Interview by Will Noble and Jamie Hale Max Condition
WN: What originally inspired and impassioned you to enter this specific field of sports performance enhancement? It’s a new field with only a few coaches who have pioneered it aggressively.
JH: My entire life I have been involved with fitness and sports. At a young age I participated in martial arts, baseball, skateboarding weight training and numerous other physical activities. Whatever particular activity I participated in at the time I read ever piece of literature I possibly could on the subject. I was also exploring with different techniques and methods that were applicable to human movement. I was very interested in martial arts weapons as well. I performed a great deal of insane acts when I was a kid. I jumped off of houses into swimming pools, had my friends tie me up and I had to figure a way to escape, performed odd balancing acts with tools, etc. As you can see I was enthralled with anything that required movement. I also wrote horror stories at a young age.
I also picked up on different coaching methods that were utilized form various coaches that I had played for. I had everything from the hardcore military style coach to the laid back best buddy coach. I found that a style somewhere in between usually works best, but this varies depending on the individual.
One time in my life for approximate one year my participation and amazement with physical activity ceased as I entered my freshmen year in college. I just wanted to party and have a good time. As time went on I began to feel awful and realized that my fitness levels had declined greatly. I went to play baseball with my friends one day and I really sucked. This opened my eyes and I began training again and competing in boxing. I felt better, was able to do things again and begin studying ever boxing manual and fitness publication I could get my hands on. I studied fencing for a brief period and realized this sport promoted reaction time tremendously and these athletes were very skilled. Shortly after I began boxing I began training in various martial arts again. I also worked with some people on designing conditioning and nutrition programs and helping push them when they needed some assistance. I worked in various fitness facilities and a few department stores while beginning my quest back to my ultimate destiny of Sports Conditioning Coach. I realized I was good at motivating people and had a great deal of experience with different physical activities. I have also been privileged to work and consult with the fields most accomplished coaches Siff, Davies, Mahler, Staley, Tate, etc.
I have also consulted with the world’s top nutrition advisors such as Lyle McDonald, and Mauro Dipasquale. I feel like no matter what field you choose to work in it is important to seek out and speak with respected authorities that have been through trials in tribulations. Always have an open mind as this industry is very complex in its entirety; and it requires more than the thoughts of any one individual.
In summary I became a sports conditioning coach for the simple fact that it is the only thing (other than my family) I have seriously been passionate about since my existence. I have a vast amount of experience in the physical industry from an in the trenches standpoint as well as an academic research standpoint. I currently dedicate 40-50 hrs per week to studying journals, books, magazines and talking to various coaches and athletes about their approach to physical preparation and nutrition. I also consult with various homeopathic practitioners, chiropractors and David Mendosa (medical writer, Diabetic consultant). I also own a general fitness facility as well as a Sports Conditioning Facility so I have learned to separate the desires and wants of the two types. My goal for anyone that I train or advise is to enhance his or her functional fitness levels. When I say functional I mean functional in terms of their everyday requirements to move efficiently think clearly and minimize stress levels. Functional fitness varies according to the individual. Athletes and non-athletes have different functional fitness needs. Pee wee football players have different needs than pro football players. Proper nutrition also plays a key role in my clients programs.
WN: What in the current strength and conditioning industry do you so lacking, incorrect, or failing that compels you to work so hard to improve the lives of athletic people? Why do you think these flaws came about?
We live in a society driven by materialism and non-realism. The current state of the strength and conditioning industry is disgusting. Some of the recognizable figures have had brilliant marketing plans that have made them millions of dollars yet know zero about the industry. Infomercials and Commercials Fitness facilities are geared towards easy work and quick profits. They simply tell the consumer what they want to hear. The more technologically advanced society becomes the worse our conditioning gets. One needs to only understand the very basics of Kinesiology to realize that machines that use fixed movement angles can never come close to substituting for real life everyday movement or particularly sport movement. The only people that argue this fact are people that work in Candyland gyms, machine salespeople and lazy ignorant people. Hard work, dedication and proper nutrition are the keys to fitness.
I encourage everyone to think for themselves collect as much data as possible and use common sense when thinking about sports performance and fitness.
WN: What did you see in the “industry” that needed to be fixed and what did you explore/research in order to address those failings?
JH: As mentioned above the false info presented should be a crime. It is also disgusting when the nurse or GP tells you they are a doctor and they know how to exercise. How many know what a snatch or agility ladder even is? The field of Sports Conditioning will never be respected until the quackos that pollute this industry are wiped out. My ultimate goal is to develop an organization that eliminates these con men and women. I don’t mean some Certification program that requires you to read a book and all of a sudden you are an expert. I do not mean someone who has a Masters Degree in Exercise yet never trained an athlete. I mean someone that has done a large amount of academic research and practical training, someone who lives the field, someone who is innovative and not afraid to be there own person, someone who does not worry about what “They Say”, someone who has interviewed a large array of coaches, scientists, athletes and anyone that could provide some insight to physical preparation.
WN: What sacrifices and efforts did you invest in order to exert the energy and time to engage this exploration? How hard did you work? What did it “cost” you (not so much monetarily, but emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually)? Were there industry “leaders” opposing your efforts? Why?
JH: I spent endless hours looking through my articles, notes, scientific research and various texts to put the book together. I wanted to present a book that was beneficial from a practical standpoint as well as a basic scientific standpoint. I wanted to present amazing photos and movements most people have probably never seen. I wanted to give an in depth look at methods and experiences using them. My family was very supportive as my time with them was basically non-existent while writing the book. I awoke numerous times throughout the night and began writing when an idea came up.
The pictures took a tremendous amount of time as some of them were repeated as many as four times. We took over 2000 snapshots in putting the book together. We had to re-format the entire book of pictures, as the quality was not high enough the first time. If there were any industry leaders protesting the book I am not aware. I am sure a great deal of the industry particularly the quacko industry will not be happy. As I stated above let’s abolish quackos and challenge them to support their statements.
WN: What did you :: discover/conclude from your research? ::
JH: I concluded that effectiveness of training varies tremendously from individual to individual. There are numerous resources that provide good info, but there are far more that are insufficient. There is a huge difference in training and training for a purpose. No matter how physically gifted an athlete may be they will probably never reach elite status without mental toughness as well. Another interesting fact that I have known forever is great coaches and athletes are not the same in one. Quiet often athletes do as they are told and never ask any questions as to why they perform a particular movement. This results in an athlete that decides to train everyone just as he would himself, doesn’t work.
WN: How did you assemble your discoveries and conclusions into a cogent training philosophy?
JH: I combined my methods and studies with the works of other authorities, conducted many hours of academic research, and came up with a very efficient training protocol. It has proven beneficial for thousands of general fitness enthusiasts and competitive athletes. Is it subject to flaws? Yes just as no system is perfect. I like to point out to anyone that I train or advise that all programs are subject to change.
WN: More importantly, WHY did you craft your research and experimentation into a training philosophy?
JH: To help educate as many people as possible in their quest for physical preparedness. I included what I felt were the most comprehensive tools and training methods. Basically my philosophies are an eclectic approach to fitness and sports conditioning. Basic premises of my philosophy:
- train the particular motor qualities emphasized in the event or movement
- train athletes as individuals not simply football players, soccer players etc.
- work on developing and strengthening particular motor quality weaknesses
- vary the protocols emphasized to develop specific qualities
- emphasize proper nutrition
WN: What are the bullet points of unique benefits of your system and approach? List as many as possible and order them from most important to least, in your opinion.
- Development of comprehensive training plans that address the entire spectrum of athleticism
- Promotion of various tools in achieving ultimate athleticism
- Varying training stimulus on a regular basis combating the biological law of accommodation
- Agility training is important for general fitness as well as athletes.
- Understanding the most effective movements in order to enhance particular motor qualities
- Athletes and coaches should be able to define the specific motor qualities emphasized in their sports
- Separating skill coaches and sports conditioning coaches
- Progressive volume and intensity introduced in a very cyclic manner
- Questioning the status quo
- The relation the various motor qualities have on the development of other qualities
- Avoid neural burnout
- Warrior like attitude
- Absolute strength makes up a small part of complete fitness
- Power and strength are separate qualities
- Why the bench press has limited applicability for athletes
- The real secret to speed training
- Running form drills?
- Size means strength?
- Looking fit and being fit, not the same.
- Conditioning- does not only refer to endurance it refers to having proper conditioning
- levels that match the specific motor qualities most emphasized in a particular endeavor
- In almost all sports agility and quickness are the prime motor qualities emphasized
- Fancy equipment equals non conditionined athlete and waste of money
- Sports Conditioning is not taught in college or any certification program I am aware of
- Beware of personal trainers
WN: Who is the specific target market for your book – be as specific as possible?
JH: Coaches, athletes or anyone interested in maximizing their physical abilities. High school, college and pro level coaches will find useful info in this book. Physique and general fitness practioners can also learn some new methods that can rejuvenate their desire to train and provide a completely different neuromuscular stimulus. In summary anyone serious about conditioning levels; but particularly coaches, trainers and competitive athletes.
WN: What is your market’s educational level, in general and specifically to the new sports performance enhancement industry?
JH: In general, college level. I would say my target group has had experience in coaching and has read numerous articles pertaining to fitness and conditioning. Some of them are very intellect as well as experienced with in the trenches knowledge. Overall I would predict more of my market would be coaches and athletes who are self taught and have chosen their own pathways.They are open-minded people that are on a quest for knowledge from various sources. They are what I term Practical Scientists (combination of in the trenches knowledge as well as scientific knowledge and academic research experience). In fact, many of my friends and colleagues refer to me as the Practical Scientist.
WN: Why did you choose the name MAX CONDITION? What does this mean to you?
JH: It means maximum conditioning to enhance Performance. The name Max Condition gives you the premise of the book. No fancy space machines just hard work and a thorough understanding and definition of various methods and qualities as they apply to maximizing full potential in the field of play as well as everyday life (functional general fitness).