The Baby And The Bath Water

It’s kind of a strange saying, isn’t it?  “Throw the baby out with the bath water.”  I have to admit, now that I have a baby, the image this conjures up is nothing less than horrible. 

This phrase (or idiom if you’re playing Scrabble), paints the picture of getting rid of everything whether or not it has benefit, merit or worth and failing to step back for a moment to decipher what is essential and what is not.  In other words, throwing the good (the baby) out with the bad (dirty bath water).

And, while I hope that none of you would be so foolish as to actually throw a baby out with the bath water, my guess is that, at least in a metaphorical sense, you do this more than you think.

Let’s say, for example, you’ve tried to do a body weight squat a few different times, but every time you do one, something happens and you tweak your knee, it swells up a bit and is tender for a few days.  What’s the natural conclusion?  “I can’t do squats.”

Or how about an overhead press?  This movement has been demonized lately as being injurious and dangerous, and it’s not uncommon to have clients who experience pain while overhead pressing.  The conclusion? Stop overhead pressing.

Even better, how often do people attempt to lose weight, fail to get the results they were hoping for and resign themselves to “being unable to lose weight”?

In each of these cases, the poor little baby is getting chucked out the window with the dirty bath water. 

Let me explain what I mean.

In the example of the squats, most people come to me without any idea of how to properly perform a body weight squat, let alone with with any kind of external load.  It’s no wonder they experience pain.  However, after we spend some time re-grooving proper movement patterns, they are able to perform a squat without any pain.

With the overhead press, often times it isn’t the movement that is the problem.  The issue is that the individuals body isn’t prepared to perform the movement correctly.  They may simply need to be able to extend their thoracic spine more effectively.  So, we do some dedicated extension work for the thoracic spine and lo and behold-they can overhead press with out any discomfort.

As far as the “failed diet” goes, the baby almost always gets tossed out.  I can’t tell you how many times I have talked with clients about their attempts to lose weight and I instantly see the huge gaping hole in their efforts.

“There’s a good chance that the fact that you were going through a divorce and your stress level was through the roof is the reason you were unable to lose any weight.”

“Oh, so you eat “great” through the week, but then drink yourself into oblivion Friday and Saturday night and get zero sleep due to the partying.”

“OK, so to sum up-you did the South Beach Diet for three days, the Zone for a week and then the  HCG diet for a day and a half.  Gee, that sure is a mystery.”

Each of these are real accounts from clients of mine.  They had all come to the conclusion that no matter what they did, their efforts were wasted, so why try any more?  In each of these examples, we were able to retain a lot of what the client was doing, but made some changes to make the good things even better.  We got rid of the bath water and held on to the cute little baby.

(Quick side note: for those of you who relate to feeling frustrated by your fat loss efforts, details for my fat loss seminar are coming very soon.  Stay tuned!)

More often than not, the reasons why things aren’t working are just a tiny bit below the surface.  You just have to do a little digging. 

The next time you think “This isn’t working…I should just start from scratch”, take a step back and determine what is “baby” and what is “bath water”.  There’s a good chance that there is a little of both in what you’re doing.

(Remember to share on Facebook and Twitter if you found this helpful, insightful or humorous.)


Fat Loss Seminar Announcement (Kind Of)

The other day I put up a fantastic post (if I do say so myself) on some simple things you can do to quit wishing and start doing the thing you want to do.  I told you about how I have put concrete action steps to my business goals and laid out a specific road map to see each of these goals to completion.  I also mentioned that one of the things I have been wanting to do for a while now is hold a fitness related seminar within my local community.

That goal is going to become a reality in the very near future. 

While the details are still being nailed down (price, location, duration, etc.), I am happy to announce that this October, I will be holding a seminar in my hometown discussing literally everything you need to know about fat loss, as well as how to implement it-nutrition, recovery, hydration, training…yup, EVERYTHING

If you are a trainer, wanting to be a trainer, or if you are just the average Joe or Jane interested in shedding some pounds, you will not want to miss this! 

I will give you details as they come about, so be looking for those.

In the meantime, here is  great video of several awesome women (including my friend Nia Shanks) lifting crazy weights.  NOTE: the song playing contains some profanity, so turn the volume down if you want.  Also, Nia hits a deadlift PR of 330lbs at 2:19.  As a trainer, I can’t tell you how much I love to see women lifting heavy weights!

Have a good weekend!

Crush Any Goal!

Let’s be honest, everyone has things they would love to do.  Whether it’s lose a certain amount of weight, fit into a certain pair of pants, travel through South America or save enough money to retire in style-everyone has goals they would love to accomplish.  

But how many of us actually accomplish those goals?

You could chalk it up to not having enough “want to”, being lazy, not having the proper resources or opportunities, etc, but the bottom line is that, no matter the reason, most of us wind up not doing the things that we want to do.

I’m a big picture guy.  I see where I want my business to be in 5,10 and even 20 years.  I know the things that I would like to accomplish as well as the impact I would like to have within the fitness community (nothing short of global domination). 

Being able to see where you want to be is critical in meeting your goals.  After all, if you’re unable to see the end of the road, you don’t really have a goal.  You’re more likely to be wandering aimlessly than you are on a path with a destination.

However, the problem (this is what I’m incredibly guilty of) is when all you do is see the end of line, but never make any steps to get there. 

While the last almost-three years of personal training have been full of incredible growth, I found that there were several goals I had that I wasn’t any closer to reaching after three years of training than when I first started.  All I saw was where I wanted to be, but I had no idea how to actually get there.

Then came yesterday.

For about two and a half hours yesterday afternoon, I sat down with Gray Fitness’ only employee (other than myself), my manager/assistant-who also, happens to be my wife. 

Fortunately for me, she is very much an action-oriented person.  While I see the destination, she is very much about paving the road to get there.  We discussed all of the things I wanted to accomplish with Gray Fitness.  From implementing marketing strategies, to setting financial goals, to increasing my internet presence as a trainer, we wrote them all down.

Seeing as how I’d been thinking of these things for years, this was  piece of cake.  However, the next step is what I found much more challenging and absolutely vital to actually accomplishing each of these goals.  Beneath each goal, we wrote out what needs to happen for each of these goals to be accomplished.  As my wife calls them-these are action steps.

We literally poured over every goal and wrote down everything that needed to be set in place for my goals to be accomplished.  Each had a few action steps, and some had several.  Then we put a due date on each of them.  Every action step had to be accomplished within a set time frame.

I can’t tell you how excited I was by the end of this process.  I could literally see a road map to reaching each of my goals.  I saw the individual steps that I needed to take and the time frame I had to accomplish them.

I walked out of that meeting feeling empowered, with a new excitement for Gray Fitness and a fire under my feet to passionately pursue each of the goals we had laid out. I was no longer dreaming about meeting them “someday”.

For example: one of the things that came out of this meeting was holding an hour a week, month long seminar.  I’m very excited about this and now have a road map for how to hold this seminar within my community.  Be looking for more info on that in the very near future.  (Quick teaser: it will be held through the month of October, and if you’re looking to lose body fat-you wont want to miss it!)

So how does this apply to you?

First, identify your goals.  Make them clear and precise.

Once you have a clear picture of what you want to accomplish, write out everything you need to do to meet those goals.  Each should have at least 1-2 action steps.

Do you want to take a trip to Europe in two years? Figure out how much it will cost and then figure out how much you need to save each month to make that happen.  If you can’t save that much, figure out how you are either going to increase your monthly income or what you need to quit spending money on to make sure you can save that amount.

Do you want to lose 30 pounds?  Figure out what steps need to be taken to make that happen.  Maybe you need to start by joining a gym.  Maybe you need to start interviewing trainers.  What ever you need to do, write it down.

Once you have all of your actions steps written out, give each of them a time line.  A date that you must accomplish each action step by.  And stick to it.

I think you will find you have the same feeling of empowerment that I did.  You will walk away from this exercise with a clearly defined road map of how to reach your goals.  And that is exactly what you need to meet them!

Don’t wait to do this.  Do it now while it’s fresh in your mind.  I promise you wont be disappointed!

Remember to share on Facebook and Twitter.  As always, your support is greatly appreciated!

How Do You Deal With The Post-Vacation “I Don’t Wanna’s”?

I know I’ve been a little lame as far as posting goes lately.  Not in content, but in regularity.  I’ve only got a few posts up over the last couple weeks, but I’ll change baby.  Just give me another chance!

First off, the winner for the Free Personal Training Contest has been chosen!  She has been notified and is super excited to get started.  I will be working with her over the course of 10 weeks starting mid September, and I will be sure to keep you all posted on her progress.  Thanks again to everyone who entered!

A few weeks ago, a client of mine asked me how to get back into the routine of getting to the gym and training after having been on vacation.  She was getting ready to be out of town for a coupe weeks and was anticipating feeling unmotivated upon her return.

My response was simply, “don’t get out of the routine.”

That may be a bit blunt, but it’s true.  If training is truly an important thing to you, then why stop just because you are in a different geographical location?

Not to mention the fact that because you’re on vacation you’re probably going to be more relaxed as far as what your eating.  You’re going to eat things that are higher in calories, lower in nutritional value.  You might drink alcohol every night.  You might even order two desserts.  This makes keeping in step with your training even more important.  Otherwise, you come back from vacation rested, tan and 10 pounds heavier.

SOLUTION #1.  Find A Gym To Train At

It’s really not that difficult to maintain a training effect when your away from home.  The easiest solution is to find a gym near where you’ll be staying.  If you’re staying at a hotel, chances are they have some kind of “gym” for you to use on site. If not (or if your staying with family or friends) find a gym near by, pay the guest fee (or better yet, see if they offer a free trial) and voila, you have a gym at your disposal.

Train away.

The potential problem is that sometimes big globo gyms charge upwards of $20 bucks a day for you to use their facility.  So if you can’t find a place to train at that’s wont ask you for your first born child, then what?

SOLUTION #2.  Use Your Body

If you have your body with you (I hope you remember to pack that) and a few square feet of floor, you can get a great training effect without having to leave your hotel room/friend’s house/in-law’s guest bedroom.

Here’s a list of exercises off the top of my head that you can do with just your body weight-lunges, reverse luges, prisoner squats, wall slides, step ups, push ups, pull ups, planks, spiderman planks, prone cross toe, single leg romanian deadlifts, hip thrusts, split squats, spidermans, jumping jacks, high knees, bulgarian split squats, squat thrusts…and on and on……and on……

So yeah, there are plenty of options for you to use in the comfort of another persons home.

Don’t make it complicated-just stay mobile.  Get your heart rate up a few times, keep your muscles familiar with training and keep your mindset on your health.  Yes, some people might think you’re “obsessed” because you want to continue to train while you’re on vacation.  That’s OK.  They’re really just jealous that you have the motivation and conviction to do it in the first place.

You Were Made To Move

In case you missed it, yesterday I had a guest post go up over on Tony Gentilcore’s site.  Be sure and check it out here.

This morning, during my drive into work, I heard that a new study had been done on life expectancy and watching TV.  What the researchers found was that the more television people watched, the shorter their lives tend to be.  I know, shocking right?

Now, I didn’t hear their rationale behind their findings, but I think it’s safe to make at least one logical conclusion.

Our bodies were made to move.

I remember seeing  a documentary on animal cruelty a long time ago.  It show cased different ways that animals get mistreated.  One of the things the film talked about was that keeping animals confined and unable to move had profound effects on their health and personalities.

By simply kept in cages where they had little room to move, these animals were more sick and sickly looking than others that were allowed to move and play.  In fact, these animals flat out looked awful.  They moved like they were in pain and they had a dullness in their eyes.


Sound like anyone you know?

You see, people who watch more TV are going to be less active.  Unless they’re running or doing jumping jacks while they’re connected to the boob tube, there’s no other way around it.  Watching TV involves sitting and being stagnant. 


We all have muscles that are designed to let us make thousands of movements, but sadly, we often let certain muscles deteriorate, weaken and become virtually ineffective.  We sit in postures all day that cause incredible amounts of damage within our bodies.  And now there’s this evidence that only does being inactive break your body down, but it can also cut your life short.

When you compare that with the countless studies that have shown that living an active lifestyle can drastically increase life expectancy, it becomes difficult to argue with the fact that simply moving more is pretty important.

I’m not saying that just getting up and going for a walk will get you into incredible shape.  But I am saying that simply making the decision to move more and live more in accordance with the way you were designed to live can have a profound impact on the way you feel, sleep, your mood as well as how long your feet get to plod around on this earth.

So, turn off the TV and get your butt moving!  Besides is their anything on TV that’s more interesting than living?

Training For Fat Loss

A few week ago, Tony Gentilcore contacted me and begged me to write up a guest post for his site.  I told him that I wasn’t interested, but he was very persistent and I finally gave in…

OK, that’s not at all true.  I contacted him and asked if he would be willing to let me write up something for his site.  Being the incredibly gracious guy that he is, he obliged.

I sent him a post yesterday and, lo and behold, it’s up on his site today.

The post covers some thoughts on unique ways to program your training for fat loss.

Be sure and check it out here, and give Tony some love for allowing me to step on to his stage!

The Reason Most People Never Get The Body They Want

First off, a quick reminder that tomorrow (Friday) is the last day to enter for free personal training.  Be sure and let me know why you think you, a family member of a friend are deserving of getting free personal training.  Entries taken after Friday will not be considered.

When I first start working with a client, I always talk with them about their exercise history.  What I usually hear is a litany of different classes, videos, magazines and friends advice that the client has attended or followed in an effort to transform their body.  And usually, they’ve all left the client less than thrilled with their results-hence, the reason the are currently sitting across the table from me.

So what gives?  Is it that the client didn’t work hard enough?  Did the countless celebrity endorsed videos and magazine workouts promise more than they were capable of delivering?  Did the aerobics instructor just not know exactly how to instruct?

While all of these questions could be answered in a way that places blame externally, the problem is usually the client.

Before some of you get your panties in a bunch, let me explain.

I’m not saying that the client (or you) is faulty or lazy or anything along those lines.  I also think that there is a good argument that most classes, videos and magazine routines are lacking what most people need to make significant change.  However, for today’s post, what I’m suggesting is that most people fall prey to an unfortunate set of events known as “program-hopping”.  What I mean by this is that most people don’t give one thing a long enough shot to actually see if it will work for them (or if they will work for it).

See if this sounds somewhat familiar to any of you:

One week your doing the newest routine out of SHAPE magazine.  10 days later your going with your friends to a bootcamp class, and cutting out gluten because a friend of a friend said you should.  Two weeks, three bootcamp classes and a failed attempt at being gluten-free later, you’re going to a Zumba class and following the Atkins Diet.  The next day your trying the South Beach Diet because you overheard the Zumba instructor say something about it.  A few days later your not exercising at all because your doing the HCG diet and eating so few calories that zipping up your ever-tightening jeans takes all the energy you have.  Finally, a week later you find yourself frustrated, hungry and you haven’t made a shred of progress in your physique goals only to throw your hands in the air and say “What’s the point?  I’ve tried everything!”

And the thing is-it’s true.  They’ve literally tried everything…but only for a moment.  

The truth is that people all over the world have made great transformations using different training regimens as well as using different dietary guidelines.  However, the one thing that they have in common is that they actually stuck with a training and dietary protocol long enough to see if it worked, how their body responded to it and for it to have some time to be effective.

Using the above (and not all that hyperbolic) example of my fictitious client-the result is that they have no idea what did or didn’t work for them.  They were consistently throwing everything out the window and starting from scratch.  Unfortunately this less-than-beneficial approach is perpetuated by the whole “keep the body guessing” fad which encourages the notion that the body is so incredibly adaptable that you can’t do the same routine more than once in a row or you will plateau.  

It’s not.

Following a program for an appropriate amount of time gives you the opportunity to learn a little about yourself, your body and its response to different stimuli-something that most people are woefully unaware of.  By giving yourself this opportunity, you gain greater understanding as to what will aid you in your quest for a transformed body and what will not.  

If you are consistently abandoning programs only to launch into others, you will be eternally spinning your wheels, eternally frustrated and eternally unhappy with your complete lack of progress.  

So here’s your plan of action:  pick a training and dietary protocol and then actually stick with it.  Don’t change programs for four weeks.  See how your body responds and make small adjustments accordingly.

But for the love, don’t try everything for a minute and then tell me nothing works for you.  You’re not that special.