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Sucker Punch: Paul Chek by Bryan Krahn

Many have adopted the expression “turn disaster into opportunity” during the latest economic recession.

After my recent interview with educator, author, speaker, and exercise expert Paul Chek, I had the opportunity to find out exactly what that expression meant.

My one-hour conversation with Paul Chek was just coming to a close when I suddenly realized that my voice recorder wasn’t, well, recording voices.

Fortunately, I’d taken notes; 20 feverish pages of them, in fact. But Paul Chek, one of the most controversial, outspoken figures in the industry today, isn’t exactly known for speaking in short, MTV-friendly sound bites.

Paul Chek is a man on a mission and when he speaks, his words reflect that. He is unapologetic in his belief that many “modern” approaches to health care are either misguided, flat-out wrong, or agenda-driven practices designed solely to pump up the bank accounts of the big pharmaceutical machine.

Because of his hard line approach, Paul has alienated a lot of his peers who would normally be praising him as a visionary who’s revolutionized the field of corrective exercise. Instead, they question his practices, his criticism of the scientific method, and his holistic approach to health and wellness. Some say he’s simply an excellent therapist that’s gone too far, others say he’s flat-out crazy.

The criticisms only make Paul talk louder.

As a result of my technical mishap, I had to think a lot about what Paul had said. I had to look at my short hand scribblings and ask myself if that was what he really said, or if I’d somehow misinterpreted the message? I had to cross-reference what I thought I heard with other work he’s published, and finally trade emails with Paul just to make sure I wasn’t subconsciously hearing things that I wanted to hear, or inserting my “programming” when I should have been listening to his voice.

In the end, I’m glad I took the time to seek out the voice behind his message and I encourage you to try to do the same.

Remember, it’s easy (and lazy) to dismiss the things that challenge your beliefs; it takes effort and maturity to let down your defenses and try to understand them. Cause you never know where an opportunity may be waiting for you.

So without further ado, meet Paul Chek.
TMUSCLE: Paul, you’ve been the force behind many training concepts that are now considered staples, like Swiss ball work, heavy ab training …

Paul Chek: I’m going to stop you there. I’m glad you brought up the Swiss ball and core training, as these are indeed areas that I helped develop and bring to the public.

I go to public gyms sometimes, and I see trainers having their clients roll around on Swiss balls or do routines that I designed. But when I go on the Internet and make the mistake of reading some of the shit people say about me, you’d think I was a frigging idiot.

When I started using the Swiss ball with athletes, people thought I was crazy. Certifiably insane, even though I was getting results that were unheard of at the time.

But today, every trainer with a half-day certification has their clients do Swiss ball work, and they have no idea where the idea even came from! The same guy they think is so insane that he should be locked up in a padded cell is also responsible for bringing into awareness a lot of the training principles used by coaches and trainers worldwide.

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