Marilia Coutinho

www.mariliacoutinho.com

Marilia Coutinho is a multi-disciplinary educator (researcher, professor, writer, speaker, coach, whatever) who writes evidence-based pieces about both technical and social/philosophical aspects of strength and strength training for elitefts. She has both a MS and a Ph.D. and her background/degrees include biology, biochemistry, ecology and sociology of science and health. Marilia has been a powerlifting world champion, broke several federation world records and one all-time record. She has also been a competitive fencer. She was a faculty member in three universities, has a few published books, many peer-reviewed articles and thousands of other published pieces, from fun to serious.

 
A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Gym Galaxy
A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Gym Galaxy
It's time for a talk to the young and the old about the inevitable (devastating yet fascinating) aging process under a loaded bar. Buckle up, it's a bumpy ride!
To Master, With Love
To Master, With Love
The world was a wiser, kinder place with Master in it. Now his body is dead. I guess it's up to me, then, to live up to his legacy.
Suicide and Lifting
Suicide and Lifting
How can lifting and strength sports help the hopeless?
The Squat Epiphany
The Squat Epiphany
If I was that young woman in the picture with my present old mind, I would do it all differently. Unfortunately, I can’t rewind that tape but if you're reading this and you are or know of a young couple expecting a baby or handling their first one, this read may change your child-raising perspective.
One Diet Size Fits One
One Diet Size Fits One
There is no universal healthy diet or macronutrient composition. You must identify what is healthy for you. Read on to understand why we are so diverse to discover your best diet options.
One Training Size Fits One
One Training Size Fits One
Believe it or not, you don't need the assistance of a research team to make your training, health, and life decisions. Here's how to navigate through your uniqueness from identification to decision making.
Writing Through the Storm
Writing Through the Storm
Three years and counting, through change of grounding and shelter, one thing remains. Here's my attempt at living, learning, and passing on.
Squatting from Womb to Tomb: Why You Must Train 'Til You Die
Squatting from Womb to Tomb: Why You Must Train 'Til You Die
I'm aging, my parents are aging, and yes, you're aging too. Aging equals disease. Or does it? In this article, I will introduce explanations about the role of strength and conditioning in healthy living and suggest how we can promote that before disuse and decay unleash their vicious cycle.
How to Choose the Right Christmas Gift
How to Choose the Right Christmas Gift
A short Christmas gift guide for different types of strong people (including yourself).
The Cycle of Detraining and Retraining
The Cycle of Detraining and Retraining
This is a completely different type of article you'll find within my column. It's personal and it makes a case for increased injury burden as an athlete progresses in their career, gets older, trains more, competes more, the list goes on...
How Research Can Help You Manage Detraining and Retraining
How Research Can Help You Manage Detraining and Retraining
Both are scary to endure, but as an athlete, it's part of the game. A little bit of knowledge can go a long way in managing this kind of stress.
Brainstorm: Changing Perspectives on Human Strength — Human Grip
Brainstorm: Changing Perspectives on Human Strength — Human Grip
Today I’m going to address one line of scientific inquiry that has a direct impact on our current understanding of human strength: the changing view of the human grip.
Brainstorm: Was "Back in the day" Really That Good?
Brainstorm: Was "Back in the day" Really That Good?
If so, were the early-day strength athletes stronger, faster, and more powerful than present-day competitors? Studies about nostalgia suggest the answers to these questions root in nostalgic accounts from both positive and negative emotions.
How Stuff Works: The Knee Sleeve
How Stuff Works: The Knee Sleeve
Beyond the notorious odor knee sleeves omit when soaked with sweat and stored in your gym bag for days on end, what don't you know about them? Four parts in this personal equipment series, let's find out.
How Stuff Works: The Knee Wrap
How Stuff Works: The Knee Wrap
Beyond the heated debates, love and hate, blood and tears, that constrict knee wraps, exactly how do they work? Let's take a look at the basics, different types, knee wrapping techniques, a 197-response survey to see how athletes use them, and more.
How Stuff Works: The Wrist Wrap
How Stuff Works: The Wrist Wrap
With a better understanding of belts (the first product studied within this series), it's now time we'll move on to wrist wraps. Exactly how do wrist wraps work? Also, a big thanks to the 262 athletes who gave their input in an interesting survey about their use of wrist wraps.
How Stuff Works: The Belt
How Stuff Works: The Belt
If you are reading this, either you train/enjoy strength training or you like/manufacture personal equipment. In either case, I want to help you. As always, I am committed to causing as much damage as I can to shallow thinking and shortcuts to critical-thinking. This is how the belt works.
The End Game: Flow and Performance
The End Game: Flow and Performance
At the core of extreme well-being is a state of consciousness and physical experience that has been called flow. In this final chapter of the "motivation" series, we'll define flow and have a better understanding of how it happens.
Goals and Performance: Concepts and Application
Goals and Performance: Concepts and Application
The housewife, the architect, and the fighter all live according to a long-term goal-oriented life-project. What is the difference? Who will choose to be the master of their fate and the captain of their soul?
The Plan: Walking the Talk
The Plan: Walking the Talk
Exhaustion is the main reason I and lots of people quit following a plan. Another reason: catastrophic circumstances. Have you considered goal setting and time framing, monitoring, and journaling to follow your plan?
The Role of Self-Regulation and Control in Sport Performance
The Role of Self-Regulation and Control in Sport Performance
You must be in control or have autonomy, to set goals, move through intrinsic and extrinsic motivators, and grittily, hardily, toughly keep on track — especially if your choice is to be or continue being a successful high-performance athlete.
12 Gifts to Warm the Heart of Your Anti-Social Friend
12 Gifts to Warm the Heart of Your Anti-Social Friend
There are many versions of such misanthropes around (with home gyms of their own), and while this list will make their days, months, and years, it will make any true appreciator of strength training happy.
The Role of Mental Toughness in Sport Performance
The Role of Mental Toughness in Sport Performance
I decided to finish the series with what I consider to be the remaining badly misused concepts. The previous one was discipline, and now, the worst of all: mental toughness.
The Role of Grit in Sport Performance
The Role of Grit in Sport Performance
Are you a gritty athlete?
The Obese Body and Exercise — Physical Cross-Talk
The Obese Body and Exercise — Physical Cross-Talk
The main reason I would suggest you engage in exercise is happiness. You might ask, “You mean managing depression?” No. I mean simple and plain happiness, although I’ll discuss depression and mental health, too.
The Obese Body and Exercise
The Obese Body and Exercise
What I try to offer here is information to both coaches and obese people about why and how to exercise — different reasons than the conventional assumption concerning weight loss — considering some of the difficulties inherent in the condition.
Intimidation and the Fitness Industry
Intimidation and the Fitness Industry
In this article, I will offer definitions and a technical approach to the terms involved in this problem. With this, hopefully, I may help you understand the forms intimidation can take and turn your dream gym into a nightmare.
New Gym in the Neighborhood
New Gym in the Neighborhood
I invite you to consider simple choices for space arrangement, staff training, and customer service to help you shape your gym for your chosen demographic and make a difference.
Supermen: Cross-Athleticism, Who These Guys Are, and How They Ended Up There
Supermen: Cross-Athleticism, Who These Guys Are, and How They Ended Up T...
Certain sports are based on cross-athleticism and the mastery of more than one set of skills, such as the triathlon, the decathlon, strongman, Highland games, and now Crossfit Games. But do you get better at one by being better at another?
Africa Lifts
Africa Lifts
These are the gyms of Sub-Saharan Africa, where the training environment is unsheltered and un-floored and the equipment is made of scrap iron, car parts, cement, and anything else that works.
The Barbell: What It Is and How to Take Good Care of Yours
The Barbell: What It Is and How to Take Good Care of Yours
Good, quality bars are a component of good, quality training. More so than with other pieces of equipment in a gym, lifters tend to develop a personal (sometimes quite emotional) relationship with bars.
Sexual Violence and the Coach-Athlete Relationship
Sexual Violence and the Coach-Athlete Relationship
The goal of this article is to provide tools to understand, prevent, and act on the problems of sexual violence, with a focus on the coach-athlete interaction.
2018: We Change, Goals Change, But the Mystery of Strength Remains
2018: We Change, Goals Change, But the Mystery of Strength Remains
A person's relationship with strength training and strength sports is dynamic and changes through time. I'm going to share with you some of my adventures that culminated in 2017 and offer a few tools that may be useful to you.
The Squat Rack: The Heart of the Weight Room
The Squat Rack: The Heart of the Weight Room
In this article I will give you a glimpse of the many variations of the squat rack, its use, and its customization, as done by elitefts.
From the Judge’s Chair: The Deadlift
From the Judge’s Chair: The Deadlift
Now that this series has covered the insight of a powerlifting judge for the squat and the bench press, we move to discuss the knowledge we can gain regarding the final lift of the meet: the deadlift.
From the Judge’s Chair: The Bench Press
From the Judge’s Chair: The Bench Press
In the first article of this series, I explained the value of the judge's perspective in relation to the squat. Now let's look at the bench press and see what lifters can learn from considering the judge's role.
From the Judge’s Chair: The Squat
From the Judge’s Chair: The Squat
Nothing trumps experience — specifically the sheer number of lifts you watch and analyze. Who sees the largest number of lifts? That's right: the judge.
Empowering Intellectuals: Reclaiming the Body — Muscularity, Bone Density, and Lifestyle
Empowering Intellectuals: Reclaiming the Body — Muscularity, Bone Densit...
In part one I addressed some general definitions and discussed the issues of age group, level of activity, previous training experience, and body fat. Now we address muscularity, injuries, bone density, and the lifestyle factors that impact your health.
Empowering Intellectuals: Reclaiming the Body
Empowering Intellectuals: Reclaiming the Body
It is a challenge amongst intellectuals to talk about the human body in ways that won't immediately elicit an ideological defensive reaction. But we can try.
Muffled Pain — Athletes, The Opioid Epidemic, and Painkiller Paranoia
Muffled Pain — Athletes, The Opioid Epidemic, and Painkiller Paranoia
My purpose with this article is to use my involuntary position as a character in the story to explore the meaning of the opioid epidemic and its wider implications.
All Together Now — The Psychologist
All Together Now — The Psychologist
Today we will look into sports psychology. While the coach and the nutritionist are pushed into multi and interdisciplinarity even when there is not a proper structure for it, the same doesn’t happen with the sports psychologist.
All Together Now — The Nutritionist
All Together Now — The Nutritionist
This article relies both on a bird’s eye-view of the scientific discipline itself, with some history to make sense of the information, and on the input of people who actually use this knowledge on a day-to-day basis.
All Together Now — The Coach, This Polyglot
All Together Now — The Coach, This Polyglot
Not many institutional environments promote interdisciplinary collaboration in exercise and sports performance. Starting from the ground up, how can we change this?
All Together Now — Meet the Disciplines and Our Hosts
All Together Now — Meet the Disciplines and Our Hosts
In this series, we will explore the challenges of interdisciplinarity in Sports Performance. I have chosen six people to help us on this journey, each one representing one discipline or profession.
Home and the Home Gym — The Heart Follows the Iron
Home and the Home Gym — The Heart Follows the Iron
In this article, we reach the end of our journey. You will read about how original home gym owners made different choices and changed their lives as they followed the iron.
Home and the Home Gym: Barbell Clubs
Home and the Home Gym: Barbell Clubs
To have a better grasp on the several formats and how they may (or may not) evolve into one another, I searched and found a stricto sensu barbell club: the Valhalla Barbell Club, from Wichita, Kansas.
Home and the Home Gym: Making Your Home into a Gym
Home and the Home Gym: Making Your Home into a Gym
Nine athletes and coaches who have owned home gyms were asked to share the purpose and evolution of their early setups.
Home and the Home Gym — The Roots
Home and the Home Gym — The Roots
This is the dimension occupied by nursing babies with their mothers, lovers having intimate sex, and friends and family hugging. The relationship between lifter and bar is that intimate.
Why Do You Lift — The Game
Why Do You Lift — The Game
Is winning all that matters or is participation the purpose of competition? This is the final article in this series.
Why Do You Lift — What the Absence of Motivation Teaches Us (Suicide)
Why Do You Lift — What the Absence of Motivation Teaches Us (Suicide)
Every aspect of motivation we discussed in parts one, two, and three are evidence here, through their absence and again through their recovery.
Why Do You Lift — Defining Hope, Motivation, and Risk
Why Do You Lift — Defining Hope, Motivation, and Risk
This is where we find the relationship between hope and two other concepts that are directly important to sports performance and powerlifting in particular: motivation and risk.
Why Do You Lift — Defining Passion
Why Do You Lift — Defining Passion
We need to discuss passion and our affective response to any autotelic activity: it is important to understand that humans engage in things for internal forces other than survival.
Why Do You Lift — Meaning, Identity, Hope and Passion
Why Do You Lift — Meaning, Identity, Hope and Passion
For the next three or four articles, this is our topic: motivation. This first part will explore the construction of meaning, identity, and the origins of motivation.
How to Fix Your Bench Press: Programming Issues and Assistance Work
How to Fix Your Bench Press: Programming Issues and Assistance Work
Knowing now how to set up and execute the lift, there is one final process to perfect your bench press.
How to Fix Your Bench Press: The Execution
How to Fix Your Bench Press: The Execution
So far, we haven’t even moved the bar. Keeping in mind what we learned in part one of this series, we are now ready to begin the press.
How to Fix Your Bench Press: The Setup
How to Fix Your Bench Press: The Setup
The first installment of a three-part series, this article discusses the first step of mastering the bench press: learning optimal setup.
Five reality checks in the struggle for sponsorship
Five reality checks in the struggle for sponsorship
Five reality check items for individual athletes in their struggle for sponsorship
Powerlifting and meaning: I think we lie to ourselves
Powerlifting and meaning: I think we lie to ourselves
I just watched Dan Ariely’s TED conference about motivation and work and it made me think about our attitude towards other people’s reaction to powerlifting. Most of us (in fact, I would say all of us) claim we don’t give a shit.
The bar is loaded: are you ready?
The bar is loaded: are you ready?
The bar is loaded: are you ready? Talent, preparation and competitive readiness

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