Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Mentoring in nutrition – extracts from communication

During this month we’ve been running a nutritional mentoring program based on a holistic approach to nutrition, exclusively for new customers of nutritional supplements. Our goal is to give participants a taste of the work we do with our elite athletes globally. The program has involved webinars, forum exchanges, one-on-one-phone discussions etc.  The following is a taste of some of the written exchanges.
On nutrition for training…
My recommendations regarding feeling the body pre, during and post training, revolve largely on the timing of the trading relative to the last meal or snack. So if you day changes and the time between the last intake and the commencement of training changes, you can adapt.  Let's go over this in more detail on the next webinar!
On adoption of the current dominant trends…
I look forward to learning more about what your needs are and cross-referencing that to your current intake. One thing that stands out to me is the 'popularity' of your current intake. I may be different, but my philosophy is that if you are doing what the majority are doing, it's not good enough. I'm either concerned for you or excited for the opportunities this presents, depending on whether you want the half glass empty or half glass full perspective! (Or perhaps depending on whether you are my athlete or an athlete my athletes will compete against!)
On diversity in food selection…
Great to see you are aware that if you lower your blood sugar levels too much you tend to make poorer food decisions. So I agree eating the same thing regularly may be better than missing food altogether and entering this risk. However we will review your food log and ensure your food variety is adequate, as to optimize whole food based nutrition, breadth of food type is important.
On fruit…
1. A piece of fruit on its own does not constitute, in my opinion, a balanced snack.
2. Look to have your daily serves of fruit less than or at less no more than your daily serves of vegetables.
3. If you are looking to lower body fat to extreme levels and find carbs are not conducive to this goal, you may have to reduce or remove fruits.
4. If you are not subject to reducing your bodyweight or bodyfat, or if you are in energy system sports, you will value fruits more.
5  If you have concerns about the glycemic index of fruits, review the options and select fruits from the lower end of the index.
6. Look to vary your fruits, both within the day, and within the year.
7. One way to ensure diversity in fruits is to eat seasonal fruit.
8. Watch out for the source and preparation of fruit. Much of it ranks in the foods with the highest contaminants.
9. Wash your fruit before eating it.
10. When travelling and you have concerns about GI risks, select only fruit that has a skin.  On the flip side, when you trust the fruit, sometimes the skin (where edible) has the most fiber!
On snacks….
From our review of your food logs and discussions with you during our webinar calls, we will reflect and advise on your meal frequency and food selections. There are few things that stand out already, and this includes the apparent lack of reliability regarding the snacks. For me a snack just means a smaller intake, however not a lessor importance in terms of consistency. Your value of a snack may benefit from further review.
On water consumption…
Water is also an interesting aspect. There is more debate about the value of water and the optimal intake of water than there is actual water consumption! In my opinion and experience it is unlikely you are taking in enough water. In environments with varying seasonal temperatures, I find the cooler months leaving you unaware that you are not taking in enough water, and the hotter months leave you not being able to consume enough to replenish anyway!
On micro-waving food…
Its difficult to imagine that there are no implications to the heating process used by microwave ovens on the food. So at least minimise it's use as you are
I know many who like you have become wary of microwaves and perhaps rightfully so.  On the flip side some say they struggle to find evidence of the dangers of microwaving. I suggest that the evidence has to be over whelming to overcome the resistance by commercial interests to suppress the risks. Take vaccination for babies - how hard does the medical community work to criticize and ostracize anyone who challenges the health risks of the child vaccination regime? Try not complying fully with a child’s vaccination schedule and you will find out first hand…
On travel…
Some key things to consider nutritionally speaking when travelling:
* Have melatonin or similar in your kit should you have challenges getting sleep in a new environment or time zone
* Increase your probiotic and or digestive enzyme use when eating foods you are not usually eating.
* Plane food is getting worse, so look to carry your own nutrition on the plane where you can. Use your preferred choice of meal replacement bars on long haul flights where it is not practical to carry on other whole foods (if you are travelling overseas you will have less challenges bringing commercially produced bars into counties than you will have with whole foods. If you have whole foods in your possession when entering a new country, I suggest throw it out before entering customs!)
* Ensure your fluid consumption is high when travelling. Your fluid loss is increased in the dehydration of the plane cabin at altitude and in compressed air e.g. it is believed you can lose up to 1.5 liters of fluid in the average 3 hr flight. This is rarely addressed adequately, and in the fine tuned world of elite sports can be the difference between winning and losing.
* Have anti-diarrhea medication in your travel kit should your GI system be affected by food you are not used to or off foods.
* if travelling to a colder climate increase your Vit C and or immune supporting supplements and foods.
* Increase your overall micronutrient intake (read vitamins and minerals) to counteract the stress of travel.
* Use natural light or darkness to help you either stay awake or get sleepy, depending on your goal, in a new time zone.
On ‘break-out’ meals…
As for the pizza and occasional sweets, i have no issues with that. It's what we do most of the time that matters, providing that a stray down the dark side doesn't leave us straying too long!
On nutrition and energy challenges for breadwinners with dependents…
In my writings i have spoken about different stages of your career, and it appears you are moving into that stage where you have dependents, and realize that there is more to life than sets and reps. This presents an interesting conundrum. Firstly, the need to improve your financial offence to support a growing family; and the second (and sometimes it feels an opposing need) to have the quantity of time and energy to share experiences with your family. We are the original holistic company and obviously in the bigger picture there are many different aspects to this challenge, one that anyone who is a breadwinner and seeks to have a family faces.
However from the nutritional perspective alone we now excitedly enter a domain far beyond the narrow focus of whether you can do that extra rep in the gym. We now enter a short, medium and long term health focus. Do you have the energy as a relatively young person to give to your family? 
Will you have the ability from an energy and non-injury mobility perspective (and i use the word mobility in what i consider the appropriate sense - the ability to be mobile (not the misinformed and confused use of the word dominating the last decade or so as a subterfuge for the absence of appropriate stretching!) in the middle and later stages of your life! Now that's a whole new ball game, and no amount of DMA, BCAA, ABCDs and another hyped up acronym of the latest supplement to be promoted by the bodybuilding publishers who just happened to be the ones who 'invented' the supplement, are promoting!
On fiber supplementation….
the ease of obtaining adequate fiber in the diet is related to the accessibility of high quality non-processed whole foods. It is possible to achieve your fiber requirements without supplementation, but in the real world where we are time-poor and distracted, don't look down on supplementing your fiber. In the ideal world we would spend all day growing, tending to, harvesting, preparing, cooking and eating our crops and other foods sources. We don't. For the majority that era has passed.
On nutritional supplementation for pregnancy and child rearing…
Have mum on at least a high quality high potency broad spectrum multi-vitamin/mineral (if not more) during pregnancy and breastfeeding. We can talk more about the benefits to both mum and bub. For example, for mum, as the baby grows in the womb and presses more on the rectum, defecation becomes more challenged. this presents health risks in itself. A high quality high potency broad spectrum multi-vitamin/mineral such as the one we recommend will help minimize the risks in this are. This is just one example of the many and varied benefits of nutritional supplementation during pregnancy etc. Of course, seek medical advice regarding all of this. And remember if you want your kids to take vitamins, they need to see you doing it first!
On nutritional influences in the sport and fitness industry….
This industry spends too little time focusing on the legacy and lifetime works of individuals such as Linus Pauling and too much time focusing on the ranting’s of a person whose legacy will be their lifetime commitment to over-exaggerating the training effects of the latest supplement their company has trademarked! Really, some of those editors must be about 400 lbs of pure muscle by now because of all those amazing supplements that 'slapped on 15lbs in 7 days of lean rock-hard muscle mass!'
On fluoride….
During the bulk of my life dentists have insisted that amalgam (mercury) is the strongest and best filling material for teeth with no side-effects. Nice theory if the teeth were not connected to the rest of the body...
Now how does the rest of the body react to fluoride and mercury exposure?
This is the same profession that in the first few decade of the 20th century believed that removing the teeth early in life was the best way to avoid fillings later in life. Nice theory, but what is the impact on the body of having no teeth?
The advancement into the middle of this century was to drill the teeth out and fill them with mercury to prevent holes and fillings being needed. Nice theory, if you want to have weakened teeth and mercury poisoning…
On looking to the future…
We are in for a great time, and a time that is our vision will reset your mindset about nutrition for better for life, and for the betterment of the life of those who depend on you, including your children, and their children, and their children' children!

The above is just a sample of  some written communication. During the program we strive to meet each participants needs and answer their extensive and diverse questions. Keen to be part of our next Nutritional Mentoring Program?  Email with the following in the subject field ‘I want to be part o the next Nutritional Mentoring Intake!’ to get the ball rolling towards being part of our next intake!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Hoping to catch up to the other schools in strength & conditioning

At the end of a coaching session where I was giving back, along with a number of other of former elite athletes in a specific sport, the coordinator introduced me to a young man who he explained was a teacher at a private school who had been entrusted with the task of introducing ‘strength and conditioning’ to his school, with the specific intent of ‘catching up to the other schools in their association as far as strength and conditioning’.

I didn’t want to say anything to the young man, to spoil his eagerness, so I kept a straight face. But inside I cringed – ‘catch up to the other schools in strength and conditioning?’ Why would you want to do that? It should more accurately described as ‘catching down’.

Let me explain.

In the 1970s not many high schools had gyms and in the ones that did have, there was no formal programming and no ‘strength and conditioning’ service provision. Firstly because there was no such thing as a ‘strength and conditioning coach’, as the term ‘strength and conditioning’ was an afterthought by a professional organization with a strength focus that belated wanted to expand their focus without changing their acronym (you can read more about that in my original writings on this subject in ‘So You Want to Become…’). And secondly because organized physical preparation (as I prefer to call it) was not even provided to the majority of western world elite adult teams at that time.

In the early 1980s in Australia the majority of 18 year and older elite athlete that I worked with (and there were thousands) were what I called clean skins. They had never done formal physical preparation. I only had to undo the imbalances that their sport had created in their body. I summarized at that time it usually took three years of solid supervised and individualized training to clean them p to the level of being injury free for the most part for the rest of their career.

Fast forward to the second decade of the 21st century and what’s changed? I inherit broken athletes from the age of 12 upwards. ACL reconstruction, stress fractures of the lower back, shoulder and hip surgery – you name it. So what’s changed?

Many in the respective sports would tell you it’s just the sport – it’s inevitable. I don’t agree, and my experience doesn’t support this. Some will say the athletes are bigger and stronger and the impacts are greater. Really? Aside from non-specific strength tests, my experiences and observations don’t support this. A more recent trendy explanation is that the athletes specialize too early. Sounds good, and it may be a contributor, but for me this also fails to explain the difference. So what is my conclusion?

In the 1970s and 1980s athletes gaining exposure to formal physical preparation as they entered elite ranks around 20 years of age typically retired at about 30 years or age. So that’s about 10 years. What if that retirement was forced more by physical preparation inducted injury than age or their sport? Now holding that thought for a moment, what if take those same flawed training concepts and applied them to a 20 year old? They would be out of the sport by about 20 years of age!

And that’s my theory. In fact I go as far as to say if a young athlete is talent identified around 8-12 yeas of age, and has the (mis)fortune of being exposed to ‘elite strength and conditioning’ – they will be injured by 16 years of age, undergone significant sports-injury related surgery by 18 years of age, and unable to play their sport by about 20 years of age as a general rule.

So in summary when I see the same flawed training methods applied to adults being applied to young athletes, I fear for their future.

So what makes me conclude that most training is flawed? During my last four decades of seeking answers and excellence in how to train, I have reached certain conclusions and theories on what it takes to create or avoid an injury.

Are my conclusions the same as the masses? No. Should this be a concern? Only if you are a conformist. If your dominant need is to be liked, and to achieve this you need to be like others, then you would be concerned by the fact that I have reached certain theories that differ from the mainstream. On the other hand if you realize that to get a different and ideally better result than the masses, you need to train differently – then you would be excited.

In my opinion the only improvements we have seen in training is in the ability to measure it, the technology of equipment, and the technology of the surgery to repaid the injuries.

Could it be possible that what the majority – and that probably means you – are doing more damage to good in their training? That is my suggestion. Is it popular? No. Is it easy to discredit? Yes. Does this what ever else is doing approach to training result in the best possible sporting out comes? No.

So if I am on track, why do most continue on this path? The answers lies there. Because most do it. And the majority are so insecure about their actions they seek comfort in the masses. Will the get away with it? Legally yes, because the interpretation will be that is what is accepted practice. Should they be able to sleep at night? I suggest not, if they have a conscience.

Why I am I so firm about this? I speak for the athlete. My heart goes out to the legally minor young athlete who has an adult guide them to life-long, career threatening, quality of life threatening injuries. There is a better way - I teach it openly and have done for decades. I believe that perhaps in the next generation, after my time on this earth, what I teach will be accepted as the final stage of truth as described by 19th century German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer – ‘accepted as being self-evident’.

But what about the one or two generations of young athletes who paid the price in their ‘strength and conditioning’ training between 1980 and whenever a better way is accepted?

So did I get excited for the young man empowered to bring his school ‘Strength and conditioning’ program up speed with other schools in their association? Not al all. I felt sad for the by-products of this intent. The young, innocent and trusting athletes. They are not, in my opinion, going to ‘catch up’. They are going to ‘do down’ in their athletic development.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

A KSI coach in every town! Wouldn’t that be nice!

I was sitting enjoying lunch today in Melbourne, Vic AUST with a friend of KSI. They shared a challenge, seeking my assistance. A New York colleague of theirs had approached them to service a client of theirs who was visiting Australian from the US for a few weeks in association with the first tennis Grand Slam event of the year, the Australian Open, played in Melbourne.

So did I have any coaches I could refer to in Melbourne was the question,, and the challenges. I didn’t. Tragically we don’t have a KSI coach in every town!

Reminded me of a situation a few months ago where a US based friend of KSI was looking for us to refer a KSI coach in Spain for their client, a person associated with the band U2. Now we were able to find a coach however they were only a L1 KSI coach. We would have preferred a higher-level KSI coach.

I put out a call on our KSI Coaches private Facebook Page, and no surprise, no response. looks like we are going to have to throw our net out wider, something we're reluctant to do - because with a coach that has a bit of this and a bit of that in their tool box (even if one of those 'bit off's is attempts to apply their interpretation of the KSI way), the training approach cannot be guaranteed, and nor can the outcomes. You can appreciate our reluctance to refer to the unknown...

So…. it’s our challenge – more KSI coaches, ideally one in every town! And the benefit belongs to the client getting a better and predictable training service, and to the coach getting the referral!

Ian King

Want to put your hand up for this? Respond in the next 48 hrs to

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Time, Money & Happiness for the Physical Preparation Coach

I was sitting having dinner in North America in October last year with a large group of industry professionals, all accomplished in their own right. One of them was talking about the conference he had presented at during 2016 and I asked the question ‘What was one of the key things that stood out to you about the conferences or the trends evident?’ I didn’t expect the answer.

He said ‘The number of how to make more money presentations. At one of them there were 20 presentations, and 16 of them were about how coaches and trainers can make more money.’

This got my attention, as whilst I don’t believe in the blind following or need to conform to trends, I find value in studying trends to understand human behavior and direction of thinking.

There is no other way to say this - physical preparation as a profession is a relatively low income earning profession. Statistics suggest the average western world income is about $50,000, and the stats I have been exposed to suggest that the average physical preparation coach (all disciples) earns less than $50,000. (Remember this is not gross income, this is take home pay).

So it’s no surprise that the industry has gravitated towards solving this problem. I certainly did, back in the 1990s. More on this later.

So I became more focused on this trend towards the teachings of ‘how to make more money in this industry’. I came upon enough web sites to support the trend, and enough ‘trend spotters’ who were ‘fat loss guru’s’ in the early 2000’s and have now morphed into the dominant trend of financial and business educators for the physical preparation industry.

And I came upon an excellent article from a professional organization who seek to be one of the dominant go-to bodies for professional development. An organization with its fair share of peer-reviewed editorializing. I have concluded that this article is an fair reflection of the dominant thinking of the industry. That there is a need to earn more money, that there is a growing interest, and that the solutions suggested were indicative of the current solutions offered industry wide.

I might be a bit old-fashioned but there is nothing like a written article to provide clarity and confirmation about dominant thinking, as opposed to attempting to objectively assess the message in say internet marketing. So I am thankful for the author of this article for his efforts, and stress that any comments relating to this article should not be interpreted as being critical of the person or derogatory of their work. I am truly grateful for their efforts.

But at the same time I have serious concerns for the receiver of the message.

Back in the 1980s when I took on athletes as clients the majority of them had never done any physical preparation work before – they were for the most part clean skin and easy to shape in their values and beliefs about what they needed to do in training, as well as easy to shape physically.

Now most athletes have not only had prior training experience, the majority are broken physical and in some cases mentally by the time they are in the late teens. In the spaced of 3 decades I have gone from picking up ‘clean slates’ to doing damage control. I believe that the contemporary elite athlete (my market) would be better off if had they had kept out of the physical preparation training they have done during their teens and so on. Just like the 1980s and earlier athletes.

It can take years to salvage the bodies of these athletes. If they can be salvaged. The majority of talent identified athletes who have been in ‘high performance’ training squads from their early teens will be injured and out of the sport by around the age of 20 years.

So how does this relate to you?

The athletes I refer to have been trained by physical preparation coaches whose influence has included the post 2000s period, where unsubstantiated yet highly marketed training information and influences dominated the professional development landscape. I say this from a unique perspective. I watched too many key board warriors, who have never trained with any success, never trained anyone else with any success – in fact some downright failed to attract any client base of athletes at all (don’t believe me – I can show you emails….) – reinvent themselves with skillful internet marketing sprinkled with the license to create a perception of their ‘experience’ and ‘success’ that, well, was simply not true. And people bought it.

I have one such physical coach in a professional development course with me in the mid 2000s. I had them write a program for an athlete, and then analyzed the program. I could see the influences – it was after all the ‘most’ were doing at the time’ and I asked them – ‘Why did you write this?’ I followed this up with ‘Have you ever done these exercises?’ To which the answer was ‘No I haven’t’. Once the student coach acknowledged his source, I said ‘Guess what – the ‘author’ hasn’t done these exercise either!’.

The 2000s witnessed an explosion of made up crap, aimed to give a leg up to those seeking to become ‘experts’, for personal ego and financial gain. Some who bought into this said ‘Well what’s wrong this with?’ Let me say this – if you adopt and share methods that are a product of a desperate yet creative individual lacking in integrity, how do you have to add value to the life’s of others in a meaningful and substantial way? Your influence failed to and therefore turned to bogus and oft-times plagiarized content through they usual e-book delivery method etc.

If you need any further help understand why selling things that lack value or have less value than claimed, study the sub-prime driven financial crisis in the US between 2006 and 2010. The world was left with absolute clarity that selling fraudulent overvalued mortgaged backed security that really didn’t have the claimed value will result in collapse.

From what I have seen the ‘financial education being taught currently in the sport and fitness industry has the same absence of value and integrity that the post 2000 internet-guru based information has. And the risk shifts from damaging your body, to wasting time and effort seeking ‘financial freedom’. It’s one thing to arrive in your golden ages physically broken. Its and additional burden to reach the end of your working life to realize you have been led down the garden path.

So what are the alternatives? Let me share with you a time-tested perspective, from a person who reputation has been established on under-promising and over-delivering, straight shooting, to hell with marketing, no bullshit, tell it as it is.

In the early 1990s I realized the limitations as outlined in the article I refer to (reference below). I became a student of money, time and business. Nearly a decade later, in the late 1990s, I wrote a book on the subject (Paycheck to Passive – Going from working for a living to having a life) and began teaching anyone who would listen about money. This has helped a lot of people financially. I won’t make the claim as one of our Internet gurus has – (“…we’ve been helping millions of men and women.…”). Suffice to say there are people who have publicly credited us for moving their financial education forward substantially. What I am saying is its real.

I also provided some excellent business development guidance in my book ‘So you want to become a physical preparation coach?’ (2000), again which served a lot of industry personal.

From 2000 we set out to mentor our coaches and other business partners in financial education. We did so quietly and personally, as opposed to loudly and mass-produced.

However now that financial education for physical preparation coaches in now a trend subject, with our strength experts one day, fat-loss gurus the next, and business and financial educators the next – the message stands to be lost amongst the bogus claims of rags to riches, multiple 7-figure income business etc.

Now I know there will be some who say ‘So what Ian, any information being shared is good; leave them alone’, as was the typical response to previous alerts to the bogus ‘bibles’ of training. My message is not for you.

My message is for those who firstly realize there is a problem surrounding money in their working lives, seek a solution AND have the intuitive realization that the market is full of land-mines full of bogus ‘experts’.

Now let me clarify – the article I referred to above contained excellent, fundamental concepts. I was actually impressed and happy to see these concepts being taught, such as the limitation of selling your time for money. My concerns go beyond the accuracy of the fundamental.

In relation to anyone teaching financial freedom to our industry, my questions include:

1. What level of mastery in financial freedom does the ‘teacher’ have?
2. What reproducible by others business success do they have?
3. What is the true long-term upside of the strategies they are teaching?

Lets touch upon these three briefly.

1. What level of mastery in financial freedom does the ‘teacher’ have?

For example, how long could this person walk away from their business and not experience much of a downturn of income? Do they typically spend a few months a year on holiday, travelling and enjoying their ‘financial freedom?’

2. What reproducible by others business success do they have?

Who are some of the ‘millions’ of people they have helped transform their life financially – what is the answer to these same questions to their students?

3. What is the true long-term upside of the strategies they are teaching?

Do the strategies they recommend really result in ‘financial freedom’? How many people have you met in your lives that have achieved financial freedom from these strategies? E.g. selling e-books and other information on the internet?

Lets ask this simple additional question – how many first generation, self-made multi-millionaires from physical preparation have you met in your life? (not the internet perception – the reality)

Now I appreciate that at different stages of your career you have varying levels of interest in this subject. In my ‘Money and the Physical Preparation Coach Course’ (2016) I dedicated a unit to identify and discussing the concept of ‘stages of career’, sharing the following ‘stages’:

Phase 1: Blinkered and gullible - Years: 0-10 years into their career
Phase 2: At the crossroads - Years: 5-15 years into their careers
Phase 3: Embracing or denying change - Years: 10-20 years into their career
Phase 4: Living with or without the fruits - Years: 20-40 years into their career
Phase 5: Retiring in comfort or destitution - Years: Last 10-30 years of life

I go into more detail about these phases in that course. None-the-less, I imagine that only those in Phase 2 are still reading, and have concerns on this subject.

However, rather than assume this, I have some questions for you:

1. Firstly, do you believe there is a problem, at least in your life, as it relates to your financial future?

2. How many years have you been in the industry?

3. What are the frustrations or challenges you experience?

No I know it’s tough (especially for us males and our alpha sisters), to acknowledge we have a ‘problem’. Let me share a key paragraph outlining some key ‘problems’ as identified by the article I referred to earlier (1):
“The life of a personal trainer can be great, but trading time for money inherently limits income possibilities with only 24 hours in any given day. Furthermore, only so many of those hours are even available to work with clients. In an effort to make more money in that limited time, personal trainers are often forced to sacrifice personal priorities, service quality, and relationships. This can sometimes lead to frustration, burnout, and ultimately, career changes. 
The average personal training income in the United States is thought to be between $35,000 – $45,000 per year… These numbers seem great for passionate personal trainers starting out, but what about years down the road? Those who want to support a family, retire at a decent age, or create freedom in their career must take steps to rise above these industry averages.” (1)
Does that help? Great, here’s what can happen. Participate in this ‘survey’ and see where it can lead. Send your responses to with ‘Ian, here is my MTH&TPPC survey response’.


(1) Drake, J., and NSCA Personal Training Quarterly, 2016, The training trap – building financial freedom in an appointment-based career, NSCA December Issue Member News

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Trump or Clinton?

How the 2016 USA Presidential elections will affect you – no matter where in the world you live

There are few key things that I feel many may be missing the point on about the current 2016 USA Presidential elections. Firstly there is too much focus on the messenger and not the message. Secondly there may be an assumption that is just about America, not about non-Americans living elsewhere in the world. And thirdly, a lack of forward thinking about the implications of the outcome.

Firstly - the message vs. the messenger. Granted it’s been a campaign that may have taken gutter politics to a new high (or low). And I can understand how anyone could be distracted by that. But let me bring you back on focus. It’s not about the messenger. Take Donald Trump. I see a lot of commentary on his personality, or on the allegations of his treatment of women, or on his own word selection about treatment of women, and so on. Or take Clinton, with focus on her email management or Benghazi or her husbands track record with women.

Firstly, let me be politically correct – what I am about to say is not endorsing the values or behaviours that either person has been criticises for. What I believe is however that the point is being missed. Go beyond the individuals - consider the bigger picture. This is the first time, to my knowledge, and in my lifetime, a complete political novice has been a front-runner for Presidency of the United States.

This is the message – that enough Americans are fed up with or frustrated by or disillusioned with the solutions offered in their adult lifetime by career politicians that enough of them are supporting an alternative. I suggest this is more about people power and one of the greatest shifts in political and social patterns in my lifetime that it is about Trump or Clinton.

And why? I suggest that a growing number of people in the US (and potentially other countries around the world) are concerned enough about their future that they are willing to endorse change. And that means they must be really disillusioned and questioning main-stream to-date accepted ways of governance. And that, for me is massive. There is a message in this, a ‘huge’ (no to paraphrase Donald!) message. We are possibly witnessing one on the most significant shifts in social and political thinking of the masses, based on I suggest financial realities. The system is just not working for a growing number of people.

In summary on this point, I suggest take your gaze off the personalities involved (the messengers) and look at the message – a proposal be the people, even it is only the Republicans to date in this pre-election (11 days away) moment - that there is a viable alternative that they are willing to support other than a career politician.

Now for the second point. Perhaps too many of us – myself included at times – have considered this an ‘American’ thing, that it doesn’t really matter to or affect those who are not US residents or citizens. Perhaps this is not so. What if the outcome of this election affected every country in the world and every citizen of every country in the word? And how might this occur?

In the first instance, considering the size of an impact of the US on other countries globally, it would be naïve and short-sighted to assume that there would not be a flow on affect to every other country. Now just how much impact may depend on many variables including the extent to which your country trades with the US. However there is a second potential impact. What is the same social wave of unrest, as I have called it, sweeps your country and impacts major decisions such as national elections? This is a very strong possibility, that the world may be moving into a different phase.

Thirdly lets talk about the post election impact. No, I am not talking about whether Donald jails Hilary if he is elected. Or if Hilary has retribution for Donald if she is elected; or whether Donald’s accusers will prevail; or whether the FBI will bring criminal charges against Hillary. I am talking about how our lives may or may not be impacted post election. Have you considered that?

I have, and I believe it’s something you should consider, and form your own opinions on before I share my thoughts on this with you – which I plan to do.

So there you have it. I trust I have stimulated you to give serious reflection to this moment in time, and perhaps have given you a new perspective on what may be happening – to us all, currently, in the US.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Knee injuries - How can you hope to solve the problem using the stimulus that caused the problem?

As a student of sports training and competition I took up the opportunity to watch the exercise selection from the waiting room at the physical therapists. I was surprised at the amount of quad exercises used over the weeks of my observing.

Later as I lay on a table in the therapy clinic I listened to a young male client answer the question from this physical therapist.

Therapist: Okay what have we done so far?
Patient: Squats.
My mind: That’s one.
Patient: Wall squats.
My mind: That’s two
Patient: Lunges.
My mind: That’s three.
Patient: Walking lunges.
My mind: That’s four.
Patient: Step ups.
My mind: That’s five.

So far, the workout was 100% quad. I shook my head and said a prayer for the patient. Now to be fair I did see one non-quad exercise being done later. But the first five and the overwhelming majority of exercises being used in the rehab program for what I believe was an ACL surgery patient were quad exercises.

I found this ironic, because it was this very profession some 30 years ago that brought me attention to the risks of ‘quad dominance’ in muscle balance and its relationship with gait and joint integrity. And here I was, some three decades later, and they were creating that exact same condition.

I took this quad dominant concern, along with my own observations, quite seriously and spend a decade or so developing and refining before publishing a concept I called ‘Lines of Movement’ in 1998. You might not recognize the concept title I gave it but you will recognize the terminology by virtue of the prolific unreferenced and uncredited publishing by people who knew better.

In relation to the lower body, I developed the concept to ‘hip dominant’ exercises to counter the concern I learnt from my therapist colleagues about ‘quad dominance’. Now, nearly 20 years after I first published this concept, my theories about the risks of quad dominance have become greater and clearer. I rank the muscle imbalance presented by quad dominant training as one of the highest correlates with ACL ruptures and similar.

If I am track, then the question can be asked:

How can you hope to solve the problem (ACL rupture risk) using the same stimulus that contributed to the problem?

Now I understand that there are many reasons why most will disregard this message. Firstly, and most importantly, because the majority of ‘performance’, ‘injury prevention’ and ‘injury rehab’ strength training does just this – create quad dominance. And to accept this and change would take the emotional intelligence to conclude one is off track and needs to redirection one’s training programs. That’s the biggest reason the message will be ignored.

I understand this. I understand others are waiting for ‘evidence’. I say look at the changing injury landscape. This injury was extremely rare in the 1980s, and even after the surgery became available there was not an instant increase in ACL incidence – so the low incidence was not because the surgery was not available. It was just a rare injury. It is not any more. So what changed? Why are so many athletes suffering from this injury now? But this would take again a degree of commitment to excellence and a detachment from ego that few are committed to.

Evidence is, I suggest, another way of saying I will only do it when I see most others doing it, and when I am doing what most others are doing, I feel ‘right’ and ‘safe’.

What I do say is this – not withstanding the frequent medical claims I here quoted by patients all too often about how their graft will be stronger than the one their Maker gave them - 50% of all ACL patients will have repeat knee surgery, and 100% will have premature degenerative changes such as osteoarthritis. I would not wish this on anyone. If it was your child would you want this?

So while the masses wait the quarter to full century it may take for the ‘evidence’ to ‘allow’ them to take note of my conclusions, another generation or more will suffer from life changing injury and surgery such as the ACL.

It does not have to be this way for you and those in your care, however that is up to you.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Throwing the players under the bus – a strategy for failing as a coach

The first game of the season showed promise with the team winning the first half easily, and then holding on for the second half to win the game. By the second game this pattern of decline in dominance as the game went on became worse, and the team lost the second half.

I had fears of what was to follow, and my fears were amplified when the field announcer stated the final score and congratulated the visiting team for winning the second half. It was just the announcer looking to give a positive to the losing team, but he had inadvertently drove the nail further into the coffin of his own team.

As I feared, the coach told the team in the post-game talk that they were not fit enough. This code for something’s not working, I’ve got no idea what, but it must be your fault and the easiest blame strategy is ‘you are not fit enough’.

Predictably they trained the team harder in non-specific conditioning work as well as rugby drills during the following week. During the next game the team were the flattest they had been, with limited on-field talk. They almost lost the first half, and ended up drawing the game. This outcome was exacerbated by the fact that the opponent on this day had not won a game in the season to date. Of course, it’s unlikely that anyone took into account that they had played and lost to the competitions top teams.

So what do you do next after blaming fitness? The post-game coach’s speech focused on the lack of intensity, telling the players they needed to play and train with more intensity. I am not sure how you naturally bring more intensity when you are more tired than you needed to be, but that’s the way this scenario played out.

During the week, as you can expect, the team were trained in a way that resulted in the coach happily stating that they had brought more ‘intensity’ to training, inferring this would serve them well in the upcoming game.

In the upcoming game the team lost for the first time, failing to score a single try, and conceding nearly half a century of points.

So what do you do now that you have gone down the path of throwing the players under the bus? You start dropping players. So about 55% of the way through the season players are relegated, with the ensuing drop in personal confidence you can expect from players dropped without knowing why.

How did this work? The next game resulted in a score against that exceeded half a century. Now it was against the second strongest team in the competition, but the fact this team scored as many points as they did against a lowest rank team (a team that the losing team had easily beaten) suggested that the outcome was unnecessarily out of context to the losing teams potential.

So where do you go now? Shuffle players around, playing them out of the position you had them in for most of the season? Basically you run out of options.

Few would disagree that athletes benefit positively from people believing in them, especially their significant others. And who more significant than their coach? On the flip side, again few would disagree that negative impacts potentially result when a coach directly or indirectly tells the athlete they are lazy, don’t try hard enough, are not intense or focused enough, or are not good enough to play at that level.

The challenge with any coach who fails to interpret the cause of their outcomes is further failure. However this failure is magnified in it’s consequence in the team culture where the coach takes the path of throwing the players under the bus.

Whenever I hear a coach who by words or actions blames his players, I see a lesser future for the coach. To put it bluntly it’s a path to failure. This applies no matter what level it is occurring at, bet it the national team or a local kids team.

I have had the fortune of working with coaches who have the strength to deflect the pressure on their team. The long serving Queensland rugby union coach John Connolly was one of these. I was impressed with his choice to absorb the pressure and not throw the players under the bus. However these coaches are the overwhelmingly minority. From my experience, I have observed the majority of coaches blame the players, failing to understand that firstly what goes on is a product of their leadership, and that the act of blaming the players is in the short term the kiss of death to their team’s culture and in the long term the kiss of death to their coaching career success.

Few coaches develop their coaching abilities to the level of being able to consistently and successfully interpret the cause of their wining or losing, and I accept this. However my suggestion that even in the absence of this high level ability, coaches could benefit from avoiding the popular habit of throwing the players under the bus.

NB. The above is fictional story to illustrate the message.