Meet Athlete Training + Health Director of Human Performance Frank Bourgeois, PHD

September 30, 2020

''Treat every day as a gift. Realize that each day is an opportunity to improve."


030K8525-1Frank, can you recall a time you made an impact on an athlete? How did it make you feel?

It’s hard to isolate one particular athlete; these feet have marched on many-a soil. But the period in time that stands out in my mind was my tenure at Midwestern State University. It was a time where I came to realize you serve in a capacity that surpasses resistance training and conditioning. You are a big brother, an uncle, a mentor, a father figure. And weight comes with that mantle. But the mere fact that that role was given to you, you can handle it; navigate those waters. You quickly realize you stand in the gap between the individual and the ‘system’. I Bless God for it too; because to this day we still keep in touch, and the love is still there.


Tell us what was your motivation behind becoming an ATH coach?

Sheer opportunity. I remember the conversation I had with Micheál Cahill, ATH’s Vice President of Sports Science, circa March 2018 when I was in New Zealand. He had, and still has, a vision that is second to none. A vision of achievement, expansion and elevation. Plus, his heart is good; just an all-around good human being. So I had to hop in the trench with him; to help build and manifest the Vision.


Can you tell us about ATH’s scientific approach to developing training programs?

It is a two-pronged approach. One involves a more "ground-level" approach that takes already validated results concerning a particular health or performance factor, and slowly and systematically implementing methods into our training programs to encourage both individual- and group-specific enhancement. The second involves a "higher-level" or empirical research approach. This entails our research group investigating novel or less established training approaches via scientific rigor. Because of the novelty, these projects often involve international collaboration to ensure methods and data interpretation are held to a high standard and are scientifically sound. Additionally, the majority of these projects are also submitted to peer-reviewed journals to further intensify the vetting process. The next steps are to enhance the quality and efficacy of our training programs via methodical incorporation


What is one piece of advice you would give athletes working towards excelling to the Next Level in their sports?

Treat every day as a gift. Realize that each day is an opportunity to improve. Understanding the nature of improvement may be physical, mental, spiritual, professional et cetera. No matter the nature, push yourself! To improve, you must take yourself to where you’ve never been; but you’ve got it. Keep your chin up, eyes open, feet firm and WORK. Stay prepared to sacrifice who you are for who you are becoming. Do the little things right. Pain is temporary. Pride is forever.


AUT-logo-block-internationalYou have an interesting background with your education. Can you tell us a little bit about that? 

My education track record is extensive – simply because education was valued in my household. But bigger than education was achievement in all endeavors. I remember my Pop telling me at a young age, “Son, even if you are working a garbage truck, be the best garbage man the city has seen. Work!”

But to answer the question: Morehouse College gave me my human biology background, Southern Methodist University and Coach Hatch taught me the nuts and bolts to strength and conditioning, Louisiana State University taught me how to bring ‘that Dawg’ out of an individual, Midwestern State University taught me the principles of the human response to exercise, and Auckland University of Technology taught me scientific rigor.


"You want more than you have now? Prove It! – That’s How Winners Are Made.”


What is a quote or phrase you live by?

Life is tough; that’s a given. When you stand up, you’re gonna be shoved back down. When you're down, you’re gonna be stepped on. My advice to you doesn’t come with a lot of bells and whistles. It’s no secret – you’ll fall down, you’ll stumble, you’ll get pushed, you’ll land square on your face. But every time that happens you get back on your feet. You get up just as fast as you can. No matter how many times you need to do it. Remember this: success has been, and continues to be defined as getting up one more time than you’ve been knocked down. If experience has taught me anything, it’s that nothing is free, and living ain’t easy. Life is Hard. Real Hard. Incredibly Hard. You fail more often than you win. Nobody’s handing you anything. It’s up to you to puff up your chest, stretch your neck, and overcome all the Difficult, the Nasty, the Mean, the Unfair. You want more than you have now? Prove It! – That’s How Winners Are Made.


How do you spend your time outside of ATH?

Spending time with family. Again, each day is precious. I have come to realize that there will come a day when that member cannot be contacted or reached. So I just try to live, learn and love at every opportunity.


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Can you name a few people that have impacted your coaching career?

Vic Viloria who was the strength and conditioning coach at SMU when I was there (2007-2009) he is now an assistant football strength and conditioning coach at LSU taught me the "nuts and bolts" about S&C; everything from programming to facility maintenance. Coach Hatch who is a USA Weightlifting Coach in Baton Rouge taught me the intricacies of Olympic weightlifting, and how to incorporate it into various programs. Coach Moffitt who is the Director of Strength and Conditioning at LSU, he is responsible for football strength and conditioning, taught me the importance of a disciplined environment when striving to achieve team goals, and how to push individuals to their limit in a safe and effective way. Those gentlemen were inviting, up-standing and extremely knowledgeable. Not to mention demanding. The standard and ‘bar’ was set incredibly high EVERY day you came to work. For me, it became fun embracing hard work and chasing excellence.

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When you think back on your career track what was the biggest game-changer?

I would say going to live and study abroad 7,000 miles away from everything I know and love in Aotearoa, a.k.a. New Zealand. My perspective has widened and gained more depth. I confirmed that what’s going on between the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean, and Canada and Mexico are not necessarily the standard; particularly when it comes to collision-sport athletes.


What else should we know about you? 

Love Life.

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