My lungs screamed, my muscles burned, and I was, quite literally, seeing black spots dance before my eyes like some lame Windows screensaver from I glanced at the clock. Ninety seconds had passed by already? It was time for another set. I grabbed the bar for set number four, dug deep mentally, and pushed through another round. About a minute later my "off-day" cardio was done.
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Today we sat down with Alwyn Cosgrove, outspoken fitness and performance coach. It implies that all I do is strength training. If that was all we did as a profession, then Louie Simmons and Dave Tate who can get people strong would put us all out of business.
Well, we can improve your performance the most by working on the flexibility portion. Does that make me a flexibility coach then? I believe in improving performance for athletes, and health and aesthetics for general population clients. I use the most effective method possible whenever I do that. Often it means strength training, but sometimes it means speed work or agility or endurance.
There are typically four or five coaches on a football team at college level. However, for all sports there might be one strength coach. My good friend Robert Dos Remedios, strength and conditioning coach at College of The Canyons, trains 97 football players at a time. Working with two or three people at a time like most of the rest of us do is easy by comparison.
Question 2: Your wife is a trainer, former cheerleader, fitness competitor, and all around babe. Rachel Cosgrove, clearly too pretty for Alwyn. Accents work on California girls! Everyone who meets me and Rach are always like, "Are you fucking kidding me? How did this happen? The last sentence must be read in the same voice as Fat Bastard from Austin Powers. That has to put things into perspective. Tell us about that. But no one really "wins" a battle with cancer.
The first symptom I had was I started getting really fat. Typically cancer patients lose weight, so nothing really clicked as being wrong. I guess the weight gain was a combination of inflammation, tumor growth, and massive tiredness meaning I moved less. Then I got the night sweats. Then I found a lump in my thigh Incidentally, Lance Armstrong had three types of cancer — testicular, brain and lung — at the same time, all in stage four. I also had a bone marrow sample drawn.
Guys, listen. We all think that getting kicked in the balls is the worst pain possible. It hurt like fuck. So I got six months of chemotherapy. They back it off a little bit so you just feel like shit instead of dying and stop it once the cancer cells die first.
I was announced in remission in March I just had a check-up--yesterday actually, and everything is still good. Scariest time of my life though. It changes everything. What other person in this biz would you like to get into the ring with?
Watch out for me at future seminars, bitch! Nah, no one really. What was funny though was after we did the first T-Nation interview I looked at the pics and thought, "Wow, I look kind of chunky. From the same fucking critic! Question 6: At your facility you train top athletes as well as regular people just wanting to get into shape. Is there overlap? Cosgrove: More than most people would realize.
The main difference is psychology. You tend to need to pull an athlete back to do less, and push a "regular" person to do more. I evaluate people. I design programs based on their goals and the unique "blueprint" that they present to me.
Explain that. People were leaner. People moved more. Despite the overwhelming amount of research on aerobic training and exercise for health, none of it had the goal of fat loss. In fact, the very thought of training solely to produce a loss of fat was an alien concept just a few years ago.
And the fitness industry has failed. We originally designed fat loss programs by copying what endurance athletes were doing and hoping that somehow the training program of a marathon runner would work for fat loss for an obese lady, even when we cut it down to 20 minutes, three times per week. But fat loss was never the goal of an endurance athlete — it was a side effect.
Then the fitness industry turned to bodybuilding for ideas. This was the height of the Body-for-Life physique transformation contests. And we failed again. To take the programs of drug-using, fulltime, professional, genetic freak bodybuilders and use them to model fat loss programs for the general population was nonsensical. But we tried. We failed again. But we were getting closer. Fat loss was a goal for bodybuilders at least, but the low levels of body fat percentage a contest bodybuilder achieved was largely a result of their increased muscle mass and therefore their metabolism.
Then we design a program based on those principles. Despite advances in the methods of training, the fitness industry has yet to truly provide a complete fat loss solution. Lean muscle is metabolically active, so building muscle or at least maintaining it is extremely important.
The thermic effect of protein is twice as high as the thermic effect of fat or carbohydrate — and it adds up. I thought the recent Fasted Cardio Roundtable was interesting.
What the authors forgot to say was that steady state aerobic training is probably the least efficient way of causing fat loss in the first place! It contributes very little to the above criteria beyond calories burned. Question 8: What the hell kind of name is "Alwyn? Anyway, you have no idea. Do you see the link between your parents giving you some fucked up name, playground hassle, and becoming a first degree black belt at fourteen?
I think it means "almighty sex god" or something. Question 9: Many strength and conditioning pros are called "sellouts" if they lower themselves by helping average people and non-athlete beginners.
Fair criticism or unfair, pissy criticism? Cosgrove: Completely unfair criticism. And to be honest, there are trainers out there working in clubs getting people in shape everyday, putting food on their table as a result of getting good results, who have more successful track records than some well known names in the industry.
It amazes me to see strength coaches list all the athletes that have won medals at World Championships. You trained them too! If you want the credit for successes, take the blame for the failures. Ian King said that, I think. Question Any hobbies or interests outside of training? Cosgrove: I love boxing. Love it! I spend far too much on pay-per-view boxing and am a bit of a geek when it comes to the fights.
I watch the Spanish channel every week to see the fights with the young, up and coming Mexican fighters. The new Ultimate line from Marvel comics is awesome. Other than that, I read a lot. Question The average T-Nation reader is more experienced and knowledgeable than the typical gym rat. They think a program is a workout or a four week routine. Real programming is a long term process. And despite me talking about it at length, the average reader is still on some sort of "body part split.
A drug-free guy with a job and any kind of life outside the gym will make better progress long term using full body routines or movement pattern splits. Question everything. Why do split routines? Why do aerobics for fat loss?