Archive for February, 2010

Written Goals

Posted in Uncategorized on February 28, 2010 by mboyle1959

I was going to write an entire post about written goals and use the old story about how the small percentage of Yale students who wrote down their goals out-earned their peers. However, a guy named Sid Sarvara already did a great job of it.

However, I will add my two cents. Sid’s blog debunks the myth but still supports the idea. Last year, after reading for the previous twenty years that I should have written goals, I wrote a series of goals down on paper. These were very specific, attainable goals that related to my business and family life. I’m happy to say that I achieved them all or, came very close. What I am more happy to say is that I had the best financial year of my career in the worst economy of my adult life. Bottom line, please a take a minute to sit down today and begin thinking about goals. Have 5 written goals by Monday. On January 1st next year come back, post and boast about your success. Heres a great book to help. Goals by Brian Tracey.


Another Biggest Loser Commentary

Posted in Uncategorized on February 27, 2010 by mboyle1959 just posted an excellent article looking at the methods used in the biggest loser. Justin Levin of California Fitness Academy was nice enough to forward the article to me.

Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning on Channel 7

Posted in Uncategorized on February 26, 2010 by mboyle1959

Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning was featured on our local Boston channel 7 in a feature on training for the Olympics. The actual athletes were our future NFL guys but it’s still a great feature on training. WHDH’s Rhett Lewis did a great job injecting just a little bit of comedy. Check out this great feature on The Olympic Zone. You will need to scroll down to the thumbnails and look for Mike Boyle Workout.

More Trouble for the Biggest Loser

Posted in Uncategorized on February 25, 2010 by mboyle1959

As everyone knows I hate the Biggest Loser. I think the show is the worst thing to happen to fitness in my lifetime. Just to keep everyone up to date it appears that the trainers move into the world of fat loss supplements is not working out as planned.

Take a look at this.

I Think I’ll Do Upper Body Today (Female subtitle- I think I’ll just run today)

Posted in Uncategorized on February 24, 2010 by mboyle1959

Interesting fact. Most people go to the gym and immediately do the exercises they like. If you’re a man, that means bench press and curls. If you’re a woman it means hopping on the treadmill for a long slow walk or a long slow run. I think this might be the reason most people look so bad. They are always going to work on the stuff they can’t see or don’t like to do tomorrow but, tomorrow never comes.

As a college strength and conditioning coach I encountered the same problem early in my career. As a result I came to the early realization that Monday would always be lower body day. This was done for one simple reason. Every day I was forced to do battle with human nature.  Athletes are no different than the average gym-goer. They want to do what they like. I was like the parent who needed to say, “no TV until your homework is done”. When we first began developing training programs for athletes, our athletes were just like the folks described above. Athletes who were not on a program would wander into the weightroom, do a couple of sets of bench presses and then wander over to the curl bar for a few sets. After this, they would simply leave. My solution to this problem was simple. The first day of every week was always a lower body day. This meant that athletes would return the next day to do the stuff they really wanted to do. A simple but effective solution.

The solution for a fitness person is even simpler. Perform a full body every workout every time you go to the gym. Do your lower body and pulling exercises ( like chin-ups) first. Save the bench press and curls for last.  If you just did a squat or squat variation, a pull-up variation and then benched and curled the result will be a vast improvement in your physique. The average persons work ethic in the gym is the equivalent to going to a restaurant, ordering dessert, getting too full from dessert and skipping the meal. Lots of empty calories and none of the stuff you need.

The truth is that training is much like nutrition. Ever notice that everything that is good for you doesn’t taste very good.  In addition, all the stuff that tastes great is fattening. Exercise is the same way. Most of the exercises that are best for you are the ones that are least popular and seem to hurt the most. Have you ever noticed the popularity of exercises where you sit or lie down. The whole machine concept is based on appealing to the lowest common denominator of human nature. You can exercise while seated on a padded chair. Just remember, if it seems to good to be true, it probably is.

This Week on

Posted in Uncategorized on February 22, 2010 by mboyle1959

First up this week is The New Performance Lifts from Geoff Girvitz of Bang Fitness in Toronto. Geoff is an MBSC Mentorship alum and has writtena great article that I think reflects the philosophy of the site really well. I’ll be interested to see you opinions.

Next up is an example of a Basic Two Day Personal Training Template. The other thing the survey showed is that people want more programs. I would really like to see some comments as to whether this is helpful or not.

Videos of the Week

Videos of the week comes from Jon Rimmer and Anthony Renna.  Our recent survey asked for more video content as well as more  programs. So we are obliging this week. Jon has developed a very cool Wall Drill to use in teaching the kettlebell swing. I think everyone will really like this. Anthony did a video he titled Costs No One Told Me About. This goes over items Anthony overlooked in opening his facility.

As always don’t forget to check out the StrengthCoach Podcast at

Last but not least, make sure you keep up with

Site Notes

Just a reminder, the articles and videos go up over the course of the week. Generally one each day.  Only one article mentioned on this email will go up on the day you receive this email.

Also, your credit card statement will show a charge from, not Hope you enjoy the week.

MBSC Seminar Review

Posted in Uncategorized on February 19, 2010 by mboyle1959

Brendon Rearick was nice enough to do a great review of our MBSC Winter Seminar. Take a look.

Should You Stick to the Recipe?

Posted in Uncategorized on February 16, 2010 by mboyle1959

The following article first appeared at

Anyone who knows me knows how much I like analogies. One area that continues to frustrate me is talking to trainers about programming. Often the conversation goes something like this, “I use a little of your stuff, a little of Mark Verstegen’s stuff and mix in a little of …”.  In trying to describe how this works or potentially doesn’t work I’ve decided that a food analogy may be the best route. Some people can really cook, others need cookbooks and recipes. Some people write cookbooks, others read cookbooks. Even in the restaurant world, there are cooks and there are chefs. Cooks follow the recipes, chefs create the recipes. Those who know anything about cooking understand that every ingredient in a recipe has a purpose. You wouldn’t bake and simply leave out flour would you?  The key is to figure out if  at this stage of your career are you are a cook or a chef. Here are some basic guidelines.

If you are writing your first program, you are probably a cook. You should find a recipe and follow it exactly.

Think about it this way. If you were making something for the first time would you take two recipes from two different cookbooks and combine them? Would you add ingredients from one of the recipes while subtracting ingredients from the other? If you did this, would you expect the end product to taste good? What if you took two pancake recipes and both called for pancake mix and eggs but, you decided to double up on the pancake mix and simply omit the eggs. The end result would probably be pretty lousy pancakes, correct? What if you said, “I don’t like water, I’ll just put the dry powder in the pan and see if it will cook?” All of this seems foolish doesn’t it.

Unfortunately, when it comes to program design, this is exactly what many coaches do. I  have athletes who have trained with me for years and then become coaches themselves. Instead of using the program that was so successful for them, they alter it. Then they email me the program and say “can you look this over?”.  Invariably the program is a little of mine and a little of theirs, with maybe a touch of third party. A combination of recipes if you will. Also invariably the program is poor. These are not experienced “chefs” yet they have chosen to alter the recipe to suit their taste. The better choice is to choose a recipe designed by a chef and then do a great job of making the meal. In other words, coach the heck out of the program you have successfully used.

If you have been writing programs for few years, perhaps you are a sous-chef.

The sous-chef is the second in command in the kitchen. Many third and fourth year coaches are sous-chefs. They have developed the ability to alter the recipe without spoiling the meal. They understand that ingredients can be altered but that there should be a plan and it should be followed. The sous chef also understands that the ratio of ingredients matters and that you don’t simply cook to your own taste.

After five years of successful program design, you might now qualify as a chef.

At this point you can contemplate bold changes to the recipe because you have extensive experience “cooking”. One famous coach used to say “it’s OK to break the rules, just make sure you understand the rules first”. After five years you should no longer be looking at a DVD and abandoning your whole program.  Chefs don’t abandon their chosen cooking style after watching an episode of Hell’s Kitchen, instead you are now making small changes to what should be a system.

Figure out if you are a cook or a chef. Don’t be afraid to copy if you are a beginner. In fact, I would encourage you to copy rather than to mix. I have said in previous writings that it is a mistake to copy programs. I guess what I should have said is it is a mistake to blindly copy programs.  It is a mistake to copy bad programs. However, it may be very beneficial to copy good programs. I would rather you copy my program than attempt to add bits of my recipe to the recipes of others. If you are not confident yet in your ability to create a program, feel free to copy. I guess cookbooks were created for a reason.

The idea is that eventually we all can become chefs but, we all start out as cooks.

This Week on

Posted in Uncategorized on February 15, 2010 by mboyle1959

This week I’m going to publish two of my own articles. My recent travels ( PB in LA and Columbus) have given me a few hours of solitude to write. As a result I started a whole bunch of articles and actually finished a few others. First up is Are You Too Busy to Get Better? This looks at the idea of attending conferences versus coaching. I think it might be preaching to the choir so maybe some of you can repost it on your blogs.

Next up is a look at nutrition called X-Files- Trust No One. I originally wrote this when I published Leigh Peale’s Foods People Will Eat article. However, I just finished it.

Last up is Seeing the World Through the Hole in a 45 lb Plate by Northeastern University Athletic Trainer/ Strength Coach Art Horne. This was actually a blog post that Art wrote and has allowed me to reprint.

I think this will be an excellent “thought week “ and should get some great talk on the forum.

Video of the Week

Video of the week is another pretty good example of a bar complex provided by Rob Hartmann at Wyoming.

As always don’t forget to check out the StrengthCoach Podcast at

Last but not least, make sure you keep up with

Site Notes

Just a reminder, the articles and videos go up over the course of the week. Generally one each day.  Only one article mentioned on this email will go up on the day you receive this email.

Also, your credit card statement will show a charge from, not Hope you enjoy the week.

Lone Survivor

Posted in Uncategorized on February 11, 2010 by mboyle1959

It’s been a long time since I have been consumed by a book. I usually have three or four going at once. Lone Survivor was a notable exception. I started on my way to LA on a Friday and was done on the following Thursday. I stayed up one night until after 11 reading which is very unlike me.

As the title indicates Lone Survivor is the story of Marcus Luttrell, the only survivor of Navy Seal team wiped out in Afghanistan. I can simply say buy the book. I have actually purchased three copies to give to friends. It is a powerful story of friendship and patriotism. If you can read it without at least one tear I will be surprised.