Sunday, June 22, 2014

It's Science, Not Sales/People Watching/Do You

A couple days ago, I posted my memory of story/experience I shared with another trainer: 
"Years ago, I was a part of another training company and one day a guy I knew came in to pitch his new certification. He says "ya man, I'm certified in this and this is what we do... 21 push ups...21 air squats...21 power cleans...21 pull ups."
I say what if someone can't do 21 push ups?
"They can't move on until they do. That's the workout. 3 rounds as fast possible and done. We'd run this class everyday, it'll kill."
I ask "why would some do 21 power cleans?"
He answered "I don't know, it's just the workout... It's competition in random exercises."
Wait a sec, who's competing in exercises?
"The class... You do this workout as fast as possible and people try to beat your time."
And people pay for this workout?
"Absolutely! It's getting huge on the west coast and making a ton of money."
No thanks.

I could've jumped on the band wagon 5-6 years ago but it's not about sales and it's not about competing in movements that aren't a competition. When you're trying to pull 21 power cleans as fast as you can, you greatly increase your chance of injury. When an untrained person tries to rep 21 pull ups and can't move on until they do, they greatly increase their chance of injury and just as bad, decrease the chance of success in their quest for peak level of fitness.
This style of session are for those who are at least in high-moderate condition w a base in Olympic style lifts and should only be used as a "fun," supplement to their current base routine."

Sometimes the marketing machine can be so convincing, so overwhelmingly powerful, facts and science don't really matter, and it really is simple science and pretty definite facts (as far as I've ever heard).  Tendons, ligaments, muscle fibers, bones, joints, they all grow and adapt under different types of stresses.  There are a couple ways of looking at this, one being to think in terms of the three primary categories of training, those being ENDURANCE, HYPERTROPHY  (SIZE) and STRENGTH/POWER.  
When in the endurance phase, reps are usually around 15+ and rest periods are anywhere from 15-60 secs.
When in the hypertrophy phase, reps are between 8-12 with a longer rest period, 60 secs - 2 minutes. 
When in the strength/power phase, reps are between 1-5 with an even long rest period of 3-5 minutes.
Ok, now what?  What does that mean and why?
The reason for the set length (reps) and rest period is because in the endurance phase, you're moving faster, less rest, your heart rate is probably higher and your muscles and joints, etc are under less tension but for longer period of time, (recruiting the slow twitch muscle fibers) as opposed to the strength/power phase where the intensity (weight/resistance) is much greater but also for shorter, tapping into the explosive, fast twitch muscle fibers.    
Simply put, you're tapping into different energy and also using different muscle fibers.   
Heart rate and recovery time play an optimal role in writing up your programs (plus the periodization of the program).

Did I really waste all that time writing that just to poke holes in CrossFits WOD's?  Not really.  I wrote it to call bullshit on any program/trainer that isn't written based in the science of how our body operates.  If CrossFit said "Yes, these are our WOD's but we know you have to train your power clean x amount days per month to lift for your max this many times per week or even month."  See when you max out constantly, your body breaks down, your joints literally start to wear down and not strengthen.   Again, I truly feel like a D talking trash but c'mon, but without periodization and personalized programming, its a very generic session in warehouse with awesome marketing and a cult following.  
Years later at a gym near Solon, I worked along side (sort of) another trainer who sold a specialty style of training, "jump training."  We spoke and he wanted to work as partners which I entertained early on... then I saw his program "(no real resistance training)... then I saw him pitch it (he believed in himself 100%)... then I saw him sell it to nearly every parent that crossed his path and I learned a very valuable lesson, very few people care to do their own homework.  His program had virtually no science behind it.  It was all about this fancy word that parents needed to hear, PLYOMETRICS!  Ahhhh the parents loved hearing it!  PLYOMETRICS!  YES!  JUMP TRAINING, YES!  What are they going to be able to do?  ITs going to be amazing!  
See, when you take a kid who doesn't really know the mechanics of a jump and teach them to jump... they jump higher! oooooooohhhh
And it ends.
Then when you take that same kid and have then jump up and down, nevermind their form, 100x on foot, then the other, then off two feet, then over hurdles, then up and touch a target... they will jump higher... 
But that is where it ends if you do not incorporate power training (see above) into your routine.  
You cannot teach a box jump if the kid cant bend his knees while keep his back straight and dropping his hips down between his knees.  Why?  General movement and body strength.  If a kid or anyone cant squat, its because they're either weak or tight, either way, they really shouldn't be jumping very high off the ground and its not about the jump, its about the landing. They need to land with a cushion in their hips, knees and ankles, they need to be able to absorb their own body weight.  
All those parents bought the program over and over and over.  

Around 5-6 years ago I attended a jump clinic down at OSU and heard about a half dozen strength coaches from the mid-west talk about their programs and the results they accomplished.  Take a wild guess what they had in common.... They all squat, they all dead-lift, they all power clean.  Guess what else... They really only incorporated plyometrics as a means of endurance training and agility training or as a means of testing an athletes current vertical.  
They used vibe-plates, they used kettle bells hanging off of barbells (also to force a vibration and create instability) and they lifted HEAVY.  See above... power/strength training.  Loading up for a lift of 2-6 reps with 3-5 minutes in between.  Form has to be perfect, if its not, don't do it.  If you're not ready for the 2-6 load, which means back off and hit another gear, to work form I recommend the endurance phase for 3 weeks, the hypertrophy phase for 3 weeks and then try again for strength/power.

They can market their asses off and make a million dollars.  It only bothers me because too few people care to learn how their body operates.  I've said it 100x, people research doctors, they research their dentists, they research their vet and probably mechanic but no one researches their trainer... the guy/gal that is probably more influential than any of the above. 

That was the nerdy one.. this is the weird one.  

I was doing some people watching... and I must've been in a mood.. I was just chilling, watching servers interact with patrons, watching tables drink and talk... and it made me wonder and daydream a bit.. 
I don't know how many of them were comfortable.... some really looked a little stuffy and uneasy, maybe nervous... some just didn't look relaxed.  And I remember feeling bad, I felt really sympathetic for a couple people that caught my eye... In a dream world, I would've wanted to go over and pull them aside and ask if they were ok, even though they weren't crying or looked upset... they just didn't look at ease.... I don't know why it got my attention... or why I'm writing about it.
Then it got me thinking some more... I've recently encountered some people who represent nearly everything I'm anti... They're a little selfish, they kinda bully people around, they're not very honest... just greedy in multiple kid of way typeasshole.  And on one hand I always think "man, I'd love to break down their silly little wall that makes them act like this and bring back into our world..." I often, genuinely feel bad for them.  But the part that felt mucky about it all, was that I'm so anti them and usually around people that are so anti them, it shook me that those types of people are still alive.  I thought, "Jeez, I forgot this breed still existed... I thought they were extinct."  Or at least evolved, right?  I mean, who's trying to stay the same or even go backwards.  
I remember I had this friend when I was young and we were around 18 or so and for some reason, he'd rant about politics, but had no clue what he was saying or why... I mean, he was 18!  But he'd repeat the crap his father would say and just go on and on and from the last time we spoke, he was still doing it.  Still had those views, still regurgitated things he'd heard and still a big mouth.  I remember thinking "Holy crap, this guy has wasted so much time staying the same guy he was at 18."
What is it that forces people into their "character?"   Into their role?  
I feel bad for people who move their ego into some protective state where they treat people like lesser humans to make themselves feel better... 
and I feel bad for people who hide their shine.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Acupuncture Podcast #1

Quick chat w Jared West from Acupuncture & Integrative Solutions.  
  1. 25901 Emery Rd #109, Warrensville Heights, OH 44128

After this past session, I had a chance to sit w Jared for about 20 minutes and briefly dive into some of the FAQ's that I've heard from clients and friends over the years.  Hope you enjoy it and definitely count on hearing more from Jared down the road.  
Any questions, please email and we'll discuss when we meet again.

Copy and paste:

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Week in Review (The F Word - part 2; What is Leadership; Be Authentic)

Someone asked "What is it that keeps you going?"
I looked at the 3rd person in the room because I didn't think he was asking me... At first I thought about answering but then thought "He cant be asking me... I haven't done anything."
He saw me looking away and said "I'm asking you," and nodded at me.

One word came to mind.  FEAR.
The laundry list of fears quickly raced through my mind.  I said "Fear of being broke.  Fear of not having the freedom to do the things I want to do." I want to see the world, I want to see every great thing this planet has to offer and when I picture myself at 60, I just cant see a guy sitting there saying "I wish I would've had the money and the time to see the Grand Canyon, to drive through Europe, to swim w dolphins, to wake up one morning and fish in Alaska..."  The fear of those things not happening... I just wrote that line and debated folding up the laptop and going for a run and then to the gym to hang some promo posters and then organize everything for this weeks training... That's the point, I wont rest until I'm pleased w my goal list is, which may be never but it doesn't matter.  Because if I can sustain this energy and this life for another 10-20-30+ years, he possibilities are endless.  For a while, being 37 was bothering me and I was thinking old, but then I thought, I know 27 year olds that need naps and have no ambition...   I move and think and act younger than people 10 years younger me... I'm in pretty good shape and improving, I have a sweet little career going and improving, I have a sweet life and its still improving... 37?  I cant think of one scenario where I would give a shit about that number.

The conversation was then turned to fitness "Fear of being immobile... Fear of my body not operating correctly."  I'm not afraid of someone saying I cant do "x," I'm afraid of not being able to run a mile when I'm 65.  Never mind now, I want to be fit and mobile and active until the day my heart stops beating.

And this whole fear list has had me thinking since... I wouldn't say I live in fear, but its definitely present.  I think it would be a little naive to act like we're fearless.
Do you want to be homeless?
Do you want your kids to go to dumpy schools?
Do you want to drive safe, reliable transportation?
Do you want to live in a safe neighborhood and have enough food for yourself and your family?
Maybe thats the problem.  Too many people that have, haven't lived without.
Takes me back to that old Eric Thomas speech, "When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe..."  Have someone hold your head under the water... and hold it and hold it... and then finally let you up.  All you wanted to do, was get some fresh air into your lungs.  This mindset is automatic for me.  I've been written off and brushed aside, I've been the underdog, I've been without.  I don't trust the people without the scars, without the battle wounds. I've been broke and bankrupt, I've been laughed at and mocked.  I've felt pain and I've been to the edge man...
So because I know what that tastes like, what it feels like, I'm not going back.
Want to challenge yourself?  Go three days without.  Work on some mini cleanses first then up the ante.  Remove your comforts and the things you take for granted.  I really dont see how we can stay connected to our inner fire, our voice, when we drown ourselves in iphones, shitty music, mind numbing television and the hectic stresses of our day jobs.  We need to unplug that crap and go into the woods for a solid 3+ days, alone.  Go without.  I guarantee, youll walk out of there feeling some new things and you'll start making some changes.


I asked some people "What is a leader to you?" or "What are leadership qualities that you'd be motivated to follow?"

They wrote:
"An honest will to better others."

"The ability to inspire a vision of confidence."

"Someone who leads by example."

"I'd follow a leader who exhibits confidence in their knowledge yet openness to new ideas, determination to want to make a difference and follow through to show that learning is one thing but applying knowledge is the most important part."

"Leadership is someone that makes you want to work harder... But in a good way."

"Guidance... focus... honesty"

Scanning through, certain words pop out at me... 
And you may have chosen a few more.  

Honesty is something that really cant be faked... at all.  We've all known someone who really wanted to appear honest.  Maybe it was a salesman, a boss or even a friend.  We've all known someone like this, someone who appeared honest but wasn't.  
We can ask, "What makes someone honest?"
Lack of fear from being judged?  Fearless in terms of making mistakes?
Is it entangled with confidence?
He said "The honest will to inspire others."  What does that mean?  
An honest will...
I read that as truth.  But I really don't know if its something that can dissected with words in this screen... I truly think it needs to be felt.

I remember when I jumped into my first coaching job, over 10 years ago.  I spoke with my former coach about it and he said "Don't fake it, they'll know... Kids can always tell when you're bullshitting them and they'll tune you out."  So for me, coaching middle school kids (football) was fantastic training in communication.  People may think, "its football, its coaching young guys to play, its not that tricky." True, on a level, it isn't.  But keep in mind, I was on another path... Just like now where even though this package is surrounded by the fitness world, its not really about fitness.  Fitness is just a tool we use to discover new things inside of ourselves.  So when I started coaching, this was the birth of my passion.  It was never about football... never about wins and losses, it was about using football as a tool to open their minds to new doors, to clearing the foggy and confusing glasses that adolescents often wear while navigating the tricky waters of the teens.  So it was very important to me that I was on another level of honesty and it had to be authentic and open.

"The ability to inspire a vision of confidence."
To make them see something, a goal, AND make them believe it can become a reality.
To plant a seed, a thought, an emotion... To step inside their head and heart and help them see with their minds eye, a dream, a goal... And then make it so real, they can feel it and smell it... They believe it can happen and will happen.

Taking time to think about leadership and the kind of people you want to be around or follow is extremely important.  Someone said to me the other day, "Is it bad that I've been a follower?  Is it wrong that I don't lead?"  My first thought was "Damn, this guy doesn't even see himself accurately."  Why?  Because he has one of the absolutely best work ethics of anyone I've been around and he's probably in the top 10 smartest people I know.  So I don't see it as "He's not a leader," but I see it as "He hasn't found his arena to lead in yet."  My answer to him was, we all have leadership qualities in certain areas, it's just a matter of finding where and then getting in those areas.
I know many people who aren't doing what they love and because of it, they're dimming their true light.  They only come alive in certain spaces and its sad.   It's sad that our day jobs don't do more to help their employees step into their own power house of energy, still continue their jobs but let them grow.  I think that would create an extremely powerful company and better yet, community.
So in thinking about this leadership thing... For me, its about empowering people to become themselves and live full lives.
"Dude, your always saying "become yourself," wtf are you talking about?"
It's hard to explain actually... but when people are stressed or have gone through trauma, maybe they have high anxiety, maybe they have temper problems, or live in fear... maybe they have troubles in relationships... maybe they have honesty issues... maybe they hide... None of it is real.  Yes, the trauma is real, the pain is real, the issues are real, but they're not real in a sense of "Well this is just me, this is who I am, I'm a high anxiety person."  Ask yourself why.  How?  You have to do some digging and that can happen in a variety of ways that I actually cant write fully about in this forum.  But yoga is definitely one way, so is running and high intensity lifting.  Exhausting yourself is a great tool, releasing those endorphins... next time you go for a nice long run, when your finished, lay down... be quiet and just lay down and breathe... stare at the sky or close your eyes and breathe.  Dont think.  Dont watch the clock.  Watch what starts to happen.
If you're willing, you have the power and the means to heal, to unlock your truest potential and live the life you were born to... IF you want to.   

Do you know how many troops, worldwide are in the arctic circle ready to fight over natural gases and oil at the north pole?
This story isnt on CNN or FoxNews.  Check out ViceMedia on HBO and youtube.
"Where'd that come from?"  I dont know... pisses me off that so few people watch news that matters.  

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Current Program/First Week Away/First Class at Everybodies

I don't often talk about my own training... probably because its been a long, long time since I've actually dedicated myself to ONE program.  Between my overall work schedule and boredom, I just haven't dove head first into one program.  I'd do one thing for a week, then abandon that and do something else... I would make excuses for not doing certain movements or whatever.  But this time, training in a new and awesome gym, I wrote out a plan, set some goals and went at it.
Goal #1 which I didn't actually write down but was always in my head, "Have fun."  might sound crazy or weird, but I haven't had a good time training in such a long time and I truly do attribute part of it to the gyms I was training in and my crappy attitudes towards those gyms.  I literally hated being in there and because of it, I never put in the extra time and my workouts were only around 45 minutes or so.  Now, training at Everybodies in Chardon, I have to keep an eye on the clock because my sessions are pushing 90 minutes to 2 hours, having fun and not really fading horribly.
So part of my "have fun," campaign was to do what I do best, lift weights, hard, heavy and let the results speak.  I've tried running distance, which I still enjoy, but it really beats my body up pretty bad.  My hips and back aren't in great shape and pounding really delivers some pain for a couple days to follow.  I've been with yoga and same as above, I usually hurt in the back and hips for a couple days.  Now, I'm not leaving those two forms of training, but they are definitely on the back burner and are only used when I have extra time or as an active rest day.  So again, the goal was to set a plan to get some decent strength back and see where it goes. 
Since then, I've tightened up the diet.  Not really working any strict guidelines or counting macros and all that, but just not being an idiot and eating crap.  A lot of salads, a good amount of protein (which absolutely needs to increase) and very little alcohol.  I used to have beer in the fridge all the time, now I actually cant remember last time I bought one (but I do manage to coax any visitors into bringing over some Shandy's when they visit).
When I began, my bench was on the poor side for what I'm used to and I typically judge this by how many times I can bench 225lbs.  Primarily because I like to train alone and this is a weight I can mange without a spot.  So in the beginning, I was hitting this weight for around 18 reps.  Yesterday, I reached 31 reps and probably could've squeezed another 3-5 had someone been there to help me out in case I got in a jam, ie crush myself.  Back squats have taken a back seat due to A) losing my favorite weight belt and B) the damn back/hip issue, but I've made some nice substitutions with a ton of walking heavy weighted lunges.  I swear, I feel those 10x more than I ever did from squatting.  I know squatting is still better, but given my issue, this has been an excellent replacement and although I don't have a strength test for myself to monitor this against, visually, its happening.  Absolutely more solid and gaining some size.  Size and definition is coming together pretty much all over, especially in my puny shoulders, which I happen to yell/whisper at "grow you sorry little ___," in between sets, and I've gained about 13lbs which I'm not worried about.  I'll be starting a new phase of the program next month and anticipate dropping 25 quickly. 
I guess this was a lesson in "Stop trying to be something you're not."

I'm not into selfies... but I kinda liked what I saw yesterday, which doesnt happen very often.


Ran the first class at Everybodies last week, Womens Weight Training at 6:15 on Wednesdays, and it rocked.  Everyone came in ready to roll, a few Blue Chippers from up 44, a few new clients from Chardon and a couple people I've never met before... and we hit the ground running... and pulling... and pushing... and everything else.  Solid week 1 and I have a great feeling about this class.   I'm not a CrossFit guy because I think its a pretty dangerous to compete with some of the movements, and the form they use.  plus the overall program just isnt sound.  It's solid for once per week or even every 2 weeks just to do something different and mix it up.  However, I do think CrossFit has done an excellent job at helping to women to believe in the science of their bodies.  Thats always been the hang up "I dont want to get big or bulky," and now more articles are out there, more women are headed to weight room and so on.  This is where I enjoy the wave... they're here, they're willing, now wheres the program?  "What do I do when I get there?"  Thats what this class is all about.  Repeatable sessions that should be added to your program.  This first class we attacked interval training on the tread and elliptical, back and shoulders and ended with core.  This gym is so sweet, so much room and equipment, our options are endless.  We'll be squatting this week... I think and also learning some new moves.  Plus being in this awesome city, dont be surprised if we head up to the square for a kettle session real soon.
$3 for members, $6 for non-members


Yesterday, Scarlett comes home and says we're headed out to Paninis to meet another couple.  I didnt think anything because shes been talking about getting a Panini all week and some Shandys sounded real nice.  So we head in there and turn a corner and I see Lindsay and I think "What a coincidence!" then I see Erin, Carrie, Jeanna and I kind thought "Jeez thats really weird... didnt know they all hang out..." then "son of a!"
I fell for it... a surprise party.  Never saw it coming... and it really, really picked me up.  I had a really weird, pretty depressing week, to be honest.  I was just so down about the room closing, I wasnt talking much, the Wednesday class probably felt it a little, and I was just in a zombie mode.  Seeing everyone last night... that was excellent.... It really was.
We should do something like that a couple times a year.
Then a gift was handed over and a little voice in my head said "Dont open it, wuss boy."
But I started to pull it out of the bag and read the center and felt those damn tears start to gather and quickly put it back in the bag!
Thank you.
Sometimes I cant tell if i'm headed in the right direction, if I'm pushing people too hard, if I'm not relating, if I'm making mistakes or doing the right things... sometimes I just cant see it all because I'm in it. Last night was like a little message I needed to keep going.
So thank you.  Truly and fully.

This Is Blue Chip