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“It’s Functional Training”- Usually what a trainer says to you so you will perform circus tricks

Posted on September 22nd, 2012 by Jeff Thiboutot M.S.

Functional training along with core/stability training are common buzz words in the personal training/fitness industry. Regrettably, like many things in this industry (do I sound jaded?), it sounds good but how it is usually applied is silly. Additionally, there is a lack of quality evidence for much of what is said regarding these aspects of training. I am not going to dive into the research at this time. However, I do strongly encourage any trainer or exercise professional to read the research (see below for my recommended readings) before you have people perform circus tricks. My main point is that for the majority of people who want to look and feel better (most people really want the looking better part, which usually means losing a good amount of fat, and will take the feeling better part if it comes along with the first part), there is no physiological need to stand on a BOSU ball or any other unstable surface in order to lose fat and/or function better in daily life. For a nice short piece on the subject click here.

What spurred me to write this short post is the following video that Matt had found recently. We found it very amusing. I thought I would pass it along.

Papers I found interesting regarding functional/core/stability stuff:

SEARCHING FOR STABILITY: The efficacy of unstable training – Posted by Steve Magness @

Zech et al (2010). Balance Training for Neuromuscular Control and Performance Enhancement: A Systematic Review. J Athletic Training; 45(4):392–403

Behm, et al (2010). CSEP-Position Stand: The use of instability training to train the core in athletic and non-athletic conditioning. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab

Lederman (2010). The myth of core stability. J Bodywork Movement Therapies


Fisher et al (2011). Evidence-based resistance training recommendations. Med Sport 15 (3): 147-162,



5 Hour Energy – Is it Legit?

Posted on September 5th, 2012 by Jeff Thiboutot M.S.

5 Hour Energy supplement seems to be a very hot item. But why? Does it have a bunch of nutrients in it that gives you more energy? NO! Is it cheap? NO! It does, however, only have 4 calories and is in a small bottle. And lets not forget the shit load of advertising for it. When it is looked at objectively it is really just an over-priced caffeine and B-vitamin supplement.

The ONLY ingredient in this supplement that will actually contribute to an increase in the feeling of alertness/energy is CAFFEINE. Caffeine has many potential benefits as well as a few potential negative effects. Overall, caffeine, when used intelligently, can be very safe and effective. So why not just go to the source? Why not use pure caffeine? It is far cheaper and even more portable than 5 Hour Energy. For example, a 90 caplet bottle of Jet-Alert from Wal-Mar only costs about $3.80. One bottle of 5 Hour Energy likely has about 100mg of caffeine (the exact amount is not given). Each bottle costs about $2 (only if you buy multiple bottles at a time). Therefore, one bottle of Jet Alert would equate to about 180 bottles of 5 Hour Energy or $360.  So you could spend about $4 to get the same amount of “energy” as 180 bottles of 5 Hour Energy which would set you back about $360. WOW!

Now some people will say, “Hey, what about the B-vitamins?”. What about them? There is no evidence that supplementing with high doses of B-vitamins (relative to the RDA), in this case B12, B6, Niacin and Folic acid, will lead to higher levels of energy. But let’s say they would help; why not take a B-complex supplement? You could easily get ALL of the B-vitamins in a high dose for about 10 cents a day.

5 Hour Energy, like most supplements, is more hype than substance. Why not go to the source? Get some caffeine pills, a bottle of B-vitamins, and save yourself a bunch of money!

I do want to point out that caffeine is not a panacea for low-energy problems. There can be real medical problems causing your fatigue. There is also the very high likelihood that you are NOT getting enough quality sleep. Keep this in mind if you feel that your energy levels are always low and not the result of a bad nights sleep.