Tuesday, December 30, 2008


For as long as I've known about New Year's, I've known that you're supposed to make a New Year's resolution. A new start, to a new year, to a better you. It's often a resolution to quit something...smoking, eating too much, cursing, you name it...if it's bad for you someone along the way has decided to give it up for the New Year. The other majority of promises have to do with increasing one's health, the biggest is to start working out or going to the gym.

With everything bad that we're quitting and all the new and healthy things we've added to our lifestyle, well we should be some of the healthiest and most fit folks ever. We might even be...at least for a month. Then before we've even become accustom to our new lifestyle, temptation grabs hold and quickly steers most of us back to our previous and somewhat undesirable way of life.

It's clear that my thoughts about the New Year's Resolution aren't all that high. However, it has helped some of us, and perhaps this year it will effect a few more. My question is, well two-fold I guess...

If you're going to attempt to make such profound changes in your life, why not stick with it a little longer to actually see the benefit and results that will encourage you to stick with it longer? And, secondly, why use the New Year as your crutch?

Committ to a change and stick with it, whether it's tomorrow night or in the middle of March, follow through with what you commit yourself to, and enjoy the benefits of doing so.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Blaming Desire

Uh oh, what on earth could I possibly be talking about? Emotions drive our actions, ranging from desire to anger, and vanity to angst. These emotions are responsible for our want to workout or sit on the couch, they influence the way we eat, they are even the reason we choose indulgence over satisfaction.

You're stuck when one emotion controls multiple actions. For example, most of us want to look good in a bathing suit, yet that same group of people will also on occassion (some more than others) give in to food cravings and the comfort of the couch. So how do you train your brain to put down the bonbon and pick up the kettlebells (or dumbbells, barbells, you get my point)?

I'm sure there are a ton of answers out there, just as there is for everything, but the one answer we're all looking for is the one that helps us out. Fair enough. The problem lies in motivation and accountability. I know I shouldn't eat that dark chocolate truffle with that smooth, melt in your mouth buttercream filling, but let's be honest, I sometimes indulge (ah, back to an emotion).

The question is, how do I train myself to believe that I'm better off without the bonbon? Simple answer is, when you eat too many you feel like crap. Another questions is, do I really want to get up off the couch and hit the gym? Simple answer is, you may not want to, but the only way to fit into the one size too small bikini you bought for vacation is to go. It also helps to tease yourself. Tell yourself that you can have a not-so-good-for-you-dessert after dinner because you went to the gym and got in a good workout. Chances are you'll feel really good about/from the workout, you won't want to ruin it with the dessert. And reality is after a few weeks of questioning emotions and actions together the good choices will start to just happen without having to think about it all the time because it's about making a lifestlye change not about going on a diet.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Thanks Sam...

Well, well, well...

Looks like it's been a month (or more) since I posted to my own blog...tisk tisk. I blame all the good things that have been happening, not a bad thing to blame I suppose.

The gym is moving to a bigger space.

The gym is moving about two blocks from it's current location. We're expanding in size by two and a half times. It's going to be an amazing space, and we're looking at January for the official move. The grand opening (which includes one hell of a workout among other things will follow the move.)

There are a number of other things in the works, but I want to keep them quiet until they are all official.

So, I hope you are all still training hard and achieving your goals. I'll need everyone's progress of the 6 week challenge to post the results.

Hope you stick around, it's going to be a fun and wild ride.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Five Weeks In

Some of the masses from the juvenile diabetes walk yesterday. It ended up being a beautiful day despite the monsoons we experienced the day before. A nice little group of friends and family participated in the walk. Thanks everyone!

Next year, I think I'm going to give 'JDRF Ride To Cure Diabetes' a shot. It's held in four locations, Sonoma, Whitefish, Death Valley, and Asheville. Each location has a 30 mile course, 62 mile course, and 100 mile course of riding. I've actually never been on my bike for more than 10 miles at a time so this should proove to be an interesting training experience for me. The dates for 2009 aren't set yet, but I imagine it'll be an amazing experience. Check it out.


There's just about a week left of the 6 week challenge. I'd love to hear how everyone is doing and progressing.

Friday, October 17, 2008

To Motivate You...

The other day Erica sent me an email with the status of the challenge she proposed to herself. It may inspire you. Here's the exact email.

Hey Pam

I just wanted to update you on the progress of my new healthy lunch goal. I wanted to share because the results are seriously better than I could have ever anticipated and I'm so excited about it.

I started bringing my lunch or getting salads and some sort of protein from the cafeteria. Sure, I am saving money, but that's not the best thing that's happening. I find that when I eat a healthy lunch (in lieu of heavy or carb-y restaurant food), I feel SO GOOD for the rest of the day. I do not get tired. This means no feeling like I'm going to fall asleep by the end of the workday, and no desire to take a nap before class. It also means that my performance in workouts is better. This floored me. Last night, I was the first one to finish the Crossfit workout and that never happens to me. I didn't get tired or feel like I was going to puke at all. I was like "wtf is going on here?" It allows me to work out harder; it's amazing.

I also find that eating a good lunch sets a healthy precedent for the rest of the day. If I know my lunch was really healthy, I have no desire to fuck up with restaurant food or unhealthy snacks later.

So in short, I am AMAZED at this simple step I've taken and the chain reaction it's had. I didn't expect it. I mean, I knew intellecutally that diet was a huge part of the equation, but I was minimizing it because my own on-the-run eating was bad. This is the best change I've made for myself since I decided to "get healthy" in the first place a year and a half ago!


Excellent work Erica!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

As the cold season approaches...

Cold on two fronts, for that matter. The cold (coughing, sneezing, running nose) season and the cold (brrr) season are fast approaching us. In fact, I think we're already in the midst of the first one.

The cold season can take a toll on working out in many ways...

1. When it's no longer light in the morning, it's harder to get out of bed.
2. When it's cold in the morning it's harder to get out of bed.
3. When you have a cold you're less motivated to get to the gym.
4. Since it's getting colder you're wearing bigger clothes and it's easier to hide the fact that you haven't been making it to the gym.
5. The fall season brings us baked goods that seem simply irresitable, like pumpkin pie, apple pie, fresh baked muffins, and so much more.

Since I just listed the majority of excuses for you, there's no need to use them. In fact making sure you get in your workout during the next few months is even better for you (no I don't have research on that but it makes sense) for the following reasons.

1. The stressors of the holiday season are slowly creaping upon us, relieve all that stress with a good quick workout.
2. The food of the holiday season is creaping into our homes, and offices, and everywhere we turn, so getting in your workout helps you to say no to them, or atleast gives you the boost you need to get rid of them after you've eaten them.
3. While you're friends are hiding in their bulkly winter wears you won't have to worry when that unseasonably warm day comes along that calls for a tshirt and jeans.
4. Lastly, we all need some 'me' time during the upcoming holiday season, so make sure you're working out several times a week, and start thinking of yourself.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Self Evaluation

It is easy for us to forget about the small things we do on a daily basis. Not only that, but there are two ways that this can effect us. For one, forgetting about the handfull of M&Ms you ate at the receptionist desk, and the half a cookie you ate with your afternoon coffee, can negatively effect your training/weight loss goals. The second is forgetting that you take the stairs 8 flights each morning, afternoon and evening, or that you walk to work rather than drive.

My point is this, you might not drop those last 5lbs if you keep forgetting about the M&Ms and the cookie, and you might not realize the actual difference of taking the stairs or walking on a daily basis in addition to your regular workout routine but both add up.

The best thing to do is to keep a journal of your nutrition and daily activities. If you write down everything and don't end up with selective memory, you might notice a pattern, or realize you snack poorly far more often than you ever remember.

This isn't a task you need to complete for the rest of your life, unless you really want to, but it is a great task to do for about 6-8 weeks every 3-4 months. Get yourself in check, and if you notice you might be slacking again in a few months, simply start keeping the journal again. There's nothing like stepping back and taking a look at the whole picture.

Monday, October 06, 2008

A Little Disappointed

This is not the picture of a person who you would expect to use...

these 5 pound dumbbells. Does she or is she trying to get women to follow her workout?

I don't regularly read Shape magazine, but for some reason or another it, along with several other magazines, are sent to the gym. So imagine my suprise when I'm flipping through the Novenber issue of Shape and come accross an artcile with a circuit training program that Gina Carano uses.

Score! I can't wait to read this, she is after all, The Female Mixed Martial Artist.

Imagine my disappoint when I read the article. I know, I didn't think it was possible, but here she is an undefeated female mixed martial artist. She spares in the ring for a living, and she's talking about needing strength, endurance, and balance to supplement her technique training, and she's using 5 - 10lb dumbbells in the article! Give me a break!!

I don't know what to believe. Does she really use 5-10lb dumbbells? Or is she softening the size of the weights she regularly uses so more women try the workout?

I don't care! This is absurd. I've said it a million and one times, a woman's purse, or backpack for that matter, weighs more than 5-10lbs. You can't tell me that this undefeated mixed martial artist trains with 5-10lb dumbbells. She punches and kicks her opponents in the face of crying outloud!

She talks about jumping rope and shadow boxing, that's great, perfect movement patterns for active rest (no complaints...seriously,) but afterwards we're supposed to be doing a twisting squat with a 10lb dumbbell, good morning raises (which just has a standing calf raise after the good morning is performed---which isn't necessary) and partial one legged squats. I can't believe what I am reading.

I have more work to do than I thought.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Extra Incentive

To help keep you on track with the goals I challenged you to a few days ago, I've decided to give away some free training material the person who meets their stated goals within the next six weeks.

You still have a chance to join in on the challenge. All you have to do is post your goals on the blog as well as your progress. It's pretty simple, and I guarantee that by checking in you'll reach your goals even sooner.

The person who meets their goals and keeps us update through the blog will recieve a copy of 'The Redeemer - The bodyweight workout guide' as well as a copy of my brand new conditioning DVD. No charge to you, just keep posting your progress on the blog.

Looking forward to hearing about the challenges you've chosen.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I'm Challenging You!

For the next 6 weeks, just in time for the start of the holiday season, I'm challenging you to step it up a notch in your strength and conditioning program.

All you have to do is commit to one positive change, add a new type of training, add an additional training day (without over training), take one bad thing out of your diet. The choice is yours.

Post your goals here, and check in regularly to let me know how you're doing. Think of it as your online training support group. I'm excited to hear how it goes!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Entering the World of MMA

The interest of women in martial arts has been significantly smaller than the percentage of men involved. Lately, a great many more women have taken a liking to martial arts, most specifically mixed martial arts. For this I'll thank the two prime time fights that have occurred in the past few months, as well as the fights shown on Showtime and a few other sources.

Who would have thought that women would enjoy taking a punch to the face, a pounding in the ribs, and possibly facing an armbar or a choke that leaves you momentarily lifeless on the mat?? Or better yet, being the one administering the pain?

Despite my interest in the sport of mixed martial arts and my great fondness for Brazilian jiu-jitsu, I never would have guessed that more and more women are interested in the sport of mixed martial arts. I'm curious to the reason of the increased interest and if it's one that will not only last but increase as the years continue.

Although the female interest has increased, it's overall involvement is still low and limits some tournaments and fights to few opponents. Will there one day be a following like that of other sports that were previously dominated by men? I personally have promised to my dear folks that I will not enter a ring, but I will continue my pursuit of excellence in the sport of Brazilian jiu-jitsu. I wonder how the rest feel?

Friday, September 26, 2008


Most things in life require focus, at least those things that we want to yield great results. Lots of things fall into that category; business, health and fitness, education, success.

Funny how those things are so different from each other, but also really aren't all that different.

If I start a health and fitness program, or even a sport specific strength and conditioning program with specific goals and outcomes in mind, I have to stick with that plan. I might even have to make adjustments to the plan to make it work for me and yield the highest results. This all takes focus.

If I want my business to be profitable and continue to grow I have to work at it, I have to have a plan in place for every possible scenario that could arise. Business being the way it is, I might even have to add in a few plans, or again change something that's already been started.

Anything that has come easily, isn't appreciated as much, had you had to really work for it.

Focus...if you desire to have success (whatever realm it may be in) make it happen, surround yourself with people who will support you, close the door on those who don't, educate yourself, ask questions, be open minded, never give up, work hard, have fun, and believe in yourself and your goals.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The 24kg is my friend, and yours too!

Believe it or not the very first time I ever picked up a kettlebell it was 24kg! No worries I didn't do much with it, maybe some deadlifts and a few low swings. Regardless, after that I was hooked! I had only done a few things with it, and it seemed like so much fun, until then working out was not fun.

I immeadiately bought an 8kg, and quickly found a the need for a 12kg and 16kg. The strength gains were amazing, the lean muscle gain was amazing, and working out was now amazing.

Advancing through the bells was, at times, difficult but I knew I could do more. I had crossed paths with multiple people who knew I could do more as well. I trusted that and I went with it. Working with the 24kg regularly has made me the strongest I have ever been and I am feeling great too.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Strength and Conditioning for MMA

It's no secret that the sport of MMA has been unleashed, and the fans are popping up everywhere. Within the past few months women's MMA has gained popularity as well, and it seems like these girls are really working on their strength and conditioning. It might just seem like they are since we're only seeing one women's bout and multiple men's but regardless the display is noticeable. (Likewise for those who aren't incorporating any strength and conditioning.)

The benefits of having a good conditioning program that supplements any martial art training are two fold. Having the strength and stamina to out last your opponent is crucial. Think about it, if your skill level is identical to the person's you are fighting, or worse yet it's better, and you lose because you got tired, you could have (should have) done something about that.

Secondly, if you're already training a martial art you've more than likely seen your fitness level increase. Why not have your health and fitness levels increase even more by including a simple yet effective conditioning program?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Sports and Fitness

If you play a sport does that automatically mean you are fit? Chances are, no. So, if you're fit can you play any sport? I'm sure you could play, but you might not be the best. Which is better? For some it's a toss up, for me it's clear. I'd rather be able to attempt to play multiple sports and not be the best at all of them but have the stamina to perform them, than be stuck with one sport forever and not be able to be even average at something else.

The short of it is this...in addition to your sport specific training you also need to work on your general strength and conditioning. Not only will a good strength and conditioning program make you stronger, it will also make you a better athlete within your sport. The carry over to everyday fuunctional movement will also be of extreme benefit to you.

This is especially important for young athletes. Young athletes specialize in sport so early that they become good at one thing, and are sometimes even unable to perform other activities or sports. Young athletes whose sport is primarily lower body strength dominant may have very little if any upper body strength. A good strength and conditioning program would incorporate upper body strength into these young athletes training programs to make them a better balanced athlete.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Rugby in a few short words with more to follow

I’ve never played the sport, although I admire those that do, both male and female. Several of my friends husbands play, several of my new friends play, I’ve trained almost a dozen of them, and well there’s a lot to consider. It takes a good amount of endurance, speed and agility, and strength. It takes passion, accountability, dedication to hard work and a touch (or more) of nutrition and recovery.

Speed and agility today, practice tomorrow, conditioning the next, and game day to follow, yikes! It’s almost as if these players have a part time job, oh wait… they do.

The demands of a chosen sport are real, it’s not some sort of Nancy game you decide to just partake in. As with all sports, you need to be serious at times, you need to focus, you need to train, you need to practice, and you need to develop your skills, among many other things.

How do you balance the demands of life, your work, your home, your play with your sport? For those who are passionate and serious you find a way, for those who are not one area begins to slack. Balance is key, and your success is how much you put into it.

Monday, September 08, 2008

You only have 4 more days!

That's right, there are only 4 more days until the voting polls close for the Best Gym in Philadelphia.

If you've already voted, THANK YOU!!! If you haven't voted, it's very easy, just click on the link below.


Simply click on the vote link, enter your email, and verify the vote. It only takes 2 minutes, unless you'd like to write a fabulous review.

We'll be having a Fall BBQ once we're announced as the winner, so you don't want to miss out on that!

Thanks again!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

My apologies

I know, it's been two weeks since I last updated the blog, my apologies, one day went to the next and then a whole two weeks had passed.

I've talked a little bit about consistancy before, but I'm going to open the topic up for discussion again (this has nothing to do with not updating the blog in two weeks.) The key to any training and/or nutrition program is consistancy, without it we're left with a hap-hazard randomness that leaves us with minimal results, if any, and a severe lack of accountability.

This past weekend I was out of town for four days, a mini vacation, yet I still worked out during two of those four days. Why? For one, I knew I'd feel better if I did a quick workout in the mornings. Two, I didn't want to have a tough time getting back in to the swing of things once I got home. Three, just because I'm on vacation doesn't mean I can let my normal lifestyle go to crap. Four, my friends wanted to try my workouts so I had a group of people to workout with while I was away.

With the exception of one day, I even ate well while I was away. I was surrounded with temptations that don't usually enter my own home, so I'm quite pleased with myself that I turned them down.

Long story short, once you make working out and good nutrition a part of your everyday living, it's easier and more compelling to stick with the plan. When you stick with the plan you see results. When you see results you want to stick with the plan to see more results.

See where I'm going with this? Consistancy.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

What's All This Talk...

Everyone has an opinion but no one cares to listen. I doubt I'm the only person who has ever been asked a question, and upon giving the reply, get this hazy look of confusion or the gear-grinding look of a statement that's about to be started with the word, 'but.'

Listening has become a long lost art that few can master and even fewer understand the importance of. So what seems to be the issue? Perhaps we've become so accustomed to hearing ourselves talk that we have no room for what others have to say. If that's the case why do people still ask questions? As with everything, there needs to be some give and take. If you've ignored the words of others for no other reason than liking to hear yourself speak, then why should we jump to answer your question, certainly not because it's 'our time' to talk.

Listening should be thought of as a virtue as well as a learning experience. I may not acquire textbook knowledge from listening to someone speak in a casual conversation but I've learned a little about their thoughts and ideas, I've become better acquainted with the things that drive them, the person they are, the things they wish to achieve, and what they believe in. I can't do that if I'm talking all the time.

In my profession if I haven't listened to you than I won't be able to help you achieve your goals, you might achieve the goals I have for you, but I'm sure the ones that are more important are the goals youv'e set for yourself. And if I listen to what you have to say perhaps the height of your goals will become even higher because we'll work togehter to set them and then achieve them.

Thoughts occur naturally, sometimes more often in some of us, but if we aren't encouraged to share them and in turn have someone listen to them, how do we manage to turn our thoughts into conversations if only person is always doing the talking?

Have you started to listen yet?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

All You Need

Although I am co-owner of a gym in Philadelphia, and I want people to come to my gym to workout, it mystifies me that so many folks think you need a gym to workout. The reality is you can get many places and achieve many goals just by having one of these...

Combine kettlebell training with bodyweight training and you have plenty of workouts at your fingertips. You can train outside, in your garage, at the park, at the beach, on your lunch break, on vacation, or practically anywhere for that matter.

The kettlebell provides a portable training system, that's easy to store, and in the larger scheme of things costs practically nothing after the initial investment. So if you can't make it everyday to the gym, there's always time to do a quick twenty minute workout that involves you and your kettlebell.

Here's one just for fun...

20 Swings
20 Push Ups
10 Front Squats

5 Rounds

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Who are you holding yourself accountable to?

Yeah, those are actually full range of motion pull ups, not sure which set I'm on, but it was a tough workout regardless.

Time to teach yourself a lesson in accountability. We all have health and fitness goals, right?! So what's holding you back? Sure, some of us are right on top of it, putting forth our best effort, and conquering every last thing we said we'd do. Then there are the rest of us, who work really hard on all aspects (working out, nutrition, recovery) for a few weeks and then we start to slip. Then there is another group that works out consistantly with a lot of effort, but we haven't got out nutrition dialed in or we eat too much (yes, eating too much of good food is also bad.) The last group is those of us who actually eat really well and control our portions but haven't worked out in years (this is fake fitness.) I'm skipping the group that eat's like crap and doesn't workout.

For those of us who aren't leading the picture perfect view of what health and fitness should look like, what are you going to do about it? (Assuming you want to do something about it, that is.) If I have a goal for you, that you could care less about, chances are you aren't going to reach that goal. So...

What do you want to achieve?

What do you want to prove?

Start breaking it down, what are your short term goals, what are your long term goals? Develop an initial plan and stick to it, re evaluate the plan every few weeks and see if you're staying on track, if not adjust where necessary. Enlist the help of a friend who will be there to keep you on track if you start to slip, someone who's willing to give you positive reinforcement, to help you reach your goals.

Use this person to help you, set up some guidelines and rules that you both have to stick to, to get the job done. It's always a little easier if you have to answer to someone else.

Monday, August 11, 2008

"Stacking Fitness on Dysfunction"

That sounds like the worst idea possible, however after this past weekend, it seems as though many of us, myself included, are doing it on a regular basis. We either know we are doing it, or haven't got a clue.

I know that I personally am working around some injuries. In fact I gut through it almost daily, grimace with some pain, and complete my workout. I rationalize it as not having the time to take off and get healthy again. Tournaments are coming up in two months, among some other competitive events in the months to follow, so how can I possibly take time off to heal and still be ready? In my mind I can't, but duh, I can do other things, and take a week or two to address the issues I'm having and come back stronger and more powerful than before.

All of these revelations came about after the CK-FMS this weekend and some small talk about Z Health. After discussing my extreme disappointment with my low scores on the FMS due to pain, I was posed with the following thought...

'You're already strong and well conditioned, imagine what you could do if you took the time to fix yourself.'

I imagined that thought for just a split second, and holy shit! Talk about eye opening. The fact that one of my most nagging injuries is already less bothersome, is truly the best thing that came out of this past weekend. I'm not planning too far in advance, just incase I have to take a detour, but as of right now, I am ready to see what's on the other side of the brick wall.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Kick It Up A Notch

For those of you who watch the Food Network, you're familiar with Emril's phrase, 'Kick it up a notch!' It's a good phrase, and although I'm not applying it to food today, it works for a variety of other things as well, most specifically training.

We've all it that plateau in training at some point or another. In fact, if you're like me I'm sure you've tried to avoid it, but regardless it still happens. I've had four seperate and entirely unrelated conversations in the past week about plateaus, sticking points, and simply just wanting to take it to the next level. I hear you! So let's do it.

Strength comes in numbers and switching it up with a little extra guidance or support might be what we all need. Even if it's something as small as taking one food item out of your diet, adding one extra workout a week, or even switching the days of your workouts. The worst thing any athlete/fitness guru wants to have happen is a stalemate in training. We get comfortable in our daily patterns, we allow our bodies to accomodate to whatever training stimulus previously worked for us. Constantly review your nutrition and training programs, see if there is a flaw somewhere, and look at the entire picture.

Feel free to share some ideas, or ask questions. Those four conversations I had this past week, share some thoughts here and use each other for motivation. It never hurts to have a lending hand.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Your Training Environment

I've never really had that feeling of needing to force myself to workout. Sure, I might skip a day or two, or perhaps I'll take it easy on some days, but I don't feel like I'm dragging myself to the gym for a workout and dreading every minute of it. And no, it's not because I'm already in the gym. The fact of the matter is, I usually like to train outside of the gym. There are days when that just isn't possible, but whenever I can I head outside, to the park, to the track, or even to the backyard. I love to be outside.

That's why I was so excited to workout on the beach this weekend. I couldn't wait, I even got up early on a Saturday to go. (I won't talk about the crazy storm that pushed my workout back 8 hours) Found a spot on the beach that was perfect, a few soft sand spots, a few hard sand spots, a little incline, and close to the water (my favorite part.)

I think it's really important to head outside, or at least change the scenery of where you workout. If your job keeps you in doors all day long, the best thing you can do for yourself is to go outside! Working out in fresh air, natural sunlight, and away from what you typically look at and do. It's so beneficial to your overall health.

Step aside and see where you go.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

What's your health worth?

What's your health worth to you? Seems like a simple question, but few answer that question with a lot of thought. A simple answer is, "I want to be healthier." I would assume that most people want to be heathier, but then they turn around and have a pizza and regular soda for dinner.

Some more well thought out answers would be...

"My health is worth watching my children grow up."

"My health is worth leading a functional life now and when I am older."

"My health is worth being able to enjoy the physical aspects of life."

"My health is worth not having to take additional daily medications."

The short answer isn't specific. There isn't one thing that can be singled out and then drawn on as a negative if they don't choose to be healthy, at least not in relation to their life because we don't know what drives them.

In the last four answers, there is a constant reminder of not being able to see your children grow up, having to rely on others to do daily tasks and to get around, not being able to enjoy activities, or having to take medications. The last four answers give you a driving point a specific reason for working out and following proper nutrition.

The deeper you dig for an answer the more you find, the more you have to work toward, and the more reason you have to succeed. Generally speaking one thing always leads to another. Usually the first reason is more vague and the later reasons become more specific.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Learning, a lot!

I never consider that I know everything, I know that I don't. I might believe that I know at least a little more than most, but everything, no.

The thing that irritates me more than anything, even more than not lifting heavy weights, is the person who thinks they know more than I do. Everyone has their own little bubble of knowledge and we tend to excell in those things we are best at, but you can't be the best at everything.

I know that I'm not a stock market guru or an international language god, but I never pretend that I am. Sure I know a little bit about this, and a little bit about that, and a lot about a few things, I'm sure you do too, but they aren't the same things. I'll let you do what you do best, let me do what I do best.

Learning is a constant, and the second you step outside of it, and think you know it all, you've just lost it. Encourage knowledge, pass on what you know, but don't be a fool and avoid what others have to offer.

Friday, July 11, 2008


Have you ever looked back on your life to see if you can figure out why you are where you are? I don't know that most people give it a second thought, but for me it's a constant reminder. Of making things work, and working hard to make sure it gets done. Has it always been destined for me to end up where I am, or is it more like those children's stories where you can choose a different path, and the story has different endings depending on the path you chose? I don't have the answer exactly, but I'm leaning towards being able to choose your own path. Mostly because we all should encounter choices throughout our life, even the smallest ones can make the biggest difference.

The world is full of options and choices, from which we've all made bad decisions as well as ones that have fulfilled various stages of our lives with reason and desire. Each one leads us into the next chapter of our own lives, and adds to who we are, and why we do what we do.

If we choose the path that represents security, where the outcome is almost a guarantee, have we really attempted to make a change, to do something different, to step outside of our comfort zone? Not likely. It's almost as if you're letting your life be chosen for you. So why not chose your own path and ultimately your desired life?

We all have the ability to make the most of our lives, and really no one can or should stand in your way. If you've chosen the path less obvious, you've chosen to challenge yourself.

Why do what others expect of us, when we can expect ourselves to do amazing things?

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Manual Labor

As soon as I resigned myself to the fact that I'd be taking the day off, my Dad starts chiseling away at the brick in their basement, where the old coal stove used to be. After a few bricks, he said it was taking too long, so he was off to rent some power tool that would make the job easier. I should have let it go at that, I would have been driving home before he even got back, but instead I headed downstairs and started chiseling away.

It certainly wasn't an easy task, but one that not only required physical stength endurance but also a little bit of thinking. I watched the breaks in the cement start to form, noticed pockets of air that made some of the demolition easier, and strategically chose break lines that removed several bricks at time. All in all it was about 400lbs of brick. Still have some fatigue in my right hand, but by the time we were done breaking the bricks, and hauling them out of the house, and up to the barn, I had worked for a little over an hour, and was glad to be able to help, and get in an unexpected workout.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Back To Pressing Heavy

When you focus on strength training you get strong. When you focus on conditioning you have endurance. It's hard to do both.

Soon after I was pressing the 28kg kettlebell, I switched my focus to conditioning type workouts. Not to say that I had become weak by any means, but I started having difficulty with pressing the 20-24kg kettlebell, boo! This was (and sometimes still is) a struggle for me. It seemed simple enough that I should be able to spread my focus in two directions.

Focus, however needs focus. It's similar to completing a task. If you get in your car to go to the grocery store and end up stopping off for a cup of coffee on the way, which is right next door to the car wash, which reminds you that you need an oil change, two hours later you have no time left to go to the grocery store.

Although I am still strong, it's been a struggle for me to be my strongest and still have what I consider to be decent conditioning. We're about ready to see if I can do it. The next 15 weeks of my training is already planned out. I'll be reporting back on it's progress often, I'm sure with successes and frustrations.

Monday, June 23, 2008

How many times do I have to say it?

I feel like a broken record. So many women are still afraid to lift heavy weights, and I'm not really sure why. We had a trainer come in today, she's awesome by the way, and Jason wanted her to use the 20kg for TGUs and Snatches. She totally had it in her, but she was nervous and unsure of herself. Once she successfully completed reps of each movement on each arm she said, "I tell my women clients all the time to use heavier weights and then here I am not doing it myself until someone tells me to."

It's as simple as getting through everyday life. If I had to wait for someone else to help me carry in the dog food or to open a jar lid that was screwed on too tight, both my dog and I would go hungry. (Not that I eat food that comes in a jar.) Who wants their life to stop because thay can't do something? Certainly not me.

Just the other day I bought a four draw filing cabinet (that wasn't put together already.) I let one of the sales people scoot the long rectangular box out to my car and load it. Thank you. I honestly didn't think it was that heavy, but then I got home and had to move the damn thing myself.

Once I got it out of the car, I had to travel about 30 feet, then up a flight of stairs, around two corners, and finally another 15 feet to my office. This thing was not only heavy but awkward, I must have stopped and cursed at it a few dozen times. Honestly, it'd still be sitting in the back of my car if I was 80% or more of the single female population.

Point being, if you can't make it through daily life what purpose is there? If you can't pick up your kid to give them a hug, hoist around a few bags of mulch to make the flower bed look nicer, or more simply than that just stand up for yourself, what's the point? What's the point of leading such a sheltered life where someone has to do something so simple as carrying in the dog food for you?

I don't want that. I never will. And neither should you. Stand up for yourself.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Train Like A Girl

I can't remember the last time I rolled with another girl, I've been a part of The Boys Club in jiu-jitsu for more than six months. It's just the way it is right now, I can only hope it makes me a better athlete.

Sure, I'd like to train with other girls, preferably my own size, but it isn't going to happen, we're few and far between. Which leads me to why I'm so persistant on training well and doing my best...I won't settle for anything less. To me getting beat is getting beat, plain and simple. It doesn't matter if it's a guy or a girl, what matters is I finish, that I prove I can do it, that when I walk away I know I gave it my all.

I still run in to the typical dude that thinks because he's a dude, he's automatically better than me. If I had my way, I'd tell you to 'F' off. I probably won't train with you more than once anyway, unless I feel I should remind you that I should be considered a peer and not the person who should be making you dinner.

The reality is, it's still a man's world, at least in the sports world. It challenges me everyday, and I'll never give up.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Working Hard

When it comes to working out, I work hard. I make sure I train 5 days a week. I make sure my training sessions have purpose. Sure some days I might only have 20 minutes, but it doesn't stop me. The thing I can't stand the most, is when people tell me their too busy to workout. Too busy? It really isn't an excuse, I'm sure those same people have time to watch TV at night or in the middle of the day. It's all a matter of your priorities.

Everytime someone asks me what I do, I stupidly reply that I own a gym. This apparently gives them free rights to ask me what the best exercise is for a flatter stomach, a firmer butt, or less jiggly arms. I politely respond and by the time I'm finished with my second sentence, they either sigh because I've told them something they don't want to hear, or they tell me they don't have the time.

What is it with not having the time? Wake up earlier, go on your lunch break, stop off at the gym on your way home from work, I don't care what it is, something is always better than nothing. And, NO, tomorrow is not the best time to start, today IS. Everyone seems to have time to go to happy hour, to go shopping, to take a long lunch, and again time to watch TV. So if you have the free time to do these things, find time, make time to workout. It's good for your health and it relays a good message to your kids.

You can't complain about wanting/needing to do this that and the other thing as it directly relates to your physical appearance if you won't make the time to workout.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Hand Care 101

So you're a girl (or a guy) and you lift weights. Thank goodness! You might have one hang-up, your hands. No big deal, I understand this 100%, but no you can't use gloves. I know you think it's better for your hands to do so, but in reality the use of gloves can get in the way, as well as alter the way the weight feels in your hands.

Here's some simple steps of taking care of your hands. Some I've learned from others, some I've picked up on my own, either way it seems to work really well if you keep up with it.

I use a really fine grade pummice stone about once a week, either about five minutes after getting out of a warm shower or after doing the dishes. Dry off your hands, and gently slide the pummice stone over the calluses.

In between using the pummice stone, maybe 2-3 times a week, I use a moderately coarse nail file on dry hands.

During the day, I use plenty of the infamous Corn Huskers Lotion, since it isn't greasy. At night I use a gernerous amount of cocoa butter on my hands right before I go to bed.

It's all pretty simple, and if you keep up with it, your calluses won't get too big, too hard, or rip in the middle of a set of kettlebell snatches.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Being enough

Winning is great, but sometimes just completing what you set out to do is enough.

Many of us have a competitive nature, if not with other people at least with ourselves. We get caught up in doing better than the person next to us, yet we lose focus on why we started the journey in the first place. Whether it's completing a triathlon, getting a one rep max that exceeds your goal, or even successfully completing something the first time you try it, there's always a reason why you started in the beginning. The people who succeed the most, are those who start a goal based on knowing themselves, and always remember it.

It's easy to lose sight of an original goal if something gets in your way, if someone challenges you to do more than you agreed, or if you get caught up in the moment and simply bite off more than you can chew. The reality is, all you can really expect from yourself is to be better than yourself. No one is like you, so you shouldn't compare yourself to those around you. We each have own talents and successes and they are ours because we worked for them and succeeded. If we gave up along the way, we have no one blame but ourselves, and if someone did better than us, then we should hand-out congratulations.

Keeping people near to us who impose great demands can be crucial to any training program, however they should remain reminders and not reasons. We are only as good as we make ourselves, and no one can take that away from us.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

How Many Ways...?

There are many ways to do many different things. It's safe to say that any action can be executed in a multitude of different ways. So what exactly makes one way the best way, the most preferable way, or even the least effecient way? Does it come down to a matter of opinion? Maybe because it's always been done a certain way? Perhaps there is an actual science that proves it. Whatever it is, and all answers could be right for different actions, there are hundreds of ways.

I could go on for hours about the best way to dress, the best way to talk, the best way to travel, but instead it seems more appropriate to discuss the best way to train.

How can there be a 'best way to train' when I just said there are so many different ways to do practically everything? That's simple. The best way to train is to appropriately train for your goal. Now, the training program might not be that simple, but training for your particular goal will be the best way to train.

Let's assume, we want to achieve 20 pull ups in a certain period of time. You aren't going to spend your training sessions focusing on running. This doesn't mean you can't run, but if you don't practice your pull ups several times a week (and I'm talking 5 times a week) you won't be doing 20 pull ups.

Likewise if you are concerned about your conditioning and endurance for your particular sport, you'll spend several days a week working on your conditioning in addition to training for your sport. You won't benefit by doing 1 rep max lifts if your focus is on your conditioning.

Once you start the training program for your goal there will be various different ways to perform the vast majority of movements. What is the best way to do a kettlebell snatch, the best push up variation, the best pull up variation? This all depends on your specific goals.

'The Best Way' is relative to what you are training for. Which is why there are so many ways to execute actions.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

The Broad Street Run

This photo shows no justice to the number of people that ran the Broad Street Run this year. The exact number I'm not quite sure, but it's over 22,000 people! That's half as many people I went to college with.

As we all know I lost a bet with a client, which gave me the priviledge of running the race today, I couldn't be happier for her, and now I have just one more notch on my own belt marked off.

These are the stats, and they are by no means impressive to anyone other than myself. When I found out I'd have to run this race I decided that finishing would be the goal, I had three weeks, and hadn't trained a bit. As the race got closer, being the person that I am, not only did I have to finish but I had to finish in under 2 hours! Have I mentioned that I've never run more than 3 miles continuously in my life?

Once we arrived, I anxiously awaited the start, and either wanted to just get it over and done with or walk off the course and sit in the grass. Thankfully, I was running with someone else who took pity on me when Susan completed her five pull-ups. Thanks Rich, you helped me keep my focus many times!

My goal was to hit 3-4 miles, walk a little bit, run another 2-3, walk a little bit, and finish the last 3. Each mile we came accross our time strangley got faster, who knew. Once I hit mile 3 I wanted to run to mile 4, and once I hit mile 4 I wanted to make it to mile 5 or City Hall. I hit City Hall but saw no mile marker, I thought mile 4 was the longest damn mile I ever ran in my entire life, then when I was about to give up hope, I saw mile 6 and I was under an hour. With halfway to go, I chose to stop and walk, my toes were numb, my left leg from my glutes all the way to my ankle was killing me. Of course the only injury I was worried about, my back, didn't even make a peep. Not to mention, at this point some people had already finished the race!

For the next 3 miles I alternated back and forth between walking and running. Rich picked a landmark that we had to run to and once I made I could either continue to run or start walking again. Good strategy. As we approached the last mile, I hear, "I want to run the last mile." In my head I was running the last half mile, but I sucked it up big time and trudged through the last mile, in through The Navy Yard and through the finish line, in under two hours.

The funny part is I'm more impressed with the 6 miles I ran without stopping than I am with the 10 miles I finished. I imagine I'll never do such a silly thing again, and when I wake up tomorrow morning, I know my legs will confirm that.


Today Is The Day!

The Broad Street Run starts in about an hour and a half, and I find it ironic that I'm calmly sitting at the computer eating my breakfast. Really though, what else am I going to do? No sense getting all stressed out over it.

I did get plenty of emails, texts, and verbal "Good Lucks!" yesterday and last night. I have lots of good thoughts and people to think about as I'm striding through some of the sites of the city. Thank you.

Details to follow.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

The Countdown Begins

Should I list the days, hours, or minutes until the Broad Street Run? It's less than 3 days, about 61 hours, and roughly 3,660 minutes. An interesting breakdown. Regardless, for someone who's training is all about strength gains, and short yet effective workouts, this has been somewhat of a challenging experience for me. Trust me, I've thought about throwing in the towel on this one, but then I figure what for? I made a bet and now I have to live up to my end of the deal, run...10 miles.

Two weeks ago I was sick and the most exercise I got was during the demos of workouts. Now that I'm about 95% healthy I'm itching to get in one of those off the wall workouts, that in my eyes I'm famous for, but I'm stuck running and keeping the workouts low key, at least for 3 more days (or 61 hours or 3660 minutes). I admit I even attempted some negotiations of a 2 mile fireman's carry over this 10 mile run down Broad Street, Susan was even going to be the one who was being carried, she still chose the running!

I can't quite tell if the people I see every day have faith in me or pity for me. I'm used to the faith, at least when it comes to challenges of strength. But in the end they must be the same. Well not physically of course, Turkish Get Ups with a 36kg kettlebell is completely different than a 10 mile race, but mentally they have to share similarities. Mentally I have to know that I can stand up with that amount of weight overhead, just as mentally I know I have to be able to make it the 10 miles down Broad Street. The difference being, the Turkish Get Up takes at most 3 to 5 mintues, and the race, well I'm hoping the race is over in under two hours.

And what's it all for? It's a strange little world we live in. I made this bet to challenge a client who clearly had the capabilities of doing 5 pull ups, she has a lot more in her too, just as everyone else I work with, but it takes a different type of motivation for each person you work with, sometimes it's hard to find sometimes it's easy. I put myself on the line for this one. I hope she keeps them up, just as I'm sure she hopes that I keep running. I wonder if either one will continue?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Words of Wisdom

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." -Leonardo da Vinci

Some I suppose would expect such words from the man who painted the Mona Lisa, orchestrating extreme sophistication from utter simplicity. Truly, such a simple piece of artwork holds the eyes of so many who gather to see it, I know it was one piece of artwork on my list to see when visiting the Louvre.

While it was not a simplistic approach to study anatomy for the purpose of art, da Vinci studied the human body in as much detail as he was allowed in order to create such masterpieces.

It holds truth, truth that I believe.

Centuries later, Audrey Hepburn is often photographed in a black dress, hair up, and jewels, it doesn't get much more simplistic or sophisticated than that. An icon of beauty without frill, fab, or frolic.

I do not own Gucci sunglasses, I do not own a Prada handbag, I do not own Seven jeans, and I do not drive a foreign sports car.

Simple does not mean boring, simple does not mean dull or less exciting, but rather an exquisite way to make a statement that will last in the minds of many.

So, I guess to tie this into training, it seems as though the simple methods are more effective than the elaborate and complicated. I find truth and effectiveness in kettlebell training or functional training rather than the advanced, high dollar systems that teach us balance and coordination which we can learn simply by practice.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Running, For What?

I always try to find ways to motivate both myself and the people I work with. It's easier to have a goal to train toward, than to randomly train. I encourage all of the people I work with as much as I can, and everyone requires just a little different spin.

It's been over a year since I've been encouraging Susan to do multiple pull ups. In fact last January she accepted a challenge to perform six pull ups, once the testing time came along, she almost got three. A year later I was thinking what could possibly get this woman, totally and completely capable of doing pull ups, to accept another challenge and succeed. I agreed to run a race if Susan got 5 pull ups.

Anyone who knows me, knows I hate to run, unless as I have already professed, it is trail running where I can be as fast or slow as I please, and also enjoy my surroundings. The Broad Street Run, the race I agreed to run if Susan got her 5 pull ups, couldn't me more opposite of the trails. It's 10 miles of grueling pavement down Broad Street in Philadelphia. Yuck, boring, blah, and did I mention pavement?

Susan got her 5 pull ups this afternoon, with ease, in fact I'm sure she could have done at least one more. My first was response was joyful, I was very pleased and also happy that she got them! Who wouldn't be, it's a testament to the training we do. My next repsonse was "Oh shit!" 10 miles on pavement surrounded by a huge number of people running over me! This is not my idea of a fun, let alone relaxing Sunday morning.

I have two and a half weeks. And while all smart sources would tell me to fold, I plan to live up to my end of the deal and hopefully survive.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Odd Object(ive)s

It's funny to me that you can practice a movement with one object, say a barbell or kettlebell and be at best average with them. However when you pick up an odd object, such as a 75lb keg, you find your weakness and work through it.

I admit being hesitant to the 75lbs keg snatch, but then I just did it, and 'it' was easy. To the point where I wish I had participated more. It's rare now that I get to experience a hands-on workshop from the users point of view. Although this past weekend I wasn't the user persay, but I was able to try out a few things that Zach had brought to the table.

This is an easier week for me, light on the lifts, easy on the conditioning, and about 65% on the jiu-jitsu. Back to the straight and narrow starting Monday morning regardless of how I feel. The Challenge is 6 weeks out, and the BJJ tournament is 10 weeks out. Time to get cracking hard!

Friday, April 04, 2008

Kettlebells are in Scotland

A few weeks ago I was on vacation in Florida. I nice long week of relaxing in the sun, on the beach and by the pool. When I got back, I was asked if I worked out while I was vacation, and startled with my response of, "Yes!" I questioned the astonishment.

Of course there are some reasons of vanity behind my workouts, but more than that I find an escape to working out and training hard, I find peace of mind, I enjoy the challenge, and I do it for my health with the hope that it pays me with longevity.

An entirely different conversation got me thinking about whether or not I planned my vacations around being able to continue working out, and while that's not necessarily the case, I wouldn't not workout due to lack of equipment. Friends and acquaintances accross the states, and in several countries would allow for workouts to be completed with equipment, but it's not needed if I were to venture somewhere, where I didn't know anyone.

So, working out for me, is a way of life. I certainly enjoy a day off here and there, but find that I become irritated and edgey if I've missed several days in a row of not working out. It not only makes me stronger physically, but mentally as well.

To my friends accross the states and abroad, I hope to one day train with you on your ground in...

South Africa
Ann Arbor
Silver Springs
Las Vegas
West Chester
San Jose
Avon By The Sea
La Jolla
and more...

Monday, March 31, 2008

Back To My Inspirations

Awhile ago I wrote about the people who inspire me to train harder and better. Mostly because of the effort they put forth and the amazing gains they have achieved. While I tend to think of a handful of things when I workout, I'm fortunate to know Mia. Her whole enitre family trains with us, either through CrossFit Philly or through Spear Jiu Jitsu Academy. Five family members!

Mia has done 6 pull ups, and I bet she can do more, she goes to jiu-jitsu 2-3 times a week, not to mention she's involved in quite a few other activities. Mia and her whole family make me smile when they walk in the door. They are all very dedicated for their own reasons.

It's really great to have such a family oriented community training with us. And I'm really proud that both Mia and her older brother Beau, recieved promotions in jiu jitsu this past weekend.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Picking On Me

No worries, I'm not about to start complaining that someone was giving me a hard time or any of that kind of crap. Today, I'm the one picking on me.

If I miss a workout, it's my fault. If I eat bad, it's my fault. Long story short, I hold the key to my health. Now of course some things are completely out of my control, like my genetics and the weather. The rest I can handle, or rather, the rest I need to handle. I can't make excuses for my short comings, if they're my fault. If I can't do something right now then I have to admit I can't do it, and either figure out a way to get it done, or move on.

Looking back on what I should have/could have/would have done is just a waste of time. Looking forward and planning what I will do and when I'll do it, well that's the reason to get it done during the day. I'm the biggest procrastinator I know, always have been, probably always will be, but if I don't complete the task by the time I need it completed then I can't blame anyone but me.

Choosing between what's fun and what needs to be done. If I had my choice I'd play around in the gym all day, make extravagent and healthy foods, nap, and then do whatever moved me for the rest of the night. All play and no work, doesn't get you very far, some work needs to be completed, but that doesn't mean work can't be fun, which it often is!

All these things are a continuous circle, they all feed off of each other, and it's all up to me. If I want a better life, I have to workout, eat well, make good choices or at least learn from my mistakes, and remember to have fun and get work done.

You lead your own life, what you do takes you there.

"Pick up a bee from kindness, and learn the limitations of kindness." -Sufi Proverb

Thursday, March 20, 2008


'One of the greatest places to just sit back and relax, night or day, Jupiter, FL'

It's said that "the happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have."

Ever since I can remember I've had a dream home pictured in my head. It's on a cliff that overlooks the water, and waves crash on the rocks below with a constant rolling sound of ocean water. The windows are big and are always open because the wind is causing the sheer white curtains to blow around in a very unrythmic yet gentle and chaotic pattern. That's just the beginning, the details go on, however the most important part is that I see myself calm, relaxed, and peaceful.

I have no idea how big my dream home is, in fact although I have a very vivid picture painted in my head, I've only ever seen two rooms, so maybe that's all the bigger it is. But if it makes me that happy in my head, two rooms is all I'll need.

What's the point of having dreams and visions if you aren't healthy enough to enjoy them? Too many people gleam in the presence of their new foreign sports car, or pass photos through email of the house they just purchased on the beach, or gossip wildly about their one month vacation to The Greek Isles, yet their health is poor and their lifestyle below par. Bragging rights only get you so far, because if you're too overweight to comfortably fit in your new foreign sports car, or too lazy to appreciate the outdoor climate of your new beach house, or too physically out of shape to sight see along the Mediterranean, then what are you bragging about?

Despite the picture that I have painted in my head, I'd rather have my health. To me that means being able to enjoy everyday life, eating well, working out, and inspiring others to do the same. Extravagances mean nothing in the end if you can't even play with your kids because of how you chose to lead your life. Health and fitness is in our own hands, and we're not only responsible for ours, but for the next generation's as well.

"Life isn't about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain." -Unknown

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Driven by Power

When you have the chance to step back and look at things from a distance it's easier to analyze where you are and what you need to do to change things. Too often we're so set in our ways that we forget to pay attention to what is actually going on around us, make sure our life is in check, and ensure that the things that are important to us are not neglected (family, friends, training, our own quality of life).

It sometimes only takes watching a movie, or reading a book, maybe going on vacation, but whatever it is we need to make sure we do it, so we don't have a distorted view of how things really are, but rather a truthfully painted picture that goes far into the horizon. The present moment is obviously important, but the future guides us. Without knowing what you want out of a situation or a time in your life it's hard and near impossible to make your life lead up to the outcome you want.

Let the sun always shine on you.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

All this mess about the 1000 kettlebell swings.

Try it... Don't try it?

1000 swings with the 24kg kettlebell is a lot of swings. (Nice work Tracy) I started out with 500 in 20 minutes, I'll increase that as I go along, but it's taxing on the grip. I must admit my heart rate barely made it to 145 and I try to get it up to 175-180 once or twice a week during conditioning workouts. From this standpoint I was disappointed. I did notice that I started to tense up in my lower back, same problems as before after injury. Still working with my chiropractor, and have seen some very good feedback.

I think I can pull it off in under 40 minutes.

"Creativity is more than just being different. Anybody can plan weird; that's easy. What's hard is to be as simple as Bach. Making the simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity." -Charles Mingus

Friday, February 29, 2008

Mind Freak Part 2

In January I wrote a little blurb on an article I read in the Performance Menu titled Mind Freak. I anxiously awaited Part 2, and now I'm glad I was able to read it today, mostly because of some slightly dissapointing lifts yesterday.

It's all about Mental Training, and it is crucial to serious progress. Part 2 talks about recognizing fear and controlling your breath. All things you think you do, but rarely do you get a hold on them. Or even if you practice them on a regular basis the current situation can sometimes overtake the training you've put yourslef through.

Just as your physical training doesn't end the second you walk out the gym door, your mental training certainly needs to be up to par even outside of actually performing the lifts.

And something else to think about...

A quote from Dan Millman, "Injury most often results from a fundamental flaw in our talent foundation (of strength, suppleness, stamina, and sensitivity), of from impatience, a lack of attention, or some combination of these. Accidents aren't really accidents... to avoid injuries, you need mental clarity and attention, emotional stability, and physical preparation. They are the three bests insurance policies you'll ever have and they don't cost a cent. Injury is the price paid for insensitivity, impatience, or inattention."

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Reality and Fiction

M.C. Escher is one of the world's most famous graphic artists. Many of his pieces show that reality is wondrous, comprehensible and fascinating.

Often times we try to make up imaginary worlds, or a better place to be, rather than finding the positives of our own reality. If you are able to spend your days with a person or people you appreciate and care for, eat well, do the things you enjoy, and live comfortably, shouldn't you be able to find the positives in reality?

Life can bring challenges and maybe even be daunting at times. An easy life, is one that was never lived previously. Growing from experiences that resulted in hardship and heartache, as well as absorbing the ones that lead to laughter and love, creates that wondrous, comprehensible, and fascinating reality.

Nothing's picture perfect, and nothing's set in stone. Appreciate your surroundings, and use them to achieve your goals.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Adding In Barbell Work

In preparation for the East Coast CrossFit Challenge, I'm trying to add in some barbell workouts in addition to practicing the lifts for the Total, just to feel more comfortable with it.

I picked up this combination of movements from mtnathlete.com

"Spontaneity is the quality of being able to do something just because you feel like it at the moment, of trusting your instincts, of taking yourself by surprise and snatching from the clutches of your well-organized routine, a bit of unscheduled plea." -Unknown

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Strength Trainining In General

I'm working on a project to determine the importance of strength training to women. I'm speaking with women that I know, and even ones I don't to see what reasons they have for strength training, the importance to them, and also why they choose to ignore the stereotype of strength training for women = big and bulky.

To be honest, I don't think women should train any differently then men. I don't think we should do different movements, and I don't think we should have different types of goals. Keep in mind that I'm not talking about body building, I'm talking about strength training. Some people are going to tell me that I'm full of shit and there's no way a girl can lift as much as a guy. Some people are going to tell me that all things being equal that girl should be able to lift as much as the guy next to her. I'm saying there's no reason why a girl can't lift heavy, maybe as much as the guy next to her, maybe not, but all in all heavy, and still be a girl.

I'm not ignoring anatomy or physiology for that matter, they both play an important role and sometimes influence performance. However, if we look at the entire picture, I still think the girl next door can compete with the guy accross the street.

A good strength training program that is carried out properly will have increases occur on all trained lifts. That's the part that needs to be focused on. If you have a goal, then you need a plan to make that goal. It can't be arbitrary.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Stronger or Vulnerable

If you expose your weakness, regardless of what it is, does it make you stronger or vulnerable?

There is always the typical answer where you could say that it depends on the situation. But I'm not interested in each individual situation (not today anyway), I'm interested in the overall affect from all situations combined together.

I'm inclined to believe that you become stronger and the more often your weakness is exposed the less it affects you negatively. I'm not sure if a true weakness, like Superman and Kryptonite or more seriously trusting people, ever disappears, but I'd like to believe that it adds to your character. You become forced to recognize it and find ways to not let it hinder your performance, your thoughts, and your life.

Every aspect of life influences you and your actions. It's true to say that if you don't have your mental game together, any physical training and even daily activities aren't carried out to their highest potential. It's not like one day you can just wake up and say I have it together. Training your weakness is probably more difficult than any physical training goal. I know it is for me, and I know I have to dig down deep to stir things up enough to bring it to the surface to face it. Everytime I do, something good always happens. I'm better than I was the day before, just as it is when I reach a training goal.

I take all those experiences with me and I'm a stronger person in the end, not vulnerable at all, even if for a second I feel like I might be.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Well Rounded Training

Yes, she's spoiled, and it's all my fault!

If you only work on improving one skill at a time, it's hard to expect that you will be able to maintain other skills.

For instance, I stopped pressing heavy because my shoulders started to bother me, in fact for about 4 months I did no presses, no snatches, no pull ups, no push ups, basically very little of anything that could cause stress. I focused on other movements. One day out of the blue I decided to start adding these movements back in, occassionally I have some discomfort but overall, I feel good. I can't press what I used to. But I'm working on it.

Same goes for everything else, if you take the WTH effect out of the picture, chances are, if you stop training a movement you won't see improvements in that movement at a later date. Let the frustration go because it's your fault you took the movement out of your training.

Everyone has their strong point, but unless competition is in the crystal ball, it's far better, in my opinion, to be well-rounded with good effort on several to many movements, than to be the best at one specific movement with not much else to offer.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Controversy or Truth

It's been a long standing misconception to the world of health and fitness that women who strength train will instaneously become equally as large and bulky as our male counter parts. Additionally, women have been poorly influenced to gravitate toward free weights that are hot pink, purple, yellow, orange, and other fun colors that weigh somewhere in the vicinity of 1 to 10 pounds. Often times, the 10 lb dumbbell is too heavy, yet the last time I checked most women carry around purses, laptop bags, or backpacks, all weighing an excess of 10 pounds. Some even carry two bags and balance a cup of coffee in their free hand during their commute to work (talk about functional training!) Yet when asked to press that 10 lb dumbbell overhead, you'd think you just asked them to kill someone with the look that was recieved.

Now I'm not bashing the 10 lb dumbbell if it's used as a starting point, but that's all it can be used for, is a starting point. After a few weeks of strength training, there is no reason why that 10 lb dumbbell should still be in her hand. I usually don't bring science and medicine into my posts, but today I'm going to, briefly. Women want to start strength training to avoid the risk of osteoporosis as they age. Weight bearing exercise and resistance exercise, what a great idea and if that is someone's only reason to start strength training, then I'm glad you have a goal and I'll help you achieve it, but eventually you're going to be using weights that weigh more than 10 lbs. That 1 lb dummbell isn't going to prevent you from getting osteoporosis.

A book weighs more than 1 pound!

A gallon of milk weighs more than 1 pound!

Your child weighs more than 1 pound!

I bet, on Sunday morning, the newspaper weighs more than 1 pound!

One more time, your purse weighs more than 1 pound!

Now, before I get it handed to me because I haven't taken into consideration the women that have a medical issue, or someone with a disability, I'm not talking about that part of the population, although I think they have every right to be strong too, I'm talking about your everyday average woman who wants to 'tone up' and get fit, but who whines, cries, and complains when they actually have to lift a weight.

Let's skip ahead to progress. Assuming 10 pounds is finally overhead safely and even confidently, why stop there? Why not make any gains? Why not challenge yourself again and over time try 15, 20, 25, 30 pounds or even more? If not for your own personal satisfaction of just knowing that you can do it, then why not for your kids? Last time I watched my friend's son he thought the coolest thing that afternoon was that I'd pick him up over my head, twirled him around and now he could fly like an airplane(iguratively of course) My friend's son weighs 40lbs.

Three things that cease to amaze me...

It ceases to amaze me how few women are willing to push themselves hard enough to want to be able to pick up a heavier kettlebell, dumbbell, barbell on their own. Increasing your strength directly affects your quality of life, it builds confidence, creates a sense of pride, but most importantly it allows you to go through everyday life activities without a second thought.

It also amazes me that women (and men) settle for having to struggle through everyday life activities because they aren't strong enough to open a jar, carry in the dog food from the car, or empty the water out of the dehumidifier, among hundreds of other things if not more. These are tasks you don't have to settle for, but I guess it's easier to have someone else do something for you than be able to just do it yourself.

The last thing that amazes me, is when people dumb down an application to sell it to the masses rather than promote it's truth. It all goes back to the hot pink, purple, yellow, orange, and other fun colored dumbbells and kettlebells.

I don't expect everyone who walks through my door to walk over to the heaviest kettlebell, dumbbell, medicine ball, whatever, and pick it up. I don't expect everyone to have the same strengths, the same goals, my strengths, or my goals. What I do expect from everyone that walks through my door is dedication and a starting goal. Once that goal is hit, a new one gets set, and advances are made, progress occurs. No one is happy with a plateau or settles for lifting the same weight they did 5, 10, or 15 months ago.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

A Visit to USC Headquarters

As if swinging and snatching kettlebells all day long in NYC wasn't enough for me, stopped off to see Zach on the way home. Finally!

As we walked in the door, it screamed Zach! And I had to start playing with stuff immeadiately. It's like being a kid at a new playground, even if the equipment is similar, it's still different.

I was hoping his stone was a weight I could attempt, but with my last attempt at a 120lb stone only getting to my lap, I knew I shouldn't even touch the 250lb beast, that was staring at me. I was intrigued by the old school dumbbells. That 150lb one-arm deadlift was crazy, it wanted to roll right into my fingers tips as soon as it left the floor!

Next time I'll give the tire flipping a shot!

"Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." -Howard Thurman

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

All Powers Continued...

If you've been reading the blog, you know that, as of late, I've been not just talking about training. I've written about successes & failures, persistance, goals, aspirations, among other topics.

They all go hand-in-hand, and it's really hard to successfully achieve the whole picture without working with all pieces of the puzzle together. Creating that balance between pushing yourself, resting, and even allowing your mind to do some of the work for you, can be a daunting task. We get caught up in the aspects of every day life, and it's sometimes hard to remember to use your last failure to achieve your next success.

Keeping the balance between training, work, sleep, and the rest of your life, becomes one of the biggest tasks in achieving your goals. Time needs to be allotted to all of them, without skimping on one to add to another. The second something changes, you have to re-evaluate the whole picture, especially if pieces are added or taken away. It's not a set-in-stone scenario, it never can be. More importantly it shouldn't be.

If you follow the same path every day with no adjustments you're allowing yourself to start accomodating. A plateau occurs, no advances are made, and you begin to wonder what has happened to the perfect plan you created. Tweaking things here and there allows for adaptation, a key component to survival, to surviving the changes, staying away from pateaus, and to work through the various things life throws at you; such as injury, extra work, new friends, well just about anything.

It's about finding the balance to make things work for you after you've exhausted your options and not limiting yourself or your expectations because you think it'll be too hard.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Always Trying To Keep Up

I'm always trying to keep up with guys. I might blame some of that on growing up with a brother, his best friend, and six male cousins (notice there were no girls). I never really had any other choice but to fend for myself. I doubt that climbing trees, hiking through the woods, stomping through streams, and being the only bad guy against all the good, developed the physical strength I have today. I'm sure that it helped to establish my mental strength. In fact I know that it did.

Everything we experience in life adds to our character, it adds to our will, and those experiences effect the choices we make and reasons we choose them. So growing up with 8 boys often made me choose between running around outside and playing house.

Although I don't really compete with them now, I always remember the little things I learned from them.

It hasn't changed, on occassion I workout with the guys, I try to keep up with the weights they lift, with the distance they travel, and the amount of time it takes them to complete a task. I usually get beat, but I appreciate their encouragement, and I often think of the one day I might beat them, match them, just as I did when I was a kid. It'll come, all things being equal, it kind of has to.

Saturday, February 09, 2008


The definition of aspire...

to long, aim, or seek ambitiously; be eagerly desirous, especially for something great or of high value.

That's an awful lot for a six letter word. You can aspire to be great, you can aspire to be strong, you can aspire to be successful, I suppose you can aspire to be just about anything. Most of what each of us apsires to be is relative to the rest of the world.

Perhaps that is why apirations are individual. They account for who we are, our character, our charisma, our actions. We aren't programmed to aspire to just one thing. I hope most of us have, at the very least, a few aspirations to obtain. Some for the short term, some for the long term, and even a few in between. I myself have several. All the smaller ones are the stepping stones to the final one, and once I get there, I hope to have more.

Aspirations need to be driven by something, external or internal factors, just as motivation, one is stronger than the other. Whatever it is you aspire to do or to be, it needs to come from within you. External factors can help with the motivation but you have to want it, think it, and desire to be it.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Good Start

Yesterday morning's workout...

5 - 1 minute rounds of...

DB See Saw Presses 20lbs
SB Exchanges
Contralateral Push Ups
Sandbag Floor Wipers
8 Count Body Builders
Sit Ups
Ball Jacks

1 minute rest between rounds.

15, 8, 5, 5 Pull Ups

And today...

Lots of bodyweight movements for about 15 minutes straight.

I'm hoping to get something in tomorrow afternoon after I attend what's supposed to be one heck of a Strength and Conditioning Clinic at Villanova University.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

To Start A New

I love how I'm talking like I've taken 10 weeks off from injury! The fact is when I injured my back over 2 years ago during the DL at the TSC (the first event) I still did the last two events, one of which was Kettlebell Snatches with the 16kg for 5 minutes with 130 reps. Point being, and it might not have been the smartest idea ever, but I kept at it. I took a few days off afterwards and worked through the pain. The orthopeadics didn't help any or offer any sound advice, so I did what I could. Two years later, I'm pretty much back to normal, mostly with the assistance of my chiropractic friend, the only activities that bring back the pain, literally, are back extensions and running on hard surfaces.

Anyway, now, I'm not injured and I just took days off because something inside me tells me I should? My last week of workouts weren't solid, I felt weak, tired, less than motivated, but I forgot about the important part...that I could move. I wasn't injured, I was in a rut and just bailed. My reasons all ended up in my 'Poor Excuses' book because that's all they were, and now they'll always remind me.

My original plan was to ease back in to my program tomorrow afternoon, but I think the better option is to just dive right in, bright and early tomorrow morning, and workout with the group. This way I can't control the length of work/rest periods, someone else has to, and I just have to get through the movements properly.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Taking Off A Few Days

I did not plan to take off from training for a few days, but it feels like the right thing to do. Allergies sprung up from somewhere since it's 60 degrees in the dead of winter, I feel overly tired, and very unmotivated, stuck in a rut. Generally, I would tell myself to suck it up, but this time I'm taking it as a sign. A sign to rest, re-evaluate where I am, think through the plan one or two more times, make some more solid changes to my nutrition, and just kind of catch up on all things, personal and business.

Fresh start begins on Thursday, with a good and swift kick of an afternoon workout based around fundamental movements, and not forgetting that rest and recovery are equally important to my goals.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Failures vs Successes

A good friend of mine just emailed me today and the one thing that stuck out most in my mind was when he wrote, "It is far better to fail at great things, then to succeed at nothing."

Isn't that the truth?

This applies to so much... training, life, relationships, business, family, and well pretty much everything. In your comfort zone you find just that, comfort. You nuzzle yourself in a corner, whether it's actual or just a spot in your mind, and then you rarely if ever walk away from it. You become happy with the way life has settled upon you. Leaving options to become obsolete, leaves life with no choices.

Inadvertently, self doubt becomes part of the equation. Self doubt doesn't fit into any equation that includes success.

Success doesn't necessarily mean that you have answered all the questions to life, it doesn't mean that money is no longer a matter of importance, it doesn't mean that you stop believing in yourself, and it doesn't mean that you no longer have to try. In fact, all these things become that much more important as you continue grow. With success comes growth, and the acknowledgement that without trying you never know what could have been.

If you question an action that you haven't taken, reflect on it's options, determine the ideal outcome, and visualize how that outcome will affect your life. What happens if the outcome isn't ideal? You learn. You know that you tried. You know that you have something to work toward, or something to change, or something to become better at. You have a chance to grow and to learn, and to recognize that you made an attempt. Regardless, you added an experience, one you never would have had without taking a chance.