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I’m only 32 years old.
That’s not old.
In fact, some will tell me that I’m young. Even the 35 year old mom’s that are only 3 years older than I, who make sure everyone knows that they’re getting older to make themselves feel better, still say I’m a “youngin”.
You know who you are.
Everyone always says, “Age is just a number.” or “You’re only old if you tell yourself you’re old.”
Quite frankly, the main thing is that we get older everyday and our bodies are the vehicle. Some people say you are as old as you act, but I know some pretty irresponsible and need I say, stupid, older people. But day by day your bones, muscles, skin, joints, and organs are getting older. Unfortunately, we can’t help that and we have to protect our vehicles.
So even though I’m only 32, I was once 21, and as most of you know it is a whole hell of a lot different. I used to be the young prick saying, “Pfft. I’ll never be old.” Then I pounded a Muscle Milk and squatted 405 pounds and went out clubbing that night thinking that I would stay young forever.
I can remember being a young trainer with zero experience thinking that age is just a number. I had 50 year olds breaking their backs dead-lifting and implemented zero recovery process. I had no judgment on the individual. That’s what trainers lack. Making a workout is easy, but can you program it to the body type the person has?
I didn’t start dwelling on this until I had help. I always focused on injuries and preventing them, but I did it based on the group. Thankfully, I have 3 other trainers and many clients of mine that can help me program to the individual.
You’re not old, but as we get older, we have to start doing things to our bodies to prepare us for the future. This year has taught me that. I’ve been put under anesthesia 4 times, been in the hospital for heart valve issues, and haven’t been able to exercise. First time in my life that I have felt “old”.
These are some things that I recommend to 21 year olds or 55 year olds, just to protect themselves from their bodies actually getting older than their minds.
Sometimes you walk through life not even realizing what’s going on around you because you’re so involved in it. Quite honestly, if you’re not extremely involved in your life to miss what’s going on around you, you need to find something to engulf you. It’s so exhilarating. I haven’t been blessed yet to have children, a marriage, or extremely rare vacations. Those things can make you so involved with life that you would miss the Undertaker retiring from wrestling.
Never get that involved!
But what I’m getting at, is that even if a family isn’t something that you revolve your life around, owning a business and taking care of your body can be the same concept. And that’s me. So it takes a good laugh, or a good lift, or a sushi eating contest to get you back to life.
Sometimes a quote can give you a huge Mike Tyson punch in the face. Therefore, I have 10 quotes that I constantly have stuck in the back of my head to remind myself to not get so caught up in life that I’ll miss that fun stuff. I can grind hard at my job and be cognitive of my surroundings too.
By the way, I stuck a funny pun with every quote just to hopefully give you a chuckle while you read.
Bonus: Mike Tyson’s best quote: “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”
I actually never left. I was just dreaming.
Dreaming of where my life is headed. Dreaming of what I did to get to how I feel about where I am (which is thrilled). Dreaming of the people that helped me get there. Dreaming about the people that didn’t and are no longer in my life.
All of it led to my gym. My health. My friends. It led to how I feel when I wake up every single morning, boop my sleeping giant-of-a-dog on his nose, touch my toes to see how I feel, and walk into the bathroom to splash my face and get my eyes uses to the light.
All of it led me to sharing with you how I feel. We all need some sort of therapy. The great thing about my job security is that a lot of people use fitness as therapy. The other great thing is that you are your own individual, and you train for different reasons.
Don’t let anyone tell you what to train for. Odds are if someone is telling you this, they have only trained for one thing in their life.
The main thing is to train for what makes you happy.
If I was a gambling-man, I’d say that 99% of the people in the gym have a focus of looking good naked. Everyone does. We can almost guarantee that.
Some have strength goals.
Some like pizza.
Though I still may check out the goods in the mirror every now and than because I am damn proud of the body I have earned, I just wanted to establish 9 other possibilities why you could train, most of which you should never be ashamed of training for.
1.) Your body. I cringe when people tell me, “I’m not sore. So I guess I didn’t work out hard enough.” I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be constantly reminded that my back hurts after a heavy dead lift session the next day.
I’ve done some programs (even some of my own a few years back) that just left my body completely wrecked. The great thing about fitness though is that you can prevent this and still maintain the physique you desire. Proper muscle maintenance, stretching, not over-training, and hydration can improve this. The goal with training is constant progression, but if your body aches constantly, try taking a few days out of your week and focusing on mobility and flexibility instead of pounds and reps may not be a bad thing.
People don’t have a problem with over training. We have a problem with “under recovering”. I’ll say it until the day the I die, but people really have no idea how good your body is designed to feel. It’s made for you to endure 100+ years. Try taking time out or your chest and leg days to really analyze how your body feels. It’s much more addicting than a 1 hour pump.
2.) Self confidence. On of the best stories I heard came recently from a new client of mine. I asked them exactly what their fitness goals were and they came up with a brilliant answer. They said, “I want to be confident that if I fell off of a jet-ski, that I could get right back up on it.”
Wow. I myself want to be confident that I can endure everything and anything a client of mine goes through. I want to know how they feel during a handstand or how painful it is to do hip flexor myofascial release. When you pick a confidence booster that doesn’t have to do with taking your shirt off at the beach, you can really set some goals and have something to work for.
3.) Loving yourself. We all have “grey areas” in our life where we contemplate a life change. Where we all hate ourselves and want to be happy. It never has to be like that again.
You can go out and buy a motorcycle on your mid life crisis if you want, but what really holds yourself accountable on loving YOU is working out with people you enjoy being around. It really is the difference maker. Not only are you there to better yourself, but you’re there to better everyone around you, and I’m a firm believer that you need this to be happy.
You need to have that responsibility of making someone’s workout or day that much better to be happy with yourself. If you spend all your money on you and work only to make yourself a better human, I guarantee your life will turn from grey to pitch black in a matter of time. Focus on other’s to make you happy by putting your health first.
4.) Flexibility. This is hands down the most over looked part of fitness. In fact, most people don’t even consider it fitness. If your main goal is to be strong, you need to be flexible. If you want to lose weight, you need to recover your lean muscle tissue faster. Flexibility helps this. You should designate 15-20 minutes a day at being more flexible and you need to designate 3-5 days a week on mobility. It’s simple. It’s boring. But you won’t know it until you try it. I urge all my clients to be flexible. I can’t go home and make them pigeon stretch every night, but I can sure as hell bug the crap out of them to do so while in class.
5.) You’re getting old. Let’s face it. Age is just a number, but a 50 year old body just can’t take the same heat as a fit 25 year old body. However, a fit 50 year old body is a million times better for you than just a regular 50 year old body. Train yourself to never feel old again. Never walk into the gym and say, “It must be my age.” Especially when you’re barely 35.
You’re always in your prime and the only thing making you age more is your mind telling you that you’re too old.
6.) Alcohol. Another “let’s face it”. Your love for hops and stouts is not helping you at all around your waist and in the gym. I’m a hop-head and a craft beer lover myself. I look forward to having a nice flight from a local brewery all the time, but having a beer once a night can be disastrous. I’ve been in this mold, and it’s done nothing but make me gain weight and feel weak. It’s ok to have this hobby under your belt (in fact I think it’s a great hobby), however us hop-heads have to stick together to tone down our pallets and reconsider having a beer a night to possibly having a couple beers every other week. It really is a problem if you’re fitness goals exist.
This doesn’t have to be a beer-loving hobby. It could be any unhealthy hobby that exists when not done in moderation.
7.) Health. Why isn’t this number 1?
It’s always set on the back burner until you or a family member has a heart attack and then you realize, “Well, shit. Maybe I should eat and train right.” We don’t want that to happen. Those aren’t the reality checks that we need.
A huge part of my fitness longevity was when I was diagnosed with a bicuspid on my aorta valve along with a heart murmur. This pretty much means that I have only have 2 of 3 valves on my aorta and it causing my heart to work harder and beat irregularly.
One day I was having heart pain on the elliptical after a strong chest workout and it scared the living crap out of me. It hurt so bad I had to go to my mom’s doctor’s office to see what was wrong. I felt like I was having chest pains. Come to find out after an EKG and a stress test that I just had a strained chest muscle and it wasn’t my heart after all.
HOWEVER, during all those tests they found my heart issues. I would have never known about my heart unless I had strained my boob. Now, it’s on my mind constantly. What if I joined a fraternity and gained 60 pounds after high school instead of getting into the gym? Would I be dead? Would I have had a heart attack? I’ll never know because I’m constantly training to make sure I can do all I can to make sure that I never have my family see me in a hospital or die at a young age.
8.) Bad-assery. Who doesn’t want to feel like a bad ass? Why do football players train? To be good at their sport. Why to CrossFitters train? To be good at their sport. Why do Olympians train? You know. Why do Spartan races exist? Aroo!
Why can’t you go into the mentality that you want to obliterate a workout because it makes you feel like a giant? You can’t say you haven’t stepped foot into the gym because you want to leave there without feeling like an astronaut walking in slow motion to their space shuttle. Or a soldier stepping off a plane after serving our country for a year. That is exactly why these Spartan and mud races were composed. That is exactly why jumping high, running fast, and lifting heavy has become one of the best ways to exercise in the world. Not only does it make you look good, feel good, have amazing heart health, joint strength, and lung capacity; it will also make you want to be cooler every time you leave the gym. You can dream of being a pro, but then you can actually train like one. Fitness is 50% inspiration, 30% perspiration, and 100% attitude.
9.) Hope. It gives you hope. It gives you hope that you can do anything you set your mind to. It gives you hope that you will be able to live longer and experience things. It gives you hope that you will be able to get out of bed without being in pain every day. It gives you hope that you can rely on a huge group of Jungle Gymers to help you relieve stress. It gives you hope that if you can do things that you can accomplish in the gym, that you can most certainly do them outside of the gym.
To me, that’s reason in itself.
This is where your body changes,
The most important attribute in all of life is patience. It’s been a year of patience for me. Things are coming together though. I can’t really wrap up my thoughts other than my speech that I nervously said in front of 100 clients at this year’s Jungle Gym Christmas party. I’ve been challenged this year with lots of things personally and professionally, and the one main factor in getting through all of it was patience.
I think back even just a year ago to where I was then, to where I am now. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t sound like a lot has been accomplished, but it has. It’s a ‘never give up’ attitude that I will forever put into the minds of my clients, future kids, future grandkids, and anyone else who trusts me.
This year I plan on being the same man I always have been, being even more patient, and respecting the process.
This life is about adapting. You don’t come out of your mother’s womb and wake up and say, “This is me. This is who I am.” You adapt. You become something different every time something effects you, and the great thing is that you will never stop going through this process. You will always adapt to people and those who refuse, are the one’s who are lost. They’re uncoachable. They’re the ones who do the stabbing in the back and not the slapping in the face when you need it.
I gave up the personality of being the biggest, baddest, and best trainer in the world years ago. I didn’t want to be that TV personality like Jillian Michaels, where she just yells at you in your face and then says it’s just a tough love game. No offense to Jillian, but in the real world . . . that shit won’t work. We all know that’s not her personality. She’s probably the sweetest woman you will ever meet.
To me, being a successful fitness coach, I’d rather be known as someone you can mold to, than a good trainer that isn’t real. So with the help of my family growing, my traveling, my friends, and my health . . . I have adapted. That wasn’t me.
Adapting comes with one thing; patience. Without it we are just a bunch of close-minded people setting themselves on fire giving up easily on things that require just a little more patience and . . .
Nevermind . . .
This speech will explain it all.
Jungle Gym is growing and expanding. We are doubling our size. We are adding over 20K in equipment that will better the program. We’ve added multiple coaches who love coaching others and adapting to them. This year the possibilities are endless and finally all the patience has come and slapped us in the face.
December 17th, 2017 – Location: Oozlefinch Craft Brewery at the Jungle Gym Christmas Party
“I’ve got to be honest with you. This year was my greatest challenge in all of Jungle Gym. Every time I focused on a weakness of mine, and strengthened it, another weakness popped up. I ended up finding that this was a vicious cycle in my job. I would work on communication, then my training would suffer. I would focus on training, then my programming would suffer.
I feel likes it’s all a part of life. Think about it. When you focus on your running goals, your strength levels suffer. When you focus on your eating habits, your energy suffers. When you focus on yourself and being the happiest you can be, your weight suffers. I always have to be cognitive of this. The moral of this comes later in the speech.
Back in February, I was offered to run my own building when OneLife some-what offered me the Grainger spot next door. It sparked a fireworks session in my mind about growing the business and having the ability to fulfill my dream of operating my own gym. Ever since, I’ve been focused on getting out of OneLife Fitness.
It wasn’t until recently when I realized that the quality of the gym has nothing to do with the sexiness of the locker rooms, the fanciness of the equipment, or the color of walls it has. I realized that what makes programs like this so devastatingly epic is the people who fill the room. That’s what makes the program so great. You literally know everyone you are working out with. The fastest and firmest way to a great friendship is formed with the sweat, fear, and pain that you share. I wholeheartedly believe in this. I have to realize that this is the mantra of Jungle Gym. It is not the room we are in.
My biggest flaw of all is the fact that I don’t even know what the f*** I’m doing. I take a step back and look at the program and think . . . man . . . this class is filled with successful business minded people that trust me. A 30 year old, non educated boy, that still watches WWE wrestling, plays air guitar to rap music, and dislocates his shoulder sliding into home plate during a kickball game, that grew up right down the street. And they trust me with a class that can change someone’s life?
Then I realize that I am one of you. You are me. And that’s what brings us together. We aren’t here to compete in the Olympics. We aren’t here to prove to anyone our worth, and if you are . . . stop. You are worthy. And that’s how you make me feel. Extremely worthy.
I’ve been lucky in my life. I was raised well. I’m medically healthy. I have two amazing animals. A warm house. I haven’t faced much yet. Nor do I want to. And I always get asked why I do charity work, and I’ll tell you the main reason. It brings us together. That’s probably why I like beer so much. For instance, Russell, the owner of this brewery . . . beer brought us together. Now we have a friendship that is able let him allow me to bring in possibly 130 drunk strangers that all can do more push-ups than him.
I know I can’t single handedly change the world. But if I have 130 sober individuals that can help me, we can do a ton of great damage to the community surrounding us. I don’t really know if you guys know what you have done for this community this year.
We raised $4,815 in money to charity this year. This morning I dropped off 50 toys to underprivileged children. We fed local law enforcement and first responders. We helped a family member in need when she lost her husband to cancer (We love you Kimbo). We helped people lose weight and find best friends. I’m still waiting for that first Jungle Gym marriage . . . (Pitt Daddy, where you at?). What I’m saying is, yes, we toss around Kettlebells, and do burpee pull ups, and have emotional break downs, but we are human. We are not superhuman. We are each other in every single way, and I have come to accept that just because 5 years ago I liked to yell and scream a lot, throw fits, and probably be borderline irritating to some, I have adjusted my lifestyle around you.
I may be wrong, and this may be my opinion, but I can be raised to think that my feet don’t stink, but once I smell everyone else’s, I realize that adapting to my surroundings, and giving up some of my pride was the best thing that I ever did for this business and for the fact that there’s no money value on the time and effort you put into something. Things don’t just fall in your lap in this world. You need people to help you.
There are 5 things I live my life by. 12 years ago I did not have this list.
1. Honesty is the best policy.
2. To get respect, you have to show respect.
3. I am not perfect.
4. If you want it, go get it.
5. Never comment on Sasha’s Facebook posts because you’ll get notifications for the next 6 hours.
Actually. . .
5. Be proud but never satisfied.
I hope you leave here, show up Monday and realize that pride is one thing, but it is also the longest distance between two people, and in order to succeed in this industry and in this program, community is strength.
I want you all to realize, that every decision I have made has been because I feel like it’s best for the program. Not myself. Not for one individual in the program. But for the whole thing. I’ve gone through a lot of broken promises this year, and some people forgave, and some didn’t . . . but I need to thank you, from the bottom of my heart, that you guys have made me into the man I am today, and that I will continue to demonstrate my flaws and hope that you can help me fix them instead of me being the almighty. Because I don’t want to be. I want to be you.”
This is where your body changes,
As you may be able to tell by this picture, I wasn’t very thrilled about my performance in possibly the hardest obstacle course race on the East Coast.
The Wintergreen Spartan Super near Charlottesville in Virginia was a 9.2 mile, 29 obstacle, race with a few death marches thrown in. Hiking up and down black diamond mountains that most skiers won’t even scoot down. Not to mention carrying buckets of gravel, crawling through 1/4 mile of mud, and jumping over walls reaching 9 feet.
When I look at things like that, I get thrilled. I was thrilled. Until I finished and felt defeated. I hate feeling defeated. I know deep down that being defeated makes you stronger . . . but man . . . at the time being all I wanted to do was yell “F-you!” and not “Aroo!”
Come to find out, we actually did pretty well considering half of the people who signed up didn’t even finish and we finished near the 50th percentile of the people who did finish. After that stat I felt less grumpy.
It wasn’t the course itself that upset me. It’s how my body reacted. My quads and calves started cramping around mile 7. I separated my shoulder on the monkey bars around mile 6. Little did I know that 6 of the last ten obstacles I couldn’t do.
As I was lying there in the mud underneath barbed wire, crawling through filth, smooching with the worms, quads-a-cramping; I just couldn’t crawl anymore. This was my worst moment. I was pulled out, asked to do 30 burpees and move on.
The next obstacle . . . the wet wall. Couldn’t do it (shoulder).
The next obstacle . . . the rig including rings, ropes with knots, and every other American Ninja Warrior apparatus known to man. Couldn’t do it (shoulder).
The last obstacle . . . the rope climb. Couldn’t do it (shoulder).
I was left doing 120 burpees with only 1/2 mile left in the race. See how I could have felt defeated?
I swore up and down that I would never do it again. Thank God for my buddy and lifting partner, Pitt Daddy, for being there.
A year passed, and Wintergreen is in two weeks. Needless to say, I can’t wait to tackle this ass of a mountain once again. Barring any shoulder injuries, I am prepared. I would like to share my preparation with you on events like these.
Maybe not just Wintergreen Super Spartans. It could be a kickball tournament. Or a marathon. Or a long hike in the mountains. Either way, follow these tips on how to prepare for a body-beating event you may have in the near future.
Exercise: Training is the fun part! Granted, each event is different on how you train. What matters is what you do leading up to this.
Lay low. It’s hard not to feel like you need to kick your ass with workouts on the days leading up to event. However, you want your muscles at it’s most rested. 3 to 4 days before your event, I recommend active recovery, basic bodyweight movements, and lots of mobility and stretching. This will take the load off of your central nervous system.
You’re not going to get out of shape in 4 days time. In fact, some people would get more in shape if they gave their body some rest more often.
(Jungle Gym and ROC Spartans – Try and hold back on your elevated ‘cardios’ and trail runs 5 days prior to the event. Especially for a doozie like Wintergreen. Try doing a slow stairclimber or smooth rows to keep your body moving. Long, early morning walks can be magical as well.’)
Hydration: Leading up to the race, you want to make sure that your muscles are full of water. You can’t just chug two gallons of water the day before the race and expect this to happen. It’s kinda like watering plants. They don’t just grow overnight.
Drink at least 100 ounces in water every single day leading up to the event or race (more if you’re a big boy like me). Here’s a little trick however.
Creatine load. Creatine is an acid that helps supply energy in muscle cells. Start taking creatine 5-7 days before your big event to avoid your muscle giving out on your mid-stride.
(Jungle Gym and ROC Spartans – Take 3-7 grams of creatine everyday in water leading up to race with dinner.)
Diet: This is simple. Eat your normal diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, whole foods, lean protein, and essential oils. However, we need to load our muscles with proper fuel leading up to the race. Don’t change WHAT you eat. Change HOW MUCH you eat. Load up with lean protein, complex carbohydrates, and fats. A perfect meal would be breakfast the night before the race. Scrambled eggs loaded with avocado with a side of pancakes and hash browns. Toss a little bit of pure maple syrup on it for some simple sugars. Make enough for the morning of as well. Just make sure you eat 2 to 3 hours prior to the start time. You don’t want blood flow in your stomach trying to digest food while you need blood flow in your extremities while you’re dodging obstacles.
Pre-Race: You’re loaded with water, creatine, and proper nutrients. Now how should you warm-up?
Did you pack your foam roller? Give your muscles a soft tissue rub. You can even do these with your hands if need be. Stretch your tightest muscles prior to start time. Your biggest thing is movement though. I recommend a heavy dosage of your favorite yoga set. Lots of down-dogs, spider-man lunges, vinyasas. Throw in some burpees, jump squats, and basic arm circles. Let you’re body know it’s about to go through some destruction so it can be prepared. Not too much though. Save your energy for showtime.
During Race: Be confident.
However, confidence doesn’t tell your muscles not to give up on you. Last year, this was my biggest downfall. This year I am going to do a cycle of three things.
1. Quick sugar – gel packs, concentrated candy, etc. This will keep quick burning fuel for my muscle with little digestion.
2. BCAAs – mixed in my first batch of water. Have a second batch available for midway through the race or event.
3. Mustard – quick sodium fix to retain the water you are trying to store.
I do not recommend mixing the three.
Post Race: More BCAA’s. High Fives. Beer. Whatever you want to eat. Hot Tub. Cold Swim.
Jungle Gym is proudly the part owner of a new OCR (Obstacle Course Racing) Company called ROC Training. We are sweeping through Newport News and currently have 30 clients participating in our training program. If you have more questions, please feel free to email me. I’d love to help.
Repeat after me.
I will apply all 8 of these tips daily. I understand that grasping life’s throat is not just about how much money you make, what you own, and how many abs you have. It’s about being a good-hearted person who lives life to the fullest. It’s about creating a life for your family to remember you by. It’s about changing someone’s day. It’s about changing someone’s life. It’s about loving steak and eating steak. It’s about knowing that everyone may not love steak like you do, but not making them feel like the cow. It’s about constantly trying to better yourself daily. It’s about knowing when you can give someone a wet willy and when not to. It’s about surrounding yourself with people who think wet willies are good-hearted when the time is favorable. It’s about being responsible for everything you do in life and learning from the consequences of losing. It’s about that one win. It’s about making the most out of the short life we were all given and the same opportunity to do whatever we want to do with it. It’s about all of us breathing the same air.
Read and apply, please.
1.) Don’t be so horrified of time. It’s longer than you think.
Have you ever procrastinated over the simplest thing? Like scrambling eggs and making coffee? It’s Sunday morning, you wake up, look at the clock and it’s 8:38AM. You’re like, “Man, it’s going to take me forever to make breakfast.” Might as well skip it or drive-thru because it’s quicker.
Next time – make it. Just prove to yourself how petrified of time you are. When I wake up on Sundays and look at the clock at 8:38AM, I let the dogs out, turn on the coffee pot, scramble eggs, pour some coffee, and sit down while I search for ways to stretch my hips . . .and when I look at the clock at it’s 8:45AM.
Seven minutes is a ton of time. One hour is a ton of time. Think about the things we can do in one week. One month. One year.
The fitness industry is loaded with time constraints. Have you ever watched the show Chopped on the Food Network? Contestants are given 20 minutes of time to make an impromptu appetizer with foods that throw you for a loop. You sit on the couch and think, “I can’t even make a PBJ in 20 minutes.” It’s because you’re afraid of time.
Think about the results you can get in one week. Think about the pounds you could lose in a month. Think about the miles you could run in a year. Think about the business you can build in 10 years. That’s what makes me not afraid of time. 10 years ago I had a dream to help people all around the world get fit. So very vague. I didn’t even know where to start. So I went to a couple seminars. Wrote a couple eBooks. Got fired from a couple jobs. Wasted a lot of money on advertising. Now I’m here.
That was ten years ago and that was all because 10 years ago, someone told me that it will take 10 years to build a business. From that moment and years of practice, I spit in time’s face. So next time you are given 20 minutes to make an appetizer out of hot dogs, purple asparagus, gravy mix, and candy canes . . . give Mr. Time a swift kick in the ass.
2.) Being nice will get you farther than being an asshole with something to prove.
All I can say is, when you’re driving, let the people who want to get over . . . get over. It’s one car length ahead of you and it’s not going to make a difference on your arrival time. It’s either that, or you can be one of the assholes that is slowing down the traffic jam that we are all caught up on in the first place.
Take that metaphor into life now. Be the nice guy who lets people over, because coming off as an aggressive asshole gets you three things – no more ahead of anyone else in life, the cause of more problems than you already are, and everyone will despise you.
I’m constantly reminding myself to just “let people over”.
3.) You will never know what other people are going through.
Men don’t know what it feels like to give birth. Women don’t know what it feels like to get kicked in the nuts. It’s a pretty reachy metaphor but an introduction into this nonetheless.
That being said, you’ll never be able to completely know how someone is feeling and what is going on in their life. Odds are, if they wanted to tell you or the world, they would. Probably on Facebook.
Some people though – and the one’s you have to be cautious of – are the one’s that don’t enjoy spreading their life story all over social media.
I can’t tell you how to handle this situation properly, because we’ve all questioned why someone didn’t show up and then found out to be a death in the family or traumatic event. Then you feel terrible afterwards.
I can say, that the cliche saying about walking in someone’s shoes is pretty accurate. You’ll never be able to wear another person’s shoes, just make sure you take yours off before you go stomping around their house.
4.) Having a sense of humor is the most underrated trait in the world.
“A sense of humor, is needed armor. Joy in one’s heart and laughter on someone’s face is a sign that a person deep down has a grasp on life.” ~Hugh Sidey
Focusing on knowing if someone is being malicious, funny, out of control, or serious is a crucial stepping stone for my job and friendships I’ve built. I get jokes. I like jokes! I also know the difference between a joke and a stab. Even when I’m not in the mood to joke. Nowadays, you can’t say anything without people pulling the offended card. It’s like walking on eggshells.
5.) “Do what you love.” *Reconstructed*.
I’m always taking things into perspective. The literal side of things is what made me understand the world better. So when I’m analyzing situations, I never take it with a grain of salt. I’m looking at the whole damn ocean. Take the famous inspirational quote for instance – “Do what you love.” When I look at that, I think . . . that’s genius. Who isn’t living their life to the fullest when they do what they love? That’s the grain of salt.
Then I look at the ‘ocean’ and think – Well, people love killing other people and finding new things to grind up and shoot in their arm, so why would I ever tell or want someone to do what they love when it obviously puts themselves or others in harm’s way?
Over the years I’ve started realizing that my whole ocean theory has held me back a tad. It holds other people back too. It’s just way too literal. When I hear the words “do what you love”, I translate the word love into my meaning of love. Not the general meaning of love. That meaning is too media.
When I’m helping people get out of a rut in fitness, self-confidence, bad-assery plateaus, or anything that involves making yourself become a better person – I trust them in the fact that they know their passions and their meaning of love and that they are just worried about the risks getting there. I’d never go up to a crackhead on the streets holding up a cardboard sign begging for money, stuff a 20 in his styrofoam cup and whisper, “Do what you love, bro.” I wouldn’t trust his meaning because he’s not thinking about the risks of spending that 20 on a case. His meaning for love means nothing to me. Without risks, there is no ‘love’ – or a better word . . . passion.
However I have to constantly remind myself, that if I’m going to make it in a world that is corrupted by people always trying to make other people feel like crap so they can make themselves feel better, then that means I have to stick to my barbells, family, music, kickball, craft beers, wilderness, charity work, bro hugs, nieces and nephews, and knowing I gave everything that I had. That’s what I love.
6.) Thank you, Please, Sir, Ma’am, Excuse Me.
The difference between . . .
“Excuse me. Do you have a jump rope?” “Thank you.”
. . . and . . .
“Ay, you got any jump ropes?” **Walks away**
. . . is literally the determining factor on whether I give someone a jump rope or not. I wasn’t raised to keep my elbows off the table when I eat, but I was definitely taught manners.
I don’t care if it’s the grocery clerk or the garbage man – all of them require proper manners if they’re doing you a favor. And, “ay yo” is never an acceptable term to get someone’s attention. This is a big difference in how they handle your favor the next encounter you have.
7.) If you want to understand someone the most, just watch how they work.
Some would say it’s based off a handshake. Some would say it’s by their walk. All that may be true – but just because some guy introduces himself to me and tries to crush my hand into a million pieces, doesn’t make me automatically think that he’s a good guy to have around. Let’s see if he cleans up his weights in the weight room or not; then we can consider him the next Hugh Jackman.
Work ethic is gargantuan. It’s apparent in fitness results too. People who don’t work hard have slow results. People who work hard see results daily.
Work ethic all stems from one word. Discipline.
I love the quote, “Discipline is the difference between goals and accomplishment.”
When I’m watching people work out, clean their business, take pride in customer service, or practice sports . . . I always watch how much pride they take in their work. These are disciplined, hard-working, skillful, and accomplished people. I take pride in my work and I honestly believe that the reason why retention in the Jungle Gym program is so great, is because disciplined people attract other disciplined people.
8.) You will fail.
Kobe Bryant missed more shots than he made. Brett Favre is the all-time leader in interceptions. The guy who invented sushi had to make rice 750 times before he perfected its stickiness.
While the sushi stat may not be true, it’s still how monumental things are achieved nowadays. I have to remind myself daily that I’m not going to be perfect. I’m going to get turned down. I’m going to miss personal lifting records. I’m going to hurt myself sometimes.
Always bring yourself to peace that a failure is just simply finding different ways that won’t work. Failure is one thing. Giving up is the other. Winston Churchill said, “Never, ever, ever give up.” He also lost every single election until he was 62 and he failed 6th grade twice.
Thank you for reading. This is where your body changes,
Jungle Gym is a results-based program. Bottom line. We expect results and we go to certain lengths to get them. Even if they are strict, hard, monotonous, boring, and daunting for a few months at a time. We firmly believe that once you get to that point, you can enjoy life much better. Not to mention maintenance becomes a whole lot easier.
This past week we had Member Appreciation Week. This blog is dedicated to all of the members of Jungle Gym. These 19 people that all changed their bodies are just a speck of what Jungle Gym appreciates in everyone who shows up week in and week out.
Andrew and I can’t thank you enough, Jungle Gym. You may think that we do a lot of life changing, but you have honestly changed ours.
Here’s to your continued success.
Now let’s give it up for these 19 individuals.
If you want more information on the program, read this blog. It will answer all of your questions. . .
I got my first view of the Pacific Ocean this weekend. Right off the airplane and before my check-in, I hopped over to a local brewery that I wanted to try. I sparked up conversation with the bartender and he told me that the beach was just a quick half mile walk away, and that there were plenty of patio bars to sit at once I got there. So I finished my Ahi Poke and did just that.
My initial intention on going to the Golden State wasn’t for the fine fish and the warm sunsets. It was to learn. I wanted something to bring back to Virginia and Jungle Gym that I could really use to help my program grow stronger.
I can honestly say I may have brought back a few things that I enjoyed about my visit. Mainly the time alone, writing and thinking to myself on how to help boost this program. I can honestly say, however, that I was left with more smirks than smiles.
And it continued when I got home.
“No one should be frustrated when you achieve results. A pound is a pound and 15 pounds is 15 pounds. Being motivated is about being consistent, confident, and not feeling guilty. Your goal is to get to that point in life. I just want people to think about things with logic. You can’t get what you want sitting back, sucking your thumb, and waiting for shit to happen. You have to take the thumb out of your mouth, skip the cheese, and lift some damn weights.”
All my life, I’ve been known as the guy in the gym who yells at his clients while swinging a kettlebell. Who pushes people to the limits. The guy who enforces his class structure and passions upon the class.
They’re exactly right.
My mother always told me that she never spanked me unless I put myself or someone else in harm’s way. That way I’ll never forget that moment. I have no idea if that has translated that into my training, but I feel like it’s a pretty accurate way of training a human being.
From across the room, I may be a drill sergeant. When you are up close and personal, I’m not spitting in your face. I’m wiping sweat from your face. My passion in this business runs deep and my love for the game is often mistaken as anger.
I’m not gonna lie. People are tough to train. I have had some clients that just don’t take advice. They do whatever they want.
I’ve had some clients that shut down when you motivate them or try and push them. Then when you don’t show them the attention they want, because they shut-down, they feel abandoned.
I’ve had some clients that don’t believe in themselves.
I’ll always try and fit personality with training methods, but I’ll never allow someone to not progress or get results on my time. It’s something I refuse to do. I’m a butt-smacker. A back-patter. A puke catcher. A puppet, I am not.
I understand this doesn’t work for everyone, but this way of training has led me to a program that has over 150 active members.
That being said. . .
Back in my hey-days, some of my greatest memories were wrestling memories. My brother and I were decked out in our Ultimate Warrior, Hulk Hogan, and Legion of Doom get-ups. We would have tiny wrestling buddies that lamp shades couldn’t stand a chance against.
We would stay up until 3AM playing Royal Rumble on Super Nintendo.
Probably the coolest thing we ever did with wrestling was our home-made collector’s cards. While everyone was big into collecting baseball cards, we drew and colored in every single wrestler we knew on a piece of paper, then filed them in a crappy plastic crayon box. We would take those said pictures and pick random matches to come up with our very own pay-per-views!
It was mind blowing. My brother, Keith, and I still talk about those moments to this day.
You don’t have to be an avid Hulkamaniac to understand where I’m going with this. It wasn’t until just last January where I decided to get back into the sport. I was invited over to my kickball buddy’s house to watch an annual pay-per-view. Since then, I was hooked. In fact, my entire 30th birthday party was completely themed with 30 of my friends dressing up as wrestlers and surprising me with their own theme music. One of the best days of my life.
It’s kind-of amazing that I’m a 30 year old man who is absolutely in love with fitness and helping other’s achieve euphoria through fitness, but yet I spend a lot of my free time catching up on the sports of wrestling and kickball. I love it.
I think the reason why I love wrestling so much is because of the obvious nostalgia that it brings me back to sitting on the floor fighting with my brother over who can be Razor Ramon. I also think another reason why I love wrestling so much is because I can judge them.
I know that sounds weird. Wrestlers are made to be judged. They even have terms for them. Someone who is well-liked is known as a “face (baby-face)”. Someone who is notoriously hated, or a bad guy, is known as a “heel”. So when a “face” turns into a “heel” because he hits another “face” with a chair shot, that newly turned “heel” is literally saying, “Judge me now!”
I hope I didn’t lose you.
Deep down I know that every single wrestler behind the scenes are good, hard working people. They love their job, they don’t look at skin color, they help others succeed, and that is their true personality. They have families and health (besides the occasional bump injury).
When they step out from behind that curtain, I can judge them. I can freely tell Triple H that I hate his guts and I hope that John Cena breaks HHH’s leg.
Why is this refreshing?
Because I can’t do that in the gym, where I’ve worked for 11 years.
Every single person in the gym is there to better themselves. Unless you’re living in their shoes, wearing their headphones, and feeling their agony, then there is no use in judging them.
People value different things and live under different terms in their life. I’ll lay out many scenarios for you. I’ve been in this industry for over a decade, so I see them daily.
The Intercontinental Champion in the wrestling world is known as a mid-card guy. You have your World Heavy Weight Champions. Your Tag Team Champions. Your Women’s Champion. But left in the back of the picture is your Intercontinental Champion. Funny thing is . . . these guys are always my favorite.
They may be the hardest working people in the arena. They may not be the flashiest. They may not be the loudest. They may not even want to be in the spotlight. They are there because they love the sport of wrestling, they don’t care what anyone thinks about them, and they want to do this for the rest of their lives. He reminds me of the guy who gets in, gets out, and goes home to enjoy his life.
He’s not surrounded by media, because the heavyweight champion needs the spotlight. He’s not on the cover of magazines, because he’s the blue collar hard worker. People like me love him though. We are his number one fan.
That’s what Jungle Gym reminds me of. I’m reminded every single day when I work with these people what our life motto is. We aren’t there to become the world heavy weight champion. We also aren’t there to be the bottom-card guy. We are there to prove to ourselves that hard work, love of the game, and being proud of your passions is what makes you a better person.
Every single person in the gym mentioned above has their game, and no matter the game, it has to be respected. You are there to prove one thing, to one person. That’s you. The thing you are trying to prove is what makes your heart beat.
I can honestly say that living your life as the Intercontinental Champion is a great life. It’s a gift that few people can come to bear. It’s about knowing when enough is enough, and knowing when you’re not doing enough. Get in the gym, get out, and use this human body that we were given to enjoy the live that we were blessed with.
The great Katie Wellbrock said, “Jungle Gym never gets easier. It just gets more manageable.”
That’s life right there. Make your life more manageable to your passions. That’s what we teach in Jungle Gym. That’s why Jungle Gym is my life.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for ways to manage your life, to where you don’t have to be the heavyweight champion, but one day you’ll still make in into the Wrestling Hall of Fame.
This is where your body changes,
People who need to lose weight, people who need to build muscle, and people who want to maintain a healthy lifestyle all have to be treated differently. So the worst things that I can read on the internet from people who have never needed to lose weight in their life or over hear in a grocery store from people who obviously aren’t underweight, are myths about weight loss that just sound like someone pulled something cool to say out of their butt. Too be honest, losing weight is hard.
When people make it seem like it’s easy work, just look around wherever you are and you’ll see a room full of over-weight people. It’s not easy. It’s not impossible, but it definitely takes some effort.
These next 5 myths really make me want squeeze bubble wrap and rub my ear lobes until the voices in my head go away. Here’s the truth if you’re trying to lose weight.
I was lucky enough to get off work at 8AM this morning after three hours of training. Kettlebells is cancelled because we take every 4th week off. Therefor my day is wide open.
My normal behaviorisms usually consist of planning out my day by the hour. For every hour of the day, I usually plan something productive. It’s a great way to get shit done. Everyone has their own methods. Here’s what I conjured up for the day-off:
8AM – Breakfast
9AM – Clean
10AM – Nap
11AM – Lunch unless nap continues (which it did).
12PM – Office (currently working on making it a spot I’ll never leave.)
1PM – Geoff Time
This list continued until 9PM tonight in which I had something to do every hour. At 3PM, my burden was “blog-work”. Hence this entry.
Originally the entry was “The Top 12 Myths You Need To Know Right Now”. I’ve written 6 so far and the other 6 were supposed to be jotted down at 3PM, but the tides turned. I guess you will get those later this week.
“Geoff Time” consisted of me sitting down and eating some baked cod, steamed broccoli, and roasted potatoes while I cruised around Netflix. I knew I didn’t have much time to spare so I tried to limit myself to an hour so I could get to my 2PM task which was designated as Pallet Shelves.
They aren’t going to hang themselves.
I usually resort to something that can make me laugh, well, because laughing is awesome. Laughing by yourself is even more rewarding.
You know that feeling where you are laughing by yourself so loud, that when you complete your mini-convulsion you look around to see if anyone is watching you? Like maybe once you laugh, a bunch of ghosts pop out to see what the ruckus is all about?
This happened several times today.
I decided upon watching a stand-up comedian named Tom Segura. Never heard of him before in my life, but Netflix has been coming out with some good stuff lately so I decided to give it a go. This guy is Netflix’s guy. He’s not on TV yet, so I knew it would be good.
Much like most of Netflix’s jazz, it was raunchy.
But I have a sense of humor, it was hilarious, and the only other people in the room were the imaginary ones that popped out after a serious chuckle. I don’t really recommend you watching it with your pastor or child. I would say mother, but my mother is as cool as James Bond so she would laugh right along side with me.
Anyways, the stand-up was called “Mostly Stories”. I wasn’t very optimistic going into this because I haven’t heard of him and some stand-ups I’ve viewed are as atrocious as watching some of my clients jump rope.
I was at bad judgment. It was full of extreme laughs. Honestly I feel like I live in a world where everyone gets judgmental or offended easily, and this was very heart-warming to not have to worry about that bull-crap. It was dirty. I loved it.
Needless to say, those pallet shelves are not getting hung on this day. The episode lasted about 90 minutes and was so full of positive endorphins from laughing, that I bumped up my blog writing from 3PM to 2:30PM.
If you’re in need of a good bellow, watch this stand-up. You can tell that the people in the audience, and Tom himself, had the same feeling as I did that day. Offense wasn’t taken. They cried laughing knowing that he was on stage saying true things that happen in real life, but nobody likes to talk about because anytime something is offensive, it’s taken to the media. While maybe it was offensive, sometimes you just need to laugh at the offensive. It made me feel more American. I didn’t agree with most of the stuff he talked about, but it certainly took the elephant out of the room for me.
This blog however isn’t to promote Tom Segura or watching horribly obnoxious comedies. It’s to promote high energy factors, that after you finish, makes you want to dominate the world. This could be anything from a Jungle Gym workout, yoga session, reading a book, or finishing a crossword puzzle on your own. Anything.
After this blog, my plans are to make grass fed meatloaf (yes, I picked a meatloaf straight from the grassy plains of Virginia) and maybe get to the pallet shelves unless my 5PM plans of doing more to my office become irrelevant. Needless to say, I feel good. I feel refreshed. I feel let loose.
Thank you Tom, not for your jokes about Mike Tyson, a man’s sweet spot, or your racist father, but for making me feel like myself.
I guess there are many morals.
Maybe it was to plan ahead. Schedule your days out so that when you set a goal, you can hit it.
Or it could be to laugh a lot. That’s a great moral.
One could even be to make sure you take days off to let your body rest and let your mind settle.
But no. . .
The moral of this story is to be you, do whatever the hell it is you need to do to make yourself feel alive, and sometimes your trainer doesn’t need to show you how to lift properly in order to make you feel like a better person. They can just tell you.
Bikes!! (You’ll understand this if you watch the episode).
This is where your body changes,
I can remember the exact moment in time when life changed.
I was sitting in a 5th grade science class. The tables were tall, white, and the legs were made of metal. You could fit about 4 students across.
We were going over temperatures and degrees in groups of 3, almost like a lab feel.
The teacher handed out thermometers and we had to take the temperature of a beaker full of water then record it.
As she started describing how to use the thermometer the teacher said, “Be careful that you don’t break the thermometers. The mercury will stain your clothes.”
The student next to me (and I still remember their name and even see them sometimes) said out loud to our group, “Like Geoff’s teeth?”
I honestly didn’t hate my classmate that said that. Most would think I’d hold a grudge my whole life. From then on, it wasn’t them that I hated.
It was myself.
It all came about when I had a recent conversation with one of my clients. I reached out to her because I had not seen her in awhile. I sent a basic text that said, “I hope to see you every day this week.”
Their response: “You will. (Followed by some emoticon with a monkey covering their eyes.)”
After Monday’s class on my drive home, I received this. . .
“It’s funny how the little things in life that mean the most. Not where you live or what you drive or the price tag on your clothes. There’s no dollar sign on a peace of mind, this I’ve come to know.” ~Zac Brown Band
Now, I’m no therapist. I don’t have the best grammar skills or spelling skills. I don’t have a degree. I don’t have the biggest bank account. I’ve never been on a tropical vacation.
However, I do know that these 15 rules of “lemonade” have helped me immensely, and even though my track record isn’t on paper with a signature at the bottom, I’ve been chasing my dreams for 11 years in a row. These are the rules I live by to keep me stress-free, supported, healthy, and strong-minded enough to break through any plateau or obstacle in my way.
“The task ahead of you should never be as great as the support behind you.”
Six years ago I was fired from my personal training job for being a cocky prick. Kicked out of my apartment. Traveled across the country with my aspirations of becoming a police officer. Was denied that dream. Came back and tried again around here. Denied again. Moved into my parents’ house with no money, got a job at a local Bally’s Fitness as a sales manager, and it was the worst job I’ve ever had in my life.
One day I was working out in my old gym that I used to train for and my old boss came up to me and said, “Do you want a job?”
Knowing that this was the same boss who fired me some-years ago I replied, “Sure.”
He gave me a position as a front desk attendant. He purposely gave me jobs of cleaning toilets. Picking up trash outside. Shoveling snow. Anything to make me a better person. After one year of going through that hell, because my true passion was training people or law enforcement, I finally walked into his office.
I looked at him and said, “You are wasting me here behind this desk. I’m better than saying ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ to people.”
“What do you want?”, he said.
“I want to train. I want to help people.”
He gave me a shot and within a couple months, I built a 6AM program up 3 days a week from 4 people to 20 people. I stormed back into his office.
I said, “I want to create Jungle Gym.”
Little did I know, with that little support from a person who terminated me in the past and a couple of faces in the dirt, that I could live the American dream and get paid for what I absolutely love to do.
The feeling of helping people stupefies me. This weekend stupefied me even more.
Stupefy – verb:
As in, “This weekend was stupefying.”
This weekend was full of mind-boggling amazement of a group coming together. Jungle Gym hosted it’s first annual Jungle Gym Charity Golf Tournament. We raised $1,743 in that said tournament. That feeling. . .that stupefying feeling of coming together for a goal is breathtaking.
It got me thinking. What other stupefying feelings have I experienced? It all led me to this list. Maybe it can motivate another person somewhere across the country or right next door to be a part of a group that gives incentives to helping other people reach great potentials. The great thing is that myself and my clients can do it through the art of fitness.
Not all of these moments involve the accomplishments of charity, but if I had to rank the top 10 moments of Jungle Gym, it would definitely be in this order.
What really started this blog off was a typical Tuesday and Thursday morning. I walk into a room of zombie-like clients wiping away all of there eye boogers and waiting for me to yell at them to stretch their tightness away. It’s a good amount of people. Definitely not as big as a Monday, Wednesday, or Friday. But around 15-18 people or so.
The structure around my Tuesday and Thursday workouts are based around the questions I ask myself every morning, “What is going to be best for us? What are we lacking in our fitness program?”
Sometimes it is conditioning based. Sometimes we take a page from my old bodybuilding days and work completely on legs or arms. Sometimes we run. Sometimes we do intervals. Either way they all have one thing in common. . .
They are DAMN good.
I get upset at myself frequently for writing these workouts and not being able to have half of my registered clients even be able to take them, due to the fact that I don’t have PM classes on those days (which will be changing rather soon). I usually tell my clients to come do the workout on the board and take my featured Kettlebell class on Thursday nights. My 5AM, 6AM, 7AM, and 9AM get rather spoiled with these Tuesday and Thursday barnburners though.
So while my early morning classes are scurrying around Jungle Gym trying to still wake up, I always find myself with my arms crossed thinking, “Man, this is such a good workout. I wish everyone in Jungle Gym could do this one today.” It’s hard, however. 5AM is very early. I’m lucky to have 30-40 show up on a regular basis.
My goal though . . . is to make it 80. I want everyone to show up early. I want everyone to be a morning person. Studies show that early morning workouts cause less stress on your workouts, decrease cortisol levels throughout the day, encourages mental affixations with maintaining a healthy day, and even some suggest increased metabolism for better overall fat loss.
So that’s where this blog idea came from. It came from all of the Jungle Gym clients that look at the Tuesday and Thursday morning folk and say, “I wish I could do those workouts.” Well, you can. Even though I am going to provide tips for AMers and PMers, the majority of the information deals with your morning routine. Some people don’t even have routines. Wake up, drink coffee, get in the car, go work-out/work. Just because they show up to the gym, doesn’t mean their workout was beneficial to them. This is where having a guy like myself, who has been training at 5AM for 10 years, can help a brother or sister out.
Therefore, I’m going to load this blog up with a massive amount of tips to help you wake up, feel better, recover faster, eat healthier, be stronger, and whine less. Nobody likes a whiner.
1.) You have to be a morning person. That doesn’t mean you have to workout in the morning. It does mean you can’t just wake up, run to the bathroom to brush your teeth, find a pair of mix-matched socks, then go to work. Your body doesn’t respond well to that. Right when you wake up from sleep, your body is SO prone to many things. Is it going to start burning fat immediately? How long are you going to take to get warm? Is your mind awake right when the alarm goes off? In fitness, being a morning person is a huge advantage. Your cortisol levels will be extremely dependent of this.
2.) Drink something hot. I tell all of my clients (AMers, nooners, and PMers) to drink tea or coffee in the morning right when they wake up. This instantly gives your muscles the wake up call they need. It’s like pouring hot water all over something frozen. Drink peppermint tea. It aids in alertness.
Side note: Have you read my Epic Eats cookbook? There is a recipe for steam water tea. Take your favorite vegetable, steam it, save the water, add lemon and honey. Enjoy as tea.
3.) Chug water. Chugging 8 ounces of water right when the alarm goes off will instantly wake up your vital organs. The most important one being your brain. I used to think coffee was the thing that got my brain going in the morning when I was writing workouts. Once I gave up coffee in the morning and started having my first coffee at 9AM, I realized that all along it was the water.
4.) Walk or shower. There are two things depending on the weather or time that you should do in the morning. Getting your synovial fluid in your joints warmed up ASAP is key for recovery time. Imagine your joints being filled with coconut oil. Put the coconut oil in the microwave and it becomes a liquid and lubricated. That’s your joint structure. Taking a warm shower or going on a long walk (or both) will help tremendously. The great thing about a long walk is that you can knock out two Kanye’s with one Kim by walking and drinking your hot, steamy beverage.
5.) Time your meal. If you’re working out in the morning, YOU DON’T HAVE TO EAT. Your workout can easily be fueled by last night’s meal. However, eating afterwards to replenish is key. The myth that food gets your metabolism going in the morning is false. It’ll keep your digestive system chewing along, but your metabolism is dictated by your muscles. Therefore, that workout (the one you completed without eating beforehand) will be your metabolism’s rocket. There’s a big chance of cortisol levels going off in the morning, and a lot of people may think it’s food’s fault. However, I firmly believe that if you wake up your mind, your organs, and your nervous system immediately that cortisol (your stress hormone) won’t elevate. If you don’t work out in the morning, get a meal in. This is where a piece of fruit comes in handy.
6.) Do basic stretches and foam rolling. Take a foam roller and roll out your sore muscles. Do basic stretches to stretch out your tight muscles from the week’s workouts. Do your heavy stretching before and after your workout to improve flexibility. However, two really important things you should do in the morning that only take 2 minutes are vital for spots of your body. Take a lacrosse ball and roll out your feet. Doing this will loosen up your lower legs like your plantar, achilles, and calf muscles. Taking tension from those will drastically improve your injury prevention. In fact, this is great practice for those with shin splints. Shoulder rotations are also key. Take a towel, jump rope, or broomstick and have your arms tight overhead so you look like a “Y”. Rotate your shoulders front to back while keeping your elbows locked. The wider you are, the easier. The closer, the harder. Your goal is to be able to do a full rotation as close as possible.
7.) Plan ahead. With all this being said, you have to start planning the night before. Have your first meal prepped and planned. Have your clothes packed. Set your alarm. Do all of this the night before. Start making habits.
8.) Wake up your mind. This is going to sound absolutely ridiculous, but it works. About 6 years ago I was at a conference in Virginia Beach and I was talking to a doctor who was published in Men’s Health or Men’s Fitness (I can’t remember). He was talking about the mind and waking it up. He told me to start doing things in the morning with my non-dominant hand, like brushing my teeth or drinking my coffee. I’ll be damned if it didn’t work. In the mornings when I can remember, I always do stuff with my non-dominant hands, and it gets me to thinking quick. I’ve noticed that I’m able to come up with workouts and programs quicker and remember plans in my day easier. This really gets my attention and memory going.
9.) Do something explosive. I’m not a big fan of telling you to do a 30 minute workout in the morning to get you ready for your day. However, I prefer doing something really explosive, and pooping does not count. I’m talking about burpee jacks, sprints, or star jumps. If you’re coming to the gym, my preferred warm up and all around getting-your-motor-skills-alive exercise is a simple ball slam. In my opinion, it’s the best warm up exercise for any type of workout.
I want you to be a morning person. I want you to show up early to these workouts. I can’t guarantee you with specifics. I can guarantee you with studies though, and in my profession for the past 10 years, the early morning risers are the ones with more results, more consistency, and better eating habits. I know some of us have kids, and dogs, and weird job shifts. Sometimes it’s impossible to workout in the morning. But to Jungle Gym, I beg of you; try and find a way to make Tuesday and Thursday morning workouts, and use these tips for your other mornings. This way you can be ready to dominate your Monday, Wednesday, and Friday workouts.
This is where your body changes,
The Second Annual Jungle Gym Charity Golf Tournament is Friday, September 30th. The shotgun time will start at 12PM. This will allow some of us to be able to work half days if need be, but if you can, try and take off the whole day. The tournament will be at Newport News Deer Run Golf Course.
This will be an event for all people, Jungle Gym and non-Jungle Gym. You can create your own team, or you can sign up as a single and we will assign you a team. The style of the game will be a Captain’s Choice.
The format of Captain’s Choice is simple. Each team member tees off and proceeds to the spot of the best drive where everyone hits their next shot. This continues until the ball is holed. This is great for many reasons. It gives beginner players a chance to feel like a pro, and what’s better than sinking birdies and drinking . . . water :-).
When you register, you can sign up as a single ($60) or as a team ($240). Once you click the “BOOK” button on the registration link, there is a toggle at the top to sign up as a “SINGLE” or “GROUP OF 4”. If you sign up as a GROUP OF 4, I will contact you to get the names of the people on your team. If you sign up as single, you will be place on a team.
Each registration will be $60 and will include all fees for greens, carts, scoring, bag-loading, reffing and range balls. Food and beverage is bought on your own accord. Outside beverages are not permitted, but there will be plenty of cute cart girls passing around frosty drinks.
The charities we will be playing for with be:
The Boys and Girls Club of Newport News
The Jungle Gym Charity Fund – goes in helping a member’s family
Hotdoghill Sanctuary – a place for special needs for dogs
PeacePlayers – a charity dedicated to bringing culturally divided people together through sports.
Active Heroes – reaches out to active service members, veterans and their families to help them heal both physically and mentally through simply being active.You will be able to choose which charity you donate to upon purchase of raffles and mulligan packages.
At the beginning of play, you can purchase mulligans, ball throws, and other handicaps. These purchases will be given straight to charity. There will be 3 vendors each at holes 1, 9, 10, and 18. Each vendor will have a raffle and free samples/advertisement for their brand. These raffles will be donated to charity. At the end of tournament get together, we will also auction off a big item towards charity.
Winners of the tournaments will win prizes donated to the event, but that’s not it! We will have an after party set up at Jungle Gym’s sponsor restaurant (County Grill starting at 6:30) to announce the winners, the raffles, and the auction. It’s going to be a great day of fun, golf, charity, and good times. Please register and come support the local community.
The last day you can register will be September 25th! You will receive an email that day describing all the events details including mulligan packages, raffle instructions, prizes, and much more.
Take off work! Register! Start recruiting! Practice your swing!
Disclaimer: Clients, before you read this just know that I wouldn’t have Jungle Gym and the people in it any other way.
There’s nothing healthier for your heart than some good ol’ laughter. There is plenty of that in Jungle Gym. Lots of inside jokes, air guitar, witty comebacks, and personality matches. Granted, there’s a lot of other things that take place inside the Jungle’s walls other than laughter.
And that is eye rollin’. . .
In order to avoid handstand punishments or me dropping sarcasm all over your dumbbells, here is a list of conversations that always occur in Jungle Gym. That being said, hopefully after my clients read this they will never ask me these fooleries again (even though I love them no matter what). Here’s to a good laugh.
1. Me – “Once you complete your warm-up, use your first round to warm-up even more. It’s 15 Strict Presses, 15 Dumbbell Step Ups, and 15 Ring Rows.”
*Clients disperse like mice.*
Client – “Is it 15 Step Ups each side?”
Me – “No. It’s 7 and a half each side.” Walks away.
It will always be each side. Mountain Climbers. Bruce Lees. Lunges. Dumbbell Snatches. Shoulder Slaps. No matter what. You guys know this!
2. *Client Dead Lifting*
Me mid-set: “How much is that?”
Client – “That’s 5.”
Me – “No. How much weight is that?”
Client – “Oh. I dunno.”
There are many problems here. 1. How are you going to keep track of your progress if you don’t know what weight you are lifting? 2. What if it was 300 pounds and you popped a hamstring? 3. Care about your workouts. Not understanding your weights is not caring.
Andrew and I have come up with a very logical way to fix this problem. 50 Bruce Lees each side for not knowing how much weight your are picking up.
3. Some weeks in order to boost our conditioning, after every song we do a certain amount of burpees during the workout.
*Song goes off*
Me – “12 Burpees everyone!”
Client – “Are they chest to floor?”
Me – “Nope. Face to floor.”
They will always be chest to floor. Non-chest to floor burpees are called squat thrusts. I don’t need a fancy jump at the top, but yes; always chest to floor.
4. *Client gets under the bar for squats*
*Client performs 3 reps*
Client – “Oh wait. How many are we doing?”
Clients: Know how many you are doing before you start to do. Focus more or you get the death stare and the maniacal laugh.
*Client cleans the bar up to perform clean, squat, and presses*
*Client does 3 reps*
Client – “Are we supposed to press too?”
Clients: Know what you are doing before you start to do. Focus more or you get the cold shoulder and a lump of coal for Christmas.
4. Gene – “Can we listen to Justin Bieber?”
Me – “No.”
Client – “Can we listen to Nicki Minaj?”
Me – “No.”
Client – “I need music.”
Me – “I need a nap.”
Brandon – “Can you. . .”
Me – “No, I will not play Lifestyle by Young Thug!”
Perhaps my biggest battle amongst the Jungle Gympanzees is over music. I always win.
5. Today’s workout: Rack Walks. Handstands. Swiss Ball Pikes. Planks. Jumping Knee Tucks.
Client – “Can we do abs?”
I blame the magazines for this. I load a workout with core exercises, but just because they don’t “burn” the abs, people think they aren’t working the abdominals. These are some of the best ab exercises on the planet. 1,000 crunches are not.
*The next day*
Me – “How you feelin’?”
Client – “My abs hurt.”
This happens quite often with “booty” too. Damn magazines and your booty workouts.
6. Me – “What’s wrong? Why are you suffering through this workout?”
Client – “I threw up this morning. I’m sick.”
Me – “Go home.”
Clients. Do not come to work out sick. A. Nobody wants your germs. B. Your immune system is weak and you’re not strengthening it. Geoffie angry.
7. TnB = There and back. Mainly used for traveling exercises.
The Board – “Bear Crawls. 3TnB”
Me – “There and back is one. Go there and back. 3 times. There and back. Not just there, but back also.”
Client – “So is 1 rep there and back?”
I’ll leave you on that note. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it.
This is where your body changes,
September is going to be transformation month for us in Jungle Gym. The summer has come and gone. Labor Day will be past us. It’s time to start caring about our workouts and our bodies. I am hosting 3 transformation programs and introducing a brand new 4th transformation program. They are as follows.
40 Day Jungle Gym Transformation: This is a beginner eating lifestyle that takes the crap out of your diet and introduces the good. I lay a baseline serving size program with carb distribution in order to maintain lean muscle and lose fat at the same time. It works. It always has. It always will. You will be divided into two teams and there will be team challenges along the way. The team who wins the most challenges get their Jungle Gym rate dropped $20 for 6 months. All cheaters and breakers of the diet with be “kicked off the island”.
60 Day Muscle Building Transformation: Same rules follow except this one is geared strictly towards adding lean muscle mass. I hope you’re hungry.
40 Day Jungle Gym Couple/Siblings Transformation: Is your spouse or sibling having issues too, but not a part of the Jungle Gym family? Maybe this will jump start them. I’m offering my services to them for free. I will assign you both 40 Day Jungle Gym Transformation Diets, and the couple or pairing who wins the transformation will receive 3 free months of Jungle Gym.
60 Day Ultimate Transformation: This is the mack daddy. It’s not ideal for everyday living, but we have one goal in mind. Lose weight, keep it off, and one day have hopes of having the physique we always dreamed of. You’ve seen the pictures and heard the conversations. I write everything out for you, calorie for calorie, ounces for ounces, and food for food. It’s designed for your body type. I provide the supplements needed for the transformation and the photo shoot at the end of it all. Be proud but never satisfied. This one has an expense to it. $120 per person for the whole 60 days. We have a cheat meal during the process, and we will meet several times to make sure we stay on track. Some of the best friendships have occurred during this, because we all become one big accountability group. I highly recommend this for the ultimate body you’ve always dreamed of.
All of these diets start September 9th, 2015. If you’re interested, message me on Facebook, text me, or see me in class. Sign ups start right now!
Kettlebells on the Beach Part Two: Sunset Snatches
It’s baaaaaaack. After a successful first go around at tossing around a kettlebell in the sand for an hour in the sun, we have come up with another way to have a blast on the beach. Or is it . . . near the beach?
This time we will be having a sunset Kettlebell class, still located at Waterman’s Museum, but in the front lawn by the pirate ship. My back will be turned towards the beach where the sun will set on a nice, cool September evening. Registration will open tomorrow, and an after party will ensue at the Water Street Grill, who sponsored us with some great specials last event!
The official date? September 17th, 2015 at 5:30PM. Register tomorrow to reserve your spot, your bell, and your cheap dinner/drinks at the bar afterwards. Located at the Waterman’s Museum and Water Street Grill in front of Yorktown Beach.
Jungle Gym Charity Golf Tournament
I will have more information on this event as we go, but I just wanted you to save the date, dust of your shoes, and knock off the rust on your clubs. The date is Friday, October 16th, 2015. Make sure you can take off work and come have a nice, relaxing day of fall charity golf. Registration will be $40 and we are looking to make teams of 4 (possibly captain’s choice). We are also looking for the teams to have two active Jungle Gym members and 2 non-active Jungle Gym members (so yes, this is for everyone). I am currently still working on the charities we will be playing for and the food situation. Charity fundraisers will be based off donations on the course, such as buying a mulligan or dropped ball. Many of Jungle Gym’s vendors will be on site as well. It will be an all day event for the record books. I really hope you can make it and watch me miss a million putts.
Burpee Fest 2.0
The official date of this event is going to be Saturday, November 14th, 2015. Make sure you’re in town!
Be on the look out for the Sunset Snatches registration today!
This is where your body changes,
You will always find my clients and I hash-tagging a simple phrase in some of our fitness posts.
What does that even mean? I can remember about 2 years ago when I was discussing this with a few clients of mine. One convo that really sticks out in my mind is a conversation with Sam (a client that has been busting her ass in and outside the Jungle for almost 5 years now). She always talks about a phrase that I once blurted on in a boot camp.
“Work out because you love your body, not because you hate it.”
Never did I think just a simple reality would have turned into a motto that has changed my life forever, and hopefully some of my clients.
Now, I’m not going to bullshit you on the meaning of #beproudbutneversatisfied.
It literally comes down to the fact of, do it for you and only you.
You could be lifting weights. Running a marathon. Building a business from scratch. Making pottery. Building your Pez dispenser collection. It doesn’t matter. The term is so broad, yet powerful, that it can align with anything in life.
What does it mean to me?
It means that I can walk through the doors of any gym or any venue and not care how people look at me. My arms may not be big enough. My hang clean may not have the correct form. My tactics may be flawed. But I give it my all and I know why I am training, and no one else critiquing me does. The critics can gander, and wonder, and ponder, but in the end, I’m there for me.
It means that you can post something on Facebook without having to worry about if people think you are annoying in how much you love the feeling of sweat dripping off your nose or picking up something really heavy for the first time. It means that you are PROUD of what you accomplish, big or small, and that your satisfaction will not match anyone else’s satisfaction in the gym or in the galaxy of Pez dispensers.
It means that you always have something to train for because you are never happy with just one moment. You are addicted to many moments of satisfaction. It’s the drive that keeps you chugging along.
It means that ‘perfect’ is not a word in your vocabulary, and there is not a single book written out there that describes what perfect should be like. The fact that you don’t have a standard above your head of perfection gives you much more motivation that you can be the best your body will allow.
It means that if you’re reading this, you are one step closer to becoming a better you and one step further away from ever hating your body ever again.
Being proud but never satisfied means that you are constantly amped for new avenues of getting fit, ripped, jacked, thin, athletic, fast, rich, happy, successful or stress-free. You’ll never stop.
That is what Jungle Gym stands for. It’s about not letting anyone tell you what you stand for and what you should train for. It’s about being you, and loving every inch of yourself. Not hating it.
This is where your body changes,
Lately I’ve been feeling burned out. Exhausted. Unmotivated (crazy, right?).
When I get like this, sometimes I take a step back, rest, and blame it all on the physical work that I do. My “burnout vacations” have me coming back feeling the same though. I come back still tired with just a smaller to-do list because I spend my break catching up on things I don’t get to do at home.
If I give my body a break, why is it not responding?
I’ll tell you why.
It wasn’t my body. It was my mind. I have not been trying to do anything to strengthen my mind. My medulla has not been oblongata’d.
I have been beating the crap out of myself with kettlebells for years now. I’ve been training at least 4 to 5 days a week for about 12 years now. I know I’m getting older, but I made a pledge to myself that I will be more in shape when I’m 30 than I was at 20 years old. Based off my strengths and decreasing weaknesses, this has held true. So I’m not going to blame it on Mufasa (our 700 pound monster truck tire) or my sleds for why I feel burned out. Also, why have I not named my sleds yet?
You probably can tell that I am an extreme introvert. It doesn’t mean that I am sadistically wild. It just means I gather my energy from different sources. So mentally I have come up with a list of things that I feel you should work on. Once I have started doing these, I have instantly felt the pressure come off of my joints and muscles. Now I feel fresh and ready like a whole new me (*enter Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner joke here*). I can actually start adding some workouts back into the mix.
Before I let you in on my secret spices, make sure you realize that rest is all based off of how YOU recover your muscles. Do you take the time out of your day to treat your muscles with care? Foam rolling. Stretching. Yoga. Icing your sore joints. Heating your sore muscles. Long walks.
I guarantee you that these brain fuels I give you will help in this too.
1.) Meditation – Find yourself the comfiest chair in your household. Set an alarm for 30 minutes and turn your phone on silent. Turn off your lights and unplug everything that makes noise. Lock your pets up for a few. Do what you need to do to find complete silence. To be honest, I looked at meditation as a completely different science before I started. I thought it was something you did with your legs crossed in weird directions as you hummed a hymn.
It’s not. It’s euphoric. Close your eyes and think of nothing. You’ll have random thoughts here and there, but meditation gives you a chance to clear your mind and relax. Hell, I thought about this whole blog post on one meditation session. Before you categorize meditation as some Thai Chi ritual . . . don’t. It’s an amazing source of mind strength. Once you accomplish two weeks of 30 minute meditation sessions by yourself, try making a soothing playlist. I promise you will crave meditating after awhile.
If you’d like to chat with me more on this in detail, ask me after class hours.
2.) Read – I’m not going to lie. I hate books. I’m the type of guy that loses interest in stories. This would probably explain why I have never watched all of the Harry Potter’s or played video games when I was younger. However, I do love to read.
Take 30 minutes out of your day to read something and expand your knowledge. I love reading blogs and magazine articles about fitness (go figure). Most of the stuff I read is complete bologna, but that helps too. It helps me to pick good information from the bad information. It gives you a different language to use when teaching people something. Andrew (Jungle Gym’s other amazing trainer) has a different language than I do. We may teach the same product, but sometimes it’s easier for you to understand how he explains it than I do.
Reading will take care of some mind blocks and hopefully save you $100 on a cable bill.
3.) Write -“Dear Diary,
Geoff pissed me off so bad this morning. He made we power swing a heavier bell and then he told me that my form looked good. What a d**k!”
I know all of you have thought about this in the session. First you get frustrated but then after the frustration is released, you see the good side of things. Writing can help you release this.
Writing will let you write drown the bad, then process it into good. You don’t have to start a blog or write a book. If you just buy a 99 cent composition notebook and wrote down your thoughts for 15 minutes a day, I guarantee your mind will strengthen. It will release a lot of the bad thoughts that are 99% useless and leave you more room to introduce the good.
4.) Detox Your Liver – 80% of all things consumed in your body pass through the liver. Two main things that I am really watching my intake on nowadays is artificial sweeteners and food dyes.
I know it’s tough, but during this detox, it’d be smart to stop consuming alcohol. Once alcohol hits the liver, it shuts down completely, leaving everything else that needs to be distributed in your blood stream at a standstill. We all love our beers and spirits, but I highly encourage you to try a liver detox of all alcohol, food dyes, and artificial sweeteners for two weeks and tell me if you feel less stressed about it. The results are quite epic.
5.) Stretch – Oy vay! So many people focus on the sexy part of fitness like abs and arms, but yet fail to realize that fitness is not sexy. If fitness was sexy, you would walk into a room and walk out with the body of your dreams. Fitness is boring. So is stretching, but honestly, it’s a necessity.
When was the last time you were frustrated that you couldn’t land a box jump or that you couldn’t get a dead lift set? I can guarantee that 90% of the problem lied in a mobility issue.
Granted this is coming from a guy who pretty much lives at a gym and stretches about 1 hour a day, but for a big buffoon like myself, I can out flex most women. To me, stretching is a physical rendition of meditation. It lets you understand your body more. If you can feel your body’s limits, then you have a better chance of pushing them to the limits instead of standing there when things get tough.
I’ve yelled it across the gym and I’ll continue to yell it again.
“Everyone wants to lift heavy ass weights, but nobody wants to do no heavy ass stretching.”
This should be close to the number one thing you do in the morning after you brush your teeth, brew your coffee, and check the Jungle Gym website for updates. Once again, for more info on stretching, Drew and I can easily set up a stretching program for you.
6.) Money – When was the last time you actually kept track of money? How much did you spend on food this month?
Stop spending so much. One of the top stressors in the world is definitely finances for some people. Go two weeks without spending any money on fast food or restaurant food. This doesn’t mean not to go see the newest flick or concert. It means, be cautious of where your hard earnings go. You work hard for your money. You have the right to do with it whatever you want. However, taking away all the dollar signs that jump the fences in your dreams at night may help you sleep better.
7.) 5-AT – Cortisol levels are HUGE in fitness. Having too much cortisol in your body can be a game changer. There’s a natural supplement called 5-AT. It’s a proven cortisol depressant. I recommend you grab some, whether you think your stress levels are high or not.
Here’s what the stress hormone cortisol causes in your body: Low blood pressure, nausea, extreme fatigue, weakness, lack of concentration, unexplained weight gain, depression, and painful muscles and joints.
If that’s how you’re feeling, then maybe it’s not last night’s workout. It may be the way you treat your brain.
Next time, before you blame your somber moods and sore bodies on training too much, reconsider your mental lifestyle. Is your mind fatigued?
This is where your body changes,
Geoff Morehart, Owner and Founder of Jungle Gym Newport News LLC.
I can remember the lowest point in my life. I’m not
sure if I can remember the highest, but definitely the lowest. It’s like they say in the movie Rounders . . .
“In Confessions of a Winning Poker Player, Jack King said, “Few players recall big pots they have won, strange as it seems, but every player can remember with remarkable accuracy the outstanding tough beats of his career.” It seems true to me, cause walking in here, I can hardly remember how I built my bankroll, but I can’t stop thinking of how I lost it.”
I’ve been poor. I’ve been cheated on. I’ve been in fights. I’ve broken bones. I’ve been depressed. It’s quite evident what has gotten me here, and it’s not a single moment I can remember. I’m still not rich; I still have quite a ways to go to be successful (so far), but the common denominator has been the “St. Barnard” in my avalanche of a melancholy life. Which are the people I surrounded myself with.
They say that you need to keep your inner circle small, because if it gets too big, there’s more room for viruses.
That’s bullshit. Who’s saying that you can’t scrounge up a million friends that would drop everything to pick you up on the side of the road if you need to? Why do you only have to have a handful of those?
Does that small group of best friends get mad if you have other friends? Or is the person who came up with that ridiculous quote just mad because they lost a friend that may be irreplaceable. Regardless, load up on friends. There’s a criteria though, and it’s quite important:
The best friends I have ever met are the one’s that I have shared blood, sweat, and tears with. The flakiest of friends I’ve had are the ones that I’ve shared beers with. This may be a coincidence, but there’s just something spectacular about working hard towards a goal together that isn’t getting drunk.
That may explain why most of my friends are workout buddies, clients, and kickball teammates.
Here are 4 things you should realize about choosing your inner circle; AND being a stellar friend yourself:
1.) Do they celebrate your successes? What friend wouldn’t be happy for you on a job promotion or a bench-mark weight loss? Genuine friendship is about celebrating the good and overcoming the bad. Murky friendships ignore your fate and focus on how much you celebrate theirs.
2.) Are they loyal?
“Oh man. Did you see so-and-sos post about their diet? What a show off right?”
Bad friend: “Haha yeah. It bothers me when they do that. Not everyone wants to see that.”
Good friend: “F**k off.”
The best of friends stick up for you. They protect you. Most importantly, they show it. No knife is going in your back with friends like that.
3.) There are only two sides to a friendship. It’s not this side or that side.
It’s inside or outside.
A stand out friend won’t pick sides and try to convert others to that side. A good friend is all about suffering with you. Cliques are possibly the worst things you can do for friendships.
So what if you hang out with kickball friend’s one weekend, and Jungle Gym friends the other weekend? Real friends understand this. You aren’t loyal to a group of people. You are loyal to friend’s who understand you can’t be is 9 places at once.
If that’s the case, then they can choose what side they want to be on, inside of your friend zone or outside of your friend zone. I’ll tell you what. It’s a hell of a lot more fun and less worries in the friend zone.
4.) You know that old friend of yours that will say, “I hate drama. I’m not in high school anymore.”
Here’s some news for them. Drama gets worse after high school, only if you allow it to though.
If you’re afraid to confront or help a friend with something you don’t agree with, then that’s a high school attitude. True friends not only tell you about the booger in your nose, but they’ll gladly pick it for you if your hands are tied behind your back. True friends will also tell you to pick your own damn nose if your hands are free. That’s called tough love.
I’ve first handedly met some great friends inside of Jungle Gym. I can tell there are a lot more friends I could have too. I just haven’t gotten to know them yet. I celebrate my big circle and I’m not worried about anyone trying to jump ship either. These bloody, sweaty, and teary friends that I have have my back.
I’ve seen friendships grow to concrete in this class too. It’s amazing how a small community in Newport News, Virginia can change your life. Maybe this is the reason I wake up every morning at 4AM, I know I’ll be able to see my friends.
If you want to know more about our community in Jungle Gym, feel free to contact us on Facebook or browse around the website (www.junglegymnewportnews.com). Community is strength. Positive attitude is everything.
Ready. Set. Roar.
Don’t take this too literal. It’s just a fun way of saying that coaches should do exactly what their title entails. Instead of just sitting their, counting reps, not fixing things, and not telling you to do things outside of the gym. Might as well call them ‘couches’.
I highly recommend getting a coach. You could be the CrossFit champion of the world, the strongest woman in bench press, or the faster runner. There’s just something about having that person that watches you when you can’t watch yourself and keep your accountable for showing up all the time. Have fun too. Let your session be something you anticipate, not despise.
Coaches make you better, and hopefully you get a taste of some Jungle Gym coaching just by reading this blog.
You May Need A New Fitness Coach If. . .
1.) They don’t have a morning strategy for you. Right when you hop out of bed, before you check your phone for the closest Pokemon Go’s, you should have a plan of domination. You are most vulnerable when you wake up. Your cortisol levels are at it’s highest and if you don’t deal with that immediately, they can continue to rise. Drink a glass of water to wake up your organs. Drink something hot to wake up your muscles. Finally, do something active. Walk your dog, walk your block, or stretch. I know most morning’s are spent hitting the snooze alarm and fighting your cats to get out of your closet, but it’s important that right when your body wakes up, it’s prepared.
For more information on Jungle Gym’s morning strategy, read this. —-> Wakey, Wakey, Protein Shakey
2.) They don’t know what fascia is. Fascia may be one of the most underused words in the fitness world. Any bad personal trainer can mouth off all the 4 muscles in your quad, but can they tell you the important details? Fascia are the muscle fibers that surround your muscle, tendons, organs, and ligaments in the human body. Compare it to a nice summer day when your sitting in a hammock. Do you know that engulfed feeling you have? The hammock is fascia and your body is your innerds. Most exercise causes damage to the fascia because it’s your shield. Injury usually occurs when it’s penetrated. For the little dings and dangs your body takes daily on an exercise program, fascia is important to take care of constantly. Therapeutic massages, daily foam rolling, and myofascial release tools like runner’s sticks, lacrosse balls, and PVC pipes will do the trick. Your coach should have plenty of these lying around.
3.) They don’t stretch. Your muscles and tendons are pliable. In order for you to get comfortable movement, they need to be rolled out like pizza dough. I highly recommend stretching for aerobic activities like running, biking, and swimming. For weight lifting, mobility work is probably your best option. Hip circles, arm circles, ball slams, squat thrusts, tempo push ups, and even some running in place or jump rope. Either way, if stretching isn’t in your DAILY mode of exercise, ask your trainer what their dealy-yo is.
4.) They eat from the dollar menu. Before your trainer even speaks, you should want them to look the part. That being said, their lifestyle should probably fit the mode. It’s that ‘practice what you preach’ method. If their car smells of stale french fries and cheeseburgers, it’s not really fair while you’re busting your ass on fruit smoothies and eggs in the morning.
5.) They try to diagnose everything. A good well-rounded trainer should have a bunch of medical professionals that they recommend people to. Little things are going to happen, like strains and repetitive stress injuries (tendinitis and arthritis). With repetitive stress placed on joints and muscles, they’re bound to nag you. With proper cold/hot therapy, myofascial release, and blood flow recovery these things can be limited. However, trainers don’t know what’s wrong with your knee or shoulder. If they diagnose you with something like a strain when it’s possibly much more, you’ve got some problems. Coaches are not doctors (and most doctors are not coaches). Go see a professional, then once it’s diagnosed maybe your trainer can help you with some post therapy exercises.
6.) They don’t have you on a muscle building plan. Whether you’re trying to go from scrawny to brawny or a pud to a stud, no trainer should ever just have you eat salads and walk on a treadmill. Your goal, no matter the size is to maintain your muscle. After all, muscle is what burns your fat. The more oxygen your body can turn into carbon dioxide and release it, the more fat you burn. Muscle is what processes that. Unfortunately, burning fat is not about sweating.
7.) They don’t enforce muscle recovery with you. Coaches jobs really aren’t giving you exercises to do. Their main job is to hold you accountable for the other 23 hours of the day you live. Diet is definitely the most important thing going into your fitness journey. However, second is muscle recovery. Then we can rank exercise structure third. There is really no such thing as over-training. However there is such a thing as under recovering. When you step foot in the gym, train for an hour, then go home an sit on the couch watching Hulu, you have just made things much worse for you. This is where your trainer should step up and give you proper ways to recover quick. We’ve gone over the fascia and stretching, but now it’s your job to make it an important part of your lifestyle. Or should I say, your coach’s job. Slow progress or reverse progress happens when your body hates you. Fast progress happens when your body loves you for your efforts to make it feel extra special.
8.) They don’t air drum. First of all, with air drumming, there’s music. With music there’s motivation. With air drumming there is also personality, and this could be the make or break your training experience. This doesn’t mean dump your trainer if they don’t like to bang the air with imaginary sticks. This means make sure that you can laugh or relax a little in your session rather than being afraid they’re going to eat your face off.
9.) They tell you not to eat rice and potatoes. Your main fuel source for your workouts are carbohydrates. The two best sources of fuel for your workouts are definitely these two grocery list necessities. While fruit may be outstanding for having a great nutrition plan, starches like potatoes, rice, and even oatmeal beat them surrounding your workouts. The most important thing you need to know is that they will replenish your muscle glycogen and that these contain the starches and glucose your body needs to thrive and recover.
10.) They call you “honey tits”. Frankly I think it’d be funny if my coach called me “tiny balls”. Regardless, make sure they’re professional and you can understand their sarcasm.
11.) They tell you to do fasted cardio. I’ve been preaching this for years about how fasted cardio eats muscle and is hypocritical when it comes to energy dissipation and muscle preservation. In fact, most fat loss strategies nowadays make it almost impossible for people to preserve muscle. As we talked about earlier, your body’s cortisol level is elevated in the morning. Doing cardio on an empty stomach adds to this. Cardio is best done post-digestive state (about 2 hours after eating).
12.) They don’t constantly talk about strong backs and shoulder safety. Believe it or not, one of the most destructive exercises can be a push-up. However, it’s one of those exercises that should/could be done daily. Your trainer should constantly remind you how safe you need to be on bodyweight exercises like planking or pressing. A lot of people tend to believe that heavy lifts like dead lifts and kettlebell swings damage backs. However, constant hyperextension of the lower back during push ups, planks, or burpees can destroy a spinal system. For shoulders, constant separation with added pressure is the culprit for pain. Make sure they constantly tell you that your form sucks especially when you’re getting tired throughout the workout. Andrew’s preferred method is, “Please stop.”
13.) They talk about muscles more than they talk about joints. Muscles are important, but joints are what hold them together. Collagen, tendons, ligaments, and joints should be monitored always. Remember to ice joints and heat muscles when you feel discomfort. Heating a joint or nerve center will lengthen your inflammation. An added note: joints needs to be properly warmed up. If you’ve ever cooked with coconut oil, you’ll know that it’s hard at room temp and turns liquid when heated. That’s how the synovial fluid in your joints are. It’s starts off crunchy then turns into a lubricant. You shouldn’t lift any significant amount of weight until your joints have been heated in a sauté pan first.
14.) They don’t make you sprint. Sprinting is the ultimate fat loss training tool and the ultimate muscle building agent. If we don’t understand that high intensity interval training is the way to go, your trainer is probably still stuck in the 90’s.
15.) They have you do the same workouts with the same weight. Not only is it important to always try and improve your weights weekly or monthly, but it’s very important to change the loads of the weights you use. One of the main reasons why people don’t get stronger on bench press . . . is because all they do is bench press. You also may want to change up your weeks. Some call them de-load weeks. I call it recovery weeks. It’s a week where all you do is bodyweight exercises to alleviate pressure from your joints. You’ll still get a great muscle burn, but your “gains” will never stop or plateau.
16.) They don’t recommend extra curricular activity. If your coach doesn’t tell you . . . I’m telling you right now to go play a sport or find a hobby. Not only will you get extra exercise, but it will possibly give you something to train for when you’re stuck at a fitness crisis. For me, Sunday’s are obstacle course training, Wednesday and Friday’s are kickball, and everyday between 1PM and 4PM is fetch with the muscle dogs. You don’t need all of this, but picking up hiking will definitely boost your performance in the gym.
17.) They don’t drink coffee. Never trust a person in charge of your program who doesn’t drink the succulent juices of Columbia.
I may be a little biased. . .
This is where your body changes,
In life, fitness isn’t about how much weight you can do an exercise for one rep. It isn’t about how many meals you should eat in the day. It’s about having a life that you can apply all the things you do in the gym. It’s about staying in shape so that when you’re 80 you can keep moving. It’s about loving what you do and not worrying about if people see you fall flat on your face.
You can actually learn a lot from one rep max sets. They are great in nature. They are meant for competition purpose which I love in fitness. However, applied strength has nothing to do with doing something once. Odds are if you aren’t going to do it a second time, you’re afraid. Strength comes from bullying obstacles over and over again and going undefeated. It’s about doing an exercise 20 times in a row, but wanting to stop at 16. Strength isn’t about doing things once and being satisfied with it. I’m not saying don’t show up to a gym on a Sunday morning and try and press 300 pounds over your head. I’m saying don’t let it be the motive for the rest of your life, which is what we are all living for.
Fitness can teach you more than just how much weight you can lift. It teaches you how to conquer fears. How to go beyond the limit that your body and everyone else tells you. It’s about understanding the reason you wake up in the morning. Hopefully it’s not for a world record. Hopefully it’s for those around you.
Think about how many people you know personally that have changed their life just through exercise. Something that takes an hour a day to do in the gym, 5 days a week, can literally possess you with good vibes. However, I’ve seen so many people over-work, over-pay, and over-analyze every single pound they pick up or pound they drop.
Fitness should be mind-numbing. It should send chills down your legs when you accomplish something. It should make you constantly crave health. It should make assholes out of non-believers. It should make Victoria release her secrets all over the bedroom. All in all, it should be fun. It should change your life.
Without getting in too much detail, back home in Newport News Virginia, I see up to 150 clients daily. Most in group settings. Most doing the same thing unless it involves therapeutic, prenatal, or sport related workouts. For the most part though, I can have my fittest girl right next to my most overweight guy doing the same thing and they both walk out of the building better than when they stepped foot inside. The program is called Jungle Gym. It’s my baby.
I care about fitness. I always say, “The most annoying thing in the world is when people get annoyed that you actually give a shit.”
It’s a passion that is concrete in my veins. I don’t feel like it will ever go away until I retire, sell my company, and open up a business involving my favorite food(s). It’s going to happen. I’m confident.
My main goal in life is to be successful. However, I don’t want to be successful any other way than helping others. I’m sure I could have graduated college and had a desk job making 20K more than I make now. That’s not happiness for me though.
Happiness is home. I’m preparing to be a big deal in the fitness industry. I’ll never stop.
A year ago I wrote a letter to all of my clients, printed it out, and handed it to them reassuring my passion and my love for them and the industry. Sometimes you need a little relief. I just re-read this letter today and thought I would re-share it.
I hope this helps you realize how much fitness can help you in becoming a leader, life-lover, and not an indian giver.
I have a criteria for these. They have to fall under helping you become stronger, faster, and leaner. So while pistol squats may be a tremendous exercise, they are good for balance and muscle memory. However, in my training advice, I don’t find them making you a much faster person.
They, also, have to be safe. If it’s not safe, the exercise is docked huge amounts of kudos from this list. Like wall climbs. Oh how I love to tally these up during workouts, I could probably go without them.
They have to be for combined athletes and average gym goers. If Jane Doe walks into the gym and shouldn’t be performing the exercise, it is docked points.
Other than that, it’s the battle of the exercises. Who will come out on top?
“We are here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise, why even be here?” ~Steve Jobs
This man was a genius to me. He was also a foster child. Adopted. Dropped out of college. Then became one of the most successful men in the universe. I honestly don’t believe he wanted to be the richest man in the world. I feel like he just want to succeed.
I’m no fully educated personal trainer with 4 certifications and a degree in exercise science.
I dropped out of college after collecting 25 credits, got a crappy personal training job after I had only weight lifted for about 8 months prior, and got fired for being an asshole.
Now: I’m still an uneducated man, still a college dropout, but now I run a successful training program, invented a Kettlebell structure unlike anything you’ve seen, written some books, help discover a Obstacle Course Racing program, and am currently working on much more. I didn’t do that by having certifications. I spent almost 10 years now standing in between dumbbells, sprinting on high school tracks, swinging kettlebells, and learning from others.
You have to love what you do, control your stresses, and be around the right people. Eight years ago, I wouldn’t have wanted to be around me. With failure comes success however. It truly is the only way to learn.
Jungle Gym is a lot about the fun we have. Good thing everyone gets my humor, because pretending like I’m Gandalf leading his hobbits through a workout could probably be annoying to some. Regardless, we like to laugh.
You know all of those silly little Facebook or Twitter statuses where is says “white girls problems” or “poor guy problems”? I made my own. It really doesn’t need an explanation. If you’re a true fitness enthusiast, we all have our problems. Bodybuilders have their problems (#mywaterjugneedsitsownseatbelt). CrossFit people have their problems (#iloveallkindsofsnatches). Runners have their problems (#f**kyourain). Even powerlifters have their issues (#noburritosbeforesquats).