What Is All The Hype About Organic Food?

Today’s blog is a guest post from Jamie Hale of MaxCondition.com. Jamie is a super smart guy and a strong advocate for science and reason within the fitness industry. For any fitness professionals or enthusiasts wanting to delve deep into evidence-based practice, critical thinking, research and statistics, and rationality, I can highly recommend purchasing his book In Evidence We Trust.

For his own application of this thought process and experience to training, grab a copy of his book MaxCondition.

Onto the article.

The hype

Organic food proponents often claim they eat organic foods because they feel organic foods are safer and more nutritious.  Common statements from those preferring organic food are “I don’t like chemicals in my foods,” “natural has to be safer than artificial,” or “I prefer pesticide-free food.”  I have spoken with numerous people that prefer organic food just because it is better.  Why it is better is often left unsaid.  “Organic food…is just better” claims the organic food advocate.  Are these claims supported by evidence or Continue reading What Is All The Hype About Organic Food?

Calf Training for the General Population Client

CalvesWhile calf training articles for the serious bodybuilder are a dime a dozen, serious bodybuilders themselves, however, are not.
The average gym-goer probably doesn’t need to be doing pre-exhaust sets of seated calf raises with a double drop, straight into standing calf raises with slow eccentrics or top range partials. At least, not yet.

We have no fixed plane machines at Melbourne Strength & Conditioning. Despite what some “functional” gurus might try to have you believe, there’s nothing Continue reading Calf Training for the General Population Client

What Can You Do When You “Throw Your Back Out”? Applying Pain Science in the Real World

This is a repost of a Facebook post I put up last week. It garnered some very positive feedback on a few fronts, and given the length of it, I figured it’d be worth putting together as a more formal blog, including a few minor edits to tidy it up for better reading, along with some additional references.
Plus, with my writing on here currently at a virtual standstill thanks to new gym owner life at Melbourne Strength & Conditioning and all the time demands that brings, I’ll take any excuse to get a blog post up at the moment.

A little proviso in case you abandon this read before I again highlight this point at the end: I’m not a physiotherapist. I am not qualified to diagnose to treat or to diagnose pain or injury.
A big part of my job however, is to be able to find ways to train our members around pain, and as such, I stay reasonably abreast of the current evidence and trends with pain science and rehabilitation by networking with and learning from excellent medical professionals.

So without further ado, here’s my little “I fucked up my back” story.

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A little n=1 anecdote on back pain, pain science, and the like:
Yesterday I managed to put my back into spasm. Continue reading What Can You Do When You “Throw Your Back Out”? Applying Pain Science in the Real World

Training Clients Around Pain: A Guide for Personal Trainers

It’s a precarious time for the personal trainer or strength coach. Clients and athletes will inevitably turn up to training sessions with a wide array of aches and pains, and injuries ranging in severity. And you can’t go a day without seeing the latest “corrective” exercise certification or workshop advertised on social media (or being “invited” to it, even if it’s from a ‘friend’ who you’ve never spoken to, and who lives on the other side of the planet. Seriously, STOP DOING THAT!).

The Corrective Exercise Trap

Every weekend fitness professionals around the world are turning up to these courses in droves to have their egos inflated, and be led down a slippery and dubious slope through postural screenings, movement assessments, and exercise prescriptions with the intent of correcting their clients and saving them from the perils of “movement dysfunction” .
Continue reading Training Clients Around Pain: A Guide for Personal Trainers

The Band-Resisted Skater Squat

Skater SquatI’ve put up posts sharing tweaks and modifications to common exercises a time or three before. Most just so happen to have been for a variation of a single leg exercise, as those tend to have a lot of options available to them. And, that seems to have become kinda my thing.

Some people will say that these are pointless, foo foo, fluffy exercises. That’s fine. Those people aren’t my audience, and I know they almost certainly never actually tried them. And, I know that I’m pretty damn anti-foo foo. I still promote lifting heavy shit and not spending too much training time swinging ViPR’s around.
Those who can appreciate the benefit of these modifications as another option in the methodological toolbox, will.

With that said, credit for this one goes to Jake Moller, owner of Mace Fitness here in Melbourne Australia, whom I graciously stole this from. I just took the time to explain it and film it.
Check it out: Continue reading The Band-Resisted Skater Squat

Is The Plank A Useless Exercise?

Plank*This article was originally published on JackedPack.com in mid 2014. For reasons not revealed to me, Jacked Pack have since removed the blog from their site. So I figure I’m entitled to re-publish my original articles here now.

I can’t believe I’m actually writing an entire article about the humble plank. If there’s a less exciting exercise, I can’t think of it. I hardly expect this one to set your training world on fire, but bear with me and you’ll come out the other side with greater clarity as to where exactly this sometimes maligned, sometimes revered, seldom appropriately utilised exercise fits into your training program.

What the plank is

The Continue reading Is The Plank A Useless Exercise?

Seven Lessons for the New Lifter

Read this so that your gym fail photo doesn't end up on some random guy's blog...
Read this so that your gym fail photo doesn’t end up on some random guy’s blog…

*This article was originally published on JackedPack.com in mid 2014. For reasons not revealed to me, Jacked Pack have since removed the blog from their site. So I figure I’m entitled to re-publish my original articles here now.

You’ve just set foot into a weight room for the first time, bringing with you a body full of testosterone and a head full of good intentions but misguided information. Let’s get you started off on the right foot.

1. Warm Up

I’m not one to say that your warm up needs to be some elaborate thirty minute concoction of Yoga, Pilates, physiotherapy exercises and circus tricks. However, I do believe it should consist of more than a few arm circles, a set with the bar, and an obligatory flex in the mirror.
If you’re otherwise healthy, commit to Continue reading Seven Lessons for the New Lifter

Choosing the Right Finisher: Part 2

*This article was originally published on JackedPack.com in mid 2014. For reasons not revealed to me, Jacked Pack have since removed the blog from their site. So I figure I’m entitled to re-publish my original articles here now.

In Part 1 I walked you through the principles and thought process that goes into designing effective finishers for your training program. Today we get to the fun stuff.

Here are eight ready-made finishers for you to experiment with. These are all finishers that I’ve used myself and with my clients successfully many times, so you can be sure they’ve been battled-tested. Of course, feel free to modify them to better suit your individual needs. That’s what it’s all about after all.

Eight Examples of ‘Good’ Finishers


  For Fat Loss or General Conditioning:

Continue reading Choosing the Right Finisher: Part 2

Choosing the Right Finisher: Part 1

*This article was originally published on JackedPack.com in mid 2014. For reasons not revealed to me, Jacked Pack have since removed the blog from their site. So I figure I’m entitled to re-publish my original articles here now. A few more re-posts will follow over the coming days. 

For better or worse, we can attribute the likes of CrossFit, P90X and MMA-style training for the relatively recent boom in “metabolic conditioning”, “metabolic circuits”, “high intensity circuits” or, as I’ll refer to them, “finishers”.
I prefer the term “finisher” because it accurately indicates what its purpose is and where it should reside within a training session.
Unfortunately this style of training also tends to be heavily abused. Maybe it’s due to some people taking the efficiency benefits of circuit style training too far, or maybe because of the misguided “hardcore” image that many perceive from CrossFit and fighter training.
The misuse of finishers – i.e. using them as anything other than finishers – can often lead to the detriment of your training and your results. Here’s how to do it right.

What is a finisher?

A finisher is an exercise or sequence of exercises that should be designed to rapidly increase the Continue reading Choosing the Right Finisher: Part 1

Best Articles on WillLevy.com

Image credit creatingodyssey.com
Image credit creatingodyssey.com

As far as “best of” articles go, this one is about as arrogant as they come. Because who am I to create a best articles list, really? In fact, I’m so underqualified for this that I’m not even dubbing it a best of 2014, but rather just a general best of. Because the fact remains, I’m a very slack blogger. Having finally pulled my finger out and begun this blog in 2013, my blogging career thus far could only be described as inconsistent.
The reality is that I’m never going to be the guy who pumps out 3-5 blog posts per week. My posts are typically on the longer side, generally well edited, and I like to think that I usually opt for a quality over quantity approach.
In doing so, I have put out at least a handful of articles that I feel are pretty useful for either the end-user or the fellow fitness professional. And as my reach has extended somewhat since this blog’s genesis, via social media, a couple of articles written for other sites, and other collaborative projects and presentations, there’s a few articles I feel my newer audience may find useful.

So with that justification out of the way, here’s my incredibly biased best articles list. Continue reading Best Articles on WillLevy.com