Constantly Learn And Always Improve

Alwyn Cosgrove gave us a  few muscle building exercises using the TRX in”Exercise Selection For The Beginner and Advance Athletes“.

Today, as we come to an end with this series. We continue to be educated by Alway, as he provides us with more beneficial fitness and exercise information.

If you would like to listen to the call click here.


Craig: Is there anything you no longer do that you were doing even 12 months ago? We talked about some of the changes in the rest periods, but are there any exercises, or anything in the training, that you no longer do?

Alwyn:   Things fall by the wayside and I don’t notice them. The stability ball has disappeared. We still have four, and we use them for a couple of things, but there are better choices. We’re moving towards no more fixed work or fixed rest metabolic work. I can’t really make a case for that anymore. Everything is going to be in real time.

We eliminated aerobic training a while ago, but we still do that with our endurance athletes and fat loss clients. I think last year we talked about how Stuart McGill’s work made crunches obsolete, but I know people still do them. For me, it was the data showing that planks and stability work activate the core more than crunches. That was my decision. It wasn’t anything about the spine and the safety. It was about the activation level and that I could apply it more with that.

We’re not doing a lot of the low handle sled push. Exerting that effort in that bent over position just makes people nausea. I don’t think there’s a metabolic difference, so we’re not doing a lot of that.

Nothing really has gone away that I can think of, but I’m sure I’ll think of one as soon as I hang up the phone. Things fall by the wayside in favor of more effective exercises. For some exercises, the kettlebell is superior to the dumbbell. The dumbbell variation disappeared.

A lot of what we’re doing in the weight room is playing with the deadlift. This might be something that I got from Gray Cook. The deadlift exercise might be the one exercise where it’s better to get strong first before you get range. You can do a single leg or an offset deadlift.

It may be better to do it out of a rack or boxes with a heavier weight than it is to go from the floor. It may be the only exercise where you should load it first before you get range. That may be one change we’ve done.

Even when we do asymmetrical work like a split squat, we’ve always loaded it bilaterally with two dumbbells. Now we don’t do very much of that at all. We usually do unilateral exercises with unilateral loading; one single dumbbell or kettlebell to make it pure asymmetrical and unilateral. It’s a good question. Now you’ve got me thinking what we’ve done differently in the last 12 months.

Craig:  Speaking of doing things different, we’ve talked about some pretty advanced stuff on here, but I would say that 95% of the fitness world is still doing the same things that people were doing ten years ago. Do you think that the industry is going to change at all?

Alwyn: I think the gap is getting bigger. The biggest change I’ve seen in the last 18 months to two years is the hard training. You see these insanity and P90X, and people aren’t shocked by them anymore. The Biggest Loser shows that people can train hard. I think that stuff has changed.

I don’t know when the book Body for Life came out, but I think it was around 1995-1996. If you look at those programs, they’re good. They’re upper-lower splits, straight sets, and interval training three days a week. Upper-lower splits with straight sets was a progressive program at the time, because people were doing body part splits. I say this respectfully, but that’s archaic.

My phone in my pocket is far superior to the computer I had in 1995. We’ve progressed so much in technology. DVD players were in their infancy in 1995. We know more about exercise, people are just refusing to change. That might be the best example, because most people know what that book is. It’s not a really old book, but we’re so far ahead with our knowledge of training and we’re so far behind in our application of that knowledge.

Knowledge is the first half of the equation. You’ve got to know some stuff, but the second half is that you have to put this knowledge into action. Will the industry ever change? I hope so. I hope one day that trainers are considered high level professionals. We’re making a difference in people and we’re given that level of respect, but there are a lot of guys who are stuck in the trenches.

The issue is that there are a lot of exercise that works. My OCD is to find something that works better and take it to the next level and continually question, “Why are we doing this? Why don’t we take things up a notch? Why don’t we change things?” That’s my idea, but there are some things that work very well. It’s not like the Body for Life program doesn’t work. You can get better results in less time by tweaking a few things.

There are things that we were wrong about. We were wrong about leg extensions for knee rehab. We were wrong about this stuff and we have to be prepared to move on.

Craig: Very good. What about learning? What are you learning about these days? Any good books or DVDs that you’ve been watching that you want people in the Turbulence Training world to know about?

Alwyn:   The Perform Better team at do an excellent job of bringing together good people. I always look to them to see what’s going on. I really like the TRX stuff. My thoughts are that the future of strength training is going to asymmetrical and alive, and the future metabolic training is going to be completely individualized and customizable.

I started to see this TRX or sandbag type of training as being a useful tool and I saw how we can use it. I like looking at some of those things. I like looking at tri-planar movements that don’t fit like a rotational lunge.

There’s something to the stuff that Michol Dalcourt is doing with the Viper, with the big log-thing and shifting planes and rotational. There’s something there. That’s the sort of stuff I look at. My goal is that Results Fitness University will be – I think the best phrase to use is “We’re the UFC and MMA guys who will bring the best of everything together.” We’re going to test it in our battleground; that will be our filter. We’re going to bring it to trainers so Results Fitness University leads the front.

My secret, black belt ninja, Jedi tip is that everyone wants to learn. I choose only to learn from people who are lifelong learners. I know that Michael Boyle is studying and going to seminars, so Mike Boyle brings out something new. I’m not only getting Mike Boyle’s newest stuff, I’m getting everything Mike has read. It’s an exponential education.

I know you’re looking at stuff and you’re talking to trainers all over the world. They’re applying things and telling you, so when you tell me something, I have the advantage of everyone that you’ve learned from in the last year, too.

One of my core values is to keep learning and keep leading. Constantly learn and always improve. I look for people that I know are doing that, and I only learn from them. That’s a little trick. Learn from people who are learning all the time. You get a little edge because of that. If you are learning from someone who’s still doing old stuff, you’ll learn. You can’t not learn, but those people aren’t growing, so you can only learn what they already know and can’t catch up. If you are learning from someone who is learning at the same rate as you, it’s exponential. That’s a little secret to do.

Craig: I really liked that when you said that to me last year at Bedros’s event, Fitness Business Summit. You mentioned exponential learning for the first time at breakfast. I thought that was great. I think it’s a great black belt tip for everyone listening, and a great way to end the call. Everyone is always happy to learn from you. Because you learn so much, you make exponential learning easy. Thank you, sir.

Alwyn:  Cheers, brother. Thanks for having me.

Craig:  Thank you, everyone, for being on the call.

We’ll be back next month with another great one. Fortunately it’s January, so we can say that next month’s call is also the best call of the year. Thanks, everyone. We’ll talk to you soon. Good-bye.

Craig Ballantyne, CTT
Certified Turbulence Trainer