Melt Fat AND Get Strong? A Simple Solution to a Complex Problem.

Melt Fat AND Get Strong? A Simple Solution to a Complex Problem.

You Can’t Have Your Cake And Eat It Too… Or Can You?

A lot of people want to get lean and toned, but when it comes right down to it, the methods of how to accomplish this often escape them… What they’re really after is melting some extra fat and building a little muscle, it’s kind of an important aspect of “getting toned” most people don’t want to talk about… These might seem like two separate goals, but they actually work quite well together.

Contrary to what you might read in a magazine, there is a training solution that offers you a better option than the standard solution of “more cardio”.

Cardio is great, if you are strength training, which almost nobody recommends for fear of looking like they’re recommending everyone look like the next Mr. Olympia(bodybuilding). This is quite the opposite, and in most cases, measurements go down in the right areas and the “muscle” you built gives you an athletic, toned look, not bulky and bloated. On top of that, if you are involved in a cardio based sport, your performance will increase as a result of having a little extra strength to tap into when you need it, adding to your endurance. (this is also referred to as “underspeed training”)

Remembering the body is one piece and should be trained as such(thanks Dan John) you won’t magically bulk up and look like Arnold from touching a weight, unless that’s your goal, then this isn’t for you. But if you’re looking to melt some extra fat, then training all of your energy systems(not just cardio or just strength) should be included in the “body is one piece” concept. After all, we want everything to work in harmony.

Energy Systems?

Ah, sorry, for those of you not “up” on the cool kid lingo, let me explain(simply) what I’m talking about.

There is 3 ways your body gets it’s energy to “do work”. You know, lifting stuff, moving yourself strange ways, walking/running, etc… first off, the most popular, as per the 1970’s revolution of fitness, is the Aerobic System(aka Cardio) which uses oxygen for activities longer than a few minutes.

Now, the step child never talked about, the Anaerobic Systems, of which there are 2 and they(somehow) operate without oxygen. We won’t get into much besides to say that this is pretty much the energy already stored up in your body and doesn’t need to be manufactured on the spot. Here’s how they basically work(for simplicity sake) one is for short work (less than 10 sec) and one is for slightly longer work (10 sec – 2 min). These are all approximate of course as everyone is a little different, but for guidelines, they work just fine.

Back on point.

One of the great things, that I think most people miss, about Kettlebell training is the fact that we hit a few of these energy systems with every training session, more to the point, with one amazing little move – the swing.

The swing works some of the best “metabolism stimulating” muscles in your body(aka, your butt & hamstrings) while making you stronger all at the same time. The swing is a snappy hip movement similar to a box jump(without the impact) but with all the benefits of sprinting, jumping, and deadlifting rolled into one. It’s basically the closest stimulation you can get to being in a fight without being hit! Throw swings between some strength movements and you’ve hit all 3 energy systems in no time(or not a whole lot of time). In fact, 3 sessions of 75 swings/training a week is enough to melt loads of fat off in just a few minutes of training according to Tim Ferriss’s study in the 4 Hour Body.

My friend Pat Flynn is quite famous for these minimalist workouts that shred body fat, build muscle(that muscle tone thing) and improve your overall general conditioning as a human being. So in case you needed to run from a bear whilst out hiking, or chase down that bike thief you watched take away your prized possession, you most certainly will not be the bear’s lunch and the thief will stand no chance of escape.

Here’s a real simple way to put this all together, and probably one of the best strength/fat burning combinations out there:

Swings x30 sec
Push-Ups x30 sec

Repeat this several times, about 5-10 minutes, either as a finisher(if you’re more “advanced”) or as your only workout for the day(if you’re a “beginner”).

I know, it doesn’t seem like much, but it will kick you in the teeth and leave you wondering who sucked all the air out of the room when you’re finished. Oh, don’t drop to the floor after you’re done, keep moving for a bit(even if it’s just walking around moving your arms about like a Jazzercise warm up), your heart will thank you.

Looking for something more complex? Here’s a few more killer combos for you:

The Eagle
Double KB Front Squat x8
Farmer’s Carry 20 meters
The trick to this, don’t set down the bells until you’ve completed 8 rounds
Ladies, use 12kg(26#), Gents, go for 24kg(53#) bells.

The Coyote
Swings x15
Goblet Squats x5
Push-Ups x3
Do 20 rounds for a total of 300 swings. Good luck.

Pavel’s Simple & Sinister Challenge
5 Minutes On The Minute, 10 swings per side(total 100)
Rest 1 Minute
10 Minutes On The Minute, 1 Turkish Get-Up(total 10)
Ladies, “Simple” Swings 24kg, Get-Ups 16kg/”Sinister” Swings 32kg, Get-Ups 24kg
Gents, “Simple” Swings 32kg, Get-UPs 32kg/”Sinister” Swings 48kg, Get-Ups 48kg
Again, the best of luck to you(comrade)

Armor Building
Double KB Clean x2
Double KB Press x1
Double KB Front Squat x3
Repeat as many as possible in 15 minutes.
Ladies, use 12-16kg. Gents, use 20-24kg.
For a bonus “ass kicking” factor, add sets of 10-20 swings between sets of armor building until you reach 300 swings. Plan on taking the rest of the day off… and being hungry.

Hill Sprints & Swings
(This is for you endurance athletes)
-Find a hill. (One you can maintain a decent pace up without face planting…)
-At the bottom of the hill, perform the desired amount of swings(I’d say 25-50) then sprint up the hill.
-Rest 3-5 minutes and repeat 2 more times for a total of 3 sets.
If this seems easy, increase the weight of the bell/grade of the hill or increase up to 75 swings.
(Honestly, a 24kg bell and a decent sledding hill will keep you busy for a while, if not, you’re a pro or you’re doing something wrong)
Feel Free to substitute other fun things like Front Squats & Sprints, Front Squats/Overhead Squats/Kettlebell Swings & Sled Pulls, or any other fun variation that involves some type of strength movement followed by a quick(very quick) transition to something “explosive”, like a sprint… (I’d leave the bike alone for this as the transition would take too long to gain the benefit of the protocol)

These are just a few awesome ideas of what we call Complex’s(a “workout” where you don’t stop or put down the weight unless you are losing form, never lose form…). Complex’s draw from multiple energy systems and typically involve some type of explosive movement, putting the weight overhead(at least once), and ideally incorporate all of the movements you can do as a human being.

Add these in 2-3 days a week to a strength training regimen, or 1-2 days a week for endurance athletes, and you will see loads of fat come off in no time at all. As a side note, you will probably hate life(and me for suggesting these) by the time you’re part way through the session.

We have more complexes than listed above in the “Secret Stash” area of our website, which gives you access to all of the workouts we’ve done as well as a few programs I’ve written over the years for clients/friends/challenges, and they’re all FREE. I’m hoping to be adding a video section soon, so keep checking back for more updates!

Stay Strong My Friends!

~Justin

You Can Take My Advice. (Or You Can Bang Your Head Against The Wall)

You Can Take My Advice. (Or You Can Bang Your Head Against The Wall)

Stop Listening to What The Main Stream Is Telling You.

I know this sounds counterintuitive, since I’m about drop some “knowledge” on you, but hear me out.

Most people will have you believe you have to work yourself to death to get any results from fitness training. In fact, I just saw a commercial for one of the fitness trackers out there(you know, the one who’s companies phones melt through airplanes and such) who made it look like all you need to do is MORE and you will look like the mannequin in the display(who quite obviously was standing next to a barbell, not a treadmill).

While their advertisement may be true on some level, it sends the wrong message…

See, unless you are a professional athlete or maybe special forces(you know, Army Rangers, Navy Seals, Marines…) you don’t need this level of what I call insanity in your training. More isn’t better, it’s just more.

Since most of us don’t live in this area of “fitness” most pro athletes do (and have to get up the next day to go to work tomorrow) and probably want to keep ourselves from having unnecessary injuries, this is an area we probably want to be a little more reasonable…

Take The Simple Route.

Yes, I said Simple, but as I found out when I did Dan John’s “Mass Made Simple” program, the word easy was not included in the title, and for a good reason…

This type of training is not sexy. It’s not something you’re going to see selling millions of copies of DVDs, plastered all over YouTube, or endorsed by the so-called “fitness gurus” who you see on all those infomercials or TV shows.

But when it comes down to it, the people that get the best results(the results that stick) adhere to simple, repeatable, reasonable training… quite simply, reasonable amounts of work and only pushing yourself every so often.

Again, notice the word easy isn’t in the description at all. Just because something is reasonable doesn’t make it easy. If I told you to eat a reasonable diet and yours consists of McDonalds and microwave dinners at the moment, it’s going to be difficult to switch to a reasonable whole food based diet that involves cooking, planning, and preparing meals ahead of time. Reasonable and Simple are not equal to easy…

Don’t Tell Me What You Can’t Do – Tell Me What You Can

I get it, you think you don’t have time to get in shape because fitting a 2-3 hour workout 5-6 days a week seems impossible… The good news is unless you’re trying to become Mr. Olympia or the World’s Strongest Man(or whatever) this type of training isn’t for you anyway.

Start with the absolute least amount you can do.
(And stop killing yourself, and your results)

Make 10 minutes for yourself maybe 2x a week, but DON’T MISS A SESSION! It doesn’t need to be insane… Results come from consistency and progress, but mostly consistency. You can’t expect progress(or results) from a training protocol that takes 3, 4, or 7 days to recover from. It’s too intense, and you won’t catch any (smart) athlete doing trainings like this.

I’m not saying you won’t get some muscle soreness when you first start…

However, your training shouldn’t stop you from performing certain functions – like sitting on a toilet. This is no joke, I know a lady who took 2 weeks to recover from her first ever session she did (not by me), she could barely sit(or walk) for that entire 2 week period… for some reason she went back, probably because she was trying to get the trainer to go home with her…

That level of intensity is reserved for those of us who are in special military operations, in professional sports, or maybe are 20 years old.

The main thing I want you to take away is this.

Find something you can do consistently.

Consistency is the key to success, with anything. Make sure it’s something that you can progress with. I mean really progress with, “I learned this new routine” type thing like they do in Zumba or Jazzercise or something doesn’t count.

I’m talking about things like; adding more weight to a movement, doing a harder version of a bodyweight movement, doing more repetitions, anything that pushes you a little bit past where you were the last training session. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy…

And if you want to do the cool stuff? Well, this is where you have to start, and the people(the smart ones) you see actually doing the stuff started here too. And if you don’t? Let’s just say I’m not going to be the one to say I told you so when you wind up in the ER…

We’re not built to go from zero to 100. Think about it, would you honestly be willing to get up off your couch and go play a game of even college level football or enter an amateur boxing/MMA match much less a professional one? The answer, I hope, is no, because my good reader, you are smarter than that I’m sure of it.

But this is how most people expect to train.

Military personnel doing “Murph” Crossfit WOD, one of the most intense bodyweight trainings dedicated to Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy. 200 push-ups, 300 squats, 1 mile run.

If you wouldn’t play the game at their level, then you shouldn’t train at it. I know, for a fact, that those athletes work harder in training than they play. This makes the play easier so they have a little extra left in the tank in case they need it in competition.

Don’t kid yourself, just because you have the “plan” (the sets/reps & movements) they use and think “it looks easy” that it is. In fact, I’ll give you one of the absolute worst trainings you could ever do, and if you can make it through it without puking or fainting, then you must be either (a) a pro, or (b) not doing it right. Her it is:

Barbell Front Squats x8
Sprint 400m

Do this 3 times resting 3-5 minutes between sets.

Doesn’t seem like much, but one of my high school football athletes could barely walk back to the weight after the 2nd set. Oh yeah, he didn’t feel that way after the first one, it kicked in after his metabolism caught up to what he just did…

So, you can keep going after the “High Intensity” cool looking trainings you see people do on the interwebs OR like Dan John says – “Be reasonable, do it my way”

~Justin

P.S. There’s people a lot smarter than me that have written books on this topic, and I’d recommend you check out anything by Pavel Tsatsuouline, Dan John, or Pat Flynn for starters.

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 [email protected] or keep an eye on our Facebook Page for workshops and events.

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

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

How To Build Your Own Kettlebell(for swings)

How To Build Your Own Kettlebell(for swings)

Swing Away!

The Kettlebell swing has been known as the ultimate blaster of fat, the king of conditioning, and sultan of stamina…

But what if you can’t afford your own bell?

I’ve got you covered.

Check out this video below!

What’s that? A homemade Kettlebell?This ought to be good…Check out more on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/c/PostFitFitnessWellnessCenterHartfordThe remaining steps will be uploaded shortly!Enjoy!!

Posted by Postfit on Tuesday, December 29, 2015

And don’t forget to check out our YouTube Channel for more! There may even be a few more equipment tutorials going up soon…. just saying.

~Justin

Home Workout DVDs…. Are They Doing More Harm Than Good?

Home Workout DVDs…. Are They Doing More Harm Than Good?

Is Your Home Workout DVD Delivering The Results You Want?

Chances are, no.

My parents are huge fans of these DVDs and literally have stacks of them in their basement, no lie. Which is great, because it keeps them active – 5 or 6 days a week! But here’s the catch, last week, my mom blamed me for hurting her back… To be fair I told her to use a heavier kettlebell for her workouts(5# doesn’t really do anything for anyone). But essentially my mom hurting her back boils down to the fact that she had no one helping her make sure her movements were correct at home. No one was there to watch her, to answer any questions or concerns she might have. Basically her injury, small as it may seem, happened because DVD’s do not effectively demonstrate how to become more fit.
(Check out this video of the correct technique for the Kettlebell Snatch – supervised by Pavel Tsatsouline)

Don’t take this to mean all of them are bad. There are some who actually have benefits worth your while, but chances are your favorite infomercial celeb trainers are not all they’re cracked up to be.

One popular program (which shall remain nameless) claims to add muscle, burn fat, make you fly… well, maybe not the last one, but they make some pretty bold claims. The only problem with those claims is that they are based off a handful of carefully selected results. One study of this particular 90 day transformation program tested out on several people of various ages and body types ended with a surprising result…. they all increased their body fat %.

Now I know what your thinking… and just bare with me here. Everyone knows or thinks they know that if you workout you should essentially, with enough determination, get rid of fat. Or at least that’s all we’re led to believe. Right?

Doesn’t working out get rid of fat??

And herein lies the truth… High Intensity, Low Weight, High Repetition Exercises INCREASE the amount of fat you will retain. And that’s not always a bad thing, but if it’s not your goal, I wouldn’t recommend it.

We won’t delve into the technical details here, but the main reason is that you are putting your body into a physiological state that retains body fat. Your body does this for use in future activities, such as working out preforming the same workout. It’s similar to running in this sense (but slightly better for you). This is especially a problem if you’re part of the average crowd of “Lean” people trying to get leaner and add some sexy “toned” muscle to your physique.

Which brings us to the next issue…

Time to start that diet
Time to start that diet…

Doctors(yes, damn near all of them – I call them the “smart ones”) recommend not starting these high impact, extremely cardiovascular based programs if you are more than 30# overweight. Yup, just 30#… which really isn’t a lot of extra poundage if you think of it. But the amount of extra stress those “few extra #” adds to your heart and joints is more likely to cause damage instead of do good. The chances of injury skyrocket with this simple type of typical exercise done at home, and this is the demographic that so many of us fall into. (more on this in the future)

Who The F*** is watching you do this stuff?

I said this before and I’ll say it again… Billy, Shawn T, Jillian, Tony, none of these people are actually watching you do the work! They’re relying on your keen sense of self-awareness as to how your body moves, which, if you’re anything like me(or most human beings out there), it’s sometimes off kilter, even if it’s just a bit. My personal observation from the near 1,000 or so people I’ve trained over the years is that (most of us) don’t typically move as well as we should or think we do and yes – I’m definitely included in this.

Jillian-MichaelsSo how can you correct these movements? Is there a “protocol” for even correcting movement? Do the trainers even know how to do this stuff themselves? Well, check out the pic over to the left here… and if you think you could swing a 100# Kettlebell like that and walk away with your back in one piece, congratulations – you have the world’s strongest back. Unfortunately, the rest of the population does not share in your natural gifts…
(Check out the correct swing technique demonstrated by this barbarian fellow on the right)

Correct Swing Technique
Correct Swing Technique

Be Careful What You Fall For

Back to my point of – who’s watching you. Remember when I mentioned how my mom hurt herself swinging a kettlebell wrong?

Sorry Mom, but your workout DVD showed you how to do it the wrong way. What they showed her as a “Snatch” looked closer to some jumpy squatty thing with a pressy-ish thingy than the actual movement.

Obviously, my Mother is welcome to come work out by me any time she desires, but just hasn’t because of unknown reasons. 😉 Although she may change her mind now that she’ll know DVD’s aren’t all they’re hyped up to be.

Now, this isn’t the first casualty, and there will be more. It seems (like almost) everyone owns some or a similar at home workout DVD and they all claim in the DVD to show you their own “Proven System” to do the impossible task of _____ in just _____ minutes a day!!!

Don’t fall for this! Yes hard work = results, NOT some work=results.

Where To Go From Here…

First thing’s first – Find a Professional
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It doesn’t have to be me(but I can be a good guy to work with… just sayin) or even Dawn(nutrition extraordinaire), but it does have to be someone who knows what they’re talking about. It should be someone who has the experience in the field and is educated about how you should be working out.

For starters, if they promise you the workouts alone will take care of the fat loss/results, they’re lying… DIET is king. I’ve seen(and met) people with six packs that have never “worked out” a day in their life, because diet is that important! If you remember the old saying Garbage In = Garbage Out(You are what you eat). It has NO exceptions.

Look for someone who has some formal training in nutrition. Not someone who has just had a weekend seminar or 20 minute online course. Do your homework.

Same goes for trainers – make sure they have True Functional Training Experience and Knowledge!  Check out Gray Cook if you need help. It’s an excellent resource with great tools to help you in your search for fitness. f they don’t put an emphasis on the Quality of Movement over Quantity, then you’re at the wrong gym…

There are good resources, one of my favorite “at home” tools is actually a book by Tim Ferriss. It’s called the 4 Hour Body. (Check out Tim’s Blog fourhourworkweek.com )

Pavel Tsatsouline also offers some great material at www.strongfirst.com, my favorite new “minimalist” workout is Simple and Sinister – The book is only $17.

Do weekend workshops like my friend Ryan Toshner offers at his gym (www.tntperformancetraining.com)

Or just youtube some of Elliot Hulse’s videos, this guy knows his stuff and owes no loyalties to any brand or style of working out. He’s all about becoming the strongest version of YOU, not doing some blanket workout designed to essentially only make money off of you.

You can always contact me too, I do a free consult and 2 week trial for everyone. If it doesn’t work out for you, no problem – take what you’ve learned and move on. If you do stay, then I can help you from there… Otherwise, we have a “secret stash” of workout programs on this site if you know how to find it…(Our Facebook page would be a good place to start).

In short, do homework and don’t believe all the hype that these companies have out there. They’ve stuck millions of dollars into advertising this stuff so it’s “top of mind”, but that does not always ensure “top notch material” Remember Quality over Quantity. And think critically when making decisions regarding your health.

Most of all, enjoy the process of whatever you do, and don’t push yourself too hard. Just do what you can, and focus on small improvements instead of 12 week transformations. Not everyone can do this Biggest Loser type program and sustain it. Just stay the course and enjoy the ride!

Have a Strong Day!

~Justin Green
Owner/Fitness & Martial Arts Coach
PostFit Fitness & Wellness Center
[email protected]
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