Re-energize Your Workday

Last week I mentioned on Facebook that I was thinking of getting into the gym early on Thanksgiving morning and getting my lift on.  I also asked if anyone else was interested in joining me.  The result was seven of us meeting up for an hour and a half, without much of a plan, and having a good old time lifting, carrying and pushing heavy stuff around.

Two of the girls there, (one a client of mine, the other a former client), hit PR’s on their deadlifts.  One pulled #230 and the other #255.  It was awesome to watch the two of them push each other to pull heavier and heavier.

I attempted a PR but failed miserably.  Looking back, there was no good reason for me to attempt one, but what can I say, I got caught up in the moment!

Needless to say, it was a blast and something I definitely plan on making an annual event!

Most people sit at work.  In fact, most people sit A LOT at work.  I don’t know about you, but anytime I’m working on blogs, articles or e-mails and find myself sitting for any length of time, I feel more sleepy, lazy and sluggish.  Basically, the longer I sit, the more I want to sit.  My creative juices dry up, my shoulders and hips tense up and my suckage factor begins to slowly creep up towards the range of the movie “Just Go With It.”  Seriously, I will never get that hour and a half of my life back.

One thing I like to do to stave off increased suckiness is to simply get up and move a bit.  And you should too.

Now, I don’t mean simply get up to refill your coffee cup, or wander into the break room to see if there are any stale doughnuts from what’s-his-names birthday party last week.  I mean do some simple, yet purposeful movements to undo all that sitting, get your blood pumping and get your creative juices a-flowin’.

Below is a simple routine to do just that.  I recommend you go through the list of exercises  for the prescribed number of reps at least once if not twice, a couple of times a day, or anytime you start to fell your productivity dropping.

-Yoga Plex: 5 reps/side (use office chair in place of bench)

Wall Pec Stretch: 20 seconds/side

Wall Slides: 12 reps

-Thoracic Mobility: 5 reps/side

Half Kneeling Adductor Mobilization: 8 reps/side

This might take you five minutes if you go through it twice, but will be well worth the increase in energy and alertness it gives you.  And the best part is that all you need is your body and your office chair.

Give it a shot and let me know if it helps you re-energize your work day!

Feel free to share on Facebook!  Your support is appreciated!

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Living Life On The Dark Side

For those who don’t know, I train out of a regular gym.  I don’t have my own facility where I oversee every lift, set and rep that is performed.  This means that I regularly have to deal with the average gym-goer who has little to no idea what being fit means or what it takes to achieve any kid of body transformation.

In turn, I frequently have to hear the uneducated comments from the regular ol’ gym folk.  Comments that are simply the regurgitation of old, played out health and fitness inaccuracies.

Things like:

-“Those squats he’s doing will destroy his knees.”

-“Why is she lifting so much weight, is she training for the Olmpics?”

-“You shouldn’t have your clients deadlift, it’ll ruin their backs.”

-“You know if you had them run more, they’d lose more weight.”

These are literally all comments I’ve heard gym members say.

The problem is this: those that stay in the safe confines of mediocrity and rehash the same “truths” about getting healthier rarely make any progress.  They don’t get leaner.  They don’t get stronger.  They continually fight the same nagging injuries.

They spend their lives on a treadmill logging countless hours and miles in an effort to get lean.  They lift 5-10 pound dumbbells for endless reps because they don’t want to get “bulky” or they want to focus on developing “long, lean muscle”.  They avoid egg yolks and red meat like the plague and instead consume copious amounts of prepared, frozen diet foods.

And they just don’t make a shred of progress.

If I keep moving my legs, surely I'll get somewhere!

On the flip side, my clients programs are built around heavy, compound movements like squats and deadlifts.  They spend very little time on a treadmill (and when they do, they are sprinting as fast as they possibly can).  They eat whole eggs and red meat on a regular basis.  They consistently strive to get stronger and better at each lift they perform.  They move past nagging injuries and are able to do things they never have before.  Oh, and they transform their bodies too.

Nope, not like Optimus Prime

In short, my clients have decided to let go of the seemingly endless and inane guidance that fills the cover of every magazine in the check out line and swap it for a life of living on the outside.  A life that is tough to comprehend for those that don’t live it.  A life where hitting a new PR makes your week.  A life where you are free from incredibly strict and regulated diets.  A life where self worth is not determined by the number on the scale.  A life where getting stronger is always a good option.

It’s the side of life that is often misunderstood even though it is based on simplicity.  It’s the side of life that is rejected despite the undeniable benefits it holds.  It’s the side of life that builds character, discipline and self-control.  It’s the Dark Side, and it’s a good place to be.

5 Things Worth Doing Every Day

Below is  a link to my most recent  article on EliteFTS.com.  It’s all about things that are worth doing on a daily basis.  Things like washing your hands after you go boom boom.  OK, maybe not EXACTLY like that, but you get the idea.  

Click the link below to check it out!

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Dan John has said before that if something is important, you should do it every day. You know—things like brushing your teeth, eating vegetables, and avoiding any of Tracy Anderson’s advice, just to name a few. Below are a few things I believe are worth doing on a daily basis that can make you a stronger and healthier individual.

Hinge: As sedentary as our society is, I can’t think of many things that are as important as hinging the hips. Aside from grooving proper hip movement patterns, hinging can have a host of benefits for knee, ankle, and low back health as well as combat reciprocal inhibition of the glutes and hip flexors. In other words…(continue reading).

Nutritional Goal Setting Made Easy

If I’ve said it once, I swear I’ve said it a thousand times-you CAN”T out train a crappy diet.  If you’re not coupling your training efforts with your efforts in the kitchen, you’re going to have a very difficult time getting anywhere.

However, the problem for people often isn’t the “want” to, it’s the “what” to. 

What do I eat?

What do I not eat?

What should I never eat?

What is this word “vegetable” you keep using?

In short, the seemingly simple task of determining what to eat can be daunting, and for some even paralyzing.

A huge part of the problem is that nutritional protocols can be so overwhelming and so specific that actually implementing them and sticking to them long term can be next to impossible.

This is why I never make big sweeping changes to someones diet.  Rather, I like to make a few simple guidelines for people to follow day in and day out.

I stole this incredibly useful tool from Eric Cressey and have been using it with some clients with great success.

Here’s how it works:

-Make 7 daily goals for each week (this gives you 49 total goals for the week. 7×7=49)

-Meet 44 of those goals each week.  This will give you roughly 90% compliance to your nutritional goals, which is pretty dang good.

Here’s an example of what it could look like:

-Eat protein at every meal

-Eat two pieces of fruit each day

-Eat veggies at every meal

-Drink 120 oz of water

-Avoid caloric beverages

-Avoid processed foods

-Take 2 fish oil capsules 3xday

You have seven daily guidelines to follow, with the option to miss/skip/ignore 5 of them each week.  I’ve found that this simple tool of setting guidelines rather than specific, hard and fast rules helps people make lasting changes much more easily.

The beauty of this is that it is completely adaptable to each individuals needs.  Do you eat fast food every day?  Then make skipping the drive through one of your guidelines.  Like to binge on chips?  Make avoiding them a guideline.

I like to have clients follow the same guidelines for 3-4 weeks.  This helps them become habit. Once they’ve got the hang of those seven, we can start focusing on some other ares that need cleaning up.

The other part of this that is so beneficial is that it allows for some wiggle room.  And let’s be honest, who doesn’t need a little room to wiggle?

If you want to hit up Mickey D’s? Then do it, but you don’t get to check off that goal for the day and you only have 4 more opportunities to miss for the week.

Pretty straight forward right?

Write down your seven guidelines and put them up somewhere you will see them regularly.  If anyone is interested, I have a simple Word document I use with some clients that I can forward to you.  Just shoot me a message on the contact page.

Let me know how it works for you!

 

 

Strong Is The New Skinny

I have to say, I have the most awesome clients.  Seriously, they ALL kick some serious butt.  They work hard, do what I ask and are a huge part of why I love my job so much.  Beyond that, they also bring me stuff.  Which totally rocks.  They bring my more clients, homemade soups and breads, farm fresh eggs, gifts for my daughter and on and on.  Yesterday was a double whammy bring-something-to-mike day.

In the morning one of my clients stopped by the gym and had a batch of homemade pumpkin cinnamon scones, and they were crazy good!  Then in the afternoon, one of my clients came in for her session.  She said “I have something for you”, and handed me what could possibly be the coolest t-shirt ever made.

I mean, c’mon, how freaking cool is that?

What I love most about this is that she was wearing a shirt that said the same thing and she was wearing it with pride.  Why?  Because that’s what we are all about a Gray Fitness.

I’ll be honest, I don’t ever try to make someone skinny.  EVER.  My goal is always to get them moving better, healthy, strong, lean and less prone to injury.  This isn’t to say that I don’t help clients lose body fat.  In fact, helping people lose body fat is kind of what I’m getting known for.  But the truth is, that even for clients who have no interest in strength and solely want to get their lean on-I am still always getting them stronger.

Why?

Two reasons.  First, the more weight you move, the more calories you burn.  It’s simply physiology.  Second, the stronger you are the longer you will be able to enjoy your body because you’re not getting hurt all the time.  Now, don’t “burning more calories” and “less ouchies” both sound like really good things?

The thing about this is that the clients who I have had made the greatest body transformations have been the ones who have dove head first into getting stronger.  They move a ton of weight and eat right and lo and behold…good things start to happen.  They get more definition.  They get leaner.  They have curves where they want them.  They feel more confident during the work day and in the bedroom.  Their self esteem improves.  Their relationship with spouse improves.  Oh, and not to mention, they get envious looks from everyone on the treadmills who are doing their best impression of a hamster on a wheel, and getting nowhere.

So here is my point.  Quit focusing so much on getting smaller, getting skinny, etc.  Focus on getting as strong as you can and making quality nutritional choices.  If you do, there is a good chance that the whole “skinny” thing wont matter to you much because you will be rocking a body that everyone else in your gym will envy.

Did you find this post helpful or enjoyable?  If so, please feel free to share on Facebook!

Great New Before And Afters!

If you’ve been around this blog long, you know that I like to showcase my clients, their progress and the ways that their hard work pays off.  I haven’t done this for a while and figured it was time!

This particular client lost a total of 15 pounds, 10.5 inches and dropped 3 pant sizes.  That’s some serious change folks.

The beauty of all this is that she got significantly stronger, while getting much leaner.  She lifted serious weight (like pulling a #215 deadlift recently),yet didn’t wind up looking like a dude.  In short she is yet another example of how rediculous the notion is that women will get bulky if they lift heavy weights.  (Side Rant: Seriously, if you’re a woman looking to drop body fat, you need to move some weight.  High reps of minimal weight gets you absolutely nowhere.)

OK, I’ll shut up now and let her tell you about her experience.

After working out consistently for two years I had lost some of my motivation and drive at the gym. Mike helped me get it back. I enjoyed his approach to training. Lots of free weights and exciting cardio was just what I needed. I was so excited with not only the physical changes (dropped 3 pants sizes) but with the strength I was gaining and the confidence I obtained in not only who I am but what I can do. It was great.

I also enjoyed Mike as a person. He was very comfortable to be around and a positive motivator. He pushed me passed my limits and showed me that I can achieve more without being overbearing.

Mike is an extremely talented trainer whether you are in shape and want to change it up or you haven’t worked out and don’t know where to start. I know for me Mike has changed my life for the better. I have 2 kids and am about to enter my thirties and am in the best shape of my life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 Delicious Breakfast Ideas

Ah, breakfast…how we love to neglect you.

I tend to think that breakfast is a pretty important meal.  While I’m not a hardcore “everyone MUST eat breakfast” kind of guy, and I realize that there are some advanced nutritional tactics people can use that may avoid eating breakfast, I AM of the belief that if you don’t have the discipline to eat breakfast daily, you don’t have the discipline to try any kind of advanced tactics.

Simply, this means most people should be eating breakfast.

Let’s quickly touch on that pesky little excuse of  “I don’t have any time in the mornings.”

Sorry, but I don’t ever, EVER buy this one.  You have time, you’re just spending it doing things that you find more important.

OK, now that my incredible logic has you convinced that you have time and you will now be making yourself breakfast every morning, the questions is “what do I eat?”

This question always makes me laugh a little on the inside.  It pretty amazing how challenging something as simple and natural as making breakfast can become when it’s totally foreign.

Making breakfast can be incredibly simple and easy…oh, and quick too.

Here are 3 delicious breakfast recipes that I think you will enjoy.

(You can adjust quantities of food based on your preference.  These amounts are what I personally use.)

Yashbrown Scramble

-1 med. yam (washed, peeled and grated)

-3 eggs

-4 turkey sausages (sliced)

-¼ cup diced onion, peppers

-1 Tbsp. olive oil

Ahead of time (like the night before), heat skillet over medium heat.  Add olive oil and grated yam.  Cook, stirring occasionally until tender.  (Approx. 20-30 minutes)  Once tender, add onions and peppers and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Let cool and place in fridge.

In the morning, place ½ of the yashbrown mixture in a microwave safe bowl (save the other half for another breakfast), add eggs and sliced turkey sausages. Stir.  Cook on high in the microwave until eggs reach desired doneness, stirring occasionally.  (2-3 minutes)

Greek Frosting

-1 container strawberry Greek yogurt (I prefer Chobani)

-1 scoop vanilla protein powder

-small handful blueberries

-1 Tbsp flaxseed

Mix.  Eat.

The PB&F

-2 slices whole grain bread

-2 Tbsp. natural peanut butter

-sliced fruit (banana, apple, strawberries)

 Make like a normal PB&J, replacing jelly with fruit.

Wasn’t that easy?

Try them out and let me know what you think!  Also, remember to share on Facebook and Twitter.  Your support is always appreciated!