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

Get In Shape In Time For….

Get In Shape In Time For….

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

You’re in luck!  It’s not too late…

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

Don’t fall for all of this nonsense.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Stay Strong My Friends!

~Justin

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

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

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
502255276_49925090d6_o

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]
262-951-6317
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www.instagram.com/post_fit
www.twitter.com/post_fit

Stop Doing Cardio(It’s killing your progress!)

Get Off That Bike, Stop Running On The Treadmill – Stop doing Cardio!Cycle_Class_at_a_Gym X

Okay, well at least in the traditional sense…

First it would probably be good to understand what “Cardio” is exactly… it’s not so straight forward as everyone would have you believe.

Let me give you a few examples as they pertain to a majority of the population.(High rep channel surfing doesn’t count, in case you were wondering)

Slow Burn Cardio (Pure Aerobics)

These are your long runs, cycling classes, Jazzercise, Zumba, what have you. BE WARNED, even though some of these programs claim they have a strength building aspect, it’s just a marketing gimmick, they don’t create enough stress on your muscles to create any type of “strength”(hypertrophy) response that is require for any type of true strength.

These are more endurance based workouts, which is good if your goal is just pure endurance, and burning as few calories as possible for the time/work invested. But for most it doesn’t “get the job done” as they like to say, although I have no idea who they  are. Typically the cardiovascular(aerobic) system is the main target, hence “cardio”, and don’t give you much otherwise besides if it’s for your own enjoyment.

Strength Training(Weightlifting)

usarmy_tireflip_benmurphy_parentathleteThat’s right, you can get cardio out of just lifting heavy objects. My favorite example is bodybuilders, you wouldn’t catch these guys dead on a treadmill or stationary bike, or running for that matter. So how do they look so “ripped” all the time, even when they’re not at 2% bodyfat.

The simple answer is High Reps/High Sets. See, anything you do over 6 reps is technically “cardio” because of the different energy systems in your body work differently at different levels of intensity. Anything 6 reps or under is considered, for the most part, pure strength training(see Greasing The Groove) because your body uses just the stored up energy in your muscle tissue. Once you exceed 6 reps you’re essentially doing cardio. Once the energy in your muscles are depleted, guess what, you have to borrows it from somewhere else – the aerobic system. This is the most efficient way for your body to create useable energy fast.

Metabolic Training

This is my preferred style of cardio, which is something I typically only do 2 days a week. Any more than that and you start doing more harm than good(too much of a good thing… like chocolate cake)

How does this differ from the other 2?

lanceswingingkettlebell_web

Think of it like this, a very wise lady by the name of Jen Sinkler was once asked what she did to stay in shape to which she answered “I lift weights”, they proceeded to ask her what she did for cardio, and she answered “I lift weights faster.” Put simply, that’s what metabolic training is. It taxes different energy systems and muscle groups in the body in very intense short ,usually 15-30 minute, sessions. (Think of it in terms along the lines of Run, Throw, Carry or Grind, Ballistic, Loaded Carry)

This method is how I typically run my group/private trainings. It usually goes something like Warm-up = Mobility/Light Strength Work, Movement Prep.(if required), First Round = Metabolic Complex, Second Round = Strength Work/Cool Down.

This is my preferred method introduced to me by one Pat Flynn(great guy!) who is a genius at doing just enough to get the job done(doing more with less). In fact, most people that come work out with me on my Metabolic Training Days have commented they get more work done in 20 minutes with me than in an entire week of going to the gym. Makes me wonder why they still go to the gym…

So to clarify, to get the most benefits out of a program keep out as much (garbage) as possible, train strength often, mobility every day, brisk walk daily(fasted), and high intensity less often. Your body will thank you when you hit 35 by not falling apart and allowing you to train this way until your 90.

Seriously check out some of the programs from Pat and Jen if you are not able to come in and train with me directly, the have spent years putting together things that have been fine tuned and perfected to get you to move as well as humanly possible!

Have a Strong Day!

~Justin

Looking for more?? I’ve got just the thing – drop me a message in the form below and let me know what I can do to help get you going(or keep you going) on your journey to be fitter, happier, and more productive!

[contact-form to=’[email protected]’ subject=’Stop Doing Cardio!!’][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Comment’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]

“Greasing the Groove”, how to build safe strength

“Training to failure is training to fail”

Unfortunately, there are many trainers that run their programs with this mentality.  “Feeling the burn” isn’t something you should aim for in every workout.  Sub-cultures of fitness buffs, like Crossfit for example, promote this style of training. However, they cannot be totally to blame.  There has long been a history of overtraining whether in sports or just training in general.  And this style of training does work, in a small amount of cases, but more often than not training to failure ends up creating more problems than it solves.

There is a simpler way to build strength and stay fit without injury. The best way to accomplish this is with low reps, pushing yourself to 85-95% of your maximum effort(some of the time) and never training to failure, it’s often referred to as “Greasing the Groove”

Greasing the Groove

Greasing the Groove (GTG) is based on a very simple philosophy, your body is adaptive.  When considering how the body works it makes sense.  If you sit all day and all night the chances of you becoming a world class athlete are, well, it’s not going to happen.  However, if you invest your spare time in to lifting & pressing heavy things or practicing a particular skillset, you will get better regardless of the natural talent you have to begin with. The more times you body performs a pattern the better it becomes at recruiting muscles to perform said pattern.  So, if you want your upper body strength, work on pushing & pulling motions with increasing difficulty until you achieve your goal.  It would be just plain silly to think that because you can squat 500# that you could bench press the same amount by just working your squat.

So how exactly does GTG apply to you?

In reality the only way to build strength and improve with anything is practice.  And if you would like to be exceptional, or at least be able to continue uninjured for long periods of time, make that practice perfect.  The old adage of practice makes perfect does not hold true, perfect practice makes perfect.  So in essence if you train to fail then, you guessed it you have been “training to fail.”  Think about it, why would you want to teach your body it can’t do something, or how not to do it?  Everything should be practiced with intent of perfection.  Will you accomplish this… hopefully!  Or at lest as perfect as humanly possible.  So while pushing yourself is a good thing, your body remembers only one thing from your entire session… Your last rep!  So make them all count.

One quick example of how to effectively GTG:

We will use the overhead press for example, grab a weight you are comfortable doing 3-5 repetitions with.  Press it once on each side.  Repeat once daily, check after about 4 weeks to see if you need to up the amount of weight your pressing.  This method promotes success with your training!  By limiting it to 1 rep you are teaching your body it can perform the press, you will not feel the need to complete a set beyond your means, and by using something heavy, your body takes it seriously.  So no 2# barbie weights please…  This is the method I used to take my press from 4-5 reps with a 14 kg to 5 reps with a 24 kg kettlebell in under a year.

Stick with practicing, after all it’s how you get better at anything!

~Justin

Get More With Less

How to become a Minimalist.DSC3586_just_500px

Do you really need to spend hours in the gym?  I didn’t think so, and you don’t have to.  Now typically what happens with most new gym goers is this 1) All the fancy equipment is sold to them as a benefit  2) Sign up is made easy because of the ridiculously low rate, I’ve seen some for $10/mo.  3) They have over a million locations to “better serve you”.  But what’s the real benefit?  You have to spend way more time on the machines to get even nearly what you can with just $100 worth of iron.  Honestly, $100 well spent at a sporting goods store on a decent set of kettlebells or barbell set would be more beneficial.  The discipline to follow through on your workout is the same no matter how cheap or how centrally located they are.

So why do they set up their gyms this way?  It’s simple, they want people to think more is better.  By cluttering the space with equipment that does everything the hard way, they have given the otherwise open air in the space “value”.  For example, I don’t need an espresso maker in the trunk of my car and I doubt I would use it, even though I love espresso.
Why am I telling you this??  First off, my previous life as a full time martial arts instructor, I learned through observation of the owner, and several very awkward selling tasks, what I didn’t want to do… Be a salesperson.  I just enjoy helping people.  Part of that is to educate as many people as possible what fitness is really about.  I like to keep things simple, I don’t like overly complicated doodads or shiny workout routines with no direct benefits.  I prefer using equipment that gets better results for a fraction of the cost, and in a fraction of the time.  The basis of any good program should be mobility (function before fitness).  There are a few basic motions you need to have to accomplish this; pushing, pulling, hinging, squatting, loaded carry.  That’s it…  Like I said, I like to keep things simple.  Here is an example of a basic strength program using a Kettlebell:

crossfit-strong-dallas-kettlebellsMilitary Press (push)

Pull Up (pulling)

Swing (hinge)

Goblet Squat (squatting)

Turkish Getup (loaded carry)

Do as a ladder 1,2,3,1,2,3 of each movement daily.  Don’t worry, you won’t over-train any of these patterns just because the frequency is high.  The main reason this works is because the volume is low.  Repeat for several months and increase the weight slightly once the weight you started with feels “light”.  Don’t get me wrong, you do still need cardio as well.  You can add the movements in to or before a Kettlebell complex.  Or simply starting up biking, running, swimming(weather permitting!) or a sport you’ve always wanted to or used to do.

So all the equipment in your local health club and hours spent there can be replaced by a few pounds of iron and 10-15 minutes a day.  Find some space and make sure it’s clear of breakable
things!(ex: lamps, mirrors, small children, animals, you get the picture)SONY DSC

Keep it Simple, Stay Strong!

Justin