Friday, December 25, 2009

Can I Get a Happy Ending With That?

I was in a giving mood this Christmas and decided to get myself a present. Needless to say, when I opened the present I got for myself I was excited to see that it was a massage. I have been needing one for the longest time. How myself ever knew that I needed one is beyond me!

You may think, "Are you stressed and need a massage to relax you?" Well, the answer to that is no. I am getting a massage for performance benefits. "Performance benefits? How can massage help with that and what kind of performance are you doing?" Yes, performance. Massage is very beneficial in sports performance as well as just overall movement and tissue quality. In regards to the performance I am taking part in...I am talking about my lifting. I am trying to do big things this year and feel that a massage can help me jump to some new levels.

How can massage help? Well there are a number of different thoughts and theories on this. Research is continuing to be completed on this topic and new finds are continually put out in the literature. The proposed benefits of massage include such things as a decrease in tissue adhesion, increasing local blood circulation, stimulation of parasympathetic activity, reduction in neuromuscular excitability, and pain relief.

When looking at tissue adhesion, massage can mobilize and elongate shortened or adhered connective tissue. This adhesion of connective tissue can happen from prolonged use, injury, or just movement issues. By "loosening" up this connective tissue, the muscle-tendon unit becomes less stiff, improving movement quality.

A number of the benefits of massage deal with recovery from exercise or sport. The increased temperature of the area being massaged can increase blood flow, thus bringing more nutrients into the muscle. At the same time, parasympathetic activity has been shown to increase. This leads to a reduction in heart rate and blood pressure as well as lowered cortisol levels. Pain reduction has been shown following a massage which could lead to a quicker recovery from post-competition soreness, also known as DOMS.

As you can see, there are a number of benefits of massage in regards to sports performance. As for me, I am no longer participating in a sport but I do train religiously and I feel that I am at a point where I have a lot of spots that need some work so that I can further improve my movement quality. Not to mention, a massage might be relaxing.

On a side note, I just want to wish everyone a happy Christmas and make sure you all realize it is time to get serious about our goals. No more excuses! And this video below is effin sweet.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Prioritize Your Life

"I just don't have time to workout."
"I am too tired to cook when I get home from work."
"I want to lose weight but my schedule is too busy."

Ever heard one of these? I know I have...hundreds of times. People are always talking about how they want to lose weight, they want to get stronger, they want to be healthier, yet they always have a billion and one excuses on why they can't achieve it. Well guess's all bullshit. If there is something you want, there is always a way to get it. It may take a lot of hard work but you can get it. And with the new year around the corner, and the ever-so-popular "New Year's Resolution", why not make it now.

This is what I want you to do. Sit down with a piece of paper and a pen. Write down your goals and number them from the most important and urgent to the least. Under those goals, I want you to write down the things that need to be done to achieve those goals. Once all this is written (with detail) sit back and think about your typical week and the things that you do on a daily basis. Write down these activities and label them as mandatory (such as work or family) or wasted time (such as watching television or facebooking). Now that you can actually see how much time you waste in a normal day start scheduling your week by taking out those spaces of worthless activity and filling them with the things that you need to do to achieve your goals. This is all called prioritizing your life. I'll give an example:

Let's say your goal is to lose weight and become healthier. To achieve this goal you need to do the following: Go to the gym at least 3 days per week. Eat healthy meals. Get good sleep at night. The mandatory things in your schedule week to week would include work, time with the family, time to prepare meals, and some time to your self. Things that are to be avoided or limited would be watching t.v., playing video games, or browsing the Internet for worthless stuff. Now just schedule in about 30-60 minutes 3 or 4 days a week of exercise. This can be done before work, right after work, Saturday or Sunday, and so on. To save time with meal preparation, pick a day where you have only a few, if any, things to do and cook a number of meals so that you have them ready for the rest of the week.

This is a simple example of planning out and prioritizing your life. Do this now. Have it all on paper so that you can SEE it. Just thinking about it doesn't make it concrete but writing it does. I realize that it's almost Christmas and times are crazy right now but have everything written and thought out and then come January 1st start putting the plan into action. You will be amazed at how much more productive you could be if you just took some time to prioritize your life based on your goals.

Project 190

For those of you who know me best, you know I have always been a small guy and it has been an uphill battle to get to the point I am today. For those that don't know me that well (or at all), I'll give you a little background. As a freshman in high school I weighed in at a diesel 100lbs. Being an athlete, that wasn't going to cut it. I was introduced to weights and by the time I graduated from high school I worked my way up to a mammoth 145lbs. Entering college and trying to walk-on as a baseball player at the University of Louisville I knew I was still at a point that wasn't sufficient. After making the team and going through the fall season I was cut, the main factor being my size. I guess at that point subconsciously I got this feeling to just get huge. I started focusing more on my lifting as well as putting more thought into my post-workout nutrition. By the time I transferred to Transylvania University to play the second semester of my freshman year I had worked my way up to 160lbs.

At Transy I started learning more about supplementation, nutrition, and lifting. Each Fall I busted ass and would work my way up to more strength and more size. Baseball season was always a set-back in those gains however, as I would lose about half of the gains I had made the previous Fall. At the conclusion of my senior baseball season I weighed in at about 165lbs with a squat of about 335. Needless to say that was quite weak sauce.

At this point I started grad school and now had no baseball left so it was time to start getting really real with my lifting. I started focusing on eating more and staying consistent with my lifts and weights. I started recording all of my workouts and tracking my progress. The second semester of my first year of grad school was when things got serious. I started lifting with ROB and we jumped in to a push/pull routine. This is where the upward climb started. Last January we created a program leading up to spring break and I had set two goals. One was to squat 400 and the other was to weigh 190lbs. Spring break week we re-measured and I maxed out at 405 on squat but fell short of 190lbs by about 3-4lbs. I was still very pleased as I took my squat max from about 365 to 405 and gained about 7lbs during the months of January and February. I finished grad school weighing in at 185lbs.

At this point I have fallen back in my weight. I am now weighing in at 182lbs. Part of this decline was because of an increase in activity as I train for 6 hours straight every day and have trouble fitting meals in during that time. After working my strength back up over the past couple of months I have decided it is time to get serious and hit this shit hard. This is where Project 190 comes in to play...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Check It Out

Just wanted to tell everyone to check out my buddies blog at He just completed a 2-week experiment where he wore a weighted vest for every waking minute throughout those two weeks. Check it out for all the details. It's good shit and you gotta love the idea of creating a testing your own theories and questions.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

No Nuts, No Glory

Time and time again I see people in the gym doing the same thing over and over again, with hardly any effort at all. They come in and pedal away hours on the elliptical or run a few rounds through the resistance machines and call it a day. Then they have the audacity to come ask me why they aren't getting results! Being the nice guy I am I offer them some advice to change up their routine and give them some solid exercises to add in. They finish a set and look at me and say, "Man, that's hard!" The next day in the gym they are back to their same old and it's like they never even talked to me. If you want to be average and stay in the shmedium life that you have then by all means do that. But if you want to better yourself and be something great then you have to step up.

It is time to step out of your tiny little box and venture out into the world. Both in the gym or in life, you can't get to where you want to be if you stay inside that box. Grow some nuts and do the things it takes, no matter how hard. Go in the gym and bust ass, following the advice you were given. Fix your diet and start eating right and preparing your meals ahead of time. Put in the extra work to better your career or your relationships or whatever else it may be. Life isn't always easy. Stop making excuses and just do it. Get some swag in your step, focus your energy, and do the damn thing. Get a little out of your comfort zone and things will start to happen.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

What Are You Willing to Do to Improve Yourself?

This morning I made my way to Lexington to get a shoulder workout with ROB ( Most people think I am retarded and don't understand why I would wake up early and travel an hour to Lexington just to lift then turn around and drive an hour back so that I could make it to work. Well, as I have talked about before, surrounding yourself with people who can make you better will make you better. For the past four months I have been lifting by myself at a gym that is full of small guys and deusche bags. The only people who know anything about anything are the other trainers and most of them just lift for aesthetics (which is not for me). So needless to say it was time to get a lift in with someone who not only wants to get stronger every day but is also stronger than I am.

Life is all about putting yourself in situations that will maximize your potential. Too many times I see people who don't even get close to being the person they could be because of the company they keep and the situations in which they place themselves. Whether it be in the gym or just in general, people are always creating a ceiling for themselves because they don't see that the people in their life are holding them back. Look around you and really take a look at the people you spend the most time with. Are they people who are where you want to be? Do they work to achieve similar goals in life to those that you desire? If not, why be around them? I challenge everyone to truly step back and evaluate their lives. Start surrounding yourselves with those who can help you become the person you want to be. I promise it will make a difference in your life.

By the way...Check out to see this morning's workout and a video from the workout.