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.