Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Until then, get your workouts in, stay strong & train smart! As Alwyn Cosgrove says, "It doesn't matter what you eat or how you exercise between Christmas and New Years..... but it matters how you eat and exercise between New Year's and Christmas!"
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Perform 1 set of each exercise in the following circuit for 10 reps (total of 40 reps per circuit). Rest for 30-seconds and continue with circuits #2 thru #4 using the same protocol.
- 10 TRX Squat Jumps
- 10 Judo/Dive Bomber Push-ups
- 10 DB/KB Swings
- 10 Burpees
Rest for 30-sec.
- 10 Goblet Squats
- 10 TRX Atomic Push-up
- 10 RDL’s
- 10 DB Push Press
Rest for 30-sec.Circuit #3
- 10 DB/KB Swings
- 10 OH Slosh Pipe Squats
- 10 Med Ball or Sandbag Slams
- 10 TRX Plank-to-Push-ups
Rest for 30-sec.Circuit #4
- 10 TRX Low Row
- 10 DB Lunge w/ Rotation
- 10 OH DB Quick Press
- 10 Spiderman Push-ups
Rest for 30-sec.
Congrats on cranking out this workout. Now, I triple-dog-dare you to do it again!!
Thursday, December 23, 2010
The promise I want you to make is this – to be a better person TODAY and EVERY DAY forward than you were yesterday! It’s about working on our imperfections to establish perfection in the relationship to yourself, your family and your friends.
As Billy Bob Thornton (who play head coach Gary Gaines of the Permian Panthers - Odessa, TX) says in the movie “Friday Night Lights”, "perfection is about looking someone in the eye and know that you didn’t let them down because you told them the truth. And that truth is, is that you did everything that you could, there wasn’t one more thing that you could’ve done. Can you live in that moment, as best you can with clear eyes and love in your heart?”
Go the extra mile to create an extraordinary experience that will exceed pre-determined expectations. At the end of the day make sure you gave your best effort…and then some. If you follow this simple promise, I guarantee that you will see success with any resolution you make.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Check it out.
Friday, December 17, 2010
Are you guilty of going too light? If so, you may not be seeing the results you'd like. Let's learn more about why lifting heavier weights will change your entire body.
You know that losing fat involves increasing your metabolism. What you may not know is that muscle plays a huge role in raising metabolism. A pound of muscle burns about 10-20 calories a day while a pound of fat burns 5 calories. That means any growth in your muscle tissue is going to help you burn more calories all day long. In fact, strength training has all kinds of great effects on your body like:
- Increasing resting metabolic rate so you burn more calories, even while at rest.
- Making you lean and slim - muscle takes up less space than fat so, the more you have, the slimmer you are
- Strengthening bones and connective tissue (fascia), which can protect your body from injuries in daily life
- Enhancing balance and stability
- Building confidence and self-esteem
However, this only works if you're using enough weight to stimulate muscle growth. In other words, if you can lift the weights you've chosen (for most exercises) more than 16-20 times, you might not see the kind of fat loss you would if you increased the load.
So, why don't we lift more weight? For some, lifting weights is scary, especially if you've never done it before. The machines....the dumbbells....the people who seem to know what they're doing....it's enough to make anyone skip weights altogether. Aside from that, there are other fears that invade our minds, such as:
- It feels awkward/weird - The goal of weight training, if you didn't know, is to lift as much weight as you possibly can (with good form) for the number of reps you've chosen. In daily life, we typically don't push ourselves to fatigue in anything we do, so this idea may not only feel foreign, it may feel downright miserable. That's one reason it's best for beginners to gradually work towards that.
- Fear of injury - Because our muscles burn when we challenge them with resistance, people often feel they're injuring themselves when they lift. Injuries can be a real fear for beginners since injury can occur if you max out before your body is ready for it. Taking it slow while still challenging your body will help protect you from injury.
- Confusion - When you haven't lifted weights before, you may not know what's too heavy and what's too light. It may take some time to get a feel for your body and what it can handle. This is the time to figure things out slowly through trail & error. Be patient with yourself as you'll know what feels right in due time.
- Fear of getting bulky - There's still that old myth running around that men should lift heavy and women should lift light to avoid getting big and bulky. Women, please don't buy into it! That's a bunch of BS!! Lifting heavy weights WILL NOT MAKE YOU HUGE -you simply don't have the testosterone levels to build big muscles. Lifting heavy weights WILL HELP YOU LOSE FAT.
- Fear of pain - The other thing about lifting weights is the psychological factor. The discomfort level associated with training to fatigue is pretty high. If you haven't lifted weights before, you may not be able to overcome that discomfort enough to lift as heavy as you're capable of. Again, this is one reason it's best to err on the side of caution (if you need to), while always working towards more challenges and more weight.
These fears often keep people lifting the same amount of weight for weeks, months or even years. Most of these fears are unfounded. However, if you take time to ease into a weight training program, work slowly through trial & error figuring out optimal workloads for the muscle fatigue needed make your muscles grow, you'll start seeing & making progress before you know it.
As I always say - train hard, train smart and get to it!-AR
Thursday, December 9, 2010
The whole point of training or learning any new skill for that matter is to improve. So, don't be too surprised or bent out of shape when any improvement ceases due to your lack of work and/or effort put forth. To stay exactly how you are, you must maintain the same level of discipline and intensity you have right now. If you're not quite in the state you wish to be in, you have to do more and crank up the intensity. As strength & conditioning coach Robert Dos Remedios, CSCS, says - "Do Work!"
Your body responds in a complex manner when you exercise whether it's weightlifting, swimming, running, cycling, hiking or some other form of exertion. To improve requires more effort than the last time. When you stop, the changes quickly dissipate.
So, how you "do more" when you're already pressed for time and energy? Here are some suggestions on how to increase your effort without having to create extra hours in the day:
- Increase the intensity - This first one is simple: if what you're doing right now is easy, increase the amount of effort. For example, this may be increasing the weight you're using per set of an exercise or the speed you're running. It's pretty simple math. If you increase any of these variables by 10%, you're doing 10% more work. When that gets easy, increase it again.
- Decrease the rest interval - If you're pressed for time, decrease the amount of time you rest between sets during weight training or the frequency that you do cardiovascular activities. For example, if you normally lift something that weighs 50 pounds 10 times for 3 sets that takes 1 minute with a 2 minute rest interval, that means you have lifted 1500 pounds in seven minutes. If you decrease the rest time to 90 seconds, that means you have lifted the same amount of weight in just 6 minutes. You have increased effort by 15% in less time.
- Increase the workload - By increasing the distance you run or bike, you've done more work. A great deal of time is spent getting ready to exercise, showering afterwards and other non-productive activities. The incremental increase in distance is actually a very small percentage of the time you must devote to your total exercise time period. Once you get to a point where you have no more time to add to your training, increase the speed. Now you're doing more work in the same period of time. With weight training, it's even easier - just increase the number of reps. Keep in mind that once you cross the upper boundaries of rep ranges (5-8 for strength, 8-12 for size and tone, 12-15 for endurance), it's time to increase the load.
Remember that your body will only do as much as it has to. If you want to keep improving and see results, you can't let life get too easy. You MUST do more.
Crank it up and 'Do Work!'
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Also, Happy Birthday to my little brother!
Lastly, don't forget to get your workouts in! Crank it on Thanksgiving Day with this Turkey Day Bootcamp workout by clicking here.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
TRX - 3 letters that will change your life for the better! Get yours today by clicking here.
Check out more about the TRX Tornado Ball Sequence here.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
The Top Carb and Whole Grain Fat Burning Foods
- Oatmeal (old fashioned, not the instant sugar filled kind)
- Brown rice (a favorite is basmati, long grain aromatic rice)
- Sweet potatoes (almost same as yams)
- Multi-grain hot cereal
- White potatoes
- 100% whole wheat bread -or- flourless sprouted grain bread (i.e., Ezekiel, Men's bread)
- 100% whole wheat pasta
- Beans/legumes (great for healthy chili recipes)
- Cream of rice hot cereal
- Broccoli (great for balancing hormones too!)
- Salad greens
- Peppers (green, red or yellow)
- Egg whites (whole eggs in limited quantities)
- Whey & Casein protein (protein powder supplements)
- Chicken breast (free range)
- Salmon (Wild Alaskan)
- Turkey Breast (free range)
- Top round & flank steak (grass fed beef)
- Lean Ground Turkey (free range)
- Trout, dover sole, orange roughy, tilapia (wild caught; avoid farm-raised)
- Nuts & seeds
- Berries (all varieties)
Eating these foods will certainly give you a big leap towards achieving your fat loss goals but you need to understand that this will not take away the importance of exercise. The most effective formula for a well-toned lean body while increasing lean muscle mass & burning fat is exercise & a clean diet.
Eat well and be well!
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Really?! You're kidding me, right? Heidi Klum gets paid millions to shake her 'butt' down the runway. In the real world....most women don't.
The segment begins and the anchor men and women (all suits and heels by the way) are getting ready for the 'butt workout'. I just sit there shaking my head thinking, "Are you guys for real?!" Out comes trainer to the stars, David Kirsh, with his book and 2 exercises that "everybody should add to their program to get a butt like Heidi." As he's talking the news people are joking around with him and by the time he gets to the exercises, 10 minutes have gone by, which is wasted time! He demonstrates the 2 'must do' exercises - the Platypus squat and the Platypus squat with side kicks. 'What the ....?' I asked myself. These are some of the most ridiculous, impractical exercises I've ever seen! Why not just do squats, lunges or deadlifts?
Although the exercise is somewhat creative, it doesn't help the majority of the people exercising or those wanting to start. I deal with clients everyday that have orthopedic issues, some physical limitations due to past and/or current injuries and I'd never have them do those 2 'must do' exercises. The entire segment was a joke!
We should be spending more time in the media discussing REAL exercise and wellness. Instead, we show squats in our suits and heels and call it "quality air time." I call it BS! Maybe that's why there's an obesity epidemic and why we're totally unfit as a nation. We make fitness out to be a joke and sell a workout that doesn't work for everybody.
You want to get fit and get results? Put your time in the gym or outdoors in your personal 'fitness playground', amp up your intensity, use HIIT protocols, put forth every ounce of intestinal fortitude to maximize the end result of max calorie output!
I don't know about you but cookie cutter workouts aren't 'cutting it' for me!
Thursday, October 28, 2010
I'm sure most you recognize the MMA title which stands for 'Mixed Martial Arts'. In this case, I 'tweaked' it to my own style so that MMA stands for "Maximum Muscle Assault"! Check it out:
Each circuit contains 5 exercises -peform 40 seconds of work followed by 20 seconds of rest (40/20) for all exercises (in order) listed below. Upon completing all 5 exercises within the circuit, rest for 1-minute, then complete circuits #2 thru #5 using the same format.
Go as fast & as hard as you can while keeping good form.
* I highly recommend some tissue quality work (i.e. foam roller) before starting the workout. Plan on about 5-10 minutes of foam rolling areas such as: Glute Max, Hip Rotators, IT Band, TFL/Rectus, & Adductors.
- Lateral Squats
- Seal Jacks
- Pogo Hops
- Jog or Run -In-Place (High Knees)
Rest for 1-min.
Circuit #2 (Mini-Complex)
- DB Thruster
- DB Lunges
- DB DL's
- DB Squat-to-Upright Rows
- Jog or Sprint-In-Place (High Knees)
Rest for 1-min.
- DB Rows
- Goblet Squat
- DB Side Lunge & Touch
- Jog or Sprint-In-Place (High Knees)
Rest for 1-min.
- 1-Arm KB/DB Swing (R arm)
- Gate Swings
- 1-Arm KB/DB Swing (L arm)
- Jog or Sprint-In-Place (High Knees)
Rest for 1-min.
Circuit #5 ("Finisher" - Leg Matrix)
- Speed Squats
- Alt. Lunges
- Squat Jumps
- Lunge/Split Squat Jumps
- Jog or Sprint-In-Place (High Knees)
Rest for 1-min. - Cool Down & stretch
Congratulations! You just cranked out the 40/20 MMA (Max Muscle Assault) workout!
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Allow me to explain:
- If someone starts a fitness program and does the same thing everyday for the rest of their lives, they will not improve their fitness & conditioning. This leads to boredom!
- If a person isn't constantly challenging themselves, they will keep the same level of fitness they had when they first started. This leads to disappointment and confusion!
- Most people like to exercise within their “comfort zone”. Once they feel like they are pushing themselves a little bit, they begin to feel uncomfortable or feel that their workout is ‘too hard’. So they drop back into their comfort zone. This leads to a very dangerous place which falls directly in line with complacency. Being comfortable & complacent with your fitness & conditioning program will yield very little results in:
- Fat loss
- Strength & power
- Metabolic boost
- Caloric expenditure
- Weight management
- Mental & physical stimulation
- You MUST push yourself a little more if you want to get better. This leads to success and RESULTS!
Think back to school: 1st grade was tough, but 2nd grade was tougher. Each year the grades grew in increasing difficulty. If by some chance we kept our "comfort zone" at the 1st grade level, do you honestly think we would ever learn anything new?
Like our minds, our bodies need a challenge in order to grow. Don't be afraid to push yourself a little more or a lot harder. You'll not only get a better and great workout, but you'll look & feel better too!
So, what is it that you fear that is preventing you from taking your fitness & conditioning program take it to the next level?
I say "Screw Fear", suck it up, and get to work! No whining, no excuses!
BRING IT....ALL DAY, EVERY DAY!
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Einstein once said, "Nothing starts happening until something starts moving."
Your goal is simple - to be better each & every day in everything that you do!
The time has come.....
Your time has come.....
It's time you start doing something about it!
'Get With The Movement'!
Order your TRX Suspension Trainer today by clicking here.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Be sure to check out Martin's website - trainingforwarriors.com
In his book, Todd dispels top fitness myths that commonly separate his clients from their ultimate fitness goals. Here are a few he mentions with my take on busting those myths while supporting Todd's view.
Myth #1 - The longer my workout, the more benefits I get.
Even the longest workout should take you between 45-60 minutes. If your workout contains: tissue quality work (i.e. foam roller), mobility, explosiveness/SAQ (speed, agility & quickness), strength, metabolic conditioning & recovery/regeneration, this is all the time you'll need. Nothing more. Bottom line - work harder & smarter....NOT LONGER!!
Myth #2 - Pro athletes are the fittest people on the planet.
Don't believe this, not even for a second. You can do the same exercises as the pros do, train with the same intensity as the pros, and can excel like the pros. Even if you don't have the same body makeup or athletic ability, you can train like a pro athlete and attain great results. The way I see it, there's an athlete in all of us. It's time to 'train like an athlete'!
Myth #3 - Weight training bulks you up.
I know I've said this before and I'm sure most of you are tired of hearing me say it again. Women seem especially afraid of this, as if regular and consistent weight training will make them look like bodybuilders. Nothing could be futher from the truth. As a matter of fact, weight training can help all of you ladies change the way your body looks and performs. If you also want to prevent degenerative conditions, such as osteoporosis, you definitely need weight training. As for "bulk", that's B.S.!! Only 2 things make you "bulky" - your diet and your training method (or lack of). Unless you workout & eat like a bodybuilder (eating massive amounts of food/calories), you have nothing to worry about.
Myth #4 - If I'm not sore or in pain, I'm not working out hard enough.
Many people think if their muscles don’t hurt, they’re not having a quality workout. This is way off base. While resistance training can be intense, and some level of discomfort may occur, pain is not required for a successful workout. It’s also important to note that pain can be a warning sign of an exhausted muscle or torn ligament. Instead of soreness, judge the quality of your workouts by using heart rate monitors (to calculate your target heart rates during exercise), and how your body responds after your workout. Ask yourself questions like - How do I feel? Relaxed? Less stressed? Are my energy levels high? Low? Use these factors and more rather than just how sore you are.
Monday, October 4, 2010
Check out this awesome guest blog by Alwyn Cosgrove, CSCS - owner of Results Fitness (Newhall, CA). Lots of great info! Enjoy.
The IRON-ic rule of strength training for sport: The objective is not to get stronger per se but to improve athletic performance to build better athletes. If your sport is powerlifting then that means improving your total. If your sport is mixed martial arts that means you must improve your ability in the ring. It’s important for the coach and the trainee to focus on improving sports performance. I’ve seen several football teams over the years that have the 405 Bench Press Club featured on the wall but are 0-20 for the season!
Here are my top ten tips to ensure athletic success:
1. Bodyweight before external resistance
Since when has the term strength and conditioning coach been confused with weight room coach? I don’t know but I’m still surprised at the eagerness of most coaches to get their athletes under the bar. Many coaches and athletes make the mistake of beginning a strength routine and going straight for the heavy weights. This usually ends up causing an injury. An athlete has no business using load if he/she cannot stabilize, control and move efficiently with only their bodyweight. If you can’t stabilize your shoulder girdle and core doing push-ups then there is no way I’m going to put you under a bench press bar.
Can you sit in a full squat? What about a full range single leg bodyweight squat? Until you have mastered these exercises you can forget doing dynamic effort work with a box squat.
So your strength program in the beginning stages may actually include no weights whatsoever. And it will work better and faster than a typical program m that relies primarily on weights and machines in the beginning stages. In fact in my experience I’d suggest that some athletes cannot even work with their bodyweight so we may need to modify certain exercises. Do not rush to lift heavy loads; muscle recruitment and control are far more important than maximal strength for any athlete. Without control the strength is useless.
2. Train to the 5th Power
I. Train in a standing position – GROUND BASED
The majority of athletic training should take place ON YOUR FEET (standing) as the majority of sport takes place in that position. Of course there are exceptions to this rule, but in general, we always lose something when we go from a standing position to a seated or lying position.
II. Train with free weights
I almost feel stupid bringing this up, but I still see programs out there that include leg extensions and leg curls. Any machine limits the range of motion and controls the movement. This is fine for beginners, but athletes need to be able to stabilize and control their bodies in all three planes of motion simultaneously.
III. Use Multiple Joints
Single-joint strength (e.g. leg extension machine, bicep curls) develops useless strength. A study was undertaken at Ohio State involving a knee extension test. The participants included: 3 World ranked squatters and 1 World Record holder in the squat.
The test results of the above subjects averaged 180lbs of force on the Cybex leg extension machine. However, a local power lifter (ranked 15th in the state) broke the machine. He wasn’t even number one in his state but he was stronger on this machine than the world ranked lifters. If there's a better example of the inability of single-joint machine training to translate to real world strength then I’d like to see it. A guy who was only ranked 15th in the state can apply more single leg strength than a World Record holder. Nice. Pretty. But pretty useless. If that strength doesn’t transfer to athletic success then what’s the point of having it? Basically, despite the strength that individual exhibited on the machine, he was unable to apply it in a real world situation like squatting. And the elite squatters weren’t that strong on the leg extension showing it’s not even a factor. So leg extension machines are a waste of time. Unless of course you compete in seated ass kicking leg extension contests.
"How can anyone expect to possess co-ordination in active work when his muscles have never worked together in groups?" Earle Liederman, 1924. Nearly 80 years ago and we are still having this argument today. Isolation machines have no place in the preparation of a competitive athlete.
IV. Train with explosiveness
Explosiveness as I see it can be defined as "as fast as possible with control". Some people seem to feel that explosiveness is somewhat dangerous. Sloppy training, uncontrolled movements? Now that’s dangerous. Training explosively more closely mirrors what happens in sport and/or life.
V. Train movements not muscle groups
Again, isolated muscle group training, outside of rehabilitation has no place in athletic training. An athlete should focus on strengthening specific movements. True muscle isolation is impossible anyway, so let’s focus on using that body to work in an integrated fashion.
3. Train unilaterally and multi-planar
The majority of strength training programs take place in the sagittal plane with bilateral movements. However the majority of sport takes place in all 3 planes simultaneously with primarily unilateral movements. EVERY single sports conditioning program should include split squats, step ups and lunge variations. 85% of the gait cycle (walking, running) is spent on one leg. Over 70% of the muscles of the core run in a rotational plane. Does your training program reflect that?
4. Use all primary methods to develop strength
This should be of no surprise to readers of this website so I won’t spend a whole lot of time on this. Suffice to say you need to focus on all three. Max Strength method – heavy loads; Repeated Efforts Method – multiple sets and reps; Dynamic Effort Method – using relatively lighter weights and moving them at max speed (this is STILL the least used method in most strength coaching programs). Traditional strength training programs have focused overwhelmingly on max strength or force development. More important for the competitive athlete is a focus on rate of force development. In the world of sport....speed is still the king.
Everybody seems to understand that training load should be progressively increased. Few understand that the training stimulus must also be progressively and periodically varied. All programs have positive and negative aspects no matter how well designed or specific – too much time on one program and you’ll habituate to the positive aspects and accumulate the negative aspects. Even the most perfectly balanced program has to have one exercise performed first and another performed last. Not being aware of the potential negatives of this (i.e. one exercise is never trained when you are fresh) can create an injury situation.
6. Avoid mimicking skills
This is a big one. Throwing weighted baseballs etc will do little to improve your strength and a lot to screw up your technique. Make sure the roles of strength and conditioning and skill training are separate. I hate the term 'sport specific'. I much prefer 'non-specific training'. If I’m working with a freestyle swimmer, sport specificity means that I’ll do a ton of loaded internal rotation work. My approach? To do no internal rotation work. In fact I’d spend most of our conditioning time on EXTERNAL rotation as an injury prevention mechanism. The role of conditioning training is NOT skill training. Loading a technique tends to affect the mechanics of the technique negatively.
7. Train with Balance
Make sure you address pushing and pulling on both horizontal and vertical planes and attempt to balance the loading. If you are bench pressing 400lbs but can only do a chest supported row with 50lbs your shoulder girdle is going to suffer. If you can’t handle the same loads for two opposing movements then increase the volume of the weaker movement (e.g. by doing an extra exercise or an extra set or two) to compensate. Trust me - this might not seem that important now but I’m not just interested in athletic performance, I’m interested in the long term health of my athletes.
8. Get out of the Weight Room Try some strongman training: sled dragging, uphill sprints, stadium stairs. I’m sick of hearing coaches telling me that they think outside of the box, yet they never leave the confines of their own little box – the weight room.
9. Train the antagonists
This ties in with the swimming example above. The speed of a throw or a kick or punch is determined largely by the ability of the antagonist to eccentrically decelerate the joint action efficiently and prevent joint injury. If your body cannot safely and effectively brake the motion, then it will not allow you to achieve full acceleration. If you are not training the antagonists eccentrically – you are not training deceleration. And if you are not training deceleration, you cannot be training acceleration.
10. Full Front Squats
This exercise may be the single most athletic exercise. You’ll get core strength, wrist, knee, hip, shoulder and ankle flexibility in a single exercise.
Ok- as usual I can’t shut up so I’ll add one more.
I’m not going to get into an article on the pros and cons of Olympic lifting, suffice to say that explosive triple extension (ankle, knee and hip) is a valuable component when training athletes. Remember though – we are training ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE. We are not training weightlifters. It's not necessary to do the complete lifts; the power and hang variations are fine. If you’re not comfortable with the Olympic lifts then add jump training or medicine ball overhead throws or at the very least deadlifts (double extension) as a core lift.
Do not get caught up in the numbers game and don't confuse gym improvements with real world or sports world improvements. The greatest athletes in the world don't necessarily have the greatest bench presses in the world. The greatest athletes in the world have an ability to produce useable force on their field of play. Usable force is force that propels athletes towards the ball, knocks another athlete back or down, helps you move at full speed, or throws the winning touchdown pass. Usable force is force properly directed in an unstable real world, unpredictable environment. The weight room, in genera l, is a stable environment whereas a field of play or the competition ring is a constantly changing place. A good strength and conditioning coach looks to improve athletic performances, not just gym lift numbers.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
The book is a 10-week fitness program that will change & tranform your life. Training with pro athletes such as 2010 Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints and 2006 NFL MVP LaDainian Tomlinson of the New York Jets (formerly of the San Diego Chargers), this book is geared to anyone from the pros to the weekend warriors, soccer moms, the super-fit to the just getting started, etc. If you think you can't train like a pro athlete, you better guess again. This book will give you easy-to-follow workout porgrams while providing results within 45-60 minutes!
This book is cutting edge, realistic, fun and straight-forward. There are no short cuts or quick fixes - just hard work, sweat, consistency and a plan that will motivate and inspire you to be your best.
Get your copy of The IMPACT! Body Plan today by clicking here. Trust me, it'll the the best $18.47 you ever spent!
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Answer: 'It’s not what you think.'
It’s not obesity, diabetes, heart disease, low back pain or cancer.
If you’re thinking depression, you’re getting warm, but that’s still not quite on the mark.
My claim will surprise you, because it’s not biomedical in the conventional sense. It’s almost impossible to measure or track, but it’s very real and has profound consequences across the spectrum of human performance, health and experience.
In fact, the greatest health problem in the country today is presenteeism, the lack of engagement with physicality, life and the body.
Presenteeism is a term taken from workplace studies, a variation on the word absenteeism. Presenteeism refers to the condition in which people bring their bodies to the workplace, but leave their attention at home. They’re present, but they’re not really participating in a substantive way. It’s estimated that presenteeism costs American business billions of dollars annually and is even more costly than absenteeism.
Presenteeism in the workplace is bad enough, but there’s another sense of presenteeism that people bring, not just to work, but to their bodies. That is, many of us are markedly disengaged from our physicality; we live in our bodies as passive spectators. We use our bodies as locomotor devices to get from place to place, to fulfill obligations or to sample shallow pleasures, but rarely do we participate fully in the act of being totally physically alive.
Physical presenteeism has now become a genuine epidemic with vast numbers of people who never engage their bodies in any consistent or substantive way. They have vital signs, but are only half alive. They live passively in their bodies, like ghosts.
Full participation and engagement with the physical body has been the historical norm for the vast majority of human history, but modernity has weakened our engagement with ourselves. The process began with technological innovations that made physicality increasingly optional. When motors and engines do all our work for us, there’s no compelling reason to get our bodies involved and people begin to withdraw from their physicality.
Increasing medicalization of human life has also contributed to our non-participation. The invention of antibiotics, technical and pharmaceutical medicine and a highly trained class of body experts leaves the average person out of the loop. When it comes to matters of the body, many of us are now content to leave it to others. Our bodies, it seems, are just not a part of our job description.
I find that much of our physical presenteeism stems from our experience and relationship with TV (especially reality TV shows) and other passive media. The medium promotes disengagement: All you have to do is show up and press a button; no participation or risk is required. As millions of disengaged people spend billions of hours absorbing 'useless media', we create a spectator culture. We sit back and become weak, passive spectators of our own bodies - and yet we complain about why we look & feel bad about ourselves! I know I've said this before and I'll say it again - "Life is way too short to spend it on the couch watching reality TV!"
It’s almost certainly the case that physical presenteeism leads to biomedical afflictions such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, low back pain, fibromyalgia and other disorders. After all, when we withdraw our attention and engagement from our physicality, we also take away a powerful source of vitality and energy; in turn, our bodies become more vulnerable to the challenges of the world. Presenteeism also leads to a loss of meaning, a vulnerability to depression and a general weakening of the organism as a whole. It seems probable that a huge percentage of our modern “lifestyle diseases” are either caused or exacerbated by our failure to engage in a meaningful physical relationship with our bodies.
But while the link between presenteeism and disease is almost certainly real, this fact misses the deeper point. That is, quite apart from the health consequences, physical presenteeism is a disease in and of itself, a state of diminished vitality and life. How else would you describe a condition that somehow leads a person to give away a substantial proportion of his or her most precious life experience? Call it an existential disease if you must, but the fact remains: physical presenteeism is not a minor side-effect of the modern human experience. It is a major, debilitating disease that wrecks millions of lives every day, every week, every month, every year!
Ironically, the fitness industry itself promotes this epidemic of physical disengagement by bowing down to the prevailing cultural narrtative that “exercise is boring.” To remedy this presumption, treadmills and other cardio equipment are often seen set up with wide-screen TVs in front of them. In this environment, customers can mount the machine, turn off their attention and go unconscious until the buzzer goes off. This is nothing less than a prescription for physical disengagement. Even worse, the whole thing turns out to be a net negative for the exerciser. Any gains made in cardiovascular fitness are offset by the deepening habit of disengagement that people build up in front of the TV. The way I see it, there’s a staggering amount of waste created every day in gyms across America as seemingly dedicated exercisers run on treadmills or climb StairMasters while watching CNBC or ESPN or listening to their iPods, not at all connecting with the physical activity they’re supposedly engaged in. The lack of focus & attention is what what seems to be the missing link!
Every time a big box club/gym installs another treadmill with a TV, the fitness industry advances a disengaged lifestyle and a dysfunctional relationship with the body, and sadly I see it almost everyday! In this sense, we are definitely part of the problem.
The distinction between presenteeism and full engagement may seem subtle, but over time it becones immense. Neuroscientist John Medina, author of 'Brain Rules', makes this point crystal clear when he says “the difference between just showing up and full engagement is the difference between air guitar and actually learning to play the guitar.” You can play air guitar all you want, but it will never make you a musician. For that, you have to engage, sweat, participate and take personal risk, over and over again, for thousands of hours. Merely holding the guitar in your hands will get you nowhere. The analogy is clear: By failing to engage our bodies with depth, substance and authentic participation, we are now creating vast populations of physical air guitarists. It’s no wonder our health is failing.
I believe it was actor Woody Allen who once declared that “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” Performance coaches and commentators often bring out this quote when they try to motivate people to get past the sticking point of total apathy, hoping to inspire them to get off the couch and actually do something. Obviously, showing up is better than not being there at all, but fundamentally, Woody Allen was completely off the mark. In fact, simply showing up doesn’t get us anywhere near 80% of the way to success. Just showing up for conditioning class or dance, music, job training or any other discipline doesn’t even get us close to learning or high performance status. No, we have to get our bodies, our attention and our lives intimately involved in the process. Being present is obviously necessary, but it’s not even close to being sufficient.
To revise Allen’s statement, we might say: “Twenty percent of success is showing up. The rest depends on full participation and engagement.”
Thursday, September 9, 2010
"I don’t have the time…."
"I can’t be bothered with thinking about what to eat…."
"In the morning I’m in such a rush…."
[Insert the excuse you use]
We all have them.
We need to get rid of them.
They are holding us back.
Today I want to share with you a strategy that you can put into place tomorrow that will drastically improve your adherence to your fat loss plan and thus the rate in which you are burning fat.
I’m talking about morning rituals. Please don’t confuse this with the practice of just preparing all your meals for the day first thing in the morning. No. That is only a part of what I am talking about.
When I say “morning ritual” I am talking about putting every morning of your life on autopilot. With a morning ritual you will wake up in the morning perform X,Y,Z tasks in the same order, every morning, until you are out the door.
Let’s look at a sample morning ritual.
- Wake Up
- Go Downstairs, start coffee maker, and make shake
- Perform mobility work
- Perform a short Cardio Strength Training Workout (Tabata, Ladder, etc)
- Take a shower
- Get Dressed
- Take meals out of the refrigerator
- Head out the door
With a morning ritual you know exactly what you are going to do when you get up. I recommend that you eat the same thing for breakfast – yes the same thing (you can switch it up every week if you want). This keeps things simple and streamlined.
The important part of this process is that you get your body to a point where it runs on autopilot. Now your life may be different and it is likely that it won’t fit exactly with the ritual that I outlined – that is fine but now is the time to make your own.
Pull out a piece of paper and pen....
Okay, the key components are:
- Metabolic boost
- and of course being clean and not leaving your house naked
Here’s the sample ritual again with the different components highlighted.
- Wake Up
- Go Downstairs, start coffee maker, and make shake (nutrition)
- Perform mobility work (prehab/mobility)
- Perform a short Cardio Strength Training Workout (metabolic boost)
- Take a shower (being clean)
- Get Dressed (not leaving house naked)
- Take pre-prepared meals out of the refrigerator (preparation)
- Head out the door.
In the morning I find shakes to be the easiest. Throw some frozen fruit, protein powder, greens, nuts, and water into a blender and in 30-45 seconds you’re ready to go. I recommend doing 1 round of a Tabata variation because it will only take you 4 minutes and it will get your metabolism going. In regards to mobility/prehab work, (don’t skip on this, especially if you sit at a desk all day) a handful of simple stretches and foam rolling movements (less than 10 minutes of your day).
Get a morning ritual. Put it into action, so when you get up you don’t have to think you just go through the steps you outlined (are you done writing out your morning ritual?).
By taking this approach to your fat loss plan you will be more compliant, more successful, and thus burn more fat.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
These are interesting, fun, and they have seen a ton of hype recently. A complex is essentially a resistance circuit that is done without letting go of the implement used. With complexes you want to move swiftly through a set number of exercises (usually 8-10 repetitions) without setting the weight down and without using poor technique. Due to the nature of the complex, you should use a weight that is light enough to complete the prescribed repetitions on the most difficult exercise used. Complexes can be done with barbells, kettlebells, dumbbells, sandbags or even weight plates.
A basic barbell complex can look like this:
(All exercises done with 8 repetitions)
- Power Clean
- Front Squat
- Push Press
- Bentover Row
- Straight Leg Deadlift
- Walking Lunge
- Good Morning
- Push Press
- Bentover Row
Progressing the complex is as simple as adding weight, sets, or speed. For more variations and information check out the following sites:
Complexes 2.0 by John Romaniello
Rebuild Yourself With Complexes by Dan John
Dan John's Complexes
For more detailed info about Complexes, be sure to check out the new book by Robert dos Remedios, CSCS called 'Cardio Strength Training'. This is one awesome book that is guaranteed not to disappoint.
Lastly, here's a cool video by Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, as he demonstrates his Turbulence Training Barbell Complex:
Train hard & stay strong!
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
While I was reading today, I came across 8 steps to discover your destiny. Although, I know step processes don't always work, i.e., '4 easy steps to lose weight', '5 steps to financial freedom' and so on, I thought these were pretty close to a good 'step' program. Good stuff:
- Think about the desires of your heart, not what someone else wants you to do, or the fleeting fantasies of your mind - Ps. 37:3-4
- Determine what stirs your passion, drive and zeal - John 2:17
- Know what gifts and talents flow naturally through you - Rom. 12:4-6
- Seek counsel from mature friends, both Christian and non-christian and leaders - Prov. 11:14; 18:1
- Listen to the witness of the Holy Spirit in your spirit - Rom. 8:14
- Understand what you can or can't give yourself 100% in order to accomplish it - 1John 3:16
- Know what produces good fruit in your life - Matt. 12:33
- Follow the peace of God inside you - Col. 3:15
Monday, August 30, 2010
Until you get your mind right, you'll never be able to get your life right. Why? Because nothing in your life can exceed your level of thinking. Your reality cannot supersede your mentality. So, if you want bigger and better results, then you've got to get a bigger and better vision for your life. As my good friend and colleague Todd Durkin, CSCS - owner of Fitness Quest 10 (San Diego, CA) says, "Do something that scares you" - meaning to do something that is bigger than you think is possible! You can think your way to a whole new plateau or to an all-time low. Which will it be?
You can't constantly think thoughts of doom and gloom and expect sunshine and growth. That defies God's natural laws. You see, whatever you plant will determine your harvest. If you constantly sow negativity through your words, thoughts, and actions, you'll reap a negative harvest. However, if you sow optimism by consistently choosing to embrace a bright and positive outlook, you'll produce better results in your life.
What you see truly is what you get.
So, let me ask you something. When you look at your circumstances what do you see? Think about it now. It's important to examine your thought life. Are you too negative? If so, ask God to work on your mentality.
Remember, mind transformation always precedes life transformation, " ...but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." (Romans 12:2b NIV).
I know that all your circumstances may not look favorable right now. But how do you expect things to change if you consistently speak death, destruction, doom, and gloom over your life? Stop poisoning yourself with your tongue. Stop diminishing your sense of worth. Stop stifling your creativity. Stop cursing your future.
Change the way you look at things. Rather than always seeing the glass as "half empty," begin seeing it as "half full." Focus on the good things. Stop expecting the worst while praying for the best.
I want to leave you with this encouragement today: "Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things" (Philippians 4:8 NIV).
Your future hangs in the balance. In which direction will you swing the pendulum? Toward the negative or the positive? Only you can decide.
May you be empowered to prosper!
Saturday, August 28, 2010
If you hang around training forums on any reputable training site, you’ll notice that the highest percentage of questions is directed towards fixing aches and pains (for example, go to the EliteFTS site and you will see the Q & A section filled with questions about fixing injuries, aches and pains).
The truth is that a large number of the aches and pains people experience whether before, during or after training (especially if you’re not doing any training) are a direct result of bad posture, overcompensation, repetitive movement, tightness, weakness, muscles that don’t activate, a crappy training program, etc.
Many of the issues you may be experiencing can be fixed without having to go under the knife or visit a sacred shaman in the mountains of Tibet. What you do need is a training program that is catered towards your goals and addresses any issues you are experiencing.
While I will not go into the strength training and conditioning aspects of the program, I will dive into the dynamic warm-ups that we use at Hocevar Performance to fix the problems that our clients may be experiencing (while I’m writing this I also want to point out how important it is to refer out when necessary as you cannot fix everything and you should always have your clients best interests at heart….this also means you should have a great network of PT therapists, ART guys or anyone else that can help your clients).
Our dynamic warm-ups address (not always in that order):
- Tissue quality (self myofascial release with foam roll, lacrosse ball, etc.)
Most of the time pain and discomfort in the body is present because there is a lack of one or more of the above. Just as one issue can cause another, fixing one issue can correct multiple problems (everything in the kinetic chain can affect other variables).
Dynamic warm-ups can and should be used in multiple situations; at Hocevar Performance we use them for the following:
1. Warming Up – Wow, didn’t see that one coming, huh? The main reason we use the dynamic warm-ups is to get the body prepared for the best training session possible. This means improving tissue quality, raising core temperature and getting the blood flow going as well as lengthening tight muscles, activating dormant ones and exciting the nervous system.
2. Assessments – I will resort to the BETA (Building The Efficient Athlete) and the FMS (Functional Movement Screen) to asses clients but I found a great way to assess clients is putting them through some of the movements we use as our dynamic warm ups.
3. Corrective Exercise – Almost everyone has issues so the dynamic warm ups includes exercises that address those issues. Who says you cannot integrate one into another. For clients that are coming out of physical therapy, we will extend the dynamic warm ups so that it becomes part of their training. Since they are usually more de-conditioned, they will provide enough of a training stimulus.
4. De-load Weeks – We will make the warm ups take over much of our training on de-load weeks. This way we can recover as well as address any issues present.
5. Fillers – Fillers are dynamic warm up exercises that will be used in between sets during the strength training session. Fillers can be one exercise or a couple of exercises. This is a great way to get in some more exercises that will help fix the clients issues while they are waiting around to do the next set (this definitely goes for sets with longer breaks).
To give you an idea of how some of the warm-ups look like I’m posting a couple of dynamic warm-ups that we use before our upper and lower body training sessions:
We would foam roll the lower body thorougly before we would start with the warm-ups…
Alternating Atlas Lunges x 5/each
Glute Stretch into Cosack Squat x 6
RF Mobilizations x 5/each
Ankle Mobilizations x 10/each
OH Wall Squat x 6
Inchworms x 5
Bowler Squats x 10/each side
Spiderman Lunge + Rotation x 3/each
Squat to Stand x 10
X-band Walks x 8/each
Jumping Jacks x 20
Seal Claps x 20
Highland Flings x 20
Foam Rolling: upper back traps, lats, chest, shoulders, triceps, biceps, forearms
Moving push ups x 5/each side
Scap Push Ups x 12
Reach, Roll & Lift x 5/each
TRX External Rotations x 15
Band Pull Aparts x 15
Barbell Muscle Snatch x 1o
DB Front, Lateral Raises, Press x 10/each
Pec Stretch x 20 secs./each
TRX Lat Stretch x 15-20 secs./each angle
Start implementing a dynamic warm-up that will address the issues you may be facing into your training program. If you don’t have any issues, then add dynamic warm-ups so you will continue to be without issues. It’s 10-15 minutes that you can’t afford to skip. Not only will it improve posture, get you more mobile, flexible and help you move better, but it will also fix weaknesses and indirectly improve your strength and performance.
Friday, August 27, 2010
During my weekend adventure, many interesting and educational discussions took place. One topic of discussion that came about with my fellow trainers & colleagues was our personal frustration about the lack of 'follow through' of instructions with some of our clinetele. Let me give you an example of something that I shared.
I remember putting together a bookshelf that I figured I could piece together without looking at the instruction booklet. As I went on putting this thing together, I noticed a few foreign pieces that were left over - it seems this always happens when you have to construct something out of a box. Anyway, I finished it and just as fast as I could put anything on the shelves, the whole thing tumbled over!
My lesson learned - 'read the instruction booklet beforehand and stick with it!'
One morning one of my clients walked into my office and said, "I know you said that I should have the veggie and eggbeater omelet but I decided to stop by Starbucks and ordered a muffin and a grande coffee for breakfast." Right then I almost hesitated to ask what kind of 'coffee' she ordered. "A peppermint white mocha with skinny milk". As you can see, her breakfast choice was obviously not the same as to one I told her to eat.
Just this morning, I was helping someone else with their 'metabolic resistance training' plan and they had the audacity to say, "This is too hard for me! I want something EASIER!" Are your freakin' kidding me?!! And you wonder why they lack results and yet they're still the ones complaining about their weight gain, lack of fat loss, etc.!
And the personal trainer subtitles read: “I’d rather eat garbage than look or feel better. I’m making a conscious decision to go ahead and get fatter because I love food more than I love myself. I'd also rather do things that are easy because the even though the harder things are better for me, I just can't do them!”
Sorry folks. I don't know about you but I just don't buy it. Just like my old college football coach would say, "Excuses are like A-holes......everybody has one!"
If you're in a quest to look & feel better, to perform at your optimal level, and want to see results, you must stick with a proven plan and FOLLOW IT!! If not, don't be surprised if your bookshelf turns out to be a mess!
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
This past weekend was rejuvenating, exhilarating & very energetic as I attended the 2010 Perform Better Functional Training Summit in Long Beach, CA. This is a weekend where fitness professionals and coaches have the opportunity to attend lectures and hands-on workshops presented by top elite fitness industry leaders. It's also an opportunity to reconnect with old friends and a chance to meet and network with new ones. I have to say that this year was by far the best Summit that I have attended since '06. Every year, the conference gets bigger (attendance wise) and better. As trainers & coaches, we train & work hard which often times results in the opportunity to 'play hard' thus creating balance in our lives!
We had some insane workouts take place - we literally had our asses handed to us on a platter by Alwyn Cosgrove, Robert Dos Remedios, Martin Rooney and my man, good friend and fellow SDSU Aztec brother Todd Durkin.
The Perform Better crew was awesome too! They provided exceptional service taking care of equipment orders and meeting the needs of each trainer & coach. A special thanks and 'hello' goes out to Jacob Guajardo & Jennie Rohde (from RI) - both of you ROCK! Looking forward to seeing you both next year, sooner if possible.
I also want to say thanks to my buddies & elite trainers whom I had a chance to reconnect with - Mike Rouillard (from my old stompin' grounds of San Diego), Terrence Wilson (from NY), and Sascha Metzger (from Germany). You guys are the best! I look forward to reuniting the 'Fearsome Foursome' again soon! Thanks to my good friend and other SDSU Aztec brother Steve Cotter, whom I had the chance to touch base with after not seeing each other in over 8 years. Thanks to my longtime pals whom I use to work with in San Diego at Frog's Athletic Club (when Frog's was awesome) - Tony Ferrarelli, Michelle Martin and Paul David. I'm very blessed and fortunate to have maintained our friendship all these years. Also, a big thanks to my new friends and elite trainers whom I had the chance to meet this year - my bro Mike Torres (from NY) , Gina Rozo & Kennedy Kombo (from Sac), Troy (from San Diego), Julie Twaddle (from the UK), Steph & Christine (from AZ), Susan Sange (from Napa), Carina Weston & Vickie Lane (both from Pasadena), Sam Caucci (from Parisi Speed School - New Jersey), Troy Fontana (from NV), Karim Khaliki (from San Diego), and my local bros Tim Funkhouser and Luka Hocevar (both from the greater Seattle area - Pac NW) - I look forward to connecting with both of you soon! I also want to thank everyone else whom I may have forgotten.
God bless and I look forward to seeing you all again soon!