January 28, 2021

Episode 275: Handler Fitness and Agility

In this episode (43:18)

In this episode, Sarah, Jennifer, and Esteban are joined by Chris Kerton aka Kert, Handler Fitness Coach for Team Great Britain and owner of Karma Fitness.

You Will Learn

  • How fitness training can be specialized for dog agility handlers.
  • Why anaerobic fitness is important for agility.
  • How strength training can help prevent injury.
  • Why mistakes may be more common toward the end of courses.


- You're listening to Bad Dog Agility bringing you training tips, interviews and news about the great sport of dog agility. (upbeat music) - I'm Jennifer. - I'm Esteban. - And I'm Sarah. And this is episode 275. - Today's podcast is brought to you by hititboard.com and the new teeter teach it. An easy to use tool that controls the amount of tip on your teeter so you can introduce

motion to your dog in a gradual way. Go to hititboard.com for the new teeter teach it and other agility training tools and toys. That's hititboard.com. Today, we're talking about handler fitness and agility and I'd like to welcome a very special guest. He is the handler fitness coach for team Great Britain and the owner of Karma Fitness, Chris Kerton. Kert, as his friends call him and so we shall.

Welcome to the podcast. - Thanks for having me on. - Okay now, Kert, I want you to tell us a little bit about yourself and I want you to start with this. Your own experience in dog agility because I think this is a big deal. - Okay. Well, I started competing myself in dog agility about I think coming up to eight years ago, there or thereabouts. I started

because my wife fell pregnant with our child and she just asked me to take over running her dogs just to keep them fit while she was off. Never thought that I would partake in dog agility myself. It was just always something that my wife used to do and I used to go off and do my own thing but I fell in love with it straight away to be

honest. I've been competing ever since with my first dog who's literally just retired now. - Well, this story sounds a little bit familiar. You know, Sarah was doing a Jodie for about a year or so before I was like, I could do that. Let me just jump in there. I can do it better than you, no problem. Yeah but it didn't quite work out that way but yeah.

And I think it's great that you do agility because I understand that you are working with agility handlers on their fitness, on their agility. Getting them better for the sport but you're in this unique position of being a competitor as well because I know there are a lot of people out there who have tried working with various fitness coaches. Even in explaining health issues to their doctor, they

have to show them videos and try to explain to them what dog agility is. What kind of movements are involved and so I think it's very cool that you have a real insider knowledge of the sport where we've heard it a little bit about your agility background. Now, tell us a little bit about your fitness background. Were you into sports? Like how did you get to this point

where you're providing fitness lessons for agility competitors? - Well, I've always been active. I mean since as long as I can remember, my parents were always advocates of physical exercise and just activity, just being busy. Myself, the sports that I initially got into was swimming, running, competed internationally at triathlon and duathlon. And the sport that you guys may not have heard of is surf life saving but they're

all endurance based sports. And I just... I've always loved it. I've always loved exerting myself, seeing what I'm capable of and then followed on from there is how I can help other people get the same feeling that I get from it, I guess. And I've been a PT or a strength and conditioning coach for as long as I can really remember in my adult life. Probably since I

was 18, I guess. I used to do a lot of PT stuff and then yeah, gradually went into the more strength and conditioning side of things. - What kind of athletes were you working with before dog agility competitors? - General population for sure. I used to work with all kinds of people, all age ranges, all abilities but then the majority of people around me were either playing rugby.

I don't know if you guys are aware of rugby but it's like American football-- - I am. I don't know how much of our audience is. I think of it as football without the throwing. - Yeah, yeah. Without the helmets, yeah? - Yeah and no helmets too. Right, right. - (mumbles) that's a big sport where I live so I had a lot of rugby players and yeah, football

players but because of my endurance background, I taught a lot of running as well. - Yeah and that's amazing. I mean, triathlons, that's the real deal. I'm saying that as a former swimmer. You're gonna have to tell me a little bit about the surfing, the life-saving surfing. Tell me more about that. What's that about? - It's (stammers). (laughs) I don't even know where to start. So it's kind

of based off the job of a lifeguard and it's all of the things that a lifeguard would need to do but it's massive in Australia and in New Zealand and it's fairly big in Great Britain as well. - And this is ocean stuff, right? This is not like in a pool. They're like, you got to swim a certain distance. They make you like drag some 200 pounds behind

you to the beach and they time you guys, right? - So it wasn't so much of the dragging stuff in the sea. It was more racing on craft so the part that I used to love was just the fact that anything can happen on any day because on any given day the waves could suit one person and not suit someone else. - Ah! Wow - And the amount

of times I come from the back because I caught a wave and just went past people and they were just not happy-- - Wait, so then this is more in motor sports as opposed to like actual swimming testing or it's like a combination of the two? - Yeah, a bit of both really. Yeah, I mean craft work, you gotta have a lot of skill to do that but

obviously essentially it's an endurance sport. It goes on for the iron man especially about 20, 25 minutes of constant high threshold work. - Well, that's fantastic. I think this basically tells me that Americans under appreciate the brilliance of Baywatch. (people laughing) - Yeah, for sure. A bit under appreciated over here. - Yeah, for sure. All right. Now when I think of kind of physical health of the handler,

I think of fitness and I wanna know what everybody here thinks fitness means in the context of Jolie. So Sarah, let me start with you. What words come to your mind when you think handler fitness? - In agility specifically? - Specifically to handler agility. - Specifically for agility, I think of-- - Like what is fitness? - I think of speed. The ability to... But not just speed but

like acceleration, right? The ability to go from zero to 60 in you know, quickly, right? Like a car and it's not as much about what your top speed is but how fast can you get up to that top speed and how fast can you bring your speed down to prepare for a turn? So like changes of direction. And then I guess the other thing that I think about

is just general aerobic fitness because the ability to run around a course without losing speed, without gasping for breath, that kind of thing. - Yeah, I think those are all really great points. Jennifer, have you ever saw the need or done anything to improve your fitness specifically with the goal of improving your agility? - Yeah, every year we have our tryouts for AWC in May and every year

that I make the team, I commit to some program that runs basically from the time I make the team in May to worlds. I think we've talked about it in a few podcasts but I do something different every year. So I did orange theory one year. I did crossfit one year but you know, the kind of the day I make that team I dedicate myself to trying to

be the best I can by worlds which typically for me is more cardio based and speed based as opposed to like strength training. Like I'm not trying to like bulk up but rather be able to be, as Sarah said, kind of those quick twitch acceleration, deceleration, my speed, my cardio also flexibility. I think when you talk about fitness and agility, I think about like the rotations that occur

with front process and flexing and your flex ability, I guess rather. So yes, I have put some effort in. Not as of recently. We are in COVID right now so don't ask me what my cardio is like right now but Kert's gonna get us in shape and tell us what we need to do to come out of this. - That's right. So Kert, what do you think about

what the ladies have shared here? - Other than there was some good points made, for sure. There were a couple of things that not I disagree with but I would lean towards maybe trying to change their mind, shall we say? So I agree that it's a lot about speed obviously from a handler's point of view. If you're fast it's not gonna win you the world championship but it's

not gonna harm your chances either. I mean as much as dog training is obviously an important part, the relationship with the dog. If you can get to a jump to handle it, you're less likely to go wrong and I think that's what it's all about. It's about increasing your chances of a success if we're looking purely at performance side of it. One thing that Sarah said was that

she would like to improve her aerobic fitness. Now, that is really good but I'm not talking domestically here. I'm talking more on the international side of things because of the long extended lines that there are on the international stock horses. There's definitely less moments where you have a chance to slow down, to relax, to ask for collection. Like I said, there's often more skills that speed seems to

be where the emphasis is these days. So the likelihood is if you're looking to compete at international level you need your anaerobic system to be properly prepared. Now, obviously preparing yourself aerobically is not gonna be a bad thing but from a strength and conditioning coaching point of view, I would certainly put the emphasis more on the anaerobic side. And then-- - So can you kinda tell the difference

between those two? Like anaerobic versus aerobic? - Oh! Very simply without going into the geeky science of it 'cause I'm not hoping to send your listeners to sleep. Aerobic means you're using oxygen to get your energy and anaerobic means you're not. - But then how does that like manifest itself in the way you run? I guess if you're... So if you're running for longer it would be? -

So generally on... It's obviously person dependent on how well trained they are through each of the systems. And again, I'm trying not to go too deep into the reach of this. I'll try to keep it fairly understandable. So when your body is working really really hard and you can't... Basically, you need more energy than you are able to get oxygen to your muscles, you've metabolized pyruvate. Like I

said, I'm trying not to get too technical with it. You get pyruvate from glycolysis when there's limited oxygen and that produces lactate and this allows the glucagen to carry on breaking down or the glucose to carry on breaking down. So you get energy production instead of just using oxygen. Now, person to person, the amount of time you can spend in each energy system does differ but anaerobically most

people will last between one minute and three minutes of intense exercise, which is the kind of timeframe you're gonna be looking at on an international course. - Got it. So it's like that like sprint style of running. You're basically putting all of your effort into a short period of time and that's what's generally gonna make it anaerobic for most of-- - Look at it from evolutionary standpoint. It's

the energy system you'd use if you saw a saber tooth tiger and you wanted to run away. - Right, right. - Well, so Kert, let me break it and ask a more specific question. Then let's say I'm an agility handler and I say, okay, I wanna improve my fitness. I'm gonna do it by running. And so I decide to go out and I'm gonna do... What is that

program? Couch the 5K? - Yeah, yeah. - Right? You run five kilometers. So you know, you wanna build up to three miles and you say, "Okay, now I'm doing what I need to do for a Gillian." While I don't doubt that there is going to be health benefit from doing that, that may trickle down a little bit to your agility certainly, which would be more effective doing a

couch to 5K program or maybe working out to 10 sets of 40 seconds sprint and then a minute rest and repeating that 10 times. Like which is gonna give you... Which is gonna be a little more relevant to your agility training? Or do you feel like no, they're about the same? - They're definitely not the same. I get a little bit of a bad rep for this and

it's because there's not the understanding of where I'm coming from. So I don't think couch to 5k is a bad thing. Like you said Esteban, is certainly more than doing nothing. You getting some exercise, you getting aerobically fitter and yes, that will have some trickle down for sure. But from an agility standpoint, you are better off training in the anaerobic energy system, training that pathway. But going further

from that and kind of tagging onto what Jennifer said at the start where she said that she wouldn't focus so much on strength. I think there's massive benefits to focusing on strength first. If you build your strength, you've got more chance at being more powerful and then once you are more powerful, once you've improved your mechanics, you can be faster. And then obviously with the training that I

personally prescribe people, I periodize it. So at any one time we're focusing on one thing and that way your training is more effective for the time that you've got. It's not super time effective to be focusing on getting stronger, getting more powerful all at the same time. So your periodize your training and if you go to someone who's qualified, they should have an educated pathway of work to

get you to where your goal is. And strength training is a massive part of it. It's certainly not the only part. You would definitely be doing the anaerobic work but you can't overlook the strength work. It's so important for progressing other things but it makes you more robust to injury. It's gonna increase your longevity in the sport and just general wellbeing like we spoke about a little bit

at the start. - Yeah, I think about like the way that I run agility and I definitely notice how much power I use in my legs of four direction changes. So every really strong direction change that I have on course, there's gonna be a strong push in the new direction that comes straight from the legs, you know? - Yeah and the stronger you are, the more stable you

are. So the more able you are to produce your power. If you think of it like a rubber band or like a rubber pole or something like that, if you wanted to stop and change direction, the top half would start wobbling. But if you're stable through that midline and you've got that strength in your legs through your core, through your mid line, you've got a much better platform

to push off with. It's gonna be much more efficient. - Yeah, I think this is all really good discussion. I want to go ahead and start breaking things down a little bit for people and exploring each thing a little bit more. So I like this idea, this focus on strength and this is something... As our listeners know, I'm a medical doctor, a physician here in the United States.

And I did a fair amount of sports medicine work, former athlete as well. And so strength training is something that is becoming very popular in medical circles as we realize the importance that it has, right? So we've got older people. We used to think of it as a young person game, right? But now we've got older people. And in this case when we say older, we're thinking 45

and above. Most people that are serious athletes depending on the sport are gonna be retirement age already in their forties. But so 45 plus that there are gonna be benefits. For women, you're gonna be able to combat things like osteoporosis but for both men and women, you're going to have things like a reduction in falls, for example. We find that the older people over the age of 65,

over the age of 75 who have the ability to, for example, they do a squat-- - Body weight squat. - Right, a body weight squat. These are the kinds of people who are going be able to get in and out of chairs without falling, right? They're going to have better coordination because they have better stability due to greater strength. And so for our listeners out there who do

agility and our physical therapists, you know very well from working with your clients how important strength training can be, certainly. And this brings us to all aspects of agility. So Kert, you started off by talking about the differences between agility over there on the other side of the ocean, there's international big courses, lots of yardage, lots of running, lots of the handlers are gonna have running contacts whereas

over here in the United States, our courses are much shorter. They're more compact. Handlers have the ability to create paths where their personal yardage is not as great as it would be on a bigger more widespread course. And stop contacts are much more common. So on the table where you can get a five second count, a literal five second break in the middle of a course and each

of the contact equipment. These are important rest periods and so it's not an accident that, in my opinion, standard will often... These standard rents which have the contact equipment, you're gonna have higher qualifying rates because handler fitness becomes less of an issue whereas for jumpers, they're constantly having to be in motion, make decisions that you're tired. That's where things happen. You get those videos where people front cross

and trip over things, run into winds, that sort of thing. We had talked a few days ago in preparing for this podcast and you said something very interesting about data that you you had gotten just from looking at performances at a big event as they pertain to the end of the course. Can you tell us a little bit about that? - Yeah. I don't wanna make it out

like it's anything scientific? It was literally just what I observed. - Sure, sure, absolutely. - Yeah, I just don't wanna make it sound like I did a scientific experiment. But like when I was in the EOS, the last one that happened, when I was watching the agility runs and the jumping runs, actually it was surprising at the start but then it was too much of a correlation of

pattern for it to be a coincidence that the amount of people who were getting faults within the last 15% of the course. And it just pointed to what we've just spoken about with the anaerobic tolerance, I guess. How trained their anaerobic system was and I wanna to just say as well, the UK courses maybe are more similar to your courses but internationally and certainly over in Europe, they

seem to be more extended so, yeah. - Yeah, so there are gonna be listeners who recognize themselves here and they're saying, "Okay, you know, I went to tryouts and by the time I hit the third course on the second day, at the end I was really dying. You know me and my dog, both. I felt like we were slowing down, I looked at the video and I remember

being very exhausted, right?" And so they're interested in fitness for themselves. - That's called the quicksand effect, right? It's like the last few obstacles when it feels like you're running in quicksand. - That's right. - Yeah. - That's right, that's right. - But there are gonna be other people who say, "Okay, you know, that's not really me. I don't run these big courses." But they want to be

more fit. And this is where I think that you kind of got to determine what kind of fitness you're looking for but understand that benefits extend outside of the ring. So for example, let's say you're perfectly content running agility the way that you are now. Well then, how can I interest you in doing cardio maybe 30 minutes a day, five days a week which we know medically speaking,

is strongly associated with longevity, right? Extended lifespan, right? Well, maybe you can do agility for a couple more years, right? So even though you're not out there pushing the weights, working on sprints, doing that kind of thing, you don't run these bigger international courses, you can extend your life and continue to enjoy the sport that you do. I think that also falls under handler fitness but having said

that and also understanding that any medical injuries that knock you out of the game. So let's say you have very poor foot working coordination, right? And you fall and you fracture your lower leg, sprain an ankle and now you're out for several months. I mean, that sucks, right? You're not doing agility during that time and maybe that's something you could have avoided. So Kert, talk to me about

agility and footwork. And so here I'm picturing like cone drills, shuttle runs, a real change of direction kind of stuff. What kind of things do you do with your clients that focus on this aspect? - Yeah, so I mean, I do firstly agree that like the vast majority of my clients aren't training specifically for international competition. We can go into that if you want to later. I'll just

answer your question first. So you're asking specifically about the footwork. - Mmh! - I do feel again, there needs to be a general foundation of strength before you can... So there's kind of like a glass ceiling, right? If you haven't got the strength to be able to do certain things, to be able to shift weight effectively, then it doesn't really matter the footwork I tell you to do

because you're not gonna be able to do it. So you do need to address things first. Let's assume that those things are addressed then it's the same as you train a dog. I know that might seem a bit simplified but it really is. The way that I personally do it is I've broken down each of the handling maneuvers into kind of a back chain. So I backed chain

the handling maneuvers to people and we'll do... So we'll do the actual direction change step and then we'll work on the movement before the step and then we'll work on the movement before the step into the... Do you know what I mean? It back chains all the way. And yeah, I mean there's... You just gotta build foundations. You can't chunk the behaviors. Again, it's the same as dog

training. You need to take things slowly, progress cleverly, intelligently and anyone can do it. You just gotta want it. - Yeah, I totally agree. And so if I'm a handler, let me ask you this. And if I'm a handler and I'm not running on international courses but I am looking to improve my fitness. I handle mostly with rear crosses because I have to. I have to do a

lot of distance work and I find that I'm losing control of my dog in certain spots because the judge is able to create situations where I fall too far behind. I've tried to fix what I can with handling but I just need to be able to run faster. So what's the prescription here on the physical fitness side? Like what kind of exercises should I be looking to do?

- I mean generally, it's just a case of preparing people to make them ready for movement first. That's the very basics. A lot of people won't need to spend too long at this stage because generally, most people are fairly well prepared and if they're not, it's just a case of showing them how to be. I believe in movement being the medicine itself. Once people start moving, often a

lot of times things fall into place. And I do just believe a well balanced strength and conditioning program is what 95% of people who do agility need doing the strength work. But then at the same time doing the recovery work, doing core work, doing mobility, passive range, dynamic range, bullet proofing work. It's just the full gamut of sessions that would make up a strength and conditioning program. They

are in a program for a reason because you need all of them. So I mean, from a point of view of being a well rounded... You can call it an athlete or you can just call it having a well rounded fitness base. You need to be fairly well-versed in all of the different areas. And if you're just doing it for enjoyment, that's fine too. It's quite enjoyable being

fit. Once you get to that point, you're gonna enjoy it, I promise you. And like constantly achieving difficult things through these sessions, it'll give you an increased feeling of self-worth, self-confidence, self-respect and it makes a massive difference to general life as well as agility life. - Yeah, I think one thing that I've noticed in the sport, right? Is that there are certainly people like Esteban and like Jennifer

who do come from athletic backgrounds and then discover agility like yourself, Kert, right? And then you discover agility and then you enjoy agility and you do well at it. And then maybe you're looking to take your fitness to tailor it to the sport a little bit more. But then there are a lot of people in the sport who discovered the sport. They themselves were not athletic. Maybe their

dogs were incredibly athletic. And then once they got into the sport they wanted to do better. They wanted to help their dog more. And I know so many people who maybe did not make fitness and exercise a part of their life or their weekly routine until it started holding them back in agility. And agility was the thing, right? That gave them the motivation that they needed to pursue

fitness and exercise. So I think for a lot of people agility is the thing that pushes them to be better, to be healthier, to lose weight, to gain strength. And then they get all of those benefits into the rest of their life, right? But the agility is like the foot in the door. - Yeah, for sure. I mean, I used to joke with my friends who I trained

and we used to say that my motto should be, 'Don't be the one that let's the dog down'. Just because of the story that you're saying there is such a familiar story. I've had a lot of clients who've come to me for that exact reason. They've got dogs that are showing a lot of potential and they don't want to be the one that let's the side down. And

that's fine by me. I don't particularly care what gets them into it. I've spoken to previously as we've said and as much as I train a high level athlete in agility, I get more from training people who are in it to just feel better because when you're making a difference to the pain that a person feels on an everyday basis and they come back to you and they'll

say, "Oh! No, I'm not feeling pain doing these things anymore. It's changed my life." That means a lot and I just really want to encourage people to try find themselves something that they do enjoy that will get them moving because I promise if you follow a good program, you gonna wish you'd done it two years previous. - I think those are some really good points when we look

at the agility population and we kind of break it down, right? And everybody's got different goals and they come to the sport from very different places. Do you ever do work on the food and nutrition side? Because when I look at physical wellbeing, just everybody's kinda state of being, not only am I looking at the exercise and the physical ability to do certain things but certainly nutrition plays

such a huge part. And so what are you doing for your clients or the team Great Britain? - So firstly, just to say I'm not a nutritionist but obviously I am qualified in nutrition and I do help a lot of my clients with it. If anyone has any specific issues, I would refer it on to someone who is a qualified nutritionist. But yeah, you are right. And probably

one of the subjects that triggers me the most in all honesty because there's so many myths revolving nutrition. And I honestly think it's there just to confuse the consumer? And obviously, these companies are... They're in it to make money. And I think there's some people, unwittingly get lured into that and they begin following something without understanding what they're doing. So the one thing that I am really big

on, is explaining nutrition. It's very simple. A lot of people will try to make it sound harder than it is and that's because they want you to buy their products. But I think understanding will empower people to make the right decisions for themselves rather than try to do a diet for someone. Big reliant on me then and I don't want people to be reliant on me. I want

them to be able to do these things themselves. So I think just explaining the nutrition, like all of my clients, they're all welcome to ask me as many questions as they like regarding it. And specifically now we've come to January and there's a big group of the guys who are working towards body composition changes and a lot of those guys are looking to reduce fat but there are

some there that are looking to put on muscle too. Again, it's the full spectrum. - Yeah and I think a lot of people get lost there. They're really not sure that they have this starting point which is fitness, okay? I want to be more fit and this way I can be better at agility but then then they're not sure. Should I be training for marathon? Should I be

doing these sprints? Should I be doing these cone drills? Should I be lifting weights? Should I be... What are those? That mirror... You see the mirror and then you see your reflection-- - Oh! Yeah, like all the new things. There's a lot of-- - Yeah, there's a lot of fairly high end meaning, expensive things out there now. Especially now that we're right at the start of the new

year, new year's resolutions. We did that podcast, I think a week or two ago. And so it's hard for people to I think get started. But I think just having the recognition that food and nutrition as a part of your lifestyle, it really goes hand in hand with your physical wellbeing and health. And you wanna pair that with fitness and people at high levels. Really, the two are

just like two sides of the same coin. Now, there's one other thing that we had talked about earlier and that I think, is kind of the mental side of physical wellbeing because I think how you feel about yourself and achievement and goal setting and dealing with pressure and stress performance, that sorta thing can have a really big impact on how you do in the ring. And I had

imagined certainly for very high level competition like the FCI World Championships, you know. You're over there, you're responsible for team Great Britain and for people trying out for the team. So tell us a little bit about that side of a sports performance. - Well again, yeah, you're spot on. From my point of view, I always say to the guys who I'm working with specifically at the international level,

'cause you're right, the added pressure of that can get to some people. People will spend untold hours training their dogs in preparation for these big events and they might be the best handler. They might have the best dog with the best skills but it comes to an international or any competition, it doesn't need to be an international competition. They get to the start line and then they are

affected by external things. Things that shouldn't really be affecting them. And it affects their performance. You will know the people who in training, they can't not go clear. All they do is the fastest clear rounds ever and it gets to a competition and it goes to pieces. They'll find something to put them off. So it doesn't matter how good you are, if you aren't prepared, if you aren't

more bent, if you aren't mentally robust enough, then it's gonna be hard for you to perform at the same level that you train at. And there's definitely techniques and things you can be doing to get mentally stronger. But yeah it's... Most people will overlook that kind of side of things, I think. - Yeah, I think another aspect of the mental side is knowing what you're capable of, right?

And I think that when we look at the dogs... I've often said with dogs that some handlers just... They don't know what their dog can do because they give them like maximum support at every jump, right? And they never try to push their timing or move on to the next thing a little bit faster because they're not sure if their dog will stay committed to a jump and

so they wait everywhere and they end up being kind of late everywhere. And I think that we can see something similar on the handler's side where as a handler if you have not pushed yourself physically, you don't know what front crosses you can make, what blind crosses you make. Anything that requires you to be further ahead. Like you just don't know where your limits are if you haven't

pushed them. And so I think sometimes those are the handlers that do end up maybe defaulting to rear crosses. And we love rear crosses by the way but you want to be able to, in certain sports, have other options. And you need to start working it into your mental perception of yourself. Your speed versus your dog's speed, at what can I get to and knowing your physical limits

is absolutely part of that. Like, right? - One of the things that actually kind of gets to me a little bit is when I hear fitness coaches and they say, you can be anything that you believe in. Well, that's simply not true because it doesn't matter how much I wanna be Beyonce. I'm never gonna be Beyonce. - (laughs) Now we know Kert's secret desire is to be Beyonce.

Apparently he wants to sing to the world. - Yeah, that's what I'm saying but like you've got this. Like you say you need to be realistic. And if it's to do with training, it's setting yourself smart goals. And if it's to do with the competition side of things, it's like you said. Are you prepared for the intensity that's going to be in a competition. In training, I feel

that too many people run with the knowledge that they can just run again because it's training. So they won't put that intensity into their training. They won't turn up at training and if it goes wrong, that's the last thing they do on training. So they've got that fallback. So immediately when they go to a competition, the environment isn't the same. But the one thing that you say to

everyone with their dogs, dog training, make sure your dog experiences every environment so they can generalize the behavior. But from a handler point of view they haven't generalized the behavior of competition. - Yeah, I think that's completely true. You know, dog sports and dogs (mumbles) specifically has evolved so much in the last 10 years. When we look at our dogs now, we feed them the very best food.

Whatever diet that you think there is. Obviously a lot of different opinions out there but diet is on your mind. Their mental wellbeing. I'm talking about puzzle games that you'll give them, walks out in nature, spending enough time with you away from training, focus on the relationship being comfortable in different environments. In addition to all the obstacle work which has to do with skilled, independent performance. And on

top of that, you've got the handling system that you work out with your dog, right? The countless hours and repetitions that you spend perfecting the communication and the teamwork and all of those things come together when you're looking at a performance in the ring. So as competitors, we all know that and we're very proud of that. We call our partners, our canine partners, athletes, right? They're real canine

athletes. They're on TV, they're on Fox Sports. You know, you see them competing. They go viral on social media. Millions of people are watching the sport and familiar with the sport. Here in the US now I believe it's ESPN, right? That's going to be carrying these big American Kennel Club Championship Events over the next several years. So you're gonna be in millions of households. Again, really focusing on

the canine athlete but because of the evolution in course design because as handlers, we've all gotten so good at doing this sport, judges are making it tougher and they're getting out there and they're trying to trap us in spots where a lot of times the only way to get out of it is to run, right? Some physical solutions. And so, I think there's growing recognition. That all of

the things we're doing for our dogs, we probably should be doing for ourselves. - I think it's not just about the changes in the course design either. I think it's also just the way people think, right? They put everything into their dog and they don't give themselves the same focus. And not focus like you need to spend time on it. But I guess like to use a trendy

word like self care, right? They don't take care of themselves as well as they take care of their dogs. - Right, right. And so I think that's changing and I think that's a very good thing. - All right. Well, now Kert, tell us where people can find you for people who are interested in seeing how you train your clients, how team Great Britain is getting ready for the

next world championship whenever that happens to be? Where can people find you? - So I've got a website which would be Karma Fitness Wales and then on Facebook is probably where I'm most active. I'm not great at the social media side of things. I said to you guys but Chris Kerton is my name on Facebook and if anyone wants to get in touch and ask any questions, feel

free to. I will try to get back to you as quick as I can. As I said, the main page that I run on Facebook is Karma Fitness Wales, yeah. - And so you are training team Great Britain and you train people live but you also train people online and have some online programs, right? - Yeah, yeah, a hundred percent. I mean, most of the guys in the

GB team that I do train are online clients primarily and then we just arrange to meet up when it suits. 'Cause you know, everyone's schedule is busy and everyone's spread out. So it's not possible to train everyone in person every day. We make it as individual as we can by doing initial tests to find out what people need and then we go from there. But yeah, I've got

online programs, I've got in-person programs, we've got running workshops, yeah. There's been an-- - Do people need access to a gym or gym equipment to train with you. - No, essentially the majority of my clients who are in the academy all train from home. You don't need weights or resistance band. Everything can be done body weight but what you tend to find is once people have been in

the group for awhile, they want to progress. And once they have, like we said at the start, build that foundation of moving well then we look to add some resistance and then they'll buy a kettlebell or a dumbbell or resistance bands. And then we'll play around with things like tempos and breaks. Rest periods, sorry not breaks. To get progressive overload that way. So yeah, there's lots you can

do. If you wanna go to a gym as well, obviously I'm more than capable of doing gym work too. - Awesome. All right, so what Sarah will do is she will put some links into the show notes page, directing people to your Facebook page so that they can find you for anyone who's interested in learning about his online programs. And if you wanna find them on Facebook, it's

Chris, C-H-R-I-S. Kerton, K-E-R-T-O-N. Kert, thank you so much for joining us on this podcast. - Thanks for having me. I really appreciate your time - And that's it for this week's podcast. We'd like to thank our sponsor, hititboard.com. Happy training. (upbeat music)

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