Adam is an expert in bodyweight exercises and the author, along with his partner Ryan Murdock, of a number of excellent fitness programs such as the Bodyweight Blueprint For Fat Loss. In this interview I talk with Adam about his work and his upcoming program, the Shapeshifter Body Redesign plan (of which I will post a review shortly).
I hope that you enjoy this interview. I learned a lot about why bodyweight exercises are so good for you.
Question: I’m very excited to have as my guest today, Adam Steer, the Bodyweight Coach. How are you doing, Adam?
AS (stands for Adam Steer): Great thanks! It’s a real pleasure to talk to you.
Question: Let’s talk a bit about your background. How did you get started in fitness and what drove you to become a coach and to teach others how to improve their body and their health?
AS: It really all began with my grandfather. I’ve been into training since my early teens, when he got me a membership to his gym to “keep me out of trouble” — his exact words.
I always loved sports and had a knack for them, but I was a bit of a chubby kid. So I was really fascinated by the whole idea of strength, conditioning and fat loss. And given my genetic “talent” for weight gain, I also became fascinated with the theory and practice behind controlling body composition. This benefits my clients a lot, since I’ve looked into and tested tons of stuff over the past two decades.
In the realm of sports, my first passion was basketball. But at 5’6” I didn’t have any illusions, so I applied myself to Laser sailing in the summer and skiing in the winter. Skiing later lead me to discover my passion for teaching and coaching, and I became a full-time ski pro at the age of 18. This eventually transitioned into taking care of dryland training for ski athletes I was working with, into training people on the side part-time for fun, and eventually to a thriving business as a trainer.
However, a few years back I was feeling pretty beat up. I was strong and looked good, but I knew something wasn’t right. The little aches and pains were starting to accumulate and injuries seemed to be more common and last longer. So I started digging into things like joint mobility, flexibility, myofascial release and things like that.
I discovered and got certified in a few different systems and techniques. And through that process I also developed a great respect for bodyweight training and what could be accomplished with it. One thing lead to another, and I kinda became known for the bodyweight training I was doing with my clients.
I’m not dogmatic by any means. And I don’t think that bodyweight exercise is the only way to go. It’s just a tool in the box. But it IS a very powerful tool. That’s why my business partner Ryan Murdock and I decided to use it as the base for our “body redesign” programs. You see, we’re obsessed with the idea of changing the shape of your body for the biggest “visual impact” as quickly as possible. And bodyweight training has turned out to be a great tool for that.
So that’s a brief rundown of my evolution. Nowadays I spend my time training a handful of long-time clients here in Quebec City and spreading the word about good training practices via our websites and our online training programs.
Question: How much did your love of sports and your experience in diverse fields influence the way you teach fitness today?
AS: As a coach, I think the most valuable thing I bring to the table is a bird’s eye view of how to organize multiple training, diet and lifestyle elements to get the results my clients are after. And that is a direct result of coaching athletes. You can’t just focus on one thing, like technique, strength, diet, etc, you need to look at the whole picture.
The other strength I bring to the table because of my experience in sports is the ability to break down and teach complex skills in a way that is easy to understand and digest. This has been extremely useful in the fitness world. It seems that not many trainers put in the time and effort to be good at this essential skill.
Question: How was it like to switch your focus from training coaches to training regular folk?
AS: To be honest, it was just a natural progression. Throughout every stage of my evolution, I was always training a few regular guys or gals on the side. And I always really enjoyed it.
In fact, training coaches and instructors made me a better trainer to the general public. When I would work with instructors and coaches, I always had to keep the “end user” in mind. This gave me a unique perspective of the people who would ultimately be trained by the people I was training.
When I become more and more involved in working with the end user in the fitness world, I maintained that preoccupation with the end user.
Question: You, and your partner Ryan Murdock, are known as the Bodyweight Coaches. Why did you choose to focus on bodyweight training? What are the benefits of this kind of training over regular weight lifting?
AS: I believe it’s a very powerful tool, and one that anyone interested in all around health and fitness should be incorporating into their training on some level. The obvious benefit is the fact that it’s 100% portable, so you can take it with you wherever you go and do it whenever you want.
But there’s a lot more to the story. In fact, I could probably fill a book, or at least a booklet, about the benefits of bodyweight. But here are three of the biggies.
You can easily transition from one movement to another with little or no rest when you don’t have to mess around with equipment. This is obviously an advantage if you’re looking to torture fat off your frame.
Imagine smoothly transitioning from max repetition push ups to 30 seconds of rapid fire mountain climbers with no rest in between. By the time you’re finished your set you’ll be panting like a hound dog on a hot Memphis day! But that’s just the beginning.
Easy Transitions Between Movement Patterns…
Bodyweight workouts will turn you into the Energizer Bunny. No, your ears won’t grow. But you will be able to keep going and going. Quickly switching from one movement pattern to another lets you maintain the overall intensity of a set without hitting the unstoppable wall of local muscular fatigue.
So once you’re finished with those push ups and mountain climbers, pop up to your feet and start doing lunge jumps for another 30 seconds. Not coincidentally, this is also the point where you’ll start to hate whoever gave you the crazy idea for this workout…
Potential For Motor Complexity…
Bodyweight exercises are a great way to add truly three dimensional training to your fat burning sessions. This increases the calories you burn, for several different reasons. First, you’re recruiting more muscle by performing innovative full body movements. Second, you’re challenging your nervous system to assimilate movement through new ranges of motion and new patterns. You won’t be as efficient as you are when performing familiar movements, and you’ll need to use more energy to get the job done.
You’ve already taken tens of thousands of steps on the treadmill. Your body has been there, done that. But have you tried the quad squat, the spike press or the v-up? If not, your body is going to have to work twice as hard to assimilate the movement. Which means you burn more fat!
Question: You have a new program coming out in June, the Shapeshifter Body Redesign Program. What can you tell us about this program?
AS: We’re really excited about this program. It solves a big problem in the fitness industry. Most workout or diet programs work pretty well in helping you to lose “weight”. But unfortunately they generally leave you with little more than a smaller version of the same flabby body. And after all the discipline and hard work, that’s not good enough.
But if you apply the right workout, diet and lifestyle strategies you can actually “redesign” your body in record time. And that’s what Shapeshifter does. It combines years of study and experimentation on ourselves and our clients and puts together all the winning elements to quickly and permanently change the SHAPE of your body.
What we’re really after is the kind of visual change that will make your friends and family sit up and take notice. We want people asking you what you’re doing to look so good. And that can happen in as little as 6 weeks if you hit all the elements of body redesign.
Question: Is this a bodyweight exercise program or are you incorporating other forms of exercise?
AS: The main program is bodyweight exercises only. We’ll also be offering options to use resistance bands and suspension training straps, but you can do the entire program with nothing but the weight of your own body.
Question: What kind of equipment do people need to have to do the program?
AS: Anything you might need can be found around your house, your office or in the park. For example, might need a raised surface to increase or decrease the difficulty of an exercise. You could use the bottom step of a set of stairs, a solid coffee table or a park bench for that. The main program is bodyweight only, so it doesn’t require any special equipment whatsoever.
Question: I understand that this program isn’t just about fat loss but a health improvement plan. What are some health results a person who follows Shapeshifter may achieve?
AS: Shapeshifter focuses on a balance between exercise, diet and lifestyle. That’s what will give us the biggest shift in how the body looks. But it’s also a key strategy to better overall health.
Our diet and lifestyle approach is based on returning the body to it’s “natural” state. We’re constantly bombarded by bad food choices, stress, overabundance of food, lack of sleep, and much more. This throws the body out of whack.
The Shapeshifter nutrition and lifestyle plans specifically address these issues in a step-by-step progression so that you’ll be feeling more powerful, energetic and vibrant at the end of the program than when you started.
We also incorporate regenerative exercise in the program so that you can optimize your body’s mobility, flexibility and alignment. Focusing on these elements will improve your posture and make you look better in a very short period of time. But you’ll also feel better, breathe better and recover more quickly from your training.
Question: What are the main components of Shapeshifter Body Redesign? What will people get?
AS: Basically, they’ll get everything they need to get full benefit from the program. The basic framework starts with your main manual, which lays the entire program out in a day-by-format that’s easy to follow. And along with the Nutrition Manual and the Exercise manual, it gives you all the background information you could want for how and why the program works.
But the coolest thing about the basic package is the library of professionally filmed exercise instructional videos. This is really about as close as you can get to having us coaching you in person. It takes all the guesswork out and makes it easy for you to understand exactly how to do each exercise.
In addition to that, you’ll also get a pre-program checklist, printable charts and a timetable for the entire 6 week program, a printable journal to log your progress, a guide to which supplements actually work (and why), and a collection of “extra-curricular” lifestyle activities that you can adopt.
Shapeshifter is so much more that a workout program. It’s really a complete roadmap to everything you need for a lifelong body redesign. And it’s so easy to follow. We’re really proud of Shapeshifter and can’t wait to open our community to more people!
Question: What kind of person is this program for and what kind of person isn’t it right for?
AS: Really, anyone who wants to look and feel better, more confident, leaner and sexier can benefit from this program. It’s really the ultimate “get back in shape” program. Because getting back in shape is all about regaining that “shape” you had in your glory years.
Everyone will benefit from Shapeshifter, but because of the way the program is presented, I think the biggest winners are going to be busy people who don’t have time to spend on figuring out their diet, workouts and lifestyle approach.
Shapeshifter lays all that out in a day-by-day and easy to follow format that frees you up from the guesswork involved in most programs. When you’re chasing the kids, swamped at work or busy with travel or commuting, that done-for-you format is real bonus.
People of pretty much any fitness level will be able to do this program. We’ve got variations all the way from beginner to very advanced.
Question: Over the past few years you have taught thousands of people how to train and eat better. Did you ever imagine you will reach so many people? How does it feel to know that you’ve been able to change the lives of so many?
AS: It’s amazing how the internet has allowed us to reach out to so many people. As a trainer here in Quebec City, I’m limited to helping a handful of people during in-person training sessions. But by adapting my work with clients to a larger audience, finding innovative ways of delivering the material online and learning how to reach those people on the internet, a whole new world is open to us.
It’s incredibly rewarding to hear from all the people who have used our programs to change their lives for the better. In fact, that’s one of the reasons we went all out on developing Shapeshifter. We really believe it is the HIGHEST quality workout, diet and lifestyle program on the internet.
And I’m really looking forward to hearing from all the new Shapeshifters once we open the doors to the wide world.