Archive for August, 2013

Knowing What Supp!

The following is a guest post by Chris Burgess a personal trainer and nutrition expert from the United Kingdom.  He is here to begin a series of posts that tackle one of the most common questions personal trainers get; What supplements should I be taking?  I am glad he is here to shed some light on this topic for us.

Whether it’s a body composition client, an athlete or someone looking to simply improve their health, in every consultation I do with a new trainee one of the first questions I am asked is, “Are there any supplements I should be taking?”

Knowing What Supp!

by Chris Burgess

The supplement industry is huge and shows no signs of slowing – but are they worth the hype or do they fail to live up to the investment in money & faith that people put in them?

The answer to this question isn’t simple. The reason why it is not simple is because I don’t know a thing about your lifestyle or diet, so making a general statement that you should be using a supplement is pretty useless.

Things to consider before spending your money on a supplement are:

1)  What is lacking in my diet, and why can’t it be fixed with food?

2)  What Vitamins and minerals am I deficient in, and can they be fixed with food?

3)  Do I get a great quality of sleep?

4)  Is my training performance at a plateau?

The answer to some of the questions above are easy, some of them not so much, for example: the only real way to know if you are deficient in a particular vitamin is to be tested by your physician or a certified nutritionist.

There are some vitamins that people are increasingly deficient in though – Vitamin D in particular is a hugely important vitamin and it can only really be obtained by sunlight exposure, so those of you in sunny locations who get exposure to at least an hour of sunlight per day are more than likely to have great vitamin D levels and therefore the need to supplement diminishes hugely. For people who live in colder, darker locations and work in offices 10 hours per day and see very little direct sunlight – your need to supplement with vitamin D is MUCH higher and therefore the potential benefits that you’ll get compared to someone who lives near a beach is also much higher.

Get Some Sun

Of course it’s impossible to mention the word supplement without people thinking of Whey Protein. Both of these supplements hold fantastic benefits for some, but not all athletes – again it all depends on a person’s start point. Let’s say for example that an athlete needs to grow muscle – the general recommendation for protein intake would be somewhere between 1-1.5g of protein per lb of bodyweight:

Person A weighs 200lb – Therefore would need 200-300g protein per day

Person B weighs 150lb – Therefore would need 150-200g protein per day

Let’s face it, Person A having to eat 300g protein per day takes A LOT of doing! Even guys with a huge appetite may struggle with that amount – added to that fact, food also gets expensive when you have to eat as much as that – approximately 10 chicken breasts per day! So adding a good quality whey protein can help person A hit their protein targets AND save them money as the cost per serving is much lower than food.

Person B has a much easier task to hit their protein targets, so the need to supplement goes down hugely from a physique perspective, but could potentially still be useful from a cost perspective.

whey protein

The problem with the supplement industry is that it isn’t policed anywhere near enough, so some suppliers make crazy claims – my advice is that if something seems too good to be true with a supplement, it likely is. The best way to know if a supplement has any research behind it, and if that research is robust and free from bias is to use Examine.

For those of you who are competitive athletes, remember that if you are using a supplement you must ensure that the brand you use has independent testing done on their products – more and more athletes are picking up bans because they are using supplements that don’t state their full ingredient list – and are later finding out that some of the “magic ingredients” are on banned substance lists.

In my next article I will go into whether Creatine is a safe product (For those of you who check out you’ll know what the answer will be!), why Fat isn’t the bad guy it’s made out to be, and whether carbs are unfairly getting bad PR.

In the mean time if you have any questions, please feel free to tweet me @chrisburgesspt


Chris Burgess is a Personal Trainer based at The University of Bath’s amazing Sports Training Village

His website Chris Burgess PT  is designed to help as many people as possible lead a fit and healthy lifestyle, so if you are looking for some ideas on exercise and nutrition then you’ll find plenty of content here to get you started.

Chris Burgess


Thursday, August 29th, 2013 Articles No Comments

Marine Corps Workout

Anthony is a United States Marine and is going to demonstrate a typical USMC strength and conditioning workout. This is one of the workouts he and his fellow soldiers implement when they are training on the base or overseas. It consists of a 20 minute workout of hang cleans, burpees, pullups, and medicine ball slams. Check it out and challenge yourself to try the USMC workout.

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Thursday, August 29th, 2013 Kettlebell Training, Videos 2 Comments

Sometimes the Best Thing to do is Nothing at All

Jeff Lam is a physical therapist and the owner of MoveWell Physical Therapy.  Jeff is an avid triathlete and has done several races this season, however his training season did not start off healthy as he acquired a foot injury.

When Jeff was injured I asked him what he was going to do and how he planned on training around it.  I thought it would be great if my readers also got an idea of what a therapist would do for a particular injury.

Injuries are tricky and they are not to be treated the same for everyone, so keep in mind this is what Jeff did to help himself get back on track and race again this season.

Sometimes the Best Thing to do is Nothing at All

by Jeff Lam, MSPT, CSCS

It’s not that often that I get to talk about myself in a submission for a rehabilitation/strength & conditioning article so when the opportunity presents itself, I shall take it! As I am sitting here documenting this for the first time, I am experiencing intermittent pains, sometimes sharp, most often throbbing in nature. I rate it as up to 4/10 on the pain scale. The location of pain varies between the base of the Right 5th metatarsal and on occasion shoots into the DIP (distal interphalangeal joint), or in layman’s terms, the pinky toe.
It’s been 15 days to be exact since I had apparently injured it after the HITS Napa Valley Triathlon and I was beginning to worry whether I had signs of a Jone’s fracture.
Jones Fracture

Because I have never experienced more than a high grade inversion sprain and a diagnosis of pes planus in my feet, in addition to the lack of a specific incident during or after the race that I remember being close to traumatic, I brushed it off. I cycled for 40 miles 2 days later and jogged for 1 mile the Thursday after the race in preparation for another race that weekend. The dawn of a new triathlon season, the need to please my sponsors, and the unseasonal warm weather did not make it easy to hold back. And rest. Sometimes the best thing to do is to do nothing at all. Quote me on that one.

Based on the chronicle of events I just described, my situation worsened and prompted me to get a referral from Dr. Sonia Bell MD for radiology assessment and to see a podiatrist, Dr. Jason Blythe at Mission Podiatry Group. X-rays showed 3 thin white lines coursing lateral to medial and dorsally, if they were any more parallel to each other, it would have resembled the Adidas 3-stripes logo. I was appropriately diagnosed with a stress response/reaction (some call it a “bone bruise”) and was advised to limit any athletic activity for 2 weeks, weight bear as tolerated in a supportive shoe much like a trail hiking shoe, even swap out the insoles for a Superfeet orthotic. As I am aware that stress fractures can often NOT show, I did my best to comply with Dr Blythe’s orders. But being a disciplined triathlete with borderline OCD, it was not an easy task.

As gait was restored to normal and the atrophy subsided, I began some elementary ankle stability exercises…the same bread and butter techniques I show my own patients. Without running into too much detail, it involved some Theraband work, BOSU and BAPS board proprioception training (picture 3), even barefoot walking in the sand when the opportunity presented itself. For return to running, I followed a template that was published in the February 2012 issue of Competitor Magazine involving 10 x 1 minute “jog” the first day, 6 x 2 minute “run” 2 and 4 days later. This was combined with strength and conditioning work in the weight room and cross training on the other days for the first week. The protocol leveled up to 7 x 9 minute run by week 8 but I modified it based on my progress, which I will often advised my own patients to do. Minus some residual symptoms of plantar fascitis, I was confident that this was the right approach.



Fast forward to September 1, 2013. As I am finishing this write up, I am currently back up to 30 to 40 miles a week, which is just a fraction of where I was and even smaller fraction from where I want to be in training for my first marathon this December in hoping to qualify for Boston. But I will take it. No persistent pain, no recurrent stress fracture, surgery room avoided. Sometimes the best thing to do is to do nothing at all.

Jeff would like to hear from you about interests in future topics. Email him at


Jeff Lam works at MoveWell Physical Therapy in San Francisco and newly established location in Belmont. He received his degree in physical therapy from Columbia University in New York City. His relationship with Doug Fioranelli at Rise Above Strength Performance Training dates back to their days as Exercise & Sport Science students from the University of San Francisco, NCAA Division I collegiate cross country teammates for the Dons, and numerous pre-sunrise roadtrips to triathlon events throughout Northern California.


Jeff Triathlete




Tuesday, August 27th, 2013 Articles, Restoration and Recovery No Comments


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