Getting in contact with strength training there is no way getting around some of the strength training-personalities who have a big impact with their books, training programs or YouTube-channels. In Germany however, most “famous” trainees and trainers are either teen-aged fitness fanatics, or behaving as if they were, or bodybuilding-legends way past their prime. Fortunately there are exceptions to that rule, one of them is Wolfgang Unsöld of YPSI. Fortunately, he had time to give me a little interview.
bringaknife: Mister Unsöld, please introduce yourself and your work.
Wolfgang Unsöld: I’m founder and head coach of the Your Personal Strength Institute in Stuttgart. We offer personal training and consulting for everybody, from manager to Olympian, as well as seminars and licenses for trainers and strength coaches. I focus on strength training and optimization of diet as well as supplementation for prime performance.
In the last six years I gave talks and seminars in Germany, Switzerland, England, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Hungary, Latvia, the Dominican Republich and in the United States. Besides a lot of Before’n’After-successes I worked with more than 150 athletes in more than 20 sports, such as UFC-champion Geroges St. Pierre, the Swiss bob national-team, UFC-fighter Peter Sobotta, 100m-sprinter Sven Knipphals, kickboxing-world champion Ibrahim Karakoc or the Hungarian national team for shorttrack speed skating. In this time I learned a lot, and now I’m passing all that on to my customers and students.
bak: What’s a normal day like for you? What did you have for breakfast today?
WU: My day starts between 6.30 and 7.30am. I wake up on my own and then have breakfast first. Today that was beef-carpaccio with sea salt and olive oil accompanied by a cup of coffee with some cream. After breakfast I get an overview of the day’s appointments and emails I need to answer. On weekdays I see customers for personal training and consultation between 8am and 12pm, I eat lunch and take care of emails afterwards. I train at 3pm and then see more customers from 4pm onwards. My day usually ends around 8.30pm, when I have dinner and I go to bed around ten. On the weekends I train at 8.30am and then give seminars from 10am to 6pm, either at YPSI in Stuttgart or somewhere else. That’s what I do pretty much every week, in this year I have 54 seminars and other events scheduled, so I do this every week.
bak: Good strength training is the foundation of your work and thus of your impressive success with your customers. Until a few years ago proper strength training was mostly done in small warehouse-gyms, at rugby-clubs or in weightlifting clubs, all that changed these days. Today more and more fitness studio-chains provide the options for proper training, some even advertise that. What do you think about that development?
WU: I concerned myself with the development of the fitness industry and the training world in the past 70+ years, and I still keep an eye on today’s trends. Some of them lead to success, some others will soon be forgotten. Barbells, squat racks and lifting platforms back as the core of training are a great development, because these are the most efficient tools to work towards many goals.The feel good-training that mostly just wasted the trainee’s time, that was so popular in the last twenty years is slowly being replaced by training oriented on success and progress.
bak: Is working closely with a coach necessary or can the internet lie a solid foundation when it comes to training knowledge?
WU: That depends on the goal and on what it takes to achieve it. Somebody that’s overweight and wants to lose 5kg can easily do so by following some simple tips from the internet, like starting the day with a glass of water, a shot of lime juice and a quarter teaspoon of himalaya salt, eating quality protein and good fat every day, or doing some kind of sport for at least four hours every week. If somebody wants to get his body fat below 6%, squat 200kg, build 10kg of muscle or if an athlete wants to go from the highest national level to the highest international level, that’s when the expertise of an experienced coach becomes necessary. The bigger to goals, the more a good coach is needed to get there.
bak: You often work with athletes, but you also work with “normal” people. What’s the difference between training an athlete and training an office worker?
WU: The training of high-performance athletes and recreational athletes is basically the same. Both want to improve their physical performance in a safe and progressive manner. Differences start with the individual goals and methods. A thrower will need a 250kg-bench press to be competitive internationally, while somebody training for leisure would usually be happy with a 125kg-bench. The methods used and planning needed to get to either a 125kg-bench press or a 250kg-one are abviously different.
bak: The fitness industry is hard to distinguish from the supplement industry, for example shortly before Christmas I trained at a gym where “A workout without a shake isn’t a workout” was written over the main entrance. How important are supplements to you? Who can benefit from them?
WU: I don’t count a protein shake as supplement, it’s more of a snack. The main benefits of shakes are that they are easy do digest and that they make getting large amounts of carbs and protein into you easy, and that can help with strength- and muscle-gain. Eating 250g of carbs and 80g of protein in a meal can be bothersome, but in a shake that’s easily manageable in ten minutes.
When it comes to supplements, everybody in the western world can and will benefit from them, it doesn’t matter if he’s training or not. Main purpose of supplementation is optimization of processes on a cellular level, which can improve physical and mental performance. When talking about such supplements, I mean minerals, vitamins, plant extracts or algae, most of that being essential micronutrients for efficient function at cellular level. Our need for micronutrients is as big as it ever was, with all the stress, the cell phones, WiFi, travelling and a lot more. We can’t satisfy these needs with food alone, so that’s where supplements come into play. They help us sleep good, keep us performing optimally and recovering well.
bak: You started your own supplement line that’s somewhat different from what most supplement companies plug, what are the differences?
WU: Quality matters, all the time and in every case. One of the strong points of our supplements is that they are made in Germany. When I work with customers I use supplements from 15 different companies, at some point I had an idea for optimized products that were not yet available on the market, so it was only sensible to have these made. The YPSI Supplement Line is unique and only features highest quality products, both resembles our work and philosophy at YPSI.
bak: Sometimes small changes can have great effects, do you have such advice for for beginners or also intermediate trainees?
WU: The first thing I always recommend new customers is starting the day with a glas of water, a shot of lime juice and a quarter teaspoon of Himalaya salt. More tips like that are featured in my book „Dein bestes Training – 150 Tipps vom erfolgreichsten Trainer Deutschlands“ – which will be available in English in fall 2016 via Amazon or in the YPSI Shop.
bak: Thank you very much for this interview, is there something you’d like to give my readers to take along??
WU: 75% of your success if dependent on your energy levels, the quality of your life and your well-being. Regardless of sex, age or personal goals, these three factors are central. Optimize them by eating well, sleeping well, training and supplementation and you will be able to conquer any goal a lot faster…