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Why You Should Ditch Your "Frankenstein" Workout

I think differently from most coaches. Maybe it's because I'm left handed. Or maybe it's because of my personality type. Or maybe I just saw this Apple commercial a little too much when I was younger.

Whatever the case may be, some traditional ideas about training are anathema to me. 

There's no better example than my general disdain for the traditional body part/bodybuilding programming split. I refer to these types of workouts as the "Frankenstein" program, because it treats the body as a collection of parts: Monday is chest day; Tuesday is leg day; Thursday is chest day again (because why not); Friday is back and biceps.

Is there anything wrong with this program if someone is a competitive bodybuilder? No. But is it an optimal use of time for 99% of the population? Not at all. And here's why:

The reason people fail to hit their goals is not from doing too few bicep curls or not enough bench pressing. It's because people are missing patterns, planes, and stances.

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The Myth of Unstable Surface Training (And What to do Instead)

My favorite computer game growing up was "The Oregon Trail." I would play one version in the computer lab* in Elementary school and another version at home. Yes, I loved it THAT much.

(*On that note, do they still have computer labs in school? I hope so, because all I can think of is an annoying, pretentious commercial where one girls asks "What's a computer?")

Anyway, why did I love "The Trail" so much? Because the game's choose-you-own-adventure format, and against-all-odds mentality (even when playing on the "easy" level), are a combination that's still uniquely suited to my personality. 

But I realized this week that "The Oregon Trail" serves as a great analogy to how many individuals view their own exercise and fitness programs. Go with me on this one.

With all of the noise on social media, and so many paths to choose from, most people are left to navigate the fitness industry for themselves. Only in this case, they're not deciding between the Columbia River Gorge or Barlow Road. Instead, they're left to decide: running or strength training? Crossfit, Flywheel, or Barre classes?

And not only are these fitness decisions different than the game, so too are the stakes - you won't die from dysentery, but you may fail to see results despite all of your time and effort.

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2 Quick Ways to Transform Your Deadlift

"What is the point of a deadlift?"

That's a question I fielded this week from a client. It was said with genuine curiosity, as well as a dash of skepticism.

And you know what? I get it.

Deadlifts get a bad name because stubbornness, brute strength, and an unbreakable will to see "dem gainz" can take you pretty far. Some people don't need good technique, or even much patience, in order to achieve a 1-2x bodyweight lift. Walk into any commercial gym and you'll see what I'm talking about. Heck, my early days of deadlifts would fall under this category too.

And this approach can work. Until it doesn't.

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"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.

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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.

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