“Lend yourself to others, but give yourself to yourself.” – Michel de Montaigne 

Next weekend I’ll be in Atlanta for the 2013 iteration of the Ancestral Health Symposium.  My presentation topic will be, The 21st Century Fitness Professional – A New Paradigm.  Needless to say, I am stoked for this event!  Now, can I pack all that I want to say into just 20 short minutes?  I dunno, that’s no doubt gonna be a tall order.

I’ve spoken about the lifeguard vs swim coach analogy many times; most notably, Skyler Tanner and I spoke about this at the (inaugural) 2011 Ancestral Health Symposium.  The idea here being that the current American healthcare system is set up such that everyone gets thrown into the deep end of the pool, and it’s up to the overworked lifeguard to pull the flounderers and flailers to safety.  And with that sentence, I just coined a couple of new terms.  But you can see what’s going on, here.  Our system is fantastic at fixing broken bodies and stamping-out communicable disease, yet absolutely abysmal at preventing the onset of the types of disease reeking such tremendous havoc on our economy — not to mention the quality of life of our citizenry. 

Hell, no one (or no country) in their right mind would advocate the root canal as preventive dentistry, yet we do essentially the same thing with our overall healthcare.  We as a society absolutely must get a handle on this: sarcopenia, in addition to the other scourges of modernity (obesity, diabetes, heart disease, etc.) equate to quality-of-life catastrophes on an individual level, and cumulative economic meltdown on the societal scale.

What this means, quite simply, is that we need some bad-ass swim coaches to send people to.  Problem is, those are currently few and far between.  At Efficient Exercise, though, we’re ever fine-tuning our talent selection criteria, apprenticeship and training methodologies to bring smart and dedicated professionals to the forefront.

This process is what I intend to define in my talk.  As well as what having a bevy of excellent swim coaches will mean to programs such as Robb Wolf’s fantastic work with Specialty Health and City Zero.  Testing, identification and tracking is one thing, but we have to have the qualified boots-on-the-ground to pull off the day-to-day implementation.

To round-out the presentation, I’ll include a few client case studies.  Think training is easy?  After looking at these, you’re liable to change your mind.

Now the good folks at AHS are generally pretty damn quick to get these presentations edited and out, and as soon as they put this one up, I’ll provide a shameless plug link. 😉 

And for those who are interested, here’s my presentation from last year’s AHS event.

Defining what works

TTP readers know that I like to weave modalities, vary intensity and volume, and “surf the force-velcoty curve”.  And the reasons are quite simple: (1) everything works, but nothing works for ever, (2) muscle responds positively to differing stimulus and, (3) we’ve only got a limited amount of recuperative ability and time in the day, so you better choose wisely vis-a-vis your goals.

Toward that end, make sure you check out Carl Lanore’s Super Human Radio interview of Brad Schoenfeld and Brett Contreras.  Does “the pump” really contribute to muscle growth?  Absolutely!  It’s just not the only thing that contributes to hypertrophy.  That these “pump” schemes work, though, really isn’t the proper question.  What needs to be determined is whether or not fitting these schemes into your own routine is a proper Five T choice for you.  Anyway, it’s a fantastic show.  Be sure to check it out.

And in honor of the almighty pump, here’s a quick workout from last week.  Now, I like to call this stuff “assistance work”, but it’s nothing more than old-school bodybuilding bro-fun 😉  And the pump from the A1/A2 superset? Skin splitting.

A1 cable incline flyes, 3 x 15

A2 cable bi curls, 3 x 15

B1 reverse hyper, 3 x 20 @270

Very short rest between the A1/A2 sets.  Maybe 1 minute or so?  Just enough to rearrange the cable machine and dive back into the next exercise.  Sun’s out, gunzzz out! 🙂

So…if you’re in Atlanta for the big show next week, be sure to come up and say hi!  I really enjoy meeting those who read TTP!


In health, fitness, and ancestral wellness –








  1. Carl’s interview with Brad & Brett was super – especially enjoyed the synergy of all three.
    Brad’s paper, Mechanisms of Hypertrophy, has fine points that just don’t get developed well. No doubt for the reason you hint at: our culture or tradition of training is so narrowly focused that Brad seems to miss his own point! His excellent book does the same thing.

    Borrowing from Carl Rogers, I developed the concept of client-centered training, also calling it personalized training as distinct from personal training. There’s not much ‘personal’ in most personal training – cookie cutters and by the book instead of accessing and formulating specifics for the individual facing you!

    I may have a slight advantage in the matter with 55 years of training experience. Despite being told I’m elderly and too old, my training goes on as well as ever – stronger in some cases. I’m convinced, however, that with progressive training the game changes from what we did when younger. Sure, connective tissue and injuries have to be taken into account. But something far more important seems to go unnoticed. The only person I’ve discussed this with who voiced similar concerns is Boyer Coe.Bottom line is with the more we train, the harder it is to get and sustain pump. For some reason our training is indexed to the seven day Julian calendar while our ancestors used the 28 day lunar calendar. That got me thinking, especially in light of Brad’s Hypertrophy article spelling out submodalities – ones he knows of – within contractile and sarcoplasmic hypertrophy, between mechanical and metabolic stress. So I implement about five submodalities, varying from workout to workout. Pump never fails. After all, those modalities are innate genetic possibilities part of our adaptive evolutionary history – potentials hidden from standard training. I call it Orderly Chaos Training. It keeps training alive and varied. I’m convinced there comes a point where a four to six week program backfires.

    One of the personal training certification programs is working with me for curriculum development along the lines you speak here for 21st century fitness professionals. Without letting the cat out of the bag, the guiding image is that of a wellness care paraprofessional with a wisdom base physicians and medical professionals can call upon for ‘exercise’ in a dynamic, preventative and genetically expressive manner.

    • Excellent, excellent stuff, Ken. You’re right — there is no process whatsoever to mold our training to a 7-day/week schedule. I really like the 28 day cycle idea. Something I’d love to see you expound upon!

  2. I love the analogy of the lifeguard vs swim coach. It is so true!! I will be watching for the plug link and look forward to hearing what you have to say!

  3. Well said. I love the root canal analogy and think it is superbly fitting. Good luck at the conference. I hope it is an amazing event for you and thank you for this post!

  4. Keith,
    Looking forward to seeing your presentation published! You and the Mrs. got a warm shout out from Carl Lenore on Super Human Radio’s Friday show. He’s pretty excited about attending your next Paleo Fx. Have a good Saturday.

    Best Regards,


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