Tuesday, May 22, 2012
- Superstar Beachbody Coach Tommy Mygrant
Every time I speak with a group of coaches I’m reminded that many aren’t aware of Beachbody’s vast array of educational resources that can help you train your customers more efficiently. As a coach you’ve got plenty of things that take up your time without having to try and also be a personal fitness trainer or nutritionist. Beachbody already has a bunch of those so why not use them?
Of course you can’t call or email us personally (which you know if you’ve tried to email me). With millions of customers our trainer customer ratio is decidedly low. But we can still help. A lot.
Over the years we’ve probably experienced every scenario that you’ll encounter as a coach, and many many more, all of which have been answered somewhere in written format. Once you learn where to search you can become the coach with all the answers, most likely spending less time than you do now. By following this quick reference guide to smarter coaching the above pic can be you!
This should be your home page. It’s populated with popular subjects and content is rotated regularly. As opposed to, say, digging around Yahoo health or some other popular site, the information on this page is directly placed to help guide and motivate Beachbody coaches.
If you aren’t signed up for the newsletters than you’re missing out. Over the last 12 years our content has been praised again and again to the point we’ve had letters from people stating we are the only fitness resource they use. This is because our articles are written specifically to you. When we strategize what goes into each newsletter our primary concern is what our customers have been asking about on the Message Boards. Essentially our newsletter archives are one giant FAQ.
Unfortunately they can be hard to search and 12 years is a lot of pages to scroll through. Here’s the trick that works best for us when we need to find them for reference. Google “Beachbody newsletter and the subject you are looking for”. If you know who wrote an article, like me or Denis Faye, you can add an author for more specificity but Beachbody newsletter generally is enough to weed out the masses.
A Team Beachbody blog will be up and running shortly but, for now, we’ve got some more specific blogs that should be on your radar. Carl Daikeler‘s will keep you up to date on the latest happenings at Beachbody. Denis Faye’s “The Real Fitness Nerd” casts a critical eye on what’s going on both good and bad in the nutrition world. And where you are right now, The Straight Dope, is what I call tertiary information—meaning it’s advanced reading for those who want a deeper understanding of fitness and nutrition than what you’ll get in our diet guides and newsletters. And, while less frequently updated, Chalene Johnson and Tony Horton’s blog, as well as Tony's Huffington Post site is always worth a read. All of these should be on your favorites list and checked regularly.
If you’re not using the Team Beachbody Message Boards where have you been? Once the hub of everything Beachbody, this is the place where we’ve specifically answered all of those weird questions your customers hit you with. No matter how bizarre you may think a question is there is a very good chance we’ve heard it, and answered it, before. Our staff has cataloged these answers so they’re at their fingertips, meaning they can shoot you an answer a lot faster than it would take you to search PubMed and try and make sense out of a bunch of hard to decipher abstracts.
Another big plus of the Boards is that it puts us all on theme. Re-purposing FAQs to your customers keeps your coaching message consistent. As Beachbody grows our messaging grows too. The more consistent it is the easier everyone’s job gets.
For the most actively monitored Forums go to Info and Education. That's where the experts spend most of their time.
It should be noted that the boards' popularity once took a hit when coach phishing was rampant in the early days of TBB. That issue is now praciclly nonexistent as we monitor heavily for trolls.
To add more to Tommy Mygrant’s above quote, he also told me that the Boards were a massive time saver for his coaching, enabling him to focus motivating and selling instead of trying to fix issues that were better handled by others. He summed up by saying “I don’t know how any coach gets by without them.”
Friday, May 18, 2012
For your Friday Psyche I present some excellent research on the health benefits of wine as well as a video where it’s put into practice. Picky types might notice that increased stomach flora is unlikely to help athletic performance in a given afternoon but that’s nitpicking. Wine is good for you and this guy used it to help him have perhaps the best afternoon of climbing in history.
First, the wine part. From the NY Times:
When it comes to the health-promoting effects of red wine, its potential to protect against heart disease tends to get all the attention. But there are some who see it as a sort of probiotic delivery system, capable of benefiting the stomach as well...
In one, the subjects drank red wine, about a cup daily. In another, they drank the same amount of red wine daily, but this time with the alcohol removed. In the third, they drank up to 100 milliliters a day of gin each day. In the end, the researchers found that both types of red wine produced improvements in the bacterial composition of the gut, lowered blood pressure and reduced levels of a protein associated with inflammation.
The video is of German climber Permin Bertle doing something that’s never been done, climbing two 9a’s within a 75 minute window (only a few climbers have managed two 9a’s in a given day). According to the vid this happened after a volumous lunch featuring many glasses of wine. Also worth noting that this is the second non-conventional Psyche vid in a row, as this one goes into some depth on what’s required to do each climb. These vids, that perhaps lack the pace of pure climbing porn, provide a lot more information about what the sport entails. I like 'em.
Finally, while it wasn’t the focus of the study it was good to see that the odd martini has more than the obivous upside as well. The Times reports, slight improvements in gut flora were seen among gin drinkers, but the effects in the wine drinkers were much more pronounced.
Have a great weekend! See you at the crags, or the bar.
Monday, May 14, 2012
Whenever my training transitions towards endurance goals the first lifestyle change I make doing yoga first thing in the morning. After long days in the mountains nothing works out the kinks and re-sets my mental state as well as 15-30 minutes of restorative yoga as part of the awakening process.
It’s something I’m sure would be good to do all the time but I always get out of the habit in winter and, especially since its filled with a lot of strength training, come spring I’m always fairly stiff. I do some amount of yoga all year and stretch after training sessions but there’s something about the ritual of morning yoga that helps my mindset switch into another gear.
The change is also physical. Yoga helps your body balance out, especially when it’s taking a beating getting used to transitioning for hour long gym sessions to many hours of pounding under the sun in the backcountry. Done first things in the morning it sets the stage for another hard day. When I wake up I’ll often feel stiff and sore. My breathing might be slightly labored and my mind clogged. A few minutes into yoga, without fail, I my breathing relaxes, head clears, and muscles come back to life. The rest of the day is always improved.
I’ve been doing this long enough that I generally make up my own routines. But once in a while, like when I’m first getting back into the habit, I’ll pop in the old go-to video Rodney Yee’s AM Yoga (note objective tone of ‘the Dope since Yee is not one of our trainers). Yee is the kind of calming yoga teacher you want first thing in the morning. His serene demeanor, the faux native-something or other music, the Utah desert setting and the decidedly hippie tone is a perfect symbiosis.
“Morning is a special time,” says Yee as the prelude to his intro that I often still listen to even though I know it by heart. It’s over-the-top, sure, but if it can calm to crazy cattle dogs in the morning I’m sure it’ll work on any human.
Friday, May 11, 2012
Cool vid this week featuring American Daniel Woods and a bunch of young Japanese crankenfranks (and Yuji) showing a ridiculous amount of motivation in terrible conditions. Since I’m actually going bouldering this weekend (last bouldering-specific trip was probably in, um, 2000) this seemed appropriate for the Friday Psyche.
This vid is long (30m), and is all in Japanese except when Woods is speaking, but it’s much more authentic as a bouldering experience that what you see in most climbing porn. You get to see what goes into a hard ascent: from falling all over something to piecing it together to dealing with bad skin, conditions, a finite amount of time and the reality that you may not succeed. Unlike boulders in a lot of vids these problems look really really hard, especially knowing the climbers are really really strong. It’s also got an odd Japanese perspective to it that I just happen to like.
Happy Friday. Have a faaantastic weekend!
Wednesday, May 09, 2012
The scientists from the Centre for Neuroscience and Cell Biology of the University of Coimbra in Portugal, whose work was published in the journal PLoS, showed that the long-term consumption of caffeine reduced weight gain and high blood sugar levels, as well as preventing memory loss, probably due to its interfering with the neurodegeneration caused by toxic sugar levels.
This hot on the heels of an article I just wrote, 10 Things To Like And Not Like About Coffee, which among many other things contained this nugget:
From Harvard Health, "The latest research has not only confirmed that moderate coffee consumption doesn't cause harm, it's also uncovered possible benefits. Studies show that the risk for type 2 diabetes is lower among regular coffee drinkers than among those who don't drink it. Also, coffee may reduce the risk of developing gallstones, discourage the development of colon cancer, improve cognitive function, reduce the risk of liver damage in people at high risk for liver disease, and reduce the risk of Parkinson's disease. Coffee has also been shown to improve endurance performance in long-duration physical activities."
So coffee is good for you. This is nothing every David Lynch fan in the world hasn’t known for years. What I find most odd is how it gets lumped into the category with garbage like soda and gas station cuisine. In fact, I happen to live among a populace that claims to have a divine document stating that coffee is evil but Coke is holy. It’s no friggin’ wonder our biggest threat to extinction is no longer nuclear war but expanding waistlines.
Friday, May 04, 2012
There’s no contest for this week’s Friday Psyche. Along with my acceptance into the Yak Attack in Nepal comes this video of the 2012 edition. Seems like there will be some good suffering involved but also, as the last guy says, it looks “awesome!” I still can't believe that I'm actually getting to go. It's the chance of a lifetime.
As an added bonus here’s an extra video on riding in Nepal, which looks a lot more serene than the madness of the race. Beautiful though. Thanks, Sonya!
As an added bonus here’s an extra video on riding in Nepal, which looks a lot more serene than the madness of the race. Beautiful though. Thanks, Sonya!
Thursday, May 03, 2012
As many of you know I’m a dietary lab rat. I’ve tested almost every diet known to man in the name of research but, mainly, my go-to plan when I’ve got to get into peak shape is the non-diet. The non-diet is our Utopian version of the Standard American Diet (SAD) that we give away with every Beachbody fitness program. The overall goal being to create a new template for America: the Modern American Diet, that some might call MAD.
The SAD diet is what’s become of nutrition in this country under the watch of the USDA and Big Food, which is basically by-products of GMO corn and soy and meat and dairy so toxic it has to be rendered practically devoid of nutrients before it’s safe to eat. A while back I commented on the new USDA “food pyramid”, citing that the issue isn’t that it’s too complicated but that most of what American’s eat isn’t on the pyramid at all! The SAD diet, the primary contributor to the most expensive health epidemic in history, is made up almost entirely of stuff that wouldn’t be food in the natural world.
In contrast the MAD diet is, well, food. It’s plants, grains (sorry Cavemen), nuts, seeds, and the occasional animal product from something that wasn’t raised in a dark prison cell and fed toxic garbage. When you eat real food you don’t have to worry too much about calories and such because it’s somewhat self regulating since it’s fiber filled, nutrient dense, and hasn’t been laden with chemicals designed to make you crave more: the direct opposite of what you find in 95% of most supermarkets. You eat based on feel and performance and with a little experience (or guidance) you’ll learn what works best and when. When someone on the SAD diet commits to this transition it will feel magical—like alchemy when, in fact, it’s exactly the opposite.
At this point you might note that Beachbody offers a different nutrition plan with every program. And while you would be correct in a sense, all of these are variations on the same theme; trying to get our customers to swap junk for real food to the point where they don’t need any type of nutrition plan and can eat based on feel. The entry points are different, the strategies vary, but our end result is always the same; you know how to feed your body so that it performs its best.
In my day-to-day life I feel great almost all the time. I sleep well, exercise a ton, have plenty of energy and stay pretty darn healthy. I was joking during my last dietary foray that the only time that I don’t feel good is when I’m trying a new diet. But I’ve still got to do it. Not only does it greatly aid my job it’s been my MO since I was a teenager so why would I stop? If a diet or supplement hits the market that is truly going to alter the planet I’m damn well going to be one of the first to know about it. So a-testing I will go.
The catalyst for this post is my recent experimentations with a taper diet. I’ve re-shuffled this a couple of times, and it’s getting better, but each attempt ends up causing a regression in my own fitness (small but noticeable) because I tweak until it goes awry. If you don’t know the point where something goes off the rails you’re never sure how to standardize your recommendations. So after a month of offbeat eating its time to get back to what I know brings everything back to homeostasis; the MAD diet. Or , ya know, just eating.
On this blog I've cited examples where I use my regular diet, slightly streamlined, to go from everyday weight to competition weight (always slightly under optimal health weight, which should have some extra body fat for reserve). At the end of any Beachbody plan that should be your goal: to understand your body’s relationship with food well enough to eat based on how you feel and get maximum results. Which, when you think about it, shouldn’t seem all the MAD.
Tuesday, May 01, 2012
I just receive word that I’m one of 25 international riders to get into the Yak Attack, a 10-stage mtb race around Nepal that goes over a Himalayan pass at nearly 20k feet. Can you say psyched? Instead of me yammering on about a race I’ve never done check out Sonya Looney’s account. She’s a professional mountain bike racer, and first female finisher ever, but was still was so broken down by the rigors of the endeavor that things came to this:
I don’t know if I can promise such detailed and candid race coverage but my friend Rebecca has vowed that “if any of you cry I’m videoing it and pasting it all over the Internet”. So there you have it; if I lose it because I can’t finish the race you’ll get a video courtesy of “The Queen of Pain” that Specialized will make sure gets plenty of action. It very well could happen.
Not that we’re making fun of Sonya because she’s as tough as they come and will kick my ass on a bike any given day. In fact, her blog is so rad it's the highlight of today’s (mid-week ‘cause I was too busy to write anything up last weekend) Psyche. It’s truly a fantastic account of the race and Nepal in general. Having been there I can say she captured it exceedingly well. So sit back, grab a cup o’ chai, and enjoy the ride (or hike-a-bike)...
Sonya Looney’s Yak Attack blog: Welcome to Nepal
It’s a long read and she posted it one day at a time (so you need to scroll forward). I savored it a couple of stages at a time.
Photos: Paul Topham and Jeremy Dean