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Colgan Chronicles Interview II

Train Like a Pro: Fitness expert Cory Holly shares his training tips

CC: How and why did you get into weight training and fitness?

CH: On my 12th birthday my mother purchased the famous Charles Atlas Dynamic Tension course, which my best friend and I started immediately. At the same time, I was also reading Joe Weider magazines and lifting free weights at home. My goal was to build myself up and to get as strong and as muscular as possible. Of course at the time, everyone told my mum that I shouldn’t lift weights at an early age because it would stunt my growth, reduce my flexibility and cause my heart to enlarge and thereby increase my risk for heart disease. Both my mum and I knew intuitively that these fears were wrong. She saw how I loved training, she knew that sport was the best thing for me, and she also knew that I was approaching it logically.

After leaving US College in 1977, I continued training in the gym 6 days per week to the present, competing in powerlifting and bodybuilding. I play recreational sports like hockey and soccer in season. I also like to hike, golf, fish, ski and snowboard. But I never miss workouts regardless of travel, family or business obligations. After winning the Masters level Canadian Bodybuilding championships in 1998, I developed an interest in the Grouse Grind Mountain Run held each September and most recently in Track & Field at the Masters level in the Hammer.

CC: What is your personal fitness philosophy?

CH: My own personal workout program is composed of periodized splits. Each workout always has a component of strength development, aerobic conditioning and stretching. Formal controlled exercise compensates for sedentary living and when combined with organic whole food and dietary supplements, provides the single greatest mechanism for maintaining form and function as we age.

CC: What is the most important thing, healthwise, people can do for themselves?

CH: Exercise and move their bodies. This will immediately improve their vital capacity, create an interest in health food and raise their awareness of supplements designed to improve their performance. People need to know the difference between exercise and physical activity. Sitting for long periods of time allows the body to accumulate cellular waste. Important hormones decline and muscle begins to atrophy. Without efficient excretion we become lethargic and prone to every disease known, especially Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Syndrome X. The human body is a predatorial machine designed to be continuously active. In modern times we live and eat in absolute contradiction to evolutionary biology and the science of good medicine.

CC: You’ve said the majority of people have poor nutrition. What can people do to improve their diet?

CH: As a nation, we have the worst diet in the world. We suffer from gross malnutrition. Our primary basic staples since the turn of the 20th century (1900) include white flour (bagels, muffins, bread, pasta), white sugar, white oils (refined heat-damaged junk oil like Mazola and margarine), white salt, homogenized/pasteurized cow’s milk, processed breakfast cereals (breakfast candy) white rice and of course fast food/junk food.

CC: What would your typical day’s meals consist of?

CH: Six small meals of which 4 are blended shakes. High-quality protein (whey protein isolate, turkey breast, lamb, eggs, sashimi, ostrich, bison) is the anchor of my diet. I don’t like the “high-protein” label. Each person must determine their physiological requirements for protein in relation to their individual biochemistry, lean mass and training needs. Each shake is different and designed with a particular objective. For example, pre-workout, post-workout, afternoon recovery and night time snack. My food selection is based on my blood type, my somatotype, my ethnic origin and my workout schedule. When we eat is just as important as what we eat.

CC: Describe a typical week of training for yourself.

CH: I train almost everyday but I vary intensity and volume. I often split my workouts into 2 training sessions, which allows me to train quickly with intensity. For example this morning I have a hammer workout, which involves throwing, turn drills, plyometrics, sprinting and stretching. Later tonight I will lift at the gym, focusing on strength movements, such as powercleans, deadlifts, squats, weighted chins, weighted bar-dips, bench, etc…Intensity is what most people lack in their life and in their workouts. They are afraid of injury and don’t understand that injury comes as a result of having no intensity, as well as no improvement or very little. Without intensity, there is no growth hormone release and testosterone isn’t really affected. Physical activity creates a demand for calories, but the influence of variation in training is crucial to understand.

CC: You say that in order to achieve a healthy lifestyle, you must exercise with intensity. Does that mean that a moderate 20-minute run, 3 times a week is not enough exercise for people?

CH: The human body has the capacity to adapt to whatever stress it is exposed to. This is why exercise should be progressive and any attempts to improve should be modified by patience and discipline. Dietary supplements like ribose, creatine, glutamine, and HMB can improve one’s capacity to adapt biochemically to the stress of heavy exercise, mental stress and demanding sport. That’s why they’re so popular. Once your body fully adapts to running at a certain pace, you will not experience any improvement in vital capacity or lactate threshold, unless you challenge the body with a greater load or form of running stress, such as running faster in the same time frame or running longer.

CC: How do you balance your family life, with three kids, and your career?

CH: With a tremendous sense of appreciation. Life is precious. Every moment counts. I tell the people I love that I love them. I also love my work and strive to help others improve their own lives, so work is more like play. That doesn’t mean it isn’t demanding and stressful. But one of the main reasons why I train and eat whole food and take large quantities of the highest quality nutrients, antioxidants and sport supplements available, is that I need a functional body that works. I have so many personal goals at age 42 that I will need at least another 100 years to achieve them. And you can’t achieve anything without a healthy mind and a strong, functional body, of which I believe I can do something about!

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