Friday, December 30, 2011

Thank you!

Thanks to all of you all for checking out my blog, for your support and for your feedback about the various subjects that I've written about. My plan is to make 2012 a year in which I will continue to bring you the most current, up-to-date, accurate & cutting edge information regarding fitness programming & exercise, training protocols & methodologies, nutrition, general well being and whatever it takes to improve your ‘Life, Health & Wellness’!

Until then, get your workouts in, stay strong, eat like a champion and train hard!

Remember, as Alwyn Cosgrove says, "It doesn't matter what you eat or how you exercise between Christmas and New Years….but it does matter how you eat and exercise between New Year's and Christmas!"

Wishing you all the best for 2012!


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

TFW 6500 Pound Challenge

How will you end 2011? You will end it on a high note and cruise into 2012 better than you did the year before? Or will you surrender to the status quo and be 'satisfied' with where you are now? Hopefully you'll choose the former and take on ANY challenge if your goal is never ending improvement.
Check out this video of my good friend and colleague, Martin Rooney, CSCS - founder of Training for Warriors, as he leaves his mark in 2011 on a high note with what he calls the "TFW 6500 Pound Challenge". His goal - to leave the year stronger than when he entered it!

Are you up for the challenge? Unleash the 'WARRIOR' within and see just how far you can go.

There's no way you can stop GREATNESS!

Get to it!


Ask A Ninja - "Night Before Christmas" - Revisited

O.K., I know we're already 3 days past Christmas (which also happens to be my birthday) but this is a great, hilarious & awesome video that I think you'll enjoy which I posted a while back.

The reason I'm very fond of this video is because I'm a member of the world class, prestigious, eminent, legendary, glorious, powerful and famous organization known as the "International Order of Ninjas (ION)" - which you need to be invited to in order to join. I consider myself one of the lucky ones as I was discovered by an ION Five Kage Ninja long ago!

Maybe someday you too will be discovered! In the meantime, enjoy this video.

Wishing you all the best this holiday season!


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Regret or Rejoice - The Choice Is Yours

"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle."
- Albert Einstein, theoretical physicist, philosopher & author

I firmly believe that in order to live our lives to the fullest, to get as much as we can to fulfill and receive the most satisfaction, we have to be willing to decipher the good and the positives even during the worst situations we may or have dealt with. If you're the type of person who refuses to have those ah ha moments of clarity and see the good in every situation, you're 'missing the boat' on a major opportunity to grow and learn.

In other words, you're letting your challenges overcome who you are & letting them get the best of you!

Trust me....I know it's hard to see the light when certain situations look bleak - death, bad break-ups, unemployment, financial struggles, etc.  However, we must never give up hope in our quest to learn from these struggles and appreciate every situation which in turn makes us stronger, smarter and capable of taking on any challenge head-to-head.

Never let any of your circumstances get the best of you, because you're better than that. Even when life has you down on your knees and keeps kicking you in the teeth, you MUST get back up on your feet and move matter how hard the hits!

Always hold your head up high and always look for the best in the worst of life. After all, you have a choice....

You can either REGRET or REJOICE! 


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Ho Ho Hold It Now

No, the title of this blog isn't about the hit single from The Beastie Boys - "Hold It How".

photo via:

Instead, it's a title that's meant to shift the advocating illustrations of what the mainstream media portray Santa Clause to be. Given that it's the holiday season, it's also that time of year when we start seeing Santa Clause all around us - book stores, TV commericals, malls, Christmas cards, etc.

Before I go on, I ask you this - "What does Santa Clause look like to you?"

Is he the big, chubby red-cheeked man with the white beard wearing the red coat & pants? For the majority of you, this is what the ideal is.

For a fitness professional as myself, my image of Santa is different - a lot different!

We live in a fast paced, remote control driven, instant single-serving society and sadly many of us have succumbed to the pressures of everyday life - lack of exercise, fast food, sleep deprivation, etc. - while paying the price for our most precious asset - our health!

Knowing that we're dealing with issues like cancer, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and sedentary lifestyles, some health professionals are promoting that the image of Santa Clause be cleaned up. If that be the case, then it looks like we better "ho ho hold the milk & cookies"!

So why the sudden push to clean up Santa's appearance? Those who support the "Healthy Santa" cite the following as their justification to do so:
  • Santa is used as a marketing ploy to sell sugary and fatty foods to kids 
  • Children are encouraged to leave a plate of high fat & sugar cookies along with a glass of hormone-filled cows milk
  • Santa's fat belly seems to be accepted as the societal norm - in other words, it's perfectly fine to be fat & obese! Or is it?
  • In some countries, leaving Santa a shot of rum or brandy is customary and promotes "good luck" - Yeah, he's gonna need it especially after taking all those shots from visiting those homes world wide. 
  • Santa's trip down the chimney may encourage children to do the same - play in the fireplace or crawl up the chimney
I know some of the reasons above may sound 'ridonkulous', but the 'Healthy Santa' promoters are doing their best to reverse the ideals of Chris Kringle's image in hopes that it may help others live a healthier & active lifestyle - which many do not!

So, what if Santa did....
  • Eat 5-7 meals each day - didn't skip meals >> most importantly breakfast
  • Eat protein with every meal
  • Eat a serving of veggies with every meal
  • Decreased his fruit intake to a low-moderate level
  • Decreased his grains, starches & sugar intake - replaced grains with greens
  • Increased his healthy fat intake - fish oil, olive oil, coconut oil, nuts/seeds, nut butters, avocados
  • Drink half his body weight in ounces of water each day
  • Take his daily multivitamin
  • Exercised using the principles of HIIT and compound exercises
  • Move constantly - the human body was designed to move and 'Do Work'
  • Go to bed at a decent hour rather than staying out all night - that way he can have an awesome start to his day the next day
If Santa did all of the above, he would be what I consider....

A Bad Ass Santa!!

What does 'Bad Ass Santa' look like?

Like this.....

You too can transform your mind & body by adopting the same principles that "Bad Ass Santa" does. Not only will you look & feel better, but you'll have an improved quality of life! Guaranteed!

Happy Holidays!


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Get Started....and Get Started RIGHT NOW!

Thanksgiving has already past and just around the corner comes Christmas followed by New Years Day. It's that time of the year when people find themselves gearing up for the holidays - shopping, travel, vacations, etc.- instead of gearing up to take care of themselves. Holiday parties, too much food & drinks, lack of movement & exercise and too much TV! With the holidays come the New Year and all of the health & fitness resolutions.

In all of my years as a fitness trainer and strength coach, I can honestly say that I've witnessed many people start on their journey to improved physical health & performance only to have it end within a number of days, if not a few weeks. The most difficult, challenging and troublesome aspect on the path to health & physical improvement is getting started and making it a part of everyday life.

Many of you may find yourselves developing a plan but never do anything to move one foot forward, which is called PROGRESSION - "a movement or development toward a destination or more advanced state". Instead you stay in a stagnant position hoping that positive change will come.

My question is how can one expect to change when there is no applicable stimulus to create change? In order to create something....anything, in order to change, it requires that you take ACTION!

As my good friend and colleague Martin Rooney, CSCS - founder of Training for Warriors says in the video below, "It's time to start! It's to time to stick with something! Make your goal, get a commitment and START!"



Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving - A Time to Give Thanks

May this be a time to give thanks and enjoy the comforts and unconditional love of family and friends as we celebrate the greatest gifts & blessings of all - LIFE.HEALTH.WELLNESS.!

I also want to wish my little brother a Happy Birthday!

Last but not least, don't forget about your workout. Here's a quick 10-15 minute "Turkey Day Blast" that you can do anywhere. All you need is a 4'x4' space, your body, no equipment, a 'kick-ass' attitude and a smile! Get to it!

Turkey Day Blast

Directions: Perform each exercise for the set number of reps. Rest for 15 seconds and continue to the next exercise. Repeat this sequence until all exercises are completed. Rest for 60 seconds & repeat 1 more time.
  • Pushups/Spiderman Pushups x 10 reps >> Rest 15 sec.
  • Squats/Squat Jumps x 10 reps >> Rest 15 sec.
  • Walkouts/Inchworms x 10 reps >> Rest 15 sec.
  • Alternating Lunges/Alternating Jumping Lunges x10/side >> Rest 15 sec.
  • Burpees x10 >> Rest 15 sec.
  • High Knee Sprints x30 seconds >> Rest 15 sec.
*Rest for 60 seconds and repeat 1x

Happy Thanksgiving!


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I Train Because....

The other day I was in the gym going about my business and getting my own ass kicked. I was at the tail end of my workout and taking some recovery before cranking out my metabolic finisher. I noticed a few members staring in my direction as I started my 2-minute metabolic blast!

After the brutality of Burpees, High-Knee Sprints, 1-1/2 Push-ups and Squat Jumps for 30-seconds each, I lay there on the floor exhausted, feeling my heart pounding against my chest, trying to catch my breathe as I lay in a pool of my own sweat.

Cautiously one member walked up to me and asked if I was O.K. I looked up, smiled and said I felt awesome! Surprised by my response, she asked me the ultimate question - "Why do you train?"

After a brief pause of a few seconds to catch my breathe, I collected my thoughts and told her the various reasons why.

I train because....
  • It's what I love to do
  • It makes me feel tons better
  • It reduces negative stress
  • It allows me to think clearly and 'think outside the box'
  • It improves my physical performance
  • It helps to improve my posture, my movement ability and reduces the risk of injuries
  • It keeps my waistline in check 
  • It boosts my metabolism
  • It improves my strength, power, speed, agility, quickness and flexibility
  • It reduces body fat
  • It makes me leaner
  • It increases lean muscle 
  • It's awesome
  • It's what the human body was designed for
  • It makes me stronger
  • It improves my cardiovascular health
  • I like the feeling of my heart pounding against my chest
  • If I don't, I start feeling like s#*t
  • I'm afraid of getting fat and lazy
  • I make the time to do so
  • I'm all about taking on a challenge and succeeding
  • It allows me to take my training to a whole new level
  • I know I can overcome perceived limitations by pushing forth by never quitting
  • I can experiment with new exercises, protocols and methodologies
  • I can create my own style of training
  • I like to embrace the chaos & discomfort knowing that I'm getting better when I do
  • I continue to build thick skin to ward off ignorance, criticism, doubts & fear
  • I know results come from doing the things that I dislike
  • It allows me to ditch the stuff that's worthless and keep the stuff that works
Most importantly, I train because....
  • I have NO EXCUSE not to!


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Workout of the Day - The 9-9-9 Mayhem Blast

I was reading through some of the latest & greatest news, nutrition and workout tips on and came across and interesting write up. Featured in the 'Men's Health Daily Dose' was a workout titled "The 9-9-9 Workout" created by fitness expert David Jack.

Here's an overview of what it consists of. The 9-9-9 Workout entails that you complete 4 exercises for 9 reps each for 9 rounds in 9-minutes or less. Your pace is determined by fitness level and you can rest as needed between each exercise. In other words, you simply go by "feel".

Again, complete a total of 9 rounds in 9-minutes or less. That constitutes 1 round. Rest for 2-minutes and repeat the workout again for round #2.

The goal is the same as round #1 - complete the workout for 9 rounds in 9-minutes or less.

Given the criteria for the workout, I decided to give it shot. Before starting, I choose to change things a bit and 'tweak' the 9-9-9 workout to my liking. As most of you know, I'm all about creating a challenge and going full throttle! Not that the 9-9-9 workout wasn't challenging enough. I just wanted to change the exercises and see what I could create.

In the end I came up with an awesome, heart thumping, ball busting, kick ass workout.

I call it....

This workout was a BEAST to say the least! It showed no mercy but I knuckled down and managed to finish my 1st round in 7:41 and my 2nd round in 8:52 - just under the 9 minute mark! I then recovered for 2 minutes and cranked out a 4-exercise core challenge finisher for 2 rounds, 30 seconds each.

Check it out:

The 9-9-9 Mayhem Blast

Instructions: Perform 9 reps of each exercise for 9 rounds in 9 minutes or less. Rest for 2-minutes & repeat again for round #2. 

1) DB Goblet Squat x9
2) Pushup Position Rows (R&L) x9/side
3) DB Push Press x9
4) Burpees x9

Rest for 2-minutes then crank out the 'Finisher' below:

Finisher: 30 seconds each exercise, 2 rounds non-stop

1) Spiderman Planks
2) L-situps - R
3) Planks to Pushups
4) L-situps - L

So there you have it! One results driven workout that's guaranteed to torch body fat and boost your metabolism for hours!

Give it a shot and CRANK IT!!

Now....where's that puke bucket?! Just kidding!

Sort of! HA!


Monday, November 7, 2011

Taking the Escalator or the Stairs?

The premise of introducing more work for the body results in greater caloric output due to an increase in biomechanical function. In other words, the more we move, the greater the potential to burn more calories. The question is how do we engage people to move more? To become a lot more 'functional' without the mindset in thinking that exercise is boring, a form of punishment, a sense of obligation or being too time consuming? How about we add some FUN into the mix of things!

In the beginning of the video below, note the number of people taking the escalator vs. the stairs. Add a group of creative individuals that tranform your ordinary set of stairs into a 'piano' and the results are incredible!

Check it out. Enjoy!

Remember to take the stairs. In my mind, the escalator & the elevator are both out of order!


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Take It To The Next Level

Whether your goals are health, performance or sports related, this is a "first hand look" of what you need to do to "take it to the next level"!

I think you'll dig the puking part too....which takes place twice! HA!



Quote of the Day

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit."
- Aristotle, Greek philosopher & polymath

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Routine Is the Enemy

rou tine [roo-teen] -

  1. a customary or regular course of procedure.
  2. commonplace tasks, chores, or duties done regularly or at specified intervals; typical or everyday activity.
  3. regular, unvarying, habitual, unimaginative procedure.
  4. an unvarying and constantly repeated formula; convenient or predictable response.
  5. the type of activity that will drive you insane - cause frustration, disappointment, boredom, anger, you become stagnant and get you nowhere! 
Yes, I added in that fifth definition above - but it's so true. The sad thing is that I see it just about every day. The same people doing the same exercises, same tempo, same loads, same reps, same sets....even the same workout clothes! YIKES! Go home and wash that s#*t people!! Cause not only do your clothes stink but so does your workout "plan".

I also see this quite a bit....and it drives me nuts!

"Yeah, I'm here at the gym getting my sweat on....reading my magazine, talking with you!" Huh?! Really?!

How many times have you walked into any 'big box club/gym' and have seen the same people doing the same thing day in and day out? You know - slow cardio on the elliptical, running endless miles & minutes on the treadmill, slouching over on the stairmaster at a whooping pace of 10 -20 steps per minute? What about those folks doing the same 'lifts' on the same machines with the same loads? Machines like the pec fly, seated cable row, seated inner/outer thigh machine, seated leg extension, seated shoulder press, etc.

Hopefully you're NOT one of those people. (If you've been following my blog for a while now, you better NOT BE one of those people!) If you've succumbed to the malignant lure of the 'routine' bandit, no worries. I'm here to save you the heartache by giving you some guidance on how to create some parameters for your workout "program" without ever falling into that stagnant, boring routine ever again.

Whatever you do, don't be "that guy"!

For me, personally, I don't ever want to fall into the trap of being "that guy"! What I mean by that is that I don't want to be categorized or pigeon-holed as the dude who resists change, who bitches and complains about boring & stagnant workouts and voices his frustration as to why he's not seeing any results!

If you want to get better and you want to see positive change which yields results like fat loss, improved strength & power, endurance, increased lean muscle, mobility, etc., then changing the program is a MUST! Period!

Changing your current "plan" (and developing it into a "program") into a that you've stuck with for months, maybe even years, doesn't have to be complicated. However, I do recommend that you change or 'tweak' it more frequently - about every 4-6 weeks. Why? To challenge the rate of adaptation which is heavily influenced by load, volume, intensity and frequency of exercise.

To design an optimal exercise "program", you'll need to adhere to these following six (6) principles in order to break away from the routine "plan".

The Principle of Individual Differences

This principle simply means that, because we're all unique individuals, we'll all have a slightly different response to an exercise program. In other words, "one size doesn't fit all" when it comes to exercise. Well-designed exercise program should be based on our individual differences and responses to exercise. Some of these differences have to do with body size and shape, genetics, past experience, chronic conditions, injuries and even gender.

The Overload Principle

The principle of overload states that 'a greater than normal stress or load on the body IS REQUIRED for training adaptation to take place'. What this means is that in order to improve our fitness, strength or endurance, we NEED TO INCREASE the workload accordingly.

In order for a muscle (which includes the heart) to increase strength, it must be gradually stressed by working against a load greater than it's used to. To increase endurance, muscles must work for a longer period of time than they are used to or at a higher intensity for a shorter period of time (interval training).

Load 'em up! See RESULTS!

The Progression Principle

Progression simply implies that there's an optimal level of overload that should be achieved, and an optimal time frame for this overload to occur. A gradual and systematic increase of the workload over a period of time will result in improvements in fitness without risk of injury. If overload occurs too slowly, improvement is unlikely. Overload that's increased too rapidly may result in injury or muscle damage.

The Progression Principle highly stresses the need for proper rest/recovery. Continual stress on the body and constant overload will result in exhaustion and injury. Training hard all of the time may also set you up for overtraining thus creating a negative impact on your overall fitness - constant fatigue, decreased power of endurance, strength & speed,  anxiety, depression, etc.

The Principle of Adaptation

Adaptation refers to the body's ability to adjust to increased or decreased physical demands. It's also one way we learn to coordinate muscle movement and develop sports-specific skills like batting, swimming or shooting free throws. Repeatedly practicing a skill or activity makes it second-nature and easier to perform. Adaptation explains why beginning exercisers are often sore after starting a new routine, but after doing the same exercise for weeks and months they have little, if any, muscle soreness.

Adaptation also makes an athlete very efficient allowing them to expend less energy doing the same movements. This reinforces the need to vary a workout routine if one wants to see continued improvement. In other words, change is a must!

The Principle of Use or Disuse

The Principle of Use/Disuse implies that when it comes to fitness, either you "use it or lose it"This simply means that your muscles hypertrophy with use and atrophy with disuse. This also explains why someone stops becomes deconditioned and their overall fitness declines when they stop exercising.

"We're either getting better, or we're getting worse. There is no staying the same!" 
- Robert Dos Remedios

The Principle of Specificity

The Specificity Principle simply states that exercising a certain body part or component of the body primarily develops that part. This principle implies that, to become better at a particular exercise or skill, you MUST perform that exercise or skill. While it's helpful to have a good base of fitness and to do general conditioning routines, if you want to be better at your sport, you need to train specifically for that sport.

I'm sure many coaches and trainers will add additional guidelines and principles to this list. However, these are what I consider to be the six basics principles that are the cornerstones of all other effective training methods. They cover all major aspects of a solid foundation of performance & athletic training and conditioning.

If all of these principles are making it a bit overwhelming and somewhat confusing, make it easy on yourself and don't stress. Simply add in some pushing exercises, a little more pulling, some hip/knee dominant (especially hip extension), explosive movements (crank it hard & fast) and don't forget about core training (no crunches - add in some anti-rotational/anti-extension work such as Palloff presses/holds, ab wheel rollouts, planks & side planks).

"The body doesn't care how it moves, it just wants to get the task done." 
- Guido Van Ryssegem

Getting the task done means getting off that ass and start putting forth some effort! Break the routine, do something different, something non-traditional and move!

As I say, "go out & play". Play hard and with a purpose! Do that and start reaping the rewards of time savings and better results! Guaranteed!


*Source: Wilmore, J.H. and Costill, D.L. Physiology of Sport and Exercise: 3rd Edition. 2005. Human Kinetics

Saturday, October 15, 2011

What Is the Ultimate Purpose of Life?

This is a very powerful & moving video that depicts one man who has taken it upon himself to create change in his community and environment to help those who are homeless and in need. I firmly believe that we can all learn something from this amazing person - Narayanan Krishnan.

This man decided to quit his job at a 5-star hotel in exchange to help those in his "own backyard", so to say. All I can say is that after watching this, I am inpsired to do great things and help those around me.

Watch, learn and enjoy.

Peace & God bless!


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Experience Zero Gravity

This stuff is pretty crazy, exhilarating, an adrenaline rush and beautiful.....all at the same time!

Awesome cinematography and landscapes.



Friday, October 7, 2011

Friday Fun Day (FFD) Workout: The Slosh Pipe!

If you haven't had the opportunity to workout with a slosh pipe, you're missing out....big time! Not only is the slosh pipe a great piece of equipment that increases core strength but it creates more of a challenge for exercises such as squats, lunges and overhead presses to name a few.

Anyone can make their own slosh pipe by visiting any hardware store and purchasing some:
  • PVC pipe
  • PVC cement/glue
  • PVC cap
  • Thread tape
  • Masking tape
  • Water
Get all of this and we're in business folks! Be sure to check out this cool post on 'How to make an adjustable slosh pipe'.

If you're interested in seeing the slosh pipe in action, then check out my good friend and colleague, Sean Croxton, CMTA - founder & owner of Underground Wellness in this awesome video. Sean had an opportunity to visit with Tony Lewis - owner of Designer Fitness and Wellness Center in Gainesville, VA, and got a little taste of what slosh pipe work is all about!

Don't be fooled, the slosh pipe is a lot harder than it looks! However, it's fun and guaranteed to keep your workouts fresh and challenging.

Time to get sloshin'! (And no I'm not talking beers either!) HA!



Tuesday, October 4, 2011

It Ain't About How Hard You Hit

"Rocky Balboa" is one of those movies that encompasses the tragedy & triumph of life. Not only is it an entertaining one, but one that catches the spirit of living our lives and making every effort to be on top of our game while "taking the punches" that life throws at us every day.

As Rocky says in this particular scene (which happens to be my favorite scene of the movie and one that pumps me up)....

"The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It's a very mean and nasty place and I don't care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me or nobody, is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard you's about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving much you can take, and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done. Now, if you know what you worth, go out and get what you worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hits. And not pointing fingers saying: You ain't where you wanna be because of him or her or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain't you! You're better than that!" - Rocky Balboa

The reason we fall is so that we can get back up on our feet and keep moving forward!


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Quick and Effective Workouts

For the last couple of weeks, I've been experimenting with 'minimalist workouts'. Workouts that take 30 minutes or less to complete.

I know what you're thinking!

'C'mon man! Can you really get a great workout in that length of time?!'  

You bet your ass you can! The reasons for this type of workout are:
  • You can ramp up the intensity of your workouts while reaping the benefits for optimal fat loss 
  • You can implement about 4-5 exercises or less and get a great full body, cardio strength training workout
  • You can save boat loads of time doing other cool stuff outside of the gym
  • Aside from getting your ass whooped, minimalist workouts are fun, quick and effective
Now, don't confuse quick with being easy. Since my workouts are taking roughly about 20-25 minutes, I've taken it upon myself to experiment with various multi-directional movement patterns, intensity & resistance/loads depending on the exercise. Sometimes the only load you need is the weight from your body against gravity. 

Trust me - if done appropriately and implemented with good, strict form, body weight exercises can be deceiving, lethal and can challenge you like you wouldn't believe!

In terms of frequency, I performed 3 full-body workouts every other day and performed 2-3 interval training workouts on the days in between and/or used them as complete recovery days. All of my workouts were under 30 minutes.

Here's a sample workout of what I did last week. Give it a shot and let me know what you think.

20-Min. Mayhem Blast - Day #1, #3, #5
Directions: Perform 1 round of all exercises in sequence for reps in under 2-minutes. Upon completion, rest/recover for the remainder of those 2-minutes. Complete up to 10 rounds for a 20-minute workout.
  • Dumbbell Squat Thrusters x10 reps
  • Burpees x10 reps
  • Push-Ups (variations - Spidermans, Pike, Judo, 3/1 Tempo, 1 1/2 P/U's, etc.) x10 reps
  • TRX Body Wt. Rows - 3/0/1 Tempo x10 reps
Day #2, #4, #6 - Interval Training (Treadmill Sprints)
  • Warm-Up- Walk for 2-minutes, 0% incline
  • Sprint - 15 seconds, 8-10mph, 10% incline
  • Rest/Recovery - 15 seconds (straddling the belt - standing on the side of tread)
  • Repeat 6 times
  • Cool down - Walk for 2-minutes, 0% incline
Day #7 - Complete rest/recovery day

Here's another sample workout of what I did on Monday & today and what I plan to do again on Friday.

20/10 Tabata Inferno - Day #1, #3, #5
Directions: Perform each round of exercises as fast as possible with good form for 20 seconds, then rest/recover for 10 seconds - 4-minute workout. Repeat each round using the 20/10 protocol for a 20-minute workout. Rest for 1-minute between rounds.

Round #1 & #3 -
  • Squat Jumps - Prisoner Squat Jumps
  • TRX Body Wt. Rows - Low Row/Hug-Hug Combo
  • Burpees
  • Kettlebell Goblet Squats
Round #2 & #4 -
  • Standing 1-Arm Superband Explosive Chest Press (R&L)
  • Dumbbell -or- Kettlebell Deadlifts
  • Pushup Position Dumbbell Rows (R&L)
  • Mountain Climbers
Round #5 - Finisher
  • Plank to Pushups
  • Box Jumps
  • Side Planks (R&L)
  • Wideout Drops/Gate Swings
Day #2, #4, #6 - Interval Training (Treadmill Sprints)
  • Warm-Up- Walk for 2-minutes, 0% incline
  • Sprint - 15 seconds, 8-10mph, 10% incline
  • Rest/Recovery - 15 seconds (straddling the belt - standing on the side of tread)
  • Repeat 6 times
  • Cool down - Walk for 2-minutes, 0% incline
There you have it. Two 20-minute workouts and an interval training program that's guaranteed to ramp up your metabolism, torch body fat, and leave you feeling the 'afterburn'!

Now, get to it! It's time to get this done!


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Success - How Bad Do You Want It?

"When you want to be successful as bad as you want to breathe, then you'll be successful!"


Friday, September 9, 2011

Elite 11 - Performing At Your Best Under Pressure

There's something special about someone who can perform at an optimal level when the stakes are high and time is running short. We love to see the dauntless doctor spring into action to rescue the patient whose vital signs are dropping rapidly. How about the fearless firefighter who's able to maintain a certain level of focus & concentration as smoke & flames surround him and threaten to consume him alive!

Remember the heroic winning shot that Michael Jordan made with 12 seconds left against the Utah Jazz in 1998 that resulted in a storybook ending that helped the Chicago Bulls win their 6th & final championship?

In your life, you may not be asked to carry your team to a championship or save lives on a daily basis, but everyone experiences a situation when they must perform well under pressure. Perhaps you have a presentation to give in front of a large audience. Maybe you have a deadline that you have to meet. You may even have a very important interview or meeting that may impact your career path to greater & better heights.

Great athletes, entertainers, leaders, and many other extraordinary performers understand that the difference between themselves and average performers is their ability to excel in high stress & high pressure situations and conditions.

We all tend to react differently when dealing with stress and high pressure. Some are able to assess a situation  and spring into action to tackle the challenge. Others aren't so lucky - folding under pressure and producing below than average performances.

The reason may be due to the way one reacts to the physical effects of stressful situations:
  • You breathe faster so your body can take in more oxygen
  • Heart rate increases as your body pumps extra blood to your brain & muscles
  • Your mouth may feel dry because saliva isn't being produced - due to your digestive system being out on hold
  • Your pupils become dilated - allowing more light to enter & muscles tense up so you are prepared to react
  • Your liver releases sugars and fats into your blood stream to provide a burst of energy
The ability to control these as well as physiological & emotional responses may determine your performance.

So let me ask you this....

Is pressure a bad thing?

The answer is a mixed 'yes & no'. There are some great advantages to adding pressure to a situation. One of the laws that I follow when completing any task is 'Parkinson's Law'. This law states that "a task will swell to fill the time allowed to complete that task". In other words, if you give yourself an hour do to something, it will take an hour to do. If you give yourself 30 minutes to do the same task, it will take 30 minutes because you will focus on only the importance aspects and remove unnecessary time fillers. When the pressure is on and things have to get done, your mind & body may cooperate hand-in-hand meeting your accomplishment. 

In sports, the ability to handle pressure is the gauge analysts and fans use to determine how good an athlete really is. One of the worst labels an athlete can be tagged with is the guy/girl who chokes when the game is on the line! 

Think about it. 

The greatest athletes of all-time are known for using the enormous pressure that would crush an average human and turning it into an opportunity to display how great they really are. 

There are also firefighters (FYI - my dad is a retired 30-year vet of the fire dept.), paramedics, musicians whose entire profession requires being able to perform under pressure. On the other hand, pressure can crush a person if not handled correctly.

My personal hero - my dad in action!

A few weeks back, I traveled from Seattle to Long Beach, CA to attend the Perform Better 3-Day Functional Training Summit - a weekend long conference that invites professionals in the health & fitness industry to learn the latest & greatest concepts, research, protocols, methodologies and applications as they relate to health, exercise, fitness, sports & athletic performance, daily living and nutrition. 

On my return flight home, I had the privilege to have access to satellite TV making my flight more enjoyable as well as making it a fast trip. As I flipped through the channels, I came across ESPNHS and a show (that I have never seen before) called 'Elite 11'. The show starred former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer (who attended Fresno State University - which is roughly 40 miles north of my hometown of Tulare, CA) as the director and head coach of a football camp for high school quarterbacks. The camp, known as 'Elite 11', is the nation's premier quarterback competition where 24 of the nation's top prep QB's are evaluated by Dilfer and his team of coaches for skill, on-field intelligence and overall performance. 

I grew up playing football as a QB and I can tell you that this position is very complex - you must always be ahead of the other players, not just knowing your own assignments but everyone else's (particularly those of the backs & receivers), memorizing the playbook, knowing your pass routes, reading the defense - linebackers, the secondary, when a blitz is coming, knowing when to audible and change the play at the line of scrimmage, keeping track of play clock, knowing when to call a time-out, calling the appropriate offensive set-up, etc. 

Going back to the 'Elite 11", the show was very entertaining and educational to say the least. I watched as these young men competed for 3 days to be named to the Elite 11 squad. Some of these athletes had already signed letters of intent to play ball at major universities throughout the nation. A few others had no offers but showed promising skills to have looks from scouts go their way. 

During this particular episode, all 24 QB's would compete in passing routes and be judged on accuracy, speed, tempo, defensive reads, and ability to move the ball up field. At the end of each day, the coaches would rank all the players and post the results outside their dorms. It was at this time that players could see where they ranked among their 'competition'. 

For some, the fuel of competing against the top QB's in the nation was more than enough to get them fired up to do better the next day. For those who finished within the top ranks had the pressure of maintaining their roster spot or move up a few notches and take their game to the next level. As each day progressed, players moved up & down the roster. However, one thing was constant among them all - the pressure to perform at their optimum. 

A 2-minute offensive specialist/coach walked into the meeting room one day and discussed the importance of scoring a touchdown within 120 seconds. How will you drive your team up field when you're team is down and the clock is ticking? What will your play calling strategy consist of? How fluidly will you orchestrate the offense to perform and be cool under pressure? It's not easy, but it's a challenge that must be taken head on in order to complete the task. 

Here's something was introduced by this offensive specialist/coach to the players that I want to share with you. It's a simple drill allowing you to evaluate yourself and how you perform under pressure. 

You all know your ABC's, right? 

I'm also pretty sure that you can count from 1 to 26, correct? 

Now, without writing anything down, I want to you pair up the letters of the alphabet with the corresponding number starting with 1 thru 26. For example, A1, B2, C3, D4, etc., all the way to Z26. See how high you can get as you pair each letter and number in sequence. As you progress, you'll see that the pressure to get each pairing correctly will start to mount up.

How will you react? Will you be cool? Freak out? Quit? Or will you succeed and complete the task? Try it & see.

As my plane started to descend, the program was also coming to an end. After 3-days of competition, 11 of the 24 QB's were named to the 'Elite 11' squad while the remaining 13 were given an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to compete among the best athletes in the country. Players that initially ranked at the bottom stepped up their game and were chosen to the top. Others who performed at the top dropped down the ladder. Regardless, these were the TOP 24 prospects within the country! The COUNTRY! That's awesome regardless of where they ranked. 

In the end, Dilfer became emotional for the simple fact that naming the 'Elite 11' squad was the hardest thing he had to do. Some players dreams of being among the best of the best came true while others fell short. In Dilfer's eyes, the 13 players that remained had nothing to be ashamed about. They all improved in many ways, not just as it relates to football! 

These guys showed amazing character and poise and the ability to keep their chin up when the chips were down. They displayed a level head and the ability to think critically and reformulate their strategy to improve and get better each and every day. I don't know about you but these sound like applicable tactics that we use in our daily lives. 

As Dilfer told the 13 young men that remained, "I want you to be the 'Elite 11' within your school, community, your workplace, your peers, your friends and loved ones. Be the 'Elite 11' in all that you do and all that life has to offer. If you do that, you will be successful no matter the adversities, challenges and pressure that comes with the obstacles you will face each day."

The take-home message is this....

No matter what, the 'Elite 11' mentality is something that we should all encompass and learn from in our quest of never-ending improvement! 

Let ourselves the the quarterbacks of our lives as we build our offensive strategies to perform at our best as we face our biggest opponent - the real world!

Game on!


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What's Been Going On?

What's been going on people? Man, it's been a while since I last posted some new stuff on here. It's not that I'm lacking any info or various subjects to touch base on. The fact of the matter is that the last month has been very busy!

Busy with what you ask?

Well, I traveled down to Long Beach, CA from Seattle just over a week ago to attend the Perform Better 3-Day Functional Training Summit to learn the latest & the greatest from the top fitness experts in the health & fitness biz.

The gang reunited once again! From L to R - Terrence Wilson, Sascha Metzger, Adrian Robles (Me), Mike Rouillard

The presenters that were in attendance were: Martin Rooney (Training For Warriors), Mark Verstegen (Athletes' Performance), Todd Durkin (Fitness Quest 10), Robert Dos Remedios (, Alwyn & Rachel Cosgrove (Results Fitness), Steve Cotter (IKFF), John Berardi (Precision Nutrition), Vern Gambetta (Gambetta Sports Training Systems), Gray Cook (Functional Movement Screen), Mike Boyle (Mike Boyle Strength & Conditioning), Diane Vives (Fit 4 Austin), Robert Yang (Robert Yang Incorporated - RYI), the list goes on.

As you can see, the weekend summit was loaded with lots of great presenters and the material that they provided was pretty epic to say the least.

Hanging with the guys (L to R) - Albert Park, Sascha Metzger, Adrian Robles (Me), Terrence Wilson, Martin Rooney, Mike Rouillard

I also had the pleasure of hanging with many of my friends and colleagues whom I've met at the conference over the years as well as those that I've worked & went to school with. I just wanted to thank the following people for making the summit weekend one to remember. If I forgot to mention your name, I apologize as it was not intentional. I'll be sure to buy you a beer the next time I see you to make up for it!

Enjoying an ice cold beverage with my buddies Albert Park & Sascha Metzger. When you work hard, the reward is to play hard!

Thanks to my friends and colleagues (in no particular order):
  • Albert Park 
  • Luka Hocevar 
  • Pam Johnson 
  • Tim Vagen
  • Mike Rouillard 
  • Terrence Wilson
  • Sascha Metzger
  • Stephanie Jauregui
  • Carina Weston
  • Rebecca Dunn
  • Martin Rooney
  • Jennie Rohde
  • Aaron Moser
  • Erin McGirr
  • Jacob Guajardo
  • Todd Durkin
  • Melanie Durkin
  • Steve Cotter
  • Paul David
  • Connie Chamberlain
  • John Sims
  • Milan Nguyen
  • Issac Ho
  • Mike Leishman
  • Kara Bonham
  • Nate Green
  • Steve Krebs
  • John "Roman" Romaniello
  • Adam Borenstein
  • Jason Lengstorf
  • Doug Balzarini
  • Geoff Girvitz
  • Travis Motley
  • Brendan McQuaid
  • Cem Eren
  • Alwyn Cosgrove
  • Rachel Cosgrove
  • Robert Dos Remedios
  • To anyone I may have forgotten, please feel free to insert your name here >> ______________
To my fellow blog followers, thank you for taking the time to read & check out my blog and for your support. I promise to keep bringing you the latest, greatest, entertaining, informative, applicable and fun material that you can apply to your life as you see fit! It has been and always will be my mission to provide you with the best material to improve and enhance your 'Life, Health, & Wellness'!

Be on the lookout for some great stuff to be posted within the next few days! 

Until then, remember to take care & comb your hair!

See ya.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Pushup - The Most Underrated Exercise

The pushup seems to be one of those exercises that most people tend to forget about nor bother with. Here are some of the reasons that I've heard as to why some don't perform pushups:
  • They seem 'too easy' 
  • There's no true strength component to benefit from
  • They're boring
  • I did them back in high school - it's an old school exercise that has no value
  • Blah, blah, blah..... 
Don't underestimate the power of the pushup and the value it has to help build total body strength. It's an exercise that was once-forgotten and is making a huge comeback. The reason is due to the versatility and the variations of the movement. Just when you think that you've mastered a specific pushup exercise, along comes another variation that's guaranteed to challenge you to greater heights.

Here's a test for you - perform as many pushups as you can in 3-minutes. You can rest & recover whenever you want within those 3-minutes but the clock will still be running. Performing 55 is average, but it you can't reach 75, then you either need to get stronger or lose weight!

Check out these 7 variations of the pushup that's guaranteed to help you get stronger and shed a few lb's in the process.

If you're in need to perfect your form in mastering the pushup, then read this post.

Now....get pushin'!



Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Squat a Little

Every now & then I'll be working with clients to always complain about having 'bad knees'"My knees are so bad that I just stopped squatting and lunging all together", they say. 

Maybe that's part of the problem - you're not performing squats (or any other related hip-knee dominant exercise) , which happens to be functional movement pattern that we use out in the real world. Maybe that's why your knees are so bad!

Think about it.

What happens when you drops your car keys or a pen/pencil on the floor? How do you pick it back up?

Hopefully you're not using your low back as you lean over from the hips to pick something up. Yet, we hear about this happening all of the time when people start 'throwing out their backs'.

Nope. Sorry. It wasn't that 1 incident that did your back in, but rather years of repetitive bad form that got you in trouble. Years of not using your legs to help you lift objects from the ground up. It just happened to be that this 1 incident was the 'straw that broke the camel's back', so to say.

Somewhere between our adolescent years and adulthood, we lose our ability to fully squat.

Check out this guest blog by my good friend and colleague, Guido Van Ryssegem, CSCS, ATC, PT - owner & founder of Kinetic Intergrations, as he give you the low down about the squat and how it applies to our daily movement patterns.

It’s hard to dispute that our so-called modern western world has adopted a far more sedentary lifestyle compared to the previous generations.  This sedentary lifestyle has lead to an epidemic of not only metabolic disorders such as obesity, but also musculoskeletal injuries.  One of the most common musculoskeletal injuries associated with this lifestyle is low back pain. It’s no coincidence that the rise of this problem has occurred at a time when the seated position has become the most common worldwide working posture. College students are not immune to this posture as they often spend hours a day in a sitting position in class, when studying and during their leisure time.

Modern Day Life

Modern day life has made most of us adopt different sustained postures and movement patterns then to what our body is made to do. If you have spent some time in Asia or Africa you would have seen the locals sitting in full squat position talking, waiting for the bus or drinking tea. When you compare the joint angles at the hips, knees and ankles in this position compared to sitting in a seat a big difference can be noticed. Although there is some suggestions that Asians have hip structure than suits a full squat position more than Westerners, our young ones show us that we do indeed have the ability to squat all the way down to the ground. As adults we just lose it because we don’t use it.

Workout Sessions

Incorporating a few deep squats at the end of your workout sessions can be a great way to restore some range to creaky ankle, knee and hip joints.  A bonus is that by sitting in this position allows you to stretch all these areas at the same time. You may need to hold onto something to stop yourself falling backwards when you first start doing this – that’s OK.

  1. Start with a wide-open stance and work the feet closer together and straighter as this gets easier.
  2. Focus on the weight being through the middle of the feet.
  3. Aim for a tempo of 4 seconds down, 1-2 seconds up, 10-12 repetitions and repeat 1 to 4 sets depending on the level of fitness.
  4. If your hips feel tight at the bottom of the squat, you may want to hold the exercise for 1 to 2 seconds to help increase the stretch of tight tissues.

Old Rule Applies

Deep squatting may not suit everyone.  If you have knee or back pain in this position there may be a problem that requires medical care.  The old rule applies. If it hurts don’t do it.  Go slow and work your way down within your limits.