Don’t Settle

Don’t Settle

Don’t Accept Good Enough.3484457206_f75b936449_b

I was checking out this little podcast the other day hosted by Tim Ferriss, maybe you’ve heard of him? If not you should check him out, he typically has several interesting guests from Arnold to Tony Robbins, Kevin Costner, and many more…

Anyway, this particular podcast was on gymnastics strength training, mainly because it peaked my interest for the rings aspect, but I got so much more.

Right off the bat, several good quotes and thoughts for pondering, this alone made it worth a listen!

One of the many great quotes was “You find it acceptable you can’t lift your arms over your head anymore?” I kind of sat back, chuckled along with the podcast guest(who’s laugh was more out of disbelief than anything) and then thought to myself “Holy crap! People actually think like this!!”

And by people, I mean all of us…

My mind immediately jumped back to a time when I had another fitness instructor come to me for help on getting fit(funny right, no, this actually happens a lot!). The first warning sign should’ve been the words that came out of their mouth “nobody knows I’m doing this, and I don’t want anyone to find out.”

Hold The Phone.

Why is this a warning sign you may wonder… well, this could be for a few different reasons…

1.) They were embarrassed they had to go to someone to get back to somewhere she once got on her own. And I get that, but I’m open about the fact that I personally go and “get trained” by someone else on a somewhat regular basis, after all, if you’re not learning you’re not growing.

2.) They didn’t want anyone to remind them of their failure in case it actually happened.(and sadly, in this case, it did)

Now, this person set an ambitious goal, lose 60 pounds in about 5 months. The biggest problem here was not the goal, it’s never the goal that’s the problem… This came down to commitment, to taking personal responsibility to do what was required to lose that weight.

The initial attitude leading up to everything that caused the condition this person was remedying all stemmed from one thing, they let “good enough” be, well, good enough.

It’s like being up sh*t creek without a paddle, sitting back and hoping the current(which brought you here) would somehow magically reverse and take you back to a happy time and place where everything was perfect(probably never happened) and you get everything you want with no extra work, period.

Well, I’m here to tell you that’s not the case.

Back to this example and why the podcast reminded me of something I’d almost entirely forgotten about(after all, my memory sucks, this is why I have notebooks!)

When we were going through the initial screen I do with all my new clients we had to stop before the first movement(an overhead squat with a wooden dowel. They couldn’t get their right arm over their head… in fact, they couldn’t even get their elbow past their shoulder!

What happened next floored me..

(I’ve paraphrased the actual conversation)

Them: That happened about 6 months ago.
Me: Anything specific that caused it?
Them: No, it just stopped working one day, and it hasn’t worked since…
Me: Did you to to the doctor to get it checked out?
Them: No

And basically overnight this became reality for them…

Don’t think I’m trying to demean anyone or say they’re a terrible human being or anything like that.

What my point is is this – we get to busy, too busy, and things that should take precedence fall by the wayside and get forgotten about without a hint of trying to do anything whatsoever to make a change.

Now, for this individuals full time job, they didn’t “need” that mobility, nor for their chosen fitness classes they ran due to the seated, pedaling nature of it.

The sad truth of all this is that we have a willingness to accept bad things as they happen to us and not do anything to get us out of the situation. You can look up all kinds of “reasons” this, go to any motivational speaker’s YouTube or talk to a psychologist and you’ll get a boat load of information, but it can be broken down quite simply into a single statement.

6745856509_ab796acc4f_bYou Have To Have Standards

“If you don’t set a baseline standard for what you’ll accept in life, you’ll find it’s easy to slip into behaviors and attitudes or a quality of life that’s far below what you deserve.” – Tony Robbins

Everyone has standards, and when it comes to our body, most everyone sets them low.

Something I heard a while ago is that if you really want something to change, you need to make it a must. After all, everyone has wants and needs, but not everyone has musts for themselves in the areas that count or could make a difference.

I’m far from the person to get all preachy about this whole thing, mainly because I am too hard on myself and don’t set my standards high enough most of the time. I realize this, and typically get someone else involved to start pushing me to change.

However you look at it, whatever words you want to use to describe it, you have to raise your standards or nothing will change.

If you’ve got nothing else from this post, take away the above statement. You’ll improve in your business, personal, spiritual, hell, any area of your life you want to improve will happen because of a change of mindset. An unwillingness to accept the fact that when things happen you have the power to change them and the excuses(“reasons”) you’ve been telling yourself are truly the only thing stopping you from improving… but you have to have standards or none of it matters.

 

Motivation means nothing without the right mindset, you can be motivated but telling yourself the wrong story about why you are where you are and nothing will change… you can be motivated and have a terrible strategy that doesn’t match your standards, and if you’re state(physical/emotional) is down & drab motivation won’t save you…

So, how do you get out of the killer mindset and find your way?

Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What am I going to focus on?
    -Focus = Feeling
    -Past/Present/Future
    -Self or others
  2. What does it mean?
    -Is it the end or the beginning? Are you being punished or rewarded?
  3. What are you going to do?
    -Are you going to give up or move forward?

Once you can truthfully answer these questions it will be much easier to get in the right frame of mind and stop just accepting things as they happen to you. You will start thinking of new, creative, ways to have a breakthrough and continue to push yourself to new levels. If you chose not to, and are happy being content with an attitude of mediocrity, more power to you… but at least you have the tools you need to push through and explore your potential if you so choose.

Stay Strong My Friends!

~Justin

Embrace The Tension

Some of you may have seen the Instagram post from last week of just water bottles with the question of “what the heck do these have to do with kettlebells?”img_20161013_124720

And if I had to guess at your guess you probably thought the water bottles were a representation of the amount of hydration you need throughout the day if you’re training hard(I mean there was a lot of them…).

However, if you guessed that, I’m afraid you’d be wrong.(Nice try though)

The water bottle is a handy little tool we use to create some more tension while doing a military press. The Spark in the background doesn’t hurt either, but for the purpose of this little post, we’ll focus on our ol friend the water bottle!

When you do the one arm press it’s a lot of stress on just one side of your body, this causes a slight “imbalance” in muscular tension on the non pressing side, so we fix that. How? By grabbing the water bottle and squeezing it, you know, like Mindy from the Animaniacs when she found a new “pet” to torture(remember that show? Thought not, oh well…4608217553_7d54179ba2_b)

906545-9f12e492-3db3-11e4-a57a-52576a558724This builds massive amounts of tension on the opposite side of the pressing arm and gives a nice audible “crunch” sound so you know the timing of said tension, and your breath, is spot on with the start of your press. Honestly, you could probably use this principle for almost any one arm exercise…

By creating more tension throughout your body you actually get a little more “power” than if you would just try to “lift” the weight without bracing the rest of your body for the load.(you know, squeeze the thighs, brace the abs, cramp the glutes) On top of the extra horsepower you’ll gain, you reduce the risk of injury due to lack of stability in the shoulder.

I picked up the water bottle trick from my friend Ryan Toshner some time back and have used it with great success. It has helped not only in my own training, but many of my students push past what they could do previously. Hardstyle Planking is another way to work this same type of tension principle, a little trick I picked up that from my team leader Ric Garcia at my StrongFirst cert, and has also worked wonders for the press as well as the squat, swing, pull-up, heck, everything!

These are just a few of the several tricks I have in my arsenal, and I have so many in fact, I may actually chose to hand out tricks instead of treats this year for halloween… we’ll see how generous I am.

Since we’re on a “strength” cycle currently(trying to improve our personal bests) I figured this was appropriate…

Like I said, there are so many tricks to creating tension I couldn’t possibly fit them all in one post.

john_gill_-_one_arm_lever
1 handed front lever, probably the best demonstration of how to hold tension out there(most extreme version of a plank!)

So I won’t even try.

I’m going to sprinkle them throughout several posts over the next few months, so keep an eye out if you want some more tips on how to push past a barrier and crush your old “best performance.” Until the next one, keep working that press and see if you can’t push beyond your current limits and smash your old record!(I’m going for 5 reps with the 32kg myself)

Have a Strong Day!

~Justin

You Don’t (Really) Know What Intensity Is….

You Don’t (Really) Know What Intensity Is….

If you’re like most people.

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How you should NOT look after a session.

You probably have this concept of “intense” training as a 45 minute to hour torturous burnout session with things like 1,000 burpees, 500 pull-ups, more burpees, holding planks for 3 minutes instead of resting, thousands of other random “things”… all the while, you’re getting further away from your goals.

The thing most people don’t realize about intensity is it’s something you can do in a very short amount of time while getting much better results(than the aforementioned “HIIT” style classes)

Enter Metabolic Training

Let’s set the scene…

I have a friend who wants to come and “just work out” with me one time(key is usually the “one time”, sometimes it’s twice…) and I tell them we’re going to do a little warm up and then train for 20 minutes… to which they respond “that’s it?” Yes, “that’s it”…

But what they don’t realize is it’s not the amount of time, it’s how you do it. So maybe they shouldn’t have ordered an “ass kicking workout” off the bat and stuck with the more reasonable things I normally have people do.

Anyway, I typically put them through a quick metabolic training session and… oh, what? Metabolic training? Well, I guess I should clarify!

Metabolic training is done using complexes which are a series of movements done in succession that make you feel like yesterday’s lunch is going to come back up on the floor in front of you, they also have this nasty little habit of leaving you feeling like someone sucked the air out the room… and that’s just the first set!

The strange thing is the complexes don’t “look that bad” at first glance(some of them can be literally only 2 movements back to back).

Basically, you put together a series of movements that, on their own, really wouldn’t be that bad to do, but once you put them together(in the correct order with the correct movements) they have this fantastic ability to make you feel like death within seconds of starting the second movement of the sequence.

Don’t worry, that feeling is not for nothing, it’s just your body creating growth hormone, the thing required to help tone/build muscle, in addition they melt body fat like butter in a hot frying pan… the other plus side is they’re typically quite short sessions, less than 20 minutes(20 is the max I would recommend for a majority of human beings).

Here’s an Example of What I’m Talking About:

Dan John(a fantastic strength & conditioning coach) came up with this little combo.

2 Double Kettlebell Cleans
1 Double Kettlebell Press
3 Double Kettlebell Front Squats

See, doesn’t look too bad, right?

Wrong.

This is probably one of the most grueling training sessions you’ll ever do… notice I didn’t say “workouts you’ll ever do”, and there’s good reason.

Part of understanding intensity is understanding how to use it effectively.

Here’s what I mean.

If, for example, the above “Armor Building” complex is just impossible the second time through, you went to heavy. Congratulations, you’re eyes were bigger than your strength, go lighter. If you breeze through it like 15 or 20 times in 20 minutes, you went WAY too light, go heavier. The ideal is 5-8 times in 15 minutes.

Want more of a metabolic hit(for more fat burning) add in some swings and hope for the best.

This training is not for the faint of heart.

We typically do this once a week with my group classes and private training clients, the only exception is my athletes I train – even then it’s a max of 3 days a week(for very short cycles).

Here’s the mistake most “Trainers” make with their clients – They Think More Is Better.

This could not be further from the truth… More is only MORE, and nothing else. It is also the leading cause of disfunction of movements, injuries, increase in body fat percentage, loss of strength, as well as the cause of certain metabolic and health disorders that were not commonplace in the general population(usually just professional athletes) until things like “Interval Training”, Crossfit(the bad coaches), and other similar training methods came about stating in the last few decades.

There’s more than one way to skin a cat…

You don’t always have to create intensity through things that will injure you or otherwise. Here’s a few examples of other ways of varying “intensity”:

On The Minute (or Every Minute on The Minute)

Pick a lift or movement to do, let’s say push-ups, and set a timer to go off once every minute. Perform a set of let’s say for this discussion 8 push-ups, rest for the remaining part of the minute and repeat for between 10-15 minutes. There’s your “upper body” training for the day(trust me, it’s harder than it sounds…)

As the weeks progress, again for this example, add repetitions on making sure there’s still time for rest after their complete.(this too can be done with too much intensity and often becomes a struggle, it shouldn’t be) As the movement gets easier pick a more advanced version to do instead, drop the reps down, and continue on.

Interval Rounds(done properly)

Set a timer for one of the following time schemes: Low Intensity(45 sec work:15 sec rest, 4-5 rounds should do it), Moderate Intensity (30 sec work:10-15 sec rest, depending on your level… about 5 or 6 rounds should do it), High Intensity(20 sec work:10 sec rest, do 5-7 rounds of the same movement)

The rest in between “sets” of rounds should be at least a minute, 2-3 minutes, at least 3 minutes, respectively.

Don’t rest using planks or other silly intense exercises between…. rest means rest. That doesn’t mean stop moving, however, keep moving my pumping your arms back and forth, walking around, easy bodyweight movements or stretching, just don’t stop moving – your heart will thank you later.

Speed of Repetitions

One totally overlooked way to increase intensity by the general population is to use an old bodybuilding trick that not only builds strength, if done with the correct reps/weight/sets it also builds muscle too. Tim Ferriss even dedicated a section of his book “The Four Hour Body” to this very method under “Occam’s Protocol”.

Basically, pick a lift (we’ll say barbell curl) and instead of trying to crank out as many as you can in a certain time – Slow. It. Down!

By controlling the “tempo” of the movement you increase the Time Under Tension effectively creating a bigger “load” on the muscles without increasing the weight. This also helps to clean up technique(I’ve found) because you’re more focused on moving smoothly through the motion. This can also, if done properly, prevent injuries in the future.

U.S. Army Staff Sergeants Brian Weaver, left, from Philadelphia, and Matt Leahart, from O'Fallon, Mo., use exercise equipment in a room that has been converted into the gym on Combat Outpost Munoz, Paktika province, Afghanistan, Nov. 13, 2009. The Soldiers are deployed with Baker company, 3rd Battalion, 509th Infantry (Airborne).

Here’s what it would look like:

Grab the bar into the starting position. Start the lift and either have a clock in front of you or count your Mississippi’s for anywhere from 2-5 seconds(longer is crazy intense, but you’re welcome to try it…) until you reach the top of the movement. Once there, pause for one second, and lower slowly.

There’s honestly so many variations on this your best bet is to play with different timing on each lift between training sessions. Oh, one more thing, PICK THE APPROPRIATE LIFT & WEIGHT FOR THIS!! Do not do this with deadlifts(unless you hate your back), also, don’t use close to your max – start light an work your way heavier slowly, it’s harder than it seems.

The optimal range for strength using this is anywhere from 3-6 reps, muscle size is typically 8-12 reps, but these are generalizations and most people respond different to the variations. Side note, these “tempos” are often written out such as (2:1:2) or (5:0:5) or (2:1:4) and so on. The first number is the start, the second is the top/bottom of the move, and the third is returning to the start position.

The big thing you should take away.

Intensity is what you make it. It’s individualized. My level of intensity might be a higher or lower threshold than yours, but that’s honestly okay.

It’s all about pushing yourself to the next level without pushing yourself over the edge. There’s a fine line that needs to be walked, so be reasonable and don’t push yourself to the brink every time you train, reserve it for every so often and work to improve slowly, the results will come faster than you think.

Have A Strong Day!

~Justin

If you’re interested in more ways to bump up the “intensity” of your training, feel free to reach out justin@post35.net or keep an eye on our Facebook Page for workshops and events.

FAILURE. Why It’s Not As Bad As You Think(for your success)

Everyone gets knocked down every once in awhile

Some of us get knocked down more than others, heck, some of us even get kicked and beat down while we’re there.(I know it always seems like I’m part of this last group myself)

Even the word, “failure”, causes some physical discomfort in most of us just at the sound of it(or sight of it)!

But here’s the thing.

It doesn’t have to be that bad…

If truly want something, something so important to you that you couldn’t imagine your life without this “thing”, this goal, it’ just like breathing, you can’t give up…

If you really want something, there’s nothing that will stop you from accomplishing your goal. This goes for anything – Fitness, Business, Personal, Financial, Martial Arts(and this is where I learned from).

If you truly want it,you will find a way to endure through the knock downs, kicks to the face, insults, defeats, and negative thoughts to pull through stronger than when you started.

We’ve All Heard This From Every Motivational Speaker EVER…

…And it’s fairly common knowledge…

The Trick Is This.

It’s all in your thought process….

Most people quit before they even try.

So think about the act of just starting, this puts you ahead of the curve. Your chances of success are so much higher than you even think!

And therein lies the secret… that once you get started, you need to stay in the game long enough to see the results. If you think about it, out of the other people that started “at the same time” as you, most will quit at their first obstacle. Or the second, or heck, most people quit inches from the finish line!

So if you just keep moving, working through the obstacles, it will eventually put you right where you want to be.

I always tell everyone when we’re doing timed training sessions that right about the point you want to give up is when there’s only about 5 seconds left. So when I’m telling them “keep holding it” or “keep going, you’re almost there!” I’m not just saying it to make noise, it’s an analogy for life… right when you’re ready to quit, if you hold on just slightly(italicise) longer, whatever you’re experiencing will be over.

One of my favorite quotes is from Les Brown, and I have to remind myself of this(constantly)

“No matter how bad it is, or how bad it gets, I’m going to make it. Say that to yourself every day”

After all, there’s a reason these obstacles are in your way…

You need to become the “better” person you want to be after your goal is achieved BEFORE you get there.

And it happens in small steps, so miniscule you won’t notice a difference until one day you’re there, and it wasn’t as bad as you thought it was when you set out.

Nothing worth having in life is easy.

You may need to be more disciplined, more confident, a more creative thinker, increase your knowledge… really, there is so many things involved with succeeding at just ONE THING that it’s no wonder most people just give up at the first sign of trouble.

The one thing you should take away is this, it’s the ones that persevere who succeed. And to do that, you need to be comfortable with failing and being uncomfortable.

You need to learn to use your failures to your advantage by learning something every time you miss a goal or deadline. The great thing about fitness training is if we miss something we were going for, our body naturally prepares to do ‘more’ the next time you attempt it. It’s literally built into our dna, it’s as natural as breathing, you seriously don’t even need to think about it, it just happens!

“It’s not what we get that makes us happy, it’s who we become… how we live our life, who we are as a person, people can take away all the things, but who you become no one can take away”  -Tony Robins

We have 5 Tenants we work on in Hapkido that you would be wise to try embody.

Courtesy
Integrity
Perseverance
Self-Control
Indomitable Spirit

None is less important than the other.

If you are not courteous and lack integrity you will be alone on your journey. Sometimes when you’re down and out, you need someone there to encourage you. You can’t accomplish that if you’re a complete a$$ hole… just sayin.

You need to have Self-Control, so when your emotions take over you can remind yourself that it’s only one day, the sun will rise tomorrow morning and you will have a fresh opportunity to start new. Self-Control leads way to Perseverance and Indomitable Spirit…

Without Perseverance and Indomitable Spirit, you will never endure long enough through the rest of the setbacks, trash talkers, and general negativity of life.

Now, I am FAR from the absolute best person to speak on this subject, but I feel personally and professionally I’ve survived a lot, especially since opening PostFit(2 ½ years ago at the time of this writing).

I’ve had months where I couldn’t pay all my bills. Recently, a banking error put me out $800(plus late fees), and that wasn’t even my fault! But hey, things happen, and it put me behind (again) when this last summer has really been the only time I’ve been “ahead” since I opened. (ahead means no more living off Top Ramen, PB&J, and sneaking in healthy foods where I can afford them…)

After all, it was only a little less than a year ago I quit my second job and started supporting myself off what I built, so you can imagine it didn’t feel good to be almost back in that position again. But i’m still ahead, and I still love what I do and the people I get to work with.

And I really have my amazing girlfriend to thank for most of my success as of late, mainly because she helps me up when something knocks me down, and that’s huge. It definitely helps to have someone put things in perspective for you.

Never underestimate the power of someone encouraging you because they see the best in you. If you don’t have that person in your life, that needs to be your number one goal before you do anything else. Trust me, I’ve been kept from closing the doors on more than one occasion by encouraging words and some emotional support. You can get pretty low when you’ve missed your goals for so long.

In fact, not so long ago(okay, very recently) I spent a large sum of money and even larger amount of time on finally getting my kettlebell certification.

I worked like hell to get ready for that damn thing(5 days a week). I tore up my hands from training so hard, and aches and pains became a part of life(so did my kettlebell – I actually took it on trips with me so I didn’t miss any training). And even though I felt better than I have in a while about having the skills to pass the physical requirements, when it came time for the cert, I failed….

I was literally just a few kettlebell snatches away from holding my certificate and fancy instructor t-shirt in my hand and being able to say I did it…

Here’s the kicker.(and why I decided to write this)

I had a 14 ½ hour drive home after that because I couldn’t afford to fly to Philly for the weekend. I also couldn’t afford a hotel, so I camped(it wasn’t all bad, campground was on the Brandywine Creek). Honestly, I had just enough cash for fuel to make it back home with $10 to spare. (literally, that’s all I had left between my accounts and cash in hand).

Normally, that wouldn’t have bothered me, but imagine sitting by yourself for that long after failing at something you had worked so hard for, something that you put all of your spare time into working for so you could succeed only to fail… and then remember that on top of that, you’re near broke(thankfully bills were paid) AND you’re not where you planned on being with your business goals when you set out for this fun little adventure.

I was not a happy camper to say the least(no pun intended). I mean I really hate losing, more than anything else, it’s a flaw of mine I’ve been working on for a while, and I’ve had to walk away from some things in the past because it would’ve become an unhealthy obsession…

Naturally, I thought about quitting. I mean, after all, how can I expect the people I train to do something I cannot do myself? That’s how I think anyway… but after much time spent sulking and throwing the most epic pity party you can throw yourself in a VW Golf (and sitting through Chicago traffic!)…

I came to the decision that if I gave up on this, all the work I put in would be for naught and I just wasted the last 2 plus years of my life, and wasted everyone else’s time that I’ve worked with over the years… I also couldn’t bring myself to break promises to that many people that I’ve come to feel are like family to me…

Here’s where the real magic happened…

At some point, I reminded myself of WHY I started.

To help people.

Not for money, or bragging rights, or anything else stupid like that… I got into this to help people who, like me, aren’t always the first picked, most athletic, impressive looking(or performing) human beings, but they will work damn hard to get better than where they were yesterday…. and mainly, to help encourage them like very few others had done for me in the past. Come on, everyone needs a cheerleader sometimes!

Which Brings Us To The Last Thing – Be A Little Stubborn.

I’d like to think part of what got me to where I’m at now is being pig headed enough that no matter what I do, I HATE leaving things unfinished(quitting). It physically pains me and wakes me out of a dead sleep sometimes thinking of things I started and didn’t finish…

I hate losing, at anything(can you tell I hate losing?) – this is why I won’t go to casinos…

It might pay to have some of that same attitude and feeling of disgust toward failure that I have, although it can be unhealthy… But keep reminding yourself that it’s okay to miss a goal every once in awhile. Heck, I re-did my snatch test this past weekend and I’m officially certified level 1 instructor through Strong First…

So go ahead, suck for a while. Fail a bunch of times and find your weak points and try to improve on them.

“I’ll be happy when I just… just what? You’ve got to be a dreamer, you’ve got to see the future finished in advance. Happiness doesn’t come from big pieces of great success, but from small advantages hammered out day by day” – Jim Rohn

I always keep this in mind when training – You work on your weak points in practice, but you play with your strengths. If you elevate your absolute WORST qualities, everything else will get better(mine is kettlebell snatches…)

Pick one thing to improve from your last “failed” diet or workout program. Maybe you didn’t make it into the gym like you planned, so plan to go for less days, start with less time at the gym, set yourself up for success where you previously failed. Do the things you’re good at more often and use those habits to replace the bad ones then slowly start adding in the next best thing, then the next, then the next, until all of a sudden you’re there!

It doesn’t have to be complicated, it just has to be consistent, and it has to make sense for you. After all, you’re who these goals are about anyway…

Stay Strong My Friends!

~Justin

P.S. If you read this far, here’s a link to the video I snagged some of these quotes from. I’d recommend checking some of these guys out(outside this video).

 

 

Stop Taking Things At Face Value.

Be ware of labelsfb_img_1475009259824

You’ve heard this, right?

Advertised contents are not always what they seem these days… for food, or your gym membership.

Make sure you pick a “trainer” who is more concerned with how you move than how much you move.

Diets are only as good as their ingredients, not their labels…

Seems like common sense, but is it?

You can use titles and labels to make damn near anything look attractive, but if you don’t look behind the curtain at the core principles and building blocks behind something, don’t expect to get anything more than just a label.

Most of us ignore the fact that most people just pay lipservice to something that is a current trend. And the media exploits the false promise makers and here today gone tomorrow, fly by night, organizations and people who make empty promises with no real data. I mean, nothing more than some fake, made up stories of people who never even used their programs or products.

I have had the misfortune of knowing and working with some people who claim they do one thing, yet when you see their method, clearly they’re just on that bandwagon. There’s nothing functional about working your a$$ out until you’re exhausted, that’s just silly, and doesn’t provide long term benefits (like strength, fat loss, muscle tone, increased energy) you signed up for.

A good program (or product) should therefore, work for EVERYONE.

That includes – Athletes, Young People, Old People, In Between People, Short People, Tall People, Yellow, Brown, Purple, White, or Pink People, EVERYONE.

A good program should be highly transferable. Meaning it carries over to more than the specifics you train. Try getting better at playing football by doing only Zumba and skipping the weight room… (good luck)

Now, there is a time and place for (most of) these programs… some of them, they have no place, but don’t count an incomplete program for a full one.

You need to be strong

Real strength does not mean 5# dumbbells during your jazzercise class…

You should get a metabolic hit from the training

At least 2x per week is good, but no more than 3, 3 is ridiculous and should be reserved for the 1% (which, if you’re reading this, you’re probably not… sorry)

You need to train ALL energy systems.

Sorry, running only works one and causes chronic injury and metabolic disorder if no strength training is implemented, plus, you’ll have no butt, and that’s just wierd…

I could keep going, but I won’t. I can’t, after all, give away all my secrets at once… then what will I do next week….

If you honestly want more information, Strong First is a fantastic resource. In addition, my good friend Pat Flynn and other (Facebook) friend Aleks Salkin are amazing minimalist gurus who know sooooo much more than my little brain can handle. Check em out, you’ll be entertained too 🙂

Until then, don’t be like my landlady, who constantly says she’s following “x” healthy diet, yet can’t seem to lose the 100 + pounds she needs to shake to make it past 40 (it’s all the candy se doesn’t tell her diet she’s been eating…).

Be honest with yourself and anyone trying to help you, we can see through the bs, and so can you.

One last thing, do your homework. If you wind up with a bad trainer it’s nobody’s fault but yours(sorry, it’s just the way the world works).

Have a Strong Day!

Justin

Can Your Trainer Do, And Why Does It Matter.

Can Your Trainer Do, And Why Does It Matter.

That-Look-I-Give-People1-1024x904

It’s time for another rant.

I’ve Always Thought This Should Be Obvious….

As a student (of martial arts and strength) I have always surrounded myself with people who, at some level, push me to do a little more than I can myself – by way of them doing “the thing” I’m going to them for of course.

So, when I first got into the “fitness industry” I was, well, appalled at the fact that so many trainers out there not only can’t do what they ask of their clients, sometimes they literally won’t even try.

I’ve always been a “skinny guy”, however, skinny doesn’t mean healthy. I wasn’t as strong as I should have been, and definitely had room for improvement in other areas(flexibility and whatnot). In fact one of my favorite quotes is:

Skinny Girls Look Good In Jeans, Fit Girls Look Good Naked.

I know, kinda riske, but it gets the point across.

I think to better illustrate the point I should really start at the start…

How I Got My Start10446221_643048292464958_1802765198409734958_o.

My first martial arts instructor was a national level competitor. Like, top 5, not an “I showed up and got a participation award” type competitor. He walked away with several awards within the top 3 back at a time when the TaeKwonDo circuit wasn’t turned into a “sport”. In fact, they barely count a punch as a point anymore(ironic considering TaeKwonDo literally means foot, fist, way…)

So, when I say that I’ve learned from some of the best, I’m not kidding. Unfortunately, being a good competitor didn’t make him a great instructor… But I still picked up more than a few things from him by way of just being around him and “learning by example” of how he did what he did.

And It Didn’t Stop There.

In recent years I’ve still surrounded myself with some amazing people.

Currently, my Hapkido instructor, Master Dan Piller, is not only a high ranking (6th Degree Black Belt) Hapkido Practitioner and Secretary General for the World Hapkido Association. He has also competed(and done well in) Judo and TaeKwonDo. In fact, he still does compete in Judo and, surprise surprise, still does well. Mainly because of the attitude he has toward constantly learning and evolving in his training. He passes that on and requires it of all of his students(myself included) so we can constantly be leaning and improving ourselves, and the people under us. He also runs a great little company (Strategic Defense Options or SDO) and has helped empower more people than I could ever count through self-defense trainings all over the world.

My kettlebell instructor Ryan Toshner, is (and he will probably argue this) one of the best in there is. Ryan is very humble, but also very strong and equally as knowledgable. He’s achieved 3 certifications through the Strong First Group as well as other kettlebell certifications over the years. He’s currently a Team Leader, Level 2 Kettlebell Instructor, and has Barbell and Bodyweight certifications through Strong First.

I’ve trained with other great instructors at one time or another over 14 years, as well as some other instructors who were… well, I think they shouldn’t have been teaching people, but I guess I’m just a bit picky. But I’ve gained some valuable insight from every single one of them. (Even though the time may have been short…)

On top of the people who train me, there’s the people I train with.13717359_10154366286566171_6201643383675078156_o

My good friend in Michigan Jonathan Shellnut is an accomplished wrestler, catch wrestler, kickboxing coach(under Eric Paulsen), talented hapkido practitioner, and world renown joke teller… well, as my girlfriend would say, he’s got a lot of “dad jokes”. But they make training fun.

The other students under my Hapkido instructor are just as surprisingly talented as the next. We have ex-military members, current military members(Master Sargent in fact), moms(who you shouldn’t mess with), and people from all walks of life. The crazy thing is this – they all train in AT LEAST one other martial art(and they’re no slouches if I do say so myself)

Closer to me yet, my long time friends and former co-workers Ian Jensen and Shannon Meade. Honestly, without them I don’t know if I would’ve stuck with martial arts training. They sucked me back in to it and are the reason I even know any of the people I’ve mentioned so far.

This, on top of the fact that Ian is a world class stick fighter(along with Shannon), he also holds a 4th degree black belt in TaeKwonDo, a 1st degree black belt in Hapkido, a blue belt in Brazilian JiuJitsu under Eric “Red” Schaefer, and is way under-ranked in escrima(sticks). He’s also a helluva cook!

So – Why All This Rambling About My Training?

Because ALL OF THIS MATTERS.

Talk to the people who “train” individuals on a daily basis. When you do talk to them, find out who they surround themselves with. What’s their experiences in training/competing. The more you talk to most of them you will find a good majority have a few traits that you don’t want in a trainer:

1. To them, this is just a “job”. In fact, it’s often advertised by personal training certifications that being a personal trainer is one of the top careers right now, because of how much money you can make… do you really want someone doing a “run out the clock” type job when they’re supposed to be helping you?
2. They’ve never done/attempted/thought of doing/would ever consider doing anything listed above, much less most of the things they ask you to do. Every single person I’ve worked with has competed in some type of physically and mentally grueling event of some sort. In fact, I personally won’t train under someone who hasn’t done a higher level of experience than I do myself. And most of them have accomplished things I probably never will, but I’ll sure try!

So What? You Say. Why Is This Important?

Because if they haven’t had these experiences or suffered through the blood, sweat, and tears – they are literally at a disadvantage when it comes to helping you.

I’ve been involved in tournaments where I’ve literally fought with a broken face(I didn’t know it at the time…) and I would go back and do it again. Not because I’m crazy, but because I’m passionate about it, and I learned something from the experience. Okay, well, maybe a bit crazy…

Even on the fitness side, as I’m typing this my hands hurt like a mother…. because I’m working toward my Level 1 Strong First Kettlebell Instructor Certification. Doesn’t sound like much, but it’s 3 days of what I’m told is grueling work that tests you physically, intellectually, and emotionally.

I’ve done this sort of thing before for virtually every black belt test I’ve done (there’s been 7 of them so far, number 8 will be in October, and 9 sometime next summer), so I know what I’m in for, and I know it won’t be easy. So why do I do it? Because the experience I will gain is going to help everyone I currently work with achieve new levels of success. IT’S NOT ABOUT ME. If it were up to me, I’d do more of the things I like and not spend 5 days a week(mostly my weekends) training for what is basically a piece of paper and some letters to put behind my name. Because when it comes down to it, most people won’t know, or care, what it took to get that paper and letters…

Yes, I do have a certification I got online, but that was after 10 years of training to master ONE martial art and getting started on integrating it into the next art that I spend my time on.

If you ever stop improving, you’re going backward. And I can’t in good conscience ask anyone I work with to do something I haven’t at least attempted on my own, I just won’t. And the thought of someone going out and training others without the same mindset does make me a bit sick if I’m honest. After all, it’s the only way I’ve ever known, and it’s the only way that gets lasting results for most people.

On another note, for your own success – if you surround yourself with top level people long enough, some things start to rub off. Like how to transfer knowledge and application of your craft to others. This isn’t a secret by any means, in fact I’m sure we’ve all heard it in a business sense before(you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time around.)

Once you start surrounding yourself with highly successful people in their fields, you become immune to the B.S. everyone else is trying to shove down your throat all day and you start to get results – and keep them.

So, is who your trainer works with important? It depends…. do you want to be taught by someone who’s learned from books and hasn’t “done” before? Or, do you want to learn from someone with hands on experience who has other real people to reach out to for training and furthering their own development?

You Chose.

~Justin

Getting Back To ________

Getting Back To ________

I Need To Get Back To _________todo-list-297195

***SPOILER***
This Post Includes The Following: Common sense, silly narratives, and other buffoonery(to illustrate points of course) So if you’re not into all that kind of stuff and “you already know everything” (says every out of shape person I’ve ever met), you should stop reading here… If you want a refresher, and maybe an emotional kick in the rear, keep reading. Also, TONS of thanks to Dan John for the inspiration for this post via his amazing book “Intervention”.

Let’s Go Back To The Magical Place Of Back When I Used To ______

This is something that happens to all of us, myself included. We always need to get back to the “magical” place in time where we once were(diet, exercise program, blog posts – in my case) so we can feel/look/be how we used to.

And here’s the thing – 90% of the time, what you think you were doing at the time that “you need to get back to” is only a fraction of what you were actually doing.

Getting back to that old exercise program that made you look like a Greek god in high school or college probably isn’t going to happen at 40(because of various scientificy things that happen in the human body that I have little understanding of). Sorry, it’s the truth…

So please, be reasonable. Don’t try to work out like an NFL player in your 40’s like every “fitness expert” is telling you to, and just be reasonable.

For this, I refer you to what Dan John calls The Quadrants.

Quadrant 1 – Elementary to High School(ish). Learning about fitness and sports, in other words, how the body moves and doesn’t move. Trying out different sports and activities and learning Fundamental Movements is a key part of this Quadrant.

Quadrant 2 – Elite Athletes/Navy Seal Type Guys. This is reserved for the 1% of the population who’s body is their paycheck. The contact sport guys. The people who will have to make all their money before 30 years old(mostly) because they’ll be too broken to do anything else after their career is over. This quadrant, if you’re reading this, is likely not you. For one, you don’t have the time to train like these guys, and second, well, let’s face it – you’re not a 22 year old who basically gets paid to train all day.

Quadrant 3 – The Regular Guy/Gal. This is where most of the population lives. Yes, even some athletes(or at least they should). This is the reasonable, the repeatable, the daily/weekly grind type fitness programs. They should include a lot of the fundamentals. To quote Dan John “Fundamentals are, fundamental”. It’s a crazy concept, but most people get caught up in training like they’re in Q2 because they were told by some internet guru(for a small fee) that this is how you need to train to look like ____(insert athlete/body type here). Again, the answer for all this is be reasonable.

Quadrant 4 – The Single Event “Specialist”. Think of this as a track athlete. Usain Bolt, for example, probably does not spend his time doing crossfit… or running long distances, or bodybuilding. This is where my most favorite of quotes comes in – “The goal is to keep the goal the goal”. Thanks for that Dan John! So, unless your plan is to run a 100 meter dash or out-deadlift everyone in your age/weight class, this is not for you.

Here’s my best “Be An Adult” type program that is approved for 99% of us:

-Eat REAL Food
-Carry, Squat(if your joints allow), Hinge, Pull, Push, Roll, and Sprint(my friend Pat Flynn refers to this as “occasionally run for your life”) and play some games when you get a chance
-Take Plenty of Fish Oil
-Take Your Vitamins(Advocare has phenomenal stuff by the way)
-Oh yeah, BE REASONABLE(don’t do that crap you saw on YouTube last week, you know the thing I’m talking about)

So, really, you don’t need to train that often…. in fact, you can get away with some short 20-30 minute sessions 3-5 days a week.(Back to the fundamentals – see, you can get back to something!)

Look, I know how this sounds… I know that a lot of this “other” stuff looks cool, with the fancy names like The UltraMega Fatblaster Furnace 9,000, or some crazy 90 day workout program that promises spectacular results. But here’s the deal – These programs are great, about twice a year… And they shouldn’t be repeated too often for risk of moving away from your goal(remember that thing?). The rest of the year should be spend doing reasonable work. Nothing crazy, just park bench it for a while and enjoy the process. Work on mastering a movement one month, don’t turn down a chance to play in some friendly games here and there, and please, for the love of Pete, have some fun.

~Justin

Fall Referral Contest!

Fall Referral Contest!

successful-referral-program-f324d8159139fe540602c6df24a6849b-800x400-100-cropLove Your Training?

Why not share?

Here’s your chance to literally hand pick who you would like to train with(and to get some free training!)

Here’s what we’re doing:

The Entire Month of September you have the opportunity to refer friends, family(heck even co-workers or neighbors – if they’re lucky…) and get a little something extra.

Well, when I say a little, what I mean is this – Anyone you refer in and signs up by Sept. 30th for our Group Fitness, Martial Arts, or any of Justin Green’s trainings will put you in the running for one of the following:

1st Place – 1 Year Unlimited Group Fitness/Martial Arts Training
2nd Place – 3 Months Unlimited Group Fitness/Martial Arts Training
3rd Place – 1 Month Unlimited Group Fitness/Martial Arts Training

And here’s another bonus…

Even if you don’t “win” one of the top 3, we are “UPGRADING” our referral policy moving forward.

Instead of just getting 1/2 off your next month, you get 10% off your program for the entire time the referred person continues to train! Even if you upgrade your program!*

The cool thing about this is not only do you get the chance to train with your very best friends in the world, you get to bring someone with you as well! Okay, maybe we’re not your best friends, however, to say you are appreciated for training at PostFit is an understatement(especially since you have to deal with us making you do all that “working out” stuff…)

By bringing a friend, it also makes the experience more enjoyable, creates better results, gives a better atmosphere to train in, and increases chances of “stick-to-it-ness” required to continue achieving goals you haven’t even dreamt of yet(but you are capable, trust me on this!)

A Bonus For Your Friends/Family(okay, co-workers too….)

Each person you refer in gets a 2 week trail in any of Justin Green’s Group Fitness or Martial Arts Programs! This way, you get to show them how much “fun” we get to have before they jump in feet first. 2 Week Trial Cards are available from Justin or on the information table in the lobby.

The final results will be tallied up and winners announced Oct. 15th(to make sure everyone has time to complete their 2 week trial if they choose to do so). We will post up the winners on the PostFit Facebook Page as well as post it up on the white board.

*Does not include family ad ons, 10% will be applied to the first person(i.e. person at the highest rate) and then to the second, and so on. Referrals also must be for the Kettlebell, Calisthenics, Barbell, Martial Arts Classes or any Private Training Packages of 10 sessions or more. Referrals to Start Right Wellness Solutions Fitness and Yoga training, although appreciated, do not qualify.(I’m quite sure Dawn would not be happy with me giving away her services 😉 )
The Strength Principle

The Strength Principle

Over the past weekend of training with my Hapkido Instructor (Master Dan Piller) we had a chance to explore what makes us, well, us….
(at 9,000 ft above sea level!)

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In other words, we explored what makes us stand apart from the crowd of martial artists all claiming there’s is the best…

This, of course, was meant to apply to Hapkido and particularly how Master Piller(and I agree with his stance on this) likes to see things done. In short, the idea behind the art(and the main principle) is that anything you do should be able to work on a non-cooperative(typically stronger/meaner) opponent – i.e. train for reality.

I found an inextricable link between what I do as a martial artist and what I do as a fitness professional.

The idea behind the training.

I’m a firm believer in one thing, no matter what you train or do, have some damn principles – and you need to stick to them.

In martial arts, I mentioned it above, in fitness, it’s almost identical. Train For Reality.

Here’s my “Principles” behind what I do:

Hapkido: The Way Of Coordinated Energy(the literal meaning of the art) is based on the principles of Yu(The Theory Of Flowing Water), Won(The Theory Of The Circle), Wha(The Theory Of Harmony).

The reason these aspects are so important to our art is simple – anyone can do a “technique”, however, the technique done without all 3 of these principles applied to it is much more likely to fail than if they were applied(especially against a larger/stronger opponent or attacker, remember, reality).

“It is better to practice a single technique 1,000 times than practice 1.000 techniques only once” is a great quote from my Hapkido instructors manual. And if you read between the lines, you should find a simple fact that is not so obvious to most people…. each repetition should be better than the last in some way, striving for perfection one step at a time.

I like to think of this as “Mindful Repetition”, keeping in mind the idea that “Practice Makes Permanent”(or “Perfect Practice Makes Perfect”).

I could honestly go on quite a bit more than most of you would care to read…. so let’s move on to the next set of principles…

Fitness: **Important Reminder** Fitness(as defined by Dan John) is the ability to perform a task. It is NOT an indicator of health or any such nonsense, in fact, some of the most “Fit” individuals are the least healthy(look at NFL players after they retire if you’re still missing the point).

From this point we should determine some simple things – throwers are fit for the task of throwing(not swimming), just as swimmers are fit for the task of swimming(not throwing), well, you get the point. Keep this in mind no matter what you’re “training” for. Oh, and if you think you’re going to be able to “Train For Anything”, I refer back to Dan John who reminds us that if you’re going to prepare for anything, you might want to prepare for building a spaceship out of dental floss, or fighting off a great white shark with a plastic knife.(I’ve paraphrased this of course, if you want the actual quote, check out Dan’s book “Intervention” or check out any of his blog posts on various, well known & respected, fitness web sites)

With that out of the way, the first, and in my opinion, most important, thing you need to establish is what do you want to be “fit” for…

In other words, you need to find something that fits with your overall vision/goal.(this applies to martial arts too…)

Once you have that established, create a plan and stick with it… please, no “prepare for anything” nonsense… I think we covered the reasons why already…

If you don’t know what to do – Here’s what I suggest: TRAIN TO GET STRONGER.

This involves much more than you think… First, you learn HOW to move, THEN move with heavier weights, progressively, and eventually work up to more complicated versions of the movement(or more difficult bodyweight movements).

Also, sometimes you need to be resourceful… I hear things like this all the time from friends/aquaintences who like to opt out of improving themselves physically when they really need it(even though in reality they don’t want to put in the work…. you know who you are)

“But I don’t have access to weights…”

To which my response is:

You can apply this ‘principle’ to training without weights as well with bodyweight training. It’s a great way to get stronger, it’s easier on your joints, and it teaches you how to create tension once you start progressing to the difficult versions of the movements.

In fact, I hear this type of thing from people all the time when it comes to conversations about fitness and mind bogglingly(at least to me) self-defense. They’re called excuses, and they won’t lose those 5 pound, tone your muscles, or protect you in any way, in fact they accomplish nothing – they especially prevent you from having a set of principles to live/train by, so let’s dispense with them already, okay?

Sometimes, you just need to start where you are to get where you’re going(so please, don’t tell me you need to lose weight before you start working out…)

Back to the idea of Mindful Repetition

Keeping in mind “Practice Makes Permanent”.

If you want to continue to train, become stronger, faster, whatever – you need to focus on technique…. there is no exception to this rule, and it’s why professional athletes are professional and amateurs are, well, amateurs.

The person who spends their time on how they do things is always going to be a better(i.e. more fit for the task) than someone who is JUST DOING THINGS. Talent without skill is useless, yet skill without talent is invaluable to your goals. Talent will always take a backseat to skill(again, mindful repetitions).

Before I go off on another tangent, I’ll wrap up with this….

No matter WHAT you do, the principles you apply need to focus on pursuing perfection.(AGAIN – mindful repetitions. If you aren’t progressing, you’re moving backward.)

This “principle” thing is also a great way to figure out if something is actually worth doing.(or at least if the people helping you are aligned with your overall vision/goal)

-Starting a Martial Art? What’s the instructor/organization’s mindset for the long haul?(do they stop training you at black belt? It’s sad, but it happens all the time)
-Switching career? Is there room to advance within the company?
-Looking for a “personal trainer”? What’s their ability to help you progress after you’ve met your initial goals? Can they make suggestions? Can they help you plan/execute?(you’d be surprised how many can’t even accomplish their own goals, or have none…)

These are the type of questions to ask yourself before starting in on something significant, which, in my mind, is anything you do with your time. We only have so much to dedicate to doing things outside of just making a living, it’s hard to find balance(a constant struggle of mine).

After all, why would you want to take up your precious time doing something that doesn’t directly improve you? Remember, anything worth doing, is worth doing well. And if you keep that mindset, the sky’s the limit my friend.

Stay Strong!

~Justin

Get In Shape In Time For….

Get In Shape In Time For….

“Do This” To Get Fit In Time For Summer!

You’re in luck!  It’s not too late…

Now is the absolute best(worst) time to get in shape for that thing coming up in (insert fast approaching deadline here).

Don’t fall for all of this nonsense.

Expect any lasting transformation to take at minimum 1 year. Let’s face it, it took you how many years to get your body to the point it’s at now? It’s more than a little silly to think that you can look better than it ever has within a few weeks/months(and get it to stick).

You’re Probably Used To This Shtick:
Want bigger muscles in 12 weeks? (Steroids or inject oil into your muscles anyone?)
Want to lose a sh*t ton of weight fast? (You know Liposuction or starvation and laxatives)
Want any other benefit of working hard for something and want it now? There’s bound to be a quick fix out there.

There’s always a quick fix… usually followed up by a rapid relapse to the state you were previously in(or most times worse). This isn’t anything radical, it’s common sense, and (in all honesty) you’ve known this, but choose to ignore it…

The truth is, if you want your results to actually stick around, you’re going to have to work for them. I know, it’s terrible, right! But here’s the good news – once you have it, it’s easy to keep it – and even easier to go beyond it.(Lose more weight, gain more muscle, move even better, get even stronger)

Now that we have all that canned nonsense out of the way…

The cold hard truth about trying to get your body into the state you would like it to be in is this…
If you truly want something and you want to know how to work for it, you’re going to have to do a few things.
FIRST: Find a program that is scalable(built in progressions)
SECOND: Have a list of principles to train by.

Here’s a little list of things I’ve (kind of) recently put together, to make sure you get to your destination. There really shouldn’t be any modifications here, this will leave you no wiggle room for excuses. Here you go:

 

This should be enough to get you on your way to spectacular results(and a sexy new you). If you’re looking for a good training program to follow, check out Strong First’s Blog – they have a TON of materials on there, including some written by close friends(who happen to be masters of everything fitness).

Along these lines – get some mentors. THere’s always people willing to help you out somewhere(whether they know they’re helping or you’re just “stalking” them, like I enjoy doing 😉 ). But seriously, you’d be amazed how much free advice you can get in Facebook Groups(Strong First has Training/Practice Groups for kettlebells, bodyweight, and anything else in between). And the cool thing is, you get advice from people who normally charge, at minimum, $90 for training in person!

I do have to admit, real quick, that I did borrow the above 10 commandments from some friends and mentors (actually, from the people who got these friends started). Gym Jones and TNT (Ryan & Derek Toshner). These guys are at the top of the game, and I could think of no better places to draw inspiration for my list of commandments. I’ve trusted Ryan & Derek with furthering my own training(Ryan has been a great mentor over the course of my kettlebell and business journeys and I even have referred family members to him for training).

Lastly, no matter what you do, make sure they person/people you find are competent and have actually produced results – not just for themselves, but other people in what they do(don’t pick the out of shape instructor with no idea how it feels to lift something over 2x their own bodyweight off the floor while claiming to be a lifting coach…. he has no true insight on every aspect of the training). People that have “done”, even in some capacity, are always better teachers because of their passion for what they do. If they lack that, they really can’t help you(no matter how “motivational” they are). It helps too if you see they’ve been able to transfer that knowledge to other people too!

Anything above and beyond this, you know how to get in touch with me, justin @ post35.net. Or stop by our awesome historic building downtown Hartford, WI. We’ll be glad to help in any way we can.

Stay Strong My Friends!

~Justin

P.S. A little update here… as of Mid April 2017 we will be running a little challenge for ADVANCED trainees to help push through plateaus they’ve hit in their training. You needn’t be familiar with kettlebell exercises, although some proficciency in the deadlift is a huge bonus.

This challenge will be a 4-5 week program and involves a minimum of 4 training days per week. There is no charge for the program, just a commitment to the process. Contact at the email above for details. Serious inquiries only please, I’m limiting this to 5 people.