Customize Your Training…And Win Free Stuff

Filed under: General Health, Nutrition, Training

Almost exactly six years ago, on Halloween of 2007, I moved down to Massachusetts to begin an unpaid internship at a brand new, and tiny, training facility in Hudson. My only source of income was going to be as a part-time personal trainer at a Boston Sports Club in the city.

My parents thought I was nuts. But I knew I was onto something.

That something was Eric Cressey.

I had read Eric’s work on t-nation and various other sites while in college, so I knew how bright and driven he was. And when I visited Cressey Performance for the first time, you could see that intelligence and work ethic written all over him. This was a guy I was willing to trust, to learn from, and for whom I would be willing to work for free, just to have that opportunity.

And it was worth every penny. I went on to become CP’s first employee, became the Head Nutritionist, and had an integral role in choosing and training subsequent interns. It was an awesome job. A job that I stuck with even as I moved to Connecticut when I got married, and drove 1:15 each way. I put over 40,000 miles on my car that year, just driving to and from CP.

And I would do it all again.

Fortunately, you don’t have to work as an unpaid intern or put 40,000 miles on your car to absorb the knowledge and training tools of Eric Cressey. Eric just released his new resource, The High Performance Handbook, and I would encourage you to put your faith in him, as I did, and give his program a shot.

This resource is about as thorough as they come; it’s almost like a choose-your-own adventure book for people looking to achieve their training goals. The programs start out with a quick and easy (yet effective) assessments so that you can identify a few important things that must be taken into account to effectively individualize your 16-week training program. And best of all, these programs are modifiable for anyone – they are not geared to only advanced trainees or elite athletes. They can be adjusted and modified to any skill level or training experience.

The High Performance Handbook also includes over 200 incredibly detailed coaching videos; it’s like being at CP with Eric where he coaches you through the drills just like you’re one of his professional athletes or clients.

Not only is this resource incredible in and of itself, bur Eric is so excited to finally launch it that he is is giving away some awesome free gifts to anyone who purchases the product today (Tuesday). Most notably, you’ll be entered to win an all-expenses-paid trip to get evaluated and train for two days at Eric’s facility, Cressey Performance!

Beyond the grand prize you could also win some free New Balance Minimum sneakers, a CP t-shirt or receive access to Eric’s 25 minute video, 7 Ways to Progress a Pushup. Pretty sweet, but you have to hurry!

Also, while you’re at it, I’d highly recommend you pick up the Gold Package of The High Performance Handbook, as it includes an awesome nutrition and lifestyle guide written by some really smart and good looking guy, ME :). In my humble opinion, this nutrition guide is the most comprehensive nutrition and healthy lifestyle resource available. I provide 50 Recommended Recipes, 14 Example Menus, explanations on how to calculate your calorie, protein, carb and fat needs (and why they are all important), and so much more. All told there are more than 200 pages of content!

Get your High Performance Handbook HERE.

Posted on October 22nd, 2013 by Brian St. Pierre

7 Comments »

Breathe Better, Move Better

Filed under: General Health, Nutrition, Training

I know, two posts in one week, let alone one month! It’s like a record or something.

Anywho, a few days ago I pointed out that Eric Cressey had put up an awesome Upper Body Training Video. With his new resource, The High Performance Handbook, coming out next week he has even more to share. And as the guy who wrote the Nutrition Guide for it, I can tell you how phenomenal this resource really is. A few days ago Eric has put up another awesome video you should check out. And this one is on breathing.

Learning to breathe appropriately may seem like a strange topic, but in fact the more we learn about breathing, the more we realize how it impacts how well we move and perform. And it has an enormous impact on our posture, tissue quality, and injury risk. Breathing correctly can be used to help with relaxation (yoga, meditation), but also to brace the core to lift heavy weights.

If you have something that can help with two extremes like this, you know it can be “clutch” when it comes to making or breaking your fitness progress. Luckily, Eric’s video today focuses on some of the breathing strategies he uses in terms of exercise selection and coaching cues.  Check it out:

—> Breathe Better, Move Better <—

On another note, I have been a part of some awesome content over at precisionnnutrition.com lately. While I don’t post as much on my site like I used to, its because I work hard on creating top-notch content for PN, so check out some of these articles below:

Sweet vs. Regular Potatoes: Which Are Really Healthier?

Good Stress, Bad Stress: Finding Your Sweet Spot

Hacking Sleep: Engineering a High Quality, Restful Night

All About Jet Lag

Posted on October 18th, 2013 by Brian St. Pierre

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Why You’re Upper Body Training Program Needs to Change

Filed under: General Health, Training

Hey guys. I know I rarely blog these days, however, I have some incredibly content for you this week.

My first mentor (and former boss) Eric Cressey has some phenomenal videos this week. These videos will teach you how to customize your training programs and exercise selection to your own unique needs. Eric and his staff at Cressey Performance train hundreds of professional athletes and ordinary fitness folks alike, plus it is where I learned nearly everything I know, so you can be sure they are top-notch and applicable for everyone.

Eric’s widely recognized as “The Shoulder Guy,” so it’s only fitting that this week of videos kicks off with a look at how you can probably benefit from shaking up your upper body workouts.  I found the information to be really eye opening, and he shows some awesome ways to look at upper body pressing besides just bench presses.  Here’s a link to check it out:

—> Why You’re Upper Body Training Program Needs to Change <—

Posted on October 16th, 2013 by Brian St. Pierre

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A Big CP Thank You

Filed under: Nutrition, Training

I just wanted to send out a big thank you to everyone at Cressey Performance for putting on a wonderful seminar this past weekend.  The new facility is absolutely incredible, definitely makes me miss coaching there a little bit.  For those of you who haven’t seen it, here is a nice little tour from Eric:

It was an awesome experience and I look forward to giving more talks like that in the future.  Overall I think it went quite well, especially since it was my first seminar presentation.  I have given loads of presentations in school, some solo talks to local high schools and such as well some in-service talks to the CP staff, but never to 200 people as part of a group seminar!  We will have some cool stuff on the talk on the PN site probably some time in January, so keep your eyes peeled!

I also wanted to congratulate all of the other presenters for doing great work and providing some unique content.  It was a great learning experience all around.

Last but not least, I want to thank everyone who attended.  I got to meet a lot of cool people, and several readers of the blog, which was humbling and exciting at the same time. So thank you all who attended, we couldn’t have done it without you.

Posted on November 1st, 2012 by Brian St. Pierre

2 Comments »

Show and Go Sale = $50 Off

Filed under: General Health, Nutrition, Training, Weight Loss

A few weeks ago I received an email thanking me and EC for the Show and Go Training Program and Nutrition Guide.  It was absolutely wonderful to see someone make such tremendous improvements in his health, body composition and performance.  Here is what he had to say:

“EC and BSP,

I hope you guys are doing well! I just wanted to send you two a quick note of thanks. The Show & Go System has made considerable changes to my body, both outside and inside.

I’ve completed Show & Go three times with maintenance periods in between. Initially, I completed the 4x/week program. Really effective, but required too much time given I’m working full time, teaching two courses, and finishing up my PhD. Next, I completed the 3x/week program. Finally, I went back to the 4x/week program but only lifted 3x/week. I love the upper/lower split and the recovery time between sessions it offered me. It was during this last program that I absolutely destroyed my PRs! That is no joke! Here is a listing of gains I’ve made from January 2011 until June 2012:

Bodyweight (6’1”): 192.5 —> 209.5

Body Fat: 14.5 —> 11.5

Front Squat: 165x3x5 —> 235x3x5

Deadlift (conventional): 275×1 —> 415×1

Bench Press: 235×1 —> 285×1

Pull ups: +10x3x5 —> +37.5x3x5

I’m not brutally strong, but strong for someone who wasn’t blessed with the strong gene. I could go on and on about the gains, but the primary reason I’m emailing is to thank BSP for the Show and Go Nutrition Guide and to thank EC for including it. My family has a notorious history of heart disease. My dad’s grandpa died from his first heart attack at 50, my dad’s dad died at 56 (he had four heart attacks and three strokes), my dad’s uncle died from his first heart attack at 62, and my dad had his first heart attack at 48 (thankfully still alive). Odds not trending in my favor.

My wife and I switched to eating as BSP recommended as of July 2011. I had labs done in June 2011 and just had them done again yesterday at my yearly physical. Everything keeps improving as seen in the comparison from June 2011 to August 2012:

LDL: 108 —> 88

HDL: 40 —> 64

Triglycerides: 81 —> 55

I know these aren’t the only indicators of health, but they are pretty damn important to heart health. I owe just about all of the changes I’ve made to you two! This is crazy! Oh, and all while eating 5 eggs just about every day, in light of the new study released here:http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0021915012005047. Be aware that that study’s statistical interpretations are extremely suspect. Plus, any time you see researchers arbitrarily categorizing continuous variables (e.g., into quintiles) be skeptical immediately. Far too much information is lost due to categorization!

Anyways, thanks again and keep producing quality programs and providing quality information!

Best,

Ryan

p.s., In 15 months, Show & Go also transformed my wife from a non-lifting marathon runner into an absolute beast in the gym. Her current lifts are, Back Squat: 170x5x3, Conventional Deadlift: 185x5x3, full hang chin ups: 7, Bench: 110×1. At a body weight around 130. Hopefully our kids get her strong gene! Thanks again!!”

I would say those results truly speak for themselves!  In a matter of 1.5 years he was able to gain 21lbs of lean body mass (muscle and its associated components, bone, etc) and lose 4lbs of fat mass, while gaining tremendous strength and drastically improving his health to boot!

A recent review determined the Triglyceride to HDL ratio as the best single predictor of heart disease risk, with a goal of 2 or less.  His ratio went from 2.025 to a fantastic 0.86!  Not only that he was able to lower his LDL levels while consuming 5 whole eggs per day, pretty impressive stuff if you ask me.

Show and Go: High Performance Training to Look, Feel & Move Better is on sale for $50 off from now through Sunday, September 9 at midnight.  Do yourself a favor and grab a copy of this incredible and comprehensive training program, and at the same time purchase the tag along Show and Go Nutrition Guide, written by yours truly.  You won’t regret it, as you can see it can help you improve your healthy, body composition and performance all at the same time.

Posted on September 4th, 2012 by Brian St. Pierre

5 Comments »

How to Train Around a Broken Leg

Filed under: Training

Before getting into today’s content, I wanted to let you all know that I will be speaking at the 1st Annual Cressey Performance Fall Seminar on October 28th.  To register, click HERE. My topic will be The Food Freakshow – What Will You Be Eating in the 21st Century?  It is some pretty cool stuff actually.  Click on the link to learn more.

As promised, I will give some insight into how I was able to train 4x/wk at the gym, even with my broken tibia.  The lower body days were obviously highly modified, as I was quite limited on what I was able to do, however something is certainly better than nothing, and training my healthy leg provides an ~30% carryover to my injured leg, to help prevent it’s atrophy while immobilized.

I also had to modify my upper body training quite a bit, as I was unable to do flat bench work and most rowing or chinup variations.  The bench work I was unable to do because I could drive my feet into the ground, and the rowing as I was unable to stand properly to do the rows.  The chins I was wary of due to coming down off the bar and risking hurting myself, so I deemed them not worth the risk.

Here is what my training looked like:

Day 1

  • A1. DB Floor Press 3×6
  • A2. Hammer Machine Lat Pulldown Neutral Grip 3×8
  • B1. 1-Leg Feet Elevated Band Resisted Pushup 3×10-12
  • B2. 1-Leg Inverted Rows 3×12
  • C1. SLER 3×12/side
  • C2. 1-Leg Plank 3x45s
  • D1. Curls of Choice 2×12
  • D2. Tricep Band Pressdowns 2×15-20

Day 2

  • A1. Band Assisted 1-Leg Squat 3×10-15
  • A2. Side Lying Extension Rotation 3×8/side
  • B1. 1-Leg Foot Elevated Supine Bridge 3×12-15
  • B2. Reverse Crunches 3×12
  • C1. Band Pullaparts 3×12
  • C2. No Money Drill 3×12

Day 3

  • A1. BB Floor Press 3×5
  • A2. Hammer Strength Chest Supported Row 3×8
  • B1. 1-Leg Feet Elevated Band Resisted Pushup 3×10-12
  • B2. Kneeling 1-Arm Pulldowns 3×12
  • C1. SLER 3×12/side
  • C2. Side Plank 3x45s
  • D1. Curls of Choice 2×12
  • D2. Tricep Band Pressdowns 2×15-20

Day 4

  • A1. 1-Leg RDL 3×8-12/side (depending on if I trained at gym or home)
  • A2. Piriformis Mobs 3×8/side
  • B1. 1-Leg Squat to Bench 3×12-15/side
  • B2. Quadruped Extension Rotation 3×8/side
  • C1. Ab Wheel 3×12
  • C2. Brady Band Series 3×8 each

There are many reasons why I chose to do the exercises I did – ability, time, equipment availability, whether I did the training at home or at the gym (many of the lower body sessions were done at home), etc.  Please feel free to ask any questions and I will do my best to answer them!

The point of all of this is you can almost always train around an injury, especially one to a limb, as you still have 3 other healthy limbs and a torso to train!  Don’t let bumps and bruises get in the way of your training, as there is almost always something you can do.

Posted on August 24th, 2012 by Brian St. Pierre

2 Comments »

Stuff You Should Read

Filed under: General Health, Nutrition, Training

Strength Training Programs: The 7 Most Common Power Clean Technique Mistakes - by Wil Fleming. This was a guest post on Eric Cressey’s blog that I thought was excellent.  Wil addresses seven common technique mistakes of the clean (probably the most butchered exercise in history, and that is saying a lot!) in an easily understood manner, along with some helpful videos.

Q & A: Fixing the “Tuck Under” When Squatting Part 1 & Part 2 – by Tony Gentilcore. Having the pelvis tuck under when squatting is an incredibly common problem in the gym (when people are actually squatting to depth).  Tony does a great job of outlaying what the problem is and some solid, but simple techniques to fix it.

Doctor Detective with Bryan Walsh.  This is a running series over at Precision Nutrition, and I just find them simply fascinating.  Bryan Walsh is an uber brilliant dude, and in this particular case is able to identify what is causing this patient’s thyroid, cholesterol and immune system problems.

Posted on March 28th, 2012 by Brian St. Pierre

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A Simple Aha Moment

Filed under: General Health, Nutrition, Training

Well I am back from sunny Florida, and fortunately it was nearly 7o here in Maine yesterday so that was nice to return to!  I mentioned the other day that I was able to get some reading done while on the beach that I had been meaning to get to for a long time.  One such book was sent to me by a reader that I have been meaning to read for a while, Biology for Bodybuilders.

In this book Doug Miller, a champion drug-free bodybuilder, shares his nutrition strategies and the science behind them that have helped him be so successful.  Overall I think this book is a nice look into the mindset of someone who has achieved such an incredible physique, and while I don’t agree with all of his strategies Doug does a good job of repeatedly mentioning that this is what works for him and what works for you may be different.

One particular piece in the book really struck me, and probably not even something that occurred to him, was when Doug mentioned that he sticks to an eating routine (something I have blogged about before), and he does so not only to keep things simple, but to decrease the stress in his life.  He has a stressful job and trains hard, so eating mostly the same things everyday is not only practical from a time management standpoint (something else I have written about, here and here) he also views it as a strategy to decrease stress in his life.  This was not an angle I had considered before, but when I read it it just struck me as incredibly true.

When you have a healthy eating routine you don’t have to worry and stress over what you are making, what you need to buy, etc.  It just one more way to remove a potentially stressful situation from your life.  We make hundreds of decisions every day related to food, so by having a routine you make the majority of these decisions ahead of time.  This was one of those aha moments when you are reading a book that you are just amazed at how simple it is, and can’t believe you didn’t think of it yourself.  Biology for Bodybuilders is a nice look into Doug’s mindset and definitely worth a read.

Posted on March 13th, 2012 by Brian St. Pierre

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Stuff You Should Read

Filed under: General Health, Training

Something I found interesting was on Tony Gentilcore’s site he asked his readers what they wanted to see more of in 2012, and one of the most common responses was the Stuff You Should Read posts. Now to be honest people such as myself, Eric, Tony and the like have always liked the posts to branch out and connect our readers with other quality writers, but we always wondered if our readers actually like them.

I guess the answer is yes. So with that in mind here is my Stuff You Should Read for today.

Stuff to Read While You’re Pretending to Work: 1/5/12 – by Tony Gentilcore. Thought I would start this off right by giving you guys a link to a bunch of great articles that Tony linked to! Topics include chicks getting good at pullups (works for guys too), a rant against calories, being awesome and the like. Good stuff as usual.

What Causes Insulin Resistance Part IV - by Stephan Guyenet. As usual Stephan provides riveting yet easy-to-read information on the causes of insulin resistance. For those of you not well-versed in science this is probably one of his easiest to understand posts as it’s not too technical.

The 80/20 Principle for Program Design – by Dean Somerset. Dean is a guy who’s stuff I have been meaning to read and just haven’t done enough of it yet. Well I made a decision to read this post and I am glad I did. Simple, to the point and easy to apply. It is quite long though!

Enjoy!

Posted on January 10th, 2012 by Brian St. Pierre

1 Comment »

BSP Returns to CP for a Day

Filed under: General Health, Training

I had the fortune of wrapping up my Dietetic Internship on Tuesday of this week, which was definitely a very nice feeling. I certainly learned a ton, especially about nutrition in the Critical Care setting. Tube feeds and IV feeds (whether central or peripheral access) with different conditions and elements involved was intellectually challenging, and some of the doctors were very willing to teach the physiology of things like SIRS & ARDS. It was an enlightening experience to say the least. While I continue to believe that our management of chronic conditions is seriously lacking, our doctors are incredibly well-trained in the acute care setting (which some might argue is part of the problem, because we treat chronic conditions like acute ones!).

In other news I went down to Cressey Performance for the day yesterday, which was a most welcome change of pace. I even gave the staff in-service in the morning before clients arrived, which was aimed mainly at teaching the 6 new interns the basics of working with high school athletes. We also had a Q & A after where Eric, Tony, Chris and others asked questions on different topics. It was more of an impromptu off-the-cuff talk than anything formally prepared, but I think it went really well. We recorded the talk, so I will keep you updated if we do anything with it.

Continuing the CP theme it was good to get back in the trenches and coach people again. Though there are a lot of new faces and plenty of new exercises that I had to ask a few questions on, the coaching aspect was like riding a bike. Coaching trap bar deadlifts, med ball work, core exercises, and my favorite for newbies – Glute Ham Raises was an absolute blast and I hope to do it again sometime soon. It was great to catch up with everybody and marvel at the speed at which Cressey Performance continues to grow.

I also had EC eval me as my left shoulder/trap/upper back area has been cranky as of late and not responding as I would have liked to some of my attempts at treating it. While it has gotten better, it wasn’t great, so I had Eric check me out. He basically concluded that I have downward rotation syndrome and jacked up levator scapulae, essentially my upper traps have been too neglected and I need to work on overhead shrugs and a few other similar exercises.

As we talked he mentioned that he has started to notice this issue more and more with guys when he assesses them, due to a seemingly over-emphasis on the “down-and-back” cue, near total avoidance of using the upper traps in addition to poor upper body posture (mainly anterior scapular tilt and excessive internal rotation – mostly from sitting too much). Looking back I can definitely see how I have not trained by upper traps/uppward rotators to the same degree as my downward rotators, not too mention the fact that I have been sitting a ton more since I left CP. We also both felt there was accumulated wear and tear on the area from years of baseball/lacrosse/hockey/rugby that certainly isn’t doing me any favors, but with some appropriate soft tissue work and corrective strategies I should be good to go.

This really speaks to the fact that the hardest person to train is yourself. As much as I know about appropriate training modalities, proper exercise execution, and corrective strategies, when training yourself it can be easy to continue to work on what you are good at and neglect areas that are weak. Doing a little more research myself I stumbled across a fantastic article by Mike Robertson and Bill Hartman that outlines the downward rotation syndrome and provides some excellent corrective strategies that I will certainly put to use – Push Ups, Face Pull, and Shrugs.

Lastly, I also wanted to mention to keep your eyes peeled for some audio interviews I did for Rick Kaselj of ExercisesForInjuries.com and Medhi of Stronglifts.com recently. They should be going up within the next month or so, and I will let you guys know when they do.

Posted on January 5th, 2012 by Brian St. Pierre

6 Comments »

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