TSC or Bust

TSC or Bust

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until Next Time,

Stay Strong My Friends!

~Justin

Can Your Trainer Do, And Why Does It Matter.

Can Your Trainer Do, And Why Does It Matter.

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It’s time for another rant.

I’ve Always Thought This Should Be Obvious….

As a student (of martial arts and strength) I have always surrounded myself with people who, at some level, push me to do a little more than I can myself – by way of them doing “the thing” I’m going to them for of course.

So, when I first got into the “fitness industry” I was, well, appalled at the fact that so many trainers out there not only can’t do what they ask of their clients, sometimes they literally won’t even try.

I’ve always been a “skinny guy”, however, skinny doesn’t mean healthy. I wasn’t as strong as I should have been, and definitely had room for improvement in other areas(flexibility and whatnot). In fact one of my favorite quotes is:

Skinny Girls Look Good In Jeans, Fit Girls Look Good Naked.

I know, kinda riske, but it gets the point across.

I think to better illustrate the point I should really start at the start…

How I Got My Start10446221_643048292464958_1802765198409734958_o.

My first martial arts instructor was a national level competitor. Like, top 5, not an “I showed up and got a participation award” type competitor. He walked away with several awards within the top 3 back at a time when the TaeKwonDo circuit wasn’t turned into a “sport”. In fact, they barely count a punch as a point anymore(ironic considering TaeKwonDo literally means foot, fist, way…)

So, when I say that I’ve learned from some of the best, I’m not kidding. Unfortunately, being a good competitor didn’t make him a great instructor… But I still picked up more than a few things from him by way of just being around him and “learning by example” of how he did what he did.

And It Didn’t Stop There.

In recent years I’ve still surrounded myself with some amazing people.

Currently, my Hapkido instructor, Master Dan Piller, is not only a high ranking (6th Degree Black Belt) Hapkido Practitioner and Secretary General for the World Hapkido Association. He has also competed(and done well in) Judo and TaeKwonDo. In fact, he still does compete in Judo and, surprise surprise, still does well. Mainly because of the attitude he has toward constantly learning and evolving in his training. He passes that on and requires it of all of his students(myself included) so we can constantly be leaning and improving ourselves, and the people under us. He also runs a great little company (Strategic Defense Options or SDO) and has helped empower more people than I could ever count through self-defense trainings all over the world.

My kettlebell instructor Ryan Toshner, is (and he will probably argue this) one of the best in there is. Ryan is very humble, but also very strong and equally as knowledgable. He’s achieved 3 certifications through the Strong First Group as well as other kettlebell certifications over the years. He’s currently a Team Leader, Level 2 Kettlebell Instructor, and has Barbell and Bodyweight certifications through Strong First.

I’ve trained with other great instructors at one time or another over 14 years, as well as some other instructors who were… well, I think they shouldn’t have been teaching people, but I guess I’m just a bit picky. But I’ve gained some valuable insight from every single one of them. (Even though the time may have been short…)

On top of the people who train me, there’s the people I train with.13717359_10154366286566171_6201643383675078156_o

My good friend in Michigan Jonathan Shellnut is an accomplished wrestler, catch wrestler, kickboxing coach(under Eric Paulsen), talented hapkido practitioner, and world renown joke teller… well, as my girlfriend would say, he’s got a lot of “dad jokes”. But they make training fun.

The other students under my Hapkido instructor are just as surprisingly talented as the next. We have ex-military members, current military members(Master Sargent in fact), moms(who you shouldn’t mess with), and people from all walks of life. The crazy thing is this – they all train in AT LEAST one other martial art(and they’re no slouches if I do say so myself)

Closer to me yet, my long time friends and former co-workers Ian Jensen and Shannon Meade. Honestly, without them I don’t know if I would’ve stuck with martial arts training. They sucked me back in to it and are the reason I even know any of the people I’ve mentioned so far.

This, on top of the fact that Ian is a world class stick fighter(along with Shannon), he also holds a 4th degree black belt in TaeKwonDo, a 1st degree black belt in Hapkido, a blue belt in Brazilian JiuJitsu under Eric “Red” Schaefer, and is way under-ranked in escrima(sticks). He’s also a helluva cook!

So – Why All This Rambling About My Training?

Because ALL OF THIS MATTERS.

Talk to the people who “train” individuals on a daily basis. When you do talk to them, find out who they surround themselves with. What’s their experiences in training/competing. The more you talk to most of them you will find a good majority have a few traits that you don’t want in a trainer:

1. To them, this is just a “job”. In fact, it’s often advertised by personal training certifications that being a personal trainer is one of the top careers right now, because of how much money you can make… do you really want someone doing a “run out the clock” type job when they’re supposed to be helping you?
2. They’ve never done/attempted/thought of doing/would ever consider doing anything listed above, much less most of the things they ask you to do. Every single person I’ve worked with has competed in some type of physically and mentally grueling event of some sort. In fact, I personally won’t train under someone who hasn’t done a higher level of experience than I do myself. And most of them have accomplished things I probably never will, but I’ll sure try!

So What? You Say. Why Is This Important?

Because if they haven’t had these experiences or suffered through the blood, sweat, and tears – they are literally at a disadvantage when it comes to helping you.

I’ve been involved in tournaments where I’ve literally fought with a broken face(I didn’t know it at the time…) and I would go back and do it again. Not because I’m crazy, but because I’m passionate about it, and I learned something from the experience. Okay, well, maybe a bit crazy…

Even on the fitness side, as I’m typing this my hands hurt like a mother…. because I’m working toward my Level 1 Strong First Kettlebell Instructor Certification. Doesn’t sound like much, but it’s 3 days of what I’m told is grueling work that tests you physically, intellectually, and emotionally.

I’ve done this sort of thing before for virtually every black belt test I’ve done (there’s been 7 of them so far, number 8 will be in October, and 9 sometime next summer), so I know what I’m in for, and I know it won’t be easy. So why do I do it? Because the experience I will gain is going to help everyone I currently work with achieve new levels of success. IT’S NOT ABOUT ME. If it were up to me, I’d do more of the things I like and not spend 5 days a week(mostly my weekends) training for what is basically a piece of paper and some letters to put behind my name. Because when it comes down to it, most people won’t know, or care, what it took to get that paper and letters…

Yes, I do have a certification I got online, but that was after 10 years of training to master ONE martial art and getting started on integrating it into the next art that I spend my time on.

If you ever stop improving, you’re going backward. And I can’t in good conscience ask anyone I work with to do something I haven’t at least attempted on my own, I just won’t. And the thought of someone going out and training others without the same mindset does make me a bit sick if I’m honest. After all, it’s the only way I’ve ever known, and it’s the only way that gets lasting results for most people.

On another note, for your own success – if you surround yourself with top level people long enough, some things start to rub off. Like how to transfer knowledge and application of your craft to others. This isn’t a secret by any means, in fact I’m sure we’ve all heard it in a business sense before(you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time around.)

Once you start surrounding yourself with highly successful people in their fields, you become immune to the B.S. everyone else is trying to shove down your throat all day and you start to get results – and keep them.

So, is who your trainer works with important? It depends…. do you want to be taught by someone who’s learned from books and hasn’t “done” before? Or, do you want to learn from someone with hands on experience who has other real people to reach out to for training and furthering their own development?

You Chose.

~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.

Hipsters & Crossfit

Hipsters & Crossfit

How to Use Seemingly Useless “Trends” To Your Advantage

Two Things I Despise, Yet… Somehow Have Uses For… (Hipsters & Crossfit that is).

Even though the hipster trend has made previously inexpensive and cool things I enjoy – like PBR, my beard, and cool old school hairstyles, into bastardizations(and incredibly expensive in some cases)… It has brought about a few good things – like quality beard oils, home made manly smelling soaps, and more places carrying my beloved PBR(not that I drink beer these days…)

So, although hipsters can be annoying, arrogant, and just plain silly – there seems to be a use for their seemingly useless trend.(Look at the lessons we learned from 80’s trends… more is not always better)

A similar lesson can be found with the cult…. um, I mean, trend of Crossfit…

All joking aside, there is some good to come out of this sometimes seemingly masochistic workout culture.

Crossfit, for those of you who don’t know of it’s existence, is basically Lightweight Olympic Lifts to Infinity(as described by BroScienceLife) combined with lots of cool(and previously useful) body weight and weighted exercises, but with a touch of danger(guaranteed injury) to make them even cooler…

But in all honesty, these athletes put up some amazing weight(at a competition level) and are some of the most “versatile trained” athletes out there…. so to speak.

Now, there are bad Crossfit “Boxes”(i.e. Gyms) out there, with bad coaching which has a strong tendency toward not giving a shit about their clients safety(again, see BroScienceLife “What Is Crossfit” video, he’s pretty close on this).

Unfortunately, there is a few of these locally, but I’ve met plenty of good ones too(the dude at Crossfit Sussex is a cool dude… and cares about his people). Let’s not let a few bad apples ruin the whole bunch, they’re not all bad.

But, I can’t resist at least sharing this….

Okay, done ranting now, so I’ll get back on point.

Part of doing “Crossfit” is being super mobile(and strong) to prevent injury from the high rep, repetitive lifting – usually done for time. In other words, fast, without caring about technique(in most cases)

What’s The Plus Side To This?

angie

Simply? More tools available to make you move better! More mobility drills, more free coaching(most of it good) on how to do olympic lifts – to name a few. And most of these guys are legit Olympic Lifting Coaches(certifications and all), so it’s safe to say they know their stuff.(Do your homework first!!)

There’s also a lot of free content out there(and research backing it) on recovery. Whether it’s from sore muscles, sore joints, or even mild injuries(sprains and the like) and even how to safely train while injured, and when you should cool your jets for a few days…

Again, be careful where you get advice… a local “Box” by me is in the habit of beating the living tar out of their clients, as even visible publicly on the comment section of their own Facebook page!

One of my mentors I’m going to be working with in the new year is HUGE into Crossfit, and claims it gets a bad rap from a lot of sources… I mostly agree with him.

The culture of the movement leaned more toward “Hardcore Athletes” at the beginning(X football players, Ex-Military, Wannabe Military/Athletes…) and has shifted to accommodate the general population as the years have went on…

This is where some good has come in.

But be warned. If you’re thinking Crossfit is starting to sound pretty great, you may be in for a shock…

With a mere Crossfit Level 1 Certification and $4k a year, you can open up your own “Box”….

And then things like this happen –

A Crossfit Level 1 Cert is the equivalent of asking your average 1st year med school student to perform a quadruple bypass surgery on you – they might understand the concepts, but have no real understanding or experience to perform the procedure with a high chance of success.

In fact, most states the powers that be(and insurance companies) do not even recognize a Level 1 Crossfit “Coach” as an actual trainer anymore… so be careful where you enter.

I am bias toward the Kettlebell training, it’s my thing…

I follow the work of Pavel Tsatsouline, Dan John, Gray Cook and the like myself. Mainly because injury resistance and a healthy distance from trainers(coaches, whatever) jacked up on too much pre-workout, BCAA, Protein Shakes, and God knows what else.

The proven track record of Kettlebell training’s results and injury resistance for over 700 years(older in other countries) is good enough for me to not switch to a 10 year old fad for my main training style. But, I’ll take any good things that come as a result of it – even if it’s just learning what not to do…

In whatever you do, be smart, don’t take just anyone’s advice, and for Pete’s sake, don’t flail around whilst exercising! An instructor of mine once said “Speed is a great way to hide bad technique”. It applies to martial arts, and fitness just the same.

Until Next Time – Stay Strong My Friends!

~Justin Green

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
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I Suck, Therefore I Succeed

Being the best is overrated…

  “My main goal in life is to help people to, um, how should I put this – not suck. Or, maybe I should say – be better at being them.”

Often people who are the most talented, have the most potential, or are “genetically gifted” often struggel just as much(if not more) to accomplish their goals. There are exceptions to this, of course, but for the most part it has more to do with a concept that Steve Jobs(co-founder & former CEO of Apple, R.I.P.) stated back in the early days of Apple.

WAIT!! What does Apple have to do with anything? I mean they do computer stuff, and Steve Jobs was some kind of genius!

Hold your horses… it’s really not about the computers, it’s about the IDEA behind how he viewed life and succeeding…

Here it is(it’s a long one…)

“…When you grow up you tend to get told the world is the way it is, and your life is just to live your life inside the world, try not to bash into the walls too much, try to have a nice family life, have fun, save a little money….

That’s a very limited life, life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact, and that is that everything around you that you call life, was made up by people that were no smarter than you…

…and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use…

And the minute that you understand that you can poke life and actually something will, if you push in something will pop out the other side, you can change it, you can mold it… that’s maybe the most important thing…

To shake off this, erroneous notion that life is there and you’re just going to live it. Versus embrace a change, improve it, make your mark on it…”

…”Once you learn that you will never be the same again”….

Here’s a link to the video(with a few other good bits of advice)

So, yes, not so fitnessy or sexy(like my gooder english…), but it definitely applies to life as we know it. Not to be fit into a box predefined by yourself or someone else… (although, we often put the biggest limitations on ourselves.)

My biggest limitations I’ve ever faced I put on myself…

When I started my martial arts training, let’s be honest – I sucked. I would literally fall over practicing kicks and footwork drills because my balance and coordination was so terrible. I got discouraged, frustrated, angry, and even considered quitting a few times. Probably the biggest turning point in my training is when, frustrated as I was, my then instructor, (now friend) Michael Olds, told me while doing some bag sparring “Man, I can tell you’re going to be really good at this”. He doesn’t remember telling me this out loud of course… but he says he always knew soon as he started working with me I had it in me to be very good at this TaeKwonDo thing.

I had honestly at that point never thought of myself as good at anything(and I still suffer from this), so I started training as if I was going to be as great as he told me I was capable of. My physical skills dramatically increased, my attitude changed, I started practicing more at home. And really, out of all the people I’ve trained over the years, I see what he saw then, that we all have the ability to be great if we put our minds to it and really give it everything we’ve got!

So, did this high school aged assistant instructor magically give me this ability and found some way to physically improve me, or did my mental image and beliefs of what I was capable of accomplishing change? I would hope you agree with me that it was the later…(although Master Olds is damn good!)

And, to paraphrase what Mr. Jobs said, once you realize you can poke life and something actually comes out the other side your life will never be the same. And that’s what happened with my training, I poked, pushed, prodded, and got the results I deserved for the work I put in.

Am I now the best? Well, no, not really… not even close(I’m no Bruce Lee or Chuck Norris) Am I better than I would’ve been if Master Olds had not had that 1 second pep talk with me? Hells yeah! Oh, by the way, he is a whopping 1 year older than I am, so really the age of the “coach” or  “role model” makes no difference. His confidence and experience in his field that gave me reassurance what he was saying was true.(He used to be one of the top ranked TKD fighters in the country and has a knack for teaching the art too, a rare combination)

To contrast, another student who started at the same time as me and was quite talented(doing backflips and crazy kicks most of the black belts wouldn’t dare attempt for fear of failing) used to be quite discouraging to me… partly because of his “natural talent”, but mostly, it made me want to quit because I didn’t believe it was possible to be at his level. But after my little pep talk, I started pushing myself to go beyond him. (By the way, he no longer trains and never really improved from day 1…)

I could go on about other areas in my life that this same story has played out and I unnecessarily banged my head against the wall, but I think you get the point… It’s all a matter of perception, take the bad and find an opportunity in it.

This all boils down to my main point…

My main goal in life is to help people to, um, how should I put this – not suck. Or, maybe I should say – be better at being them. And I hope that, even if you never step foot in PostFit or train with me ever, you can take something away from this and change your life.

So, why should your life be any different? (I mean, after all, I told you how I was when I started out…) Find a way to make things work for yourself through hard work, discipline, and constantly pushing yourself to try things that scare the hell out of you (as long as they don’t literally kill you – be smart!).

Just try one thing this week you’ve always been afraid to try, just one(ask out that girl – or guy, try working out, join the adult soccer league, jump out a plane – my personal favorite, please use a parachute), and you’ll be amazed at the feeling you get just in the trying of the thing…(succeed or fail, you’re still breathing). Just keep the mindset that you will succeed no matter what!

Your Life Will Never Be The Same – Live Your Dreams

~Justin