Archive for December, 2008

Choosing A Health Club

Posted in Uncategorized on December 22, 2008 by mboyle1959

I originally wrote this a few years ago for another site but, I’m not sure how many people read it. Might be good to share with your friends who are on the New Years Resolution kick.

The progression of the club environment in my lifetime has been an interesting one. We have progressed from the early gyms that were simply places with weights inhabited by this odd subculture of those who lifted them. Most who lifted weights were considered a bit odd. Females were seen with the frequency of unicorns. The next generation of gyms were also the first of the supposed miracles. The Nautilus Center. I think most of us over forty at one time or another belonged to a small storefront-type Nautilus center that had a row of twelve machines and promised a miracle. The lesson was, and still is, if it appears too good to be true, it probably is. I don’t believe any Nautilus Centers survived although the equipment line still exists today. Next came racquetball clubs and finally the big fitness centers. The club environment today is dominated by large players with multiple clubs across the country. These clubs provide one-stop shopping for the fitness enthusiast. Clubs provide personal trainers, an array of machines, a cornucopia of cardiovascular equipment, and group exercise classes. Clubs have become less of a Mom and Pop operation and more of a corporate entity.

The truth? Most health clubs are in the membership business, not the health business. Clubs provide a well-equipped location but, probably hope you don’t show up. The best-trained and best-compensated people in most club chains are the sales force. They won’t take attendance or call if you aren’t around for a while. Don’t choose the biggest or the best, choose the most convenient to your home or work. The number one correlation to workout consistency is proximity.

The personal training boom has been great for the fitness industry. Personal training has actually made the big club chains more customer-centered. Not because they are trying to be nice but, because personal training allows clubs to often double membership related revenues. Many clients will easily spend 3-5 times the cost of memberships in personal training fees. Personal training has become big business. Five years ago personal training was a temporary job done while figuring out how to get a real job. Now personal trainers willing to work hard can earn six figure incomes while doing something they love.

The bottom line.
1- Chose a club near your home or work to increase the probability of attendance.
2- Get a workout partner. Partners help compliance. It’s easy to stay in bed when no one is waiting for you. It’s also easy to head to the bar after work rather than the gym when no one is waiting for you.
3- Think about group sessions with a trainer. Most clubs will offer a better rate on small group or what some call semi-private personal training sessions.

The key is to find a convenient gym, get there and get a workout. The more convenient, the better.

If you are in the Boston area, stop by Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning at 225 East St in Winchester or visit We have the best personal trainers and small group training available anywhere in the world.

This Week on

Posted in Uncategorized on December 21, 2008 by mboyle1959

This week on we have three new articles and a great chart, courtesy of Dave Knight.

Basic 2 Day Program- this is my first attempt at actually posting programs. I hope you like it. This is an article on the basic two day we use for our non-athlete clients. I’m going to try to follow this up with some different two, three and four days versions.

Getting Back to Basics – Dana Cavalea ( NY Yankees). This is another great article by Dana that I’m sure you’ll like. Dana’s articles are always filled with great common sense stuff that will help any athlete, not just a baseball player

Prelipin’s Chart- By Tim Kontos, CSCS, USAW
Head Strength and Conditioning Coach
Virginia Commonwealth University

Tim talks about using Prelipins chart to design his programs at VCU. This is the first of what I hope will be a lot of articles from Tim.

Rep Max Calculation– as I mentioned above, Dave has supplied us with a simple chart to calculate maxes based on reps. This is a great simple tool and thanks to dave for providing it for our members.

Looks to be another great week. Make sure you log on.

Sports Parenting 101- Children Learn What They Live

Posted in Uncategorized on December 19, 2008 by mboyle1959

A child allowed to quit learns to quit.

This might have been the best sporting lesson I ever learned. My father taught me one simple lesson. If you start, you finish. You never leave the coach in a lurch and you never leave your teammates in a lurch. Unfortunately in this day and age parents do the quitting for the kids, “in their best interest”. Quitting “in their best interest” is still quitting. Is leaving a school or team because you aren’t playing quitting? Is leaving a school or team because you aren’t playing enough, or in the right situations, still quitting? The answer to all of the above is still yes. Many parents will hide under the academic skirt but, this is true in a few cases and a better sounding excuse for changing schools in most.

Why are kids becoming spoiled and self-centered. Because we as parents make them that way. Any time a young athlete is allowed or even encouraged to leave a situation that is less than favorable either due to playing time or coaching, they are being allowed to quit. We can package quitting up any way we want but, we are still allowing them to quit.

Here is the lesson in a nutshell.

“ If you don’t get what you want, forget perseverance, leave and go somewhere else”

What a great life lesson to teach a young person. We will literally teach that “when the going gets tough, the tough get going” Unfortunately, they usually go somewhere else.

Parents love to try to hide behind the semantics but, the truth does not change. If we want our children to be hard working and display desire and determination we must teach them about perseverance, not about rationalization.

The placement of adult values into the lives of young people is the greatest threat to youth sports. Think about this for a moment. Instead of giving your child every opportunity you never had as a child, think about giving them the values that your parents and coaches instilled in you that have made you successful. Success skips a generation for a reason. It skips because we don’t teach values. Don’t live vicariously. Instead, work diligently to instill values.

One clue. If you ever said “we” when referring to what your child is going to do, you may be on your way to a problem. Try to remember that the purpose of sport is to teach kids about values. Unfortunately oftentimes we do teach values, just the wrong ones.

Hanks Big Adventure

Posted in Uncategorized on December 17, 2008 by mboyle1959

Sunday night we did our first Webinar. Anthony Renna of Strength Coach Podcast fame and I are teaming up with some other experts you’ll be sure to recognize to produce Strength and Conditioning Webinars. These are seminars we bring directly into your home. Our first on Sunday was Fat Loss Secrets for the New Year. It was such a success that we will repeat it on Dec. 29.

T o make a long story short, watch the video below.

Hank Morse is the traffic reporter on WKLB- Country 102.5 and 105.7 WROR in Boston, a friend , and a fan favorite at Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning. He has lost 100 lbs in six months. Not bad. Tune in to learn more

Toys for Tots!

Posted in Uncategorized on December 16, 2008 by mboyle1959

You have until Dec 19th to donate. If you haven’t already done so, please take the time. In addition to Toys for Tots my family and I “adopted” a family through our local Mission of Deeds. We also did the same with my daughter’s hockey team. We shopped for our share of two families for Christmas today and the feeling is tremendous. Some poor children will get exactly what is on their list. A great feeling all around.

Mastering the Obvious – Part 2

Posted in Uncategorized on December 14, 2008 by mboyle1959

Last year I wrote an article called Mastering the Obvious. That article referred to a study showing that weight training plus dieting was better than just dieting for weight loss. I have realized that you should never take anything for granted, not matter how obvious it may appear to you. My friend Gary Pitts sent this piece:

“In 1996, a Quebec Superior Court judge held a personal trainer liable ($ 3,000.00 in damages) because she failed to warn a client to move her head out of the way of a lat pulldown bar. The client was injured when an S hook tore her left nostril. Evidence adduced proved that the client had been advised to keep neutral spine. However, as there was contradictory evidence regarding whether the client had been informed to move her head out of the way- the Judge believed the client and her friend rather than the personal trainer.”

The conclusion. Warn your clients that S-hooks can rip nostrils.

My advice, remember Murphy’s law. Murphy’s Law states “ what can go wrong will and probably at the worst moment”. I have a Boyle’s Law version for the gym “anything stupid you think could never happen in a gym setting will in fact happen”.

Our job as coaches and trainers is to warn our clients of any “obvious” potential problems. At this years World Golf Fitness Summit I showed the video below and added the comment that you must tell the client to move out of the way of the ball as it drops. People laughed but, I was serious.

Just remind yourself, nothing is too obvious.

The Baseball Meeting

Posted in Uncategorized on December 12, 2008 by mboyle1959

Monday I got back from Las Vegas and a great professional opportunity. I had the hopefully not once in a lifetime chance to address all of the strength and conditioning coaches in major league and minor league baseball. In truth is a bit intimidating to speak to a group of guys who have attained the highest level of our profession. What do you tell them? I started with this story of Androcles and the Lion that appears below:

Androcles and the Lion
It happened in the old days at Rome that a slave named Androcles escaped from his master and fled into the forest, and he wandered there for a long time until he was weary. Just then he heard a lion near him moaning and groaning and at times roaring terribly. Tired as he was Androcles rose up and rushed away from the lion; but as he made his way through the bushes he stumbled over the root of a tree and fell down. When he tried to get up he saw the lion coming towards him, limping on three feet and holding his forepaw in front of him. Androcles was in despair; he had not strength to rise and run away, and there was the lion coming upon him. But when the great beast came up to him instead of attacking him it kept on moaning and groaning and looking at Androcles, who saw that the lion was holding out his right paw, which was covered with blood and much swollen. Looking more closely at it Androcles saw a great big thorn pressed into the paw, which was the cause of all the lion’s trouble. Plucking up courage he seized hold of the thorn and drew it out of the lion’s paw, who roared with pain when the thorn came out, but soon after found such relief from it that he fawned upon Androcles and showed, in every way that he knew, to whom he owed the relief. Instead of eating him he brought him a young deer that he had slain, and Androcles

managed to make a meal from it. For some time the lion continued to bring the game he had killed to Androcles, who became quite fond of the huge beast. One day a number of soldiers came marching through the forest and found Androcles. Tthey took him prisoner and brought him back to the town from which he had fled. Here his master soon found him and brought him before the authorities, and he was condemned to death. It used to be the custom to throw murderers and other criminals to the lions in a huge circus, so that while the criminals were punished the public could enjoy the spectacle of a combat between them and the wild beasts. So Androcles was condemned to be thrown to the lions, and on the appointed day he was led forth into the Arena and left there alone with only a spear to protect him from the lion. The Emperor was in the royal box that day and gave the signal for the lion to come out and attack Androcles. But when it came out of its cage and got near Androcles, what do you think it did? Instead of jumping upon him it fawned upon him and stroked him with its paw and made no attempt to do him any harm. It was of course the lion which Androcles had met in the forest. The Emperor, surprised at seeing such a strange behavior in so cruel a beast, summoned Androcles to him and asked him how it happened that this particular lion had lost all its cruelty of disposition. So Androcles told the Emperor all that had happened to him and how the lion was showing its gratitude for his having relieved it of the thorn. Thereupon the Emperor pardoned Androcles and ordered his master to set him free, while the lion was taken back into the forest and let loose to enjoy liberty once more.

You might wonder what Androcles and the Lion has to do with baseball. Truth is, the way to succeed in pro sports is to find the thorn in the lions paw. Anyone can make a guy strong but, a well educated coach who understands corrective exercise can remove the thorn and make a friend for life. I know, I’ve done it and reaped the benefits.

The rest was easy, we talked about the Joint by Joint Approach to Training concept that Gray Cook and I developed. All in all, a truly enjoyable day. My thanks to San Diego’s Jim Malone and to my friends Fernando Montez, Bob Alejo, Jay Shiner and Dana Cavalea for making me feel welcome in “their” group.