These videos are getting more and more fun to put together. Sorry if you get kind of lost during the video, but this is how my brain works. I jump from here to there quite a bit, but in the end it all kind of comes together. The magic is in the video so grab yourself a Yuengling, kick back, enjoy the video, and get ready to be fired up for this next series of videos from these amazing coaches. On deck: Nia Shanks, Belton Lubas, Joe Carabase, Chris Reed and Mike Rojas.
The topic of the day is "What characteristics separate those who talk about making change in their lives and those who are taking action and getting shit done?"
put it nicely when she talks about excuse makers & excuse breakers. Keeping things simple and not being overwhelmed complex strategies is key when beginning a journey of self improvement. Use basic drills that have little or no learning curve to eliminate frustration and keep things more enjoyable. She says it is crucial to set yourself up for success with proper planning.
Focusing on the positive & eliminate the negative, says Joe Carabase
, can help you gain a perspective that can help keep you in the game. Don't overwhelm yourself with details, whether it's diet or exercise, just get started and you'll see how positive behavior breeds more positive behavior. Exercise is a gateway to more exercise, he says.Belton Lubas realizes that for people to make serious changes in their life, they need to have a strong reason WHY they want to achieve or change a certain thing. Their goals need to be specific,
and under no circumstances allow yourself to fail. You accomplish this by burning the bridges behind you so you have no choice but to move forward, there is no going back. Failure is not an option. Have a vision, have a goal and attack it. His biggest change occurred when his back was against the wall and he was all out of options, he had nothing to lose and something to prove. We all WANT to drive a BMW, says Chris Reed, but an expensive car is not what we NEED
to get us from point A to point B. Sack up and take action, don't fear consequences, and learn that failure is your greatest teacher, so the sooner you embrace it, the more you will learn and grow. We are all going to have tough times, but how you respond in those difficult times is going to measure your character, are you going to fight or will you flee?
The perfect time is never going to come, you must take action now and you will learn more as you go, says Mike Rojas
. Find out whats holding you back, make that self discovery, take personal responsibility for your actions and embrace the consequences that you made for yourself. Everyone should have a personal constitution, and every action you take should coincide with the goals that you set forth for yourself. Everything you do, ask yourself if it is helping you or hurting you.
Nobody is going to wipe your ass for you when you shit the bed. Mistakes will happen, clean yourself up and get moving again. Check out the following video and share your thoughts below.
This question keeps coming my way, and I keep giving the same type of answers. There is no need for gizmos, crazy training, and super special training methods, especially if you're limited on time, train for general reasons, not going to the olympics, and have a life outside the gym. Here is the text my buddy, Billy, sent me...
Billy is a world class planker and he knows how to have fun.
Even though I feel I address this issue frequently, here is my video response below. Billy has trained with me at TSS and brought many new young athletes to train with us as well. He knows what we do and we have been an influence on his current training and hopefully his future training for years to come. He is a smart dude, going to med school, and has multiple one arm chin ups (OAC) with both arms, enough said. I hope this first part starts to answer some questions and simplify what the hell you're supposed to do in the gym. A few key points to ponder are:
- Make everything look easy
- Keep the intensity internal, let that inner fire burn, but don't externalize it
- Don't drop big weights and disrupt the lazy and elderly, they'll get you kicked out
- Focus on the main priorities, not the variations in an attempt to avoid boredom
For another awesome video of Billy, Mikey and Erik getting nasty at TSS last year, check this out...The Takeover of The Strength Shop!
<<< Video Link on my facebook, friend me if you are not already!
Let me preface this article with the fact that I respect all people who are willing to work hard to achieve something great in their lives. But if you repeatedly lack good judgement, be prepared for the consequences. I respect hard work, but silliness is better left in the circus than in the gym. Always ask yourself, "Is what you're doing helping you, or hurting you?"
I have worked and trained in many different facilities in my days, and I have seen all kinds of training from effective to silly to dangerous. The difference now is I know more than I used to know and I really care about the things I see. Instead of just making fun of people, having a good laugh and walking away, I now make fun of them, but try to give them some kind of helpful advice and feature them in a YouTube film as a parting gift. If I am fortunate enough to work with them closely, make them a part of my family and make a personal investment in their life, I do the very best I can to protect them and not allow them to do silly things.
Below is a video I recently took at a friends facility, and I genuinely like the people, but I just thought some things were silly. It will offend a few, probably piss some people off, but I think the lesson learned by watching it will be more important than that fact that I might not be liked.
The thing about this video is, it isn't an isolated incident, it is happening right now in thousands on gyms all over the place. In an effort to try to be the best, thousands of people are blindly following someone else's lead into despair. There are many great and terrible things about the fitness industry today. One pro is that fact that many people are willing to try new things to increase their ability. They are willing to work harder than ever to take their fitness to the next level. On the other hand, things have a tendency to get taken too far. Many people forget that they are training to be healthier, not training to save the Princess from the fire breathing dragon.
In 2007, I decided to add CrossFit to my list of fitness certifications. Ever since, CrossFit has become more and more popular. It is constantly evolving, growing, and attracting the likes of world renowned fitness celebrities such as Bob Harper, who was recently crowned his fourth Brown Eye Achievement Award from The Starfish Lounge six years running! Go Bob! Basically, Bob Harper exemplifies what it means to be a master of his craft, and now his craft includes CrossFit. I mean, who needs Mark Rippetoe teaching flawless deadlift technique when you can have Bob Harper teaching a Turkish Get Up with less than 36 technical infringements?
If you want to be good at what you do, you have to understand what you are doing, why you are doing it, and how to do it safely and effectively. The first rule of training is "Do no harm." The coach and the athlete are both responsible for this. The athlete is sometimes stronger than he is smart, so it is the coaches responsibility to keep the athlete safe and progressing. In other words, the coach should take care of the athlete, but the athlete must always use common sense.
Because of the juggernaut that CrossFit has become in the fitness community, millions of people are now getting most of their training information from them, and rightfully so, as they put out tons of incredible content from a variety of sources daily. At the risk of sounding cheesy by quoting Spiderman, with great power comes great responsibility. CrossFit has become one of the most powerful sources of fitness information out there. If you are programming exercises or competitions for people, you have the responsibility to keep those people safe. The head honchos in charge of CrossFit know very well that ten's of thousands of athletes are going to try to be the Worlds Fittest Man or Woman, and attempt to do their workouts regardless of their ability to perform them well. The CrossFit programmers are partially responsible for the fitness of the followers of the cult. But ultimately, the individual is responsible for themselves.
When you have a novice athlete trying to perform an advanced training session or competition as fast as possible, it is like a football coach throwing a freshman high school football player into an NFL game and saying, "Tackle him!" Sure he got in the game, but everyone saw something bad coming a mile away. In my opinion, the coach is to blame for failing to keep the athlete safe by exposing him to a situation that he was obviously not prepared for.
In competition, attention to detail goes out the door, you simply rely on your training and instincts to produce the best possible results. Your strengths and weaknesses will be exposed for all to see on the field of battle. So I hope you prepared accordingly. For me, exercise is a practice. It is a means for me to practice doing something that will help me get better at sports and other great things life has to offer. But CrossFit ingeniously made exercise a sport in itself and the rest is history. Now people race through their training, many times without any respect for technique, make sweat angels on the floor and have entire closets full of t shirts from different gyms across the world. Its not all bad.
The problem, Sir Lance A Lot, is that there is no dragon. Everybody wants to be a firebreather, but rarely does anybody want to pay the price of progression. For most people there is no need to crush yourself so bad in a workout session that you risk shoulder and knee injury to finish 12 seconds faster, no need to jump on a relatively short box 50 times as fast as possible or ever do butterfly pullups. I agree that everyone has the right to elite fitness and we all have free will, so your exercise selection and level of intensity is your choice. Years ago, CrossFit published an article entitled Fundamentals, Virtuosity and Mastery. It is a great piece and I recommend you read it. Basically it talks about the problems with trying to get too jiggy with your training and how the basics rule. But in recent years I see a lack of attention to detail and there is a strong desire to get crazier with training to either attract more attention or become more elite. I see a compromise from the original aim of the community. I don't want to come across as an overly critical pussy here. I like hard work, but I like great results more. Unnecessary injuries are foolish.
Most people simply need to move better. Then after they learn to move well, they need to learn to move well under load. Then they need to move well under load for reps. Then they need to move well under heavy load for high reps. But never put the cart before the horse. Dropping a dollar to pick up a dime never got anybody rich. Be sure to keep the goal the goal and always remember, do no harm.
Everyone has the right to train and compete in any fashion that they want. But as a coach, I hate to see other coaches doing things that might harm the athletes. You can not stand around and watch bad shit happen, you must do the right thing and prevent it, fix it, and not turn a blind eye. Sometimes I see workouts that remind me of a train wreck suspense thriller gone bad. You don't wanna watch, but you can't turn away. Sometimes I wish people would throw in the towel instead of continuing on when nothing good can come out of it. But I guess that would be quitting, and the theme of the day is to never give up, so we have a catch 22. If you're an athlete, please don't hurt yourself in the name of elite fitness, focus on getting stronger and doing things better. Paying someone money to have them kick you in the dick never made much sense to me.
Every single thing you do in this world gets you closer to something. Practice according to the goal. Practice perfect reps if you want to get better at something, practice shitty reps if you want to get hurt, its that simple. Practice being the best coach, teacher, leader you can be. I am as guilty as they come, I have made many mistakes and I am far from perfect. I have done many silly things in my day, but with experience comes wisdom. All athletes and coaches should be proud of their work. If a coach was to leave his class to be run by his mentor, what would the mentor think after watching the athletes perform? The coach should be proud to show off the athletes. If they are performing well or poorly, it is a representation of the coaching. When you watch your athletes, do you cringe, are you ashamed, are you proud of what is happening? Would you use your daily training as an example of what to do and how to do it right? Do you exemplify leadership and integrity? Or are you just trying to slay the dragon and pay the man behind the curtain at the end of the yellow brick road to do so? I hope we have all learned something important here, coaches are responsible for guiding the path, but ultimately the individual is responsible to use common sense. Do things that set yourself up for success, not failure, yet don't sabotage your life by doing things the wrong or easy way. If the whole world was watching and you didn't know it, would you be proud of yourself?
1. Stop wasting time hanging out with energy vampires.
-You know the type, the person who is always mentally and emotionally draining. Let them go. They are negative, they bring nothing to the table, they don't appreciate you. All they want is the communal energy to be focused on them. They never even want to try and solve their problem, they only want to complain about it and have you listen and console them. Or worse yet, they complain about everything that is wrong with you. You are important and you need some focus too. Your time is valuable, spend it with those people who support you and embrace you for the person who you are.
2. Make your move.
- The time is never going to be perfect to do that thing you have been planning to do for so long. Something will always be in the way, between school, work, family, friends, money, kids, etc. That's never going to change, it is time to make that jump and get started. You will need to make adjustments as you go, but lots of learning will be made in the process. Nobody achieves greatness from doing everything right the first time, you learn the most through mistakes and adversity. Embrace the opportunity that you have today, accept the challenge and follow your dream.
3. Stop taking care of everyone else before you take care of yourself.
- Make yourself a priority. I am not saying disregard everyone else. But sometimes you need to look out for number one. If you are not going at 100% full throttle, than you can not be your best to help others as well. Charge yourself first, then help others when the time permits.
4. Let the real you shine through.
- Too often people try to be someone that they think others want them to be. This is a disservice to yourself by not being real. The world already has everyone else. The world needs you. Be proud to step up and represent who you are. If you try to be someone you're not, everything will be fake and meaningless. Be yourself and you'll attract the people that you want to be associated with.
5. Be conscious and actively experience life.
- Notice and appreciate what is going on around you right now. You can never get this moment back. What you do right now will greatly shape what happens to you down the road. If you do nothing now, you'll be nowhere in the future. Experience as much of life as possible, it's really pretty amazing.
6. Make an honest evaluation of yourself.
- Be brutal and figure out what you like and dislike about yourself. Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. The path to self discovery can be harsh. You will find out things that you did not want to admit, then ask why it is the way it is. Do it again, and again, and again. You will eventually come to the root of your issues, not just obvious symptoms. Dig deep inside you and change that thing that has been holding you back from being a better you. You can avoid the truth for a long time, but you can't make real change until you accept what you do not like.
7. Appreciate what you have.
- There really isn't a need for most of us to constantly get new toys, or seek happiness with a new relationship, etc. Take the time every day to appreciate the things you already have and may be taking for granted. You might think that the new shiny object is going to give you what you want, but it really only cost you time and money and soon you will want something else thats just out of reach. If you get a Maserati, you'll want a Lamborghini. You have something great right now, enjoy it. Besides, the best things in life are free anyway.
8. Don't try to be the person you used to be.
-We grow up, we get older, things change, it's inevitable. Some people try to reverse the clock and conceal the truth with surgery, makeup, transplants, pills, lotions and potions. You used to be younger, leaner, faster and stronger, but now you're wiser, you know how to work smarter and use your gifts to your advantage better. Don't try to be what you used to be, just be the best you can be for today and tomorrow.
9. Be happy for other peoples success.
- Never be jealous for someone else's achievements. Jealousy is a wasted emotion. Your time will be better spent building happiness for yourself. Genuinely let the other guy know how excited you are for them, and more people will cheer for you when you accomplish something great.
10. Stress less.
- I know, it's not so easy, but it can be done. Don't make excuses, find a way to reduce your negative energy levels. Eat better and sleep more for better energy. Smart exercise will help you feel and move better, which can make you more productive. Change one small thing at a time until it becomes a habit. Don't change your whole life, it is too overwhelming. Be accountable for your own life. Be ready to tackle the tough decisions head on. Nobody can change you but you. Sometimes things get worse before they get better. Stop resisting change, trust me, the hard road is a more joyful journey.
Please share your thoughts on having a better year, or a more prosperous life in general. If you have any questions about any of these topics, please ask and share.
Announcing our latest workshop at The Training Room at the Jersey Shore on February 25th. Our sign up page will be coming very soon. If you are anywhere near the Jersey Shore, you definitely do not want to miss this training workshop with the Milkman, Uncle MIke and myself, it's going to be an advanced athletic extravaganza. See YOU there!
Here is a link to the Kettlebell & Bodyweight Workshop
I held last year at The Strength Shop. It is loaded with tons of great exercises and progressions to get you stronger and take your training to the next level. Also, if you are ready to take a free week long tour of our private membership area, The Consummate Athlete, CLICK HERE.
Don't forget to grab a hoodie or a tee shirt to keep you warm, ready and looking like you have a clue while you hit the weights this winter! Click the photo below to get yours now.
A reader of the blog asked me the following question and I responded with the video below.
Hmmmm....I've been thinking about what to write to you all day because I'm all over the place in my thinking. Here are my uncontrolled, random thoughts and hopefully something will strike a chord for you.....
Let me first tell you why, I, a non- weightlifter loves your blog. The constant message to push yourself, not being perfect, always room for improvement, and the importance of moving forward, working harder, not taking the easy road. I love that. I need that in my head in order to go the extra mile or sometimes just get the hell out the door. It's refreshing for me to see someone as ripped and dedicated as you having the same thoughts as someone like me, a mom that just wants to try and try and try to get my pre-baby body back. It's the constant fight and want to look better, even if your want is to get bigger and mine is to get smaller! (On a side note, I'm totally obsessed with your abs and wonder if after four pregnancies with huge babies if it's even possible to have a flat stomach!!! What can I do??) Anyway, working out for me is beyond the physical aspect, it's so mental. I think if more people knew how therapeutic and stress relieving exercising can be, more would do it. I find if I push myself in my work outs, it translates to the rest of my day or life in general. It makes you know that you are capable of doing more than you thought you could. It also seems like you keep things basic at your gym, meaning no high tech machines or crazy supplements and that's what I love too. Proof that plain, hard work and discipline works best. I've tried every diet known to man, even weight loss drugs and the only thing that works is eating healthy, smart and working out. I don't even go to the gym anymore, I run outside, swim outside in the summer (bay or pool) and do pull ups and shit on my kids swing set. It works!
I'm currently obsessed with the scale and wonder what you think of that? It's probably so different in your world but in mine, a high number ruins my day. Seriously. To the point where I can't weigh myself some days. I struggle with this because I know sometimes when I'm at my smallest, I don't necessarily weigh my least. Sorry, this is probably girl shit here. So here are some questions, what's more important, workout or diet? What's one without the other? Where does drinking come into play (convinced that's the reason I can't drop a few more pounds)? Is ANY workout better than nothing? Is working out twice a day beneficial or dumb ? Also I'm scared of weights but know they could dramatically help me. But someone got it into my head that if you don't know what you're doing, you're wasting your time. Therefore I don't do anything with weights. I've tried but totally feel like I'm not doing anything right. How do you start? How do you tone without adding bulk? All things I'd love to know. Can I do it on my own without a gym? I've got a full set of free weights in my garage but have no clue what to do. Can moms ever get their stomachs back without lipo??? See, I told you I was all over the place Sorry if this way more than you needed to know or totally unhelpful. At least you know I like your blog!!! Okay tell me if you think I'm retarded....
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There seems to be polar opposites in the belief that exercise technique has to be perfect in order to reap the benefits of improved health and performance. The truth is, no matter what you do as a beginner, nothing is going to be perfect and everything is going to benefit you in some way. The problem occurs when you either refuse to work on fixing technique or have no idea how to fix it in the first place and continue down an ugly road of dismal performance gains and potential injury. The "beginner" benefits will soon fade away, and you will have to improve your technique if you expect not only better numbers, but improved health and real performance gains, not just the illusion of improvement. There are a few ways to enhance your skills and achieve better results from your efforts. Make sure you have at least one good training partner, get a qualified coach to guide your journey, or get a camera to record certain aspects of your training so you can review it and see what needs the most attention.
A good training partner is not a cheerleader. In fact, I don't care for too much cheering when I train. I know what I need to do and I find cheering, yelling and screaming more distracting than motivating. This is true especially during skill work, but during intense conditioning we all need some encouraging motivation. But, if that is what you like, it might be exactly what you need to push your training further, to each their own. A good training partner is someone who helps and motivates you to get better, period. This is by telling you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear. Everybody likes to be told, "good job," but if what you did is actually crap, you need to be told so, and further more, you need to know what to do to fix it.
That leads to my next point, get a qualified coach to guide your journey. This is so important if you are serious about getting better. There are so many reasons for getting a coach that I can't even begin to list them all in this article, but feel free to add your thoughts in the comments section and we can discuss it. Just a few reasons are that you will be held accountable for your actions and progress. You will not have to think about where to start or what to do next, your coach will guide your journey, so to speak, you just have to put in the effort. You will get instant feedback on your successes and your failures. If you did something great, you should be acknowledged or rewarded, but don't expect a balloon party every time you get a PR. With hard work you should expect PR's, but don't expect the whole room to stop what they're doing and cheer because you did something good, you're supposed to do something great daily. Sometimes a quick smile and nod to acknowledge the achievement is all you need. On the other hand, if something is wrong, a qualified coach will see it, acknowledge it, and address it accordingly. If the coach just makes you do more of what you are doing wrong, then you will get really good at doing shit the wrong way. That is not a qualified coach, that is a crook who is stealing your money. This is a huge problem in the fitness industry today, too many people talk the talk, but can't walk the walk. Its cliche, but true, you simply can't become an expert by spending money on a quick certification via the internet or weekend course. It takes years of studying, training, and time in the trenches, there is no substitute.
Lastly, using a camera is a good way to review your training technique and see what needs to be addressed. You can check your posture, your foot positions in olympic lifting, your lockout in kettlebell training, your back position while deadlifting, etc. The list is endless. The problem is that there is no instant feedback. You do the exercise and either check the camera while training, which detracts from training intensity, or you check after training and the stimulus is removed from the moment that the issue occurred. It's like yelling at a dog 2 hours after he chewed up your shoes, but the dog has no idea why you're yelling. While the feedback from a camera is still good, it is not the same as the instant feedback you get from a coach who fixes you on the spot, instead of the issue getting addressed later on or the next training session.
To get back to the original point of this article, does technique need to be perfect to get the benefits of your training? Yes and no. Beginners will never be perfect, so does that mean they shouldn't train because they might injure themselves? Of course not. No matter what your skill level, everyone should always be striving to get better at all times, maintenance is a fucking joke. If you really want to improve, all aspects will need to improve, including skill, intensity, technique, volume, etc.
Below is a video of Giavanni Ruffin, former running back for East Carolina University, during his first training session at TSS. Giavanni is a stellar athlete and is looking to go pro at his chosen sport. That means he is not afraid to do what is necessary to improve his abilities. The following video is his finisher after a hard training session. You will notice that some things are not perfect in his training. But, I knew from his ability what he was capable of doing. Being a Division I running back has extreme demands, so I knew he was up the challenge. After doing some basic mobility drills and making an assessment, we did some power work, then strength work and added in a few supplemental exercises. Then all I did was present Giavanni with a finisher that I knew would be demanding, fun, effective, valid and challenging. He was more than willing to accept the challenge. This is usually how I present it to the athlete, "Here is your job," or "Here is your challenge for the day..." I know what their needs are and I know their capabilities. Now I want to see them work hard. Recording the training allows me to review it with the athlete and show them what they need to work on. Now they can see it with their own eyes what is good, what is bad, and what needs to be done to get better.
In conclusion, being perfect is not important, but always trying to get better is imperative. Never think you are the best, right now someone out there is doing the work that you aren't doing, and they will beat you when you meet. Always train like you're in second place. Push hard for that extra edge. Never dwell on your mistakes, just acknowledge them and take action to get better. Being naturally talented is a great gift, but there is no substitute for hard work and dedication with a strong desire to be successful while taking the necessary action to get what you want.
If you are the kind of athlete or coach who takes action when an opportunity presents itself, then you know what I am talking about. Take a free week trial at our private membership website and see what we have to offer at The Consummate Athlete today. We are constantly updating it with new and useful training information to enhance your skills and help you achieve your training goals. We currently have 3 separate training programs going right now to suit any particular individual needs you might have. You are guaranteed to benefit or just cancel your trial membership, super easy, no hassle, no qualms.