May 2007

Being a father of 3 one boy athlete and two young female athletes, this article is probably my most favorite of all time.  I will break this into two sections so follow along.

“Girls are stronger. Boys are stinky” This is what my 6-year-old little girl says when asked who is stronger. I want her to understand from a young age that women are not second-class athletes. My baby girl is never going to be sent over to the pink dumbbell rack and the treadmill and told to lift light while the boys are overtraining the squat. She’ll be under the bar with the boys, and if they give her a hard time, she will only have to say, “Don’t make me call my Dad!”

Sports opportunities are on the rise, and female athletes keep gaining more recognition. It isn’t near enough, but it’s slowly getting better. There are many incredible role models out there. Female athletes are my heroes because they do things with their brains and heart that the males need testosterone to do. They are fierce! This is all a good thing.

The bad thing is that female athletes are tearing up their anterior cruciate ligaments at an alarming and epidemic rate. This is sad, wrong, and most likely preventable, at least to a much greater degree than what is currently happening. Any sport where female athletes need to decelerate and change direction on their feet shows an ACL injury rate some eight times more than in male athletes.

The whole issue really came home to me when a good friend of mine, Dr. Jack Barnathan, DC (ISSA director of fitness sciences), gave his talk on female ACL injuries. I found the problem to be absolutely outrageous, especially when I learned what the medical community was doing about it.

I’m going to do something about it. I’m doing something about it right now. My strength does not lie in the lab or in the halls of academia. I do my work in the gym. I teach women how to squat.

First, I want to identify one of the problems. Bodybuilding is a sport. I give my iron brothers and sisters respect because they work hard and are more dedicated to diets than probably any other group of athletes. There are techniques used in bodybuilding that serve a special purpose for correcting issues of symmetry and proportion. Their primary goal is isolation. However, these techniques typically have no place in athletics. The human body is not meant to work in isolation but is rather a remarkable machine that does its best work when working in concert with different aspects of itself.

One of the biggest demons rears its ugly head in the name of isolating the quadriceps muscle group. This is the sinister and malevolent creature known as the leg extension machine. Since the predominant media force comes from the bodybuilding magazines, the public has learned all of its technique and terminology from them. Unfortunately, this includes our athletic and fitness community.

The bodybuilder, when posing in the mirror, is very concerned about the biceps, quads, rectus abdominus, and the pectorals. These muscles are not, however, the most important for athletic human movement. The more important muscles are those of the posterior chain, the ones that you cannot see in the mirror. The posterior chain starts at the heel and continues up the back of the leg right into the muscles of the lower back. As a group, they are under trained. This is one problem.

Bob Jodoin is an ISSA master trainer, a New York strength master trainer, a NBFE fellow, and a former director of strength and conditioning at Total Performance Sports. He is now a strength and conditioning coach as well as a personal trainer in sunny Orlando, Florida. Bob serves as a strength and conditioning advisor for youth sports to the Winter Springs Pop Warner Midgets, the Wild AAU 13U baseball, and M-PACT Sports.

Elite Fitness Systems strives to be a recognized leader in the strength training industry by providing the highest quality strength training products and services while providing the highest level of customer service in the industry. For the best training equipment, information, and accessories visit us at


The following list includes information and facts regarding the adverse effects associated with physical inactivity.

  • Inactivity and poor diet cause at least 300,000 deaths a year in the United States.
  • Adults who are less active are at greater risk of dying of heart disease and developing diabetes, colon cancer and high blood pressure.
  • More than 60% of U.S. adults do not engage in the recommended amount of physical activity.
  • Approximately 40% of U.S. adults are not active at all.
  • Physical inactivity is more common among women than men, African American and Hispanic adults than whites, older than younger adults, and the less affluent than more affluent individuals.
  • Social support from family and friends is consistently and positively related to regular physical activity.
  • Inactivity increases with age. By age 75, about one in three men and one in two women engage in no physical activity.
  • People with disabilities are less likely to engage in regular moderate physical activity than people with no physical disabilities, yet they have similar needs to promote health and prevent lifestyle-related diseases.

International Sports Sciences Assoc. (ISSA)  8th Edition Text


Wow!  Taking any amount of time off will make a person feel like they are completely out of touch with what’s going on anywhere. 

That’s exactly what I have done over the past few days.  I’ve posted but I’ve had these last couple posts in my Manage file for several weeks. 

Due to the effects of my surgery I haven’t trained in 2 weeks and I’ve lost 5 pounds as a result, which doesn’t make me happy. 

I have not had any contact with any of the people I train.  Which really seems like it puts me out of touch.  I may not be, but I feel that way. 

I haven’t read anyone else’s entries, which, now I’m behind.

 I guess the reason I am writing this is because life changes on a daily basis and unless I am up on current events in my life and others’ I can miss some very important information. 

Oh well, I hope you all are still on the correct path to your goals and didn’t allow the distraction of yet, another holiday, foil your plans.


Myth #2: Strength training will stunt the growth of children.

It still amazes me that parents won’t hesitate to get their young children (6-7 years old) involved in sports such as football, gymnastics, basketball and soccer, yet they feel that participating in a strength-training program is damaging to their children’s bone health and will stunt their growth. Nothing can be further from the truth.

The fact of the matter is that running, jumping and tackling can create loading on a child’s body which is up to ten times greater than most strength training exercises. In other words, the physical demands on a child’s body are far greater on the athletic field compared to the weightroom. Parents who don’t let their children participate in resistance training are actually increasing their children’s risk for injury on the athletic field.

There have even been position stands by such organizations as the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine and the American Academy of Pediatrics suggesting that children can benefit from participation in a properly designed and supervised resistance training program. Position stands recommend that prepubescent children shouldn’t lift maximal weights; they should lift weights that can be lifted for at least six repetitions with proper form.

Strength training in this manner can be the most potent exercise stimulus for bone growth and development. In fact, research has shown that young weightlifters have greater bone densities than individuals who don’t lift. Thus, the positive benefits of resistance training for bone health, injury prevention and improved athletic performance are far greater than the risks.

J. Defranco           #3 of Top Ten Traininig Myths


This question is one that many people ask when trying to implement a strategic approach to their new found fitness lifestyle.  Some may not ask this question and just assume they know what to do, while others have been misinformed by a peer or a heap of misinformation in some strength and fitness magazine.  Consider this the next time you plan to put your program together. 

If your goal is bodyfat reduction, then we recommend that you do your aerobic work directly after your resistance training at less than 60% of your VO2 max. If you are doing cardiovascular work on your off days, then we recommend that you train at 75% to 85% of your VO2 max for the first 30 minutes and drop the intensity the remaining 20 to 30 minutes to less than 65% of your VO2 max.  Warming up for five minutes prior to resistance training while beneficial is not considered cardiovascular work. Warming up for five minutes is necessary because, during exercise, blood flow patterns change. Through the action of the sympathetic nervous system, blood is redirected away from areas where it is not essential to those areas that are active during exercise. Only 15 to 20% of resting cardiac output go to muscle, but during exhaustive exercise, the muscles receive 80 to 85% of the cardiac output. This shift is accomplished by reducing blood flow to the kidneys, liver, stomach and intestines. The warm-up allows for this transition to occur.

Keep in mind that the major factor that determines the role of fat as a substrate during exercise is its availability to the muscle cell. In order to be metabolized, bodyfat (triglycerides) must be degraded into three molecules of free fatty acids and one molecule of glycerol. This splitting allows the free fatty acids to be converted to acetyl-CoA and enter the Krebs cycle. Hence, if fat is not available to the muscle cell then it can not be metabolized.

Fat can only be metabolized via Krebs cycle oxidation. It is essential to recognize that a reduction in Krebs cycle intermediates: whether it is the result of (1) low carbohydrate diets, (2) no carbohydrate diets, or (3) excessive prolonged aerobic sessions, resulting in a diminished rate of ATP production from fat metabolism. When carbohydrate stores are depleted in the body, the rate at which fat is metabolized is reduced. Therefore, carbohydrates are essential in the ability to metabolize fat.  It is only the free fatty acids that are metabolized via the Krebs cycle that are used in ATP production that go toward reducing bodyfat levels.

Therefore, when designing an exercise program to reduce bodyfat stores, it is vital to consider both (1) the total rate of energy expenditure and (2) the percentage of energy that is derived from fat metabolism. You must optimize the availability of fat to the muscle cells through selection of appropriate intensity and duration of exercise sessions. Since it takes approximately 20 minutes for lipolysis (fat burning) to occur, the session should exceed 20 minutes in duration for fat to be made available to muscle cells. At approximately 70% of VO2 max the availability of fat to the muscle cells diminish due to an increase in lactate production, which inhibits fat metabolism. Although engaging in activity at 20% of VO2 max will burn 60% of calories from fat as compared to working at 50% of VO2 max which would derive 40% of energy from fat, the total rate of energy expenditure is 2.5 times greater at 50% VO2 max. The absolute amount of fat metabolized is 33% higher during exercise at 50% of VO2 max. The ideal rate of work would be at 50% of VO2 max for duration of 60 minutes. Unfortunately, this physiological actuality has led many individuals to mistakenly believe that because the body utilizes a greater percentage of fat as fuel during aerobic exercise at a relatively low level of intensity, such exercise is more effective for fat loss than high intensity exercise. These individuals ignore two very important facts. First, the absolute amount of fat calories burned during high intensity exercise tends to be equal to or greater than the number burned during low intensity exercise, even though the percentage of calories burned from fat is higher during low intensity exercise. Second, when you eat, you replenish both carbohydrates and fats. As soon as an excess of calories (from either fats or carbohydrates) exists, your body will begin to store them as fat. Once you eat after exercising (including those activities which burn more fat than carbohydrates), you will rapidly replenish any of your carbohydrate stores you may have used up. Once they are replenished, your body will begin to store the rest of your caloric intake as fat. The net result is that your body’s fat stores will be virtually unchanged—if at all. The critical point is that low-intensity aerobic exercise does not (by itself) cause you to alter your body’s overall energy balance. Keep in mind that you lose weight and body fat when you expend more calories than you consume, not because you burn fat (or anything else) when you exercise. By the same token, all other factors considered, the most positive feature of low-intensity aerobic exercise is that it is relatively well-tolerated (orthopedically) by most individuals.

Larger mitochondria in greater numbers, increased levels of aerobic enzymes, coupled with increased blood flow all boosts the fat burning capabilities of the muscle fibers. Aerobics can lead to more routes for blood to reach working muscles and more oxygen, which is needed for oxidation of nutrients within the mitochondria. The more massive a bodybuilder becomes the more routes in the form of blood vessels are needed to supply these working muscles. From fat burning to improved cardiovascular health to improved recovery abilities, aerobic work should be an integral part of all training programs.

Once you deplete glycogen in your body you will no longer maintain an adequate level needed for resistance training.  You simply do not have enough energy to tackle the intense demands of strength training.  In short, aerobic should succeed resistance training.


I genuinely enjoy posting and exposing these controversial myths.  Part of my reason for becoming a personal trainer was, I was tired of getting conflicting answers on how to train and how to diet.  In other words, I had to put down body-building magazines, stop watching workout shows on ESPN, stop listening to steroid junkies in the gym, and stop watching infomercials.  Needless to say, I have become extremely careful with what I read and who I listen to.  Anybody can argue anything and the best salesman is always going to gather the larger audience, however, beware of false “teachers”. 

Myth #3: The best indicators of a good workout are how tired you are after the workout and how sore you are the next day.

This is a myth my most dedicated athletes still have a tough time dismissing. Most hard-working individuals equate a good workout with being exhausted and sore. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had athletes say, “You didn’t even make me puke” after a workout. My response is usually, “I didn’t make you puke because I didn’t want to make you puke. Making you puke would be easy. Getting you stronger, faster and more flexible actually takes some work.”

Puking is one of the most catabolic things you can do to your body. If your goals are increased muscular strength and/or muscular hypertrophy, you should do everything possible not to puke during your training!

Fatigue is another popular indicator people use to rate the productivity of their workouts. Remember that the goal of your training session should dictate how you feel after your workout. For example, if you’re going to perform a plyometric workout with the goal of improving your vertical jump, you shouldn’t be exhausted after the workout.

Actually, a properly designed plyometric workout should stimulate your neuromuscular system and you should feel better than when you started the workout. On the other hand, it’s good to be exhausted after a tough practice that was designed to get you in “game shape” for your given sport.

Finally, I’ve never read any research that links post-exercise soreness to strength gains, hypertrophy gains or improved athletic performance. Who the hell wants to be sore anyway? Think of DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) as an unfortunate side effect of training, not a goal of training.

Remember that it’s easy for a coach to make an athlete tired, but it takes a true professional to get an athlete stronger, faster, more flexible and better conditioned.

J. Defranco           #3 of Top Ten Traininig Myths


cont… In the third stage of owning a new skill, we may also feel discouraged or disheartened as we fall back into old habits or old ways of doing things. It’s perfectly natural to feel and do just that but, with patience, perseverance, and practice, we’ll get to the fourth stage of change, which is unconscious competence. This is when things start to really become fun! They start to come naturally and become a habit. We no longer have to struggle with a new habit. We own it. In this stage, techniques stop being simply techniques and actually become a part of us. We no longer even have to consciously do something. It simply becomes a natural thing for us to do. But, beware! Even at this stage, without consistent practice and study, we can still fall back into that awkward conscious competence stage. The ability and habit of regularly practicing old and new skills in a non threatening, safe, and even fun learning environment are something all successful individuals have in common. As we deal well with each new challenge, we unleash within ourselves a fresh capacity to soar to new heights.

So, take a close look at yourself and ask yourself whether you are a “student” of life or an “expert” about life; whether you are a “student” of fitness or a “fitness expert.” 

 Patrick Gamboa -International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA)


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