Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The IMPACT! Body Plan

Yesterday, my good friend and colleague, Todd Durkin, CSCS - owner of Fitness Quest 10 (San Diego, CA), released his new book - The IMPACT! Body Plan.

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!

Congrats Todd!


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Loomis Simmons Power Stretch

Here's an awesome fitness equipment infommercial parody by actor/comedian David Alan Grier as he plays Fitness Equipment Specialist, Loomis Simmons. Enjoy this one!


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

This Is One Cool Video

This video goes out to all you dog lovers and owners like me. This is one cool, classy dog! Enjoy!


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Not All There

Here's a question for you: 'What’s the biggest health problem in the country today?'
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

Morning Rituals: Put Your Fat Loss on AutoPilot

Guest blog by Nutrition Guru Mike Roussell

"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.
  1. Wake Up
  2. Go Downstairs, start coffee maker, and make shake
  3. Perform mobility work
  4. Perform a short Cardio Strength Training Workout (Tabata, Ladder, etc)
  5. Take a shower
  6. Get Dressed
  7. Take meals out of the refrigerator
  8. Head out the door
By performing the above morning ritual every morning (either M-F or 7 days a week) you will be taking the guesswork and thought out of your mornings. You won’t get up, think about what you could possibly eat that would be adherent to your plan, debate whether you have time to do some foam rolling, eventually stroll into the shower…

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....

….I’ll wait….


Okay, the key components are:
  • Nutrition
  • Prehab/mobility
  • Metabolic boost
  • Preparation
  • and of course being clean and not leaving your house naked

Here’s the sample ritual again with the different components highlighted.

  1. Wake Up
  2. Go Downstairs, start coffee maker, and make shake (nutrition)
  3. Perform mobility work (prehab/mobility)
  4. Perform a short Cardio Strength Training Workout (metabolic boost)
  5. Take a shower (being clean)
  6. Get Dressed (not leaving house naked)
  7. Take pre-prepared meals out of the refrigerator (preparation)
  8. 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

Metabolic Resistance Training - The Complex

Metabolic Resistance Training generally consists of a full body workout combining intensity with density. My goal for this blog post is to provide some sort of takeaway that you can use to your advantage. Keep in mind the exercises listed below are very general recommendations and will not be personalized to your unique situation.

The Complex
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

Or this:

  • Snatch
  • Walking Lunge
  • Good Morning
  • Push Press
  • Bentover Row
Complete the complex as quickly as possible without setting the weight down. In both complexes you would use a weight light enough to complete 8 repetitions of the Push Press, because this is generally the weakest movement involved. Complete 2-3 sets of the complex to get a good cardio/strength training workout in.

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!