Archive for March, 2011

Metabolic Conditioning

Posted in Fat Loss, Hockey, Random Thoughts, Training, Training Females with tags , , , on March 31, 2011 by mboyle1959

There has been lots of talk about metabolic conditioning for both fitness and fat loss. In the past I have posted these workouts under the heading Real Life Intervals. It’s funny because certain groups think they have cornered the market on hard work. In my mind, the best work device in the world is the Schwinn Airdyne. Between Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning and Boston University Hockey we own about 28 Airdynes. I know, they need a little maintenance but they are worth it. This is a workout done on what we refer to as “the big fan” Airdyne with the large front fan.

FYI, the work intervals are prescribed by distance, this way no one can dog it. If you use time you need to watch people. If you use distance, they either ride harder or longer. In this case the work interval was 1/2 mi.

Rest is based on heartrate. This means that we wait for the heartrate to drop to about 60%. There is no magic to 60% but it works. For my BU athletes we use 65% as that seems to be their recovery heartrate on the bench.  In either case the entire workout stays in the theoretical aerobic range.

We now have our Polar Team System on a big screen TV so there is no hiding.

Time       Heartrate        Rest

Interval 1  .5 mi       1:25         150                   :60

Interval 2 . 5 mi      1:20        160                 1:20

Interval 3  . 5 mi     1:20        166                  1:25

Interval 4  .5 mi     1:20         168                 2:00

Interval 5  .5 mi     1:20        170                 2:00

Interval 6  .5 mi    1:20        177

I think the key measure of fitness is recovery. How fast does your heartrate go down. We train for a combination of work consistency and recovery. Try it.


Anecdotal Proof Static Stretching Works

Posted in Hockey, Injuries, Low Back Pain, Random Thoughts, Updates, Training, Training Females, Uncategorized, Youth Training with tags , , on March 30, 2011 by mboyle1959

Pre workout static stretching is a controversial topic. I have been criticized for being a static stretching advocate by those who feel that static stretching decreases power. However if you read the research it becomes obvious that things are not quite that simple.  I wrote an article a few years ago called The Static Stretching Renaissance for my site that explains my thoughts in great detail. At Boston University we just completed our 2010-11 hockey season with a record of 19-12-8 for a total of 39 games. Not a bad year but not good by BU standards. This means we had 780 man games. ( 20 players x 39 games). As I always do, I asked a simple question at the end of the season. “Who missed a game with a muscle pull?” For the second year in a row we had one player miss two games with a muscle strain. This means over the course of almost 1600 man games we lost 4 to muscle strains. That I believe is .25% or 1/4 of 1 %. For those who still insist that static stretching doesn’t work, lets compare stats

Are You a Member Yet?

Posted in Updates, Training on March 29, 2011 by mboyle1959

What follows is a post from the forum. If you are not a member yet, I think you really should take a look.

“I just wanted to say thank you to everyone on this site. By everyone I mean all the respected coaches such as Coach Boyle and the noncoaches who just care about their strength & conditioning such HWC and everyone in between.

I’ve been a member of this site for about 4 months and I’m willing to say I’ve learned more about being a personal trainer than I have in my previous 5 years of training clients …. This site has quickly become my number 1 resource for finding reliable information and for having access to some of the best minds in the industry.

The forum posts alone have forced me to do tons of critical thinking, confirmed some of my thoughts about training and made me rethink just as many (I don’t need to mention the articles).

Anyway I just wanted to say thank you for what you have already done for my continuing education and to thank you in advance for all that you will do in the future.”

Dwayne Brown, CSCS

Is There a Fat Burning Zone and Does It Matter?

Posted in Fat Loss, Nutrition, Random Thoughts, Training, Training Females with tags , on March 28, 2011 by mboyle1959

If you’ve been reading this blog on a consistent basis you probably already know where I’m going with this one. You guessed it. The Fat Burning Zone is another of the urban legends of fitness. Does anyone think that when they are in the so-called fat burning zone that stored bodyfat melts off them like butter?

A little reality therapy is in order. The Fat Burning Zone is a big fat lie. Here’s the truth.

1- The “fat burning zone” supposedly describes a level of exercise that results in a larger number of the calories burned during exercise being derived from fat. This does not mean that stored bodyfat is the selective source. It only describes the relative percentage of utilization of three substrates, fat, carbohydrate and protein.

2- The fat burning zone actually describes what percentage of calories burned are derived from fat as an energy source. Do you know when you are burning the most calories from fat? Sorry. The highest percentage of fat utilization is at rest. The more intense the exercise becomes, the more carbohydrate is used as a source.

Guess what. It doesn’t matter. The reality is that it’s about the number of calories burned, not the number of those calories that come from fat as a source. If the fat burning zone idea actually worked we could get extremely lean by simply sitting still. Guess again. That doesn’t work, does it.

Confused, let’s use a mathematical example.

Lets assume that we have two identical exercisers who are going to exercise for twenty minutes. Exerciser one is doing a slow walk to stay “in the fat burning zone”. Exerciser two is going to run hard for twenty minutes. To keep the example simple we will assume that exerciser one will derive forty percent of his or her calories from fat. Exerciser two will move out of the fat burning zone and only derive 20 percent of his or her calories from fat.

Exerciser one will walk at 3 miles per hour and will cover one mile in twenty minutes. This will result in a caloric expenditure of 100 calories with 40 calories coming from fat.

Exerciser two will run at 7.5 miles per hour and will cover 2.5 miles in twenty minutes. This will result in a caloric expenditure of  250 calories with 50 calories coming from fat.

Hmm, seems interesting. The exerciser in the “fat burning zone” burned less calories and less calories from fat in the same amount of time? The exerciser working harder and leaving the fat burning zone burned 2.5 times as many calories and, 10 more calories from fat.

I rest my case. Figures lie and liars figure. Stop worrying about burning fat and start worrying about working harder

PS- If you read Gary Taubes Why We Get Fat you might reconsider all of this. If you want to get leaner exercise is not the route. There are lots of reasons to exercise but fat loss is 90% diet. In either case working harder still beats working longer.


The Best Coaching Book I’ve Ever Read?

Posted in Random Thoughts, Training Females, Uncategorized, Youth Training with tags , , on March 25, 2011 by mboyle1959

Anson Dorrance does not get enough credit. Unfortunatley that may be because he coaches women. His book Training Soccer Champions might just be the best book on coaching I have ever read. How many people know that Dorrance initially took his practice ideas from legendary basketball coach Dean Smith? Certainly not me. This book was a great read that is unfortunately out of print. Have any of you read anything else by Dorrance that might be more readily available? I’m not looking for a bio but rather a coaching book. The points that Dorrance makes in Training Soccer Champions will help any coach in any sport. If you can get a copy, read it.

StrengthCoach Podcast Episode 76 is Up

Posted in Media, Updates, Training on March 24, 2011 by mboyle1959
Hope all is well.  Anthony has a new episode of The Strength Coach Podcast up!
In This Issue
Episode 76 of the Strength Coach Podcast is Up
Episode 5 of Strength Coach TV
Episode 76 Highlights
Click here to listen

  • Interview with Sydney FC Director of Human Performance Dr. Craig Duncan about his his role at Sydney FC, player monitoring, assessing movement and soccer ESD.
  • Interview with me about BU Hockey Off-Season, General Population programming, Chronic Overloading and injury prevention
  • Alwyn Cosgrove on “Customer Service”
  • Perform Better Sale and the Sled Barrel
Strength Coach TV

SCTV Header

An Appeal for Help in Japan

Posted in Updates on March 21, 2011 by mboyle1959

As many of you know we have readers and members in Japan. One of our members, Robert Palka passed this on to me. Please take a minute and go to one of this links and donate. We are so lucky to be in the US, safe and sound.

New From StrengthCoach Podcast and Strength Coach TV

Posted in MBSC News, Media, Updates, Training on March 19, 2011 by mboyle1959

Anthony just posted new episodes of The Strength Coach Podcast and Strength Coach TV!

Episode 75 has an interview with Univ. of Richmond S&C Jay DeMayo about his upocoming conference, his training philosophy, working with Basketball, Tennis and Swimming and the Omega Wave.
It also has an interview with me about Core Stiffness, Minimalist Training,and Adding Mobility to the Warm Ups.

In addition you get:
Alwyn Cosgrove on cutting expenses
Perform Better Sale and a few new items

We also have another episode of Strength Coach TV. In Episode 5, Anthony heads up to Woburn, MA to visit with me at Mike Boyle Strength & Conditioning. Check it out here.

Thanks again for listening and watching. If you have any questions, let me know.

Major New Seminar Announcement

Posted in Core training, Fat Loss, Injuries, Low Back Pain, MBSC News, Media, Seminars, Updates, Training, Training Females with tags , , , on March 18, 2011 by mboyle1959

I just wanted to let everyone know that I’ve added a new speaking date that I think is going to be a lot of fun. The dates are May 12-15th in Phoenix Arizona. Charles Staley has started what he is calling The Unplugged Live Coaches Retreat. There are bunch of really cool things about this seminar.
1- the seminar will be limited to the first fifty people, that is it, no more
2- the seminar is at the Arizona Grand Hotel. I’ve stayed there twice and it is my favorite hotel. A luxury, kid friendly, hotel is a real rarity. This one has great restaurants and a waterpark. If you are like me and love to have the family along, this is the seminar for you. No kids, no problem. There is still a ton to do at the hotel and in nearby Phoenix.
3- A social hour when you arrive Thursday night and another on Friday. This will allow us to continue conversations over a few cold ones.

In addition what I would love is for you to suggest topics in the comments section. We will have four three hour blocks so I think this will be a rare experience. This is the only time this year that I will be doing my own seminar. We will have 12 hours to let you know exactly what we are up to at MBSC. No waiting for articles or DVD’s, you will get the latest up to the minute info.

to register go to

I hope you can make it, I’m really looking forward to this one.

The Static Stretching Renaissance

Posted in Injuries, Low Back Pain, Updates, Training, Training Females, Youth Training on March 17, 2011 by mboyle1959

There has been lots of talk lately about the fact that all of the athletes we train perform static stretching before every workout. The classic answer is always that this is a bad idea because static stretching decreases power. Have you ever read the actual studies? I have. The decreases were in the area of 5% and occurred when a vertical jump was done immediately after a bout of static stretching. Read this The Static Stretching Renaissance and see if your opinion changes.