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In this week podcast, I had the honor to interview a guy that for Many people considered as “the glute guy”, bret Contreras.
And no he did not get this nickname for having a nice butt, but for helping thousands of women around the USA transform their butt.
During the podcast, we discussed different subjects from building a bigger butt to building a business in the fitness industry.Bret is not just another trainer as you will soon notice and he also got many expertise under his belt like:
- Ph.D. in Sports Science from
- Master’s Degree Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist
- Founder of The Glute Lab
and much more.
But what I really liked about him is that he is a really humble guy that loves to share his experience with others and not looking at himself as someone who is better than you ( which most people do these days).
so I wrote down all the topics Bret and I talked about so you can take notes and use it.
Lidor: first I want to thank you for being in my podcast Bret. I’m truly honored to have you here and I really believe a lot of people will benefit from this so thank you very much. for those people who don’t really know you, please introduce yourself.
Bret: so first thank you for having me in your podcast Lidor.
So for those who don’t know me, I’m a trainer for more than 20 years and been lifting more than 25 years.
Most people know me as “the glute guy” because most of my Ph.D. was around glute training.
I have a pretty good life, good teammates that I really respect such as Brad Schoenfeld and Alan Aragon.
Lidor: what made you so driven to fitness and actually building a business in the fitness industry?
Bret: I don’t consider myself as a driven guy, I would say I’m very curious and passionate about science and training. You know, Confucius said: ” find a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life”.
Lidor: when was the moment you knew ” this is it! This is what I wanna do in my life!”?
Bret: actually I was a math teacher for 6 years.
As a math teacher, you don’t make that much of a money and I was also in that “safety job” mentality because I did not have certainty what’s gonna happen if I quit. What really got me going was when I was working to get my master degree my professor said we have to do a project on whatever topic we wanna do so I decided to do mine in exercise science.
When my professor saw it he was so stunned that he suggested me to go after this because from his perspective I was really good and passionate about it. And that basically got the wheels rolling.
So I decided to start my own business, and as a beginner, I didn’t know anything about business so I bought two books from Amazon on business:1 of Robert Kiyosaki and the other one of Donald Trump ( I didn’t know he is going to become president back then).
So after 3 months, I had 55 clients and from their people started coming and telling me I should think about using the social media to get to more people and put my name out there. So I created a blog and from there I used other social media such as twitter, facebook, youtube, Instagram and I was really focusing on educating and helping people to know better.
Lidor: what would you suggest for a trainer that just starting out and still from the one side is doing a lot of 1-1 personal training and from the other side needs to grow his social media and putting his name out there daily?
Bret: you need to ask yourself in what way you really want to make your money and what you really love to do.
For one it will be 1-1 personal training, for other, it will be working with online clients. For me, it will be public speaking because I’m way better speaking and share my knowledge in seminars than writing. So try to right down your straight and weaknesses and focus on what you are good at and what you really love.
There are many things you can do today in the fitness industry, you can be an online trainer, you can make products, boot camps, seminars.The problem with most people is that they are just all over the place. Focus on few things and do them really well.
Eventually, it comes down to talent+ work ethic And if you can know what you are passionate about and you are continually curious to know more, then you are on the right path.
Lidor: I really believe it’s about hunger and doing the necessary to sustain that hunger over time so you can always become more and get better by setting goals after goals after goals.
Bret: Yes, I remember one of my early goals was to write an article to t-nation.com . Then I wanted to write to a health magazine, then I wanted to publish a book, then I wanted a Ph.D. I also wanted to deadlift 600 pounds!
the point is that you always want to set goals in every area of your life.
You have to have goals, because goals will make you more driven and hungry to achieve it which will make a good momentum for you and your future.
Lidor: for a beginner, when would you suggest is the right time to work between 80-95% of 1 rm? Because we all know how progressive overload is important for building more muscle and strength.
Bret: in the past, I thought that for getting bigger and having better physique you have to get stronger and lift heavy. You can still increase muscle even if you do higher reps, as long as your total volume keeps going up.
Eventually, it comes down to your own goals. If you are a physique trainer and all you care about is getting better physique you don’t have to focus on heavy lifts ( 80-95% of 1 rm). And besides, going too heavy for most people can be very dangerous because most of them don’t really know how to do those exercises in the right form. especially with exercises like the deadlift and squat because if we are talking about 80-95% of 1 RM and we do a pull ups, it can be less dangerous than doing a squat or a deadlift for 2-3 heavy reps.
Eventually, it all comes to having more strength, flexibility, core strength and speed.
So there are many factors that should be considered, every one of us has a different mechanics, different structure, different genetics, some of us has weaker tissues strength than others so yes there are a lot of factors to consider so you either try to educate yourself and know your body better or you hire a good coach that can understand that and help you achieve your ultimate goals.
Lidor: let’s go back again to your nickname ” the glute guy”. Many women in Israel would like to know what do you think will be best 3 exercises for building a bigger butt? Because there are many women who want to have a bigger glutes but at the same time their quadriceps get bigger ( something that they don’t like) so what would you suggest them to do?
Bret: a lot of people consider the squat and the deadlift to be the best exercise for building a bigger glutes.
As for me, I would suggest doing more of barbell hip thrust, glute bridges and back extension
Lidor: as a trainer myself, I see many women and men trying to do the hip thrust but when they go too heavy it really hurts their hips.
Bret: you need to do it optimally, and really understand what feels good to you as an individual. For some it will be doing a single leg hip thrust, there are many variations to do so just like some will prefer doing the front squat while others would prefer the traditional squat or some would prefer doing a barbell bench press while others prefer using the dumbbells. Some will even use machines like the lying leg curls and do hip thrust there.
As long as they hit their glutes hard enough and progressively overload their glutes, they will get better results.
Lidor: there is also the exercise ” the stiff leg deadlift”, what is your opinion on that exercise for developing the glutes?
Bret: I actually love that exercise as well, in fact in my seminars I always like to ask people what is the exercise that makes their glutes really sore or get them the biggest pump. Some will say that the stiff leg deadlift makes their glutes sore. so as a trainer, you have to really understand the individual and that if one can feel an exercise in the right area does not mean another one will feel the same.
Lidor: when talking about training and muscle activation, what do you think about “tension”? do you think tension and “feeling the muscle” is something we need to focus on?
Bret: Brad and I are actually studying this right now. And things are looking pretty good for the group that puts their focus on the right muscle. So far we don’t have enough data but in short answer yes I believe that you do need to feel the right muscles while training and that tension is important.
Lidor: what do you think about all those ” isolation exercises” that most women do when trying to build a bigger glutes? You will see a lot of them doing donkey kickbacks, machine hip abductors and a lot of bodyweight exercises.
Bret: I believe they are beneficial, because when we are looking at the glutes you have to consider there are 3 parts of the glutes: the gluteus maximus, medius and minimus. For example, the ” hip abductors” works more on the upper glutes. It really depends on the individual and what he really likes to do, So if he/she does those exercises at the end of the workout, it probably won’t harm them.
Lidor: so it’s about focusing on compound movement and use isolation exercises at the end of the workout?
Bret: when talking about compound exercises, even when doing dumbbells alternating curls can be called as a compound exercise because you move your elbow joints and your wrist joint.
Lidor: is there any different between a male/female training routines/ rep ranges/ volume/ frequency and etc?
Bret: women don’t fatigue as much as men do. Most women at the beginning will want to sweat and do circuit kind of stuff and I will have to slow them down and tell them ” no! you got to rest.”
And it will be hard for them at the beginning but then after about 2 months of doing so, they are going for PR (personal records) instead of just sweating and going all over the place.
As for men, they tend to be lazier and they want more rest ( even when they don’t need that much), So for some women, they would prefer to go lighter and do more reps while others will prefer to do lower reps with heavier weight.
Does one better than another?
Probably not as long as he/she keeps progressing.
I’ve worked with many people from young ages to old ages, women during pregnancy and after, and same principles apply to all:
You give them the exercise you are trying to teach them and if they tell you that it does not feel right or it’s hurt, then you don’t do it. You give them what feels good and from there you progress it over time.
Lidor: last and most importantly! Where can we find you, Bret?!
Bret: I’m all over the place!
You can find me on social media such as:
Instagram Facebook Youtube Twitter
Or you can check my site:
What’s your take on this week podcast?
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