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Showing posts from 2008

Have a Safe and Happy New Year!!!

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Earlier today I finished my last workout of the year. I wore my new Vibram 5 Finger KSO's. Since today was deadlift day, I felt they would be ideal since the deadlift is optimized when you are completely grounded--meaning little or no cushion from footwear to interrupt power transmission. Earlier this morning I weighed in at 249.5 lbs, my first foray under the 250 lb mark in approximately 10 years. I also won another hole from my weightlifting belt--only one more left and it's time for a new belt. Despite hitting new benchmarks in reduced body mass, my deadlifting today was excellent. I exceeded my repetition goals and completed work sets of: 455x5, 455x5, 455x5, and 455x4. My previous two deadlift workouts were much more difficult sets of 455x3 for 4 sets. My overall workload increased by 7 reps and 3185 lbs.

The only other thing that I've changed since my last deadlift workout 2 weeks ago was the introduction of 100 mg of CoQ10 in the morning. This particular s…

A new soccer training DVD!

My buddy Josh Hewett of Top Form Fitness has just completed a soccer training DVD. If you play soccer or have a child who does, check out the DVD by clicking the product link above.

Nice to Have vs Need to Have

As the end of 2008 nears and the beginning of 2009 looms, I find myself re-evaluating expenses and material possessions. I do this by applying the ubiquitous 80-20 rule to "Nice to Have" vs "Need to Have". As I consider my inventory of expenses and material possessions, I realize that most of what I have or spend falls into the "Nice to Have" category. When I categorize the things that fall into the "Need to Have" column, I find that over the past year, I've let the ratio get out of whack. That is, the ratio of Nice vs Need has risen over the past year to closer to 90/10 instead of 80/20.

Now obviously housing costs take up a larger portion of almost everybody's budget than 10 or 20 percent but I consider the "Need to Have" requirement for housing to be the average cost of renting a room in an inexpensive part of the city--that's the minimum I'd "need" to survive. Add in the expense of a downtown, two-be…

Don't reinvent the wheel, use it!

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One of the most effective tools to help strengthen your core and your shoulder girdle is a device that's been around for at least 50 years. In its basic incarnation, it's called the "ab wheel". That's not as exciting as calling it the "abdominizer", the "super crunch-o-matic", or the "super washboard making, bounce a quarter off your belly, six-pack maker" but it works and it's been working for decades.

What is it? It's just a wheel with handles. A newer version called the "Power Wheel II" adds foot pads so you can also work the front of the core from the feet as well as the hamstrings.

The basic version of the ab wheel exercise is a roll-out from your knees. You'll notice immediately whether or not your core, triceps and lats are weak or strong by how far you can go without falling on your belly. If the roll-out from your knees is not enough of a challenge, you can graduate to the advanced version and rol…

Have you stretched lately?

No, this entry isn't about flexibility or mobility even though they are critical components to a vital lifestyle. What I'm asking is, "have you forced yourself to step outside of your comfort zone and try something that wasn't just new but also required you to muster up some courage?"

The other night I ventured onto a dance floor for the first time in many years. This wasn't an alcohol-fueled, Dr. Jekyllian episode, I was sober but I decided to do it anyways. For many people, especially women, going dancing is as natural as looking both ways before crossing the street. For me, not so much. I have a tremendous fear of looking like a dork on a dance floor. It's warranted. I do look like a dork. Still, dancing is fun and I love music so I finally decided the other night that I would throw vanity aside and let myself have fun.

As I reflected back on that night, I realized that many people feel the same way about stepping foot inside a fitness club or gy…

Read this post if you have fat loss goals!

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Now and as it was before, I hear an endless stream of completely misguided nutritional strategies from clients and members at the club. Some have simply been over-influenced by product marketing and have a pavlovian response to anything labeled "low-fat", others heard from a friend that a friend lost X amount of pounds by drinking nothing but dirty dishwater and eating one prune a day with lemon juice--or something to that effect.

I will always defer to an expert rather than try to re-invent the wheel and I think Dr. Jonny Bowden is one of the most credible and effective nutrition coaches in existence. Some "gurus" list a Ph.D or other fancy letters after their name but they were earned in nothing resembling the gurus' current enterprise, Dr. Bowden actually received his Ph.D in Nutrition so it's not a "for show" set of post-name letters. I list his book, "The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth" as one of my favorites and if you really want…

Finished the Level II Kettlebell Certification last week

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We learned all sorts of new kettlebell moves and now have really full toolboxes of kettlebell exercises for our upcoming client programs. I was sore for a couple of days after but nowhere near as sore as from the certification class. Chris (the man-mountain wearing the Jordan jersey) and I are excited about the new kettlebell training class we're going to roll out at the Parkview Goodlife. It will be an awesome class for anyone interested in strength, mobility, and incredible fat loss.

I had a great day

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I had a great day today. Most of them have been varying degrees of great ever since I decided to follow my passion and get back into the health and fitness field as a personal trainer. Today was extra great. I had a great session with a new client, a brilliant businessman who really wants to lose weight so he can enjoy many more years with his grandchildren. He is so motivated to make a change! I can't wait to start working with him!

Back at my apartment, a man and his dog got on the elevator. Actually it was a man and his puppy. The puppy was a Pug/Jack Russell Terrier mix like the one in the picture. Evidently this mix is quite popular but I've never seen one in person. This little puppy was so happy and so cute and I left the elevator with a smile on my face.

Is it too soon to be getting the golf bug again?

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Winter is definitely upon us in southern Ontario with temperatures more like January than November and a discouraging layer of snow on the ground. Despite climatic cues that I should be resigned to storing the sticks until next March, I stopped in at the local Golftown, "just to see what's new". Those of you that have known me for a while probably know that such an innocuous purpose quite often leads to me leaving the store with a new club. Today started out no differently than others, as I immediately noticed they were heavily discounting last season's drivers.

I selected a Titleist 907 D2 in my preferred loft and shaft flex and proceeded to head to the simulator to take some swings. I really was curious about the club but I was more motivated to try to loosen up all the soreness from the past two days of kettlebell exercising with my recent certification.

Aside from noticing how nice the classically shaped Titleist looked at address, I was surprised to feel quite…

Got my Level 1 Kettle Bell Trainer Specialist Certification today

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They are described as "cannonballs with handles". They look rudimentary, as far from the high-tech cardio-vascular machines as sticks and stones are from jet fighters. Yet, when properly used, they absolutely kick your butt.

I'd seen youtube videos and even messed around with a 16kg kettle bell before but I was not prepared to be pummeled into submission after two four-hour days learning the basics of the swing, clean and press, snatch, turkish get-up and the windmill.

I am sore but invigorated. The workout one gets from properly using kettle bells is amazing to say the least. Just a super combination of power, endurance, and mobility along with some serious peak loading for your hips and shoulder girdle. Every large muscle group with the exception of my chest has been worked hard.

I am super excited to start implementing basic kettle bell moves with my clients. All of them can benefit from the core stabilization as well as the mobility improvements and the ones tha…

Powerlifting meet results

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I just got back from the 2008 USAPL Ohio Championships and I'd have to say the meet was a success. I managed to get a new meet PR of 470 lbs in the squat and greatly exceeded my expectations in the deadlift with a pain-free pull of 550 lbs with more in the tank. On top of that, I beat the two other competitors in my division and weight class and took first place in the 275lb Raw (meaning only a belt, wrist wraps and neoprene knee sleeves allowed) class.

My last meet back in March was my first in almost 20 years and I had to cut 10 lbs the night before in order to make the upper limit of the 275lb class. This time, thanks to some awesome nutritional advice by Poliquin Bio signature practitioner Helen Medeiros, I weighed in at 256.6 without making any effort to cut weight. My next goal is to get down to 240 and compete in the 242lb class in March 09. When I do that, it will represent a weight loss of 59 lbs and a net fat loss of upwards of 70 lbs since November 2007.

Despite we…

Five days until the second powerlifting competition of my second fitness life

The first competition of my second fitness life took place last March. I cut 10 pounds of water weight the last day before the weigh-in to make the upper limit of the 275.5 lb weight class. Lifting in the "Raw" division, meaning using a belt, wrist wraps, and neoprene knee sleeves, I managed to squat 450 lbs, bench press 340 lbs, and deadlift 545 lbs. I had planned to lift more in the squat and deadlift but cutting those last 10 lbs of water weight affected me more than I had hoped.

This time around, I hope to weigh in at approximately 260 lbs without having to go through any last minute dehydration. This will put me squarely in the middle of the 275.5 lb weight class but since my goal is to get my body weight down to 240 lbs by March 2009, I'm okay with being one of the "lighter" competitors in the weight class.

Being 25 lbs lighter than when I last competed--taking into account my "real" weight at the time of my last competition, I hope to match w…

I am learning how to play squash

I am a reasonably competent golfer, I can lift heavy things, and I can manipulate my body composition via exercise and diet when I am so inclined. What I can't do yet is play squash. I can't dance either but first things first...

It is exhilarating to learn a new pattern of movements especially when the immediate payoff is such a satisfying "smack" (or "squash" as the legend goes) when the stars align and ball hits sweetspot, hugs the sidewall, and lands deep in the corner. It's also invigorating to feel sore in muscles I know I have. At this point in my life, there aren't too many muscles that I've never felt but it's always cool to get them to react in ways I didn't expect. The body is a remarkably specific machine. The same arm that can make it through a gym workout, a strongman workout, or 36 holes of golf without issue, is the same arm that's sore the next day after a low intensity, 60 minute long, beginner's squash les…

My video interview

My good friend Josh Hewett interviewed me for his blog. Here's the interview.

an example of the "money blueprint" at work

My good friend Josh Hewett loaned me a book called, "Secrets of the Millionaire Mind" by T. Harv Eker. Since I'm not a millionaire, I figured there might be a tidbit or three in there that I could learn.

I'm not halfway through the book and today I experienced an example of what Eker calls the "money blueprint." The money blueprint is basically how one is programmed to handle money. It's like the firmware in your iPod or PS3. It's in there but it's not hardwired and can be changed if you know how to do it--or if the manufacturer sends an update, not an option with us humans though.

Through the site Craigslist (no relation, lol) I had contracted to buy a used Jump Stretch platform. If you don't know what that is, it's a metal plate with some fittings on the sides that allow you to attach jump stretch bands. In the end, it's not really that important what it was, only that I wanted it, the price was right and the seller agreed to s…

Make it fun

Here's a couple of videos from when I started training with Team Barbarian. It's great to have the support of others when you're making that first step. I am grateful for the help I received and continue to receive from team founder Josh Hewett and the other team members. I would not be where I am on my journey to vitality if not for their help, motivation, and support.

I chose powerlifting and strongman as my facilitators back into the vital lifestyle but you can choose whatever you find fun. Most people re-discover activities that they long ago discarded when their energy levels dropped after years of inactivity. Whatever you do, make it fun and enjoy the journey!



Driving a desk does not improve your health!

It took 17 years of me driving a desk to realize that my passion didn't lie within the promotion of the products and services that my former employer offered. I thoroughly enjoyed my interactions with my employees and our customers but over time I felt that something was missing. The tipping point, quite literally, was sheer tonage. Or, more accurately, discovering that I was exactly one pound shy of the 300 lb mark. Once upon a time, I was a strong, vital, young adult who played many recreational sports and competed at state level in powerlifting. While I was lucky that the passage of time had only resulted in the accumulation of many, many pounds of bodyfat, I knew from my previous fitness background that at the age of 41, I was on the way to joint problems, cardiovascular disease, and type II diabetes.

Even though I had once been considered physically active and fit, years of attending to my career had combined with years of neglecting my health. I think it's easy to …