How to be on top of your mental game

Did anyone else watch the beach volleyball match between the young Italian women and the seasoned US women? I listened as the announcer babbled on about how the Italian women could be the next Misty May and Kari Walsh. And then, I watched horrified as the 21-year-old Italian broke down in tears after the first match. I seriously had to lift my jaw off the ground because I couldn’t believe she was really crying between matches.

Building strength in the female athlete: Phase 1

High school female athletes are weak. There is just no beating around the bush with that one, but let me rephrase it anyway: high school female athletes are in desperate need of a good strength program. I do evaluation/assessments on athletes all the time and the results are pretty consistent, with slight variations between athletes. Here’s what it looks like:

How to bench properly

It’s Monday at the gym which can only mean one thing: “chest and tris” for 90% of the typical gym goers in America. Nearly every one of the chest and tri doers will start their workout with a variation of the bench press, whether incline or flat, dumbbells or barbell. Now I’ll be the first to admit that I use to split up my workout routines like the rest of society, before I came to the brighter side. Now this post isn’t meant to make fun of people that split up workouts this way, it’s meant to be educational. By the end of this article you should actually know, or at least have a better understanding, of what muscles you really recruit while benching and how to bench properly.

A quick guide to a healthier shoulder

Rarely a week goes by when I don't hear someone complaining about shoulder pain or see someone massaging a sore bicep tendon. I see it all the time in youth baseball/softball players, but also frequently in recreational athletes including volleyball players, surfers, and weight-lifters. It wasn’t until I got a text from a friend last week explaining that his shoulder even bothers him when he plays guitar that I had my eureka moment. Most San Diegans suffer from the curse of underdeveloped external rotators, and overdeveloped internal rotators!

Me: How do you feel Daryl? 

Daryl: Like I’ve had a good workout.

That was the scenario that played out every Tuesday/Thursday for the past year as we would work with Daryl, one of our 77-year old clients. Yesterday we experienced a first at 1RM Performance. One of our toughest clients, Daryl Olsen, died yesterday morning at 4am. We started working with Daryl last year as part of the “Biggest Loser” competition at the church we attend. He successfully dropped 10 lbs during the 6-week competition, and then continued to work out with us twice a week. We liked to think of Daryl as my San Diego grandpa. He would bring me newspaper articles in the morning, he took us golfing, he shared stories from his 77 years of living with us, and most of all, he taught us about living. We wanted to share our list of things that we learned from Daryl. 

To the misguided parents and coaches:

Why does your athlete need a strength and conditioning coach? Those of you who know me personally know I have a lot of strengths, but I have a lot of weaknesses. Weakness #1 – I am a terrible salesperson. So guess what? I am going to challenge myself and work on that weakness right now. These are the top 7 reasons why you need me and Bobby’s services at 1RM Performance:

As some of you know, I wear 2 hats: the first being Bobby Congalton of 1RM Performance, the loud strength and conditioning coach telling at you to “add more weight”. The second being Robert Congalton, a researcher in the War Fighter Performance Department at the Naval Health Research Center San Diego. One of the perks of holding a position on a military base is having the option to train at the gyms (you could imagine they are pretty sweet).


What motivates you?

What is the motivating force behind your work out? Is it to lose weight? Is it to win a bet you have with someone? Is it to be “jacked and tan” like the guys from jersey shore? Is it to be a better athlete? Or is it your way to replace something that you have given up? Here in San Diego, I have begun to notice just how many different reasons people have to work out. Yes, the majority of people’s goals are to be lean and to lose weight - as you can tell by the line of 20 people waiting for the cardio equipment at the local 24 hour fitness. Yes, some just want to have abs, big arms, defined shoulders, and a big chest - as you can tell by the ill use of the squat racks. Then there is the aerobic room full of guys doing traditional ab exercises till they’re lying in a puddle of sweat. I thought I heard it all until I met three guys who, by talking to in passing, shared personal motivation I will never forget. All three of the guys use to be an addict of some type. No, not an exercise or food addict, but a drug addict, alcoholic or both.

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Why anabolic hormones do not play a role in skeletal muscle hypertrophy.

Imagine a total stranger walked up to you, knowing you stay up to date on current strength and conditioning and fitness knowledge, and preceded to tell you that the increase in the big three anabolic hormones Growth Hormone(GH), Testosterone(T), and Insulin like Growth Factor (IGF-1) associated with resistance training has nothing to do with hypertrophy. You, like me, would probably drop your jaw and demand to see studies, or at least have someone explain it to you!