Posts Tagged ‘Training’


Today’s post is pretty much a follow up to my previous blog, “The ONLY Advice You Need to Build Muscle and Lose Fat.”  I felt like I needed to follow it up because funny enough, a buddy of mine asked me a similar question with regards to building muscle and concurrent fat loss.

The undeniable truth is that the vast majority of society are indeed overweight. We run through a vicious cycle of weight loss and weight gain and as result, it discourages us.  2016 is around the corner, so all those new year resolutions are coming and we all know how that goes.


 Here’s what you need to know:

  • Having the right mindset will prime you up for success.
  • Motivation is for amateurs. Commitment and discipline reign supreme.
  • If you can’t see yourself maintaining your current diet/nutrition protocols, then it’s not going to work for you.
  • Maintaining strength is key if you want to hold onto muscle while you drop weight.

1. Get your mind right


One of my former mentors once told me that successful people do what is necessary whether they feel like it or not. That’s what differentiates the successful ones and the not so successful ones.  I’d be lying to you if I told you that my energy is through the roof for every workout — it’s not. Through the course of training, the amount of stress that you’re going to accumulate will be taxing both mentally and physically.

It’s easy to train your ass off when you’re eating whatever you want, but extremely difficult when you’re dieting. When you factor in other outside stressors such as your career and family, it makes things even more challenging.

 I never worry about action, but only about inaction”– Sir Winston Churchhill


One thing you have to understand is that the bigger the change you’re suggesting, the more it will sap your self-control. Self-control is an exhaustible resource (willpower isn’t going to do you any good), which is why you have to make sure you have the right mindset. This is why when I start working with a new client, one of my top priorities is to instill commitment and discipline because that’s what creates accountability and sustainability.

2. Prioritize your diet and track your macros


The most pertinent issue with regards to fitness is adherence to a sound nutrition protocol. We’ve all heard that you can’t out-train a poor diet and it’s true.  I’ve experienced so many people who train their asses off and have subpar results. Don’t overlook the importance of quality nutrition.

Figuring out how much you need to eat is going to be determined by how active you are, so for simplicity’s sake, let’s assume you’re training 3 times a week. By tracking your macronutrient intake, you can key in on what’s working and what’s not. Are you taking in too much carbs? Not getting enough protein? Are you consuming a sufficient amount of calories? Things like that can help you dial in what is needed.

Put another way, it’s adds a level of precision towards achieving your goals. It’s ensures that you’re consuming the appropriate amount of calories and an ideal amount of protein, carbohydrates, and fats.


Getting in shape is suppose to complement your lifestyle, not take away from it.  What ever nutrition protocol you decide to do, just make sure it’s something you can adhere to and sustain.

3. Prioritize strength training


One of the biggest mistakes people make when they’re trying to get lean is not placing a premium on strength, and to my own misfortune, I was a victim of this as well. You have to understand that building muscle and losing fat are two of the most dichotomous things when dealing with the human body. When you’re attempting to shed some fat, you will lose some muscle. Conversely, when you’re trying to build muscle, you’re going to gain some body fat.

MAINTAINING AS MUCH MUSCLE as possible should be your top priority and you can only do that through strength training. Copious amounts of cardio does not give your body a reason to hold on to muscle. While the benefits of cardio are clearly evident, you don’t need to employ it that much. In fact, I’ve had clients make progress with little to no amount of cardio at all.

Remember — lift heavy, live healthy!


Here’s Ann who lost 8lbs and 4% body just in time for her trip to New York by meticulously tracking her macros and doing no cardio.

Here’s Joyce still lifting heavy while trying to lean out. #Boss

There you have it. I hope that these simple tips can help you get to your goals. Remember, extreme methods don’t pan out in the long run.  Be patient and stay the course. Don’t wait for the new year to get started. Get after it!


If I was given only a handful of exercises to choose from, it would be:

  1. Deadlift
  2. Squat
  3. Chin Ups
  4. Prowler Sprints
  5. Farmer Carries
  6. Turkish Get Ups

Sorry! Fads and gimmicks have no place in my training philosophy. I have a simplistic approach in that regard, and I do not believe in shortcuts. If someone tries to sell you on a “magic” program, they’re snake oil salesmen, not coaches.

Turkish What?


Turkish Get Ups (TGU) is a dynamic movement I picked up from Dr. Mark Cheng when I was out in Los Angeles last November and I have been incorporating it into my programming since.  Interestingly enough, it has also become one of my all-time favorite exercises because of the complexity it presents.

I love a challenge!

The TGU is really difficult to classify because of the series of movement one must go through just to complete one repetition, so for simplicity’s sake I’ll be concise on why they’re awesome and how you can incorporate them into your training.

Kettlebell Turkish Get Up

Why They’re Awesome


My ego took a beating when I first started doing this exercise.  It was a reality check, if you will, because the amount of load I was only able to lift was laughable to say the least.

What I’ve found as I started to refine my technique is that it improved my shoulder stability.  Now if you didn’t know, the shoulder joint is the most mobile joint in the body, therefore; it’s the most prone to injuries. It only made sense because I had to hold a relatively heavy object steady while moving through multiple planes of motion — doing so requires a tremendous amount of shoulder stability.

Another benefit of the TGU is increased core stability and hip mobility, which translates into improved strength gains in your heavy lifts. “Who doesn’t want that?” That’s what makes the TGU a bang for your buck exercise. And since you are moving through multiple planes of motion while holding a relatively heavy object in one arm, you need to have an appreciable amount of strength and control, otherwise, you’d fall over. Not a good sight!

One thing I’ve learned now that they are a staple in my programming is, the slower the better. I made the mistake of treating it like a squat or a deadlift, where the only objective for them was to move the weight as quickly as possible.  You have to be cognizant that this is a different scenario and this is not an exercise you want to rush through. The slower and more controlled you are in executing the movement, the better.

How To Program the Turkish Get Up


There are various ways of incorporating this boss movement into your program.  You can apply them as “fillers” in between heavy sets of squats or deadlifts. You can also use them in a tri-set routine, which I often do for my clients. They love it, by the way 😉

1A) KB Turkish Get Ups

1B) KB Goblet Squats

1C) KB Swings

Personally, I like to implement them into my dynamic warm up and I’ve found them to be tremendously beneficial when I want to lift some heavy a** weights. I’ve always said that improved stability = better control = strong.


To put things all into perspective, I think everybody should learn this movement and incorporate it into their training.  It’s a dynamic movement that will not only make you learn more about your body (restrictions, limitations, and capabilities ), but you’ll also become a boss in the process.

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Question: when you walk into a gym, what exercises do you see people mostly doing?  Probably the same thing over and over again—bench press, bicep curls, deadlift, and rows… the typical “bro workout.”

Don’t get me wrong, I’d be remiss if I didn’t think that these exercises can’t produce great results. In fact, I’m a huge proponent of conventional barbell training.  Majority of my program design for my clients (myself included) consists of these exercises. Strength is the foundation and developing your prime movers (big muscle groups) with exercises as such will do just that.  It creates a solid base…after all, you can’t fire a cannon from a canoe.

Now, while the aforementioned exercises are great, it’s the “supplemental work” that puts everything into play and has a bigger carryover to your sport and everyday life. In other words, it puts a stamp on your workout or training session.  It doesn’t get enough attention because they’re not seen as sexy or beastly like a deadlift or a bench press.

With that being said, here are three exercises that you should be doing.

1. Pallof Press

I’ve been to many gyms and I can honestly say that I have only seen about three people performing this exercise. The pallof press is traditionally a core exercise, specifically working on anti-rotation.  Simply put, it works on firing your core and glutes to brace and resist rotation.

The main reason why everybody should incorporate this into their program is because it’s one of those exercise that teaches the individual how to brace his/her core (you’d be surprised to see at how many people don’t know how to fully brace their core). Remember, bracing your core assists in producing maximal tension throughout your body. Maximal tension = stability = STRONG

2. Bulgarian Split Squats

I’m a huge advocate of single leg training for two reasons: sports are primarily played on one leg, not two, and it reduces the sheer forces on your lower back and knees that accumulate over time from conventional squatting.  Does that mean we should negate conventional squats? Well for some, that may be the case because from a structural standpoint, we’re not all built the same way. 

For people with long femurs (long legs), I typically minimize conventional squatting and opt for bulgarian split squats because it just looks better—positioning is solid and they’re able to hit depth relative to a front squat or a back squat. I have also found that people who do not have the requisite mobility to squat properly, have much more success executing bulgarian split squats.

Moreover, you can load up as much weight as you can with limited spinal compression.  Bang for your buck exercise right there!

3. Landmine Press

Now, with regard to overhead pressing movements (military press, barbell overhead press, snatches), whether you’re limited from a structural standpoint or simply have a mobility restriction, it’s imperative to work your way around the exercise if pain occurs from either of the two. To paraphrase Tony Gentilcore, “You have to earn the right to overhead press.”

The landmine press is an under-utilized exercise, and it gets butchered a lot. Relative to traditional overhead barbell or dumbbell pressing, the landmine press allows the lifter to work overhead movements without causing shoulder impingement.  Also, much like push up variations, it allows your scapula (shoulder blades) to move freely. Constantly pinning your shoulder blades down like on a bench press can become problematic over time. This in turn, creates shoulder issues.  Landmine press for the win!

Make it a priority to implement these exercises into your program. Have fun!