Shocking new research in fitness & nutrition

NSCA Personal Trainers Conference 2012

Oops! It looks like several of the fitness and nutrition strategies we have recommended to our personal training clients may not have been all that correct.

I recently attended the National Strength & Conditioning Association’s (NSCA) annual Personal Trainers Conference in Las Vegas April 14-15, 2012. 

This is one of the most prestigious conferences for Personal Trainers because the presenters are the high-level academic researchers actually conducting the research in this field. Long before the results appear in Men’s/Women’s Health Magazine and before they end up in our personal training text books….these are the guys doing the studies.

Here are some of the highlights.

Do we really need 6 meals a day?

The theory was that eating several small meals per day was a superior strategy to improve body composition (lose fat, gain or retain muscle). Eating several small meals was believed to stoke metabolism and reduce fat storage.

We have had our clients packing monster coolers of food to work each day and nibbling throughout the day to keep metabolism up and to keep hungry muscles fed.

OOPS: It looks like there are no significant changes in calorie burning between ‘nibbling & gorging patterns’. No improvements in body composition were found with higher frequency of meals.

From: Nutrient Timing & Meal Frequency, By Alan Aragon,


What is “Active Resistance Training”?

You are going to start to hear more about this type of training if you haven’t already. We are accustomed to ‘static’ resistance training with solid objects like dumbbells and barbells. Objects filled with sand or water offer a type of ‘dynamic resistance’ which more closely simulates situations we are more likely to come across in sport and in our occupations. Although not ideal for greatest strength gains, ‘active resistance’ can improve body control, awareness and coordination.

How can you try ‘active resistance’? Fill your Swiss ball with water.

From: Active Resistance Training, by Jay Dawes, PhD CSCS,*D, NSCA?CPT,*D, FNSCA

Does Strength Training improve heart health?

We have always prescribed two forms of exercise Cardio Training for cardiovascular (heart & respiratory system) health and resistance training for muscular strength and endurance. But you should see the tonne of research demonstrating cardiovascular benefits of resistance training.

Weight training…

Reduced CV risk 23%

Decreased resting heart rate

Decrease resting blood pressure

Decrease in cholesterol

Increased insulin sensitivity

 “Weight training should be an adjunct to aerobic training in prevention of hypertension, in treatment of hypertension and control of hypertension” -ACSM Position Stand

 From: Cardiovascular Health Benefits Of Strength Training, by Steven J. Fleck, Ph.D. Department of Sport Sciences Colorado College

The Truth about core activation when standing on a BOSU

We have stood on unstable surfaces for over a decade now. The Bosu is one of the most popular gym tools we use for simulating unstable surfaces. We believed that training on an unstable surface provides greater core activation and better preparation for instability situations in everyday life.


“ … study did not demonstrate any advantage in utilizing BOSU.”

“Lifts can be performed while standing on stable ground without losing the potential core muscle training benefits.”

“ However, physical activity is rarely performed with a stable load on an unstable surface; usually, the surface is stable, and the external resistance is not.” (Kohler, Flanagan, & Whiting, 2010)

“No … changes in muscle activity between stable & unstable…”

“…did not provide sufficient challenges … in … resistance?trained individuals.”

BUT: The general consensus is that we still love the Bosu and find it is an invaluable fitness training tool.

From: Best Practices Revealed: Non?Traditional Resistance Training & Unstable Surfaces,  by Mike Bracko, Ed.D., CSCS, FACSM

Check out this awesome APP to rate your food


“Get the Fooducate mobile application and use it to:

Automatically scan a product barcode

See product highlights (both good & bad)

Compare product

Select better alternatives

Dig deeper and learn more about food and nutrition”

Source: Fooducate website

From: Using Apps to Improve Client Results, by Paul Moore, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN, CSCS*D, NSCA?CPT*D

Author: Shari Zisk

Shari Zisk B.A., has been a fitness professional for over 20 years. She was born, raised and spent most of her fitness career in British Columbia, Canada. She now lives in the United States splitting time between Los Angeles and Atlanta. Shari writes full time about how to sweat, nourish and glow!

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