2009 elitefts.com repost
There are many things that drive me nuts. While these diminish with each passing year, there are still a couple that I just can't let go of. One of these is the use—or should I say improper use—of the word "intensity" in programming.
Last week I sent out another tweet as part of my How Do You Know Your Internet Guru is FOS series. This time, I posed a question about defining intensity as it relates to programming. Little did I know, there was actually an article just posted titled "Ask the Experts: What is Intensity?" This was tweeted to me the following day and the title interested me enough to read the article. I was also curious as to how many of the experts would know the real definition as it relates to training.
Well, out of 11 experts...one got it right. Perhaps I should say one and a half because there was one other person who kind of got it, but not really.
Intensity (in strength and sports programming) is defined as the degree of effort when compared to maximum capacity. This is a math equation. I'm sure you have all heard and read Louie saying that training is mathematics, bio-mechanics, and physics. Well, this is part of the basic mathematics of strength and conditioning programming. This is also a "basic" training concept that should be as well known as a set, rep, and exercise.
While I summarized the definition, it is not mine but how it has been used for decades in sports science.
The key point here is that it is physically impossible to train at high volumes with high intensity. This physically CANNOT be done. To say it can only demonstrates a complete lack of knowledge in the programming process. You simply can't do 90% of your one-rep max (high intensity) for five sets of 20 (high volume). If you can, then the intensity really wasn't 90%.
I, for one, want to help teach others to become the next generation of experts and to do so we need to give them the right tools and educate them on how to become the best they can be. I do not agree with creating sheep who will just follow what you tell them to do. We need to create students of this craft—future innovators that will help take strength and sports training to the next level. This isn't going to happen when they are not even being taught the basic terms correctly.
Since this falls in line with this topic, I will rehash how I determine who I will listen to when it comes to training advice. I look for these things:
1. Who did they learn from?
Where did they go to school? What did they study? What have they read? Who were their mentors? Who did they intern with? What is their base of education?
2. Who did they train with and/or under?
Who was their coach? Who were their training partners? Which teams were they a part of?
3. What have they done?
What are their lifts, what have they competed in, at what level did they compete at? Do they have in the trenches and under the bar experience? Have they faced or over come adversity in the gym or did it all come easy? Are they even in shape and do they train?
4. Who have they trained and made better than themselves?
Who have they coached, what clients have they really worked with? Are their testimonials real people or buddies doing them a favor? Have they ever really trained a client? When people say they have trained thousands & thousands of people, do you have any idea how many years it would take for this to really happen? If it really is thousands then there is a very high attrition rate...why?
Keep in mind that every coach and every trainer is not created equal and just because they may be lacking in some of these areas it doesn't mean they totally suck. I know some great individuals who excel at just one of these sectors and can offer great advice to help you go a long way. The reason for the questions is to help you get past all the bullshit and see the coach/trainer for what he/she really is...not who they pretend to be.
Here is another thing to think about...
My 12 year old son should be coaching Baseball in the minor leagues!
Here's why. He started playing T-ball 6 years ago so right now he has 6 years of "on the field baseball experience"
If you are in the sport of powerlifting or bodybuilding, this is enough experience, right?
This is twice as much as people need to coach others to get ready for meets and shows. Now, this is fucked up right?
I wounder if his keeps playing all the way through high school (12 years total) if that would be enough to get him the Head Baseball Coach job at his High School?
Interesting isn't it?
We all know that would not get him a job coaching baseball anywhere.
Why is it that a lifter with only pee wee experience (3 years) feels they can coach others? Kinda fucked up if you look at it this way isn't it.
BUT WAIT, To coach pee wee all you need to do is volunteer. Damn, there goes my entire rant.
But to be a high school coach you need to have THIS.
This is to coach just beyond the pee wee level. Applied to bodybuilding, powerlifting and performance training this would mean that to coach competitive lifters, there should be basic education and experience teaching pee wees how to lift weights. Basically personal training.
See how twisted up this is starting to get because the hardest jobs to get as a strength training coach (Universities and pro levels) involve coaching those who may only have pee wee lifting experience (3-4 years of training). But any Tom. Dick, or Joe can train the most advanced bodybuilders and powerlifters as long as they convince them to buy into what they are selling.
I will leave this post with this. I read many rants about how these shitty trainers suck and the dawn of the internet guru is killing the sports industry. I think many forget one very important thing.
Getting clients for ANYTHING is and will always be the same: the best marketing resource is referrals.
Those you see pimping and promoting the most and the hardest are doing so because they DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH CLIENTS to make a living. When you see this pimping ALL THE TIME it shows they are also not keeping the clients they get.
The best coaches and trainers I know rarely, if ever, need to promote or advertise. Their clients and/or content they put out does that for them. Just because you see their "marketing", it doesn't mean they actually have a shit ton of clients. All the bitching and crying about them is wasted effort and energy because if you are great at what you do, they are not taking business from you at all. If anything, they are setting business up for you because some fool might hire them due to lower costs, find they suck, and then look for someone who really knows what they are doing (but this time they won't fall for the Instagram flyer). They will ask other people they know who do work with great coaches. You know, your clients.