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Tops for 2018

Bit late on this post but there's too much gold here to not share with everyone! With 2019 shaping up to be a real beauty it’s time for my tops in 2018 article to go out and give you all a bit of a look at what I thought was worth a mention from books to TV shows to Apps, podcasts and products. Hope you all enjoy it as much as I have writing it, and I’m sure you will find something in this list that will make it worth the read!

P.S. XIP turned 9 in January! Thanks to all of our dedicated clients and athletes over the years who have helped make us who we are! “Better Performance for Life!”. Oh and we welcomed another member to the Guyer family with the birth of my son Griffin!


  1. Culture Code by Daniel Coyle. It’s no surprise that Culture Code sits at the top of my list for books this year considering his previous work, “The Talent Code”, is required reading for all staff at XIP. Culture Code takes the reader along on a journey into some of the most successful and unsuccessful cultures in the world while observing what traits each of them may or may not have in common. This book challenged me to ask questions about how I approach my own work as a small business owner and entrepreneur and as a coach in the world of performance training. The story line for each of the cultures described in the book are fascinating and I found myself folding over page corner after page corner (yeah I’m one of those people) as I read along. Whether you are business owner, athletic director, manager, sport coach or anybody else interested in creating a stronger more productive culture this is a must read!

  2. Endure by Alex Hutchinson. I am not quite finished with this one but man does it have me captivated every step of the way. If you’re interested in understanding more about the limits of human performance and the role the body and brain may or may not play in reaching new limits then this needs to go into your Amazon cart now! Even non athletes will find this a very exciting compilation of scientific research and true accounts of man taking the human body to the edge of disaster, and some who take it a bit too far…

  3. Hero by Meg Meeker. In 2018 I became a father again, 2 now, which is both exciting and double the work for our family. I will gladly admit that my wife is the rock when it comes to raising these children, I am in most ways just a permanent parenting intern at the Guyer household. Hero has given me a new perspective on the father’s role in raising children, which although very different is equally as important as the mother’s role. Dr Meeker helps fathers understand how important it is to be a leader to our children and gives strategies for handling some of those tough situations that don’t always come so natural to fathers.

  4. The Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv. If there’s one book I hope every

parent reads it’s this one! Every day our increasingly “wired” generation of children become more and more removed from the outdoors and all of the natural beauty it has to offer. Louv refers to this as “Nature Deficit Disorder”. In the book he not only supports his diagnosis but also backs it up with countless studies and other evidence that links the disorder to the rise in obesity rates, depression, attention disorders and athleticism. Although fascinating it’s more than just a comprehensive analysis of a crisis in the world we live in, it’s a cry for help…Parents please read it, and please get those kids outside enjoying the natural world we so often take for granted. They will thank you for it later...

  1. Unlikely Farmer by George Kempton. This is a special book to me, as it was written by my grandfather who passed away in April of this year just two days before the book went to press. My grandfather George was one of the most interesting people I have ever known and I am quite grateful to have spent so many years with him. His passion for farming, family and fun were contagious traits that drew many people in for more than just a handshake and a hello. He was my version of the “Dos Equis” most interesting man in the world. Take a trip into VT history and live the life of a dairy farmer in the Northeast Kingdom of VT through my grandmother’s daily journal and my grandfather’s narrative from the 1960’s through the mid 1980’s.

  2. Conscious Coaching by Brett Bartholomew. Brett is the "coaches coach" and this book will help coaches at every level find more effective strategies for connecting with human beings. The interpersonal side of training is vital to your success as a coach, and making strong connections will always trump what's on the paper when it comes to being a

successful coach. "Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care." A saying we've surely all heard before, but how many coaches don't know how to show your athletes that you truly care about their success even when they are having a bad day? Or with that athlete who just doesn't want to listen? Sometimes it's not as easy as just a handshake or a high five and "let's get to work." Forging strong relationships with your clients and athletes is vital to your coaching success and Coach Bartholomew has been in the trenches in all types of coaching situations so his insight and coaching IQ is more than just a degree on paper. Brett is top shelf and borderline superhuman with his responses to questions and comments on his social media pages, so chances are if you have a question for him or want to connect he will be more than willing to reciprocate. Oh and he just came out with a "Conscious Coaching Field Guide" which you can get by clicking on this link.


  1. Strength Training and Coordination by Frans Bosch. I refer to this text more than any other hands down.

  2. Physical Training for Hockey by Anthony Donskov. New one for me this year recommended by Coach Justin Smith at the University of Vermont. Anthony did a fabulous job preparing a text that will undoubtedly prepare coaches and athletes alike more effectively for the game of hockey.

  3. Triphasic Training by Cal Dietz and Ben Petersen. This is a staple for most coaches and is not a new one to my desk by any means, but it does get opened and reflected upon quite often. Cal and Ben break down the how's and whys behind athletic performance and muscular action while helping coaches create more effective programs for athletes. I use this resource to help me in program design and also exercise variation.


  1. Harvard Business Review Management Tip of the Day. This daily newsletter provides anyone in the world of business with invaluable tips on everything management in one short paragraph. Go sign up now!


  1. Google Earth Pro. Typically looking at this when I should be going to bed but I just

have to check out some ridge or softwood edge where I might harvest my next buck. The maps are super detailed and allow me to scout out my next hunting area months before I actually step foot on the ground.


If you enjoy sports and learning about winning cultures this series will have you hooked from the first few minutes. Having read Legacy by James Kerr I was even more enthralled as I had some insight into just what it takes to an All Black player and what sort of culture and dynasty the team had created. As the winningest team in all of sport it’s hard not to be intrigued, not to mention the brutal reality of just what each player physically endures over the course of a rugby season. The show takes you inside their season, their homes, practices, lives and the team that they would literally die for. Put it this way, after watching the series I found American football just a bit boring. Trust me you will be wishing for more episodes before the first one is done. Oh and my wife loved it too, if that might help any guys out there gain leverage in picking the next weekend show for you and your significant other.

2. Free Solo: Alex Hannold free solo's El Capitan.

I'm not sure what else to say about this other than un-fu***** believable! When it comes to the limits of human performance I'm not sure if anything else even comes close. He either makes it or he dies. Thank you Alex for showing us just what the human body, and mind, is capable of and for putting me on the edge of my seat while you were hanging on sheer rock by just the tips of your fingers. And props to a film crew who literally hung on with him every inch of the way. So awesome, if you haven't watched this already go do so now!!


  1. Just Fly Performance with Joel Smith. Love this podcast! Joel gets some really great guests who share their knowledge and expertise on everything performance. Joel is a track and field guy and typically the conversations find their way back to speed and power, jumping and building more reactive athletes. He’s open minded and asks great questions to guests that create some great conversation. If you’re into performance training add this one to your playlist.

  2. NSCA Coaching Podcast with Scott Caulfield. I’ve known Scott as a close friend and colleague in the coaching world for a long time and his work with the NSCA and this podcast are really awesome. Conversations always dive into each guests journey to being a strength coach and what hurdles they might have faced along the way which can be really helpful for new coaches and also the more veteran coaches in the field. His jovial personality almost always leads to a few laughs keeping the show fun and but always informative for the audience.

  3. Pacey Performance Podcast with Rob Pacey. I’ve been a listener of the Pacey Podcast for a few years but just this year got to spend a bit of time chatting with Rob on the phone talking about Push Band accelerometers, a company he also works for. Rob is a real class act and the podcast navigates all the topics a performance coach in this field wants to hear. Being that he is on the other side of the pond we get a bit of refreshing diversity with certain approaches to performance training than the norm here in the US, something I greatly appreciate and admire about the podcast. And of course Rob’s UK accent is an added bonus!

  4. Gain Cast with Vern Gambetta. Vern does a really good job keeping it simple and effective in each episode on the Gain Cast. Great guests who truly respect the world of performance and helping to educate others in the field so that our athletes can reap the rewards.

  5. Big Woods Bucks with Hal Blood. So when I’m not in the gym with our athletes, researching new approaches to our training or writing countless programs I’m doing one of two things…Hanging with my family or hunting and fishing. My wife might argue that even when I’m at home with family that I’m thinking about deer hunting or fishing, and she’s not entirely wrong there either lol. We all have our passion and hobbies outside of work, mine is tracking big bucks in the mountains of New England. In the Big Woods Bucks podcast Hal takes you on hunts with he and his crew in the big woods and talks strategy, hunting philosophy, tips and things he’s learned in his years tracking and hunting big woods bucks. If you’re into that sort of thing or just interested in what it takes to track down a big northern whitetail check it out.


  1. Push Band App. We use this app and our Push Bands every week and sometimes every day for monitoring and testing our clients and athletes. Hard to beat having real objective data right at your finger tips when looking to provide evidence based training to your athletes.

  2. Train Heroic. Since signing on with the Train Heroic app for offering virtual training to all of our athletes we have opened up our ability to touch more people anywhere in the world with our cutting edge programs. This third party app gives coaches like us the ability to put our programs in your hands anywhere in the world on your mobile device. This fall we took over the training for an entire D3 college and have every team on their own program through the Train Heroic App.

  3. The Feedly App. This app helps me to stay on top of all the latest research by allowing me to have all the journal articles I follow and other research in one place. I just scroll through the articles from my go to resources and pick the more relevant articles to read and share with my team.

  4. Imovie media editor. We currently have well over 500 videos in our virtual training video library and all of these have been created through Imovie first and then uploaded to Youtube. I know there’s other apps out there but have yet to find a reason to make a switch.

  5. OnX Hunt App. OnX gives me access to satellite and topographical images of all the areas I hunt or am considering hunting. It also provides property lines and boundaries for both public and private lands on top of a ton of other information for hunters. I am able to download maps to my phone and utilize the features even when I’m deep in the woods without any service.

Social Media:

  1. Instagram and Facebook. Do I need to say anymore? I think everyone knows what these two social media platforms are all about so I won’t go into more detail here. In my opinion Instagram is the place to go for just about everything now. Facebook we use more for the business side of things and marketing our programs here at XIP. I do feel it's important to stay in touch with your audience on both platforms.


1. VKTRY Insoles. Although I hate to admit it I'm getting older, and with the years of wear and tear on my body not everything functions as smoothly as it once did. About a year ago I started getting joint pain in my big toes, which over time turned into a more serious condition diagnosed as Hallux Rigidus, basically arthritis in the joint at the base of my big toe(s). Years of bouncing around, accelerating and showing athletes how to get more into their forefoot and big toe lead to overuse, inflammation and now some pretty painful bone spurs and lack of mobility. Had I known then what I know now I might have regulated my time on the front of the foot and not been such a dummy! I was in pain and searching for help and came across VKTRY insoles, reached out and they sent me a pair to try out. They helped big time and now I am 98% pain free and still able to bounce around albeit in moderation. For those with similar issues such as joint pain in the feet and ankles, bunions, plantar fasciitis or turf toe these might be a good idea. Also not a bad idea for those out there wanting to prevent things like I went through. They also have some really neat studies showing increases in vertical jump, acceleration speeds and broad jump distances. If you want to buy a pair type in code "XIP" and receive a $50 discount on your order.

2. Compex Muscle Stimulators. We have been using Compex NMES muscle stimulators with our clients and athletes for close to a decade now with great success. We have been using them in conjunction with movement as well as stationary to help athletes recover quicker after surgeries and injury or to enhance an athletes performance and muscular output. I am only in the past year now starting to see others catch on to this dynamic use of NMES and incorporating them into their training so I'm sure if you haven't seen it yet you will soon. You can also find examples and programs on how to use the units on the Compex website. Don't hesitate to reach out to us to purchase a Compex unit or to talk about strategies for incorporating NMES into your training or recovery.

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