Sunday, March 20, 2011

Fat Loss Theory and the Hedgehog Concept

In the book Good to Great, Jim Collins reveals to us the Hedgehog Concept, based on the famous Isaiah Berlin essay "The Hedgehog and the Fox." The story goes as follows.

The story revolves around the idea that people are categorized as either hedgehogs or foxes. Foxes know many things, but hedgehogs know one big thing.

The fox is cunning and can devise hundreds, if not thousands of strategies for sneaking up on the hedgehog. So, every day the fox comes up with a new plan to pounce on the hedgehog. He circles around the hedgehogs den just waiting for the perfect moment to pounce.

The hedgehog leaves his den to find food, and the fox has his chance, so he leaps out hoping to surprise and kill the hedgehog using his new plan. Of course, the hedgehog, although he is in danger, is not afraid. He wonders if the fox will ever learn. The hedgehog rolls up into a ball and becomes a sphere of sharp spikes. The fox sees this and realizes he can't do anything or he will get speared... so he retreats and tries to come up with a new plan. Every day, another version of this battle takes place... and every day, the hedgehog wins.

As Bruce Lee once said, "I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times."

You see, foxes, according to Berlin, are "scattered or diffused, moving on many levels." What they don't have is a one unifying concept or overall vision. They see the world for all its complexities. Hedgehogs, on the other hand, simplify all these complexities into one basic principle. Every challenge, every dilemma, no matter how complex, is reduced to a simple hedgehog idea. According to Collins, anything that does not relate to the hedgehog idea is irrelevant.

What does all this talk of hedgehogs and foxes have to do with fat loss? Read on and find out!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Theory of Fat Loss: Knowledge Limits to Exercise

In my opinion, one of the most overlooked parts of The Theory of Fat Loss was the chapter on "knowledge limits." It isn't because the information wasn't important. It wasn't because people couldn't understand it either. The reason is that I basically told people that learning was important. It is a good message I suppose, but it is not really all that practical.

Oftentimes stories can be used to illustrate a point much more clearly, and now I have one for you. It demonstrates the power of knowledge when it comes to training with limited resources.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Theory of Fat Loss: Author Interview

Hello everyone!

I just wanted to share with you today my interview with Erik Rokeach from Fitness Business Interviews. In that interview, I discuss how I got started as a fitness professional, my growth in the industry, what inspired me to write a book, how I went about inventing a fitness product that doesn't suck, and a whole bunch of other things. I hope you enjoy it.

You can check it out here:
Fitness Business Interviews

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Fat Loss Theory: Evaluating the Effectiveness of Bootcamps

If you have known me for a long time, you probably know how much I dislike group fitness classes such as bootcamps. Why? Here is what you typically get...

-A trainer who doesn't know how to coach movement
-A trainer who doesn't know how to program
-A trainer who doesn't know how to progress and regress exercises
-A bunch of clients who get injured or who need personal attention so they don't hurt themselves... but who don't get that attention because of factors 1 and 2
-A bunch of clients who do not get results

Now, if you have read my book, THE Theory of Fat Loss, then you know the following.

1) Individualization is king
2) Absolute (and not relative) intensity is the true determinant of how effective an exercise program will be.
3) If you aren't preventing injury and breaking through limits, you are wasting your time.

The Theory of Fat Loss: A New Paradigm for Exercise

I never thought that you could run a group fitness class that was effective at addressing all these factors... that is... until recently...