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

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

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

Embrace The Tension

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So I won’t even try.

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

Have a Strong Day!

~Justin

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!)

13710428_10154369446971171_801041194901050983_o

 

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

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/