Weekend Review: 10 Teachers in 24 Hours (2010 NSCA Mid-Atlantic Review)

This has been a long weekend, to say the least.  In 24 hours, I drove 322 miles, listened to 5:13:51 of podcasts, and attended an 8am-5:30pm seminar.  You can correctly assume that I was thoroughly knowledgebombed when it was all over, and absolutely exhausted by the time when I got home.  Here’s a quick review of my weekend, and some take-away tips you can apply to your lives!

The seminar which I attended was the NSCA Mid-Atlantic Regional Clinic.  (I plan on writing up a full review of the seminar as soon as the Power Points are e-mailed to me; it’s going to be an in-depth review of the material.)  The clinic started at 8am on Saturday morning, so I opted to head down to Newark, DE so I’d be closer to Aston, PA.  I also wanted to see friends from UD and meet the Sinfonians that were visiting from George Southern University. It was great to see old friends, make some new ones, and eat an obscene amount of food at Buffalo Wild Wings.

I'm wearing the blue and white tablecloth!

On the way down to Newark, I listened to Episode 200 of The FitCast.  It was released a week ago, but I carefully planned to wait until this trip.  There were almost 3 hours of material covered in the epic episode, and it deserved to be had in one sitting.  Kevin, Jon, and Leigh interviewed Lou Schuler, Alan Aragon, and Dan John.  Yes, I linked to everybody’s blog.  Click on through.  The interviews were long and chock full of information, but I’ve pulled out one tip from each of the speakers that I think is important for you.

Lou Schuler discussed his new book, The New Rules of Lifting for Abs.  The big concept that he shared was perform your core work at the  beginning of the workout.  He credited this concept to Alwyn Cosgrove.  The premise is based on two realities; most people disregard direct core training (and/or do it wrong!), and that it prepares your core for doing more integrated work later on in the workout.  After you perform your dynamic warm-up, then move on to your direct core work before your strength training.  The core is the weak link in too many people, and this helps to improve this weak link.

Alan Aragon discussed a number of topics, but most importantly he warned about the cult following of certain exercise and nutrition strategies.  He cautioned against this religious following of any program; nothing is perfect.  It may sound cynical to say that everything is flawed, but it’s true.  We still don’t know what is the best way to eat or train; we just know that there are methodologies that are good or better than others.  Strive to do the best that you can, but keep an open mind; nothing is perfect.

I absolutely love listening to Dan John.  He speaks with an inspiring calmness and wisdom that almost forces you to listen to what he says.  What he says is usually really really good, too.  In this case, Dan kept it simple:  Focus on the basics.  Keep it simple.  You don’t need lots of gimmicky, expensive equipment to be strong and fit.

If you’re interested in listening to The FitCast, you can go to THE WEBSITE and download it.  Subscribe, get smarter, and laugh a lot.  Here’s a picture of Lou, Alan, and Dan:

On we move, to the NSCA Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference!!

Waking up at 6am is not my favorite thing to do.  I like doing it even less when it’s 15 degrees outside, and it feels even worse when you were up until 3am.  (I know that isn’t a recipe for success.)  After leaving The Watchtower and grabbing some coffee, I was Northbound on I-95.  The trip lasted approximately 38:47, because Mike Robertson’s In The Trenches Podcast ended almost exactly as I pulled into my parking space.  Perfect timing!

Due to the fact that I’m planning a full review of everything covered at the clinic, I’m only going to share with you the big concepts shared by each speaker.  The full review will cover the entire lecture and my thoughts on what they spoke about.  Take these tips home with you, they’re all really important.

Hubert Lee, MA, ATC, CSCS, NSCA-CPT – What is performance enhancing?  Anything that makes you better at the event your competing at.  Eating, sleeping, training, taking steroids; they all make you better.  Why are steroids considered so bad?  Do they actually help you get better?  Does it really matter?  If athletes can choose the shoes they wear, the weights they press, and what their diet looks like, why can’t they maintain their youthful performance with drugs as well?  (Editors note: I’d love feedback on this in the comments section!)

Jose Antonio, PhD, CSCS, FNSCA – Supplements can help you with both performance and aesthetic goals.  While a clean diet is important, some supplements can provide rapid increases in performance.  Included in Dr. Antonio’s presentation was a plethora of research on creatine.  I’ve discussed creatine before, and I like it even more now.  3-5 grams of creatine a day can make you bigger, faster, and stronger.  It can also make you leaner, increase endurance, make you smarter, and protect your brain during concussions.  Yea, I bet you didn’t know that either.  If you still are wondering if you should take creatine, think about the improvements in cognitive functioning:  It won’t take you so long to make a decision.

Patricia Fitzgerald, PhD, PT, CSCS – Dr. Fitzgerald discussed the deleterious effects of alcohol consumption in close proximity to physical exercise.  Interesting information, but do you really need research to tell you that shots and squats don’t mix?

Rodney Gaines, PhD, CSCS – Dr. Gaines is a board member of the NSCA, and he discussed leadership qualities.  It was a fantastic discussion, and he covered interpersonal relationships.  It’s important for leaders to have a personal relationship with their colleagues.  As a fitness professional, know your clients and those who you work with.  The better you know somebody, the easier it will be for you to motivate them, encourage them, and drive them to success.

Rick Howard, MEd, CSCS, *D – Rick explained why sport specialization is bad idea for young athletes.  It’s important to expose youngsters to a wide variety of sports situations to develop their cognitive, psychomotor, and affective development.  This doesn’t mean playing indoor soccer and outdoor soccer.  This means playing Football, Basketball, Lacrosse, Wrestling, Soccer, Tennis, etc.  Basically, you should encourage your children to play in a wide variety of sports.  Sure, there are travel teams for 8 year olds, but they’ll have a longer athletic career if they develop a variety of skills before they choose to specialize.

Allison Bowersock, MS, CSCS – Girls should lift weights, at every stage in the life span.  It’s important to encourage strength training from a young age, to develop self-efficacy, confidence, and the obvious physiological benefits.  How often to I talk about girls and lifting weights?  You know that I loved this presentation.

Stephen Smith, EdD, CSCS – You don’t NEED to workout in a weight room.  You can use medicine balls, kettlebells, and a vast variety of body weight exercises and portable equipment to acchieve a training effect.  If you’re creative and dedicated, it’s possible to achieve a training effect ANYWHERE!

Between these ten teachers that I had over the weekend, I leaned a plethora of new things.  Not many people would want to spend 24 hours driving and learning during the weekend of finals week, but I had a blast.  I’ve just broken the surface on what there is to learn, and I know that all of this effort will help me develop as a physical educator, personal trainer, and Jedi.  Yea, I had to throw that in there.  Take these little tips and see how you can apply them to what you’re doing with your own life, health related or not.  Also, enjoy the following picture.  It will blow your mind.

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