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.