I wanted to make the opening title something attention grabbing, sort of like Ron Burgundy’s announcement right before the big party.
That being said, shouting “CANNONBALL!!!!” doesn’t typically have the same effect in all caps as shouting it from the top of a diving board.
Bill Sonnemaker is one of the classiest guys in fitness. We go way back to 2007 at the Toronto Canfitpro conference where we went out for lunch, inexplicably discovering that in the downtown core of Toronto, there were two restaurants that have the exact same name and are separated by about 15 blocks (bonus points to anyone who can tell me what the restaurants are!!). From there we’ve bumped into each other in conferences across North America at various times, and I’ve always been impressed with his ability to just drop what he’s doing in order to engage with a familiar face, be it myself or someone important.
Bill has a really great mentorship program at his facility, Catalyst Fitness, in Atlanta Georgia coming up, and I wanted to take the time to introduce him to everyone so they could understand what kind of an educational goldmine this guy is, especially since he’s traveled the world speaking at different events, consulting with medical programs and has even won multiple awards for the best fitness facility, personal trainer of the year, and a whole host of other national and international praise. He’s also one of the coaches at thePTDC.com with me too, so he has that going for him.
So today I’m going to hit him up with some questions to see what his answers are, and if you feel like hitting up Hot-lanta to check him out in person, I’m sure you’ll be blown away by the quality and hands-on approach to giving you more tools than you know what to use with your clients, and even with yourself, while learning from one of the best in the nation.
1) What big trends have you seen in the fitness industry since you started, and where do you think personal training as a whole will be heading?
The three C’s, Circuit Training, Curves, and Cross Fit!
I hope that we are headed towards better self-regulation. There are too many certification companies out there. The vast majority of these organizations have no reason for existing. The bulk of them are only there to make money off you, not to educate you or make you better.
In the U.S. the top certification organizations are PTA Global, NASM, ACE, NSCA, AFPA and ACSM. With the exception of PTA Global the other five have all been around for about 20 plus years. They all have contributed and advanced our industry greatly and deserve the recognition that they hold.
That being said I believe PTA Global is the latest advancement in our industry. PTA Global was founded by some of the brightest minds in our industry like Michol Dalcourt, Rodney Corn, Scott Hopson, Ian O’Dwyer and Bobby Cappucio. They then went a step further and brought in other top professionals like Gary Gray, Chuck Wolf, Peter Twist, and Paul Chek just to name a few. Never before has anyone tried to do something of the sort but under the guidance of Richard Boyd (founder of PT on the Net) they have more than accomplished what they set out to do.
I like to think of it this way in the 80’s and 90’s ACE was the catalyst for the advancement of our industry, then in the 2000’s (by the way that sounds weird to say) NASM took us to the next level by adding in Static and Dynamic Postural Assessments and giving us the OPT Model, now as we begin the 10’s (again, very weird) it is time for another catalyst, PTA Global.
The content that PTA Global has in their Advanced Curriculum is absolutely stellar and on point. I would sooner hire a trainer to the Catalyst Fitness team that has completed the PTA Global Advanced Curriculum and knows how to properly apply it than hire someone with a Masters or PhD degree. It should also be noted that the recent rewrite of the ACE textbook and certification by Fabio Comana and Pete McCall has repositioned ACE at the forefront once again. The introduction of their IFT Model (Integrated Fitness Training) has four levels: Stability, Mobility, Load, and Performance. If you haven’t picked up a copy of this textbook I highly recommend it.
2.) Did you ever have a “lightbulb moment” where everything became clear to you and showed you how you could be successful?
Reading the NASM’s first textbook was my first big “light bulb” moment. I already knew the content as individual components but the way it was “packaged” was just brilliant. Their OPT (Optimum Performance Training Model) gave us as trainers a systematic and progressive way to help clients achieve any goal. From an Owner’s/Managers standpoint it gave us the confidence that our entire team of trainers was working from the same solid platform. I felt so strongly about this point I immediately implemented the rule at Catalyst Fitness that all trainers had to be certified from NASM regardless of whether they had other certifications or even a graduate degree.
Later in my career I had the same type of experience when I first read Anatomy Trains by Thomas Myers. I strongly encourage everyone reading this blog post to go out and purchase his book. In fact, I have easily given the following quote now to over 20,000 people and have yet to buy one form someone…
”if after purchasing, viewing, and reading Anatomy Trains you don’t feel it was worth your investment I will buy your copy back from you.”
The beauty of his book is the pictures alone are worth the price of the book!
3.) If you could only have 3 pieces of equipment in your gym, what would they be and why?
If I could have two more they would be:
4.) Who has been the biggest influence to you in the fitness industry?
I have had several people influence me and help me to reach for newer heights throughout my career: Tom Purvis, Mike Clark, Paul Chek, Chuck Wolf, Gary Gray, Rodney Corn, Fabio Comana, and Ian O’Dwyer.
However Michol Dalcourt is the person that I respect the most. Michol’s level of knowledge and passion is unparralled. But I think what makes him most appealable to me is his humbleness, his decency, and the fact that he is a lifelong long student who lives to share with others and to empower his fellow man. Every time I visit with him I notice a several new additions to his library, books on Physics, Psychology, Naturalism, Biology, Genetics, Philosophy, etc.
He just has a presence, being around him inspires you to be a more educated person and better person, he also make this amazing bowl of Canadian Mountain style oatmeal!
5.) Must be because he’s from Edmonton. What advice can you give to the new trainers entering into the field who want to be the best at what they do?
First, have a solid mastery of the principles that guide Exercise Science. As my Organic Chemistry professor taught me the answers are not important but rather how we arrived at the answers is what matters. If we do not understand the principles the details won’t matter.
Second, put your best food forward everyday and give 110% in all that you do. Even if you miss the mark you can look back without regrets. In addition, people will remember how hard you worked to achieve your goal regardless of whether you achieved them or not.
Third, have a plan for everything. Both my late Maternal Grandfather and Great Uncle taught me “those that fail to plan..plan to fail.” This is a valuable life lesson and one that we should all take to heart. Whether it be starting/running your own business, furthering your education or simply designing exercise programs for Clients you will always be more successful when you develop a plan and then implement a plan of action.
6.) Jilian Michaels. Discuss……..
She is good looking and if I didn’t already have the best Fiancée in the world then I would ask her out!!
Side note from Dean: SERIOUSLY!??!? I’m sorry peeps, that’s his opinion, not mine.
However, she does not emulate what Personal Trainers should be. Not being on the set or watching the show on a regular basis I can’t speak to particulars other than to say that you are typically hard pressed to find a professional personal trainer who has something positive to say about her.
Furthermore, she may have been a good trainer (or still may be) prior to the show, but that’s exactly what it is a show and she is an actress. The times I have seen her “performing” as a trainer on the show have made me ashamed as an industry professional. I shudder to think that people that watch the show would think that is what “real” personal trainers are like.
7.) You versus me in an Indian leg wrestling match. Who wins? We’ll take bets and throw down next time we meet up.
Hmm, if I go high..towards your heel with my heel you will win as you are taller than me. However, if I go low and fast at the back of your knee with the back of my knee then the force of my massive Thighs and Glutes and the strength of my posterior chain will cause your femur and patella to jam into your chest causing your pelvis to posteriorly tilt and your spine to flex into a little ball. I can also reach for your other ankle and go for an ankle lock or knee bar.
I am going to go with “Me”
8.) I disagree entirely. You couldn’t ankle lock me from there, my legs are too long and your arms are like Cee-Lo Green’s. What is a fitness trend you want to drag into the street, kick repeatedly, and leave to die in public?
“Load Prescribed by Gender” many (not all) CrossFit gyms use this approach when implementing their “WOD” (Workout of the Day). Now before anyone starts jumping my case let me state the following:
- I love and perform “Metabolic Training” workouts on a regular basis, in fact other than Jiu Jitsu and MMA workouts it is my favorite form of exercise. Crossfit has done a great job of re-popularizing this type of training just like Curves did a great job at re-popularizing Circuit Training.
- I know that not all CrossFit gyms follow the WOD explicitly, meaning that they make modifications based on the individual. Those Crossfitters and Box Owners that do this are awesome!
- The reason “Load Prescribed by Gender” is so preposterous is that it violates the SAID Principle. The SAID Principle stands for Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands. This basically means that the exercise (stimulus) will dictate the outcome. For example we all agree that if someone can lift something in the following Rep ranges they are lifting for/will receive the corresponding adaptation:
1-10: Power (if performed explosively and with good form)
1-5: Max Strength
12+: Muscular Endurance and Stabilization
9.) What’s one of the biggest mistakes you see trainers making on a regular basis?
The biggest mistake I see trainers making is training without a plan. Their program design lacks “design”
Exercise Selection is the most important Acute Variable. I often see trainers have their clients perform exercises that have no transfer of training effect or in other words no dynamic correspondence. In fact, I pull photos off the Internet daily (mostly Facebook) of trainers having their clients performing exercises that they shouldn’t. In fact, I have a session that I do at conferences called “Functional or Frightening” where we look at photos and video clips of people exercising where we pick apart the exercise, technique, dangers, etc.
10.) What kind of goals are you working towards now?
Educational Products…allows me to fulfill two of my goals. The first being raising the bar in our industry by providing evidenced based education. The second is renewable sources of income. Having a renewable source of income allows us as trainers to take time off to spend with our loved ones and take part in things outside of work that we enjoy. Having time away replenishes our energy and zest for what we do as professionals.
Books, DVD’s, Consulting Projects
For more information our Educational Products, Business Solutions, Courses, and Mentorships, check out our website at www.CatalystFitness.com
Our videos and courses are hosted through our Dartfish site www.Dartfish.tv/catalystfitness
Information on our Mentorships can be found at http://www.catalystfitness.com/hf-professionals/mentorships/
THe next 3-day mentorship runs June 7-9 in Atlanta, Georgia. GET ON IT!!!!