Every couple of years Bo Railey, founder of Exercise Inc. in Indianapolis, hosts a seminar on high intensity training. Each of Bo’s seminars has had a great line up of speakers and topics but this years has been one of the best.
Unfortunately, one of my favorite speakers from previous HIT seminars, Ryan Hall, was unable to attend. Although I was disappointed I would not hear his presentation or get to hang out with him at this year’s seminar, I was honored Bo asked me to stand in for Ryan as the first speaker of the day. I was a little overwhelmed at first because although I’ve done a lot of speaking before this is the HIT seminar. That, and since the line-up change was somewhat last minute my presentation was entirely extemporaneous.
Rather than talk about exercise performance, program design, nutrition, or any of the usual topics I decided to talk about teaching exercise. The presentation seemed to go pretty well and I took questions throughout rather than at the end, which was probably a good idea since once I got warmed up I probably could have talked for half the day.
Tony Scelzo gave a phenomenal talk about marketing and how to build and leverage strategic relationships to generate more referrals, including how to better identify your market, lead generation and conversion, creating long term value, and making more effective use of social media. If you’re a business owner or sales person in any field I highly recommend checking out his blog, tonyscelzo.com
Bill DeSimone was up next, and discussed the biomechanics of the spine and other joints and applications for various exercises. More specifically, Bill focused on the importance of and how to maximize the effectiveness of an exercise for the targeted muscles while avoiding potentially harmful forces so one can continue to train productively throughout their life.
After Bill’s presentation we took a break for lunch, and I spent some time talking with seminar attendees. As much as I enjoy and learn from all of the presentations, one of things I like most about these events is the chance to talk with the other speakers, trainers and “HITers” from all over the country. I wish everyone could have stayed a few more days because there were so many people I didn’t get a chance to talk to and I would have liked to have spent more time with everyone I did speak with before and after the seminar. In addition to being a great opportunity to improve your knowledge and skills as both a trainer and in business Bo’s HIT seminars are a great place to meet, socialize and network with some of the best trainers in the world. It doesn’t hurt that Indianapolis has some great restaurants as well.
Lunch was followed by a great presentation by Danny O’Malia on customer service and how to motivate your employees to give it if you’re a business owner. Interestingly, one of the things Danny talked about was examples of South West Airlines’ great customer service, and Sunday morning at the airport I noticed while South West Airlines’ ticket line was pretty long, United Airlines barely had a line. Like the other speakers, Danny shared some great information, illustrative anecdotes, and most importantly practical advice for putting it all together and building a culture of customer service in your business.
After Danny’s presentation, Vee Ferguson from Exercise Inc put seminar co-host Stephanie Railey through a demonstration high intensity workout. Unlike most of what passes for training in most gyms and what is typical of high intensity training workouts on youtube and many bodybuilding web sites, the workout was a display of both expert instructional ability by Vee and a highly skilled performance by Stephanie, who demonstrated the intensity of training that has kept her in great physical condition well into her third trimester.
Before the final presentations by Mark Sisson and Doug McGuff, MD, one of the clients from Exercise Inc shared how their life was transformed by their program. Despite having followed what he believed to be a healthy, vegetarian diet and performing lots of “cardio” for years he was in the worst shape and health of his life. He talked about how Exercise Inc helped him lose all the fat he gained while becoming stronger and better condition, using the dietary guidelines from Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint, and the slow, high intensity training described in Doug McGuff and John Little’s book Body by Science.
This was a great lead in to Mark Sisson’s presentation, as Mark also shared his experience with the health problems and injuries resulting from his high carb diet and high volume endurance training that led him to investigate and develop his Primal Blueprint diet and training guidelines.
Mark explained how fat is our body’s preferred fuel source and the consequences for health and fitness of consuming excessive carbohydrate in general, and grain and simple sugars in particular. He also covered eating strategies for optimizing body composition and athletic performance, including the advice that endurance athletes “train low carb, compete high”, and how being better adapted to using fat for fuel would give them an advantage in endurance competition compared to athletes that were “sugar adapted”, since they’d start out with similar glycogen stores, but the more efficient fat metabolism would allow them to perform better after muscle glycogen stores were depleted.
Mark also talked about how primal eating and intermittent fasting were complimentary, explaining how being better adapted to using fat as fuel would allow your body to more efficiently access your fat stores during a fast.
Doug McGuff’s presentation included the science behind Mark’s eating strategies, explaining what happens at the cellular level with excessive carbohydrate consumption versus a healthy intake (which is much lower than the typical American diet) and how it affects fat gain or loss and overall health. Doug then discussed how high intensity strength training complements a proper diet and is the most effective approach for improving body composition.
Afterwards, we all hung out with the seminar attendees and answered more questions and I had the opportunity to spend some time catching up with Jeff Turner before heading out to dinner with Bo and Stephanie Railey and the other speakers, as well as Chad Morris and Matt Hedman.
Thanks again to Bo and Stephanie and to all the other speakers for making this year’s HIT seminar such an incredible event, and thanks to everyone who attended!