What I've Been Thinking About...
I was at a conference last weekend hosted by the National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA) at West Chester University. These events are always informative and it provides an opportunity to learn and grow with other like minded strength coaches. One thing that I happened to take notice of this year are the presenters who stay for the day and the presenters who show up, present, and leave. It is my understanding that the best coaches, teachers and leaders are always learning. They read, they discuss, they learn and they listen. As someone who pays to attend and to learn from those who know more than I, I always appreciate the presenters who spend time talking to you and more importantly, actively listening to what you are saying and give you the best answer they could possibly come up. I even know of one presenter who lost the love of his life one month ago and still decided to come and do what he could to elevate his profession. He is a great man and my heart goes out to him.
Fitness Tip of the Week
While attending, a University professor who has studied High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) presented on the most often neglected issue in regards to HIIT: INTENSITY. It is not how many sets, how many reps, or for how many minutes. It is how hard you work during the ON period. For example, I hear tons of people discuss how they do Tabata's. Then they go on to explain that the class runs for 40 minutes, and instead of 20 seconds on and 10 seconds off for 8 rounds (That is the exact Tabata protocol cited in the research), they do 40 on and 20 off, or they do 16 rounds, or they use any other idea you can come up with while training "Tabata".
I don't want to get too far into the weeds here with sciency stuff but the Tabata protocol is defined as working at 170% of your VO2max. For reference, 100% VO2max can be held for about 6-8 minutes. To equate this to running, this is a very fast jog. In order to work out at 170% of your max, you need to be going VERY hard. This is not lollygagging with a light weight and chatting with your workout partner. This is almost all out effort for 20 seconds. After 8 rounds of that, you should be laying on the floor. If you're not, the training intensity is not where it needs to be. Moderate training gets moderate results. If HIIT is the goal then push hard when it is ON!
Be a Coach, Not a Tyrant...
I was listening to a conversation between Navy SEAL Jocko Willink and Psychologist/Author Jordan Peterson. During their talk, one of them brought up the phrase, "competence beats obedience". No successful team or organization can survive the test of time if the organization relies on tyrannical power. If yelling, screaming, and punishing is your motivating tool, things will eventually not end well. Those on the other end of tyranny will unite and stand up to the leadership. Sometimes, this will be a verbal uprising. Other times, it will be to sabotage a project or mission, even if it does harm to their own livelihood, just to prove their point. This type of behavior has examples in all walks of life, from the animal kingdom, to business, to the local high school basketball team whose players had enough of their coaches yelling and screaming.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is competence. Competence is teaching your team not only the how, but also the why. The answer is never because I said so. The answer is always the purpose. Without purpose and meaning, long term adherence and motivation will dwindle. Humans will only blindly follow orders for so long.
One more note from the conference...
Two presenters from Rutgers University stopped down to discuss their program to get the students on campus more physically active. To me, this is admirable work. College campuses are not typically known for being a beacon of physical fitness. Actually, the opposite of that seams to be true. Quick meals, binge drinking, sitting in classes and doing hours of class work really seem to put a damper on their physical health. "The Freshmen 15" is almost a universal rule, and for some people like myself, it was more like a "Freshmen 30". I set the bar high and doubled what everyone else was doing!
In actuality, the college years for me were some of the more depressing years of my life. One would think the independence would have been great but I struggled. I had too much time on my hands and I did not manage it well. There were too many negative behaviors and not enough positive behaviors. This led to inconsistent grades and eventually to me leaving that university. Still to this day, I struggle with idle time. I like to be working on something and often times on the move. There is an old saying that goes, "A rolling stone gathers no moss." I am trying to be that rolling stone and by sharing this, as well as the work that those employees from Rutgers partake in, hopefully they can help another person similar to "20 year old Chris" get their body in motion and being a productive student on campus!
Quote of the Week
"Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence" -- Abigail Adams