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Introduction to NASM's Physique and Bodybuilding Coach program

National Academy of Sports Medicine
National Academy of Sports Medicine
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After nearly four years in the making, and one year of development, NASM's Physique and Bodybuilding Coach (NASM-PBC) program is finally here! Join hosts, Marty Miller and Wendy Batts, on this episode of the “Master Instructor Roundtable” as they talk shop with Dr. Guillermo Escalante, lead subject matter expert for the course, and Mike Fantigrassi, NASM's own Senior Director of Product Development. They'll dive into the nuts and bolts of the course, why the desire (and need) to launch it, who contributed to its development and why that's so impactful, how this can benefit your business as a fitness professional or even your personal physique goals, and so much more! 

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**This transcript is auto-generated using AI and may have typographical errors present within the script. For every error within the transcript, we will be making our copy editor do 10 burpees. 


Hello everyone and welcome to this week's edition the Master Instructor Roundtable. I'm regional master instructor and as always with my fellow region master instructor and dear friend Miss Wendy batts, Wendy How you doing today?


I'm great Marty. How are you?


Great as always, you know, this is my favorite time of the week, get to jump on our mass structure roundtable and always talk in my mind about something very interesting today's


It is not and you know what, we have so many things to cover today. So we're just gonna jump right on in. We have two amazing guests. So Marty, do you want to do a quick intro and let's bring them on?


Absolutely. So first foremost, we're bringing in a fellow NASM longtime you know, people you're gonna be very familiar with Mike phonographs, who's our senior development a product but also we have Dr. Guillermo Escalante, so I'm excited not only going to have great information he's a fellow ATC so you know me as an ATC.

I'm always gonna highlight that. He's a strength conditioning specialist got also some other amazing credentials behind his back Professor of Kinesiology and Dean Fellow at the College of Natural Sciences at California State University, San Bernardino. And these are some of our experts on the new physique and bodybuilding coach program that NASM just released. So welcome, gentlemen.


Thank you, buddy. Thanks, Wendy.


Thank you for having us.


Oh, it's our pleasure. I know Wendy and I, we've been talking about this. We're excited about this content, because we have a lot to learn. So first and foremost, Guillermo, kind of like right out of the gate. If you can just tell us a little bit about you your background, how you get into sport of bodybuilding. You know, what you do now and how you get linked up with Mike and NASM.


Yeah, absolutely. So I have a doctorate science in athletic training. And I also have a master's in business administration. My undergraduate degrees are in athletic training and in biology. And right out of the gate, I took my NATA ATC exam and got the athletic training certification. I also took the CSCs exam shortly after graduating. And I had a background in sports through through high school in college. But when I when I finished my athletic career, I was looking for an outlet for for competing and continue competing elsewhere. So a friend of mine introduced me to bodybuilding and I went to my very first bodybuilding show in 2000.

At the California State bodybuilding championships, I saw Lee priest guest pose on stage and some amazing amateur competitors at at California State Championship. And that convinced me to try competing for the first time and and that's what I did about a few months later, I dieted down, I competed in my first show, I really enjoyed the process, the experience, and now it's been, gosh, over 22 years now that I've been competing almost every year just about since I started. But along that journey, what I was able to really see was, there was just so much misinformation in the field. There were a lot of things coaches, were saying athletes were doing and I didn't really understand the science behind all of it.

And, you know, having that educational background behind there, I kind of took a step back, I'm like, Well, why is it that you're doing this? Or why what's the reason for doing that? I even hired on coaches to help me early on and, and I would just have a lot of q&a with them. And, and I really started to see, wow, there's a lot that we don't know in the science behind physique and bodybuilding. And it's just been essentially a 20 plus year journey in you know, trying to bridge that gap between science and application, trying to read the literature in sports nutrition and muscle hypertrophy and fat loss, body composition, etc.

Building strength and, and really developing that science with regards to bodybuilding. Come full fledge a little bit later, I actually, Mike and I met through through a mutual friend of ours And in 2018, we were at the International Society of sports nutrition and we sat down for a chat and we actually discuss this particular program that has come to fruition, you know, and but that's that's where we're basically started it started in Florida, sitting down discussing this bodybuilding and physique coaching program, and developing what I call an A through Z, anything related to bodybuilding science, so that we could actually help educate and provide people with something that I wish I had when I was when I was first competing, you know, 23 years ago, it's like to have a, the, the information available at your fingertips and just get some of the foundational knowledge that we need to be able to apply the principles and To be able to work from there.


I love it. Well, we're really lucky to have you on I know that you were the lead subject matter expert in the content. But Mike, can you give us a little information on that? From the NASM side, when you're thinking about physique and bodybuilding and this course itself? Can you kind of give us more about, you know, who is it for, and then also kind of an overview of what the actual course is?


Yeah. So as far as like, why we did it, who it's for, as Guillermo mentioned, it's something we've been thinking about doing for a really long time. Everyone has a different journey in fitness. And I think it's one of the areas that's underserved when you look at the traditional fitness certifications is that they focus more on like things we do sports performance, corrective exercise, certified personal trainer stuff. But the way that a lot of people get interested in fitness a lot of times is through reading bodybuilding magazines.

That's how I got into fitness, I was 14 years old, I saved up money to buy a weight training set. And that got me into it, I found a program for Mike mincers, a program for muscle and fitness. And then that kind of set me on my journey to when I went to college, I made a lot of great friends at the gym, my first job out of college was was a personal trainer. So really going back to the roots of like, why do people get started in fitness? And that's the reason why I want to do this course. And as Jeremy mentioned, though, how can we do it in a way that really gave someone a shortcut? You know, I think, in the ways that maybe we went through a lot of experimentation, there were things that weren't really rooted well in science.

But on the same side of it, there's a lot of things that bodybuilders do, that were on the frontier of fitness and introduced concepts that we now use in fitness and are well accepted for it. So that's really kind of the journey to get the product out there. As far as what it covers just at a high level, all the things that you would need to do to get someone into really great shape. And by that I mean, someone wants to get ready for a wedding, they just want to be lean and stay lean all the way through maybe stepping on stage and being competitor.

And within that we explore the nutrition that you need to do that the assessments, the way you assess those people, goal setting, the training programs, and then I think probably most importantly, it's a coaching aspect of it, you know, I think that's a big piece where it's really difficult to get very lean, I've never been able to get to single digit body fat, like you're almost done with it, because it takes a lot of discipline to do that. And that's probably the one difference between the other courses that we have with this one too, is that you're teaching someone to get to body fat levels that sometimes aren't sustainable for long periods of time when you're talking really low body fat as a male or female.

And then also, it may be difficult to do that for long periods of time as well. But we did try to dress like hey, if you want to get really lean, and stay lean, here's how you can do it, which is something that we see people struggle with a lot of times they'll lose weight, and then they gain weight. And a lot of times people don't have a problem losing body fat or losing weight. They have a problem maintaining it. So I'm really proud of the strategies and the things that we teach in the course to help people do that as well.


Excellent for those of you just joining us today on the master trek roundtable, Marty Miller here with Wendy batts. We have two special guests, Guillermo Escalante er, Dr. Guillermo and Mike Fantagrassi from NASM. And we're talking about the newly released physique and bodybuilding coach course. So exciting stuff. So Mike, you kind of already gave us an idea. But either one of you, Guillermo or Mike, can you tell us how this program differs even a little bit more from some of the other NASM courses? Mike, you did go over the nutrition side and body, low body fat, but is there anything else that jumps out to you? That is different?


Yeah, I mean, I could probably speak to that, as I've been involved with developing a lot of our courses here. Whatever really, you know, excited about within the portfolio of products is that we have a lot of things for different individuals. So we have courses like certified nutrition coach, and that one really focuses just on nutrition.

And the way I would explain that one is fitness nutrition, meaning that someone they're exercising, they're going to the gym, maybe working out five to 10 hours per week, but they're not going above that threshold where you have to start utilizing sport performance nutrition for that individual with it. And then the other course that's nutrition focused 100% is certified sport nutrition coach. And that is that bridge where someone is starting to exercise more than 10 hours per week.

They're involved in sports and athletics and their goal is performance. And that's a big differentiator between this in the physique is that with physique it's about how you look. With sport nutrition is about how you perform and you know it is important to have sometimes lower levels of body fat to be an athlete, but the same time being as lean as a bodybuilder in a lot of cases would be a detriment you know there is levels of body fat that It's important to protect our bodies and for hormone hormones to function correctly and all that stuff.

So those are differences between those. And the other one that's probably most similar to this product is weight loss specialist. But that one's focused really on someone who has maybe 50 pounds or more weight to lose, and what are the nutrition strategies and exercise strategies that are for that audience. And then, you know, this one is, I want to go from maybe normal levels of body fat, to getting extremely low levels of body fat. And that's what this product is really designed to teach and do.


Awesome. Well, that clears up a lot of stuff for me too, because I'm like, I want to know the differences. So I love being able to do these. Can you kind of talk a little bit about, there's got to be a lot of misconceptions about physique and bodybuilding? And can you maybe help clarify why this course may or may be different in your eyes? And then in kind of clarify some of these, some of these topics and issues that you might hear in that field?


Yeah, absolutely. And Mike actually touched on this a little bit is, you know, for so long, I'm going to call us the, the the light coders, which are, you know, just the purely scientific side studying in the lab type of thing, you know, for so long, they put down the bros in the gym, that were actually, you know, implementing some of these principles. So, you know, for example, higher protein intake or nutrient timing, et cetera.

So utilizing different type of training strategies. So these are some things that were have been implemented, essentially, since the 50s 60s 70s. And they've been doing them for decades. And people were automatically dismissing them without understanding them. So we have on one side of the equation, as Mike said, there, there are many principles that bodybuilders have been doing for decades that just had never, the science hadn't been applied to them to really understand why or how they work. But indeed, a lot of them happen to be quite effective. And they actually do work. And like Mike said, they were actually pioneers in that sense. It's just not until later that we're able to apply the scientific lens through it and take it through scientific testing that we can actually understand some of these principles.

Now, along that same token, there, there are a lot of other components that they do that you find that are maybe often unnecessary or overstated. And and they may not be necessary or not necessarily as effective, and in some cases, detrimental and purely dangerous. So I think those are some of the important aspects. And what we try to do with this particular program, is we really dive into the science, the scientific principles, and we really go through the nuts and bolts of hey, what does work? What's more effective?

What's less effective? What do we not know? Because there's still a lot that we don't know, there's a lot of things that we're still learning, for example, peak week type of recommendations of what the competitors do during peak week. Well, we wrote a paper in 2021, that discuss peak week recommendations, and it's evidence base peak with recommendations. But as we read some of that information, and we actually have a whole chapter dedicated to peak week here, which expands upon that particular paper. And as we talk about that is, these are the things we know and these are the things we know that are effective, these are the things that we still don't know a lot of information out, but they're implemented, they may or may not be effective.

These are the things we know are particularly potentially unsafe, and maybe hazardous that you should maybe shy away from. And those are the things that we focus on. And at the end of the day, we are just everyday learners. So we need to be lifelong learners, particularly in this science in the physique and bodybuilding science, where, at the end of the day, we're a baby science, it's really a brand new topic. And it's not until the last few decades, where we're actually starting to learn about these, the science behind bodybuilding and physique science


On camera, and this is for you. And Mike, it kind of piggybacks off of what you just said, you know, within this course, like for me, obviously, that isn't usually a population that I work work with. So within the course itself, I know it's 19 chapters, it's filled with a lot of different topics, like you said, that surrounds getting up onto the stage. But is there like going to be an exercise library? Are there guides? Are there things to help someone like me that really wants to maybe take on this type of population?


Yeah, I mean, I'll get to that Wednesday, and think of this as anyone that wants to get in great shape, you know, and so even though it's written to a level that can support someone that wants to get on shape, get on stage, you know, that's being the most, I think, extreme or difficult person that you would work with, it's still going to be very relevant for the person that comes in and says, Hey, I want to get in shape for a wedding or I want to look great This summer, naturally, what this course is going to address in there.

So it's going to give you the coaching strategies and nutrition strategies, the workout programs that are going to help maybe bring up lagging body parts, Guillermo could probably talk a lot more on this, but a big factor is is your symmetry, having this X factor to your body, right, where you have a smaller waist and larger shoulders.

So that gives you that taper and stuff that you want. And so that can help a lot with your aesthetics. And then even the peak week stuff that Carol mentioned, just in case the audience isn't as familiar are you guys with that? That's basically all the stuff you would do that last week, which is manipulating your water and carbon taking other things. So that way, you have this look of being able to really see that muscle definition.

And it's what happens a lot with models and other people the way that they look. So a lot of times they don't look like that all the time, it's because they have these strategies that allow them from go from looking, you know, maybe okay to looking actually really, really good just by doing this peak week strategy. And again, not all that different, or say dissimilar to what athletes would do UFC with, like water cuts and stuff like that. They're doing it for a different reason. But it shares some of those principles. But again, Karen was an expert on that piece. Since I've never stepped on stage. I haven't gone to that level yet. Yeah. Sorry. Go ahead.


Sorry, I was just going to add to what Mike was saying. And, you know, really a lot of these principles is, is are on a spectrum, right? So I know when I used to work as a personal trainer and had my fitness studio many years ago. What do most clients come in to see me for? Well, they want to look better, right? Of course, health and application, but I would say 80 90% of these individuals just want to look better in their clothes fit better in their clothes look better in a bikini look better in a bathing suit. So we have this spectrum of what we need to get there. And where do you want to go. And these principles really apply for the entire population.

Of course, as Mike was saying earlier, you know, it's much different to go from, you know, 30%, body fat down to 18%, body fat, as opposed to go from 12% body fat down to 5% body fat, even though some of the principles are the same, but it requires a little bit more dedication, more discipline, more structure. And the closer we get to those essential levels of body fat, which is what's what competitors get to it, the details, the devils in the details, so all of those little details do begin to matter. And they may not matter so much when you're when you're kind of starting an exercise program for that general fitness population.

But as you start getting closer and closer to really getting into that wild physique component, that's where you really have to pay attention to some of these particular details, perhaps a little bit more. Because often the difference between just like any sport, the difference between first and second, is often just a little bit. So those extra little details may actually add up to the difference between winning and losing. No,


Thank you for that, Gary, that's a great additional information. And what I was gonna say is, you know, Mike, use the word expert a couple of times, but just to kind of throw this out there, you know, you were the lead subject matter expert for this program. So if you can explain what that means to our audience. So they know the depth of what we go through as a company to make sure we have the best information, and also what you did to develop this program with NASM. Is that different than other projects you've worked on with? NASM?


Yeah, no, it, it was a fantastic experience working with NASM and the entire team. So you know, we sat on a roundtable basically with, with different individuals from from within NASM, you know, with Brian, with Casey, with Tony, with Mike, and, and myself. And we basically started brainstorming different ideas, we were able to develop a very thorough outline. So we had a very general outline that we developed on different points we wanted to cover. And then they really allowed me the freedom to expand and maybe delete certain things expand on certain things. And then, you know, at the end of a few months, we actually had an entire very thorough outline with now each specific chapter, what specific things do we want to cover within each chapter?

What kind of evidence do we have on that? So that was kind of the first piece was putting the entire program together with different perspectives looking at it, and of course, with with my particular expertise in the niche of of bodybuilding, and then putting that framework together. So that framework really allowed us to really hone in on what we wanted to expand on what areas we wanted to ride on, and what we wanted covered, and that was just the first part. Then the second part came in the ability to recruit and get off Thurs that are other x subject matter experts within particular parts of bodybuilding.

So, Dr. Brad Schoenfeld, for example, speaks worldwide in muscle hypertrophy. And he is, you know, probably be the leading expert on muscle hypertrophy techniques. So, he's a friend of mine, I was able to call Brad and say, Hey, Brad, we've worked on a couple projects together, are you interested in writing that chapter on muscle hypertrophy, which was fantastic, we were able to do that. And we're able to do that for all of the different subjects. So everything from anatomy and physiology I have, I have a colleague of mine, who's a bodybuilder who teaches anatomy at a medical school in Texas. So he actually wrote the anatomy chapter.

And we are all also practitioners where we've worked with clients, we've worked with bodybuilders or we've competed ourselves within the bodybuilding space. And luckily, I was able to help pool from my resources. And of course, they of course, had other resources as well. Other Other individuals that Dana, So collectively, we came up with a pool of, gosh, I think 20 to 23 subject matter experts that actually have sub specialties within the bodybuilding, physique, science space, whether it be nutrition, whether it be coaching, whether it be rehabilitation and injury prevention, whether it be exercise programming, and we were able to pull all those individuals, we showed them our very exhaustive outline with things we want to cover, they also had the ability to say, Have you thought about adding this or that, or should I expand on this or that. So that was a fantastic, really, teamwork, team effort, and really gave us not only breadth, but also a lot of depth in what we wanted to cover.

And then, from then on, they write their chapters. And now we have basically 20 to 23 of what I consider the world's leading experts in fuzzy science. And now we're able to peer review each other's chapters. So I reviewed every one of those chapters, and then another one of those individuals, peer reviewed other people's that work, in addition to the NASM team that also reviewed the work. So you basically have three pairs of eyes looking at it from different perspectives.

And we're actually critiquing the work making sure that we're saying what we need to say that it's evidence base, you know, we're raising questions, and making sure that what we're saying is, to the best of our ability, the best available science today, and with the practical application piece, which was really important. So by the time it all came together, I mean, it's it's just that an amazing piece of work. I'm very proud of it. And it's been just an amazing experience working with NASM.


That's great. So a follow up question. And Mike, you know, I'd love to hear your opinion. Yeah. Let you decide, you know, Garin mica, you guys like to answer this? You may both have different thoughts on this, but at NASM. You know, we hang our hat on being evidence based and gamble, you've already touched on this.

And I know this program is no exception. So it everyone's gonna ask, is this truly an evidence based course? Can you give our listeners an idea of what that means? Exactly in the context of this physique, and bodybuilding course?


Yeah, I mean, I can start and then I'll hand it over to Gary, I'm sure I can give you a better answer than myself. But I think the way we approach this, as with any course, is that you look at these three pillars for evidence based or evidence informed practice, which is what does the research say? In the case of bodybuilding, it's also a lot of this expert opinion in what's happening in the field and things that we know that works that maybe haven't been proven in science ship, but again, we know it works in the field, and then also taking in consideration the client, as well. And so when you factor those all together, then you get that evidence informed practice.


Yeah, absolutely. And, as Mike said, evidence base means more than just reading the science, right? Because even when we, when we even look at some of the literature, we really have to understand that even within the body building science literature, you know, there's often limitations in the literature and how we can actually extrapolate some of the findings, right? So sometimes when we see, we might read an article on recreationally trained bodybuilders, did this particular exercise program or did this particular nutritional intervention?

So we have to always look at okay, what's this population like? So how do they define these recreational bodybuilders? And and how does that actually apply to the actual true bodybuilder that we're actually going to be seeing competing on the Olympia stage? And we may see some differences as they define that recreationally trained bodybuilder as somebody who lives three days a week and has only been doing so for a couple of years. Well, now it's not to say that that study is unimportant or doesn't have him Essential Information. However, you need to take those findings with a particular grain of salt and understand, hey, yes, this is great initial information. But it doesn't always apply to the highly trained individual.

The Olympia competitor, for example, who has spent the last 15 years training who train six days a week has been doing so for the last 15 years. We also need to look at the inter individual variant differences of people, which is another big thing. When we look at science in general, it's based on averages. And we're not average, we're not on one on averages. So we need to look at enter individual variances in the data, right? So the the number next to the mean, is is a very important number called that standard deviation. And we need to look at what that standard deviation looks like. Because that's going to tell you how much what were the inter individual variances between the findings of a particular dietary supplement or a particular training protocol. And you may see that you have hyper responders, non responders and moderate responders. And you may have to kind of see how that's distributed.

So when you're reading the science, it's more than just reading the abstract and reading what the conclusion is, you really need to dive into the methodology, you need to dive into the statistics, and the results to understand that, particularly when you're looking at the nuances of bodybuilding and physique science, which is relatively new. And a lot of the people that are studied are not necessarily people like myself or a lot of other people that are competing who have been competing for a long time.

So when we look at evidence base, we have to really say what's available? And what nuggets can we take out of there? How can we extrapolate some of these findings? And how can we really critically analyze the information that is out there to really be able to apply those findings. And as Mike said, sometimes these things are there, and they're being done. And my approach to studying a lot of bodybuilding is basically doing some observational stuff, at least as a starting point.

Because it's very difficult to recruit bodybuilders who are who are at a high level, because if you're going to enter into a particular study, you're going to need to basically do go through a 12 week intervention or a 16 week intervention, give up everything that you're doing everything that you've been dieting for anything that you're training, and do it a particular way that the scientist is going to say, and most bodybuilders aren't willing to do that, because they have their own program that they're willing to do so to do an observation on what are the things that are doing and then are these things effective or not effective and testing them can be a good start, and then hopefully, we can start recruiting more body builders that are willing to do these tests and these particular studies, and then we can learn more, but that is a difficult challenge. Yes.


Well today on the master instructor roundtable, myself Wendy batts is here with Marty Miller, my co host, and we have two special guests, Dr. Guillermo Escalante and Mike FANUC Rossi from NASM. And we're talking about the brand new physique and bodybuilding coach program that was just launched last week. And, Mike, I have a question for you with with some of our NASM already certified personal trainers, do you feel that this is a really good next step for someone?

Or do you think they need to have some of our other courses like corrective exercise to be more specific with anatomy and movement? And then do we need to have that CPT or op T model? Understanding to really be able to dive deep into this program?


Yeah, so good question, Wendy. As far as this course, it is a more advanced level course. And it goes deep into a lot of topics. But it's it's written in a way that we try to make it very relatable and something that people can understand, even if this is their first pathway into learning about this stuff. In an ideal world, we'd say, you know, probably having a CPT would be the best thing and then take this course.

But certainly if someone has a background, and they've been working out, you know, they go to the gym, they've been reading magazines, and blogs, and videos and stuff, they can still go through this course, and come up with a really great understanding of, again, how to be a physique and bodybuilding coach. We do cover the programming and talk about the NPT model. So really, this is a comprehensive course that covers all these different elements. And so you wouldn't need to go through the CPT course to understand the OPT model because we do cover that and provide programming in this course for that.


Perfect Well, I you know, actually I have another kind of piggyback question then because with you saying, you know, when people reading blogs and magazines and everything, you know, I know that we've talked about the experts we've talked about, you know, This is 19 chapters worth of information. So you know, Mike and your, because obviously, you know this content Guillermo, you were you were the expert behind it as well, what is truly the biggest differentiator in both of your opinions from this course to stuff that's already out there on the market?

For the rest of the episode, check out the NASM-CPT Podcast!

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