KC Craichy’s SuperHealth Podcasts: Meet Elite Trainer Andy O’Brien

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Posted on 25th August 2011 by admin in Super Health |SuperHealth Podcasts

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KC Craichy talks with elite trainer Andy O’Brien about how he trains world-class athletes and what we all can learn for our health and fitness.

Audio Transcription

KC: Welcome to Living Fuel TV. I’m KC. This is my special guest, Andy O’Brien. Great to have you, Andy. We appreciate you being here.

Andy: Thank you, KC.

KC: I’m really excited to have him here today because Andy is one of those special guys that the elite athletes come to when they want to go to the next level. For instance, you say you had six athletes in the recent Olympics in Canada.

Andy: Yeah.

KC: Including gold medalist Sidney Crosby?

Andy: Yeah, you got it.

KC: That’s awesome. That’s awesome. He runs a 40 million dollar training facility in Calgary, Alberta? Is that what it is? You tell us.

Andy: You got it. You got it. Yeah, Calgary, Alberta. It’s called Edge School, which is a private sports academy in Calgary, and the Duckett Performance Center which is attached to the school which is our high performance training center not only for the kids at the school but for private athletes outside the school as well.

KC: Well, I met you a few years ago when you were a strength and fitness coach for the Florida Panthers.

Andy: You got it.

KC: And we hit it off very well because you’re one of the few guys, and I told you I could name the guys on two hands that I know that really get it from start to finish, strength and fitness but how nutrition plays a piece into that and all the outside elements that really do affect that.

Andy: For sure. Well, thanks for saying that. It’s a good compliment to have, especially coming from you, but it was interesting because, unlike a lot of companies, you didn’t really seek me out, I actually sought you out. I had stumbled upon the product and had a few samples from somewhere, and I had given to our players and tried them for myself, and just reviewing the ingredients I couldn’t believe the quality of the product. So, I got online and I actually got a number, and I called. I left a message, I think, and asked to speak to a rep to get some samples of more products, and you yourself called me back and said you would be happy to meet up some time when you’re in Tampa. The more I learned about the products, the more I realized there was a fit for high performance athletes in Living Fuel.

KC: It all started in the Marriott with you and a few of your athletes.

Andy: That’s what it was.

KC: But anyway, you’ve moved on from there, and you’ve trained athletes in other sports. Dara Torres is another one we both know and love, and you know, it’s amazing. What makes people contact you that are the elite? They can contact anybody they want?

Andy: Well, I think the type of athlete that tends to gravitate to me and my services is somebody that maybe, wants to find an edge and wants to do something a little bit different and is looking for some methods that maybe, are a little bit unconventional. So, my approach has been a little bit unconventional in the sense that I’m not really just training the body to develop general strength. We’re really looking at movement, and we’re trying to identify deficiencies in sports specific movement and then build exercise protocols and build nutritional programs to enhance movement efficiency so that you have less injuries, but you also have greater speed, greater performance of the central nervous system. So, the approach is unique, and I think sometimes people hear about that, and when they want a little bit of a change or they’re looking for some kind of a competitive advantage, usually it makes sense for them. Dara was somebody who just happened to kind of be in the area that I was in and was looking for a strengthening and conditioning coach, and I was fortunate enough to meet Dara and be a part of the miraculous comeback that she’s made.

KC: It’s fantastic. Fantastic.

Andy: It’s been great.

KC: Well, what matters, everybody viewing today is everything from elite trainers to doctors to housewives to young athletes. So, what I’m always amazed at is that people sometimes they tune it out when they’re talking about elite athletes because “that doesn’t apply to me.” But my position is that everybody needs to pay attention to maximize human performance because it matters just feeling well enough to get through a whole day, no matter what their activity is.

Andy: Oh, there’s no question about it. I mean, really, life is athletic. Life is about movement, and whether we’re carrying a baby on our shoulders, whether we’re getting in and out of a car, or whether we’re just doing general exercise to stay fit, we’re all moving. Any time your body moves there’s physiological adaptations taking place in that movement, and you need to fuel your body to be able to adapt to that physiological stress that you have. So, from an athlete’s perspective, we’re looking at a greater amount of stress on the body from a physical perspective, but we all have stress on our bodies. We’re all breathing in different types of chemicals in the world. We’re all limited in terms of the amount of nutrients that we can get from our food, and we place stress on our body from a variety of different reasons, whether it’s a workout or even mental and emotional stress. I think that a lot of people maybe, don’t categorize themselves with high performance athletes, but a lot of the processes that are going on in their bodies are pretty much the same thing as a high performance athlete from an overall nutritional perspective. They’ve got to look at it the same way in order to stay healthy.

KC: Absolutely. Well, people are really confused about that. I’ve often said that the last place you want to go to get in shape is the gym. I always say correct the metabolic issues so that your energy levels are so high that you’re going to want to go to the gym.

Andy: Oh, 100%. Yeah.

KC: So, you have a lot of fatigued athletes who drag themselves to the gym, too, because their metabolism is all out of whack. They just think since they’re an athlete they can throw anything down the hatch, and it’s going to work out.

Andy: Exactly. Exactly. Well, it is interesting because it’s kind of a circle, and it’s sort of a chicken before the egg kind of thing. Some people don’t train because they have no energy, and then some people have no energy because they don’t train, but the way to start it out is to get the right fuel in your body so that you feel good, you want to be in the gym, you want to work out. Nobody wants to be in the gym getting fit when they’ve got terrible energy or they’ve got adrenal fatigue or any kind of issue that’s going to prevent you from feeling good when you’re doing it. But, if you feel good when you’re doing it, I think it’s something that’s going to motivate people a lot more. So, it’s not just a matter of putting it in your schedule and getting it done. It’s a matter of fueling your body so that you’re empowered to make those changes that you need to make.

KC: We all want to feel better. We all want to live longer. We all want to look better, and it all works together, doesn’t it?

Andy: Absolutely.

KC: One thing that’s interesting about you is I’ve seen a lot of the snacks they put out in professional athletic rooms that the guys are eating in game, pre-game, and it’s absolutely scary. I don’t know how they get away with that. One of the things you did with the Panthers is what?

Andy: Well, I think we ended up kind of getting rid of all that. It is amazing that what’s around, and contrary to popular belief, a lot of people think that in professional athletes and in professional sports you have the best of the best from a nutrition standpoint, but a lot of times it’s the opposite. You have different companies that are sponsors. You have different things that find their way into those locker rooms, and the athletes may not notice the difference. If they pick up an energy bar, for them they may not realize the difference between high quality and low quality or any of the meal replacements or protein powders that are out there. What we really wanted is we really wanted to allow this nutrition to be a link to performance. We wanted to improve performance, wanted to improve recovery, especially in a sport like hockey that’s really, really hard on the body. You get a long schedule, lots of travel. I felt that it was a very simple way to improve performance was to increase the nutrition and the recovery of the athletes. So, getting something like Living Fuel made a tremendous difference for our players. We had great feedback from the guys. You could see it in their performance. We had less injuries. We had an improvement in our performance late in games. The feedback from the players is a testimony in itself. You know, those guys know how they feel when they step on the ice.

KC: It probably didn’t hurt that you pulled out the pork chops and the fried chicken, either.

Andy: Well, you know what? We changed completely their diet. There were no fried foods. We tended to go towards organic vegetables. We tended to go towards hormone free, organic meat. I think that is one of the things that a lot of people overlook in professional sports is the nutrition part of it, and it’s a part that has a tremendous benefit, I think, to any pro team or any even young athlete who’s developing coming up.

KC: We’re going to talk a lot more about this. We’re going to go on to a new segment for this, but thank you so much for joining us today.

Andy: Thank you, KC. It’s been a pleasure.

KC: It’s been awesome and a pleasure.

Andy: All right.

KC: God bless you and have a great day.

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