Archive for the ‘Fitness’ Category

img_20160720_104933

1. You can follow a well-designed training program to a T, but if you’re not doing the simple things such as drinking enough water and getting adequate rest, you’re just spinning your wheels.

2. It’s going to be hard, and it’s going to suck — there’s no easy way around it. Welcome and embrace the suck factor. Balance is to be appreciated, but recognize that to a certain extent you’re going to have to trend further away from that to get the desired result you’re looking for. Nothing amazing ever happens by staying in the middle. If you want to make significant changes in your appearance, suck it up.

I’m not saying you should suffer, but it’s foolish to think that it shouldn’t be difficult.

3. It’s a clear observation that completely disregarding the importance of proper nutrition is foolish, to say the least.  Look, I get it — it’s incredibly hard. But consider how many benefits have the potential to dramatically improve your physique and performance if your diet was on point.  Understand that there is a trade-off and you have to exercise serious discipline (not restriction).

4. At the risk of ruffling feathers, most folks would see promising results if they mitigated liquid calories (juices, alcohol, etc.) and increased their daily protein intake.

5. Progress takes time to manifest, and it’s no different than cooking up a fine meal in the kitchen. Don’t rush it. Be patient.

6. How many calories you burn in a workout pales in comparison to what you do the other 22-23 hours during the day. With that in mind, a lot who struggle to get lean overlook the value of daily activity.

As a frame of reference, my activity level is pretty darn high when you factor in my own training, and the hours I spend coaching my clients.  It’s the very reason why I have to eat a substantial amount of high quality calories in order to maintain my body composition. Now compare that to someone who works at a desk all day.

Get up, and get more movement in.

7.  Your environment can overwhelm you if you’re trying to improve your approach on the nutrition front. So, if you find yourself always hopping on and off the horse, you need to do a better job of preparing your meals ahead of time.

8. We all have our trigger foods. We tell ourselves just a few bites, but they’re just too irresistible. As much as I love pizza, it doesn’t give me a solid ROI in terms of having a positive outcome on health and body composition because I just end up eating the whole box.  There’s no guilt, but that’s just way too many calories. If you can’t control your portions, look into the possibility of cutting it out (for the time being).

9. It doesn’t matter what training protocol you do. You can’t out-train a destructive lifestyle. Regardless of the training method, all you’re doing is breaking your body down.  What you do outside is going to dictate your results. If you live for the weekends, you’re not going to get anything in return.  Yes, there are people who can get away with eating crap, and getting minimal rest. But, there is a tipping point.

Good intentions and justifying yourself on social media doesn’t mean much. Consider the different elements in your lifestyle that are a hindrance. Work to gradually change them and in turn, you’ll maximize results in the gym.

Did what you just read make you better? Join my newsletter by clicking here because… you absolutely should.

Become An Insider

Let’s face it, training is incredibly demanding. It’s a beautiful thing to see what your body can do when you push yourself; but there’s no reward if you’re not willing to do that. At the same time, you also have to appreciate that more isn’t always better.

There’s a delicate balance between being conservative and getting out of your comfort zone — and you’ll find that operating between two extremes can produce positive outcomes, especially when you’re trying to boost your performance on the field.

To read the full article on STACK, click HERE.

 

1. Perform Face-Pulls and Band Pull Aparts to keep your shoulders healthy

 

The shoulder is perhaps the most commonly injured area not just in the athletic community, but also the general population. They’re a ticking time bomb because at some point they’re eventually going to flip you the finger — whether it’s from inappropriate training, or from poor posture.

The simplest, most-effective way to reduce likelihood of shoulder pain is to develop the muscles of the upper back. Hear me out, Face-Pulls and Band Pull Aparts are not just corrective exercises or activation drills. Applying them appropriately into your training can strengthen the weak links in your upper back and improve posture. Win-win.

2. Use Fat Gripz in your warm-up sets

 

Focus, concentration, and technique are more important than a lot of people think. These are all critical when working up to an appreciable load on compound movements like a deadlift or a bench press.

While using Fat Gripz is a great tool to improve your grip strength, another cool thing about it too is that by adding them in your warm-up sets it actually enables you to lift more weight after you’ve taken them off. You’re essentially making the exercise slightly more difficult to trigger the heightened involvement of your nervous system. By definition, you’re recruiting more muscle, but with less loading.

3. Prioritize single-leg work

 

Before you throw the yellow flag, I’m not against traditional squatting and deadlifting. They’re still vital to a well-balanced strength training program. Your body, however, takes a beating. There’s only so much load that it can tolerate before you start to get diminishing returns. Splitting the load up in half, and prioritizing single-leg work still provides you with a comparable training effect, if not better.

You’re not imposing a ton of sheer and compressive force on the spine, and since sports are played on mostly on leg, it’s much more sport-specific.

4. Do Banded Sumo Walks to activate your glutes

 

Your glutes are responsible for producing a ton of force, so you’re not doing yourself any favors by not paying close attention to them. If they’re firing on all cylinders, your knees and/or low back end up taking a hit. Activating your glutes by simply adding a mini-band around your knees and forcing your knees out while you walk side to side enables you to move and perform better.

5. Pair up your strength work with mobility drills

 

Freakish levels of strength should be commended and appreciated, but I’ve learned the hard way that being strong doesn’t mean a thing if you move like a tin-can. Placing an emphasis on mobility goes a long way because if you can’t move well…guess what? You’re not going to perform well.

Have fun sitting on the bench.

Understand that being strong and mobile are inseparable — the two go hand in hand. A great way to avoid the monotony of mobility work is to pair them up with your strength work.

Main Exercise                              Mobility Drill

  1. Squat                             Stationary Spiderman w/ reach
  2. Bench Press                  Quad Hip Flexor Mobilization
  3. Deadlift                          Prone 1-Arm Trap Raise

1. Box Jumps for conditioning

 

I’ve said this many times in the past, I’m not a fan of box jumps as a tool for conditioning, The purpose of plyometric work is to learn how to generate force (accelerate), but more so, how to absorb it (decelerate). You are defeating the purpose jumping up and down on a tall box like a chimpanzee on crack. More pressingly, they become very demanding on your body when you perform them in that fashion. This opens the door for potential injury.

There are far better options. I’d opt for something with less impact that’s not going to sacrifice future training quality (kettlebell swings, med ball slams, battle ropes, sled work).

2. Push-Ups with elbows flared out

 

PushUpForm

Even though Push-Ups are underrated — and don’t get the respect it deserves for its versatility — being able to do them properly is not an easy task for beginners, especially women. Push-Ups with your elbows flared out isn’t an ideal position. A technical error like that becomes problematic simply because it puts undue stress onto your elbows and shoulders. Moreover, what you’ll typically see is poor anterior core engagement and virtually no recruitment of the triceps.

The ideal position you want is that of an arrow — placing your left elbow at 8 o’clock, and right elbow at 4 o’clock. Initially, it’s going to be significantly harder, but it will pay dividends in the long haul.

3. Overhead Press

 

OverheadPressForm

Rule of thumb: if you can’t get your arms up overhead without dropping your neck (forward head posture), or over-arching your lower back, then pressing a load over your head is out of the question. Earn the right to do it.

To that end, overhead pressing has never been a main staple in my workouts nor most of my clients, for good reason. The pertinent issue is that a lot of folks can’t do them pain-free. And, in the grand majority of cases, people just demonstrate piss-poor form (top) — it’s like watching a live grenade about to go off.

Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you should totally discard the movement. In fact, I still have a few of my clients do them from time to time because it is a great exercise. It all comes down to risk-reward.

Bottom line: if you can perform them then have at it… but, do so in an efficient manner (bottom).

4. Deadlift Butchery

 

Many lifters have a tendency to hyperextend through the lower back at the top of the deadlift. Admittedly, I’ve also been guilty of this in the past. This aberrant movement becomes more pronounced as the load gets heavier and heavier.  Don’t believe me? Go to any commercial gym and see for yourself.

In all fairness though, those same people are just unaware of how to actually use their hips.  We’re always going to resort to the path of least resistance. So, in this case it’s much easier to rely on our lower back than our glutes (or lack thereof).

Luckily, this can be easily rectified by pumping the brakes and backing off on the heavy loads to give yourself some time to… yanno, work on technique.

Two ways I’ve found to be extremely helpful in dissociating low back movement for true hip extension is the Hip Thrust and Sumo Deadlift.

5. “Squatty” Kettlebell Swing

 

There’s a world of difference between a knee-dominant movement, and a hip-dominant movement. With that in mind, the most butchered exercise out of the bunch would have to be the Kettlebell Swing. If applied appropriately and executed correctly, it can improve hip strength and build a solid backside. Treating it like a squat, however, ruins many of the benefits.

Did what you just read make you better? Join my newsletter by clicking here because… you absolutely should.

Become An Insider