Tuesday, August 31, 2010

How To Coach Nutrition for Health, Fitness and Body Comp Goals: do the Precision Nutrition Level 1 cert

When is a PhD useless? Ok that's extreme, but if you listen to John Berardi talk about his nutrition coaching and his PhD, he says it's when it didn't help him do what he wanted to do: coach folks how to improve their nutrition and achieve their fitness, health and body comp goals:
John Berardi, PhD, CSCS
Ultimately, I went to study in the Exercise and Nutrition Lab at the University of Western Ontario, and wrapped up my grad work in Exercise Physiology and Nutrient Biochemistry. But really, I never learned what I set out to learn — exercise and sport nutrition coaching.
Enter the Precision Nutrition Level 1 certification, designed by Berardi, the co-founder and chief science officer of Precision Nutrition, and Ryan Andrews, RD and director for education at PN (and interviewed recently here at b2d). Its design fills a considerable gap in the nutrition coaching space for health, fitness and body comp success. Why? because it covers not only nutrition fundamentals, but then devotes the same amount of energy to how to apply and coach that esoterica in a way that is meaningful for people who eat food.

Whether you're intrested in upping your nutrition know how for training others, or just want to know what a great coach would be able to offer, this course overview may be of interest.

Success: I've just completed the PN level 1 cert, and it's very good (and i'm v.happy, too. You know, yay i passed? happy dance time). One might ask, how would i know a good nutrition course if it fell on me since i don't hold either an RD or a PhD in Nutrition or Exercise Physiology myself? Well, here's the thing: i have a lot of reps designing and evaluating grad and undergrad courses in a number of subjects, and reviewing text books for publishers. Quality will out. The same stuff that makes a good course in one area, i've seen, pretty much makes a good course elsewhere too.

Exercise Physiology, North American Edition: Nutrition, Energy, and Human Performance (Point (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins))Also, in recognised training certs like the NSCA CSCS (which i do hold),  there is a Big Component on bioenergetics, how the body uses nutrients for exercise, as featured in the text Essentials of Strenght and Conditioning. That courses' materials are pretty comprehensive. Similarly there are excellent general course texts in Exercise physiology like the awesome 7th edition of McArdle and team's Exercise Physiology. In both cases, the text material covers a lot more than nutrition. Meaning that, compared to PN's cert which is solely focused on nutrition coaching (with an eye on the need for exercise too), is better.

Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning - 3rd EditionI still highly recommend doing the CSCS or related to get the foundational knowledge for those of us who mayn't be coming through a formal sports degree program, but for getting deeper into how to fuel someone's fuel to meet their health, fitness and body comp goals, more is needed. And the right more. Hence PN L1

In the PN cert, the course is delivered in two parts: nutrition fundamentals and nutrition coaching - all focused around health, fitness and body comp goals for the person involved. I take it that's a pretty unique emPHAsis.

Nutrition and Energy, part 1 
The first half of the PN certification focuses on the usual stuff one might expect to be covered in a course about nutrition, like how carbs and fats and proteins are processed in the body, but for me, it's done in a more accessible while still not oversimplified way. It also has components that the trainer certs so far have not. For instance, it's chapter on Water Balance goes well beyond what i've found in any of the cert texts and several grad course texts. The explanation on hyponatremia (too much water) is fantanstic - and by the way, too much water in a practical sense means relative to sodium balance. Amazing and rather critical point. Likewise the case study on how to use water effectively over a ten day period to make weight for a competition. Nice practical wisdom.

Something else nicely done is digestion itself. Rather than just getting info on macro & micro nutrients, we get the big picture: what happens to a lump of food from the moment it enters the body till it leaves the body. Makes sense but you'll be hard pressed to find that in most units on nutrition or even text books on bioenergetics. Did you know that  a hunk of food once it's moved from the stomach into the gut has a name? It's called the chyme. Before that, once masticated to be swallowed, it's a bolus.

Combined Play
That may seem like nice info but not essential. Fine. The thing that really gets me going about this course are the questions posed in the study guide to see if one has grokked what's going on in the material. They are so basic that one wonders why this stuff isn't a core highschool curriculum. We may not come with a manual, and there's lots of stuff we don't know, but there are some things over which there is a larger consensus. How do you do with these questions:
  • What are the two most important nutrient/energy stores in the human body? How are the responsible for survival?
  • What does cholesterol actually do? Why is it important. 
  • What are ketones? why are they formed?
  • What happens to carbs from mouth to cell?
  • What's the relation of the fat we eat to our cells' membranes? 
  • In what ways can you estimate water needs for clients?
 When i first read over these questions before doing the course text, i thought man, these seem like really straight ahead quesitons - basic stuff for working with human beings - why aren't all of these on the tip of my brain?

Above and beyond the nutrients, the vitamins, the phytochemicals,  the authors are dead keen on people talking about, thinking about FOOD rather than macro/micro nutrients. "Because people eat food" and because food is more than macro/micro nutrients. Its got psycho-  / sociologico- components, and these things are important for coaching real people who eat real food. Ah but we like to play with supplements, too, do we not? Well that's actually in the coaching section: how to understand when and where these might come into play.

Successfully Coaching Change, part 2
While this kind of clarity around digestive and absorptive processes especially relative to energy needs is fascinating and important, and i feel the better for having it, where the course sets itself apart is in how it maps out a process of coaching towards "outcomes based" goals.  That is, goals that are meaningful, doable and especially, trace-able.

There is as much attention to this part of coaching as professional practice as there is to the nutrition theory. Here's a practical take away. Folks who have used PN know that measures it takes are not only the scale and girth, but also 7 site skinfolds. Actually getting readings at each of those skinfold sites can offer up information about what may be going on in the body if say, fat is being lost from all but one of those sites. How bout that, eh? I'd spend a lot of time going through the literature looking at the accuracy of one measuring technique over another and why and when 7point sf's are good; had not once come across the value of any of those sites for specific information. Wicked.

Oh and here are a few questions from the Coaching part of the program:
  • Why is it important to know a client's previous exercise habits?
  • What are five staple supplements for regular or occasional use?
  • What are five strategies you can use when choosing supplements to improve the risk/reward profile?
  • What are the most common food allergies in adults? 
  • When displaying professsional committment to your clients, what key factors should you keep in mind?
  • When might counting calories be important to your client's success.
  • What can you suggest to clients who lack social support?
  • What's your client's limiting factor for making change?

The coaching part of the program has mutliple key components presented in progressive sensible fashion, each situated within when someone would do what : from gathering info, to interpreting it, to using it to formulate a plan, to assessing when it's actually the program not client adherence that may need tweaking; how to tweak a plan. And more: how to anticipate and work with client issues around getting one with their new nutrition practice.

Course Approach: Athlete at the Center
I've said recently how i really like the model of coaching that puts the athlete at the center and then considers the athlete's needs (i use the term athlete in the z-health way where if you're moving you're an athlete). I've presented the 9S model (overview here) that includes categorizes those needs in terms of sustenance, suppleness, strength, spirit, speed, skill, stamina, structure and style. The job of a great coach is to be able to figure out what the athlete needs when, and how to offer those skills to that athlete in a way that the athlete can hear and use. 

The Precision Nutrition Level 1 cert gives a coach an awful lot of those tools for the sustentance part of that coaching. It helps the coach 
  • assess where an athlete is at with respect to nutrition and nutrition change right now
  • it provides sufficient knowledge on nutrition and communication to be able to understand how to tune a program for that athlete
  • if offers strategies to help guide the athlete through the change process. 
  • it affords a network of colleagues to connect about challenges in practice.

Course Materials:
Beyond the approach and deliverables of the cert content, this course just kinda sings of quality, thought and beta testing. From a pedagogy perspective, this course presents really well constructed, well considered material, from the content to the study aids (and there are copious study aids for various learning modes). Likewise the material has been used for a module in a masters program, so it's had high level students test it out. And students are not shy of sharing what they think of materials. Its apparently thrived in that environment.  
If you're interested in checking out the program, PN has made a TON of material available to provide a clear sense of the course. If you sign up to the waiting list to do the course you'll see that what's on the label is what's in the tin. To connect you with some of those weigh points:

Text Book Overview. The table of contents for the PN Cert textbook is online here. That will give you a very clear idea of the material covered and assessed by the program in both bioenergetics and coaching parts. Because the material here is not a single module in a larger program as it is in various trainer certs there is space to go into the material in a meaningful and applied way and in significant but practical detail. It's just a great book.

Previewing the Coaching Methodology: If you'd like to get a flavour of the coaching methodology, there's a free, five day, 12 mins a day, mini course for trainers that PN has set up - and they provide the forms used for client assessment, too. I'm kinda stunned at how much material is given away in this wee freebie.  If this mini-course speaks to you, then the cert will be right up your street. 6 forms of those used in the course for assessments are provided - that gives one an idea of the kinds of tools one will be able to offer a client to develop a meaningful assessment and build an effective outcomes-based program.

Likewise, if you'd like a sense of the bibliography that informs this approach towards client support, here's an overview of the coaching books Berardi recommends.

Questions to ask a prospective coach on Nutrition
Even if you're not personally interested in taking a PN cert, looking at the above will help get a handle on what a great coach will be able to do to work WITH and FOR you and your goals. 
So if you're looking for a nutrition coach - someone to help you get going or tweak what you're doing, an easy thing you can do is just look at who's already listed with PN and go from there.
If you'er interested in someone who isn't listed, there are some questions you may want to ask:
  • how do you assess where i'm at and what my needs are? 
  • How do you refine goals?
  • What is your style of coaching? 
  • How do you measure progress? 
  • how frequently do we meet? 
  • What materials will you provide me? 
  • How long will "it" take to get where i want to go with you? 
  • How will you assess that? 
  • What kind of tuning do you do on an approach, when?
And by reading the PN cert site, you'll have a sense of what the answers should be to those kinds of questions that indicate the potential for knowledge and quality.

Summary: Qualified
Last year i did a five day super intense course on nutrition and getting into some very intense topics in what's going on with inflammation, foods, diets and looking at the homeostatic and hedonistic attributes that contribute to why, effectively, change is tough. That course too spend a good deal of time on coaching practice with emphasis on motivational interviewing and approaches very much in sync with Berardi's above. We practiced these techniques a lot. I keep thinking what great synergies there are between these two programs.

Looking Ahead from "theory" to praxis. Now PNL1 is what PN calls the "theory" side of their certification process. At a chapter a week, it's about a 16 week course. Some folks doing 2-3 chapters a week, it's faster. There's an invitation-only Level 2 which is a practicum and it's 6months long. It hasn't started up. But based on how much further ahead i feel with just this "theory" on nutrition coaching, i am prepared to be gob smacked by what the Level 2 practicum will require and provide.

I've worked with folks before on nutrition planning. I've felt good about my work with folks and their progress. Right now, with this cert, i have to say i feel WAY better. I have better tools, resources, knowledge to enhance the skills i have and offer way better support.

Excellent course, highly recommended. If you're looking for a great cert to add effective practical nutrition coaching to your practice, this is an awesome course. Even the exam is great - with an 80% pass rate. Really engaging. How often does one say that about an exam.

Likewise, of course, if you're looking for good nutrition coaching, the PN certified directory is a great place to start. G'head, call me.

Related Posts
Precision Nutrition: personal nutrition benchmarking.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

b2d slight hiatus - and how to stay connected

Greetings to b2d readers, grokkers and visitors. Thanks as always for making b2d part of your infosphere. An honor to be part of your virtual space. Really, it's cool to find that you're visiting either for the first time, or have decided to make b2d a place you subscribe in your reader, your email or your Follow list. Awesome. Thank you. WHich is why i wanted to let you know about the b2d status for the next wee while. There's an op to keep in touch below, too.

Work In Progress: Deadlines a Plenty
Updates have been a bit slow this week, and likely shall be into september. Here's why, alas: lots of deadlines right now with papers and proposals for some really exciting work in blending technology with helping folks do well and be well. We're looking at exploring ways techno can help with nutrition practice for folks in what have been termed "food deserts."

We're also proposing some work with elders to support different kinds of interaction with computers that will enhance mobility, connectivity and quality of life. We're also writing up some work we've been doing over the summer about how awareness of things from one's past may help with building social connections with others.

Personally, related to our nutrtition/techno work, i'm also working on the Precision Nutrition Level 1 cert and hope to do the exam for that by the end of the month - in order to get back to studying anatomy as part of the z-health Master Trainer program which also helps our research into wellbeing. Gosh.

Alas, i say again, as all these deadlines are coming at once.

PREVIEW SO for the rest of the month and into sept. a bit posts may become more weekly in nature - lots on the blocks in terms of finds:
  • protein is in everything;
  • reviews of books on talent vs practice practice practice; 
  • return to the sizing of vff bikilas, reviews of Club Swinging Essentials (like it) 
  • and of a few books like Cook's Movement (if you want to know what the FMS/SFMA is about this is it), some thinking on perfromance and injury.

Here's two quickies:
1. CLUBS: if you've been thinking about clubs, get that dvd  - it features club swinging maestro ed thomas. It's a joy. Likewise if in the UK, you can get the exact clubs from Joel Proskewitz at The Strength Company. I've been noticing benefit for my less happy shoulder already. That's only about 1000 swings in, too.  And for reasonse we'll get to anon talking about talent, because it's a skills-based practice, it's not just good for ailments, but for brain function, too.

2. SIZING BIKILAS And for the vff bikilas - for those wondering about sizing (as i have been) - cut to the chase: stick with your KSO size. That's after months of testing the kso size and the size smaller. Even though it *seems* the toes are longer than the kso's - i've found that for runs, and recently playing a lot of frisbee, the regular kso size is best; the size down feels really nice and close to the arch, but they're the only size i've noticed my little toe - and not in a great way. Will talk about testing more anon.

Invitation: Keep In Touch
Thanks for sticking with b2d! In the meanwhile of this hiatus,

begin2dig (b2d) on Facebook

 if you'd like to keep in with b2d daily discourse, please join us over at facebook.com/begin2dig. THere's usually something in wellbeing happening there every day. Would love to have you visit and share your health and well being finds in the virtual b2d lounge.

All the best,

Friday, August 20, 2010

Cocoa drink reduces DOMS. Really? Well, Maybe...

ResearchBlogging.org What if cocoa in a drink of protein and carbs could mitigate DOMS - delayed onset muscle soreness? This is what researchers in a newly published Aug 2010 study have explored. And thank goodness, since most of us have struggled with DOMS at one time or another - new routine and next day or next few days our muscles pay for it. We walk like cowboys coming off a long jaunt in the saddle. Could Cocoa with your recovery beverage of choice be the winner? Let's remember, there are very few approaches that have been shown to help reduce the signs of DOMS - those are detailed in this 2parter here - and as Mike T Nelson comments how we measure DOMS is pretty important when making claims about what is actually reduced in the DOMS experience. Just to recap
Let's review what's measured in assessing DOMS in the literature.
  • what's in the blood: usually there are markers in the blood like creatine kinase and LDH - these are markers of muscle damage - we may have the same CK levels and have very different responses to soreness
  • then there's the subjective measures of soreness themselves using rating scales.
  • then there's the more objective bits: Range of motion and force production.
Caveat Emptor
B2D buddie Mike T. Nelson of extremehumanperformance.com asks the question: is the experience of soreness directly correlated to a drop in performance? Mike in conversation makes the point that pain perception being a brain thing is going to be pretty individual. So how DOMS success is measured is something to bare in mind when looking at the studies following that claim to be effective against DOMS - are we talking DOMS pain reduction (always nice) or performance in a DOMS state?
Study Designing: So if one were to see if cocoa were effective how would we do it? Normally in an experimental condition, there's the thing being tested - in this case cocoa - and then there's a control - like water to see what happens without any intervention - and sometimes - in fact often - there's an alternative protocol, so you can see not just if the thing you're interested in has an effect but if it's the same or better than some usual standard - like a carb or protein+carb drink.

Now in a way, there have been a couple kinda similar studies: one that looked at chocolate milk vs something like cytomax (all carbs) and something like endurox (4:1 carb to protein) for recovery, not DOMS. In that study chocolate milk was shown to be as good as a carb beverage and better in a *certain test condition* than protein + carbs well all of us cheer that low-fat chocolate milk option. Except for the tons of folks for whom milk is not a happy thing, from lactose intolerance to immune responses with dairy. Intriguingly various dairy interests supported the research.

Just The Cocoa Facts, Sir. The question has been bound to come up well, what if we ditch the dairy and just look at the chocolate bit,  or in this case, the cocoa bit? Especially if this time the research is supported not by a dairy but a chocolate company. Hershies in this case. The researchers who did the reesarch also decided not to look at the big picture of recovery but to focus on DOMS reduction. Why? Because, they argue, we seem to see free-radical release go up conincident with the muscle damage of exercise, so perhaps, putting an anti-oxidant like cocoa into the system may help mitigate those effects and possibly reduce the DOMS experience. Interesting. And there's no small challenge they say in trying to measure anti-oxidant effect:

Although various experiments have been conducted to investigate the effect of antioxidant dietary supplementation on biomarkers of skeletal muscle damage and oxidative stress, the results are often equivocal and difficult to compare because of considerable variations in sampled populations and exercise protocols (18). Moreover, the practical application of antioxidant supplementation research studies has been considerably limited because of an overwhelming failure for measuring and reporting functional indices of exercise-induced muscle damage such as soreness (18). Therefore, the purpose of this pragmatic experiment was twofold: first to investigate the overall effectiveness of a welldefined custom manufactured cocoa-based protein and carbohydrate prototype drink on skeletal muscle cell damage and inflammatory biomarkers and perceived soreness associated with exhaustive exercise and secondly to assess if drink consumption before exercise offered additive effects. We hypothesized that the cocoa-based protein and carbohydrate prototype drink would decrease skeletal muscle cell and inflammatory biomarkers and perceived soreness compared to water, a standard fluid often consumed during exercise bouts.We also hypothesized that consuming the test drink before exercise would elicit further reductions in oxidative stress markers and perceived soreness.

Starting from Scratch. So thar ya go: the researchers will put together their own drink and compare it with water for effect on DOMS. They are going to use TWO of the four markers for DOMS described above: the biomarkers like CK and LEFS - Lower Extremity Functional Sacle. In LEFS, participants report on a scale of 0-4 the perceived difficulty of carrying out a physical task (actual survey here, pdf). So one biological test and one subjective scoring test. It is SUCH a drag that DOMS tests are not standardized! And asking someone to reflect *about* how they'd find getting out of a car if they haven't gotten out of a car, for instance, is yup pretty durn subjective. Interesting, but subjective when there are measures like ROM and force production also available, and even perceived soreness from pressure.

Findings about Cocoa in Particular? That aside, what did the authors find? Not too much. The drink had no effect on the biomarkers of damage. So they didn't mitigate its biological effects. The authors think however that their use of LEFS rather than the usual in DOMS studies VAS is a step up because LEFS asks about daily activities rather than just how a poke feels. And as to their results with LEFS checked at 24 and 48 hour intervals?
For those trials where the test drink was ingested after exercise we noted significantly less of a reported change from 24 to 48 hours by the participants. This indicated a decrease in perceived DOMS and therefore less difficulty in performing various physical tasks 48 hours postexercise.
Why does less change between 24-48 hours mean decreased DOMS?
DOMS gradually increases 24 hours postexercise and typically peaks 48 hours postexercise before beginning to decline (16).
Now i'm a bit annoyed that for this to be the BIG RESULT, we only get a couple summative values for the questionnaire rather than the raw data for lets face it, only 13 participants. Here it is
Consuming the test drink after exercise resulted in a mean change of 2.6 plus or minus 6 compared to 13.7 plus or minus 10 for the control.
In LEFS, the total score is out of 100, with a 90% confidence interval. What this suggests is that the scores changed by about 6 times as much in the non-drink case, which the authors suggest means that DOMS didn't get much worse in the drink case.

Here's personally where i'd actually like to see the raw data just to confirm that the direction of change for the non-drink group WAS that their scores went down (got worse) rather than up. We have to trust the authors' reporting. And i hate that.

The authors also spend considerable time speculating over why their form of cocoa rather than dutched may be a better use of cocoa to what's in chocolate milk

This is why science is so cool: after an entire paper of data, experimental set up, discussion, yada yada yada, this is what we get
Based on the findings of our experiment we conclude that a recovery drink composed of a carbohydrate-to-protein ratio of 3.5:1 with the addition of flavonol-rich cocoa may (emaphasis mine -mc) decrease perceived muscle soreness after exercise.
There is nothing in the results to show that any one of the elements in this drink - the protein, the carbs or the chocolate - has any particular effect on mitigating DOMS. Indeed, one previous study that said cocoa is fine for ldl, but not for reducing inflamation, which would kinda suggest that cocoa mayn't help with DOMS.  The authors say that while there results show a similar lack of change in biomarkers, maybe it's the combination of protein/carb/cocoa that's having the effect. That is the subjective response.

Related Work. Interestingly, a previous study by Green and company that states rather categorically in its title that Carb or Carb/Pro drinks have no effect on DOMS is set aside by the present researchers. They suggest that really, Green's study didn't actually elicit anything with which to have a response to mitigate:
Therefore, it may be possible that the protocol of Green et al. did not impose adequate skeletal muscle cell damage to induce substantial perceived postexercise muscle soreness in participants. 
This helps the authors to say it's not cocoa alone; not clear that it's really not protein/carbs alone. 
 So all the more reason for the the authors to have studied a similar drink without the cocoa, rather than water, or along with water, they would have a stronger basis to assert that it's their anti-oxidant/flavonoid cocoa that's the Special Sauce for toning down DOMS. So why mightn't the authors have done something so obvious? I'd speculate something like the following.

The Gritty Realities of Reseasrch on a Shoe string - or Little Hershies Kiss
When one is designing a study, Saul Greenberg once suggested an heuristic to me about research i live by: think about the optimal outcomes of the study proposed. What will the best results be? Is that optimal outcome significant? If the authors of this paper had run that exercise what would they have said: the BEST we will be able to say if our results have an effect is that we will (a) see a difference in biomarkers and (b) see a difference in perceived soreness. And givent that, what will be be able to say about cocoa? Nothing. The best we will be able to say is that cocoa was in the mix and maybe it contributed to decreased DOMS, so best case: it's worth doing the next study to isolate this out. 

Why not do the full study the first time? It would take either longer or would take more participants. There are costs to that.  So, given that the authors didn't see any A but they did get some B which is sufficient to say "maybe" cocoa plays a role, i hope Hershies is sufficiently keyed up by this "maybe" to fund the next study that would compare the two formulations. Which will be the longer or bigger trial anyway. That could have been done from the start. But maybe Hershies said "what can you do with X dollars? if we like what you do maybe we'll give you X*y" - and so there we are.  Maybe. I speculate wildly.

Well what can i tell ya? What can i possibly say? 
All we do know from the data is that taking the drink before exercise rather than after exercise had no real effect on DOMS; taking the drink afterwards, the authors suggest based on their 24-48 hours DOMS increasing, shows it does.

So maybe maybe something in the composition and timing of the beverage that helped. What bit is a rather open question. One might say ah yes but there are other studies comparing say c.milk with carb/protein and the c.milk did better so it must be the C for Chocolate? Maybe. Maybe maybe and more maybe.

Might be a fun personal experiment: next time a new routine is in the offing, blend in those whole cacao beens and go nuts! you may even feel better for the next 24-48 hours. It's chocolate! how could it hurt?

McBrier NM, Vairo GL, Bagshaw D, Lekan JM, Bordi PL, and Kris-Etherton PM (2010). Cocoa-based protein and carbohydrate drink decreases perceived soreness after exhaustive aerobic exercise: a pragmatic preliminary analysis. Journal of strength and conditioning research / National Strength & Conditioning Association, 24 (8), 2203-10 PMID: 20634742

Karp JR, Johnston JD, Tecklenburg S, Mickleborough TD, Fly AD, & Stager JM (2006). Chocolate milk as a post-exercise recovery aid. International journal of sport nutrition and exercise metabolism, 16 (1), 78-91 PMID: 16676705

Mathur S, Devaraj S, Grundy SM, & Jialal I (2002). Cocoa products decrease low density lipoprotein oxidative susceptibility but do not affect biomarkers of inflammation in humans. The Journal of nutrition, 132 (12), 3663-7 PMID: 12468604

Wiswedel, I., Hirsch, D., Kropf, S., Gruening, M., Pfister, E., Schewe, T., & Sies, H. (2004). Flavanol-rich cocoa drink lowers plasma F2-isoprostane concentrations in humans Free Radical Biology and Medicine, 37 (3), 411-421 DOI: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2004.05.013

Green MS, Corona BT, Doyle JA, & Ingalls CP (2008). Carbohydrate-protein drinks do not enhance recovery from exercise-induced muscle injury. International journal of sport nutrition and exercise metabolism, 18 (1), 1-18 PMID: 18272930


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Ryan Andrews of Precision Nutrition: The PN voice of Reason and Wellbeing Education

This post is an interview with Ryan Andrews, Education director of Precision Nutrition. Ryan walks the talk, all the way down. He brings a careful, thoughtful eye to a wide range of issues in nutrition practice.  As you'll see, he's a pretty exceptional person, with a life time's passion for wellbeing, blending good nutrition, health and fitness practices and thoughtful awareness of the choices we make within those practices.

I've said before how much i like the Precision Nutrition program (review) for a bunch of reasons: as an approach to eating, it's based on nutrition habits not calorie counting. These habits act as a baseline to help one learn what and how our bodies respond to different foods in different circumstances. It's also got a great approach to health and well being in terms of getting sufficient movement happening.

But one of the things i have celebrated about PN in particular is the forum, which really means the people and the interaction with people offered there. This is a model of great forum interaction made up of just super folks. And the folks from PN are full participants along with folks just wanting to learn a healthy way to get to understand ourselves and food, students and professionals from all walks of life. As resources there are professional trainers from a rich variety of backgrounds, scientists, nutritionists, body workers, physicians, it's an amazing mix of expertise and experience. The quality of the interaction is first class, polite, convivial, witty, knowledgable and respectful. If you hang out on forums at all you'll appreciate how exceptional this sounds. It's par for the course here.

Personally, i've connected with lots of great folks at PN over the several years i've hung out there, learning about nutrtion and working out. Georgie Fear and Mike T. Nelson have contributed to numerous posts here. Roland Fisher, trainer extraordinaire i've mentioned often and you'll see his comments from time to time on the blog. Carter Shoffer's approach to peri-workout drinks on the PN forum is second to none, and he has a way of coming up with great analogies for difficult concepts - he's one of the guys that makes the Forum such a great place to be.

If we accept that leadership comes from the top and leadership sets the tone, then getting to engage with John Berardi a bit more this year shows that that niceness and professionalism does come from the team lead. His unflagging optimism about folks getting healthy with balanced food and workouts with the best of science and practice is inspiring.

More recently i've had the pleasure of interacting a bit more with the guy who's become literally "the Voice of PN" - Ryan Andrews is the person doing the voice overs for the forum tutorials, and more recently for the Precision Nutrition online Certification materials. He's also the author of 99.9% of PN's incredible and well researched "All About" article series. One of the assets of of getting PN is access to the forum, and access to the forum includes these practical/research summaries on everything from Cholesterol to Creatine; from  Sleep to Protein to BCAAs to Fish Oil to - well anything to do with nutrition health and well being, pretty sure there'll be a PN All About article there.

Ryan Andrews: "PN isn't about dieting. 
PN is about helping people find what works for them." 

I aksed Ryan if he's be willing to have a wee chat about who he is and how he's come to connect with PN, and a bit about his own approach to food and life. He agreed. The following is our discussion. To kick things off, here's Ryan's signature:
Ryan D. Andrews, MS, MA, RD, CSCS, NSCA-CPT, ACSM-HFS, CISSN Director of Education - Precision Nutrition ---Healthy Food Bank --Compassionate Cooks
Can we touch on your training?  The formal path you've taken with respect to nutrition work?
I did my undergrad in exercise science.  I did my graduate degrees in exercise science and nutrition.  When I arrived at grad school, I quickly realized that to have any impact in the nutrition world, I needed to become an RD.  If I didn't get the credential, I would have always felt limited to what I could recommend to people.
Can you talk a little about the RD? That's a biggie in terms of qualifications. But it's also a qualification i've seen met with considerable skepticism of late as people being wedded to the high carb world that is the Food Pyramid.
A RD spends at least 4 years studying nutrition, then does a 6-12 month nutrition internship, then must pass an exam, then does continuing education each year.  In the past, I think RDs felt like they had to follow the governments advice about eating.  But now, more RDs are starting to question old science and challenge strategies that aren't working.  I know some RDs who are bright, cutting edge, and really help people get healthy.  I also
know some RDs who are boring, outdated, and don't know how to help people
eat (and can't eat healthy themselves).  I guess most professions are like this, huh?
No argument there. So moving away from the formal to the personal: one of your first tags on the PN bio is that you were a competitive bodybuilder. My sense of competitive bb is that there's a lot of time spent starving and feeling like crap. is this an incorrect view?
When preparing for a contest, you are hungry and feel like crap.  When trying to put on mass, you are always full and feel like crap.
So why bb, and why competitive bb?
I discovered weight training when I was 13 years old.  I discovered healthy nutrition when I was 14 years old.  I became fascinated with the ability to alter these to alter my body.
Where did bodybuilding and nutrition intersect for you?
They always went together.  Ever since I had my first training partner at age 14 - a discussion about training was always followed up by a discussion on eating.
Sounds like you've had an interest in nutrition from your undergrad days - how did that happen?
I was interested in nutrition before college.  I remember thinking how amazing it was that I could actually study exercise/nutrition after high school.
OK, this is even more atypical. When your friends asked what you wanted to study and you said "food" how'd you describe the interest? Did you also like cooking at this point?
At this point, it was about nutrition science.  People knew I was in shape and competed in bodybuilding.  I was always known as the "nutrition and exercise guy."  It's interesting looking back, because I actually knew very little about food, culture, farming and cooking.  Only about science.
You've written about not stepping on the scale much, and being a vegetarian who has his diet rather dialed in. How long did it take you to get that setting for yourself?
I'm always making adjustments and evolving.  After bodybuilding, I was really able to listen to what my body needs, and treat my body well, instead of always forcing it to extremes.  I know when I am making healthy decisions in my life.  Seeing a number on the scale doesn't serve any purpose to me.
Since this parameter *is* such big deal with so many of us, do you  find that you're working to help folks find your perspective around  the scale? For folks who are concerned about that number - or need to  demonstrate a number for their sport, what is a suggestion you'd make  to either group?

With everything related to nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle, it's about helping the person find what works for them.  What works for me doesn't work for everyone.  I do think that a lot of people feel like they 'need' a scale to have success with health - but really, I try to remind them that daily behaviors are what matters.  We know what to do to be successful - the scale shouldn't dictate how we feel about ourselves and our habits.  Even with bodybuilding, the scale didn't matter much.  It was about how I looked in the mirror and how I felt about my physique.  I would challenge everyone to think about how the scale impacts their life - and how it benefits or harms your decisions.
In terms of food decisions,  when did the vegetarian (or is it vegan?) approach kick in for you? would you care to talk a little bit about that for you, your decision process? Your challenges?
I was taking an "ethics in research" class during grad school.  We were discussing animal research.  I realized I wasn't very comfortable with using animals in research.  I talked to my lab partner about this and she asked if I ate meat.  I told her yes.  She informed me that I was killing animals every day.  I had never made that connection before.  Meat was always just XX grams of protein.  That's it.  So, from that moment forward, I haven't consumed meat.  The more I learned about animals being used in food production, the more I wanted to eat plant-based.  I transitioned to a 100% plant-based diet over the next couple years (empahsis mine, -mc).
That's cool that it took time to make that total plan move. Now that you're there, how long has it been? i ask because many people float back and forth,  and a consistent non-meat approach over time is still pretty rare.
I haven't consumed meat for over 6 years.  I haven't consumed any animal
products at all for over 4 years.
What is your biggest challenge when it comes to nutrition practice?
Remembering what my values are when it comes to nutrition.  Sometimes in our society, it's easy to forget and go with the masses.
John talks about every two years doing the get shredded thing - do you have a similar walk in the desert?
No.  Restrictive diets don't lead to anything positive for me.  They mess with my head and end up making me disregard my body.
That's very interesting. Are there any other ways you find that you listen to your body? i  guess i'm thinking about movement, pain/injury etc?
I always allow wiggle room with my workout schedule.  If I feel run down and fatigued, I take time off.  If I feel full of energy and loose, I'll do extra workouts.  If any movements feel awkward and/or painful, I do something else.  I used to force things, and this led to pain/injury.
How did you get SO involved with Precision Nutrition?
I've been following JB since I was 19 years old.  Fast forward several years to when I was at Hopkins, I collaborated on a few projects with JB.   We worked together well and got along.  We did some articles for T-nation and some presentations for the NSCA.  From there, I ended up wanting to transition away from Maryland, and JB offered me a job with PN.
What are some of the features that have appealed to you, and that keep you involved?
PN isn't about dieting.  PN is about helping people find what works for them.  We provide a basic foundation, and then guide people through the outcomes based decision making process.  Is it working?  Or is it not working?  Then make adjustments. PN is open-minded and progressive.  I find those qualities essential. Also, PN has some of the most interesting and bright people I've ever met.
That really resonates with what i've found too from the participant side. Folks on the forum tend to stick around long after whatever body comp challenges we've worked through, too. It's cool.

What are some of the trends in nutrition that are well let's say scary on the one hand or exciting on the other?
Nutrigenomics. It's fascinating and exciting, but opens a new level of "information overload" that North America probably can't deal with right now [see Berardi's interview with field leader Dr. Ahmed El-Sohemy here or here -mc].
Have you seen folks general knowledge about food get worse or better?
It's weird.  I've seen knowledge about calories and nutrients get better among the general population, but I've seen peoples knowledge about how to actually eat and listen to their body diminish.
Really? since "listening to the body" seems to be a theme here, let's  make sure we're on the same page for this. I remember you posting about eating now when you feel hungry - listening to that. And i
think ROland Fisher said something like but a child asks for stuff  all the time, too, and it wouldn't be smart to deliver on that  request all the time. So, what's it mean to "listen" wisely, shall we say, and how have you  seen this go south?
We talk about it more here on calorie counting

It comes back to what we REALLY want, what we value.  Sure, eating donuts and sitting around might bring temporary pleasure - but it doesn't REALLY feel good.  It leads to low energy, mood swings, bloating, disease, the list goes on.  When we crave fruit - eat fruit, enjoy the fruit, stop just before being fully content, and move on.  Once we start selecting whole foods, unaltered, our hunger and satiety cues recalibrate. 
This kind of thinking about food, relationships to food, what that means for the body, getting to grips with that, seems to lead to your title at PN is as director of education. What does that mean?
I am involved with educating people.  I help with articles, presentations, coaching, certifications, courses, etc.
Part of this work is the new Precision Nutrition Certification. Let's talk about that for a sec. There are existing certs out there - the CSCS and similar organizations also certainly have big chunks of their exams on nutrition for athletics. What did you want to do differently with the PN certs?
We wanted to keep it real.  We wanted to provide textbook knowledge and then connect it with real world eating.
Is that the main gap in current nutrition training?
Yes.  There is a gap between science and real world eating.  And there is a gap between science and where actual food comes from.
As part of support for addressing this gap, the level 1 cert has put together an awful lot of resource from content to content types including a fat textbook, voice over slides, workbook, a discussion forum where the PN team is very responsive. When did you decide to do this and how did you decide to to in this way?
It was in the works for a couple years.  JB and I collaborated and took it one step at a time.
Let's talk about the text book for a second. How did y'all figure out the degree of complexity or not that you wanted to get into to make the content simple enough without being too simple?
It was helpful for JB and I to reflect on our educational experience and real world coaching experience.  We focused on the items that are useful in both areas.
How will folks know what to expect from a PN certified coach? I guess i'm asking about this because it seems that when stuff comes from organizations that sound generic like Candian College of Sports Medicine (there is no such thing - i just made that up, dear reader), it sounds a bit more authoritative than "precision nutrition" cert - than something effectively associated with a brand. One might think of such a coach "oh great: they know how to sell PN - i need someone who knows about nutrition; i don't want to eat 6 times a day" you know?
We want to empower PN certified coaches.  We want to give them the knowledge base to help people with eating and health.  Trainers are bombarded with nutrition questions, and having this certification will help them feel confident about responding.
In Defense of Food: An Eater's ManifestoSpeaking of bombarding, could we talk a wee bit about popular voices on food right now? Michael Pollan for instance - very popular guy; great presence as part of food inc, very critical of what he calls nutritionism. This is Precision NUTRITION - what's your response to Pollan-ism, let's call it?
Pollan is great.  As people focus on the science and details of eating, we tend to eat worse.  I think if we can join our scientific knowledge of nutrition with real world eating and culture - we'll have all bases covered, and really be able to achieve optimal health.

Cool, can you offer a couple of examples of science knowledge meeting  reality where you seen this happening? that someone would recognize  it as the two places coming together?

Example #1:  "Wow, it seems like eating omega-3 fats is really good for my body.  And gosh, omega-3 fats are found in flax seeds and hemp seeds.  I'm going to start eating those in salads or on oatmeal."

Example #2:  "Protein dense foods seem to be great for muscle mass and body
composition.  I'm going to prioritize things like beans and greens each day
to ensure I get protein."
And related to food combinations, would you like two moments to talk about your take on Paleo?
Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health (Vintage)I don't really have any strong feelings on Paleo eating.  No matter what, I think a diet based on whole, unprocessed foods is essential.  But I've come across too many guys using "Paleo eating" as an excuse to eat a platter buffalo style chicken wings or get 2 big macs without buns.  That ain't Paleo.  I really like what Jack Norris has to say about it.
And one more again in the more popular/populist voices on food: Taub's good calories bad calories
He makes some excellent points and gives us some things to think about.  
I don't think whole, unprocessed carb dense foods like grains and beans are resulting in health problems.
For yourself, Ryan, how are you working out right now?
For the past few years, I've been doing more full body resistance training
and conditioning. 

I'll do Monkey Bar Gym workouts 3-4 times per week

monkey bar gym tour with founder John Hinds
I'll also do a yoga class 1-2 times per week

Other than that, I bike and walk each day since I don't have a car.
Yay on the no car. And with your own eating?
I don't like to spend too much brain power on my own eating.  I already think about it enough with my coaching and job.  Thus, simplicity rules.

I'll sometimes prep food in bulk.  Stuff like brown rice, quinoa, lentils, or split peas for the week.  Otherwise, I just prep food as I go.

I hardly ever carry food with me, as my job allows meals to be at home.  If I'm going to be away, I just stop at a grocery store or healthy restaurant.

Most days:

-after my AM workout I'll have a super shake (with greens, fruit, nuts, etc.

Just like here: pn's super shake creations
If I am hungry later in the AM I'll have a slice of sprouted grain bread with some peanut or almond butter and some cut up veggies or salad
-Early afternoon I might have some roasted garbanzo beans and a piece of fruit
-For dinners - I'll rotate between veggie burgers, bean burritos, yams/potatoes, rice/beans, pizza, stir-fry's, big salads with aduki beans....stuff like that.  
I drink lots of tea and water during the day -In the winter, I eat more grains, beans and cooked foods.  In the summer, I eat more raw veggies and fruits and salads.

My meals aren't very "typical."  I might have a big yam for dinner - that's it.  Or a bowl of beans.  Really basic stuff.
A big yam for dinner, Ryan? This approach on the surface may seem a little un-PN's habits of protein and greens and fats at each feeding.
The way I eat works for me and my goals.  And that's what PN is about.  PN is about giving people a foundation and then helping to guide them in finding a strategy that works for them and their goals.  Something that gets results and can be sustained.

The way I eat is 100% PN.
When you're not being Director of Education, what are you up to?
I help at an organic farm.  I am a newsletter editor for the American Dietetic Association.  I do a lot of Monkey Bar Gym style workouts.  I read lots of non-fiction.  I help in the Boulder School Lunch Program.  I like to go outside and bike, walk, swim.  I really try to challenge myself to live a better life each day and figure out how to make the world a better place to live.
A lot of folks would ascribe these kinds of principles to a religious  or spiritual belief system. If that's not too personal, is that the  case here, or is this the evolving Zen of Ryan?
I don't really follow any specific religion.  Most organized religions don't appeal to me because it creates barriers between groups.  One of my favorite quotes is by the Dalai Lama - "My true religion is kindness."  I do my best to follow that religion.
If there's one thing you'd like people to hold onto about nutrition, eating, what would it be?
Take a few minutes each day to think about the repercussions of your food choices.  Think about how they impact the planet, your health, animals, workers, and so forth.  Then make sure you are living in line with what you value.

Thank you very much, Ryan.

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    Saturday, August 14, 2010

    A Model of an Athlete, of Athletecisim: z-health's 9s - also a model of coaching

    Here's a question that seems to be poking me on from the earlier "do we enjoy all our workouts/practices/training sessions?" And it's: What is our model of performance? what are the qualities to which we aspire in terms of living what i'm increasingly seeing as "embodied" lives - where we get that we're not just brains with bodies, but that our bodies are life enhancing? Before answering this, one might wonder why do we need a model? Why not just you know, keep moving? Eat well, rest well, move well.

    Yup. That's great. For a certain quality of well. But what makes up that "wellness"? How do we understand that wellness so we can make decisions about what to include in our practice and what to discard; what's useful and what's for later, or not at all? Frameworks, models of a system, an organism can help. Indeed, these kinds of templates are usually more effective than specific programs. They usually relate to principles from which skills and pragmatics can be derived, progress or just needs assessed. And if we're actually in a place to coach someone, the value of such frameworks becomes even greater.

    Let's consider what we mean by principle centered frameworks, consider the athlete in this, and take a look at the benefit of such an approach as a coaching model, too.

    Principle Informed Frameworks - Models in Other Domains
    The 7 Habits of Highly Effective PeopleWe have examples of such adaptable models in other aspects of our way of being in the world. Steven Covey, author of the ubiquitously cited 7 Habits of Highly Effective People demonstrates why having a framework informing what we do is part of being truly effective. For instance, he's well known for his expression rather than prioritise your schedule "schedule your priorities." In other words, make deliberate time for what is important. That's a principle. He calls it "put first things first" or suggests that "the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing." To figure out what comes first, he has strategies to align with one's "true north" - one's principles. Come from principles first, not strategies like to-do lists or calendars. Those are tools; they are just the implementation details.

    Good to Great ,Why Some Companies Make the Leap...and Other's Don't 2002 publicationIn another now-foundational text about business success, Jim Collins and his team in Good to Great attempt to reverse engineer a set of principles that are in common with companies that made the leap from being Good companies to Great companies - companies that have beaten the market repeatedly for a particular period, by a particular percentage consecutively.  

    Themes recur from attitudes of leaders to the way organizational management works. One of my favorite principles from the book is Get the Right People on the Bus. With the right folks, one can do almost anything, and thrive in any climate.

    First Things FirstWhat's also interesting about the book is how many times Collins finds himself asking participants in the interviews about what their company's mission or vision is - and how this wasn't necessarily ever an explicit thing for people. The actions they took were not necesarily part of a pre-fabricated plan. It was just the right thing to do.

    The role of folks like Covey and Collins is to analyse the seeming instinctive behaviours of the Great and translate them into principles first and, following this, skills that can be practiced in line with these principles. For Covey, i'd suggest that the book First Things First is very much the workbook for the temporal organization part of the Seven Habits.

    By developing skills practice, as in anything, skills are first paths towards accessing an action we want to accomplish - from a better tennis swing to a better email response practice (which may mean less email). Second, the repeated practice of a skill makes it a kind of habit or even reflex. That is we do it without having to think about it. It becomes engrained. For folks who constantly practice their skills, they become not just reflexive habits but stronger patterns. Talking with Steve Cotter the other day about a really nice GS snatch tutorial video he did, he was saying he had to do a new one because he was finding his technique was refining much faster now - months rather than years. Steve has been so focussed on his snatch technique and on teaching that technique in his IKFF for GS practice and competition, no kidding he's finding new performance refinements fast. It's amazing what having to teach does to thinking about breaking something into the most teachable units.

    Model of the Athlete means Focus for Skills Development
    Which brings us back to athletics from a principle driven model. So what is an athlete? or what are the attributes of athleticism? That's almost as bad as asking "what is motivation?" It's a skill too.

    SO here's a model of an athlete that Eric Cobb put together and around which Z-Health (overview and index of related articles) is based.
    The Z-Health 9S model of the Athlete

    Strength, sustenance, skill, suppleness, stamina, structure, spirit, style and speed. All *equal sized* nodes on this graph. We all need strength: what kind of strength do we need in particular for what we do? Likewise suppleness. We all need to eat and recover. How tune that? How might one's structure be utilized or tuned to better support one's athletic goals? What about sports skills? How's one's physiological stamina mapped to one's ability to endure, to support, to be? to one's spirit? And what about one's own way of doing things, one's style? How support that to enhance rather than break one?

    In graphing terms, this equal-node model is also a hub and spoke diagram where "the athlete is at the center" (the phrase you will here Cobb and Co. repeat often) and where everything is mediated through that center.  This paradigm of the athlete as the mediating center of some core attributes takes coaching in an interesting direction, and situates Z-Health as a robust approach to training longevity that goes way beyond the foundation of movement drills.

    I've written quite a bit about the principles from neuroscience that Z-Health translates as a kind of engineering of movement science or neuroscience into training practice. We've looked at Z-Health from dynamic joint mobility, to pain models, to threat modulation to CNS testing.  the focus has been to improve movement quality and thereby to improve movement performance. These are the fundamental components of Z-Health.  Moving limbs well, threat modulation for effective adapatation, these are the primary building blocks of the Z-Health approach as taught in the R,I,S and T certifications. But these fundamentals are themselves motivated by this overall model of the athlete, where the goal is how best support the athlete.

    In other words, the goal of Z-Health as an approach is actually to use this model of the athlete (and in Z the starting point is "everyone is an athlete") as a principle-oriented, skills-based guide to coaching> The goal, as a coach, is to learn the skills - driven by the best practical, clinical and science lead research out there - to guide an athlete's performance on each of these parameters. Cobb talks about the best coaching is knowing when to emphasize which of these compnents in training, which then means knowing how emphasize the component, and within that, what content specifically to offer the athlete. That's non-trivial. That's serious stuff. Principles are serious. And the expectation is rather that as coaches we walk the walk not just talk the talk. I've said it before: everyone needs a coach. Do you have a coach who can talk with you about your speed and your swing and your sustenance? Why not? Here's a list of master trainers who really walk the walk.

    Great Coaching - Practical Principled Coaching
    for Deliverable, Repeatable, Skills-based Athleticism

    We are wired to learn and to adapt - it's part of our survival mechanism.
    Part of the approach of the 9S model is to break down components of practice into learnable skills. All of the movements in the basic drills of R and I phase are based on athletic movements (this is particularly apparent in I-Phase).

    In the 9S courses, the emphasis is on getting at these larger components of athleticism and focusing on usable knowledge and practical skills, from nutrition to strength to speed to style, to make us better coaches, so that we have the depth and breadth to provide the right knowledge, the right tools, at the right time, within a pretty broad, holistic view of an athlete fundamentally as a person. As an example, last year in Sustenance and Spirit, we spent considerable time practicing coaching skills as drills. Active Listening anyone? This was really challenging work for a lot of us: how to listen and respond rather than just program and push.  That was aside from the depth of detail we got into on basic nutrition, inflammation processes, supplement studies and related. Not just knowledge; not just tools but how to engage, when to deliver the right ones and the right time.

    Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody ElseThe cool thing i think is that stuff when we see someone great do it, we often take the approach of "wow, that person is really gifted - they just have that talent. what a gift" But a lot of that stuff can be taught. And practiced. With intent. We can develop skills. We can learn not only the tools to have to be a great coach, but how to BE a great coach.

    And sure there may be folks who are naturally gifted. But as Geoff Colvin notes in Talent is Overrated, and as Gladwell notes in Outliers, putting in the time to practice a skill is what separates the best from the rest. We need our ten thousand reps. But knowing the skills to rep, when, for how long - that's what makes a great coach, and how to be a great coach is no small thing. But a lot of it is skills too, and skills can be (a) taught and (b) practiced.

    There's an elegance to Cobb's model that i suspect as it becomes better known will end up plastered over strength coaches' walls. Sports programs will teach the 9S's as a way of communicating training goals and measurements. And what a day that will be.

    It takes a certain kind of genius to ask the obvious questions and then find not only the non-trivial answers but the solutions that make them tractable, teachable, learnable while letting them still be wonderful. I think that likely Eric Cobb has done this with this approach to coaching, with the athlete-centred model of athleticism.  Why? because it is principle centered, science based and skills-oriented. Each course, each cert is always geared to "what can you do with this monday morning when you're back with your athletes?"

    Taking It Home.
    This post started with a question about how do we  guide our pursuit of embodied happiness, embodied well being? Having a model of what makes up success in a given domain seems to be a pretty good approach. Covey has such a model for engaging with others. Collins has a model for corporate progress. And i'd suggest Cobb (wow, another C) has a model for athletic well being. And since we all have bodies and move, well, everyone is an athlete.

    So if you've been riffing on Z-Health as a great approach to movement, and feeling better, maybe moving out of pain or into better performance having seen a Z-Health coach, that's great. It is super fantastic for this. If you're interested in getting started with Z-Health, here's a big fat Z-Health overview.

    If you're thinking about an approach to training, about learning skills to train better, and about getting at the science of movement and these 9S's in an intelligent, useful and usable way, Z-Health is really reaching to get folks there. And that's kind of a new paradigm too for fitness, strength and conditioning, and sports-oriented training. Kinda makes me go hmm. This is an interesting place to be, and i'm inclined to watch this space.


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