KC Craichy’s SuperHealth Podcasts: Training Athletes

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Posted on 3rd November 2011 by admin in Super Health |SuperHealth Podcasts

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KC Craichy talks with elite fitness expert Andy O’Brien about why some athletes don’t perform as well as others and what they can do about it.

Audio Transcript

KC: Welcome to Living Fuel TV. I’m KC Craichy with special guest, Andy O’Brien, from Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Andy: You got it.

KC: Andy, thanks for being with us again. It’s been exciting.

Andy: KC, it’s my pleasure.

KC: Once again, in case you missed previous segments here, Andy is an elite strength and fitness coach. He is one that actually gets the whole picture, the holistic picture of how to take an elite athlete to new levels or take someone who’s not an elite athlete to new levels. Andy, it’s just really fascinating. I could really talk to you all day about this kind of stuff. What is the difference, and I ask doc’s this when I interview them all the time, because I want to get you perspective on this. What is the difference between the 25 year old cut, shredded athlete, and the other 25 year old who is basically the same size and they really work out hard, but they’re not getting it. What’s the difference?

Andy: Well, the difference is a metabolic and a hormonal drive that those athletes have, and you get that partially through training, and you get it also through nutrition. It’s really a combination of the two. Everybody’s aiming to kind of get to that point. Everybody wants to have that lean, muscular physique. We’re passed the point in that bodybuilding mode. I think as a society people want to be flexible, they want to be able to swing a tennis racket, and go for a jog. So everybody’s kind of getting into that phase. I think from a training perspective, athletes go through whole body movements. So they go through movements that involve multiple joints, multiple muscles working at the same time. And when you develop movement efficiency, meaning your body’s not over dependent on one specific group of joints or muscles, but it distributes the responsibility evenly and naturally amongst the entire body, you get a greater stimulation in the central neutral system. From a training perspective, athletes have a little bit of a benefit in that they’re getting a greater central neural response. So they’re going through lots of speed, but they also have a little bit more movement efficiency than, I think, the average public, the individual who’s just going through some training. I’m a real big fan of, instead of just isolated body parts, really doing a lot of different whole body movements, dynamic movements, but then coaching people to develop efficiency so they don’t have any muscle imbalances and that they’re moving efficiently through all three planes of motion.

KC: Fascinating stuff. So do you think it’s reasonable to think that the person that looks like the shredded athlete could get there? Let’s just say if you had them full-time, could you get a person, you know I always ask doc’s, if you look at the blood panel results, what’s the difference between these two guys? Because I want to know, what’s the marker? Because it’s not growth hormone, I mean, what’s the difference?

Andy: For sure. Well, you know there’s definitely a genetic component that you can’t deny. That sometimes the athletes at the top of the ladder are very genetically gifted athletes so things come a little easier for them. But there’s no question about it, it doesn’t matter who you are, what job you have, or what you’re doing or what your lifestyle is. If you understand your environment, what you’re putting into your body, what kind of response your body’s going through, and you understand how to balance that off with the right type of training, the right type of nutrition, you can build your best body. There’s no question about it. And everybody’s got different bone structure and different muscle tone, but everyone can be lean and muscular, fit and healthy, there’s not question about it.

KC: There’s been a lot of, say, overweight people who have gotten into bodybuilding and gotten all the way down to show weight, and they really are a little too shredded, if you want to be truthful. But they don’t maintain that very long. So what’s up with that?

Andy: Well, I think a lot of times, we go through extremes. When we’re trying to do something for a specific date, so instead of just trying to embrace the lifestyle, and say, okay this is how I’m going to live everyday, this is how I’m going to eat, this is how I’m going to care for my body. They say, okay, well on May 15th, I’m going to look a certain way. So they end up having these targets, and they end up going through extremes to try and build up to one day, but not necessarily adopting a lifestyle of habits to be able to carry that through for a lifetime. I think that’s really important for people to look at it like a lifestyle. Not look at it as just something that you’re trying to do in a very short period of time, and trying to go through those extremes of massive muscle gain, massive weight loss to try and get ready for one day. There’s another 364 days of the year that you got to look good. So.

KC: They do some of the most bizarre things like don’t drink water for the last day or two and stuff like that.

Andy: Exactly, exactly.

KC: But the things they do, they are really on to something. I’m really going to analyze that whole process and see what of it can be installed into a lifestyle, because they’re getting something. You talk a lot about the central nervous system. They’re very stiff, like a bodybuilder is very stiff, but the guys you train are just completely flexible and strong.

Andy: Absolutely. Well, I think it is interesting what you say about the bodybuilding. One thing that the bodybuilding community has really lent us, is that it’s lent passion for training, it’s lent the discipline. It’s really promoted a structure of the nutritional side of things in addition to the training, so we really take a lot of benefits from that. Sometimes, I give bodybuilders a hard time, but that’s really what has spawned the fitness industry for us. I think one of the unhealthy things is that if you’re getting ready for a show or doing something, you go through this very anabolic phase. Which is a muscle building type of a phase, where you’re taking in a lot of calories, a lot of nutrients, training at really high volumes. Then you go through what’s called a catabolic phase, where your body is stimulating massive amounts of cortisol and it’s burning body fat but you’re also losing a lot of muscle. And so that ends up being very unhealthy because when you go through that catabolic phase, where your water intake is low, your calorie intake is low, and your exercise is high, you’re really shutting down your metabolic and your hormonal responses. So a lot of people end up gaining weight immediately right afterwards. So that’s why it’s important to develop a lifestyle, and not go through these different phases. What you’re really trying to do is maximize that anabolic response, muscle building, fat burning, and a healthy response so that your body is adapting and it’s working against life. We have stress in our lives, mental, physical, in the food that we eat, in the toxins that we breathe in from the air, and our body is constantly trying to adapt and fight against that stress. So that’s what the nutrition of training really should be about is stimulating the nervous system and the hormonal levels to be able to achieve that. To answer your second question about the flexibility and the movement ability, I think we get caught up a little too much in looking at individual muscle groups, and we try to isolate muscle groups, and isolate joints. But our body is designed to move on three planes at all times. It’s what we call, tri-planer. So, again, every little activity, whether you’re getting in and out of your car, or whether you’re picking up a bag of groceries, it’s designed to have multiple muscle groups working together in synergy to be able to produce a movement most efficiently. And the goal of our nervous system is constantly to distribute the responsibility for movement into a variety of different areas of our body. When we’re training that way, when we’re stimulating our body in an efficient way, we get a greater neuro-response, which leads to a greater metabolic response. So the nervous system is releasing those neurotransmitters that help our body adapt, not only from a movement standpoint, but from a metabolic standpoint so we’re getting leaner, we’re getting more explosive. That’s why when we see sprinters and dynamic athletes, they’ve got really, really lean bodies. They’ve got great genetics, but they’re also training in a way that’s stimulating their nervous system more so than individual muscle groups.

KC: Beautiful, fascinating stuff. More to come.

Andy: Thank you, KC.

KC: Thanks, Andy. Hope you enjoyed it. Here’s to your super health.

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