I want to take a second to thank all of our current clients for welcoming me into The Strength Feed community. You all made my transition to moving and working down here a smooth as possible and I am grateful for it.
Transitioning into the private sector after spending almost five years in the collegiate field was nerve racking. It is a completely different dynamic and I was worried that doing it wouldn’t be as rewarding. My whole life I had always been involved with team sports, whether I personally was playing, or I was coaching. To be converting from coaching in a team setting to a more individualized setting made me worried about missing the team dynamic. There is something about working with players, and trying to win a championship that makes you hungry and strive for greatness.
When I started working at The Strength Feed, there was culture shock. The pace of the weight room is much slower. I don’t mean that as an insult to private training, I am just used to having 50 kids in the weight room at a time. You hardly have time to breathe between coaching cues, loading plates, or directing athletes where to go. Lower that number down to 12 and add another coach, your job becomes a lot less hectic.
At first, I missed that rush. Yet, as the more sessions I coached, I realized the beauty in being able to really breakdown a movement with someone. Spending the additional time to evaluate people’s movement patterns and imbalances took me back to my time working as an Athletic Trainer and as a Physical Therapy assistant in high school and college. During my time spent working with physical therapy patients, I struggled with an internal conflict: why are we waiting for someone to get injured? There had to be a better way. That’s why I got into strength in the first place.
Another aspect of the private sector that is different from collegiate coaching is the attitude towards lifting. I have had so many athletes over the years that weren’t interested in lifting. They hated the weight room. I would have to put in so much energy every day convincing them why they needed to be there or why they needed to do a movement a specific way. That’s not to say that there weren’t kids interested in learning. Some athletes were extremely passionate about getting stronger and improving their performance in the sport. Working in the private field now, it seems like everyone is there because they want to be there, not because it is a requirement. Everyone knows the benefits, they know they are there to learn, and are motivated people.
I can’t wait to see the strides that our clients will make as we continue to push forward in our training. Some have already made great improvements in medical and physical ranges that are absolutely stunning and exciting. I am sure more and more will come as our Strength Feed family continues to grow, and I am so excited to be a part of it.
Win The Day,
Greetings, to all who follow The Strength Feed. This will be the first installment from the new facility we just opened September 9th. It has been a crazy whirlwind of a summer but I am happy to say that we are currently putting the last couple pieces together to provide the best gym in Raleigh for our clients. Our open house “pull party” was a huge success and we plan to make this an annual event.
For those of you that follow us on IG and Facebook, I spent five weeks this summer doing exactly what I prescribed for my clients. As most of you know for the continuous goal of building strength, packing on muscle and dropping body fat we coaches recommend to train at least four days a week. If your goal is to get leaner we recommend making changes to your diet and adding in additional cardio. This can be accomplished in our GPC classes (general physical conditioning). As well as our nutrition program ran by Karri Owens.
So this is where #practicewhatyoupreach came to play. I had just finished a powerlifting meet; I was without a program and a little beat up from training. I knew I had a lot on my plate leading up to the opening of a new gym and didn’t want to take on the additional stress of a serious powerlifting program. The program on the board is made to be accommodating to everyone who walks in the door and joins our strength classes. Hence the term customized group training. Click on the button below to read more about what I learned from the clients that learn so much from us.
The first thing about the program I learned is, it is tough. I don’t want to dwell into the science behind it but our pressing and pulling volume is very high. We also squat a great deal, so I was constantly sore. The goal was to complete the workout in an hour, the same amount of time I give the clients. This mean I had to cut the weight down a bit or cut the sets down to accommodate for the time allotment given. I alternated each day depending on how I felt; if I felt good I would load up the heavy weight and cut a set or two. If I was a little sore and the weight wasn’t moving smoothly I dropped weight, completed my sets and spent the extra time I had concentrating on my supplemental lifts.
The second thing I learned is our client work capacity is through the roof. I was astounded how tough it was to get through some of the days. The main lift prescribed workload was similar to what I was used to (3x5, 4x7, 5x5 etc.) but with the addition of lots of mobility work and concentric training (sled pushing, pulling shuffles). It took a couple weeks for me to adjust. You basically don’t rest.
Lastly, seeing what the clients see through my own eyes really helped me coach better. I am able now to change things on the fly much better to accommodate everyone in the classes. Each person has different levels of soreness, problem or tight areas and vastly different levels of conditioning which showed itself when I was able to speak and talk things out with them. The information I received back from them was able to directly affect my changes to the program because I understood what they were saying.
The end result was very pleasant. I dropped two pounds in 5 weeks as well as getting in lots of mobility work and highlighting movement problems I have myself. I was able to find drills and exercises that work to fix those imbalances. I also was able to hit some rep PRs during the five weeks. Some of those included 405 for 5 low bar squat (I tend to squat high bar and am pretty accomplished at it) 365 for 16 reps on my sumo deadlifts, and 275 close grip for 10 reps on bench. These numbers aren’t terribly impressive but felt very good for I am not as accomplished at these movements as I am their counterparts (conventional deadlifts, high bar squats and normal bench).
I value all my clients and the information they bring to me from their experiences here at The Strength Feed. As the days and months of training continue I encourage them to bring to me all the feedback as it will make me a better coach and help me build a better program for all to come.
Hello Strength Feed members, my name is Sam Miller and I am the Owner of Oracle Nutrition and Adaptive Wellness based in Raleigh, North Carolina. I work to improve the performance of individuals while positively impacting their quality of life through health and nutritional science.
We've all heard from a young age that sleep is an indispensable optimal health and wellness tool. Recovery, restoration and overall mental and physical improvement occur during our daily sleep. Without enough hours of deep sleep your muscle gains and workout performance will suffer. You will also notice the detrimental impact of lack of sleep at work and at school. In today's blog I will be giving you some statistics about sleep, the negative effects from lack of sleep and some tips to improve your sleep.
“Sleep America” polls have evaluated sleep deprivation in the general population:
• 66% report experiencing sleep problems at least a few nights a week
• Nearly 50% report waking up feeling “unrefreshed” at least a few nights per week
• 42% are awake “a lot” during the night
• More than 25% say they wake up too early and couldn’t get back to sleep and/or have difficulty falling asleep at least a few nights per week
Given that sleep deprivation leads to greater risk of mortality from all causes, the downward trend in total sleep is alarming. A quality night’s sleep is also a necessity for proper brain function, memory formation, and the retention of information. Poor sleep is also correlated with obesity, so sleeping well is one of the most efficient ways to lose weight! Getting just 30 more minutes of sleep each night can be the equivalent of 8 days of additional sleep per year!
The key to improved restful sleep is recognizing the barriers and environmental stimulus that exist around us. To achieve our much coveted sleep be sure to be mindful of your body temperature, the amount of lighting present in your bedroom, and your pre-bed routines:
· Bedroom should be as dark as possible
· Avoid artificial light from TV screens, cell phones, tablets, and computers
· Set your thermostat to support a cooler than normal 8-10 hour cycle in the evening
· If the above temperature is not achievable be sure to utilize a fan or similar device to optimize air flow and keep your body temperature as cool as possible
· Create a daily book-end relaxation routine during your last 15-30 minutes of the day to help your brain and central nervous system reach a calm and relaxed state
· Avoid alcohol consumption within 2 hours of bedtime. Alcohol is diuretic (water flushing substance) and waking up to go to the bathroom mid sleep can sabotage your sleep cycle. Alcohol often results in an elevated body temperature, which further disrupts sleep even more. If you are going to have that glass of wine, have it earlier!
The above strategies should help immensely in improving your daily sleep patterns and ensure that the hours of sleep you do get will be more meaningful. Re-establishing a healthy circadian rhythm can make you feel more in stride in all areas of life like setting PR's in the gym, at home and at work. For more information on nutrition, sleep, and supplementation continue to follow The Strength Feed blog and The Strength Feed on Facebook.
Hello, I am Erin Bratcher. I currently play professional basketball in Germany. I have played sports at a high level for many years now. I am what you consider highly athletic and on the verge of highly trained. All my workouts and work load over the past 8 years have been very specialized for basketball. This is from the start of college into my years in the pro's. My experience before college in training was to get the most adaptation to prepare me to play at a high level. So in short words NOT to specialize. My training at a young age included playing many sports and well as many athletic activities that didn't relate to basketball. I see more and more kids these days playing a singular sport at a younger and younger age. Continue reading to find out why you're setting your child up for burnout or even worse overuse injuries.
Specialization in Sport
Athletics are changing with the times, and we are seeing new trends; some good, some bad. One in particular is the idea of specializing in a single sport.
People might think if they focus on only one sport and dedicate themselves to it, their athletic ability overall will improve. Parents may think this of their children. But in truth, it is better for an athlete to play multiple sports, because doing so produces greater athletic development and a much higher adaptation to the motor recruitment patterns of athletics. Eighty-eight percent of all college athletes, for example, come from a multi-sport background. If you recall a statistic from this past years super bowl, nearly 75% of the athletes on the field played more than one sport throughout high school. Examples of these athletes today would be Steph Curry (web.com golf tour, NBA superstar), Julius Peppers (collegiate basketball and football player), Aaron Judge (Current rookie MLB home run leader, all state in basketball and football in high school).
Keeps the Body and Mind Guessing
As with most things, when you do something the same way often enough, habits form and the mind doesn't have to work as hard. Think of riding a bike; learn the skill, and it stays with you forever. But in some cases, lack of variety can cause the body and mind to disengage, and when that happens you can lose your creative edge. When your mind is actively involved with the athletic process, you inevitably get more out of it. Think of it as hammering a bent nail into wood. If you keep driving it from the nail head, it will not go in straight. But if you continuously tap from all sides as you're driving the nail in, you can get it in straight.
Interval training is a well-respected, proven method of strength training involving various stages. The athlete works through one stage for X number of weeks (typically four), then moves to a different stage and different level of cardiorespiratory and RPE. The switch in levels forces the athlete’s body to adapt, while giving other areas of the body time to rest and recover. This same concept can be applied to playing multiple sports. The athlete is able to engage areas that may have been dormant and rest others that may be over-stressed. Statistics back this up. Kids who specialize in one sport are up to 93% more likely to become injured, and these injuries are most often due to overuse.
When you are designing a college strength program you work through micro cycles that develop different metabolic adaptations. These periods or micro cycles usually last about 6-weeks before moving on to something different that requires your body to adapt.
In high school, I played softball and basketball. Basketball was tough, especially on the ankles, knees, and hips from all the jumping, cutting, and sprinting. Softball wasn’t so physically taxing, which meant I was able to concentrate on other areas of the game. I played shortstop and caught with my left hand, which in turn, helped me dribble the ball better in basketball. In softball, I learned how to slide and dive for the plate, and that rugged play helped toughen me on the basketball court. Softball was also a lot of fun to me. I earned All-State player honors and was awarded Player of The Year in both sports. Later, when I focused on basketball in college, my softball days spent in the dirt weren’t wasted. They proved to be a beneficial training tool I carried with me.
Eliminates Boredom and a Plateau
When routine takes over and there is little or no variation, an athlete’s performance will tend to plateau. Less challenge often means less competitive edge—and athletes need that edge to push them to perform at a higher level. Athletes can get “burned out” at a young age, but with the variety that comes from multiple sports, burnout is less likely. Granted, in some cases athletes could spend all day every day playing their respective sport and never get bored. Even in these cases, however, variety benefits their overall performance. At times, I would get wrapped up in basketball, constantly working on my shot, grinding day in and day out, and it was during these times I would develop bad habits without realizing it. I would start to drift, fade, and make mistakes. But stepping away from a sport, even briefly, and then returning to it can actually help prevent mistakes. The mind and attitude are refreshed, and progress is attainable in a more productive way.
Brings Back the Fun in Sports
Enjoying what you do is the key to success in any endeavor. So often, kids and parents alike put pressure on themselves or each other to succeed in sports, to break records, earn that scholarship, get their name in the paper—and these goals can overshadow the fun factor. At any age, fun must be the priority. Yes, you have to take yourself seriously in practice and exert all your effort, but you also have to feel grateful to do what you do and appreciate the fun. Taking a moment to breathe in the external forces of the nature of sports is important, but with so much pressure on performance, this can be hard to do. Taking a step back into a less serious situation is one way to find this crucial peace of mind and to remind yourself it doesn't always have to be so serious.
Being a true athlete goes well beyond your one field of play. While developing skills in another sport may not seemingly apply to your main sport, they can in fact help you become a well-rounded athlete. There are often unpredictable things that happen in games. When true athletes are put in these situations, not only are they able to respond and react to the situation better, but they are at much lower risk of injuring themselves—and ultimately, that is the most important element.
Read more about specialization in sports and studies on this at:
Hi, I'm Karri Owens. I was born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Exercise and sports are two of my favorite things about life! Any free chance I get involves some form of physical activity. I come from a very active upbringing and have always lived a lifestyle surrounded by fitness and health.
I attended North Carolina State University, which awarded me a four-year athletic scholarship in soccer. I played on the Wolfpack's varsity team but unfortunately suffered some serious injuries.
For example, during just the third game of my freshman year, I blew out my right knee. That injury significantly affected the rest of my playing career. I spent the next four years undergoing multiple ACL reconstructions, bone transplants, and other major surgeries to my right knee.
Although these were obvious setbacks, it was those struggles that propelled me into a new life. The hardships I experienced gave me a different perspective on what it takes to be the best version of myself inside and out. I graduated from NC State in 2015 with a degree in Nutrition Science, having developed a passion for living optimally and moving correctly.
I am a certified EXOS performance coach and am pursuing my CSCS. I hope to share my knowledge and experiences with others so that they can be the best version of themselves as well!
Great, you're hurt. Now what?
For the past six weeks, I have had the pleasure of working with the SureVest Insurance group on their company health initiative.
In today's workplace it is not uncommon for employees to be at their desks for many hours of the day. This problem can lead to a very unhealthy lifestyle. Poor posture, sore joints and muscles, even poor circulation of blood through our limbs can be some of the negative side effects.
This is where Owner of SureVest, Chris Clark, comes into play. He realized that a healthier staff can lead to better moods, higher energy levels, and a common goal between employee and employer. All of these result in a higher productivity at work. To see how we set up the program and the results of our work, click on the link below to read more.
Frequency was important for SureVest. Chris Clark knew from his own experience that the more you do something, the easier it becomes to form a habit.
We structured the weekly calendar so that I was at the office Tuesdays and Fridays for a 30-45 minute low intensity training session to give the staff a break in the day. We used the park outside the office as much as we could, weather permitting. We used exercises like lunges, squats and a high volume of upper body band work to give their bodies a boost to finish out the day. When weather forced us to be inside, we used a conference room for ab work, foam rolling and corrective exercises. Rarely did the ladies in the office break a sweat, but not all exercise has to be intense, especially when your background in lifting is very minimal.
We used a lot of exercises at the office that would have a high rate of transfer into the movements I planned for them on the two other days I got to see them. That's where their gym time comes in. We all know that low intensity movements and ab work are good, but are best when paired with full body bar movements. So the staff came to me twice a week on Mondays and Wednesdays to accomplish that. This is where we learned the movement patterns of squats, deadlifts, bench, rows etc. The group started slow, but they progressed quickly in the 6 weeks I worked with them.
Studies show that even 10 minutes a day at the office can show a reduction in fat mass, in a body composition test. Many companies have got on board with providing a gym on-site or services like myself. According to Roy Shephard, PhD, professor emeritus of applied physiology on the University of Toronto's faculty of physical education and health, "work-site exercise and health programs are widely believed to be a way to keep employees healthy, thereby increasing a company's productivity while controlling health insurance costs."
On top of the current workout schedule we had, we had a group message board on Facebook to help me evaluate their meal choices. We didn't "count macros" or even work with a caloric goal. We simply set out with the goal to have three solid full meals: 1 serving protein, 1 serving fat, 1 serving carb, and a ton of greens; and two high protein snacks during the day. This was a great way to bring light to their food composition. It was a great teaching tool.
The results were great! We had five women complete the program. On average they lost 5 pounds in body weight. 1.33 inches from their hips, 1.25 inches from their waists, and .5 inches in their arms. Remember these are the AVERAGES! Some did even better!
These results speak for themselves. The whole office was on board, even to the point that I was smuggling cookies and donuts out of the office when clients would bring them for lunch. With all the employees engaged, I noticed a big shift in mindset . Staff outings were done with activity in mind, instead of visiting the local bar. Staff lunches were well thought out and ordered with health and nutrition in mind. SureVest sets a great example when identifying healthy office habits!
I am happy that most of these ladies have stayed on and are continuing to train with me. I can't wait to post some more information about their progress in the future!
If you're looking for cooperate wellness programs or would like to learn more information please reach out in any form: social media or via my contact info on the website!
Journal: "The Physician and Sportsmedicine" February 1999 article, "Do Work-Site Exercise and Health Programs Work?"
My name is Kevin Woods, I hold 12 North Carolina, two American, and one World record across the 74kg and 83kg weight classes in powerlifting. My best lifts in competition are a 545lbs squat, 385lbs bench press, and 635lbs deadlift. I became a NGA natural professional bodybuilding at 19 years old. I also have a Bachelors degree in Biology and am pursuing my Masters in Divinity.
I have three lesson for you today that I have learned over the years.
It takes an immense amount of discipline to reach your goals. Humility is key to success, and to place your hope in something that will last.
Easter Lessons for Weight Training
I have been in the fitness industry for over a decade now. The most instrumental factor going into my success and continuation in bodybuilding and powerlifting is my relationship with God because of Jesus. Joe and The Strength Feed have graciously allowed me write about my experience and what has driven me to where I am now.
My weight lifting career started when I was 15 years old. I have had many different motivations in my life, to pursue goals and get better. At first, my motivation was vanity and pride. I loved the attention that being bigger and stronger got me. It was at this point that the temptation to take steroids was never greater. The glory and praise that I received from friends, family, and strangers was beginning to be something that I craved. Luckily, these cravings did not last long enough to take control of my life. See . . . I am a little competitive (understatement!), and my bodybuilding coach told me that I would never go anywhere if I did not take steroids.
My motivation then turned to proving my doubters wrong. I had never worked harder. If I had a spare moment, it was spent in the gym. I was not going to be out worked, and I was going to win. This was also the first semester that I got a C in school, but that is beside the point. I went on to compete in four different bodybuilding competitions that summer, some of which were drug-tested competitions and some were not. I won each competition and, according to the judges, was the second teenager in the NGA to win a natural pro card.
After winning my pro card, I promptly quit bodybuilding never to do it again. Why? Well, I found out that I was letting what other people thought of me, or didn’t think of me, define who I was and what I did. That wasn’t healthy or sustainable for me. My hope and purpose were wrapped up in bodybuilding (I’m not saying bodybuilding is bad. It was just bad for me). Though I had been a Christian for some time, I was attempting to use the talents God blessed me with for my own glory instead of His. Looking back, I see plenty of life lessons that God used to teach me. So, here are three things I learned that I would share with everyone else:
1. It takes an immense amount of discipline to reach your goals.
Every responsibility, interest, and hobby in your life demands part of your time and effort. As you get older, your responsibilities do not decrease. They will only increase. Reaching your goals WILL take hard work. It WILL take planning. It WILL take away sleep. This holds true for all life goals, as well as lifting goals. No one gets better without preparation. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 says, “Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.”
2. Humility is key to success.
This might sound counterintuitive at first, but it is actually very true. Humility is “freedom from pride and arrogance” There’s the old saying “Pride comes before the fall” that more than likely comes from a version of Proverbs 16:18 which says, “Pride goes before destruction and haughtiness before a fall.” Pride causes people to be blind to their own weaknesses and shortcomings. Pride causes people to step on others and see their own abilities as superior to the competition. Having a mindset like this sets athletes up for failure and despair, especially when matched up against equal or better competition. Instead, The Bible says we are to be humble and think of others as better than ourselves.
3. Place your hope in something that will last.
Lastly, I would advise everyone to place his or her hope in something that will last, and that is worthwhile. Sports, athletic accomplishments, competition, and even general health are great things that can motivate people. But, all of these can be taken away in an instant. Unfortunately, we live in a world that is riddled with disease, unimaginable accidents, and unforeseen circumstances that can change our perception or ability to perform. Take a good, introspective look at what drives you, and ask if it has lasting hope and joy or only momentary happiness.
I found lasting hope and joy in Jesus Christ. As Easter approaches I am reminded that even though I live in a fallen world, that struggles with temptation and sin, those things do not matter, because I have been forgiven. This is because of Christ’s sacrifice for us. His death and resurrection can offer this same hope and joy to anyone who would believe in him.
 The Bible. New Living Translation, Tyndale House Foundation, 2015.
 The Bible. New Living Translation, Tyndale House Foundation, 2015.
I played football for many years which gave me the opportunity to work under some great minds in the strength and conditioning business. I have also studied works by Joe Kenn, Mike Robertson, Buddy Morris, Chip Morton, Joe DeFranco, Boris Sheiko, and David Joyce, just to name a few. These names may not mean much to the average person, but in the strength and conditioning community they are legendary.
“If you fail to plan, then plan to fail.”
Nutrition: Setting Realistic Goals
My name is Cameron Forbes and I am currently in my last semester of graduate school at Meredith College seeking a Master degree in Nutrition. My passion for nutrition started in high school when I was looking for an edge on the competition in athletics. I took this passion with me to NC State University where I graduated with a B.S in Applied Nutrition. While at NC State I worked as a student athletic trainer and a sports nutrition intern my entire undergraduate career. I have been a strength and conditioning coach for over a year, but have been training since high school. Being in an athletic setting my entire life, I have seen the impact proper nutrition can have on an individual’s training. Within the next year I hope to obtain two major certifications/licensures. The first will be a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist and the second will be a Registered Dietitian/Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.
MAIN TALKING POINTS
1.Weight loss = Calories in < Calories out
2.The best diet is one you can follow consistently
3.Use an online RMR calculator to find your estimated caloric total for a maintenance weight, then subtract 250-1000 calories for 0.5lb-2.0lbs of weight loss per week
4.These are ESTIMATIONS. You may need to tweak these numbers to find your true maintenance calorie goal.
5.To promote maximum lean muscle gain, .7-1.0g of protein per pound of body weight is recommended.
Let me start by saying that nutrition goals can be as simple as expending more calories than you take in. If your goal is to simply lose weight there is no need to overcomplicate things.
I want to start by saying thanks to all my friends, family, and clients religiously following The Strength Feed. Your input and advice is, and always will be, greatly appreciated. What brings me to today’s topic of recovery? Well, I got the flu last week and it hit me pretty hard. Yea, you’re going to need a couple days of bed rest and time off work but recovery prior to hitting the gym again is huge.
The “Cliff Notes” of Recovery:
1. Fully recover before getting back into the gym.
a. A couple extra days off will only help you.
2. Make sure you hit your caloric needs once you have an appetite.
a. Adding BCAA’s throughout the day can help keep you from losing muscle mass while you’re on bed rest.
3. Take extra vitamins.
a. Adding additional magnesium, zinc and vitamin C can help your immunity.
To understand further, continue reading!