Last week I attended a seminar put on by 'Shredded By Science' (Luke Johnson) and presented by Eric Helms (3DMJ). The title of the seminar was, 'Evidence Based Bodybuilding for the Natural Competitor.' Normally, this seminar wouldn't have registered on my radar, but Brad Schoenfeld (one of the world's top researchers into muscle hypertrophy) recommended listening to anything Eric Helms says. So with this endorsement, I booked the course without fully knowing what the content would be. I can honestly say that I was so glad I did as the content was of the highest quality.
Usually at PT courses, you can guarantee three things. People shoe-horned into tight tops. People come dressed ready to work out. Chicken and water bottles everywhere. However, there was a mix of people at this one. There were no grunting or derogatory put-downs to be heard. The attendees were all a really pleasant bunch of people who were prepared to soak up the info. Despite many men being in the doghouse due to the course being on Easter Sunday!
Eric is studying for his second Phd and is from a bodybuilding background. His team have worked with 100's of competitors and have helped many to become champion drug-free bodybuilders. He is one of the few people who have mixed the science with the practical application of bodybuilding. From the outset, what came across was a humble, light hearted approach to water down the testosterone that flows through our industry. Again, it is a unique quality in the fitness industry to have someone with as much knowledge and experience as him, yet to have a complete absence of ego. This allowed him to delve into some of the darker element of competitive bodybuilding such as eating disorders and staying sane throughout your career. The room was deafly quiet during this section and he said, "this is often the most uncomfortable part of the talk, but it needs saying." I'm glad he did and it made wonder whether we focus enough on the mental side of our client's health when prescribing diet and exercise.
Eric's goal for all his athletes is for them to be able to love what they do until they are in their 70's and for them to stay healthy. People are very quick to stamp the title, 'unhealthy', on things we don't understand, especially in bodybuidling. Quite often, with very little evidence to back up our position. I used to be one of these people. Eric astutely pointed out that bodybuilding does attract obsessive and very focused people, but if they aren't harming their health, it's not an issue. He backed this up with his take on how to balance a passion for bodybuilding with living a normal life.
As far as the physiology was concerned, there were some great protocols he suggested to follow. They would take you at least 6 months to follow. Also, like a true professional, he distanced himself from having a system or guru status and encouraged everyone to read all the associated references on all his information. This gave us three times the content we were expecting.
In summary, I will be looking out for more of Eric's seminars and I would encourage anyone else to do the same. Due to his commitments to studying, business and training, I doubt there will be many opportunities. I would also suggest to anyone considering competing in bodybuiliding, that look at his wesbite as they will find everything they need.