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When Theory Meets Reality

According to Google, the most popular post I've ever written was published back in August 2015: Is Exercise a Stress Reliever or Stress Amplifier?  Clearly, every post I've published since has been an exercise in futility.

For those that don't understand my brand of self-deprecating humor, that is what I call a "joke."  Both my understanding of strength and conditioning, as well as my overall writing ability, have greatly increased since that post.  But I often forget that even though the concepts in that post aren't new to me - how certain types of exercise actually compound your stress levels - it's probably new to most people.

One such example came last week, when Bob Harper - yes, trainer Bob from The Biggest Loser - had a heart attack at age 51.  Mainstream media and the interwebz were shocked by the news.  I, however, was not.

 

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Head Fakes and the Tactical Strength Challenge

I'm a fan of head fakes.  Not in a sleazy way.  Only in a training way.

For example, my quest to deadlift 500 pounds in 2014 may have seemed arbitrary, if not wholly brotastic.  But actually, it was an exercise in conquering persistent back pain and increasing my confidence when lifting heavy things.  And, well, it helped build my "gym cred" too.

My current goal to become a Beast Tamer is more of the same.  It may appear as if I'm trying to join an elite fraternity, but the real goal is to continue learning the skill of strength and being able to accomplish what I've set my mind to. 

So when it comes to training and setting goals for others, it's no surprise that I employ the same strategy.  If someone wants to get leaner or more muscular - and really, that's the heart of most people's goals - I tend to recommend training for the Tactical Strength Challenge.  Its blend of maximal strength (deadlift), relative strength (pull-ups), and conditioning (kettlebell snatches) is a great way to test your physical preparedness.  But really, it's one of the best fat loss and mass building programs I've ever encountered.

 

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How Much Strength is...Enough?

I've been asking myself the same question over the past few years: "How much strength is enough?" Sometimes the answer is easy - like when someone can squat a piano, but they can't walk up a flight of stairs without panting.  

But other times it's less obvious. When someone is new to fitness and everything needs to be improved, or they have a specific goal like running a marathon or completing some other physical event.

And as much as it pains me to admit, there's more to training than simply being the Mayor of Gainz City.

 

 

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Pressing Pause

My peak writing time always seems to be between 3-5:30 PM.  I don't have a "scientific" reason why. But it's usually when my afternoon coffee is flowing, I've just pigged out(?) on salad, and I'm riding high after deadlifting the equivalent of a smart car (I wish!).

Unfortunately, it tends to be the least writing conducive part of my day.  I'm either training myself during that time or I'm heading back for the second half of my workday. On good days and weeks, I can usually eke out 20 minutes of writing. But many times it's nothing and I can't help feeling guilty.

I've thought about taking a different approach: taking a few weeks off from writing every year until my schedule settles down. By pressing the pause button, it'd release my guilt when I can't get much accomplished, and who knows, maybe I'd find a different hobby outside of strength and conditioning (but probably not).

Yet, I always come back to the same arguments: 1) with no kids and minimal liabilities, this is the calmest and easiest life will ever be for me!  And 2) writing is a craft that you can only improve by, you know, actually writing.  As a result, I always decide to forge ahead regardless of how slow it might be.

Of course, I'm not just talking about my own writing schedule - I'm giving a glimpse into how most people think and act when it comes to changing their diet and exercise habits.

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3 Confessions from a Physical Preparation Coach (Part III)

It's January.  Like late night NYC pizza joints after 2 am or Jon Hamm doing H&R Block commercials, that means it's busy season for Strength and Conditioning professionals.

Unfortunately, that means my writing has taken a back seat.  Between working with clients, my own Tactical Strength Challenge prep, and trying to win The Bachelor Fantasy League, there really isn't enough time in a day.  But that doesn't mean I've stopped thinking.

In fact, I'd like to revisit my "Confessions from a Physical Preparation Coach" series I started last year.  Part advice and part memoir, the topics below don't quite have enough "meat" to make up a full post.  But they've been learned in the trenches and are every bit as valuable.

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