Episode 34: Alex Harrison - A Journey from Power To Endurance

Episode 34 of the Strength Ratio Podcast features yet another team member of Renaissance Periodization, Alex Harrison. Alex received his Ph.D in Sports Performance from East Tennessee State University.

As an Olympic Hopeful in bobsled, Alex had trained many years for improved power. In fact, if you look through his social media, you'll see mesmerizing vertical jump abilities, as well as highly impressive numbers in the power clean, power snatch and push press. Alex, therefore, begins the podcast by discussing the fundamentals of power training, as well as the foundational importance of relative strength - namely strength relative to one's bodyweight.

After his career in bobsled, Alex leap-frogged from training for power related sports to now training for endurance sports. In the latter half of our discussion, he explains the significance of relative strength for endurance athletes, how to improve one's VO2 Max using high-intensity interval training, and the approximate ratios of high versus low-intensity cardiovascular training for optimal fatigue management for endurance athletes.

Episode 33: Jacob Reed on Athlete Monitoring

Episode 33 of the Strength Ratio Podcast features another team member of Renaissance Periodization, Jacob Reed. Alongside his peers, Dr. James Hoffmann (Episode 31) and Dr. Mike Israetel (Episode 18), Jacob received his Ph.D in Sports Performance from East Tennessee State University.

In this episode, Jacob joins us to discuss athlete monitoring. Like the App Store, Jacob creates a list of the “Top Paid” and the “Top Free” ways to monitor progress and biofeedback. 

This list includes an evaluation of products from companies such as Polar, Garmin, and Fitbit. It also involves information about non-purchasable monitoring methods, such as athlete questionnaires and daily rate of perceived exertions. 

Jacob also mentions how this data can be used in excess, and that when best understood, the data simply helps us make better training decisions. It is not used to replace the training process or the coach-athlete relationship.

Episode 32: Jeff Nichols (CSCS*D, TSAC-F*D) on "Purpose, Process, and Love"

Jeff Nichols, former Navy Seal and Strength & Conditioning coach of roughly twenty years, joins us to discuss his shared views on sustainable training as well as process-based perspectives and mental toughness. 

Jeff's current business, Performance First, emphasizes "purpose, process, and love". Tune in to Episode 32 to learn how these three pillars have informed Jeff's personal and professional accomplishments!

Episode 31: James Hoffmann on Volume Landmarks for Sport

James Hoffmann, who holds a PhD in Sports Physiology, is a consultant for Renaissance Periodization. Jame's contributions to the field of exercise science have had a notable impact on our education in, and programming for, sports performance.

In Episode 31, James joins us to discuss volume landmarks of training in the context of field sports and of CrossFit. When training multiple fitness characteristics concurrently, the volume landmarks can be used to inform an athlete's unique needs analysis for better inter-individual variation.

In simpler terms, training becomes significantly more effective when one can identify a) what to improve upon most and b) how much recoverable work it takes to improve it.

James also discusses the efficacy of active recovery modalities such as foam rolling, massage, and stretching.

Episode 30: Dr. Gabrielle Fundaro on the Gut Microbiome

Episode 30 of the Strength Ratio Podcast features Dr. Gabrielle Fundaro, PhD in Human Nutrition and nutrition coach for Renaissance Periodization, who joins us to discuss digestive health and the gut microbiome.

Gabrielle first discusses digestive physiology to explain nutrient absorption and bacterial diversity. Next, she makes clear the influence that diet has on our gut and what considerations this may have for both a healthy diet and for athletic performance.

Furthermore, using the latest scientific literature, Gabrielle explains the known and potential connectedness that the gut has with the entirety of human physiology.

To learn more about Dr. Fundaro, or to recruit her professional coaching services, visit vitaminphdnutrition.com and follow @vitaminphd on Instagram, and Vitamin PhD on Facebook.


Episode 29: Markers of Performance

In Episode 29 of the Strength Ratio Podcast, we discuss how you can both qualitatively and quantitively measure performance over time so as to gauge the effectiveness of your training. We also offer practical programming benchmarks for weightlifters, powerlifters and Crossfitters in the context of a competitive macrocycle.

Lastly, we provide metrics you can use to increase the efficacy of a nutritional plan across body composition goals.

Episode 28: Performance Nutrition - Quantity & Quality

In Episode 25 of the Strength Ratio Podcast, Dr. Sobolewski joins us to discuss considerations for both quantity and quality of food for sports performance. 

Nutrition can seem overwhelming. That’s why Dr. Sobo takes an academic, yet straightforward approach. He begins by speaking about how the quantity of food an individual should eat is dictated by their energy expenditure. He provides more information about how one can easily determine a starting point for their expenditure, and how for performance, one must prevent an energy deficit, especially for highly metabolic sports. He contends that the performance focused athlete would want, instead, to either maintain their bodyweight, or undergo periods of increasing their body weight for improved muscle mass, strength, or power.

Next, Dr. Sobo discusses how the quality of a person’s nutrition can be improved by following one time-honored, scientifically proven guideline: moderation.

Episode 27: A Three Year Reflection - What We've Learned Most

In April, we celebrated our third year anniversary as a company! Therefore, in Episode 27, we identify how, and why, our major training philosophies have changed in this time. We also acknowledge the individuals in the field who've had the greatest impact on our growth. We discuss, most notably, our evolved stance on exercise selection, exercise correlation, and muscular imbalances.

Lastly, we acknowledge the inherent limitations to the research performed in our field, and how due to these limitations, we remain open to changing our viewpoints over time.

Episode 26: Supplements - The Best Current Evidence, and How It Can Help You Save Money

First and foremost, a supplement is, by its very definition, meant to be something added to an already balanced diet. If your diet sucks, no amount of supplementation will help you. Begin by getting your diet right; then, and only then, should you consider taking supplements.

Secondly, it is important to note that supplements are not drugs. If they were drugs, they would only be available by prescription, yet GNC and bodybuilding.com do not require a physician's referral. The definition of a drug is a "chemical substance used in the treatment, cure, prevention, or diagnosis of disease or used to otherwise enhance physical or mental well-being." Yes, drugs can enhance your mental and physical wellbeing, but they can also get you disqualified from any major sporting even in the world (steroids, HGH etc.).

In Episode 26, we evaluate the latest literature to help you save money on the supplements that you can do away with, and to also help you consider which select few may be best for your training. 

Episode 25: 2018 USAW Nationals with Kingfield Barbell

Episode 25 of the Strength Ratio Podcast was recorded from Kansas City, host of the 2018 USAW National Championships. Zach was joined by his larger team of National Level athletes and co-coaches, including Anthony Konas, Danny Yeager, and Christopher Yang. These four share in their combined experience at National Weightlifting meets, including the many mistakes that they made early on, the mistakes that they still occasionally make, as well as other lessons they've found valuable in their development.

If, after you listen to the show, you're eager to improve your Weightlifting knowledge, we recommend that you look into Chris's upcoming book "100 Days of Technique: A Simple Guide to Olympic Weightlifting", available June 2nd.



Episode 24: Interview with Greg Nuckols

Although the field of Sports Science is relatively young, and despite the inherent limitations in studying human performance, we have many Ph.D.'s to thank for our best current evidence. There’s Brad Schoenfeld, Mike Israetel, Eric Helms, Alan Aragon, and Greg Nuck — Wait,  Greg Nuckols doesn’t have a Ph.D.?

If Greg, age 26, doesn’t have a Ph.D., what makes him so well respected by the larger field of Sports Science researchers? What makes him such a credible source that thousands would subscribe to his digest of the latest literature, in “MASS Research Review”? Furthermore what’s led 14 Million people to his blog, “Stronger by Science”?

If you’re thinking it’s due to his wizened bearded appearance, or due to his near 2,000lb drug-free powerlifting total, we advise that there’s more to Greg than meets the eye.

In this episode, we catch up with Greg to discuss how, with a curious mind, skepticism, and logical reasoning, he’s niched himself as a leading fitness writer and a trusted source of fitness knowledge. Additionally, we also discuss progress in the gym, and what to do when progress has stalled.


 From Greg's Instagram, as referenced to in the show.

From Greg's Instagram, as referenced to in the show.

Episode 23: Interview with Bret Contreras "Evidenced-Based Considerations for Coaching"

Although Bret Contreras is known popularly as the "Glute Guy", due to his innovation and expertise surrounding glute training,  Bret's accumulated tremendous experience, education, and coaching skills in most Sport Science matters. Therefore, we spend less time in this podcast discussing the glutes, and more time talking about coach development.

In this episode, Bret highlights how important it is for a coach to consolidate personal training experiences,  as well as client experiences, with the best available systematic research. Despite the advancement of Sports Science research, the coach must understand its limitations, as there is still so much up for debate. Ultimately, however, Bret explains how this evidenced-based approach helps create a complete picture for how one might approach the client in front of them.

To conclude the podcast, Bret also shares his thoughts on what it takes for fitness professionals to create long-lasting, and sustainable careers in the industry.

Make sure to send us any questions you have through Instagram (strengthratio) or Facebook (Strength Ratio LLC). 

Episode 22: Power & Speed Development

In episode twenty-two of the Strength Ratio Podcast, Dr. Eric Sobolewski, aka "Professor of Swole Sciences", joins us to discuss both power and speed. Eric begins by defining these fitness characteristics before clarifying their subtle, but distinct differences. The podcast then offers practical examples of how to train power and speed, and how this fits into our own ABC Training Model.

Lastly, Eric shares insight as for how to train power during volume training phases. This information will be of tremendous value to sport of fitness and to endurance athletes.

Make sure to send us any questions you have through Instagram (strengthratio) or Facebook (Strength Ratio LLC). 

Episode 21: Thoughts on Muscular Symmetry

In episode twenty-one of the Strength Ratio Podcast, we discuss muscular symmetry for strength sports, fitness sports, and endurance sports. We first reference science-based literature on the topic, which is currently inconclusive in finding correlations between symmetry and a decreased probability of injury. In doing so, our hope is to reduce fear around asymmetry, especially when it is subtle. In his article, "How Important is Muscular Symmetry for Strength Sports?" author Greg Nuckols states, "our bodies aren't symmetrical, so we don't lift things symmetrically." 

This is not to say that you can't take measures in training to promote better symmetry, especially if notable asymmetry exists that prevents you from meeting certain standards in your sport. On the contrary, we offer actionable training feedback for how you can offset the little imbalances that naturally manifest themselves as part of being human using intelligent, periodized programming.


Episode 20: Programming Techniques (Straight Sets, Cluster Sets, Rest-Pause Sets, and Supersets)

In episode twenty of the Strength Ratio Podcast, we explore how you can tailor your rep schemes to best suite your goals, schedule, and enjoyment. More specifically, we analyze the latest literature behind straight sets, cluster sets, rest-pause sets, and supersets. This episode will teach you why each of these rep schemes are effective, how to best apply them for a desired adaptation, and how to train them in the context of a larger periodized plan.

Episode 19: Interview with Michael Ray M.S, D.C "Science & Semantics for Treating Chronic Pain"

In episode nineteen of the Strength Ratio Podcast, we’re joined by Michael Ray, Chiropractor, and owner of the Shenandoah Valley Performance Center. Mike relies heavily on both science and on semantics in his treatment of chronic pain.

First, Mike explains why pain is a complex topic. In fact, the greater field of researchers who study pain have not yet agreed upon a working definition for "pain". This is because the latest research challenges what was previously a physical/structural definition, alone. We know now that a more accurate definition must consider that which is psycho-social, as well. The research has explored topics such as fear avoidance behavior, client expectations, past experiences, and personal narratives in the role of pain perception. Mike uses this literature to not only reduce fear around pain and to promote self-efficacy, but to also combat "silly BS".

Although there is a lot that we still do not know about pain, we know increasingly more about what does not work as advertised, be that a product or a pain management practice. Mike explains why he has chosen instead to use exercise, when performed with the correct loading and volume, as his primary service over other popular practices in the field. Mike also believes that treatment for pain ought to look similar to training, as both require progressive overload, specific adaptations to imposed demands, and improved stress tolerance. Tune in now to learn more!

 To learn more about clinicians such as Dr. Ray, visit www.clinicalathlete.com.

Episode 18: Interview with Dr. Mike Israetel - Practical Sports Science Application & Maximum Recoverable Volume

In episode eighteen of the Strength Ratio Podcast, we’re joined by Dr. Mike Israetel, Head Science Consultant of Renaissance Periodization. Mike's body of work, along with the help of his colleagues at Renaissance Periodization, has had a tremendous impact on our ability to help athletes resolve pain, return to play, and optimize performance.

Mike first answers how his advanced education in Exercise Physiology, under the counsel of acclaimed researcher, Dr. Mike Stone, helped him bridge the gap between traditional exercise physiology textbooks and programs designed to work in the weight room. The conversation then transitions to address the practical implications for, and significance of, training within what Mike has coined “Maximum Recoverable Volume”, or MRV. This is to say that, although training must become harder over time so as to create overload, training beyond what one can recover from is detrimental to performance, and will increase the likelihood of injury.

Ultimately, Mike concludes that with patience, and with a coach who can successfully implement and communicate the scientific principles of training, the athlete can gain confidence that they’re doing the most they need to optimize their performance.

Episode 17: Interview with Alex Viada - Athlete Development using a Concurrent Training Model

In episode seventeen of the Strength Ratio Podcast, we’re joined again by Alex Viada of Complete Human Performance. Alex is back to discuss athlete development using a concurrent training model. 

This episode first highlights the development of an intermediate to advanced level endurance athlete, who, as a novice to weight training, begins training both endurance and strength concurrently. Alex details his methodology for introducing this particular athlete to moving with external load safely, and with intelligent progression. 

Next, the episode explores the development of the intermediate to advanced level lifter, who, novice to endurance training, begins training both strength and endurance concurrently. This part of discussion involves topics that include endurance technique, the benefits of the lifter’s learned proprioception, and breathing. 

Episode 16: Interview with Dimitri Tsoumpas (aka the "Strength Shaman")


In episode sixteen of the Strength Ratio Podcast, we’re joined by Dimitri Tsoumpas. Dimitri attended Weber State University as an offensive lineman, earning Second Team Big Sky accolades in his senior season. After graduating with a bachelors in Human Performance, he was drafted second overall in the 2008 Canadian Football League. Dimitri excelled in the "CFL", where he was nominated as rookie of the year, and also won a championship title. Dimitri even signed an NFL contract with the Miami Dolphins in 2010 before returning to the CFL, where he finished his professional career. In spite of a very successful professional football career, Dimitri claims that his biggest accomplishments occurred off the field, as a powerlifter, where he squatted an equipped 1003 lbs.

Although Dimitri's career as an athlete had come to an end, his career as a coach was just beginning. Initially, he worked as the Strength and Conditioning Coach for his former team, the Calgary Stampeders, for whom he created an ACL injury prevention protocol. This protocol proved very effective in nearly eliminating ACL injuries in his time with the team. Dimitri then transitioned away from coaching professional athletes when, in 2016, he founded "Strength Shaman". He now works with an array of populations to improve performance and overall quality of life, in a way that reflects our own Sustainable Training Model.

To learn more about Dimitri, visit https://strengthshaman.co/ and follow him on Instagram @strengthshaman.


Episode 15: Interview with Alex Viada of Complete Human Performance

In episode fifteen of the Strength Ratio Podcast, we’re joined by Alex Viada who shares with us his insight on concurrent training. Alex, a lifelong athlete, is the founder and co-owner of Complete Human Performance, and author of "The Hybrid Athlete". Alex epitomizes what it means to be a "hybrid" athlete, as he's deadlifted 700 pounds and completed a 50-mile ultra-marathon in a week's time. 

In this interview with Zach Greenwald, Alex answers what it means to be a "hybrid" athlete, and details how his philosophies around concurrent training, as it pertains to training longevity and fatigue management, have evolved over time.