What’s Your Workout Plan?

It is Monday and it is time to start the week off right by getting in that very important and always needed workout.  When you roll into the gym, what is your plan of attack?  Do you do some cardio first before hitting the weights?  Do you do some light stretches and hit up the machines?  Or since it being Monday, do you go right to the first available bench and start banging out your bench press routine?  What is your plan of attack when you workout?  Do you even have a plan or do you just ‘play it by ear’?  In order to get the most out of your exercise routine it is best to have a plan of attack.  Now everybody’s plan is going to differ slightly due to different goals, but irregardless everyone should have a plan.  What is it you are after?  What are the goals you are working towards?  Is it weight loss, muscular strength, muscle hypertrophy or just general fitness?  Establishing your goals will help you establish your plan and what you need to do in order to get the results you are after.

My plan right now is to get stronger on several of the big lifts like: squat, deadlift, weighted pull ups, overhead press and dumbbell bench press.  My plan for doing this is lifting 3 days a week and targeting specifically those lifts.  The only way to get stronger at those lifts is to perform those lifts(I know it sounds crazy).  Even with my plan, I have a plan inside my plan and that is the way I design my workout and the order in which I perform those movements.  I believe every great workout starts with a pretty good warm up session.  Your warm up should be part of your workout and your workout should be your warm up.

My warm up usually consists of: push ups, pull ups, overhead squat, mini-band walks, 1 leg reaches, side lunges, bridges, marching bridges, bird dogs, Turkish get-ups, farmers carry, suit case carry, overhead carry, chops and lifts.

After all that, my body is ready to begin the meat and potatoes portion of the workout.  Now I strongly believe every workout can strongly benefit by starting with a big lower body lift like squat, deadlift, snatches or cleans.  Performing these first is best because you are fresh, have the most energy and they recruit the most muscles.  Start with a warm up set and then start to get into your routine.  Good rep schemes I really like to use are: 3 sets of 8, 3 sets of 5, 5  sets of 5 and 5 sets of 3.  The rep scheme depends on how you are feeling and what you are trying to accomplish.  If you are looking to put on some size then 3 sets of 8 is great and if you are just looking to get stronger then 3 or 5 sets of 5 is perfect.  Once I am done completing all my sets on that lift, I shift to an upper body to lower body superset.  Then I go into a 3 exercise set circuit and into a 4 exercise circuit.  Always focusing on strength and trying to get the major movements in.

An example of this is my workout today:

Straight Bar Deadlift: 225lbs (5 x 3)

Straight Bar Overhead Press 95, 105, 115 lbs(3 x 5) / Back Squat 95,105,115 (3 x 10)

Seated Cable Row 160, 170, 175 (3 x 8), Incline Chest Press 60, 65, 70 (3 x 8), 1 leg squats off the box (3 x 8)

Kettlebell Squat Clean & Press 30, 40, 40 (3 x5), Double Kettlebell Swings, 30,40,40 (3 x 10), TRX Row (3 x 15), Rotational Sand Bag Back lunges 40, 50,50 (3 x 20)

Cardio Finisher: 3 rounds of 100 meters on the rower for time

If you look at the example you will see, I covered pretty much all of the basics lifts and movements and not a lot of filler work in between.  I would perform each circuit all the way through before taking a rest.  Your workouts can be more effective and productive too if you have a plan.  Start it out with a big lift and then add in all of the other movements like push, pull, press, squat and lunge.  Try to think of ways to move around a little more at the gym and different ways to do mini circuits.  You will get more out of your workout in a lot less time. And always remember to do a cardio finisher, something you can go all out in and get your heart rate up fast such as: sprints, rower, battle ropes, sled, kettlebell swings.  Whatever you want as long as it does the job.

Have a fantastic Monday everyone.  Remember to go out there and do something great!

 

 

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Build Your Foundation

When building a house, one of the first and most important steps is building a strong and almost indestructible base.  The foundation of the house needs to be strong, reliable and handle the load and structure of the rest of the house.  Without a strong foundation the house would be sagging in some areas, breaking off in other areas or possibly crumpling under the heavy load of the house.  Your body is your house and your legs are your foundation.  Your legs are probably the most important and under-worked body part of your body which is unfortunate because the legs set up the rest of the body for a wonderfully powerful and strong foundation.  I understand, nobody really likes to work legs.  It is hard, very tiring, pretty exhausting and leads to people walking funny down stairs and getting in and out of chairs.  Our legs need to be our foundation for our bodies and I would suggest starting with them first every time you train.  I have been in this industry long enough to know how some of the workout schedules go, especially more so since moving out here to South Carolina.  Let me break it down for you and see if you fall into this kind of split: Monday- Chest and triceps, Tuesday- Back and biceps, Wednesday- shoulders and abs, Thursday- legs? No I think going out sounds better, so Friday- legs?  No, still hurting from going out on Thursday, I will get it next.  The next week comes and they fall into the same rotation.  The reasons why I don’t like this kind of program is because for any of you who know me, know I love full body workouts.  You should workout your whole body every time and then take a day off to rest.  We are not body builders so we do not need to isolate body parts on specific days.  If you do full body workout then you will burn more calories, lower your body fat percentage, increase your metabolic rate and hopefully shred some fat and get stronger and leaner in the process.  Maybe your workout routine is a little different and maybe some of you like to do a upper body lower body split which is fine.  Just make sure when you lift your legs, you to start with a big compound lift like a squat or a deadlift.

How we start our fitness programs dictate how successful we are and what we want to get out of it.  Start with your legs every time you workout.  I always attack my legs on the days I work out.  I go after them and make them pay the price because I know that it is good for me and know it will translate over to everything else I want to do.  Our legs are our powerhouse and we need to work them as best as we can.  Not only do I want strong legs for activities of daily life, like hiking, playing with my kids, carrying groceries, flying up the stairs and jumping around but I also want strong powerful legs because I know it is great for my golf game.  I want to hit the ball longer and farther and one of the best ways to do that is to have strong powerful hips.  After your warm up, pick a compound movement like front squat, deadlift, kettlebell swings or back squat and perform anywhere between 3 – 5 sets.  Some of the rep ranges I have been playing around with lately is 5 sets of 5 reps.  5 x 5 is great for gaining pure strength which each set going a little bit heavier and I also like to do 3 sets of 8.  Generally, I start with my main lift and perform just that until it is done and then I move on to some mini circuits where I incorporate an upper body lift and a lower body lift.  It is also good to start with your legs because you are fresh and full of energy because we all know how hard it is to squat or deadlift well when you are tired or are running run low on energy.

Build your foundation and make it strong, tough and powerful.  Start with your legs and and you will see great gains in your strength, your physique and your performance.  Have a wonderful foundation building day.sq

Machines That Need to Retire

Over the past 6 1/2 plus years I have to admit it, I have been spoiled.  I have been working in personal training studios with the best trainers, the best methodologies and the best equipment the fitness world has to offer.  You name it, I have pretty much worked with it, slam balls, ropes, the Keiser line, kettlebells, TRX etc.  Working in training studios run by trainers and designed by trainers we know what is good for our clients and what our clients can benefit the most from.  With that being said, now that I have moved and switched jobs to a membership gym, I fortunately (or unfortunately?)have forgotten about all of the machines that the every day gym goers use.  I see all of these machines, all in a line, looking shiny and easy to use and I can’t but help think what a waste of space.  I know machines are easy to use for almost everybody and you can gain strength from their use but I think most of them are causing more harm than they are producing.  I am a huge fan of big, complex, full body, body weight movements and not so much with the isolation movements that machines have to offer.  We can benefit so much more from loading our bodies with a lunge, squat, one leg reach, push up or pull up than any machine can provide.  We learn to use our whole body in its natural range of motion while effectively engaging a lot of stabilizing and opposing muscle groups.  Machines are not capable of offering that to you.  They are only capable of making you stronger for that specific muscle group in that specific plane of motion and this is why they need to hang it up and retire.

The machines which need to retire are as followed:

  • Seated Inner Thigh
  • Seated Outer Thigh
  • Seated Leg Curl
  • Seated Leg Extension
  • Seated Leg Press
  • Seated Calf Raise
  • Seated Chest Press
  • Seated Dips
  • Seated Bicep Curls
  • Seated Chest Flys
  • Seated Row
  • Seated Lat Pull Down
  • Seated Back Extension
  • Seated Ab Crunch
  • Seated Shoulder Press
  • Seated Shoulder Lateral Raise

After taking a quick look at that list, did you notice a commonality? Everything is in the seated position.  Unfortunately with this day and age most of us are in the seated position for way to much of the day with sitting to eat breakfast, sitting in your car driving to work, sitting at your desk, sitting in meetings and sitting on your couch at home.  With all of that sitting going on, why would you go to the gym and sit some more while moving some weight around?  You are creating more havoc on your hips and back than your could ever imagine.  We need to get out of the sitting position and open up those hips and utilize the strength in your whole body.  One of the most eye opening books I read a long time ago when I first got into training was The Rules of Lifting by Alwyn Cosgrove.  In the book, Mr. Cosgrove says there are 6 movements that should be done in order to achieve a great full body workout on those 6 movements are:

  1. Push
  2. Pull
  3. Squat
  4. Lunge
  5. Twist
  6. Deadlift

Easy, simple and very basic.  Using those 6 movements are what I design my workout programs for my clients and for myself every single time.  Most of the 6 movements can be performed with very little equipment at all and would not require you to use an real machines.  As much as I am not a fan of Crossfit, I started to think about what machines they use and the only real machine I could think of is the rowing machine.  The rowing machine is seated yes, but you get to use your arms and your legs and it is one heckuva great workout.  I feel the fitness industry is coming to a point where they see the value of free space and open gyms with equipment all along the walls and doing away with the clutter of big bulky machines.  Gyms should update to more balls, bands, kettlebells, TRX’s, pull up bars and free weights.  It is time to move into the next stage of fitness, learning to load, move and use your body without the assistance of machines.

Retire those machines, stick to the 6 movements and learn to use your body the best way you can.

Workouts are like brushing my teeth; I don’t think about them, I just do them. The decision has already been made”. – Patti Sue Plumer, U.S. Olympian

 

The Squat

It’s Monday and is time to hit the gym so we can start the week off in the right direction making fitness and exercise a normal part to our daily routines.  We all have great intentions of making strides towards our goals whether it be losing weight, inches or getting stronger, faster or bigger.  One of the best exercises hands down to help with it all is the squat.  The squat is a primary movement and can be done any numerous ways whether it be with dumbbells, kettlebells, body weight or the good old fashioned 45lb bar.  All of us can benefit from adding squats to our workout routine regardless of age, gender or specificity of our goals.  Want to lose some fat? Squat.  Want to get strong? Squat.  Want to train for power? Squat again.  For those experienced lifters out there, you know the feeling you get right before your put that bar on the back of your neck and then feeling again when you pop it off the rack.  You know what is in store for you and your legs and how they will feel in a day or two but we don’t care.  We push all that aside, load the bar up even more, and continue to lower and raise the bar up and down until we are grunting, sweating and tired.  We know it is good for us, we know the benefits are great and we are willing to put in the time and energy to push our bodies to the uncomfortable point of exhaustion.  Squatting is great for strengthening the hips, the quads, the glutes, the lower back and the abdominals.  Squatting is performed every single day when you get out of bed, in and out of chairs, off the can and when you bend down to tie your shoe or pick something up off the ground.  We trainers all joke about how on Monday’s at the gym it is international chest day because it seems like all the fellows are there on the benches trying to get their chests all big.  However, how about taking a look over there at the empty, unused squat rack and hopping in there to bang out some sets.  Mix up your workouts folks and try something new and challenging to start off your workout.  Sure, it’s going to be tough and you are going to be sore but don’t shy away from one of the best exercises out there because of it.  Step up to the challenge, own it and dominate it.

Here is a poem I found for all those lifters out there who know what it is like to put that heavy bar on the back.  Enjoy

THE SQUAT

As I step into the rack
My muscles tremble in fear
The smell of iron and sweat
I know pain is near

I step under the bar
With plates loaded on end
And notice how even now
The bar begins to bend

As I step back so slowly
Like a newborn attempting to walk
My legs shake in fear
And the gym ceases to talk

It’s just me and the iron now
I can hold no one accountable
All the months of training
All those times feeling so full

Now comes the time
To lower the iron down
I move ever so slowly
Moving closer to the ground

Ass to the grass
That’s what I know
Not to just half ass
So you can put on a show

I’ve made it down to the bottom
But that was the easy part
I’ve got to go back up
This will prove I have heart

The pain is unbearable
I should just drop the iron
**** that, it will not beat me
My legs will never tire

I explode from the floor
With every ounce of energy
Please legs, make it to the top
I won’t let the iron defeat me

With one last surge
I make it to the top
This is my life
This is the squat

“You can either throw in the towel or use it to wipe the sweat off your face.”

My Exercise Philosophy

Hello all, it is the start of a new year and this is the second full week of the year to where all the ‘magic’ is suppose to happen.  We make new years resolution of how we are going to workout everyday, go to spin class x amount of times per week and / or lose however much weight is desired.  We all know it starts with you and it starts with putting on your shoes and making it to the gym which sometimes can be half the battle.  However though, when you do make it to the gym, what is your game plan?  What is your plan of attack on how you are going to sculpt the body of your dreams?  Do you head right for the treadmill, bike or elliptical and just start mindlessly and slowly pedaling your legs daydreaming of other things and when the misery is over?  Or do you hit the machines and go through your own fitness routine you have been performing for the past however many days/months/ years?  How has your progress been going?  Are you getting the results you want?  These are all things we need to think about when we are exercising and trying to better ourselves and our bodies.

One thing I think remains constant in any good exercise program is lifting weights.  Lifting weights is great for anyone, anytime and at any age.  We could all afford to be stronger because I believe there is no excuse for weakness.  Lifting weights is great for our muscles, tendons, ligaments and especially our bones.  Our bodies need to be exerted, pushed, strained and exercised or order to get stronger and leaner.  The more weights we lift, the stronger we get, the stronger we get the more muscle mass we obtain, the more muscle mass we obtain, the more calories we burn, the more calories we burn the lower our fat mass and body fat percentage becomes.  I think lifting weights needs to be the essential component of every exercise program and not just any weight training exercise but specific exercises that I want to cover in a minute.

Just recently my brother and I were talking about how we want to have a mantra or training philosophy we want to abide by just like our fellow mentors in which we follow and look up to.  Then, I started thinking about what my philosophy would be as a trainer and what I truly believe in with the fitness world.  What would be my key fitness components to cover for a successful, safe, effective and long lasting fitness program?  I am talking long term here as in something I believe everyone can benefit from now until the later years.

My top 6 key components are:

  1. Lift the big lifts
  2. Body Weight Exercises
  3. Sprint
  4. Explosive
  5. Walk
  6. Games / Multi-directional

Lift the big lifts.  Everyone can afford to be strong, like I said before there is no excuse for weakness.  The big lifts offer the most bang for your buck, are good for the whole body, are a great way to add mass and strength and are very important to perform correctly.  What are the big lifts you are asking?  The big lifts are: squat, deadlift, bench press, bent over row, split squat and shoulder press.  These should be the staples of any great program.  I am a big fan of starting from the ground up because I feel the foundation is the most important part of any structure.  I feel too many people neglect their legs during their training, opting more for the beach, show off muscles like chest, arms and abs.  Well, you can add to your beach muscles just by squating or deadlifting heavy.  Those two lifts alone put the whole body under stress and everything has to fire in order to perform those lifts correctly.  If you feel like your form is not so great with those lift, think about hiring a trainer for a session to go over how to execute them correctly.  With the squat and deadlift I would perform them early on in your workout when the body is the freshest.  I think a great rep range to go for is reps of 5.  Anywhere between 2 to 5 sets of 5 is a fantastic way to increase strength and size, just remember to go heavier each time if you can safely.  With a short rep range, chances are you may feel not tired or fatigued enough to your liking but trust me, less is more on this.  Walk away even is you feel good and you could do more.  All of these lifts can be performed with either a barbell, kettlebells and/or dumbbells.  If it was me, I would get awfully comfortable with the barbell.  It is simple and highly effective.

Body weight exercises.  Either after you have performed your big lifts or you do not have access to equipment for them, I believe the next best addition to any great program is body weight training.  Your body is the greatest machine ever created and the only thing we need to provide resistance is gravity.  There is almost an unlimited amount of exercises you can perform with just your own body weight and I will only scratch the surface with my list: squats, lunges, back lunges, side lunges, step ups, step downs, 1 leg reach, single leg squats, pistols, push ups, pull ups, handstand push ups, horizontal rows, rotation, bear crawl, crab crawl, rolling, cartwheel, handstands, bridges, bird dogs, planks, side planks etc…..  I am not limiting body weight exercises just to your own body but I am also included the other fun toys I like to use in this category such as the TRX, mini bands, super bands, stretch bands, elastic cords, airex pads, medicine balls, exercise balls, ab wheels and boxes.  All of these combined with your own body weight gives you one heck of a great workout to engage the whole body.  We are only limited by our own imagination but I love to stick with the recipe and what works.  I think the basic human movements that should always be covered are: push, pull, squat, lunge and rotation.  When designing your own mini circuit always try to have a push exercise for every pull such as push ups and pull ups and always try to have 2 leg exercises which are a knee dominant and hip dominant such as a medicine ball squat and glute bridge.  The beautiful part about body weight exercises is we can always change the intensity of the circuit by either changing the rep ranges like say 20 of everything and/or changing the rest time either between each exercise or the whole circuit.  You want to supercharge your workout, time yourself.  TIme how long it takes to perform a circuit, time how long rests you get between sets like 30 seconds to a minute or time your rests at the end of a circuit before performing it again like 2-3 minutes. A sample circuit example could be: 20 push ups, 20 squats, 20 body weight rows, 20 back lunges and 20 burpees.

Sprint.  Sprinting to me is hands down, by far the best form of cardio ever.  Period.  Want to get lean? Sprint.  Want to drop pounds, lose body fat and stimulate fast twitch muscle fibers?  Well guess what, sprinting is where its at.  I am not a fan of cardio, I never have been and never will be.  You will never catch me on a machine mindlessly plotting along at a snails speed for hours on end.  Why?  Well one because it is insanely boring to me, two because I think it is unnecessary and three it is not the most effective way to optimal performance and health.  Sprinting is very similar to the big lifts in which it works the whole body, jacks up your metabolic rate by sending your heart rate through the roof and it is just hard.  At the end of a sprint, we should all be out of breath and huffing and puffing, if you are not then you might want to try to go a little harder or faster.  Sprinting can be done almost anywhere, on anything and for various amounts of time.  My method of sprint choice would be outside on a natural surface such as the beach, grass or dirt.  Why?  Because it is easier on your body.  The hardest surfaces to run on for your body are concrete and asphalt, I guess thats why it is called pound the pavement.  When sprinting outside, start with a small distance such as 40 yards and gradually work your way into a full sprint.  Start with a good warm up and then sprinting at 75, 85 and  95% of your max speed before going full blast.  Sprints should be anywhere from 40 yards to 400 meters.  The best protocol is to sprint your desired length and slowly walk back to your start and sprint again when fully recovered.  If you do not have access to a natural running surface than need not to worry because treadmills, bike, ellipticals, rowers and aerodyne bikes all work the same.  When on the machine of your choice, try to go as hard as you can anywhere from 10 to 30 seconds.  If you want more of a challenge try to either have your work to rest ratio equal as in 1 to 1, like 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off or for the brave 2 to 1 like a tabata format of 20 seconds on and 10 seconds rest.  Sprinting 1 to 2 days a week is all you need to really see an impact in your fitness level.

Explosive.  In combination with the big lifts, sprinting, and body weight training there is being explosive.  Being explosive means, jumping, throwing, slamming, hitting, kicking and throwing weight up as fast and as hard as we can.  Our bodies are meant to be strong, are meant to sprint and are also definitely meant to be explosive.  Explosive means power and it means our bodies are capable of generating enough force quickly to stimulate fast twitch muscles.  Explosive training is very difficult and hard on the body because it takes a lot of effort to exert enough energy to make your body leave the ground.  Explosive training can be squat jumps, box jumps, lunge jumps, medicine ball slams, throws, tosses, explosive push ups, pull ups, punching and kicking.  The olympic lifts are explosive as well such as cleans, clean and jerk and the snatch.  Anything where your body leaves the ground or where you make an object travel a distance or where you transfer energy like a punch or a kick is explosive.  A great variation to mix in with your workouts.

Walk.  Walking is the only other form of aerobic activity I believe needs to be done everyday.  It is done everyday and everywhere but few actually go for walks.  Unfortunately I believe most of us our to caught up in our day to day busy lives to slow down, take time out for ourselves and enjoy and 20 – 30 minute walk.  Walking is a fantastic low level, low impact, natural human movement which enables us to go from one place to the next without even remotely thinking about it and the benefits of walking for out weigh more than we actually think.  Walking is terrific for the cardiovascular system, the circulatory system, helps build strong legs, lowers stress, burns calories at a very slow rate, can be rich in vitamin D if performed in the sun and is 100% completely free.  Walking can be enjoyed solo, with a friend and even with a furry 4 legged companion.  It is also not limited to hiking, taking the stairs or stomping through uneven terrain.  Our bodies our meant to move and move naturally and walking provides everything we need.  We our able to get outside, feel the weather, breathe the air, feel the wind, hear and see the sights and sounds of the wonderful world we live in and enjoy all that is around us.  If we could all incorporate 30-60 minutes of walking to our day we would all see and feel an extravagant change in our health, our stress, our minds and our bodies.  We can either bang out one long walk and call it a day or it can be broken up to several short 15 minute walks, whatever it is you choose, get outside and start moving those feet.  I am fortunate enough to live really close to a busy street with access to everything at my disposal and I take full advantage of it.  We walk to get groceries, to grab a bit to eat, to the store, to one of several parks for my kids and of course to take my dogs out.

Games / Multi-directional.  Agility, quickness, reaction, change of direction, acceleration and deceleration are important and valuable qualities we all need train and use on a regular basis.  Our bodies need to be responsive, able to move rapidly from one side to the other and explode from a dead stop without hesitation or worry and done so with extreme confidence.  I believe this is definitely an area missing from most workout programs with most of the emphasis on weight machines and cardio machines mostly of which is performed in the sagittal plane.  This is why I think playing games plays a huge role in moving in all directions.  Most of your ball sports require reaction, agility, change of speed, lateral movement and deceleration.  Sports like basketball, football, soccer, lacrosse and baseball require the body to move in every direction.  One of the greatest parts about sports is that we do it all involuntarily, without thinking about it, just reacting to the ball and what we need to do where we need to be.  Plus games are fun and anything you can do that is fun where you are not thinking about what you are doing well than thats the greatest type of workout ever.  Having fun means being engaged without knowing how hard you are actually working.  One way to train multi-directional if you are unable to play games is to go to your nearest field, park, patch of grass or even safe slab of concrete and  practice moving in all directions.  Every one of my clients performs a high intensity movement warm up before we start training which includes: side shuffling, skipping, high knees, butt kickers, shuttle runs, running backwards and cross overs.  It is a great way to get the heart rate up, prepare the body for the workout, lubricate the joints and activate the muscles.  And plus, every time you make someone skip they can’t help but smile.  It is classic.

I hope you have enjoyed reading my exercise philosophy and I hope it helps a lot of you train differently and think outside the box.  I believe lifting the big lifts, using body weight exercises, sprinting, getting explosive, walking and playing games are the keys to optimal fitness.  Break out of your shell, move your body, get strong, lift heavy, play and have fun while doing it all.  Remember, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.  Now is the time to do it differently and get the right result.  Happy Training.

Christmas Cookie Calorie Burner

I had some extra calories to burn so I decided to mix it up a bit today from the heavy lifting and went with more circuit training.  I was plenty fueled and needed to move and sweat some of the extra sugar I consumed over the weekend.  Hope this help inspire you to get in, get after it and get out.

 

5 Rounds of:

10 second sprint on the treadmill with 10% incline at 10, 12, 12, 13, 14 mph

10 Push Ups

10 Standing Lat Pull Downs

10 Kettlebell Swings

10 Kettlebell Squats

 

2 Sets of 5 (had to get a strength set in)

Straight Bar Deadlift with 225 pounds

 

3 Rounds of:

10 Box Jumps on 36 in box

10 Burpees from the floor

10 Seconds on the Battle Ropes

10 Ball Slams with 10lb Med. Ball

 

3 Rounds of:

50 Foot Sprint on the Versa Climber (about 12 seconds)

Shuttle Run Down and Back (about 25 yards each way)

Heavy Carry with 53 lb Kettlebells Down and Back

10 Squat Row Jump Backs with the Bands

 

 

Article for Arnold

For all you lifters out there who love the pain, the struggle, the triumph, the feel of the cold weights, the bar across your back, the sweat, the grind and the pure satisfaction and freedom of lifting weights and all the great things that come with it, here is an article that will rock your world.  It is written by Mr. Martin Rooney from Training for Warriors and it written for the man himself Mr. Arnold Schwarzenegger about lifting weights, the love, joy and satisfaction of it and why it is vital to continue for optimum levels of longevity and success.  I found myself nodding in agreement so many times while reading this and felt I just had to share it to spread the good word around.  Like Mr. Rooney loves to say “Viva la resistance!”  Enjoy

[Earlier this year I was contacted by Schwarzenegger.com to write an article for legend of the fitness industry, Arnold Schwarzenegger.  I learned that Arnie was a fan of some of my previous work and really liked what he saw happening with Training For Warriors.  To say this made my day (if not my year), is an understatement!  Arnold has been an idol of mine since I was old enough to bicep curl, so I jumped at the chance to write something for him.  The following piece, “Got Resistance?” was the result.  Although I wrote it up in less than an hour (you don’t keep Arnold waiting!), this  turned out to be one of the most popular articles I have EVER written when it hit over 10,000 “likes” within 24 hours. Check out the full article below and let me know what you think]

Got Resistance?

I love to lift, plain and simple.

Weight on my back, in my hands and the sound of jingling 45’s clears my mind and offers me the hour of freedom some find in other pastimes.

I dont just get through lifting, I get from it.

I don’t count the reps, I make the reps count.

Arnold6

If we can have men lauded for spending their lives with “hobbies” like mastering tea ceremonies or brewing beer, then why can’t I lift in peace without hearing I dont have to?  We are allowed to make our choices and I choose IRON.  I dont need any one telling me I can’t or shouldn’t do certain lifts.  Thousands of people are congratulated for getting shocked with electric barb wire at a mud run.  The stats show us sports are dangerous.  Yet I don’t see internet articles raging about shutting those down anytime soon.

Throwing a ball is bad for you.  So is a cutting movement to the side.  Full tilt collisions will give you a concussion.  Want to get hurt, do those.  But is the Squat, Deadlift, Bench and Overhead Press really the problem?  I don’t think so.

Although I have three degrees in health and fitness, my first form of training education were articles about and movies featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Know what I learned?  Use big lifts and lift heavy.  Know what he did for years?  The same thing, because they work.  As I originally learned, if you want great knowledge, go read an old book. Seems like if an “eastern block” manual was found in some Russian cave like a Dead Sea Scroll, everyone would be listening.  Well, just pretend the rest of this article was translated from Cyrillic into German into English and you will value it more.

To review, I came from a time when there weren’t many training books to read, any websites to surf and the biggest guy in the gym was the professor.  I was given salt tablets and thought shirts shouldn’t have sleeves. Did I make mistakes?  Sure, I made a ton of them.  But that is also what made me what I am now.  But one thing stayed consistent.  I used big lifts to always place resistance through my body.

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When the first internet articles started the information and questions revolved around how to increase the squat, bench, dead and sprint faster.  Since then, so much “new” training has joined the dance.  There have been Swiss Balls, Bosu Balls, lacrosse balls and other tools that have seemed to try to remove the “balls” from lifting.  As people got into their skintards and jumped into corrective exercises, postural exercises, Yoga and Pilates, I just kept lifting heavy.  Good thing because as you will see below, training and the basics will come around full circle.

Here is my take on the training life cycle of a person today:

Intro to the gym

Lift heavy as possible with big lifts

Get results

Get bored and try accessory variations

Get into a new fitness related hobby

Get some injuries

Get older and quit fitness related hobby

Fitness becomes the hobby

Go back to the accessory variations

Get no results

Intro back to the gym

Lift heavy as possible with big weights

Get results

Some people may not agree with the life cycle, but I have bad news for the fitness industry: there are no awards for creativity when it produces nothing. The real reward comes from producing consistent results.  And the results people want are fat loss, strength gains and to feel good.  Want that?  Make your plank a pushup.  Weight your chins.  Bend some bars.

I believe great training starts and ends with a bar and about 400 pounds of plates.  I get it that it may not be exciting, but neither is the small set of arms that comes with much of the fashion, fad and “science” today.  Face it, nobody ever died of tight hamstrings, tight lats or having their knees go over their toes while squatting, yet so many people spend time arguing what is the best ways to fix them.  But people do, however, die every day when they lose muscle.

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Not convinced of that?  Go to an old folks home and look around.  Most of the people there won’t be too fat or too skinny.  The ones that preserve muscle mass and keep the strength will live the longest.  Still not convinced, read up on legends Jack LaLanne or Frank Zane and check out their physiques at certain ages.

Break your hip and there is high risk you lose that mass and check out.  Bones get weak when there aint no load.  I used to say there are no silver bullets in training.  Maybe silver bullet is simply put high resistance through your body and crack a sweat 3-4 times a week by simultaneously getting your HR up.  Resistance is what we were designed for.  Remove it and suffer the consequences.  Hey, if you don’t like it, don’t do it.  If you don’t care how much you can lift, don’t do it.  But to remove weight or exercises from training sounds like a little too much weak sauce on your beloved avocado and bacon for me.  And hey, unless having the body of a marathon runner becomes the rage, I still think the heavier weight can help your confidence too.

Pick A Side Of The Fight

There is a war going on.  Not just in far off places of the world, but in your gym.  And I say it all revolves around the word I featured above, “Resistance.”

Face it, the world (and many of your friends) don’t want you to be healthy.  When I explain the Resistance, I state that resistance is not only on both sides of us, but it is also within us.  Not only are we battling the inaccurate info about food, the push for sedentary lifestyle, and the constant marketing and flow of products designed to make people unfit, but also on the other end of the spectrum of what is good exercise.  Today people may either be doing nothing and eating the wrong food, or getting electrocuted with barb wire at a mud run or getting terrified seeing passed out people on the ground as a result of “exercising.”  Today people are being convinced that exercise is pain and that it can only be productive with soreness and fatigue.  Even the word “Bodybuilding” has seemed to become a curse word! Time for a change.

The strongest Resistance to overcome, however, comes from within.  You will find that the person most often responsible for holding you back is actually you!  People often give themselves a “no” before they allow anyone else to.  In the mission to promote fitness and help people exercise, we are outnumbered.  We do not share the same beliefs as the common person today.  Face it, if you read this site, you are not “NORMAL,” but you cannot let this deter you.  Someone has to take a stand against the rise of obesity, diabetes and the decline of self esteem.

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Resistance is essential for progress in the gym. We all know that.  Without resistance placed through the muscles, tendons, joints and bones, strength and growth will not occur.  So, we must recognize Resistance as our ally, not our enemy. Just as you get excited for more weight on the bar, you need to get excited the same way when you meet a difficult person trying to push toward the direction of poor fitness.  With this mindset, you become like Arnold, a champion of fitness on a mission to help others.  And with the right passion and mindset, Resistance will be unable to stop you.

However this article resonated with you, it will tell you what side of the fight you are on.  Time to step up to the rack with callused hands, load the bar and get into the hole.

VIVA LA RESISTANCE!

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