An Exercise You Should Try: Tall Kneeling Get Up

Sorry for my lack of posting as of late.  I’ve been steadily getting up a couple posts a week for a while, but I think I’ve only got up two in the last few weeks…or something like that.  I’ve been doing some more article writing/submitting as well as some guest post stuff (stay tuned for that) that has been eating up a bunch of my time resulting in there not being much love here on the blog.

Anyway, I’ve got a great new exercise for you all.  I picked this up from Tom Furman over at  It’s called the Tall Kneeling Get Up.

I’ve been using this over the last few months with some clients, and it’s become  a favorite of mine.  It teaches some great lower body mechanics and is a great body weight movement.

Here’s how to get it done:

-Start in the “tall kneeling” position (both knees on the ground).

-Swing one leg through so you are in a deep lunge position.  Make sure you don’t swing your foot out wide while doing this.  Keep your foot, knee and hip aligned through the entire movement.  This can be challenging at first for some, but will get easier with practice.

-Once in a deep lunge position, drive through the foot that is on the ground and rise into a standing position.

-Return to the tall kneeling position and switch legs.

-Keep your chest tall through the entire movement.

The reps for this can vary drastically depending on the emphasis you want the movement to have, but I normally have people doing between 5-8 reps a side. 

Feel free to load this by holding dumbbells or kettlebells.

Try them out and let me know what you think!


What Do Fitness Professionals Eat?

I thought it would make for a really interesting post to see what some big names within the fitness industry eat on a daily basis.  So, I contacted some friends and some fellow trainers to see if they would be willing to share what their typical diet looked like.

Thankfully, they’re all generous people and were happy to help out. Enjoy!











That is what my nutrition has been focused upon the past several weeks. I like experimenting with my training and  nutrition, and lately I’ve been tracking my protein intake to see if a higher amount (at least 1.5 grams/pound of bodyweight) has a positive impact on my performance and body composition.

Because I am eating a lot more protein than usual (and having to make an effort to do so), here is what a couple days of typical eating looks like for me.

Training Day Example
-Meal 1 (around 12pm): sardines with hot sauce, one cup of cottage cheese, and usually a vegetable

-Meal 2 (around 3pm before training): 30 gram protein shake

-Meal 3 (around 5pm post training): 30 gram protein shake

-Meal 4 (around 6:30pm): Grassfed ribeye steak, homemade mashed potatoes, and green beans

-Meal 5 (a little after dinner): Ice cream. I usually eat ice cream once per week, and I do so after a training session. Why? Because I love ice cream.

Non Training Day Example
-Meal 1 (around 12pm): smoked salmon, one cup of Greek yogurt, and usually a vegetable

-Meal 2 (around 3pm): protein shake or something similar

-Meal 3 (around 5-6pm): egg scramble (recipe here)

-Meal 4 (about an hour or so after previous meal): apple and peanut butter

As you can see, there is a huge emphasis on protein and I make an effort to vary the protein sources. In addition, I try to eat a lot of vegetables and a couple of servings of fruit per day.

I don’t eat many meals during the day, and dinner is definitely the largest meal of the day.












Tuesday, December 13

5:00am: almond milk latte with sugar-free caramel flavouring, 2000 UI vitamin D3, omega 3 soft chews

¾ cup organic natural flavoured yogurt, mixed with some natural granola and 1 tsp hemp hearts

9:00am:  bag of sugar snap peas, protein bar, water      

12:00: left-over roast turkey, stuffing and mashed sweet potatoes

3:00pm: coffee with steamed skim milk, apple, fruit and nut bar (organic ingredients)

5:00pm: Asian chicken salad (roast chicken, lettuce, onion, carrot, bell pepper, crushed peanuts, sesame seeds, hoi sin dressing)

8:00pm: Dinner, 6 ounces strip loin steak, steamed broccoli, water with lime juice

Wednesday, December 14

5:00am: Same breakfast as Tuesday

9:00am: 2 handfulls of almonds, walnuts, dried fruit, water

11:00am: wrap (rice noodles, chicken, tomatoes, lime sour cream), carbonated water

2:00pm: Post-workout protein shake (isopure protein, 2 scoops), leftover steamed broccoli, quinoa salad

5:00pm: Protein bar (Pure Protein, new natural type, tastes pretty good considering how low the sugars are),  water

8:00pm: Roast chicken, chick pea hummus & pita chips, water with lime juice

10:00pm: glass of wine with wife (she finished financial math final, needed a drink, hates to drink alone ;-))

Thursday, December 15

7:00am: Same breakfast as Wednesday and Tuesday

12:00pm: wrap (same as Wednesday)

1:00pm: Egg nog latte (they’re calling!!)

4:00pm: Steak, grilled asparagus, bell peppers, new potatoes, some olive oil and crushed garlic

7:00pm: More steak, glass of wine












On a typical day, I eat between 2-3 times per day. The first meal of my day usually happens around 11 am, and always consists of 3-4 whole eggs, 1-2 cups of vegetables, and 1 piece of fruit or 1 slice of toast. I am usually pretty busy and don’t eat again until dinner time, which is around 6 or 6:30 pm. This meal always consists of a main protein, such as grass fed beef, bison, fish, chicken or pork. I eat between 5-7 oz of protein, depending on how much I had throughout the course of my day. Again, I have 1-2 cups of vegetables, a starch, and fats in the form of olive oil, safflower oil, or butter for cooking. 

If I eat a third time, it pretty much looks like my dinner, except the starch is replaced by fruit. I gauge my eating based on how I feel as far as satiety and energy are concerned. I may have a snack during the day of nuts and dried fruit as well if I am hungry. If I only eat twice, I will add in extra calories to my two meals. I also never eat past 8 pm because I find when I do I wake up ravenous. 

I eat at a caloric deficit for the most part, but nothing too extreme. On average, I eat between 1600-1700 calories per day, sometimes more. It allows me to remain lean all year round while maintaining high energy levels for big lifts. 

Eating at a caloric deficit also allows me wiggle room for treats when I want them. I know that I can splurge on a holiday or evening out because I won’t exceed my maintenance calories. 







Breakfast:  6:30-7 AM

5 whole egg omelet – with pepper, tumeric, basil, oregano, parsley, and garlic

Thrown into the omelet:  un-cooked broccoli, onion, spinach, sun-dried tomato (all in all, it’s about 1.5 cups of veggies)

I use ghee to “butter” the frying pan, toss all the veggies on, and pour the eggs over that.

Once the omelet is done, I add in some fresh salsa and goat cheese.

It’s pretty epic.

In addition to the omelet:  I have two slices of Ezekiel toast with natural peanut butter and a cut up banana.

On the side, I have a ginormous glass of water with a scoop of Athletic Greens (superfood)

9-9:30 AM (before I head to the facility to train)

6 Flame Out (Fish Oil)

5,000 IU vitamin D

Spike Shooter

12 PM (after training)

Shake:  1/2 cup kefir, 1/2 cup almond milk, 1 cup spinach, 1-2 tsp chia seeds, 1 scoop Superfood, 1 scoop Grow, 1/2 cup frozen fruit

1 PM (post training meal)

1 cup rolled oat, 1/2 cup blueberries, 1-2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 scoop Grow (protein powder) and maybe 1-2 Larabars on top of that


1 cup canned pumpkin, 1/2 cup rolled oats, a handful of walnuts, scoop Superfood, scoop of Grow, cinnamon

3 or 4 PM

Typically some sort of stir fry consisting of a bunch of roasted veggies (onions, broccoli, fennel, peppers, etc).  6 oz meat (either chicken or red beef)

Really this is a meal that’s made a head of time by my girlfriend, so it really depends on what she makes.

I’ll usually add a large apple to this meal as well.

Sometime between 6-8 PM

Same as previous meal

As far as non-training days, I may delete the Ezekiel bread, but pretty much everything else is on point.


Feel free to leave your comments below!

My Radio Interview

Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to be on a local radio station (KSRV 1380 AM The Bull).  I spent 25-ish minutes on the air and had an absolute blast!  I’m definitely hoping that I get to do more of this kind of thing in the future.

Thankfully, The Bull has past shows on their website which means if you missed it, you can still hear my lovely (or not) voice!  And even if you listened live, you can listen again.  Yeah, it was that good.  In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s going to be nominated for whatever awards radio has that’s similar to the Grammy’s.

If you would like to listen, click here.

Then click the arrow pointing left to go to the previous day.

Next, click the “replay” button for the “Treasure Valley Live” morning program.  The interview starts at 15:30 and lasts for about 25 minutes.  If you enjoy the interview, and have a few minutes, I’d appreciate you telling The Bull that it would be great to have me back on.  (Yes, I’m shameless…)

Speaking of having a few minutes, my friend Kellie Davis has been nominated for a contest to be on the cover of Status Fitness Magazine.  She needs votes to make the cut, so please take 1o seconds and click here to “like” this photo on Facebook:

She’s an awesome person, a great example for women everywhere and certainly deserves it!

Random Thoughts From MG

I used to do “random” posts on a regular basis.  I’m not really sure why I’ve got away from them considering that people always seemed to enjoy them and I’m a pretty random guy.  Anywho, the following thoughts/observations/words that happen to be strung together are in no particular order.

1. I’ve never made a conscious effort to put on muscle in the gym.  I’ve always been focused on either getting stronger or getting leaner.  That’s not to say I haven’t put on muscle over the last several years, just that I’ve never made that a priority.  It was always a nice byproduct. 

However, last November I made the decision to give some muscle gain an honest go and see what happened.  I increased my calories by A LOT (a critical component of muscle gain) and wrote out my programs.

I’m happy to say that last night I met my body weight goal of 200 pounds, which has been a 15 pound weight gain.  While some of this weight gain has come in the form of body fat, most of it has been muscle and I’m pretty happy with the results.  I’m looking to get up to the 208-210 range and then begin to strip some of the fat off so I can better see the results of my hard work.

2. Next Monday morning, I’ll be on the radio.  John Hartman, the owner of the gym I train out of has a weekly radio spot on a local station and has asked me to join him on the air this coming Monday.  There’s no planned topic of discussion, but rather we will be making it up as we go.  The plan is for me to join him on air on a somewhat regular basis, and I’m totally stoked to be able to reach a whole different audience.  You can listen online at If you are local you can listen at 1380 AM.  Air time is set for 9:15 MST. 

3. New Cholesterol Guidelines: Utter Madness. I came across this article the other day.  It’s by Jonny Bowden “The Rogue Nutritionist”.  Jonny has pissed more than a few people off with his outspokenness and refusal to take anything at face value.  However, I think (whether you agree or not) reading what others have to say certainly get ones wheels turning…which is never a bad thing.  Click the link above to read the article.

If you have any thoughts on this article, drop them in the comments section below.  I think it could make for an interesting discussion.

4. I came across this on Twitter yesterday, and I also had a couple clients send me texts about it.  BJ Gaddour, a trainer out of Milwaukee, put together a video called poking fun at the stereotypical female client.  I thought this was hilarious, especially since  I’ve heard several of the things he says come out of clients’ mouths.  Taking into consideration that the clients who told me I “had to” watch this were both female, I don’t feel bad putting it up here for a few laughs.

That’s all of my brain dropping (or drippings) for today!


An Exercise You Should Try: Hip Dip

I’ve mentioned about a gazillion times on this blog how jacked up peoples’ hips tend to be.  Our incredibly sedentary lifestyles give our bodies a lot of grief, and the hips often take the brunt of the abuse.

I’ve talked about some simple stretches and mobilizations that can tremendous benefits for the hips in the past.  While I still believe that all of them are great, there was something missing for me. 

Most hip flexor stretches and mobilizations tend to focus on the psoas and rectus femoris.  While this is great, I tended to ache more in my tensor fasciae latae area.

I played around with some different positions for quite a while before I finally came up with something that seems to get in that area really well.

I call it the Hip Dip:

Here’s how to do it:

-Get in a split stance position with one knee on the ground.  Get your legs as far apart as you can from front to back.

-Place both hands on the ground in front of the knee that’s down.  You might have to play with your hand positioning a little bit to get the stretch exactly where you need it.

-Next, you need to do three things in order to maximize the efficacy of this movement.  First drop the hip of the leg that’s kneeling down towards the floor.  Second, squeeze the glute of the same leg as tight as you can.  A minimal squeeze will not have the same effect, so squeeze it like you mean it!  Third, rotate your pelvis as if you are trying to square it up with the floor.  You can see all of this happen at the 0:04-0:05 mark in the video.

Hold for 20-30 seconds, then repeat on the other side.

If you do this correctly, you should feel an area of the hips being stretched that you most likely haven’t felt before.  Trust me, it feels REALLY good!

Give it a shot and let me know what you think!





Increase Your Chances Of Sticking To Your New Years Resolution

Although it’s a bit late, Happy New Year everyone!  I hope you all had an enjoyable, safe and somewhat sugar induced coma filled celebration.  I spent the New Year in Houston, TX with Kat’s family and I had a blast eating great food, visiting and getting in a couple naps.  I even went to my first professional football game, which was awesome.

If you watch ESPN at all, you probably saw the Houston Texans’ Bryan Braman make this helmet-less tackle, which, by the way, happened right in front of where we were sitting:

It was so manly it made me want to eat rocks or wrestle a T-Rex or something along those lines.

Anyway, I had a great time, but now I’m back at it.

Everyone knows that with the new year comes “new year’s resolutions”.  2012 is kind of like fresh start.  2011 is all tainted, beat up and soooo last year that we need a new one to get anything done.

People make all kinds of new years resolutions, but none are more common than ones that are fitness/weight loss based.  People tell themselves, “This will be the year I finally eat healthy,” or “This year I’m finally losing that 20 pounds.”

Now I’m not a big fan of resolutions.  In fact I don’t like them.  I’m not saying I think it’s stupid if you make them, I’m just saying I don’t like the nature of the new year resolution.

I’ll tell you why.

First off, for some people the new year holds some magical properties that make it much more likely that you will actually complete your goals.  It doesn’t.  In fact you’re not anymore likely to stick to a resolution than you are to a goal you set on March 7th, or August 23rd.

Second, new years resolutions are typically VERY vague.  Resolutions like “I’m going to eat better” and “I’m going to exercise” are not specific and therefore are much more likely to be broken.

If you want to greatly increase the likelihood that months from now your resolutions will still be going strong, there are two things you can do.

1. Only make a few.

By simply making a few goals, you can focus all your efforts on them.  If you have 5 0r 6 resolutions, your time and energy is divided and your progress for each will be slower which will probably make you want to throw in the towel.

2. Make them measurable.

Making goals that you can measure will allow you to see how far you’ve come as well as allow you to have markers along the way.

Let me use two of my 2012 yearly goals for Michael Gray Fitness as examples:

Average 75 client hours per week

I am currently averaging 60 client hours per week.  I know that I need to average 15 hours a week more than last year to meet this goal.  This is incredibly measurable.  I simply add up how many client hours I have a week and see how that compares to my goal.  If I’m low, I need to get my butt in gear on the marketing side of things.

Have 8 articles published

This means I need to have one published on average every month and a half.  If July rolls around and I’ve only got two published, then I need to get focused on doing more writing outside of the blog.

If you want to “eat healthier”, rephrase the wording to something like “I will eat a fruit or a vegetable at each meal.”  Or if you want to lose 20 pounds give yourself a target date.  Let’s say it’s for a wedding on the first of July.  This gives you roughly 25 weeks to complete your resolution which means you need to lose an average of 0.8 pounds a week (20/25=0.8).  Now you have a number to measure your progress against.

Applying these two simple tactics to your new years resolutions seriously can help you stay focused and on track.  I’d love to hear what your resolutions are and how you’re making them measurable.  Drop them in the comments section below!

Feel free to share on Facebook or Twitter.  As always, your support is appreciated!