Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

Just wanted to give a Merry Christmas to everyone out there. Today is Christmas Eve and even though I have some family stuff tonight, I was still able to get a little workout in this morning. Remember, true results come to those who are willing to put the work in and get past the excuses. It is easy to get caught up in excuses such as work, being tired, or the holidays themselves. Even if you don't have time to get to the gym, there are still good body weight circuits that can be done at home. I know I have a few clients I was not able to see today and tomorrow so I gave them home workouts to do so they were not missing out and could continue to work towards their goals. Take the time to get something in this weekend, whether it is a trip to the gym or an at-home workout. Don't wait until January to start your mission. Put it together now and get a head start.

Just if you are interested, here is the workout I completed this morning and it was with my buddy from Morehead State, Dillon Lawson.

Foam Roll/Warmup

Med Ball Circuit 3x8each
    Chest Pass
    Overhead Throw
    Side Toss
    Scoop Toss

A1 - Keg Clean and Press - 3x6
A2 - Farmers Walk - 3x40yds

B   - Zercher Split Squats - 3x8each

Small workout. Just wanted to get some work in during a deload week. Next up for me is back into a strength phase. I have been focusing on mobility and work capacity lately. Hip mobility is better yet will still be a main focus for a while. Have a great holiday and get some work in.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Common Gym Mistakes pt. 2

Earlier this week I discussed a few common mistakes I see people making almost every day in the gym. Today I wanted to expand beyond the gym and talk about a few mistakes we are all making that keep us from our goals.

1. Ignoring Nutrition
This is the one thing that I would say causes the most problems in all of our journeys to a new life. A great workout is only part of the equation. Focusing on the nutrition and what you are eating is just as important, if not more, than getting in the gym and lifting large amounts of weight or burning out Tabata sets. Take a day every week and sit down and plan the week. Act like it is just another workout. I like to have my clients use an easier day like Sunday and take time to sit down, write out some meals for the week and what you need for those meals. Next, go to the grocery and get the food needed, and then come home and prepare all the meals and snacks for that week. Preparing meals ahead of time will allow you to know exactly what you are eating and when you are eating, plus if you have a late night at work then you have no excuse. You don't have to cook, it is all already made. Focus on nutrition first and then you can get more intricate with your workouts.

2. Sleep
Ok, so you have the nutrition part taken care of and your workouts are top notch. What else are you missing? The answer to that question is sleep. The body has to recover at some point and not giving it the sleep it needs is wasting all of the work that you have been putting in. The mind makes its connections at night so the things you learn and the movements you make throughout the day are put in place during those solid hours of sleep. Not to mention, hormone levels are prime when we are in a deep state of sleep. So if you are busting ass all day in the gym, then staying up late and waking up early, you are missing out on a huge opportunity for growth and improvement. Go to bed earlier and get a solid 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Try to make your bedtime the same time every night and wake up around the same time every morning.

3. Mentality
This is a huge aspect most people don't even think about. You can't go into the gym every day and just go through the motions. Starting a workout program means getting your mind into the right state. Set out your goals and picture the place you want to be in 3 months, 6 months, 1 year. Go into the gym every day with a purpose and a goal. Focus on the exercise you are doing, the way you are feeling, and the change you want to make. Don't get distracted by the people around you or the idiots doing bicep curls in the squat rack. Put on your headphones with your music and step into your own world. With focus and intensity, your workout will take a step up.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Common Gym Mistakes

Working in a commercial gym for over a year now I have seen some good things but a lot more of the bad. So many people have trouble with creating an effective workout plan and sticking to it. I have seen people come and go, crazy antics, and daily members who are yet to see a single result. I want to share some of the common mistakes I have seen and how to correct these.

1. Consistency
This is the biggest aspect of creating results. From nutrition to the workout, if you aren't doing in consistently then you're not going to get where you want to go. Too many times I see people who make their way into the gym 5 days one week and then maybe once the next three weeks. You can't just work out when you feel like it. Whether you are on a 3-day plan, a 5-day plan, or 7-day plan, you have to stay consistent. Create goals of not missing a workout, not missing a set, and not missing a meal. Make your workout realistic though. If you can only get into the gym 3 days a week then make a 3-day program and stick to it. Make the most out of what time you can get and stay strong with it. If you are not consistent, you will not achieve the goals you are after.

2. Balance
I have touched on this topic many times before and I will continue to do so because it continues to be a huge problem. There is no balance in the majority of the gym and in every day life. I stress to my clients the importance of balance because today's society is front side dominant. Everything takes place in front of us. Forward head posture, slouching, and internally rotated shoulders are all too common because of desk jobs, computers, and just plain laziness. The problem becomes worse when people go to the gym and repeat sets of bench press, crunches, and bench press all week long. Everyone wants a six pack and a big chest. That's what we see from the front. The problem is, repetitive movements like these that just exacerbate our poor posture will create worse posture and lead to so many pains and problems. Start focusing on the back side. Work the butt, lower back, and upper back. Start doing double the amount of rowing movements compared to pressing movements. Work on full core exercises such as planks instead of abdominal based exercises like crunches and sit-ups. Improved posture will improve aesthetics. Pull the shoulders back and you will instantly look broader, bigger, and more athletic. For females, improving posture will make the waist look slimmer and the chest stand up. Focus on the weak links first.

3. Too Much Cardio
This plays off of the balance issue. Every day I see hundreds of people come into the gym, go straight to the treadmill or elliptical, spend an hour there, and leave. These same people never touch a weight and never see the body they want. Whether you are male or female, you cannot just do cardio. Even if your only goal is to lose weight, you need weight training as well. Cardio alone will burn some calories but will not build the muscle we need to boost metabolism, nor will it create the shapely bodies we all want. If you think about it from an aesthetics point of view, take a long distance runner. These people are very thin with no real shape to their body. Take a female soccer player, much more curvy, yet still thin and "toned". The soccer player has much more strength based demands in their sport when compared to a long distance runner who is strictly aerobic. So when you go to the gym, cut the cardio in half and add weight training. Free weights and full body workouts would be my suggestion. But make sure you get some help on creating a program and you're not just wondering around the gym doing this or that with no real rhyme or reason.

Later this week I will give a second list of mistakes that involve more nutrition and psychology.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Call Me a Slacker

Once again I have let a month go by without a single post. For that I apologize. Hear me out though. Over the past month we have been doing a lot of work around BodyQuest. We have done a lot of construction from tearing down old walls to putting up new ones and a lot of painting and cleaning in between. Along with all of that we are still training clients. Today as I type this our brand new equipment is being installed. We will now have a power rack, cable crossover, lat pull/seated row, dumbbell rack, glut ham raise, and a couple free benches. It is going to be a whole new look around here. In about 2 weeks we will be having our grand opening party to welcome everyone to the new and improved BodyQuest. Anyone interested in coming by to check it out leave me a comment and we will welcome you on over.

As for myself, besides training and getting this place fixed up, my training is a little more minimalistic right now. I have been focusing a lot on correcting a lot of issues I have been dealing with over the past few years. My hips and shoulders are very tight and my range of motion has been somewhat restricted on certain movements. Therefore the past two months have been focused more on soft tissue work and mobility training. I have still incorporated strength training into my weekly workouts but it has been more focused on movement versus amount of weight lifted. I am working up to January where I hope to have many of my issues improved if not resolved. At that point I will be phasing back into strength training working on building up maximal strength once again. This whole experience has been hard yet humbling. Everyone always wants to do the show workouts where large amounts of weight is moved around or muscle volume is being built and this is where the problems are created. We have to remember to take care of the small things such as movement, endurance, and tissue quality so that the more exciting things like maximal lifts can be performed properly and even improved more efficiently. It's not always fun to take care of the small things but it is definitely a must.

Monday, October 4, 2010

New Recipe

I tried a new recipe tonight for dinner that is not only healthy but was also very delicious. I thought I would share it with you all. It is something different that provides a good source of protein. Hope you give it a try and enjoy.

Quinoa Salad with Chicken

Serves 4 to 6

Using the meat from a grilled or baked chicken is a convenient shortcut for making this tempting main course salad. Serve over lettuce and chopped fresh veggies for lunch, dinner or picnics.


2 cups water
1 1/3 cups quinoa
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 1/2 cups green or red grapes, quartered
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted


Rinse quinoa under cold running water and drain. Bring 2 cups water to a boil. Stir in quinoa and a pinch of salt then reduce heat, cover and simmer until tender and most of the liquid is absorbed,15 to 20 minutes. Uncover and set aside to let cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, salt and pepper. Slowly add the oil, whisking well. Add quinoa and toss to combine. Add chicken, grapes and almonds and toss again. Serve at room temperature or chilled, if you like.


Per serving (about 8oz/235g-wt.): 350 calories (130 from fat), 14g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 25mg cholesterol, 260mg sodium, 39g total carbohydrate (5g dietary fiber, 7g sugar), 18g protein

Courtesy of

Monday, September 27, 2010

BodyQuest Blog

I just wanted to let you know that we have started a blog for BodyQuest Fitness and I will be posting regularly on that site. I will try to post on here as well but definately check out the BodyQuest blog and check us out at BodyQuest at 319 Wallace Avenue in St. Matthews for our bootcamps every Saturday.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Hey everyone. I have been MIA once again and I am here to catch everyone up to what has been going on. I have joined up with a client of mine and a studio owner to start a business and get a personal training studio running and expanding. The studio is called BodyQuest and is located in St. Matthews in Louisville. It has been there and managed by Chris Tedesco for about a year now. With the addition of my training knowledge and my client, Crag Perkins' financial backing and business expertise we plan on renovating the studio withe new equipment and a new look and expanding the possibilities we have there. We also look forward to opening a few more locations within the near future. I have posted a couple videos below taking you on a quick tour through the facility as it is now. Stay tuned for some video tours of the new and improved BodyQuest studio.

Along with these renovations we are going to reconstruct the BodyQuest website so my blog content from Swonkdiesel will become more frequent and will more than likely move to that website. I will keep everyone updated on any changes that occur. Come check us out!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


No matter what business or part of life you are in, image is a big deal. The first thing people see when they meet you is what you look like. No one can avoid image. In the fitness world, if you are out of shape, your image is poor and people are not going to trust you. You may be the smartest person in the world but if you don't show that you can get yourself in shape then how is anyone else supposed to believe that you can get them in shape? As a trainer, a coach, or even a gym owner, you are a leader. You influence those around you whether it be members and athletes, co-workers, or your employees. Keeping that in mind it has to be priority to lead by example. So many times I see trainers doing things such as showing up late to appointments, leaving weights out all over the floor, and breaking gym rules. By doing this, it says to members that it's ok to do these things and the gym ends up being left a mess. I realize accidents happen, alarm clocks are missed, and we are too rushed to pick a dumbbell up sometimes. But this doesn't mean all the time. People should take pride in their job whether it is their ultimate goal or not. Whatever it is you do, do it to the best of your ability and look good while doing it. People will notice this and you never know who may be watching. One lazy action could get you demoted or fired while one extra effort to go above and beyond might take you to the next level. If you are always presenting yourself to the best image possible, then you would never have to worry who may be watching.

Take pride in your appearance and actions and realize there are people who look up to you. Do good things and they will follow.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Strongman Saturday

This past weekend we decided to go outside of the gym and do some strongman type training. We have a bunch of equipment such as tires, sleds, a log, an atlas stone, and some kegs that we mess around with every now and then. A couple of the guys at the gym and myself have decided to make Saturdays and outdoor training day to work on some conditioning yet keep it manly. This week was the first installment of many more to come. We created a medley of tire flips, farmers walk, log clean and press, med ball side throws, and finished it off with a sled push. The sled is in bad condition so it makes the push even harder. I have a Prowler on the way so hopefully that will arrive before next week.

Here are some videos of the good times we had, including a little puke. This type of training is a great way to mix it up and get out of the gym for a little while but a good solid program should be the foundation of your training, not the "fun" stuff.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Perform Better Chicago

This past weekend was the Perform Better Summit in Chicago. For those who don't know, it is a 3 day event where speakers from all over the country and trainers/coaches from all over the country join to better themselves. I was planning on going last year but failed to make it and I am angry about that after experiencing it this year. I haven't been to a ton of conferences and events, but this is hands down the best one I have been to. The quality of the speakers and the topics of the talks were amazing. Everything was so applicable and it was great to be there listening to the people I look up to. From rehab to business, I learned a lot and am excited to continue to learn more and experiment with what I brought back.

The biggest things I learned are as follows:

I need to learn to ask for money. I have always worked on improving my coaching ability. I read everything I can get my hands on and listen to the best. However, while doing this I tend to avoid the other aspect of the business and that is the business itself. I am always timid to ask my clients for upgrades and take their money. The thing is, I am worth the money they are paying, so why be hesitant to ask for it.

There has to be assessment and that assessment has to be addressed. I am a big believer in assessments and correcting issues that my clients have besides just weight. There is so much one can learn just by observing a couple of different movements of their client. Yet, a lot of times being in such a commercial setting where people come in just caring about weight loss and the sales people promote "kick-ass workouts that will be hard and make you lose weight", I tend to not correct issues as much as I should. I tend to worry about the client thinking I am wasting their time. What we must remember is I am the trainer and there is a purpose behind everything I do, so do it. Fixing issues in posture, stability, and movement will allow for so much more possibility for weight loss and health down the road.

I need to step out on the edge. I have always been a shy, timid guy. From personal life to work life this has been the case. A big theme that ran through the weekend was about stepping out on the edge to be successful. The ones who make it don't let everything come to them. They go out and get it. I have observed this in every field. The most successful people take risks, approach others, and get what they need to succeed without worrying about what might happen. I need to take action to get out of my comfort zone and start making moves, making my name known, and approaching success.

Overall the weekend was amazing and I feel motivated to continue bettering myself and learning. It makes me want to learn everything there is and become one of those guys that everyone looks up to and goes to see speak. I have a new list of books I want to read, some new material to look over, and some new ideas to try out. Can't wait for the next conference I go to.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Make a Change

I have been reading a book by the name of Mojo the past couple of days and came across a chapter today talking about change. The chapter discussed how if there is a point in our career or life where we are unhappy either change It or change You. So many times I see people who are unhappy and feel stuck whether it is their physique, their job, their relationship, or whatever other situation there may be. Many times these people will continue to complain about their situation but never do I see any steps taken towards improvement. In one way this makes sense. I mean it is a lot easier to complain than to be proactive and make a change. However, without working towards change, we will be stuck in these miserable positions forever, only able to continue to complain.

Take for instance the overweight individual who hates the way he/she looks and complains daily about the feeling of being overweight. This individual has two choices. One choice is the easy one, continue to complain and stay the same. The other option is the harder option, but has much more reward. This person could make a change and start a diet, get to the gym more than the one time a week they go now, and see some change in the way to look and feel. Being proactive and making a change in the way they think and the way they act is going to get them out of the hole they have been in and create that sense of happiness and success.

A similar situation is the guy who has a job that he hates to wake up for. Not only is it crappy pay, it is miserable company, and terrible hours. The only thing this guy thinks he can do is complain every day to his coworkers and then go home and continue to be miserable and complain some more to his family. The real answer to this situation would be to make a change. Maybe he is only qualified to work this specific job and to quit would be impossible because he has bills to pay and a family to feed. There are still options though. He could take online classes and get a degree in another field so that he could find another job that would be more enjoyable.

I am not saying there is always a quick out of a bad situation. What I am saying though is that if a situation is making you unhappy, do something about it instead of being miserable. CHANGE the way you think, CHANGE the habits you have, CHANGE the people you surround yourself with. We have the power to change our environment. Just because we have been around a situation for a long time does not mean we are stuck in that situation. Yes, it is hard to change when we are comfortable, but it is not conducive to success to be comfortable when that comfort is negative. Stand up to your life and make a change to become better and create a better path for yourself.

I'm Not Dead

I know it has been forever and then some since the last time I posted on here. For that I am sorry. I have been slacking, not to mention I was going through a few interview processes (neither successful). I am back though and am here to post again. I figured I would make today's post an update on what's going on and some random thoughts.

-First off, I was interviewing for the same position that I applied for last year, working for the Navy out in San Diego. I was the runner-up in the interview process, falling just short of getting sent out there. It would have been a great experience but there is plenty for me to do here and many steps for me to take.

-I am over half way done with the Maximum Strength program by Eric Cressey and my strength has definitely gone up. I have also learned some more about programming and got some good ideas for writing my own programs. I'll post some results when I have finished the 16 weeks and see what kinds of gains I made. Next up will be 5/3/1.

-Some things I have been reading: I recently finished the book, Born to Run. It was very entertaining and increased my belief in barefoot training even more. Shoes are just creating problems even though they claim to be fixing them. Just like food, the more natural, the better.
I am now reading Mojo. This book is about success and confidence in your life and career. Not too bad so far.
I am also reading a series by Eric Cressey on Elbow pain and training. Many athletes, and the general population for that matter, suffer elbow pain while training. This is a good resource to find ways to help alleviate some of that pain as well as train to create better joints.

-Hopefully I won't slack so badly this time around and will be consistent at updating and posting some good posts. If you ever have anything you would like a post about send me an email and give me your ideas.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Reality to the Core

As I walk around the gym day in and day out I too often see people hoarding the crunch machines. More often than not the average gym-goer walks through the door, scans his/her id, heads up the stairs for 30 minutes or so on the elliptical, and finally beelines straight to the abdominal circuit on the machines downstairs. Even the more “advanced” members spend the last 20 minutes of every workout performing crunches in a myriad of different positions, assuming that the change of the leg height will put more emphasis on the obliques.Why do people insist on doing so many crunches? To get a six pack of course, because that is how it’s done. Well, not really. If you don’t get rid of the fat on top of those muscles, then they will never be seen, and no girl will ever love you. Seriously though, the abdominals are there and will be seen as long as you take care of your nutrition and get to work burning some fat.Crunches super-setted with crunches will not magically make you beach ready. Not to mention there is no functional carryover with crunches, so why not do some work that will help the rest of your body?

Before we get into specific exercises and ways to train, let’s explore the core and how it works. Most people focus on abdominals, but in reality, this is only one component of the core. In my opinion, the “core” is not just the trunk muscles, but also all of the muscles that stabilize the center of the body during movement. This would include the muscles of the shoulder girdle, the hip, and also those of the trunk. In addition to the more well known muscles, the trunk also includes some lesser known deep stabilizers. These muscles include the miltifidus and transverse abdominis. For a long period of time it was thought that the function of the core was to flex and extend the spine. However, an increasing body of evidence suggests that the actual function of these muscles is to stabilize the spine (lumbar specifically) and prevent movements such as flexion and extension. There is also a need for force transfer from the lower body to the upper extremities during movement, whether it is sports or just someone standing up from a chair. So instead of training for flexion and extension, training should be done to improve stability in multiple planes.

Now that we know what the purpose of these muscles is and what we need to improve, we can look at exercise selection. When selecting exercises, keep in mind that the body moves in multiple planes, so we must train each plane of movement. Additionally, keep in mind that we are including the shoulder girdle and hips into this equation. Now to the exercises. Over the past couple of years I have picked up on some great exercises from great names around the training world and implemented them into my own programming. I have also modified a few and have been experimenting with some of my own. Below are some exercises to try out and implement into your own training:

Plank With Knee Drive
Waiter Walk
Half-Kneeling Cable Chop
Chance Press
Cable Rotational

Just like any other part of a program design, we must remember that there has to be a specific progression. We can’t just start with the most explosive core exercise without developing a stable spine and strong base. A progression would start with exercises that involve little, if any, movement (such as planks or birddogs) and moving into more dynamic efforts where movement around the core is present, and finally evolving to explosive-type exercises where force transfer through the core is maximally utilized. The first stage of training is going to improve neuromuscular efficiency (making sure the core muscles are being activated) as well as spinal stability. As you progress, the stability of the core is going to be challenged during movement, such as with plank walk-ups, cable chops, etc. With explosive movements such as medicine ball slams, throws, or wood chops, the core is not only stabilizing the spine and center of the body, but it is also taking the force produced through the ground and transferring it up the body to the arms for maximal velocity of whichever movement you may be performing.

When adding these exercises into your workout, make sure you incorporate rotational stability as well as flexion and extension-based stability (remember, multiple planes of motion). Work up to 30 seconds on the holds and to rep ranges of 8-15 on the movement-based exercises, while completing 3-4 sets per exercise. With improvement in core stability there will also be improvement in many other lifts such as squats, deadlifts, bench and so on. As an athlete, core stability is very important for performance, as every movement on the field or court must transfer force through the core. For the weekend warrior or your average gym buff, improved core stability will help with daily life, from movement to alleviation of joint pain. Also, as we age, posture is the first thing to go, and this leads to numerous health issues. Creating a strong core and a stable spine will help prevent-or at least postpone-this degradation of posture, thus creating a healthier, more mobile life.

When it comes down to it, ditch the crunches, avoid the machines, and start adding in some core work that will benefit, not harm you. You will be amazed by the improvements in the rest of your life.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I am going a little off the charts tonight with this post but hang with me. I want to discuss a topic that I truly believe in after experiencing much of it throughout the past decade. The topic I am referring to is the Law of Attraction. For those who are not familiar with this term let me elaborate. The Law of Attraction is a theory that one's thoughts and feelings can influence the things that happen around that person. The belief is that thoughts have an energy, therefore that energy can attract other energies.

I promise I am not completely crazy, but I do feel that this holds some truth. I believe that if a person is always positive and truly thinks positively, then positive things will come that persons way, and in the opposite sense, negative thoughts will bring negative actions. I had heard about theories like this when I was younger and always saw them as bogus but after a number of years of life experience I have come to truly believe the way we think affects what happens to us. I relate this a lot to religion and "miracles." Within a church or religion there is a large number of people looking up to a higher power. If there is a problem and such a large number of people truly believe that this higher power will fix that problem, the positive energy from such a large group of thoughts brings along positive results, thus creating a miracle.

Another way to look at it is the saying "When it rains, it pours." A person has one bad thing happen to them, they start to feel and think negatively then another bad thing happens, then it builds and more bad happens. When it rains it pours. The energy from the negative thoughts brings negative actions.

To relate this to sports, think about a position player in baseball who makes an error. If he lets it get to him and starts thinking negatively, it's almost a guarantee that he will make another error if given the opportunity. In basketball, a shooter who misses a few shots may start having bad thoughts and the next thing you know he is 0-20. This is why they say a good athlete must have a terrible memory. Negative thoughts cannot come into play because they hold a greater power.

Basically, what I am saying is this: if something bad happens, you can't let it get to you. Continue to stay positive no matter what. Have a confidence about yourself and your surroundings. It also helps by surrounding yourself with positive people and positive things. If your best friend is Debbie Downer, you will probably be seeing a lot of negative things happen and you may not reach your full potential. Stay positive, stay confident, and great things will come your way.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Strong Man Bootcamp

Today at the gym we had a little fun outside with a bootcamp. We tend to have one or two bootcamps every month but this was the first bootcamp that we were able to take everyone outside this year. The weather was amazing and we had a nice little group of guys show up to partake in the festivities. The bootcamp included three stations, one being med ball work, the other two made up of things such as tire flips, sledge swings, farmers walks, and sled pushes. Quite a challenging bootcamp and a fun one to run as well. Check out the videos below for some of the action and feel free to leave your comments on your bootcamp experiences, whether ones you have participated in or ones you have run.

After the bootcamp my training partner and I decided to have a little fun with the equipment outside as well. We completed our lift then went outside for a finishing circuit. The circuit included 3 rounds of 10 single arm tire flips with jumps, 10 med ball wall throws on each side, and a sled push with 5 plates. It was fun but a bitch.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Lift Heavy to Lose Weight

For years now people have claimed that the way to get big and "bulky" is to lift heavy weights, therefore a woman should not lift heavy but instead lift light weights many, many times. This is why so many women are scared to lift heavier weights for less reps. The issue here is that majority of women want a "toned" look. Well that "toneness" comes from muscle. You have to have muscle to have shape. And to build muscle, or even maintain muscle, you need to lift heavier weights to create a stimulus to the muscle. However, with a fear of getting manly, women usually won't do this. This is the thing though: there are two things that these women are missing that prevents them from getting "big". One being large amounts of testosterone and the second being a high calorie diet. Therefore, the larger muscle recruitment from lifting heavy weight will burn more calories as well as develop some shape and "tone", which is exactly what most women are looking for.

In the New York Times this week an article was published addressing just this. It explained what many of us strength coaches/trainers have been trying to preach over the past years, that lifting heavy weights will have better results than endless hours of cardio and pink dumbbells. Try doings sets of 6-8 reps with a challenging weight for a little while and see the changes that occur. Not only will body composition improve, but you will be a lot more functional for daily life, whether it be as a mother, a worker, or a weekend athlete.

Get away from the normal thoughts of female training and avoid the group fitness classes and get in a squat rack and move around some heavy weights. You won't get manly and big (unless you are taking something) but instead you will see some results you have been waiting for for years.

Juliet Deane...she is a powerlifter, who lifts heavy weights as you can see. She is not what I would call manly by any means.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Project 190 Results

This week wrapped up my self-project, Project 190. If you don't remember, the goals of this project were to get stronger in all aspects and increase my body weight to 190lbs. The project was a 12-week program, consisting of a 4-day lifting split. During the final two weeks I got a head cold and my appetite was hurt during that time. Needless to say, that pissed me off quite a bit. The end results were not where I had planned on being but I still made some nice gains. Overall, I gained about 5-6 pounds, 187.5 being the peak of my weight gain during the 12 weeks. I also gained a total of 5 inches and my body fat stayed just about the same (although I don't trust the Omeron hand held tester). My strength went up on all lifts and my test numbers are below:

Vertical: 30in. - no gain
Squat: 405lbs - up 20lbs
*Bench: 300lbs - no gain
Deadlift: 425lbs Sumo - didn't test before
3RM Pullup: +125lbs - up 45lbs

*Benching was up and down the whole time due to having a spot or not as well as the last two weeks being affected by the head cold.

Overall, I am pleased with the results and the program but far from satisfied. I am now onto a program by Eric Cressey called Maximum Strength. This is a 16-week program working towards developing strength. I have built my strength back up to where it was this time last year so now it is time to blow my old PR's out of the water. Gotta keep building and growing.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Stay Mental

Throughout my work as a trainer I have used various methods, new ideas, and old tricks to help people get in shape, whatever their goals may be. All of these are great but there is something way beyond any superset, circuit, or explosive training. What I am talking about is the number one determinant to success. It not only sets the pace for training and body transformation, it also creates a path for our life long endeavors in health. What could be so important? Mentality.

You can go into the gym and go through the motions all day, every day. But if your not focused, intense, and there with a purpose then you will not accomplish the things you're there for. I have seen it many times. Lady A comes to me, we sit down and determine her goals, how to get there, and what to do once we achieve that. We set a path and start on our journey. After a couple weeks, she is not excited about it anymore, work is getting busier, she doesn't care about the gym, and she shows up to her training sessions just because there is an appointment. She goes through the motions, breaks a sweat, gets tired, and then goes home to another day of normal life, with no attention to those goals we made that first day. Goals will never be reached this way and something has to be done. You can't get where you want to be if you don't have some passion and put some thought behind it.

When starting up in training, a new job, a new relationship, or whatever, you must have goals, plans, and actions. This is the mentality part I am talking about. It is not about just going to the gym. It's about purpose. It's about a mission. You are there for a get thin, to get sexy, to life 500lbs. That reason is the number one thing on your mind every time you step in that door.

What I want you to do is sit down and get a pad of paper and a pen. Write down the things you want to accomplish. Now write down sub-levels of those end products. Example: Lose 100lbs. would be your end result. So losing 10lbs a month might be a sub-goal. Now for each smaller goal, write down actions you can do to achieve those goals. For instance, avoiding fast food and soft drinks. Once you have these actions down, put them in play. Start keeping in mind these actions and goals every time you leave the house. Every training session should be motivated and purposeful. Every meal should be in line with your goals. Everything should help you get one step closer.

Mentality is the best tool you can have for training. Train intensely and with a passion. Surround yourself with people who can bring this out of you. Listen to some music that motivates you. Read books that keep you moving forward. Whatever it takes to keep you on line with your goal and moving at it with that insanity that will get you there. Stay focused and you WILL achieve.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The past couple days here in Louisville have been some great weather. It has been in the upper 60's and mostly sunny. This is great since we have been experiencing a lot of snow lately. Being that it was such nice weather I figured I would take a few clients outside today to do some training. Outdoor training is a great way to mix it up and avoid some of the boredom that can come from being enclosed in a gym all the time. The outside is also so versatile for training. Anything from bodyweight exercises to med balls to sleds to car pushes and so on and so on. It is such a great resource and clients and athletes will love it for the break of the normal routine.

Below is a couple videos of a client of mine, J-Wow. She has been working with me for about 4 months now and has shown some great strength gains. We went through a circuit of med ball slams to side throws, walking overhead lunges, sledge hammer swings, and stairs. Check it out...

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Arnold 2010

This weekend was the annual Arnold Classic and my second trip to the event. I brought some rookies to the event to share the greatness I experienced last year. We also went two days this year instead of just one. From arrival on it was just as great as I remembered it. Tons of free stuff, huge guys, and in-shape females. Talked to a couple vendors about their products, watched the Strong Man competition and deadlift competition, met some pros, and just took in the atmosphere. It's a great feeling to know that you are surrounded by like minded people loving every second of the gym consumed atmosphere.

Outside of the Arnold, my buddies and I made a 3 mile trek to go eat at Thurman's (home of the Thurmanator). We got there and realized there were 50 names on the list before us and after waiting about 2 hours with hardly any progress we decided that it was not worth a 4 hour wait. As much as I wanted to take a stab at the Thurmanator, I didn't want to wait 4 hours (especially being how hungry I was) and I wanted to catch some more of the Classic.

We finished up our visit to the Classic with the deadlift competition. Big weights being lifted...can't get much better than that. All I know is, I am ready for next year!

Brian Shaw...just 6'8 400lbs.

Jamie Eason...I love her

StrongMan Competition

These guys took this booth so to pose with these girls...they think your huge haha

Friday, February 26, 2010

Performance Enhancement

The world of athletics is always looking for ways to improve performance and training. As I was perusing some blogs tonight I came across a mention of some new mouth-wear claiming to improve performance so I thought I would dig deeper to find out exactly what it was. Under Armour is releasing a mouth guard that is supposed to improve balance, endurance, and overall sports performance. Check out this video describing the equipment. I am excited to see more on this and maybe some research to back it.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Need Advice?

The other day I was in the gym getting my lift in and guy approaches me. It went a little something like this:

Guy: Hey man.
Me: What's up?
Guy: Are the press machines any good?
Me: (confused look on my face as he was doing a leg workout)
Guy: The leg press machines...are they any good? I have done squats, leg extensions, and stiff legs. I was wondering if I should do those as well.
Me: Well the leg presses are ok...however, you have done all bilateral lifts meaning you are using both legs together to lift the weight. You need to incorporate some unilateral work, you know, lunges or step-ups or something of that nature.
Guy: So the leg presses aren't that good?
Me: They are ok, not the best, but you need to work some unilateral movements.
Guy: Leg Curls! Yeah, I'll go do some leg curls!
Me: Yeah, that's exactly my thought....

Here's the thing...if you are going to ask someone for advice, actually listen to what they have to say. If you are asking for advice, you are acknowledging that the person is knowledgeable about that topic. So why ask for advice and then do the exact opposite of what the person tells you. I think that getting advice from a professional is a great way to better your knowledge and your time in the gym. Just a few simple tips here and there can take you to whole new levels in your training. Don't be too proud to ask for advice in the gym. Find a trainer or someone you respect and ask them the questions you have. Have them check your form. I am a trainer and have been lifting almost a decade and I still ask for advice and form checks. I am constantly contacting different people to give me a few tips or see what their thoughts are on this or that.

I encourage you to ask for advice, take in that advice, and try it out. You never know what kind of gold mine you may find. Don't ask me why your shoulder hurts and what to do about it and then when I tell you to stop pressing for a couple weeks and work on strengthening your back tell me you are just going to stop lifting all together. That is not taking my advice, even though you will blame me when that break from lifting makes you weaker and your shoulder pain comes back immediately. Take advice and use it to make yourself better.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Oh People...

So I saw this video on Tony Gentilcore's blog this morning and I thought I would share it with you all. This is an "arm workout" form Tracy Anderson, the trainer for Hollywood stars such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Madonna. This is the same lady that told women to never lift over three pounds or they will "bulk". WOW.

Anyway, ladies, if you want to be sexy and toned, lift weights (and not the pink ones). If you want to look like Skelator on Ecstasy then do this...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Strength Comes First

I train for strength. That is my main objective in the gym, to get stronger. People ask me why I train for strength, I'm not an athlete anymore and I don't do powerlifting meets. They say I should train more like a bodybuilder, for aesthetics. Body part splits, high numbers of reps, and pumped muscles. I explain to these people that I would rather be strong and not look strong than look strong and not be able to move a pencil. Strength is more functional, in life as well as in my career. If I am strong I am able to hang with my athlete clients and demonstrate exercises of all genres. If I am not strong then what respect do I deserve from my clients or athletes...NONE. If a friend asks you to come help him/her move and you are strong then you are that much more of a help. If your girl needs you to defend her and you are strong then you are capable of that task. These things are not possible if you are weak, even if you look big. Not too mention after neural adaptations take place and strength is gained through that the next step is increase in muscle size. If the muscle is stronger, it will get bigger. So there is your size gain.

All I'm saying is that if that day comes where your climbing a mountain and a big rock falls on you, you can either BE strong and lift it off, or LOOK strong and die. Your choice...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Snow Days

This past week here in Kentucky, just like the majority of the United States, he have been experiencing a decent amount of snow. Here in Kentucky however, life stops if so much as a single snow flake hits the ground. Schools are cancelled, stores are closed, and people raid the groceries like its the last chance they will ever have to get food. Needless to say, the gym has been a little lacking on visits this past week. One of my clients brought up an observation he made and it made sense. He asked me if I noticed how with the decreased population of people in the gym during the snow week, the percentage of "in shape and attractive" people sky rocketed compared to normal. With this being true I took it a step further and commented on not the level of fitness, but the level of commitment. Normally in the gym you will see a large number of people there but not doing much exercise. Instead these people are joking with friends, watching the TVs, walking the track at the pace of a snail, and in all cases, never breaking a sweat. These are the people who come to the gym so that they can tell their friends and family, "I'm trying to lose this weight and I go to the gym but my weight isn't budging. It's just my genetics." FALSE. It's called a lack of effort.

Well this group of genetically deprived people are nowhere to be found when there is any type of excuse available, and that's exactly what the snow is. So back to the conversation with my client. As I explained this thought about effort versus fitness we looked around and everyone in the gym at that time was working hard. We didn't see the talk shows. We saw people pushing themselves and their friends. We saw sweat. We saw EFFORT. The difference between the normal gym-goers and those in the gym during a blizzard has nothing to do with their fitness level but has everything to do with their level of dedication. The reason that there are more "in-shape" people in the gym is because of this dedication. They have just been at it longer. Those who are at the gym during times others aren't will be reaching their goals and will be looked at as the high fitness group as well.

Now before a lot of you get all pissy with me and start attacking me with things like, "My kids are out of school so I have to stay home with them", "I couldn't get out of my neighborhood", or "I'm allergic to snow" I have some advice for you all as well. Besides the fact that I could combat just about every excuse you make, let me throw out some ideas for you to still work towards your goals. Work out at home. You don't need any weights or equipment to get in a good workout. Try a bodyweight circuit where you create a group of exercises and do them back to back without rest. Trust me, you can get the heart rate up pretty quickly. Try something like this:

Squats x15

Pushups x15

Dynamic Plank x15

Burpees x15

Lunges x15

Mountain Climbers x15

Squat Jumps x15

Do this 3-10 rounds, depending on your level of ability, and I'm sure you will be cussing me out. But hey, you will be getting a great workout even though you can't make it to the gym because of the snow. Another option? Go shovel the snow off your driveway, maybe even a couple neighbors. will be getting a workout in AND doing a couple good deeds. Double whammy!

Just understand that there are a million opportunities for excuses every single day, whether it's snowing or we are in southern California. You can either grab these excuses and throw them around like a NFL player at a strip club, or you can avoid them and take another step towards your goals. Let's move foreward shall we?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

To Stop Learning is to Die

The other day at the gym I was approached by a guy who is a regular around the gym. He was talking about personal training and asked me a question that I had never really been asked before. "How do you learn exercises and new stuff?" It took me a second to really put an answer together because it is something that just comes as normal to me and I don't really think about it. My answer...READ.

I read all the time. I read blogs, books, articles, research, basically whatever I can get time to read. I keep up with fitness professionals and strength coaches around the country. There are so many people that have a lot of good knowledge and experience so why not learn from them? No one knows everything so there is always room for knowledge. Some of my favorite people to read are:

Eric Cressey
Tony Gentilcore
Mike Boyle
Mike Robertson
Alwyn Cosgrove
and many more

All of these guys have blogs, books, and many, many articles worth checking out. Beyond these guys websites like are great. Daily articles are supplied be well renown coaches and trainers about anything and everything fitness related.

Whether you are a trainer or a coach, a rookie or a vet, there is always a need to learn more. Stay current in the research and stay current in the latest applications. Experiment with yourself and your clients. Try new methods that you learn about or develop yourself. There are too many people that I see that don't learn and improve. They get their certification, they get a job, and that stops everything. They use the same methods and workouts each client and situation. That is the definition of lazy. If you want to be good at whatever it is you do, you have to continually perfect your craft and better your knowledge. Only this way will you be able to become a name in your industry and a person that people look to for advice and help. ALWAYS LEARN.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Project 190 Update

Today concluded phase one of my Project 190 program. After four weeks, strength is on the rise and my body weight has gone up about seven pounds. At this rate I am hoping for a final weigh-in of around 195. As far as my nutrition is concerned, I have been consuming about 3,500-4,00 calories daily (non-training days being less) and the types of food consumed have been generally healthy. I have been eating a lot of eggs, granola, smoothies, fruit, sunflower seeds, beans, chicken, and other lean meats and fish. This past Wednesday I had a lunch feast with ROB at BD's Mongolian Grill which gave me a nice boost as large amounts of meat were consumed. I have limited myself to one soda a week and one day to eat a few sweets. My main goal is gaining weight and strength but I don't just want to eat whatever so that my performance and health are optimal.

As far as the workout goes, its a very basic concept of push/pull with some power exercises thrown in. I am constantly working on my hip and shoulder mobility so I include a mobility warm-up every session. My main objective each day is to lift as much weight as I can for the given number of reps and sets. Below is the workout from phase one...

Clean High Pull 4x4
Front Squat 2x8 2x6
Shoulder Press 2x8 2x6
DB Incline 4x8
Triceps 3x8
Russian Twist 4x8-12
Plank 4x:30

Explosive Shrug 4x4
Seated Row 2x8 2x6
SL SB Leg Curl 4x12
SA Lat Pulldown 4x8
Biceps 3x8
Cable Rotation 4x8-12
Side Plank 4x:30

Squat Jump 4x4
Bench 2x8 2x6
Lunge 4x8
DB Shoulder Press 4x8
Triceps 3x8
SB Russian Twist 4x8-12
Rollout 4x12

DB Swing 4x4
Lat Pulldown 2x8 2x6
Glut Ham Raise 4x8
SA Seated Row 4x8
Biceps 3x8
1-2-3-Throw 4x8-12
Side Dynamic Plank 4x:30

Monday, January 25, 2010

So Many Excuses...

This is a blog post from Mike Rousell's blog. I was reading around tonight and felt this very interesting so I wanted to share it with you all. Enjoy.

The REAL Reasons Why You Can’t Lose Weight

January 14, 2010

Today I wanted to share with you a very insightful story that a friend of mine who runs a gym shared with me.

A woman came into his gym and said that she really wanted to join as she needed to lose weight for health reasons but she could not afford the monthly membership fee. My friend told the woman that he wanted to help her so he’d make her a deal…

He would give her a free 30 day membership. During those first 30 days, if she came in and exercised 15 times then he would give her the next 30 days for free, the same for the next month, and the next month. So in essence this woman could have a lifetime free membership IF she used it. The woman was so happy and very grateful to my friend for making such a generous deal with her. Do you know what happened in the following 30 days?

She showed up 6 times and never came back.


You can probably see what I’m getting at here….money wasn’t the issue. The cost of the gym membership wasn’t the ‘thing’ that was holding this woman back from losing weight. It was a convient scapegoat.

What are you convenient scape goats?

What are the reasons you give for not losing weight and reaching your goals?

Write them down, crumble up the paper, and throw it in the recycle bin never to mention them again.

Then get down to work and lose the weight.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Random Thoughts 1/21

Haven't been on here in a while, pretty busy with the New Years Resolutioners, so I thought I'd just give some thoughts and what not.

-First and foremost, I have gained 4.5 lbs in the past two weeks so Project 190 is nicely on its way. Been pushing some solid weights and plan on seeing increases throughout. I have two more weeks of phase one and then I will be posting the workout on here for everyone to see. Stay tuned.

-The gym has been crazy packed the past couple weeks. It seems that everyone has taken to their New Years Resolutions of losing weight and getting in shape. As much as I love seeing people in the gym trying to better themselves, I know that 90% of these people will be quitting within the next month. It is sad that this is true but it is. It's like a group of tourists. They are visiting my home land and just getting in the way and once the season is over they will all be gone. All I know is it is a a tough ass time trying to get ahold of equipment right now.

-One thing I have been noticing around the training world over the past couple of months is exercise execution. This is something that is overlooked and I see a lot of trainers who prescribe exercises but don't know how to teach them correctly, or in some cases do them correctly themselves. A word to trainers out there...Know how to perform the exercises you prescribe and what to look for when these exercises are being done. Give coaching cues. As a trainer, you are not there to just tell people what to do but to teach as well.

-Just remember to always keep learning and improving your craft. Whatever you do, improve your game. Too many people become complacent and quit learning, quit improving, and just stay stagnant. Always improve, ALWAYS.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Do You Need Some Help?

I was waiting on a client to arrive the other day when this lady approached me. I asked her if I could help her and she explained, in a agitated tone, that she had joined the gym 3 days ago and was yet to receive a tour and had no clue what to do while she was there. I asked her what she needed to b shown to her, thinking she wanted to know a few exercises for this or that, and she responded with, "Everything." Thrown off by that comment I explained to her the complimentary intro to personal training and asked if I could schedule her an appointment. She didn't want that and instead explained that she wanted to use one of the machines in the cardio theatre and needed someone to show her how to use it. Trying to be courteous, I asked around but all the trainers were busy so I just directed her to the front of the gym to request a tour. On the inside however, I was rushing with insults and confusion. I just don't understand how people can be so helpless. They all want everyone else to do things for them instead of doing it on their own.

I realize the gym can be an intimidating place, especially to the new member who may not be in the best shape. However, it is not an impossible task to come in, not knowing anything, and figure out how to use the equipment. Most of the cardio machines are as simple as getting on and pushing start. Beyond that, there is a track which all you have to do is walk. We do that everyday, some less than others but regardless. The resistance training machines are similar in that regard. Each piece of equipment has a written and picture description of how and what. And if you want to get real crazy, people could go on the Internet and so some research on working out to figure out some simple workouts and exercises to do while in the gym. WHOA!

Don't get me wrong, I have a job because many people are ignorant to exercise and need that help. I'm a specialist. However, people need to learn to take some responsibility. I have talked about this before and will more than likely talk about it again. It is your life people. Why wait for others to direct you or hold your hand while you go through it. Take control and figure it out on your own. You will be much more successful this way and when that time comes that you have no one to lean on, you will be prepared to go to battle. There is always a way to get something done so figure it out and do it. Research, try things out, experiment. You may not always be right on the first time but you can learn from your mistakes and figure out the best way to do something without relying solely on others to do it for you.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Project 190, The Rest of the Story

I made mention last week of something I called Project 190 so I thought I would let you in on a little more detail. As I discussed, I have been on an upward grind to gain weight over the past 8 years and have made some decent gains. At this point however, I am ready to get myself to that next level. The past few weeks I have lowered my lifting volume, focusing more on mobility, form, and recovery. After these few weeks, my body is recovered and ready to move some big weight again. Start Project 190.

I have created a 12-week program that is similar to a program I completed last January. My strength increases were great so I figured I would use the same principles, making a few adjustments with the things I have learned over the past year. As far as my nutrition goes, I am making some adjustments to make sure that not only I am taking in a lot more calories but eating cleanly and properly. I will be consuming some type of meal every couple hours, my bigger meals being close to 1000 calories. I am also adding a peri-workout protein drink and a pre-bed protein shake. Some other small adjustments I am making include the addition of walnuts to smoothies, sunflower seeds as a part of my afternoon snack, and I will also not put a limit on spending for groceries.

As far as the workout goes, I have created a push/pull split, four days a week. I really like the push pull split because it allows me to work each muscle group twice per week and I am also able to lift maximal weights on each lift because my muscles are not fatigued as they would be towards the end of a body part split workout. Each week also includes both unilateral and bilateral work of each movement. If you are interested in seeing the workout in more detail, shoot me an email.

My pre-measurements are listed below. I am upset with some of these numbers but hey, it is more room to improve and grow.

Weight: 180
Fat %: 12.1 (not sure on the accuracy of this...Omeron was used)
Circumference measurements (in.):
Shoulders: 49
Chest: 39.75
Waist: 32.5
Hips: 39.75
Thigh: 22.5
Calf: 13
Arm: 13.5
Bench Max: 300
Squat Max: 385 (WEAKSAUCE)
Vertical: 30in.
3RM Pull up: +80

My main goals in terms of numbers include increasing my weight to 190, my squat to 420, bench to 315. I would also like to see an increase in my vertical and with the weight gain an increase in circumference measurements. Stay tuned for updates of Project 190 and as my boy Tech N9ne said, "I'm hype cuz the beast is evolving!"