Monthly Archives: April 2016
Strength sports have many variables that can make or break an individual’s progression, reputation, and enjoyment of their sport. Some people believe that in strength sports it is only the individual who is responsible for the lift. They believe it is all about their mindset and that no one else can aid them in that. Personally, I don’t agree with these statements. The importance of a team in the realm of strength sports is vital. A team will help keep you accountable, form a bond with others and coach you to becoming great!
•The push “accountability” factor
Many people entering the fitness realm have an issue with making themselves show up (this is a major reason people hire personal trainers). The team aspect of strength sports offers this in the most hardcore way possible. When you do not show up a pillar is missing, the machine does not run as smooth and you affect the rest of the team’s training session. If your team is made up of stronger humans and they expect you to be around, you’re damn sure that will be motivation enough to show up even if you are injured. Beside the fact of not wanting to let your teammates down (who could eat you for a meal) the progression you will see being around like minded athletes will be unstoppable, that is if you just stick it!
Having teammates to aid you in your progression as a strength athlete is a key to success. There will be stronger, more knowledgeable teammates in your facility allowing for more experienced advice concerning your strength movements. This will develop you as an athlete in a well rounded manner and allow you to seek out teammates to aid you in strengthening your weaknesses. Learning all these things makes you a more vital part of the team and puts you in line to help the next generation of strength athlete.
• The bond created from a team
To anyone that has been an athlete on a team you know the bond I am talking about. To those who have not, I would like to paint several pictures from my experiences being on a team and observing other teams in strength sports. Imagine four individuals that would drop what they are doing to aid you in a personal accomplishment, literally save your life if an exercise goes wrong, celebrate your birthday and other accomplishments outside of the gym with you. These are the things that come naturally to athletes in strength sports because the majority of people drawn to them are passionate for other’s success.
So next time you have the chance to be a part of a team in a strength disciplined sport, I urge you to take the experience head on and participate. I promise you will learn something (whether it becomes more than a hobby or not). You will develop self accountability, become stronger, learn how to coach others, and create a bond with some of the most supportive human beings that walk the planet.
I’m going on my belated honeymoon next week with my hubby and I couldn’t be more excited.. I’m so ready that I’ve literally been mentally checked out and in vacation mode all week. It’s all I can think about!!! Next week’s blog will hopefully be all the beach pictures but this week I wanted to share my progress since being a part of NBS. Before I joined the NBS staff I was lost I guess you could say. I was a group instructor at several gyms, I did personal training and worked in the corporate wellness world but it wasn’t until I was a part of NBS that it all started to make sense. I’ve learned so much and made so much progress it’s crazy. All thanks to David for mentoring us and truly caring about his staff. Not only have I grown as a trainer but I’ve made physical gains too. If you follow me on social media then you might have seen some of these but my update pictures don’t usually make the internet LOL. What the hell though right? Everyone’s doing it so I should too……..
Anyway, here are some changes I’ve made within just the past two years.. most in the last year really.
I competed in my first Figure competition and made lots of changes during that whole process.
And since the show, I’ve put on a good amount of muscle. Below the left picture was about a month before my show, which was in October 2015, and the right was this month. Notice shoulder and hammie growth here. I’ve gained fat but I’m confident I’ll be at a wayyyyyy better starting point for my next show than I was last time.
All the while my bicep gains are also significant. NBS bathroom selfie game is strong too.
I’ve made some nice strength gains as well. All my main lifts have improved in technique and in number and I can actually do unassisted pull-ups now. Since I’ve gained some muscle and fat, I weigh a lot more than I did 2 years. About 15 lbs heavier actually and I couldn’t do pull-ups when I was lighter but now I can! Here is a video from the other day, literally trying unassisted pull-ups for the first time in forever. This was my second set of three. I was really excited.
Some will think my changes are big and some will think they are small.. but I’m happy with how far I’ve come and it makes me excited about the potential I have to be even better. After the progress I’ve made in the last year and half, I imagine where I’ll be in five years and that motivates me to keep working hard.
Whether you’re looking to break a PR or have a minor seizure, Fear Factory is the ideal band for both. Power shifter is one of my favorite songs because it combines the wide vocal musings of Burton Bell with the crisp double bass and chunky guitar riffs that makes industrial metal so freaking awesome. Favorite line of the song:
Always question authority
Control my own destiny
Perfect for your teenage angst and hitting a new deadlift max.
This is how my Saturday went!
Earlier this month we hosted the USS Midsouth Smash Strongman Competition which brought about 25 competitors and about 75 spectators out on a beautiful Saturday morning to lift some heavy things, eat pizza, and have fun. I always love putting on strongman competitions because they are super fun to watch and the atmosphere is always great. I look forward to our second strongman competition later this year and hope we can continue to help grow the sport in the mid south. Thank you to all the competitors and all the people who came out to support. Enjoy the video:
So as mentioned in one of our earlier episodes David started scaring people and it requires a skill. Sometimes no matter how random you are there are certain people who have been made one to many times and the owners wife “Dr. J Bean” is no exception. I tried my best to get her but her call out in this weeks video of “NBS Mixer” is funny, enjoy!
The shoulder is by far the most common extremity I deal with in sports and private practice and is a very prevalent problem in today’s fitness and general population. Most shoulder cases are not tears or dislocations that warrant surgical repair. Rather they are the result of biomechanical or neurological abnormalities in shoulder activation, mechanics, and movement patterns.
This probably sounds complicated, and absolutely can be. But a vast majority of these shoulder issues fall into similar patterns and causes. Because of this, most shoulder conditions are preventable if proper attention and effort are devoted to the shoulder and keeping it healthy. So for those who are having issues and want to fix shoulder pain, or want to be proactive and keep their shoulders healthy, here are three quick tips to fix shoulder pain. You may notice all three of these tips are actually tied into each other and follow a familiar theme: Imbalances in the shoulder.
1) Fix your posture, Quasimodo.
Due to electronic device usage, office jobs, and sitting in general being so dominant in today’s society, the typical person is more and more predisposed to having bad posture. Why does this matter, you ask? It matters because it leads to the development of an abnormal motor pattern called upper cross syndrome. This occurs when muscles such as the pecs, traps, and neck flexors dominate and pull the shoulders and head forward. This in turn shuts off the muscles in the back who’s main job is stabilizing the shoulder blade. Since the shoulder blade is THE major connector of the shoulder to the rest of the body, an unstable shoulder blade will certainly mean bad news for the shoulder. Bad posture is also well known to be a submissive position and a slumped or stooped over posture has been shown to have negative mental impacts on mood and confidence. Guess you weren’t as alpha as you thought, bro.
The solution? Sit and stand with better posture. Drop the shoulders down and back and stick the chest out while pinching your shoulder blades together. When you sit, actually sit on the seat of your pelvis to create a good arch instead of rounding the low back and slumping over with the rest of your body. Your shoulders will thank you.
2) Stop pressing so much.
This isn’t even about you skipping leg day. That’s another topic for another day. This is about training way too many pushing and pressing movement, (bench, push-ups, overhead presses, dumbbell presses, etc) without balancing these movements out. Stereotypes exist for a reason, and the gym bro stereotype is well deserving of trap, chest and shoulder dominance over what is essentially the entire posterior chain. For the sake of this write up, we are only concerned about the upper back and rear stabilizers of the shoulder. This is by far the most common cause of shoulder pain in the beginner lifter. Trying to hit a new bench PR followed by dumbbell flys, pec deck and some tricep work twice a week is not going to cut it.
Proper training needs balance. In the case of the shoulder, this means pulling, shoulder retraction, and upper back extension movements. Pull-ups, pull-downs, seated pulls, face pulls, rounded back extensions and good mornings, etc. The key here is to activate and strengthen the foundations of the shoulder and upper back.
3) Invest shoulder prehab work into your training.
One of the best ways to fix shoulder pain and keep it from reoccurring is consistency over time. Whether you are hurt or not, prehab is something you need to be doing. As tip 2 constantly plagues the beginner lifter, this section often involves intermediate and advanced lifters. These athletes may have their programming figured out, but neglect to invest the extra time in promoting their longevity in strength training. Unless you have structurally damaged the shoulder (torn labrum, pec, bicep, etc.) the cause of shoulder pain will be functional. This means constant repetitive strain is being placed on joints and muscles, causing abnormal movement or stress to accumulate to a level which surpasses the threshold of pain. This can be due to chronic imbalances as noted before, the wear and tear of training, or other everyday activities. Strength training by definition involves breaking down the body, so it should not be a surprise that if proper attention is not given to areas which are constantly being broken down, it will eventually catch up to you. Because of this, prehab should be a constantly ongoing process. Whether it is for correcting a current problem before it begins causing pain, or focusing ones attention on an area predisposed to future injury or excessive stress based on ones sport. This is a concept that young college athletes REALLY have issues accepting or comprehending. They can figure out that they need to spend time rebuilding their army in Clash of Clans, but can’t figure out that they need to rebuild their own body on a daily basis too. When I’m asked by an athlete when they can stop doing prehab work, the answer is “When you are done training and competing.” Otherwise, get it in.
For the non-complicated shoulder condition, prehab can include stretching, activation work, and reinforcing correct movement patterns. The less an athlete is willing to do on their own, the more I need them in my office. A good start with stretching is to focus on the pecs, lats, and traps. These are the locations I find to have the most trigger points that need to be released. Stretching should be done on off days, after training, or before training days that do not involve the shoulder or upper body.
Activation work is best accomplished with light band work before training shoulder and upper body movements or on off days. This should include the rotor cuff, upper back, and posterior shoulder stabilizers. For a good base program of band work for the upper back and shoulder check out David’s Band Pullapart Super Series. (Bonus points if you can correctly identify which other NBS member is in the video).
Movement pattern reinforcement is essentially the constant analysis, critique, and focus on obtaining and maintaining correct form. In order to fix shoulder pain, you may need to analyze include bench pressing, overhead pressing, and any other chest, arm, or shoulder isolation movement you are currently using in your training. This may seem like something you are already doing, so don’t skip this part of the write-up. Even if you are able to activate and pinch your scapulas together and have always stretched your pecs, you must be able to complete a proper range of motion. This allows you to move the most weight, place stress on the correct muscles, AND avoid excessive wear and strain on the shoulder joint. Any healthy joint can be susceptible to damage when you put it in an improper position or movement. Make sure you are constantly addressing proper form with subjective input from yourself and your training partners or coach. Finally, if a shoulder condition seems to be progressively causing problems, get checked out by a professional who is trained to address functional issues to put you on the right track.
This week wrapped up the first 16 week training cycle for our womens powerlifting team. While we have long had women training at our gym, and a powerlifting team, it wasn’t until the past six months or so that we saw an interest in getting together and training towards something as a team. This week, I ask a few of the members what some of their highlights from this training cycle were.
“I’ll just go ahead and say finally hitting the 200lb club on squat and not looking like a dying duck doing it a few wks ago was like mucho progress. Benching a lot more where prior had never hit body weight bench. 20 lb PR deadlift here NBS from my slop commercial gym form!! Yay life is good at least..” —Amanda Armistead
“Hit lifetime PR’s in training on squat, bench, and deadlift. But I kinda cheated since I have only been “officially” powerlifting since January. However, therein lies the biggest victory of all: starting my journey! Some of y’all know that I got sidelined this week…but I do believe in my heart of hearts that I laid down some very solid groundwork this training cycle. I’m excited to build on it.” —Desiree RB
“Squat- have made it back to 175 after a lot of rehabilitation/strength work.. Also a pr and more than I went into my first competition. Bench: new PR by 15 pounds and over body weight bench
Deadlifts… So close I can taste it
I understand this time around how to listen to my body more. I understand the importance of using proper form and the difference it makes in my lifts. I will be competing raw no wraps for the first time and I’m excited about that
Really pumped to see all of the progress and changes I have made. It Makes me excited to think about where my lifts will be in the future” -Jen Moss
“Hit life time PRs for all my lifts, but I’m most proud of my bench, because I’ve had to make the biggest changes to my technique there and I’m finally getting the hang of the whole arch n leg drive thing. I’ve added 15lbs to my bench max since I’ve joined the team! I am also happy that I finally got over my fear of the 2 plate deadlift, which has been “scary” for no good reason for months” –Sarah Ogg
“I’ve gotten to train at the greatest gym east of the Mississippi along side the best lifters I’ve ever met! So that’s been my biggest highlight by far! Focusing on my form has brought up my consistency and my “minimums” throughout this training cycle, which is a great accomplishment. And I finally pulled 315, which is all I’ve ever wanted to do in life.” –Stephanie Moe
“Squat: 25 lb PR
Bench: 20 lb PR
Deadlift: 30 lb PR
All of these just since joining the team!
Important victory for me is really just the fact that I joined the team and have gotten out of my comfort zone. I still have much work to do in the area of confidence but I am certainly around the best group of ladies to help with that! As far as lessons in training I’ve learned to listen to my body and be smart while also learning when to tell it to shut up and train hard! I’ve learned to squeeze my ass for pretty much everything ? and I’ve learned much better conventional deadlift form while trying to rest my hip.” –Amber Reap
” After not training for powerlifting in over a year and a half I started back with a goal to just hit moderate lifts and work in form since I am not competing till the fall. I hit my best bench ever at 205. Previous best in competition was 185. Today I pulled 355 which is not a lifetime pr, but is a post surgery PR. Squat still makes me nervous so I am really taking that one slowly” –Yvonna Covington-Dearen
As for myself, I managed a 10lb lifetime paused bench PR, matched my previous squat, and laid some groundwork for fixing my deadlift. I have managed to stay about 15lbs lighter than previous training cycles and have most certainly done the best I have ever done at 148. I will also speak for my normal training partner, Courtney, who has posted some massive numbers (300lb squat, 200lb bench, 345lb deadlift) in her ever dive into powerlifting while also shedding about 15-20lbs along the way.
For now, the work is done and we will rest until next weekends meet. I look forward to seeing these ladies compete.
I recently started coaching the morning conditioning group every week and boy do they get after it. I’ve played around with different workouts with them and experimented on what works for them and what doesn’t. There is a fine line between pushing it hard and causing good change and pushing it so much that it interferes with your lifting. In this article I’m going to give some insight into what I’ve used with my group and what started to happen with each. My group lifts on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and does conditioning on Tuesday and Thursday so keep in mind they have no days off between sessions.
Same conditioning workout Tuesday and Thursday
For the first month or two we tried this approach.. kept it simple so they knew what to expect the following session. This approach might be okay for your average Joe or for someone who does a simple 20-30 minute workout but it turned out to not be the best approach for them. My group has an hour to get in and get after it so as you might imagine, that is a lot of time to get a lot of work done.
Here are some of the workouts we would do:
- Prowler push intervals for 12 minutes followed by 100 swings and a one mile jog
- Battle rope intervals for 10-15 minutes followed by farmer carries and a 15 minute walk
- Inverted Ladder workouts with anything from goblet squats, swings, waiter walks, burpees, 1 arm push press, to push ups. Followed by a 10 minute AMRAP.
Like I mentioned before, I realized that they needed a change. They would come in on Thursday a little slower than Tuesday and started to burn out on Fridays. For someone who doesn’t lift as heavy or follows their conditioning day with accessories or an off day, maybe, but not if they need to be fresh to hit some numbers.
Different workout on Tuesday(harder) and Thursday(lighter) and repeat the next week, changing after two weeks
After realizing they couldn’t handle the intensity of the same workouts on Tuesday and Thursday, we switched it up to something heavier on Tuesdays and a little lighter on Thursdays. We would usually repeat the same two workouts the following week. Here are some examples:
- Barbell complex (front squat, front squat grip reverse lunge, push press, RDL, bent over row) x4, 15 minutes steady state
- Circuits like 400 m run followed by 3 rounds of 10 kb swings and 10 burpees and finish with another 400 m run — this one is brutal x3
- Inverted ladders and AMRAPs
- Heavy prowler push(forward or back) followed by 120 heavy KB swings
- Battle rope intervals for 10-12 minutes followed by 2 mile jog or weighted walk. End with stretching.
- Kettlebell swing intervals fro 10-15 minutes followed by 10-20 minutes steady state. Stretch or foam roll at the end.
This was better but they were squatting, benching and deadlifting in each session so the intensity of this might have even been a little higher than it needed to be to compliment what they were doing on weight days. When it was time for a new cycle in their programming, I decided to take it even further and try my next approach.
Four week cycles that compliment their lifting schedule
In their last four week cycle they would squat with accessories on Mondays, bench with accessories on Wednesdays and deadlift with accessories on Fridays and each week they would decrease volume and increase intensity. With that, I decided to start them off a bit harder in the first week and decrease the intensity as the weeks went on to compliment their weight training.
For the most part I would pull from some of the examples above and mix and match but here are two examples of what they did the first week (more intense) and the last week (less intense).
- HEAVY prowler push ~20 yrds, backward prowler push ~20 yards, rest ~ 1:30 x 8, 2 mile weighted walk
- Some sort of complex followed by steady state
- Battle Ropes 20:40 x 12 minutes followed by 1 mile weighted sled pull and stretch
- Banded KB swing intervals x 15 minutes followed by backward sled drag for 40 yards x 8 no stopping
This, as you might have guessed, was the best approach so far. It could have been the combination of the program change and the conditioning routine but the group was able to perform as needed on training days and push it in conditioning. Since their goals are to be strong and “in shape”, conditioning is an important part of that. We had to find a balance so they can perform in both areas without one suffering.
There are so many things you can do for conditioning and cardio but it’s important to keep all aspects in mind especially if you’re serious about lifting. Experiment a little and learn when to back off but also don’t use that as an excuse to not to get after it! Find ways to incorporate conditioning that you enjoy and that works for you. If it starts to interfere with your recovery and performance then you know something needs to change.
Here’s your second dose of Lamb of God playing one of my personal favorites off the album Resolution. This isn’t one of their well known singles but it’s hard and heavy and angry which makes it the perfect song for chalking your hands up, tearing your skin into iron and giving the big thumbs up to gravity.
So we had a name change and instead of “Member Mashup” which may be confused with member of the month it will be called the “NBS Mixer”. First interview under the new name I introduce to you “tank”!
It’s been about a year now that I handed the wheel over to my coach, David Allen and had him start my nutrition programming. In addition to this, I have been training powerlifting for about a year and four months now. When I first started with him, it was a little challenging to make the necessary adjustments that were needed to stay consistent with everything. I find that this is one aspect of my journey that I enjoy the struggle of because it helps me better relate to my clients when they are having trouble and are looking for advice on what to do. I find it hard to help people out who are having problems if I haven’t experienced those problems for myself. Everyday that I face a new problem, I just try to see it as an opportunity to help another friend, client, or family member out in the future that may be facing a similar situation.
When I was young, I never wanted to “listen to my elders” and what they were trying to tell me, not realizing that they themselves have been through many different scenarios in life, and they may actually have an idea of what they are talking about. This is just another reason why I believe that having an experienced coach to guide you along your fitness journey will be much more beneficial, rather then trying to blindly do things on your own and having to learn things “the hard way.” The biggest thing that I have come to realize is that these things take time and they will not happen over night. Nothing is a quick fix. It will take discipline, it will take sacrifice, and it may not always be fun. Through struggle, comes success. Learn to enjoy the process, and you will reap the benefits.
Below are some photos of my year in nutrition, and my almost year and a half powerlifting. My journey is just beginning.
Today I wanted to step away from science for a bit and address a topic that some of us at the gym were talking about a few weeks ago: Gym atmosphere.
As an athlete, I would consider myself very fortunate. In high school, I trained under a legitimate trainer. He was the main reason I excelled at the high school level and had the opportunity that few high school football players have of playing at the D1 level. During my career at the University of Iowa, I trained under hands down one of the best strength coaches in the nation, Chris Doyle. To me, the atmosphere of intensity, camaraderie, and teamwork had been a commonplace. Music was always blasting, everyone in the room was trying to get better, and when you stepped up to do your max set, you could BET that your teammates stopped what they were doing to spot, watch, or support you. I was lucky to have the proper atmosphere as the norm.
Little did I know until I began moving from place to place over the last four years, that the atmosphere I had always experienced is not the normal atmosphere that a person experiences in the typical gym. During this time frame, I probably switched gyms about 5 times. I would end up quitting one gym and joining another before finding a gym I could actually train at. Some of the reasons for quitting may have been equipment based, or time based, or maybe because their hours weren’t cooperating with my gigantic class load. But mainly it was because of the atmosphere. Instead of camaraderie, support, and intensity, I constantly stepped into gyms that were filled with isolationism, judgement, way more Keisha than AC/DC, and how dare you deadlift heavy weights without setting them down nicely. I had now experienced the true norm.
Each and every time I moved, I constantly searched for that atmosphere. Very few things matter when searching for a gym more than having likeminded people who are there to support you, inspire you, guide you, or just get along with you. As a general rule of thumb, if I found that atmosphere, I had at least found a place I could train at. Since moving down to Memphis and joining the team here at NBS Fitness, I can say that this place has the best atmosphere of any gym I’ve ever been in. EVER. Even if you are not looking for the best personal trainers with the most knowledge that can turn you into a total badass, you absolutely have to value the atmosphere that is at NBS Fitness. I would like to think that since I’ve experienced both atmospheres, I can be a good testimony that the atmosphere of community togetherness, teamwork, and support at NBS Fitness is far better than the normal that most people experience at their crappy gym. But just incase you think this is biased, let me give you a few examples of things you may be missing out on at your current gym.
As a caregiver at NBS and since a lot of what I do in my profession is observational and objective, I often find myself observing this one firsts hand. At any given time during a normal day at NBS you can see at least two or three different groups of people interacting, whether it be training, conversing, or teaching. You will also meet more people in one month at NBS than you will in 6 months at the normal gym. I guarantee it, because social and positive environments lead to social and positive interaction. Good luck getting that at your crappy gym where people avoid each other like the plaque. If the norm of getting in and getting out of the gym without interaction because of the judgment, insecurity, and negativity is your thing, we can’t help you here.
No matter who you are, what you are doing, or what weight. Need a lift off? A back spot? Side spotters? Press command? Depth check? Video? Ask anyone. Seriously. Do it. I guarantee you will get help by staff or a member. Its not uncommon for members and staff to stick around after their training or shift is over to help other members. Some even make a special trip to the gym just to help out others.
This last one is essentially building upon the points made above. People here actually care about YOU. If you are willing to come in, put work in and get things done, and strive to do it correctly, you will have support. Even the strongest people in the gym are willing to shed a quick tip or two. Don’t know how to do things correctly? That’s fine. Hire one of our personal trainers. We have THE BEST trainers in Memphis. As long as you are willing to work, you will get the support you need. No BS stability ball movements that look exotic but are masking the fact that you aren’t actually getting any work done. Real instruction on how to do things correctly and proven training and nutrition programs that are designed to give you real, measurable results. Not the newest line of crap that doesn’t work that your trainer has jumped on the bandwagon of.
Oh… and the best part: NBS Fitness is about to expand to an even bigger, better, and way more badass facility with more equipment. Sorry other gyms, but thats strikes two and three right there. So if you are looking to get away from “the norm,” invest your efforts into getting actual results, and train in an atmosphere that supports these results instead of holding you back, there’s never been a better time to join Memphis’ best gym.
This week I want to touch on something that is super special and you won’t find in many gyms. Something that once you are a part of it, you don’t want to give it up. That something is the women we have at NBS. We have the best group of women you could ask for and we are continuing to grow in number and as friends.. Something about being around other women who are strong and want to build each other up just makes your heart feel all warm. In most gyms, women will scoff at each other and judge one another- don’t ask me why women are like that, but it happens and all you women know what I’m talking about. At NBS though, we realize that this iron life is so much better if we lift each other up and support each other in our journeys. Just the other night, I was with my bestie at the gym and before I knew it we were surrounded by about 3-4 more females.. all of which were helping each other load weights, get each other hyped up for their next lift and having small talk about their lifting ups and downs.
You don’t even have to know each other that well.. but you can pretty much guarantee that if there are a few females in the gym and you go to hit a big lift, they will probably yell at you, take your video, or help push you through it! Gym friendships are important for the weight lifting ladies.. we are already hard to find, so it’s important we stick together and support each other through it all. So here’s to ALL of the women at NBS and all the women who are not yet apart of it but will be one day. We welcome you at NBS and once you are apart of it, you won’t look back.
Do you like helping people look good and feel good about themselves? One way you can start helping people look good and feel good is by offering to cut people’s hair and giving them manicures. Oh…wait…never mind…sorry you actually can’t start doing that because it’s illegal. That’s right, it is illegal to to participate in cosmetology without a state license.
Okay no big deal, let’s try something else. Maybe you can work on people’s cars. You’ve been driving a car for years so you obviously must know all the complexities of how a car works. No? Hmm…
I know what you can do! You can sell fitness products! Beach body, Shakeology, AdvoCare, you name it! Painting someone’s nails is way too dangerous if you haven’t been to school for it and passed a state licensing exam and of course a car is not nearly as complicated as the human body (read “exaggeration”) but oh well, you’re totally qualified to act as an expert and advise people on their nutrition, exercise, health, and wellness.
Obviously, this makes zero sense and is a huge issue in the fitness industry. I like helping people too but I’m not allowed to go prescribe medicine because I’m not a doctor. I get it though, you lost some weight and feel way better about yourself after following a protocol and now you’re fired up to help people feel the same way. I am all for that. Encourage people to exercise, to eat right, and to live a healthier lifestyle but please don’t start prescribing food plans and workout routines. If that’s what you want to do, go get the education, get the degree, get the certification, do the internship, and build the knowledge base needed to do so correctly. The human body is far more complex than a car and a poorly prescribed nutrition and/or exercise can do far more damage than cutting someones cuticle during a manicure. So, if you really want to help people, realize that wanting to help people is not enough.
Have you ever gotten the pump so good you start seeing veins trying to flex and show off for you? Its a good feeling, it is like you are looking at a “road map” of gains to a particular body part. To me as a strength coach I greatly appreciate progress, it makes me love what I do so much more. Training someone to be bigger or stronger is like renovating a house, or detailing a car. When you get to the end result it is amazing, and the process was worth it especially when you look back at the journey. This particular client has been with me for quit some time, I actually went to nursing school with him. We ended up staying in contact and he sought me out and trusted me with his training. He ended up running “a stack” teaming up with David for his nutrition and me for his programming / coaching and the results are awesome to see. Check out our final set of the day with seated bicep curls with chains and try to follow the “road map”.
Behavior, Attitude, or Technique (B.A.T.). Which of these three elements of your life is letting you down and preventing you from reaching your goals? This is a method that was introduced to me by my brother Shane. He saw that I wasn’t reaching my goals like I wanted to and he informed me that I need to address either my behaviors, attitudes, or techniques if I wanted to be successful at reaching my goals. Goals are powerful tools that help us stretch to become more or better than what we currently are. Without a goal in mind how can you know where are you going or if you’re headed in the right direction? Everyone has their own unique goals so I am not going to try to help you decide which goals to set but instead I’m here to help you figure out how to better reach those goals when you have metaphorically “hit the wall”. If you are having trouble reaching your goals, it can mean that you need to alter or change your behavior, attitude, and/or technique.
Let me begin by saying that hitting a wall is not a bad thing. Sometimes a little adversity goes a long way to develop you into something better. Now that you’ve found the wall, what are you going to do about it? Are you going to reduce the scope or vision of your goal and start making excuses (i.e. weak genetics) or are you going to evaluate your life and current behaviors to determine what needs to change for you to reach your goals? All too often we play the blame game, the game of “I can’t achieve or accomplish this because of the external factors that influence my life.” All this does is relieve yourself of the opportunity to take responsibility for your own outcome. How about you start with changing your behaviors first and see what happens from there? That might be a great place to start!
Behaviors are the actions you chose in response to the goals that you set. Do you allow your goals to empower you and drive your daily actions or do you simply have your goals written down in your pretty princess diary sitting on your nightstand? Your goals are only powerful if you give them the power to motivate and move you. The behavior that you exude when you set your goal determines the efficacy of that goal and defines your ability to reach that goal. If you set a goal and nothing changes in your behavior then really all you did was doodle in a notebook. If you struggle with the behavior aspect, get an accountability partner. I will admit when I started powerlifting I thought I could do this on my own. I was wrong! So, I joined a team; a team is an entire group of accountability partners. If you struggle exercising on a regular basis then hire a trainer. I happen to know of several of the best trainers in Memphis that would love to hold you accountable and help you reach your goals. Include your friends and family in your goals and openly express your desires to embrace a new and better behavior. I am confident that you will be surprised at the support you will receive.
Behaviors can change with time and effort but only if the goal really reflects what you desire. Your attitude is shaped by your desires. I can tell what you desire by what you spend most of your day working on. Your attitude is the driving force behind your goals. It is the belief that you have in yourself and your ability accomplish a goal. A mentor once told me, “whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right!” Frequently I hear people say “that one got away from me” or “that bar was really heavy”; my thought is that you lost that battle in your head before you ever stepped up to the bar. Don’t defeat yourself because you have a few setbacks, simply adjust and determine the course of action for the course correction. If you don’t believe in yourself and your ability, then who does? In order to change your attitude about something I recommend that you get a book and learn about what you want to accomplish. You will see a drastic paradigm shift in your attitudes after you learn more about a subject matter. Think back to when you first saw powerlifting, bodybuilding, or whatever it is that you’re passionate about. You probably thought this is insane! Why would anyone want to live like this? I don’t think I could ever be strong enough, big enough, or fast enough to compete with these guys. Then think about when you first experienced that training high, that Personal Record, or that victory; what did you do next? I went and found books and articles on powerlifting and I was hooked. I am willing to bet that you experienced something very similar. Make your goals your passion by learning about them and I promise you will succeed!
The great thing about learning more about your sport or your passion is that when your knowledge improves your technique will improve as well. Technique is the actual performance aspect of the B.A.T. method. This includes anything from your form on lifts to how you prepare your meals. Technique is vital to your success as a lifter and in reaching your goals in life. Prepare yourself for optimal technique by watching other lifters. Ask questions, especially if you aren’t certain that your form is optimal. If you want to grow quickly as an athlete, I would recommend first taking a look at technique. This is the easiest thing to adjust that yields the most immediate results. My bench press improved by 20 pounds the day that David Allen taught me how to bench press properly. It only took minor adjustments in my set up and in my approach to the lift. Hammer in the technique over and over with your warmup sets then record your sets and evaluate your technique with a coach or a qualified friend. Notice that I said qualified friend because not all of your gym bros should be teaching you how to lift. Take time with technique; it will pay off and save you a lot of heartache in the long run. You will be able to lift more weights in the immediate future and continue to lift long into your career by avoiding unnecessary injuries.
I can’t solve all of your problems with behavior modifications but I highly recommend that you set a time aside to reflect upon your previous failures and successes; evaluate what behaviors made you successful and which ones led to failure. Find people who are successful and mimic their successful behaviors. Believe in yourself and have the confidence to meet a challenge head on. The greatest leaders in the world have one thing in common: they all believe in their ability to change, overcome, and succeed. Evaluate your technique with a fine toothed comb to discover where your shortcomings are. Use your resources to develop impeccable techniques for reaching your goals. Next time you have a goal that you don’t feel like your making progress in, use the B.A.T. method to determine where you’re falling short, address the issues, and correct your course to destroy the obstacles that stand between you and what you want!
Lamb of God is known for their aggressive guitar and drums and the vocal growls of Randy Blythe. What they are not known for is softer melodic music with some harmonic singing. Overlord shows the depth of the bands abilities while still keeping their original sound. Plus it’s got one hell of a breakdown about three and a half minutes in that kicks into typical L.O.G. metal destruction.
So I got a pretty cool opportunity this past Sunday to go see one of my favorite metal bands of all time, Disturbed! It was really fun to go out with a couple of friends from the gym and get our faces melted off! What I really enjoyed most about this show is that it was in a much smaller venue, the New Daisy Theater. I haven’t been to this place in a very long time, and it was pretty cool to see some of the changes that have taken place there with the renovations. It’s not everyday that you get to see such a big band in a smaller, intimate setting. Had some good food before the show at one of our gym members restaurants down on Beale Street called Kings Palace. I would recommend it to anyone looking for some good Cajun, creole food. I don’t think I have sweat that hard in an inside venue in quite a while, but hey, we all have to make sacrifices from time to time to see our favorite bands. I’ve got some pictures and videos posted below. They actually did a pretty cool medley of some cover songs from bands like The Who, Rage Against the Machine, Nine Inch Nails, and Simon and Garfunkel. Hope you guys enjoy, and remember, we are all disturbed! Lol!
Most of you read about Dave’s Tri-phasic program and think Dave is Tri-phasic. Dave and his programming are much more than that, and are constantly evolving. Here are a few reason why I believe in Dave and will continue to pay for his services:
Dave makes training interesting. He uses many methods that are logical and easy to buy into. In my last training cycle, he used a hypertrophy block and a block of “Chase The Pain” to bring up my weak physical points while maintaining my strength. When moving into my meet prep cycle, I saw him methodically blend 5/3/1, Conjugate, and Tier methods to put together a Tri-phasic program for me. His peaking cycle was a 5 week, very specific results-based program. In working with him for 16 months, I have never repeated any part of any program he has developed for me. Each phase builds on my own personal weaknesses and strengths. I am excited to see what Dave has for me next.
Preparing for my last 3 meets, I have dealt with a strained pec, a very strained lower back (sometimes struggling to stand), and a torn hamstring. Dave patiently and methodically worked to help me heal faster, while training around each issue. He knows when I need to push through and when I need to back off. Dave is always looking for ways for me to work around my issues and toward my goals. I am happy to say that my pec and back are healthy and my hamstring is on its way to full health. Even with these curveballs, Dave guided me to P.R. lifts at each meet without compromising my health.
Based on my experience working with Dave, his coaching of technique is sound, yet allows for anatomical differences. Dave is honest, logical, and flexible. He’s a great positive motivator, but not afraid to tell you what you’re doing wrong. He has been patient with my slow technical changes and uses different ways to explain flaws. Dave also listens to my input, and will either make a change or explain to me why my thoughts are not correct. Dave’s ability to coach me from the Internet via programming, emails, and texts, really speaks to the diversity of his capabilities. He’s truly excited when you succeed and yet he stays calm when things don’t go according to plan. You know he cares. I am very thankful Dave works with me like he does!
As I have continued to grow a beard for the better part of two years I have realized that there are really only 4 questions or comments that I ever hear and are always from the same demographic. Oddly enough it’s the grown men that have the most to say or ask. The following are those four questions/comments in no specific order:
- Teenage boys- “dude awesome beard!”
- Women- “what does your wife think about your beard?”
- Adult male- “how long have you been growing that beard man?” to which there are always one of two responses after I answer their question
- A) “man I wish I could grow a beard like that” or
- B) “I tried to grow a beard once but my significant other vetoed it”
- Usually from other bearded ones- “what kind of product do you put in your beard?”
In an attempt to save myself some time and effort I’m going to give my responses to all of these questions in my inaugural blog post.
- To the teenage boy- “as soon as your body lets you grow a beard, do it.” I stole and adapted this from one of my favorite characters Ron Swanson from the TV show Parks and Recreation.
- To the ladies- “I grow this beard for my wife, she requested it; and that’s pretty awesome”
- To the Bros- “I’ve been growing a beard as long as I have been allowed to”
- A) to the man that wants to grow a beard like mine- “figure out why your body is too weak to grow a beard and fix it”- except for one bodybuilder at NBS, I won’t call anyone out, but I’m positive he’s stronger than me, he just wasn’t lucky enough to have Eastern European roots.
- B) to the individual that has external strife- “then that’s not the significant other that you want to be attached to, you need to assess where you are in life”
- To the fellow bearded ones- “I personally use beard oil to keep my beard from looking like the predator- sans mask- I highly recommend that you find a good one that keeps your significant other happy- and yes some oils do work better than others”
There you have it, my answers to the great questions of the beard. Stay tuned for my next blog post and my first Article post coming soon! Also feel free to use these answers as people continue to ask you these same exact questions every time.
In my first article, I want to talk about a couple of reasons why it is important to be on some type of program. Not everyone can get a degree in Exercise Science, spend 10 years working with clients, and building experience but you can work with someone who has done just that. Not everyone knows what they’re doing when it comes to writing a sound, structured training program, and that’s okay. I don’t know how to do trigonometry or rebuild the engine of a car. That’s why we hire someone with the knowledge and experience that can.
1.Work with someone who knows what they are doing
The best way to tell if you know if you’re working with someone who knows what they are doing, is if that person actually has real life experience with what they are coaching. Do they practice what they preach? If you are working with someone who knows what does and doesn’t work because they have tried and tested it themselves, then you have a much better chance of wasting less of your time. Working with a trainer or coach who knows what they are doing will not only help you reach your goals but it should help you do it in the safest, most efficient way possible.
2.It will make you step outside of your comfort zone
Since coming to NBS Fitness I have learned that stepping outside of your comfort zone is vitally important to your success. It is when you step outside of your comfort zone that you truly start to become something else, something that you may not of expected you could ever become. When you work with someone else, whether that be with personal training or online training, that person is typically going to have you do things that you wouldn’t normally choose to do on your own. All trainers have a different approach to things and will usually have different methods of programming but if it is a well thought out and methodical program, then there should be no question that it will help you get to where you want to be. I know from first hand experience that this has worked for me. Since I have joined NBS, I have been following a program and has helped me step outside of my comfort zone time and time again. It has help me get comfortable with being uncomfortable. This type of mentality isn’t limited to just the gym but also transfers over to other aspects of life like developing new business relationships or just meeting new people.
3.It will make you do something even if you don’t “feel” like doing it
Having a program to follow will keep your from making poor decisions and changing things up based upon how you feel on that particular day. Sometimes we need the structure of a program to keep the emotions of daily life from hindering our progress and having a negative effect on our training. Most people I know who go to the gym don’t like to think about what they are doing or what they are going to do. They’ve already been pushing themselves mentally through the day, now they just want to blow off some steam and push themselves physically. Since I have joined NBS there hasn’t been a single time that I’ve gone into the gym and I didn’t know exactly what I was going to do. Sure, there are going to be times your body is feeling a certain way and maybe you don’t “feel” like doing this or that today. Well the gym doesn’t care about your feelings, an elite total doesn’t care about your feelings, and a first place trophy doesn’t care about your feelings. Your weight loss goals doesn’t care about your feelings either. Sometimes if you want to progress, you have to do it regardless of how you feel. There are days that you go to work even though you may not”feel” like going in but you do it anyways because if you didn’t, you wouldn’t make any money. If you don’t follow and stick to program, then you have no way of measuring your progress. Your basically just pissing into the wind.
4. It’s cost effective
If personal training isn’t your thing or outside of your budget, hiring a trainer to do online programming for you is a very cost effective option. You can even combine the two to get some one on one work to guide you towards the beginning and a program to follow from there. Also, if you want to work with someone that you can’t logistically personal train with, online programming is a way for you to still work with them.
So, this is my call to action for you. Get on a program and stick with it, stay on one for as long as you can. Stop staying in your comfort zone! Find someone that will push you to do things that you never thought were possible. Stop going through the motions or doing things for likes on your Instagram and start making real progress.
If you are interested in doing online programming. I can be reached using the form on the sidebar to the right.
You know one of the things that makes NBS so great? The members! Each month we like to choose a Member of the Month and let them tell you about what NBS means to them and why they love it so much.
For the month of April, I give you Tracy Curry!
Here is what he says:
“NBS fitness is the place to be! Since arriving there last summer I’ve learned so much from some of the best trainers I’ve met. NBS has helped me so much in learning how to unleash my full potential when the sets and reps get hard. Everyone pushing one another to crush weight in every set is a powerful thing. And striving for more to dig deep within myself to get to my goals. NBS is the best!”
So my Basketball Athlete has been making a ton of progress is bench press and deadlift, his squat is lacking and we are addressing these issues right now. I currently having him follow a “Tier System” style template to allow him to learn and be more comfortable with all the compound movements we like to implement at NBS Fitness. As we discussed before this client and his brother predominantly use their backs in the squat and deadlift. The video below shows him with a slightly curved spine, this is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as his spine STAY’S in the same position throughout the whole pull we are not in danger of injury. His back is not in a severe arch, just slightly in flexion. We become susceptible to injury when we start with a braced since and during our pull our since gets pulled into flexion, in other words, the amount of movement the spine goes through under load is how we get hurt.
What needs to be worked on: My athlete has an issue setting his shoulders, his only issue’s in these pulls would be the ability to set his lats and take the slack out of the bar. He gets pulled out of position as his shoulders get rolled forward which makes his lockout’s much more difficult.
The Fix: lot’s of Lat. work
Ok so we have covered that strength coaches can sleep anywhere, this suggest’s that we are often tired, which is not necessarily a false statement but we have good reason to be. Usually we can blame being up early in the morning for clients / groups, going Hard As a Mother (HAM) during training, and staying late for clients. One could also argue that we burn energy way to often by having fun and goofing around during slow hours (or busy hours) well, all the hours, during the day when the energy comes to us.
David has started an ongoing trend here at NBS where he scares the shit out of you when coming into the gym, now that the cat is out of the bag, it will happen to you eventually when you least expect it. The best thing to do is just accept that it will happen eventually. Usually jumpy people are the best and who better to show an example of this other than Jen Moss, she was suppose to be a part of “Member Mashup” but she is a little wuss and practically started crying when I tried to make her give me an introduction. Do not worry we will get her on and I will make it even more random and embarrassing for her.
As one of the blog series I want to begin, I will be opening up a Q&A for the services I provide and the thoughts and reasoning behind them. To begin we will start off with some of the most common questions I am asked. I hope to spark conversation and look forward to answering each of your questions.
I pop myself all the time. Why do I need you?
Most everyone self-adjusts themselves. Depending on the location you are self-adjusting, there may not be an issue with it at all. Many are familiar with laying on a foam roller and having a few “freebies” cavitate. Personally, I’m all for that. For one, this affirms to the person that adjustments of the spine are beneficial to them. This is also the easiest location for most people to self-adjust safely and find relief in certain cases. Sometimes a problem is as simple as needing a little pressure and then getting a release. That being said, there are vast differences between adjusting yourself and being adjusted by a properly trained physician that may make you reconsider the next time you go to push on your chin until something goes.
1. You are not able to relax while self-adjusting.
One of the biggest factors in the success of trying to restore proper motion to a specific segment is that an adjustment requires you to be completely relaxed. Contrary to popular belief from the hundreds of times we have seen our favorite hollywood hero snap someone’s neck, the amount of guarding that muscle is capable of to keep the joints it controls from dislocating or fracturing are only surmountable by a handful of situations (car wrecks, falls, diving into a pool, etc). In the same context, a patient who is not relaxed makes it challenging, if not impossible to adjust the segments involved. To make matters worse, a fixated segment is almost always accompanied with increased muscle spasm and tension. This is a protective mechanism, as just mentioned, and is usually involuntary. So imagine someone trying to relax while at the same time inducing movement with either their hands or body to get themselves to adjust. It would be very difficult for the muscles guarding at the fixated segment to relax enough to restore proper motion.
2. You may not be adjusting the segment that needs to move.
The human body is essentially a multi-operational system with a Type A personality. By that I mean that it is so focused on maintaining the ability to perform particular tasks that it will adapt (or more accurately sacrifice) a function of lesser importance for one of greater importance. Let’s take muscle and joint interactions in the spine for an example of this sacrifice.
The spine is made up of 33 vertebrae. Each vertebra in the spine articulates with the one above and below it to form a joint. Each joint has a specific range of motion that it accomplishes at an individual or segmental level that is dependent on its region in the spine. Each of these individual joints work together to achieve a global range of motion. This global range of motion allows us to stabilize and move to accomplish a given task. In the discussion of global vs. local movement, the body is more focused on global range of motion in the spine as opposed to specific segmental range of motion. If there is an instance in which one joint becomes over irritated or fixated (this could be from bad posture, sleeping wrong, incorrectly stabilizing on a squat in the gym, etc.), the body will adapt by changing its motor patterns to lock down the segment that is not moving correctly and inducing increased motion at a segment above or below the fixated one. This leads to a state of local increased motion (hyper-mobile) in this segment and decreased motion (hypo-mobility) in the fixated segment.
IF this fixation is present long enough, the ensuing increase in muscle spasm and inflammation can cause the person to experience pain and look towards self-adjusting to fix the problem. Self-adjusting, which is typically twisting or applying pressure globally to the spine, is more likely to cause the hyper-mobile segment to move rather than the fixated one because it is again a globally applied force and is not specific to one segment vs. another. This means that the cavitation or popping felt when self-adjusting is probably going to be the hyper-mobile segment(s) rather than the one which is fixated as it again is being programmed in this dysfunctional state to accept more motion anyways.
3. You are reinforcing a faulty movement pattern
Building on the point made above, when an adjustment is made on the incorrect joint (i.e. the hyper-mobile joint vs. the fixated joint), the result will be that the hyper-mobile joint becomes more hyper-mobile, while the fixated joint continues to move incorrectly. A good sign that this is occurring is the sensation of relief after self-adjusting that is only temporary. This is followed by the return of the same tightness and pain from before and is why some feel to the need to self-adjust themselves multiple times a day. The trade off for short term relief is that as a person continually reinforces these patterns, more and more abnormal stress will be placed on the involved joints. This can lead to early wear on the joints (osteoarthritis), disc related injury, or soft tissue (muscle, tendon, ligament) related injury. Also, when a dysfunctional pattern is reinforced over a long enough period of time, the body begins to accept it as the new “normal” way of moving. When the problem is actually addressed, this faulty motor pattern must be overridden to avoid a relapse. This is why addressing the problem early on will lead to a better, less complicated outcome.
The concept to be learned here is not necessarily that you are causing direct harm by the act of self-adjusting, but that you are more likely reinforcing an improper compensatory pattern without addressing the root cause. By having a chiropractor who is trained to identify these signs of a fixated segment (pain, inflammation, local muscle spasm, lack of motion, etc.) adjust you, the cycle of hyper- and hypo-mobility can be broken and you can return to a more normal, pain-free movement pattern.
As I said, please feel free to comment and send me any questions you may have at email@example.com. I will try to address each question in this blog in the order they are received.
Dropping a member mashup on Matt during warmups for his training session!
Please say hello to Matt Fike:
This line in the song made me think about doing 2 hours of cardio getting ready for the bodybuilding competition:
Through the suffering we fight, no end in sight
Until we see the light, no end in sight
Killswitch puts out some killer tunes and this one is no exception. I personally like the mix between some screaming and some melody. When you got a long training or cardio session and you there’s no end in sight, throw this one on the playlist and through the suffering fight
So April 30th is one of about 6 big days on the calendar for NBS fitness. If you have been keeping up to date with what the facility has going on you are aware we jus hosted our first strongman meet for the year that went off with a bang.
That meet is shortly trailed by our Powerlifting meet in about 4 weeks, and there are many members and coaches involved in this meet and here are some of the deadlift highlights of last week.
Live, Learn, and Pass On
By most standards, 2015 was a losing year for me: I bombed out of a powerlifting meet for the first time in April. I re-focused and set my sights on Strongman Nationals. Despite months of preparation, I walked out with a disappointing third place. I immediately switched gears and spent 15 weeks meticulously dieting and training for the Dexter Jackson Classic Figure Show in October. After 15 weeks of perfect dieting, training my ass off, and doing more cardio than I care for, I walked out with a 2nd place finish.
That’s right: I didn’t win a single big event last year. However, I was able to get good at losing. Given the time frame that these events took place, I wasn’t able to waste time throwing myself a pity party. I had to find a way to turn the losses into a win. Organically, a loss-strategy emerged that you can apply:
Acceptance: Accepting a loss is something a lot of people struggle with. This usually manifests in a number of ways: pouting, making excuses, faking injuries, blaming the judges,etc. However, very rarely does energy spent entertaining excuses change the outcome. Losing productively requires taking ownership of the outcome of the day. You were outperformed, plain and simple. This is no ones “fault” but your own. Quit looking for how the playing field was not fair and start looking for where you underperformed.
Examination: When you win, it is hard to look at your performance and see what could be different. There are few side-by-sides to see where people beat you and frankly, no urgency to do so. However, when you unexpectedly get your ass handed to you, you have to look at what you did and didn’t do. How consistent was your training? Did you take every opportunity to hone your craft? Were you mentally present during the competition? Did you make stupid mistakes? Did you underestimate the competition? Could you have moved better, faster, or smoother? These are all things you must examine to avoid a repeat performance.
Regrouping: Once you have a good idea where you could have done better, its time to re-evaluate. Assuming you enjoy the sports you participate in, you have to devise a plan that allows you to perform BETTER. After you have examined where you were at fault, you can dust it off and work on fixing the problem(s). This could mean a variety of things. Hiring a coach, changing your programming, taking an extended off season, tweaking form/technique, and changing your mindset are all common fixes.
Appreciate your sport or quit: Everytime I have competed, win or lose, I ask myself what the competition brought me. Thus far, it has brought me joy. It has taught me the value of time, training, and working towards a goal. It has brought me friends. It has developed relationships. It has shown me how fortunate I am to be physically able to compete. I have grown to fully appreciate the incredible team, facility, and support I have at around me. Sometimes, the competition brings me a shiny trophy. Frankly, if I never get another bit of hardware, the juice was worth the squeeze. When the above paragraph is no longer true, I will quit. That is all there is to it.
Indeed, on paper, 2015 was terrible. As a competitive person, each time on the podium was gut wrenching. Falling short on my goals is never something I plan on. I certainly wouldn’t imagine it to happen three times, consecutively, everytime I competed for an entire calendar year. However, as the dust has settled, I realized that this experience collectively has been the single biggest turning point for me. The lessons in losing are things I have read about, heard about, seen people grabbing but hadn’t lived. Each loss forced me to evaluate myself, where I was, what I needed to do to get where others were. For that alone, it hardly feels like losing. I encourage you to take losses like you do wins: with gratitude and a healthy game plan to move forward.
Ok so as this video states, I have been asked a lot recently to handle lifters and wrap knees lately. Apparently a select few coaches and members have acquired a reputation for wrapping knees well, unfortunately, these people are either running the meet or already have committed to wrapping several competitors.
I made this video today to show you the way I liked to get wrapped. Many of you have seemed to appreciate when I implemented this method of wrap during a heavy squat. Hopefully this video allows you to be able to wrap yourself and better understand why I do it this way.
So I kicked off this new installment of, member mashup, with this brave teammate who decided to stat training with me. I dropped the interview on him directly after our last set (which was brutal).
I introduce to you, Aaron Fleming:
So here we are at about 3 and a half to four weeks out from our King of Spring powerlifting competition here at NBS. It’s that special time where everyone is slipping into something a little more comfortable, like singlets and the dreaded knee wraps. It’s this time of the training cycle that really captured me when I started here as an intern and made me want to join the powerlifting team here at NBS. The sweat, the emotions, the screaming, slapping, and all of the help that you get from your other teammates when you are getting ready to “smash” some heavy weights.
There is a trend that I have been noticing among various people as the competition draws near us. I’ve talked with a couple of folks around the gym who I thought were competing, but have decided not to, or have even decided not to do full power because they feel that they are lacking in one of the big lifts. The only legitimate reason to not do a full meet is if you are facing a debilitating injury that is preventing you from performing one of the big three. The truth is that you are never going to be as strong as you want to! Your bench will never be big enough, your squat will never be big enough, I think you get the idea. I think that this decision is mostly due to a persons ego getting in their way, particularly guys. They tell themselves that they have a 400lb bench, a 550lb deadlift and a 315 lb squat, so they are only going to do a push pull meet. Okay, so you only squat 315, yea that sucks, but there’s nothing that a little technique adjustment with one of our trainers here couldn’t do to help that shoot up to 415, or 450. Before you know it you’ll be on your way to squatting 1000! Okay, maybe that’s just a bit ambitious, but all good things come with time.
Basically what I’m trying to say is that if you think you have a lift that sucks, nobody really cares anyways. Most people are going to be concerned with themselves and the numbers they are putting up, not with what you are squatting. My advice is to just suck it up and go ahead and get the experience of doing a full meet under your belt. For all you know, you could spend 4 months out of a year trying to perfect your squat, and end up bombing out in your competition because you weren’t mentally prepared. Do the full meet, get a total, and work hard the next training cycle to be better than you were before. Like they say, strength is a marathon not a sprint. It’s you against you. Unless there’s another guy or girl in your weight class who’s ass you want to kick…lol!
Also, I thought I’d start throwing in some cool tunes here and there of some stuff that I like to listen to inside and outside of training. Maybe if you like it, you can add it to your playlist and get your squat bigger!
So we currently have a member of the month that goes on, but many of you may not realize we are past 250 members. This mashup will be me randomly dropping in on members and doing an on the spot interview asking a few questions allowing others to get to know the rest of the NBS family!
I will find you, and I will ask you, so beware
I’m sure every 16-25 year old meathead on the planet just read that title and immediately rolled their eyes and called me the “P” word. I admit, my 18 year old self would probably think the same thing. Luckily I’m not 18 anymore and since that time I’ve gained some perspective through being around older lifters, working with hundreds upon hundreds of clients from every background , and then 16 years of training experience myself. Over that time I’ve witnessed a lot of people come and go for a bunch of different reasons and realized the truth in Jim Wendler’s statement “Progress isn’t measured in weeks, months, or years. It is measured in decades.” Don’t have a decade of training under your belt yet? Sorry, just not that impressed.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad you’re exercising and eating right but I just want to see you really commit to it. Not for 30 days, not for 6 months, not for a couple years. Let me see you do it for the rest of your life. That would be impressive. Luckily I’ve had the chance to be around guys like Dave Tate, Harry Selkow, John Meadows, and Steve Goggins. Guys who have been getting after it for 3 or more decades. Now THAT is impressive! I’ve seen so many people be “hardcore” in their teens and 20’s until they get a job, get a boy/girlfriend or get married, and have kids. Then it all goes away. Life gets too hard. The only training they know how to do is 7 days a week of balls to the wall and toting their tupperware every where so they can be perfect on their diet. What happens when you have a 60 hour a week work week, have a baby, have a business lunch, have a spouse who doesn’t want to eat out of tupperware every night, or get injured? If doing it the hardcore way is all you’ve ever known, adapting to something slightly less can be very difficult, sometimes impossible.
I’ve learned this lesson myself but luckily I had great lifters to look up to and examples to follow. This has been one of the most productive training years I’ve ever had. How’d I do it? I just stayed consistent. I trained 4 days a week, stuck to my diet 90% of the time and just kept chipping away day after day, week after week. I didn’t sweat it if I had a bad day or missed a meal. Just did my best the next day. I’ve learned that going about it this way gives you a more room to “work the gas” so to speak. If you’re putting the pedal to the metal all the time, you don’t have a ton of room to work from. From here, I can push a little harder if I have a contest coming up or pull back a little if life is crazy. Either way, I’ll still be making progress because at this point in my life being consistent is better than being hardcore.
A little over a year ago I decided I wanted to commit to doing my first Figure show. I decided on the Memphis Dexter Classic in October and worked with my nutrition coach, David, almost the whole year to get ready for it. I began to train more like a bodybuilder, diet harder, take posing lessons and the whole works. The process was as it should have been: hard, long, exhausting and rewarding at the same time. It was my first one so I wasn’t expecting much and I just wanted to get my feet wet in the sport to see if it was something I really wanted. I ended up placing 5th, but had the circumstances been any different I know I would not have placed at all. I wasn’t as lean as I needed to be and I was lacking in muscle development in some important areas. I’ve learned a lot since then and I’ve realized some things about myself and about how we rush everything these days. We rush to the store before it closes, we rush to get to bed on time only to wake up early to rush to work or get the kids ready, we rush through our workout because we can’t wait to get home to gobble our food down as quickly as possible. I’ve learned that rushing often doesn’t give you the same satisfaction as taking your time. Had I not decided to rush into my first show, I would have known that I should have taken more like 2 years to invest my time into preparing to compete in Figure. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes you have to take the leap and just do it but you also have to be honest with yourself and realize where you stand and sometimes take a step back to take three forward.
Getting ready for a show to me is kind of like marriage– you obviously have to really commit to it to do well in it. Also, you need to be damn sure it’s what you want before you put yourself through it because it’s a lot of work and not everyone is cut out for it. You have to nurture it, make time for it, give it attention and realize that the little things matter. If you aren’t ready then you sure as heck shouldn’t rush into it, and if you do rush you will most likely realize later that you should’ve taken more time and would’ve done it differently.
I recently had a talk with both of my coaches about where I stand and what my next step will be in this sport and I feel really good about what’s to come. At the beginning of this year I figured competing in one show a year would be good because that’s plenty of off season time and if I’m going to say I compete in Figure then I need to at least do ONE A YEAR, right?? Well, not exactly. I thought long and hard about it, put my pride aside and came back down to reality land. I need more time to get to a good off season point before I should compete again. So instead of rushing to compete this year, I’m working towards making some decent gains and possibly competing next Spring. If I want it to be good and I want it to be worth it then I need to nurture it, make time for it, and give it all the attention- FOR A WHILE. In the fitness industry we get caught up in wanting everything now. If I try this diet pill today then I will be ripped and ready for the beach in 1 month or I don’t want to spend a whole year just trying to build muscle when I could be getting lean and competing in 16 weeks. I want to be muscular AND lean all the time! Well it ain’t gonna happen, at least not if you want it to last.
No matter what your goals are, really decide what you want and invest in it. Just like marriage. Don’t take the easiest and quickest route to get there, you will be much more satisfied with your hard work and know you did your best if you take your time.
There is A common theme / story among most strength coaches if you ask them about their development period getting to where they are today. In the strength and conditioning world that story is grinding with little pay (if any during an internship) and working some messed up hours. There is an amazing special ability that is learned from this make or break process if you can stick through it long enough and make a career in either the collegiate or private sector. What is this special ability you may ask? It is the ability to take a nap gosh damn anywhere you want to that is not hostile.
Now, I threw hostile in there because sometimes head coaches (who also have gone through what interns do) love to F*** with you when you are trying to sleep, so a safe environment needs to be found. I have put together three easy steps to determine a safe napping environment for all interns, trainers and anyone who is not a head coach or gym owner who ruins this sacred time.
1) You need to be in a place no one can see you so shit like the above picture cannot happen. Anytime someone has the ability to snap a picture, the picture itself is the best case scenario. You are one click of a button away from being recorded and someone trying to scare the living shit out of you!
2) Be somewhere no one can physically touch you. When this step is broken you are asking for trouble, and this trouble can have lasting affects when attempting to take a nap. Make sure the area is clear of dense rubber objects, bands, chains, and mother F***ing cattle prods (no seriously its a thing and it is no fun)
3) Best bet to dodge all hostile environments, set up a booby trap so that your attempting prankster will never mess with you again (not really). The most effective way to defend against this sleep abuse it to live within 5 min of the facility you work at. This allows for the gain train of ZZZZZZZ’s to never be taken and you are on top of your game.
oh and Bobby, “gotcha bitch”.
To anyone that read this title and saw bobby’s picture expecting him to pass out on a deadlift, ya’ll are wrong and should be ashamed.
In my second installment of metal song of week I bring you Reign Supreme by Walls of Jericho. Any band that has a tatted up female lead singer and makes music videos with her working out is badass in my book. What better work out motivation music than a music video with deadlifts, tire flips, and MMA? Also there is a pretty sweet line in the song that goes:
When that day comes I hope it was worth it
When that day comes I hope you gave it your all
Perfect line for somebody having to take their training to a dark place to find the motivation they need to keep pushing. Put it on the play list and give it your all!
Are you a beginner? I bet you don’t think you are but you are. See, being a beginner has nothing to do with how long you’ve been training and I’d even argue that it doesn’t have as much to do with your abilities and performance either. Instead I believe it has everything to do with your approach to training. If you’re making these three beginner mistakes, STOP!
1. Stop talking about your pre workout and start focusing on your nutrition
Newbies in the gym and pre workouts go together like powerlifting and singlet moose knuckles. “How many scoops did you take bro?” Here’s the thing with pre workouts: First, they mess with your perceived exertion by stimulating your sympathetic nervous system and elevating your heart rate, there by giving you the misperception that you’re actually working out really hard. Second, there is a tolerance that is built up over time to the stimulants which means you need more and more to get the same effect. The real question is why do you need the stimulants in the first place? Well, if I had to throw out a guess I’d say it’s because you eat poorly and fail to provide your body with the correct nutrients and fuel that it needs and/or you don’t get adequate rest and recovery, primarily sleep. Unfortunately, no matter how many supplements you take you will never bridge the gap between poor nutrition and sleep and the results you would get if you actually focused on them. A direct quote from a client after one week on a nutrition program: “My energy level during training has greatly improved and I just feel stronger over all.” Quality nutrition will give you all the energy you need to go through a leg day you can actually be proud of, not your 2 scoops fueled half squat and leg extension mockery of a workout.
2. Stop making up your own workouts and follow a program written by a smart person
When I was in high school, I would read flex magazine then go to the gym and train using all the exercises I saw in the magazine. Did I work hard? Without a doubt. Was I an idiot? Absolutely. I had zero education and barely any experience. Even worse I wouldn’t even write anything down, I would just go into the gym and do whatever I felt like doing without recording any of it. Now, I did make progress but I could have made even better progress following an intelligent program written by someone who had all the education and experience I was lacking. I can’t help but imagine if I had followed Starting Strength in high school and then 5/3/1 in college where I would be now. What if in high school I had actually gotten quality coaching on how to properly squat, bench, and deadlift? My excuse is that Starting Strength and 5/3/1 weren’t published till I was already out of high school and college and well, I was coached on how to lift by my football coaches so I was kinda just stuck with that. But you! You have all these resources at your fingertips so why aren’t you using them? Pro athletes, olympians, and even the best in powerlifting and bodybuilding use coaches or at least someone to help them with programming to achieve the best results possible so why aren’t you?
3. Stop hanging around other beginners and start training with more advanced lifters
Being a big fish in a little pond is fine if you’re okay with lying to yourself about being a “big fish” but if you’d like to really see what you’re made out of you gotta get around some folks who are better than you. If you want to be a professional baseball player you’ll have to work your way up through the high school, college, and minor league ranks and likewise if you want to eventually be something more than a beginner you’ll have to get away from the elementary school kickball team you call a gym and workout partners. This usually means training with people older and more experienced than you. It can be a little frightening to get out of the comfort zone of your peers, especially if you’re the alpha of the group, but if you want to continue to make progress you’ll need to make it happen one way or another.
There is nothing wrong with being a beginner but at some point you need to earn your diploma and graduate. Stop making these beginner mistakes and become more advanced as a lifter.