Thursday, June 30, 2011


Finally got around to migrating testimonials from my main site and adding a few others I've received...

Check it out GTS Testimonials here...

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Train like a man

Been waiting for a series of articles like this for a while...

For the last decade or so the term "functional training" has dominated the fitness industry.  Thousands of trainers... myself included, took a break from their old strength and muscle building training methods to experiment with these new techniques designed to load the body in multiple planes of motion.

Just like everything, I've found that some of the new techniques and products has changed the way I think about strength, conditioning, fat loss & fitness... and of course there are others that are absolute garbage.

Personally, from a Strength Training Perspective, I like performing exercises I can objectively measure and see progress over time.   Although a cross over, lateral jump squat might translate over to sport (i guess) a deadlift creates a whole lot more tension in the body, trains infinitely more muscles, induces more hormonal change, and is much easier to measure progress. That's not to say that the exotic pattern earlier doesn't have its place in your training, but depending on your primary needs...

  • If your goal is to build strength, focus on the core lifts... and do a little bit of movement pattern work.
  • If your goal is to improve movement patterns, focus on movement patterns... and do a little bit of core lifts.

Long story short, I think we have strayed away from some of the tougher core lifts like the bench, squat, press, dips and of course my favorite... the deadlift...

Martin Rooney put it best...
"Back in the good old days, I was one of the gym outlaws. I'd strap on my lifting belt, chalk up my mitts, crank up my Walkman, and then hammer every muscle fiber for two hours of gut wrenching heavy lifting.
A decade later, I'd become a lifting law abider. I trained for just under an hour, chalk-less and belt-less, with safe "cutting edge" programs that were more complicated than the fancy iPod that had replaced my old Walkman.
Training like a law abider might've been "smarter" or "more advanced," but was all this progress just holding me back?"
Funny Video on the topic...

Check out the Train Like a Man Series Links:
Train Like a Man Part 1
Train Like a Man Part 2
Train Like a Man Part 3

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Is that good?

"Is that good?"

I get that question a lot...
  • "I had a protein bar today, is that good?"
  • "I ate greek yogurt today, is that good?"
  • "I worked out for an hour today, is that good?"

Here's my simple 3 step analysis...

1. Everything circles back to this....What's your goal?... 

Example Goals: Fat Loss, Muscle Gain, Health, Cancer Prevention, Performance.

Example Question: "I ate fruit this morning, is that good?"

Quick Answer: If the nutrition plan you are on permits fruit, Good. If it doesn't, Not Good. The fat loss nutrition plan that my clients are on aims to minimize sugar unless required for performance reasons.  Fruit is sugar. Therefore, depending on when they consumed it, fruit would be bad while following my particular plan.  I'm not saying fruit is bad in general, just doesn't fall within the plans rules.

For most of us, our daily/weekly/monthly eating habits don't typically match our goals. Adjust accordingly.

2. Remember to look at the big picture... frequency.

Example Question: "I ate a bagel today, is that good?"

Quick Answer: Always circle back to the first question... then, ask yourself... "Is this a one time occurrence or a frequent habit?"

Eating a bagel isn't bad, you won't wake up morbidly obese... but eating a bagel frequently stacks up quick...

For instance...
  • 1 Bagel with Cream Cheese for Breakfast (Roughly 400 calories, 45 grams of Carbs)
  • Bagel every day of week for Breakfast (Roughly 2800 calories, 315g Carbs)
  • Bagel every day of month for Breakfast (Roughly 12,000 calories, 1350g Carbs)

3. It's all relative, What was your alternative?...

Example Question: "I ate a protein bar today, is that good?"

Quick Answer: Always circle back to step 1 & 2... Now, what were your alternatives? Protein bars are essentially candy bars with some protein mixed in.  But, if you only had the choice between...
  1. 2 Servings of Cereal with Milk (Roughly 300 calories, 45g Carbs, 6g Protein) 
  2. Protein bar (Roughly 280 calories, 29g Carb, 29g Protein)
And your goal also included increasing your protein intake, consuming green vegetables, decreasing your calories and overall carbohydrates during the day... the Protein Bar, doesn't hit all of your requirements but was probably the better choice of the two.

But if your other choice was...
  1. 3 Eggs & 2 Egg Whites, with 1 cup Sautéed Spinach (Roughly 262 calories, 3g Carbs, 26g Protein)
  2. Protein bar (Roughly 280 calories, 29g Carb, 29g Protein)
The first choice seems to be the better option as its more inline with your goals... Decreased calories & carbs, solid amount of protein... Plus carbs from vegetables are much more nutrient dense then carbs from sugars and fillers... 

What the World Eats...

Thanks to Nancy for sending this over!

(Via Food
This photographic report exposes the proliferation of processed foods in the western diet and in the diets of many developing countries the world over. Is it any wonder that we are seeing increases in diet & lifestyle related diseases?

About the project:

These images are from the book 'Hungry Planet: What the World Eats' by Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluision. It's an inspired idea, to better understand the human diet, explore what culturally diverse families eat for a week. Their portraits feature pictures of each family with a week's worth of food purchases. We soon learn that diet is determined by largely uncontrollable forces like poverty, conflict and globalization, which can bring change with startling speed. Thus cultures can move, sometimes in a single jump, from traditional diets to the vexed plenty of global-food production. People have more to eat and, too often, eat more of nutritionally questionable food. And their health suffers.

See What the World Eats... Shocking Photos for full list of photos...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Old Squat Photos...

Found a photo disk from my 2009 WPF World Powerlifting Competition...

I saw these two pictures and the first thing that came to mind was a quote from Fast and the Furious...

In this scene I will play the role of Paul Walker...

Vin Diesel will be played by Lance Karabel...

Me (Paul Walker) after my 600+ lb PR Squat : "Dude! I almost had you..."

Lance (Vin Diesel) after his 1003 lb PR Squat: "You almost had me? You never had me - you never had your car... "

Monday, June 20, 2011

Education and habits...

As a kid I was never a fan of reading.  I was slow, read every word on the page, and would often find myself reading for pages, spacing out and having no idea what I just read.

Who knows maybe I just had a resentment for reading throughout the years because I was forced to read books in school that I had no interest in.  

Not quite sure when it happened, but over the last several years I have been devouring books and educational material... I guess when you realize what you're interested in, its no longer a chore.  You learn how to extract the information you're looking for and disregard the information you don't need.

Either way, today I took a picture of some of the (phsycial) educational material I've read/watched over the last year and a half...  this doesn't include the hours of online research, journals, eBooks, Kindle Books, blogs, and weeks worth of seminars I've attended... I was really surprised!

I certainly didn't intend on accomplishing all of that in the last year and a half... it just kinda built up over time.  Even the thought of reading all of that seems impossible.  But, last year I set a simple goal for myself... I made it a habit to read at least a little something every day.  I'm still relatively slow at reading, but I took it one page/chapter/book at a time.

The same can be said for your fitness or nutrition plan.  The thought of losing 30 lbs of fat, gaining 20 lbs of lean muscle, or adding 50 lbs to a lift seems so far away at first, almost impossible...

The truth is it takes time, persistance, and commitment for a period of time to reach your goal, and it all starts with creating a simple habit.  Aim to get some type of activity each day, become more conscious about what you're consuming, train your weakness each time you get into the gym, drop one night of treats or drinking from your week or month...

A quarter to half pound of weight gain or loss in a week seems so small... but compound that over several months or a year and you'll see some huge physical changes! (both for better or worse...)

Use this as a reminder, evaluate what you've been doing...

Do your habits match your goals?

Friday, June 3, 2011

6 pack abs in 30 days...

Entertaining Article/Video of an average guy determined to get 6 pack abs in 30 days...

Check it out here.

I love stories like this.  A person sets a goal and stops at nothing to achieve it.  Great stuff.

Obviously he had a few things working in his favor...

  • Extreme time frame (believe it or not sometimes makes it easier to say I'll do something for 30 days vs my whole life.)
  • Unlimited funds (for personal trainer, nutrition program)
  • EXTREMELY Strict nutrition plan.
  • A dedicated personal trainer, (single information source)
  • Unlimited time (based on the fact he was training 2-3 times per day)
  • And most importantly... A HUGE driving factor and accountability system to complete his goal (his job, and public humiliation on video if he fails). 

Reality for everyone else:

  • No immediate timeline.
  • Tight budgets. 
  • Too much information, in too many places you don't know where to start.
  • No nutrition plan (or one that you're kinda on, kinda off)
  • No personal trainer.
  • Extremely limited time (based on work, family, stress, etc)
  • NO Driving Factor and Accountability System.

I shared this video NOT to say that excessive crunching will give you 6 pack abs (obviously something they overplayed for humor purposes) or working out 2-3 times a day is a good/realistic idea... but to show you that it is possible to accomplish a goal when you have the right resources, make it a priority and have a strong driving factor/motivator.