July 4, 2012
Charles Poliquin’s Biosignature Modulation certification is a good one (I’ve repeated it and all the trainers at W10 have done it at least once) but the information is only is good as it’s application.
For those not familiar with Biosignature Modulation you can find more details here. In broad terms its hormonal profiling without blood work. The premise is that where we store our body fat is a reflection of our hormonal profile and where we can identify imbalance, we can use nutritional and supplement intervention to ‘spot reduce’ fat from these sites. For example, if you have have high belly and hip skinfold readings – relative to the other sites – it’s an indication that your insulin and coritsol axis is out of sync. High calf is an indication of low growth hormone, high thigh readings relates to toxicity, and so.
Whilst the Biosignature programme has done much to raise the bar in terms of personal training standards, bringing nutrition to the fore, it’s probably fair to say that it does have it’s limitations in mainstream personal training. It’s not that it’s not a good system, it’s just not always applicable in it’s fullest with regular gym goers.
First off, as a practitioner you have to become proficient with callipers. If your skinfold readings are out, the basis on which you give recommendations is wrong and the whole system is flawed. Getting good takes practice, literally hundreds (maybe thousands) of different bodies worth of practice. Most trainers/practitioners haven’t had (many never will have) this practice and therefore it’s safe to assume that their specific protocols are out.
Secondly, the specific protocols only become relevant when the foundation principles have been covered. There is no point trying to modulate insulin when nutrition is not on point. Similarly, there is little benefit in following a growth hormone protocol if your sleep is shit. Oh, and that estrogen protocol you’re spending several hundred pounds on? That too is almost pointless until you give up the beers, stop drinking tap water, eating factory reared chicken, and quit using your girl friends ‘product’.
And thirdly, it’s prohibitively expensive for most. The supplements that are aligned with the protocols are expensive (and rightly so, they’re good quality) and most people would be better investing in a water filtration system, organic foods and buying a decent mattress (to go with their blackout blinds) before they wade into certain Biosignature protocols.
However, the foundational principles of the Biosignature system – which is where people need to focus and is where I (we at W10) operate – are sound, and the vast majority of poeple need not look beyond these if they want to get in shape. Clean up your diet, drink ample water, add some high grade fish oil, a greens drink and a multivitamin into the mix and look at your vitamin D, magnesium and zinc levels, is a pretty solid approach for everyone.
Once you’ve incorporated the foundational principles and stuck to them for several weeks (months) we can then talk about specific protocols – if of course you still feel they’re relevant. But first up lets save us both the time and frustration, and you the expense, by just getting the basics nailed down.
Note: Whilst some experienced practitioners are using the Biosignature to good effect, I would stick my neck out and say that most personal trainers out there who are (ab)using the system are doing so without fully understanding it and are inappropriately (perhaps unwittingly so) milking their clients for supplement income. These are typically the ones who have ‘just come back from a course’. Don’t be that trainer – practice your skinfold readings before you even start thinking about navigating the art of prescribing more specific protocols – and definitely don’t be that client.