Reading List for My Interns

We’ve had quite a mix in the gym lately. With another RKC behind us, we just got a whole new group of young and talented interns that want to follow “the path” to “Life, the Universe and Everything.” Or, for those less able, my interns want to know how to get clients and athletes from “here to there.” I’m fine with either.

Although NOTHING is as good as workshops, hours of training and hands on applications, there is a great value in reading. One thing that seems to really be true of every Intern (and assistant) I have ever had is that universally they understand the need to read. With my latest rant about the LACK of the basics of the history of strength and fitness that haunts our field, I have to make sure that when I send my troops into the field, they…

When I first did my first national level strength workshop at Charles Staley’s Bootcamp (and what a collection of people were there(!) including Pavel whom I met for the first time), Charles gave me a gem about maintaining yourself in the field of fitness: “Don’t believe your own Bullshit.” This related to the ad copy, the hype, and all the odd kinds of things like “Greatest,” “Best” and “Finest.” I would also add, humbly, that Ralph Maughan changed more lives than any coach I have ever met and, at most, you probably trained only six Olympians. When I bump into an Olympian in the hallway, I shouldn’t add his name to my list of “500 Olympians” that I have trained.

…don’t believe their own Bullshit. I actually worry about this, by the way. I think our group, and it is very big and extends not only to California, but to West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Vermont…and beyond to Ireland, Switzerland, Germany and Australia as I think about it…can begin to believe our small vision and biases. One of my regulars on the Q and A Forum, “Browser” (Perhaps from the group Sha Na Na?), gave us this cut and paste from Wiki:

The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which unskilled individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly rating their ability much higher than is accurate. This bias is attributed to a metacognitive inability of the unskilled to recognize their ineptitude.[1] Actual competence may weaken self-confidence, as competent individuals may falsely assume that others have an equivalent understanding.”

I still like the classic word, “Hubris,” but this says it in a more global way. In other words, “We can’t ALL believe our own Bullshit.” Like those guys who train in small tucked away gyms who think that 200 pounds is a big bench press and it is impossible to squat deep, we might have instilled a “metacognitive inability of the unskilled to recognize their ineptitude.”

So, read! Get the best and brightest on board. On the top of my list is Tommy Kono’s first book. It is inexpensive and you can buy in with PayPal, so all of you tin foil hat wearing loons can buy it without fear of Alien brain suckers…or whatever it is people have against normal interwebz commerce. You can find the link here.

Now, I think there are some things that come right off the net. I like the following links:

After reading Tommy Kono, Nick Horton will provide some mind expansion. These two articles give you some insights into diet and a “new” exercise.
This article on IF, Vodka, and O lifting Still Makes me smile.

This post on IS on Hip Thrust is great, too.

Coach Stevo’s blog is important. Read this one first:
Read all the blogs, but I liked this one from a General (ha! read it to get the pun) insight.

I am also a fan of James Clear. This blog nails the real key to total program improvement.
Finally, to get most of my language, try this post.

To see the basics of programming (“Mexican Food!”) in place, drink deeply from Pat Flynn’s book. Again, the title is a disaster.

I obviously expect them to all read “Intervention.” Hey, it’s 4.99 on Kindle. Seriously.

Also, use this little “Intervention Helper” to read more about each chapter.

So, by this time, the intern will have read some traditional things, some contrarian ideas, a few challenging thoughts and some just fun stuff that applies anywhere. Now, frankly, we have to have SOMETHING for nutrition, as this is going to come up. I can’t recommend anything more balanced and simple than Denise Minger’s book.

With correctives and everything else being so popular now, let’s get our feet wet with Tim’s excellent book. And, note, this is the reason we March In Place after squatting every day.

Except for Tommy’s book, I think we are under thirty dollars. From here, I will expand on this as I think that we are going to go in a LOT of directions from here. I had started on a list, but I will hold off right now. I realized that it was going to be really long and I am sure I would skip someone I like a lot.

The idea here is this: Tommy’s book and my book are blueprint kinds of book: do this and then this. The Contrarian blog posts prep you for absorbing information that sounds different. Tim and Minger’s books give you a simple base for two of the hardest things to keep rational: diet and “fixing broken people.”

Are there better works? Well, of course, but the idea here is to give a variety of readings in both depth and breadth and allow the intern a chance to digest some fundamentals, some basics, early in the learning process. There are lots of topics missing and, frankly, I know that. What we are trying to do with this simple list is get the intern pointed on a path.

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