Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local Lead Generation. We’re here talking with exercise physiologist and expert personal trainer, Mr. Jon Bula, of Vancouver, BC. How’re you doing today Jon?
Jon: Great, finally got over a cold that my son had decided to give me, so it’s feeling good now.
Mark: Great. A lot of people have had that around here.
Jon: It’s tearing through everybody I know.
Mark: So we’re going to talk about the hot exercise kind of training subject, a lot of publicity both good and bad about Cross Fit. So what is Cross Fit and how is it different from personal training?
Jon: Well Cross Fit is a brand; it’s a style of training that has a specific philosophy that the people who do Cross Fit workouts follow. It’s essentially developed from some sort of military type training programs, they use really high intensity lifts. The exercises aren’t exclusive to Cross Fit; nothing they’re doing is different than you can do anywhere else as far as strength training exercises go. It’s just their philosophy and how they package it and how they deliver it and then the intensity and sort of the mental side of things. They try and push you well beyond your limits, whereas personal training is considerably more individualized and I try and tell people; Cross Fit is just a style of training and that’s kind of what Cross Fit is.
Mark: So, with personal training you’re following a bit more of a studied kind of progression where Cross Fit that might not necessarily be the case?
Jon: Well, the thing is this, you never know what you’re going to get when you go to a Cross Fit gym because they’re popping up everywhere. It’s just a franchise; there are no real controls over the quality of the coaches, the quality of the coaching that you get while you’re at a Cross Fit gym. There are Cross Fit gyms with fantastic trainers and there are Cross Fit gyms with horrible trainers and so you just never really know. When you train at a professional personal training studio with certified and highly trained personal trainers you’re going to get workouts that are tailored to you and you just can’t start doing explosive style Olympic lift exercises if you haven’t been prepared to do them properly. If you don’t have the flexibility or the mobility or the building blocks, you shouldn’t be going into these types of exercises because you’re just a recipe for disaster and your body will break down at some point.
That’s one of the major differences; say you’re training with us for instance, we can train you in a similar way that you would experience in a Cross Fit gym but we’re never going to do that, we’re never going to allow you to do that type of stuff until you’re ready to do it. You have to take the steps to get your body prepared in order to do that type of exercise safely and effectively. If you train super high intensity for three months and get injured and you’re out for six months, what’s the point? It’s about a healthy lifestyle of regular exercise and achieving your goals and staying healthy.
Mark: It kind of reminds me of like with my martial arts background of, you know some of the gyms that I trained at, that it was like an abomination, wouldn’t be too strong a word of people stepping on top of other people to force them into stretching positions they were clearly not ready for and injuring them and forcing people through intimidation to, you know, drive out the next set of reps and they’re blood stains on the floor everywhere from burst calluses. I mean it sort of reminds me of that. Is that kind of the -
Jon: It can be, it definitely can be. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Your mind is capable of pushing your body to extremes and it really is pointless at some point; if your purpose in life to be healthy and active and live a nice balanced life. I mean, sure there are moments in your lives where you’re pushing yourself beyond your limits but it is dangerous and it is risky and you know, it’s really about exercise and training. For most people it should be about health and about improving and you know, you can’t force your body into things that it’s not ready to do and that’s the number one problem I have with Cross Fit is the kind of cookie cutter style method that they use. They have these workouts of the day and away you go and a lot of times people should not be doing those exercises. There’s other more effective ways to get them training and exercise and better, you get better results, long term results. So that’s probably my major issue with Cross Fit, is the lack of proper technique, coaching, and the cookie cutter style method they use for everybody and I’m not saying that every Cross Fit gym is like that because I actually know a few trainers who do Cross Fit and train out of those facilities and they’re high quality trainers, it’s just there’s no guarantee.
Mark: Right. So what’s different when someone comes to Groundwork’s and wants to get into an exercise training program. How do you, what are you tracking when you’re looking at somebody’s progression through their fitness levels and maybe taking them to that level of doing Olympic explosive lifts or plyometrics, super high intensity training, how do you know?
Jon: How do we know; because we’re professional in movement but really it’s about going through the different movements. Say you’re going to do squat to overhead press with an Olympic bar, we’ll if you can’t squat properly with no weight and have the right range of motion and maintain proper spine angles and everything that goes with doing a proper squat; why are you putting weight on that in training that dysfunction. All you’re doing is making your dysfunctional movement stronger which anytime you put strength and power onto a dysfunction you’re breaking something eventually in your chain of movement. It’s going to be your shoulders, it’s going to be your knew, it’s going to be your back; it’s inevitable, so what we do it we just look at every person individually where are you at. Can you move, do you have core stability, can you do certain exercises and hold certain postures without weight and then we do it with weight and how does it look, does it follow proper movement progressions and we would build you to the point where you’re doing these exercises correctly and then the intensity comes in, then the weight gets added, but your body is ready for it, now we’re strengthening proper movement as opposed to dysfunction and what you turn out on the other end of that is a highly functional, highly fit healthy individual and you could take somebody put them there but ready to be there as opposed to skipping all the precursor steps and going right into the exciting explosive high risk exercises. That’s just a recipe for disaster, you will get injured and you will break down. A lot of times I tell people Cross Fit, most Cross Fit gyms are great for my business because they go to Cross Fit and then they come to me to get fixed and I can’t tell you how many people have had to do that for. Again I’m not saying every Cross Fit place but you know, in my experience the majority tend to be that way.
Mark: So, being your own exercise physiologist, if you haven’t gone to school for it and being your own personal trainer without the background in you know, what twenty plus years like you have or whatever it is probably not the smartest idea, it’s like a surgeon operating on himself probably not the best choice.
Jon: Normally you don’t want to do that. Field medicine will keep you alive but it’s not ideal, yeah, so my advice honestly is find out if you’re doing Cross Fit, what type of certification and background education the coaches have and if they’re not teaching you technique and taking you through some progressions before putting you on advance exercises, you’re probably at the wrong place and you’re really putting yourself at risk and so if they’re taking care of you from that regard and making adjustments to the cookie cutter style workouts in giving you regressions and teaching you proper form and doing the proper building block exercises then you’re in a good place and you know chances are it’s going to produce great results for you, but you really have to watch out for yourself.
Mark: So if you want some professional training that would get you to your goals in a way that will make your lifestyle improve and your attitude and your enjoyment of your preferred activities whether that be cycling or running or skiing, hockey, etc. Groundwork Athletics are the guys to talk to and this is the guy you probably want to call Mr. Jon Bula, so get in touch with them. Jon@groundworkathletics.ca
Jon: Thank you Mark, that was nice to talk to you today.