Archive for May, 2012

Great Post from Alwyn Cosgrove- A Tale of Two People

Posted in Guest Authors, Random Thoughts, Training, Youth Training with tags , , on May 30, 2012 by mboyle1959
May 28th, 2012

When I was in high school in Livingston I was in an advanced mathematics class. I have no idea how I got there as I was clearly the dumbest kid in the class.

Sat next to me in the class was a guy (Keith Wilson) who spent his spare time (at 14 years old) working for a company converting the program code for an arcade computer game to a home version. He used to hand in his homework on a floppy disk…

Me? I was drawing sharks on the back of my notebook…

So while studying quadratic equations, (something that has been oh-so-useful in my life…) it was clear that I didn’t understand it. I asked the teacher to go over it again. He sighed an exasperated sigh – but he went over it again.

I still didn’t get it.

So I asked again. The teacher sighed loudly and said “Okay – the rest of you take a five minute break while I go over this again for Alwyn’s benefit …..” and then mumbled “for whatever good that will do”

Obviously I felt pretty small at that point. And of course the whole class heard him and laughed.
And I still didn’t get it.
And I never asked a question to this teacher again.
And I failed the exam for the class.

This teacher was a man who had a chance to make a kid feel better and help him, or put him down and make him feel worthless. He chose the latter. Why? Just because he could. That’s the kind of person he was.

Another person in my life was my Taekwon-do instructor – Derek Campbell. My Dad was made unemployed and we could no longer afford lessons. I went to my instructor and told him that we just couldn’t afford lessons anymore and I’d be back when my Dad got a job.

He told me to show up early for the next class and become his assistant – teaching beginners. He would pay me with free lessons.

I went on to become a fourth degree black belt, and seven time UK national champion as a result.

This teacher was also a man who had a chance to make a kid feel better and help him, or put him down and make him feel worthless. He chose the former. Why? Just because he could. That’s the kind of person he was.

One person changed a kids life and made it worse. One person changed a kid’s life and made it better. I remember both of them.

We have all had, and remember these people in our lives – the only question to ask is …

What kind of person are you?



Nutrition Ah-Ha’s ( Repost)

Posted in Fat Loss, Nutrition, Random Thoughts on May 27, 2012 by mboyle1959

I wrote this almost four years ago when I started this blog. Time flies.

The more I learn about nutrition, the more I realize I don’t know.  In a recent article I wrote called My Ah-Ha Moments I mentioned that corn is not a vegetable. I felt really stupid when I realized this. I have eaten corn my entire life and just assumed it was a vegetable. Now I know it is in fact a grain. Not only a grain but, the number one calorie source in the American diet. I picked up  a cereal box the other day and looked at the ingredients. Corn, sugar, high fructose corn syrup. Wow.

The makers of high fructose corn syrup ( the singular greatest source of calories in the American diet) have actually started an ad campaign based on the idea of “a little can’t hurt you”. Where have we heard that before. Someone wrote the other day that any time a company advertises that something is good for you there is a problem. Food for thought ( pun intended). Next time you pick something up check and see if it contains high fructose corn syrup.

Want good nutrition info, read The South Beach Diet. It’s an amazingly accurate book for such a cheesy name. Bottom line, Barry Sears has been right all along so while you are at it, read The Zone.

The Paradoxical Commandments- Reposted

Posted in Random Thoughts on May 25, 2012 by mboyle1959

I posted this in November 2008 when I was getting about 100 views a day. Thought I might go back to some good posts now that the number of views has increased. Thanks to Melanie Driscoll for reminding me.


Sorry to go all “philosophical” on you but, I think this is important. In a recent post related to youth sports and early specialization ( this time the specific topic was youth winter indoor football) one of my readers and frequent contributors Michelle Hart-Miller, a wonderful person and excellent coach, sounded almost despondent in her response .

“In this society I’m beginning to question making any effort at all.”

My response was to post The Paradoxical Commandments, a series of wonderful inspirational thoughts that have found there way around the world. On some of my worst days dealing with any problem I try to remember the concept of “Anyway”. The Paradoxical Commandments were written in 1968 by Kent Keith and are contained in a book called AnyWay

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.

I truly believe this is what keeps me coaching. One small victory can offset numerous losses.

Handicapping the Perform Better Summit in Providence

Posted in Core training, Fat Loss, Injuries, Low Back Pain, Random Thoughts, Seminars, Updates, Training, Training Females, Uncategorized, Youth Training with tags , on May 19, 2012 by mboyle1959

Here we go again. I think this is either the third or fourth year I have written my handicapping article for the PB Summits. On June 1-3 the best in education for strength and conditioning, rehab and fitness professionals continues. As I said in all of these, if you don’t get to one of these seminars every year you are making a huge mistake. The biggest complaint from attendees at a Perform Better Summit continues to be about the depth of speakers. It’s so tough that some people are buying the Perform Better Seminar Pass

and attending two Summits. It’s always tough for me too but, just like you I have to choose. You can download the schedule first . You have to go almost to the bottom left of the page to click on View Daily Schedule

Here are my recommendations on a session by session basis:

Note- Every year I say the same thing. I will almost always choose lectures over hands-on. Just my opinion. I’m coming to learn, not to get a workout. I may go to a hands-on but, not to get a workout. I’ll go to a hands-on to get “hands on” experience with techniques but, not to get a workout. Save your workout for another day and get some knowledge to help your clients and athletes

Friday June 1st

9:15- Easy decision. My hands-on is at 9:15. If you haven’t already heard me at this years  one day, come to mine. I like it when the room is full. We’ll be going through lots of hands-on progressions with me and a lot of my staff. Lots of coaches on the floor helping. Already saw me at the One Day ( probably not, I cut back a bit this year), go see Lee Burton.

10:45- Colin Aina is new this year and boy did he get a tough draw. For lectures choose between Dan John and Thomas Myers. Two very different speakers. Dan is a nuts and bolts, in the trenches guy. Thomas is one of the most interesting guys on the agenda. If you are on the rehab side, go see Thomas. On the coaching side, go see Dan. Lee Burton gets a tough draw for his hands on also.

1:00- After lunch you are simply going to have another tough choice. Alwyn Cosgove or Gray Cook? Tough call. Newcomer Chad Waterbury does his hands on on power training while Eric Beard tackles flexibility. Eric had great reviews last year. I think we’ll see an even split after lunch

2:30- I have to admit, I hope I get a big crowd for my lecture but based on the competition I’m not sure. This is as tough as it has ever been. I’m up against Dan John, Thomas Myers, and a John Berardi lecture. I will just tell you that this will be some of the most practical and useable information that you will get. Learning why we need change and how to do it.

4:00- Gray, Alwyn, Chad Waterbury and Eric Beard face off again. I say lecture first so choose between Chad Waterbury and Alwyn. I’ve never heard Chad lecture but have enjoyed his writing.

5:30- PB is trying something new here and has swapped Thom Plummer’s reality based comedy show with a professional comedian. Tom Wilkins Fitness Comedian. Laugh Your Abs Off should be very funny.

Saturday June 2nd

8:00- Saturday starts off right where Friday left off with tough choices. For Saturday I’m going to start with a contrarian recommendation. I have said lectures over practicals but go see Todd Wright. Todd is one of the funniest speakers on the tour but, more importantly he is doing some really innovative stuff with multi-planar movement. I think in this case you need to see it and do it. Everyone at this hour is excellent but I think Todd’s is unique.

9:45- 11- Two great lectures and two great hands-ons. This is one of those times where I ask you what you are interested in? If you train females, go see Rachel. Fighters, Martin. The sleeper here is Michol Dalcort, one of my favorite speakers. We brought him into MBSC and the staff loved it.

11-12:15-  At eleven, go see Vern Gambetta. He might not be the happiest guy at the Summit but he’s still one of the living legends. He might say some things you don’t like but, you have to take the good with the bad on this one.

1:15-2:30-. If you work with females, see Rachel other wise, go see Mark Verstegen. Mark’s a little young for me to call a legend but he is one of the real innovators in our field. Two lecture votes at 1:15

2:45-4 – I’m going to flip here and say go to either Mark or vern’s hands on. I think both will be excellent. Two really great teacher-coaches doing their thing head to head.

4:35- Q+A. Get your questions answered at the end of the day, great opportunity.

Sunday  June 3rd

8- Sunday is a great day. The same six guys fill three time slots. I had Kelly Starett at MBSC and he was excellent. Any way you slice it you are only going to hear three of the six. At eight, my first choice is Kelly’s lecture. I know he is a Crossfitter but he is a rarity, a smart Crossfitter. If you are dealing with team sport athletes Lee’s lecture is an option.

9:30-10:45- This might be as tough a slot to select a session as any all weekend. It comes back to the old tired “what are you interested in” thing. Pick one, you won’t be disappointed. I’m interested to see how Joe Dowdell does. Joe’s a great guy who is new to the Summit’s.

11- 12:45- The weekend ends the way it began with tough choices. This might be another time I will recommend a hands-on as my top two choices in this slot . I would love to see both Lee and Greg. As I said last year I can see why a few attendees come more than once. You would need to come three times to see everything you want. Hope my recommendations help again this year.

Save the Sing Off!

Posted in Uncategorized on May 18, 2012 by mboyle1959

I know, most days we are talking strength and conditioning or nutrition but today we visit the world of entertainment. The Sing Off, the best show on TV, is in danger of not having season 4. Please sign this petition so that we can have another great season of acapella music.

Save the Sing Off


Posted in MBSC News, Random Thoughts, Seminars, Updates, Training, Youth Training with tags on May 17, 2012 by mboyle1959

I’ve started to get some questions from folks who are viewing Functional Strength Coach 4. Rather than answer a bunch of individual emails I decided to answer here.

The first questions comes from a viewer in the UK

Q- I have an small issue at one of my jobs, I work at a sports academy  and get groups in their lesson blocks (5 lesson blocks a day, no lesson then they have S+C or basketball skill with technical coaches) often they run a little late for various reasons, while it would make my life easier just to kick them out if they are not on time it’s not always possible or reasonable as it is not always their fault and unaviodable. How do you deal with this at your facility?Do they  jump in, get sent home, play catch up, or do you cut out stuff?

A- This is a great question that contains the answer. At MBSC the answer would be a,c, d if this were a multiple choice test. The one thing we don’t do is send kids home. I would be stricter in a school environment than in a private facility. Years ago we had the kids ride bike sprints if they were late. We thought being on time was important. We almost learned a hard lesson when a group of six kids were in a minor accident rushing to the gym to avoid bike sprints. Luckily no one was hurt but, lesson learned. I’d rather have kids safe at the gym than kids be on time. In a school I would deal case by case. Excused or unexcused? Unexcused? I think you do need to have some sanctions but I hate making kids run. I don’t like the association of exercise to punishment. Maybe a clean up task etc?

Over 700,000 views!

Posted in Uncategorized on May 16, 2012 by mboyle1959

I’m amazed at how the number of viewers continues to climb. StrengthCoach Blog celebrated 600,000 views on February 10th and on May 16th we hit 700,000. We are averaging 33,000 views a month which is amazing. Thanks for reading, sharing, re-posting and for replying. One million is less than nine months away.

More Evidence for Increased Fat Intake?

Posted in Fat Loss, Guest Authors, Media, Nutrition, Random Thoughts with tags on May 15, 2012 by mboyle1959

Wow, another day and even more evidence that we may be wrong about the whole high carb- low fat thing. Do we really need more evidence than the evidence we see walking around every day?

Saturated Fats May Not be All That Bad?

Time to Increase Fat Intake?

Posted in Fat Loss, Guest Authors, Media, Nutrition, Random Thoughts with tags on May 14, 2012 by mboyle1959

The evidence is mounting. We have been close to 100% wrong about nutrition. I for one have gone back to buying whole milk and real butter. What is fake butter anyway?

How Low Fat Obsession Harms Health–cheese-red-meat-milk-How-low-fat-obsession-harm-health-says-nutritionist.html?ITO=1490

Grain is the real problem, not fat.

Preventing Hamstring Injury

Posted in Injuries, Updates, Training, Training Females with tags , on May 7, 2012 by mboyle1959

I threw together this video to show a simple progression for slideboard leg curls. I love this exercise for hamstring injury prevention

We had a great thread on about single leg stability ball leg curls. I prefer the slideboard versions and put this progression together. The key to any “functional” leg curl is that the glutes work isometrically to maintain hip extension while the hamstrings work concentrically  to flex the knee and eccentrically to control leg extension.