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

TSC or Bust

TSC or Bust

I was surprised with my results to say the least, and I think a few others were with theirs as well. After all, my last week of training(and a few before that) had not been very “productive” ones, and I’ve missed more than a few sessions, and I’m not alone.

Many of my students could say the same, we had injuries, sickness, and other business/family matters that kept us out of the gym and “off our game” so to speak. But when April 8th rolled around, the adrenaline started pumping and the weights got loaded on the bars, none of that seemed to matter.

It’s hard to put faith in a process for most human beings, because the longview is hard to maintain. We go for the “quick fix” over anything else, and try to “hack” our way to results.

The truth is, the reason we all did so well is the work we’ve put in, not just in the last 9 weeks, but over a lifetime of training. For some it hasn’t been that long at all, others have been here for a while. But regardless of all that, it’s the quality of the time and work we’ve put in that makes the biggest difference.

After all, excuses(or reasons) are easy to come by. Even as I write this I’m getting shooting pain through my knee from the arthritis I was supposed to have had surgery for before I turned 30(I’m 32 now) but it will probably go away by the end of the week. I was sick last week and my cardio took a huge hit, probably making my form sloppy and limiting me to, oh yeah, a PR or 116 snatches. It wasn’t the best there, but it’s 16 more than 6 months ago, and I can’t lose sight of that.

Paul, Brian, Melony, Steve, and Adrienne also had setbacks. Carpel tunnel surgeries that took longer than expected to heal(too many 5 page reports), injuries (some that happened outside the gym, some from pushing too hard in training), and finding our limits to early on were just a few of the physical aspects that plagued “the training” over the past 2(ish) months, yet somehow new personal bests were attained. Obviously, none of these injuries were serious, some strained muscles here and there(well, only 2 of us, myself included) and a falling incident outside of the gym put a few of us “off” for a bit, but didn’t knock us out of the game.

Travels for business and pleasure were timed almost perfectly in the middle of training, not leaving a whole lot of time to “catch up” at the end, but somehow this didn’t really matter when it came down to it.

There were only a few of us that made it all the way through the training process without missing even a day of training. This doesn’t make them better or worse than anyone else as that has it’s own struggles(being sore while training and finding time are the most frequent yet least of these, not to mention keeping yourself fueled)

I can gladly say everyone exceeded their expectations in spite of the “setbacks” that happened over the last few weeks. If there’s one thing that shined though all of this, it’s the “slow and steady over the long haul” training mentality that is not very common in most gyms. Especially competitive gyms it seems have this idea that every session needs to be a PR session and that if it doesn’t make you throw up, pass out, or puke you’re not working hard enough. That’s fine if you’re 22 and don’t mind not being able to move at 50, but for the rest of us, it’s simply not an option.

We have jobs, kids, grandkids(eventually for some of us) and lives we have to live outside a few hours out of the week where we congregate in our quaint little old post office we call our gym.

To paraphrase Pavel, your training shouldn’t take more out of you than you get from it. That means being able to go and play after you work, being able to tie your own shoes and use the toilet unassisted at 90, and (accidents and illnesses notwithstanding) live to 100, well, that’s my plan at least!

Until Next Time,

Stay Strong My Friends!

~Justin

I’ve Been Slacking, And You Should Be Too

It’s been a bit since I’ve written a blog post…(Feb. 21st according to the “recently published” section to the left of where I’m writing this)

And I have several planned for the near future, and I’m not posting the first one I have drafted up(somewhere on my phone) because I thought you, kind reader, should know why it is I’ve been so, well, absent(minded) as to not post something for your (slight) entertainment and possibly(I hope) education on fitness/martial arts related things.

I can’t multitask.

In fact, none of us can.

I can’t seem to focus on more than 2 or 3 things at a time, and this(unfortunately) is my downfall as a human being that seems to be shared by so many others… even more unfortunately, I seem to be somewhat of a perfectionist when it comes to things that are important to me, so I like to focus more than most do on a task which sometimes means other stuff(blog posts) fall by the wayside.

I’m not saying I completely stop focusing on them, when an idea hits me, I pull out my phone, tell the Google device thing to take some notes, and save it for a later post. Some ideas make it, some don’t, but that’s not what I wanted to tell you about this fine day.

See, I have been busy with some other goals that have taken up much focus and time, some personal, some professional, but goals are goals nonetheless…

So when I start in on something I work on it, almost to a fault sometimes, with everything I have. This is something I need to work on as well as sometimes I don’t leave any in the reserve tank as my girlfriend constantly points out to me.

However, I’ve figured out in my short time as an adult that if I’m going to do something I need to do it all the way and not let anything derail me, if I get sidetracked I know the project won’t get finished.

I have not been doing much competing these days since I broke my face(literally) at the last TaeKwonDo tournament I attended before my knee gave out and had to stop the match(I literally couldn’t stand up… stupid arthritis). But one thing has been in my sights – the Tactical Strength Challenge put on by none other than StrongFirst(the finest group of professional kettlebell peeps I know) and I’m determined to get over 100 snatches this time in addition to not pulling any abdominal muscles on my deadlift. I could care less about the pull-ups, I just want to break 100 snatches.

Why?

I know if I focus on my deadlift for a while, I can do over 400 no problem(maybe October) and too many pull-ups hurt my poor achy elbows, and I way exceeded what I thought I could do last time around anyway… but the snatches are the bane of my existence.

I want to get to the point where I can do 100 snatches with a 24kg bell any day of the week without having to train for months on end to do so.

As you might remember, I didn’t pass my snatch test at my Level 1 certification, and had to re-test(I chose the TSC to do this) not too long after, and this too barely happened. I literally did my last snatch with 1 second left, probably one of the hardest things I’ve done in my life.

If I can make that seem easy, I KNOW I’ve gotten stronger as a whole person.

This takes lots of recovery, time to train, and, oh yeah… more time to recover.

In addition to this, part of my training has had to be skipped because about 2(ish) weeks ago whilst squatting, I got into the bottom position and couldn’t get up, my knee was starting to give out. So, I’ve had to modify my squat day to an accessory deadlift day, meaning, more time for recovery…. yay…

Anyway, this in addition to some other personal things that I don’t want to mention here, and the fact that my girlfriend and I have been working like fiends to get a house down the street from us, I’ve not had a lot of time.

The point to all of this is that sometimes life gets crazy, some of it is self-inflicted(TSC training/house/etc…) and sometimes “stuff” just happens that makes the day seem overwhelming.

Priorities come into play here, and I’ve decided to choose just a few things that I really need to focus on and get them done right so I have my ducks in a row for other things that are coming down the pipeline.

When trying to find balance in your life, this is no easy task, you really have to take a step back and look at what you really need to get done, put your time into that, and let the other “important” stuff wait for another day, after all, if it was really that important you would have made it your top 3 anyway.

A little quick piece of advice before I finish this very rambley post, check out Dan John’s ideas on this idea of qualifying your situation by using the traffic light as a gauge for where you are in life. He uses the areas of Work, Rest Play, Pray and I think it seems like a good structure for gauging where you are in life… I decided to do more rest recently since I don’t like teaching classes feeling like a zombie, and my students don’t enjoy this either(yay for naps!).

At minimum, try not to feel like you need to get everything done yesterday… if you feel like you’re running a marathon at a full out sprint pace… well… you might just be overdoing it.

Stay Strong My Friends.

~Justin

For Some Reason I Still Enjoy This…

For Some Reason I Still Enjoy This…

I woke up this morning feeling like I was hit by a locomotive
(or a bus, maybe even a dump truck, not sure what exactly)

I know, not the best way to start off a post about “fitness” stuff… In fact, I sometimes wonder to myself “why the deuce am I even training anymore if I feel like this”(from time to time). And I think the answer always comes to me as quick as does my kids urge to have to go to the bathroom as soon as we get in the car for a nice long trip.

I keep doing “this”(this being training of course) because even though it takes me a minute to get moving and do some mobility stuff in the morning, I know things could be far worse.

For example, I could feel like I did when I trained martial arts only with no strength & conditioning back in good ol Hartland before my friend Master Ian Jensen discovered Pavel. Sometimes I think I’d like to curse him for introducing me to those nasty little buggers (like during my training yesterday or this morning) but I know I used to hurt much worse after training sessions before the Kettlebells rolled around.

I used to have trouble lifting my shoulders above my head without pain… seriously, taking those puppies through just about any range of motion(even unloaded) was something I cringed to think about, now, it’s only every so often.

I also remember how much my knee(it’s arthritic) used to bug me and cause me to not be able to walk up the stairs in my house without some type of choreography.

I remember a lot of things that used to be worse.

So the question is…

Are you avoiding training because of a few times of being “a little sore”. I’m not talking about the way some trainers beat people up so they can’t sit on the John for a few weeks at a crack after every session… I’m talking about that slight achy feeling that prevents you from doing some stuff, but allows you to otherwise function normally.

If so, consider the following.

How long will this last?(really) My achy shoulder and sore… well, everything, is already starting to dissipate and will likely be gone by the time I’ve had my breakfast. However, the pain I used to live with was for days at a time, and that my friends, is just not acceptable to me.

How long will eventual chronic issues last if you aren’t proactive/treating them. We all see the older folks walking around with severe joint and muscularskeltal issues(posture like a ?, in a wheel chair, using a cane), and you always have to wonder… could that have been prevented. A lot of times using reasonable fitness training could have kept joints and therefore muscle health in tact, even at a more “distinguished” age.

Just to give you a quick idea of what this training has done for me over the past 8 or so years, when I was 22 I was told that I would need to have surgery on my left knee before I was 30… that was 10 years ago. Will I have to eventually, probably, as I feel it limits me in some ways to where I won’t push myself when I normally could because of that slight fear hanging over my head “what if…”

But in the end, having done nothing vs the barrage of crap I put myself through at least 5-6 days a week would have been much, much worse for my overall health and wellbeing, and that’s not a lie.

So make the right considerations when you’re looking at wether or not to stick with something because a little bit of “perceived pain” in the short term because the long term goal will be worth far more than you can ever imagine.

I’m going to leave you with a quote from Eric Thomas that I absolutely love:

“Pain is temporary, it may last for a minute, or a day, or even a year… but eventually, it will subside. But If you quit however, it will last forever”

Stay Strong My Friends.

~Justin

Do It Anyway, Feel Like It or Not

Do It Anyway, Feel Like It or Not

This goes against what most of us naturally do…

Showing up and doing work even if we are; Tired, Emotional, Have a Headache, Sick(a sneeze or cough kind of sick, not death stuck on the couch sick…)

Let me be clear about this, I am not talking about going into an “all out” battle against you and the clock or one upping your old Personal Best, don’t even push yourself, just do the work you had planned and go home. I’m also not talking about training with a serious injury… still train smart, the idea is get the work done.

Punch The Clock.

The benefits of this are (at least) twofold.

1. You Improve Your Discipline & Resilience
2. You Don’t Fall Behind On Your Goals

THere’s probably more reasons, but hey, I think these two are good enough for 99.999% of us out there.

I’m not asking you to do something I’m not willing to do myself, I’ve had plenty of days in the past few years and even recently where I can barely drag myself out of bed, but somehow I mustered up the strength to get through the session.

From experience I can say this made me a stronger person, and I’m not talking about just physically…

So next time you find an “excuse” not to go in to the gym remember, there are people out there who:

Have less time
Have less money
Have less health
Have less limbs (no joke…)
Have less _________(fill in the blank)

That show up, put in the work(in spite of their circumstances) and they Just. Keep. Moving.

Stay Strong My Friends.

~Justin

It Ain’t About That…

It Ain’t About That…

I remember hearing this thing on a motivational type video a while ago…

I can’t remember who said it, or even if it’s exactly what he said, but I loved the idea behind the one bit that stuck with me.

It was something like this:

Folks, it ain’t about that…

Deep, right?

Here’s the thing, as with most anything, getting “in shape” or belonging to a gym, etc… really isn’t about what you think it is. I mean after all, if we all knew exactly how to do what the pros do, we’d all be pros, right?

So change your mindset. Here’s how we are told to think, and this also turns TONS of people away from what does work(and what matters) toward things that DON’T WORK (and don’t matter)

There’s no treadmills or cardio equipment…
Good

The equipment is rusty and I think that’s tape not vinyl on the bench press thing over there…
So?

It looks like they raided a scrap yard to get their gear.
And your point is?

The main stream wants you to think things are a certain way. With all of these “overnight” or “2 week” transformations, it’s hard to tell what actually works. I recently heard something by Dan John(you should check his stuff out by the way) that really hit home for me…

After your (insert length of time) challenge, then what?

I believe Dan used 90 days and asked about day 91, but the important thing is does it keep working? The answer is usually, if I’m honest, no.

Remembering that Everything Works (for about 6 weeks…) you should keep in mind that the things most people tell you that matter probably don’t.

Here’s the thing I challenge you to do the next time you’re considering someone’s advice.

-Are they trying to sell you something(equipment, supplements, programs, etc.) and if so, what are the (real) results.
-Did they follow their own advice to get to where they are?(or would they be willing to)
-Did the people who (said they) used the program/equipment/miracle pill actually use it and what do they look like now(after they’re done with said protocol). Think “where are they now”, you know, that child celeb/one hit wonder thing…

Remember, it’s not about the shiny new weights…

The gym may not be clean, it could be cold and dimly lit, the weights might be worn/rusty, or the instructor may be homely or unkempt(okay, that could be a deal breaker) but in the end, it’s all about the results your going to get for your well invested time.

I know people who train out of their freaking garage and are stronger, leaner, and generally “more fit” than 90% of the gym going population who show up to use the treadmill & stepper. In fact, some of the “godlike” figures we’ve come to compare to from ye old times were carved out using nothing more than heavy, awkward, objects and typically strength(not weight loss) was the goal.

Okay, I can’t not put this here, because 1. I love Jim Gaffigan 2. It’s hilarious 3. It’s true 4. It immediately popped in my head when I typed stepper…

Honestly, the focus should be somewhere else than what we are told you “should do” to get in shape. Seriously, unless you have a full time photoshop, a team of people prepping your meals, or dedicate every waking hour to your training, you won’t be on the cover of a magazine with your shirt off or in a swimsuit… Also keep a few things in mind

It’s not about being the best…
…being the skinniest…
…being the strongest…
…being the most muscular…

It’s just not about what you are told to think it is.

What it’s really about is being better.

Be better than you were the last time you stepped in the gym, do a little extra than what’s expected and you’ll get the extra results. It’s really that simple.

I saved this for the end, in case anyone read this far…

Programs that take the longest to get the results tend to have the longest lasting results.

Stop with the fly by night infomercial workouts and products and do something that works – Move Better. Get Stronger.

Live by that and I can guarantee that your results will stick around far longer than that veggie smoothie cleanse you did (for 2 of the 14 days) and couldn’t stick with.

Stay Strong My Friends.

~Justin

Why HOW You Move Is More Important (Part 1)

Why HOW You Move Is More Important (Part 1)

“More isn’t better, it’s just more”

Movement is one of those things that, I feel, is one of the biggest reasons for people giving up on an exercise program. Not the fact that they’re moving, but that they’re moving poorly leading to frustration and eventually abandonment of the noble endeavor they set out on…

Let Me Set The Scene.

I’m at a friends house for a gathering, talking to someone at a function or whatever… and the conversation of fitness comes up. Naturally, someone decides to speak their clearly well thought out opinion of what “working out” should be… clearly they’ve done all the research that Facebook meme’s and YouTube “experts” make available to us…

Here’s what usually goes down.

“What do you have against Zumba”(or pick an arbitrary thing…)

“Honestly, I don’t want to be here all night debating the why’s and why nots of doing certain exercise programs, let’s just say I have my reasons”

“Well, as long as people are moving and doing something that should be enough.”

This couldn’t be further from the truth.

It’s like saying something like “I know my car needs work, so I’m just going to drive it more and the problem will just take care of itself”

The reason I hate having these conversations, and typically avoid them at all costs, is people haven’t done their homework. I’m far from an expert, but I know who the experts are, and for some strange reason I care about the well being of people I don’t even know or barely know beyond just a few days a week for 45 min of interaction.

When people won’t listen to reason and refuse to look at the results of both sides of thinking criticize you for not seeing things from their point of view, you see the hypocrisy, they clearly don’t know that the research has been done, time was put into a decision of what direction to go, and more research is constantly taking place(in my case to the tune of about 10-20 hours a week at least)

Movement is one of those things that we do as human beings

Some of us do it much better than the rest(athletes), some who can’t move well at all, and then there’s some of us who are…. let’s say in between. And how you move determines the quality of what you do and your ability to continue to do said activities for (hopefully) years to come.

Before we go on…

A part of what inspired me to post this little rant (which will be a 2 parter, this is part 1, part 2 will show specific movements and the why’s and why nots of the how to’s and so on…) is that I recently saw a video posted by a few trainers at a local 24 hour establishment doing some demos of “exercises” to do so you can get in a “good workout” before the holiday gorge fest that is Christmas coming up.

This is a fantastic idea…. except for the fact that they showed, what I think, was bad  technique.(and I’m sure several people would cringe at the sight of this with me if they’d seen it)

Before you consider me “That Guy”

I UNDERSTAND that not every coach can do what some of their clients do, hell, I have a guy who can out-lift me any day of the week, but what he needs isn’t heavier weights, it’s better movement(we literally spent 30 min on stretching & mobility the other day).

Here’s the caviot… these are not “out of shape” or otherwise restricted individuals, in fact, looking at them you’d think they’re quite fit… and you’d be right. The definition of fitness after all is the ability to perform a task. That being said, the more efficiently you perform it, the better your body will adapt, the better (and longer lived) the results.

As someone who has some restricted movement patterns myself, I’m well aware of the fact that nobody is perfect, however, you will never see me put up a video saying “do this” with bad form on the movement.

Here’s why

We’re visual creatures.

Part of how we learn is by watching what others “do”. Personally, I picture how those people look in my head as I’m performing said activity to try and give my brain something to focus on(besides the fatigue 😉 ).

So if you see someone doing something that is a “qualified professional” you would assume that how they’re doing it is the correct way.

Alas, this is not always the case.

In fact, I know there’s things I personally cannot do (yet) but I have students(clients) who can. and I can coach them to do the movement the proper way because of the hands on training I’ve had in the past. But you won’t see me putting up any pictures or videos of me doing a sub-par performance on said movement.

I think I’ve made my point.

We’ll wrap up Part 1 with this little tidbit from Gray Cook on movement:

“…think about it… getting into a good position is probably more important than increasing your strength 10 more precent. Most elite level golfers work on their precision and execution of their posture and movement patterns knowing if they will just get the right biomechanical lines of attack as they swing they will be more efficient. That’s why they spend more time with a golf club working on their mechanics and technical precision than doing bicep curls or kettlebell presses. They appreciate that strengthening their body will help, but no amount of strength in the world is going to make you efficient if part of your strength is used to overcome your own stiffness or work against your own malalignment. The object of efficiency is to be able to reproduce an activity with some degree of technical precision so as not to wast e energy.

If your complete training paradigm is just complete caloric expenditure, with no regard for accomplishment, then, it doesn’t really matter what you do. You can take someone who’s morbidly obese and moving poorly and just make them move in any number of ways and they will have caloric expenditure. But if you do that often enough, guess what? Their lack of integrity and precision in movement is going ot bring them up against early fatigue, where they won’t really achieve most of their metabolic efficiency and therefore thye really won’t lose weight and they won’t get in shape quick, they’ll just hit fatigue, create lactic acid, go into a poor breathing state, get tired, and go eat. Or, they’ll have an orthopedic issue.

So either way your quest for caloric expenditure should be sidelined and what you should do is create a situation where, even if weight loss is your goal, go for technical precision, movement correction, movement efficiency whenever possible. Make your people as efficient as possible and believe it or not, work levels will become more pleasurable and they’ll be able to do more and at the same time reduce musculakeletal risk of a setback injury as they’re getting in shape.” -excerpt from The Gray Cook Lecture Compendium

Don’t take my word for it, Gray is the head athletic trainer for Reebok as well as the “go to” guy when someone is broken beyond what most people can fix.

In part 2 I will cover a few things on the movement side of it in more “visual” detail. (my favorite, picture story!!)

Until next time… Stay Strong My Friends!

~Justin

How To Survive The Holidays(Without Gaining 1,000 Pounds)

How To Survive The Holidays(Without Gaining 1,000 Pounds)

In-laws and crazy family members aside, the next worst thing for you this holiday season has to be the amount of food that we end up consuming as a result of “emotional eating”.

Some of us have it better than others, while in a lot of cases(at least from what I hear) some people’s families actually drive them to drink copious amounts of “adult beverages”. I’m talking the amount normally reserved for college students on spring break…

Apart from the obvious advice of not bringing as much of the substances in question along to aid in the ritualistic overconsumption we call holidays, I have a really simple piece of advice you can use for these and other such occasions, to alleviate some of the guilt and stress associated with the consumption meant to, ironically, cope with stress…

Go To The Gym and Work A Little Harder The Next Day.

I’m not talking about the treadmill here… those extra 500 steps on your FitBit aren’t going to cut it…

You have to really work hard.

Here’s some of my prescribed “routines” to burn a few of those extra holiday calories your family helped you jam down your throat so you could avoid saying what you really wanted to in reaction to their inappropriate comments:

Metabolic Training: This is a bit harder to describe, but for simplicity, Kettlebell complexes seem to work amazing for this. One of my favorite(and I’m sure is your’s too) is Armor Building (2 double cleans, 1 double press, 3 double front squats) plus 300 swings. Just this little guy will burn upwards of 1,000 calories, if you pick the right weight that is…(don’t go light!)

Heavy A$$ Lifts: Back Squats, Deadlifts, Bench Press, Overhead Press, anything that requires every single fiber in your being to move the weight would be appropriate for this one.

Olympic Lifts (barbell): Not an area of my “expertise” but I’m told this is a very good way to work up a sweat. Do some On The Minute training or a complex (similar to a kettlebell complex). Push yourself a little harder than normal.

Sprinting: Sprints are a great “no equipment required” workout, pick a distance that will take you about 20 or so seconds to run, or grab a timer and sprint for 20 seconds. Sprint 5-7 times resting only 10 seconds between sprints then rest a few minutes(at least 3…) between series. I’d recommend only doing this about 3 times. Want a challenge? Take the sprints “vertical” and go up a hill with them. Need more you say? Add a set of 8 kettlebell or barbell front squats beforehand, rest about 3-5 minutes between sprints, repeat 3 times. (don’t forget the rest…) Kettlebell swings and a hill work well too I’ve been told(about 30-50 swings before you sprint)

I could go on, but my girlfriend might get mad at me for working too much on a Sunday morning when I’m supposed to be drinking coffee and playing this new game I’ve introduced her to called “grab ass”, apparently she likes it, and I’m a fan myself.

So to sum it up, take the moral highroad and don’t eat the junk(especially the booze, sorry). When that’s too much mental and emotional stress, don’t stress, work a little harder tomorrow. Probably not the best nutritional advice in the world, but I’m told it works wonders for you soul.

Have a great holiday season, and Stay Strong My friends.

~Justin

 

Your Fitness Tracker’s Dirty Little Secret.

Your Fitness Tracker’s Dirty Little Secret.

In the last few years these fitness trackers have been all the rage.

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They’re popping up just about everywhere, from your local friendly Walmart & Walgreens to Amazon and everywhere in between, and are made by everyone from Apple(a computer company…) to the big names like FitBit & Jawbone and all the little cheapy guys trying to imitate their big brothers in the industry.

But why then, with so many people owning these little gadgets, are there still so many people not achieving their fitness goals?

Let’s start with a fun story…

A client of mine was telling me last year or so she had a friend in California who owned a FitBit and was obsessed with getting her step goal for the day… even if she cheated.

What her friend did was quite ingenious, while stuck in the godawful traffic I’m told plagues Cali, she would shake her hand back and forth to get her step count for the day!

Genius, right?

Well, no.

Here’s the dirty little secret about that ol fancy piece of jewelry around your wrist.

We, as human beings, LOVE to feel like we’ve accomplished something. Even silly little things that, in the grand scheme of things don’t make a significant impact on the end result. Honestly, who brags about getting their step count in for the day…

We like this so much in fact, we’d be willing to cheat ourselves out of results to get the perceived amount of “activity” for the day.

This can breed some bad habits.cigarettes-723126

For example – If you’re cheating on your steps, you’re probably going to be less likely to track those couple handfuls of candy you had at the office today, after all, there was only 14 pieces (each time), so they don’t really count, right?

Or maybe…

You actually did your steps for the day, so you decide to skip the gym and go out to celebrate with a healthy(ish) dinner and an adult beverage…(okay, maybe 2 or 3, it’s been a hard week at work… so far – wooo! made it to Wednesday!!)

You can see how this spirals out of control.dizzy-148161

I’m not saying to throw out your fitness tracker. What I’m warning against is the inappropriate use of a tool that can help you get better results, but can also destroy them just as easily.

In fact, most fitness trackers will say you’re average  strength training routine only burns about 100 cal or so, I don’t think that’s totally accurate, especially if you’ve been to one of my classes…(I can assure you, you burn much more than that)

Take the info with a grain of salt.

The information is only as good as what you use it for, and sifting through and finding the right data is key.

I could honestly go on for quite a while on the do’s and don’t(s) of what info you should look for, but where’s the fun in that, this would easily turn into a 4,000 word post, and it still wouldn’t help you get the best results. Remember, everyone is unique, so it’s impossible to discuss every variable…

Here’s what I’ll give you(to wet your appetite)

Start with what you want to achieve.

Determine what “data” will best help you get to that goal – and throw out the rest.

journal-1577764Be ReligiousTrack everything consistently and monitor the changes(results) you see on a somewhat regular basis. I’d say no more than once a week, and even that is pushing it…(scale weight one week, measurements the next, body fat % the following week, you know, that ol chestnut)

Pick 3-5 “variables” to track(the input) more than that is too much and will cause more harm than it will help. **HINT: Food Journaling is THE THING that will help most out of anything(Nutrition is King), after that would be sleep(shoot for 8 hours a day), then workouts, then daily habits(what you do at work and whatnot)

I’m sure I can think of more things to track, but honestly even the last one is kind of pushing what you really NEED to have, but hey, do what works for you. Just keep in mind, the more focused your efforts on the things that will make the biggest change the results will come faster, and stay longer.

As far as tracking output, like I said above, don’t jump on the scale every day, or even 2 or 3 times a week. The best thing you can do, honestly, is notice how you’re clothes fit compared to how they used to. And a $1 tailor’s tape measure is going to be your absolute best bet for tracking what’s actually going on(I don’t know the name exactly, it’s one of those flexible cloth-like things they use for measuring tuxes and such, you know the one)

If you’re stuck and don’t know what to do, feel free to drop me a line (justin @ post35.net) and I’ll be happy to help you out as I do have some experience with these things.

Stay Strong My Friends

~Justin

What I’ve Been Reading, Why You Should Start(why you should even care)

What I’ve Been Reading, Why You Should Start(why you should even care)

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I know, this may not seem like a big deal to you… but…

I was hit by a stroke of “inspiration” to write this post the other day after perusing through some emails between a friend of mine and myself, and noticed he’s sent out an email entitled “What I’m Reading” to his nutrition clients.

At first I was like, “why the heck would he share that, nobody really cares, do they?”

I know some of you might not care about WHAT I’m reading, and I’m going to share with you anyway, and that’s fine, but you should read on to see WHY I’m reading them. (I’ll give you a hint, it’s not my first time through these books!)

So, while I’m sitting here enjoying my cup of coffee and burning some hard earned coin to help warm my old bones, I can shift my focus away from such silly things as my toes being cold or contemplating what I’m going to eat for lunch toward more productive things.

So, why all about these books then, eh?books-1002123

First off, this post has nothing to do with the actual books!

Jim Rohn always talked about growing your library and gaining new skills…. sales skills, job specific skills, personal development skills, physical skills, cooking skills, you know, skills. His reasoning is that(at the time) we were approaching a new millennia where new frontiers that had never been made available to us before are available at our finger tips(and fast). And that so succeed, at anything really, you need to grow your skillets and knowledge to get ahead and become successful.

So really what it does have to do with is making you(and me) better.

“They” say knowledge is power, and the more you know…. I’m calling bull on that, because you can know and not do and the knowledge does nothing, it’s the application and understanding of the knowlege that makes the great people great. It has nothing to do with regurgitating “facts” or “statistics” or whatever, you need to internalize what you read to get a good understanding of what is written down in black and whit right in front of you, otherwise they’re just words on a page.

And that is the reason I read(and the reason for this rambling session)

Over the past year I’ve filled up my Audible library with countless personal development, fitness, and nutrition books, again, not in the hopes of being able to spit out facts at people(you know how much everyone loves those people) but so I can apply what I learned into practice, make adjustments, learn from mistakes(the right way), and move forward better than I was yesterday, last week, last month, or last year…

So if you want to get good at something, I mean really good, this is where your focus needs to be, in exercising the most important tool you have – Your Brain.

Here’s my current selection of literature, to give you an idea of the randomness I’ve been using to develop my person.

  1. Fat Loss Happens On Monday – Dan John & Josh Hillis
  2. Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business – Charles Duhigg

Now, obviously the first book is very industry specific, and is usually what most people focus on when they’re in a specific job type thing, but the second… that’s for yours truly.

You see, I’m probably one of the most disorganized people there is… I mean, I know where my stuff is(mostly) and I try to get a lot of things done, but sometimes I just end up becoming my own worst enemy because of several things, and that’s where this book has started helping me out. It’s a work in progress, trust me, but it helps me analyze myself(not easy) and start implementing steps to improve(slow and steady) in a way that the principles stick.

This is the ultimate goal.

Not just to know the stuff, but to apply it, otherwise why did you read it in the first place? Really…

This brings me back to my original point.knowledge-1052010

How many times do you think I’ve read these books?

Once…

Twice….

I’ve read each one of these at least 3 times, and plan on reading them more as time goes on…

The first time through you may not pick up little nuances, you know those things that will help you have a break through? Those little nuances…

It might be the state you’re in or you’re focused on a specific idea or thought so much you missed something right after, or even the fact that it may apply now where as before you weren’t ready for the bit of wisdom imparted to you by the author.

Whatever the case is, it’s important you don’t just read a book once and put it down forever.

I’m reminded of an old martial arts saying that’s been quoted by Bruce Lee and some other sorta famous people…

Fear not the man who had done 10,000 different techniques one time, fear the man who has done one technique 10,000 times.

The point being, the more practiced the skill, the more effective(deadly in the above example). This is how you should treat anything you do, as practice, and the game is life. There’s no timeouts, no do-overs, very few breaks, but a huge reward for succeeding. Wether you’re trying to lose some weight(practice cooking), get stronger(practice movements), learning to defend yourself(practice techniques), or get a new job(practice necessary skills), the key is to be disciplined, doing what’s needed when it’s needed and sticking to the plan. Even bad plans if stuck to produce better results than a good plan not followed.

The next step for you my good reader is to go out, buy a book in an area you want to improve and read it, read it again, and read it again until you have the material down so well you can’t get it wrong and watch yourself grow into a new, better person.

Stay Strong My Friend.

~Justin

P.S. Here’s a list of books you should check out:
(I’m sure there’s more I’ve forgotten/haven’t read, if you have some favorites, comment below)

Fitness
Fat Loss Happens On Monday(from above)
Intervention – Dan John
Simple and Sinister – Pavel Tsatsouline
Boxing WOD Bible – P. Selter
Paleo Workouts for Dummies – Pat Flynn
Training for Warriors (series) – Martin Rooney
Enter the Kettlebell – Pavel Tsatsouline(pdf is available FREE online)
Power to the People – Pavel Tsatsouline(pdf is available FREE online)
Relax Into Stretch – Pavel Tsatsouline(pdf is available FREE online)
Athletic Body in Balance – Gray Cook
Can You Go? – Dan John
The Gray Cook Lecture Compendium -Gray Cook(Audible)

Business/Personal Development
The Entrepreneur Rollercoaster – Darren Hardy
The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing – Jack Trout, Al Ries
Zero To One – Peter Theil, Blake Masters
Trust Me I’m Lying – Ryan Holliday
Anything written by Tim Ferriss
Growth Hacker Marketing – Ryan Holliday
The Content Code: Six Essential Strategies to Ignite Your Content Your Marketing and Your Business – Mark W. Shaefer
Contagious: Why Things Catch On – Jonah Berger
The Like Switch – Jack Shafer, Ph. D. Marvin Karlins
Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business – Gino Wickman
Traction – Justin Mares, Gabriel Weinberg
48 Laws of Power – Robert Greene
Free – Chris Anderson
The Lean Startup – Eric Ries
The Richest Man in Babylon – George S. Clason

Other Books(for thoughts and things)
The Black Swan – Nassin Nicholas Taleb
Antifragile – Nassin Nicholas Taleb
Facing Violence – Rory Miller
The Book Of 5 Rings – Miyamoto Musashi(pdf is available FREE online)
Relentless – Tim S.  Grover(Michael Jordan’s Personal Trainer)
The Professor in the Cage – Jonathan Gottchall