Ignite Whiteboard Workout – (April 2013)

IMG_0596White board workouts are short and simple videos that help you implement great group workouts using the Ignite Performance Training methodology.  These videos will give you a brief into to the goals and challenges of the workout and explain the very easy to use format.  The formats are easy to plug your own exercises into and are great for trying to coach and connect with a group of any size.  Casey will give a verbal explanation of each performance based exercises providing the workout written on a whiteboard for a visual reference. Click here to get access to each months Insiders Whiteboard Workout complete with videos of the exercises. 

Trainer’s Toolbox Podcast Episode 017 – The Speed Episode

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Welcome to the trainers toolbox podcast for fitness professionals where we harness the power of synergy through understanding and acheive excellence through education.  Podcasting out of Alpena Michigan I am your host Casey Stutzman, Head trainer at Bay Athletic Club, Master Instructor for TRX and an Ignite Performance Master Trainer, on today’s episode
today we unlock the secrets to an effective speed workout

How to coach a speed workout

  • Focus in effenciemcy-think practice not game time
  • Look at lines of force
  • Use the structure of the body (ankle lock)
  • Avoid fatigue (work to rest ratios)
  • Build the brakes
That wraps up another episode of the Trainer’s Toolbox podcast, thank you again for joining us.  If you want more be sure to head over to CaseyStutzman.com and click Join the brigade to subscribe to our free content list.  While your there we would love to hear your comments on this episode and suggestions you have for future episode topics.    Join us in 2 weeks for the balance episode

Walmart will Fail

downloadMany don’t realize that when Sam Walton created Walmart he build the company on the idea of taking care of people.  He knew ever cashiers birthdays, paid them a great wage and helped out whenever possible when unexpected life and family events popped up.

Many do know this is a far cry from how Wal-Mart operates today.

A company that successfully grew into a giant in retail by taking care of people has now made the decision to focus on costs and profit.

This is a really bad idea for 2 reasons;

When the focus is on driving down costs to make a larger profit margin, people (both customers and employees) are the ones who get lost in the shuffle.  Everything becomes black and white when only viewed as income and expenses.  Customers and employees end up feeling used, taken advantage of and not cared for.  Their loyalty and general outlook of the company becomes very negative, it’s the “you don’t take care of me so why should I take care of you” mentality.

The second is a big one.  Low cost develops no loyalty or relationships with your customers.  When you are the business built on “the lowest prices” you attract the customers who are only looking for low price.  They do not do business with a company because they appreciate or value them; they do business with them because their prices are low.  What happens if someone else can do a lower price? You guessed it; they jump ship and go with them.

Lowering prices and running specials, no loyalty amongst customers, suspect customer services, high staff turnover, only focused on sales and revnue; does this sound like any fitness business you know?

The current state of Wal-Mart draws striking similarities to large box gym chains (Gold’s Gym & LA Fitness to name a couple) & both will fail.

Customers have limits, no matter how low prices are or how many pieces of equipment you offer people will leave.  No amount of discounts or offerings can make up for treating people like numbers or just plain poorly

When the focus is on cost and profits customers begin to feel like a number and a payday.  If every customer is seen as a dollar sign they begin to feel unvalued and will take their business elsewhere.

There is a ceiling.  Big gyms get by on tons of offerings in equipment, facilities and space at the lowest cost possible.  The ugly side we don’t see right away is to pay for all of that while keeping people at a low monthly cost they need to squeeze every dollar that can out of them in “extras”.  Plus what happens when the “new” chain opens up down the road and they have a pool or their membership is $5 less?  You can only offer a lot for a little for so long until the math does not work anymore.

Most customers learn at one point that low price comes with a cost.

Big gyms will fail.  There will come a point that they will no longer dominate the industry and be the standard in the fitness business.  The only questions is do you want to be ahead or behind that curve when that happens?

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My Favorite Rip Trainer Exercises; Pitchfork

Photo Sep 27, 8 15 59 AMI love the TRX Rip Trainer, it is a tool that allows me to train a large variety of clients and goal and offers exercises from very simple to very complex and athletic.  The Rip is an amazing tool to train, speed, acceleration and rotation all with an asymertical load.  This is one of my  favorite exercises using the TRX Rip Trainer. Click Here to Join the League for Extraordinary Trainers 

Isolated vs. Integrated

imagesMy house needs a new roof.  I have 10 friends who are capable of helping do the job.  On the day of the re-roofing all 10 friends show up hammer in hand and ready to work.  Realizing there is a huge job ahead of us and accepting the more help I have the quicker and more efficiently it will get done, I welcome all 10 friends with open arms.  The bigger and stronger the team the easier the job becomes on each individual person.

Scenario 2;

10 friends show up and I decide that is too much and send half of them home.  Now only 6 of us remain to do the job of 11.

We will have to bust hump all day long.

Skip lunch and breaks to make sure we are done on time.

The sun goes down and we are still franticly working, desperately trying not to extend the project into a second day.

We might have finished sooner but our small team has forced each of us to work twice as hard physically.  The exertion and frantic pace have been wearing on us all day.  Our production output is only a fraction of what it was earlier in the day.

The job finally gets done and we are all ready to sleep for a week, desperately needing rest for our badly beaten bodies.  Anything we planned on getting done tomorrow is now a pipe dream.  We only hope to have the energy to get off the couch to make it to the bathroom in time.

Which team would you rather be on; the team of 11 or the team of 6?

So why in fitness and performance training do we often choose the team of 6?

You can train strength two different ways; you can choose to Isolate (team of 6) or integrate (team of 11).

Isolation training is choosing “one” muscle or joint action and stressing it with resistance.  We put a lot of stress on one area and purposefully make sure other muscles are not “helping out”.  The end result can lead to strength gains but comes with lots of soreness, recovery time and high potential for injury.

Integrated strength is using the entire body as a cohesive unit to absorb and produce maximum amounts of force across the entire system.  A building does not fall with the first hit of the wrecking ball because it is designed to distribute the force of the impact throughout the entire structure.  The key to building good integrated strength is “linking” the upper and lower body through the core & develop efficient movement habits.  When joints can move without restrictions and in effective sequencing the result is more force production/absorption with less stress on any one area.  The most valuable aspect is now you are training the body to function in a similar environment that it needs to perform in (sport/life).

There is a time and place for isolation training in a performance based workout program but it is a piece of the puzzle not the big picture.  The end goal is always that everything works together, that the systems can integrate well.  We can use isolation to develop weak links and strengthen components of movements but it should never be the corner stone of our training program.

To incorporate these ideals into your training simply focus on the whole instead of focusing on the pieces.  The pieces are important but always keep the big picture and end result in mind.

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Movement Debriefing Video Series – A Tale of Two Planks

In the Movement Debriefing series of videos we use the Coaches Eye app to help take complex and complicated movement patterns and break them down into manageable and understandable segments with the use of great visual aids.

Photo Jan 07, 11 41 20 AMThis month we will take a look at what makes a good active plank by comparing two contrasting examples. Click here to Join the League of Extraordinary Trainers 

Trainer’s Toolbox Podcast Episode 016 – Some Companies Just Don’t Get it

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Welcome to the trainers toolbox podcast for fitness professionals where we harness the power of synergy through understanding and acheive excellence through education.  Podcasting out of Alpena Michigan I am your host Casey Stutzman, Head trainer at Bay Athletic Club, Master Instructor for TRX and an Ignite Performance Master Trainer, on today’s episode

Today we talk about my experience with amazing Bose products but how the company could be so much more of they got the idea the high performing products are just the start of success.

Their marketing talks about features not benifits
I got a crappy response from an awesome email I sent them (see email and response below)
“First off I am a RAVING FAN of BOSE!  I am a frequent traveler (2-3 flights a month) for the last 3+ years.  2 years ago I was gifted a set of your QC15 headphones and travel has never been the same since.  I REFUSE to fly without them, they are my peaceful oasis in the sea of noise and chaos that is ariline travel.  Without your headphones I’m sure I would have had a nervous breakdown years ago due to airline travel.  I am in the market for a new set of ear buds and didn’t even bother to look at any other brands than BOSE; I have loved my experience with your products and and a customer for life.  I make a point to tell anyone who will listen about my experience with CQ15 headphones in hope of enriching their travel experience as well.  My only point of contention is that I think you marketing team could do a much better job telling people WHY they want your headphones instead of what they do.  First class should be full of passenger with BOSE headphones, if they travel that much or can afford the ticket there is no reason for them to not have your products.  I feel like the only reason they don’t is because they don’t know what they are missing or how wearing BOSE headphones actually creates a very different and positive travel experience.  BOSE allows me to enjoy travel in my own personal, relaxing environment; if they knew what I knew I can’t imagine they would not purchase your product!Thanks for the experience and keep up the great work
Casey Stutzman”
“Dear CASEY STUTZMAN,Thank you for your message.We appreciate your valued input regarding our products, as well as you sharing your personal experience.  Our Marketing groups review all customer feedback and often integrate these ideas into future designs.

Thank you for contacting Bose Corporation.

Amy

Customer Support Team”
Beats sells a high performance with a lifestyle attached Bose could take a lesson
That wraps up another episode of the Trainer’s Toolbox podcast, thank you again for joining us.  If you want more be sure to head over to CaseyStutzman.com and click Join the brigade to subscribe to our free content list.  While your there we would love to hear your comments on this episode and suggestions you have for future episode topics.    Join us in 2 weeks for the speed episode

Execution over Exercises

downloadEarly football season during my senior year of high school we met a very challenging out of conference opponent.  We were coming off a big win the week before so we were confident when we began practice Monday.  Our confidence rose when our coaching staff went over our defensive scheme for Friday night.  They walked us through the six bread and butter plays this team would run on over 95% of their downs.

Six.  That’s it.

We thought we had this one in the bag; we were wrong.

That Friday night they politely handed us our asses and made us wear them as a hat.  I remeber walking off the field thinking; “how the hell did that happen, they only ran 6 plays!”

Our coaches attempted to warn us about all week was that they ran their six staple plays almost flawlessly every time.  A valuable lesson we failed to hear.

They had found great success in not trying to do a hundred different offensive schemes but to become amazing at executing their basic package.  No flash, no trickery, just simple execution.  They made the decision to be a Master of a few traits instead of a Jack of many.

The power of this strategy is that by dialing in their focus they were able to spend valuable practice time in execution.  Most teams were off trying to learn new plays and formations every practice where they spent the time learning how to execute their six plays with maximum effectiveness in any situation.

In fitness the focus seems to be on becoming the Jack instead of the Master.

We spend excessive amounts seeking new pieces of equipment in a never ending quest to build an warehouse sized exercise library.   Searching for & experimenting with new exercises, variations, workouts in a never ending quest for quantity and variety.

The key to obtaining results in fitness and performance is not exercises but execution.

The exercise alone will not cause success; how it is performed will lead to results.

Say you pick a really cool new variation of a row to build your clients back. During that exercise they keep elevating their shoulders causing them to rely on elbows and writs too much.  This takes the lats out of the movement greatly causing them to remain underdeveloped. No matter how great the exercise is on paper it will not help the client move forward because the wrong “area” is being challenged.  If an exercise in not executed properly the intended purpose is lost.  When purpose is lost the exercise becomes ineffective.

How can we expect clients to learn how to do it right and make it effective if we keep throwing new exercises at them?

I am all for exploration and innovation.  Never stop learning, growing and discovering.  We know so little about human movement & performance; searching and testing new ideas is an imperative part of giving our industry the tools to make an impact on mankind. I also believe you should learn to use and leverage the tools & resources you already have before attempting to add to your repertoire.

Purposeful practice and repetition lead to mastery.  For practice to be purposeful it must be correctly executed under a watchful and corrective eye.  Once the skill is developed it has to be repeated & repeated & repeated (you get the idea).  Choosing great exercises in important but without great execution they become ineffective and often useless.

Spend less time focusing on building a massive exercise library.  Put the work where it matters most.  Invest in execution and see performance dividends a plenty in your clients and athletes.

Click Here to Join the League of Extraordinary Trainers

Movement Debriefing Video Series – It’s all About the Ankles

In the Movement Debriefing series of videos we use the Coaches Eye app to help take complex and complicated.  Movement patterns and break them down into manageable and understandable segments with the use of great visual aids.

Photo Jan 07, 11 41 20 AMThis video will show that the ankles can be the problem of bad squats (they often frame the hips, but a jury concluded that the hips don’t lie)

Helping Your Clients Break through Invisible Fences –by Laura Kennett

picI recently saw this picture and laughed out loud.  It’s so true.  It seems like the magic in life doesn’t happen in the daily, mundane routine.  It happens when we stretch ourselves a little further than what we are comfortable with and manage to find ourselves in a new place that might not be that familiar.

I recently hung this graphic up in my office because I use it as a tool.  In my every day work, I like to “nudge”, and it usually involves me dropping hints or making subtle suggestions to people.  Sometimes these people are dwelling right along the edge of something really great, and I like to encourage them to explore and move outside of their comfort zone. Something great might be waiting for them, and they just need someone to nudge them to pursue it.  Sometimes I wonder what it is that is holding people back.

I think the same is true for those of us who work with clients who are seeking to improve the quality of their life.  We can do more than just help them physically.  Regardless of age, gender, physical ability, race, or anything else that someone brings to the table – it’s our job to nudge.  We need to start with a thorough understanding of our clients through intake paperwork, medical histories, and interviews, but in order to facilitate their success we have to be able to help them overcome their individual obstacles to achieve their goals.  A very common thing I see standing between where they are and where they want to be is some kind of mental, invisible fence.  That fence is usually serving as the perimeter of their comfort zone.

So, without exceeding the scope of our practice, how do we help our clients break through these invisible fences in order to achieve success?  Here are some approaches that you might find helpful:

  • Acknowledge Fears:  Fear is the single greatest thing that holds people back.  Some of our clients are afraid to enter a gym setting that makes them feel self-conscious, concerned about appearance, or insecure.  For others it might be a lack of competence if they haven’t had experience with sports or physical activity.  You need to acknowledge their fears.  Encourage them to share them with you and talk about them.  You don’t have to have all of the answers, but getting it out on the table is the best first step.  Have you explored something that scares you lately?  I encourage you to try something completely new in a setting that intimidates you. It might give you some perspective as to how some of your clients feel.
  • Build Confidence:  Competence breeds confidence.  Progress at a pace that allows clients to master skills and activities while still being challenged.  Too much, too soon can be a deal breaker.  It’s a delicate balance.  The more competent and confident clients become, the more they will realize that they can achieve.
  • Educate:  Don’t just instruct your clients – educate them.  With education we become empowered and gain understanding.  You need to tell them more than just the “how”, but also explain the “why”.  As they begin to understand the human body, they will gain an appreciation what their body is capable of doing.
  • Pain is temporary:  Everyone has a different threshold for pushing themselves physically.  If you have educated them, they will begin to have a healthy regard for their capabilities and that can be helpful.  Draw on any past experiences they have been through that were physically or mentally challenging to get them through uncomfortable exercise sessions.  The comfort zone is just that – comfortable.  Where the magic happens might be physically uncomfortable.  It’s only temporary.
  • Reflect: Have them reflect on their experiences daily and focus on things beyond appearances.  Keeping a journal might be a good tool to do this.  How do they feel?  Is their confidence building? Are they presenting themselves in a new way?  Have they identified an invisible fence holding them back?  Some of their reflection can serve as a good bridge of communication between client and professional.
  • Believe In Them:  Tell your client that you are confident in their ability to achieve their goals because they are realistic and attainable.  You can then give them the tools to get there.  Sometimes it just takes someone encouraging and believing in them to make it happen.
  • Commit:  Have them sign a commitment contract which outlines what each of you commit to bring to the table that will contribute to their success.  It’s important for them to understand that ultimately IT’S UP TO THEM.

Laura Kennett has motivated and empowered exercise science, fitness and wellness professionals across the country as an educator, speaker, and event organizer.  She has worked in many professional settings most recently at Grand Valley State University training future professionals. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Sports Medicine and received her Master’s Degree in Kinesiology from Michigan State University. She is a Certified Strength and Conditional Specialist and Group Exercise Instructor among other professional certifications.  You can find more of her writing at http://www.laurakennett.com