (high intensity vs. low intensity) other anaerobic exercises produce epigenetic changes that can promote the improvement in health as a result of the exercise influencing genes to be turned on and other genes being suppressed resulting in improvements in overall health, metabolic markers, cardiac health and better telomere health. Telomeres dictate the ability of cells to continue to regenerate. Telomeres shorten as we get older. Exercise has shown to improve telomeres.
Unleash your superpower thorough understanding the epigenetic impact of exercise and the potential for great change in your health and body.
Train smart, have fun, and you will prevail!