Wednesday, April 26, 2017

To think or conform?

I received an email from a young man on the subject of stretching, a classic case of humans choosing conformity over thinking. The email went like this:
“Recently I purchased your Legacy book. The book is full of training gold, especially important information is about stretching. You should spread the truth about stretching. I can`t believe how everybody is wrong with this dynamic stretching B.S. Static stretching rules. I´m more flexible than ever, feel great, and it does transfer to dynamic motions.” [i] 

I was really impressed that this young man sought to gain a personal experience about stretching prior to reaching a conclusion. He thought for himself, in the face of dogma to the contrary, and reached a conclusion contrary to the dogmatic teaching. 
As for spreading the ‘truth’ about stretching, that’s what i have been doing for nearly 40 years now. The challenge is most people don’t want to think independently. The famous Dr. Albert Swcheitzer when asked in about 1952 reached the same conclusion.  Earl Nightingale tells this story in his 1956 audio ‘The Strangest Secret’. (A must listen to!)
Here is the transcript: 
“Some years ago, the late Nobel prize-winning Dr. Albert Schweitzer was asked by a reporter, “Doctor, what’s wrong with men today?” The great doctor was silent a moment, and then he said, “Men simply don’t think!” [ii]
Now as far as the truth or wrong, I tend to avoid these words where possible. To ignore the value of static stretching and replace it with dynamic stretching - or to leave your static stretching till after the workouts. These are mistakes.
However I understand how static stretching is promoted, and I understand most people are more committed to conformity than fulfilling their potential.
I have watched many of those who have achieved marketed position of influence in this industry promote their values on stretching. I know personally that the minority of these influencers who actually train don’t stretch, and never have.  To acknowledge they have missed the point in training as regards stretching is not going to happen in their lifetimes. And the influencers who don’t train have no chance of knowing personally the best alternatives or combinations.
As for conformity, I again refer to the best selling (in the true sense of the word, not in the way current industry marketers use it) for one of the best comments on conformity:
“Rollo May, the distinguished psychiatrist, wrote a wonderful book called Man’s Search for Himself, and in this book he says: “The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice … it is conformity.” And there you have the reason for so many failures. Conformity and people acting like everyone else, without knowing why or where they are going.” [iii]

[Imagine if referencing and crediting were the norm in this industry? wouldn’t that be amazing! instead of this encouragement to lie, cheat, steal and plagiarize…]
Now concepts are promoted with great dogma, which is why I have historically encouraged people to challenge and ignore the dogma: 
“Not only are you taught with a degree of dogma in formal education, you are often taught not to think – rather to accept ‘this is the way’.  Certain informal education teaches you to think for yourself (as we do at KSI) or teaches you a different perspective to the one you were taught to dogmatically adopt in your formal education. Exposure to this can cause some initial unease.” [iv]

I don’t suggest knowing the truth, however I have reached conclusions and encourage others to do the same, even if they are contrary to the dominant paradigms:
“I don’t know about truth, but I can say that blind and dogmatic teaching of this by personal trainers and others has contributed to some serious misconceptions…” [v]

My strong recommend has been to:
“Resist the temptation in program design to conform to mainstream paradigms simply for the sake of conforming, no matter how dogmatically they are presented, or how much you may be ridiculed or ostracized for trusting your intuition over conformity.” [vi]

Not to be confused of course with a thinly paraphrased paragraph that followed a year later in an article at from another ‘author’….
“When designing training programs, resist the pressure to conform to any tradition or system of beliefs, no matter how dogmatically that tradition or those beliefs are presented, or how much you get "slammed" for not conforming.” [vii]

My message to the young man who wrote to me, and to you to, is have the courage to think for yourself! And if you need help, I wrote the book ‘Barbells & Bullshit’ to help you. If nothing it will shock you into realizing that your own conclusions will be far more accurate and ethical and better for your than the self-serving dogma dished up by many who seek to exert their influence for reasons other than a pure intention to serve you. You can get this book in hard copy or e-book.  If you email me at sharing your commitment to think for yourself, I would love to give you a free copy of the e-book.
So the choice is yours – to think or to conform. Just don’t expect the masses to be so brave!

[i] Personal communication, name available on request, 26 April 2017
[iv] King, I., 1999, So You Want to Become a Strength and Conditioning Coach
[v] King, I., 2001 (?), Q & A,, Issue #10
[vi] King, I., 2005, The Way of the Physical Preparation Coach, p. 17
[vii] xxxx 2006, xxxxx,, Feb

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Your incompetence is killing you

(Professionally and your lifestyle)
I recently met a young man whose chose to move into the personal training industry from a non-related industry by managing a team of trainers.  It didn’t work out (no surprises there) and he was to reduced to earning the income that his competence dictated. Very little. Now he is dealing with bankruptcy. He chose to sidestep the issue of developing personal professional competency for the highly promoted business model of hiring trainers.
Before you conclude that this story is simply an isolated extreme case, let me bring this home – there are so few people in this industry who possess competence that you probably haven’t met one. And that means you are most likely also incompetent.
Before you lash out take a moment and consider the following.
So what do most trainers to in the absence of competency? To solve this little problem? Market.
Again before you get to knee-jerk reactions, please don’t state I’m anti-marketing, as some have in conversation with me.  I want to be very specific – a service provider who needs to market is probably incompetent, and using marketing to compensate for this lack.  With only 24 hours in a day competent service providers don’t need to market. They need to hide. 
I ran a seminar in Los Angeles recently on business building for physical preparation coaches. There some interest from prospective attendees on how to market via social media.  I let them know very quickly that I not only will not be teaching them how to market their services, I would definitely not be endorsing them getting into the same stinking marketing pond as the masses in their industry.
Some what is the result of your incompetency? I don’t really need to tell you, but here are a few of the symptoms:
  •       Not enough clients.
  •       Not enough great clients.
  •       Clients failing to turn up for appointments.
  •       Clients not staying with you for very long i.e. high attrition rate.
  •       Low hourly rate.
  •       Worry about where your next client is going to come from.
  •       Time poor.
  •       Working weird unsustainable hours.
  •       Financial struggles in life.
  •       Wondering if you should change professions.
  •       Latching onto the latest shiny object in certification (mostly trend based) and wondering why nothing changed.
  •       Inability to support a dependent adult. Forget about having kids.
Now you’ve either resonated with what I have said so far or your values have been so threatened you have got poisonous in your mind and started texting nasty things about me to your buddies. That’s okay, I used to the latter…
For those who are still with me, let me help you.
Want to get out of the crab bucket where 99% of the industry is struggling?  Choose competence. So what is competence? Here’s my working definition of competence:
In the absence of marketing; and in the absence of an association with a gym, sports team, sports institution, commercial company, or professional organization, you are able to generate an endless demand from A class clients willing to pay you triple figures per hour.

[Thanks to the April intake of the KSI Time, Money & Happiness 21 Day Mentoring Program for showing me how you prefer to shape this definition!]
In other words, sitting in your garage gym at home, high paying enthusiastic clients line up to see you.
Fairy tale? Not al all. This is one of the performance criteria we achieve through out now 18 year old KSI Coaching program. This is what we create.
So what’s the downside? It takes time and commitment, and the right vehicle. It might take 5-10 years to achieve this.  However once you have it, no-one can take it away. 
So what do most do? Look to marketing instead.
In the early 2000s a young Los Angeles resident wrote to me with. They really, really wanted to work with athletes:
“…I have read [your book] "so you want..." thoroughly. While I agree with your statements it is easier for you with an established record to attract new clients than it is for an "outsider" like me to break in I'd like to move out of the personal training field and train athletes exclusively but bills need to be paid…”[i]

They didn’t possess the delayed gratification required to achieve competence. So how did they create the perception of having a
“…stable of Olympic level athletes….’
…a few years later? Marketing.  Marketing mixed with a dose of deceit.
You see this, and you are encouraged to model this behaviour.
So what’s wrong with marketing? Firstly it doesn’t solve your problem. You are still incompetent professionally.  Secondly it wears off. You are going to need to keep on doing it, and that’s really time consuming. Once the clients find your limits professionally they are out of there. And you will never get off that marketing merry-go-round. 
And then how do you give yourself a unique marketing position (USP) in a world where everyone is marketing the same claims? You don’t. Unless you go to telling lies, which is tragically not only the norm in this industry:
“…The reality is that the lies in fitness far outweigh the truths….” [ii]
…it’s encouraged:
“… It's OK to tell a lie if you know that it's a lie... Once a personal trainer or performance specialist knows the truth then, they can tell a little white lie to make the sale or to get the client on board. The key to selling fitness lies (clever play on words) in knowing the truth but, also knowing when to lie….” [iii]

Is that who you are? A liar? For the most part, I don’t believe so. It takes a special person to bullshit year after year and still feel comfortable with themselves.
Now for those who are driven to action to improve their competence remains the challenge of selecting an educational path where you truly will achieve competence.  As the late Jim Covey would say:
“Before you lean your ladder up against a building, make sure it’s the right building!” [iv]
If you tie your cart to the wrong horse your time and money invested will be of little to no use in changing your competency
If you are attracted to my definition of competency, and you would like some of that yourself, before you select a mentor or teacher, ask yourself – how do they shape up against this definition?
Now before I wrap some of you might have been wondering why I said:
“…and in the absence of an association with a gym, sports team, sports institution, commercial company, or professional organization,…”

They all offer great opportunities – if you like depending on others for your future. 
If you open a training studio, locals will come. You will have clients. However would they travel to you if you closed the gym and moved 30 minutes drive away? Probably not. They are simply clients of convenience, not really making a massive effort to get to you.
If a sports team - especially a high profile team - employs you you can get some extra clients by marketing this fact.  For as long as this marketing fact is relevant. In other words, you might expend a bit of energy wondering and worrying who will give you your next contract, as you depend on this.
The same goes for a sports institution.  And the same for an association with a commercial company – it’s great whilst you are their seminar spokesperson, but what if they find a new, younger and better model? Where will your income come from?
So they are all great short-term income options. However I suggest that for the most part, any clients you attract are because of your association with these organizations, not because of your competence. And you probably don’t want to find out whether you have stand-alone competence – so you are going to hang on to the organizations with desperate dependency.
If you truly want to be in control of your destiny, competency is the solution I recommend.  We’ve been giving physical preparation coaches the best option to achieve competency, and we’ve been doing it for 18 years as the time of writing this article. Yes, we are not the best at marketing. But on your side, have you been doing what everyone else is doing? Being attracted to the bright, shiny objects? Empty vessels making the most noise? How’s that been working out for you….So yes, our web site and marketing are sub-par. But we just happen to produce physical preparation coaches with the greatest competency, who attract an endless demand of A class clients lining up to pay triple hourly figure for their service.
You decide….marketing or competence. If you chose competence, here’s where you can get started:

[i] Personal communication, details reserved to protect the message.
[ii] Reference reserved to protect the message.
[iii] Reference reserved to protect the message.
[iv] Wow, imagine that! Giving credit! I trust my solitary habit of doing so has a positive impact on you to adopt what industries with higher integrity deem normal..

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!