00:03:25 Process of Creating a System
00:08:32 Taking everything step by step
00:12:32 Key of Progress
00:18:29 Advice on individuals who wants to be fit again
00:24:49 Progress faster with a good coach
00:29:07 Assessing clients to get 100% progress
00:42:50 Great take aways
00:49:03 Simple versus Easy
Welcome to the Fitter Healthier Dad Podcast, where you can learn how to improve your diet, lose fat and get fitter in a sustainable and fun way without spending hours in the gym. Here is your host. Darren Kirby.
Darren: Welcome back to the podcast. Guys, this is the number one podcast for dads in their 40s who want to improve their health and fitness. This is Episode 43. And joining me on today’s show is Strength Coach Adam Willis. Before being a strength coach, Adam used to be a prison officer for the UK Prison Service. And after trying and failing to be a personal trainer on his first attempt, then went on and trained with some of the top U.S. strength coaches. Just before we go into the upside guide, I just want to let you know that we had some technical difficulties and lost the first six minutes of the episode. So we missed some of Adam’s background. But I hope you enjoy the remainder of the episode.
Adam: So, yeah, I was, I was working in the prison service and my friends that we have video from from to Friday is a very well a strength coach in the US. And when I saw Joe’s video, it kind of lit a fire inside me as to what I wanted to do within the industry.
And the reason we felt like this to other students when I’ve worked with them in the past coming through. The qualification is that I believe that I failed the first time because I didn’t have a clear and defined direction and belief in a certain system and approach of training. What I thought Joe was doing. I knew that’s what I wanted to pursue. So I then spent the next day, the next few years while I was in the prison service studying strength training, strength conditioning, those kinds of elements. And then I spent my final paycheck from the prison service going over to New Jersey and learning from them in person, which is a fantastic experience, came back, started my own business again, fully self employed.
And that was 2012. And that kind of fill in person, a gym environment. And then 2015, I started to kind of go online as well. I’ve been in the online space ever since. Really? And then when I moved from the south of the UK to the north, I shut down my in-person business and kind of went fully, fully online and probably fully online since 2018. And yeah, yeah. I kind of never looked and never looked back since really.
And yeah it’s been a, it’s been an interesting almost two decades. And yeah. Yeah. It’s been, it’s been a fun progression and yeah it’s, it’s a career that I am very thankful to have and one that I knew from a very young age I wanted to get into.
Darren: Yeah, I mean, that’s faster as, fantastic when you, you know, when you can discover your passion and follow your passion. I think a lot of people talk about that, but very few people actually manage to achieve it. So just going back a step, when you started your first business, then when you tried personal training for the first time, what do you think it was that you hadn’t got clearly defined? Because, you know, we see a lot of this in gyms. There’s a lot of P.T.’s Out there. But do you think it was just a case of you went into personal training because you enjoyed fitness and P.T. was just that you felt the right route or.
Adam: I think. So the advice that we would always give the students when they came through our system, we would we’d be teaching them was the vision for them once they finished the personal training course was for them to go and work for someone and get a paycheck for 18 months to two years so they could just learn how to do it.
And then Mike Boyle has it, is a great analogy he talks about cooks and chefs and essentially cooks follow recipes and chefs create recipes. And when you’re a new trainer, you need to be a cook. You need to put in your time following other people’s recipes to understand what works, why it works, and to end to run that through with your clients. There’s nothing wrong with that. And as you do that, and as you progressive become more confident with them, you start sprinkling, sprinkling in a few of your own things and then you gradually become a chef. I think when I was young, I wasn’t doing enough stuff as a cook. I was trying to create training programs and training training sessions as a chef. And I didn’t have the skill set, the knowledge or the filter at the time. And because when you’re young in the industry, wouldn’t you get it when you’re new in the industry? Everything looks shiny and excellent. Yeah. And you just try to put everything into it and you don’t have a filter. Like, that’s not going to work for that client or this is just a fad. It’s not going to hang around. You don’t have that. And that’s why when you as a cook, you work three things you start to see, OK, this works for this reason. And oh, I can see how this links A, B and C and you start to piece and then when you start to experiment and build in these other things, you can see what works and what doesn’t, because you already know the thing that you had beforehand.
The recipe you have to start with work because you’ve done it enough as a cook to know that. Then you can see whether these pieces you’re sprinkling in actually have a positive or negative effect. And I told a lot of trainers, try to rush to be a chef. And I explained to them like it’s because we think we shouldn’t be cooks because it’s copying and we. Yeah. And I’m like, well, how do you think you can get better, faster if you go and follow someone’s program. It’s only gonna go so, you don’t buy someone’s 12 week program with the Internet and sell it as your own because that is bad and fraudulent. But there’s nothing wrong with reading Mike Boyle’s book and looking at how he structures its wealthy training phase, taking that structure and then adjusting it for the client in front of you. And that’s how we learn, and that’s what I think I didn’t have to start with and I didn’t, I didn’t necessarily have a clear direction for my own learning as well, which is what I think the seeing Jota Francoist stuff gave me. And then the longer I kind of stayed on that pursuit, I had come across the right work and education. That gave me a good enough filter that I kind of ended up where I am now.
Darren: Yeah, yeah, I think that’s that’s an important point and a distinction to make, and that is, you know, this is the reason that I started fitter, healthier dad was because, you know, I used to see there was lots of of cooks, but but, you know, in the gym, I’m working with with guys my age. But they didn’t whilst they had all the right ingredients, they were maybe, you know, to use this analogy of cook and chef. They, they didn’t put all of the ingredients into the recipe and they didn’t really know what they wanted it to look like when it came out the other side. And that for me was, it was a huge frustration. And I know all I’ve done is taken what I’ve learned and applied that basically to the guys I would work with. And I only specifically work with guys in their 40s who are parents because, you know, I understand that, that part of it. But, but coming into the interview today and the discussions that you and I had, pre podcast, you know, there’s a very big problem that I see in the space. I work in. And that is injuries.
So traditionally, these two types of guys that come, you know, start to look at their health and fitness. There’s guys that have perhaps done it when they were either pre responsibilities, pre marriage, pre kids, or there are guys that just never done anything before. And they’ve decided they’ve got to the age of 40 and they don’t really like the outcome and they want to change it. But the biggest problem is and I think this is where kind of ego and male testosterone, all the rest of it comes in, is that they go into it all guns blazing, full of enthusiasm and motivation, and actually end up in probably, I would argue, a worse position than when they started. And what I mean by that is, is injuries. And so what what would be really good from from my perspective and the listeners, if you could kind of give us your theory behind that and then some some advice and tips and stuff like that, do you feel that the guys who are coming to this from either not done it for a long time or just completely cold, should consider before they go in all guns blazing?
Adam: Yeah, I mean, there’s those two, the, those two people they like kind of bench the pre responsibility and the newbies. I think it’s easier to manage a newbie because they’re a clean slate, whereas the pre responsibility person, often they come from, you know, some sort of, a sporting background or they’ve, they’ve done lifting or something before. And the issue is that they have a reference point that they probably can’t touch anymore, like a training volume or training loads or exercises they used to do. But they think that they’re the same person because they, theoretically are, they’re just a few more miles down the road. And yet they’re the ones that usually want to jump straight back into things. And I usually put down people’s biggest mistakes that come into that. You’re doing too much, too soon, too much too often or too much for too long.
And right when you do, either of those three do too much too soon. You’re just going to break down those for me.
Those are the people the day a January resolution, people that the people that all in that they’re going to try and train 10 times in 12 days in the first two weeks of January. And it’s just too much too soon that they can’t, they can’t maintain it. Their body, body, they just can’t maintain that schedule. And if they were to continue with it, their body would likely break down anyway. You have to be able to do too much too often. The people that tell you that they always train six days per week, but they haven’t seen any results properly in the last couple of years. And then the people that do too much for too long, they’re the people that do the same program over and over again or run as a really good example of this. The person that is always does, you know, X amount of mileage per week. Every week. Yet for the last three years. And it says it needs to undulate. And it’s the same as the person that always goes in and lifts to a max every session or the person that does the same thing. If you’re doing either of those three, that you’re just going to come to a stalling point in some regard. And the likelihood for injury is pretty high for all of those. And yet that’s, that’s, that’s always the challenge is holding people back a little bit. And that’s it. That’s the hardest thing. As a coach, we want that and we want the person to come in, fired up to to train, to lift, to run, whatever it is like. We want that enthusiasm. But to kind of say to them, like, hey, that’s that’s really great. Like we’ve done three sets of that. We don’t need to do five and we don’t need to have rest periods and those kinds of things.
And it’s getting people to understand, you need to try and relate it to kind of walking before people run or even backtrack it to you. Crawl and then. Then you walk and then you walk and you jump and jump and you run.
So you kind of, you kind of build these things into that. And I think it’s, it’s looking and explaining to people that, we, we really want to start with a minimum effective dose. Which is really hard for people to understand. If we just gonna do enough that we move the needle forward one percent and because one percent we can recover from and then we can add another one percent and session, because you can go in and you might, you might get a jump 10 percent in one session, but you’re not doing that consistently. And what did that 10 percent jump? Have a knock on effect then into the second session, third session, fourth session of that week.
And yeah, it’s, it’s a hard lesson to learn. I mean, I wish I could train at the same level that I did when I was 19, but my body just won’t recover from that. So as yet, I had an email conversation with someone yesterday and explained that most people can only really go hard. Twice a week. And you can train more than that. But you’ve got to undulate the stress that you’re putting on the body. You can’t, you can go hard twice. You can probably go moderate once. And maybe you do one or two easy sessions that are a little bit more recovery based or more low end aerobics stuff.
And it’s starting to understand it, building it from that nature. But yeah, I mean, looking at the kind of three responsibilities newbies really is starting to. And the one thing that online training has taught me, probably more so than when I was in person, is to kind of have people at a progression level, almost one behind where you think they can be. Yeah. You know, like let’s say you think that the client, the person can do a barbell front squat. Well, maybe for this phase we’re going to have to do a goblet squat or, or a double kettle bell front squat just because we with 100 percent certainty. We know they can nail that, whereas maybe with 90 to 95 percent certain they could do the barbell front squat again. Sometimes that’s the challenge with these clients, probably more so with the pre responsibility people, because. They say they used to, but they used to barbell back squat and it’s like, we’ll get you there. But we don’t want straight to that. We need to kind of rebuild this foundation and rebuild this base. And I was like, Louie, Louie Simmons is a West Side Bar-beau. And he refers to the point of a pyramid that is only as high as its base. And yet I think that’s the one thing newbies are really good because we can build that base. We usually just have to kind of control them a little bit more. But the pre responsibility people, they kind of already think they have that base and they can just go straight back to the peak.
It’s just slowing people down and getting people to revisit. Good movement to start with. Yeah. The reason I say that online coaching has taught me more about staying that one progression behind is because I’m not there in real time and that’s why I choose what I’m 100 percent certain that person could do if I was there in person. I probably would give them the barbell front squat. We use the, the example I just gave because I’m there to coach then. Yes, but I’m not there online in real time, so I go with what I can. With 100 percent certainty they know they can do.
And I think that’s really the key is just getting people to be okay and understanding the progression Andrew Massey is a strength coach in Tennessee. And he was talking about having Standards. So when you can achieve it. I think you said three sets of ten in a goblet squat with half your body weight. Then you progressed to the next, the next level squat. And I think there’s a lot of value in that. The populations he works with allows people to understand that, OK, this is where I’m at for now. And when I achieve something that I can move forward, it’s made a little bit harder. In gyms and also with social media, people see what everyone else is doing it. Social media is everyone’s highlight reel and they see it and they think, well, I see this person on Instagram who’s back squatting one hundred and fifty kilos. I want to be back to 150 kilos when I can’t goblet squat half their body weight. So, yeah, that I think makes life harder for a coach. But again, I think it’s educating them, getting to understand the process of just. Good movement, start with, I think, them understanding that the body, the body doesn’t really understand what a barbell is, it just understands stress. And what we’re doing in the gym is essentially stress, physically stressing the body. So that adapts and then develops in a particular, in a particular way, depending on the stress we are applying to it. Well, we can, you know, squat. We keep it. That example I do with the barbell. I could do kettle bells. I could do with a landmine. I could do it with a sandbag. I could do with a white vest.
So many ways that I can do it and I can load in different ways, combine with different structures and find the best squat variation for you. And that’s the other piece that people don’t realize is that, like, there’s usually a variation that is right for you. Yeah. But everyone has a perception of what’s what’s best. And yeah, it’s like I haven’t back squatted since probably 2015. My goal was a lot better for it. So I typically walk or is it. Yeah. Or double kettlebell front squat. Yeah. I haven’t really dead lifted for this. Right. But from the floor in the bar at the same time period. But I trap deadlift my body feels better for I’m six foot seven with ridiculously long legs.
So it’s finding that, that, that level when I begin that’s another thing that it’s a little bit easier with a newbie that you’ve just got to talk them round from what they see on social media, whereas that pre responsibility person probably was doing certain exercises before you came along and they just. Well, I used to do it, but there may be a better way to get food better with the challenge.
Darren: Yeah, definitely. Yeah, I think. Yeah. Everything you said. Yeah. Really resonates. I think I’m one of the biggest challenges that you see is that when people are enthusiastic and they do see the physical and the psychological and all the rest of the benefits that come with exercise in general, they know that they can do more. So they want to do more. And actually, you know, this is something that I’ve struggled with realizing that actually a lot of your gains will come from your downtime, from your rest time. And so, you know, going hard with time, as you quite rightly said, is not that is not the answer yet. The other thing that I want to kind of question you on, Adam, is what is your view when you have either a new view or someone that’s coming from, from not doing it for a long time? What’s your view on their functional , then their mobility before you kind of start pushing them? Is that something that you advocate what they work on or you work on with them?
Adam: So if you did ask me. Maybe three years ago, I told you that I would do some foam rolling off my fashion release. We’re going to do a lot of the stuff from Kelly Starr at such a leopard book and all these things. Well, since then, I’ve stopped to learn a little bit more about breathing and neurology and write the example that I always give to people is that if I was to put them under anesthetic right now, I’d move them around. They would have perfect mobility and length.
There’s like a huge buildup of scar tissue or they’ve had, you know, metal structures put in their body for whatever reason. So the issue a lot of times isn’t mobility. It’s what neurology is limiting. And if we use the other the other example that, the hyper mobility isn’t a mobility issue, it’s a neurology issue.
So the body isn’t essentially the off switch that most people would have to stop them getting to a certain point that signals a little bit later when it comes to be with hypermobility. So it’s not that I don’t address it. But. I file all types of tests when done, when done on me. But if you have me, then go and do certain breathing drills possible. Yes. Other than my right ankle, which is full of scar tissue. So I can really then do any mobility work. I just breathed and I reset myself and suddenly I got all my money, my mobility back.
So often what I’m going to have people do when they do and they look at them, much as I want to get them starting to breathe right in certain positions. Usually I start with them lying on their back, if it needs at even feet resting on something. And I’m trying to get them to breathe correctly just to, to kind of reset them and as a few other positions that I’ll use. And then I will use some other mobility’s like I’m looking at a hip flex, a stretch or a few other maybe like the pecs and the lax.
But I will also combine that with breathing as well. Yeah, because I can make a fast impact like this people you could stretch for ten minutes and not make a huge impact. You could have someone breathe for two and suddenly they get everything back. So that’s where I’ve kind of changed a lot of my perception in the last couple of years. So it’s not that it’s not worthwhile. I’m just looking as like, how can I get you ready to train in the best, most effective and fastest way? So we’re not warming up for 30 minutes, because I often say that if you’ve got to spend 30 minutes getting ready for your session or getting ready to squats, you should be sweating like. Your party’s not ready for you. So I will have them certainly address that and I’m going to. I will do some, some very basic assessments where people go on board with me, kind of 80 percent of most people’s problems are the same. So the war must be very similar. And then I’m going to utilize a couple other warm up drills and maybe some of the lifting stuff that we do to start getting them into positions to access or produce certain training responses that I want. They’re advantageous for us to move forward to say like another progression. Yes. Yeah. Yeah.
Darren: Yeah. That makes perfect sense. So I think around the breathing side of things that this is something I probably only discovered in the last year or so. And it’s mainly come from practicing yoga. And like you say, it’s very interesting because when you first start a yoga practice as a, as a male with a big ego or an ego, whatever you want to call it, you know, instantly you think you can just stretch just by moving your body. But actually, what you realize is that, you know, the movement comes from, you know, deep breathing and expelling and stuff like that. And then you can actually get into the positions that, you know, the practice dictates. You or whatever say to breath work is, is a protocol that I now follow on a daily basis. So, yeah, I think it’s very valid. And it’s, it’s, it’s one which I think is gaining more traction now in terms of its exposure. And I think it’s a good place to be. And, you know, I really am against and you will probably be able to add the science to this. I’m really against people just trying to, you know, bend over from the hips and trying to touch their toes and pushing themselves and the rest of it, because I think I believe that that can lead to, to injury.
And, and the other thing is, if people’s form you see of you don’t necessarily see it when you’re on line and, you know, people are doing workouts from home. But when you go into a gym environment, you do see it so often. But what I will say is that it’s very difficult if you’re training on your own without a partner, four feet, four feet for you to detect that your form is wrong or is going to lead to injury. And time and time again, you see people putting way too much weight on when if they just corrected their form, they would actually get more benefit from lesser weight.
Adam: Yeah, yeah. It’s the, the, the flip side of things is usually one of two things.As they say, the conflict delay gratification. So they’re trying to power more weight on. And then you go back to the kind of that that pre responsibility client. So I used to get a squat one hundred hundreds. So it’s just like Whack Valan as fast as we can over the next. Well, they just don’t know any better. And some people really don’t know how their body moves. And that’s sometimes the challenge is getting people to understand.
And it’s, you know, my, my little boy’s 18 months old and he understands how to squat and how to hinge and how to deal with it. He doesn’t have to be taught that over time. We forget and we forget how to load. You know, people say, my knees are squatting. It’s like no squatting is so bad. The way you do it is bad. And when people say, oh, my feet, my lower back loads, what I deadlift, I like, it’s the way you’re doing it.
And people see exercises, whether it’s YouTube or social media and Google it or even someone in the gym. And unless it’s something like weight lifting a snatch clean. And Jack, for the most part, it looks pretty simple. Also, a dead lift. I kind of walk up, I kind of squat down and I stand up with it and so do it. Kinda, but not quite. And that’s the problem, is that the it’s very easy to go and do, but it’s takes a little bit time to do well and you just have to be patient. And sometimes it gets missed, whether it’s through comparison or. And this is why there’s so much value in getting a coach. And people often want to know, like, what’s the what’s the best way I can do it to outline. Take me. If I go and have some personal training sessions or hire a car. Yeah, definitely. If you’re worried about it. That’s the best thing you can do. Even if you. Go to that post, because I think sometimes people see what side of the personal trainer, they’ll wanna work with before I just might go to them and say, hey, like what? What sort of deals do you do? I’m I’m looking for someone whose, I just want to get these techniques done, I want to be at squat. I want to be deadlifted. I want to be at a bench press.
I want to do things that injure myself. How many sessions do you think I need to have to do that and most to be accommodating, like you’re being very clear in the expectations of what that person is being hired for. And yeah, I think there is so much value to that and that we will look for fast. Do we look for ways to fast track our progression? And the fastest way for you to fast track your progression of results is to have a coach, whether that’s from a technical standpoint, whether that’s from a programming standpoint. That’s what that’s the secret sauce. That’s the best. That miracle pill that everyone’s looking for is a coach. If you want to lose weight faster, get a coach that’s going to do your nutrition. You look out for your nutrition. And that’s really the challenge. And men are a little bit hard, always predominantly. I work with a lot of females and people say, well, how how come? And I’m. I liken it to the fact that men won’t ask for directions in a car. Why would they do in an even more masculine environment like a gym? Yeah. So that’s kind of always been my analogy of it. It’s just it’s yeah, it’s harder, I think, for men to admit they can’t do something that maybe they perceive as manly, like lifting weight
Yeah. And yeah, it’s, it’s a challenge, but that’s that’s the best way to lift with good form. And some people say, oh, you know, I try to look in the mirror and the mirror doesn’t really show you anything and you have to turn side on or, you know, deadlift at the key what people look forward to and like you. Well, you can’t see anything. Looking forward into a mirror for a deadlift. Yeah. And so it’s the mirror .
Would you just you really want to get to a position whereby you feel the movement, you feel you’re loading the structures correctly, you feel the right muscles being used, you’re not feeling anything that is untoward or later in the day or the next day, just like, oh, my my knees really hurt. Like, if you’re lifting, right, that shouldn’t happen. So, yes, that’s really the key is I have a coach. Have someone look at your form. I know a lot of people like to go and utilize YouTube and stuff, foot technique, video. And they can be really good. But you begin going back to you might not know what you don’t know. So although you have to, you’re doing exactly what you saw in that video, you might not even be close. So, yeah, that’s that’s really the challenge. And that’s what coaches the fastest way that you can get results.
Darren: Yeah, definitely, because I think what you know, as you’ve pointed out, whilst YouTube and the rest of it is good if you don’t know what good technique is like. You can watch as many YouTube videos as you like. You are not gonna be able to implement it. And then secondly, you know, like you said, you know, you can look in the mirror, but you’re not necessarily going to see the full range of the exercise when you’re doing it and you’re not going to realize. So in terms of now that, you know, doing online stuff, Adam, how do you manage that with, with clients in terms of making sure that they get this nailed? Sure.
Adam: So the first thing I’m going to ask clients, I do a very kind of basic movement assessment and I try not to send them, say, some of these 10 movements because, yeah, if, you know, I get about five and then I’m able to go, okay, well, if I see anything untoward, I’ll ask for a couple more.
So typically I’m going to look at something to look at the hips and I just use the F and this is an active straight leg raise. I look at the internal external rotation again from the F of S, and then I’ll look at a goblet squat, a Romanian deadlift and usually a push up or hands elevated push up.
And yet the reason I use those is because the first two just give me an idea of what’s going on at the hips and shoulders.It’s hard when you kind of have to look at those and not try to assess. You’re just looking for any discrepancies, left or right. And the FMF, as you score is actually from one to three, three being perfect, one being, you know, not very good, and two kind of being in the middle somewhere.
And what I’m looking for is I’m not trying to get you to a three either. So if you’re a. If you’re a two and a two, I’m cool with that. Look, I’m not going to try and get you to a three. I don’t. That’s not really what’s needed, is the goblet squat just shows me that I don’t let the person choose whatever weight they feel comfortable with. The goblet, just the goblet squats. Just show me, show me 10 reps of your squat form. I want to see kind of five from the front, five from the side so I can just check form from there before I go to anything like a barbell on you. And then the remaining deadlift for me is the true hinge.
The deadlift is kind of, the deadlift is essentially a leg press from the floor to your knees and then a Romanian deadlift from your knees to your hips. Right. So the first thing I want to make sure is that you know how to hinge and squat your deadlift. Quite a lot of people feel their back when they dead lift because they’re squatting it,not hinging it. So, again, I’ll have people use, you know, whatever weight you want to put on a barbell or dumbbells to show me Romania deadlift. I don’t send them a video of me doing it. I don’t do it with a few coaching points, but I try not to coach it. I want to, I want to see where they’re currently at, not where they’re at in terms of following my instructions.
And then the push up and the push up just shows me where one can, you do push ups in in whatever form, whether it’s from the floor, hands elevated. And it also gives you an idea. Do you understand how to brace your core in terms of your rib cage and pelvis and whole tension to be able to move it through space? Essentially, it’s a push up as a moving plank. That’s what I’m going to use for those. And it just allows me to kind of make some very basic evaluations because, like, I don’t want to make anything super complex and really awkward for people to try and film. For the most part, they can do a lot of these. Three of them can certainly be done at home .The other two, they go to a gym, which makes it, makes it a little bit easier. The access to getting this stuff done is less of a barrier. What you do when you work with only people that maybe have 18 months of training, experience or, you know, relatively new, maybe not hugely confident in the gym. I want to make that barrier real low. It’s about to kind of get them training. And it just allows me to make some assumptions. And programming essentially is educated guesswork. And the longer you work with the client, it becomes less guesswork because you know how they respond very well to training. Yep. Yeah. Once I have those, I can say I try to choose variations that I’m very confident that they can knock out the back and be, and be spot on with. And I’m probably going to give me a few tweaks and then I will ask the technique videos to be recorded and sent to me that that first month we’re focusing on what is going to be either the.
They go lifts that they know they come to me, they want to do a certain squats or whatever or what I consider their primary lifts, which is who’s going to be a squat hinge to push variation. And I want to make sure we nail those and then the accessory work. If I think there’s anything super complex, which there isn’t likely to be the agenda when they first come on board. But if I think I might want to see like a split squat or something like that just to see how they balance weight unilaterally, I’m going to ask for those. But again, I try and keep those videos down to a few because a lot of people don’t feel confident. Off the back recording in a gym. And I just want to kind of the first phase that most people go through with me. I’m 100 percent confident that they can do everything in it. And it’s that for me, it’s just a case of making sure that they are who I think they are. Before we go into the next phase, which is to say, where are they properly staffed, they’re going to get a really good training effect in phase one, but get them up for face to face three. And from that, so they yeah, they sent me through three videos. And then for me, like, I have a lot of contact with my clients and often I have more clients and more contact per week than most PTC with with their clients in person.
So they’re going to hear from me once during the week. I’ll just check in with them anyway. They have access to me from phone and e-mail as much as they want. They have to audio and update each week. They send me videos that they’re lifting each week and they also have the ability to book for court slots as well. So there’s a lot of contact going on. Yeah, and it’s, it’s building trust. It’s getting to understand the person, how they respond. Getting good feedback from them.
And that really becomes that secret. That’s why that first phase is something I know they can knock out the park because I need to understand how they recover, what they’re. Yeah. Well, that currently like in terms of likes, dislikes, what their life is like outside of that, you can’t really gauge all of that in that first interview. I understand that they, they have a partner. They have kids. This is their job. Yeah. But I don’t know where those other barriers are. That creeped in. Is that how I always get extended every so often. Is it more project based whereby one month is crazy, other months or easier. Have I got someone who’s a student who’s got exams coming up. Yeah, it’s always, it takes a bit of time to build that rapport and get to know. So that’s always the feeling I process as an online coach. And it’s the same as if you’re interested and you’re having these conversations while they’re in the session. I’m just having them outside of the session.
Darren: Yeah, I think that’s so important to understand all areas of their life, because, you know, ultimately that can impact the results that are going to get from their training, particularly, you know, like you said, if you’ve got someone who’s project base, you might realize that, you know, they’re going to be stressed for that period of training. And so, therefore, do they need to be really stressed in training Cortisone levels might be elevated and that might not be ideal for them. So I think understanding that all the stuff that goes on around the periphery is particularly important. You know, when you’ve got kids as well, and then you might have to adapt that training schedule for that week or a couple of weeks because the children. I think it’s very, very important. So in terms of some of the, the key or recommended strength exercises, you would recommend, you know, making the assumption that we’re starting from scratch or restart. And after a length of time, it. Do you have like a baseline set of exercises you start people on or is it really down to the individual?
Adam: I mean. A lot of it is going to be kind of previous training experience, but if they’re if they’re a newbie, then I’m going to start them at what I would consider a level that I know they can, can manage in life. And I’m always gonna kind of look at it. They can have primary lift, which are used that was meant to be some sort of squat, some sort of hinge and a push variation and the squat variation starting out depending on their experience coming in at how they move is likely to be a goblet squats and a double catch about front rack squat.
But again, that’s the way hugely dependent on the gym, having kettle-bells and then having doubles with a lot of gyms in the UK. Done. And then if it’s not that option and then maybe they’re okay with the goblet squat, it’ll either be a front squat or is that just squat. And to be fair, a majority of my clients either front squats most people typically move better with that area loading. Most people don’t barbell squat.
Very barbell back squats work very well and they’re putting the bar in front of them for a front squat or is that tends to work better from a hidden variation? They usually, again, going back to the U.K. had heavy kettlebells. I would have them probably stop with a kettlebell deadlift or kettlebell , but I would typically start them with an audio. So we will stop hips two just below the knee. Yeah. The next progression for me would then be Orakpo. So essentially it’s the same range of motion. But that starting from just below the knee and starting up with it rather than it’s easier to load the hinge. Top down then starting from the bottom. Breaking in nurturing standing up.
And then we’ll gradually progress to the floor. If they have the capacity to do so, that they’re either going to start with an audio or remaining deadlift or a rack pool from a press variation. I don’t typically have people pressing overhead with barbells, mainly because this motor assessments that I see mostly showed us a slightly different and kettlebells dumbbells tend to be a slight. So landmines tend to be better. And I typically would like more that unilateral approach for show the pressings
So the press variation will usually start with the push ups. Well, if they have, had been training in the past in the bench press, again, I do predominately with females and females, the bench press a lot. So I would typically softly with push ups and a lot of them have push up base goals. So that’s where I’m going to start with those. And then other basic movements are going to be focused around. If we look at Van Jones key movement patterns, it’s the squat, the hange, the push to pull that lunging or stepping. And then usually loaded carries cool works. So they are going to look at things like split squats, walking lunges, step ups, cooling variations will usually be like a TR X or a Gym ring row chest supported rows. I like the chest support row because at this stage I’m trying to build the hinge to make sure I can have a strong audio before I offer to hold a bet. Ever wrote a position because it’s the same thing. Right? So we’re gonna look at like maybe a seated cable row. And then when it comes to, say, Vesku pulling, a lot of my clients want to achieve chinitz. So I usually put them through if I use initially starting off with things like Lap as a straight up or down. Before we go to using only chips to gradually go towards that goal. And then I’m a huge fan to carry when it comes to core works. So we’re gonna do farmers’ walks, sit, suitcase walks. So essentially a single on farmer walk, potentially some rack walks. So the kettlebells are held up by the collarbones. And then when it comes to the core side of things, I typically take, like, a layered approach to the core. So I start with a little considered anti extension movement. So the movements that stop you extending the lumbar spine, so you’ll plant variations, dead bugs. If they have the capacity, maybe like a hollow body hold. I’m going to stop there. And then the next phase, I’ll layer in what would be considered anti lateral flexion.
So they’re essentially resisting bending to the side. So side planks, suitcase holds, which sit holding a dumbbell by the side, which is science, exhibiting surprisingly hard. Then the next phase we would look to build in the third layer, which is a.. Rotation movement. So the ability to brace and resist movement. Trying to rotate you to left and right. So that’s where we have like Paul off presses or even something like a plank with a kettlebell drag. We drag the kettlebells underneath you. That’s an anti rake exercise. So I always start them with the anti extension because I want to build that solid base first. If you can’t resist extension, you’re going to struggle to do the other ones as well. So I kind of layered those in and gradually build that up through those things. And then depending on where they go, they may have some some finishes, some cardio work.
It just depends on how many days. But we could train and go back. But that’s kind of where I stop most people out and the groups I’m choosing from when it comes to exercise selection.
Darren: Yeah. I mean, that sounds very, very comprehensive and, yeah, very detailed and I think, um. Yeah. Like he you’ve already said earlier on in the interview. There’s no way that somebody could actually do that effectively just by doing some, some stuff online. You need a proper coach to be able to assess you. And I think that for me is the key thing. Right. Say, assessing the individual as to where they’re at before they start. So you can start them on the right platform with the right exercises. And like you said as well, understanding how many days a week that they’re actually able to train. So before we finish up then, Adam, what do you think are the five key takeaways that the listeners could take away today to, you know, start and maybe prevent injury if that if they stock it, starting a fresh.
Adam: I think, as you mentioned, like getting a coach to help you with your field is going to be the key that you your form being right is is the best failsafe you have seen for not getting.Yeah, I think it sounds really cliche, but starting where you’re at is the most important thing.
And that’s that’s really easy as a beginner to understand, because beginners will tell you like, yeah, I’m a beginner. Whereas like you said, you got those, those pre responsibilities, the ex athletes, the people that haven’t lifted for three years.You know, your starting point now, it’s very different to where you used to be. And you kind of have to be okay with that. Yeah.Minimal. Effective. I mean, there’s, there’s a lot of people out there talking minimum effective dose and maximal recoverable volume, minimal effect with doses when most people should be out right now, particularly the population that you deal with, the 40 plus.
We just need to sprinkle that in because you can recover from that one percent progression and be okay with, you know, three sets of ten just because you could maybe do five sets of 10, like three sets of ten is good enough for you to be out right now, maybe get three sets of ten. You add weights next week, maybe you can go to three weights, but you go four sets of ten the following week. So this small progression, minimum effective doses is the great place to start. And then that leads into that next point. It’s just. We, we only need to make small, incremental progression to something, you know, everything needs to leap forward. Every training session, it might just be the two of your exercises increase in sets. The rest of them increase in weight. It might be a tempo change. It might be that we don’t need to make these huge jumps. And you don’t need to jump five, 10 kilos at a time. Just add those one point two fives to the ball. Yeah. I do kind of like the rep variation approach. So essentially like three sets of eight to 10. So you don’t get the rest of the load if you’ve achieved three sets of 10. And then the next progression. So let’s say you went from 10 keys to 10 kilos to 12 kilos. Well, maybe the next week you do a ten, nine, eight. Will you stay at that twelve kilos until you do ten, ten, ten. Sorry. It’s just a progression then. And I think that’s really the key. Yeah. I think it’s a force of, at the fifth column of B B B. Okay. Delaying gratification. Yes. You have everyone, everyone wants to test. Everyone wants to see if they can still do something. Everyone wants to. Yeah. I was just joking with a friend of mine and said, oh, I can’t wait for this weekend with a white client checking in and telling me that they had to run five cakes. Is someone nominated like, no, no, you chose to run five K over next to you.
And it’s and this one example would let people go in and you’ll be in week three of a training program with them. And they’re like, yeah, I went in and tested my one arm. It’s like but we’re only three weeks into the program. I, to see if it was working. Yeah. Well if you’re feet away it’s 12 weeks a semester I’d like to see.
And it’s that ability that delayed gratification. And even now in the age we live in social media, the ability to delay that fear of missing out. And it’s huge. And I think especially with strength training, too many people test and don’t build their strength yet. You need to take time.
I mean, typically, I test maybe twice a year. Right. So I’m going through at least a minimum of 16 week training before our tests are usually twenty four, 20 to 24 weeks. Right. Like before I’ll I’ll test again, and that’s it. You need to have this ability to kind of go through phases where we rebuild a base and then you start rising to that peak again if we use that pyramid analogy. But no one wants to do that because they want to make sure something’s working. Exactly.
That, that’s really the key for me. It’s like being okay with delaying gratification because there is a rhyme or reason.
If I program for people with a rhyme or reason behind everything in the program, there’s a progression that we’re taking to get you to absolutely obliterate your goal and your previous one RAM or whatever we do. Welcome to Will. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And it’s just going to be okay with trusting the process going along for the journey and being okay with delaying gratification enough to be out to get to that point where we’re going to do that or we’re going to you know, it’s easy with people that have people they want to run the London Marathon.
But, you know, when the test. Yeah. And most people don’t want to go and do a London marathon test before, before doing it. So that’s a little bit easier. But it’s when. Yeah. You’ve got people who want to do that. Oh, you know, they’ve got other influences around them, friends and stuff like that. It becomes more challenging. Delay gratification is a huge one.
Darren: Yeah, I completely agree with that. I mean, the analogy that I use is the Amazon economy, right? So we click it. Now we want, we want the result in 24 hours. And to get it, you know, to get a consistent more to be consistent and to get the result. Like you say, you have to be okay with going through the process and it not being a linear process, process as well. To get the outcome you want. So, yeah, definitely. Adam, it’s been amazing talking to you today. You are a fountain of some really detailed knowledge. So I really appreciate you coming on on the podcast. Is there anything like that? I didn’t ask you that. I should have asked you.
Adam: It’s one of the hardest questions I’ve had. You know, I really don’t think there is, considering whether you have a population that you work with. I think the people that listen as well, I think one of the, I think one of the pieces here is that effort. When we tell you a thing like minimum effective dose and things like that doesn’t mean easy. And don’t confuse simple with easy, like in the simplest stuff with effort. Is where I like you should be putting your time. And I spoke to someone today and said. My training right now is probably 13 different exercises across the course of a week. A lot of people think they need this huge variety because the conversation I was having is that the girls said to me, you know, you must know, like, it’s a huge pool of exercises. I was like, I do. And thousands but a handful because I know most effectively.
And I think that’s that’s really the key is that like what might, that Dan Jones is a phenomenal coach in the US and global friends like. As someone when you train like simple works, if you put in effort and you can’t get bored. That’s the, that’s the key is that I try not to seek entertainment through variety. Variety is good and there’s different ways of doing it. But variety, for the sake of it, doesn’t usually lead itself to good results. And if staying with simple, simple and effective works. But again, you’ve got to put in that effort. And that’s really the key. So, yeah, in, in terms of questions, I don’t know if there’s one there. But yeah. Don’t get hung up needing variety in the change for the sake of change. Put in the work with the basics and do great things are going to happen.
Darren: Yeah, I completely agree with that sentiment because I think that as humans, as Males, you know, we tend to love to go to the complicated and actually the most effective is simple and yeah I completely agree with that.
So once again, Adam, thanks very much for coming on the podcast today. How can people connect with you? You’ve got your own podcast called The Empowered, Empowered Body podcast. How can people connect you to see the podcast?
Adam: I have Instagram. I’m _Adam Willis. And if anyone wants to reach out, e-mail me [email protected] is the best place to get a hold of me by email
Darren: Perfect. Adam, thanks very much for coming on the show. And I’ll look forward to speaking to you again, soon.
Adam: Thank you so much for having me on , Darren.
Darren: Thanks for listening to the Fitter Healthier Dad Podcast. If you enjoyed today’s episode, please subscribe. And I would really appreciate it if you could leave a review on iTunes or the things mentioned in the upside. We’ll be in the show notes and a full transcription. He’s over at Fitter Healthier Dad Podcast.