NSCA Personal Trainer’s Conference 2011
April 09 2011
The conference was held in Las Vegas as usual. I had reviewed the 2010 conference here. It was a 2 day conference and each presentation lasted around an hour and a half. They had both hands-on and lecture type presentations.
Marie Spano MS
She is one of the leading sports nutritionists and co-authored the book ‘NSCA’s Guide to Sports Nutrition’. The title of her presentation was “Analyzing the popular weight loss diets”.
This was a really good presentation. She reviewed popular diets, what is good and bad about these popular diets, really emphasized how important it is to make behavioral changes than focus on diets, avoiding the diet mentality, and so forth. She talked a lot about intuitive eating and how it is a great way of avoiding the diet mentality and the popular food and eating ‘rules’. Everything she said was all about long term adherence, proper nutrition, and a healthy mentality towards food, your body, and eating. And everything you see and hear around you is the exact opposite: quick fixes, no mention about nutrition, and rules like ‘eat this and not that’.
Below are her food rules:
1. Incorporating high volume foods
2. Drinking water before your meals
3. Eat half your plate with fruits/veggies
4. Eat 20 gms of protein with every meal
5. Tune into physiological hunger
6. Eat when you are hungry
7. Work on emotional eating
8. Find out why you eat
9. No food, within reason, is off limits.
10. Learn to like healthy foods,
11. Create what fits into your lifestyle
12. Change your environment
13. No good food, bad food
14. If you bite it, write it
I asked her if she emphasizes fat loss with her clients, how much nutrition you can talk to your clients, and about re-feeding. I just felt she could have mentioned about the “starvation mode” or metabolic drop seen in people with dieting, strategies like re-feeding or cheat meals a bit, and what is wrong with the popular ‘The Biggest Loser’ show.
Most of our diet advice comes from diet experts who work with bodybuilders and fitness models who need to come down to single digit body fat levels for a few weeks or months. We try to take their advice and apply it to the general population who doesn’t have even half the motivation of a bodybuilder, nor the genetics, they need to look good the whole year, and don’t need to come to insane body fat levels. And that’s the problem.
Just so that you know, it is hard to make all these changes in people’s lives though this maybe the right way. I guess the question is how to make these behavioral changes, will these really help lose weight and keep it off and such. So it is not as black and white.
Dr. Len Kravtiz
Len Kravitz, PhD is the Program Coordinator of Exercise Science and researcher at the University of Mexico.
Len did a presentation on Eccentric Training titled” Eccentric Training: Everything you wanted to know and more”. I don’t think I have seen many presenters who are so enthusiastic and animated. He is one of the rare breed of teachers who can spark the love for the subject in a student.
He spent around 30 minutes on the physiology of eccentric contraction which I thought was a bit too deep for the audience. He talked about titin, troponin and such, and trainers don’t care about that stuff. But he presented the subject better than anyone I have seen. I remember him walking around the room and animatedly saying, “you become the actin” and talked about how he makes his students act out the muscle contraction. I wish more teachers could watch him.
His presentation was mostly about the mechanisms, theories and lacked a bit on practical-based information I felt. He showed a study about how eccentric contractions increased concentric strength. But this was just an acute study and did not say much about long term adaptations. It is clear that eccentric training increases concentric strength, but concentric contraction are better than eccentric contractions to increase concentric strength in the long term. It is just the specificity principle in action.
This is the reason why we should look at systematic reviews and meta analysis first. If we don’t have any, then we fall back to single studies. I had written an article about eccentric contraction based on a meta-analysis here. I am surprised how he missed that met-analysis. I also felt he could have talked about how eccentric contraction show increased muscle growth than concentric contraction which is one of the most talked about benefit and the reason why most people use it. He showed a study which showed eccentric contractions burned 8-9% calories post-workout for many hours. And 8-9% is how many calories I was thinking? 10, 25, 50?.
He showed a lot of videos about how to do eccentric contractions. I think two or three would have been fine to show the different ways to overload. He had too many I thought, and people didn’t like the kid in the video who was bent on showing the world how strong and awesome he is. I talked to Dr. Len and even had lunch with him. He seems to be a real nice guy and is very humble and polite.
This is getting too long and I will write more about other speakers in the second part. I felt the presentations were a lot more evidence-based than last year and they made an effort to pick speakers who have PhD’s and do specific work in that particular topic. I just wished they had more topics about training and nutrition for muscle growth.
That’s all I have for Part 1