Friday, July 06, 2007

My New Blog Home

There's a lot that's been going on behind the scenes lately.

One of the biggies is the new home of my blog.

You can now find it here:

Those of you who link to my blog will want to update your link.

For those who read this via a feed, don't sweat it. You should still receive it as you always do.


Thursday, July 05, 2007

Single Leg Squat for Shoulders??

Unilateral leg work, including the single leg squat, is an important element in the development of an athlete's training program.

The single stance and the single leg squat are also a great diagnostic tools for athlete's in regard to shoulder function.


It has been shown that in 49% of athletes with a arthroscopically diagnosed posterior-superior labral tears there is also a hip rotation range of motion deficit or abduction weakness. (W Kibler, Joel Press, Aaron Sciascia. The Role of Core Stability in Athletic Function. Sports Medicine, Volume 36, Number 3 (2006), pp. 189-198).

This is one of the reasons we included combined hip and shoulder mobility exercises in the Inside-Out DVD.

Here's some quick tests you can do on yourself:

1. Stand in front of a full length mirror. Pick up your right foot. If the right hip drops, it indicates a left hip weakness. Repeat on the other side.

2. Pick up your right foot and perform a single leg squat with the left leg. If the left knee drops down and in as you descend, you have a left hip weakness.

3. Lie on your back with your hips bent to 90 degrees and knees bent to 90 degrees. Keeping your knees together, push your feet apart to internally rotate the hips. You should have about 35 degrees of rotation on each side. Check for the amount of rotation and even more importantly, check for symmetry.

Any unilateral deficits in range of motion and strength should be addressed as they will typically affect the function of the shoulder on the opposite side (right hip to left shoulder and vice versa).


Monday, July 02, 2007

Tempo Matters

I've heard strength coaches and trainers talk about how tempo doesn't really matter.

I'll have to disagree.

I heard a strength coach talk about how he has forced his athletes to slow their eccentric tempos because when he did, all of their weights went up with many setting PR's.

I'm not surprised. Lifting or lowering a weight slowly and lifting or lowering a weight quickly are not the same thing.

If you lower a weight slowly or even pause between the eccentric and concentric contractions, you'll increase demands on the muscle's ability to produce force because you'll dissipate a portion of the contribution of the elastic component provided by the tendon and connective tissues.

Lower a weight quickly and you increase the potential energy stored in the tendon and connective tissues which will contribute to the concentric contraction as the energy is released.

Guess which method most people will utilize when trying to lift the most weight.

They'll naturally tend to lower and lift the weight quickly to take advantage of the elastic component to lift greater weight. If you train like this most of the time you'll tend to rely on this more and more but there's a "ceiling" so to speak as to how far this method will take your training. At some point, you'll need to use a slower tempo to place the emphasis on the muscle again.

How do you know how and when to apply such methods?

You can read about it in my contribution to LiftStrong along with over 800 pages of information from the top minds in the fields of strength, fitness, sports training, rehabilitation, and nutrition.

Remember that all proceeds go to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.


Sunday, July 01, 2007

Interns and Part-timers Wanted!

Here's the deal.

I frequently get requests from trainers looking for jobs or students looking for internships for school credit.

Because of my schedule and the way I run my business, I've turned them all down...

Until now.

If you think you have this training thing all figured out. If you're ready to make the top pay in the fitness industry. If you've won numerous bodybuilding titles.

Then I don't want you.

I believe there's a process that must be followed to be an outstanding fitness professional. Some would call it paying your dues.

I call it building a foundation that will support your development as a person, a trainer, and a professional for the rest of your career.


A pulse
The ability to communicate effectively verbally and in writing.
A passion for learning
The availability to work odd hours (early morning, afternoons, evenings)
Sufficient mobility to effectively instruct individuals or groups
Submission of a resume and cover letter

What you get:

A first-class, hands-on fitness education
Experience working with a variety of clientele
Potential to interact with some of the top fitness pros in the country
Paid NSCA certification within 6-12 months (if you last that long)
Income commensurate to your position and duties (may not apply to interns depending on duration of internship)
Potential for growth to a full-time position


I will be selective. Submission of your resume and cover letter does not guarantee you a position or an interview.

Send your resume and cover letter to:


Monday, June 25, 2007

Muscle Gaining Secrets

I've been waiting for the chance to tell you about a new book from Jason Ferruggia.

If you've never read anything from Jason before expect to hear the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

Jason's been in the trenches since his early twenties back when he started his own gym. He freely admits that in his early training career he bought into all the B.S. training programs and supplements, tried them all, and then separated the truth from fiction. So when he says that he knows what works and what doesn't, he means it.

His client list alone reads like a who's who of sports and entertainment. These are people whose job depends on either having the right look or performing at the highest level of sports.

Be forewarned. Jason is going to tell it to straight and to the point. He's not one to beat around the bush or be "iffy" on any concept related to muscle growth and strength development.

If your goal is to gain muscle faster than you ever have before, I suggest you get Muscle Gaining Secrets. This book is extremely well-written and easy to apply regardless of your current level of development. I have not doubt it will leave you "chomping at the bit" to go hit the gym to blast through your best training sessions ever.

BTW, Jason is having one helluva sale to celebrate the release of Muscle Gaining Secrets with the addition of some killer bonus materials:

Beginner Blast-off: 25 pounds of muscle in 16 weeks

Develop Freak Strength with Zach Even-esh

Maximum Mass 1: 34 weeks of mass building workouts

Maximum Mass 2: Another 6 months of training programs

The Secrets of Super Strength with Jim Wendler

The Truth about Supplements

High Powered Nutrition Book

The Home Gym Warrior: the 16-Week Dumbbell and Body Weight training program

The Mass Building Shakes Book

Quick Meals for Fast Muscle

How to be Injury-free for Life with Keith Scott

A one month membership to Turbulence Training

A special bonus from Alwyn Cosgrove

Jason's only giving folks 3 days to rack up these bonuses so get Mass Gaining Secrets ASAP.


Friday, June 22, 2007


Restoration describes means by which one is able to return to the previous state. In training, it refers to methods that you may use to recover from your most recent training session in preparation for the next assuming that your goal is a progressive increase in performance or fitness.

While this is a broad and sometimes complex subject with methods including such things as contrast baths/showers, vibration, lasers, accupuncture, etc., in the real world where we have lives, most of these simply don't apply.

Here's a short list of restorative means that have the greatest impact for real people :

1. Planning your training

Most trainees don't consider this a restorative measure, but fluctuations in training intensity, volume, and training means are an essential method to promote adequate recovery and assure consistent progress.

2. Sleep/relaxation

Aside from the actual training program, sleep is probably most essential. In fact, I would say that if you're not getting adequate sleep, no other restorative measure will compensate. In other words, get enough sleep whether you function best on 6 hours or 10 hours a night, find your sweet spot and stick to it.

3. Nutrition

High-frequency (every 2-3 hours), nutrient dense meals will cover the bases for most trainees. Athletes training multiple times per day need to be more concerned with pre-, during, post-training nutrition to assure adequate restoration between sessions.

4. Soft-tissue therapy

Repetitive loading and strain will promote the formation of adhesions and myofascial restrictions eventually leading to altered joint motions and compensations that lead to dysfunction and injury. Regular soft-tissue therapy, and I'm not talking your regular, weekly feel-good massage, but rather methods such as rolfing, ART, foam rolling, and even some intensive stretching sessions each week. Having someone walk all over you is optional.

5. Ice

A little ice goes a long way. Post-training it will reduce and inflammation that was produced. More importantly, when applied to the joints affected by your training session, the lowered joint temperature prevents the breakdown of the protective hyaline cartilage by inhibiting the destructive enzymes that can progressively destroy joint surfaces.


Thursday, June 21, 2007

How hard are you training

Remember that no matter how strong you think you are there's a little Chinese girl warming up with your max.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

They're STILL Everywhere

I saw them again this morning.

I bet you've seen them too.

There's the 40-ish woman with the funny, abbreviated, duck-like gait pattern. The guy whose pushing 50 who looks like he's on the verge of death. The scrawny 20-something newlywed in the oversized t-shirt. And of course, the new Mom pushing Junior in the fancy carriage.

Yep. They're runners.

Every since the "running revolution" in the 70's, countless people have taken to the road in an effort to get in shape because they either read somewhere or someone told them that aerobic exercise is the key to fat loss or that it'll help them live longers.

I don't run.

It's boring.

It makes me all sweaty, my heart races, my breathing quickens, and I get a little queazy in my gut. (BTW, theses are all common symptoms during a heart attack)

My friend ran the Indianapolis Mini-Marathon back in May. 13.1 miles with a scenic view of the Indy 500 track as part of route.

It took him an hour and 20 mintues.

It takes me less than 15 mintues to go 13.1 miles. I take a car like most normal people.

Now I understand that some of you actually like the feeling you get from running, so by all means continue if you like. It will contribute to your health to some degree (keep in mind that your orthopedic health is put at risk from overuse injuries).

My question for you is why you're doing it.

For your health?

Well, there's no magic in running long distances or having high aerobic capacity. When it comes to longevity, it's all about burning calories.

Get this...longshoremen, not known for a lifetime quest in search of the secrets of health, have been shown to be at lower risk of heart attacks than their Harvard-educated, casually exercising counterparts.

How can this be?

Well, the longshoremen burned a helluva lot more calories than the regular exercisers by performing heavy lifting, carrying, pushing, and pulling. Not by running.

Well, it's certainly great for fat loss, right?

Intially, maybe, but its contribution to a fat loss program drops off quickly as running-specific fitness increases. If you're running for fat loss, you've probably experienced such a phenomenon where you initially dropped some fat but plateaued quickly.

Why? It's easy to become aerobically fit and the body becomes more efficient very quickly, so you actually use fewer calories to cover the same distances. Fewer calories burned means less or no fat loss AND less contribution to health (there's also some evidence that you'll get fatter).

So what's the best way to lose fat and burn a lot of calories?

To answer, I'll borrow from a program by my friend Alwyn Cosgrove called Real World Fat Loss.

In it Alwyn explains the hierarchy of activities that have been shown in the research literature AND in the real-world for faster, effective fat loss.

Here's the hierarchy of fat loss:

1. Metabolic Resistance Training
2. High Intensity Anaerobic Interval Training
3. High Intensity Aerobic Interval Training
4. Steady State High Intensity Aerobic Training
5. Steady State Low Intensity Aerobic Training

At best, long distance running falls into level 4 which makes it a weak recommendation for fat loss.

Alwyn's wife, Rachel, is an up-n-coming triathlete who must run a great deal to train for her races. Does she then use long distance running as a component of training for her female fat-loss clients?

Nope. It's just not effective.

In fact, proper fat loss training following the hierarchy above will actually increase the number of calories you burn (these calories will come from fat by the way) AFTER you exercise. Alwyn has termed this Afterburn.

So not only will you burn more fat, but you'll increase your health by burning more calories.

Now, like I said, if you like to run, then run. But before you do, decide why you're running. If it's for reasons other than the joy of running, there's a better way.


P.S. Mike Boyle has a couple articles directed toward running and orthopedic health especially for women. The first is calle Why (Most) Women Shouldn't Run and part 2 is Should Women Run.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Battle of the Diet Plans

I visited my folks over the Father's Day weekend. It's always a bit surreal to visit the ol' home town as it changes.

For instance, my high school now has a soccer team.

Do you know what soccer is good for?

Ruining a perfectly good football field.

Anyway, I had a bit of down time and was flipping through a Consumer Reports magazine which included their run down of which diet books and diet plans were the best.

Personally, I think the whole article was weak.

Reason number 1: The overall rating for all the diet books was exactly the same except for Ultra-Metabolism which scored one notch lower than the rest (note to Consumer Reports: your rating system sucks).

Reason number 2: In the diet plan comparisons, they rated the nutritional analysis of Slim-fast, a sugar-laden drink based program, equivalent to Volumetrics, a food-based eating plan.

My guess is that it wasn't too difficult to achieve the higher level on the nutritional analysis scale seeing as the analysis was based on the 2005 U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

By the way, Slim-fast also had the highest drop out rate of all the plans examined. Perhaps it's the starvation component that dieters don't like, eh?

So which one would I recommend?

None of them.

If you really want a nutritional resource to help you lose that strips away all the unnecessary fluff and gets right to the point, you need to check out Your Naked Nutrition Guide by Mike Roussell. It has quickly become one of my and my clients' favorite nutritional resources.

Other fitness and nutrition pros agree:

“Mike Roussell has put together an excellent manual covering the nutrition basics for optimal performance to help you reach your goals faster, safer, and more effectively. This is a great resource that everyone should have on their bookshelf. I have read 100's of different nutrition manuals and books, but Mike's is one of the best that has crossed my desk in a long time. With Mike's sound explanations and user friendly information, nutrition will no longer be a struggle. It's a great tool to have in your arsenal to help you succeed!”
Christopher R. Mohr, PhD, RD, CSSDPresident, Mohr Results, Inc

“There aren't many nutritional resources out there that when I immediately finish reading, think to myself, ‘wow...I am officially smarter.’ Naked Nutrition is one such resource. Mike Roussell has put together a manual that is full of practical yet up-to-date and proven information that the reader can put to use TODAY, and start seeing results within days. Rest assured that this is no quick fix dieting manual. Mike does a superb job in laying out a detailed format that will guide you to long term success.”
Tony Gentilcore, CSCS

Mike has made such an impression on my buddy Robert Dos Remedios that he asked Mike to provide a chapter on nutrition for his upcoming book.

I've had the opportunity to work with Mike myself and he continues to impress (even if he is a New England Patriots fan) as his work has help several of my client get back on the fat loss track.

You can read more about Your Naked Nutrition Guide here.


P.S. Slim-fast users can send your hate mail to the New England Patriots in care of Consumer Reports Magazine.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Beyond the Norm

I recently contributed to a little project that Leigh Peele put together.

It's called Beyond the Norm: Advanced Questions for Advanced Trainers and Nutritionists.

Contributors include:

Lou Schuler
Mike Robertson
Jonathan Fass
Alan Aragon
Tony Gentilcore
Geovanni Derice
John Izzo
Jimmy Smith
Robert Dos Remedios
Chris Mohr
Leigh Peele
and Me!

This isn't your typical Q & A and it answers a lot of very specific questions and progression dealing with your post-workout nutrition (not what you think) as well as dealing with hip/pelvic/shoulder issues.

Get from Leigh Peele by signing up for her newsletter.


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Building Young Champions

You may or may not know that I sit on the Board of Directors of the International Youth Conditioning Association (

If you've got kids in athletics or work with kids in athletics and you're not involved with the IYCA, it's time to get involved.

My buddy and Executive Director of the IYCA, Brian Grasso, was recently featured in this week's Newsweek. You can read a part of the article at the link below:

At minimum, every coach, teacher, or parent with athletic children should own a copy of Developmental Essentials: The Foundation Of Youth Conditioning and certainly every coach should be certified as a Youth Conditioning Specialist. You can read a sample of the text at the IYCA website as well.


P.S. My good friend Alwyn Cosgrove is celebrating his Rebirthday. If you've been holding off on getting his top-selling Afterburn, the Bodyweight Training DVD, or any of his martial arts training programs, now's the time to get them. For the next 24 hours, you get free shipping anywhere in the world.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Hurdle Mobility Drills

When it comes to developing hip mobility, hurdle mobility drills typically fall way short of the intended goal.

Case in point...

I have 5 athletes of varying sizes training together and one set of hurdles set up for step-overs and duck-unders.

(Smart guys don't give it away... just wait for it...let the others catch up)

The assumption must then be that my bigger, taller athletes have much greater general mobility than my smaller, shorter athletes for duck-unders and my shorter athletes have greater hip mobility for step-overs, right?


One size does not fit all, and it usually results in some form of compensation in the lumbar spine and pelvis rather than an increase in hip mobility.

I'm sure you've seen it.

Big guys ducks under the hurdle and it ends up looking like a dog taking a dump in the back yard as he rounds his back to get under the hurdle rather than utilizing hip flexion (that he doesn't have a sufficient quantity of to perform the task correctly in the first place).

The opposite is also true.

Try to step over a hurdle that is too high and the pelvis must be tilted posteriorly to get the foot up high enough for clearance. This also promotes reduced hip extension on the support leg.

For those of you who regularly perform the Functional Movement Screen or a Klatt test you'll see this technique quite often during your assessements of those who lack hip mobility.

Why reinforce bad mobility during training as well as methods that can promote back injury over time?

At best, with the optimum, individualized hurdle height, hip mobility can be reinforced with hurdle mobility drills but not improved.

For that use other effective drills that don't result in injury potentiating technique.


Monday, June 11, 2007

Max-Out Radio

Mike Roussell and I had a great discussion on the latest edition of Max-Out Radio.

Topics covered:

Overhead lifts
Bench pressing
The 20% Rule
The easy way to use Inside-Out: The Ultimate Upper Body Warm-up
Some of the things I'm doing with training
and more.

Check it out.


Thursday, June 07, 2007

Neck Training

Here's a pic I got from Jim "Smitty" Smith from the Diesel Crew.
I find it interesting that so many neglect direct neck training considering how many neck pain patients I see with significant neck muscle weakness.
It's not just for athletes any more.
Now I'm certainly not implying that everyone needs to do their neck training with six 45 pound plates on a regular basis, but most can benefit from some regular neck strength work and including range of motion and mobility training.
Especially women. Women, in general, have smaller neck muscles and heads that may weigh more than men. (No, not because they have bigger brains, but rather because they have more hair...sorry girls). While I don't have hard stats to back this up, I've no doubt that a majority of the overuse and traumatic neck strain patients that I see in my clinics are experienced by women.
Athletes are especially negligent in regard to neck range of motion training in favor of strength work. You'll be hard pressed to find a football player, wrestler, or mixed martial artist who doesn't want more neck strength, but ask them about how they're developing their neck range of motion and you'll often see a puzzled look on their face.
Certainly the strength component is important, but in many cases of neck injury, the injury occurs when the neck is driven to end range of motion and beyond. Just like any other joint, a little flexibility reserve in the neck goes a long way.
Here's some wrap-up thoughts...
1. Train your neck
2. Include range of motion and strength training
3. Improve strength at the end ranges of motion
4. Avoid prolonged, repetitive, or aggressive neck flexion (forward bending)
5. When training the anterior neck musculature, press the tongue to the roof of your mouth
6. Train the neck at various speeds and loads to increase strength and power
7. While some isolation training is acceptable, incorporate neck loading into full body exercises. (but that's another article)

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Painful Eccentric Training for Tendonosis = FUN!

A couple of months ago, I was talking with Bryan Chung, MD, PhD (and a bunch of other letters after his name) from about why eccentric training, particularly painful eccentric training (how fun!!), showed such improvements in subject pain complaints in those with previously painful conditions like patellar tendonosis or achilles tendonosis.

He mentioned that the eccentric contractions obliterated the neomicrocirculation (new capillaries) that entered the tendon and pain reduction resulted.

Pretty cool, eh?

I was reading the new Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy during lunch and came across an article that showed similar findings. With 12 weeks of painful eccentric training came a 45% reduction in paratendon blood flow AND a 48% reduction in pain. No negative effects were found in the paratendinous tissues.

Those of you dealing with painful conditions like patellar tendonosis (your doc may be calling it tendonitis and may very well be wrong...tendonitis usually clears up in a couple weeks, tendonosis doesn't), tennis elbow, golfers elbow, achilles tendonosis, etc., you may want to consider adding 3 sets of 12-15 reps of daily, painful eccentric training to your program.

Yeah, it doesn't sound fun, but there's good evidence that it'll be helpful.


Wednesday, May 30, 2007


You already know about my friend, Alwyn Cosgrove, who kicked cancer's ass twice. You can actually read his story in his "cancer diaries" as part of the project LiftStrong (remember all proceeds go to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society) which includes over 800 pages from the top minds in the fitness and strength and conditioning professions.

Well I've got another one for ya...

My friend Rob "fishrcutb8" Duffield dropped me a line today that made me smile.

He competed in a triathalon to celebrate my birthday on the 27th (okay, it wasn't to celebrate my birthday but this isn't YOUR blog now is it) AND he beat his goal time.

Now that's inspiring!

But get this...

It was his first race since being diagnosed with testicular cancer AND being hit by a truck while riding his bike.

These are both monster comebacks and I'm proud to call both guys friend.

Now what was it you were complaining about today? :)


Sunday, May 27, 2007

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's...well, me.

Today is my birthday.

Not a big deal really, but it's always fun to do something that you wouldn't typically do.

While the Indy 500 was in full swing, we headed downtown to the new Superhero Museum to check it out.

Quite the cool little place. Everything from the Superman serials, early George Reeves costumes, Christopher Reeve's wig (Superman wore a wig??), and Smallville.

The highlights was the Batmobile (Keaton era) and the Bat-boat (Adam West era).

Not a bad deal for $5.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Golf Fitness Assessment

Anthony Renna from recently started a new podcast specifically for golfers interested in taking their game to the next level by increasing their fitness.

Ant interviewed me on the topic of golf fitness assessment and we covered some great stuff.

You can listen to it on iTunes or follow this link:



Thursday, May 24, 2007

Healthy Chocolate Fix

By now you've probably read something about the health benefits of real chocolate.

The problem is finding some real dark with a high percentage of cocoa that doesn't taste like crapola.

Well it just so happens that there's a company here in Indianapolis that makes some killer chocolate that is 88% cocoa.

It's also easy to order...

Here's some info from their website...

The Health Benefits of Chocolate For the body...

Chocolate contains antioxidants known as flavonoids which help protect against free radicals that cause cell and tissue damage.
Chocolate contains beneficial vitamins and minerals, including copper, potassium, magnesium and phosphorus. Contrary to popular belief, chocolate contains minimal caffeine – a fraction of that in a cup of coffee.
70% cocoa or higher dark chocolate has a low glycemic index, meaning a smaller fluctuation in blood glucose and insulin levels than with other sweet foods. Be sure to read labels for other added sugars.
Endangered Species Chocolate is all-natural, meaning it contains no additives like chemical preservatives or artificial coloring and flavoring. Our organic-certified products are made using ingredients with no pesticides, growth hormones or other chemicals, maximizing the benefits of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids.


Stearic acid found in cocoa butter has a neutral affect on cholesterol. A portion of chocolate’s fat also comes from oleic acid, a heart-healthy, monounsaturated fat. The antioxidants found in dark chocolate can inhibit plaque formation in the arteries and improve the flexibility of blood vessels.
The darker and purer the chocolate, the more powerful the antioxidants. 70% cocoa or higher dark chocolate contains more antioxidant power than green tea, red wine or blueberries. Endangered Species Chocolate has many dark chocolate selections with 70-88% cocoa content, some containing other heart-friendly foods like berries and nuts.

And soul...

Eating chocolate releases endorphins, the body’s natural “feel-good” chemical.
Chocolate is known as an antidepressant and an aphrodisiac. It contains a phenylethylamine, which can cause feelings similar to being “in love.”
Our own health can be connected to our compassion and generosity toward others. Feel good about indulging in Endangered Species Chocolate knowing that it helps support sustainable forest farming practices and gives back to conservation organizations.

Dairy can interfere with the absorption of antioxidants found in chocolate.
While chocolate has many health benefits, it should be consumed in moderation. Chocolate consumption that causes weight gain negates many of the health values.
This information is in no way intended to be medical advice. If you intend to medicate with chocolate, please consult a doctor first.

At Endangered Species Chocolate we provide gourmet chocolate made with the finest all-natural ingredients. Cacao, the essence of chocolate, is actually a fruit that, when harvested naturally or organically, supports human health (see reverse) as well as the environment. Chocolate products made from natural and organic ingredients with minimal processing have the greatest health benefit, richest flavor and a positive impacton the earth.

Just as important, we see chocolate as a medium to help save species, conserve habitat and honor human life. Our 100% ethically traded cacao beans are shade grown on small, family-owned properties, ensuring the workers and farmers a fair wage and humane working conditions. Choosing Endangered Species Chocolate is one way to support sustainable forest farmland and the species that flourish there. We add to the impact of each bar by contributing 10% of our net profits to organizations whose mission is to help support species, habitat and humanity.


Monday, May 21, 2007

Yoga STILL Sucks

So much for the body-mind connection myths perpetuated by the yoga fanatics.

In a head to head comparison between an aerobically trained group of senior citizens and a progressive stretching group (all participants were previously untrained), the aerobically trained grandmas showed a 25% greater cognitive improvement than the stretchers.

Now before you yogi's get your panties in a bunch, I think that if you enjoy yoga, by all means, continue to do it...then do something productive.

Stanley J. Colcombe, Arthur F. Kramer, Kirk I. Erickson, Paige Scalf, Edward McAuley, Neal J. Cohen, Andrew Webb, Gerry J. Jerome, David X. Marquez, and Steriani Elavsky
Cardiovascular fitness, cortical plasticity, and aging, PNAS, Mar 2004; 101: 3316 - 3321.


Friday, May 18, 2007


One of the big challenges when monitoring your food intake, is avoiding overeating and dealing with poor food choices at all the cook-outs, summer pizza parties, and countless social events that go along with the improving weather.

Mike Roussell, author of Your Naked Nutrition Guide, sent me this little gem recently.

Consider Pre-Eating...

Pre-Eat when going out – Birthday parties, cocktail hour at your wife’s friend’s house, dinner at your parents all these occasions can wreak havoc on a well thought out meal plan. This is why proper Damage Control is important. So what can you do? Pre-Eat. Heading to a sugar laden social event on an empty stomach is a bad idea. And if you’re thinking “But I have great willpower” stop, why test yourself. Proper pre-eating will put a little food in your stomach, curb your hunger, and slow the digestion of whatever foods you do end up eating when you go out.

One of my favorite pre-eats is a medium sized apple and one ounce of low fat cheddar cheese. Apples have fiber, a low glycemic index, and have been shown to curb appetite. The cheese contains protein and fat both of which will increase your satiety (make you feel fuller) and slow the digestion of any other foods you eat.

So next time you find yourself headed to an unexpected social event run damage control and pre-eat.


Thursday, May 17, 2007

Perform Better Chicago Day 3

Fully recovered from the previous evenings festivities (thanks again to Chris Poirier for his hospitality and John Hall for the ride back to the hotel), Day 3 started off strong with Gray Cook of the Functional Movement Screen fame.

His topic was safer strength with a focus on progressions to mastering the deadlift which he felt was one of the most important lower body/posterior chain/core exercises. I don't think too many people will disagree with that.

His driving home point, was to maintain your ability to perform a deep squat (a la FMS), but your loading should come primarily from deadlift variations. This would include single leg and double leg variations. He also included some self-testing for stability which is included on his video on the same topic. Oh, and don't forget to breath like a crocodile.

Todd Wright, head of strength and conditioning for University of Texas Basketball, was up next.

Apparently, UT was having quite a few injuries so Todd went to work to find out why. Seems they had a number of ankle mobility and foot issues especially in their best athletes. Todd showed some really great slow-mo video of his guys in action which really lets you appreciate what such gifted human beings can do that many of us can't. In one case, he showed Kevin Durant jump off of an ankle that inverted so severely that for most it would have resulted in a fractured ankle. The injury took Kevin out of the game for some retaping, and he returned to finish the game and missed one day of practice.

Todd also showed some cool before and after gait video showing how improving ankle mobility improved the gait pattern and relieved pain elsewhere such as the back. Todd obviously does a great job with his team, and while I wouldn't agree on everything he presented, overall is was definitely worth listening.

The Evolution of an Athlete was the presented by Eric Cressey. While I'd communicated with Eric via email in the past. We didn't get to meet until this weekend. He's your typical muscle-head powerlifter with a big gut and even bigger anterior pelvic tilt (this isn't really's an inside joke). Eric's one of the up-n-comers in the strength conditioning field who's way to smart for his age.

His talk outlined how an athlete's training should progress based on his knowledge base, self-awareness, and his training age. A word to the wise. Most of you are training at least one level too high for your optimal progress.

I also stole an exercise from Eric called the Paloff press (which I believe he borrowed...don't worry, I'm sure it'll end up in one of Eric's t-nation articles).

Like I said it was great to talk with Eric a bit, and we were able to have a couple of really solid discussions that were as interesting as some of the formal presentations.

I'm not sure, but he may have a future in the strength/conditioning/fitenss field. :)

The champion enters the ring last. That must be why Alwyn Cosgrove spoke last on the last day of the Summit (the champ entering the ring thing was Alwyn's line).

Not only has the guy made cancer his bitch on two occasions, but he gives a top-notch presentation.

Case in point. I was privleged to see this presentation before anyone in the general public had ever seen. I've seen him present it before. And I'd watch it again if presented the opportunity.

Mike Robertson was sitting one row behind me. He's seen it before. Get the picture?

A quick synopsis of the Real World Fat Loss presentation...

Everything you've been told in the popular media about how to lose fat is WRONG.

It's not even supported in the peer-reviewed research.

The father of aerobics, Kenneth Cooper, said it was wrong.

Alwyn has real-world research from over 16 years of running 200-300 clients through their training on a weekly basis.

He's got the before and after photos to prove that it works.

BTW his method is available in the form of his product called Afterburn.

We then said our good-byes and headed our separate ways.

I got some directions from the hotel as to how to get to the interstate only to find that all the on-ramps were closed for construction. You'd think since the on-ramp was only a couple blocks away that the concierge would have had a clue. Had it not been for my inherited, uncanny sense of direction, I'd still be driving around Chicago looking for I-90.

Anyway, congrats to Chris Poirier and the Perform Better staff for an outstanding Summit.


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Perform Better Chicago Day 2

I started day 2 with the Gray Institute presentation.

I already had a good idea what to expect being familiar with Gary Gray's approach. The word functional is used heavily throughout. They also use terms such as tranformational zones which if you know what the stretch-shortening cycle is (eccentric to isometric to concentric) then you have an understanding of what they mean.

They also promote the use of drivers which is their term for using movements of distal body parts or movements performed away from the targeted body part to elicit activation of certain muscle groups.

Example: if you want to fire the right glutes, step forward with the right foot, shift your pelvis to the right, and reach up and over to the left with your right arm.

The ultimate goal is to activate without isolating the hip much like during functional activities. Makes sense but unless you plan to devote a long period of study into their methods, I think there's easier ways to approach it. (someone call Gray Cook)

One point I respectfully disagree with is that we must train at the extreme joint angles such as those that bring the ACL under maximum tension (closed-chain pronation, knee valgus, and hip internal rotation). Their theory is that if you can train the body at these joint angle then the athlete, having already been exposed to the angle, will be able to recover from it and actually prevent the ACL injury in the first place.

Well, it's virtually impossible to expose an athlete to all possible angles, postures, and body positions they'd be exposed to during competition. Better to actually practice their sport. Doing exercises as slow speeds and light loads, even if the joint angles are the same as the sport, is not the same as doing them at high speeds and high loads.

Still, if you want to see how the entire body "functions" during movement, Gary Gray's stuff is worth a look.

More McGill and superstiffness. This was an expansion of how the superstiffness is applied in sport and training. He showed the Bruce Lee one inch punch as an example of how force is created centrally in the trunk muscles and then displayed with a low amplitude, high force movement. Dr. McGill asked the audience if anyone was applying this concept in other ways. How 'bout oscillatory isometrics, drop training??

Went to see Sue Falsone from Athlete's Performance. I want to see how the integrated all their therapy and training. Quite the set up from what I could tell. The audience pulled her off track a bit with questions about insurance coverage, but it was still good to see how they integrated the different aspects of their business.

Caught a few minutes of Mike Boyle's Advance Program Design talk. You should have his DVD set on the same topic. Wha??? You don't? Get it.

Al Vermeil was next. Here's the only strength coach with world championship in 2 major professional sports. One (actually several) with the San Francisco 49'ers (He's up there talking about working with Bill and then you realize he's talking about Bill Walsh) and the other with the Chicago Bulls. I'd have paid to hear him just talk about working with Micheal Jordan for an hour.

He didn't, but instead reviewed Mark Comerfords' approach to spinal stability. This approach is the polar opposite to Dr. McGill's. Where Dr. McGill would tell you that which muscle is more important will depend on the activity, the approach that Coach Vermeil presented falls into the inner unit (TVA, multifidus, diaphragm, pelvic floor) vs. the outer unit (abs, erectors, etc.).

He's personal friends with Comerford and Hodges and he used this approach to help his wife with a long-term back problem. Makes sense that he should feel strongly about this approach.

Ryan Lee wrapped up the day. There is no one that has done more to improve the business lives of personal trainers and strength coaches. He presented on how to create unlimited passive income streams. I've seen it before but it was great to hear it again. He was also kind enough to plug my (and Mike Robertson's) DVD (available at The thing about what Ryan has to offer is that it's not BS theory. There are too many real-world examples of trainers that he has helped become more successful.

Post Summit activities...

Beers with Mike Boyle, Alwyn Cosgrove, Chris Poirier, Eric Cressey, Mike Robertson, Annette Lang, Nancy from Noblesville (right down the street from my house), and a host of others. Then off to dinner and drinks.

Side note: Spent a good portion of the evening talking to Rob Pilger of I dont' think there's anyone who knows more about boxing than Rob. He knows boxing and he knows how to train. He mentioned that he's got a series of training DVD's coming soon. I'm buyin'.

One more day to go!


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Perform Better Chicago

I attended the Perform Better Functional Training Summit in Chicago last weekend. To say that Chris Poirier and his staff at Perform Better pulled off a great event is an understatement. I predict that this tour will become the standard in the fitness and sports training industry.

Here's a quickie rundown (keep in mind that I couldn't see all the speakers as they ran 2 lectures and 2 hands-on sessions simultaneously and I'm doing this from memory)...

I arrived Thursday night and while checking out the venue I ran into (almost literally) my good buddy Jean-Paul Francoeur from JP Fitness. With "Kaiser" from the JP Fitness forum as our guide we toured the city and saw the sites (including the giant bean at Millenium Park...freaky) and dined on Chicago-style deep dish pizza (Note to Mike had spinach in it so it was safe to eat, right?).

On to the PB Summit...

Thomas Plummer may have been the perfect choice to start things off.

He's an energetic, pulls-no-punches type of speaker. If it's on his mind, he'll say it. In a very short time, he laid out the basic foundation for building your fitness business. This guy has literally been in every gym in the country and knows what makes your fitness business successful or what will cause it to fail.

A note to personal trainers everywhere...

Lose the earrings, cover your tattoo, wear a collared shirt and nice shorts or pants. It's time to step it up and be a professional. Clients are not interested in being bodybuilders...they want to have fun and will pay big money for it.

Stuart McGill was first up after lunch. I was really looking forward to hearing him and he didn't disappoint. Dr. McGill has tested them all from the highest level of athlete to Joe and Jane Schmoe. Where others theorize, he has direct laboratory results to support his recommendations. The underlying theme is to create what he calls "superstiffness" by effectively utilizing co-contraction of all the abdominals.

Other gems:
If you think you can contract the transversus abdominis and multifidus in isolation...dream on. Don't waste your time.

The hip airplane is one of the best ways to get the glutes to fire.

Groove the motor pattern (this was in reference to retraining the squat)

Great athletes have the ability to turn-on and turn-off muscles quickly which make for efficient and effective performance. This is trainable by the way.

Bill Parisi of Parisi Speed Schools ROCKED THE HOUSE!!

By far the most energetic of all the speakers, Bill talked about how to effectively network and build your sphere of influence. His just happens to include a guy named Phil Simms, Super Bowl quarterback and now TV commentator.

I also related to Bill because he, like me, was a javelin thrower and a linebacker in college although after a brief discussion I found he was a much better thrower than I was.

There's no way I can express the impact Bill has as a speaker in this blog.

Let's put it this way...he talked 30+ minutes over his time. No one wanted him to stop and no one left early.

His passion and enthusiasm for what he does with kids and his athletes is obvious.

Oh, and one attendee walked off with $100 of Bill's money for increasing his vertical jump by about a foot in about 30 seconds (it wasn't me). :)

I didn't get a chance to see Robb Rogers (who I found out happens to live in the same area as I do) talk about Muscle Activation Techniques, but I have seen his video on the topic which is quite good. Regardless, I was able to socialize with him a bit. Robb's "been there and done that" for a couple of decades in the strength and conditioning field and is not only a tremedous resource of training info, but a class act to boot.

I missed Diane Vives' talk too, but I sat next to her at dinner Saturday night. She's a very cool gal who also works her ass off. She's also trains some hardcore bodybuilders in a hardcore training facility that most women would be afraid to even walk by. The girl knows her stuff.

Lee Taft was there as well showing off his low box training which if you haven't seen, you'd think Lee was in his 20's. The guy hasn't lost a step and his explosiveness is unbelievable. Lee's been a friend of mine for a few years and his Lee Taft Speed Academy is growing like a weed in upstate New York mainly because the guy is one of the best in the business. He never stops working. At Friday night's social, you could see Lee answering questions and doing demos all night.

Speaking of the social Friday night...


Aside from that, Chris Poirier's hospitality and generosity are endless and he deserves many thanks for bringing so many folks in the industry together.

I had a chance to catch up with Ryan Lee (you still owe me a consult for fixing your neck at the first Ryan Lee Bootcamp;)). Ryan has a million projects going at once as usual and has a new baby on the way (that makes 3). He's living in Jupiter, Florida these days as his new nutrition and supplement company for trainers (Prograde Nutrition) explodes onto the scene.

Also hung with Mike Robertson, Mike Dodd, and assorted others.

Special mention: Never say you don't have time.

Angela from Crown Point, IN told her story over drinks. She's a Mom of 4 who home schools her kids AND runs a thriving fitness business geared toward women training for weight loss. Ladies and now have no excuses.

Special Mention #2: Graham Dean from came all the way to Chicago from South Africa. He's a very sharp guy, and I have no doubt that he will quickly become the go-to guy in all of South Africa not to mention that my network has now gotten a lot bigger.

A good start for Day 1.

Day 2 is coming...


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Get Naked Nutrition Now!

Today is an exciting day because I get to tell you about something that I've been keeping under wraps for quite a while.

Back in April, I had the chance to spend some time and talk nutrition with Mike Roussell. He also gave me a copy of his book Naked Nutrition. Let me tell you, no one should be that young and be that intelligent.

Naked Nutrition strips away all the fluff in regards to creating a healthy AND effective fat loss or muscle gaining nutrition program. Mike's taken a very confusing topic like proper nutrition and created an easy-to-follow guide that everyone can use regardless of your caloric needs or type of diet you prefer.

Since low-carb dieting is once again the rage, I did a mini-Q & A with Mike.

Bill: When fat loss is the goal, it seems that many are now fearful of
eating carbs. How will carbs fit effectively into a fat loss training

Mike Roussell: There are really two approaches you can take with carbohydrates regarding fat loss; one is more extreme than the other. Let's look at the more extreme option first. With this option you completely remove all starchy carbohydrates with the exception of your workout nutrition (keep the carbohydrates there at all costs). This approach is easy because it requires little thinking - the only carbohydrates you eat are fruits and vegetables.

But for some people that can be a radical change to their nutritional plan and thus is not initially recommended. Instead limit your starchy carbohydrate consumption to breakfast (commonly oatmeal) and in the first 1-2 meals following your workout. When I mention starchy carbohydrates, I'm talking about whole grain carbs not candy bars and cookies. If you are losing fat with carbs at these times then why cut them out? I find that very often what you said is true. People are "fearful of eating carbs" and thus automatically adopt the mantra "carbs make me fat" and cut them out of their diet without really knowing how their body responds to starchy higher glycemic index carbohydrates.

Continuing with the scenario…If fat loss is stalling then you can remove your morning starches and/or the starches following your workouts so that you are moving towards more of a zero starch diet (like I described previously).

The key message here is don't jump to carb conclusions without testing it on your body first. If you can eat oatmeal in the morning and still lose fat wouldn't you want to do that? The research shows that well timed starchy (and sometimes sugary) carbohydrates won't hinder fat loss and can actually be of extreme benefit. It is also important to note that in either diet scenario I outline neither one was a low carbohydrate diet. They were low starch diets. It is like Alwyn Cosgrove says "I don't recommend very low carbohydrate diet because I would never tell someone they can't eat vegetables."

Naked Nutrition is now available!


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Losing the Last 10

Here's the link to my latest fat loss article in Men's Health. It includes the complete 9-week program template that didn't fit in the original article.

Losing the Last 10


Thursday, May 03, 2007

Left/Right Imbalances


My right leg is significantly stronger than my left and I have a reoccurring injury that I finally realize is most likely due to this strength imbalance. The imbalance is because I had reconstructive knee surgery back in high school. I’m going to start doing exclusive single leg work. Should I add extra sets to the weak leg or use the same amount of weight for both legs based on what the weak (left) leg can handle?

Since the body tends to function best when there is minimal discrepency between the left and right sides of the body, this can be a pretty significant issue not only in performance but your orthopedic health as well.

Rarely is it as simple as just doing more sets on the weaker side. If that were the case then in most cases of general weakness doing more would be better, and in this day and age I think we all know that more is not always better.

Since, in your estimation, this is related to a previous injury and is a recurring problem, it's pretty obvious that something is feeding the imbalance. In most cases, the issue is not where you're feeling the pain or are experiencing the weakness.

There is most likely an imbalance elsewhere that developed over time due to altering your typical movement pattern to avoid pain or compensate for the dysfunction.

Without assessing you directly, specific corrective programming isn't possible but the first thing I'd compare is your hip and shoulder range of motion and your thoracic spine (upper back) rotation (from a tall sitting position turn from side to side). Look for any significant differences between sides and focus on correcting them first.

You can get a pretty clear picture by videotaping yourself doing an overhead squat, split squat, standing unilateral hip and knee flexion (stand on one leg and raise the opposite bent knee upward), and a single leg squat.

A lack of mobility/motion will show up as asymmetries in motion and/or posture or a loss of balance. Work to correct these asymmetries first as they will assure that appropriate movement patterns are being used and further imbalances will be avoided.

Once normal patterns have been restored it's just a matter of balancing strength.

To do so, focus primarily on unilateral exercises with a normal volume of training on the "weaker" side and a reduced volume of training on the "strong" side (matching the reps per set performed on the weaker side) to avoid detraining.

For instance, if you perform 3 x 8 of lunges, perform the first set starting with the weaker side and alternate sides until you've performed 3 sets on the weaker side (the strong side gets 2 sets to maintain fitness).


P.S. Don't forget to work on your thoracic spine and shoulder mobility as well.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Hip Dominant Movements

Not all hip dominant movements are created equal.

The hip joint angle at which torque is maximal during a deadlift variation is not the same as when performing a back extension (AKA hyperextension), reverse hyper, or low cable pull-through. Therefore, each will have its purpose in developing a training program.

Especially in the case of improving high-level performance in athletes, proper exercise selection is essential to address weak points in performance.

Assuming you can identify the weakpoints in the first place. :)


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Thanks Jack

My father-in-law, Jack, died a couple weeks ago.

I only got to know him for about 8 years, but it turns out that he's had quite a life.

Get this…

He served in Air Force and worked on planes as a mechanic
He then learned to fly planes AFTER his honorable discharge
He then owned his own plane
He learned to fly a helicopter
His daughter (my wife) was the only girl on the block…or town for that matter…who had a helicopter in her back yard
He was a ham radio operator for most of his life and made contact with people all over the world before the popularity of the internet
He built his own house (among many others) with his own hands…TWICE
He regularly bought, rebuilt, and reconditioned cars for a little "spending money"
He performed missionary work in Panama for his church on two different occasions
He then went back to Panama paying his own way just because he wanted to help them out
He raised an amazing daughter for whom I am thankful for every day

I don't offer this information to promote sympathy. I just want you to think about all the things you've dreamed of doing or plan to do "when you get around to it".

Don't wait. Do it.

Read more, talk more, laugh more, and help more people.

Enjoy the journey.

Thanks Jack. You were great.


P.S. If you read this and feel strongly about offering your condolences, please don't. I would prefer that you went to and purchase the e-book to help someone else.

Thursday, April 05, 2007


Thanks to outstanding medical care and technology and a fighter's attitude, my good friend Alwyn Cosgrove has defeated cancer (twice!!).

Always one to give back, Alwyn has brought to together the top names in the fitness, sports, and health professions to create the largest resource of health, fitness, and training information anywhere.

At over 800 pages, it will be an essential component to anyone's fitness and training library.

ALL the proceeds will go to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. (Alwyn is footing the entire bill for production costs)

You can see the list of authors and get your copy at

Buy two, get smarter, and save lives.


Thursday, March 29, 2007

Short-term Mentality

True story.

I was teaching a client the benefits of a proper eating plan (frequent meals, proper food choices, portion control, etc.) and she asked me how long she would need to eat this way.

She obviously doesn't get it yet, but she's new the whole fitness thing.

I can't blame her.

The media where most folks get their information is filled with "short-term mentality."

Short-term mentality is the latest Hollywood actress-based diet, an article in a women's magazine touting a quick way to lose X-number of pounds in 4 weeks, or a TV news program announcing the latest scientific finding that some isolated behavior impacts weight loss.

It's all based on the short-term. Do this one thing and all your weight loss worries go out the door.

Of course, we know better.

It's about making relatively permanent changes in your lifestyle FOREVER, that makes the difference.

Don't worry no one expects you to be perfect with your eating and exercise program. Training and nutrition expert Dr. John Berardi states that we need to be at our best on all levels for about 90% of the time.

If you have 42 eating opportunities per week (6 meals x 7 days), getting 38 of them correct will get you where you want to be.

If you have 16 workouts scheduled in a month, if you miss 1 or 2, it most likely won't set you back. (By the way, that doesn't give you permission to intentionally miss them)

You only need an "A-" to pass, but if you strive for an A+. Your results are guaranteed.


P.S. The eating component of a fitness program tends to be the most challenging part when making such a lifestyle adjustment. To make is easier, achieve your goals, and still eat delicious and nutritious food, I recommend that you check out Dr. John Berardi's Precision Nutrition.

Monday, March 26, 2007

What are you reading...for?

"A dimwitted waffle house waitress came up to my table, saw me reading a book, and asked, "What are you reading for?" Not "what are you reading?", but "what are you reading for?"

"Well, I read for a lot of reasons, but one of them is so I don't end up a fucking waffle waitress."

Bill Hicks

You are the same today as you’ll be in five years except for two things: the people you meet and the books you read."

Charles "Tremendous" Jones

"All of the books that we will ever need to make us as rich, as healthy, as happy, as powerful, as sophisticated and as successful as we want to be have already been written.

"People from all walks of life, people with some of the most incredible life experiences, people that have gone from pennies to fortune and from failure to success have taken the time to write down their experiences so that we might share in their wealth of knowledge. They have offered their wisdom and experience so that we can be inspired by it and instructed by it, and so that we can amend our philosophy by it. Their contributions enable us to reset our sail based upon their experiences. They have handed us the gift of their insights so that we can change our plans, if need be, in order to avoid their errors. We can rearrange our lives based on their wise advice.

"All of the insights that we might ever need have already been captured by others in books. The important question is this: In the last ninety days, with this treasure of information that could change our lives, our fortunes, our relationships, our health, our children and our careers for the better, how many books have we read?

"Why do we neglect to read the books that can change our lives? Why do we complain but remain the same? Why do so many of us curse the effect but nourish the cause? How do we explain the fact that only three percent of our entire national population possess a library card—a card that would give us access to all of the answers to success and happiness we could ever want? Those who wish for the better life cannot permit themselves to miss the books that could have a major impact on how their lives turn out. The book they miss will not help!

"And the issue is not that books are too expensive! If a person concludes that the price of buying the book is too great, wait until he must pay the price for not buying it. Wait until he receives the bill for continued and prolonged ignorance.

"There is very little difference between someone who cannot read and someone who will not read. The result of either is ignorance. Those who are serious seekers of personal development must remove the self-imposed limitations they have placed on their reading skills and their reading habits. There are a multitude of classes being taught on how to be a good reader and there are thousands of books on the shelves of the public libraries just waiting to be read. Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary. We must not permit anything to stand between us and the book that could change our lives.

"A little reading each day will result in a wealth of valuable information in a very short period of time. But if we fail to set aside the time, if we fail to pick up the book, if we fail to exercise the discipline, then ignorance will quickly move in to fill the void.
Those who seek a better life must first become a better person. They must continually seek after self- mastery for the purpose of developing a balanced philosophy of life, and then live in accordance with the dictates of that philosophy. The habit of reading is a major stepping stone in the development of a sound philosophical foundation. And in my opinion it is one of the fundamentals required for the attainment of success and happiness."

Jim Rohn


Thursday, March 22, 2007

You NEED to Listen to this

My good friend Alwyn Cosgrove was interviewed by Dax Moy recently.

Dax is giving it away for free.

There are some resources that are "must haves" and this recording is a MUST listen.

It will change your perspective of the fitness profession and make you better at whatever you do whether you are in the fitness profession or not.


Change Your Identity

Most people make choices based on how they identify themselves.

Many times these decisions are not congruent with their goals or desires.

For instance...I'm a smoker, but I want to quit (not me, but the figurative guy).

A smoker who wants to quit smoking but still identifies himself as a smoker will not be able to quit. His decisions are based on the fact that he is a smoker therefore he will always have the desire to smoke. Sure, he may be able to not smoke for a while, but because he sees himself as a smoker, he will smoke again.

The same goes for achieving your fitness goals.

Change your identity and become that person you desire to be.

Make all your behavioral decisions that influence your fitness goals based on the fact that you are a certain type of athlete or fitness enthusiast.

When faced with food choices, what choices do I make to support my goals?
How often should I train to achieve my goals or prepare for my sport?
What type of training should I be doing?

Answer every question based on your "new" identity.

Become who you want to be.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Isaac Newton, Certified Personal Trainer

“If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.”

Isaac Newton (among many others)

I would hazard to guess that I’ve had few, if any, original thoughts (I don’t even think that that statement is original).

I therefore give credit to all that came before me for any intellect and/or creativity that I may demonstrate to those who came before me in my chosen fields of interest and, well, life in general.

Having parents, mentors, and reading and listening to countless others probably saved me years of mistakes and regrets (I still had to touch the hot stove to see if it really would burn my hand) even though many times I decided that I was smarter than those before me.

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a “How to/Success” manual for everything?

What if you could just speak directly to those who were already doing what you’d like to do or were already at the top of the field?

You would never make the same mistakes that someone else made. You’d do things right the first time. You’d be more successful in a shorter time period than everyone else.

That’s what Nate Green figured out.

So he started asking successful trainers questions. He learned and he applied.

The result?

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

Nate interviewed some of the top names in the fitness field (and me too) and recorded them so up-and-coming trainers like himself can benefit from the trials and mistakes and successes of those who came before him.

Interviewees include:

Ryan Lee
Jim Labadie
Alwyn Cosgrove
Mike Boyle
Lou Schuler
Susan Hill
Pat Rigsby
Nick Berry
Craig Ballantyne
Chris Schugart
And myself

I’ve listened to these interviews myself and ended up with about 20 pages of notes. It’s a must for anyone looking to build their business.


P.S. Today’s no muss, no fuss spinach recipe: Spinach Popeye Style

Take a large handful of spinach.
Pack it into a small ball.
Shove it in your mouth, chew, and swallow.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

JP Fitness Summit...Be There!!

A word to the wise, get signed up for the JP Fitness Summit 2007.

Every year this thing keeps getting better, and this year things have taken a quantum leap.

I am honored to be a speaker once again this year, but check out who I get to hang out with in Little Rock:

Alwyn Cosgrove - international martial arts champ, top trainer, and author of Afterburn and The New Rules of Lifting

Robert Dos Remedios - author of Men's Health Power Training and NSCA Strength Coach of the Year

Lou Schuler - Co-author of multiple fitness books with Alwyn Cosgrove, Ian King, Mike Mejia, Jeff Volek, and Adam Campbell

Charles Staley - creator of the EDT training system

Chad Waterbury - author of Muscle Revolution and frequent contributor to

Zig Ziegler - former top collegiate athlete turned biomechanics expert and founder of Motion DNA

Mike Roussell - top nutritionist and frequent contributor to T-nation

Dave Schmitz - physcial therapist, athletic trainer, and flex band training expert

The thing that makes JP's Summit so different is that not only will you get to hear the best of the best provide you with applicable, "use it tomorrow" information. You also get to spend plenty of time in smal groups or even one-on-one time with the presenters. Not to mention, you also get to enjoy the social life in Little Rock (You can sleep when you get home).
You'll be sorry if you don't get to the JP Fitness Summit 2007.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Hot Fakes, Ultra-scam and Chronic Low Back Pain

I've never been a big fan of passive physical agents in the treatment of chronic low back pain. I just don't think they have much to offer (for the record, short of cyrotherapy [ice], I don't think they have much to offer in just about any case. I've done one ultrasound treatment in the last 7 years and only because I was "ordered" to do so.).

Sure a little ice or heat can certainly reduce pain and temporarily increase mobility in the pre or post-exercise period, but as far as making a huge impact in reducing symptoms or increasing function...well, it just doesn't happen.

On the other hand, exercise is typically the "fix".

Oddly enough, aerobic exercise tends to be quite successful in this regard.

In the most recent Physical Therapy journal (Phys Ther. 2007 Mar;87(3):304-12) there was a pilot study that showed just that.

They compared a passive physical agents group (diathermy, ultrasound, electric stimulation, and laser treatments) who did no exercises to an aerobic exercise group. The aerobic exercise group progressively increase exercise time to 50 minutes at up to 85% of their heart rate reserve.

They then compared pre-study scores of subjective pain and disability to post-test score for each group.

Guess what?

The exercise group recorded reduced pain and disability after the 12 weeks, and the control group who just received the passive physical agents didn't change at all. They also reported reduced feelings of depression and anxiety (so much for you think there's a connection between the number of folks on anti-depressants and the ever increasing sedentary lifestyle of Americans??).

A couple things to keep in mind. The subjects who were successful in this study progressively increased the intensity of the exercise. I think this is an important point.

They weren't walking casually. They were eventually running on the treadmill for 50 minutes at a good clip.

Intensity is the key to most forms of exercise. We know that higher intensities of activity promote greater fat loss AND promote higher levels of fitness overall over a shorter time period.

Now there's evidence in that it'll help your back pain too.

Perhaps we need to adjust our mindsets to "Work harder, not smarter."


P.S. I'd like to see the results with some strength training and even higher-intensity intervals thrown in.

Monday, March 05, 2007

The Thoracic Spine and Shoulder Health

Question: Why the big concern over upper back mobility in regard to building heathly shoulders?

Answer: Poor mobility of the thoracic spine (upper back) is often associated with a slouched, or more specifically, a kyphotic posture. This altered spinal alignment prevents the scapulae (the shoulder blades) from tilting backward as you raise your arms. This lack of tilt narrows the space in the shoulder joint that the rotator cuff runs through (the subacromial space) and makes it more likely that your rotator cuff will get pinched, called impingement. Over time, if you impinge frequently, you'll most likely end up with some form of rotator cuff injury.

The mobility of the thoracic spine also directly affects the strength of the lower trapezius which is an upward rotator of the scapulae. If the thoracic spine lacks mobility the lower trapezius will test weak, thus limiting upward rotation. A lack of scapular upward rotation also narrows the subacromial space making impingement more likely.

There's actually more to it, but you can see in just these two instances why thoracic spine mobility is so important. That's why Mike Robertson and I included exercises specifically designed to improve throacic spine mobility in our Inside-Out: The Ultimate Upper Body Warm-up.


Sunday, March 04, 2007

False Barriers

I was emailing back and forth with my friend Alwyn Cosgrove last night. We had both enjoyed the UFC fights on pay-per-view mainly because of a comeback of unexpected and unbelievable proportions.

Randy “The Natural” Couture came out of retirement to defeat Tim “The Maine-iac” Silvia and take his 3rd UFC Heavyweight title.

Now you may not be a big fight fan, but get this…

Tim Silvia has had more wins (25) than Couture had fights (15-8).

Tim Silvia stands 6’8” and weighed in at 265 which meant he was probably close to 280 by fight time. Randy Couture is 6’2” and weighs a lean 222.

Tim Silvia is 30 years old. Randy is…get this…43. That’s not a typo. He’s really 43 years old.

Randy wasn’t supposed to have a shot. He won like he was spanking a 280 pound baby.

Getting back to our email exchange.

In one email Alwyn stated, “Age is meaningless now. It really is.”

He’s right.

It’s a false barrier.

Roger Banister understood false barriers when he broke 4 minutes in the mile in 1954.

Eamonn Coghlan ran a sub-four minute mile in 1994. This obviously isn’t a big deal since it was 40 years prior that this barrier was broken until you find out that Eamonn was 40 years old when he ran it.

My friend John Gesselberty recently deadlifted over 400 pounds for the first time.

He’s over 40. Actually he’s 58 (that's not his physiological age by the way).

I’m inspired.

As of today, I’m about 40.75 years old.

If you need me, I’ll be in the gym at 4:30 am, warmed-up and ready.

Age is meaningless now. It really is.


Thursday, March 01, 2007

Evidence-based Fitness

Everyone wants evidence for everything these days.

In the PT world, the hot topic is evidence-based treatment even though a large portion of the techniques and methods that many PT's learn in continuing educations courses and utilize every day haven't been scrutinized in double-blinded, peer-reviewed research.

In the fitness and sports training world, I think the best evidence-based methods come from the coaches who've been training clients and athletes for a long time and keep accurate records of what worked and what didn't.

Nothing beats real-world experience.

It's been said that exercise-related researchers tend to be exercise historians because they research those methods that successful coaches have been using for years only to find out why they work.

I can't entirely disagree, but I don't think we can just ignore the research because it is not performed in realistic environments. Knowing some of the "whys" allows us to make better training decisions.

With that in mind, I want to give you a "heads up" on a new blog by Bryan Chung. Bryan is a PhD (with a strong rehab background) who also happens to be one helluva researcher and critical thinker. He's also not a total geek as he has some "under the bar" and a broad athletic experience.

He's just getting started with the blog and he's quite busy as he continues his education, but I'd put his blog on your favorites list. Whether you agree with him or not, he's going to stimulate some thought.

Check him out here Evidence-Based Fitness.


Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Isolate to Activate and Integrate

This question came up recently on JP Fitness and I wanted to expand on it a little:

Q: I went to a a PT this summer for my shoulder. Their was little to no isolated exercises and very little static stretching...The program consisted of a warmup with dynamic stretches (lunge variations : front, side, reverse), single leg squat touchdowns, jumping jacks or 3 dimensional jumps, shoulder activation exercises (shoulder dump, internal/external rotator cuff movements with movement in the hips, punches thrown at different levels with some hip movement, similar exercises to the above link), this was followed by a strengthing circuit section...There is no exercises like pushup pluses, face pulls, Y's, T's, etc. that we see in many rehab programs....I enjoyed this program, but I don't know if I need to include traditional exercises like Y's T's to get better. The PR [I'm assuming he meant PT here] actually advises against these type exercises I think becauuse it isn't using more of the kinetic chain. Any opinions?

There are many components to an effective shoulder rehab program. I question whether a PT would actually advise against upper extremity weight bearing exericses (push-up plus, closed chain weight shifting, tripod exercises), isolated strengthening of the rotator cuff and scapular muscles, or range of motion and stretching. Each serves an important ingredient at specific stages of the rehab program.

The programming that you refer to involving the whole body exercises is primarily designed to restore normal intengration of shoulder function with the rest of the body. Certainly, this is important to recovery and general shoulder health.

When Mike Robertson and I put together Inside-Out, we designed it as such to emphasize the principles of how the body produces upper extremity movements from proximal (trunk and hips) to distal (scapula, shoulder, and arm) much like the exercises you describe. Just to show you how other parts of the body influence shoulder function, in almost half of all rotator cuff tears, you'll find a mobility issue in the opposite hip. In 100% of all cases of acquired shoulder instability, the scapula is also found to be unstable (cause and effect?).

Keep in mind that in most cases, you'll still need to address range of motion and strength in isolation on some level as the body is still able to compensate around movement restrictions or substitute for weakened muscle.

In other words, isolate to activate and integrate. That being said, all these processes can take place at the same time. Even in some situations where the shoulder may be immobilized, you can work on hip mobility, thoracic spine mobility, scapular mobility, and their integration.


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Too Much Pink

A series of events occurred over the last couple of days that prompted me to blog today’s topic.

Event #1: My wife returned from a business trip to Las Vegas (hey, it REALLY WAS a business trip). For her flight home, she bought a couple of magazines that included fitness magazines marketed to women. Unfortunately, during some down time, I picked them up and scanned through them. I tore out all the pages with quality information on them, but I seemed to have misplaced it. ("it" meaning one page…actually is was part of one page, but you get my point).

Event #2: A new female client expressed her frustration with her lack of progress with her previous exercise program as she stated, “Even though I was doing my Pilates and yoga classes three times a week and following a diet that I read about in the magazines.”

Event #3: A friend mentioned that she’s not seeing the results that she’d hoped from her exercise program. She mentioned that she’s doing as much as an hour of aerobic exercise and another hour of strength training. After inquiring what she’s actually doing, she mentioned that she’s using the exact same program that she started 2 years ago and is using the exact same weights as when she started her program that she got from a fitness magazine.

Does anyone see the common connection here?

The media that is supposedly designed to help women achieve their fitness goals, improve their health, and help them feel better about themselves is actually sabotaging their efforts.

Women are being misguided, mislead, and misinformed.


Too much pink.

Let me explain.

When I was in high school there was a study in which a police station painted their holding cells a color called Baker-Miller Pink. What they found was that this color of pink (about the color of bubble gum) had an aggression reducing effect on violent or aggressive arrestees.

I actually attempted to duplicate this study myself as part of my science fair project (hey, I took woodshop too!) where I had guys randomly stare at a Baker-Miller Pink card or another colored card for several minutes and then tested their strength. The subjects had no idea what was supposed to happen but in a majority of cases, when staring at a pink card, strength was reduced even if the pink card was chosen first which ruled out fatigue as a factor (Got an “A” in science that year too).

Does it work in the real world?

Well, there are actually football teams that paint their visiting lockerrooms pink in an effort to suck the aggression out of their opponents, so maybe it does.

But my point is that women are failing because there’s too much pink in the magazines.

Not literally but figuratively.

Here’s what I mean.

If you take all the components that make up a successful fitness program designed to promote fat loss and lean muscle gain but softened it up to make it seem kinder, gentler, and less threatening, that’s what the women’s fitness magazines are doing.

I do know why they do it that way.

It sells more magazines than teaching women the reality of changing their bodies and becoming more physically fit.

However, in doing so it perpetuates myths and misinformation that prevents successful fitness programming for women leading to countless frustrated female fitness fanatics.

I would hazard to guess that if the women’s magazines changed their ways and told the truth, they’d sell fewer magazines, but there success stories would increase 100-fold.

What the women’s magazines need are some BALLS! (yeah, well write your own blog)

If I were made editor for a day for The Ladies Day Shape Health Self Fitness Home Journal, here’s how I’d change it.

1. Raise the intensity of the strength training

One of the reasons women fail at achieving their goals is that they don’t know how hard they’re supposed to work. NO MORE PINK 3-POUND DUMBBELLS ALLOWED!

When it comes to strength training, if the training program says to do 12 reps, it means to use a weight that will allow you to perform 12 reps with good technique. If you can do 13, you need to use more weight.

Before you even think it, don’t give me any crap about not wanting to get muscle bound. You gals lack the hormones to gain huge amounts of muscle. Besides gaining large amounts of muscle is far from easy. Most guys have trouble gaining large amounts of muscle over a period of years with the intention to do so.

2. Teach the reader the importance of progression

You must strive to be stronger this month than you were last month. You must make the effort to do more work in the same amount of time. If you aren’t progressing, you are regressing. If you aren’t progressing, you aren’t changing.

3. Drop the word “Aerobic” from the women’s fitness vocabulary

You’ve been brainwashed to think that aerobic exercise = fat loss. It doesn’t. It simply means that your energy needs are being met by the aerobic energy system. This type of exercise is rarely effective in fat loss programs even though you’ve been told that ad nauseum.

4. No more Touchy Feely, Mind-Body Exercise programs

Yes, you may enjoy that type of program. Rarely does anyone make significant impact in their ability to lose fat with this type of exercise. See #1 above. If you must do it for fun, go ahead and then do something productive.

5. Forget about programs to slim body parts, firm something, or lift something

Exercises claiming to slim your hips, firm your butt, lift your breasts, and tighten up the lose skin on the back of your arms rarely if ever do so. Focus on exercises that emphasize total body movements like squats, deadlifts, lunges, step-ups, presses, and chin-ups (you can learn to do them if you want it bad enough). These stimulate your body to build metabolically active muscle and burn more fat AFTER you exercise. If you want proof, one research study that used 3 full body exercises increased metabolism and fat burning for over 39 hours after the workout was over.

6. Teach women that eating fat doesn't mean that it turns to fat

This is really misguided thinking left over from the 80’s and 90’s. It results in eating sugar-filled “fat free” foods, large portions of carbohydrate that raise insulin and increase fat storage or even insufficient calories. Metabolism is the rate at which you burn food. If you don’t eat enough, and that includes healthy fats, you essentially slow your metabolism and that means no fat loss.

I could go on but this is a blog, not a book. (See below for that)

Think LESS Pink.


P.S. If you’re looking for a program that works in the real world, my friend Rachel Cosgrove has a great book called So You Want to Be In the Best Shape of Your Life.

Monday, February 19, 2007

CEO Excusitis

Excusitispsychological disorder resulting from the need to defer responsibility to anyone or anything other than one’s self. This disorder is usually accompanied by rationalization disorder.

I'm not a regular newspaper reader (and I don't watch the news either).

I figure that if something important happens, someone will tell me about it…and they do.

I did read an article in USA Today today (that wasn't a stutter) because someone showed it to me (see it works). It was about how CEO's of large corporations were fat and out of shape and how they are spending huge sums of money to try to drop some weight and improve their health.

Good for them.

The thing that caught my eye was the overwhelming excusitis that these guys and gals were using as their reason for being rather fat in some cases.

"My mother taught me if I didn't eat everything on my plate, a child in China would be dying."

"I'm Italian. You ate what your mother told you to eat, not just when you were hungry."

Wow, even CEO's still live at home and are forced to clean their plate by their mothers?

No. Just excusitis.

These people are in very powerful positions in the corporate world (and getting paid in the $5-10 million range annually), and I'm certain that they wouldn't stand for such drivel from any of their underlings, yet they blame their mommies for their current levels of obesity.

At least there was one voice of reason from the CEO camp.

He now weighs 185 pounds at 9% body fat. He trains every morning and does so at 4 a.m. in cases where he has a 6 a.m. flight to somewhere (I bet he doesn't fly commercial).

His opinion of other CEO’s who try fat farms and hire personal chef's? They're WEAK!

It's all about self-discipline. No excuses.

Wanna Get Jacked?


Thursday, January 25, 2007


Just a quick heads up.

Mike Robertson and I recently did an article for T-nation.

It's called Push-ups, Face Pulls, and Shrugs. Check it out.


Monday, January 22, 2007

Workout Pass

You gotta see this to believe it.

It's called Workout Pass and it's HUGE.

In a nutshell, workoutpass is a network of over 40 sites (and growing) featuring only workouts. We've got sport specific sites such as football, soccer, basketball, baseball, softball, etc. We also have category-specific and equipment-specific sites like medicine ball workouts, weight loss for women, total gym, stability ball, bodyweight, etc.

Sign-up ASAP and you'll get what may be the largest release of FREE stuff ever!

Get your Workout Pass


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

America's Goals for 2007

America wants to get in shape. Here's proof.

A recent poll asked 300,000 people what their goals were for 2007. Here's the top ten goals for Americans based on their responses.

1. Lose weight, get in shape
2. Stick to a budget
3. Reduce debt
4. Enjoy more quality time with friends and family
5. Find a soul mate
6. Quit smoking
7. Find a better job
8. Learn something new
9. Volunteer - help others
10. Get organized

I think the primary reason that "Lose weight, get in shape" is number one (and usually is for most folks) is that they lack the knowledge and technology to allow them to accomplish their goal.

I can hear these people complaining that they'd be able to get in shape if only they had a method that they knew would work.

There is such a method.

My buddy Alwyn Cosgrove works with hundreds of clients each week with the same problems and the same goals. He's tested his methods on hundreds of clients each week and has become THE expert in real world fat loss because his program works.

If you need a program to help you achieve your fat loss goals or know someone who needs some help tell them to check out Afterburn.

No more excuses.


Monday, January 15, 2007

Speed Reading

I set a personal record today of 139 pages in about an hour and fifteen minutes.

I think there's a lot things that contributed to my PR in reading speed today.

1. I was reading something that I was looking forward to reading (No, it wasn't a Spider-man comic).

2. I was familiar with the topic and some of the material (but I hadn't read this book before)

3. I had scanned the book a couple of times.

4. I've been practicing my speed reading a bit.

Now, if there ever was a skeptic in regard to speed reading, I was a total nonbeliever.

I saw all the commercials of the kids with their school book pages turning at incredible rates with the announcer's voice reminding you, "These kids are actually reading!!" Just in case you didn't believe that they were.

I saw the late night infomercial of the guy that "read" an unfamiliar textbook with a 5-second scan per page claiming amazing retention (he was lying by the way).

Nevertheless, I have a lot of stuff I like and/or want and/or need to read. So I took a chance and bought a speed reading course. Yes, I felt stupid as I clicked the "checkout" button on the webpage, but I promised myself to give it an honest try.

I can't tell you how glad I am that I did. From a productivity standpoint, it's saved me hours.

I realize that this probably sounds like an informercial by now, but since I encourage folks to read as much as they can, I feel obligated to get you to read faster, so you can read more.

I'll even give you a few tips that if you practice dilegently will almost immediately notice an increase in your reading speed.

1. Read with your finger

Remember how when you were first learning to read, and you were taught not to lead your eyes with your finger because you were told that it would slow down your reading?

They were wrong.

What you actually find if you follow someone's eyes as they read is that there's a great deal of back tracking and losing and regaining your place as you read. Having a cue such as a finger to lead your eye and keep it on track prevents unnecessary rereading and maintains your focus on the material.

I prefer to place my entire hand on the page and just slide it back and forth. It seems more comfortable.

2. Lose your "inner voice"

When most people read they actually hear their "inner voice" as if a voice was reading aloud. This is a time killer.

Have you ever scrolled your computer screen really quickly as you looked for a specific name or word in a list or on a page? As soon as your eyes recognized the name or word, you immediately stopped scrolling. Had you tried to read every name or word on the list it would have taken hours, yet your brain was able to identify the word you sought very quickly.

You can do the same thing as you read a book, but it takes practice.

Here's what I would do to practice.

1. Read something that is familiar to you.

Either read something that you have read before or something that contains material or topic you are familiar with.

2. Scan it first.

Glance at each page or section to look for familiar words or phrases that will provide you with some preliminary information about what you're reading.

3. Read small sections and determine what you've retained.

You'll be surprised how much you pick up on the first try.

4. Keep practicing

I don't think that I can maintain the same rate of reading speed with something that is totally unfamiliar, but today's revelation was an indication that I've made dramatic improvements (and regained some that I'd lost from getting lazy).

BTW, here's the course that I used. It's been around forever (my Mom took the same course decades ago).


P.S. It's worth it.