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!
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:
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:
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:
I simply wanted to share 2 incredible new PN articles that I have had a hand in shaping. While they are officially credited to JB, who did write the majority of each one, several of us also had a hand in editing the piece and adding our thoughts. With so many bright minds involved, it turned good articles into incredible ones, that are worth sharing with as many people as possible. They are that good.
Many nutrition experts have long advocated that people eat the rainbow when it comes to their produce consumption. And beyond even that, it has been stated that you really only want to eat darkly colored fruits and veggies, as those are allegedly the best ones for you. While darkly colored produce is fantastic, as they get those colors from potent nutrients like anthocyanins and anthocyanidins, do they really stand head and shoulders above the others? Due to these recommendations, produce with minimal color like cauliflower, onions, and especially iceburg lettuce and celery, have really taken a backseat, much to my dismay.
In reality, we are still learning and discovering all kinds of new compounds and nutrients in the produce and plants that we eat, and while deep color may be indicative of the healthfulness of some produce, it is not the be all end all. In fact researchers recently discovered a compound called apigenin, which they believe to be one of the most potent anti-cancer compounds ever found! Two of the richest sources of apigenin? Humble, lightly-colored celery and iceburg lettuce.
The thing about cancer cells is that they are actually incredibly successful. At least, as far as their own survival is concerned they are successful to the extent that have a kind of immortality. This is the problem for the person with cancer, the cancer cells bypass the processes that should cause them to die as part of a regular cycle (known as apoptosis) and so they grow out of control and cancers develop. According to new research though, we now know how a substance called apigenin from foods makes cancer cells mortal again.
Apigenin is found in many plants but the best sources are parsley, celery, chamomile tea, thyme and iceburg lettuce. The researchers found that apigenin binds with around 160 different proteins in the human body. Among the most important of these though was a protein called hnRNPA2.
This hnRNPA2 protein influences the activity of messenger RNA (mRNA) which in turn carries the instructions needed to produce a specific protein. The modification of mRNA determines which protein the mRNA will cause to be produced. Abnormal modification (splicing) is the culprit behind around 80 per cent of cancers. The researchers found that apigenin, when applied to breast cancer cells, causes them to splice mRNA normally so that the cancer cells are no longer immortal and are programmed to die as usual (undergo apoptosis), or become sensitive to chemotherapy. That is awesome stuff.
So what does this all mean? It doesn’t mean that you need to take an apigenin pill, it just means you should worry less about which exact types of produce you “should” eat, and instead just eat the ones you enjoy, as that will lead to the greatest overall produce consumption, and likely your best bet for long-term health.
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.
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!
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 Betteris 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.
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:
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
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
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
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.
As promised, here is my nutrition and supplement plan for my injury recovery. The article itself went up on ericcressey.com It was excellent timing as EC asked if I could write a guest post as he was going to be out of town for the week, so I threw it his way. Check it out!