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Olympia Weekend Expo

After telling one of my clients that I was contemplating heading up to Vegas for the weekend to check out the 2010 Olympia Expo, he surprised me on Friday by informing me that he booked me hotel reservations using his free points. I drove up late Friday night and spent around 4-5 hours at the Expo on Saturday day.

If you’ve never been to an Olympia Expo and you are a fan of bodybuilding, I highly recommend it. You get to see a ton of freaky stuff and it only costs $25 to attend. Here are some of the highlights:

Things that Ruled!

1. T-Nationers

Right off the bat I found two fellow T-Nationers who work for T-Nation. I told them I write for T-Nation and wanted to take a picture of them. I don’t know if they believed me considering I ain’t got much muscle!

2. Kevin Levrone

He’s an actor now and isn’t so juiced up.

3. Charles Glass

I had a great conversation about the glutes with Charles Glass. Charles trains a ton of bodybuilders and is a crafty and legendary trainer.

4. Johnny Jackson

5. Jay Cutler

In case you’re wondering, Jay won the Mr. Olympia title for the fourth time!

6. Branch Warren

7. Dorian Yates

8. Dexter Jackson

9. Brandon Curry

10. Alicia-Marie

Holy Sweet Mother of God she’s hot! I made her pose for a booty-pic. She’s really cool too. I chatted with her about the glutes. She assumed she knew more than me on this topic but I had to set her straight. She can be the glute queen, but I’m the glute king! The butt pic doesn’t do her justice…you have to see it to get the full effect. It’s truly a work of art. Alicia-Marie is definitely one of the hotter fitness chicks in the world! Here’s her website.

11. Mark “Jackass” Bell

12. Iris Kyle

Say something and she’ll kick your ass!

13. Lou Ferrigno

14. Rich Franklin

I was about to mess him up until he apologized! All kidding aside, Rich and I have a ton in common…we both are former high school math teachers with master’s degrees and wicked left hooks (okay, maybe only one of us has a wicked left hook).

15. Gunter Shleirkamp

16. Evan Centopani

17. Brent Willis

This dude deadlifted 782 and he’s only 20 years old!

18. Matt “Kroc” Kroczaleski

19. Carmen Electra

I hate to be the one to say it, but somebody has gone downhill…

20. Stan “The Rhino” Efferding

He won the 2010 World’s Strongest Bodybuilder with I believe a 628 bench and 800 deadlift.

21. Gilbert Yvel

Kickboxer and UFC fighter

22. Some hot chick with big knockers!

23. Another sexy chick!

24. Mike O’Hearn

He was Titan on American Gladiators, he’s also an extremely accomplished fitness model.

25. Boxer Game

I tried 2 different times to get onto the leader board to no avail. The best I got was 850. If I just did straight punches the highest I got was 810. Then the guy working the game taught me the secret. He said all the leaders stand to the side and twist their bodies. When I did this I got to 850. There were some weak ass dudes who got in the 400’s. I saw a huge beast of a woman get 800 right before I left the show! My wrist and forearm hurt for the next 24 hours! The shit that guys will do to try to pretend they aren’t over the hill!

26. Free Protein – I got 12 packets of protein powder and 3 protein bars while I was there.

27. Freak Shows

It’s always cool to see a few freaks, and you’ll see tons at the Olympia Expo. I never got a picture of this guy (he was just an attendee) but he embodied all that is bodybuilding. He was most likely from Europe and had long hair, a vest with no shirt on, and tight-ass jean short-shorts with boots. Freaking legend!

28. Deadlift Form

I watched 2 straight hours of deadlifting (with powerlifters, strongmen, and bodybuilders) and analyzed the shit out of everyone’s form and physiques. Some interesting things…most deadlifters have decent glutes and usually good quads but surprisingly the hamstrings aren’t always “all-that.” My EMG tests showed that deadlifts max-out hamstring activation. The hamstrings are known to be “fast-twitch” which respond better to heavy loads so what gives? The hamstrings are a tricky muscle to grow. Every once in a while you’ll see a great deadlifter who has poor glute development. However, they ALL have great upper back development. You’ll see different set-ups, different stances, different upper back curvatures, etc. But whatever spinal curvature they choose, their spines rarely buckle during successful lifts. Erector spinae strength appears to be paramount for deadlifting prowess. Here’s a video of some of the short clips I shot:

Things that Sucked!

1. Jamie Eason

Well, Jamie certainly doesn’t suck. It’s just that I never got to see her. I know she was there because there are tons of pictures of her at the Expo on her Facebook page, but I never ran into her. This is the closest I got.

2. Groupies

These women are so pathetic. I went to the afterhours party at Blush at the Wynn and saw a couple of pretty girls who were all-over some of the bodybuilders. I realize that there are all kinds of fetishes and that some women are extremely attracted to bodybuilders, but whenever I see girls throwing themselves at athletes, rockstars, or celebrities I’m always blown-away. These are the same idiotic girls who complain that “all men are pigs” because they’re too stupid to choose good ones.

There was a pretty girl next to me that was around my age and when Ronnie Coleman or Jay Cutler appeared she’d get all giddy and try her hardest to get someone to take a picture of her with them. I like to think that I’m a decent-looking guy, but I was pretty much invisible to her. Now I’m just sounding like a hater so I’ll stop!

3. Continental Breakfast Phenomenon

I turn into a fat slob when I get free continental breakfasts. It never fails. I ate 2 bowls of Rice Krispies, a bagel with 2 packets of butter and 2 packets of cream cheese, an English muffin with 2 packets of peanut butter and 2 packets of honey, a grapefruit, 2 yogurts, a glass of milk, and a glass of apple juice. I’d love to know how many calories, carbs, fat, and protein were in that meal. Then I went back to my room and crashed out in a carb-induced coma for a couple of hours before heading back home!

4. I Forgot My Freaking Camera!

When I went to the afterhours party, I was one of only a few people who saw Ronnie Coleman busting out some serious dance moves in his dress-clothes. It was hilarious; a giant Silverback gettin’ his groove on! If only I had my camera it would have made for some great pictures.

5. The After-Hours Party

During Jay Cutler’s acceptance speech he asked everyone to go to the after party at Blush at the Wynn. I went, paid my admission, and then found all the bodybuilders cooped up in a private room. I stood outside the room for a few minutes trying to assess the situation, and after I realized how pathetic I was standing outside a room like a stalker I took off. Why in the hell would anyone go to these stupid afterhours parties if they don’t get to mingle with the bodybuilders and bodybuilding-writers? I won’t make that mistake ever again. I did chat with bodybuilding trainer Haney Rambod for a few minutes which made the trip somewhat worth it.

6. Less Talent

This was actually my third or fourth time attending the Expo. A couple of years ago Ronnie Coleman had his own booth, and The Rock, John Cena, Wanderlei Silva, Silvester Stallone, and Forrest Griffin were at the Expo. This year I felt that the talent diminished slightly, which makes sense I guess – everyone’s suffering a little bit in this crappy economy.

So there you have it, that’s a wrap!

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If you’re looking to penetrate the Strength & Conditioning Industry or simply wanting to meet a bunch of like-minded folks, then the 3-Day Perform Better Seminars are definitely for you. In an effort to be brief, I’ll simply roll through my experiences over the weekend as many individuals don’t quite realize how these weekends go. I’m very glad I already attended the One-Day Seminar a couple of months ago which included Mike Boyle, Gray Cook, Alwyn Cosgrove, and Todd Durkin. This freed up time for me to watch other presenters.

Friday

8:00

My friend Sam Leahey picks me up and together we head to the seminar. Poor Sam had to chauffeur me around all weekend and a couple of times he had to knock on my door to wake me up as I was completely zonked out. It was difficult for me to adjust to the time zone changes! He was a good sport as he’s super laid-back. He’s also full of integrity. I can’t say enough about my friend Sam. Great guy!

9:00

I got to the seminar and ran into a bunch of friends; Nick Tumminello and his girlfriend Allie McKee, Joe Sansalone and his girlfriend Neghar Fanooni, Nate Green, and Joe Bonyai. I felt right at home! It’s good to be around like-minded folks.

9:15

I attended Jeff Anderson’s lecture on the Biomechanics of the Spine. I thought that this presentation was great! I’m going to write something up that incorporates some of the things he spoke about but suffice to say, sitting is really bad for you!

10:45

Participated in Al Vermeil’s hand-on practical on Speed. Al is hilarious! For those who have never seen him speak, the guy is about as unique as they come. From his random “In my day” rants, to his creative analogies, to his hilarious stories, I’m pretty sure you’ll never see a speaker quite like him. I was pleased to see that much of Al’s work was influenced by the late Charlie Francis, a man for whom I had much admiration.

12:00

While speaking with Nick Tumminello, Allie McKee, and Alwyn Cosgrove, I am introduced to a guy named David Jack. This guy is awesome! High energy, very knowledgeable, and super friendly. Got some great free advice from Alwyn regarding my career. Ran into my friend Martin Rooney and talked shop for a little bit.

1:00

Filmed a quick video in a conference room with David Jack and his friend for a possible Men’s Health video showing some of my glute exercise progressions. Hope they post it somewhere! Ran into Jeremy Frisch who showed me how he performs Static Lunge EQI’s. Tried them out and love them. Here’s what he taught me:

Static Lunge EQI

I should mention that in a true EQI you gradually sink deeper into the stretch throughout the duration of the set.

2:30

Went to Al Vermeil’s lecture on Speed. More great stuff. Was in the very corner of the room and fell asleep for a few minutes. Thought I was inconspicuous. When I woke up, David Jack and Dewey Nielsen had taken pictures of me sleeping. In my defense, I only got three hours of sleep the night before due to the time differential and my flight arriving after midnight. So lay off me!

4:00

Watched John Berardi’s lecture on Nutrition and Injury Recovery. John is such a great presenter and may in fact be the most kind and professional individual in the industry! His lecture was great.

5:30

Attended Thomas Plummer’s presentation on Secrets of Success. Thomas is hilarious, motivational, and knowledgeable about our industry. What else could you ask for?

6:30

Went back to the hotel, showered, got dressed, and headed back to attend the Perform Better Social. Got to meet Brett Jones. Asked him about correct Chop and Lift technique and he gave me a couple of pointers. Talked with my editor Nate Green for a while. Spoke with Al Vermeil about my glute exercises. Was very surprised that he not only saw value in them, but also knew the specifics in regards to proper form execution without ever having performed the movements. Great coaches have a sixth sense about movement. He asked me to email him links to my exercises; I still need to do that. Hung out more with Nick and Allie.

9:00

Went to the StrengthCoach.Com Social event hosted by Mike Boyle and Anthony Renna. This was a wonderful event. Got to meet up with a bunch of my strength coach friends including Anthony Renna, Tim Vagen, Shon Grosse, Charlie Weingroff, Dewey Nielsen, Robert Dos Remedios, Brad Lambert, Elsbeth Vaino, Dan Gableman, Bruce Cohn, Bruce Kelly, Sean Skahan, Max Prokopy, Steven Head, Sam Leahey, Joe Bonyai, Nick Tumminello, Joe Sansalone, Allie McKee, Robbie Bourke, John D’Amico, Cedric Unholz, Ray McCarthy, Chris Brown, Kevin Carr, Adrienne Norris, Henry Lau, Greg Streblow, Alwn Cosgrove, Mike Boyle, Kara Fed, and Nate Green. This was an amazing event! Had an excellent conversation with my friend Shon Grosse.

11:00

Extended the party. A lot of us just weren’t willing to throw in the towel. Went to a local bar that had a band playing. Took Neghar Fanooni’s camera and shot a video clip of Robert Dos Remedios and Dewey Nielsen going crazy on the dance floor to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing.” Had an amazing time with Joe S., Neghar, Joe B., and Sam Leahey. These folks were a ton of fun! Left the bar at around 1:45 and went back to the hotel.

3:00

Finally crashed out

Saturday

7:00

Sam picks me up, it’s raining like crazy! Sam’s crappy little car was hydroplaning. He was driving Bruce Cohn, Joe Bonyai, and yours truly. We all thought we were going to die. Ran into Kevin Larrabee from Fitcast (Kevlar) before the presentation. As promised, he gave me a Spike (Biotest product). It tasted so good when it hit my lips! Seriously, Spike is amazing. I knew that if Kevlar and Tony Gentilcore liked Spike so much then there had to be something to it. The Spike revitalized me and was much needed. Was hoping to talk more with Kevlar as he seems like a really cool dude but didn’t get the chance with so many people around.

8:00

Planned on going to Sue Falsone’s hands-on practical but ran into Martin Rooney and talked for a solid hour straight. The best thing about Martin is that he gives you the impression that you’re his best friend. I’m sure everyone walks away from Martin thinking, “Wow, I really relate to that guy.” We spoke about exercises, training theory, evolution, and the effects of being over-emotional when it comes to learning. I think that Martin and I could talk for five straight hours and not skip a beat. Martin is such a passionate, knowledgeable, hard-working, and inspiring individual. He even gave me some good advice pertaining to my career that was in accord with what Alwyn told me. Awesome!

9:30

Attended Eric Cressey’s hands-on practical on Medicine Balls. Eric is extremely bright and went over shoulder stretches, warm-ups, and med-ball exercises.

11:00

Watched Greg Rose’s lecture on the Golf Swing. I have to say, this was the presentation that impressed me the most this weekend. I didn’t know who Greg Rose was before this weekend but I found out that he is a co-founder of Titleist Performance Institute and a heck of a smart guy. The TPI folks have the golf swing boiled down to an absolute science. They analyze videos of an individual’s golf swing and can quickly detect everything wrong with it. They have names for each problem…S and C postures, reverse spine angle, early extension, restricted trail leg, scooping, chicken winging, death grip, palm grip, under the plane/over the top, casting, steep swing plane, fat divots, etc. Each of these issues leads to pain at a certain joint. I was very intrigued to say the least.

12:15

Had lunch with Nick Tumminello and Allie McKee. I really enjoy my friendship with this couple. I got to hang out with them a bunch in Kansas City last month and we picked up right where we left off. They are great people and Nick and I are always discussing training theory. It’s cool hearing what’s on Nick’s mind and then reading about it a few weeks later on TMuscle or wherever else Nick’s work appears. He’s all over the place! Nick is always kind enough to introduce me to his friends in the industry; the man has a lot of connections and is well-respected by everyone. I can’t remember the name of what I ate, but it was called something like “The Death Burger.” A burger sandwiched between two grilled cheese sandwiches. Can’t get much better than that!

1:15

Attended Sue Falsone’s lecture on the Thoracic Spine. Was very impressed! Sue is extremely knowledgeable, humble, and professional. I really like Sue! The t-spine may be the most overlooked component of fitness assessment. She also talked about Costal and Diaphragmatic breathing with is important to understand.

2:45

Attended Greg Rose’s hands-on practical on the Golf Swing. More awesomeness. Let’s just say that most golfers don’t have the requisite ankle, hip, and t-spine mobility necessary to allow them to swing a golf club correctly. Although I’m a big fan of corrective exercise in general, there may be no other sport where corrective exercise is more warranted than golf.

4:15

Watched the Presenters Q & A session. Was great to hear different speakers offering their views on different questions. The best question that came up was “What comprises the core?” What’s your answer?

5:30

Headed back to the hotel, showered, got ready, then fell asleep. Sam woke me up by pounding on the door. If not I would have slept for a couple of hours!

7:30

We went to dinner with a bunch of folks; Bruce Cohn, Joe S., Neghar, Joe B., Dan G., Henry L., Kevin C., and the other Kevin. I was all riled up and talked too much at dinner. I get excited talking to younger guys in the industry and try my best to point them in the right direction. Most of these younger guys are already going in the right direction as they’re involved with Mike Boyle in one capacity or another.

10:00

Extended the night and went bar-hopping with Joe, Neghar, Kevin, and Kevin. Joe and Neghar are such a great couple! They are extremely fun, very professional, and very much in love. They are very knowledgeable fitness folks who have their own facility called Optimum Performance Training Institute in Maryland. I’m very envious of them as their happiness and energy is contagious. Left at around 1:00 I believe.

2:00

Finally hit the sack.

Sunday

7:00

Was woken up again by Sam pounding at my door. This awarded me the “Most Annoying Friend” award for the weekend. Headed to the Convention Center.

8:00

Watched Thomas Myers’ lecture on Anatomy Trains and Myofasical Meridians. This was the lecture that everyone wanted to see. The visuals were quite spectacular. I find Thomas’ accent very intriguing…he sounds like a mix between John Malkovich and a robot.

9:30

Attended Thomas Myer’s hands-on practical. Was impressed that Thomas actually had a pretty decent overview of strength & conditioning although he was persistent in telling us that this isn’t his field and that he’s just trying to give us some different ideas.

11:00

I intended on attending Lee Taft’s lecture on the Feet in relation to speed, but instead I met with Carl Valle. Carl has been highly critical of my work so I thought it would be a good opportunity to talk shop with someone who has much more years of experience than me as it relates to the world of Track & Field. We spoke for a couple of hours. Carl is very knowledgeable and well-versed in training theory.

1:00

Filmed a quick video with Nick Tumminello for an upcoming blog of his.

1:15

Left to the airport with Sam.

There you have it folks! That’s how my weekend went. As you can see, these summits are very exciting and action-packed! Where else do you get to hang out all weekend and talk shop with guys like Martin Rooney, Alwyn Cosgrove, Nick Tumminello, Carl Valle, Al Vermeil, Brett Jones, Nate Green, Joe Bonyai, Jeremy Frisch, Sam Leahey, David Jack, Bruce Cohn, Bruce Kelly, Joe Sansalone, Dan Gableman, Elsbeth Vaino, and Shon Grosse?

I was so busy talking to others that I barely got to speak to guys like Charlie Weingroff, Anthony Renna, Dewey Nielsen, Robert Dos Remedios, Seah Skahan, Kevin Larrabee, Sue Falsone, John Berardi, Timothy Vagen, and Lee Taft.

Just to give you an idea as to how versatile these summits are, I really didn’t get to speak much at all to Mike Boyle, Eric Cressey, Gray Cook, Lee Burton, Greg Rose, Jeff Anderson, John Brookfield, Aaron Brooks, Steve Cotter, Michol Dalcourt, Todd Durkin, Chris Frankel, John Graham, Brian Grasso, Bill Parisi, Fraser Quelch, Chuck Wolf, Todd Wright, Thomas Myers, and Thomas Plummer. As you can see, the depth at these seminars is top-notch!

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I’ve been to plenty of fitness seminars (five in the past year) and I must say that the annual JP Fitness Summit is a one-in-a-kind event! It’s unlike any other seminar you’ll attend. For those who don’t know, “JP” stand for Jean-Paul Francoeur, the personal trainer who started the JP Fitness forums many years ago. I believe they started their annual summits in 2003. Next year’s event will be held in May in Kansas City so I recommend that you start saving up now as you don’t want to miss out!

Basically, it’s a whole weekend filled with activities from Thursday to Sunday. The entire time you’re surrounded by summit attendees and presenters. I had an absolute blast. I got to meet a bunch of great people, most of whom regularly post on the JP Fitness Forum. And, I got to meet an awesome line-up of presenters including Lou Schuler, Alan Aragon, Ryan Zielonka, and Nick Tumminello (and me but I already met myself years ago). I can tell you first-hand that it’s not very often you get to basically spend a weekend with guys who write for Men’s Health, T-Nation, Men’s Fitness, StrengthCoach, Elitefts, and Wannabebig and present at major conferences.

On Thursday night, people went into the downtown area where they ate, grabbed a few drinks, and hung out. On Friday people met for lunch and later on for dinner. Saturday was the presentation. Lou presented first and his presentation was entitled, “The Hero With a Thousand Repetitions.” Alan presented second and his presentation was entitled, “Pissing on the Myths.” Ryan spoke third and his presentation was entitled “Fitness Excess: A Cautionary Tale.” Then we all went to lunch together. When we came back, Nick gave his “Self-Myofascial Release” presentation, which was followed by my “Load Vector Training” presentation. Next Nick gave a hands-on demonstration which was followed by a hands-on demonstration of my own.

Each presentation was awesome! I was really surprised as there were really no boring ones. I would go so far as to say that I learned as much from this seminar as I have from any other I’ve attended. Not only that, but interspersed within the presentations you’re likely to hear an f-bomb or two as well as an inside joke (that’s what she said). Like I said; truly one of its kind.

Following the seminar we went to a nice steak house for dinner and then to a bar for some drinks. Some of us may or may not have had a little too much to drink. Seriously, this night was so much fun. I would have never thought that I would have gotten a chance to party with a bunch of industry big-wigs. Alan, Nick, and Lou are hilarious! Ryan and Nick’s girlfriend Allie are such nice, intriguing people. The attendees and folks who put the summit together were kind, funny, and awesome people as well.

This is definitely an event that more people should try to attend. I’m already excited for next year! It’s all about great people and good memories.

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I wanted to write this blog to alert my friends in the fitness industry who are considering attending multiple Perform Better Seminars this year. Perform Better is currently offering a “VIP Special” that allows you to attend as many seminars you’d like during an entire calendar year for $699! I was already planning on attending all of the different seminars so I’ll break down the savings for you:

One-Day Learn-By-Doing Seminar $149
Two-Day FMS (Functional Movement Screen) Seminar $379
Three-Day Functional Training Summit $349
Results Business Seminars $349 (I plan on attending the first seminar in 2011)

Total $1,226

Total with VIP Discount: $699

Granted, I’m not factoring in any early-bird discounts or taxes, but you get the point. If you’d like the discount, call Perform Better at 888-556-7464 and tell the customer service agent you’d like to talk to Chris Poirier about the VIP discount.

For the record I am very happy with Perform Better. Not only do they put on the absolute best seminars worldwide, they also have excellent customer service. Last year there was a thread on the StrengthCoach.Com forum asking which company had the best customer service out of all the different fitness equipment companies and every strength coach and personal trainer on the forum who responded chose Perform Better. I have to agree, as there was an incident earlier this year where Perform Better made an error and under-charged me for an item I purchased by one-hundred dollars. When they realized their mistake, with no hesitation they told me that they would honor the price they quoted me. How often does that happen in today’s economy?

I also have to credit the Perform Better Functional Training Summit for much of my success this past year. Last year I attended the 3-day seminar at Long Beach and met Mike Boyle, Eric Cressey, Martin Rooney, Gray Cook, Robert Dos Remedios, Bill Parisi, Vern Gambetta, Mark Verstegen, and Alwyn Cosgrove. I have to laugh now because I approached each of them at the end of their seminars and handed them an article I wrote on glute activation. These are all coaches who are about as far as you can get at the end of the “sport-specific” continuum, yet the article I gave them included some information about machine exercises and used some bodybuilding terminology. Now that I know a lot more about the industry, I can just envision the look on their faces as they read the article. They were probably thinking to themselves, “This guy just isn’t quite there yet!”

At any rate, I lucked out because at the time Mike Boyle had been considering programming the shoulder-elevated single leg hip lift into his routine and I gave him some ammunition to justify its inclusion with my glute EMG data. Coincidentally he was thinking about writing an article on the single leg hip lift calling it “the best exercise we never do.” Although he never wrote this article, he did post several videos showing different variations of the exercise over the next several months, in addition to mentioning my name on his blog a couple of times, posting a couple of my articles on his site, and mentioning me in his podcast on several occasions.

I piggy-backed off of this success by making sure to tell T-Nation that Mike Boyle had recently published a couple of my articles on his site so they would take me more seriously. This led to T-Nation posting several of my articles on their site, and the rest is history. Now I’m pretty well-known in the industry.

As a matter of fact, for the most part I was completely unknown in the fitness world as of last August. Since then I’ve published an eBook and been a part of over 30 articles online. I would venture to guess that I’ve been involved in more published articles in the last year than any other individual in the fitness industry. For this reason I’m declaring myself “rookie of the year” in the fitness industry. 🙂

I hope that I can continue to rise in popularity as next year I want to be writing for Men’s Health and speaking at the Perform Better Seminars! Wish me luck! Although I went off on a bit of a tangent, I have the Perform Better seminar to thank for much of my success. Simply put, if you want to get well-known in the industry you have to network. It is much easier for someone like Mike Boyle to post one of your articles on his site when he’s met you face to face. That’s just the way things work. I’m looking forward to meeting even more like-minded folks this year! Hope you enjoyed the blog.

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