Chris Holland

Chris Holland

24 May, 2016
Customise your workout
Charles Poliquin-trained personal trainer gives his top tips

Admit it, even those lucky ones with seemingly perfect bodies want in on the secrets to becoming leaner and fitter. And while there are those lucky ones, 99% of the population has to work hard to get – and stay – fit.
Chris Holland is a personal trainer who is currently based in Hong Kong and has worked extensively in the United States and Costa Rica. He is an expert in The Charles Poliquin personal training program and highly recommends it.
We talked to him about Poliquin, and got a few tips about how to stay fit and healthy by paying attention to food.
ECOZINE: Could you share more about your work in the personal training industry? 
CHRIS: I think the fitness industry is becoming more focused on sales, and there are fitness training certifications that teach you how to sell and the types of new tools to get members more involved, but in the long run, they are not about results and can make you waste your time. For most people, their goals are to lose weight and to maintain muscle balance, and not training properly can slow the process. The problem is, it is easy to make money as a trainer by reading a book, doing an exam and getting a certificate. You can work almost anywhere. There are a lot of people who get injured because of inexperienced trainers. If you ask many trainers how many of the athletes they train have won a gold medal, most will say nobody. Even if you ask how many of their general clientele have hit their goals on the date wanted, most would have to answer few or none. I use the Charles Poliquin training program, which was developed by Charles Poliquin about 10 years ago. He travelled to various countries and learned from coaches of athletes, and he uses that foundation to teach you how to train others. This program is based on students, while other programs are not.
ECOZINE: What is unique about the Charles Poliquin training certification program?
CHRIS: The program teaches you how to work both with the general population and athletes. For example, I met a biker who is a triathlete and wanted to compete in the Iron Man in one year. This program teaches you how to deal with that specific situation. It works on a case-by-case basis. Charles Poliquin focuses on strengthening balance and is based on tests on muscle imbalances, which is very scientific. You can train hard but have a bad diet, and it will lead you to become stronger but in a much slower way. Everyone’s hormonal system is different; you can find out about your hormonal and muscle imbalances through a series of tests developed by Poliquin. For example I have a friend with high estrogen levels while I have high corticosteroidal levels, so we eat and train differently. After I did the test, I determined that I had to quit my endurance work, because with my hormones, it is hard for me to produce testosterone and lose fat at the same time. You really need to learn what works, as a fitness trainer, because you are dealing with people’s lives. There are people who spend lots of money and time but are still the same, while some can reach their goals in six or eight months. If you ask people who have committed to the Charles Poliquin program, they will tell you that they won’t go back to other programs. I’m not saying other training programs are 100% bad, but I think it is best to do your research thoroughly and go with something with a proven scientific approach.
ECOZINE: How does one progress in this program? Is it challenging?
CHRIS: There are four levels, and there is Biosig. Biosig is where tests are done with a caliper to find out the fat percentiles in the carious parts of a person’s body. It gives you a number that corresponds to Each specific part of your body. For example, the fat levels in a person’s stomach or calf might be high because the person is not sleeping enough and is caused by stress. For me, I had quite a bit of stomach fat, so I had to stop cardio exercises and change my diet to increase protein and decrease carbohydrates. By doing so, I lost eight kilograms in six months – and it was all fat. The test gives you a way to zero in on your specific problem and help you target it. The four levels are based on ability to train athletes. For example, level three requires that a trainer trains a national athlete, and for the person to earn a medal. Here in Hong Kong, only one person has accomplished that so far.
ECOZINE: So the program is tailored to each person you train?
CHRIS: The program focuses on individuals, so it depends on the goals of the person you are training. Most people want to lose fat, and the Biosig tests provide you with the hormonal profile of a person. Based on that strength and balance test, the person might need to start from the beginning or practice strength and balance exercises for muscles. Once the muscle balance is better, then we start to work to their specific needs; so yes, everyone is very different.
ECOZINE: What’s Charles Poliquin’s view on diet?
CHRIS: Some of it is very straightforward: stay away from carbohydrates and fats. Society, especially in the United Stated, have moved from well-rounded eating to carbohydrate-based diets, with cereal in morning and bread, pasta, rice and fatty foods for lunch and dinner. In the United States, more than 60 percent of the population are obese, with 40 percent of kids at high risk of diabetes at an early age. The problem is with people’s diets, and convenience foods. The answer is simple: eat more vegetables. Anything with beans is good for the body, because they can boost your immune system, help you lose fat, and keep your body clean. Stay away from high glycemic food, even fruits – like pineapples, which you might think of as healthy because it’s fruit but it has a surprisingly high sugar content.
ECOZINE: What do you think of the fitness scene in Hong Kong?
CHRIS: People think training is fun, and it can be. But serious training can also be painful and challenging, if you want to achieve your goal! In the long run, a person who is 85kg can keep having fun at a commercial fitness place and have fun meeting others members, without really training… and you will see the impact is not the same. People also want to save money, so they do group training, but these trainings are not personalized and won’t make you change your body composition. Most people want to look leaner, feel stronger, and lose fat, so they go to classes which make them feel tired, but the classes may not ever help you reach your goals. Instead, they increase your stress hormones! The best way to change is with a diet, not a trainer. A trainer is there to help you.
ECOZINE: As a personal trainer, how do you motivate people?
CHRIS: It really depends on individual personalities and characters. Often the relationships become more like friendships. You have to learn how to interact with each person. There’s a line of respect and honour, and you need to maintain that in order to have the client teat you and the training program with the same respect and honour.
ECOZINE: What are your top fitness tips?
CHRIS: I would encourage people to do weights to get in shape, because long runs on the treadmill are actually toxic on the body. But the best way to get results with your body shape is through diet, by cutting foods that rank high on the glycemic index. And for males who are trying to increase their protein intake, stay away from soy, because it can decrease sperm count and testosterone!
For more information on Charles Poliquin:

By: Ecozine Staff


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