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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is the ultimate goal.

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

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

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

Once…

Twice….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay Strong My Friend.

~Justin

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

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

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

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

You Don’t (Really) Know What Intensity Is….

You Don’t (Really) Know What Intensity Is….

If you’re like most people.

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How you should NOT look after a session.

You probably have this concept of “intense” training as a 45 minute to hour torturous burnout session with things like 1,000 burpees, 500 pull-ups, more burpees, holding planks for 3 minutes instead of resting, thousands of other random “things”… all the while, you’re getting further away from your goals.

The thing most people don’t realize about intensity is it’s something you can do in a very short amount of time while getting much better results(than the aforementioned “HIIT” style classes)

Enter Metabolic Training

Let’s set the scene…

I have a friend who wants to come and “just work out” with me one time(key is usually the “one time”, sometimes it’s twice…) and I tell them we’re going to do a little warm up and then train for 20 minutes… to which they respond “that’s it?” Yes, “that’s it”…

But what they don’t realize is it’s not the amount of time, it’s how you do it. So maybe they shouldn’t have ordered an “ass kicking workout” off the bat and stuck with the more reasonable things I normally have people do.

Anyway, I typically put them through a quick metabolic training session and… oh, what? Metabolic training? Well, I guess I should clarify!

Metabolic training is done using complexes which are a series of movements done in succession that make you feel like yesterday’s lunch is going to come back up on the floor in front of you, they also have this nasty little habit of leaving you feeling like someone sucked the air out the room… and that’s just the first set!

The strange thing is the complexes don’t “look that bad” at first glance(some of them can be literally only 2 movements back to back).

Basically, you put together a series of movements that, on their own, really wouldn’t be that bad to do, but once you put them together(in the correct order with the correct movements) they have this fantastic ability to make you feel like death within seconds of starting the second movement of the sequence.

Don’t worry, that feeling is not for nothing, it’s just your body creating growth hormone, the thing required to help tone/build muscle, in addition they melt body fat like butter in a hot frying pan… the other plus side is they’re typically quite short sessions, less than 20 minutes(20 is the max I would recommend for a majority of human beings).

Here’s an Example of What I’m Talking About:

Dan John(a fantastic strength & conditioning coach) came up with this little combo.

2 Double Kettlebell Cleans
1 Double Kettlebell Press
3 Double Kettlebell Front Squats

See, doesn’t look too bad, right?

Wrong.

This is probably one of the most grueling training sessions you’ll ever do… notice I didn’t say “workouts you’ll ever do”, and there’s good reason.

Part of understanding intensity is understanding how to use it effectively.

Here’s what I mean.

If, for example, the above “Armor Building” complex is just impossible the second time through, you went to heavy. Congratulations, you’re eyes were bigger than your strength, go lighter. If you breeze through it like 15 or 20 times in 20 minutes, you went WAY too light, go heavier. The ideal is 5-8 times in 15 minutes.

Want more of a metabolic hit(for more fat burning) add in some swings and hope for the best.

This training is not for the faint of heart.

We typically do this once a week with my group classes and private training clients, the only exception is my athletes I train – even then it’s a max of 3 days a week(for very short cycles).

Here’s the mistake most “Trainers” make with their clients – They Think More Is Better.

This could not be further from the truth… More is only MORE, and nothing else. It is also the leading cause of disfunction of movements, injuries, increase in body fat percentage, loss of strength, as well as the cause of certain metabolic and health disorders that were not commonplace in the general population(usually just professional athletes) until things like “Interval Training”, Crossfit(the bad coaches), and other similar training methods came about stating in the last few decades.

There’s more than one way to skin a cat…

You don’t always have to create intensity through things that will injure you or otherwise. Here’s a few examples of other ways of varying “intensity”:

On The Minute (or Every Minute on The Minute)

Pick a lift or movement to do, let’s say push-ups, and set a timer to go off once every minute. Perform a set of let’s say for this discussion 8 push-ups, rest for the remaining part of the minute and repeat for between 10-15 minutes. There’s your “upper body” training for the day(trust me, it’s harder than it sounds…)

As the weeks progress, again for this example, add repetitions on making sure there’s still time for rest after their complete.(this too can be done with too much intensity and often becomes a struggle, it shouldn’t be) As the movement gets easier pick a more advanced version to do instead, drop the reps down, and continue on.

Interval Rounds(done properly)

Set a timer for one of the following time schemes: Low Intensity(45 sec work:15 sec rest, 4-5 rounds should do it), Moderate Intensity (30 sec work:10-15 sec rest, depending on your level… about 5 or 6 rounds should do it), High Intensity(20 sec work:10 sec rest, do 5-7 rounds of the same movement)

The rest in between “sets” of rounds should be at least a minute, 2-3 minutes, at least 3 minutes, respectively.

Don’t rest using planks or other silly intense exercises between…. rest means rest. That doesn’t mean stop moving, however, keep moving my pumping your arms back and forth, walking around, easy bodyweight movements or stretching, just don’t stop moving – your heart will thank you later.

Speed of Repetitions

One totally overlooked way to increase intensity by the general population is to use an old bodybuilding trick that not only builds strength, if done with the correct reps/weight/sets it also builds muscle too. Tim Ferriss even dedicated a section of his book “The Four Hour Body” to this very method under “Occam’s Protocol”.

Basically, pick a lift (we’ll say barbell curl) and instead of trying to crank out as many as you can in a certain time – Slow. It. Down!

By controlling the “tempo” of the movement you increase the Time Under Tension effectively creating a bigger “load” on the muscles without increasing the weight. This also helps to clean up technique(I’ve found) because you’re more focused on moving smoothly through the motion. This can also, if done properly, prevent injuries in the future.

U.S. Army Staff Sergeants Brian Weaver, left, from Philadelphia, and Matt Leahart, from O'Fallon, Mo., use exercise equipment in a room that has been converted into the gym on Combat Outpost Munoz, Paktika province, Afghanistan, Nov. 13, 2009. The Soldiers are deployed with Baker company, 3rd Battalion, 509th Infantry (Airborne).

Here’s what it would look like:

Grab the bar into the starting position. Start the lift and either have a clock in front of you or count your Mississippi’s for anywhere from 2-5 seconds(longer is crazy intense, but you’re welcome to try it…) until you reach the top of the movement. Once there, pause for one second, and lower slowly.

There’s honestly so many variations on this your best bet is to play with different timing on each lift between training sessions. Oh, one more thing, PICK THE APPROPRIATE LIFT & WEIGHT FOR THIS!! Do not do this with deadlifts(unless you hate your back), also, don’t use close to your max – start light an work your way heavier slowly, it’s harder than it seems.

The optimal range for strength using this is anywhere from 3-6 reps, muscle size is typically 8-12 reps, but these are generalizations and most people respond different to the variations. Side note, these “tempos” are often written out such as (2:1:2) or (5:0:5) or (2:1:4) and so on. The first number is the start, the second is the top/bottom of the move, and the third is returning to the start position.

The big thing you should take away.

Intensity is what you make it. It’s individualized. My level of intensity might be a higher or lower threshold than yours, but that’s honestly okay.

It’s all about pushing yourself to the next level without pushing yourself over the edge. There’s a fine line that needs to be walked, so be reasonable and don’t push yourself to the brink every time you train, reserve it for every so often and work to improve slowly, the results will come faster than you think.

Have A Strong Day!

~Justin

If you’re interested in more ways to bump up the “intensity” of your training, feel free to reach out [email protected] or keep an eye on our Facebook Page for workshops and events.