As part of being a Certified Personal Trainer, I must take a certain amount of continuing education credits every year to keep my certification in good standing. I do this by attending the World Fitness Expo in Toronto.
This is the second year I have attended the Expo.
There is a huge mix of fitness professionals and enthusiasts who attend the World Fitness Expo. Some come to meet celebrity trainers and take part in the workouts led by these celebs; others come to walk around the Expo Hall to get free samples, try new products and get sweet deals; others come to get certified in new training techniques; and others come to sit in lectures and workshops all day. Or all of the above.
One thing I was disappointed in this year was the lack of seminars and workshops that interested me. There are dozens of yoga, spin, and HIIT related workshops offered at the World Fitness Expo, but nowhere near as many functional training or running workshops. With how popular Crossfit and OCR/Ninja Warrior style training are, I was shocked there was nothing available specific to these demographics.
But, I did find 6 sessions to attend that not only highly interested me, but also my clients. Today I am going to share with you some of the take-aways I got from these seminars.
I attended two different workshops by Peter Twist, who I highly respect in the fitness industry. I love what he’s doing at his training facilities, with bringing on Naturopathic Doctors, Registered Holistic Nutritionists, yoga instructors etc., to treat the body as a system, holistically.
Peter’s values align with mine when it comes to reconnecting with our food supply, with our body and with ourselves. He’s all about training to improve, training to gain and training to perform.
One of the biggest messages Peter shares is that there are 168 hours in a week. If you are training 3-8 hours per week, you still have 160-165 hours per week to “undo everything you just did in your workout session”. Exercise will not compensate for what goes on the rest of the week: sitting all day and poor eating and lifestyle habits.
I see this ALL the time. Especially with OCR athletes. Many of us sit to commute to and from work and then we sit at work and then we sit when we come home from work, often spending more than 10 hours per day sitting. The ONE hour we spend working out or running, is not going to make up for that.
In fact, this is one of the major reasons why my mobility is crap and I keep getting injured (and why so many of my friends are in the same boat). We push ourselves too hard, after sitting around too much.
On top of that, athletes are often under-sleeping, over-stressed and under-nourished. It’s a recipe for disaster in the long run.
This is one of the reasons why I offer a 12-month online Nutrition, Exercise and Lifestyle program that is habit-based.
The Runner’s Academy
I also sat in two different lectures/workshops held by Dr. Kris Sheppard of the Runner’s Academy to learn about Running Technique and Strength Training for Running. These were just two of the three running related seminars available to attend all weekend at the World Fitness Expo. The third seminar ran (no pun intended) at a conflicting time, so I couldn’t attend.
Kris’ lecture is where I started to realize just how poor my running form is and why I am having so many injuries. It was also when the lightbulb went off that I need to bow out of the remainder of this OCR season and really focus on healing and improving my mobility for next season.
The Runner’s Academy has a great Run Ready Checklist on their website to use to see if you are ready to run or might need some extra help with strength or mobility. I highly recommend using this movement test.
One of the most interesting tidbits I picked up from these lectures is that while there is no “right shoe” for everyone, neutral shoes with minimal heel-to-toe drop and light in weight are the best for safe running.
Many of us go to speciality running shoe stores and are talked into purchasing motion control or stability shoes, but those components interfere with normal foot motion during weight bearing and can lead to injury.
Additionally, shoes with no drop or a small 6 mm drop or less are the best choice for allowing the foot to normally support loading during each gait cycle. I know a lot of ultra trail runners swear by some brands that have significant heel-to-toe drop, but I’ve always rolled my eyes at them, so I am happy to have this confirmed.
If you want more information on selecting running shoes, the American College of Sports Medicine has a great brochure.
I loved that Kris brought up lifestyle in his presentation and pointed out that less than 8 hours of sleep can increase injury risk by 1.6 and that less than 6 hours of sleep increases your injury risk almost 10 times.
Again, there’s one of the lifestyle components I drive home to my athletes during my OCR Peak Performance Program.
Finally, I also sat in on two of Kelly Starrett’s workshops. See a pattern here? I gravitate to certain speakers and then attend all their seminars at the World Fitness Expo. I was SO excited that Kelly was one of the presenters.
Kelly is the founder of MobilityWOD and he’s all about tapping into all your performance capacity and becoming anti-fragile so you can be more human.
Again, lifestyle factors were immediately addressed by Kelly. He mentioned that sleeping less than 6 hours per night compromises your immune system by 30% and makes you pre-diabetic for 24 hours. I am sure it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what will happen to you if you keep neglecting your sleep. Hello diabetes, weakened immune system and injuries galore!
MobilityWOD offers a great 24-hour adaptation cycle infographic that provides a daily routine for athletes. While I do some of these techniques, I am not consistent. So, my goal is to create and actually start following a proper routine again, that involves a TON of mobility work!
Whenever someone asks me what my diet is like, I usually describe myself as “vegan, with meat” and it’s always met with funny looks. But I don’t really know how else to describe my diet. Due to food intolerances I don’t consume dairy or eggs, so when I look up recipes I am always looking for vegan ones and then if I am in the mood for meat, I will add it to the meal. But my diet is at least 85% plant-based.
During Kelly’s presentation, he said adults should be eating 6-8 servings of vegetables per day, and that if they’re not willing to, he won’t work with them (he might have been joking, but maybe not. Either way, he’s hilariously awesome!). He added that “everyone should eat vegan…with a side of steak” and I started to laugh, because it was the first time I have ever heard someone else describe their eating style like me.
I obviously went to chat with Kelly afterwards, and he gave me a fist bump for eating the same way as him. He’s an awesome dude. Like he said, meat should be a condiment, not a staple part of the diet.
If you are a fitness enthusiast or athlete, I highly recommend attending the World Fitness Expo for the seminars next year and not just going for the Expo Hall. The lectures and workshops are so interactive and always full of the most relevant information in the health and fitness industry.
I must say, I was incredibly impressed with Peter, Kris and Kelly and how often they kept going back to lifestyle factors. Many (most) professionals in the fitness industry neglect nutrition and lifestyle factors and just keep pushing clients harder and harder in the gym to try and change their body composition, when there is WAY more to it than that.
Peter and Kelly are both jacked guys who work with professional and Olympic athletes and both recommend focusing more on vegetables than meat. Too often, I hear (men especially) worry that they’d never be able to build muscle or perform well if they ate more plant-based. It’s just not true. And in fact, you’ll be a lot healthier if you add more colourful plants to your plate.