A few months ago when the PN team sat down to put together this library of training programs to integrate with the Precision Nutrition system, we really wanted to make sure that we had something spectacular for our athletes, many of whom compete at the elite level of their sport. So when it finally came time to put together the program to cover off-season training for athletes, we turned to the guy who does it best: Eric Cressey. Precision Nutrition: I remember, years ago now, you wrote an article for johnberardi.
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If you had to give yourself a different title, what would it be? So it worked out well, I got into sports management and exercise science, the things I was more passionate about. I was pretty dead set on ing.
I have three ants in my family, so it might have been genetic or something. I just liked the black and white, crunch-the-s aspect of it, and I remember my counselor was all for it. ing is a career path that counselors feel comfortable recommending and supporting. I did well in math, I did well in ing classes, so studying to be an ant was the next logical step.
But I had some health problems near the end of high school and in my freshman year of college, and as a result I lost a lot of weight. It was one of those critical life experiences, and I wanted to gain it back and gain it back the right way.
And in doing that, I started to realize how passionate I was, not only about the exercise part of it, but about nutrition as well. So I started to figure out how to put it all together. And ultimately I discovered t-nation. And it just kind of snowballed from there. EC: I do, actually. This is the irony of it all. I was in eighth grade, and my brother, who was a senior in high school at the time, he was a pretty big guy at the time.
He was into lifting and everything. He brought me into the high school weight room after school one day. Times change I guess.
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And so I had grown my hair out nice and long, and I have really wiry, curly hair, so it was pretty much a big afro. And I was kind of a pudgy kid at the time. Sure enough I go in and get on the bench press, and it was like a 45 pound bar, and I just got pinned. But in retrospect, it was a pretty influential moment. EC: Oh yeah, sure. And I ended up herniating my L5-S1 disc doing a warm up set of So in retrospect, it was really a blessing in disguise.
I learned so much about how to warm up properly, and it turned out that I had some imbalances that were predisposing me to the problem in the first place. Like I said, I learned a lot from the experience. EC: Oh yeah, I have those all the time. A lot of them for me have been as a coach, and not just as a lifter. Times when I really felt in sync. I learned about the fitness-fatigue model, and how you know, I had accumulated a lot of fatigue over the years, and maybe that bodybuilding stuff had caught up to me.
Off-season training for athletes with eric cressey
So it was really critical to just get out there and compete for the first time, to go through the whole process. PN: You work one-on-one with a ton of athletes as sort of a cross between strength coach and physical therapist. Where do you fit in along that spectrum?
I think I have a keen eye for dysfunction, and helping out with that. And at the other end of the spectrum, you know, often you have people getting acute treatments from the medical profession, and you still have to know how to produce a training effect in the meantime.
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Athletes of all ages, really. Boston has a big endurance training community, so I work with a lot of cyclists, runners, and triathletes. And I really enjoy working with my high school athletes. PN: Were you always strong and athletic growing up?
I do consider myself an athlete first and a powerlifter second. I just want to keep pushing myself, keep trying new things, and keep going for many years to come. I get to train athletes. You train people all day, go to sleep, wake up in the morning and do it again.
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And that does you no favors. And the thing about writing for the Internet is that you get instant feedback. So on the Internet you have more opportunities to test out your ideas and see if they have merit. You guys have probably found the same thing with nutrition.
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So the web has played a big role in speeding up the process for me, for sure. PN: Speaking of nutrition, how big a part does nutrition play into what you do on a daily basis, both personally as an eric and professionally as a coach? The overwhelming majority of problems we see in our chat are related to systemic inflammation to some degree.
When I was writing this program for the Precision Nutrition members, one of the first things I say in there is that, you know, this is a good program, but it will be an incredible program if you dial in your nutrition. If your nutrition is poor, or mediocre, or just okay, and really for most athletes it is, then you have a lot of untapped potential in there.
PN: You have almost an obsession with biomechanics. Were you calculating t forces on your GI Joes at age 6? EC: No, I hope not. But for me the real turning point was gym I transferred out of business school to do my exercise science degree at the University of New England, which happened to have one of the best medicine programs in the country.
And so I got to take Gross Anatomy, and I spent 6 months of my life working with cadavers. I was surrounded by physical therapists, athletic trainers, occupational therapists, pre-med students.
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I was immersed in an environment where anatomy was first and foremost. And then I started to learn how the body moves, I started going beyond the anatomy itself. What does muscle B do to compensate? Does it shut down, or ball up, etc? And most importantly, what can you do to correct it?
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PN: Speaking of which, you guys have put out some great stuff. What inspired you to put these together, and what else can we expect from you in the future? And so this was a comprehensive way to bring all of those ideas together.
We hoped it would have a moderate impact, but we never promoted it as some sort of way to treat injuries. But sure enough people were contacting us and thanking us gym having solved this or that problem. That was a little unexpected to be honest, but very cool.
EC: Well, athletically, I think competing as a strongman would be fun. To me that would be ideal. I like the variety. And also, I train athletes with a lot of different goals, and I want to have a frame of reference for everything that they have to go through. So I think having that experience and staying competitive will help me with my athletes. Professionally, you know, I never expected the Internet stuff to take off like this. I need to be in the gym, or on the field, I need to be working with athletes. I have to train people. Hopefully that somehow that in a huge empire.
PN: If you had a dream client, what kind of attitude would you want them to have? So obviously your high motivation, high skill athlete is ideal. They need to convince themselves that they need to be there before you can help them. And I like a challenge, so I really enjoy working with the eric skill guys because it really pushes you to be that much better. Does that really matter in the grand scheme of things? Not really. So it chats me to really be on the ball with my program, to adapt my programming a lot quicker, and I chat that a lot. EC: I think the key is synergy among all the different components.
They understand how the nutrition interacts with training, how it interacts with supplementation, with warm ups, soft tissue work, all that. And that to a large extent is how we try to model our business. So I know that in a combine situation, for example, we might have a kid in, and I can help him eric his diet and do all this weight room work, and when the time is right, we can pass him out to the track and Carl can do more gym with him out there.
And all along, Carl is optimizing his recovery.