A weekend with Dan John and Chip Conrad at Mental Meat Heads 7

What a great weekend.  I just returned from two days up in Sacramento at Agoge Ftness System’s “Mental Meat Heads 7” event.  I had the opportunity to learn from two of my favorite people in the fitness industry: Dan John, and Chip Conrad.   I knew that the weekend would contain a wealth of information on lifting and personal training.   would it turned into though was a two day long conversation on every subject under the sun: lifting, community, nutrition, rehab, social and political issues, fitness industry, certification practices, why “sphincter” is a power word, and how to move like a sloth.

If you don’t know about Dan John, he is,  in the words of a good friend of his,  “the crazy uncle of the fitness industry that everybody trusts”. He is a lifelong lifter and thrower as well as educator.  He has competed at the highest levels of Olympic lifting, Highland games and Weight pentathlon. He writes prolifically on his blog and has published a number of books including Intervention, Never Let Go, Mass Made Simple, and Easy Strength, which he co-wrote with Pavel Tsatsouline.

I first met Chip many years ago when I  wandered into his gym (www.bodytribe.com) in Sacramento while looking for a place to train.  The low ceiling space was filled with plants, had a dog and a cat sleeping on a ratty couch at the front door, and art plastered all over the walls.  There wasn’t a machine in sight, but all of my favorite toys were lined up along the walls: kettlebells, maces, clubs, tires, barbells, and bumper plates.  It was love at first sight and that was the moment I joined the gym and became a member of the tribe. Chip is founder of Bodytribe Fitness, a competitive weight lifter, movement trainer, writer, and public speaker who has trained with some of the greatest lifters in U.S. lifting history. He also can’t pass up a stray dog and has rescued more of them than the local SPCA. I made that up but it’s close to the truth.

Over the course of the past two days, Dan shared with us his thoughts on:

  • how to more simply classify distinct client populations;
  • how to best support each distinct population;
  • simple methods of assessment;
  • common errors made in training;
  • how to train strength and mobility at the same time;
  • life lessons for running a sustainable business;

Chip shared with us:

  • statistics on inactive versus active population;
  • a new perspective on assessing clients;
  • playful foundational movements and progressions forgetting in active populations moving again
  • how to improve quality in multiple movements;
  • how to think about strength  as a foundation of service to others;
  • how to build and sustain a tribe;
  • how to generate intensity without falling back on volume all the time

Overall, I had a blast, had the opportunity to spend time with some old friends, and met some new and like-minded ones from across the continent.   Thanks to Dave Hall at a Agoge Fitness Systems (www.agogefit.com)  for putting the event together and to Dan John and Chip Conrad for spending two days teaching us.

I’ve posted some photos of the event below.