Given the fact that I primarily work as a strength and conditioning coach, martial arts instructor and nutrition trainer, it is sometimes easy to forget I hold an MSc degree in computer science. In the past, I sometimes had people think that due to this academic background, I am not as qualified to do my job than someone who has a degree in say sport science. This has not been an issue over the course of the last couple years, thankfully, as I have really invested time and money to close the gap.
For one, Austria offers a government run trainer education program, which goes over the course of three years and covers both theoretical subject matters such as anatomy and physiology as well as practical skills such as weightliting, powerlifting, speed, agility and coordination training and so on. I completed that course, passing all exams with flying colors. Over the course of that education, I had the opportunity to learn from experts in their respective fields, such as the Pürzel brothers (for the powerlifting, strongman and bodybuilding related lectures as well as program design), Dietmar Schmidtbleicher (for shock method plyometrics), Axel Gottlob (for spine rehabilitation and core training), Marco Wolf (the national coach for Austrias olympic swimming team) and many others. Aside from that education, which serves as a solid foundation, I took the EXOS Performance Specialist Certification course, the Precision Nutrition Level 1 certification, the Functional Movement Screen Certification, and many other courses and certs. Currently, I am working towards my accreditation with the UKSCA. Also, I will be taking my ASCA Level 1 test at the beginning of December.
The thing with educational courses is, however, that new research emerges all the time and hence, best practices need to be re-evaluated and adapted every now and then. What is taught today might be outdated tomorrow (well not really, considering most of our understanding of periodization stil stems from the sixties and seventies, but even here, people like John Kiely and Mladen Jovanović are beginning to question the dogma and present new approaches).
I spend a lot of time on the gym floor or the Tatami. Reading up on and filtering all that upcoming research sometimes is simply unfeasible for me. Days are simply not long enough. Hence, I decided to subscribe to the Science for Sports research review again. These guys do a great job at presenting new research in a compact and understandable way. Going over new information, with a good cup of coffee, in between sessions – it has probably never been less complicated to stay on the ball and get some continuing education in.
Coffee, Protein Bar and a research review – what more do you need in between sessions?
John Berardi, who has just released his „Change Maker“ book, repeatedly pointed out that skills acquired in a non health and fitness related field can be significant career capital when transitioning into this industry. For me, applying my analytical thinking to performance training related processes and optimizing these processes was always a strong suit. This is how I basically created the strength and conditioning program at the Shinergy Base Vienna from scratch. More recently, however, I turned on the compiler again and got into some coding. Namely, I wrote two Android Phone apps – one is called the „Strength Util“, the other is called the „Diet Util“. Both are rather simple calculators, really, but for a first shot at mobile app development, they turned out just fine. The Strength Util calculates the 1-repetition maximum from a submaximal strength test and offers sample training cycles for absolute strength, hypertrophy, speed strength, etc.
The Diet Util, on the other hand, calculates the bodyfat percentage from a seven site caliper measurement and, based on current and target bodyweight, suggests macronutrient breakdowns and Precision Nutrition inspired serving sizes.
Screenshot of the skinfold calculation of my Diet Util
Aside from coding apps, coaching my athletes and clients and doing nutrition training for a couple fighters, I’m in the final week of my own fight prep. On November 30th, I will compete for the Austrian Championship Title in Amateur MMA (-70kg) at the „Night of Warriors„. After the fight, I will probably go into details on the fight camp and draw conclusions, so stay tuned for that.
Right after that, I’ll have the opportunity to present our strength and conditioning program to students of the Vienna University of Sports, so I am stoked for that. Finally, I will attend the Polish Strength and Conditioning Association’s yearly conference in the beginning of December, so I will definitely not be bored
Don’t get hurt