Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Updated Class Schedule....

I have added the following kettlebell group classes to my schedule for 2010:

XpertFitness (2607 S. Azeele): Mondays and Thursdays at 7:00 PM (starting Jan 4)

USF Kettlebell Club (USF Intramural Fields): Tuesdays and Sundays at 5:30 (starting Dec 27)

Cost for classes is:
$150/5 sessions
$240/10 sessions

Contact me at faizalenu(at) for details.

Stuff I want to get good at....

My shoulder has been jacked up for most of 2009, so not as many new strength feats this year. None to happy about that.

I did lose 30+ lbs and maintained most of my strength, so I guess I can't complain too much. Now fitting into size 32s again.

Here is the stuff that I want to get proficient with in 2010:
* KB Pressing: 40kg x 3 reps current, 48 x 1 goal
* 24kg 5 minute snatch test: 142, 150
* 32kg 5 minute snatch test: 75, 100
* 40kg snatches: 5 reps, 10L/10R
* Bent Press: 24kg x 1 left/32kg x 1L/1R (relative speaking, I really suck at this)
* Tactical pullups: 14, 24
* Weighted Tactical Pullup: 24kg, 40kg
* Barbell TGU: 120, 150
* Double 32kg Long-Cycle Clean and Jerks: 8, 20
* Deadlift: 450 (on a really good day), 525

Exercises I want to do more of:
* Snatches
* Double swings
* Squats/Box Squats
* Good Mornings
* Deadlifts
* Windmills
* RKC armbars
* Pistol (these really suck)
* Foam roller work

Other goals:
* Improve relationships
* Grow business
* Average 210 in bowling

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I have just been invited...

... to be an assistant instructor at the next RKC certification in San Jose in Feb.

Even though I am confident in my abilities, you don't show up to something like that unprepared. Game face is officially ON!

Monday, December 7, 2009

BCS Update...

What a great weekend of college football. Good thing that we have the BCS, because if we didn't, the results of Bama-UF, Cinc-Pitt, and UT-Neb would not have meant as much.

The five BCS bowls are:
* Bama-UT
* TCU-Boise St.
* Cinc-UF
* Ohio State-Oregon
* Ga. Tech-Iowa

I think that these are the right teams. TCU has wins of 3 ranked teams this year, and Boise beat Pac-10 champion Oregon, so neither team has anything to prove. THEY belong in the top 10. I also think that besides the national championship game, it is the most intriguing matchup.

I was right in my previous blog post about Cincinnati winning and passing TCU.

My picks:
Boise St.
Ga. Tech
==> That being said, I would not surprised if I only got one right.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The holidays are a busy time for me....

Just because we are busy, we can't neglect our bodies during the holiday season. Here are 5 strategies that I plan on using to kip fit during the holiday season.

1) Incorporate 15-30 minutes workouts into your routine:
If you need some ideas for short workouts here are a few: Escalating Density Training (EDT), ETK Program Minimum, KB Snatch: 8 x 10L/10R on the minute. There are a lot more. Contact me if you need other ideas based on equipment that you have. Short workouts prime the metabolism and lower your appetite.

2) Make sure that you are hydrated:
Many people overeat because they are thirsty. Stay hydrated.

3) Plan your cheat meals:
I recommend two cheat meals/week. Plan your cheat meals when you will get the most enjoyment out of them. Keep in mind, if you schedule your cheat meal for Saturday night, and you eat like a slob on Thursday and Friday, your Saturday cheat meal is not longer a cheat meal - it is you eating like crap.

4) Party strategy - keep your hands full:
Keep something in your hands: water, a pen. This keeps you from grabbing anything when that platters start coming around.

5) Weigh yourself daily:
This is about the only time I would recommend weighing yourself anywhere near that frequently. You just don't want to have any surprises.

College Football.....

I am going to digress a little bit and talk a little bit about college football. I really LIKE the fact that college football does not have playoffs for three reasons:
* Game early on the season have a lot of importance
* Bowl season is my favorite time of the year
* Teams have to schedule better competition out of conference to jockey for position.

Right now there are 6 teams that have a chance at the national title
* Florida
* Alabama
* Texas
* Cincinnati
* Boise State: They are effectively eliminated because both TCU and Boise don't play anymore. Unless there is a sway in the writers and coaches poll, Boise can't catch TCU and the winner of UF/'Bama.

For the following discussion, I have assumed the following for this weekends critical games:
- Florida has a 60% probability of beating Alabama
- Texas has an 85% probability of beating Nebraska
- Cincinnati has a 55% probability of beating Pitt
- If Cincinnati wins, they will pass TCU in the polls by adding another quality win. Right now TCU is killing them in the human polls and Cincinnati has a big edge in the computers. A solid road win against a top-15 team should give Cincinnati the edge.

I can't remember this many teams being undefeated for this long. Here are the most like scenarios:

1) Florida vs. Texas (Probability: 51%)
Simple: Florida has to beat Alabama and Texas has to beat Nebraska

2) 'Bama vs. Texas (Probability: 34%)
Simple: Florida has to lose to Alabama and Texas has to beat Nebraska

3) Florida vs. Cincinnati (Probability: 5.0%)
Florida and Cincinnati win, Texas loses

4) Alabama vs. Cincinnati (Probability: 3.7%)
Alabama and Cincinnati win, Texas loses

5) Florida vs. TCU (Probability: 4.1%)
Florida wins, Cincinnati and Texas lose

6) Alabama vs. TCU (Probability: 2.7%)
Florida wins, Cincinnati and Texas lose

Florida (60% shot at being in title game), Alabama(40%), and Texas(85%) are in a "they win/they're in" scenario.

I feel that Cincinnati (8.7%) should be in if they win and Texas loses, hopefully the writers and coaches agree with me.

TCU (6.8%) needs Texas and Cincinnati to lose.

Right now if you were going to choose the 4 at large BCS teams, it would have to be:
'Bama/FL loser
Boise State
2nd team from Big East: Iowa (BCS #9) or Penn St. (BCS #11)

Big 12: If Texas loses, Nebraska is the Big 12 Champion and I think Texas would be at at-large team, bumping the #2 Big Ten Team

Big East: If Cincinnati loses, Pitt is the Big East Champion and I think Cincinnati bumps the #2 Big East Team

If both Cincinnati and Texas lose, I think Cincinnati gets bumped. Nothing that happens in the Pac-10 or ACC championship games will justify getting a second team in the BCS. Note the Cincinnati has a win over potential Pac-10 champ Oregon St., Boise St. has a win over potential Pac-10 champ Oregon, and TCU has a win over potential ACC champ Clemson.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


I weighed in at 177.5 right after coming back from Thanksgiving in Philly. I had no formal workouts for 6 days and average eating about 5000 calories a day, so I am thankful I did not gain any weight. I did play with my nephew and did some DDR.

Really looking to dial it in for the rest of the year.

Here is a question for you, if you are 10-12% bodyfat, but cannot do 10 pushups - can you really say that you are LEAN? I have seen this in the gym. When I was 9, every kid in my gym class could bang out 20 no problem.

I did some MaxVO2 snatches the other day. Max VO2 snatches is a snatch protocol where you snatch a kettlebell for 15 seconds, rest for 15 seconds, snatch with the other hand for 15 second, rest for 15 seconds (for a 1 minute total) and repeat for 25-40 minutes. I did this with a 16kg and got 9 reps on every set. Someone on one of the forums noted correctly that a lot of people that get 9 reps in 15 second (or pace of 36 snatches/minute) are not using good form. I personal believe that everyone should be able to get nine reps. Here are some things that will help you snatch faster during MaxVO2 snatches:

1) The slowest parts of the snatch are the two endpoints, at the bottom and at the top of the snatch. Just like in a chemical reaction, if you want to speed up your snatch you need to increase the speed at the slowest points.

The key to speeding up the bell is at the bottom of the snatch is the "butt punch". What you are going to do is punch your butt backwards when the bell is at about head level. This does two things to make the bell go faster. a) It actively pulls the bell backwards to the bottom position and b) it uses the stretch reflex in your glutes to get a better pop out of the bottom.

At the top, you want to push your chest out at the top of the snatch, right before the punch through. This will move the bell backwards faster (conservation of momentum) and it will create a stretch reflex at the top your snatch with the pec major, pec minor, subscapularis, lats/teres minor. You lockout will be complete, but shorter. You chest does not have move that much, maybe an inch, to create that stretch reflex.

If you cast the bell at the top of your snatch, you are going to lose speed. The different between 8 snatch and 9 snatches is 11%. It does not take a big cast to create that differential in snatch speed. You also get this inefficiency is you pull back to late on the way up.

If you are arming your snatches, you are not going to be fast with your snatches. Snatching depends on a strong pop with the hips, changing the direction with the pull, and punching the hand around the bell. If you arm your snatches:
* the bell moves slower in the pull phase
* you are more likely to tear your hands.

Note for MaxVO2 snatches. To be in the target HR zone for cardiovascular conditioning, you need you HR to average to about 80-85% of your MaxVO2. Ideally you will have a heart monitor to measure this.

Lets say you do 80 sets, and you are below the target HR, then you can either do 1 of two things:
* Increase the cadence (i.e., go from 6 to 7 or 7 to 8)
* Increase the weight

For Max VO2 training, I prefer to increase reps up to 9 before increasing weight.

Since HR is correlated to the work done, a simple work calculation will help see if it will be the right combination.

Lets say you have a 16kg and a 24kg, or a 8kg vs. a 12kg for the ladies, in both cases the heavier bell weighs 3/2 as much as the lighter one. In order to make the work rate the same, you will have to do 2/3 as many snatches. So 9 snatches with the lighter bell is equivalent to 6 snatches with the heavier bell. Because the focus on is on "overspeed" eccentrics, when in doubt lean towards using the lighter bell for 9 reps rather then the heavier for for 6.

If you have a 20kg bell, you want to be intelligent on how you progress through the bells. Here is a sensical progression based on the work being done:
weight reps work/m
16 6 96
16 7 112
16 8 128
20 7 140

16 9 144
24 6 144 (you see these are equivalent workwise)

20 8 160
24 7 168
20 9 180
24 8 192 (I have done this for about 10 minutes, but I can't maintain it)

As you progress with Max VO2 this should help in picking the cadence and bell.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

How to Add 10-20 repetitions to your 5 minute snatch test....

For those that train with Russian kettlebells, the five minute snatch test is a common measure of physical prowess and kettlebell mastery. This is especially true in the following contexts:
* The Russian Kettlebell Challenge (RKC) certification. Potential instructors are required to be able to do 100 snatches with a 24kg.
* The Tactical Strength Challenge (TSC), a worldwide, multi-location competition that includes deadlifts, pullups, and the five minute snatch test.

While the objective of this test is simple, improving your performance is not always well understood. The approach that a lot of people take is to just take the test many times. This will work at first, especially if your conditioning is not very good, but after a while your progress will level off. The reasons for this are simple:
* This approach dos not address your weaknesses
* This approach often leads to practicing snatches with bad technique
* The demanding nature of this test can lead to overtraining.

In terms of how we go about improving performance, we need to address the following areas:
* Overall systemic work capacity
* Snatch technique and efficiency
* Planning and execution on the day of the actual test

Anybody who has ever taken the snatch test knows that it is very hard work. Even though it is only five minutes, your heart will beat out of your chest, your lungs will be on fire, and your muscles will be filled with lactic acid. When we talk about "work capacity," we are talking about it in the context of the snatch test. You can be able to run a marathon, but still be too gassed to do well in the snatch test.

The SAID principle (Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands) says simply, you get better at what you do. This does not mean that you have to take the five minutes snatch test over and over again in order to get better at it. What it does mean is that you have to choose exercises that will get the best carryover to the snatch test. Because there are many athletic qualities and technical nuances in the snatch, my feeling (and this has been buoyed by experience) is that it is best to not only attack the snatch as a whole, but use different exercise that focus on the different parts of the snatch.

The kettlebell snatch can be though of as a three stage rocket:
* The POP - at the bottom of the kettlebell snatch, the is the powerful hip thrust that projects the kettlebell forward

* The PULL - this is pulling back with the upper back, posterior shoulder, and upper arm that changes the direction of the kettlebell from going forward to up and back

* The PUNCH - this is the active moving up the hand upward to get move the kettlebell handle around the bell in order to facilitate a soft landing (i.e., soft catch) of the bell on your forearm.

In terms of conjugate exercise for the kettlebell snatch, in addition to the full snatch, I like to use exercises that focus on different parts of the snatch and/or improve overall work capacity.

* Heavy Kettlebell Swings or Double Kettlebell Swings:
- These focus on a powerful hip POP at the bottom.
- Because you cannot rest at the top, they replicate the lactic acid accumulation much faster than what you get from non-stop snatches. Ironically, I find double swings with 24kg bells much more taxing than double snatches with the same weight for that reason.
- I typically do these for 5-10 sets of 10-15 reps, and really try to compress the rest periods to tax work capacity.

* Dead Snatches:
- Dead snatch are done from a dead stop on the ground.
The dead snatches focus on the initial pop of the snatch.
- This also teaches the feeling of weightlessness that you should feel in the "pull" phase of the snatch, helping you keep the bell close to the body.
- This helps you learn to push the chest forward at the top of the snatch, increasing the speed at the top of the snatch.
- Choose a weight that you can do for 3 sets of 10-12 reps with each hand.

* Hang Snatches:
- Hang snatches are done with the bell hanging in front of you.
- Hang snatches teach you how to focus on a nice, tight arc.
- They also teach you how to use the hips to absorb the downward motion of the snatch (i.e., the “butt punch”). This lets you utilize stretch reflex in your hips to gain speed at the bottom part of the snatch.
- Choose a weight that you can do for 2-3 sets of 10-20 reps with each hand.

* Snatch Sprints:
- These are taking a given protocol of reps and doing them as fast as you can (the protocol depends on the ability of the client).
- They provide insight on when you should optimally perform hand switches during your actual test.
- I typically have my clients do this for their first 2 or 4 snatch sets (e.g., 25L/25R or 20L/20R/15L/15R) during a test week.

* Max VO2 Snatches:
- This is a snatch protocol used to improve you Max VO2, or the amount of oxygen your body uses (typically at 80-85% of your maximum heart rate).
- I prefer using the :15 on/:15 off protocol (rather than :36/:36) because the snatch pace is faster and the protocol is easier to implement with a standard wall clock.
- I like this protocol because it teaches you to practice "fast" snatching and remove inefficiencies in your snatch.
- Because there is a frequent amount of rest, you can get a lot of quality reps in a single session (sometimes over 700 reps).
- Note: if you want to get the best out of this protocol, get Kenneth Jay's book, Viking Warrior Conditioning. To ensure that you are working at the correct intensity (regarding both bell size and repetitions/set, do the cadence test as specified in the book.

* High Octane Cardio (or HOC):
- With this protocol, I alternate a kettlebell exercise with a short jog (100-150 yards) for between 30-75 min.
- This type of interval exercise helps improve overall work capacity.
- It is also a great opportunity to incorporate different types of snatches into your practice.
- If you are doing ETK, this is a great way variety day workout, especially if fat loss in your goal.

* Tabata Swings:
- The Tabata protocol is a very short, intense protocol that call for 8 sets of: 20 work/:10 rest.
- This familiarizes you with the lactic acid resistance that you incur during the test.
- It is also a short workout (4 minutes) that you can easily fit into your workouts.
- The speed and the continuous nature of the swing make it much better alternative for this protocol.

From a programming perspective, I prefer to work heavy/tabata swings and snatches in a 1:1 ratio. As far as snatches go, I like to use 1:1 ratio between using standard snatches and "leverage" snatches. When incorporating them into your program, you are going to have to take into account the other physical activities and other performance requirements.

Also, I almost away do the swings and snatches at the end of a workout rather than the beginning. The reason is that I prefer to keep heavy lifting and grinds early in workouts where maximal tension and focus are paramount.

As far a planning for the day of the snatch test, there really isn't too much to do, but even with that you don't want to leave any reps on the table. Here are some strategies to consider:

1) Planning hand switches: There is a trade off between taking too long between hand switches (you start snatching to slow) and too often (you lose too many snatches while you are switching). Snatch sprints will help you determine what this number should be.

2) If you have a dominant hand, you want to snatch more with your better hand. In practice, I do the same number of reps with both hand so as not to create any further imbalances in the shoulder girdle or the hips.

3) Ideally, you want to end your snatches with your dominant hand. This will help you in keeping you snatching quickly longer into the set. When determining your snatch strategy, plan out your reps to make this happen.

In planning my reps, I want to work backwards from my goal. For example, when I was planning for 140 reps, I came up with the following scheme:
* 30L/30R/20L/20R/18L/22R, according to my time estimates each set would have taken me:
* 30L (0:57)
* 30R (1:03/2:00)
* 20L (0:45/2:45)
* 23R (0:50/3:35)
* 17L (0:40/4:15)
* 20R (0:45/5:00)

Previously, I have done 30L/30R in under 1:50 and 30L/30R/20L/20R in training in 3:16, so I though this was realistic "stretch". It planned for an unequal number of reps and for snatching with my better hand (right) at the end. During the test, I got my first 60 in at about 1:55. I stayed with the pace to end with the plan plus two additional reps on the right side. Another comment regarding your plan - once you start snatching, if you are slowing down or losing your grip, switch. The exception being in the last 10 second, just gut it out. I helped someone break the 130 barrier in the most recent TSC, "The Men from the Boys" barrier, by simply having him do longer sets to eliminate hand switches. One really strong guy got into the 140s by simply tightening up his arc after showing him the hang and dead snatch.

As far as exercise programming goes, the possibilities are endless. However you incorporate these ideas into your program, make sure that you do the following:
1) Make sure you address your weaknesses
2) Make sure you prioritize your training based on what is important for you

Hopefully after reading this article you will be able to add 10-20 repetitions in your snatch test by simply making some modifications in your training plan, tweaking your snatch technique, and by planning effectively on the day of your test. If you have any questions about this article or anything related to kettlebells, feel free to contact me at

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Taste of Honey....

The two women in this video display the best combination of looks, singing ability, and guitar playing I have ever seen. Just for yourself and let me know what you think.

Short workouts....

I have been doing "two a days" for few weeks now. I typically do a "body builder" split type of workout in the morning, and a KB workout in the evening/late afternoon.

This week, I have been really busy with clients and other obligations in the evening, and sometimes I only had a half hour to work out. Here were some of my workouts:

* 12 minutes of TGU (7:00 with the 24kg and 5 with the 32kg) and Tabata swings (32kg x 8 x :20 work/:10 rest)
* Double KB Long Cycle Clean and Jerks: 24kg x 5 x 10
* KB snatches: 24kg x 30L/30R/20L/20R in 3:16

If you have KBs, you have no excuse for not getting a workout in.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Shameful New Mexico University Soccer Player Elizabeth Lambert

As a former referee, here is how I would have called the infractions as shown on the video, I am assuming the fouls are in chronological order:

1) 0:04 Trip on a breakaway: Red Card, Serious Foul Play for Denying an Obvious Goal Scoring Opportunity. On a foul like this I can tell the referees are not confident.

2) 0:06 Punch in the Back: Both players would have gotten yellows from me, even though by the book she would have gotten a red. Both players were equally culpable. After this incident, I would bring both captains together and explain that if you even look at a player wrong you are going to get called for a foul. Also, I would really clamp down (i.e., cards) for any unsporting activity like off- the-ball contact,

3) 0:10 Hair Pull: Straight Red for Violent Conduct. If this wasn't seen, then it is bad mechanics by the crew.

4) 0:20 I would not have called a foul, as she backed away from the kick, until she held/obstructed after the ball got away. I did not see the who build up, but depending how the the player in white got to the ball, she could have been called for dangerous play. But given the previous incidents, I would have probably stopped the play and called something to start to get control of the game display authority.

5) 0:22 Slide Tackle from Behind: This would have been a straight red for violent conduct. This was a very deliberate attempt not only to injury, but to end someone's career. The PCL is very subceptible to injury in a tackle like this, and she had absolutely no shot at the ball. If I was the coach of her team, she would have been off the field a long time ago, but after a tackle like this she would never play for me again that year. If I was a league administrator, I would take the following sanctions:
* Player does not play again for the rest of the year
* The program is somehow punished
* The referees do not referee until a period deemed appropriate. They really blew a lot of calls and failed to make sure the game resembled soccer, was fair, and protect the players.

6) 0:25 Tripping: On its own this would have been a Yellow card for Persistant Infringmentment. In the context of the rest of the game, however, this type of egregious foul would be a red card.

7) 0:29 Clubbing After the Ball is Clear: Red for violent Conduct. This is a case where you are taking liberties with a player in a defenseless position.

Four of these incidents were worthy of a red card on their own, and three of these were simply violent actions against a defenseless opponent. The player should not play again.

I think what has not been discussed enough was that the referees did not do their job at all. There are three referees on the field. This was simply a case where the referees did not do their job. If you don't have the confidence to stand behind a red card in these situations, you are not qualified to refereeing and U8 game, much less DI college.

I would love to see a game report.

Dance Dance Revolution, Hottest Party 3 review

I was just thinking that I could really use a new version of Dance Dance Revolution for my Wii, as I was getting "A"s on most of the songs on Expert and was looking for a new challenge. Thanks to fooWidget on the Dragon Door forum, I was alerted to the newest version, Hottest Party 3. I got it the first day that it came out (October 28th).

Here is my review of the game, as it compares with Hottest Party 2.

Music Choices:
* The songs in Hottest Party 3 pull from a lot of different eras (70s, 80s, 90s, 2000s, rock, disco, punk, etc.) just like Hottest Party 2. Also, the original tracks (i.e., produced for Dance Dance Revolution) are also entertaining just like in Hottest Party 2. some of my favorite songs to DDR to (as opposed to "dance" to) are:
1) "Daftpunk Is Playing at My House"
2) "Pork And Beans"
3) "Shine"
5) "Taking It To The Sky"
6) "I'm Coming Out"/Diana Ross
7) "Hottest Party 2" and "Hottest Party" medley, which are mixes of songs in the previous Hottest Party versions.

Verdict: Push

* The development team at Konami has really made a big improvement in the graphics of this game. The visuals are a lot more three dimensional and lifelike. Also, the way the arrows move light up when you hit them really add to the excitement of the game. The movement of the dancers is also more realistic, and there is more customization of the dancers.

Verdict: Big Edge Hottest Party 3

* When I refer to choreography, I am referring to how well the games arrows match up with the song to produce a game that is fun to DDR to.

* On Expert Level, many of the songs simply don't have the density of arrows (i.e., foot rate) that Hottest Party 2 had. Also, for some of the songs too long to build up. Since I use this primarily for exercise, this means I have to be careful which songs I choose so I can keep the heart rate in the zone.

* It seemed to me that there was more emphasis on precise rather than just fast foot movement. It seemed that there was more instances where it mattered which foot you used for a given arrow, especially for freeze arrows. Also, HP3 did a better job of changing up the timing between arrows, making it a harder game in that regard.

* I do believe that Hottest Party 3 had a better matching up of the arrows to the song, meaning that it felt more like you were dancing to the song than just moving your feet. It also forced you to listen to the song.

Verdict: Slight Edge to Hottest Party 3

* When you first start playing DDR/Hottest Party 3, all of the songs are missing their gimmicks, or things that make the song more difficult than just moving arrows until you went through "Tournament Mode". Things like Double and Triple Stomps, sudden arrows, reducers/exploders, freezes make the game more interesting, and this was a big downfall of Hottest Party 3.
* Many of the songs were simply too easy and the foot rate was too slow.

* The DDR School was pretty cool way to get you used to all of the gimmicks.

* I don't really use hypermode, but they have added to it in HP3. HP3 also used the Wii Balance Board, which I don't have, but I think could be kind of cool and add another "functional movement" to the game.

* The foot recognition seems to be better in the new version. It seemed like it doesn't miss as many steps as the old one (i.e., there are less instances where I hit an arrow, but DDR does not recognize it).

Verdict: Slight Edge to Hottest Party 2

Overall I think that the game is very well done. The new songs are fun to dance too, and the choreography has been much improved. Also, the graphics and sound mastering are much better. Hottest Party 3 would have been a home run had the difficulty been increase on many of the songs, which will be disheartening to some of the Dance Dance Revolutionaries out there. The game is very fairly priced, at around $60, which also included and extra dance pad.

My weight loss over the last year....

I have just been doing some measurements and stuff and I have found the that over the last nine months, my:
* Weight is down 28 lbs. (from 207 to 179lbs)
* BF% is down significantly from (28% to 10.75%)

Even though I was already killing people in the gym in the gym work capacity-wise, I am really doing some great work capacity stuff since losing weight.

I do no steady state cardio, here are the things that I do for weight loss:

* Heavy weightlifting/strength training with barbells/dumbbells/machines/kettlebells

==> I think that sacrificing strength for body composition is not necessary and long term could actually hinder your long-term progress. I see people who lose weight by primarily doing cardio and light weightlifting for weight loss and even though their body comp is lower, they look flabbier. Also, when there life has more meaning than spending two hours in the gym on a hamster wheel, they blow up like the Michelin man. I don't care what a number on a BF% monitor says, I want to look and be strong. Also, keep in mind that you need energy to do heavy work too. The oxygen replacement of a set of 10 squats is about the same as that of a 100 yd dash.

* Kettlebell ballistics, including snatches, swings, jerks, and cleans
==> There are a number of reasons that I prefer this type of "cardio" to machines.
1) Emphasis on the posterior chain. Using of treadmills and exercise bikes became really popular in the 70s and 80s. Almost all of these exercises really take the hamstrings and glutes out of the exercise. On the treadmill, the motorized tread pushes the foot back instead of the body having to pull the back. The causes an imbalance in the muscles that extend and bend the knee. This causes of a lot of people in their 50s, 60s, and 70s to have knee problems. Also, the lack of glute involvement and overuse of the quads causes of a lot of people to be pitched forward in their torsos, which in turn causes a lot of back problems. There are a lot of back problems in older people for exactly this reason. I do a lot of work with older people to fix the problem in their back and knees mostly teaching them proper movement. Kettlebells does this automatically.

2) The use of resistance makes it easier to get your heart rate up into the cardio conditioning zone (80-85%) without the localized fatigue in the calves or thighs. The reason is that kettlebell swings use a lot more muscles than running does. This means more work can be done by the body, without being limited by any particular muscle group. This means that we are dealing more with systemic fatigue rather than specific fatigue, thus making it easier to perform in the "fat burning" zone. Gotta love that. I have recently started doing long cycle clean and jerks with two 32kg kettlebells. I can't think of a body part that is not used during this exercise.

3) The movements of kettlebell ballistics just look a heck of a lot more athletic that moving on a treadmill or exercise bike. The snatch looks a lot more like jumping or the standard "ready position" in most sports. When I train my clients, I keep in mind functionality first. This not only helps them perform better, but more importantly it keeps them from getting injured.

4) Because you don't need to exercise for as long, you can keep your T-levels high and cortisol levels low. If you are a 19 year old on a cycle of D-bol, this may not be an issue. I am almost 40, and kettlebell training has almost been like a fountain of youth, even before dropping the pounds.

* Dance Dance Revolution, about 5 hours/week
==> I know a lot of people may poo poo this, but here is why I think if we had Dance Dance Revolution in every school, day-care center, and boys-and-girls club we would literally eliminate childhood obesity:
1) It burns calories. I know for me it burns more than a spin class, but it uses a lot more muscles.
2) It forces you to move in all directions, which means that it won't cause imbalanced muscles. You have to move, rotate, and jump left, right, back, forth, clockwise and counter clockwise. If you have stiff hips, which is in my opinion the leading causes of strong people being crappy at sports, DDR will let you know and also help you fix the problem.
3) If is the kind of exercise that forces a response to visual stimuli, thus increasing the carryover to sports, especially those that require "read-and-react" abilities.
4) It is extensible to the abilities of the user. What I mean by this is that as you get better at DDR, you can adjust the level to your abilities.
5) It forces quick, precise movement in the feet, which in my opinion is more important for athleticism than other standard tests like the 40 yd dash.
6) It is fun. Can you imaging a 12 year old on a treadmill?
7) Watch someone who excels at DDR and watch someone who goes to town on a treadmill. The guy on DDR looks like an athlete, the guy on the treadmill will look like an ape.

Monday, October 26, 2009

RTK Inspired Workouts....

I haven't been doing a strict "block periodization" RTK program, but I have been incorporating a number of exercises into my two-a-day, 6 days a week program. It has been going well so far. Since I am still doing a lot of barbell training and bowling, I don't feel that I can give the full RTK program justice yet.

Initial insights:
* Double Ladders Jerks, Presses, and Snatches really fill up the posterior chain and shoulders up with muscle. I can see it in the mirror and on the scale. And I am much closer to 40 than 20.
* Even though I am not even doing the full program, I am hungry all of the time just like the book said I would be.
* You learn jerks by doing them. Ladders (e.g., 5 x 2,4,6,8, 10) are great for learning them because you get a lot of "first reps" where you dial in your form (similar to West Side Barbell). Also, in RTK it is about volume, not energy conservation.
* Some of the new exercises (Side Snatches, Front Snatches, Double Dead Cleans, Pullovers) are good for jacked up shoulders like mine.

What I have been doing is:
* On my leg day, I am doing ladders of 24kg Double C&J for 5 ladders of (2,4,6,8, 10). I tested myself afterwards and I was able to get 6 with double 32kg bells. I am going to start doing 32kg x 4 x 2,4,6.
* On shoulder workouts all I do is 24kg Double MP ladders of 5 x 2,4,6,8,10 ==> I am going to start with 3 x 1,2,3 with the 32kg. I have also been doing some stacked pressed and double stacked presses recently.
* I have been doing double snatches with the 24kg bells on my KB only days. I have also done uneven snatches with two bells, which are not as unbalance as you would think.

This is great stuff. My personal opinion is that this book was not as well written as ETK, but the workout/exercises are exactly what a somewhat experienced girevik needs. My body can feel the difference.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

DDR Hottest Party 3 is coming out...

I am looking forward to getting this new version of Dance Dance Revolution. I am looking forward to the following features:
* 8 arrow mode (more precise movements as well as differing movements)
* Potential using of the balance board and incorporating those movements
* New songs and new challenges

I have talked about Dance Dance Revolution a lot. I believe if that you want to lose weight and you have a Wii, you owe it to yourself to give DDR a shot for the following reasons:
* I know the term "functional" gets thrown around a lot, but DDR is functions in that you move your body around in all different ranges of motion. If you have asymmetries, you will find them quickly just playing a couple of songs. And the kicker is they get corrected just by playing. A lot of cardio "creates" imbalances.
* The song does not slow down for you. This makes it very motivating.
* One of the things that makes KB training very motivating are the discreet feats of strength (i.e., I want to do this lift with this weight). With barbells and dumbbells, since you can set the weights to the nearest pound, you lose some of that. I like the sense of satisfaction that I get when I get an "A" on a certain song or set a given number of combos.
* You can burn a hell of a lot of calories. I can burn about 800 in one hour.
* While I don't think I look particularly macho playing DDR, at least I don't looks like the asshats that are using the elliptical with their arms.

Again - just like the anticipation of getting the next heavier bell, I am looking forward to the new challenge of Hottest Party 3.

Fun KB workout....

Whenever you have taught KB in 5 different zip codes, you have had a good week. On Saturday, I found myself with a both a pairs of 16kg and 12kg bells in my car and I had about 1 hour to get a workout in. I decided to play around with these smaller bells so here is what I did. A true variety day to say the least.

Halos: 12kg x 1 x 10
Bottom Up Presses: 12kg x 1 x 5; 16kg x 1 x 5 (I did these more than once)
Sots Presses: 12kg, 16kg x 1 x 5 (I found the 16kg sots easier, I should do more of these to improve thoracic mobility)
Double Bottoms Up Presses: 12kg x 1 x 5; 16kg x 2 x 5
Stacked Presses: 12+16kg x 1 x 5; 16kg + 16kg x 1 x 5L/4R
Double Stacked Presses: 12kg+16kg x 1 x 5; 12kg+16kg x 1 x 8 (the clean is challenging)
Single Leg Presses: 16kg x 2 x 5 (exposed some rooting issues that I have)

Double Dead Cleans: 16kg x 1 x 16
Double Snatches: 16kg x 2 x 20
Double Dead Snatches: 16kg x 1 x 10
Double Hang Snatches: 16kg x 1 x 10

Stacked Swings: 16kg+16kg x 2 x 10
Stacked Double Swings: 16kg+12kg x 2 x 10
Double Swings: 16kg x 1 x 30

Double Rack Walks, Double Overhead Walks, and Double Farmers Walks: 60yd each

Sprints: 35yd x 5

It was really fun to do a lot of leverage presses, snatches, and swings and just have fun with a limited set of light bells. It was a great night to work out outdoors in Tampa. I truly feel sorry for those who think a workout is doing crunches and a treadmill (unless you are a hamster with epilepsy).

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Some workouts this week....

I have not been logging my workouts much, but here are some that I did.

Quick evening workout:
TGU: 24kg x 10:00
Top of the minute swings: 48kg x 10 x 12

My gym has only 75lb dumbbells, so I did some renegade incline DB presses and some see-saw DB presses. I was able to get 10s with both variations.

I did a double KB presses for 24kg x 4 x (2,4,6,8), then double KB snatches for 24kg x 3 x 15. I had been practicing some uneven snatches with (20kg + 16kg) and it really is not much of a core workout like other people say it is.

On leg day, I have been doing DL for sets of 15 with 245lb. Pretty easy so far, I am going to try 265 tomorrow.

I taught one of my clients the renegade row, and he loves it.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I still don't understand.....

....the logic behind core workouts. I hear of people doing entire core workouts and core bootcamps. Even though I think that this can be effective, I never understood why you would do it for the following reasons:

* Any time you lift anything heavy, like a near maximum effort deadlift, bench or squat - you activate your core big time. In fact, for many lifters, the core is what falls apart first. And not just rectus abdominus either. Since you are using the "core" for stabilization, by definition you must recruit the ENTIRE core musculature to stabilize the torso for that effort. Even a KB press needs a contracted core.

* I have a three very basic exercises that I use that I would consider a core workout, in order of frequency used:
- Renegade Row (about 2-3x/week)
- Turkish Get Up (about 1-2x/week)
- Russian Twists (about 1x/week), but I do them in a Roman chair. You "core" can't hide in this position.

==> None of these exercises need to be done for more than 10 minutes, much less have a whole workout dedicated to them. My opinion is that if it takes longer than 10 minutes, you are not working hard enough. I incorporate core into all workouts for clients because to me if I dedicate workouts to core exercises, it takes away from teaching real exercises. I know that I can do almost everyone's core workout that I see, but most people don't attempt the stuff I do...this leads me to believe I got the right perspective.

New goals, new training location...

1) I have started providing personal training services at YouFit gym in Largo. I am there on Mon, Wed, and Fri from 7:00 AM to 2:00 PM. So far, so good. They let me bring in by kettlebells.

2) I have been doing some RTK styled workouts. My left shoulder is still not 100%, but I can do double grind ladders and double clean and jerks with the 24kg bells. I have also added pullovers, side snatches, double cleans, and front snatches. I have noticed increased musculature in my traps, shoulders, rhomboids, and lats. Also, I am hungry ALL OF THE TIME (in a good way).

3) I have three clients who have had to buy new clothes. And I did this without having to "m*therfu@k" my clients. There is a difference between berating your clients and instilling confidence in your clients. I prefer to do the latter. I had a client do timed KB swings for the first time and even though her heat was beating out of her chest, she loved it.

4) Bowling: I am working on getting the ball farther down lane, while still staying down. I started with a 235, 227 last week, so we will see. It is always something.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

New Stuff....

Weight: I recently got my weight down to 177 -- 7lbs to go (actually, probably more like 9, really overdid the eating last night). This was kind of surprising because I was not real good with the diet this week.

Bowling: Simple, not good at all. Averaging 193 over 5 weeks. That is just bad. I am picking up spare, but I am not stringing strikes and leaving pocket splits. Maybe the 15lb ball experiment should be shelved. Even though the accuracy is better, my carry sucks.

DDR: I am getting full combos of songs and higher scores since getting the new dance pad. I have really noticed how open the hips are. I am doing full squats on medicine balls. This is because DDR forces you to move in all directions. At about 25cal/song (or about 825/hr), the calories burn is similar to spinning but a lot more functional and athletic.

KB training/weight training: Working towards the tactical strenght challenge in April. Started Deadlifting and doing pullups. My shoulder still hurts, but it is getting better. I do fixed sets of pullups -- currently 10 sets of 6. (By the way, these are really pullups - dead hang at the bottom/touch bar with neck or chest at top. I have never seen a tactical pullup done in the gym). I and a client are working on a number of deadlift varieties to explore the deadlift, including:
* Dimel Deadlift
* KB touch and go deadlifts
* Sumo Deadlift
* Still Legged Deadlift
* Tire Flips
* Hockey Deadlift
* Full Body Attacks

Pressing -- Pressing still hurts the right shoulder. I can get presses again with the 32kg, but I really have to focus on exerternally rotating the shoulder.

Really working some of the RTK Exercises: Double cleans, front snatches, side snatches, pullovers to fix the shoulders.

Food Finds:
* Green Iguana/Ybor City has $3 appetizers and Miller Genuine Draft bottles on Friday's between 4-7PM.

Client: I recently helped a client eliminate sciatica with a program of corrective exercise, stretching and foam rolling. If you have a loved one that is suffering from pain = fix the source of the problem, don't reach for the bottle of pills.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Combo'd the entire song on "Expert" for the first time.

New PR today. Combo'd an entire song (Sunshine Superman) on Expert mode. 210 Combos!

I also hit the 40,000,000 mark in one of the songs recently too.

Today's workout:
KB MP: 32kg x 6 x 3 (light)
KB Swings: 40kg x 10 x 15

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

My thoughts on the TSC....

I recently had the opportunity to be a "guest judge" at the Tactical Strength Challenge in Palm City, FL. My duties as a judge was to:
* Conduct the weigh in
* Make sure that all three events (deadlifts, pullups, snatches) were performed and counted to standards. Included in this was a pre-event meeting to clarify the written rules and provide an opportunity to answer questions.
* Record and report the results
* For the deadlift, put the weights on the bar and indicate "lift" or "no lift"
* Count pullups and snatches

I was directing the training for one of my clients and he had someone else following the program. I am proud to say that they set 5 PRs between them.

Some insights:
* Jamie Munson set a PR in the snatch with 134 24kg snatches in 5:00. That is exceptional. Jamie was already a great snatcher (previous PR was 128). The training plan of "snatching alot" was not going to increase his numbers. I design his snatch training with the following goals:
- Make sure that he can go the entire five minutes (he did)
- Eliminate hand switches (had him start 25L/25R). If you waste time up front, you don't have time to get it back.
- Use dead and hang snatches to improve snatch efficiency.

* Jamie also set a new PR in the pullups. The important thing there was doing different types of pullups. Heavy weighted ones for low reps and body weight ones for higher reps. Also, you need to include non-pullup exercise for higher rep ranges to train the lats.

* Dan got made the magic number of 100 snatches with the 24kg (actually he got 110). He really just blasted through it and gave it all he had for 5 minutes. He got a good number of reps early, and took breaks only long enough so that he could keep snatching fast. Impressive effort.

I could not help thinking about the RKC snatch test, and for bigger, stronger guys (he pulled 460 with ease), the new test (100 reps in 5 minutes) is much much easier than the old test (74 snatches with one hand switch). Since there are no weight classes, for bigger guys this becomes a much easier test. I always thought that this made the test real easy for anyone in the 190lb+ rep range, now I am convinced of it. With Dan, to increase his snatch number - I would focus on about 3 technique things and he would hit 125 snatches with ease.

* Dan was worried that he never maxed out his deadlift prior to the competition. I said that was a good thing. You only get one good DL max every 3 months, don't waste it outside of competition. Dan easily DLed 460 even though the higher he ever DLed was 425. The DL is very hard on the CNS, and if you are doing a lot of other stuff, you will get overtrained. We worked the DL with Good Mornings (hips/glutes), Speed Box Squats (glutes, quads), Rack Pulls (to feel "heavy" weight), and Speed DLs. It works as long as you don't mess with the system.

* There were a number of spectators (7 friends and family, plus onlookers at the gym). Definitely brought out the best. Also, I think having an impartial judge made the event seem more like a sport and brought out the best in the participants.

* For anyone hosting a competition:
- Get a location with a lot of space
- For the DL, tell the competitors how you are going to indicate a good lift. What I told the competitors is that: 1) I soon as I got to my position, they could lift whenever they wanted. 2) My signal for a good lift was to say "DOWN" and wave my hand in a downward motion.
- Have a separate person counting snatches and keeping time. Very hard to do both.
- If you are taping, think of where you are going to have the camera, the judge and the athlete.
- If you are at a public space, clear it with the gym owner.

* Thoughts for the next TSC. Sometimes you have to take a step backward and to go forward. For the deadlift, we are going to take some time to experiment with different foot and hand placements. Jamie did not look comfortable/confident in deadlift stance. Stance is an individual issue, and not enough time was devoted to building the foundation. I am going to do some work where I have him set up fast, and see what he does naturally.

* This brings me to another point. If you get a "system" for training, don't mess with it or try to optimize it. I see this all the time on the Dragon Door forum and it drives me nuts. Sample posts are:
- "Can I substitute high pulls for snatches in ETK?" (you can if you want torqued up elbows).
- "Can I do TGUs for 10 minutes prior to presses?" (you can, if you want to practice weaker presses)
==> The programs are tested, do them. If you are not stronger than the person who designed the program, you have no business changing it. Also, this are typically the same people who switch programs every two weeks.

* If all goes well, I am going to be competing in Elite next year. Jamie asked why I don't compete in the open. My reasoning was this:
- The DLs are the same
- The pullups are functionally the same, only the loading is different (BW vs. BW + 25lb)
- The snatch test is a real kicker. The 24kg snatch test is about eliminating all wasted time through improved technique. The 32kg snatch test is about getting stronger, increasing work capacity, and improving technique. Remember, we don't get any money for this contests. It is not about placing, it is about setting targets that will make you a better athlete. For me, the 32kg snatch will make me a better athlete.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

TSC Results, Palm City/Stuart, FL

Men's Open:
Dan Rukeyser: 406-436-461# DL/ 14 Pullups / 110 Snatches
Jamie Munson: 386-411#-miss 430 DL/ 21 Pullups / 134 Snatches

Womens Novice:
Stacy Ferrari: 215-226#-miss 255 DL/ 0 Pullups /100 Snatches

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Claude Pepper SCC Balance Workshop....

I was recently asked by one of my personal training clients to do "balance assessments" at a senior citizen center in New Port Richey, FL. I really don't specialize in balance, but I did help this particular client with her balance.

When she initially came to me, she wanted to improve her balance. Most trainers would have immediately put her on the bosu or stability ball, but I did not. I have always said that improving balance needs to be done in the following sequence:
* Improving posture/body alignment
* Improving strength, then
* Improving balance (or "balancing strength")

If I teach balance prior to body alignment, they won't be able to balance well. If they are not strong, they may be able to be "balanced", but not "stable", and their "balance" will have no carryover to sports performance, fall prevention, etc.

What I simply did was to find a "balance screen" and just use that to find balance flaws. This was similar to the FMS (Function Movement Screen) that is becoming more commonplace in person training and kettlebell instruction circles. I used the Berg Balance Scale, which is a 14 step test (each test is graded on a 1-4 scale) to determine the types of situations that could cause someone to lose balance. It was illuminating to the 16 seniors that I tested. Each test took about 10-15 minutes to perform.

Some of the most common recommendations were:
* Improve thoracic mobility, both extension and rotation of the thoracic spine
* Improve hip mobility and strength
* Be watchful of effects of high blood pressure meds, esp. with moving of the head
* Shoes that provide better proprioception and awareness and better fit

The screening was very well received at the center, and I would like to do more of them. It is always a good day to deal with 16 people in a half day period and give them something they can use for the rest of their lives. If it prevents one fall that would normally break an arm, dislocate a shoulder, or fracture a hip, it is worth it, both in hard and soft dollar contexts.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Tactical Strength Challenge location announcement.

September TSC 2009 Poster

If anyone is interested, I am going down there to judge. Contact me at (813-951-7470/ if you are interested.

Friday, September 11, 2009

115lb Barbell TGU; (24kg + 16kg) MP; Double 16kg BOSU Front Squat

Three new PRs:
115lb Short Barbell TGU -
These are really hard. In making the video, you notice how much slower you have to be when approaching your maximum. As Mark Henry said, if you want to be really strong, you have to have that slow gear.

24kg+16kg one hand MP -
I haven't been doing much pressing, but hopefully I am that much closer to pressing the beast. The two bells help with forearm verticality and getting the shoulder back (both from having to keep the bells on top of each other). Hopefully I can get the Beast Press does by the end of the year. My right shoulder is not there yet, but did get a set of 4 at (16kg + 16kg)

BOSU ATG Front Squat (2 x 16kg) -
I did not take a video of this, but I did not want any of my KB friends to see me within 30yds of a BOSU. Plus, it really was not that hard -- just new.

Bodyweight has stabilized to 181.2, lowest was 179.5. Goal is 170 by Nov 11 (9 weeks).

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Continued weight loss success...

and not that wimpy weight loss either.

Down from 194 to 179.5 since 7/5/2009. My major lifts (box squats, bench press, deadlifts, and KB lifts are all improving). I did not stationary cardio during this weight loss. Only KB Ballistics, Dance Dance Revolution, and speed bowling.

George Selvie (All-America DE from USF) plays DDR

From 9/8/09 edition of TBT:



The secret to the continued prog­ress of South Florida defensive end George Selvie as a feared pass rusher? Playing the Nintendo Wii game Dance Dance Revolution to work on his footwork. “During the summer, we lift in the mornings, so I got bored during the day,” Selvie tells tbt*. “I got me a little Wii, a little Dance Dance Revolution .” Selvie said he made a “Mii” character to look like
Michael Jackson , and Jackson’s song Black or White is Selvie’s favorite to dance to. Laugh all you want, but Selvie believes the footwork could make a difference: “You’ve got some steps you have to do that are pretty hard, pretty fast.” Selvie started his season off with one sack and seven total tackles in the Bulls’ opening 40-7 win Saturday against Wofford.

Mendoza line reached/Performance Goals

I finally hit below the 180 mark. Down 179.5 lbs (weight loss in the last 10 weeks, 14.5). More importantly, my big lifts are unaffected - still destroying the mullets in the gym. I have other posts in my blog that detail my success and document some of my workouts.

My new goal is to be down to 169.5 by Nov 11 (nine weeks out). That is lower than the weight I graduated HS at. That should put my BF at around 7.2%. I will be incorporating some Return of the Kettlebell (RTK) doubles work into my training. This is why I am replanning. Fast weight loss + RTK is a recipe for disaster!

Performance based goals:
* 2.5xBW DL - in two weeks
* 3.0xBW DL - by COY
==> Was able to DL for the first time today and 415 went up easy.

* Pass RKC snatch test with one hand (100 snatches in 5 minutes). I have done 80 in 3:35 with right hand. I call this "clowning the snatch test".
* My shoulders have been troublesome for any BP and KB MP goals at this time. Working the PT to get better
* 2/3 BW Barbell TGU (current PR, 110lb @ 184, or a 59.8% BW TGU). By end of September.
* Bowl a 300 game and 800 series (within one year)

Notice there are no "work out x many times" or follow a good diet. That is because those are not performance goals, they are process goals. While they are important, they are determined by your performance goals. Also, think of it this way: If I go to the gym 6 times a week, but my lifts don't improve it either means one or two things:
* I am overtraining, or
* My training is not effective (and since I wrote my training plan, I would then be an idiot)

Today's workout:
Box Squats (1" below parallel): 135, 185, 225 x 1 x 2; 245 x 3 x 2; 265 x 4 x 2
Leg Press: 4,6,8,9 pl/side x 1 x 10 (these felt good)
Lunges: 85 x 1 x 5L/5R; 135 x 1 x 5L/5R
Leg Curls: Stack x 1 x 10 (this felt really strong)
DL: 185, 235, 285, 335 x 1 x 3; 285, 415 x 1 x 1 (felt strong, but need to look at tape)

DDR: 35minutes
KB work: 32kg swings x 4 x 15; 24kg snatch x 20L/20R

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Two RKC Instructor Reviews....

One from an athlete:

I want to thank you for the training provided over the last three months. My goal was to compete and place well in the April 2009 Tactical Strength Challenge ( ) and to ensure my body composition was not compromised by doing so. Both were achieved as my placing moved from 36th place to 5th place in the Open division while maintaining a weight in the mid-180 range.
My deadlift improved from 365 to 425 (60 pounds). My pullups improved from 16 to 19. My snatch count improved from 123 to 125. I am very pleased with the performance and am considering a move to the Elite division.

Your blend of Westside Barbell methods to help my deadlift was helpful, particular the heavy dose of good mornings and rack pulls. The speed deadlifts kept my form and speed in check. In addition, the renegade rows helped both my pullups and reinforced the need to stay tight which, as you stated, was my problem in prior competitions. Finally, the head position tweak aided the deadlift and the snatch numbers.

Faizal, you took the time to fully understand my strengths and weaknesses and that made a huge difference in program design. That is much appreciated. The regular training log review sessions minimized the issue of you living in the Tampa area while I live on the other side of the state.

I look forward to the next competition, your training guidance and hopefully competing with (and maybe against) you in the September 2009 Tactical Strength Challenge!

Jamie Munson - Palm City, FL

The other from a "senior lady" looking to get healthy:

I am a senior lady who has had a weight problem all my life. I was having medical problems from this weight and needed to do something about it. I had never exercised and did not have a clue how to go about it. Faizal has worked with me and taught me how to do full body work-outs, advised me on healthy eating and thanks to his excellent instructions as of todays date I have lost 82 pounds and have no reason not to believe that I will not reach my goal of a 100 pound weight lost. When ever I wasn't sure about anything he always had an answer for me. With his help I look forward to going to the gym and a new healthy life style. I know I couldn't have done it with out all his help and knowledge. He is a great young man and made exercise fun. Thanks Faizal I couldn't have done it without you.

Janet R. Torrey - New Port Richey, Florida

Beach Workouts, Group Training

I am very busy today so I am going to keep this short:

* Due to the success of the intro sessions, Bayshore Kettlebells is now offering semi-private training for $25/session on Mondays and Wednesdays at 6 PM. Multi-session discounts available. Location: XpertFitness (2607 W Azeele St., Tampa, FL 33609). It is a good way to get introduced to KBs.

* My workouts for this week so far have been pretty short. Some heavy lat work and bench pressing, as well as some KB skill stuff.

* I did pistols on both legs at Barnes and Nobles today. I don't know if I could do it again.

* One great reason to use kettlebells, they are portable. I was able to go with my girlfriend to the beach. Have I told you how much I dislike the beach? Well, I did the following with the 24kg that I bought:

1) Some snatches in the bay in mid-thigh deep water. While I felt safe, the waves and sand moving beneath your feet make it a non-safe environment.

2) "KB TENS" - doing sets of 10 of every ballistic exercise I can think of.
- Swing, Hang, Dead, Side and Front, and Hand-to-Hand snatches
- Swings
- Cleans, Dead Cleans, and Hand-to-Hand Cleans
- Jerks and Long Cycle Clean Jerks
==> After every set, like in golf, I had to smooth out the sand because my feet were sinking. On a 92F day with no shade, I sweated a lot. 240 repetitions total.

3) Windmills - not an exercise I do very much, but with the sand TGU and armbars are out of the question.

* No weigh in...will post a weight next time that it is appropriate.

* Fall bowling league starts today. Goal: 213 average. I am switching to 15lb equipment to better match up ball speed to revs. My rev rate is lagging and switching to a lighter ball with help that. One of my friends at the gym trading a session/discussion with me for two new bowling balls: A Black Widow and a V2 (retail value, about $330 - how is that for appreciation).

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Weight Loss Update/RTK Inspired routings

Had a little sickness this week...lowest weigh in was 180.5 (weight loss of 11 lbs).

Rather than trying to "suck weight" to make a goal by 8/31 (which i could do). I am going to extend it out to two weeks. My reasoning:
* If it is worth doing in 8 weeks, it is worth doing in 10 weeks
* Safer and more maintainable weight loss
* More in line with what people should do
* Wanting to incorporate RTK (Return of the Kettlebell) exercises. While I wouldn't say it is a hypertrophy program, it is very hard to restrict calories while doing it.


RTK is a program that is hard to do while doing other programs or practicing other sports. Right now I am involved in two many other things (PL training/bowling practice) to give the RTK program proper, its due, but I do like some of the new exercises. As a personal trainer that gets results - I like to take the best from many program and combine them into something that gets results for someones particular situation.

Here are some things that I have done with my new RTK knowledge.

HoC/DDR/RTK - Alternate two songs of DDR with 10 24kg long cycle clean and jerk or 18 sets. I used to just do this with swings or snatches. I can do more work with the LC C&J.

PHA/DDR/RTK - Alternate one song of DDR with 8 24kg Military Presses done ETK style for 10 cycles (also doable in a half hour).

HoC/RTK - Alternate a KB exercise with a short jog. I have included double snatches, double dead cleans, side snatches, and front snatches (great for my banged up shoulders), long cycle (I haven't done push presses yet, that is coming).
==> The doubles work is a great way to add intensity and work capacity training to any program.

The RTK program is no joke. If you cannot do the SSST, you have no business getting this book. It is not an elitist this, it is just what it best for you. The most common mistake that I see with KB training is not having the foundation built before progressing. If you don't have a good swing, your cleans, front squats, and snatches are going to suck. If you are doing doubles work, and you don't have the work capacity for the SSST, you would be better served sticking with ETK.


Bowling still frustrates the hell out of me...working on freeing up the armswing. I got a personal training client to give me two bowling balls (cash value, $280) instead of cash.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Key Factors to Weight Loss

Weight Loss is real simple. Actually it is ridiculously simple. It is not EASY, but it is simple. Even though I was already is good shape and killing most people in the gym, I decided to lose weight. I started at 26% BF (152.5lb LBM/206lb TBW) in December to 13% (157.5lb/181.5lb) in August. That is a gain of 5lb of muscle and 30.5lb of fat. In 9 months. The both numbers are gradual, but they are steady and after a short period of time, the results are dramatic.

Here are the keys to maintained fat loss:


The following two facts are amazing to me:
* How many people say they don't have time to work out.
* The number of people who have gym memberships who don't use them.

I will address the time issue first. The first key for busy people to make time to work out is to SCHEDULE IT. The act of putting it into your schedule converts the workout from an activity that gets done "when you have time" (which you already have said you don't have much of) to something you have deemed important enough to set aside time in your day to get done. Here is how important I think workouts are --> you should treat them as important to your health as any doctor's appointment. It is this simple everyone: IF YOU HAVEN'T PUT YOUR WORKOUTS INTO YOUR SCHEDULE, IT IS NOT IMPORTANT TO YOU.

If you use your gym membership, it is the best investment of your money. Let us say, conservatively, that your gym membership is $60. If you use it 3x/week, that comes down to about $5 per use. That is cheaper than a movie. That is just taking into account the value of finding something to do. If you don't go to the gym at all, you might as well flush it down the toilet. The other important thing to realize is that most gym membership are committed to up front. Months down the line, that money is a "sunk cost". At that point the decision to use the gym membership comes down to "would I rather go to the gym and improve my health" or "would I rather be comfortable sitting on the couch." Keep in mind that I am using the "gym" in a figurative sense. Going to the gym could mean going outside and swinging some kettlebells that you bought or using your Bowflex. Either way the investment and decision to use is the same.

People ask me all the time, what is the best gym in the area. I always say "the one that you can get to on a regular basis." In Tampa, the average person lives 3 miles from their gym. The most important part of workout routine is showing up. An average routine done four times a week is better than a "perfect" one (if such an animal exist) done once every two weeks. SHOW UP.

Last but certainly not least. Something is better than nothing. Even if you can't slog yourself to the gym for workout. A 15-25 minute quick workout will exercise the CV and spike the metabolism. If you need ideas for 1/2 hour workouts with whatever equipment you have - email me at


There is a lot of talk about Atkins, South Beach, Low Glycemic, Organic, blah blah blah. I have kept my nutrition plan really simple, and give my clients a very basic plan. The basis of this is to eat for what you want to do.

a) Eat whole grain and other lower glycemic index carbs to fuel your workouts. Eaten them at any other time you are fueling your fat GAIN.

b) Eat fruits and other higher glycemic index carbs at only two times:
* Right after you wake up
* Right after you work out (when I do eat a candy bar, it is at this time and only once a week)
==> This is to restore your glycogen levels.

c) Have vegetables and protein at every meal. The protein protects you muscle from being catabolised to maintain nitrogen balance in the blood and the vegetables provide you with the mineral and trace nutrients. One of the biggest reasons for people going off diets is that they are missing something essential. You can't just scale down the amount of found in a crappy diet and be able to lose weight, you have to ensure that you are getting what you need. I juiced vegetables and took a multivitamin to ensure my body was getting what it needed in the minimum amount of calories.

That's it. This may not work if you have a clinical eating concern or if you are a body builder preparing for a show, but this will work for most people. You are eating for what you are going to do or for what you need to provide your body. No counting calories, no logging. Also, you can eat a fricken' carb and not walk around like a zombie. Cycle, don't just avoid, your carbs.

Just three simple rules. If you can't handle that, then you get what you deserve.

3) While I don't like cardio, dieting in a marathon and not a sprint. Don't try to find the perfect workout regimen or perfect diet. Try to follow a pretty good diet for a long time.

4) You need to lift at least moderately heavy to maintain muscle mass and function. If you are getting weaker and losing weight, at least for most people, you are probably losing muscle. If you are gaining strength but losing muscle, for most people that is OK to because the muscle you had was just bulk. I have lost 11 lbs in just two months and I am still setting PRs (mostly in new exercises) and maintaining my abilities in others. I am lifting heavy (single and triples) and explosively (kettlebell quick lifts) and hardly any steady state cardio. So I am doing a lot of work and managing the carbs.

5) You need to plan you eating to account for social situations. This is very important. We don't live in vacuum. Most of the people around us could give two shi'ite about weight loss goals. Every meal counts - no mulligans when it comes to dieting. Your body doesn't know if you are at a business function or social function. Here are some strategies to keep from binging during these periods:
* Water - many people mistake thirst for hunger. Start with 12 to 16 oz before the event.
* Try to keep your hands full. If you can't grab something, you can't eat it.
* Start with veggies.
* Enlist a friend to keep you from eating
* I encourage two cheat meals a week. They keep your body from shutting your metabolism down. Try to line them up with your social events.

6) You have to feel PERSONALLY ACCOUNTABLE FOR BOTH YOUR SUCCESS AND FAILURE. This is what trips most people up. The body is the ultimately meritocracy - you get exactly what you and ONLY YOU put into it. No one else can do your exercise and no one else puts food in your mouth. While this is a burden, it is also liberating to know that you have complete control. In the words of the RKC, IT IS YOUR FAULT.

7) You need to be improving and increase your bodies capabilities. If not, your body any weight loss you have is going to be temporary. If you are losing weight, but you are weaker and more tired, you are going to gain it back. If you are losing weight, but you are mentally fried, you are going to gain it back. You body eventually will not let you keep going. If you are losing weight, but you look worse, then what the heck are you doing.

If you are feeling any of the above - you are probably on some time of death plan of fitness and you need to replan or recounsel to get onto something more substantial. Getting skinnier without getting healthier will ultimately be a waste of time. Weight loss should be a means, not an end.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Update of stuff...

1) Did not weight in so far. Going to wait till Saturday. Want to be at 179. I did not have a lot of time this week. Lot of stuff going on (writing and some new clients). I did have a change to create two new short workouts.

Really short workout (Wednesday night, < 20 minutes):
* Work up to a near-maximum TGU: 24kg x 1R/1L, 32kg x 1R/1L, 40kg x 1R/1L, 48kg x 1L/1R (took about 7 minutes IIRC)
* Tabata Swings: 32kg x 8 x (:20 on/:10 off) (total time: 4 minutes)
- simple brutal effective. I felt like I was burning calories for the next 12 hours (PRs and OEPC? will do that).

Short workout (Thursday night, < 20 minutes), I am going to call this DDR/HoC/RTK, alternated:
* One song of DDR on "Expert Level"
* 8 Reps of LC C&J with 2 24kg bells
==> Did this for about 35 minutes, or about 15 songs of DDR + 120 LLCJ. I can really feel how the LC will really increase the mass

For me, the LC is about 106# * 5.5" or 583ft*lb/rep or the equivalent work of 2.25 225# BP. In this time period, I did the equivalent work of 266 225# bench presses. Keep in mind, I also burned approximately 330 calories from just the DDR.

Can you see brutal conditioning.

2) A lot of people have been talking about steroids in sports and the Olympics. The only thing that I really have to add is that the athletes on TV look LESS ROIDED than many of the gym HGH-gut guys. While drug testing may not be gettin rid of the PEDs, I have a feeling they are making a difference.

3) Bowling: Still throwing the ball well, not scoring. Live and learn, if it was easy, it would not be fun. Also, because I practice 20 games per week, I am not "entitled" to a 220 average.

4) It is starting to be safe to take the KBs outside again. Once the temperature gets below 90, we are good to go. My old soccer coach said, you need the summer heat to get into shape. I agree 100%.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Weigh in....

Today's weigh in was 182.5 -- not bad considering two nights out and last workout before today was Saturday afternoon. I drank a good amount of beer this weekend. Not enough to get drunk, but like similar to riding a treadmill - slow and steady, but not enough to make a difference.

My plan this week is:
* to be clean through up to bowling night
* mostly juice fast after post-workout meal tomorrow (leg day)
* Thursday's weigh in (8/20) I want to be at 179
* No cheat meal during bowling night (no hot dogs on hamburgers. Not jalapeno popper on a hamburger.
* Strict through weekend.
* No alcohol till weigh in.
* Just like the weigh in before the RKC, focus on HoC work.
* Split training to rev metabolism
* Coffee in morning.

After getting down to 176 - hitting some RTK cycles to build up mass. Double presses, double snatches, double cleans, LC C&J

Today's workout:
* 35 min of DDR at 7:00 AM

* 1:00 of DDR at 2:30 PM

* 6 PM
Halos: 16kg x 1 x 10
MP ladder with two bell in one hand:
24kg x 1 x 5 (warm up)
16kg+12kg x 1 x 1,3,5
16kg+16kg x 3 x 1,3,5 (only got 1,3,4 with the right)

45 min of HoC cardio, including:
Front snatches, 24kg
Side snatches, 24kg
C&P with two 16kg bells
Double Snatches, 16kg
Hang Snatches, 24kg
C&J with two 16kg bells

All this in 87F heat with high humidity. Good thing I sanded the bells.
Note: My old soccer coach told me that you needed "the summertime heat to get in shape". Now it is drive to the gym, because it is too hot to walk outside. We have gotten sissified. Not me, I am hitting the bells outside, and I don't care how hot it is outside. People were in a lot better shape when my coach told me this (about 24 years ago) than we are today. I don't let fat people who have committed to a fitness program for 3 weeks and who sweat bacon grease tell me what ideal conditions are for getting in shape. Sometimes it is hard, hot, or heavy. Sometimes all three - SUCK IT UP!

100m: Usain Bolt is the man. Unlike the other former "World's Fastest Men," he doesn't looked drugged up.

Golf: Those who say that EY Yang didn't win the PGA, but Tiger lost in don't know anything about sports. The rest of the field fell because of the wind and the tough pin placements (almost everyone was above par). Only EY and Tiger were still in contention. EY mad a clutch eagle chip and just a sick 200 yard shot (over a tree from the rough) to 8' on 18 to force Tiger to be aggressive and go after the stick. Tiger did not choke, he hit decent shots when he had to play aggressive. EY hit the shot to win. Sportscasters, stop looking at numbers and WATCH THE MATCH. Also, stop pandering to Woods! You lose all credibility when you do.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Workouts, Trip to the Zoo

Really getting close on my goal of getting to 176. I started athte beggining of July weighing 192. Last weigh in 181.9.

Here are some of my recent workouts.

Friday night (post bootcamp):
KB presses:
24kg x 1 x 5; (16+12kg)x 2 x 5; (16+16kg)x4 x 5; (24+16kg) x 1 x 1L

35 minutes of random KB exercises.

20:00 of DDR

Saturday evening (not much time)
TGU: 32kg x 11:00
DDR and some 40kg swings (4 x 10)

Went to the zoo on Saturday afternoon. Great seeing how animals move, especially the big cats. So powerful, yet graceful at the same time.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Going to make this short....

At gym: Speed Bench
135, 155, 175 x 1 x 3; 195 x 1 x 10

Incline DB: 100 x 1 x 6 (easy, but not feeling anything heavy)
DB Fly and some other crap

Bowling -- sucked, what else is new.

Weigh in last night: 182.8 (seeing my imaginary Mendoza line of 180)
--> 176 here I come.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

TGU PR, double KB press

Planned on getting in a hard workout at the studio, but got Return of the Kettlebell (RTK) and couldn't stop reading it. Even though it isn't the most entertaining book, I figure if I model my training after it and get the same results from it -- it will bet a good use of $40. If I get 3 exercise that I add to my training program, then it is more than worth it.

Did the side snatch -- awesome. I will give a more complete review when I put everything into practice.

Evening workouts:
Halos: 16kg x 1 x 10L/10R
Presses: 24kg, 16kg+12kg x 1 x 5; 16kg + 16kg x 4 x 5; 24kg + 16 kg x 1 x 2L; 24kg + 12kg x 1 x 1R (these felt good -- good for making your presses more vertical and getting your groove "behind you"). Really felt the "zip up" with these.
TGU: (2x16kg) x 1/l;
70lb, 90lb, 110lb (PR) with short barbell x 1/1

At 110lb, the roll to pistol grip is hard. That barbell does not want to move. Also, positioning is key. The crunch was hard. You have to be tight. The hip "bridge"/slide was not too bad, as was the lunge up. The lunge down was tough, and he sliding leg back was very hard to keep steady. The reverse crunch was easy (but I see a lot of people plop on this on PR efforts.

* Also not kipping to get it up.
* Took a long time -- felt like about 40 seconds.


This is just going to be a rant. I think that the whole controversy of steroids and baseball is an absolute joke. My apologies if this does not make any sense - it is 10 random thoughts about baseball written in 10 minutes or less.

1) Baseballs leadership (commish Selig and the team owners) have absolutely no excuse for not knowing that there were at least 100 players using steroids. I could tell just by looking at the size of their growing foreheads. Also, not knowing is not an excuse. If you have something illegal going on in your business, you are responsible. You can't stick your head in the sand on this one - YOU OWN IT, YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE.

2) If some people are doing it, and you are not enforcing the rules - you cannot then call someone who breaks the rules a CHEATER. It doesn't matter if 4 or 104 people are doing it, you cannot call someone a cheater for breaking a rule that you chose not to enforce.

3) Any records broken during that time period MUST STAND. As anyone who has ever officiated any sport know, once the game is played and the results are record. The results stand unless they a formal protest is put forth. The time to enforce regulations is before/during games, but not 5-10 years after. No asterisks, no deletions, no STEROID ERA, no separate wing of the Hall of Fame. The games are just like any other games. Granted, the statistics have to be put into context, but as my old boss Ron L. would say: "It is what it is."

4) If there are any players that try to claim "But I was clean!", I would tell them "TOO FORKING BAD!". Here is why: The players union negotiated with the owners to not allow steroid testing on players. Of course, players started unabashedly using them.

Here is the deal, there are two consequences of not allowing drug testing:
* You won't get tested
* More importantly, even if you are Mother Theresa: YOU CANNOT CLAIM THAT YOU WERE CLEAN JUST BECAUSE YOU DID NOT GET CAUGHT. So Mike Greenwell and Cal Ripken and others -- SHUT UP!

5) As far as the list of 104 players that were "caught" in a test where there was amnesty. This list should absolutely, 100% NOT BE REVEALED. A simple thing my mom taught me: A deal is a deal. No sanctions should be made of any player who gets outed from this list. Remember, they weren't the only ones using and it wasn't being tested. You can't grant amnesty then take it away. My justification: It puts the player in a position of Double Jeopardy and it is not only wrong, it is a violation of Civil Rights. Also, since it is a closed file, it is a violation of privacy.

Further, because of the severity of the offense of leaking names on a closed file, this should be investigated fully and those that leaked the information should be punished to the full extent of the law. Not only did they violate Civil Rights of the players, but they profited from it.

(ok, I suck at writing and I am tired)

6) The Mitchell Report was a joke. Congress is really just a big meeting. Take the least productive part of a normal person's work day, make is a job that you don't have to show up to to get paid, and you have a congressman or senator. I have always said that since Congressman and Senators never have any bottom line responsibility, they would make bad executives. This last election proves that I am right. Did you hear John McCain in the elections -- being a six- (or whatever number) term senator will make you stupid. Seriously, watching the senate hearings on Steroids/Baseball was like going to a PTA meeting, except it cost taxpayer dollars.

7. Do the following comparisons of the following baseball players at the beginning and end of their careers and tell me they were not doing steroids:
* Barry Bonds
* Mark Maquire (sp?)
* Sammy Sosa

8. I can't believe Roger Clemens has been vilified and Andy Petitte has been given a free pass, even though they are guilty of the same thing. Roger, you were a great pitcher, but you also let your ego hurt your legacy. Unfortunately, the ego that made you great was ultimately your downfall. Still a first ballot hall of famer in my book.

9. Hall of Fame voting has been a joke in recent years. A lot of people just look at statistics. Some even make up new statistics. Here is a though for all voters -- instead of thinking about stats, do this. Think about it the player dominated during their years that they played, and don't try to compare stats from different eras. If Don Mattingly, who during his era was the best hitter and absolutely "MUST TV" when he played, does not make the Hall of Fame I may never watch baseball again. Just dominant over 4 of the 10 years that he played and he played good defense too. During the steroid era, I am sure he would have hit .380/45/160 - he was that good and that much better than everyone else.

10. To all of baseballs leadership -- you reap what you sow. You sowed CRAP.

Today's workout...

Back Day:

Bent over rows: 135, 185, 215 x 1 x 10; 235, 255, 275 x 1 x 6
V-bar rows: Stack x 2 x 10
Pulldows: Stack x 2 x 12
Serratus: 3 x 10
Dumbbell Rows: 125 x 1 x 12 (I am going to take one day at Powerhouse and do these with the 170-200 lbs DB). 125lb is a too light.
Face pulls

DDR/HOC: 35 minutes

Going to do some KB work later this evening.

Had lunch with old friends/coworkers Salem, Todd R. and Brian L. at Tampa Bay Brewing Company. Great time and great food.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Yesterday's Training....

Did a lot of cool stuff for yesterday's workout. Wanted to get my legs in, but didn't have a lot of time.

Leg Workout:
Good Mornings: 135, 185, 225, 275, 315, 365 x 1 x 3; 385 x 1 x 1
Leg Curls: Stack x 12
Adduction/Abduction: Stack x 20
Overhead Squats: 65, 85, 105, 125, 145 x 1 x 5 (love these for shoulder mobility)
Tires Flips: 450lb x 2 x 18

Fun Stuff:
Barbell one-arm curls: 45,55 x 1 x 10
Two KB one-arm swings: 2x24kg x 2 x 10 (not as bad as I though they would be)
Snatch practice: 24kg x 2 x 20L/20R
Barbell TGUs: 45, 65, 95 x 1L/1R (new PR on the Barbell TGU, plan to get 135 by end of October).
Double KB TGU: 2x16kg x 2 x 2

Weight is down to 184 -- 176 is going to be a piece of cake. Proof that my workout methods and carb cycling strategies do work. Eating more than ever, still losing weight and still DESTROYING people 50lbs heavier in the gym. My clients are killing it strengthwise in the gym.

To anyone out there -- if you have any kegs, I am looking to add to my strongman list of tools.

Monday, August 10, 2009

I have been doing a lot of this lately....

I have viewing covers of old 60s/70s songs on YouTube. There are some seriously talented people out there. Here is one of my favorites.

Manfred Mann's Earth Band/Blinded by the light:

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Yesterday's workout...

Had some fun with yesterday workout:
Halos: 24kg x 10L/10R
Presses: (2x16kg) x 5L/3R x 3, 5L/4R, 5L/5R (the right side improved when I let the bells get "back"

1" Board Presses (sort of): 135, 185, 225, 235, 245 x 1 x 3; 255 x 1 x 1

Crush Pushups: 1 x 30

KB snatches: 24kg x 3 x 10L/10R w/o putting bell down

DDR: 25 min

Today's stuff....

Not a lot of time to do stuff today. Very busy!

Bowling Tournament: Bowled a 518 on a sport shot today. Not great, but I though I threw the ball better.

Workout: Only had 25minutes, so here is what I did.
KB swings: 32kg x 5 x 20; 32kg x 6 x 15 (about 10 minutes)
DDR: 15 minutes (all fast song)
==> weighed in at 186 (a little high for my goal, but still in reach)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Now offering Introductory Kettlebell Session at XpertFitness

Offering discounted Kettlebell Intro sessions at XpertFitness. $15/session/person (1 hour/limit 6 people) at the following times for August:

Mondays: 6 PM
Wednesdays: 7 PM
Fridays: 6 PM
==> You owe it to yourself to check it out!

Xpert Fitness
2607 W Azeele St
Tampa, FL 33609

Kettlebell GroupInstruction_XpertFitness

Weight Loss Update.....other stuff too..

1) Weight is currently down to 183.9. Down over 7 lbs over the last month, 8 lbs to go (and about 22lb since October '08). I am pretty much on target. I have noticed that none of my pants fit, even the ones I bought two weeks ago.. I am fitting into 32s now (barely). My shirts are all real "blousy" as well. I have done no stationary cardio in that time. I love when people ask "What do you do for cardio?" and I say kettlebells, and they say "No, I mean the bike, treadmill...".

There was a guy who chastised me for eating carbs (he was very overweight, but I give him credit, he was working hard), but he no longer goes to the gym. I am sure that his plan of starvation dieting and death march cardio did not work. My fitness was sustainable, the low carb/LSD cardio is not, especially for males over 30.

No loss in strength and getting that V back. Also, I have some loose skin....hmmmmm.

Plan to get to 176:
* A 3 day juice fast (I figured that this is 2-3 lbs right there)
* Dial up the nutrition (now I am just managing the macronutrients and timing of carbs). Go spartan -- no extravagant dinners or alcohol (same way I lost 8lbs in two weeks for the RKC).
* Add outdoor HoC and DDR/HOC+ with 30lb weight vest.

2) Bowled like crap in PBA regional. 97th out of 106. Shot myself in the foot w/corner pin spares. Turned 190 games into 160s/170s. Can't do that at this level.
I though I was going to turn the corner. But I am not giving up. Bowling is a passion of mine, and even though it does not come easy for me, it is something I HAVE TO DO.

3) I had some really good short workouts this week. I have been doing some two a days to fit it in. Mornings are mostly a bodybuilding split with chest/tricep, legs, back, and shoulder/bicep days. Evenings are kettlebells TGUs/Ballistics/and HoC/and DDR
* One workout was just grabbing a KB and doing 5 x 10L/10R w/o putting bell down in under 5 minutes. More work (in terms of foot-lbs) than 85 250lb bench presses.
* Another one was:
12 sets of 2 box squats -- topping out at 285lbs (45s rest between sets)
3 sets of still legged deadlifts -- topping at at 295 lbs. This was about 20 minutes. Box squats have been feeling really strong lately.

==> Heavy lifting or ballistic lifting means you get a lot of back for the buck. Anything after it just gravy. Also, I am convinced heavy lifting keeps the T-levels up. I can see this from observing the guys in the gym emasculated by having to do boring non-weight bearing cardio.

4) DDR training is going well. Setting new records every day. Great for weight loss, and more functional than just about all cardio. Taught me more about my body than just about anything except kettlebells and powerlifting. The other great thing about it, it keeps score (scores for expert level games range, for me at least, from 25000000 to 40000000), so my performance is measured quantitatively instead of being judge qualitatively. Most importantly it is fun and motivating. Not for everyone, but it works for me.

Friday, July 31, 2009

4 weeks & 2 days out....

Weight in: 186.2 (goal 185.5)

Not at my goal, but made up some time. Strength is still solid (in the squat, anyway) and I don't look like a reject from the biggest loser.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Today's workout....

Not much time to work out today (got caught in a fun but ultimately useless conversation).

* Box Squats: 135, 185, 225 x 1 x 2, 245 x 2 x 2, 265 x 4 x 2, 285 x 4 x 2
==> Felt really strong...
* Stiff Legged Deadlifts: 135 x 1 x 8, 185 x 1 x 8, 235 x 1 x 8, 285 x 1 x 12
==> While only two exercise, still more foot-lbs than most people do in two hours

Gave a massage for 45 minutes. Good practice, but takes a lot of energy

Poor man's HoC, 1 song of DDR alternated with a KB exercise (40 minutes)

Bowling: 227-152-214 - 593 (I feel that I am ready for this weekend). Good week of practice and feeling confident.

Made turkey burgers, turkey mash and garbage bread today.

Weigh in

Weight in last night: 186.2 (slightly dry)...

I think that puts me a good shape for Friday's weigh in.

Leg day today

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Bowling; Working Out; DDR

My back is still killing me, but only after I wake up or sit for over 15 minutes....Not looking forward to Friday's weigh in.

Today's workout:
9:40 -- Took pictures for Kettlebell marketing material
It only took about 25 minutes, but I was soaked. It was about 90F, and I did all of the basic (and some not so basic) KB exercises an took about 400 picture. Thanks again for taking them Heather! The one I saw looked awesome. Looking forward to making some new fliers and putting a slideshow up in the future.

5:00 -- 1 hours of DDR
After my back loosened up, I was really smooth on the Dance Pad. I set some new PRs, including and Expert-level 168 combos. Hit 39,000,000 for the first time ever. "Breaking Records and Taking Names." I have said this a number of times, but DDR has gotten more people in shape than P90X and Tae Bo combined.

8:30 -- post-client KB workout at the new Studio
24kg x 1 x 5
24kg + 15lb x 1 x 5
24kg + 20lb x 4 x 5
24kg + 16kg x 1 x 1L (glad I got this)

Short Barbell TGU:
20lb x 1 x 1
60lb x 1 x 1
80lb x 1 x 1

24kg + 20lb x 2 x 1

KB armbars: 24kg x 2

KB armbar press: 24kg x 1 x 10 (great exercise)

On the 1:30
24kg x 8 x 10 snatches left/10 snatches right/10 swings
==> This was really cool
160 snatches and 80 swings in 12 minutes
Finished each set between 55 and 60 seconds (at 2s/snatch and 1.5s/swing -- that is 55 seconds nominal time)
Hands felt good
I really liked this....

11:30 45 minutes DDR.

Looking forward to the PBA regional. Practice round is at 10:30 in the morning, and I can make it. I have been doing some work on my external rotator cuff muscles to improve armswing. Need to keep up with ball fit and changing lane conditions.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Today's update....

Weighed in this morning at 188.2. Still should make a walking around weight of 185.5, but I gotta stay clean.

Today's workouts:
Early Morning (chest):
Machine Press: Worked up to triples with the stack
DB Incline Press: Worked up to 80lb x 1 x 18
Machine Flyes: 3 x 10
Serr Ant: 3 x 10
Ball Plank Pushups: 10 s in between reps x 10

Mid Morning (Triceps):
Pressdowns: Stack x 12
Close Grip Bench: Worked up to 235 x 1
Single arm reverse grip pulldowns: 3 x 12

Bowling - 10 games
Keys for PBA Regional (looking to finish in top 1/3):
1) Ball fit -- keep thumb flat
2) Good release -- on fingers w/o grab
3) Balance -- no fast feet
4) Spares -- focus

Monday, July 27, 2009

diet update...

Diet is still going well -- currently 187.5, want to get down to 185.5 before Friday. My back has been bothering me, so the workouts are not intense.

Today I played 45min of DDR in the morning
10 games of bowling in the afternoon.

If you look over to the left side of the blog page, I put up some new KB pictures, with more to follow. I really like the background and the red in the shirt really pops.

Don't forget, the TSC is coming up on Sept 26. Don't leave your preparation to chance. Get you customized training program to help prepare for it. There is a pay Pal link in the upper left of my blog. Even the best athletes have coaches. If you are thinking of getting into the top five -- read my reviews (definitely outside of the box yet effective training).

Bowling was hit and miss. Bowled well in my sport league and in practice, but poorly in the tournament. I have a PBA regional this weekend -- wish me luck.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Diet update....

Got a little off track with the diet. Allegies hit and I was run down for Sunday and Monday. Hit it hard since then. Here were my workouts.

* Morning (legs)
- Good Mornings: 135, 225, 275 x 1 x 5; 325, 375 x 1 x 3; 395, 415 x 1 x 1 (feel awesome)
- Leg Presses: 6,8 x 15; 9 x 10 (The leg press at Choice Fitness sucks ass)
- Leg Curls: Stack x 12
- Adduction/Abduction: Stack x 20
- Lunges: 85,115,135 x 5 x 5 (felt good)
- Renegade Rows: 32kg x 5 x 5

1:15 of DDR to attempt to loosen the hips and lower back

- KB presses: 24kg x 1 x 5; (24kg + 6kg) x 4 x 5; 24kg x 1 x 10
- Barbell TGU: 60lb x 1 x 1
- Hurt my back stepping in a hole walking home

Morning (back):
Lower back still stiff.
Lat Pull Downs: Stack x 12
Single arm rows: 120 x 2 x 10
Single arm pulldown

Afternoon (needed to see if I could bowl league)
* Bowled 10 games in 1:05

Early Evening:
* Took pictures for kettlebell marketing material
* Bowling League -- bowled well, but did not score real well, looking forward to tournament this weekend.

Friday (Chest/Tris)
* Speed Bench: 135, 175 x 1 x 3; 185 x 3 x 3; 195 x 4 x 3; 205 x 2 x 3 (good)
* Incline DB Presses: 60, 75, 90 x 1 x 10; 100 x 1 x 7
* Machine flys
* Dips: BW x 1 x 20; 25lb, 45lb x 1 x 10
* Close Grip: worked up to 225 x 1 x 1
* Tricep Press

Cardio: DDR