10 Things I Learned in 2016


It seems like it was just a few weeks ago that I was heading to Indianapolis with  Joe Young to attend the Joel Jamieson Certified Conditioning Course. Personally, it was a fantastic year. I married an amazing woman, I made strides to better myself by doing more continuing ed than ever and I was able to work with some amazing clients, groups and colleagues at the Training Room. Here are my top 10 lessons from 2016.

1. Whats Really Important?

Essentialism by Greg McKeown was my first book of 2016. I read it while I was flying from Dublin to Boston and I couldn’t wait to incorporate some of the simple lessons learned. Previously, I was caught in the chase for material things and most days I aimed at clearing a to do list, hardly goal achievement. Instead, Greg McKeown advises you to prioritize yourself, “Protect the Asset” with more sleep, time for reflection and time with loved ones without a screen. The to-do list conundrum was solved by answering one question.

What project allows my highest contribution?

Some other great quotes include.

“What if we stopped celebrating being busy as a measure of importance”.

“In order to have focus, we need to escape to have focus”.

“Essentialism, fewer things done better”

94 and still going strong


2. My Grandad Has the Best Workout Plan

Its called hard physical labor combined with adequate sleep and a healthy dose of real food from the ground and Irish whiskey.



3. “The Brain Always Wins”

Learning to correctly go about putting together a conditioning plan together cleared up a lot of unanswered questions on the subject. Kudos to Joel Jamieson for the course content and all the folks at IFast in Indiana for hosting the Certified Conditioning Course. Some of the main take aways included.

“Quality movement = less energy needed to move”.

“Environment change can affect skill. Think why the away team may lose but they were the higher skilled team”.

“The brain always wins. The brains number one aim is to keep you alive. If you push too hard with conditioning, form goes out the window and completion is the goal, thus making injury risk higher the longer you condition in a fatigued state”.

PRI breathing technique


4. Learn How to Exhale

The more I learn from the Postural Restoration Institute the more I see its validity in a training setting. Our responsibility as strength coaches is to get a training effect. However, if everyone is walking around “Toned up from the Bone up” as Pat Davidson would say then we have a responsibility to find a window of opportunity. That opportunity takes the form of breathing at the front end of the workout to help them find a more relaxed starting position. This allows the individual to move better as well as more adaptable to the demands of the workout. Breathing at the back end of the workout allows them to leave relaxed and better equipped to take on stress outside the gym setting.

More importantly, everyone needs the following:

a. Anterior Core – Controls the pelvis, helps you find “neutral” with a proper exhale.

b. Hamstrings – Repositions the pelvis, extends the hip.

c. Serrates Anterior – Protects the shoulder blades, moves the rib cage.


5. “We breathe 20,000 times per day”

From the PRI course Integration in Fitness & Movement:

“The diaphragm is the spine director”.

“Patterns affect our ability to breathe, rest, rotate symmetrically with the left and right hemispheres of our axial structures”.

“Assess the ribcage first, then the pelvis and head and neck”.

PRI integration with my colleague Chris Mullins

6. Everyone Moves Someone

In the book “To Sell is Human” by Daniel Pink, he discusses how sales have evolved to moving people. Whether you know it or not, everyone is responsible for moving someone in their daily lives.

“The most sociable sales people are often the poorest. Often, ambiverts (not overly extroverted or overly introverted) are the best sales people.

“The ideal positive/negative ratio is 3:1. Too much positivity can be viewed as a drawback by many”.

“Less is more. Too many options gives too much choice”.

7. I’m a Lucky Guy


July 1st, 2016


8. “You Will Be Judged on the Worst Behavior You are Willing to Accept”

Allistair McCaw makes several great suggestions as to how to go about getting your house in order in his book “7 Keys to Being a Great Coach”.

-Have set daily routines and habits

-Create a system

-Set High Standards = Great coaches who will demand the best from those around them and of course themselves. As opposed to those who look for ways to shirk responsibility and instead remain comfortable doing the minimum. Bad coaches can be busy coaches, they trick people into staying with them for a lifetime instead of teaching them a skill set and allowing them to become independent. (This is where referrals for life happen)

-Invest in yourself – Continuing education is a must, if you want to evolve. It can be expensive and time consuming but you get what you put in and more.

9. My Clients Continue to Amaze Me

Their dedication and desire to get better is always great to see. It makes the coaching process run so much smoother when you have buy in and can educate people on how to be their best self in the gym and in their everyday life.

My client Pete K competing in the Hyannis Sprint Tri


10. “Plant Trees You’ll Never See”

By now the story of how the New Zealand All-Blacks rugby team “Sweep the Sheds” after every game has gotten worldwide attention from the book “Legacy” by James Kerr. This group of highly skilled professionals, who are at the top of their profession will not allow the cleaning staff of any stadium to pick up after them. Instead, the teams likes to use this tradition in order to stay grounded.

“No Dickheads” – This team motto is self-explanatory but is necessary for all teams to incorporate.

“No one is bigger than the team and individual brilliance does not automatically lead to outstanding results. One selfish mindset will infect a collective culture”.

“What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but instead what is woven into the lives of others”.


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