K.S: Sure. Having been an athlete since a young child I knew that my career would be fitness related. In 1994 I started working in health food stores and reading everything I could get my hands on. I also got a basic personal training certification and began my training career that year. Since then it's amazing how much I've learned and how much my thoughts have changed.
J.H: You seem to have learned from some of the best in the field. What has been the biggest influence in your professional development?
K.S: It's hard to say. However, I really began to learn and advance my knowledge when the old Muscle Media 2000 was getting popular. That magazine introduced me to some of the better thinkers in the industry. Guys like Poliquin and Staley for strength development, the late Dan Duchaine and his wacky yet effective nutritional advice, Paul Chek for rehab and abdominal conditioning, and others. After being introduced to those guys it led me to pursue personal internships and courses of study from some of the top thinkers in the iron game.
I have since studied under some of the top strength coaches, soft-tissue and rehab speicalists around today. In the last few years I have been most impressed with the work of Mel Siff, Yuri Verkhoshansky, Valdamir Zatsiorsky, John Davies, Louie Simmons and Dave Tate of Westside Barbell and Pavel Tsatsouline. I am committed to life-long learning and I love it!
J.H: Fitness is such a trendy field, with all the various "fads" what do you think is one of the most common misconceptions to fitness?
K.S: Right now the most annoying fad is this whole "functional training" boom. Everyone and their grandma are running around balancing on balls and toys and think it's great because it's supposedly functional! What's even worse is when people begin to abandon good old staples such as squats, deadlifts, bench press, etc. for goofy no-load functional exercises on gimicks and toys. I don't think most people even understand what functional exercise even means.
J.H: What advice do you have for a person who is interested in getting in better shape and reaching their goals? Where should they look information and how do they know what they are reading is accurate?
K.S: First and foremost, stay away from anyone who claims to be a functional exercise guru or expert. It is easy to be duped into the whole functional exercise cult and it will be in your best interest to stay with the old basics that work and always will work. In others words: Strength training, Olympic lifts and their variations, bodyweight and weighted general conditioning exercises, various forms of running, sprinting, climbing, etc. There are so many great tools and methods to get in phenomenal shape; it really depends on what someone is looking for.
As far as accuracy of information a person looking to get in top shape would be wise to spend a little more money and hire a professional who truly understands what they are doing! There is a lot of crap in publications and people must be critical and not believe everything they read with blind faith. It is good to develop some critical thinking skills, especially in the fitness and sporting industry where fads and myths continue to confuse and misinform the unfortunate masses.
J.H: Thanks for the time Keats, I am sure many people will benefit from your thoughts.
K.S: Anytime Josh!