WatchFit sit down with Kevin Rail, one of our most experienced Experts, to get answers on his unique style of training, his ambitions and his go-to workouts!
1. We know that you specialize in something called three-dimensional training. Can you tell us a bit more about what this is?
Sure thing! A lot of exercise patterns are linear, meaning they involve a one-direction movement. Take a biceps curl for example. This is the same action you would experience while raising a pint to your mouth.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
Anyway, that’s all well and fine but you are not going to elicit a high amount of muscle recruitment, more importantly, stimulate brain activity.
Three dimensional movements involve careful placement of the limbs in a cross-body orientation, plus rocking, rolling and turning of the entire body. This, in turn, not only fires up a high amount of core musculature, but it also fires up a lot of neural transmitters in the brain.
The end result is improved bodily function, core strength and brain activity in one neatly wrapped package.
2. You’ve mentioned that your main focus is always structure first and without that people have no business adding load and doing high amounts of reps and sets.
What do you mean by ‘structure first’?
This is actually a pretty easy answer. If you can’t move well, you have no business adding load to your body.
Let’s take the example of a corporate employee who hears about a high-intensity class that one of his co-workers is attending. He gets excited, walks in the doors after work and is handed a loaded barbell.
The instructor gives him two to five minutes of instruction on how to do a squat press and he’s off to his own devices. An exercise, mind you, that this guy has never seen or done before.
The instructor has no idea how well he can move, how deep he can squat or how mobile his shoulders are.
If he had a postural distortion or weak link somewhere, he could be in for some major trouble when that weight gets hoisted above his head.
The bottom line is, I want to make sure people can move well without weight before I hand them an implement. That’s why I usually spend an entire hour-long session doing body weight drills and assessments before I add load.
3. Do you have any other favourite training methods, not necessarily specialties, but just workouts that you enjoy?
I love doing circuits and intervals! But I have a rule.
It’s 90% quality or better with every exercise.
As long as I am recovered enough between sets to achieve 90% quality or better then I’m good to go.
The length of the rest period will vary on the exercise and how gas’d I am. But in general I rest between 30 and 45 seconds when I do circuit training and intervals. Yoga is also the bomb!
4. You mention barefoot running in your bio and have written articles on this activity, how long have you been barefoot running and did it take some getting used to?
What benefits did you find after discovering barefoot running?
Barefoot running is one of my favorite activities ever! Since I live in the Rockies at high elevation, we have rather harsh winters so I only get to capitalize outside for four or five months.
I’ve been doing it for about six years and I honestly don’t think I’ll ever be able to go back to wearing shoes.
On the average, it takes 12 to 18 months to go from shoes to no shoes. It’s a long and steady process that’s too in-depth to discuss here. I picked it up faster than the normal person though because I was really dedicated and did a lot of tricks of the trade.
Overall, it took me about six months.
When I started learning, I was living in my hometown of Falls, PA (United States). There are a lot of dirt roads and tar and chipped roads, which are pretty rough. This was good as it was bad. Although the surfaces were rough, my feet got conditioned faster than they would if I was running on grass or softer material.
The benefits are numerous: Less impact on the entire kinetic chain, reduction in disease risk because you keep hitting key pressure points on the bottom of the feet, your body goes into homeostasis because you are collecting negative ions from the earth (this alone is called earthing or grounding), improved mood, improved balance and improved brain function because you have to be very aware of every step you take.
5. If you could only do 3 exercises for the rest of your life, what would they be and why?
Kettlebell Turkish Get-Ups
First would be kettlebell Turkish get-ups, hands down.
You will not find a better exercise in the planet when it comes to overall muscle fiber recruitment. Plus they do an amazing job of improving shoulder stability, and flexibility and balance through the entire body.
Second would be pull-ups.
These are often performed horribly terribly wrong. But when you do five or six sets with low reps and picture-perfect form, you can turn your upper body into a block of chiseled steel in no time. And, the variations are endless!
They are also body weight drills, which I really love.
If you haven’t noticed I love kettlebells. As far as an all-encompassing, game-changing tool is concerned, you will not find one better than the kettlebell for body transformation.
The kettlebell snatch is an exercise like none other. The high-intensity nature of the movement burns uber calories and they also cause your metabolism to be elevated for hours after your training session. Couple that with the really high core recruitment you experience and you have a five star exercise.
6. You place a lot of emphasis on shopping right and reading food labels correctly.
Do you think that the reason why so many people struggle when eating to lose weight, stems from failing to read the label?
My emphasis on reading food labels is more of a health concern. You can get fat if you eat a package of Oreos or the organic equivalent to them. Calories are calories. Your body just has an easier time breaking down foods that are made without the high-fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, artificial flavors, hormones and antibiotics.
You don’t put oil in the gas tank of your car so why would you want to put foreign substances in your body?
So to answer the question, no, I don’t think people have trouble losing weight because they neglect to read labels. I think people tend to get sick easier and are more prone to disease by not reading labels or being more cautious of how their food is prepared.
I think they have trouble losing weight because they try to do things that are too drastic for their lifestyle like cutting out entire food groups or abstaining from gluten because they think it will promote weight loss. That approach is too restrictive and they end up falling off the wagon and rolling down a nearby hill.
Weight loss is not really that complicated.
Eat clean, whole foods that resonate well with your system and only consume enough food to satisfy your hunger and fuel your bodily processes. Of course this takes discipline, which is the real challenge.
Keep an eye out tomorrow for Part 2 of Kevin’s Q&A with WatchFit for an extended peak into the world of a fitness trainer.
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