4 Exercises and 4000 Variations…

 …Using Motor Learning & the 80/20 Principle for getting more value out of less in your program.
By: Chris Ecklund, MA, CSCS, USAW
One of my clients has a favorite warning (and perhaps intimidation technique) he likes to give all first time clients that join our Adult Athlete Performance group. He tells them, “Be ready, Chris only knows 4 exercises, but he knows 4,000 variations of each of those exercises.” While it tends to make the clients slightly nervous and make me laugh a little, there is absolutely some truth to what he’s saying.

If you’ve ever set foot inside our facility, you’d know that we don’t have a lot of equipment: 2 Power Racks, 2 Keiser Functional Trainers, 2 Glute Hams, 2 Slideboards, 1 Vertimax, and then after that we’re pretty standard (barbells, dumbbells, hurdles/ladders, tubes/bands, plyo boxes, sleds, wobble boards, etc). The reality is, that is intentional. It’s not only part of our business plan but a large part of our training philosophy as well. We don’t have (and never will have) a lot of ‘machines’ or a lot of equipment. Why? We believe in training movement patterns. Why again? Because we believe it’s of higher priority to improve all our clients’ ability to be a better athlete.

It doesn’t matter if that person is a 55 year old female looking for weight management or a 28 year old world class Brazilian Jiu Jitsu artist, it simply modifies which end of the spectrum we work on

I used to say that “we don’t use machines because you don’t get to use machines to help you move on the field or move around in your daily life!” I still like and believe that saying, the only problem is that I realized with every passing year this is becoming less and less true. Athletes still have to have high power/strength/stability ability and the motor control with which to express those traits on the field. Non-athletes still have to get in and out of the car, put groceries away, walk/run, etc. We do have more machines and gadgets and video games and technology to assist our lives so that we simply don’t need to move as much, yes. Understand, though, that this truth only STRENGTHENS the need to exercise and develop motor patterns away from and outside of those machines. The less we move freely, the more chronic deterioration and breakdown we have with our bodies.

Listen, the question isn’t if everyone has to deal with gravity and physics. The question is how well does everyone deal with those forces. One of my favorite slogans from a colleague Jim Schmitz (former USA Olympic Weightlifting coach) is “I will not rest as long as gravity threatens my people!” Great slogan that expresses a large reality…all of us simply have to deal with those forces…period. If not, we either fall into similar compensatory motor patterns (i.e. why 60% of adults have back pain) that feed right into injury patterns or our bodies just give up and we lose our ability to enjoy independence and life on our own sooner.

I like what Canadian Strength Coach, Charles Poliquin, has said many times, “Vary the exercise without changing it.” Often times (though not always), research in kinesiology helps us understand what we’ve known works in the strength and conditioning—and have therefore been utilizing—but haven’t understood exactly why. Over the past couple decades, for example, we’ve seen muscle physiology research lend insight to the fact that a squat is not a squat is not a squat. A few weeks ago I had a session with one of my metabolic training groups. As we got about half way through the session I started to hear comments ranging from

“oh good, another squat variation…because it’s been about 30 seconds since we’ve done that”


“oh dear lord…please…not another squat!”

(you must know, by the way, that I live for those moments). Yes, another squat. Changing the loading parameters, type of load, direction or placement of load, tempo of movement, plane of movement, limb involvement (single leg, double leg, or variation thereof), etc, all change the exercise. How? The research tells us it does so in at least a few ways:

1. Muscle fiber firing order
2. Rate of force development
3. Stability demands and strategies needed to support the movement pattern
4. Acute and chronic hormonal responses
5. Local and global metabolic demands

So what do Motor Learning/Control and the 80/20 Principle have to do with it all? In part, we’ve already answered this. Though we do have more than the aforementioned “4” exercises we choose from, it is absolutely true that we have a very select exercise movement pool that we pull from. Specifically, we make sure ALL of our programs include:

1. Pushing
2. Pulling
3. Single and double leg squatting
4. Hip dominant motion
5. Power (both acceleration and deceleration components)

6. Torso/Core work
7. Balance

Why so few? Because these are the biggest bang-for-your-buck movement patterns. They are the ones that both the average Joe as well as elite athletes needs proficiency in. The are the 20% of all movement patterns that, if trained, provide 80% of the results. Yes, there are a lot of cool looking exercises out there that boast big results. The truth, though, is that most likely we all simply need to work harder at the basics. This is where Motor Learning/Control come in. Decades of research tells us that to master movement patterns it takes, on average, 500-1000 hours of repetition (and quality repetition at that—perfect practice makes perfect).

Why do we use 4 exercises with 4,000 variation (or rather 7 and 7,000)? Because if we don’t utilize the basic pedagogy principles of mass and distributed practice, we know the motor control outcome…our clients WILL 

Lose that motor program = 
get weaker = 
decrease performance = 
use compensation =  
McGill, S. Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance, 4th Ed.  2009.  Backfitpro, Inc.  Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

Questions/Comments? Contact

The Structural Functionalism of Sport in America PART 1

By: Juliann Boubel, BS, CSCS

There are many institutions in society that exist to better human existence. Institutions like politics, economics, religion, marriage and family, and education are all individually distinctive but important in their relation to the whole, working network of society. This article argues the validity and necessity of sport as one of these valued institutions within America, created and maintained for the betterment, development, and unification of society. 
Sport is a huge industry throughout the world that unites everyone involved. The institution of sport in America serves many purposes, and I believe there are five major areas of influence under the umbrella of this organization. Sport acts as a means of mobility and socialization as well as being integrative, socio-emotional, and political. To start, the mobility of sport can be seen through the ladder of success it can provide its participants. For example, sport has provided great means of social mobility for those from low-economic backgrounds as a way to the top of the social hierarchy through affluence and education. College scholarships can provide access to education for individuals who otherwise would not be able to afford such learning or opportunity. Even though he was cut from his high school basketball team, Michael Jordan is one of these individuals who beat the odds and received a scholarship to his dream school of UNC. After being named College Athlete of the year twice before his final season, he was drafted in 1984 by the Chicago Bulls and has since become “the greatest basketball player of all time” (1).

Because sport creates this bridge between economic classes, 
its mobility helps unite our country and 
give potential opportunity for all athletes to succeed.
Socialization of sport relates to how it molds and shapes people into appropriate, capable members of society. The camaraderie found in sport is a unique aspect that brings people together and teaches them how to act in social situations. Formal and recreational sports teach qualities like teamwork, sportsmanship, honesty, and integrity, all of which are highly valued characteristics in well-developed individuals. According to Foundations of Sport and Exercise Psychology, “character-developing benefits of sport contend that participants learn to overcome obstacles, cooperate with teammates, develop self-control, and persist in the face of defeat” (2). The authors state that…

sport and character relate within the context of four intertwined truths—
compassion, fairness, sportsmanship and integrity. All of these qualities combine 
to form and shape character through the participation in sport 
and teach individuals how to function as a team on the field, in the gym or at the office.
See Part 2 of this Article NEXT MONTH.

Juliann Boubel, BS, CSCS is a Strength & Conditioning Coach for Prevail Conditioning Performance Center and works with athletes and fitness enthusiasts alike.  For further information regarding this topic please contact Juliann at

  1. “NBA Encyclopedia: Playoff Edition.” NBA Media Ventures. 2009. 27 Apr 2009.
  2. Weinberg, Robert S., and Daniel Gould. Foundations of Sport and Exercise Psychology. 4. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2007. Print.
  3. Bell, Katie K. “Boost Your Brain Power.” Today’s Chiropractic Lifestyle 36.1FEB/MAR 2007 34. Web.25 Apr 2009.
  4. “History of Title IX.” 2009. The MARGARET Fund of NWLC. 25 Apr 2009.

Who’s the Musculoskeletal Expert…Your Physician or Your Physical Therapist?

By: Tom Walters, DPT, CSCS
I hope the answer to this question does not surprise you, but your physical therapist is the correct choice!

A study published in the BioMed Central Journal of Musculoskeletal Disorders tested physical therapists, physical therapy students, physicians from a variety of specialties, medical residents and medical students on their knowledge of musculoskeletal medicine.  The study showed that physical therapists with or without board certification and physical therapy students in their last year of school scored higher than medical residents and all physician specialties except orthopedic surgeons (see graph below).
The results of this study would probably surprise many consumers of physical therapy services, which is something we as therapists need to change.  Personally, I have discussed this topic with many individuals and constantly find that people are shocked at the level of education required to become a physical therapist and are even more dumbfounded when they find out that therapists often complete residencies and fellowships.  As therapists, we must do our best to educate patients on what it means to be a physical therapist and always take the time to explain musculoskeletal concepts as they relate to a patient’s particular diagnosis.  By doing so, we will be better serving our patients and promoting the profession.
With these results of this study in mind, I ask that the readers of this article support direct access legislation to physical therapy services. Most states have already passed some form of direct access, which means the consumer can go directly to a physical therapist for musculoskeletal problems without having to spend extra time and money by having to see their physician first. However, some states have not passed direct access or have a restricted version at this time.
For more information on direct access and to see what is going on in a particular state, please follow the following link from the American Physical Therapy Association.
Tom Walters, DPT, CSCS is an orthopaedic and Redcord certified Neurac suspension-exercise physical therapist at Prevail Conditioning Performance Center.  Tom has experience in orthopedic private practice, long-term care, traveling therapy and sport medicine.  For further information regarding this topic, please contact Tom at

Ice/E-stim/Ultrasound: Age old therapies that may not be so therapeutic

By: Chris Ecklund, MA, CSCS
For: SB Independent

For years we’ve heard it from the medical community—
    Roll an ankle?  Ice it.
    Pull a muscle? Ice it.
    Jam a finger?  Ice it.
Those who have been involved in athletics or fitness are all too familiar with this advice.  Adhering to it may be another issue altogether, but suffice it to say we have been instructed to do it.  The question is…should we?

Research over the past couple decades has brought the therapeutic effects of R.I.C.E (rest, ice, compress, elevate) for soft tissue injury into question.  Does it actually help?  Is it worth the time and discomfort?  Are there other therapies (i.e. e-stim or ultrasound) that are more appropriate or better yet, more efficacious in bringing about the tissue healing process for acute soft tissue trauma?  Some studies have even gone so far as to say that cryotherapy has a negative impact on tissue healing and can actually slow or negate some of the body’s natural healing processes for recovery.

The truth, not surprisingly, lies somewhere in the middle. 

Local Physical Therapist, Tom Walters, DPT, CSCS notes that “for acute musculoskeletal trauma (due to surgery or injury), the practice of R.I.C.E. still holds value. Numerous studies are available that show the positive effects of RICE, particularly with regard to ice and compression during the inflammatory phase of healing (first 24-72 hours after injury).”  Further, he describes that the exact application technique, total icing/compression time and number of applications per day does vary depending on the size and severity of the aforementioned injury.  As a rule, however, 15-20 minutes of application (particularly that of crushed ice) several times daily with at least an hour between applications are still sound advice.

Where does the confusion lie, then?  Why are some arguing against it?  Primarily in the research evaluating cryotherapy effects past the inflammatory phase.  Here the information is equivocal at best.  Certainly there are enough studies to suggest (and most likely add credibility) to the theory that icing beyond this initial phase of 24-72 hours may actually limit the body’s natural healing response.  However, Walters points out “one must remember that if [he/she does] not rest the injured area, the inflammatory process may be lengthened beyond 72 hours.”  In this situation, further icing therapy may be warranted. 

Okay then, what about E-stim (electrical stimulation) and Ultrasound? Interestingly, while both of these practices have been fairly common practices in therapy regimens in various clinics (physical therapy, chiropractics, athletic training, etc.), the research appears equivocal at this point.  Walters suggests that while there is a need for more research, currently uses are primarily for pain relief (both) and increasing muscle strength (E-stim) but have limited support for tissue healing and repair. 

In short, E-stim and Ultrasound appear to offer very little, if any, additional benefit to tissue repair and the healing process.

Where does that leave us?  R.I.C.E.  Still good advice according to the literature…at least for the first 72 hours.

One stone remains unturned, however: how long is it going to take the tissue to heal beyond the 72 hours and what should we do until then? 

We find many of the clients in our performance center struggle to simply allow tissue repair to take place and often reengage in activities beyond tissue capacity far too soon thinking, “it doesn’t hurt anymore so it must be healed.”  Understanding that injuries are unique and blanket statements can’t be made about healing processes, I asked Walters to offer a general time line and plan of action for a typical ankle sprain based on the latest research.  Here’s what he suggests:

Phase 1: Inflammatory Phase (24-72 hours)1.  If unable to bear weight or have point tenderness along the malleoli (ankle bones), see physician to rule out fracture.
2.  Begin RICE ASAP (assuming no fracture) and continue for 24-72 hours (depending on severity).
3.  Keep ankle as inactive as possible to avoid re-injury.

Phase 2:  Fibroblastic Healing Phase (approximately 4 weeks)4.  Increase Range of Motion, Strength and Proprioception (balance and neuromuscular control) using pain as guide (if pushed into pain, the tissue will regress into the Inflammatory Phase again).
Grade I sprains (least severe) may be healed and allow regular sports participation between 2 weeks – 2 months.
Grade II usually require between 3-6 months to be pain-free with all activities.
Grade III sprains (most severe) may require >6 months to heal and may ultimately require surgery if instability remains.

Walter’s Works Cited:
1. Does Cryotherapy Improve Outcomes With Soft Tissue Injury? Hubbaard TJ, Denegar CR. J Athl Train. 2004 Sep; 39 (3):278-279

2. Cooling Efficiency of 4 Common Cryotherapeutic Agents. Kennet, Jane; Hardaker, Natalie; Hobbs, Sarah; Selfe, James. J Athl Train. 2007 Jul; 42 (3):343
3. The role of physical agents in modulating pain. Fedorczyk J. J Hand Ther 10: 110-121, 1997.
4. Effectiveness of Interferential Current Therapy in the Management of Musculoskeletal Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Fuentes J, Olivo S, Magee D and Gross D. Physical Therapy. 2010 Sept; 90; 1219-1238.
5. Thermal Agents in Rehabilitation, 2nd ed. Michlovitz SL. Philadelphia. 1990. FA Davis.
6. The effect of cryotherapy on intraarticular temperature and postoperative care after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. Okoshi Y. Am J Sports Med 27:357-362, 1999.

Spring Back Into Fitness

By: Kim Clark, NSCA-CPT

In this four part series we will explore the foundations of program design (periodization), giving you some needed tools to apply the progressive resistance model, and finally providing you with an excellent plan to get back in shape through the Spring into the Summer. Are you ready to work hard so you can be ready for Summer?

Periodization is a tool that is very helpful in achieving your fitness goals.  Its 3 primary functions are to avoid chronic overuse injuries, plateaus and exercise cessation that comes from boredom/monotony.  Whether you want to lose body fat or gain lean muscle mass, periodization has consistently been shown in research to be a superior model of progression.  With the use of periodization, any population (from major athletes to stay at home moms) can realize constant benefits.

Periodization primarily offers its users improvement by progressively overloading the body and gradually increasing stress on the muscle to produce adaptations and decrease the risk for injury.  The model presented here for fitness cycles through three different phases.  Each phase will generally last 4-8 weeks depending on the current level of fitness. Phase one focuses on stabilization endurance training and doing low-intensity high-repetition strength training programs. This phase is very important as it strengthens your joints and core musculature while giving you the opportunity to do strength moves with correct form using lighter loads. Phase two focuses on strength endurance promoting increased stabilization endurance, hypertrophy (think definition and increasing lean tissue mass), and strength. This objective is to increase stabilization while increasing prime mover strength. This is accomplished by performing compound sets in your workout. A compound set is a set of two exercises that are performed back-to-back without rest. An example would be a bench press then a push-up. Phase three is strength and power driven. Using increased loads and fewer repetitions will increase intensity and volume. 

Periodization can also be used for your energy system development (ESD).  ESD is a term that is being utilized more frequently in the field to describe what was formerly known as Cardiovascular  or Aerobic Exercise.  There are three important energy systems that you need to know about. The first is Anaerobic/Glycolitic  System: this is what allows your body to push hard for up to three minutes (utilizing Carbohydrates as the primary fuel source). Next we have Phosphagen System and this allows your body to work at high intensity levels for up to 12 seconds (utilizing ATP as the primary fuel source). Lastly is your Aerobic System, which allows to body to work beyond three minutes so it can recover from intense energy bursts (utilizing Fat as the primary fuel source).  The phases or levels for ESD are as follows:
Level one is the aerobic phase- aerobic means your body will be using oxygen so you’ll be at a low steady state of cardio, you should be able to carry on a conversation when you’re at this level. 
Level two you start mixing in moderate interval training with the level one aerobic phase. You should find it difficult to carry on a conversation at this level.

Level three is basically just increasing the intensity of your intervals so your body will be ready for level four.

Level four is the most intense of the intervals where you push as hard as you can for 10-30 seconds. You will initially spend more time at levels one and two and work your way up to the more intense levels, which will improve your overall endurance, strength and power.

Here’s a program that you can do 2-3 times a week.  Do this program for a month and next month I will have the next progression of this workout. Make sure you do a full-body dynamic warm-up before starting the workout. Do each move for the designated amount of reps and go thru each section 2-3 times.

1a. Ab Roller        8-10reps   
  b. Side Bridge    Hold 15-30 secs
  c. Hanging Ab    8-10reps
  d. Quadruped     3x5secs each

2a. Goblet foot Elevated Split Squat   10-15reps
  b.Jungle Gym Rotational Row          10reps each side
  c.Self-Myofascial Release                30 secs

3a. Contra lateral RDL                        10-15reps each leg
  b.Anti Rotation KFT Push-Pull        10-15reps each side
  c.Active Isolated Stretch                   3 times for 5 secs each side

4a. TRX Single Leg Squat-Row 10-12reps each side
  b. TRX Bicep Curls                  10-15reps
  c. TRX Skull Crushers             10-15reps

Energy System Development:
Burpee   5-10 reps
Recover to a HR of 130-140rpm, and then repeat 5 times.
If you can only do 5 burpees the first time through,  each time you do this workout, add one more burpee so by the end of the month you’ll be doing 12 burpees!!
Remember to consult your physician prior to beginning any exercise regimen.  If you experience any dizziness or pain you may need to regress the exercise.

Questions?  Shoot me an email and I’d be happy to offer assistance.  Enjoy!

1.  Clark MA. NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training. Chapter 13. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2008.

Originally from Lompoc, CA, Kim moved to Santa Barbara in 2007.  After a lifelong involvement in sports and exercise Kim decided to pursue a career in fitness.  Upon graduating from the Personal Training Program as SBBC, Kim earned her Personal Training Certificate and became a Certified Personal Trainer through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Kim joined the PCPC team upon completing the Prevail Conditioning Internship Program.  She enjoys working with clients to help them achieve their general fitness goals and has future ambitions to work with athletes of all ages as well as coaching soccer. You can reach her here:

Progression Periodization for Power: IDEA 2009 World Convention

IDEA World Convention 2009 in Anaheim was a great experience this year. Had the opportunity to hear some fantastic speakers, including: Greg Roskopf (inventor of M.A.T.), Chuck Wolf and Peter Twist (Internationally renowned Strength Coach). Top notch speakers with a wealth of knowledge that added value to my training toolbox.

For those of you that missed my workshop or did not get the handouts and still wanted them, click on the link below and you can access them.

Feel free to holler with any questions you may have. Also, visit the website to see more of the progressions that are listed in the presentation.

Press Release: Council for Responsible Nutrition

—Annual survey finds slumping economy won’t deter most consumers from purchasing supplements; price may become a central factor—

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 3, 2008 —When it comes to the downturn in the economy, many
dietary supplement users don’t intend on cutting back their supplement regimen. According to a new survey conducted by Ipsos-Public Affairs for the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), a full 51 percent of supplement users indicated that the economy will likely not change their supplement purchasing habits. These findings were released this week from the 2008 CRN Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements at The Conference, CRN’s annual symposium for the dietary supplement industry, taking place at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa, Santa Ana Pueblo, N.M.

Survey results also showed that of the 51 percent who don’t plan on cutting back their supplement routine, 13 percent of dietary supplement consumers went further to say that supplements are “an essential part of my wellness regimen, and I cannot do without them.”

“It’s encouraging to see that, despite the current economic climate, such a large percentage of adults are continuing to invest in their health by including dietary supplements as a part of their wellness regimen,” said Judy Blatman, senior vice president, communications, CRN. “Engaging in preventative health measures today, such as incorporating supplements into a healthy lifestyle, may help avoid potential healthcare costs down the road.”

Although survey results showed that most supplement consumers don’t plan on cutting back on their supplement routine regardless of economic anxieties, some may alter their purchasing habits. In fact, nearly a third of supplement users surveyed (30 percent) indicated that, while they will continue to purchase dietary supplements, price will become a more important factor in the purchasing process. Further, an additional 13 percent responded that, given the potential downturn in the economy, they will continue to purchase, but will likely purchase less in the future.

And while the overwhelming majority of supplement users plan to continue with their supplement regimen in one way or another, a small portion of the survey respondents said they might suspend their supplement usage altogether should the need arise. Survey results showed that six percent of supplement users consider dietary supplements a luxury and believe they can do without them during economic hardships.

“Times are tough for many Americans right now, and countless families are faced with the difficult position of cutting back on items that are not of absolute necessity when trying to balance higher costs in gasoline, groceries and other daily necessities,” continued Ms. Blatman. “We were pleased to see that an overwhelming majority of supplement users recognize the value of taking vitamins, minerals and other supplements, and are making a concerted effort to invest in their health long term.”

The 2008 CRN Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements, formerly known as the CRN Consumer Confidence Survey, was conducted August 20-25, 2008 by Ipsos Public Affairs and funded by CRN. The survey was conducted on-line and included a national sample of 2,013 adults aged 18 and older from Ipsos’ U.S. on-line panel. The survey has been conducted annually since 2000. This is the first year the CRN survey was conducted entirely on-line. The survey was weighted to reflect the actual U.S. adult population with an estimated margin of error of +/-2.2 percentage points.

Ipsos Public Affairs is part of Ipsos, a leading global survey-based market research company, owned and managed by research professionals that helps interpret, simulate, and anticipate the needs and responses of consumers, customers, and citizens. Ipsos offers a full line of custom, syndicated, omnibus, panel, and on-line research products and services, guided by industry experts and bolstered by advanced analytics and methodologies.

The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), founded in 1973, is a Washington, D.C.-based trade association representing dietary supplement industry ingredient suppliers and manufacturers. CRN members adhere to a code of ethics, comply with dosage limits and manufacture dietary supplements to high quality standards under good manufacturing practices.

Vizual Edge: Weight Training for the Eyes

Prevail Conditioning is committed to providing industry-best training tools and methods. The Vizual Edge Performance Training tool is something we’ve added to our offerings this past year. Take a look at their website for more information where you’ll find additional research and see the vast number of organizations that are utilizing this tool.
Read the most recent research study on the Vizual Edge performance training below:

Study by Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi Professors Confirms that Training with Software Enhances Hitting Skills
Islander baseball players show significant improvement in off-season tests

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A recent study conducted by a research team from the University’s Kinesiology Department demonstrated significant improvement in the hitting performance of Islander baseball players after enhancing their visual skills. The athletes trained their visual aptitudes with Vizual Edge, a commercial software program specifically designed to assess and train visual skills of athletes.

The research team is headed by Dr. Frank Spaniol and includes Drs. Bonnette, Melrose and Ocker, and graduate assistant Jeff Paluseo. The purpose of this study, which was a follow-up investigation conducted by Spaniol and Bonnette with the Cincinnati Reds and Milwaukee Brewers, was to determine the validity of the Vizual Edge software in relation to improving hitting performance in baseball. Designed by Dr. Barry Seiller M.D., an ophthalmologist from Chicago, Vizual Edge was created to improve visual skills. The critical question was, “would improving visual skills using Seiller’s software actually translate into improved performance?”

According to Seiller, “Visual skills can be evaluated and trained…….Elite high school, university, Olympic and professional athletes now incorporate visual performance into their training programs.” Dr. Spaniol, who played and coached Division I baseball, concurs and states, “It makes little sense to waste valuable training time working on something if it doesn’t translate into improved on-field performance.”

After the fall 2007 Islander baseball season the research team tested the software’s viability. Utilizing a ‘pre-test, post-test’ design players were randomly selected for treatment and control groups. The treatment group trained their visual skill with Vizual Edge, while the control group did not have the benefit of using the software. Because the study was conducted in the off-season, players did not take part in any structured batting practice. At the onset of the study subjects from both groups were tested for visual skills to determine eye alignment, eye flexibility, visual recognition, visual memory, and visual tracking. After achieving a baseline score, the treatment group received training on the software three times a week for five weeks.

A composite VEPT score was also calculated for each subject, which was used to establish personalized training protocols for the treatment group. Batting performance was determined by measuring the batted-ball velocity of pitches delivered at 76-to-80 mph by a pitching machine to assure consistency. Each subject received two rounds of six swings for a total of 12 attempts. Data analysis included a t-test to assess whether the two groups were statistically different from each other, by comparing post-test batted-ball velocity data. Results determined a significant difference between the batted-ball velocities of the treatment group as compared to the control group.

“We’ve known from previous survey studies that professional baseball players believe that training with Vizual Edge enhances their performance. The results of this study confirmed that college baseball players who trained with Vizual Edge outperformed those who did not,” points out Spaniol.

Advocare Scientific And Medical Advisory Board Member Wins Prestigious International Award

excerpt from

Dr. Carl Keen, Distinguished Professor of Nutrition and Internal Medicine at the University of California, Davis, was awarded the Outstanding Researcher Prize at the Third International Conference on Polyphenols and Health, held in Kyoto, Japan, Nov. 25-28, 2007. Dr. Keen is a world-renowned expert in the study of flavanols (active compounds found in cocoa, green tea, purple grape products, other fruits and vegetables, and a number of AdvoCare products), and shared the award with Dr. Augustin Scalbert of France and Dr. Helmut Sies of Germany.

“The award reflects the efforts of a great many people on our research team” says Dr. Keen. “Just like AdvoCare, combined efforts, discipline and dedication to a common goal are some of the keys to success.”

AdvoCare’s Scientific and Medical Advisory Board has over 250 years of professional experience in nutrition, medicine, sports performance, pharmacology and health sciences. The vision of Dr. Carl Keen and others on the Board continue to bring the safest, most effective and innovative products to the marketplace. Congratulations Dr. Keen!

Study Shows 25% of Dietary Supplements Tested Contain Steroids, Banned Stimulants

Did you see this in the news? A good friend of mine pointed it out. If you haven’t checked out the study, follow the link above.

Does it surprise me? Absolutely not.

Does it surprise you? Hope not.

Dietary supplements can have a wonderful contribution to our diets for better health and wellness (as well as increased performance and better recovery for those who desire it). Unfortunately, as the industry is still quite unregulated there are some consistent and serious issues that we all need to be aware of as consumers.

In truth, I believe the greater issue to be the quality control issue. I mean, let’s be honest…how many of us can look at a bottle of powder or pills and be able to make an educated judgment? Nobody. It’s not like looking at the difference between a hamburger from Burger King and a Steak from Outback…that’s an easy call. But since companies who make supplements are not required under the DSHEA of 1994 (click link for overview and associated information) to do their own quality control (and aren’t regulated by the FDA to do so), unless there are serious health concerns noticeably connected to a product…nobody will ever test it and therefore not know if what it says is in it is actually in it.

Now, back to the Steroids issue. While the greater and more common issue is the quality control problem, the steroid (and perhaps unhealthy) ingredient issue is still prevalent. This study looked primarily at “testosterone boosters,” but it also looked at popular energy enhancement products and weight loss products. And let it be known…it wasn’t just the “testosterone boosting” products that were the offenders here.

So the issues here are not only that manufacturers may be taking the shortcuts and not putting in ingredients that work are not pure enough, but also that they may be putting in things to make their work…but work in ways that are generally UNhealthy. Nice deal, huh? Steroids are only one example of this.

Many of my readers/clients/etc. often ask why I always harp on the Advocare issue so much. Well…here it is. This IS the reason. The only way to know whether the products are safe and effective is if the company is doing the research with quality scientists and doing the quality control themselves. Advocare does it. Truth be told…most other companies don’t. Do some other products work? Yep. So don’t hear this as a rebuke of all other companies. It’s not. There are more companies out there doing research and quality controlling their products. But there simply aren’t enough yet. There aren’t enough companies who have the character and integrity as does an Advocare.

Have we ever had a professional, college, or Olympic athlete get a “positive” or even false positive (for banned substances) from taking our products? Not one. In over 14 years.

Are we on the NFL’s banned list of companies? Nope.

Do our athletes get paid for taking our products (or, heaven forbid…saying they take our products for the endorsement money but not actually doing it). Nope.

So while this certainly isn’t intended to be an advertisement for Advocare, it almost can’t be helped. Now you know why I choose only Advocare. I simply don’t trust other companies enough with the health of my clients, friends, or family. Don’t be misinformed or under-informed about the issues here. If you are going to utilize supplements, get some that work. If you don’t choose Advocare, that’s fine. But make sure to choose wisely and choose a company that has the integrity to do it right!

Prevail Conditioning