Kettlebell Clean – Press- Squat

Motion

Years ago when I was low on cash and training in my studio apartment, my lone pair of 24kg kettlebells provided workout after challenging workout.  Making the most of a tiny home gym also gave me PHD in resourcefulness. 

Kettlebell training is unique, unlike any other mode of training.

Bursting onto the fitness scene in the early 2000s, kettlebells gradually became a mainstay piece of equipment in gyms all over the world.

Kettlebells disrupted fitness.  The spotlight was shifted really functional loaded exercises.  Drills like swings, cleans, snatches, Turkish Get Ups and other combinations became the new standard.  Most of which performed in standing position.

Though the effectiveness of kettlebell training has never changed, the novelty of the tool has since dissipated, which is common in the fitness industry.  

Exercises, equipment, and methods lose their popularity in the mainstream… here today, gone tomorrow.  

“Bring in the next shiny toy of the year, please!”.  

Despite the sex appeal fading a bit, basic kettlebell exercises remain brutally effective for building strength, conditioning, and fat loss.  

I’m one of those people who don’t forget.   

Outside of nutrition, sleep, hydration and adequate non-exercise activity on a daily basis… short burst kettlebell training (high intensity, low rest, etc) is amazing for burning body fat.

And yes, if you want to maximize workouts, you’d better be auditing habits outside of the gym.  Don’t sabotage your efforts. 

 

Kettlebell Clean, Press and Squat Combo

The clean, press and squat combination is a prime example of how a simple 3 exercise circuit can be leveraged to produce a significant training effect.  

And it doesn’t require much time at all.  15-20 minutes at most. 

For your eyes only… 


This kettlebell combination features 3 staple exercises:  clean, press and squat.  

Each exercise is performed with very little or no rest in between each exercise.  

Smooth transitions between each exercise is the goal.

Changing levels with the kettlebell… cleaning the bell from under the legs up to the front rack position, pressing overhead, back down to the front rack for the squat for repetitions…

… is pure work.  

This work creates a total body training stimulus.  

It’s the “magic sauce” of this combination.  

Before moving on, here are some key thoughts:

  •  You must have a working familiarity with each exercise before engaging in this circuit.
  •  Respect fatigue and what it does to the body while under load (increase rest if needed)
  •  Work reps, rounds and rest periods appropriate to your 
  •  Choose a sub-maximal kettlebell weight that allows for 10-12 reps per exercise (even though you’re going to do 6 reps).
  •  Not sure what weight to start with? Go light, work up as needed.
  •  Keep the workout short (15-20 minutes at most)

 

Alternatives/Substitutions

Not everyone is going to have access to a pair of kettlebells that are the same weight, or maybe they are the same weight, but too light or too heavy for your current fitness level.  

One of the most important ideas in staying fit is becoming resourceful.  When space is limited, equipment is scarce or time is tight, DO NOT FOLD.

How many times do we read a workout blog or fitness article and realize we don’t have the same set up the author did?  I’ve had this experience hundreds of times.  

What do you do?  Make adjustments, move forward, get the work done.

No kettlebells?  It’s ok!  Here are some equipment alternatives:

  • Barbell (same exercises and reps)
  • Dumbbells (same exercises and reps)
  • *Bodyweight (change exercises and reps)

Barbells and dumbbells are the most common pieces of weight training equipment in the world.  Most hotel gyms, YMCAs, 24Hour Fitness or Big Box Gym is going to have one or the other.  

Both allow for the clean+press+squat exercise combination to be performed.  The main difference between barbells/dumbbells and kettlebells is the design and how you can maneuver them.  

Barbell training fixes both hands to the shaft of the barbell.  For some people, this is great because you’re not having to control each hand independently.  

Dumbbells allow for independent arm work, but the shape of dumbells means you’ll have to tweak hand position/technique for each exercise.  These are subtle adjustments are mainly to avoid bumping the dumbells into your body on each movement.  

Bodyweight.  Now, if you’ve got no equipment available whatsoever, you’re still in the game, don’t worry!  You’ve got plenty of options.  Tons.  

When resources are scarce, you make adjustments, adapt and push forward.  Don’t get hung up on imperfections. 

  

Try this bodyweight combination…

Wouldn’t it be great if life was perfect all day, everyday?  Yes, it would be. 

(👋 slap across the face)

Life’s not perfect and never will be, so the best practice is to be ready to embrace the situation presented and make do with what you’ve got.

If bodyweight is the only option for the workout, consider digging into this circuit:

  •  Alternating Split Squat Jumps
  •  Dive Bomber Push-Ups
  •  Air squat (or variations: pistols, rear foot elevated, etc)
  •  Burpees

– 6-8 reps per exercise

– 6-10 rounds

– Limited/no rest between exercises

– 45-90 seconds rest after each round.

Perform in descending order (top to bottom) without rest between exercises.  Alternating split squat jumps first, then dive bomber push ups, etc…  

Factoring in no weight is being used to load these exercises, consider increasing reps per exercise, increasing the number of rounds performed or reducing the rest periods.  

Be mindful not to adjust all of these variables in one shot, it may create more fatigue than what your body can handle.  It’s like fine-tuning the dial on a boombox to get the signal of a radio station.  

Tweak here, tweak there.

Burpees?!?! What?!?! I h*te you!?

I don’t believe burpees are the greatest exercise on the planet. 

Some people do, I do not.

Burpees are often blindly prescribed to the wrong people and abused by many, but burpees are an incredible exercise to increase heart rate quickly and condition the entire body… in a pinch.

Personally, I rarely perform burpees.  But if I have few other options, hell yeah, I’m going to rip out some burpees.  

Don’t tar and feather me.

👉👉👉 Up for a challenge?  Try this burpee variation.

So, you have access to kettlebells, but… 

  • Kettlebells are too light
    • Increase the reps 
    • Increase the rounds
    • Decrease the rest periods
    • Add other kettlebell moves or filler bodyweight exercises
  • Kettlebells are too heavy (for desired rep range)
    • Decrease the reps
    • Decrease rest periods
    • Insert bodyweight filler exercises to achieve desired training stimulus)
  • Only 1 kettlebell (see video below)
    • Perform exact same exercises one side at a time 
    • Finish both sides, take rest period
    • Single kettlebell training is fantastic.

Ok, I’ve laid it out for you.  Time to dig in.  

Get after this exercise combination.  The kettlebell clean-press-squat combination is awesome for improving strength, conditioning and fat loss. 

Go.  Now. 

 

 

Cheers, 

Kyle 

 

 

 

Precision Nutrition: Results Based Eating for Body Transformation

Food/Eating

Precision Nutrition

The best nutritional strategies are the strategies that you’re more apt to stick to.

The more I read about nutrition, the more I am reminded that the best tactics to leverage are also the most simple.

We overcomplicate a lot of things in life, and nutrition frequently is made much more difficult than it actually is.  In times like that, I outsource to professionals and programs that carry a knowledge that is beyond my own.  I have no problem humbly sending people to someone who specializes.  It’s the right thing to do.

Precision Nutrition is my go to resource.  I trust them whole heartedly right now, and will for years to come.  I first started leveraging Dr. Berardi’s nutritional advice years ago when I was first learning about nutrition for myself. I really started to realize how influential nutrition is to boosting sport performance, and later on, improving body composition.

I started reading free articles from Dr. Berardi on the popular website T-Nation, which is a niche site primarily targeted at males who desire higher level training and nutritional advice.  Dr. Berardi used to contribute guest articles to gain exposure to his cause when he was an up and comer.

“But Kyle, it’s the internet, nothing is true on the internet!”, you say.

Despite the negative outlook toward health advice on the internet, there is actually a lot of useful information that a person can leverage if you know where to look and who you can trust.  The key is that you have to spend some time deciding on who you can trust!  Or, you can take advantage of other people like myself that have a great working knowledge of where you should be looking for solid information.

Sometimes you have to sift and sift until you find the gold, but it’s out there.

My experience with learning how to eat…

Prior to making any changes to my diet, I thought that my eating was pretty decent really.  But looking back, I was a fool.  My activity level was so high that I could get away making poor nutritional choices.  I was burning through so many calories throughout the day that it almost didn’t matter what I was putting into my mouth.

A lot of people have a similar situation to this.  They burn so many calories from activity that they don’t even know that making a few subtle (yet impactful) changes to their diet would send their body aesthetics to a whole other level.  

Anyways, I began to dabble with some of Dr. Berardi’s suggestions.

Here are four different observations/ideas that I came away with…

1) Nutritional adjustments are easier said than done in the beginning.

There are thousands of nutritional articles that are published on the internet every single day.  Most of them preach the same general ideas: eat more protein, consume less sugar and refined carbohydrates.  I think it is safe to say that just about everyone agrees that this advice is legit.  It’s bland and boring advice, but still, it’s great advice.

Sugar and refined carbohydrates aren’t tolerated by the body very well, especially if you’re inactive or currently carrying a higher percentage of bodyfat.

I used to eat bread with nearly every meal as most people do.  The first step forward for me was cutting my bread consumption in half.  Instead of eating two pieces of bread with a sandwich, I would only eat one.  Again, this was difficult adjustment at first because my entire life I had been eating sandwiches with bread on top and bottom, as most people often do.

Cutting my bread consumption in half was challenging, but I knew that it had to be done in order to make improvements to body composition.  It was a simple change, but it wasn’t easy.  Old habits can be tough to break.  But, over time, new habits were formed.

Eating my meals with a lean protein source on top of only 1 piece of bread started to feel natural in short time with some consistency.

I noticed significant decrease in body-fat by doing this.

2)  Vegetable intake was increased.

When people think carbohydrates, they often think about foods like bread, pasta and rice.  At least those are the foods that usually come to mind.  Interestingly, there is a significant amount of carbohydates that are in vegetables like broccoli, brussel sprouts, asparagus and other leafy greens that provide valuable fuel for performance and energy throughout the day.

This change I found to be easy.  Initially, I began preparing my veggies by boiling them.  Later, I read an article that shared that the nutrient retention of veggies was greatly increased by steaming vegetables versus boiling.  So, I began steaming my veggies for all meals.  I cooked the vegetables on a meal by meal basis, eventually figuring out that steaming veggies in bulk was a far more convenient tactic (along with being time effective).

Filling up on veggies during meals is one of the oldest tricks in the book.  If you’ve never tried it, you’re missing out.  It works.  Veggies are low calorie foods that pack a huge nutrient punch.  It’s one of the most powerful nutritional shifts that a person can make in their quest for body transformation.

My decreased bread intake was now joined by an increase in vegetables.  Again, I noticed a change in body composition and an increased energy to direct toward my workouts.

Note:  There is also a certain mental satisfaction in eating more vegetables throughout the day.  Quite honestly, I began to build a healthier mindset just from increasing my veggie intake.  You’ll know what I am talking about when you make the leap.

3)  Nutrient timing

Nutrient timing completely changed my outlook on eating, and how to approach it throughout the day. The concept that there are specific times when foods are better tolerated by the body was mind blowing. Remember, I was learning about nutrition from ground zero. If you already know about nutrient timing, congrats, because you in the top 15% of people in the world who are leveraging this concept. 

I made valuable trade-outs in the foods I was eating for breakfast and in the timeframes before, during and after my workout sessions.

Again, I saw a drastic improvement in body composition and performance.

From a performance standpoint, the most notable improvement was my ability to recover quickly in between workouts.  It became apparent to me after adopting the new nutritional strategies that Dr. Berardi outlined, that I had not been recovering fully between workouts.  I was essentially entering the next workout incompletely recovered, which can be an overlooked hold up when aiming to lose fat and build muscle.

Again, had I not made the changes, I never would have known anything different.  I didn’t know what I didn’t know.  Make sense?

I was now using food properly.  It was fueling my physical activity appropriately while keeping me lean in the process.

4)  It’s way more effective to follow a nutritional system.

In as few words as possible, a system gives you focused direction.

It takes you from point A to point B as efficiently as possible.  No heartache, no anxiety, no wasted efforts.

I know I pump up the Precision Nutrition System a lot, but it really is a world class program.  They teach you how to eat, when to eat, what to eat, why you’re eating it, how to advance and progress your eating to achieve even higher levels of health, performance and leanness.

It was one of the first nutritional programs that I came across that made logical sense in their approach.

We stress the importance of progressing in all other areas of our lives, so why not approach nutrition with a progression?  It’s soooooooooo difficult to go from poor eating habits to perfect eating habits overnight.  It’s too much for a lot of people to handle in the beginning.  Saying goodbye to old habits can be extremely draining.

I often talk about the importance of following a fitness regimen that is results effective, yet sustainable for the long-term.  To do this, you have to manage your stress levels, scale your workouts to your current physical abilities and assess constantly.  It’s in ongoing process that you want to adhere to for life.

Nutrition requires a very similar format.  You need to be willing to put an ounce of energy into learning a few tips and tricks.  Once you apply the basics, things begin to snowball and you gain momentum.  Old habits disappear and new habits form.  Your body changes in the process and eventually you’re equipped with knowledge that will serve you well for the remainder of your life.

If you can dial in your eating habits for the long-term, again, you’re now in the top 15% of healthy people in the world, without even breaking a sweat during a workout.  Sound personal eating habits are vital.

Of course, this is summarized and simplified guidance, but it’s pretty close to what happens when you transition into being a fit eater.

If you’ve got anxiety with nutrition, let these guys and gals help you out.  They are incredible resources…

Hopefully some of my personal testimonials that I touched on will help you bring your own eating into some kind of perspective.

*** If this post sounds like a sales pitch, I can assure you, it is.  Yes that’s right, it is absolutely a sales pitch.  People like to talk about products and programs that they love.  Word of mouth marketing is one of the most powerful forms of advertising on the planet.  It just so happens that PN is something that I completely believe in, so why the heck not talk about it?

 

 

 

Cheers to your nutritional success!

KG

The Howard Stern Diet

Quick Tips

Howard Stern Radio Logo

Howard Stern, on the radio is an entertainer. He knows how to attract listeners and boost ratings. Howard’s craziness on the radio often overshadows his intelligence, career success, and real world insight.

Lately, most of my driving has been accompanied by Howard Stern streaming through the airwaves.

If you don’t like Stern, I apologize. Keep in mind, he’s an entertainer. What you hear on the radio is not the REAL Howard Stern.

The Stern Show is ridiculously entertaining. His no bullshit unfiltered and uncensored interviews to world-famous people are second to none, mainly because of the Sirius censor-free platform.

For the last 4 years, I’ve renewed my Sirius subscription without batting an eyelash.

Howard is has mastered his craft, radio. Detailing it further, he’s a master of entertainment and communication. It’s got to be difficult to do.

One aspect of the Howard Stern show that’s fascinating is how frequently he talks about his personal life, more specifically his ongoing battle with nutrition and fitness.

It’s comical, but it’s reality.

The other day, I turned on the radio to catch him ripping apart one of his staffers, Benji Bronk. Benji is a long-time writer and content creator for the Stern show who’s famous for his clever public pranks and funny radio bits. Benji is an absolute character.

If you know the Stern Show at all, you know the staff feuding is as entertaining as the celebrity interviews.

In the radio bit, Benji told Howard that he’s depriving himself of eating in order to drop weight. Leveraging the old calories in versus calories out equation.

As is common with a lot of people, Benji lost focus with healthy habits. He had gained an unnecessary large amount of weight and now wants it gone ASAP.

Howard’s conversation with Benji evolved into a hardcore lashing of Benji’s extreme strategy.

Overall, I have to say that Howard didn’t miss the mark by much with his advice, which was…

  1. Find a mentor who understands nutrition and eat what they eat.
  2. Avoid the extreme in favor of simple, work into it, increase the intensity.
  3. Identify a health strategy he enjoys and can stick to over time.

One might read this and think, “duh”.

But common sense is not so common.

Humans overcomplicate and overanalyze EVERYTHING.

What makes perfect sense to you doesn’t make perfect sense to everyone else.

The perfect health plan doesn’t exist, so if you fall into the category of a person who’s constantly searching for the “truth”, call off the search.

We live in the age of computer, tablets and cell phones, all connected to the internet moving at break neck speed. Information is literally everywhere. It’s difficult to find focus on just one thing, especially if you’re desperate to lose weight.

There are so many strategies, it’s overwhelming for a lot of people.

Let’s briefly touch on why I valued Howard’s health advice to Benji…

#1. Role models are important.

Someone, somewhere, has already done what you are attempting to do, so why not learn from them?

Regarding the best approach to health, get around people that are already on the healthy path. Do what they do. Spending time with people who are not making health oriented decisions is going to send you in the same trajectory. YOU BECOME WHO YOU SPEND THE MOST TIME WITH.

Start teaming up with people in the gym who are getting after, and understand how to get after it. If they are a decent human being, they will take you under their wing and stretch your comfort zone. Eat as many meals with people who understand what simple clean eating is.

Learn from what they do. Study their habits, emulate those habits. Are they bringing healthy leftovers from last nights dinner in a Tupperware versus scrambling to the local fast food establishment for a burger and fries? Follow that lead.

One of the first steps to making incredible gains in fitness and nutrition is becoming aware. Once you know, you cannot un-know.

Role models can help guide you along the way.

#2. Begin with the long-term in mind.

If you want to put the pedal to the metal right out of the gates, go for it. It’s your life. But beware that many people fade with this approach.

It’s mentally draining to adopt healthier habits.

Health is a process. It takes time and it requires discipline. You have to trust the plan and stick to the plan.

Fast gains can be made, but there is no overnight success and there shouldn’t be.

Celebrate your efforts in the short-term, but understand that the real victory is in dedication the long-term.

Begin with the end in mind.

#3. Make an effort and enjoy it.

If you hate your workout program and your eating plan, it wil never last.

You will burnout. The resistance crush any will-power you have.

There is a happy-medium between making an effort and finding enjoyment in the efforts being made. Where those two intersect is where results reside.

But here’s another reality. Making a shift from sloppy eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle over to smart nutrition and daily workouts are going to be stressful in the beginning. It’s work, and it’s not always easy.

You can expect many days where the last thing you want to do is eat a salad, especially when everyone else is smashing a greasy burger. You can expect days where getting up an hour earlier to get a workout in before starting the day is the last thing you want to do, especially when other people are sleeping in.

There is great (perceived) pain in building healthy habits. It is a lot easier to ignore the details and be careless. But, doing so has a price.

So, in the beginning, find foods that fall into the realm of being nutritious. Eat them. If you don’t know what foods are nutrient dense, Google it. Seriously. Type in “healthy foods” and you’ll find millions of search results. Find a list, go to the grocery store and familiarize yourself with those foods, regularly.

As you gain confidence, expand. Find other foods that serve your health well.

Same goes for fitness. Don’t jump into a hardcore metabolic conditioning workout on the first day. Opt for yoga, a long walk or some simple body weight drills like Animal Flow.

Animal Flow is an ideal fitness program for beginners since it’s body weight based. Plus, you can learn how to exercise effectively in the privacy of your own home.

Crawling is a low-impact highly effective activity to build strength, motor control, and core stability.  Can you do this?  I bet you can.

Bodyweight training is ideal for everyone, particularly beginners because you can get your training in ANYWHERE. Stop thinking, buy the Animal Flow DVD and get going.

Mike Fitch, the creator of the program will teach you everything you need to know.

If you’re not there yet, at least subscribe to my YouTube channel. Watch me do it, then you do it. Simple.

Less thinking, more doing.

Not into Animal Flow? Fine. No matter what you choose, remember that YOU HAVE TO MAKE AN EFFORT. You have to.

The effort given will be proportionate to the reward, nothing more and nothing less.

So what does Howard Stern’s Diet consist of?

Plain and simple, Howard is a mono-eater, just like many other lean and healthy people I know. No surprise here. A lot of times, people who have a good grasp on healthy habits aren’t preparing extravagant meals like you see on the Food Channel or various social media platforms.

Howard knows the foods he likes and he eats those foods on a regular rotation. A lot of healthy people do this. It removes the decision fatigue from the situation.

Here’s a snapshot of a day in the life of the Howard Stern diet:

  • Breakfast- Egg Whites, half piece of toast and fruit
  • Lunch- Salmon with 1/4 baked potato and veggies
  • Mid-afternoon snack- Apple
  • Dinner- Eat out or at home (protein with veggies/fruit)

He keeps it simple. I can appreciate that.

If I could change one thing about Howard’s daily eating, I would add more protein. I would also encourage him to eat the yokes in the eggs. There is so much nutrition in egg yokes!

I’d also be curious to see if he’s consuming enough calories. Based on the example above, it seems like he’s a contestant on the TV show Survivor.

On the fitness side of things, I would encourage Howard to limit the long, slow distance cardio training. In general, adults need more resistance training to preserve or build lean muscle mass.

Nothing crazy here… just simple and effective exercises like squats, lunges, push-ups, pull-ups and chin-ups, body rows, etc. People underestimate how effective a couple of rounds of simple bodyweight exercises can be.

Ground-based movements like you’d find in Animal Flow are also making giant waves fitness. Crawling, locomotion exercises various dynamic core drills, mobility training, etc… are all incredibly effective for burning fat, building lean muscle and re-establishing movement capacity. Again, this is all stuff you can find in the Animal Flow DVD.

Now, if you’re interested in leveraging the power of nutrition, I am going to direct to Brad Pilon and his intermittent fasting program, EAT STOP EAT.

Screen Shot 2017-06-10 at 5.42.13 AM

Brad is one of the smartest nutrition coaches in the world, and EAT STOP EAT is a perfect example of a massive shift in our understanding and approach to healthy diets. In fact, he refers to it as a “pattern of eating”, rather than a diet.

What we now know about highly effective eating, is that it’s not only about the foods you’re eating (or not eating) but it is also about the timing of eating food.

Intermittent fasting is not nearly as torturous as it sounds, so I encourage you to check it out.

The food you’re eating should give you a metabolic advantage to stay lean and healthy, no matter what your age or body type.

If you’re constantly stressing over counting calories, it’s worth auditing your food choices. Sometimes, I feel that calorie counting is what the modern generation does to manage the negative effects of eating food we know to be bad for our bodies.

Howard turned 60 years old this year. He often comments his body has never looked or felt better since he started focusing on leveraging smarter nutritional strategies.

Nutrition and fitness are never a bad investment, and it’s a lot more simple than you’d think.

The biggest secret is getting started and building steadily on that momentum, day by day.  

 

Cheers to the Howard Stern Diet…

KG

The World’s “Best Results Guaranteed” Fitness Program

Quick Tips

Some time ago, I jokingly mentioned to my fiancé that when I finished my book, I wanted to make a crystal clear statement that those people who followed the guidance in my book are 100% guaranteed to see short-term results, with long-term results pending. I say “pending” because you have to continue to do the work to maintain what you’ve earned.

I also wanted to make another guarantee in the book:

If you act on not a single word on any of the pages within the cover of this book, you’re 100% guaranteed no results whatsoever.

Too harsh?

Or is that pure honesty? Some of us don’t need more sympathy. As I mentioned in a recent post, we have become too sensitive. We crumble when our feathers get ruffled. I am as sensitive as anyone, so I know what it’s like.

Lets stop and ask ourselves, do we really need more people to rub our backs every time we fail to take any significant action toward something that we say that we want? Is that helping us, or hurting us? Is all of that sympathy love making us delusional?

I personally think that it is making us extremely delusional as a society!

I wanted to take down the Christmas tree for nearly 2 weeks now and all I did was walk by it, get riled up that it was still standing there taking up valuable space in our living room. I stewed about it. Almost like I was going to come bouncing downstairs one morning and it was going to magically be gone and cleaned up.

Then, I snapped one day and took some action. It was time consuming removing all of the ornaments and unstringing the lights, throwing hip checks into my 7th month old golden retriever to prevent him from eating candy canes, but I did it. I got the job done and it felt fricking awesome. I took action, and my negative feelings disappeared.

You see, in life, a lot people wake up 10, 15, 20 years down the road in the same exact spot that they were when they started thinking that they wanted some kind of change, some kind of advancement.

I think this post is very easy for me to compose because I am a person that was having my back rubbed. I was that guy, making up stories about how I really wanted to write a book, create an online community, build a legacy, take my life portable via a laptop. I received a lot of support, and also a lot of back rubbing.

While there is no doubt that failing to make any of this come to fruition is certainly a “me problem” first and foremost, I can also say that I should have been mixing it up with people who were willing to call me out. Yes, I needed a heavy dose of “you’re all talk”. I needed more, “what are you going to to about it?”. “What have you done about it?” “Stop talking and start doing!”

Here is a quick synopsis of how it usually went:

Me, “I am going to write a book, sell it, create a membership site that crushes other membership sites on the web, and enjoy the satisfaction that I am getting what I want by helping others get what they want”.

Person I needed to be hanging around, “Ok, do it. Less talk more work Kyle. What steps have you taken thus far? What are your deadlines? Do you have deadlines? Who is holding you to those deadlines? So far, it seems like you’re full of shit, are you really serious about accomplishing all of this?”

The butterflies and then the sudden stomach drop is your inner self getting a splash of cold water and finally waking up. That’s when you finally realize that you’ve been sabotaging your potential. You’ve been dogging it. You’ve gotten comfortable, complacent and lost desire. You’re effectively going through the motions, treading water and doing just enough to get by.

Those are horrible feelings to have, but that can have the potential to initiate the wake up call in all of us.

You may think I am crazy for creating dialogue between myself and an imaginary friend, but I really think that we could all use a heavier dose of reality. I use myself as an example because you can learn from me. Don’t let constructive criticism break your back. Have a spine, develop a posture and an attitude that wants to compete and win. I don’t care if you’re competing against the inner demons that have held you back for years or against real world competition in the marketplace, just compete.

It doesn’t take talent to hustle.

The hardest part about receiving that much needed kick in the ass, is realizing that the only person that you are fooling (or were fooling) is yourself. Everyone else can see your bluff.

Boiling it all down…

If you’ve been trying to lose fat or lose weight for years without any results… you’re doing something wrong.

If you’ve been trying to gain strength for years and are still pushing the same weight… you’re doing something wrong.

If you’ve been trying to make more money at that sales job with no increase in income… you’re doing something wrong.

If I’ve been trying to write a book for years without anything to show for it… I have been doing something wrong.

Don’t be afraid to be honest with someone if you feel they need it. It might be uncomfortable for you to say and for them to hear, but many times it can provide the spark that is needed to create some forward motion. Getting your feathers ruffled can be a good thing.

As it pertains to restoring health, if you find yourself spinning your tires in the same spot for the last few years, you definitely need to make some adjustments. There is something that you are either doing, or not doing, that is keeping you in the same spot. End of story.

Maybe it’s a nibble of junk food here and there. Maybe it’s skipping that workout just every so often. Maybe you are actually making it to the gym or engaging in a home workout but it isn’t what your body is calling for to see change. Whatever it is, it is adding up and it is costing you results.

Check out The Training Effect Facebook Page for a recent post about how easy it is to gain weight without noticing.

The problem isn’t the workout program that you purchased, it’s you. But the author can’t tell you that because they have a business to run which probably feeds their family and keeps the heat on in the Winter months.

But I will tell you that, because we are on the same level right now, you and I. You’re reading and I am writing, and we are here together for the time being. For every 1 finger that you point to redirect blame on someone or something else, there are 10 more fingers pointing back at you.

Whoa, it got kind of heavy there for a second!

Finally, on to fitness related stuff…

The best part about building fitness and leaning out (at least I think), is that we can keep making tweaks to our approach for life. You don’t need to keep the same regimen for the rest of your life. In fact, you shouldn’t because you’ll burn yourself out.

Crank up the intensity of your training sessions for a few weeks. Then, dial it back after a while and create some separation anxiety between you and your workouts. Once you start seeing results, you’re going to want to keep training. However, removing yourself from the workout program can fuel you even harder when you do finally get back into the gym. It’s hard to take time off, but doing so will give your body some much needed rest while motivating your mind.

Starting crawling and handwalking, planking, squatting and then pressing, rowing instead of biking, engage in some yoga, some long duration stretching, foam rolling, quality sleep, hill sprints, some fat loss complexes, etc. Mix it up. Keep it fresh.

Take a small amount of time and make the $$$ investment in learning about nutrition. I HIGHLY recommend investing in the Lean Eating Program that Precision Nutrition has established because they are at the top of their game. They really are. They cover everything, and push for a perfect blend of evidence based eating while considering the real world. They’ve created a system for eating just as a personal trainer creates a system for burning fat off of someones body.

That is powerful. After you make the smart decision to buy into Precision Nutrition Lean Eating system, follow it! I GUARANTEE that you will get results. You will lean out, see worrisome health markers correct themselves, and most of all you will feel confident. You can’t put a price on self-confidence. Self-confidence sets the stage to make even bigger waves in the future.

So, in the end…

… results are guaranteed, but you have to be willing to do something about it first, and then actually do something about it.

Cheers to guaranteeing your results!

KG

Morning Confessions

Quick Tips

I was walking around my kitchen this morning, groggy, sucking down water like I just crossed the Sahara.

It suddenly hit me that I was groggy because I consumed too many craft beers last night, chatting it up with good friends. I also stayed up until about 1am watching late night television after consuming those beers. Prior to consuming all of the delicious craft beers, I ate a bunch of fajita at a local Mexican restaurant.

You probably don’t care about any of that, but the point of me sharing this info is to convey that I am completely transparent and honest about my life, as you should be with yours.

I maintain a health related blog and I drink beer and stay up late… there I said it. Can I go now? 🙂

I’m not perfect, nor do I really want to be. I used to feel really bad about the fact that I carry myself around as a die hard ambassador of quality/effective movement , healthy eating freak, beer drinking socialite who enjoys playing hockey, video games and surfing the net for interesting reading or just nothing at all.

It’s not perfect and I obviously am consciously aware that it isn’t, but I have found that if I can identify a healthy balance, I can make it all work. I can balance it all out so that I don’t lose in any one category. It makes me happy, it makes my life enjoyable without being a complacent lazy ass or being a complete stiff.

I don’t want anyone reading this blog to think that I am preaching a perfect lifestyle, because I am not, and I myself don’t lead a perfect lifestyle.

I am healthier than most, sure, but mostly because I have adopted habits that I maintain second nature that are conducive to a life of health. I am deeply fascinated with how movement and nutrition can transform a person’s body into just about anything that they desire. It takes work, but anyone can do it, whenever they want.

On that note, it does get slightly more challenging to change one’s body as we age, but that is life. Don’t ever use age as a crutch, it’s so lame to hear the old, “Wait until you are my age!” remark or the “When I was your age I could do just about anything”.

Honestly, it’s annoying. Save it. I will in fact see how it is when I am older because aging is inevitable, but I won’t ever live in the past. That’s called denial. If you’re older and you’re struggling to make noticeable changes to your body or your performance, please either: a) be realistic with it, or b) re-evaluate your game plan and your execution of that game plan.

While I was consuming those delicious, full calorie, robust and flavorful beers last night with my good friends, we got talking about hockey (naturally) and how even the more simple game plan that is executed to perfection still holds up over the new-age finesse garbage that is being implemented to hockey teams around the country. Play your offense, neutral zone and defensive systems extremely well (right down to the smallest detail) and you will beat teams that have all of the talent in the world but no game plan.

Pure execution of the game plan.

If you’re stagnant and struggling to make forward progress with performance, weight loss or muscle-fat-swap, chances are quite high that you have the wrong game plan for your desired results or you aren’t executing your game plan to the fullest. Both will leave you disappointed in the end.

As long as you’re giving your best effort regardless of your age, that is best practice in my opinion. Don’t go to bed with regret. Regret is your mind telling you that you sold yourself short. Regret- as I have often mentioned on this blog- is a terrible feeling that doesn’t go away quickly. It stays with you until you either make the situation right or you learn to forgive what’s been done.

Taking care of yourself on the front end of life pays massive dividends in the later stages of life.

I often am told that starting a family pursuing a career is going to give me a big gut…

… no, it won’t actually. I have a personal agreement to myself that I refuse to dishonor.

Why? Because I know too much. If I let go of exercise and nutrition now, it would be pure negligence on my part. I would have to have the knowledge of what the positive path is and still choose to go in a different direction. I can’t do that, not at this point. I know way too much. The information has been absorbed and now I leverage it daily.

See what I am saying?

If everyone spent a small amount of time reading 1-2 quality books on both exercise and nutrition, it would open up a whole other world. You’d be consciously aware of what needs to take place. Once you understand and absorb a vital piece (or pieces) of information on how to maintain (or improve from your current point) quality health and also what can destroy it, it now comes down to a personal decision. Once you have that information and you understand what it takes to stay fit, now it’s all on you, not your 5 kids and their hockey tournaments, your wife or your dog or your perceived lack of time or resources.

We are all busy, some more than others, but we all have an equal opportunity to stay healthy. Some people have a ton of time to stay fit and others do not. Some have money and access to a big box gym with fancy equipment and some have no funds and zero equipment.

One thing is for sure… anything that is important to you needs to be held sacred. It needs to become high priority. At some point you might have to put your foot down and fight for what is important to you. If that means having a sit down with your significant other to identify solutions to ensure your daily dose of exercise or a success plan for nutritious family meals, than that is what needs to take place.

Letting go of health projects that you’re giving up and waving the white flag. You’re choosing to follow an easier, less resistive path. It conveys that it just wasn’t quite important enough to you to stay with it.

If you find yourself falling into or at the bottom of this pit, work to be mindful of what is going on by taking small a step back outside of yourself and your situation to re-evaluate and re-motivate yourself. The fire can dim or go out in all of us. If it was easy, everyone would do it. But it obviously isn’t, because the CDC health statistics are still ugly as hell. We have work to do folks.

I have to admit that as much as I want to spread the word of health, I don’t want to project that I am religious about it. I don’t eat and breathe health 24/7… 365. I am human, and I want to enjoy some of the vices that life has to offer.

I cheat meals often. I personally make sure that 35+ out of 40 meals a week are health conscious. When those 5 cheat meals present themselves, I dive in with virtually no regret.

Why? Because I am human. I earned it.

What no one usually sees is how I leverage a hard training session prior to the cheat meal and then also first in the morning after the cheat meal. I cheated, now I go to work. This method has worked for me like a charm. It’s my agreement to myself. I will enjoy what life has to offer, but I will have the discipline to burn it off ASAP, no questions asked.

I also am very consciously aware of what I look like in the mirror, both front and back. In other words, I check myself out. Hahahaha, it sounds funny to admit this and I might regret being so honest, but it’s true. I know what baseline for my body is, and any variance in a positive or negative direction I can easily detect. I am so connected to my body that I can literally palpate my stomach and feel if things are getting a little “loose”. If I am moving in a poor direction, I tighten up everything. By tighten up everything I am typically referring to consuming more water, more sleep and focusing hard on nutrition. Sleep and water are overlooked components to staying lean. Both are vital.

I never weigh myself, mostly because weight doesn’t mean shit. It really doesn’t. A better measurement might be your cardiovascular resilience and what is your muscle to fat ratio? Are you strong? Can you handle your bodyweight? Can you perform hard labor without tapping out in the first 30 minutes? Why aren’t doctors clinic doing physical performance testing and reporting that to the health insurance companies? If more clinic knew how to conduct movement screens and performance tests on patients we could finally stop relying on drugs for artificial health, and move back into genuine health. Natural health.

It won’t happen, but it’s worth discussing.

No, I have to pipe up and make a few more comments… seriously, if you’re composed of a lot more muscle than fat, chances are quite high that you are fairly healthy. Right? I mean, it’s not necessarily that simple but if you eliminate the fat that is suffocating your internal organs, you’re obviously better off.

We need to carry fat to survive, but excess fat is unhealthy. Eat in such a way to keep fat retention to a minimum and improve physical performance. Get purposeful exercise training daily and surround that will low intensity physical activity like biking, walking, etc.

It really doesn’t need to be any more complicated than that does it?

But don’t confuse my statements above… people who are lean, fit and healthy have died from heart attacks, cancer and other unexpected causes. When it is your time, it is your time. But also realize that keeping yourself lean and moving whenever possible gives you the best opportunity at a long life.

Here is another little confession (maybe more of a personal rant): I can’t stand folks who argue against my methods, especially when the words are leaving the mouth of someone that hasn’t moved aggressively in years and eats boxed or fast food for nearly every meal, or read a bogus article slamming resistance training in the local newspaper and wants to have it out with me because they know my lifestyle habits.

I have found that these types of argumentative people are usually in some sort of denial, large or small, or they are close friends or family just looking to get a rise out of me.

If they are the former, they’re tricking themselves, looking to bring other people down to their level so they can see eye to eye. The conversation usually includes a comment about how they “could get back into shape whenever they want because it’s so easy, yet almost a decade has passed with zero improvement”, or they are trapped in their old perception of themselves saying “I used to bench 300+ and could run a sub-6 minute mile, in high school/college”.

Really? Benching, while being an important pattern to develop physically, is kind of a joke really. It used to be the common measurement of a “man”, but no more. It’s a dead statistic to brag about. Running 6 minute miles is impressive, but when those words are leaving the mouth of someone that ran that 6 minute mile about 10 years and 150lbs ago, it’s hard for me to take seriously. These are the same people that have a deep desire to show you their high school letterman’s jacket. Maybe there medals from Little League. You peaked too soon my friends. Waaaaaaayyyyyy too soon.

Again, no offense to anyone overweight, that is not the point here.

If you did take offense, don’t be so sensitive! Harden up!

I used to be pretty vocal, standing up for myself in these situations. Now I politely listen to what they have to say, hearing out their personal opinions and story if they choose to share it with me.

I smile and realize that their punishment fits the crime. Again, it’s mostly denial speaking in these conversations so it’s in one ear and out the other for me. Not really worth my time.

It’s kind of like receiving financial advice from a bankrupt financial advisor.

Ok, so what else can I confess? I think I am pretty well tapped out for now. I am sure that as soon as I hit the “publish” button on this post I will come up with a whole slew of other topics that I could have ranted about, but for now, this works.

Cheers to keeping honesty as your best policy!

KG

Are We Aiming For Weight Loss or Are We Aiming For Happiness?

Quick Tips

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There is a concept emerging from the behavioral/psychology scene that I predict is going to make it’s way into the health and wellness arena.

Happiness.  

The pursuit of happiness over the pursuit of weight loss, fat loss, muscle, athletic prowess.  

Because happiness is at the root of all of these things if you stop and think about it.  

We all want to lose weight for different reasons, but when you boil it down, the foundational motivation to lose weight might be so that we can experience emotions of happiness.  

Happiness is the fuel is at the root of nearly every action that we take in our lives, and when opportunities slip by, we tend to lose these feelings of happiness.  We experience regret, discontent and guilt.

We feel bad, not happy.

Everyone wants to feel happy.  Happy feels good.  

I’m not a scientist and won’t pretend to be, but what if you shifted your thought process away from “I want to lose weight” to “I want to be happy”?  

Would that change anything for you?  

Maybe, maybe not.  Not every method is effective for every person.  

I think humans have a tendency to place focus on the wrong things at times, and I can certainly be lumped into this bunch.  We develop tunnel vision toward something we want, like weight loss or money for example.  But we don’t stop and think about our deeper reasoning for wanting it.  

It seems like the moment that we uncover the real reasons for our pursuits might be the moment that we develop an unshakeable attitude and drive toward accomplishing that pursuit.

 

 

Cheers to being happy…

 

 

KG

 

A Brief Synopsis About Why “Fat Loss” is Preferred Over “Weight Loss”

Quick Tips

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Look familiar?

“Weight loss” is a common set of terms that has been the measurement of health and wellness for decades.  Once the mainstream grabbed ahold of the weight loss, it was all over.  As for who first used the phrase “weight loss” to describe a positive shift in a person’s health and appearance?…

I have no clue.

What I do know is that I have never really understood why we say “weight loss”.

While I know that on some level, “weight loss” does do a decent job of describing the events taking place when a person decides to improve their nutrition or physical activity, I also feel that “weight loss” is so short-sighted.

Especially when the weight that is being lost is being measured by a bathroom scale or the equivalent.  We judge our progress by comparing our previous weigh in to the current weigh in.  If the needle moves left (weight loss) we celebrate and feel good, if the needle moves right (weight gained) we become frustrated, depressed, pissed off and in some extreme reactions, give up on our health endeavors all together.

I’ve witnessed people give up on physical activity and nutritionally smart eating habits solely based on the needle bouncing to the right instead of the left.  They may not give up the first time that they see it happen, but most certainly on the second, third, or fourth time that significant loss does not occur.

The problem with letting the weight scale be the dictator of your progress is that weight scales measure weight!  Ha!  Yes, weight scales suck because all they do is measure weight.  Weight scales don’t factor in whether that weight is useful muscle or useless fat (not all fat is useless), water weight, fecal matter (grow but true), etc.  There is zero indication about where the weight displayed on the scale is coming from, which is why I feel that body composition (or the composition of your total weight) is such important information to know.

Here are a couple of pictures that help make my point.  If you are someone that finds motivation to get fit for body appearance reasons, consider this picture:

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The picture depicts the same female at different weights, yet different shapes.  Although the difference between the right and left pictures may be subtle, there is a noticeable difference.  When asked, most people would probably want to look like the picture on the right, especially not knowing that the picture on the right represents the same girl at a HEAVIER weight.

The girl looks more “toned” (not sure I like using this word but it works for now) and fit in the picture on the right, but she weighs more.  Why?  She built lean muscle and removed  layers of fat.

Fat on the body, visually, projects much different than muscle on the same body.

Here is a picture that helps support my last statement, anyone who has ever been in a health class or kinesiology classroom has no doubt seen images like this:

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While the old “muscle weighs more than fat” adage doesn’t make much sense, body composition and  visual observations at what muscle increase and fat decrease looks like certainly do.

What we could potentially say, is that “a pound of fat takes up nearly four times the space of the same amount of muscle tissue”.

In other words, your height and weight can remain exactly the same, but you can feel and even visually look, well… fatter.

If you add more lean muscle to your body while simultaneously losing fat, you’re going to see a decrease in size, despite what the scale tells you. Your body begins to “tighten up”, “tone” or whichever descriptive word you choose to use.

Increasing muscle while decreasing fat is a positive shift in body composition, and generally, overall health.

The most direct and efficient way to accomplish this is with resistance training, and decent nutritional regimen.

Here is an old article from the University of New Mexico describing all of the benefits of resistance training…

Too simplify, here is a snapshot:

Weight loss versus Fat loss

Because of this, I have to recommend that we shift our thinking and judgements away from the weight scale, and on to body composition tests like bodpods, skin calipers or hydro-static weighing to analyze what the ratio of muscle to fat really is.  The problem is, these are all laboratory tools.  They are unrealistic for the average person to use for monitoring progress.

Waist circumference is also a decent indicator of how your body is reacting to exercise and nutritional interventions.

Go find a pair of jeans that fit tight at the current moment.  Try them on.  Set them aside for now.

Get aggressive with your movement and eating, forgetting about any measurements or weighing.

A week or two down the road, try on that same pair of jeans.

Rinse and repeat for months, because months is how long it is going to take.  Dedicated and repeated effort for months, not overnight or in a week.  Bodies built naturally and properly, take months to establish.  But once they are built, basic upkeep is all that needed to maintain their integrity.

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Better yet, strip down into a swimsuit for females, and a  pair of short with no shirt if you are a male.  Make a conscious effort to show some skin.  Now, take a full body picture.  Have the courage to do this in the beginning and frequently along the way.  It’s unscientific but it is brutally effective.  As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

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You don’t have to show anyone the pictures but yourself.  It’s your reminder of where you started and how you a progressing.  In the future, it may serve as a fuel to continue on the right path when times get rough.  We can all use a little motivation every now and then.

It takes time and effort to make change.  Transformation is a big process.  You’re tearing down and building up.  A complete remodel of your body.  Don’t get discouraged.  If you’re doing right things to initiate lean muscle gain and fat loss, you’ll make progress.  There is no doubt.  If you falter or give up, your progress will slow or halt.

Always remember that if it were easy, everyone would do it.

In most cases, body composition change is incredibly predictable.  Keep moving often, purposefully and aggressively and leverage that effort with nutrient dense food.  The combination of the two will peel fat off of your body like an onion, and restore something that most of us could use more of… muscle.

Cheers to trading weight loss for fat loss…

KG

Jumping Rope: The Undeniable Negatives (Part 1)

Quick Tips

Summary:

  • Jumping rope can be hard on the joints if done excessively.  
  • The learning curve can be a turn off.  
  • Don’t let me talk you out of jumping rope.

Jumping rope is a low cost, medium to high-skill activity people have been leveraging to build impressive cardio fitness for a long, long time.  Particularly athletes in the combat sports, boxing and mixed martial arts.

As a cardio enhancer, jumping rope is making a resurgence.

Here I am working the Ali Shuffle, and other patterns of jumping rope.  

Modern day metabolic conditioning is giving the jump rope a reason to play a large part of many high-intensity workouts.  

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When you’re a kid, you jump rope… 

As a kid, I can vividly remember jumping rope in elementary school.  We had a yearly fundraiser called “Jump Rope for Heart”.  All the kids brought their jump ropes down to the gym, they pumped some 90’s dance music, and we jumped for hours.

I was never the best rope skipper in the gym, but I could hold my own by showcasing classy moves like crossovers, single and alternate leg hops, and even surviving in the infamous Double Dutch vortex.

As a kid, you don’t over-analyze the value of jumping rope.  You jump because it’s fun, not because you want to know how to burn more calories or lose weight.  Jumping rope provides an outlet for kids to burn off extra energy while

Jumping rope provides an outlet for kids to burn off extra energy while

But then adulthood stumbles in.  Jumping rope is no longer cool, it’s taboo.  

When you’re a kid, you move for the fun of it, when you’re an adult, any movement beyond what’s necessary becomes a chore.

As we age, many ask less and less from our bodies.

The “fun” part of hopping over the turning jumping rope seems like the furthest thing in adulthood.  

“You want me to what?  Uh, no thanks”.  

Exerting on purpose as an adult becomes a depressive thought.

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But when mainstream media picks up on the trends, it often reignites our interest in old training methods.  

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Naturally, we head to the sporting good store and buy a badass jump rope. 

But before you start jumping, let’s work through a couple of hang-ups I have with jump rope training.  Particularly if you haven’t exercised in a while.  

1)  Repetitive ground impact and overuse injuries.

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Any activity overdone is going to put you at risk for overuse injuries.  

Too much of a good thing is generally a bad thing.  Drink too much water, bad thing.  Eat too much broccoli, bad thing.  Exercise too much, bad thing.

Overuse injuries certainly aren’t a jumping rope problem per say.  Overuse injuries often occur because of excess volume or intensity (or both combined) relative to what the tissue tolerance is capable of managing.  

If you’ve ever run barefoot or with minimalist shoes without some kind of pre-workout up, the extreme soreness you felt in the days after is a perfect example of impact forces overwhelming the tissues without any shock absorption.  

In other words, physical stress beyond what the body is acclimated to can create some painful issues.

As for jumping rope, it’s the ground impact forces doing the damage.  Every single jump places strain on the legs, particularly the calves and ankles.

How much strain?  Roughly 300lbs of impact is directed toward the foot and ankle while jumping rope, as measured by lab tests.

But this isn’t 300lbs just one time… it’s 300lbs multiplied by thousands of jumps per workout. Thi can be a recipe for injury if your body is not acclimated progressively.

If a person is spinning a jump rope at an average of 100-120 revolutions per minute, a 10-minute workout can add up to about 1,000-1,200 jumps.

Jumping rope for 10 minutes is nothing like running for 10 minutes.  These are two completely different stresses.  Time seems to stand still when you jump rope.  10 minutes can feel like 30 minutes.

Many websites recommend “20-minute jump rope workouts for toning”, but I am extremely hesitant to encourage anyone to jump for 20 minutes as a starting point.

Start with 1 minute unbroken, then 2 minutes… 5 minutes… 10 minute, etc.

10 full minutes of jumping rope without stopping for breaks is a commendable feat.  Once you hit 10 minutes, it’s time to go harder or increase the difficulty of the jumps (1-foot, side-to-side, running).

Now, the impact forces of jumping rope are far less than running. 

If you haven’t jumped 1,000+ times in a while, or you’re a de-conditioned individual who hasn’t engaged in moderate to high physical activity in some time, you stand a high likelihood of sidelining yourself after a short duration of jumping rope.  

Jumping rope is a sub-maximal variation of plyometrics (jump training), which can be very high-impact. Plyometric training is best kept to reasonable volumes during a workout.  Most high-level athletes are jumping anywhere from 25-40 foot contacts per workout in the off-season.  

Lesson:  Work into your jump rope training, progressively adding minutes to each session.  If you’re a beginner, consider jumping from less than 5 minutes cumulatively per workout.  You can always build up.  

2)  Learning curve versus training stimulus.

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Here’s a realistic scenario…

You go out and buy a jump rope to whip yourself into shape.  You get that baby home, rip it out of the packaging and head to the garage.  After you put on your workout playlist, get ready to turn the rope over like Muhammad Ali.  

Wham!  You catch your feet and stomp the rope on the very first turn.  Hey, no problem, it’s the first time in a long time you tell yourself.  Here we go again…

Wham!  Shins this time.  Wham!  Ceiling got in the way.  Wham!  Back of your head, not enough tension on the twirl.  Wham!  Toes again, but somehow this time the rope tied a knot that you have to unravel.  Damn, a tight knot too.  

Next thing you know, the rope is 10 inches shorter and you’ve wasted 45 minutes jumping 25 times.  Ouch.

Don’t laugh now.  This is a real scenario, I’ve seen it happen to coordinated athletes, so I know it is happening to the average Joe and Jane all over the world.  

The real benefits of jumping rope comes from continuous jumping.  In other words, getting hung up on your toes every fifth turn isn’t going to allow for any real training effect.  You won’t be exerting long enough to accomplish much.  

I applaud your spirit and motivation, but we have to consider one thing…

Jumping rope is a skill.  And like any skill, we all have a unique starting point and learning curves of various lengths to become better at that skill.  Some will acclimate to the rhythm faster than others.  Here’s another important thing to consider:  some of us have a higher resilience for knowing that we suck at activities, yet continue to practice until the day we move passed the “suck” stage.   

If you’re terrible at jumping rope AND you have a tendency to shut down at first encounter of resistance, consider saving jump rope practice for after normal gym work, when you have peace of mind that some quality work was put in.  

But don’t let me turn you off from jumping.  Get after it.  But beware, you may not have the workout of your life on the first go around.  

If your goal is to get into shape ASAP, and for many people it is.  Riding the struggle bus for 15-20 minutes a day just to turn a rope 10 consecutive times without stepping on it won’t sound like fun to most people.

Therefore, it may be worth considering that the jump rope can take a backseat to bread and butter activities like running, cycling, rowing or lifting weights.  Even a potent bodyweight workout should be considered before re-engaging with the rope of death.  Talk about defeating.  

Again, jumping rope is a skill.  Expect it to involve failure, slow progress, and patience.  

If you’re lucky, you’ll hop right into it.  If you’re not, I warned you.  

Lesson:  Treat jumping rope like a skill.  Dedicate a small amount of time before or after your main workout to improving your jump proficiency.  Don’t make the mistake of putting all of your eggs in the jump rope basket, only to find out you can only manage 10 seconds of continuous movement before you smash your toes.

This tip will save you a lot of frustration.

3)  Cardio benefits over-hyped.

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Yes, jumping rope burns calories, but so does doing the laundry or making the bed.

Yes, jumping rope can improve cardiovascular function, but so does push mowing the yard.   help reinforce posture during exertion.  

Yes, jumping rope can be a decent reinforcer of upright posture, but so is waiting in line for public transit.

Compared to running, rowing, cycling, kettlebell swings/snatches, burpees, or smart bodyweight circuits, jumping rope delivers less bang for you cardio conditioning buck.   

Some of this circles back to the learning curve and the barrier it has to a reasonable training effect.  

I’ve seen videos of Ross Enaimat spinning a jump rope so fast I wasn’t even sure it was still in his hands, but not everyone is Ross Enaimat.  

He’s got over a million views on some of his YouTube videos from people eating popcorn watching him sweat, aspiring to have his conditioning without putting any effort in.

Returning to my previous point about training effect, head out to your local hill for some incline sprints or pick up your heaviest kettlebell and swing away.  

You’ll probably find time is better spent elsewhere to get that conditioning stimulus.

Adaptation sadness…

At some point, you’re going to experience diminishing returns on your efforts.  This is called adaptation.  It’s a good thing and a bad thing.  It’s good because you’ve established an efficiency at a certain skill, intensity, and duration.  It’s a bad thing because now, you have to push yourself harder to keep progressing.  

Adaptation is bound to happen with any activity you commit to doing on a regular basis.  It’s only a matter of time.  

When you reach this adaptation point, it is important to remember that jumping rope is no different from any other form of exercise.  You have to re-adjust the variables in order to continue progressing and break out of your adaptation, moving forward to the next level of adaptation.

The problem, once again, circles back to the issue of learning curve.  Once you’re a pro with single hops and the duration of jumping is hovering around 15-20 minutes, personally, I feel it’s time to figure out how to leverage the next progression in order to save your precious time.  Unless you love jumping rope that much.  

So how do we progress?  Well, you could…

  •  Buy a weighted jump rope
  •  Increase the tempo of the jumps (turn the rope faster)
  •  Decrease base of support (single leg hopping)
  •  Mix and match various jumps (front to back, side to side, boxer jump, high knees, etc)
  •  Move on to Double-Unders

Adjusting any one of these variables will progress the training stimulus and keep you away from stagnation.

Wrap Up…

You’ll notice that this post is more of a cautionary tale than anything.  

Personally, I jump rope before almost every single workout.  I love it.  It get’s me in a standing position and it serves as a great warm-up prior the tough part of my training sessions.  

Jumping rope is not a bad activity.  But, it’s important to know how it could be bad, and where the disadvantages are.  Probably the most important part of this article is the warning about overdoing it.  The impact can leave you limping for days afterward.  

Some of you will be able to pick up a jump rope and get after it aggressively from the start.  Others won’t make it 3 consecutive turns without tying a noose around your ankles or blooding up your toes.

Get to know yourself, your current physical conditioning level, and make a decision if jumping rope is right for you.  If it is, schedule some practice time before or after a workout to hone your jumping skills and acclimate your body to the stress.  

This article would be a real let down if I didn’t recommend at least one great resource to related to jump rope training:

If you found this article while searching for alternatives to high-impact activity, I highly recommend you to check out these posts:

Cheers, 

Kyle 

The Matthew McConaughey Workout Plan

Quick Tips

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I will never forget the day that I picked up a Men’s Health magazine in college and read an article about Matthew McConaughey’s workouts.

Like many young males, I was fascinated by what Men’s Health was writing about health.  I spent a decent chunk of cash (which I had very little of) to keep my subscription, buying training manuals and such

I don’t remember what the guy does to stay in shape, but it is pretty obvious:

  • He eats clean.
  • He moves frequently.

You might be disappointed by my repetitive preaching of eating clean and moving smart, but it’s the only real formula that you need to reverse years of body pollution.

It’s a bullet proof technique for restoring your body.

In the Men’s Health article, I remember Matthew McConaughey commenting on his training regimen by saying…

The Matthew McConaughey Workout

The print is tiny, so in case you can’t quite make out what the quote is, I will help you.  It says:

Get a sweat everyday

What a great training plan!

After I read that quote, I distinctly remember being pissed.

I thought for sure- as many guys probably did- that he was going to disclose some sweet top secret workout regimen.

I was convinced that he was doing something special that the rest of us were aware of.  There had to be something else going on there.

You probably have had that feeling before, right?  The feeling where you are convinced that someone- who has achieved something that you also want to achieve-knows some kind of voodoo magic that you flat out don’t know anything about.  And because of the fact that they have harnessed the power of this voodoo magic, they’ve got an edge over everyone else on the planet.  You, in turn, want to know what this voodoo magic is so that you yourself can experience the kinds of results that they have.

Then you you realize that none of this is true.  A lean person’s (famous or not) recipe for success is the same as nearly every other successful person on the planet… they created good habits, worked relentlessly, learned along the way and rinsed and repeated that process.  They figured out that they have to do un-aveerage things to achieve un-average results.

I have to admit that I was brutally disappointed with the Matthew McConaughey “sweat theory”.  Again, pissed, might be a much better description.

Genetically, he is blessed to stay as lean as he does, but he also makes a dedicated effort to give his body decent food and he sweats!  So his body aesthetics are by chance.  He worked for it and now he performs a simple maintenance whenever he gets the opportunity.

Everyday, he sweats.

This has actually stuck with me ever since I read that article, and I am glad that it did.

I get a sweat every single day.  Even after a night of socializing with friends (and a boatload of craft beers) it is mandatory to sweat the next day.  It’s a simple theory that I took action on long enough to make it a lifelong habit.

Voodoo fitness

It’s so easy to fall into the “there has to be something out there that I am not doing that would make all of the difference in the world” trap.  So easy.  We trick ourselves into thinking this sort of thing.  We then begin to search and search and search for the “secrets”.  We try different diets, different personal trainers, different gyms, shoes, training equipment, workout plans, etc.  When it’s all said and done, a lot of people have blown mountains of money on “secrets”.  It’s enough to drive a person crazy, and I have met a lot of people that are slowly driving themselves insane looking for these secrets.

But the recipe is simple:  eat clean and move enough to sweat.

Take that and do it EVERY SINGLE DAY.

It will blow your mind what a recipe like that will do for you over the long-term.

Cheers to Matthew McConaughey and the daily sweat!

KG

Are You Deserving of Fat or Weight Loss?

Quick Tips

I am not trying to be a buzz kill people, so you’ve been warned right away.

I’d also like to mention that the most important part of this article is probably the very last paragraph located underneath my typical “Cheers to…” sign off.  Make sure you get all of the way through to that point, ok?  It will give you the full effect. 🙂

The title of this post was meant to be an attention grabber.  I do in fact… have a heart and it is big and the people near and dear to me know that I care about them.

Ahemmm… moving on… ahemmm…

However, inspired by a classic sales book that I was paging through last night while lying in bed, I thought that I would put my own spin on classic topic related body restoration, fat loss, weight loss… whatever you choose to reclaiming ownership of your health as.

I want you to think about one thing for a quick second:

Deserve to lose fat or weight?

Do you?

I truly wish a long life that is filled with love and happiness and achievements for every single person. 

Time on earth is short, live it up.

If you are one of the rare few people who have gained weight or unwanted fat due to unavoidable natural causes, well, this article may not pertain to you so much.  But that doesn’t change the fact that you folks can put some interventions into motion yourself.

HOWEVER, for the rest of you, considering that a large majority of people are doing very little if anything to help themselves live a long life that is disease free (from preventable metabolic disease that is), you should really stop for a minute and evaluate what it is that you keep “thinking” that you want to achieve.

If you are someone who wants to trim down, build some strength, endurance, decrease the circumference of your waistline, eat better, drink more water, etc… well.. do it.  Enough thinking and pondering and researching… just do it (there is that Nike slogan again!).

It’s not enough to “think” about how bad you want to restore your body to that teenager or mid-20’s physique that you once donned.  You’ve got to do the work.  So many think about thinks until they nearly spontaneously combust it’s nuts!

This article might be the same old song and dance, but hey, if it is received by as little at 1% of the readers stopping by the blog… well… I impacted someone.  I can live with that.

The Sales to Body Analogy:

In the sales book I was reading last night (Integrity Selling), the author was sharing why sales professionals who have exhibit good character and work with their customers to service them to the best of their abilities deserve to earn mountains of money.  Theses sales people shouldn’t feel bad about asking for business from new customers or asking existing customers for more business.  They are selling with integrity.  If the sales person can go to bed every night knowing that they provided a high value to their accounts, they deserve every stinking penny.

Why?  Because these salesmen and women are EARNING their income. They aren’t being handed an income, they are earning it by exhibiting good character (doing the right things whether someone is looking or not- my definition) while accommodating their customer’s every need.  The successful salesperson sets goals (goal clarity) and then works to achieve them night and day.  Achievement is awarded to those who selflessly serve their customers night and day.

What about regaining control of your body?

The pursuit of fitness, whether you call it weight loss, body restoration or trimming fat around the edges, demands that you go to bed knowing that you put forth a worthy effort each and every day.  It’s tough to feel sorry for an individual that wants the world in hand yet sacrifices nothing.  You have got to put forth an effort of some kind and be relentless in your approach.

The beauty of moving more and eating well is that it takes very little tweaking for the average individual to start experiencing positive shifts in their appearance, energy levels, health markers, etc.  Very little I tell you.

But, in the same breath, I will tell you that it takes one things always:

The willingness to start followed by the willingness to endure.

Just as the salesperson has to be emotionally courageous (emotional intelligence) and willing to get kicked in the crouch without taking it personally, folding up and heading home with their tail between their legs… so does the person seeking physical self-improvement.

Peaks and valleys.  Thus is life.  Those who stick it out long enough will see reward.

We had an old saying in hockey that I have come to appreciate more and more as the years pass.  It always seems to put things into a manageable perspective for me:

No Highs, No Lows

Never allow yourself to get to high during the good times, never get to low during the frustrating times.

Keep the balance.

Endure.

Cheers from the icy streets of Eau Claire, WI…

KG

[You made it!  This article might stir up some emotions for some of you.  You might feel guilty, irritated, motivated, or “called out”.  My aim was not to make you feel bad about yourself.  If you begin to feel emotions like motivation and irritation, good!  Especially irritation.  Getting irritated gets things done.  It’s the point where you say to yourself, “Bullshit with this, I am going to take care of business from here on out”.  Irritation can set things in motion faster than anything sometimes.  It’s the “I told you so” attitude where you now want to prove the world wrong.  Me personally, irritation makes me accomplish tasks at break neck speed.  I get pissed because I observe myself becoming complacent in my position (whatever position that may be)  Embrace these emotions and leverage them to make positive change.]