Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Predator or Prey: Time To Eat or Be Eaten

Do you ever see those National Geographic TV shows that show lions, tigers and cheetahs chasing after their prey? You know, the ones that look this this?

Yeah! That's no joke, is it?! It's a matter of life or death!

As I say, "It's time to eat....or be eaten!"

Every time I see footage like this, I'm amazed at how fast the chase goes for - it's quick and doesn't last long! Just minutes! Once the foot race is on, the question is 'who will be the last one standing'?!

Let's take a look at the picture above from a physiological perspective.

It all starts with the predator seeking their prey. Once they spot it, they start to muster up their master plan of attack:

'Should I attack from the side? From the rear? Go high or low? Then crank it up & go for the kill? 

If this be case, the predator must induce a 'high-intensity' attack to be successful. They must be lightning fast, quick to the draw and crank up their effort beyond levels of comfort. In doing so, the end result will yield a reward of a meal. A meal that was earned through hard work and determination!

Having that 'nonchalant' approach and letting their prey escape to live another day, well, that leads to nothing! No reward! No meal!

If we take the same 'reward approach' in context to aerobic training, the same could be said about low-intensity vs. high-intensity workloads. Which of the 2 will yield better rewards? Better results? Better outcomes?

As most you you already know, I'm a huge fan of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) for 2 reasons:

1. HIIT takes less time to complete
2. HIIT yields results (in terms of fat loss) in less time

If I must add a 3rd reason, here it is:

3. HIIT separates the 'men from the boys', so to say!

Again, the less time factor is often underestimated by many in thinking that a sufficient workout has to be longer than 10-20 minutes. Workouts that many folks spend doing for minutes on end, it not hours doing the same long boring routine!

Just the other day, I noticed a guy who's been coming into the gym for about 3-4 days per week. Before he even starts, I can tell you what his routine will be for one simple reason:

It's always the same! It never changes!

If it doesn't change or if you don't create a reason to change, what will the end reward(s) or result(s) be? More fat loss? Increased muscle? Better athletic performance?

When it comes to reaching your personal fitness goals, we need to take that pill and "Man Up" and do what needs to be done!

We need to do things that will take us out of our comfort zone to start seeing results. We need to get comfortable with getting uncomfortable!


Whether it's fat loss, improving our athletic conditioning, increasing strength, or boosting our metabolism, all of these things will require a form of training that encompasses the 'Progressive Overload' principle. The principle that simply states that 'we must do a little more or do a little better than before'.

Nowhere does it say we must keep doing the same thing with the same loads for the same reps & sets on the same number days each week! This simply DOES NOT work! Yet, many people fall victim to this training approach.


Either because they haven't been taught nor educated about the principles of progression, they're comfortable with what they know and don't want to change, or they just don't care!

I'm willing to take a gamble and stick with the first reason I mentioned above but sadly people have been led to believe for so long that low and easy is the way to go. They're so comfortable doing that they have been doing for years that they refuse to change.

They fall victim to being the prey to their training!

Me? I'm the predator who's always seeking an advantage to my training! My mental attitude it that 'I'd rather eat than be eaten'!!

The same attitude goes for my colleagues and friends whom all have the same training philosophy - Go Hard or Go Home! 
This is a quote that is painted on the wall my good friend's gym, Luka Hocevar - Hocevar Performance (Renton, WA) 
We simply don't have time to waste doing things that yield very little return in our investment - our investment of hard work & sweat and the amount of time we put it into our training and education to take us & our clients to the next level.

I've been told many times that I'm a tough trainer who develops challenging programs.

Well, yeah.....that's the point, isn't it? To improve? To see results?

If I wasn't creating that challenge - that point in time where you give me 1 more rep than the previous training session, you lift 2-3 lbs. more than the last, you go 10-seconds longer than you did 2 days ago, would you ever see improvements or steady progress? Probably not!

The next time you go about your training program, crank up the intensity:
  • Perform exercises that recruit as many muscles and joint movements as possible (compound exercises)
  • Push yourself a little harder so that you become winded (anaerobic) then give yourself enough recovery to repeat that same intensity again for 3-4 rounds
  • Cut your recovery time by 5-10 seconds and increase it as you become more conditioned to work at higher workloads
  • NEVER fear the unknown as you'll never know how much you'll improve if you never push yourself above your 'perceived limitations'
I guarantee...you'll be able to do more and go a lot harder than you think!

Remember, either we go all out or we don't go at all!

'It's time to eat.....or be eaten!' 

You choose!


Workout: The 2-Minute Challenge

Here is an awesome video of my friends and colleagues, Sean Croxton, CMTA, founder of Underground Wellness (San Diego, CA) and Brett Klika, CSCS, of Fitness Quest 10 and brettklicka.com (San Diego, CA). Brett takes Sean through a '2-Minute Challenge' that consists of:
  • Squat Jumps
  • Pushups
  • Crab Raises
Perform 12 reps of each exercise for 3 rounds in under 2-minutes! 

Are you up for the challenge? If so, CRANK IT!!


Friday, April 15, 2011

3 Things You MUST Avoid If Fat Loss Is Your Goal

So there I was at the supermarket, both hands holding a basket full of goods - eggs, fruit, chicken, tons of veggies, almond milk....you get the picture.

In front me is this plus-sized lady who starts unloading her shopping cart full of crap. Literally, I mean CRAP!! Donuts, boxed cereal, cookies, frozen TV dinners....you name it, she had it.

As I stood there and watched, I couldn't help but wonder if she even had a clue as to why she looked the way she did. I mean, how on earth would she ever expect to keep herself at a respectable weight by eating all of that processed junk? Junk that's packaged in cans, bags & boxes?

In all honesty, getting results that offer an ideal body weight and a lean, muscular physique isn't complicated. In fact, the 3 things that I'm going to explain to help you in your quest for fat loss is easy to comprehend.

However, taking ACTION and sticking with it is the hard part....but I know ANYONE (including YOU) can do it! It all depends on how bad enough you really want it!

So what are these 3 tips you ask?

Well, here they are.

Again, these are 3 things you MUST AVOID if fat loss is your goal:


Period! All processed food items don't offer any nutritional value. The only thing you gain by eating junk is excess fat and additional body weight since they're loaded with excess sugar & preservatives.

Most processed foods have a laundry list of ingredients similar to a can of paint. If that's the case, then why would you want to eat it in the first place? I'm talking about ingredients such as: amyl acaetate, butyric acid, diacetyl, ethyl propionate, heliotropin,  4-methylacetophenone, orris butter, vanllin, and solvent.

Looks & sounds delicious, doesn't it? And this is just a small sampling of the 6,000 chemicals used to process foods.

If fat loss is your goal, your nutrition MUST be your #1 priority!

Start eating whole natural foods: chicken, beef, fish, legumes, low-fat dairy, veggies, fruits, and healthy fats - olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, seeds, avocados & fish oil.

As John Berardi, CSCS, founder of Precision Nutrition, says:

5 important things you need to know regarding fat loss is:
  1. You need to gradually decrease calories (start eating less)
  2. Increase your protein to support muscle tissue
  3. Decrease your carbs by eating less sugars and starches - this creates the right environment for fat loss
  4. Increase your veggies to help you lose weight the healthy way by replacing grains with greens
  5. Increase your good fats to support metabolism

I know a lot of bodybuilders who use the body-part training approach - Monday - Chest, Tuesday - Legs, Wed. - Shoulders, etc. But are YOU training to be a bodybuilder? My money says that the majority of you aren't. And I've got a crisp twenty to anyone who can prove otherwise! 

Multi-joint movements, also known as 'compound exercises', are proven time-efficient muscle builders that deliver more results than single-joint exercises.

I'm not saying nor implying that single-joint exercises are ineffective. However, out in the real-world, virtually every movement and every sport involves more than one moving body part.

Therefore, it makes sense to do mostly multi-joint exercises not only from a time management standpoint, but from a functional perspective outside the gym as well. And if you really want to gain mass for athletics or build beach muscles in the coming months before summer, replace those bicep and leg curls with barbell rows, deadlifts and squats for the next several weeks.

Ignoring the fact that your time is precious and you might not want to spend three hours in the gym hitting each muscle group in turn, and the fact that it's a rare movement in everyday life that truly isolates a muscle group, there's another very compelling reason to stick with compound exercises: they increase strength and size far more effectively than the isolation exercises. In fact, one compound exercise will produce far more bulk and power than an entire series of isolation exercises.


I see this a lot and to be honest, I get sick & tired of seeing people 'waste' their time doing endless minutes, if not, hours of slow, boring cardio! Let's not forget about those individuals who'd rather watch a movie on their iPod touch, read a book/magazine or talk on their cell phone while they go about their so-called 'cardio workout'!

How about kicking up the intensity and as Robert dos Remedios, CSCS, author of 'Cardio Strength Training' says, 'DO WORK!'

This is not a movie theater, a library nor is it a telephone booth - it's a GYM! A place to DO WORK and GET IT DONE! If you want to see real-world results, you must crank it and GO HARD! The beauty about this style of training is that it goes by super fast and it saves you time.

Just a heads up: don't confuse the time saving pitch as being easy. It's not....but you'll see faster and better results by working at a high-intensity vs. a lower one.

All in all, the single most important thing you'll ever have to know about fat loss is the concept of 'Progressive Overload'.

What does that mean exactly? It means that you need to CONSISTENTLY challenge yourself to do a little more or do a little better than your previous workout session.  

For example, if you lift 150 lbs. doing a bench press, the next time go for 155-160 lbs. If you performed 20-second interval sprints on a graded treadmill at a 10% incline for 4 rounds, the next time aim for 30-second interval sprints or simply stick with the 20-seconds and increase the incline to 12%. 

So there you have it!

Not too hard to understand it is? Now the tough part is putting these 3 ACTION steps to use.

But I know YOU can handle it! 

So stop wasting time eating junk food, lifting light weights and doing slow, boring cardio. Start eating for health & performance and for a purpose. Train hard, train smart and stay consistent!

Now....what are you waiting for? Get out there and CRANK IT!


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

TFW Insane Finger Strength

Hey everyone! Check out this awesome video of my good friend and colleague, Martin Rooney, CSCS, PT, of Training for Warriors and Parisi Speed School. In this clip, Martin and MMA fighter, Sean "Shorty Rock" Santella, show you some serious finger and thumb strength with pushups and pullups. This is one challenge to work up to!

Are you ready to make this a 'required' component of your training? If so, it'll be 'necessary' to crank it in order to reap the benefits of strength!

Get to it!


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Warm-Up 101: How to Warm-Up for Your Workout

What's going on people? I hope all is well and I also hope you've managed to sneak in some kick-ass workouts. As for me, let's just say that today is what I consider a well deserved 'recovery day' after performing 2 days of back-to-back Bootcamp workouts!

I want to thank my 2 good friends, Isaac Ho, CPT - owner of BeFit Tacoma & Albert Park, CPT & strength coach at Hocevar Performance for 2 awesome days of workouts! Keep doing your thing fellas & I look forward to seeing you both again soon.

On a somewhat related note, I want to discuss and help you understand the significance of a proper warm-up prior to starting your workout. During these last 2 days of Bootcamp, both Isaac and Albert introduced various components of warm-up tactics before cranking out our workout.

The components included:
  • Dynamic/static flexibility
  • Stability/mobility
  • Joint integrity
  • Fluid ROM (range of motion)
  • Movement prep
Now...if your idea of a 'proper warm-up' consists of jogging on the treadmill for 5-10 minutes before training, you're asking for trouble!

To help you get more from your warm-up activities, check out this AWESOME, MUST-READ post from Albert Park's blog (The Training Lifestyle) - Warm-up 101: How to Warm-Up for Your Workout

It's really good stuff that I know you'll get a lot from.

Please do me a favor - DON'T just read this info and 'leave it on the shelf', so to say. Read it and put it to use the next time you're getting ready to crank out your killer workout!

Until next time, enjoy and stay strong!