April 23, 2012 2 Comments
A few weeks ago was my first interview blog post that I did with Kevin Carr, who works for Mike Boyle’s Strength and Conditioning and today is another coach from MBSC. Today, Brendon provides his point of view, influences, and knowledge as well.
1) Brendon, I wanted to thank you for taking some time out of your day to do this interview. Before we even start, introduce yourself to any readers who read this interview. What is your training background, how did you get involved in the industry, and why do you love it?
Thanks for the interview Matt. I love being able to share my story. Hopefully this interview will help some poor confused college kid or that newly certified trainer who’s wondering what to do next.
It all began when I was a freshman in high school and like most teenage boys I started lifting weights for two reasons: sports and women. And since neither of them worked out I became a strength coach… just kidding.
By sophomore year I was lifting 5 days a week, was on every supplement they sold at GNC, and had read every single Muscle & Fitness printed the previous 5 years. I was hooked. Fast forward a few years and it is my senior year of high school, football season is coming to an end and so are my dreams of playing the NFL. I was a good athlete my whole life, but not D1 good. So how does a guy win a Superbowl ring without playing football?? He’s a coach, and I didn’t want to be just any coach, I wanted to be the strength coach.
So that’s what I did. I studied at Umass-Amherst, got my degree in Kinesiology, then a few internships & side jobs later, I landed my current position at Mike Boyle’s Strength & Conditioning.
Working at MBSC is the best thing that could have ever happened to me and I am grateful everyday for it. I have learned more about the industry and myself in the past 2 years then I ever could have imagined. If you look up the job description of a strength coach you’ll most likely find something to the effect of: “to have your athletes in the best shape possible to perform on game day & reduce the likelihood of injury during the event.” While that is what any good strength coach should aspire too, I think even more importantly we have the ability to change lives and make a difference in someone’s day. That is why I love it. The positive outcomes we can create, especially when working with youth athletes, makes all the hours of hard work worth it. Not many jobs can give you that feeling.
2) Who has influenced you the most with regards to your training philosophy… and what is your training philosophy?
Without a doubt, Mike Boyle. He has been an unbelievable mentor, friend, and is the best in the business when it comes to coaching & teaching. When you look at my programs you will also see influences from many different coaches; Dan John, Charlie W., Kelly Starrett, Jim Wendler, Joel Jamieson, Gray Cook, Mike Robertson, and Mark Verstegen just to name a few.
My general overall philosophy is: MOVE! Our society has forgotten how to move. Kids, athletes, & adults. The body was made to move in different directions, different planes, at different speeds, using different implements, and your training should support this. Movement MUST also be pain-free. If you’re in pain, you cannot make change; the brain simply won’t let it happen.
3) Considering we are the next generations of coaches, what is some of the advice you would give to interns and those interested in wanting to pursue a career in the field?
Experience, experience, experience. You’ve spent the past 16 years of your life in a classroom reading text books and filling out scantron sheets now its time to apply that knowledge. Try to do at least 2 internships while in college. Preferably your junior and senior years. This will give you a pretty good head start and a good idea of what part of the industry you would like to be in: strength coaching, personal training, athletic training, physical therapy, college athletics, the private sector. If you’re already out of college and looking to get into the fitness industry it is still in your benefit to do an internship and work for free for 3 months. There is no price you can put on the experience you’ll gain by doing this. Unfortunately strength coaching is not 9 to 5 or a very lucrative job so if you want to make the big $ with vacation days and weekends off I’d find a new career.
It’s also important you train yourself. You are your own lab rat. Write up your own programs, test out new exercises, hire a personal trainer, read one of the books I’ve suggested below and do their program. Then after you’ve trained yourself for a while start training your friends, family, coworkers, significant other(s), and do it for FREE. Maybe you volunteer at your colleges weight room or coach a local youth sports team (one of my first exposures to coaching was as a volunteer basketball coach of a youth team in Amherst).
You will make mistakes, and you will be a bad your first go around. That’s part of the process. If you are interested in speeding up the process, Kevin Carr and I run the internship program at MBSC. We are full for the summer but we are now accepting applications for the fall http://www.bodybyboyle.com/internships
What are your personal goals for the next few years (personal or professional, training, education-related)
Ahh the ol’ “5 year plan” question. Just a few things that come to the top of my mind…
In the next year … graduate from massage school, keep making the MBSC internship experience the best it can be, and keep working on my pubic speaking.
In the next 3 years… make our Personal Training Mentorship one of the best mentorships to attend, have a legitimate website & write for a top magazine, learn Active Release Technique, and I’d like visit 5 of my favorite coaches and facilities and learn from them for a week.
In the next 5 years…. running my own facility & be traveling the world for speaking & education.
5) If you had to create a top 5 recommended reading list, what would they be (could be training/non-training related)
- How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie – “No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care”
- Advances in Functional Training by Mike Boyle – Hey, maybe I’m a little bias but lets me real Mike knows his stuff and my philosophy was heavily influenced by him
- Starting Strength by Lon Kilgore & Mark Rippetoe – not a game changer, but its a classic in the strength & conditioning world everyone should read.
- Trail Guide to the Human Body – I think every good strength coach needs an anatomy book and I love this one because it includes movements and parts of the fascial system.
- Sorry but this ones gotta be a tie between Never Let Go by Dan John & Today Matters by John Maxwell – Dan John’s book is an awesome read, great stories and a real thinker. John Maxwell’s book really made me get organized and rethink my priorities
6) DO NO HARM. This is the #1 rule of the strength coach. What do you think are the most effective strategies that people can do to make their training effective and efficient while decreasing their chance of injury substantially?
It’s all in the assessment. For assessment tools you can use the FMS, an injury history, or a simple workout you start every client with. I use all 3. It doesn’t matter what system or tool you use but be sure you have one. The assessment doesn’t stop with your first meeting, every exercise and everyone workout is an assessment. From there it’s all about regression and progression. As a coach it is your job to know when to hold someone back or when to take it to the next level.
Last note, follow the rule “If it hurts, don’t do it”. It’s a yes or no answer. Have a back up plan or exercise if something does hurt and if it’s a consistent problem have them see their doctor or a physical therapist you can trust. There is NO shame in referring out. You’re client may not be interested at first but in the long run they will thank you. Even offer to pay for the PT session with one of their personal training sessions. Getting someone out of pain = a client & referrals for life.
If you want to learn more from Brendon, you can find all his information at his website RearickStrength.com. These two interviews have been tremendous in learning where to start as a strength coach. I really appreciated both interviews and for these guys to share their knowledge! I hope those who read took away something from them!