On personal note I love training and love challenges in my preparation not just in my event. I personally bought two of Ross Enamait’s books and I followed one of the programs to the T and the I borrowed from extensively. Ross has an amazing way of explaining his philosophy, the application of exercise and reminds you,the athlete that this is not one size fits all. With Ross he practices what he preaches and his is own lab. This is NOT paid content or a commercial, Ross is the kind of coach we need more of. Check him out.
AthleteGo: Ross I have two of your books and used your book Infinite Intensity extensively with great results. What drove you using dynamic and multi-dimensional movement in your routines?
Ross: Life and sport are dynamic and multi-dimensional so it makes sense to train in a way that reflects those demands. Working with such movements has always been a matter of common sense for me. With that said, there is often a need for isolation work as well. For example, combat athletes such as boxers and mixed martial artists have a much greater need to train the neck than others. The same could be said for the hands and grip. Often times the only way to effectively develop these areas is through direct, isolated work.
In summary, an ideal program will not be rooted solely in one style at the expense of all others. It is important to consider each individual separately. Yes, there should be dynamic, multi-dimensional work, but filling in potential gaps via isolation is often a worthwhile addition.
AthleteGo: While using one arm and “one side” movements I was shocked to see how weak I was but thrilled at how quickly I gained strength and balance. When new to this type of training one has to leave the ego at door with the pounds they’re moving. How do help temper one’s enthusiasm or ego?
Ross: I welcome the enthusiasm. There is no one better to train than someone who is motivated and eager to do more. I do not need to temper their eagerness as the iron will do that on its own. If the weight is too heavy to lift, you aren’t going to lift it.
As Henry Rollins said in his classic essay Iron and The Soul,
“The Iron never lies to you. You can walk outside and listen to all kinds of talk, get told that you’re a god or a total bastard. The Iron will always kick you the real deal. The Iron is the great reference point, the all-knowing perspective giver. Always there like a beacon in the pitch black. I have found the Iron to be my greatest friend. It never freaks out on me, never runs. Friends may come and go. But two hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds.”
AthleteGo: With the people you train are there movements that stand out where people in general are moving little to no weight at first?
Ross: It depends on the background of the individual. I work almost exclusively with fighters so most of them (aside from complete beginners) have prior training experience. While I’ve had athletes struggle with many exercises, I wouldn’t say there is a single movement that stands out above all others.
As a trainer, it is important to evaluate each athlete separately. I don’t believe in generic rules. I like to study each individual and determine what he needs to improve on to become a better athlete. Some athletes are naturally strong yet struggle with endurance. Others come to me with a big gas tank but lack strength. The ideal approach for each is often entirely different. The work performed must reflect and address individual needs.
AthleteGo: What types of people do you coach? If you had to summarize into some general categories.
Ross: There really aren’t general categories as I tend to only train fighters (primarily boxers). I don’t just handle strength and conditioning, I’m also a boxing coach. It’s not that I am opposed to training others outside the sport. It is just rare that I have a chance to do so. Boxing takes up most of my time. It is a sport that I am extremely passionate about so I’m happy to spend my days involved with it. I have the best job in the world.
AthleteGo: Another point I find interesting you recognize that many people reading your books have sports and that your programs are not just the only item they may be doing. With strength training and sport, any suggestions in terms of maximizing recovery especially if one is over 30 or 40?
Ross: I believe many athletes unknowingly go about recovery the wrong way. They’ve been fooled to believe that recovery is based solely on what happens outside the gym. For example, supplement companies are constantly marketing recovery formulas as absolute necessities. They want you to believe that the secret to recovery is found in a pill or powder. It doesn’t work that way.
I’m closer to 40 than 30 and I don’t take any recovery supplements. I wake up fresh each morning. Yes, I train hard, but I also do so intelligently. I don’t run myself into the ground every single day. My training intensity varies throughout the week. I’m not afraid to back off when necessary. I listen to my body. Proper programming is perhaps the most important piece of the recovery puzzle. If you perform more work than your body can handle, you aren’t going to recover. I don’t care what you do outside of the gym. It won’t be enough.
With that said, it is obviously important to consider related variables such as sleep, nutrition, and stress. For example, if you never sleep, sound programming isn’t going to be enough. All of these variables must be considered. It is important to eat properly, receive adequate rest, limit stress, and set realistic expectations for yourself in the gym. Always listen to the feedback that your body provides. If you are feeling run down and your body is asking for rest, it is wise to comply with its request.
AthleteGo: Anyone who has watched any of your videos knows you certainly practice what you preach. What keeps you training so diligently after all these years?
Ross: I can answer this question with one word. Passion.
I am passionate about my work. I don’t view training as a chore. I look forward to pushing myself each day. I love the challenge and the rush. I love the intensity. I love taking my body to places that many will never experience. I don’t ever need to look for motivation. Once you are passionate about something, the motivation to pursue your passions will already be present.
AthleteGo:Do you have any thoughts are participating in an adventure race or an endurance event like a triathlon in future?
Ross: I wouldn’t say that it is an immediate goal, but I’m sure that I’ll tackle one at some point. I love training for different challenges and feats so my goals vary from year to year. At the present time, my goals are more strength based, but I’m sure an adventure race will capture my interest before long. I plan to stay busy for the rest of my life. I’m hoping that is a long time. There will be plenty of opportunities to pursue a variety of challenges.
AthleteGo: I think your fans really respect that you deliver and demonstrate maximum effort in your videos. Do you have a specific personal accomplish that is a favorite?
Ross: I’ve never been one to get too excited over things I’ve done. Once I’ve accomplished something, it becomes part of the past tense. If I relish on the past, it interferes with my future. I’d rather stay hungry and passionate to keep moving forward. As soon as I’ve achieved a goal, I’m usually on the hunt for another. I never settle and I’m never satisfied.
It all comes back to passion. I don’t want to kick up my feet and relax. I crave new challenges.
AthleteGo: You were a boxer and continue to work with boxers. Boxers and combat athletes amazing strength and conditioning along with the added pressure of competing in weight classes. How do encourage your fighters to stay healthy and mentally fresh?
Ross: I remind the fighters that this isn’t just a sport. You don’t play boxing the way that one would play many other games. Each time you step inside the ring, you literally put your life on the line. Those who are not entirely committed are quickly weeded out. The sport requires a ridiculous amount of hard work and sacrifice.
I have no problem being brutally honest with athletes. I’ll be the first to say that this sport isn’t for everyone. If you don’t have what it takes or aren’t willing to make the necessary sacrifices, I won’t waste my time with you. It isn’t worth risking your health if you aren’t willing to put in the necessary work.
AthleteGo: In your book Never Gym Less you dispel many body training myths. There are many brief and intense works outs. What was your inspiration for this book?
Ross: I have been involved with bodyweight exercise for most of my life. I can remember my father challenging me with pushup contests as a young boy. It’s the only life I ever knew. As I grew older and began training as a fighter, my involvement with calisthenics continued to evolve. As young boxers, it was expected that we would work through a variety of bodyweight movements each day. Our gym was as low-tech as they come. The bulk of our training was bodyweight based.
As for Never Gymless, I began creating the book when my wife was pregnant with our first child. I wanted a way to train at home without disrupting the baby. I certainly love lifting weights as well, but I didn’t want to be dropping iron in the garage if the baby was napping.
I also created the book to combat some of the nonsense that exists in the fitness industry today. There are so many overpriced gimmicks that continue to deceive the general public. As a young fighter, I thrived in a low-tech environment. If amateur and professional fighters can thrive with bodyweight exercise, the general public certainly can as well. You don’t need to refinance your home to receive a quality workout. It is possible to excel with little or nothing in terms of equipment. Exercise doesn’t need to be expensive.
If we ever expect to combat the obesity epidemic that exists throughout the world, we need to make exercise more readily available and less confusing. Let’s get more people up and moving with whatever they have available, rather than constantly trying to sell them one overpriced piece of equipment after another.
AthleteGo: For younger athletes seeking guidance there is a ton of information, how can one work through the noise?
Ross: I’d start by reminding them to avoid getting lost in complexity. Training does not need to be as complicated as many would like us to believe. Perhaps the most important aspects to training success are hard work and consistency. Almost anything will work if the individual is willing to work.
With young athletes, I like them to become proficient with their own bodyweight first. Develop a solid foundation with the basics. One can do very well with exercises such as pushups, pull-ups, rope climbing, dips, squats, burpees, etc. Don’t rush to move beyond these movements.
AthleteGo: When you’re on the road or at camp what would we find in your suitcase?
Ross:I typically travel with a jump rope, a pair of furniture sliders, doorway pull-up handles, and an ab wheel. These items all fit within a small bag and allow for countless challenges.
If you aren’t familiar with these items, you can find some pictures and demonstrations through the following link:
AthleteGo: Ross, thank you for taking the time to write thoughtful books and provide example of programs and exercises that you actually do. I look forward to future work. All the best.
Ross: Thank you for the kind words and support. I truly appreciate it.
Follow Ross on his sit here!