Lean Eating Coach Jason Bonn spent the last four months interning at Cressey Performance (CP) in Massachusetts. I figured he may have had a few decent experiences there, you know, considering it’s one of the premier training facilities in the U.S. I caught up with him and had him answer nine questions about his experience.
1. What are the top 3 most practical/useful things you learned during your internship?
Well, in this situation, I learned practical and useful things every single day. So I’d consider these more “key things” rather than the actual three best.
- Know when, if and how to progress and regress. The latter is something I (and I’m sure many others) used to overlook. However, it’s important not to “move on” just for the sake of “moving on”. Go backwards sometimes, for a good cause.
- You can always train around an injury. Short of a full body cast, there is always something you can do. There were people fresh off of surgery that couldn’t raise their arms above shoulder level still getting a training effect. Just as we see clients in Lean Eating Coaching have success in various situations (from stay-at-home moms to lawyers with 16 hour work days), there is always a way to stay on track with your goals.
- You can only learn so much from books, DVDs, etc… You need to get your hands dirty and learn by going out there and DOING. It’s okay to make mistakes — simply adjust for the next time.
BONUS: This is only applicable to me, but it was very useful nonetheless: I want to be a better coach. I want to surround myself with the right people and learn from them. As PN coaches, we wear many hats, but all of us seem to have a niche. This is an area in which I want to specialize.
2. Has your perspective on training (other people and yourself) changed since having this experience?
There are many ways to get to the same goal and I was already familiar with Eric and Tony’s general philosophies and approaches to training before interning there. I gravitated to their approach and wanted to surround myself with people that are where I want to be.
So my overall perspective hasn’t changed much, but my methods have. For example, I have found myself understanding more and further utilizing things like soft tissue work, mobility drills, etc…
The biggest thing though, is it cemented my belief that training success (or success in most areas) is not about novelty. It’s more about sound and solid principles, hard work, willingness to experience discomfort, and the right coaching. Not sexy, but it’s what works. (Sounds like what we say at PN, huh?)
3. Any favorite quotes you overheard from Eric or Tony?
“Hey Jay. It’s Eric Cressey. We think you’d be a good fit to intern here if you’re still interested.”
Too cheesy? Ok, here’s another…
“We’re not here to lift more weights. We’re here to become better baseball players.”
The truth is, I made mental notes of what Tony or Eric said every single day. Everything from their coaching cues and elaborate in-service explanations, to random stuff like movies, has been forever stored in my brain.
I learned continually. I learned from the in-services; from speaking with the staff at CP, fellow interns (Doug and Tad), and the clients; from the coaching I did (when to cue, when not to cue, what cues to use, when and how to progress/regress, etc…) I learned from everyone and everything.
However, I chose the above quote because it shows the importance of keeping your main goal in mind. Unless you’re competing in powerlifting or weightlifting, the exact numbers you lift are pretty much arbitrary. What may be more important is the continued progress you see.
Plus, you’ll have a tough time excelling at sport, getting lean, gaining muscle, etc… if you’re always injured.
What was the most common “problem area” that athletes/clients needed to correct?
This is tough because everyone there had their own “issues” and their programs reflected the necessary “correction” (exercises, mobility work, etc…).
In general though, most will do well to improve mobility at the ankles, hips and thoracic spine. That’s not surprising given the position and posture in which most of us spend the bulk of our days.
One other thing I think many people can work on improving (or learning) is the “hip-hinge” pattern. This seemed to be difficult for many to grasp. From those of middle school age to the older athletes and clients, there were people in every age group that had trouble with this.
5. Do you have any new favorite mobility movements?
Yoga Plex, walking Spider Man with hip lift and overhead reach, and squat to stand with overhead reach.
All 3 are very efficient movements; they address several problem areas at once.
Walking Spiderman with hip lift and overhead reach
Squat to stand with overhead reach
Finish the following sentences:
6. Tony Gentilcore is…
…as funny and knowledgeable in person as he is on his blog.
7. Eric Cressey is…
…working at a level of knowledge I can only hope to scratch the surface of. He’s also proof that it’s OK to have a small dog if you can deadlift over 600 lbs.
8. Eric and Tony are…
…where I aspire to be as a strength and conditioning coach. They’re genuine people who do the right things for the right reasons. Seriously, their ability as coaches is rivaled only by them as people. I’ll continue to learn from both of them.
I just noticed that I’m a bit obsessed with learning about Eric and Tony. Moving on…
9. The exercise that most people just can’t get right is…
…something that doesn’t exist with the right coaching and progression.
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