Category Archives: Rants
I don’t mind complaining. I don’t mind whining….As long as you try!
But I can’t stand when someone says I can’t.
Because when you say “I CAN’T” all I hear is – I DON’T WANT TO TRY.
Or even I DON’T REALLY CARE ABOUT MY GOALS.
Yup…”I can’t” really just means you don’t want to try.
And don’t start making excuses about how that isn’t the case…Because it is.
Most of the time we don’t say “I can’t” if we’ve worked really hard and given it all we’ve got and things just don’t work out. Then we say “I tried,” or “It doesn’t work.”
Not “I can’t.”
“I can’t” is just us giving up. It is us saying our goals really aren’t worth trying.
It is basically us making up an excuse to keep failing at reaching our goal.
It is you telling me that I am wasting my time helping you because you are never going to accomplish your goals because you don’t have the right mindset.
Harsh…Yea a little. But true.
You are also wasting your OWN time working toward something if every time you encounter a problem or hurdle you say “I can’t.”
So what advice can I give you? Decide if your goals are worth risking failure! Because results come when you put yourself in uncomfortable situations and do things you don’t normally do.
And honestly what is really the worst thing that can happen if you TRY? You fail? It doesn’t work and you’re still stuck at the same spot you’re in now?
Well, you definitely won’t move forward if you don’t give it a shot and instead just keep doing the same old things.
Because you can’t expect a different result doing the same old things.
So why not at least TRY!?!
Why say “I can’t” before you’ve even given it a shot? If you really want to reach your goals, you’ve got to be willing to TRY NEW THINGS THAT YOU AREN’T COMFORTABLE WITH!
So next time you think about saying “I can’t” consider what you really mean. Is it really that you “can’t” or is it more that you don’t want to or are scared to try and fail?
Despite being told hundreds of thousands of times, and our common sense yelling at us that there is no magic pill, we still hold out hope. We still believe that someone out there just doesn’t have to do anything and they look, feel and live the life of their dreams without ever having to suffer or sweat or work for it.
And I’m sorry but that’s just ridiculous.
At some time, in some way, everyone has had to work and sweat for their success. At some point they’ve had to sacrifice (even if they somewhat enjoy the sacrifice) and put long-term goals ahead of instant gratification and enjoyment.
Because the simple fact is that success means HARD WORK. It does mean some sacrifice. It does mean sometimes thinking long-term instead of simply living in the moment.
And it also means taking risks that could lead to failure. Failures that make you then reassess and adapt. That test your drive and dedication.
Failures that can make you better if you pick yourself back up and again…WORK HARD.
I know we’ve all seen the fitspo that say:
And honestly…It’s so true!
Often when we see people enjoying the fruits of their labors, we don’t think about all the work they had to put in to get there. We just see them enjoying their success and then assume it was easy for them.
But trust me. They worked. And they may not remember all of the sacrifices, and they may even romanticize the journey now that it is done, but they freaking worked hard.
Because achieving your goals really does means working hard. There is no magic pill. There really is no short cut. There really is no one that is just so lucky to have everything come easily to them.
So stop spending a lot of time and energy looking for a short cut. Apply that time and energy toward something beneficial…Like actually WORKING toward your goals.
And can I also say…This goes hand in hand with MAKING TIME FOR YOUR GOALS.
Let’s face it…There is never enough time in the day. But if you want something bad enough, you will make time. You will make it a priority.
So stop making excuses and searching for something that doesn’t exist. Instead get started working toward your goals before the New Year. Why not go into this New Year already moving forward? Why not WORK HARD and MAKE TIME for what you want!?!
Because if you want to succeed, if you want to make this next year an even better one, you will have to find the time to work hard at your goals. No Ifs, Ands or Butts about it!
I consider myself very lucky to get to work with people with all different fitness levels, experiences and goals. Because of the online training I do, I also get to work with people in many different locations with access to different equipment than I may have in my gym.
Therefore I constantly have to think of new ways to work the body and challenge people.
And that is AMAZING. Because all too often we get stuck doing things ONE WAY.
Same exercises. Same way of making them harder. Same rep ranges. Same set ranges. Same rest. Same tempos. Same same same same same!
And that isn’t a bad thing. You don’t have to go crazy or try every newfangled thing that comes out.
But as trainers, we constantly have to be thinking and adjusting to make things work for all sorts of people in all sorts of situations. (Or if you travel a lot and work out in different places or with limited equipment this may just help you too.)
Which is why I was excited when I got into a discussion with one of the trainers I mentor about making glute bridges more challenging when she only has very light weights.
So I asked her…How can you make the glute bridge more challenging if the weight you have is no longer difficult for the client?
She looked at me and said, “Add more reps?”
And I agreed that was potentially an option. Increasing or reducing the volume is a valid way to mix up workouts.
But I said, “What else?”
I knew she knew more options, but so often we get stuck thinking about the problem in the same way….Which is exactly what happened to this bright and wonderful trainer.
She was so used to having a full gym with plenty of weights to make her weighted glute bridges more challenging that she didn’t really think about how else to progress the movement.
So I told her to think about different variations of the bridge to make the light weight or the basic bridge more challenging for her client…
Here is the list we then came up with to make a Weighted Glute Bridge (with too light a weight or even no weight) more challenging:
- Single leg without weight from the ground.
- Single leg with the weight.
- Single leg without the weight off the box.
- Thruster with your back on the box.
- Thruster with weight.
- Thruster, single leg without weight.
- Thruster, single leg with weight
- Thruster with feet raised.
- Thruster, single leg with feet raised.
- Thruster with feet raised with weight
- Thruster, single leg with feet raised with weight (although being very careful)
- Change up tempo.
- Slow down the bridge up.
- Slow down the hold at the top.
- Slow down the lower back down.
- Slow down all three pieces. Or just one or two. Or use different tempos on each. Maybe do explosive up, hold at the top and slow down.
- Pulse at the top or bridge up, lower halfway down, then back up then all the way down.
- Try shorter rest between sets so she can’t fully recover and the weight is more challenging.
- Place her feet on an unstable surface.
- Add in other equipment…If you have towels or sliders, try using those for a bridge and curl with or without the weight…
And we could have gone on. (For instance, we could have even added in all the other bridge variations out there….)
And while some of those had weight, they were meant to use the weight she had on hand. They were variations she could do with the client based on what she had access to.
She didn’t need to skip the exercise, especially since glute bridges are ESSENTIAL. She just had to find another way to make it challenging without our normal go to of “add more weight.”
Same goes for so many of the basic moves we do. All too often we think “add weight” or “do more.” But those aren’t the only ways to add variety to our workouts or challenge ourselves…Especially when we don’t have more time or access to weights.
Don’t have heavy weights but love deadlifts? Try a single leg deadlift! You will need lighter weights than with a bilateral movement.
Weights still too light? Or maybe you don’t have any weights at all. SLOW DOWN THE TEMPO. Try hinging over toward the ground for a five count and then quickly coming back to the top. OR try a slow lower over and then an explosive movement back up with even a jump off the ground as you come back up (aka a single deadlift hop).
OR try only loading down one side to make the movement more unstable.
Or try doing as many reps as possible in a set amount of time and then rest very briefly before repeating. Shorting the rest period gives muscles less time to recover meaning they are already fatigued when we begin again….Which can be good if we aren’t going for a one rep max or even trying to increase weight each round.
Sometimes even how you pair exercises together can make an easier exercise more challenging because you can then use that movement as a way to “burn out” the muscle after it is already fatigued.
Also, traditional weights aren’t the only pieces of equipment that make exercises more challenging. A homemade slosh pipe or even a milk jug filled with water can be great unstable weights.
Or if you are traveling and need a way to make exercises more challenging (with something you can fit in your suitcase), suspension trainers, resistance bands, mini bands, sliders/towels/valslides are all easy transportable pieces of equipment to make exercises more challenging.
Anyway, the point is, you don’t need a barbell or dumbbells to make exercises more challenging. Heck, you don’t even need equipment truly (although it can make things more fun).
All you need to do is BE CREATIVE! Explore other options. Change up other exercise variables…that is besides just reps or weights!
I’m often asked how you know if you are working hard enough…especially since I tell people who being sore or feeling destroyed after a workout isn’t the best indicator of whether or not you had a great workout.
My answer, “Well it depends on your goals and/or the purpose of the workout!”
Not every workout needs to make you sore for days or leave you feeling like you are going to barf or die.
Working “hard enough” truly means challenging yourself so you can move forward toward your goals.
But if your workouts have no purpose and your goals aren’t clearly outlined, you can never really know if you are working hard enough unless of course you destroy yourself each and every time.
However, destroying yourself doesn’t mean you will necessarily be moving forward toward your goals. Because moving forward means working out SMART.
Because working SMART and working HARD are not the same thing.
You can work hard and get nowhere….
So maybe we shouldn’t be worrying about working hard enough so much as working smart…Which as I said above means having a purpose for your workouts and clearly outlined goals.
It also means TRACKING what you are doing so you can see improvements and progress toward your goals.
For instance, if you want to strengthen your glutes you want to challenge yourself to lift more each and every time. However, if you constantly are doing different exercises, you don’t really know if you are lifting more because each move will require different loads.
And just because you are sore after each glute workout doesn’t mean you are getting stronger.
So in order to really see if you are getting stronger, you need to have a move you can compare – a move you can add a little more weight to each week.
Notice I said a LITTLE MORE. You don’t want to make drastic changes each week because you also need to do a workout that doesn’t make you so sore you can’t do the other workouts you have scheduled for the week.
Basically you need to workout SMART.
It isn’t about pushing your limits every time. It is about creating CHANGE. Because destruction doesn’t guarantee results…Smart progress and change does!
Don’t just throw together workouts that make you work hard! PLAN OUT workouts that make you PROGRESS.
One of my favorite workouts to prove that feeling destroyed at the end isn’t the only measure of how hard you worked is the POWER WORKOUT.
The point of the power workout is to make you more explosive and improve your mind-body connection. Workouts like this make you stronger and help you recruit more muscle fibers faster and more efficiently.
A Power Workout leaves you feeling like you could do more at the end. You work for like 8-12 seconds and then you rest for about 5 times the length of time you worked.
When you rest, you should feel completely ready to go again. And you may even feel ready to go before you start. But you need the rest so you can be just as explosive each round as you were the first time.
Because a Power Workout isn’t about going to failure. It is about being super explosive each and every time. Which means you need to REST.
At the end of the workout, you shouldn’t feel destroyed. But doing this type of workout will create change and help you progress toward your goals.
Because working “hard enough” with a power workout doesn’t mean making yourself barf. It means being as explosive and powerful as you can for the short burst and then completely recovering.
Because working “hard enough” doesn’t really matter in the end if you aren’t moving toward your goals.
Focus on working out SMART.
Focus on creating a PLAN that leads to progress and RESULTS.
So stop asking if you are working out hard enough and focus on working toward your goals!
Recently I’ve seen a ton of crazy hard workouts trainers have given their clients that they themselves could NEVER finish.
And it always irks me.
Because for one, I believe you should never ask someone to do something you can’t do and two, it gives people the perception that if they aren’t absolutely completely destroyed at the end of the workout it wasn’t hard enough (even if that isn’t how the trainer trains him or herself).
I’ve also overheard a lot of people recently preaching different healthy eating strategies when they, themselves, don’t eat clean and follow their own advice.
STOP IT PEOPLE!
Practice what you preach!!!
Especially as trainers we need to practice what we preach.
And that doesn’t mean you have to look a certain way or lift a certain amount to be a good trainer. But it does mean that we shouldn’t ask our clients to do things we can’t and have never done before ourselves.
If you don’t make time for working out with your busy schedule, how can you ask your clients to?
If you don’t make time for meal prep and have never logged your food in a fitness app, how can you ask your clients to?
You can’t. Because you don’t know how difficult it is to do those things or how to overcome the excuses.
You don’t know what it truly takes so how can you help them stay motivated and moving forward.
Sure…You can say the things you’ve read, but you’ve never experienced what they are going through.
Same goes for the workouts we write up.
Yes, we know what muscles are being worked by an exercise. Yes we know reps and sets and rest periods and how they all technically affect us.
But have you ever realized that while certain exercises seem like a good idea together, they end up being complete murder…Even though TECHNICALLY they fit the “mold” or design?
And you wouldn’t know that if you didn’t try them together.
No…You may not be able to try every workout you write up (although it wouldn’t be a bad idea to run through as many as you can), but you should have experienced and experimented enough with different exercises and designs that any routine you throw someones way you know you could complete…Complete at the toughest possible variation.
Ok. So some of you right now may be thinking, but I have some clients that can lift more than me/do more pull ups or push ups.
And I’m not saying that you can’t have them do more challenging variations or lift more weight.
But I do ask you to have challenged yourself as much as they will have to. And to have tried the variations (or even modifications of them) to know how they will affect the person.
We need to practice what we preach.
Because how can you ask someone to do something you wouldn’t or couldn’t do?
I often get asked when and how often people need to do prehab/rehab stuff for aches, pains and even old injuries. They ask how often they need to foam roll, stretch and even do activation exercises.
And my answer….
Before you have pain!
If you’ve had an injury or you know you are prone to aches and pains in certain areas, you need to take care of those areas before pain arises or before you do things that could lead to pain if those areas aren’t loosened and activated.
And if pain has flared up in an areas, you need to be extra diligent to do everything you can to alleviate.
How often you need to do the prehab/rehab will vary. If you stay on top of things, a few minutes each day may suffice.
If you wait till things start to flare up, you may have to spend more time on prehab activities.
But I would like to point out that if you have neck, shoulder or upper back pain from sitting at a desk all day, rolling out for one minute every other day isn’t going to do it.
Just think about how long you sit with poor posture….Does one minute of pain prevention (aka foam rolling, stretching, activation) really seem like it equals the time you sit with poor posture?
Does it really seem like that minute can counteract the 9 hours?
So why do we all expect results when we basically spend only minutes a day doing the right things and hours doing the wrong things?
The thing is we can’t.
While there is no exact amount of time we need to spend doing rehab/prehab exercises and stretches, we do need to consider just how much time we spend each day doing things to counteract all the good we do in the gym.
That one hour each day we spend there with our 5-10 minutes of warm up (foam rolling, stretching and activation) simply isn’t enough.
But that doesn’t mean you need to spend hours each day to see benefit. Five minutes when you wake up, the occasional stretch or rolling at your desk, 5-10 minutes before you workout, a few minutes after your workout and maybe a minute or two before you go to bed.
If you did that every day…WOAH!
At most, what I outlined above, is like 30 minutes out of your day…AT MOST.
And yet we can’t find the time for that?!?
Suffering from pain and injury is our alternative and yet we skip those 30 minutes and wonder why we never get better.
30 MINUTES a day! An excuse to get up and stretch while sitting at our desk all day! Or heck simply a stretch in the doorway when we get up to go the bathroom. (AHEM…Look at all those stretches you can easily do at your desk!)
Or some balancing and leg swings when we brush our teeth to keep our ankles strong.
This is seriously not hard stuff. Shoot it isn’t even as hard as finding 15-30 solid minutes to workout! Almost all of these things can be done while doing something else.
Watching TV? Sit on a ball on the ground to roll out your glutes, hips and low back to get rid of your achy low back!
Simple little prehab/rehab things can go a long way to keeping an area pain and injury-free.
Because even if you did the initial rehab after an injury, you are never done.
You ALWAYS have to take care of that area and make sure to maintain strength in the muscles up and down the kinetic chain from that disruption.
Because every day we do things to create imbalances and potentially upset old aches and pains or create new ones.
So to live pain free…What is a few minutes each day on exercises to keep you balanced?
Are you diligent about doing prehab activities – foam rolling, stretching, activation, balance and stability stuff?
How do you fit those things into your day?
Here are some great tips and exercises to help you prevent and alleviate minor aches and pains:
- 5 Quick Fixes For Wrist and Elbow Pain
- Alleviate Low Back Pain
- The Complete Foam Rolling Video Course and E-Book
NOTE: This is discussing previously rehabbed injuries and minor aches and pains. If you suffer from an injury, make sure to do the physical therapy rehab prescribed to you!
I was talking to Shannon the other day about soreness and what being sore really means.
Because currently SORENESS is the measure of whether or not your workout was tough enough. It’s like soreness has become the GOAL of the workout…not deadlifting more or doing more push ups.
If people don’t get sore after a workout, they all too often think it wasn’t hard enough. That they needed to work harder or do more.
But that just isn’t true.
Honestly, you SHOULD NOT be sore after every single workout.
Because soreness doesn’t truly measure how TOUGH the workout was or even how beneficial it was. (And every workout SHOULD NOT be the toughest thing you’ve ever done anyway!)
I believe that soreness has become a measure for how good our workout is because we don’t track or progress our workouts.
When we don’t have a clear progression and track our results, we don’t have any idea of whether or not our workouts are working.
So we figure that, if we aren’t sore, we didn’t push hard enough that day because we don’t truly know what HARD ENOUGH is.
HARD ENOUGH is getting results.
Are we constantly moving forward?
Soreness doesn’t mean we are moving forward, but in many cases it is the only measurement we have.
And the problem with that is, soreness doesn’t equal growth. It doesn’t mean we are getting closer to our goals.
It just means we did something that broke our body down.
It could mean the workout was super hard. Or it could simply mean that the workout was different. It could also mean that your recovery (nutrition, sleep and such) aren’t on point making you more sore for longer.
So while it could mean we are moving forward, it doesn’t have to mean that.
Soreness isn’t progress. Recovering from the breakdown is what leads to results.
Hard workouts without recovery mean you are constantly breaking your body down without ever letting it grow and repair so it can become stronger.
STRENGTH COMES FROM RECOVERY NOT FROM SORENESS.
SORENESS DOES NOT EQUAL PROGRESS.
It just means you did something to break your body down.
It isn’t a measure of success. It doesn’t mean you are gnarly. It doesn’t even mean your workouts are WORKING.
It just means you did something to make yourself sore.
And if you don’t recover, if you don’t have a clear program, all that hard work that made you “sore” will be for nothing more than to feel sore.
So stop thinking of soreness as a sign of success. Stop focusing on making yourself sore from every single workout.
Stop freaking out the next day that you didn’t work hard enough because you aren’t sore!
SORENESS IS NOT A GOAL!
Track actual results and seek to grow better with each workout NOT just simply get sore.
If you want to get sore, just go out and do the hardest moves you can every day in random order, never repeating the same workout twice. Then you can always be sore and never get anywhere!
So the other day in the car, Ryan and I were listening to a radio segment about beautiful people being treated differently.
And while the segment itself was completely absurd and light-hearted, I was amazed by all the people calling in and claiming to be beautiful and that it had caused them problems.
I briefly thought, “Who the heck would call in to this!?!”
But then part of me also thought, “Good for them thinking they are amazing looking and not being afraid to say it!”
Rarely if ever do you truly run into someone who believes they are beautiful and are willing to state it out loud. Most of the time instead women downplay their beauty and instead focus on their flaws.
It’s like they are scared to come off as cocky or overly confident. It is as if they don’t want to take a stand in case someone else doesn’t agree with them and instead sees their flaws.
Even when complimented often women will downplay things instead of just saying, “Fuck yea…I’m awesome!”
Why is it that so many women downplay their strengths?
Why isn’t it thought to be acceptable for us to state out loud with our head held high that we agree when someone compliments us and that we know we are awesome?
Is it fear of someone not agreeing with us that holds us back? Is it fear that we will come off as cocky?
Or is it simply that we don’t recognize our own beauty or our own strengths?
Whatever it is, today take a second and say out loud, “I’m fucking amazing and beautiful and today I will kick butt!”
Because, guess what?
Claim the day ladies (and that goes for you too gentlemen!).
Today recognize your strengths and encourage others to do the same!
This past weekend I attend this Fit Business Conference thanks to Dennis.
Bedros, the organizer of the event, started the event off with probably the best stories of the weekend…
A story about CRABS.
In his story he spoke of talking to a crab fisherman who had a bucket of crabs.
In the bucket were crabs piled on top of one another…And one single crab crawling to get out of the bucket.
As the crab grasped the rim in an attempt to make a getaway, Bedros said to the fisherman that it looked like one was going to make an escape.
The fisherman told him to just wait and see what happened.
Because, just as the crab looked like it was going to escape, the other crabs grabbed it and pulled it back down into the bucket.
With the increased popularity of Olympic lifting and the fact that Crossfit has brought it to the masses, now more than ever, we need to consider how our day job affects our bodies and may actually be at odds with the exercises and workouts we may want to do.
We may want to do Olympic lifts. We may want to do gnarly, cool exercises.
Heck we may even technically be strong enough to do them.
But before we can, we have to make sure our body is mobile and ready to truly move through the range of motion.
Because if our body can’t truly do the motion, we are going to compensate and end up getting injured.