3 books all aspiring personal trainers need to read

Two Young Women Readin In Park At Sunset

I consistently read 1-2 books a week, and have been for the last thirteen years. Even though not all of these books are fitness related, that is how my curiosity started with different topics.

As you master exercise, let your curiosity drive you towards solutions for your client’s problems. Instead of thinking, “this is out of my expertise,” challenge yourself by learning everything you can about that topic. Once you have a better understanding, you will then be able to add it to your tool kit for other clients.

The books I’m recommending below are foundational books that serve the vast majority of people who hire a personal trainer. These are people who want to lose fat, get healthy and be fit. If you’re targeting athletes, there are many books out there on sports specific training, but I have to say Supertraining by Mel Siff is the athletic bible.

There are three pillars that are important in understanding how to help your clients lose fat and feel amazing.

First it’s nutrition. If your client wants to lose weight and you don’t understand nutrition, they might as well go find a new trainer. Nutrition and exercise work together, so with exercise alone, most of these clients would be wasting their time.

The second pillar is exercise. We all know how important it is to move.

Third is Psychology; if you can’t get them to stick to anything you say, well… your success rate isn’t going to be very high.

Here are a few books that I recommend that cater to the three pillars I have mentioned.

1. Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A. Price

This book detailing Dr. Weston A. Price’s global travels studying the diets and nutrition of various cultures. The book is filled with pictures and evidence that can’t be ignored.

2. Magnificent Mobility by Eric Cressey and Mike Robertson

When you start exercising with clients you quickly learn that most people lack in flexibility and mobility. This book outlines an almost “paint by numbers” way of fixing these issues. Its simplicity is fantastic.

3. Switch by Chip and Dan Heath 

As personal trainers, changing people is what we are really doing in the big picture. Chip and Dan has given us a great scientific breakdown of how to change when change is hard. This can be applied to anything but it is especially important for someone looking to change their habits.

A mentor of mine once gave me advice that I’m passing along to you.

“You’re only as smart as the books you read and the people you meet. So start reading and start meeting.” So I did.

The 2 Ways to Earn Your Carbs

Assorted Carbohydrate Sources Spelling Out 'Carbs'

Contrary to what some would have you believe, carbs are not evil. But unlike other macro-nutrients though, they should be earned.

Protein is the one macronutrient that should be prioritized.  Not only because it’s an essential requirement for staying lean, strong, and healthy, but because it’s impossible to overconsume, and actually prevents overconsumption.  With research showing that any excess is burned not stored, and an adequate intake increases satiation and reduces cravings between meals.

For example, a 2015 study from the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition had a group of 48 resistance-trained men and women consume 2.3 or 3.4g of protein per kg of bodyweight per day, and found greater reductions in fat mass and body fat percentage in the higher protein group.  But what was most interesting, is that the gains in fat free mass (i.e. muscle) were the same, despite 50% more protein, and the additional calories that accompanied it.

Fat is number two on the list because it’s also essential for our body (and our brain) to function optimally.  With saturated fats specifically, who support nutrient absorption, membrane and hormone building, and vitamin conversion and transport.

Click here to read the rest of Charle’s tips on carb consumption

*This article is written by Charles R. Poliquin
Charles R Poliquin is recognized as one of the World’s most accomplished strength coaches who attributes his success to the quest for the “magical training program”. Now as Strength Sensei he shares his acquired knowledge and wisdom with the emerging leaders in the strength and conditioning field. Now after decades of disciplined research and training he has refined his craft so he can educate the dedicated few who want to maximize their learning so they can bring their results back to their athletes. Charles now dedicates his time to educate strength coaches from around the world so they can produce world class athletes.

 

My Take on Carbohydrate Intake

sweet-potato-fries

Carbs, carbs, carbs
Fats used to be evil, now they have been justly rehabilitated.

In the U.S., polarization is the norm. Carbs are no exception. Some people claim that the quality does not matter as long as you watch your calories. In other words, a blender drink of Coca Cola, leftover pizza and a few Cadbury’s Turkish Delight is fine, as long as it fits your macros. On the other pole, carbs that were not around in the paleolithic era are downright evil. Those are obviously very different opinions, here is my take on carbs

1.) You need to deserve your carbs. How many grams of carbs you can afford will be determined by levels of muscle mass, volume and intensity of training, percentage of body fat and insulin sensitivity. Some people obviously need to restrict their carbs to 10 licks of a dried prune every six months, while some can indulge in using 1,000 to 1,500 grams.

2.) Some people can get away with grains, some should stay away from them. A high quality food intolerance panel will help determine that. The BEST ONE AND THE ONLY ONE WORTH DOING being the ones offered by Cyrex labs.

Click here to get your entire carb intake tip list!

*This article is written by Charles R. Poliquin
Charles R Poliquin is recognized as one of the World’s most accomplished strength coaches who attributes his success to the quest for the “magical training program”. Now as Strength Sensei he shares his acquired knowledge and wisdom with the emerging leaders in the strength and conditioning field. Now after decades of disciplined research and training he has refined his craft so he can educate the dedicated few who want to maximize their learning so they can bring their results back to their athletes. Charles now dedicates his time to educate strength coaches from around the world so they can produce world class athletes.

 

Concepts for the Refueling Day

vegan_black_bean_pizza_recipe

Enjoying a hard-earned cheat meal, a.k.a refuel meal, is always good on the physique, and the mind too. But using cheat meals the right way can make or break your physique.

Strangely enough, with the growing numbers of orthorexics (aka “diet Nazis”) in the field of health and fitness, some might not be cheating often enough, or eating too little extra calories to make a difference in their metabolic rate. Of course, at the other end of the spectrum we have those who think it’s perfectly normal to have a large pizza and a dozen donuts because they’re exhausted after walking an extra block with their dog.

This is why most diets or physique transformation boot camps last for 12-weeks, by the way. It’s sufficient time to see results and take pictures, while the client can maintain discipline. But after this, most return to their usual habits and binge as a way to compensate for eating boiled chicken and broccoli for 3 months, often gaining back the fat they lost with a little extra. This is why I’m against coaches who never allow their clients to deviate from their diets. Not only does it stress the client out, but a well-placed cheat will in fact help their physique composition goal. It’s my experience that most client will lose fat faster, and stick to their meal plan longer, if they are allowed to have a cheat meal every 4 to 6 days. But it has to be a cheat meal, not a cheat day.

Click here to find out how I have my clients cheat to optimize their fat loss

*This article is written by Charles R. Poliquin
Charles R Poliquin is recognized as one of the World’s most accomplished strength coaches who attributes his success to the quest for the “magical training program”. Now as Strength Sensei he shares his acquired knowledge and wisdom with the emerging leaders in the strength and conditioning field. Now after decades of disciplined research and training he has refined his craft so he can educate the dedicated few who want to maximize their learning so they can bring their results back to their athletes. Charles now dedicates his time to educate strength coaches from around the world so they can produce world class athletes.

5 Health and Fitness Principles That Don’t Suck

wellness

There’s no shortage of nonsensical information in the world of health and fitness. When’s the last time you exclaimed, “Oh goody! Another 3 Foods to Avoid at All Costs if You Want to Get Lean and Toned and Finally Like How You Look in a Swimsuit article?

Like the world needs another one of those.

Sometimes I can laugh at the utterly ridiculous crap that floats around social media. But other times it upsets me because much of it adds to the false notion that health and fitness is complicated.

There’s infinite amounts of rubbish swirling around regarding health and fitness, and you’re tired of it, right? You want simple, proven principles that actually work so you don’t have to waste time or be unnecessarily stressed.

The following five (no nonsense) principles do just that.

5 Health and Fitness Principles (That Don’t Suck)

1) Eat mostly real, minimally processed foods. Put an emphasis on consuming plenty of plant-based foods (e.g., fruits and vegetables, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, whole grains). Other great foods include dairy, eggs, poultry, meat, and seafood. (For additional information see The Diet That Has No Name.)

2) Strength train 2-4 days per week. This is according to your preferences and time availability. Whether you want to lift heavy barbells at the local gym two or three days per week or work out at home with bodyweight exercises; do what works for you. Use primarily large, compound exercises and improve your performance a little each time you repeat a workout.

Click here to read the rest of Nia’s article

**This article was written by Nia Shanks, and is published on her blog “Lift Like a Girl.” Nia Shanks is a writer and coach, and leader of the Lift Like a Girl revolution. She helps women discover and reach their potential through an empowering approach to health, fitness, and life. niashanks.com