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.
1.) Dead lifts and squats are great, but in the fitness world there is so much fame put on them because they are perfect competition practices. If I had the balls to teach a dead lift and squat free class I would. I’d easily replace dead lifts with hex bar deads and back squats with goblet squats for a safer performance in the gym. However, I just can’t get away from the look on a ladies face when they pull up 300 pounds on a barbell. If you’re not in competition mode, I’d say stay away from these massive lifts and go crazy with hex bars and kettlebells.
2.) When someone asks me how to lose weight, the first question I ask them is, “How much water do you drink?”. It’s the number one derivative in fitness. Everything boils down to water. If you’re not drinking water, you’re missing out on so many fitness breakthroughs. Drink 8oz. of water right when you wake up to get your organs churning. If I’m not pissing 16 times a day, I’m not drinking enough water. Drown yourself.
3.) You are what you eat. It’s that simple. If you eat dookie, you become dookie. No body wants to lay in bed or slow dance with someone who feels like dookie all the time.
4.) Single-handedly, the thing that has taught me to overcome laziness the most is a dog. Dogs teach you how to be active. You have to walk a dog. You have a play with a dog. You have to feed, bath, and groom your dog. If you can do this for a dog, you can definitely do it for you. Who said a dog can’t teach you some tricks?
5.) There are 4 ways of getting food to your plate. Cooking, take-out, delivery, or restaurant style. There’s only one way to achieve peak performance though, and it’s not getting Jimmie John’s to deliver a hot sub to your door every night. What I’m trying to say is; if you don’t cook, you are doomed.
6.) I don’t care what any hipster says, coffee is not bad for you. It’s a legume from the earth that is broken down with water. It’s certainly better than any Xanax prescription.
7.) Sleep is the best human growth hormone known to man. I don’t ask of my clients to get 10 hours of sleep daily. I ask them to be consistent. You can train your body to thrive off 5 hours of sleep. It’s the horrible lifestyles where you get 10 hours one night, 3 hours the next two nights, then back to 10 hours the following night because you’re so damn tired. If you want your muscles to grow, sleep. If you want your muscles to shrink, go watch a marathon of Pawn Stars.
8.) I’m sure I get a few eye rolls during my classes when I constantly walk around saying, “If it’s easy, it’s probably not working.” The meaning behind this is the premise that ticks me off the most. If you have been goblet squatting, dumbbell snatching, leg pressing, or any other exercise that involves poundage, the same weight for the past year, it’s simply the fact that you’re not pushing yourself (or you have a bad programmer). Depending on your rep sets, if it’s 20 reps or 5 reps, your weights should always steadily increase. Of course, there are going to be plateaus. There have been classes that I have completely stripped the kettlebell rack of everything below the 50 pounders, and made all my ladies goblet squat 50 or higher for 12-ish reps. After class, they come to me and just nod and say, “I get it now.” So I’ll say it again; if it’s easy, it’s probably not working. You have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.
9.) The hardest part about being a strength coach sometimes is getting across the importance of mobility work, stretching, and post workout therapy. Most clients just want to jump into the sexy stuff like curls and burpees. In my opinion, that’s the easy stuff. Eating right and having complete body maintenance is hard the part because it doesn’t give you that workout high. I’ll tell you what though; body maintenance is like Sons of Anarchy. Once you start it, you’ll never stop.
10.) Kettlebells are the best piece of equipment in any gym out there. I’d put my life on it. If I was stranded on a deserted island and could only have one thing, it’d be a kettlebell. Then I’d make a sled out of some driftwood and do pull ups on tree branches. I’d even name it Wilson just for shits and giggles.
11.) You could have two identical twins doing the same workout regimen in the gym, and one of them does hill sprints every Saturday, and I guarantee you he’d be stronger. No matter how much you think you’ll lose your muscles, hill sprints will make you jacked. They increase lung capacity and blood oxidation, and in order to have max effort on your sets, you need those.
12.) Having inspiration but not putting forth effort is like having a ton of Monopoly money. It’s there in your pocket, but in the end it’s pointless.
13.) The two best feelings in the world (besides sex and naps) are self accomplishment and the pleasure of doing what other’s say you cannot do. Both of these are found in fitness.
Actually, all four of them are found in fitness. . .
14.) If I could start fitness all over again I would have never worked out alone. The best thing I could ever do in a workout has nothing to do with an over priced pre-workout supplement. It’s working out with someone. It could be 1 someone or 20 someones. Regardless, they make me test my limits.
15.) The more you sit or stand still, the worse it is for you. There hasn’t been a study to it, but I guarantee people with desk jobs are far more injury prone than construction workers. I’m not asking you to do push ups every 15 minutes, but it’d be nice to stretch, build a stand up desk, and walk the stairs often. People who move more, live longer.
16.) I’m not a huge proponent on do what you want and f*** the rest, because realistically it’s never ideal. However, I am a huge proponent of never giving up. Try your hardest on everything you do. One of the best pieces of advice I’d give people is to try something new everyday or at least plan it. It could be a new food or a new exercise. Routine can be a soul crusher.
17.) Why are you so afraid of? Odds are 95% of you said FAILURE. If you’ve have never failed in life, you are probably awful at decision making. That means that there is a inhuman force controlling your life. I wouldn’t go around and celebrate failure, but the more you fail, the more you succeed. Whether it’s personal or physical.
18.) I know some of the fittest athletes in the world that still jump on the elliptical for 30 minutes twice a week. Just because some weight lifter says that ellipticals are bad doesn’t mean crap in this world. You do what you want. There’s training stupid and there’s training smart; and an elliptical that aids in blood flow is not dumb training. Telling someone who is overweight to start dead lifting and squatting for heavy sets right off the get go is stupid training. Everyone is somewhere different in their life right now and has a different motive for being in the gym. The best advice you can tell anybody, no matter the shape, size, or age is to listen to your body.
Cheers to your health, everyone.
This is where your body changes,