CONSULTING TRAINING REPORT -
INSIDE THIS ISSUE...
"Interview with Men's Health Expert Mike Mejia"
"Injured? You can Continue Training!"
--Whats New on the Website?
1 - PROFILE
OF A STRENGTH & CONDITIONING COACH/BODYBUILDER
Mike Mejia, CSCS, is a regular contributor
to Men's Health magazine and is also a strength and conditioning
specialist in Long Island, NY. Getting time for an interview
with this successful fitness writer and bodybuilder was
not easy, but it was worth it!
CB: Mike, why don't you tell the
readers about your personal training business?
MM: I'm currently doing private sessions
in New York - lots of personal training with executives,
but this hasn't stopped me from continuing with freelance
writing assignments. I write a column in Let's Live and
I often write feature articles for Physical magazine. And
in addition to all of this, I've been working with a youth
hockey program as an off-ice conditioning coach.
CB: Mike, you truly meet the definition
of an expert. How did you come into a strength and conditioning
MM: I received an undergraduate in Exercise
Physiology from Adelphi University and a Master's from Queens
College (New York) in the same subject. I am also a Certified
Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA. That
is the top certification for individuals in this field.
CB: It sounds like you are really
helping a lot of people. What are your personal achievements
as a strength coach?
MM: I am most proud of my work with
the Saskatoon Blades (a Junior Hockey team in Canada) and
currently with the Syosset Bobcats Minor Hockey Team.
CB: Training hockey players can be
an amazingly rewarding experience. Are there any anecdotes
you would like to add from working with the Blades?
MM: Hockey players are just like any
other athletes: Show them you can help them perform better
and they'll listen to anything you say.
CB: Mike, since your clients are
often busy executives, do you have any training tips to
pass on that will enhance their mental and physical health?
Can you suggest any training ideas that can actually help
them perform better at work and improve their bottom line?
MM: I've always maintained that starting
the day with an intense workout makes everything else you
do seem easy by comparison. Hitting a new personal best
on a deadlift or a squat, or grinding out some high rep
supersets first thing in the morning makes the rest of the
day a breeze.
CB: That is an excellent philosophy.
Since you are a serious bodybuilder, surely you must have
some "insider" tips for building muscle?
MM: It's easy. Feed the machine. Doesn't
matter what kind of program you're on, if the caloric (nutritional)
support isn't there you won't build a thing. Also, use every
trick in your arsenal. Don't buy into only one training
style or philosophy exclusively because no one has all the
answers. High reps, low reps, fast reps, slow reps (wasn't
that a Dr. Suess book?), they all have their place.
CB: And is that your general philosophy?
MM: My philosophy is that "The path
of least resistance often leads to nowhere." I love this
quote and have adopted it as a sort of a mantra because
it applies so well to not only my chosen field but to all
aspects of life. You want to get bigger and stronger? It's
all about heavy weights and lots of effort. Lean? Eating
correctly and performing tough interval work in combination
with intensive weight training. No gimmicks, no lying to
yourself. It might take a lot of effort to get where you're
going, but you'll be very satisfied when you get there.
CB: That's a super philosophy. What
are your favorite exercises when it comes time to put philosophy
MM: For the upper body, particularly
the upper back that most people neglect, I really love the
classic Pull-up. And for the lower body, again an area that
people neglect, I recommend the Bent Leg Deadlift.
CB: When you train your clients,
you must see a lot of people making a lot of mistakes around
you. Is there anything that sticks out?
MM: Most people's programs suffer from
lack of planning. Whether it's diet or exercise, a "fly
by the seat of your pants" approach just doesn't work.
CB: You make a great point. So what
are your goals for 2002 and beyond?
MM: I resolve to become a recognizable
author of books on various aspects of conditioning, as well
as a champion natural bodybuilder. However, both rank second
and third respectively though to being the best father I
can possibly be to my two girls.
CB: No doubt you are well on the
way to all of those goals. What are the 3 top things you
have learned in all of your training experiences?
1. No one has all the answers and no
one training style works forever.
2. The more you know in this field,
the less you know. Education opens your eyes and mind to
the fact that in the strength and conditioning field, nothing
is as simple as black and white.
3. There are NO short cuts. Not only
as it applies to strength and conditioning but to life in
2 - TRAINING
AROUND YOUR INJURY
Q: I recently injured my left shoulder.
What can I do if I'm injured and am prevented from bench
presses and pull-ups? Is all weight training out of the
question? I don't want to lose all my muscle mass and strength!
Should I just stick with "cardio" sessions?
Before you do anything, talk with
your doctor and therapist to see what, if any, activity
is allowed. If you are cleared to continue working out,
there are several options, but which one is the best?
A) Do nothing. Become completely sedentary
until the injury is healed.
B) Perform only lower body exercise
and a lot of aerobic/cardiovascular training.
C) Lift weights for every muscle group
that you possibly can without aggravating your shoulder
injury (including the healthy arm).
Obviously, for anyone who enjoys training,
trains for health, or needs to train for competitive reasons,
option A is not going to be acceptable. On the other hand,
if you are an athlete or bodybuilder that needs some downtime,
taking a couple weeks off from all activity may be something
you want to pursue. It will not kill you and may make you
stronger in the long run.
Option B, while sounding a little
better, should be avoided unless you are training specifically
for aerobic fitness. But if you are an athlete, or someone
that wants to build a muscular body, forget about a regimen
that consists entirely of endurance work. This isn't conducive
to your goals.
With upper body injuries, many people
are tempted to overdo cardiovascular and aerobic training
but this is a poor method for maintaining muscle mass. Your
training emphasis should remain on resistance training.
During this time you can concentrate on other weak areas
or rehabilitating other nagging injuries. Any time you have
completely rehabilitated an injury, you may want to use
the strong-side training technique found in ISSUE #69 (www.cbathletics.com/issues/69.htm).
Finally, option C is the one that
most athletes and competitive spirits will choose. If your
goal is to keep muscle mass, the best thing to do is train
around your injury, doing as much resistance training as
possible. Individuals with broken arms, dislocated shoulders,
and broken legs have had great success continuing to train.
Simple modifications will allow you to at least maintain
your strength until you are healthy and recovered for normal
By training the healthy limb of
the upper body you can still maintain strength in the injured
side, and you will be better off than doing no training
at all. This is due to a neurological phenomenon, called
"cross-education", that has been documented in scientific
literature. When subjects trained only one limb, the non-trained
limb still had an increase in strength. Thus, one may theorize
that by training the healthy side the weak side will maintain
more muscle strength.
There are plenty of upper body,
single arm (unilateral) training exercises you can use.
Check out ISSUE #39 (www.cbathletics.com/issues/39.htm)
for some ideas. Just remember, don't aggravate the injury,
and ice it anytime there is a hint of inflammation.
Here are some references (kindly provided
by Dr. Digby Sale) that have reported on "cross-training"
(also known as "cross enervation" or "cross-education").
Zhou, S. Chronic neural adaptations
to unilateral exercise: mechanisms of cross education.
Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews 28: 177-184, 2000.
Hortobagyi, T., et al. Greater cross
education following training with muscle lengthening than
shortening. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 29: 107-112, 1997.
3 - WHAT IS
NEW AT CB ATHLETICS?
If you stop by the homepage, you
will find some new links to explore. Most importantly, scroll
through the testimonial site to hear what amazing changes
people are making with their programs: Testimonials.
Here is just one example:
I'm an ice hockey player from Turkey.
I needed to lose some fat and have been using the "turbulence
training" for about 3 weeks. I've added 10 sets of speed
and quickness drills to the program and so far I'm getting
great results. I've lost 4 pounds of fat without a decrease
in strength. I'm faster and have more endurance. I look
forward to future CB training programs for hockey. Thank
you. Keep up the great work!
Next, if you are looking to make
some improvements to your workouts, CB ATHLETICS is offering
a new program option that is based entirely on your goals,
strengths, and weaknesses: 8