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

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

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
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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]
262-951-6317
www.facebook.com/essential.justin
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Forget  The Results – Just Bust Your Ass

Forget The Results – Just Bust Your Ass

You’re overthinking this training thing…DSC_0133.JPG

You shouldn’t have so much anxiety about “working out”… all that anxiety is preventing you taking action on what really matters… Stop talking about what you should be doing and get to work.

Life is a lot simpler when you realize this – There is no set way to work out. That’s why there are so many programs out there people are getting results with, so find the one that works for you…

Stop giving attention to the small things that don’t really matter and start giving your attention to the things that really do…

You didn’t get your meals in
You didn’t get enough sleep
You didn’t take your supplements
You are 1/2 a chicken breast short for the day
You didn’t… whatever

The anxiety you’ve created has detracted from anything you could’ve possibly gained from the action of actually doing the activity. I’ve said before how unimportant things like even having a gym membership are – because you can get started with just you! That’s the beauty of calisthenics training

Trade in your 20 minute abs program for some fundamentals

Every champion understands one thing… The most powerful tool you will EVER have to be successful in anything you attempt or do in life – is your mind.

It doesn’t matter if you missed that meal, didn’t sleep last night, are still sore from yesterday, aren’t feeling it today, you have a headache… it’s all excuses to prevent yourself from doing what needs to be done.

I have a lady who trains with me that will take her kettlebell to work if she misses a workout and work on swings, squats, presses between patients! Because she is committed to this thing she has started and isn’t so concerned with “I didn’t make it to the gym” or whatever other of the million excuses she could use to do nothing all day.

In the end it comes down to a commitment to the activity, not the grand scheme or end goal, but to just stay consistent in your endeavor to be stronger, more fit, healthier, whatever your goal may be. If you don’t think you have time, money, knowledge – go talk to people who have succeeded where you are trying and see how much time they have or how much money they had to invest when they stared or if they knew as much then as they do now.  In most cases they stared in the same place you did, we all did to some point… most of the time you find out they actually started with less!

Here’s ALL you need to do for working out or training
(whatever you want to call it)

  1. MOVE – Squat, push, pull, hinge, carry
  2. Be Mobile(increase movement)
  3. Gain the ability to Move Yourself(not always heavy stuff)
  4. Eat Real Food
  5. Learn to Breathe (properly)
  6. Repeat

Car_into_ditch_bad_winter_weather_hwy_404_south_near_stouffville_rd_Jan08Forget all the external conditions and input from people who don’t really know… they’ll tell you “you need this supplement” or “this is the workout you need”. Most of these guys/gals wouldn’t even use their own programs/advice for themselves, so why would you use what they’re selling? Personally, I jump in and work out with my clients on a regular basis(or do the workout earlier/later) just ask anyone who trains here – I practice what I preach, not just ask them to do something I’m not willing to.

When it comes down to it, think Nike – JUST DO IT. Stick with what you know first and expand. You can accomplish anything you put your mind to, so make sure whatever you do increase your knowledge. Think about weather it sounds too good to be true(because if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is…) and  use reliable resources. If it doesn’t make sense to you DON’T DO IT until you find someone who can explain it to you in a clear and concise way, if nobody can… then it’s definitely not a good idea.

Be Smart, Keep It Simple, Stay Strong

~ Justin

Any questions or comments I’d love to hear from you, you can also join our mailing list to get exclusive offers and new programs when they open up(before everyone else!). Just punch in your info below with a comment on how I can help!

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Build Muscle… with Kettlebells???

Build Muscle… with Kettlebells???

Building Muscle is typically NOT associated with kettlebell training…

But it’s not always the tool, it’s how you use it.  That being said, you will not be looking like Arnold or Kali Muscle using Kettlebells, but you can get an athletic, toned physique that will perform as good as it looks!

Now, I’ve seen variations on this that you’re welcome to try(Pat Flynn’s Prometheus Protocol and Andrew Palmer’s KettleBear program, links below) but I would like to throw in my own variation of this. There are similar protocols, but you have to be smart about how you go about this whole “fitness training” thing.

I feel there needs to be a certain variety in what you do, well… as much variety as should be in a program… The other programs focus on just a 2x per week training, which is good for beginners, but by adding in strength movements on the other days of the week there is no “imbalances” in the program, thus rounding it off, so to speak.

The Program:

Monday & Thursday are going to be the days where you are working for “Hypertrophy”(building muscle), so if you are new to training or haven’t done a “weight lifting” program before, I would start with just these two days and focus on stretching and some “light cardio”(brisk walking/hiking) the rest of the week. Monday use a weight that is 85% of your “1 Rep Max”(1 RM), in other words – something you can lift about 7-8 times with good form. Thursday pick something slightly heavier, like 90-95% of your 1 RM – a weight you can lift 3, maybe 5 times with good form.

If you lack “variety” in your equipment use a different tempo for the movement – (4:1:4) instead of (2:1:2), to get more time under tension which effectively “increases” the weight by putting more load on the nerological/muscular system. You can also up the reps (stay between x4-x6) or add a few sets on. One method Pavel Tsatsouline refers to in his book “Power To The People” is one where you focus mainly on “strength” by staying between (x4-x6) reps and working until “failure”. When I say failure, I do not mean getting sloppy type of failure, I mean working to the point where you could probably get one or two more reps, but they wouldn’t look pretty after that… One caveat – the rest periods should be shortened to (x30-x45) seconds to generate the proper Hypertrophy response.

Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday will be “Strength Days”, think of them more as “practicing” than “working out”. You will want to stick with about 85% of your 1 Rep Max here. I caution you not to work to the point of exhaustion as on Monday & Thursday, you do not want to tax your nervous or muscular system as much – it will undo all the work you have just put in

The “Workouts”:

Monday20150814_125647

Double Clean & Press Ladder(x1, x2, x3, x4, x5) “Superset” Double Front Squat (x3)

Repeat this entire thing 10 times(i.e. do the ladder twice) Resting 60-120 sec between movements.

(Superset = Immediately Following, not taxing the same muscle group immediately after… this term is often, well, almost always misused/misunderstood)

Tuesday

Deadlifts 3-5 sets of (x5)

Bent Rows 2 sets of (x5)

Push-ups 2 sets of (x5) slow(4:1:4 tempo)

Hanging Leg Raises 2 sets of (x15) use progression found in Convict Conditioning

Kettlebell Swings 1 set of (x75)

Wednesday

Front Squats 2 sets of (x5)

Military Press 2 sets of (x5)

Windshield Wipers 2 sets of (x6) per side

Kettlebell Swings 2 sets of (x50)

Thursday

ATT_1439577639568_20150814_125708Double Clean & Press 10 sets of (x3)

Double Front Squats 10 sets of (x3)

Rest 60-120 sec between sets, complete all 10 sets of one movement before moving on to the next.

Friday

Full Body Calisthenics Day

Push-Ups 2 sets of (x5)

Pull-Ups 2 sets of (x5)

Pistol Squat(progression) 2 sets of (x5)

Full Bridge 2 sets of (x5)

Hanging Leg Raises 2 sets of (x15)

Kettlebell Swings 2 sets of (x50)

Finisher – 3 rounds: Mountain Climbers (x30 sec) immediately followed by Hard Style Plank (x30 sec)

Saturday & Sunday

Active Rest Day – Hiking, Biking, Brisk Walks, any form of long low intensity cardio is ideal. My favorite is Hiking – it gets you outside, allows you to take in new things(not the walls of your cubical!) gets you in touch with nature, and allows for the greatest range of motion to keep blood flowing through the muscles you’ve just tortured throughout the week!

The Tough Part – Diet

The hardest part about the diet isn’t necessarily eating clean, or not eating too much, or worrying about getting X amount of protein in or whatever, it’s eating that much damn food in one day!

To gain muscle you are going to need to eat like a horse!

Here’s a few guidelines to stick with:

1. Eat Clean, Eat Often, Eat Lots– To the point of discomfort, seriously…

2. Take QUALITY Multivitamin & Fish Oil (Advocare is a good choice)

3. Drink a gallon of milk a day(if you do dairy stuff)

4. Do a Protein Shake 15-30 min after workouts, 20-25 grams is plenty & make sure there’s a decent amount of carbs

5. Eat a high protein, high carb meal about 30 minutes after consuming your shake(stick with things like brown rice, potatoes, and whole foods – this meal is very important.)

IF you are like me and have the metabolism of a greyhound – seriously, I take in over 4,000 cal/day and still don’t put on much weight, not even fat… you may want to look in to a few other methods…

1. Flexible Dieting(going to be trying this one myself soon, I’ll let you know the results)

2. Get Tim Ferriss’s 4 Hour Body and explore his diet options

3. Eat everything that isn’t nailed down(this works well for bodybuilders!)

4. Don’t Skip Your Veggies!!! Broccoli is your friend!!!

Honestly everyone is different, so it’s pretty hard to say what will or won’t work for you diet wise, but I can guarantee you the exercise part will be successful.

Want more programs like this?

Or maybe you’re looking for something different… either way check out our programs page. If you are looking for the fastest(and longest lasting) results check out P.F.T.R. to see if there’s any spaces open, it’s almost GUARANTEED you will hit your goals with this method. Otherwise, drop me an email below and we can chat

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Oh yeah, here’s the other links as promised:

KettleBear Program –http://firebirdperformance.blogspot.com.au/2013/07/kettlebear-program.html?m=0
Prometheus Protocol – http://www.chroniclesofstrength.com/the-prometheus-protocol-how-to-effectively-and-efficiently-put-on-muscle-mass-with-kettlebells-4/

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!

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“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

Stop “Working Out”

Stop working out and start practicing

Some of the best advice I received years ago from a former student, turned national kettlebell sensation – Pat Flynn.  “Don’t think about going for reps, think of ‘practicing’ for, lets say, 10 minutes.”  As we were nearing an hour of swings, planks, squats, and every other torturous type of payback from all the push-ups I’m sure we had made Mr. Flynn do over the course of his training with us.  At that time it was my turn to be the student as Mr. Flynn had already obtained not only a personal training certification but also earned his RKC(Russian Kettlebell Challenge) certification.

You see Mr. Flynn, along with myself, shares my view of less is more.  I believe he puts it like this “-=+” on just about every post as his “signature”.  There are several reasons why, so let me continue with the prior thought:

I never thought of training this way outside of Martial Arts, especially when it came to weights.  My highschool gym and sports experience had always taught me otherwise, get the amount of reps & weight you “should” be able to do, work hard in the weight room and it will show up on the field…  Now please understand that you will have days where you need to go for said goals and push yourself, however, for the most part the mentality of always working hard yielding the most results does not hold true.  There will be days where you will notice your balance is off a bit more than normal or you can’t for example, press as much as you could last week.  That’s just your body’s way of telling you your nervous system is just way too taxed to push that hard today, back off the weight, put in some time at a moderate pace and only push yourself a little.  Remember, your no good to anyone injured!

Keep this in mind; To be good at anything you first need to have the skills to do it, if you go beyond your limit, too much too soon, tokettlebell-evolution-28kg-shop do all the “cool” stuff you are almost guaranteed to get injured and loose all the gains & progress
you’ve made.  So practice your skills, daily, by working on your mobility.  You also don’t want push yourself hard more than a couple times a week depending on your level.  Take a day off if you feel you need to, your body will adapt, but it takes time.  I always preach to my Martial Artists “perfect practice”, fitness is no different, so be patient & persistent, it will pay off.

~Justin