Archive for July, 2012

Get Ready for More Post-Olympic Foolishness

Posted in Injuries, Low Back Pain, MBSC News, Media, Random Thoughts on July 30, 2012 by mboyle1959

Swimmers flipping tires, sprinters on the leg press? I think the Olympics may set training back ten years. Sadly the media loves “catchy clips”. I saw a swimmer tonight toss a keg ( seriously, I saw it), flip tires, and do ropes. Not sure I would do any of that with any of my athletes, much less an Olympian but who knows. Later I got an email from a friend who saw a clip of Usain Bolt on a leg press. Another exercise I had hoped was dead and buried. Oh well, get ready for clients to come in tomorrow wit the “why don’t we do ____”. I for one will be glad when these games are over.


Lifting Light Weights?

Posted in Media, Random Thoughts, Training with tags on July 24, 2012 by mboyle1959


This was originally published February 27th, 2008

No one has ever gotten better lifting light weights. Light weight is an oxymoron. A weight should be appropriate to the goal but, rarely, if ever, intentionally light. The load should be based on the strength level of the person. The reality is if you are lifting a weight ten times, numbers nine and ten should be difficult. If you can lift a weight 20 times but choose to do only ten, you are wasting your time. Period.

The essence of effective strength training is a concept called progressive resistance exercise. This means that that even if the resistance may be light to begin with, it should not stay that way.

I go crazy when someone tells me about the routine they’ve been doing with their eight-lb hand weights. (P.S. Call them dumbbells. Calling them hand weights is a dead giveaway that you are clueless.) My first question is this. How long have you been doing this? Often, people respond with something like, “I’ve done this three times a week for three months.” The doctrine of progressive resistance says that the first two weeks were beneficial and that 10 weeks were wasted. It’s no wonder people stop working out.

Once you have passed the first three weeks of training, you should lift a weight that is heavy but allows perfect form. Be wary, however, of another all-too-common mistake. When we say the load should be heavy, people begin to cheat. We are not encouraging cheating. Strive for perfect technique in all exercises AND progressively increase the resistance. SportBlocks, from PowerBlock, are perfect for this as are the Bowflex Dumbbells. SportBlocks are a small version of the popular PowerBlock dumbbells that increase in three-pound increments. If you don’t want to buy SportBlocks, get a good selection of dumbbells. Beginners will need 2.5-, 5-, 7.5-,10- and 12-lb dumbbells in order to progress.

Point 4 – Work on basic strength in basic exercises. If your trainer has you practicing your golf swing with a dumbbell in your hands, get a new trainer. Do not wave dumbbells around and call it strength training. Learn to bodyweight squat, learn to do a push-up. Good basic training should strongly remind you of the calisthenics you used to do in high school.

Here’s the truth. The secret is, there is no secret. If you want to hit a golf ball further, you need to get stronger. You will not get strong lifting a five-pound dumbbell. Next time we’ll talk about two more pet peeves. Stretching. And worrying about getting too big.

Mike Boyle’s Fat Loss Secrets DVD is available at

The Man in the Arena

Posted in MBSC News, Random Thoughts, Updates, Training, Training Females, Youth Training on July 21, 2012 by mboyle1959

This is another repost from 2008 that is applicable today as it was four years ago.

An Ode to My Critics

It is amazing that coaches who have accomplished so little can find the time to criticize those of us who work for a living. I guess the beauty of being painfully unemployed is that there is plenty of time to keep up with the writings and workings of your enemies. Strangely enough the latest criticisms revolve around my own desire to improve my program. The beauty of this is that I admit a mistake and that opens the door for criticism. The criticism is that I have no system, no principles because of my frequent changes. The intellectual critic punishes the coach for learning. It’s a funny world. The real beauty is that the critic has no audience, a tree falling in the woods and no one hearing.  However, the greater beauty is that the criticism reminds me of the great quote below and continues to strengthen my resolve to improve my program and my athletes.

The Man in the Arena

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

 Theodore Roosevelt

This wonderful quote from Theodore Roosevelt goes out to all the internet experts who never write articles but, consistently post criticism of what others have written. They are never “The Man in the Arena”, instead they are the fan in the stands shouting at those who play.

Great minds like Columbus and Galileo were ridiculed by small minds. Sports has the term Monday Morning Quarterback. Strength and conditioning has internet experts.

It is amazing how many experts there are who know all the answers after all the questions have been answered by someone else. You know what I want to know? Have they ever even heard Paul Hodges or Stuart McGill speak in person? Have they ever conversed with these people?

Paul Hodges has done one person deep needle EMG studies on himself because he could not find subjects. Stuart McGill travels around the world and has spent thousands of hours researching the spine.

The average internet critic has spent hours trying to find the hole in the argument, to celebrate briefly the “I gotcha” moment,  alone in a room. The highest compliment one can achieve is to be the subject of mindless criticism. It indicates that you have truly made it.



Nutrition Ah-Ha’s

Posted in Fat Loss, Nutrition, Random Thoughts on July 20, 2012 by mboyle1959

This is another 2008 re-post

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.

Summer Training for Nine Year Olds- Repost

Posted in Random Thoughts, Training, Youth Training on July 16, 2012 by mboyle1959

I originally posted this last spring but wanted to re-post it as we move into the summer. With the new Facebook and Twitter feeds I think it will get a lot more views.

Q- I need to put together a summer plan for my 9 yr old hockey team. Obviously I don’t want to look like a crazy person, but it would be something that I think could be good for my own kids as well. Is it too young?

My first reaction was to say “are you crazy”? Instead, slightly  tongue-in-cheek I developed the plan below.

Step 1- play another sport. Lacrosse is highly recommended as it has similar skills to hockey although baseball is fine. This does not mean another sport in addition to hockey. Summer is the off season.

Step 2- Cancel all hockey camp registrations except 1 week. Pick your favorite that has the largest number of your friends attending and go to that one. Ideally look for a camp that only has you on the ice once a day. No need to get blisters. You won’t get better in a week anyway.

Step 3- Cancel any summer hockey leagues you are scheduled for. The best players in the world never play summer hockey and, they never have. The only conceivable exception would be a weekly skill session lasting one hour. Another exception would be “play”. If ice is available and the kids can play, let them. Please remember play means NO COACHES or COACHING.

Step 4- Reread steps 1-3. Acknowledge that the key problem in youth sports is applying adult values to children’s activities.

Step 5- Go to the nearest bike shop. Get nice bikes for everyone in the family

Step 6- Ride the bikes, not in a race. For fun. Maybe put a few hockey cards in the spokes to make noise.

Step 7- Head to Walmart and buy fishing rods.

Step 8- Take the fishing rods to the nearest lake and fish.

Now That is an off-season plan for any nine year old.

Step 9- repeat steps 5-8 while continually rereading steps 1-3

MBSC Internship Week 2

Posted in Guest Authors, MBSC News, Random Thoughts on July 14, 2012 by mboyle1959

MBSC intern  Anthony Iannarino has written a couple of great posts about the internship process at MBSC. Just wanted to share part 2.


Another Reason I’m Not A Crossfit Fan

Posted in Uncategorized on July 13, 2012 by mboyle1959

I have often said that one of my major issues with Crossfit is the phony macho, tough guy attitude. Unfortunately, some Crossfitters continue to reinforce my opinion. Take a moment and read this. I’m sure Reebok is thrilled with the publicity.

A Day in the Life- Repost

Posted in Uncategorized on July 12, 2012 by mboyle1959

I hesitantly posted this piece in 2009 on I thought it might be viewed as self-serving. However the response was entirely positive. With summer being busy I’m reposting some older stufft hat many of you may not have read. 

A Day in the Life

I often get asked, “How do you get so much done with your business, coaching, writing, speaking etc”. 

I usually try to give a humble answer and mumble something about hard work etc. 

The truth is there is a method to the madness and I’d like to share some of the things that have increased my productivity: 

1- Get up early. Successful people don’t hit the snooze button. I remember one great tip about waking up. “When the alarm goes off, get your feet on the ground” I have lived by this for at least twenty years and now rarely need an alarm. Years ago I also read somewhere that you should get out of bed when you wake up instead of rolling over. The concept is related to sleep quality and I have found it to be true. Fifteen minutes of “extra” sleep usually leaves you more tired. If I wake up within 30 minutes of when I am supposed to wake up I “get my feet on the ground”. 

2- Many people remark that they get emails from me at 4:45. That is because I get up, go to my computer, and check my email. I read another hint once that said “if you can respond in under a minute, do it now”. I have adopted that policy as best I can and it has really helped. I can interact with 100 people a day and do most of it before my family gets out of bed. The nice thing is that getting up early also allows me to help my wife by throwing in a load of laundry and allows me to spend time with my children in the morning when they get up. 

3- Write everything down. I have a notebook with me at all times for article ideas, program ideas, notes and To Do Lists. It’s much too easy to forget. Never trust your memory. I also have a Palm Treo phone for day-to-day stuff.  ( It’s an IPhone these days but you get the idea)

4- Don’t try to do paperwork at work. I know this sounds silly but I get no paperwork done at work. I try to coach at work. I work at home in the morning. Work before the rest of the world rises and you will get more done. 

5- Don’t go out to eat lunch. What a waste of time. Lunch hour is for “normal” people who don’t like their job and need an hour away. Those that want to succeed will never waste even a half hour sitting and eating. Lunch takes all of 5 minutes. Dinner is a different story. Dinner is family time. I bank my “lunch time” so I can use it at dinner when I have my family. Another benefit of this is that it helps with weight control. I can’t seem to go into a sandwich shop and not walk out with a bag of chips. Often I have eaten them before I get my sandwich. Keep shakes on hand and eat every three hours while you work.

6- Use commuting time. I often spend two hours a day in the car. I will make all my phone calls for the day in the car and, record my podcast interviews with Anthony Renna ( from my car. The police may not like this but it is a great way to save time. Just promise me that you won’t text from the car. I also use the time to listen to audio books.

7- Do brief workouts. Again, if you are busy you don’t have time to lift for two hours. I try to do 4-5 High Intensity Cardiovascular Workouts a week. These are either 12-14 minute threshold rides ( usually a five mile AirDyne for time) or a series of distances for time. My favorites are timed miles or half miles with a heartrate recovery. These workouts take a maximum of 20 minutes. In addition, I love Craig Ballantynes Bodyweight 100. It currently takes me less than 4 minutes to get a full body lift. I try to lift twice a week but, probably average one workout every five days. 

As I always say, the secret is there is no secret. Read about how to save time and to be more productive. Read The One Minute Manager. It’s a great start. Pick up little tricks. Success is really is about getting up and being organized. I personal train 10-15 hours a week, work as a college strength and conditioning coach ( BU is currently number 2 in the country) , coach Pro athletes 8 hrs a week all the while keeping up with writing, emails, and I love the idea of “ready-fire-aim” approach. I would rather have done one thing than thought about three. I read another great tip but, can’t remember where. The tip was to be a 90% person. If a success oriented person strives to do 100% they rarely complete anything. The advice was the last ten percent kills you and stalls you. I don’t worry any more if every article or DVD is perfect. I want to always deliver a quality product but, I don’t obsess over it any more. Don’t over –plan or over-think, just strive to get a lot done. Make a list and start checking stuff off.

Next Mentorship Sept 17-20

Posted in MBSC News, Seminars, Training, Training Females, Youth Training on July 7, 2012 by mboyle1959

Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning will be holding another mentorship week September 17th through the 20th. This is a great opportunity to see and learn in both hands-on sessions and daily Q+A. Participants will spend the day learning and living the MBSC system from personal training to sports performance. For more info you can go

Building Relationships

Posted in MBSC News, Random Thoughts, Training, Training Females, Youth Training on July 3, 2012 by mboyle1959

This is a repost by request of a an old Sam Leahey post from, I think, 4 years ago.

“No one really cares how much you know until they know how much you care”

– Some Really Smart Dude With Experience In That Thing Called “Life” (aka I forget who said it)

     If you asked me about a week ago to explain the meaning of that quote I’m sure I’d give you an eloquent soliloque of words rooted in passion and extravagant articulation . . . but you could have told me I still had no clue what the heck I was talking about! Guess what, you’d be right! Up until this week its definition was all words but recently the meaning of that quote manifested in a different sense through direct firsthand experience. It was an “ah-ha!” moment for sure in this young coaches life and one that will never be forgotten. One that I want to share with you fellow coaches as it really shows just how important people skills are in the field of strength and conditioning and it’s not always your understanding of post-activation potentiation or micro-hoopla that counts.

 Building Relationships in Strength & Conditioning Anything!

     In one of our mini-seminars with Coach Boyle he mentioned that when it came to working with the professional athlete groups we were to take more of an observer role rather than try and coach’em up. He gave an example of a past intern who apparently was giving advice to these big shots and after suggesting with upmost confidence “hey, you should really try this. . .” the response given back was a resounding “hey, you should try and screw yourself!” Coach Boyle made sure we understood that these guys have been training at MBSC for a while so they wouldn’t take advice from some young random newbie who just got a summer internship and feels like he needs to tell the million dollar man “WORK HARDER FOR PETE’S SAKE! THROW THAT MED.BALL LIKE YOU MEAN IT!”

     Well as time rolled along my name was called to assist with the pro group. Right before the workout I tried to review everything Coach Boyle mentioned and how I was supposed to act during the session. Of course, with too much passion and an overwhelming zeal to take over the world of strength & conditioning and be the greatest coach of all time the information seemed to have slipped out the other ear! The very FIRST session I had with the pro’s I spotted an athlete doing the 1-2 Stick slower than molasses running up a hill in Antarctica! I couldn’t understand why he was moving so slowly through the hoops. So of course I gave it only 5 seconds thought before I decided to walk over and show him how the drill is supposed to look, maybe he didn’t know you’re supposed to go full speed? I blasted through the hoops with a perfect demonstration only to finish and then have him say “dude, I JUST had knee surgery, I’m not that lazy kid. I gotta take it easy you know”!

My response: Insert foot into mouth and then go defenestrate myself! HA! I didn’t say a word to any athlete for the rest of that workout and I wanted to kill myself for being an idiot. Low and behold he didn’t rat me out and life went on. That was Experience #1 with the pros.

     Experience #2 came soon after when I was scheduled to work with them again, and this time around it was the polar opposite. I spent the entire time just basically engaging in small talk. Asking the guys where they went to college, how long they’ve been playing in the NHL or NFL, and where there from. Some of the D1 college football players from around New England were also in that group so we found commonality and chatted in between sets. This workout went much better and I didn’t want to kill myself at the end of it. So what’s my point? I took time to BUILD RELATIONSHIPS the second time instead of telling people what to do and as you’ll see it paid HUGE dividends the next workout!

     Experience #3 is where it all came together and helped me learn one of the biggest lessons of my life. As it goes, one of the elite college football players I had been chatting with previously showed up late on day. He was hoping to have a promising combine so better late to workout than never I suppose. The group was about 30 minutes ahead of him and as Coach Boyle noticed him coming in he turned to me and said “hey Sam, go take him through what he’s missed and we’ll see if he can catch up”. My jaw almost broke my toe as it dropped so hard. I couldn’t believe Coach was going to let me work one on one with this guy! Even though I was flipping out on the inside I pretended like it was nothing and said sure thing Coach.

     He greeted me right away and even remembered my name from our previous small talk last week. I told him I’d be working with him for movement session until we went into the weight room. We foam rolled, warmed-up, did med. ball throws, etc. and surprisingly he would often ask for my critiqument. I cautiously worked in some more coaching cues and even more surprisingly he didn’t seem to mind at all. In fact, he was SUPER responsive! I was SHOCKED how much I was able to coach this guy and how much he didn’t mind it. I started wondering why. . .

     We approached the final drill of the movement session, lean-fall-run. I gave a quick and simple demo expecting him to already know how to do it and probably having developed his own style anyway. Here’s where it gets crazy though. He did one rep and then stopped to talk to me about the NFL combine; he asked my opinions on it! We engaged in a couple minutes of more small talk after which he cranked out another rep. I noticed some flaws and since things were going so well I decided not to hold anything back and I coached the crap out of his acceleration mechanics. So much so that some guy next to us stopped doing his hurdle hops to look over and wonder “why the heck is this pro getting coached by that intern!” . . . I was wondering the same thing but I just kept going. It got so carried away he wanted to practice his 40 yard dash start and have me coach him on it! Finally, what was supposed to be a 30 minute movement session ended up with an extra 15 40 yard dash clinic!

     Just stop for a second and get a perspective of what just transpired. This athlete who will probably make tons of money in the NFL one day trusted me to briefly coach him in one of the most important events at the NFL combine, the 40 yard dash. He welcomed my coaching the whole session in fact. Furthermore, he considered the young bucks’ opinions worth listening too. WHY?!?!?!?!?!?! I know EXACTLY why. Because last week I took the time to BUILD RELATIONSHIPS and just get to know him and the other guys in the group. I didn’t realize at the time we were chatting, but I was in fact gaining his friendship which eventually led to his trust and respect in me as a coach.

“No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care”

I showed him I cared by building a relationship first and in turn he cared about what I knew and therefore wanted me to coach him. Lesson learned!

I could hardly contain myself with this new found revelation so I went up to Coach Boyle immediately telling him all about it. He merely hit me on the shoulder and said “that’s it Sam, that’s what it’s ALL about!” and then walked away with a smile on his face as if to say it was nothing new. I guess he must have realized this 25 years ago. I’m sure they’ll be many more lessons to come under my tutelage with Mike Boyle but one thing’s for sure, each new lesson is always more impacting than the last. I’m so thankful that this internship at MBSC opens the doors for me to be a better coach and gives me the opportunities I need at this stage of my coaching career.

Don’t ever forget that no one cares about how much you know until you show them how much you care about them and their situation first!



Sam Leahey CSCS, CPT