The Bell curve is a mathematical model of probable distribution.
Explained in simple terms – it basically shows the “average” distribution of pretty much anything. The high point of the bell curve is the mean — the average response — and the large majority of subjects are within “one standard deviation” of the average – 68% in fact – most subjects fall within two standard deviations of the mean (95%) and almost all (99%) fall within three standard deviations.
So when I’m talking about training and I say:
“Probably around 80-90% of the population, 80-90% of the time, will respond best to total body workouts. And I’d say that maybe 90-95% of the population, 90-95% of the time, will respond best to either total body or an upper and lower split.”
I’m referring to the bell curve. That’s who most of us are – and that’s who most of us work with.
Looking at a professional bodybuilder’s approach to fat loss training — and as you can see – those guys lie in the very outlying o.1% — is the same as looking at a fat loss program for a 400lbs asthmatic with a hip replacement. It’s looking at the exceptions – the outlying percentages of the bell curve.
So while it might be interesting — it’s just not applicable information for most.
Think about it — you wouldn’t use the fat loss program provided for a 400lb asthmatic with a hip replacement, if you’re a 32 year old female who needs to lose 15lbs right? — so why do we look at professional bodybuilders, or pro athletes, or fitness models (the other end of the curve) and think that the information that works for them will apply?
Don’t model your training on the outlying minute percentage — it’s unlikely to work. The program that would work for a pro bodybuilder, won’t work for a 400lb asthmatic, and is unlikely to work for you.
“The only thing worse than not reading a book in the last ninety days is not reading a book in the last ninety days and thinking that it doesn’t matter”.
Why is it that if a client comes in to the gym, and has a heart condition — fitness professionals need a doctor’s clearance before they can exercise ? — before they can do something healthy?
Why doesn’t the local bar need a doctor’s clearance before serving that same person a beer, or a restaurant before they serve them a cheeseburger? That’s something potentially harmful but they don’t need medical permission.
Why does a client with a knee injury need a doctor’s clearance before they can do a squat in the gym – yet an airline doesn’t need permission to let them buy a seat (and do a squat to get into that seat)?
If fitness professionals need permission to teach someone with a medical condition how to lift a 5lb weight, shouldn’t grocery stores need permission before selling people a 5lb bag of groceries? 5lbs is 5lbs. And we’re trained to teach someone a safe way to lift 5lbs…I don’t believe the kid who packs the bag at the store is … why aren’t doctors concerned about him?
Why do fitness professionals need clearance to help people when no other activity seems to need permission to potentially harm people?
What an ass-backward world we live in.
As promised here are the specifics of the ECA hands-on workshop from this weekend
1/2 kneeling hip flexor stretch
1/2 kneeling thoracic rotation
Spiderman thoracic rotation with reach
Worlds Greatest Stretch
Squat to stand
Forward and Back Jumps paired with walking lunges
Side to side jumps paired with reverse lunges and reach
Jumping jacks paired with lateral lunge
Jogging paired with high knees (2 laps)
Jogging paired with side shuffles (2 laps)
Glute bridges – 10 reps
Bridge marching – 10 reps each side
Mini-band square walks – 10 reps (5 steps each direction)
Squat Jumps (2 sets of 5 reps)
Flying knee drives (2 sets of 3 reps ea.)
Core (3 mins per zone)
Zone 1: Side Plank and Row
Zone 2: Front Plank and Pulldown
Zone 3: Valslide front plank with push away – into one arm spiderman push up
Resistance (5 mins each zone)
Zone 1: Goblet squat paired with KB staggered stance row (10 reps)
Zone 2: Rotational DVRT sandbag lunge paired with valslide running push ups
Zone 3: Valslide reverse lunge paired with T-push-ups
Leg Matrix 24
PS – Special thanks to Kelvin Geary of Body Space Fitness for assisting me in the workshop