TV: Hi David, thanks for taking the time for this interview because I know how busy you are and that, among other projects, you run a training studio in Tacoma, you’re a wrestling coach and you keep a full client load. I’ve known you for a couple years now through the Internet and the emails we’ve sent to each other and you’re very well known within the fitness industry – especially in the sports training field. But on the off chance that some of the people listening to this interview don’t know who you are, would you give us a quick introduction and tell us little bit about your background, how you got started in this field and how you spend your time now?
DG: Well I was always a sports enthusiast my entire life. I can remember I was the only 9-year-old watching Monday night football and taking stats. I did all the usual sports – football, soccer, wrestling, swimming, baseball and tennis. Never did much with basketball. Being a genetically “blessed” Italian, I didn’t think the height requirement was going to be on my side. I excelled at wrestling. That sport alone taught me about nutrition, supplements, work ethic etc. I really have to thank wrestling for getting me into this field. I now coach high school wrestling, baseball and youth football. I keep really busy with my 3 children, Addision (13) Garrison (10) and my little man Carson (7). I taught school for a couple of years and then decided to go into personal training.
TV: You have quite a few certifications, one of them is certified personal trainer, one is certified golf trainer – or “golf “biomechanic” to be exact – but what is a “Corrective High Performance Exercise Kinesiologist?
DG: That’s an intense certification program where you learn from one of the foremost experts in the conditioning field, Paul Chek, who personally developed and cultivated the program. The certification revolves around the dynamics of kinesiology, physiology, functional anatomy and mind – body – spirit relationships. The program has four levels and I’m currently a level II, where we learn physical assessment, posture analysis, gait analysis, primal movement patterns, length-tension testing and range of motion testing. My Golf biomechanic certification is also from the CHEK institute. This is where we learn how the relationship between muscles and muscle groups affect the golf swing and how to improve it. In the winter of 2002 I also became one of the first Nutrition and Lifestyle Coaches from the CHEK institute. This program was developed to help practitioners deal with nutritional and lifestyle needs of their clients. The certification teaches how symptoms of disease and stress can be prevented through diet, exercise and stress management. I’m currently a level II Nutrition and lifestyle coach.I can’t say enough about how Paul has helped me become a better trainer and person. There is more to this than just exercise.
20 unit: dominoqq pkv And I understand that there’s only a small handful of people who have those credentials, is that right?
DG: Yes, I think, at last count about 1000 have received a CHEK certification but there are only about 35 in the world with all three certifications including the level two’s. So it all costs time, energy and brain work Tom, but for someone who wants something different and out of the box thinking, it’s great. Not to take away from any other certification programs; heck, I love the ISSA, Ian King, Charles Poliquin and many others…
TV: That’s impressive, congratulations. So if I understand your philosophy correctly, the big difference between you and other trainers and especially trainers who only do bodybuilding and nothing else, is that you help your clients not only look good, but also with functionality, performance and correcting existing injuries or potential problem areas or imbalances that could lead to injuries in the future. Did I miss anything or would you say that’s a pretty good description?
DG: That’s right…you have to evaluate your client thoroughly for strengths and weaknesses to get the best results. Sometimes without a good evaluation you can miss something that could help prevent or fix an injury or cause someone not to excel.
TV:I think it’s really important what you’re teaching people because as a bodybuilder myself, when I first started many years ago, the ONLY thing I cared about was looking good and having muscles and abs and low body fat, but true fitness is a lot more than just looking good. For one thing it’s health above all else. In addition to that, if you don’t have strong, flexible and balanced development, then sooner or later, you’re going to get injured or you’re going to find that you can’t enjoy the sports or recreation activities you want to, and ultimately you might even find yourself restricted from normal daily activities like squatting, bending and lifting things around the house, which is exactly what happens to most people when then get older. But still, the fact is, everyone wants to look good, they want the six pack; they want muscle definition. So how do you balance the form aspect – the looking good part – with the function aspect – which is the strength, flexibility, balance and performance part?
DG: I believe we develop from the inside out. If you have good insides, you will have a good outside. What I mean is that diet, nutrition and water intake have a great deal to do with how good you look on the outside. So to look good – the “form” part – I start with overseeing my client’s dietary intake. I don’t go as far as telling them exactly what to eat, but I give a lot of suggestions. As for the “function”, I always think of the body as a whole, not as parts. Yes, if you’re a bodybuilder and that is your gig, then heck yes, think in parts. This really depends on the client and their goals, but you always need proper flexibility, strength and balance in the whole body as a unit.
TV: You train regular people and you also train professional athletes, especially boxers and golfers. Is there a big difference in how athletes and regular people should train?
DG: Each of them has distinct differences. So to plop down a “canned program” for everyone would lead to failure and would reflect poorly on me. I take each client one at a time. In my Flatten Your Abs e-book, I provide many different levels so each individual can pick the level that fits them best when they start out. Everyone is not equal. The boxers in general, are more athletic, so one big difference is that I change their program more often to keep them fresh. Let’s say I have 6 weeks before a tough fight, I may change the workout 3 – 4 times. Their nervous systems are highly adaptable and need the change. Someone who just wants to start a basic weight-training program could stay on the same program for the entire 6 weeks and get results. This is because their nervous systems are not as highly developed.
TV: Lets talk about six pack abs and flat stomachs, because that’s another one of your specialty areas and that’s what I really wanted to focus on in this interview the most. You wrote a course on abdominal training- it’s called FIRM AND FLATTEN YOUR ABS and you’re now offering it as an e-book download on the Internet and it’s starting to get really popular. What made you decide to write a book about abdominal training when there’s already so much information out there?
DG: Hmmm….to be honest it was my friend Don Lemmon. He invited me to write a chapter about core conditioning in his book, and I said “sure”. One thing lead to another and that one chapter developed into an entire e-book of my own. I had never done an entire book before with editing, pictures and so on, but I just took a lot of the information I had learned from experience and from all my mentors, put my head down, went to work and wrote the FIRM AND FLATTEN YOUR ABS e Book. It took me about 3 months. I guess one of my main motivations for writing it was because there is so much bad information and so many bad abdominal machines and devices out there…
TV: I noticed you don’t recommend ANY sit ups in your course. Why is that?
That’s correct. After studying many greats like Vladimir Janda, Diane Lee, Paul Chek, Richardson and Jull, I discovered that the hip flexors (illiopsoas) are frequently overworked and that can lead to muscle imbalances and low back pain. So I said, why continue aggravating the problem with sit ups? In my e book this is a topic I cover in detail.