fitness

Rules are Made to be Broken

When you are running a fitness business you absolutely must have a presence on social media.  Or so they say. Who are "they" anyway? What else do "they" say?

You must have your post-workout shake within minutes of your last set or else all your lifting will be wasted and you will not grow any muscle... so they say..

"They" say a lot of things. Full range of motion. Compound movements first. Machines are worthless.. squat ass to grass..be hardcore, hustle.. Most of which I have learned. Then I learned to forget them.

I've been doing this all my life.

Whenever I didn't do this and I did what I was supposed to do, my results were average at best. It doesn't matter what I was doing. And more importantly, I am not happy when I go according to the "rules"..

What does this have to do with you and your fitness pursuits?  Glad you asked.

You have to learn the basics first. Of nutrition and training. The most effective ways to lift weights, burn fat, gain muscle and strength..

Once you learn your way around and you achieve some results you can start to tweak to your own design. Eventually you may break every rule.

I'll use myself as an example-  I ate every 3-4 hours, decent amount of lean protein, small amount of carbs, very small amount of fats. I saw some results.

I also made sure to focus on the "most important meal of the day"- breakfast and the post-workout shake. I got some results.

Eventually I started to break those rules. And guess what,  I got results that way too.

So yes, you need to learn the tricks of the trade. Gain some discipline and make some progress. Then you will hit a plateau. This is normal.

Then you start to experiment. Find out what really works for you. What speaks to you. What do you really enjoy and know that you will be consistent with?

Maybe one exercise is not effective for you or makes you feel too much pain in a joint. Or maybe it's one specific food you think you're supposed to eat, according to the rules, but you can't stand the taste of it and dread packing it in your lunch..

Break the rules. Find your own way.

As Jim Morrison once said "Learn to forget"..

That's what we need to do. In fitness and in life.  There's only one you and I believe that within each of us there's some sort of wisdom, an instinct and knowledge that we can align with, that will give us great strength and lead us to evolve and adapt as we go through life.

 

That Damn Snooze Button

How did you start your day today?

Did you hit the snooze button?

That damn button is no good!

I know you don't want to be preached at. To have someone tell you to "do this, do that" or "stop doing this, stop doing that"..  I get it. I don't want anyone telling me what to do or what not do do.

It needs to happen on your own terms. On your own time. When you are ready. When will you be ready to change your life?

What will it take to make you decide now is the time? Today is the day I change my life for the better...

I can't be the deciding factor for you. No one can except the man in the mirror.

What I can do is tell you the benefits of changing your life with weight training and fitness.

You will have more energy. When you feel drained at work, or after work when you get home to your wife and kids or home to your girlfriend. It may seem counter-intuitive that by working out you will generate more energy but it's true. 

You will notice your body change on the outside. Looking in the mirror you will see your muscles pop, your belly shrink.. your shape will take on more of a masculine, attractive look.

When it comes time to work in the yard, or to move furniture, you will be more confident. Up and down the stairs you will have more air, you won't be out of breath as easy.

You'll sleep better. Eat better. You're standard of living will improve. Yep, all this from lifting weights on a regular basis.

Get on a program today.

Do something daily.

Don't do it for anyone other than yourself. Or if you find your motivation comes from wanting to be strong for your kids or your wife or whatever, then use that as fuel for your fire.

Whatever it takes, find a way to just do it. Morning, on lunch hour, after work, late at night in the garage.. etc.. Find a way, not an excuse.

Most people find an excuse.

But not you.

Be different. Be strong.

Case of the Mondays or Holiday Hangover?

Today I woke up feeling rough.

Nose a bit runny. Sore in areas unexpected. Sleepy.

It's the Friday after thanksgiving, what do I expect right?

It made me think of the movie "Office Space".. and that famous line from the movie "somebody has a case of the Monday's"...

Do you ever feel that way on Monday morning? Or certain days like today, after a holiday or party,wedding..etc..?

You're human, it's bound to happen. But what do you do about it?

Just deal with it. Slog through the day. Just waiting for it to end.

Here's what I did today, and what I propose you do from now on when you get a "case of the Mondays".

Train. 30 minutes to 45 minutes of weights and bodyweight movements. Followed by 20-40 minutes of low-intensity cardio. (about 100-120 bpm heart rate)

The key is to just train. It doesn't need to be your best day. You aren't trying to undo all the damage of the booze and/or extra calories you consumed.

But you will feel much much better when you do this.

For the cardio I prefer the low-intensity work as I rather put more effort into the weight training and when you are feeling rough like this you don't need to do that high-intensity stuff. It won't make that much of a difference anyway. So why bother killing yourself with hardcore cardio (if there is such a thing)

After you do this workout of about an hour or so, you should do some stretching. You probably won't but if you do 10-15 minutes each day you will notice the difference.

When I don't do any stretching my body lets me know.

What stretches should you do?

There's all kinds, of course. And you can search some up on the internet.

My advice is to pick out some that you will do. They don't need to be complicated or fancy.

Just stretch out the hips, shoulders,calves,pecs, and wherever else you have tight spots.

Don't give up on it either. One day will not provide miracles. But consistent stretching over time will add up to make you feel much better long-term.

Make Your Own Path

I love finding my own way.

My best training 'programs' have always been my own creation.

Templates and popular programs can be great too, and I've had some success with them as well, but nothing feels quite so empowering and fun and challenging and rewarding as making my own way. Experimenting. Trial and error.

Taking notes. See what works, what doesn't. What used to work and no longer has the same effect.

I try to give some of this vibe to my clients who I work with in-person.

To share some of my love for fitness, lifting weights, becoming better physically, achieving goals etc..

When a new client comes to me that hates working out or hasn't found a way to be active that they can stick to, it is a challenge I welcome and love. I hope to rub off a bit on them. Make them see that it's doable. That they can do more than they thought.

That working out/training doesn't have to be this awful thing you dread. And that there are so many ways to go about it that you are bound to find one that will speak to you. One kind of training that will really resonate with your inner-being and you have more desire to keep at it and to excel at it.

Training your own way can take you far. It transcends the gym and looking in the mirror.

Every struggle in the gym can mirror the challenges of life. Small scale but really when you build those habits of physically challenging yourself and overcoming the resistance, it builds something within you. True strength. Will.  And a sense of confidence. 

I can do much more than I ever realized.

This is what I aim to instill in my clients.

You can do much more than you realize. And when you reach another level, you can go even further still.

It's remarkable what we can do when we set our minds to it.

So find your own way. Try out different programs. New exercises. Hell, make up an exercise or modify one you don't like or don't feel it the way you think you should. It's your journey. Don't let anyone tell you there's a right way or wrong way to do it.

You can pick up tips along the way. This can help tremendously. But in the end, it's on you.

Just you vs. the resistance.

Make your own way.

Quickie for Fat Loss and Mental Toughness

Back when I was working 2 jobs and 'finding time' was very difficult this is one quick workout I would do.

When? On my lunch break.

How long did it take? 15-30 minutes.

What equipment is needed? None.

Who is this for? Anyone who works in an office type job where you get an hour, or even half hour lunch break. And you have access to some stairs. So technically no equipment but having stairs will help. 

Yes, you can find a way if you don't have stairs, so don't ask.

First I would climb the stairs. Our building had 5 floors. I went from the bottom to the top. Then down to the bottom. That was 1.

I did anywhere from 5-10 of these. When I first started this I did maybe 3-4. Just walking stairs can be challenging when you aren't accustomed to it.

After that I was good and warmed up and I did some bodyweight work.

Usually I did pushups, squats and some form of plank or bird dog. Anywhere from 3-10 rounds performed. 

Change up the reps, the speed, pause and contract. Mix it up.

The no time excuse is just that, an excuse. You have a break at work. You have 15-30 minutes to do something physical.

Just get it done.

If you want more ideas feel free to email me and I'll help you out.

One more thing before I go.

This little workout may not seem like much. It may seem insignificant. Like what's the point?

If you can't get into a fancy gym, how effective can the workout be?

It's effective, trust me.

And even more than that, it's the little things you do consistently that will add up over time.

Every 15 minutes you do a workout is going to add up over the week and the month. Every one counts.

Don't overlook the simple, minimalist workouts. They can be very important, especially when you're a busy dude and you can't get to a gym or find hours to work out.

 

Just Stop Complaining

A little tough love today because that's necessary sometimes. 

As a trainer/coach I walk the line between being compassionate and being hard on my people.

I want to help you. I want to help everyone. Get better. Achieve the results you seek.

Sometimes you don't want to hear me say that you need to do your cardio and eat your greens.

There are days that you just need to vent and you don't want to feel like you are getting yelled or or preached to.

I get it.

But then there are those times that you need to hear it.

Stop what you are doing.

It's not working.

You are sabotaging your efforts.

Get it together!

Stop eating like a child!

Put in the work.

Don't look for an easier way.

A faster way.

So today some tough love.

No complaints today. Don't think about tomorrow. Or the whole week. In relation to your fitness goals.

Just today.

If you have an injury, think of what you CAN do.

If you're tired, go for a shorter session at the gym.

Missed some meals or had too much junk on the weekend?

Forget it, it's over. Today you start fresh.

No complaining about your wife who doesn't cook healthy meals.

Or your 6 full time jobs you are juggling and can't FIND TIME to get in 30 minutes of weight training.

Nope. Not today.

Today you train.

I don't care what you train. What program. What set and rep sequence.

Just get it done

 

Information Overload

I don't know about you but I get tired of all the information on diets, weight loss, the newest greatest pill that will burn fat while you sit on your couch and eat donuts all day.

Most of it is just garbage.

I love to learn and find new tips I can use in my own life and to help others, whether it's clients that I train or people I help over the internet.

But I like to learn and take action on what I learned.

Not just soak up endless information and never apply it. Just talking about it does nothing for me.

I'm an action man. I would rather get into the gym and try out a new method rather than debate if it will work or not.

How about you? Do you find there is way to much info, much of it conflicting?

One day there's a study saying coffee is bad. Next week it's good. It goes on and on with just about everything.

How do you sort through this mess?

Keep it simple.

You know what is good for you. What works for you and what doesn't.

You've tried different programs and failed or found success with them.

One thing people often overlook is the ability to listen to your body. To what the signals are. What it's telling you. If a certain food gives you problems. If an exercise keeps causing injury. If you feel one movement in the "wrong" area.

Take time to listen to your inner self. Whats going on inside. Really listen to it and forget about all the info on diets, fancy programs, supplements..

By all means, read. Learn. But take what is useful, apply it. And forget what is just taking up space in your brain.

Take action.

And if you find you still struggle, ask someone who has some experience dealing with the issue you are struggling with. Often, just one tip will make all the difference.

How Do You Get Motivated?

I'm fired up today. And I sure didn't wake up that way.

How do I get motivated? How do YOU get motivated? To train. To improve your fitness. To get stronger. To gain muscle, burn fat, get healthier, own your life, gain confidence, fill out a shirt, get better at a sport etc..

Regardless of what anyone else says, this is my opinion here. I believe that no one is 100% motivated at all times. And I also believe that motivation doesn't always have to come from within like some hardcore fitness gurus may say.

Example.

And I'll make this quick, because it's a blog not a novel and we all have like 5 seconds to spare so here we go.

Today I was exhausted. Spent. Almost hit the snooze this am. I never do that.

Fighting off some kind of sinus/allergy crap and it's annoying the heck out of me. Putting a drain on my energy. I can go on and on all the reasons why but here's what I did. The action.

I said I'm going to the gym to just do one exercise. Just 1. Then I'll sit in the sauna and sweat for a half hour. So that's what I set out to do.

Packed my gym bag, went to do my 1 exercise. It wasn't even going to be a really tough one. Just rear delts. But like almost every single time I play this mental trick on myself, once I get there, get going, warm up, feel some blood moving in the body, a bit of sweat, heart rate goes up.. then on to the next exercise... few reps, some sets later.. on to the next.. and then I'm revved up with some music that gets me going.

I had some old school Black Sabbath come on. Boom, I started hitting up the dips with bodyweight for high reps. Feeling awesome. Still tired yes. Same body. Yes. Same mind. But I found a way that worked FOR ME.

And that's the answer.

Find whatever will get the job done for you. Today. This moment. OR whenever you go work out. Find it. It's out there. Or in there. Either way.

Maybe you need to get stronger for your family.

Maybe you have a wedding coming up and need to look better.

Whatever it is. Just do one exercise. Just do cardio. Just walk.. etc.. start. And you will be surprised how much just getting moving will do for you.

Motivation is not some magical thing that only the select few possess and they have it all the time. Everyone has to find ways to get up early. To go to work and stay late and still go to the gym afterwards when all they want to do is go lay on the couch and eat chips and dip.

Find a way. Outside. Or inside.

The Best Program You're Not Doing

The grass is always greener on the other side...

What's that guy over there doing? He looks like he's doing better than me...

Maybe I need to try that new program I just read about.

Or join that bootcamp to get rid of my beer belly..

There are always going to be get-rich-quick schemes. And fitness programs that promise super fast results.

And while some quick results are good, and can be encouraging and motivating, it's more about long-term progress.

Whenever you try something new it's fun. It works. For a little while.

As strength coach Dan John says "everything works for 6 weeks".. or was it 4 weeks? Either way.. Your body is not used to the stimulus. It must adapt. You get results. Often very quickly.

But this wears off. Now what?

Jump on another program every time the old one loses its novelty effect?

I find it exciting to program my own workouts. Tracking them on paper, changing things as I see fit. Finding new weakness and attacking them. Adjusting as I go along but sticking to a general plan. But I realize not everyone cares to do this or is as interested in fitness this way as I am.

So what should you do?

You can get a coach/trainer. Join a group fitness class. Find a training partner who can teach you something and you can bounce ideas off each other. Or get on legitimate program that you can tweak and use as a guide to follow.

Yes, the best program is the one you are not doing. But depending on what your goals are, and what kind of results you're after, maybe you shouldn't jump from one program to the next every few weeks.

When a program stops 'working'. Maybe you just need to make one or two small tweaks. Then go from there. Just don't change too many variables at once because then you won't know what worked and what didn't. 

Work hard and stay consistent. And find something you will enjoy!

Mondays are for Strength Training... or the Blues..

Are you ready for some Monday motivation?!! 

Yeah, me either.

Those posts are total bs as far as I'm concerned. No one reads them and goes out and dominates the day like they were suddenly shook from a daydream and now totally inspired to go get 'em.

I'm not a fan of the opposite either. The 'case of the Mondays' crew...   the ones who say "same shit, different day.. or "here we go again, another week..."

If that's you, find something to get fired up about.

I'm not talking just going to the gym either. Although for many of us, that is exactly what we need. What we look forward to. We crave it.

The challenge. The struggle. The sweat and the pain.

Get excited about something. 

In the gym or anywhere.

If you aren't excited about the day, or anything about it, pick one thing you can go dominate. Maybe it's some squats. Or sprints. Or taking a hike and going for a swim.

Do something physical that will get you going today. And every Monday.

It's not about being all "Monday morning motivation" rah rah.. but don't be the opposite either and say it''s just another lame Monday. Go set a new personal record. Hit one more rep than last time.

Get it. Today.

And tomorrow.

Regardless of the day, month, moon cycle..etc..

Go Hard or Go Home?

Hey I'm all for going hard in the gym. You get what you give, right? The harder you work the better your results will be... for the most part.

But you have a life. You don't spend all your time and energy on working out and your nutrition and getting enough sleep, massage, stretching, yoga etc..

So this is where I say let's get realistic.

How much work can you do in a week to make progress? Should you always strive to do more? Or should you do just enough?

As with anything fitness-related, there are a ton of opinions on this and many studies, of course.

Here's my opinion, take it for what it is. My experience and my opinion. Works for a lot of people, but not for everyone.

Keep in mind that this is for a general fitness-enthusiast. It's a funny term, fitness-enthusiast, but when reading articles and books about fitness, remember that the writer has a specific person in mind. For me it's not an athlete. It's not a competitive bodybuilder or powerlifter. I am writing for the person who wants to get in better shape, get stronger and look better on the beach but who doesn't want to spend a ton of time in the gym (if at all) and who has a busy work life, family life and fitness is not the number 1 priority.

With that said...I'm not going to give you a number of days per week to workout or anything like that. What I want to do is give you an idea of how I like to structure going hard in the gym and having more "park bench" days.

One way that is very effective is to have a very hard day followed by an easier day. You could go heavier weight one day and the next you could do just bodyweight exercises and some machines (if at a gym)

Another great way to structure high intensity days is to just get after it when you get into the gym and feel like you are pumped, full of energy etc..

Not every day needs to be one of those all-out crazy marathon workouts where you leave every single drop of yourself in the gym and you have nothing left. Those memes that say you have to go hard or go home and that try to be hardcore and make everyone feel like if they don't basically pass out by the end of the workout that it's useless.

Pay no attention to memes on the internet! Seriously, they are the worst.

Mix in some very hard days with days that you go in work hard and do what you need to do. Put together enough of those and you will get where you want to go. Consistency is the key.  Not going as hard as possible for every single rep, exercise and workout.