Main Image

"Realistic" Timelines: Patience in an Impatient World

The season of resolutions and goal setting is upon us.

I say that with neither excitement nor dread, but grounded in the reality that only 8% of individuals will stick to their resolutions. So while every situation is unique, there are common patterns that derail people from truly seeing progress.

The most common denominator? Unrealistic expectations.

And that just happens to be something I'm personally familiar with.

Admittedly, this is not an area I've written much about - besides my post on failing at the Beast Tamer Challenge in 2016. For those unfamiliar with my defeat at the hands of a kettlebell, I signed up four months prior to the event assuming I'd complete all three elements: a strict press, pistol (single leg squat), and strict pull-up, all with the 48 kg (106 lbs) kettlebell.

Read More…
Main Image

Do You "Do" Kettlebells?

To the average gym-goer, kettlebells are often shrouded in mystique and confusion.

And to be fair, they look like cannonballs. But with handles. They're also usually in kilograms - and not to sound too much like Ricky Bobby - but this is America.

So I shouldn't be surprised that a few weeks ago I met a fellow fitness professional who asked if I "do" kettlebells.

Now, they could've simply misspoken. My inner grammar nerd can rear its ugly head, even as I struggle to end my own love affair with adverbs, commas, and bland verbs. I would've preferred "use," "lift," "work with," etc.

But based on the context of the conversation, it didn't appear this was just a matter of word choice.

Read More…
Main Image

Overtraining or Under Recovering?

It's a vicious loop. Train, train too hard or too long, and now you're sidelined. Once healthy, train, train too hard, and you're sidelined again. If the definition of insanity is repeating the same thing and expecting different results, then I've been insane a few times over.

But I know others can relate.

We embark on a journey - usually too ambitious for our current self - only to be forced to take time off. We're either too sore, injured, or mentally burned out. Classic symptoms of "overtraining," right? I don't think it's all that simple.

Instead, we need to shift our focus. Because what if these symptoms weren't from overtraining? What if we're actually "under recovering?" And no, it's not just semantics.

Read More…
Main Image

The Real "Core" Muscle

The more I listen to The Police, the more I realize they were just before their time. Yes, they sold 75 million records, were wildly successful, yadda, yadda, yadda. But most people don’t appreciate or fully comprehend the lyrics of “Every Breath You Take.”

Because every breath you take IS every move you make.

I know. Total Dad joke.

But I use my terrible sense of humor to highlight a critical point: most musculoskeletal issues arise from faulty breathing patterns. And for most people, a proper exhale will realign your pelvis and thorax by reestablishing the shape of your most important core muscle: the diaphragm.

I know, a lot of nerdy mumbo jumbo. But whether you're looking to get out of pain or you're just trying to build a bigger deadlift (and really, who isn't?), focusing on your thorax and your diaphragm will help. Let me explain.

Read More…
Main Image

4 Ways to Vet Your Personal Trainer

When I first thought about becoming a personal trainer, I dismissed it because of the stereotype. To that point, I hadn't worked with any half-decent strength and conditioning professionals, so my notions of personal trainers were a bit naïve. I thought all trainers were either:

A) fitness-crazed, protein-addicted meatheads who couldn’t spell.
B) group exercise instructors afraid they’d enter cardiac arrest if they ever stopped moving.
C) some weird hybrid of the two, mixed with a dash of CrossFit.

Safe to say, I didn’t fall neatly into any camp.

It was only when I stepped halfway into the industry that I realized how wrong I was, and started to understand the differences between great and sub-par personal trainers. And the more I learned, the more I realized it was just like any other industry - the top 5% are exponentially better than the bottom 50% in knowledge, skills, communication, and experience.

But unfortunately, most people don’t have the time, interest, or energy to learn about the differences.

Read More…