Thursday, May 19, 2011

Employees get a move on

Great article in the NY Times this weekend.

Employers tell workers to get a move on.

I've been there. The office is a dangerous place... both nutritionally and mechanically.

Big restaurant lunches, and daily high sugar snacks on every corner make it really easy to pack on pounds in all the wrong areas.

Sitting (incorrectly) all day can promote postural issues, back pain, poor hip mobility, carpal tunnel, and a strong desire to go home collapse on the couch (promoting poor posture further and inactivity).

If you aren't careful, the office setting makes it really easy to blindly pick up on others' bad habits.


  • Every once in a while get out of your chair and walk to someones desk. 
  • Drink plenty of water. It will force you to refill and get out of your chair to run to the bathroom.
  • Take a walk on your lunch break or get in a quick 10-30 minute workout.  (As you've seen on this site, there's a lot you can do in 4 minutes.)
  • Pack your lunch or choose healthy options when you go out.
  • Avoid the party and office food. Pick certain days of the week you can splurge.
  • Encourage others to do the same. The more people there are to hold each other accountable the better you all will be. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The privilege of being wrong

Loved this blog post today by Seth Godin...

It reminds you that mistakes should be welcomed (when they happen on occasion) and viewed as a learning experience.

There have been many great things that have arisen from accidents.

The privilege of being wrong

"When you are truly living on the edge, walking on the moon, perhaps, or caught in the grip of extreme poverty--there's no room at all for error. It's a luxury you can't afford.

For the rest of us, though, there's a cushion. Being wrong isn't fatal, it's merely something we'd prefer to avoid. We have the privilege of being wrong. Not being wrong on purpose, of course, but wrong as a cost on the way to being right.

As you gain resources, the act of being wrong goes from being fatal to annoying to a precious opportunity, something that you've earned. You won't advance your cause or discover new truths if you're obsessed with being right all the time--and so the best way to compound your advantage and accomplish even more than you already have is to set out (with relish) to be as open to wrong as often as you can afford to be." - Seth Godin

Ideal driving/seated position

Do yourself a favor. You don't need to correct postural issues in the gym.  You can do it throughout the day in the office, or driving to and from work.

Came across this picture in a new book I'm reading about creating a pain free back and improved posture. The book is called 8 Steps to a Pain Free Back by Esther Gokhale. (Thanks Nancy for letting me borrow it)

Beware of over exaggerating your lumbar spine while driving or flying (figure on left). Most car seats are designed to reflect the average posture, unfortunately they tend to be a bit too concave both vertically and horizontally. 

The figure on the right is the (suggested) ideal position, while attempting to elongate the spine and neck.

The process is called stretch-sitting. 

In summary...
  • Shift your butt back into the seat.
  • Lengthen your back against the car seat.
  • Roll your shoulders up, back then down into position (away from your ears).
  • Lengthen you neck, keeping your chin tucked.
5.18.11 Update based on Nancy's Comments...
"Think of it as keeping the chin lowered, not tucked. Semantics, really, and personal interpretation of the word 'tuck'! And the lengthening of the neck refers to the BACK of the neck. The ideal is to have it flat rather than curved. Essentially, strive for a continuous, straight spine all the way from your sacro-lumbar joint to your skull.
If you push down with your hands against the seat while you lengthen your spine upward, you can get a bit of feel-good traction going on in the spine.
Headrests are notorious for pushing the head too far forward. Compensate by placing a soft object (i.e.: a small, folded, hand towel) between the seat and your upper spine (the Stretchsit cushion is used in the picture, above, you can find those at the site for fifty buckeroos)."

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Strength Training vs. Strength Demonstration

Today I was re-reading the Naked Warrior today by Pavel.

This post is for the guys (sorry ladies its just more typical of guys) out there who continue to push their max (or very close to their max) in every training session.

I've stated the importance of giving yourself room to grow and "not playing a superbowl every week" in a few different posts... but I really liked this particular quote on the difference between strength training and strength demonstration.

"Strength training and strength demonstration are not the same thing. The notion that you should break personal records every workout is nothing but a fairy tale.  
The less frequently you try for a PR, the better. 
Maxing every two weeks is a good guideline for beginners;
Every two months is more appropriate for experienced strength athletes.
The elite should only try for PRs a couple of times a year. " - Pavel, The Naked Warrior

Strength training consists of a program designed to peak over several weeks/months.

Strength demonstration is a single test of strength.  In most cases it should not be used on a daily basis.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Titan Ram arrived today.

Will test out soon and provide a review.

So far pretty well made.  Great for mimicking the technique you need to perform a shirted bench press.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Do the minimum...

Train the Brain.

Do the minimum you need to do to achieve your goal... adapt, then do a little bit more.

Example. If you haven't worked out in the last year, and you're looking to put on some muscle, you don't need to spend 5 hours a day performing Ronny Coleman's Busty Arms and Thighs Ultra High Volume Muscle Building Routine...


Because anything you do will provide your body with a training stimulus.

If its your first time out on a run, do you run a marathon? or do you try to run a half mile? then build up to a mile... further... faster...

Your body doesn't know sets and reps. 

It knows...
  • Work or Stress (Training = Damage to body)
  • Recovery (Fuel, Sleep = Repair)
  • Adaptation (Work + Recovery = Stronger, Faster, Bigger, etc)

Adaptation doesn't happen in a single workout. It happens over a period of time.

Give your body a little bit, and let it adapt. Then give it a little bit more, let it adapt... lather, rinse and repeat as needed.

Instead of beating your body up in a single workout. Start small, train frequently, give yourself room to grow and work your way up to more intense training sessions over time.

Then when you plateau, scale it back and start all over again.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Skinny Fat

I've been contemplating writing a blog post for women assuring them that using a weight lifting routine won't make them "HUGE".  But there are plenty of articles out there on the topic.

Anyway, today I came across a CrossFit blog post on "Skinny Fat", which I thought addressed this issue very well. So rather than recreate the wheel, check out the article below.

Check out Skinny Fat here... It's a great reminder for women not to fear the weights.

I should state that while GTS incorporates elements of powerlifting, olympic lifting, strong man plyometrics, high intensity intervals, multiple planes of motion, and sports specific training, it isn't (at least at the moment) affiliated with Crossfit.  If you're not local and looking for a similar style of training to GTS then Crossfit might be a good fit for you (assuming you know the core lifts, or have someone available to teach and progress them properly).  

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

New GTS Shake Weight Class?

This is one of the funniest news casts on the shake weight i've ever seen...

Low Intensity Cardio Thoughts

Here are a few thoughts I have on Low Intensity (Gym) Cardio.

I'm not talking about going out for a walk, bike ride, etc to enjoy some fresh air outside. I'm talking about going to the gym to either walk on the treadmill, spin on the bike, or elliptical and work at a low intensity for the primary purpose to burn extra calories and lose fat.

Someone just sent me over their training routine and it included some nightly cardio.  Here are a few thoughts I have on the subject (as it relates to fat loss)...

  • I think there's enough research out there that has demonstrated you can't out train a bad diet. So to make best use of your time get your diet in line first. 
  • I like the idea of doing something active every day... anything. And if it means going to the gym to do low intensity cardio will keep you from sitting home bored, watching tv, over eating, etc. Then I'm all for it. But if you have more productive things to do with your life that don't put you in the psychological state of eating in excess, that would probably be more worth your time.
  • From a training efficiency stand point, there are much more worth while things you can be doing with your time that will have a longer lasting impact on your metabolism... ie. resistance training, and higher intensity interval style training (plenty of information on this site about the two)
  • Bodybuilders have been using low intensity walking for years to preserve muscle tissue and burn a few extra calories from fat. To them I say, "If it isn't broke, don't fix it".  But, keep in mind they are in the extreme category where .25-1% impact in overall daily calories make a huge difference in competition. For everyone else that doesn't have 2-4 hours of time to dedicate to training each day, choose the exercises and intensity that's going to give you a little more bang out of your buck.  
  • If you're performing it with a purpose of improving some other aspect of your fitness, then its a good thing.  For example, Yoga is low intensity, you'll burn some calories but it also improves your flexibility and balance, and depending on your training history some general strength as well. You get a little more out of that, then mindless cycling in a gym environment.  
  • Circling back to the second bullet... if on occasion you've got some reading or TV watching to do, and you need to get some exercise in anyway, then have at it. You're making good use of your time, by doing two things at once. 
  • Getting outside for a walk, bike, swim has multi purpose so I like that too. 

In Summary:
I'm not ragging on Low Intensity Cardio at all... But, you only have so many hours in a day/week.  Just make sure you think through your goal, and determine if what you're doing is the best use of your time.  There are plenty of shorter workouts on this site that will help to accomplish what most people are after (additional calorie burning) in a fraction of the time.

Friday, May 6, 2011

High Stakes Workout

Please excuse my hand writing, a long day of training and my fine motor skills go down the toilet.  Every once in a while, instead of training toward a specific goal, I throw in a fun little challenge for my clients.  Challenges are great because they keep things fresh and fun, and occasionally it creates the illusion that they have an influence over their own workouts... <cue sinister laugh>

This particular challenge involves a deck of cards, and lots of pain...

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Final Tally From April Tabata Challenge

Thanks again to all who participated in the challenge.

Based on the comments alone, here are the results of the 30 Day Tabata Challenge.

Nancy - 38
Magdelena - 31
Sam - 28
Matt - 9
Rick - 8
Kevin - 6
Conny - 6
Whitney - 5
Mr. Inappropriate - 4
Tami - 2

Great job everyone! Hopefully others were participating and keeping track of things on their own.  Looking forward to the next GTS Challenge.

Nice Shout out from Kahee - Training and Nutrition Books

Here's a video from a colleague of mine, Kahee.

As most of you probably know, I'm constantly reading books on training, psychology, business, self-improvement, etc.  Recently I shared a few of these books with Kahee, here's a video of her chatting about it.

To check out her progress as she works toward her next Bikini Competition, check out her Fan Page here.

Looking for the books?

If it's important...

"If it is important, do it every day. If it's not important, don't do it at all.."

This a quote I stole from Dan John... who stole it from Dan Gable (1972 Olympic Gold Medalist), who probably stole it from someone else...

It's such a simple concept, and one that inspired my April Tabata Challenge.

Next step is figuring out what's "important".

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Santa Barbara USPA Powerlifting Competition Results

Traveled up to Santa Barbara this past weekend with my F-Word and Rob for another USPA Powerlifting Competition hosted by Fisher Strength and Health.   The competition was outdoors at the fairgrounds, but I had a chance to walk through Kevin Fisher's facility, and I highly recommend the gym to anyone serious about building strength, or improving their sports performance and overall health.  It's a lock and key gym with some awesome equipment, several trainers and a crossfit area as well.

Anyway, we lucked out with yet another great day!  Everyone from GTS hit personal records and achieved their goals for the day.  For Rob and I, it was only a month out from our last competition, which was ok, because I competed RAW and used it as more of a training session, and Rob is still pretty new to the sport so his body is still adapting to the training loads.  Anna however was brand new to the sport and this was her first ever deadlift competition.  Amazing results after only 4 weeks of dedicated deadlift training!

Quick Summary of Results:

  • Rob benched 419 lbs for a new USPA CA and American State Record for his age and weight class.
  • Rob deadlifted 501 lbs, an awesome accomplishment considering his history of back problems and that we started him off at 100 lbs about 4 months ago.
  • Anna deadlifted 231 lbs RAW (also didn't use a belt) after only 4 weeks of training.
  • Jason deadlift 585 lbs RAW for a new USPA CA State Record, first raw competition ever with only 4 weeks of training. (Previous Personal Records : 639 lbs @ 198 BW Single Ply & 716 lbs @ 220 BW Single Ply)
  • Turns out our Vibram 5 Finger shoes are awesome for deadlifting, no heel, keeps us nice an low to the ground and the new models have some awesome grip to the floor.  Each of us wore them during the competition, just had to cut off the toes in our deadlifting socks to get them on.  Got a few strange looks, but I guess it happens. 
 Check out the video results below!

My first music video...

Thanks Rob. Laura I suppose I should thank you as well... The beauty of JibJab... Check out the video below.