LEO Training: Strength & Conditioning | Endurance | Health | Performance | Injury Prevention | Joe DeLeo

Strength, endurance, health and injury rehabilitation advice from host Joe DeLeo, NSCA-CSCS, FMS, SFG I . This is your podcast resource for top notch tips, strategies, information and stories from strength & conditioning, rowing, running and other endurance sports as well as expert information on nutrition, health and wellness that can be applied to everyone from elite athletes to exercise enthusiasts. This podcast will feature interviews with elite and amateur athletes, strength and endurance coaches, health & wellness experts, and injury rehabilitation professionals. If you are looking to improve your health, strength, and fitness while simultaneously training smarter this podcast has something for you! Train Smarter. Get Stronger. Move Better. Race Faster. For more information and resources, go to
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LEO Training: Strength & Conditioning | Endurance | Health | Performance | Injury Prevention | Joe DeLeo





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Aug 14, 2017

LT 084 | Dr. Stuart McGill - Enhancing Athleticism in Rowers

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We’re back with Episode 084 of the LEO Training Podcast. I am pleased to have Dr. Stuart McGill back on the show as a return guest. His first interview, LT 012  | Dr. Stuart McGill  - Spine Hygiene for Rowers. has been one of my most popular episodes to date. Today’s interview will focus on one topic into which Dr. McGill and I will diver very deep into: enhancing athleticism in rowers - simply put what can we do to improve performance.

Dr. Stuart McGill is a retired Professor of Spine Biomechanics at the University of Waterloo. Dr. McGill is the author of over 400 scientific publications and 3 textbooks that address issues such as, lumbar spine function and injury mechanisms, patient assessment, corrective exercise prescription, and performance training. Dr. McGill consults for many medical management groups, governments, corporations, legal firms, and elite sports teams and athletes from around the world and has won numerous awards, including the Volvo Bioengineering Award for Low Back Pain Research. Dr. McGill is one of the few scientists who are regularly referred challenging patients for consult from around the world.

Here’s what you will learn in this episode:

  • How Dr. McGill's work started in the research lab, progressed to the clinic, and made its way into the realm of high performers.
  • Principles for training a rower: What is elastic energy storage? Why is it important to train and how do we do it? How do we tune the rowing stroke to the athletes flexibility and stiffness?
  • Why "hollowing" or activating the TVA does not promote spinal stability and is a poor skill for athletes to learn?
  • How to build stiffness with the Big 3? How the Big 3 helps with short and long term cumulative stiffness in the torso? Once we have established this foundation, what higher level exercises should rowers progress to enhance pulsing, timing, and kime (Turbo ball training, KB swing) ? How do we build injury resilience from this?
  • Injury clusters on teams: How posture impacts injury - "C" spine vs. a more neutral spine. How this impacts a higher incidence of disc bulges. Is it possible to get into a neutral posture in a rowing shell due to the seated position and impact of the foot stretcher and rowing stroke mechanics?
  • Adaptions to training, intensity,and volume. - How to balance the strength and conditioning with the training for the sport to enhance elastic energy storage? Do we really want to emphasize and focus on heavy strength work ala a powerlifter or do we want to promote more elastic, ballistic qualities to enhance injury resilience and sports performance? What lifts should we avoid (Olympic style lifts)?
  • Any special considerations for a elite athlete vs. a masters athlete for the aforementioned topics?
  • Back Mechanic Companion Videos
  • McGill 3 Seminar at Kabuki Strength

Show Notes:

BackFitPro (Facebook)

BackFitPro (Instagram)

University of Waterloo Spine Biomechanics Laboratory


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Aug 8, 2017

LT 083 | Valerie Pawlowski - Becoming a World Champion

My guest this week for Episode 083 of the LEO Training Podcast is Kettlebell Sport World Champion, Valerie Pawlowski. This is a fantastic interview chronicling her journey between both hardstyle and girevoy sport and her path to eventually becoming a gold medalist on the world's stage.

Valerie Pawlowski earned her B.A. degree in Communications from William Paterson University, Paterson.
Valerie is a NESTA Certified Adventure Boot Camp Instructor. She is certified as a Medical Exercise Specialist by AAHFP, and as a Personal Trainer through ACE and AFAA. Valerie is also a Nutrition Specialist with Lifestyle Management Associates and Certified in Pilates and Flexibility Training.

With more than 18 years of experience and expertise, presently the Owner of The Body Barn, Co Owner of Punch Kettlebell Gym, Far Hills and Art Of Strength Training Center, Warren Valerie is dedicated to inspiring others to pursue and achieve their goals for a more healthy and improved lifestyle.

Additionally, Valerie is personally involved in many diverse activities ranging from Triathlons, Adventure Racing and Mountain Biking to placing first in 1998 in the New Jersey Natural Bodybuilding Championship. These achievements not only satisfy her drive for success but also serve as an example for others to “believe it and achieve it”. Helping others to build confidence in their own abilities, and exceeding their own expectations is her ultimate goal!

Interview Topics:

  • Intro/Background
  • Hardstyle and GS - Pavel Tsatsouline and Valery Fedorenko
  • Anthony DiLugio
  • The youth movement in kettlebells
  • Paving a path to kettlebells being in the Olympics
  • and much more!

Show Notes:

Jul 31, 2017

LT 082 | Tony Cowden - The 666 Challenge

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In Episode 082 of the LEO Training Podcast, I sit down with my guest, Tony Cowden to discuss two of my favorite subjects: strength and endurance.

Tony has 21 years in the Special Operations community, serving over 8 years and 26 deployments in Afghanistan, Iraq and other Central Asian and Africa countries.  He began training for and competing in triathlons in 1998 and in 2005 in functional fitness competitions. He got his Level 1 CrossFit® Certification in 2006. He affiliated CrossFit Wilmington in 2007. He qualified for the 2012 Games., is a USAW Masters Weightlifting Champion in both the 94kg and the 105kg divisions.  He is a successful triathlete, completing more than 50 races, including Iron Distance races.

Tony coached his first athlete to The CrossFit Games in 2009, and has since sent 16 more, including teams and masters athletes. He has sent 28 athletes to The Games Regional competitions, and developed Powerlifters, Strongman Competitors, triathletes, Ultra Endurance athletes and Military personnel.

In recent years, Tony has helped lead the way in developing hybrid endurance and strength athletes, especially within the military.  His END|Strength™ Programming develops high levels of endurance and strength simultaneously and has become the go to of the US military special operations personnel as well as athletes looking for new challenges.

Proving his END|Strength methods, he completed the Beach 2 Battleship Half IronMan Triathlon in 6 hours and the following day Squatted 505lbs and Deadlifted 565lbs.

On April 9th, 2016 Tony squatted 600lbs, Deadlifted 600lbs and ran a sub-six minute mile (5:41), making him one of the very few who have completed The 666 Challenge…  the only man over 40 years old to.

Tony’s most recent accomplishment is completing the first annual 106º West Triathlon in Dillon, CO. At 10,000 plus ft, the 106 West is the highest elevation half iron distance triathlon in the World. With early morning temps at just over freezing, gusting winds, water temp of 50 degrees, and the steep climbs you would expect of the Colorado Rockies, the 106 is one of the most challenging. Further proving the END|Strength methods, two days after the race, Tony squatted 505lbs and Deadlifted 505lbs for 6 reps.

Interview Topics:

  • Intro/Background
  • Work in Special Forces
  • Brian Carroll and PowerRackStrength
  • The 666 Challenge
  • 10/20/Life
  • and much more!

Show Notes:

Jul 23, 2017

LT 081 | Danny Clark - MovNat

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In Episode 081 of the LEO Training Podcast I sit down and interview Danny Clark. Danny has an incredible background as an athlete and coach.

He is a Beast Tamer with StrongFirst and is currently acting as the Performance Director for MovNat. In addition, he also owns a gym, Rebar Fitness, a scientifically based, strength and conditioning personal training practice. He is a world-class athlete, a scholar in evolutionary biology and archaeology, and has extensive knowledge of exercise science and S&C programming. His unique skill set and expertise enables him to develop thorough and highly informed MovNat movement progressions and performance programming standards, as well as class profiles for MovNat Gym and Class Licensees.

Throughout his youth Danny was recognized for his exceptional athletic talents. His training in wrestling and judo earned him a Division 1 scholarship to the University of Virginia. An injury abruptly ended his wrestling career, but fortunately instigated a transition into Brazilian jiu jitsu and MMA training. He would go on to win a bronze medal for Team USA at the UWW World Grappling Championships in Krakow, Poland in 2012. All along Danny has immersed himself in many alternative arts, such as yoga and kettlebell training, in an effort to correct some of the imbalances and wear his body had accumulated from years of heavy physical stress. But nothing had a more profound or long-lasting effect than training first-hand with Erwan Le Corre. He learned that MovNat could heal years of abuse, neglect, and over-specialization.

After he and his wife, Abby, received their Level II Certifications they immediately started implementing the MovNat method into their coaching and classes and saw great results. Natural Movement® provided a solid movement, skill, and physical foundation for everyone while fixing many glaring issues of the fitness industry in the process. Danny went on to complete his level III certification and is now a MovNat Master Instructor.

Danny is grateful to help bring Natural Movement to the masses and affirms with confidence that MovNat “is certain to become the most complete and effective fitness system the world will ever know.”

Interview Topics:

  • Intro/Background
  • Education in Evolutionary Biology and Archaeology
  • Most effective ways to address movement deficiencies
  • Skill is the most important and why it drives fitness.
  • How your environment shapes your movement.
  • Put our attention into our intention
  • and much more!

Show Notes:

Jul 16, 2017

LT 080 | Jeff O'Connor - Youth Athletic Development

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My guest this week is Jeff O' Connor. Jeff is a former Master RKC, veteran of the United States Navy, and a career firefighter. In addition, he is a two time winner of Oklahoma's Strongest Man and 2001 Winner of the North America's Strongest Man, 275 lb Division (NASS).

Jeff has devoted much of his time to the development of children and adolescents. He places a strong emphasis on movement. Jeff believes that teaching the skills of strength, coordination, mobility, agility, and flexibility at the proper stages of development is the foundation for athletic performance at the highest levels.

This past week Jeff and Senior SFG, Brandon Hetzler released a brand new work "The New Language of Movement Vol 1: The Push/Pull Strategy". It's available for free through iTunes and can be read in iBooks. Be sure to check it out!

Interview Topics:

  • Intro/Background
  • Identifying key abilities that need to be developed in an individual
  • What's the biggest priority?
  • Injury Prevention & High Performance
  • Health and Fitness are not separate
  • Don't chase reps!
  • Teaching the athlete to process information from multiple stimulus and inputs - verbal, visual, kinesthetic
  • Motor skill development
  • Jeff's thoughts on the application and value
  • and much more!

Show Notes:

It’s easy to review the show and it helps the show grow and reach a new audience. If you enjoyed this episode please take a moment and drop a review in iTunes or Stitcher. Thank you!



Jul 9, 2017

LT 079 | Dani Almeyda - Original Strength

My guest for Episode 079 of the LEO Training Podcast is Dani Almeyda, co-owner of Original Strength.

Dani has worked in the health and fitness industry for the last 10 years.  Throughout her whole life, health and wellness have had a major influence on Dani. Whether it was from her experience as collegiate athlete, as a Director of Campus Recreation, or as a Fitness Professional, her experiences and formal education have provided her with the tools necessary to be successful.

Dani is a co-owner of a private training studio in North Carolina, OPT Fitness, and has a Master’s Degree in Exercise Science and Health Promotion.  She brings an abundance of energy, passion, and an incredible drive to help the world regain it’s Original Strength.  Almeyda, a mother of two, is also working on a developing a program specifically for mom’s.

Interview Topics:

  • Intro/Background
  • Original Strength
  • Neurodevelopmental patterns
  • Breathing, Head Control, Rolling, Rocking, Crawling
  • Women's Movement Collaborative

Show Notes:


It’s easy to review the show and it helps the show grow and reach a new audience. If you enjoyed this episode please take a moment and drop a review in iTunes or Stitcher. Thank you!



Jul 3, 2017

LT 078 | Joe Daniels - Heart Rate Training with Kettlebells


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This week my guest is Joe Daniels from Swing This Kettlebell & Strength. Joe was a former bodybuilder who moved into kettlebell sport and not only competes but also owns a facility in Kentucky focusing on competition kettlebell training, improving movement. He also owns a flotation tank that helps to aid in recovery and promote better tissues quality.

This interview is focused on three main topics:

  • Heart Rate and heart rate variability training with kettlebells
  • Mastering the Kettlebell Press by Joe Daniels and Taco Fleur
  • Flotation Tanks

Show Notes:

Jun 26, 2017

LT 077 | Dr. Emily Splichal - Barefoot Training

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In Episode 077 of the LEO Training Podcast I sat down and interviewed Dr Emily Splichal. Dr. Emily Splichal is a Podiatrist and Human Movement Specialist, is the Founder of the Evidence Based Fitness Academy and Creator of the Barefoot Training Specialist®, BarefootRx® and BARE® Workout Certifications for health and wellness professionals. With over 15 years in the fitness industry, Dr Splichal has dedicated her medical career towards studying postural alignment and human movement as it relates to foot function and barefoot training.

Dr Splichal actively sees patients out of her office in Manhattan, NY with a specialty in sports medicine, biomechanics and forefoot surgery.

Dr Splichal is actively involved in barefoot training research and barefoot education as it relates to athletic performance, injury prevention and movement longevity. Dr Splichal has presented her research and barefoot education both nationally and internationally, with her Barefoot Training Specialist® Program in over 28 countries worldwide and translated into 9 languages.

Due to her unique background Dr Splichal is able to serve as a Consultant for some of the top fitness, footwear and orthotic companies including NIKE Innovations, Trigger Point Performance Therapy, Aetrex Worldwide, Crunch Fitness and Sols.

Degrees/Certifications: Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM), Master's Human Movement (MS), NASM-CES, NASM-PES, NSCA-CPT

Here are some of the topics we discuss in this interview:

  • Dr. Emily's education and background and how she became interested in barefoot training
  • Pronation/Supination/Neutral Foot
  • Barefoot Training
  • Common misconceptions and misunderstandings about Janda's short foot
  • Triplanar movement of the foot
  • BareBiomechanics when walking
  • Why impact = vibration
  • Foot to Core and Fascial Integration
  • and much more!

Show Notes:

Jun 19, 2017

LT 076 | Dr. Cameron Nichol - RowingWOD

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In Episode 076 of the LEO Training Podcast, I sit down with Dr. Cameron Nichol, 2x Silver Medalist at the World Rowing Championships and Olympian and the founder of RowingWOD. He is also a doctor who is on a mission to change the world through health, fitness, and exercise based interventions.

Here is what you will learn in this interview:

  • Dr. Cameron Nichol's background and how he got started rowing
  • Medical Education and Concentration
  • Training around Med School
  • How Great Britain Rowing trains and how it compares to CrossFit
  • Why GB Rowing is successful and what they do better than any other national rowing governing body
  • Rehab from Rib injury
  • and much more!

It’s easy to review the show and it helps the show grow and reach a new audience. If you enjoyed this episode please take a moment and drop a review in iTunes or Stitcher. Thank you!



Show Notes:


Jun 11, 2017

LT 075 | Paul Taras Wolkowinski - Restorative Training: Indian Clubs, Persian Mils & the Gada Mace

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This week’s podcast guest is Paul Taras Wolkowinski and we discuss four pieces of equipment centered around restorative training.

Paul founded Indian Clubs Australia. He is an expert club swinger and teacher. After spending years researching, reading and learning from old books and manuals, plus travelling extensively, Paul has become an expert in the four disciplines of club swinging: Indian Clubs, Persian Mil, Indian Jori and Gada Mace.

Here is what you will learn in this interview:

  • Paul's background and education and how he became interested in all the different types of club swinging
  • The History of each tool: Indian Clubs, Persian Mil, Indian Jori, and Gada Mace
  • How to make your own home made gada and why you may want to do this!
  • Steel Mace vs. the Gada - Key differences in equipment and how they effect club swinging
  • How Indian clubs compliment barbell, kettlebell and bodyweight training
  • How club swinging can help you recover from a shoulder injury and improve posture and breathing
  • Dr. Ed Thomas and Gray Cook
  • Sim D. Kehoe
  • and much more!

It’s easy to review the show and it helps the show grow and reach a new audience. If you enjoyed this episode please take a moment and drop a review in iTunes or Stitcher. Thank you!



Show Notes:

Jun 4, 2017

LT 074 | Sam Loch - The Watt Farm

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This week's podcast guest is Sam Loch.  Sam is a returning guest and I had him on just over a year ago in Episode 018 - Hybrid Barbarian Training.

Sam has made some incredible progress over the last year in his training - both in the gym and on the Concept 2 Indoor Rower. Sam has deadlifted over 600 pounds and set two world records on the Concept 2. He holds the record for 1 minute and 1000 meters respectively on the Concept 2 Ergometer. He has also launched the Watt Farm, his online coaching business.

In this interview Sam and I catch up over the past year and he opens up about his current goal, the pursuit of the 500 meter world record on the Concept 2 Ergometer.

Here's what you will learn in this interview:

  • Sam's progress and updates over the last year
  • Setting two world records and deadlifting over 600 pounds
  • "How much you can adapt to, not how much you can do"
  • Why Sam prioritizes strength work first and then focuses on his Concept 2 Ergometer training
  • The importance of visualization
  • Why 2 sessions a day cuts recovery time
  • The stimulus the higher drag factor provides
  • Trying to make race pace feel as easy as possible
  • "Technique is the way forward"
  • and much more!


It’s easy to review the show and it helps the show grow and reach a new audience. If you enjoyed this episode please take a moment and drop a review in iTunes or Stitcher. Thank you!



Show Notes:

Sam Loch (World Rowing)

Sam Loch (Instagram)

The Watt Farm

Sam's World Records on Concept 2

Concept 2

May 28, 2017

LT 073 | Dr. Carol Addy - Long-term Health and Weight Loss Management

This week's guest is Dr. Carol Addy, Chief Medical Officer for HMR Weight Management Services Corporation.

Dr. Addy is a physician executive who has served as a champion of wellness for over 30 years. Her professional experience has permitted her the opportunity to share her passion for lifestyle and to optimize outcomes for individuals and populations using an evidence-based, data-driven approach.

As a former professional cyclist and health and fitness spokesperson, she gained an appreciation of the health benefits of physical activity and proper nutrition, and, as an internist/endocrinologist, she shared this knowledge with her patients as a powerful and cost-effective means of disease prevention and as an adjunct to cardiometabolic disease treatment.

More recently, Dr. Addy accepted the position of Chief Medical Officer at HMR Weight Management Services, Corp., a fully owned subsidiary of Merck. In this role she is responsible for providing medical oversight and subject matter expertise for the delivery of lifestyle-based, behavioral interventions for weight loss and long-term weight management. Given her strong background as a physician/scientist, she maintains a strong interest in research and seek opportunities for collaboration in data analytics and outcomes research. She has considerable experience speaking and presenting at conferences and meetings, as well as interacting with C-suite executives to make the business case for health.

In this interview we discuss:

  • Dr. Addy's background
  • Current role at HMR
  • Background as a pro cyclist and kettlebell sport athlete
  • How she has been known to write prescriptions for exercise vs. drugs.
  • Why weight loss and weight management is about lifestyle and choices
  • Developing good habits and behavior around diet and exercise
  • and much more!

Show Notes:



May 21, 2017

LT 072 | Drew Ginn - Will it make the boat go faster?

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This week my guest is Drew Ginn. Drew Ginn is a legend in the sport of rowing and I am absolutely honored to have had the opportunity to sit down and speak with him. Here is what prompted this interview. I had recently read the book "The Kiwi Pair: The Story Behind Our World-Beating Rowers" by Hamish Bond and Eric Murray. In their book they discuss how they came across a video Drew Ginn had posted on his blog, Rudderfish. The title of the video was "Will it make the boat go faster?" and in it Drew shares some of his thoughts on what he had been taught by coaches and what he felt truly translated into greater boat speed. (I highly encourage you to watch the YouTube video to give you some proper background to this podcast interview).

After watching this video I reached out to Drew personally and asked him if he be gracious enough to be a guest on the podcast.

Here are some of the career accomplishments Drew has achieved in the sport of rowing:


  • 2012 London: Men’s Coxless Fours – Silver
  • 2008 Beijing: Men’s Coxless Pairs – Gold
  • 2004 Athens: Men’s Coxless Pairs – Gold
  • 1996 Atlanta: Men’s Coxless Fours – Gold


  • 2011 World Championships Coxless Fours: Bronze
  • 2007 World Championships Coxless Pairs: Gold
  • 2006 World Championships: Gold
  • 2003 World Championships: Gold
  • 2002 World Championships: Fourth
  • 1999 World Championships: Gold
  • 1998 World Championships: Silver
  • 1998 World Championships Coxed Four: Gold
  • 1997 World Championships Men’s Eight: Bronze
  • 1995 World Championships: Eleventh
  • 1995 European Championships: Fourth
  • 1996 European Championships Coxless Fours: Silver
  • 1995 World Championships: Fifth
  • 1995 European Championships: Ninth


  • Thomas Keller Recipient – 2014
  • Crew of the Year – 2003
  • Australian Sports Medal – 2000
  • Order of Australia Medal OAM – 1997


 Interview Topics:

  • Drew's background in sport and what he is currently doing
  • Why he recorded the video "Will it make the boat go faster?"
  • Drew's thoughts on rowing technique and how this differs from traditional thoughts on technique
  • Bungee cord rowing and its value
  • His back injuries and how he rehabbed them
  • Drew's thoughts on strength and conditioning and what he did early in his career vs. end of his career and what worked best
  • Improving movement and skill on land to reinforce good technique and boat speed on the water
  • and much more!

Show Notes:

May 14, 2017

My guest this week is Jon Engum. Jon Engum is a 7th Dan Kukkiwon Certified Taekwondo Grandmaster and holds Master rank in Hapkido and Kumdo.

He is the author of Flexible Steel, Creator and Chief Instructor of the Flexible Steel system, owner of Jon Engum's Extreme Training, Engum's Academy of Taekwondo and  a StrongFirst Master Instructor who teaches workshops, courses and certifications worldwide.

Jon and I catch up after I recently attended the Flexible Steel Level I Seminar in New York City.

Interview Topics:

  • Jon's background in martial arts and roots in kettlebell training
  • Why he started Flexible Steel
  • How Flexible Steel is different
  • The 3 S's
  • My experience using Flexible Steel post workshop during a training session and my results
  • Handstand Pushups--> Military Press
  • Single Arm Clean & Jerk for MMA Fighters
  • and much more!

Show Notes:


May 7, 2017

My guest this week is Dr. Evan Johnson, Assistant Professor of Exercise Physiology in the Department of Kinesiology and Health at the University of Wyoming. Dr. Johnson focuses his research interests on the physiological mechanisms and overall health benefits related to optimal hydration, physical activity, and heat exposure. Dr. Johnson earned his B.A. at The George Washington University, his M.A. and Ph.D from the University of Connecticut. In this interview we take a hard look at some of the scientific literature out there around some key topics that have been getting a lot of in the last several years. This is a great opportunity to look beyond some of the marketing that companies and products put forward and have a better grasp on the science. Check out the topics below to see what we discussed.

Interview Topics:

  • Dr. Johnson's Career and focus for his coursework
  • What prompted us to have this podcast (my Instagram post on grip strength)
  • His research on hydration
  • Wearable technology for weight loss
  • The altitude mask
  • and much more

Show Notes:

Apr 30, 2017

LT 069 | Kelly Manzone - Movement over Aesthetics

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This week my guest is Kelly Manzone. Kelly is a wife and mother who utilizes a variety of different modalities to improve strength, flexibility, and fitness. Above all Kelly integrates all of these different disciplines to live a life of movement. We cover a variety of different topics in this interview and there is something for coaches, trainers, and the layperson to takeaway from this conversation.

Interview Topics:

  • Kelly's intro/background
  • Integration of various disciplines such as the mace, kettlebell, stick mobility, original strength
  • Movement over Aesthetics
  • GS Planet & Vintage Strength
  • The fitness industry has forgotten about women over 35
  • Kelly's response to dealing with serious health issues include a back injury and GI
  • GS and Hardstyle
  • Competing at the Arnold Classic

Show Notes:

Apr 23, 2017

LT 068 | Greg Hughes - Integrating Technology into Collegiate Rowing

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Earlier this year I had the pleasure of catching up with Princeton University Men's Heavyweight Rowing Coach Greg Hughes at the 2016 Joy of Sculling Conference. Greg teamed up with rowing biomechanics expert Connie Draper to give a great presentation on the integration of different types of technology into collegiate rowing. This is a fascinating look at how coaches and athletes can use data from the boat such as force curves, individual data such as heart rate variability and heart rate, and GPS data to become better informed about how to execute during training as well as enhance our ability to recover between training sessions.

Greg has had tremendous success as an athlete and a coach.  Here are just some of the highlights of his career.

Greg Hughes begins his eighth season with the Tiger heavyweights in 2017 and has guided Princeton to a 16-2 record over the last two seasons, as well as medals at both Sprints and IRAs both season. Last year, Princeton went 8-1 and won medals in its top four boats at postseason regattas; the varsity boat took silver at Sprints and bronze at IRAs, its best postseason performance in a decade.

Since 2013, Princeton has made every grand final at Sprints and IRAs, and it hasn't finished below fourth in either.

As the heavyweight coach, Hughes has led Princeton to an 48-14 record, including an 29-13 mark in the Ivy League. He has also helped several of his individual rowers to international success, including 2016 captain Martin Barakso, who was a member of the Canadian Team at the 2015 Senior World Championships. Many of his rowers have competed at the U-23 Worlds annually, including eight current or incoming rowers at the 2016 Championships.

Hughes, a former Ivy League and national champion rower with the Princeton men’s lightweights, took over as head coach of the men’s lightweight crew in 2006, following the retirement of his former coach, Joe Murtaugh. In his first year, Hughes turned a team that had gone 2-7 in consecutive seasons into a program that went 5-3 and earned a bronze medal at nationals.

In each of the next three seasons, Princeton’s winning percentage would improve, and the Orange and Black would win at least one medal at either the EARC or IRA championships. In 2008, the Tigers rose to No. 1 in the national rankings, won its first Goldthwait Cup over Harvard and Yale since 1999 and placed second at the Eastern championships.

In 1999, Hughes co-coached the U.S. lightweight men’s 2- and the heavyweight 2+ at the World Championships, with the latter winning the gold. He co-coached the U.S. men’s eight and the men’s pair at the Under-23 World Championships in 2000, where the eight won a bronze medal. The next year, Hughes assisted Murtaugh in coaching the U.S. lightweight eight that won bronze at the World Championships. In 2002, Hughes coached the Under-23 men’s eight to a gold and the pair to a bronze at the World Championships. He also led the U.S. 4+ to a bronze medal at the 2004 World Championships. In 2005, Hughes coached the US men’s 4- which finished 4th at the Under-23 Worlds, and he coached the U.S. men's 4+ to gold at the 2007 World Championships.

Hughes was a four-year lightweight rower under Murtaugh. A 1996 Princeton graduate, Hughes was undefeated in all of his four regular seasons and won two Eastern Sprints titles. He was an All-Ivy League rower on the 1994 and 1996 national championship lightweight crews. He served as team captain in 1996 and won the Gordon G. Sikes Award for the greatest contribution to Princeton lightweight crew. He would go on to be an alternate for both the 1997 and 1998 lightweight U.S. national teams.

Interview Topics:

  • Intro/Background as an athlete
  • Greg's path to coaching
  • Firstbeat
  • Peach System
  • Catapult
  • High Performance Initiative at Princeton University
  • Accounting for the rigors of an academic schedule with student athletes
  • Peaking for high performance in college rowing
  • and much more

Show Notes:



Apr 16, 2017

This podcast interview has a very special meaning for me personally. I got to sit down and interview Dr. Perry Nickelston who is the person who inspired me to start this podcast. He gave me the belief that it was possible and planted the seed in my mind that it was something I could do. I've had the privilege of learning from Dr. Perry twice in person. The first time was at the RockTape FMT 1 & 2 Seminar and the second time was at his workshop, Primal Movement Chains. This is a phenomenal interview and was a ton of fun. We cover a ton of ground and we also discuss Dr. Perry's upcoming book being released later this year.

Dr. Perry Nickelston is a chiropractic physician with nineteen years in the trenches helping people get out of pain. He is the owner of the Pain Laser Center in Waldwick, New Jersey, which specializes in Deep Tissue Laser Therapy for pain relief and healing, and the owner and director of Stop Chasing Pain, an education company dedicated to teaching people how to move better and take back control of their lives from pain. He is an international speaker and teacher on movement, pain, laser therapy, and corrective exercise programs and the creator of the “Primal Movement Chains: Moving Beyond Mobility” courses, which are taught all over the world. He is also a writer and columnist for numerous fitness and health industry publications; a Master Instructor for Rocktape, Neurokinetic Therapy, Functional Movement Screen, and Selective Functional Movement Assessment; and a board member for the AIMLA American Institute for Medical Laser Application.

Here's what you will learn in this interview:

  • Dr. Nickelston's background and journey as a teacher and clinician
  • The story behind the 'Stop Chasing Pain' name
  • Dr. Perry's approach to movement, training, and health
  • Most common types of pain he sees in his clinic
  • Why Stability Rules the Movement Road
  • Training stability by making someone more stable not less
  • Speed Hides Need!
  • Why pain is a protective mechanism and recognizing that movement does not lie
  • Primal Movement Chains Workshop
  • Stop Chasing Pain - The Book
  • Amino Health Care
  • and much more!

Show Notes:

Apr 9, 2017

Mike is the founder and owner of Skill of Strength. In his thirteen plus years as a Personal Trainer and Strength and Conditioning Coach, he has trained clients of all ages and abilities including athletes represented in MLS, NFL, MLB, UFC Bellator MMA, CES MMA and other local mixed martial arts promotions.

In addition to providing performance-based training, Mike specializes in training clients with prior injuries including low back pain, shoulder, hip and knee injuries, and virtually any type of movement dysfunction. He works closely with local chiropractors, physical therapists and muscular therapists to ensure his clients are getting the best care possible.

In addition to running Skill of Strength, Mike works as a consultant to several other gyms where he runs in-house seminars for their staff. He is available to present on strength and conditioning related topics including, but not limited to, kettlebell training, barbell training and functional movement.

Mike also works for Pavel Tsatouline’s company, StrongFirst. He is a StrongFirst Senior Instructor (Kettlebell Instructor) and SFL instructor (Barbell Instructor) for StrongFirst. In this position as Senior Instructor, he leads teams of other instructor candidates during StrongFirst certifications and runs one-day user courses at Skill of Strength and other gyms.

Mike also recently accepted a position as an instructor with Functional Movement Systems (FMS).

Mike’s true passion is working with Mixed Martial Artists. He currently trains over a dozen local fighters including several title holders. He runs a website dedicated to the art of strength and conditioning for fighters,

Mike’s credentials include:

  • National Strength and Conditioning Association – Certified Personal Trainer – (NSCA-CPT)
  • Strongfirst Senior Instructor
  • Strongfirst Barbell Lifter- (SFL)
  • USA Weightlifting Sports Performance Coach- (USA-W)
  • USA Track and Field Coach (USATF)
  • Functional movement screen certified specialist (FMS 1+2)
  • Certified Kettlebell Functional Movement Specialist (CK-FMS)
  • FMS Assistant Instructor


Here is what you will learn in the interview:

  • Mike's background
  • Skill of Strength's Intake Process for New students and clients
  • Correct vs. Corrective exercise
  • Training clients coming back from low back injuries
  • Progressions & why regressions are doing your work twice
  • MMA programming
  • Why Movement prep should be skilled based
  • Efficiency vs fitness
  • The importance of the weight shift in the pistol
  • and much more

Show Notes:


Apr 2, 2017

In Episode 065 I had the honor to sit down with Brian Carroll a legend in the sport of powerlifting. Brian and I met this past February at the McGill 2 seminar. After chatting a bit during the weekend I asked him to be a guest on the podcast. I was also lucky enough to receive a copy of Brian's book 10/20/Life. 

Brian and I discuss his career, his book and how you can apply these principles to your own training.

Here is a bit more about Brian's background:

A competitive powerlifter since 1999, Brian Carroll is one of the most accomplished lifters in the history of the sport. After suffering a debilitating back injury in 2012—including several broken bones—Brian used his 10/20/Life principles, which incorporate the methods of world-renowned lower back specialist Dr. Stuart McGill, to return to competition with a 2610 pound total winning both the 242 open & the overall at the 2015 Arnold Sports Festival.

Career Highlights:

  • Holds, or has held, multiple world, national, and state records in the 220, 242, and 275 pound weight classes.
  • One of few lifters to attain a professional powerlifting total in three different weight classes.
  • One of even fewer lifters to be ranked in the top ten in three different weight classes at the same time.
  • Ranked second in the world in the 275 pound class with a total of 2730 and a historic 1185 squat—a then-world-record that, although since broken, most still consider to be the true record due to depth issues.

220 Class:

1030 squat, 633 bench, 755 deadlift
2375 TOTAL (10th best of all time).

242 Class:

1064 squat, 785 bench, 780 deadlift
2610 TOTAL (3rd best of all time).

275 Class:

1185 squat, 825 bench, 800 deadlift
2730 TOTAL (3rd best of all time).

Brian has also totaled more than ten times his bodyweight in three different classes, and both bench pressed and deadlifted over 800 pounds in two different classes. In his career, he’s totaled 2500 over fifteen times. Since 2005, Brian has not slipped out of the top two in the American rankings in both the squat and total, and he’s been ranked number one in both categories at 220, 242, and 275 pounds. With 35 competition squats over 1000, spread over three different weight classes, he’s indisputably one of the best squatters of all time.

Here's what you will learn in this interview:

  • Brian's background and career in powerlifting
  • The reason for writing 10/20/Life
  • Dr. Stuart McGill
  • Why this book is a philosophy and principle based, not a program
  • Balance between training and life
  • Four phases of a warm-up
  • "Availability supercedes ability"
  • Why you must take the mindset that "Every lift is the same, no matter the weight."
  • The Gift of Injury

Show Notes:

Mar 26, 2017

In Episode 064 of the LEO Training Podcast I had the honor to sit down and interview Dr. Volker Nolte. Volker and I met at the 2016 Joy of Sculling Conference in Saratoga Springs, NY.

Dr. Volker Nolte is the head rowing coach and assistant professor at Western, where he teaches biomechanics and coaching. Since 1993, Nolte’s leadership has led the men’s rowing team to 11 Ontario University Athletics Championships and four Canadian University Rowing Championships. Since 2010, he is also the head coach for the women’s program. In the 2011-12 season, Nolte coached both the men’s and women’s teams to OUA championships. In the 2013-14 season, Western captured both the OUA Men's and Women's titles again. In addition, the men's and women's teams were both 2013 National Champions, winning titles at the Canadian University Rowing Championships. The 2014-15 season saw the women take their second consecutive OUA, and National titles, while the men placed second at Provincials and fourth at Nationals.

Nolte’s work as a coach was recognized several times over his career. He received the Award of Merit from Rowing Canada Aviron in 1996 and the International Rowing Federation (FISA) in 1998, the President’s Award from Rowing Canada in 1998 and was the 3M Coach of the Year in 2001. In 2006 and 2007, he was awarded Coach of the Year from the Canadian University Rowing Association and was the first Western coach after Jack Fairs who received the Jack Fairs Coaching Award of Merit in 2009. In 2010, Nolte was presented with the Coaches’ Recognition Award from Rowing Canada.

Nolte’s expertise is documented many times through invitations that he receives from rowing programs all over the world. The latest acknowledgments came through invitations from New Zealand Rowing (2007), US Rowing (2008) and the German Rowing Association (2010). He has also been invited to guest-coach both famous Boatrace Crews Oxford (2006) and Cambridge (2010) in years when they won their races. In addition, he was the lightweight men’s national team coach with Rowing Canada from 1992 to 2000. His national team crews won an Olympic silver medal at the 1996 Atlanta Games, two World Championship titles in 1993 and 2000, and several more medals at World Championships.

Nolte received both a Physical Education Diploma (1976) and a Civil Engineering Diploma (1979) from the University of Saarbrücken (Germany), and a Ph.D. (1984) from the German Sport University in Cologne (Germany) in Biomechanics.

He is an internationally acknowledged expert in biomechanics. Together with his expertise in the coaching field, he frequently presents at scientific and coach education conferences worldwide. His research includes coaching and biomechanics of high performance sport, especially rowing. He is also a distinguished researcher in the field of sport equipment. He co-holds international patents for isokinetic training machines and his developments range from special measurement tools up to new boat designs in rowing. His research has produced many papers in refereed journals, articles in various publications and the popular book “Rowing Faster”, now in its second edition (2011).

Nolte is an experienced rower, representing his home country Germany at several World Championships and he is still a keen competitor in the Master’s events.

Here is what we discuss in this interview:

  • Dr. Nolte's background, education, and roots in rowing
  • Overview of block vs. random practice
  • Rowing Faster
  • Why the erg and the boat are different
  • The importance of "play" in finding your own stroke
  • The importance of variety and exposure to younger athletes to help their learning and development
  • Why you cannot learn rowing on the ergometer and how balance is a major factor
  • and much more.

Show Notes:

Mar 19, 2017

Episode 063 of the LEO Training Podcast features personal trainer, Levi Markwardt. Levi has a great story to share. He has worked himself back into health and fitness and lose over 100 pounds utilizing bodyweight and kettlebells. He also is the strength coach for a local high school.

Here is what we cover in this interview:

  • Levi's Background and story
  • His background as a wrestler
  • Working with local high school athletes in football, wrestling
  • Strength Endurance work
  • Why breakdowns occur mentally not physically
  • Beginning strength training with bodyweight then utilizing kettlebells then the barbell

Show Notes:


Mar 12, 2017

This week’s guest is Dr. Fiona Wilson. Dr. Fiona Wilson is a chartered physiotherapist with over 25 years of postgraduate experience. She is the former Chief physiotherapist for Rowing Ireland with a particular interest in low back pain and injuries in rowing. She is a regular contributor to and has authored a few articles in the past year regarding low back injury mechanisms and rehabilitation.


Here is what you will learn in this interview:

  • Fiona Wilson’s Background
  • Potential Pain triggers and injury mechanisms
  • Cyclical loading of tissues
  • FAI (Femoral Acetabular Impingement Sydrome)
  • Why there is a disconnect with the research and high performance in the sport
  • Understanding fatigue and how this changes posture and results in moving from the low back vs. the hips
  • and much more!

Show Notes:

Mar 5, 2017

In this week's podcast episode my guest is Dr. Charlie Weingroff.

Charlie is a Doctor of Physical Therapy, a Certified Athletic Trainer, and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  He is currently a Physical Therapist and Strength & Conditioning Coach at Drive 495 in Manhattan, NY and Fit For Life in Marlboro, NJ.  He also is a member of the Nike Executive Performance Council and serves as the Physical Performance Lead and Head Strength & Conditioning Coach for the Canadian Men’s National Basketball Team.  Prior to returning to his home of NJ, he was the Director of Physical Performance and Resiliency and Lead Physical Therapist for the United States Marines Corps Special Operations Command in Camp Lejeune, NC.    He graduated from Ursinus College with a degree in Exercise and Sports Science in 1996, and went on to earn an MSPT in 1999 and DPT in 2010 from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

Beginning in 1998, Charlie spent 12 seasons of professional basketball, highlighted by his time as the Head Strength & Conditioning Coach and Assistant Athletic Trainer for the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA.   Among the highlights of his tenure in Philadelphia was being part of the medical staff that ranked 1st in the NBA in Player Missed Games in the 2005-06 season.

Through rehabbing patients, he subscribes to a movement-based approach popularized by the works of Gray Cook, Mike Boyle, Val Nsedkin, Dr. Pavel Kolar, and Louie Simmons.  In training athletes and clients, he champions the principles of the Functional Movement Screen and sound, evidence-based training principles.  Some of the methodologies Charlie is formally trained in include DNS, ART, Dry Needling, Graston, FMS/SFMA, TPI, and StrongFirst.

Aside from working with patients, athletes and clients, he is also under the bar himself.  In 2007, he achieved AAPF Elite status in the 220 weight class with a total of 1915 pounds. His best powerlifting competition total is 800 squat, 510 bench press and 605 deadlift.

Currently Charlie is available to treat, train, and consult at Drive495 in Manhattan, NYC and Fit For Life in Marlboro, NJ.  Charlie often teaches and speaks internationally and consults regularly with Nike, the Roddick-Grunberg Tennis Academy, Perform Better, and Equinox Fitness Clubs.

Here are some of the topics Charlie and I discuss during our interview:

  • Charlie's background and philosophy
  • Early sports specialization
  • His work with the 76ers and Canadian Men's Basketball
  • Should there be adjustments for a shorter or taller athlete if they are doing the same exercise?
  • HRV and Omegawave System
  • Why evaluation is so paramount and how it is the foundation for your programming.
  • Training = Rehab Model 1,2,3
  • and much more!

Show Notes:

Feb 26, 2017

LT 060 | Emily Bearden & Steve Milles - Five Points Academy

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Epsiode 060 of the LEO Training Podcast features two coaches from Five Points Academy in NYC. Emily Bearden and Steve Milles are both champion fighters who have had great success rehabbing their bodies through kettlebell training and enhancing performance of their fighters using this modality.

Emily Bearden first became interested in personal training while earning a BFA in Dance and Choreography, a course of study that required mastery of kinesiology, physiology, anatomy and dynamic alignment. Emily is also an internationally ranked competitive thai boxer, holding the professional World Champion belt in muay thai for the WKA, two US Championship Belts and was a member of the US Team to the International Muay Thai Federation Amateur Championships in Bangkok, Thailand. And she loves dogs, too. Emily holds the following certifications:
  • StrongFirst SFG Level II Kettlebell Instructor
  • StrongFirst (SFL) Lift Barbell Instructor
  • AFAA certified Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor
  • Post Rehab and Conditioning Specialist with the American Academy of Health and Fitness Professionals
  •  TRX Group Suspension Training Course Instructor
  • Primal Move Coach
  • Esquerre Fitness Group Advanced Stretching Techniques
  • Asst. Instructor by the Muay Thai International Association

Steve Milles has competitive and coaching experience in muay Thai spanning more than two decades. As a competitor he won a bronze medal representing the US at the International Amateur Muay Thai Federation World Championships in Bangkok, Thailand. After turning professional Steve captured the World Kickboxing Association and International Sport Kickboxing Association US Champion belts as well as the Intercontinental Champion title for the US Muay Thai Association, battling current and former world champions in North America, Europe and Asia. He retired with a professional record of 20 wins, 8 losses and 2 draws. Steve holds the following credentials in addition to his impressive fighting background.

  • StrongFirst SFG Team Leader
  • Tactical Strength SBS
  • FMS Level 1 Functional Movement Specialist
  • CICS Indian Club Specialist
  • GroundForce Method Level 1 Instructor

Here is what you will learn in this episode:

  • Emily & Steve's background in fighting
  • How the kettlebell helped them rehab from injuries and improve performance
  • How Five Points Academy integrates strength training with their fighters that are competing
  • Before and after effects of utilizing the kettlebell into a fighters program
  • Why is endurance important to a fighter?
  • Vegan diet as a fighter and its benefits
  • and much more!

Show Notes:

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