Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Looking for a select group of people....

I am looking for a group of 10 people that are seriously looking to get in shape:
* 25 - 75 lbs overweight
* Between the ages of 30 and 50
* Live in the Tampa Bay area.

If you fit the above criteria, e-mail me at to learn more about what I have to offer you....

Thursday, August 25, 2011

MaxVO2 progressions, no cadence test....

I have to admit, when doing MaxVO2 snatching and determining what weight and cadence (i.e., reps/15s) to use, I DON'T use the cadence test. The reasons are:
* Personally, I don't think there is a perfect correlation between the cadence test and oxygen metabolism. Part of it is just snatch proficiency.

* Progress is progress, if you are doing more work aren't you getting better. As you improve, you cadence will change. Since I only do MaxVO2 2x/week, if I tested monthly that is still 1/8 session. 12.5% of sessions spent on testing is excessive. I just focus on doing more.

* During training, do you ever REALLY know if you are operating at MaxVO2. And if you are operating at 90% or 110% of MaxVO2, are you really doing anything wrong.

So here is how I have been progressing.
* I started with 16kg/8 reps. I pretty much did this the first month. After achieving 80 sets, I then chose the next weight cadence by choosing the next combination by increase the (weight x cadence). Here are the weights and cadences that I have used/plan on using:
- 16 x 8 reps (128 kg)
- 16 x 9 reps (144 kg)
- 20 x 8 reps (160 kg)
- 24 x 7 reps (168 kg) <== This is where I am now, and easily get 20 minutes
- 20 x 9 reps (180 kg)
- 24 x 8 reps (192 kg)

* Even though you can, I haven't gone from one progression to the next until I have hit 40 minutes. Part of the reason for this is that at most I do this 2x/week, and it has always either been:
- Variety Day stuff, or
- Replace for swings during ETK (not recommended for beginners)

If you are doing 3 days a week, I do recommend doing a "supramax" session, where you work ABOVE your cadence. (e.g., if your cadence is 20kg x 8, do a shorter session with 20kg x 9 or 24kg x 7). I also believe that there is a diminishing returns with going past 40 minutes, since it just means that it is a pace of work that you can recover from completely. Work above your MaxVO2 will still improve your MaxVO2

* Even though I haven't done a lot of it, I still think the :36/:36 is valuable. As part of full disclosure, I generally use and analog clock when I train, so I train :30/:30 when I do this. My logic is: if :15/:15 is MaxVO2 snatching, and so is :36/:36, then why wouldn't :30/:30. And much easier to do with an analog clock and much easier to calculate cadence from :15/:15. A value of longer sets means that you can't get ugly like you can with sets of 7,8, or 9.

* I have found that the double snatches in RoTK improved my MaxVO2 snatches. Snatch heavy. In my case, this was 32kg/28kg and 2 32kg.

* For those that use heart rate monitors, you should find that you can either:
- do the same amount of work, at a lower heart rate
- do more work at the same heart rate
==> These are expected responses to improving MaxVO2. Don't confuse improving MaxVO2 with pegging your heart rate monitor. Focus on the work, not the heart rate.

Hope this helps. As long as you are doing more work at around the same exertion level, you are getting better. Don't get tied up in protocols, testing, and gadgets. Focus on doing work.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Post Mortem: 30-day Detoxification Program

Objective: Perform a 30-day detoxification program that has been used by a number of people with success.


* Weight went from 178.0 lb to 164.0 lb, for a net weight loss of 13.0 lbs. On my last weigh in, I was a little dry, and I believe a more accurate weight was 167.0 lb, my weight the following morning. It was still a net weight loss of 11.0 lb, even though weight loss was not the primary goal. By the way, this is less than I weighed when I graduated from high school. Also, my half bodyweight RKCII press is the 36kg/80lb bell, which I do for reps, easily.

* I was still able to lift heavy and often during the detox. This detox was not one where you just drank spicy water and took pills. This was a detox that encouraged clean eating of lean protein, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. What this detox did was avoid toxins (duh) and allergens. It was not a starvation diet. The workouts, primarily barbell and double kettlebell exercises, included:

- Long Cycle Clean and Jerk: 2 24kg x 5 x 5,10,15 and 2 32kg x 5 x 2,4,6
- TGU: 32-40kg x 12 minutes
- Max VO2: 20kg x 25-40 minutes or :15/:15 and 25+ minutes of :30/:30
- Good Mornings: Up to 355lb + maxing out the Leg Press
- Box Squats: 225 - 315lb (unfortunately, the gym that I go to doesn't have any low boxes, so these were slightly above parallel) + Dimel deadlifts with 185-245lb
- Double KB military presses, up to 2 32kg bells, snatch start.
==> These are athletic workouts. No curling in the squat rack here.
==> These are short workouts: 10 - 35 minutes for the most part.
==> There was absolutely no compromising of training intensity/volume on this detox. In fact, I set a number of PRs.

* I did not have any diet soda or any artificial sweeteners for thirty-six days. I have to say that I was extremely surprised at the affects that it had on food cravings and also encouraged me to drink more water. Also, this saved me probably $3-5/day. While that doesn't seem like a big deal, if you take the money from that, about $30/week, you can definitely upgrade your choices of meats and seafood. It also force me to drink a lot more water, which I believe paradoxically caused me to retain less water.

* The protein powder that I used for meals where I could not cook did not have any artificial sweeteners or flavors. While I am not huge on protein shakes (about 1/day), there are times when either:
- I really want something quick in the morning and don't have time to cook/clean and/or
- Post workout, I really don't want to eat harder-to-digest animal protein.

The protein that I was taking felt more like eating real food than most protein powders. Normally, if I have a protein shake, I am hungry 90 to 120 minutes later. This was very filling. Also, it is definitely not something you will find at Wal-Mart, but it is less expensive the that boutique protein powders you find in the health food stores.

* I was starting to feel veins where I haven't in a very long time, including in the front of my shins and in my hip flexors. There were definitely body composition changes. I will say, however, that not all of the weight loss was probably not fat, and I am OK with that. A lot was probably removing water retention associated with a toxic environment. Also, the internal cleansing contributed to the pounds as well. While that may not sound like a big deal, removing that waste help your digestive system function better, allowing you to absorb more of what you eat and helping you eat less, while still getting the nutrition (the "good stuff" is also the hardest to digest).

* I found that my alertness skyrocketed. I got a lot more projects done because I was able to focus better. I am not sure if that was the diet itself, or the fact that I slept much better. If you are dragging ass in the morning and "tired by wired" at night, chances are your cortisol is out of whack, and you may need a detox. If you are throwing coffee, Red Bull, or other nervous system stimulants at a sleep or recovery problem, you are just applying a band aid, except this one will make you psychotic. It is amazing how many people, even personal trainers, brag about how many Red Bulls they drink.

I noticed that I had a lot less lingering pain in my shoulders. I am not sure if this was just part of the recovery process, or if the detox has anything to do with it. I work at a residential fitness center, Core Fitness Solution, and there is a lot of anecdotal evidence there or people having reduced joint pain even though they did not get direct medical therapy. Hmmmmm......

Things I wish I did better:*

I normally don't plan my grocery shopping trips. I am pretty minimalist in what I shop for, I don't keep much in inventory, and I can shop every other day with my schedule. I usually just go and get what I need. I did find, that since detox was not on my mind 100% of the time, that a lot of times I bought stuff out of habit. I remember one day getting a can of diet soda, then thinking "Why the frack did I buy that?" I really didn't plan weekly menus and shopping lists, but in retrospect I really should have.

* I wish I did a better job of logging my meals. I know I wasn't perfect with the detox, but I was pretty good. I wish I logged my meals better not so much to improve my choices, but to see what affect those choices had on me. This is going to be especially important that I am "adding stuff back in."

What did I learn:

* Beer has a more negative effect on my than I original thought. I really like beer, and I am not going to give it up completely, but it does affect me, especially in terms of retaining water.

* Breads are a real no-no. I don't think I am allergic or gluten intolerant, but I do noticed that if I eat bread, it stokes my hunger. Given that there are no nutrients in bread than cannot be found in other sources, there is no reason to have to rely on them. I do think bread is tasty, if you see me eating a chicken parm sandwich, it is because it is tasty, not because I think it is healthy.

* Significant healthy weight loss can be achieved quickly while maintaining workout volume. This is just another tool in the tool box.

* In a way, the only way that matters to your bank account, detox-style eating is cheaper than the SAD (Standard American Diet). Even though you may spend more on individual items, eating toxic foods costs more because:

- You get nickel-and-dimed by eating snacks. You spend only a little bit of money, but they add nothing to nutrition. You still have to eat more to get nutrients. Lead with healthy food, and you save in the long run. All of the major fast food companies and large commercial food producers are 5-and-diming you out of your health.

- Things like sodas are much more expensive than water. Sure, things like an organic soda might cost more than a Big Gulp, but you have an alternative that is free -- water. Also, you are most likely craving diet soda (or Crystal Lite or Gatorade), because it is wet, not because it quenches your thrist. Also, do you know what the process is that breaks down fat? HYDROlysis. Get the picture?

- You don't go out to eat as much. When you go out to eat, only 67-82% of what you pay for is food cost. The rest goes to make it, serve it, and to cover corporate overhead. Use that savings to buy better stuff to cook. Even if it costed 2x as much (it doesn't), you are still better off.

* If you spend an hour in a grocery store, I will almost bet you are not eating healthy. When you are detoxing, shopping is really easy. About 70% of the grocery store is off limits. I go to the health food store, and most people are not healthy or fit. Just because your cookies are organic does make them healthy. Most of the companies that specialize in "health food" aren't in the business of making you healthy. They don't make money if you lose weight. The do make money when you buy their crap. They are in the business of JUSTIFYING UNHEALTHY CHOICES.

* Don't think of foods as being "good" or "bad". It is not that black and white. Are strawberries good for you? "Yes". Can you eat a flat a day? NO! Are they good to have before your workout? NO. This is another way that overweight people justify choices that are making them fat. "How many points is it....?"

I think people who think of foods as either "good" or "bad" were not very creative and/or punished too much as children.

* If you have a fitness goal, write the goal down, BUT DON'T TELL ANYONE unless you are paying them. This is because:

- No one cares. And if someone does care, they probably think you are a righteous asshat or they want to bring you down to their level.

- If you are committed, there is really no need to tell anyone. I know there is a lot of talk about "accountability partners", but I think they are a copout. At the end of the day, there is only two person who cares, and that is you and someone who benefits from your success. My dad has a saying, "When you are in trouble, you are a alone." If you don't believe me, ask the most hated jocksniffer in Florida, Nevin Shapiro. He had a lot of friends when he was buying Miami Hurricane football players hookers and cars. But now that he is in jail, they are shunning him big time. I would like to think that if someone did that for me when I was in college, I would have their back.

I am not really big into the shows like the Biggest Loser and other programs that preach hyper-fast weight loss. I meet a lot of people who can't see their toes tell me how fast they have lost weight before. If it is not sustainable it is not right to do, EVER. At the end of the day, it has to be THE RIGHT THING TO DO. This detox was based on eating clean foods, avoiding toxins/allergens, fixing the body from the inside, and effective exercise. The benefits were improved body composition, performance, and sleep quality, and I even saved some dinero. How can that be counterproductive long term?

If the reason you are training is to look, feel, and perform better, and you are not getting the results as fast as you want them, a detox-program may be for you. Based on what I have experienced, even highly fit people can benefit. Contact me at 813-951-7470/ to learn more.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Detox Results -- Day 23....only one week left.

Here are the results as of Day 23 of my detox:

* At day 20, weight was down 10.5 lbs (167.5lb). I am not trying to lose weight. Weight loss has slowed down as expected. Definitely looking a lot leaner, especially in the upper body. I can also see the pes anserousI do feel like I am eating a lot. I probably weigh a little more since Saturday's weigh in, but I expect to be at 166 lbs in one week.

* Cravings are virtually non-existent. Just never feel hungry, except maybe post workout.

* Have not had a Diet Soda in 23 days, and I used to drink as many as 4-8 per day. I don't even crave it (no one even has withdrawal from aspartame). That right there is big monetary savings. Also, it is acidic (about 1/10th as much as acid rain), and the body runs best in a slightly alkaline environment. Another thing about diet soda, since it is carbonated it affects the Oxygen/Carbon Dioxide balance in your body.

* My energy is way up, but not in a strung out, coke-head kind of way. More like a quiet focus.

* I haven't had any processed meats of any kind. Any meat that I did have, I made, with the exception of going to Tun-Du-Ree for curry. Big savings. Also, I have used what I saved on diet sodas to get better cuts of meat.

* The detox that I am doing supports heavy lifting. I have maintained my schedule schedule of:
- Double kettlebell lifting (snatches, clean and jerks, presses, squats, etc.),
- Barbell lifting (good mornings, box squats, Dimel deadlifts, olympic cleans, olympic snatches)
- Turkish Get Ups (32kg & 40kg)
- Max VO2 snatches (20kg x 8 x 25-40 minutes)
==> If the detox does not support heavy lifting, high tension exercises, or high power output, you know it can be doing good for the body.

* Sleeping great. I am tired when I am supposed to be tired and awake when I am supposed to be awake. When I am asleep, I stay asleep.

* I feel light on my feet. During one of the boot camp classes, I set a volume and intensity records for double under rope skipping. I am still not great at it, but definitely improving.

* Have I been perfect on this detox. No, because I don't think "I'm on a detox and I have to avoid this, this, and this." I am eating real food. I am doing very good. Definitely better than doing 80% to get 95% of the results. This detox much easier to stick to than most diets. Now that being said, if you are not serious, you won't stick to it, but that is on you.

* I do supplement with protein, fiber, and Omega-3s, but I always have supplemented with them.

* I am really excited about the results. A 12lb weight loss (projected) in one month while setting PRs is extraordinary and definitely beyond my expectations. I would recommend this program to anyone for the following reasons:
- The logic behind it makes sense.
- It is based on real foods.
- It supports strenuous exercise.
- It fits into working lifestyles.
- If, and this is a big one, effective addresses the reasons that people don't stick to most programs.

==> Let me address this last point real quick. A lot of programs work, but they are so impossible to follow that no one actually finishes them. A lot of programs that are on TV talk about results, but how many people DO YOU KNOW have actually made it all the way through. Typically the number is zero, one, or two. Or people go, "I did this program, and it was great." My next response is usually something like "What happened?" The typical answer is like "I couldn't afford to continue." or "I got hurt!" or "I couldn't stick with it." If it is not sustainable, what is the point of doing it. If feel like I could continue this program for a long time, there is no reason not to.

Again, the results of this are exceptional, and it is a very robust program that is applicable in any lifestyle.

As always, if you have any questions, contact me ( directly.