Monthly Archives: June 2016

Seeing how metal music is basically my favorite music in the whole wide world, I wanted to share a couple of tunes with you all from some bands I’ve been listening to lately. Music is a pretty important aspect in my life and I love sharing it with people, especially fellow metal heads. Since I first joined NBS, I thought I already knew of all of the metal that I ever cared to listen to, but I couldn’t have been more wrong! I swear it seems like every week I hear another band, or song and I think to myself, “man this stuff kicks ass!” Some of it is old stuff and some of it is new, but either way I like it. Just another reason why we are the best gym in Memphis. Without further ado ladies and gentlemen, here they are.

It’s safe to say that this list could probably go on forever, so I’m going to cut it off here and safe some for the future. Check some if these out if you want to hit some big pr’s. I like them and I hope you do.

I haven’t really given any updates on my training lately, so I figured I would give you all a quick glimpse. Its been about 9 months probably since the last time I was doing triphasic. In between that time I’ve pretty much been running 5 3 1, which as I have mentioned before, I’m pretty fond of. Now, I don’t always know whats going on in our coach David Allen’s head, or exactly how he does all of his programming for us, but I think he has changed things up just a bit from how he usually does things. I think all in all, he’s probably just trying to kill us. However, I’m sure if I survive, Ill be stronger, This is our second week in preparation for our next meet in September, which is approaching rapidly! Here are some short clis from this past weeks training. Both squat and bench are at 55% with bands, 6 sets of 3 with a 4 second negative. Been a while since I’ve used bands. I hope you enjoy, and I will try to keep some things coming out here and there as we get closer and closer to competition time.

 

 

If any of you are following along, then you know that I just had a birthday, and if you read my last blog, then you know I spoke about surrounding yourself with awesome people. Well, one of those awsesome people just so happens to be my girlfriend who got me a trip and much needed vacation, as a part of my birthday down to the Gulf in Perdido Key, AL. It has been a year, or maybe more since I had been able to take some time off to myself and just relax. You hear a lot of people say that you NEED to take some time off for yourself at least once a year to just relax and do absolutely nothing, no work, no worries, and yes, even no training. I feel like the longer you go without taking time off for yourself, the more you make a habit out of that, the more it becomes increasingly difficult for you to “work into your schedule” taking time off. Then, when you finally do it you think to yourself, “damn, I need to do this more often!” That is pretty much how I felt on this recent trip.

IMG_6848                                                                                                                   imagejpeg_0

 

I was only gone from Wednesday to Sunday, but just that little bit made a huge difference for me. Just being able to wake up every morning n your own without the sound of an alarm is amazing in itself. I didn’t take the time to try to find a gym to train at because I wasn’t going to train. I’m not saying that I don’t ever train when I go out of town, or on vacation, but on this particular one I was going to be in complete relaxation. Plus, I was starting a new training program of triphasic on the following Monday in preparation for my next competition in mid September. Also I didn’t bother to pack any Tupperware and cook chicken and rice, again, this was a vacation, no worries, no food prep, no training. When I returned back home I felt great! I woke up feeling refreshed with a sense of mental clarity that I haven’t had in a while. I loved every second of it, and I am already looking forward to my next. Perhaps this next time we will take a trip out of the country and really see some sights. If you haven’t had a vacation in a while, one of those ones where you do absolutely nothing, then maybe its about time you do.

 

IMG_6839

 

IMG_3954

I had the honor of being able to participate at The inaugural Jenn Rotsinger Womens Empowerment Weekend in Tampa, Florida.  I could write a book here, but here are my biggest take-aways from the weekend:

-Jenn Rotsinger GOES HARD.  She hosted a weekend that consisted of a four hour clinic, two full powerlifting meets, a womens worlds qualifier Strongman event and competed herself, scoring a WORLD RECORD SQUAT of  341 ar 114lbs with sleeves only.  SHe also nearly locked out 415 and then had (Kanye voice) THE GREATEST PASS OUT OF ALL TIME

-Dani Overcash knows her shit. She and I got to team up on a seminar where we covered training, nutrition, community, movement, and mechanics.  It was a real honor sharing a stage with her.

-As mentioned by a friend on social media, there seems to be a turn around in movement standards, as this weekend showcased VERY FEW deadlifts that were not locked out either at the knee and/or hips.  Kinda cool to see that.

-Womens strongman is about to be HUGE.  This weekend, Donnie Kiernan hosted the USS Southern States. Despite the wild florida heat, over 20 women showed up and put on a damn show.  It was very fun being able to MC this event and it gave me goosebumps to see the rapid development of womens iron sports.

-Alex Viada will sometimes opt for Sake over beer.

-The negativity you see on social media surrounding iron sports is really, really not a factor in the real world.  If you find yourself becoming discouraged by the controversies, sign off facebook for the day and go volunteer at any meet.  You will feel love again, and all will be gravy.

This past month I turned 27. I would have to say that it was a pretty good day all in all. I got to the gym at 6am to start training my clients, it was my last day for running our 5/3/1 hypertrophy program, the whole gym sang happy birthday to me, and I got some cake…well..two to be exact.  It was a great reminder on my birthday that I am surrounded with some really awesome people that I am very grateful to have around. I’ve started to notice something as I get older, and that is the older I get the faster the years seem to fly by. One thing that I’ve come to realize as I age (and yes, I’m still really young) is that who you surround yourself with on a daily basis has a profound effect on who you are and the person that you become. This is something that I didn’t really think about, and probably didn’t even care about when I was younger, but as I age I realize that this means more and more to me if I want to have a quality life, and pursue the things in life that I want to do. People who want to be successful hang around other successful people.

With all of that being said, I am very happy with the place and the people that my life has led me to be around at this point.  26 has been a pretty good year for me, and I feel that 27 is going to be even better. Surrounding yourself with like minded people makes all of the difference when trying to reach your goals. And, not only are they good for helping you reach your goals, but they make your birthdays pretty sweet too! Thanks everyone!

20160613_11443220160613_100850

 

 

 

 

 

 

So David and I have been talking about running a youth camp for about eight months and this week it finally kicked off. This is just the start of what we have planned for the future endeavors here at the new NBS Fitness facility. A few things to take note of, these are kids ranging from ages 8-15 years of age. Typically we do not load younglings until around the age of 12 and within our current group we have two over and two below that cut off point. With that being said not a lot of loaded compound movements will be implemented into this camp.

So one may ask, “what then can you possibly do with kids and call it strength and conditioning?”. My answer to this is, teach the kids how to move! The majority of kids now a days do not know how to move, our group struggles with movement patterns that any adult would ASSUME they should be able to do. For example, I had to teach 3/4 of my class how to properly skip …. SKIP!!!! They straight up did not understand the movement pattern. Do you have any idea what that movement is the base for? SPRINTING!

So this week we will be working on full body movement and coordination, lower body strength, upper body strength, and finish with a game implementing everything including conditioning. I will share the workout progression I have set up for them in my next few blog post’s. Here is how day one ended playing Hurdle Tic-Tac-Toe. This game was awesome as it forced the kids to move quickly, change direction, be teammates, and think quickly while on the fly!

There have been a lot of changes this summer, and Mid-South Spine and Sports Performance has been no exception. Since moving to the new location in May, we have added multiple services and extended times out for members and public to provide more access to more types of care, more efficiently. Along with these changes has come some confusion and hang ups, so I would like to address some of the measures I, along with NBS Fitness have made to further smooth out the process. Here are three thing you may not know about Mid-South Spine and Sports Performance:

1. We Are Now Completely Online

For new patients, becoming a patient has never been easier. In a short process, you can get set your own online account with Mid-South Spine and Sports Performance. NBS Fitness has added a New Patient Registration Form on its website in the “Dr. Detweiler” tab underneath Team NBS. Once this form is filled out and received, we will create an online patient profile using the information you provided and a confirmation email will be sent to you to finalize the account. Once the account is finalized, you will have access to online appointment scheduling, personal messaging for any needs you may have, as well as access to online documentation to fill out for your initial visit. These processes are geared towards increasing efficiency and making sure that your visit is not tediously tied down with red tape. 

2. We Have Expanded Our Hours 

Since the move, Mid-South SSP’s hours have changed and also expanded. Hours are now geared towards availabilities both in the morning and afternoon throughout the week, as well as access to care on the weekend. These hours are:

Tuesday: 1pm – 7pm

Thursday: 9am – 1:30pm

Saturday 9am – 1:30pm

This is double the amount of hours offered at NBS Fitness’ previous location, and we feel it will allow for access to care at all times during the week.

3. We Now Offer Foot Levelers Custom Orthotics.

 

3-Arch-Difference

Foot Levelers 3 Arch Support System

Almost as important as the spine are the feet. The feet are the main connection of our body to the external environment and must manage and support intense amounts of forces from our body to this external environment. Foot Levelers is an orthotic brand that allows for a custom made orthotic to be fit to you and helps support the three arches of the foot. They can be used to support abnormalities in the foot or preventatively to ensure that abnormalities do not develop. Stay tuned for future articles outlining why the feet are such a vital part of human performance and normal activity.

 

There are few bands who can pull off a cover like Devildriver does with Sail. They take a catchy, popular song and add just enough metal to make it worth listening to. Put your horns up and rock out to Sail by Devildriver.

 

Monday was the start of our training for NBS Fitness’ September Meet. Owner and Coach David Allen has us running a very technical Triphasic program that I am excited to see the progression from.

http://www.elitefts.com/training-logs/wk1-day1-triphasic-training-heavy-lower/

In practice (private or team sports), there are a wide spectrum of injuries that can occur in many different places. Today’s world of information undoubtably arms patients with more knowledge of their body. It is not uncommon for a patient to beat me to the punch and ask whether or not their problem is a compensation for something else. I find this to be a good thing as the patient is aware that there is a possibility that this is occurring and that it may be more complicated than just having pain (right here) or that it may be relative to a previous condition or trauma they had experienced. When dealing with a problem, the single best indicator for a positive outcome is identifying WHY or HOW said problem occurred (AKA, the cause). I know this seems like kind of a no-brainer, “Wow, Doc, that was a really riveting piece you wrote that an injury gets better when you find out whats wrong,” but let’s hold back on the sarcastic praise until the end. Some of the most simple concepts are the most important and I want to use this framework to set a good foundation to build on moving forward. So here is why that opening statement is so important.

 

The foundation I would like to build for future discussion and expansion are based on the work of Dr. Vladimir Janda (Pronounced with a soft J – think jogging). He is most famous for his identification of upper and lower-crossed syndrome, but much of his work is overlooked and less studied. His work was revolutionary for his time and provides an understanding for some of the faults of western medicine, and provides an insight in understanding compensation.

 

personally-i-think-uwrfko

 

According to Janda, there are two main schools of thought when it comes to pathology of the neuromusculoskeletal system. This is the system which concerns all muscles, tendons, bones, etc and the nervous system which controls it. These two schools of thought are structural and functional. A structural school of thought concerns lesions that can be assessed with orthopedic testing and visualized on imaging (X-Ray, MRI, CT  Scan, etc). A functional injury is described as “an impairment in the ability of a structure or physiological system to perform its job.” This is our first introduction to a compensation. When a structure (muscle, ligament, joint, etc.) is unable to perform its job, it will adapt a new pattern, movement, or action which is inferior to normal. This new adaptation MAY OR MAY NOT result in immediate pain. That statement cannot be stressed enough as all too often, the focus on personal health is “if I don’t have pain, then I don’t have a problem.” If there is a functional cause, it is much more likely for the compensation from normal to develop and progress without pain until these compensations cause enough damage and stress to overcome the body’s pain threshold.

 

So let’s expand on this with two injury examples. First is a common football injury. A running back attempts an open field cut to the left, planting his outside right foot. During the cut, his foot catches and his knee hyperextends and rotates. He hears a pop and drops to the turf in pain. Orthopaedic tests are performed on the field and indicate a suspected ACL tear. The tear is confirmed with an MRI that evening. This lesion is a structural lesion. Orthopaedic testing and imaging modalities are able to identify the damaged structure. There is a very well defined and proven treatment for this condition. This type of condition is very well managed by most medical professionals.

 

The second example is a weight lifter. She has been lifting for three years, has competed in bodybuilding, and is now training for her first powerlifting meet. She started having pain in the front of her right knee in the middle of her training cycle and is now having pain in her low back that favors the right side when she squats. She decides to see an orthopaedic surgeon. There are no orthopeadic tests that can provoke her complaint. Her x-rays and MRI are negative and show no sign of STRUCTURAL damage to the knee. No trauma is involved in this injury, and the subject does not recall a certain action that began this pain. There is no indicator as to WHY the pain is occurring besides the fact that it is occurring in the right knee and low back. She is diagnosed with patellar tendinitis and a strain in her low back. She is given prescription pain medication and told to back off on squatting.

 

This lesion is likely a functional lesion, and presents only in specific situations such as squatting. In a condition like this, without being able to visually identify which structure is injured, a common practice is to slap a generic diagnosis such as tendinitis, strain, or sprain and to throw medication at it based on the presentation of pain as it is not a surgical case. Let’s imagine this woman had begun weight lifting three years ago on her own. She was not taught proper mechanics and developed an improper squat form with a weak posterior chain. During this time, she saw moderate improvements (as most beginners do), began to get passionate about lifting, and was also told by a trainer at her gym that she should do a bodybuilding show. She hires the trainer who puts her on a program but neglects to correct her form. Now three years later when she begins to increase weight loads on her squat in preparation for a powerlifting meet, she begins to increase the abnormal stress in her joints caused by improper form and compensation of motor patterns. She is quad dominant and unable to activate her posterior chain and begins to have knee pain. This pain is tolerable but causes her to offload the knee and compensate even more by utilizing the lateral stabilizers of her spine. A few weeks later she begins to develop back pain. Looking at this lesion in a functional school of thought, the pain may allow for a starting point with the understanding that there are likely underlying factors that occurred to develop this pain, especially when it is non-traumatic. A structural school of thought cannot comprehend this sequence of events, as it is focused on where the pain is and visualizing a damaged structure or finding a positive orthopaedic test to single out the lesion.

 

SO… what should we take away from this?

1) Many pain conditions are the result of functional lesions and compensatory patterns. These common patterns have been well established in Dr. Janda’s work and are grouped into what is known as lower and upper-crossed syndrome.

JandaSyndromes

A basic breakdown of upper and lower-crossed syndrome. *Image courtesy of www.jandaaproach.com*

A vast majority of patients that I see will fall into this category and type of lesion. Functional lesions are much more common than structural lesions. This is ESPECIALLY the case if they are chronic in nature and do not involve a single incident of trauma (although there are exceptions to this).

2) IF not properly treated, these conditions will not improve.

If a functional lesion exists that is not properly managed, the conditions will not improve and is likely to cause worse injury down the road. Pharmaceutical or surgical intervention for a functional lesion leads to poor outcomes. This has been shown in cases like patellofemoral pain, plantar fasciitis, and tendinitis to name a few.

3) Functional lesions/compensatory patterns develop over time due to repetitive stress.

Just as in the example, the development of a functional lesion takes time under stress. The basis of the upper and lower-crossed syndromes are rooted in the fact that the body is predisposed to adapt in a predictable pattern due to the repetitive stresses in our jobs, daily activities, and social life.

 

-Stay tuned for part II, as we will discuss how a functional lesion or compensation occurs.

 

 

 

 

If you’ve been following me for a while you know I’ve been working with Shelby Starnes for nutrition for about 18 months now. Here is a glimpse into our current plan:

Non Training Days

Protein: 420

Fat: 105

Carbs: 280

Calories: 3,745

Spread over 7 Meals

Training Days

Protein: 480

Fat: 70

Carbs: 730 (100-120 coming from intra workout cyclic dextrin)

Calories: 5,470

Spread over 6 meals and a peri workout protocol

 

Main sources of protein: chicken, steak (flank and sirloin), whey, ground bison, ground turkey

Main sources of fat: olive oil, coconut oil, grass fed butter

Main sources of carbs: white rice, bagels, oatmeal, white rice flour, cyclic dextrin

 

Current weight is around 260

Current raisin consumption: 8 oz weekly

10268544_1484258968470701_7450512583090829176_n

The internet is LITTERED with articles, blogs, and advertising with titles like “40 things you have been wrong about..” or “Why you are wrong about xyz.”  While they often contain valuable insight, there is really no one admitting that they have, in fact, been wrong.  I am going to take this opportunity to be transparent about things I believed whole heartedly to be true, but are not.

 

  1. IIFYM:  Holy smokies I got this wrong for a while.  I wanted so badly to believe that carbs were carbs, fats were fats, and proteins were proteins.  I engaged in countless arguments and debates about the matter.  I even did an entire contest prep following an IIFYM type diet to prove my point.  I ate swedish fish, gummi bears and snack cakes as my carb sources.  Protein sources were wildly inconsistent, ranging from chicken/egg white to protein shakes to beef jerky.  Fats were peanut butter, because thats what people in prep eat. The only shred of food timing I used during that time was making sure I had dextrose intra-workout.  Sixty grams of it, if I remember correctly.  What was the result?  My softest showing ever, a fairly embarrassing Ha1c reading, and what I now considered a year of wasted time.  The following year, I decided I would prefer have a more guided approach.  I focused on pretty mundate aspects of nutrition: making sure my macronutrients were coming from foods with lower caloric volume, avoiding massive deficiencies in micronutrients, eating vegetables, limiting my sugar intake, etc.  And what do you know: I came away leaner and appeared more developed.  I do think there is some value in learning to swap out similar foods without fuss.  But the idea that swedish fish are an appropriate substitute for a sweet potato is wrong.
  2. Cardio:  I was as cardio-phobic as the rest of the world at one point. Then I got into this HIIT ALL THE TIME, EVERYDAY mentality that was equally as dumb.  I was surrounded by people who also believed that if your coach couldn’t get you lean on less than 20 minutes of cardio per day, he/she was an idiot.  I have already touched on it, but guess where that landed me? Oh yeah..”fat” (for a girl prepping for a show) and out of shape.  It wasnt until I started learning from those around me who had a bit more education on the matter that I took a moderate amount of longer, lower intensity cardio into consideration.  The effects on my strength training was quite favorable, as I could now set up my training stations without getting winded and found myself with enough energy to get through long meet days without getting gased.
  3. Confrontation:  At one time, I would have boasted about being one of the most confrontational people I knew.  To be fair, I probably wasn’t wrong.  I felt whole heartedly that the only way to have any chance in getting my point across to people was to challenge opposing views.  This manifested in constant debates with friends, knit picking apart others beliefs, and too many fights on the internet.  Further, very seldom was it productive, which just made me look and appear volatile.  What I have found over the past 24 months or so is that sometimes the most effective communication tool is silence.  Silence and listening to others.  Hearing why they feel the way they do.  Only from there can you reconcile your own feelings.  Often, the sting of arguing and being right comes at the expense of that persons friendship.  I know that sounds really petty and emotional, but I think in 50 years, I will treasure the friendships and experiences in life far more than the times I was right.  Note: this is something I am still working on as a human being.

There are plenty of other topics I have been wrong about, and I’d bet my life there are things I operate on at this very moment that are also wrong. I think understanding this has increased my ability to hear others out and make more informed decisions.  With that, I reserve my right to be wrong in the future.  My only hope is that I can recognize these things sooner than later and be transparent on my intent to do better.

 

For the month of June I’d like to feature Ali Vanelli as our NBS member of the month! She is a dedicated member who is super strong too! If you’ve never met Ali, you’re missing out. She’s super nice and we love having her at NBS. 🙂

Here’s a little bit more from her:

“I started lifting after coming to watch my boyfriend (Scott Summers) lift in a powerlifting meet at NBS in November of 2013. It was awesome to watch and got me thinking “I could do this. I could totally do this!” So 2 and a half years later I’ve competed in 3 powerlifting meets and 2 strongman competitions. When I started I never would have imagined I could squat over 300lbs… well I squatted 410lbs (shameless bragging) at the last meet in April and it still baffles my mind that I did it!! I joined the startup of the women’s powerlifting team in January and I’ve had so much fun hanging out, laughing,crying in pain, and making gains with all the awesome ladies on the team!! NBS has been such an great place to train and make friends. I have always felt welcome and like part of a big family here. Love it and never giving it up!”

 

4thstlive
This past weekend I competed in the 2nd United States Strongman National Championships. Going into this event was a little rough.  As I have mentioned in previous blogs, I followed a deadlift down a little hard last month and broke a bone in my wrist, causing tons of swelling and bruising.  I also sadly didn’t give this contest a full training cycle..or even close to one as I poorly planned out my yearly contest schedule. About six weeks out, I realized I needed help staying on track to be in a place to not embarrass myself.  I tucked my tail between my legs and asked my buddy Kalle Beck to not only get my life in order on short notice, but also to train around this atrocious injury I had given myself.  Not suprisingly, he agreed and it was perhaps the only smart decision I made during the months leading to this event.

Between the broken wrist and a bit of community heartbreak, I was uncertain if I would be making the contest on Wednesday morning.  Without going into great detail, Masters Competitor/phenom Mike Tumminello carried the brunt of the decision on if we would be going.  After a lot of pondering and discussion, we decided to take our asses to fourth street.

crew

4th Street Live was a BEAUTIFUL venue.  Robby/Codye/Davey are also incredible meet promoters and they were able to secure a pretty dope outdoor venue.  Mike, Richard Brose, Tank and I arrived, weighed in and got to explore, nap, eat a bit before the rules meeting.  Thomas, Cody, and Elyse showed up shortly afterwards. Between the NBS crew and all my strongman friends, we were poised for a pretty entertaining meet day if nothing else.

 

Event 1: 140lb Log Clean and Press — this event was the most particularly worrisome, as log was an implement that I had to change my entire strategy to almost entirely.  Sadly, any grind time was positioned directly on my wrist and I decided pretty early to bail any lift that looked to be a grinder.  I finished with three reps and noticed a bit of swelling that served as a bit of foreshadowing for the rest of the day.

Event 2: 325 wagon wheel deadlift for reps: this event was a win-lose.  On one hand, I tied for second with nine reps in the minute allotted.  Unfortunately, my set up for this was a bit compromised when the girl slated to go before me vamped into the night and I was alerted I would be going after the “competitor ready” was yelled.  I had to boot-scoot over to the bar and get wrapped in after the “lift” signal which looks like cost me about 10 seconds.  However, I did manage to move pretty quick with this weight, and i wasn’t expecting to.blog

Event 3:  Fingal Fingers: heartbreak hotel.  I got three flips before time ran out…BUT as this event concluded, I was done pressing on my wrist.  At this point, I was also just smoked.  I got done and had a little pep talk with my homies.  Elyse apparently at this point decided to bring her A-game when it came to motivating me..because Conans was up next and she was about to put on a motivational clinic on the sideline..

Event 4: 350 Conans Wheel: Literally no part of me wanted to stick it out for conans.  I told Elyse to keep time for me as well as Thomas and Cody to just yell obscenities.  Like a bee to honey, Tank also found his way to my conans wheel and between the four of them, I was able to just keep moving the entire 60 seconds, finishing a little over 3 revolutions.

Event 5: 4 stone series/20foot distance between platforms: This started out pretty smooth, and then in the most ridiculous twist of luck, I juuuust unlodged the stone from its seating and it rolled downhill away from me..lol.  I ended up getting it about about 10 seconds of struggle, which is a mile in strongman land.

In all, I finished in 5th place.  I am glad I went, and I am glad I am able to see what needs work.  I plan to continue training towards Worlds in October and hopefully be a bit more prepared.  BIG props to the USS for hosting such a smooth, huge event.  Also, big props to my 165 girls(Buffy Gordon, Katie Bach, Elizabeth Carpender)…I truly love competing with you all and think if there was a medal for best weight class, we’d win it.

Also, I cannot thank my friends and NBS family enough for their support.  Mike, Richard, Tank, Thomas, Cody, Elyse, Tyrel, and Margaret made up the best cheering crew, and I am truly glad I can always count on you guys.  Also, thanks for the end of day Shots, Elyse.

shotsforall

As the big highlight of my summer so far, I was able to help once again with United States Strongman’s National Championships in Louisville, KY. This year I was unable to treat at the event due to the Kentucky Chiropractic laws not allowing the purchase of temporary licenses from chiropractors licensed outside of Kentucky. Instead I was brought on as one of the judges of the event as I am a state rep for United States Strongman.

 

USS Nats 16

 

First of all, If you have never promoted a show, you should know that no matter what you do and how much you plan, there will be hiccups. There was no exception to this show, but within the duration of the first two events things were running smoothly (who’d have thought organizing and ordering 314 competitors over two events using 8 total lanes would be a bit of challenge?).

 

USS Nats Competitors

Are we organizing or herding 314 competitors?

 

As with working any event, whether as the promoter, MC, judge, or providing athlete care, you are going to be the busiest people at the show. 4th Street Live was easily one of the most impressive venues I have been involved with in strongman and is the one regret I have from the weekend as I was unable to explore and experience it throughout the day. I did have some opportunities to sit back and take in the venue, and it was just so impressive to me how many spectators were packed into the place to watch. Although strongman athletes usually bring a built in amount of spectators, I would be very surprised if a good portion of these people were not locals who stopped to watch.

 

USS Nats Venue

 

I think the thing that impressed me the most about the weekend, though, were the competitors. With how much the sport has grown over the last year, there were so many new faces at this year’s event, and everyone that I interacted with were competitive as hell. If you are unfamiliar to strongman, unlike a large majority of other sports, most competitors are actually very supportive of each other. Even individuals who are neck and neck for points will often cheer and push each other simply for the benefit of that person. To me it just adds to the experience of strongman. Even though the venue was able to block away a lot of the sun and heat that was expected for Saturday’s competition, it was still hot as hell. I would argue strong men and women to be some of the toughest athletes around. I can’t even count how many competitors I saw pass out from pushing themselves to the limit, and I’m convinced that strongman is one of the few sports in which an athlete will pass out and then attempt to finish the event. There was one particular competitor whom I’m fairly certain probably passed out on every event. Having said all of that, I’m happy that (from what I could tell) no one was seriously injured or had to pull out of the competition due to injury. To all the competitors from Saturday, you made such an awesome impression on me and were all great representatives of the sport for those spectating who had never seen a competition before.

It was great to get back to my strongman roots and see the many friends that I’ve made over the years in the sport compete and perform. I do wish that I could have had more time to visit with those I hadn’t seen for awhile, (specifically the entire Team Anvil Gym who performed VERY well) but it is part of the job. I look forward to next June and hope to see the sport continue to grow.

 

 

So you’ve just got done with a competition, and the summer is coming up. You’d like to give your body a break from the grind of meet prep training. You’re making the transition over to hypertrophy-style training to try to get some bigger “gunz.” You know what they say, “suns out, guns out.” “Curls for the girls.” Everyone loves a massive set of wheels, right? Well, if this is you, don’t fall victim to some of these common mistakes people make when making the transition to hypertrophy style training.

First things first, hypertrophy style training is not like powerlifting. You aren’t just moving some heavy weight from point a to point b. You need to focus on how the weight feels, how does the specific muscle being targeted feel, and how good of a quality contraction are you getting. If you are having problems finding a connection with your muscles, then take time to focus and isolate each individual muscle that you are trying to work. Can you contract your left lat, your right quad, your left pec, your right calf, your biceps, etc. If you can’t consciously contract these muscles with no weight at all, then how are you going to do it under tension? Now, don’t get me wrong here, mechanical tension, i.e. the amount of weight being used, is one of the means for inducing muscle growth, but you will be missing out on all of those “gains” if you don’t start with a good base of connection and if you aren’t controlling the weight.

20160606_160347

 

 

One thing I mentioned earlier was quality contractions. One way you can build up a quality contraction is by not alternating your exercises that you are doing for a particular muscle group every day, or every week. If you are constantly changing up your exercises or movements for a particular muscle group, then you will likely never build a great connection with that muscle because you are constantly having to get used to this new movement and how it feels to your body. My coach David Allen has told me before that he calls this “milking” a movement. You basically do one or two exercises for a particular muscle group until you feel like you can’t get anything else out of it. This could be anywhere from 3 to 6 weeks depending on your level of experience in lifting. After all, we do want to harvest “all of the gains!” Now, if you are older or tend to have pretty achy joints, you may want a little more variety in your movements. Give it a try and see if you build a better connection with a group that you may be having trouble with.

 

20160610_140519

 

Another tip I would offer is not to go too hard too fast, especially if you are going to be doing the same movements for about 3 to 4 weeks. I have been guilty of this myself time and time again, as well as some of  the other points I have made. If you push yourself to your absolute max on your first week of training these exercises how are you going to give yourself room to progress over the next couple of weeks? Sometimes this can be a difficult thing to do because most people feel that if they aren’t pushing to their absolute max, they are not making any progress, and that is just not the case here. I recall a line from the book Built to the Hilt by Josh Bryant I recently read that said the goal is “to stimulate, not annihilate.” One of the goals of building muscle is to do just the right amount of work to stimulate a muscle to grow. Create a stimulus and an adaptation will take place. Hopefully that adaptation will be bigger stronger muscles. The amount of stimulus will vary from person to person. One person’s stimulus might be another person’s annihilation. This will all depend on your level of experience in weight training. So remember,  give yourself space to grow.

20160606_160340

 

There is one last tip that I would like to cover and that is time under tension. You may have heard about this concept a time or two and wondered what it was. The name basically says it all. It is the amount of time that your muscles are under tension from the weight that you are using to train them with. I have been thinking about this a little over the past week and I recently had a conversation with a client about it. Let me give you this example. Let’s say we have two guys, one of them is a pretty big, muscular guy, and the other one is skinny with very little muscle mass. They are both doing curls using the same weight, doing the same set/rep scheme. The smaller guy goes to curl the weight and he uses just about every muscle in his body except his biceps to curl the weight, moving it from point a to point b. It takes him roughly 25 seconds to finish the set. He lets the weight control him, instead of him controlling the weight. Now, the bigger guy moves the weight in a very controlled manner, a very controlled eccentric with a great contraction at the top of the movement. He is definitely using strict form and his biceps are the prime movers of the weight. It takes him 45 seconds to complete the set. Now, what’s the main difference that you notice between both of their sets? It took the smaller guy 12 seconds and the bigger guy about 25 seconds. That’s 20 more seconds of time under tension for the bigger, more muscular guy. Over 4 sets that is 48 seconds. Over 4 weeks that turns into minutes, over a years time that turns into much longer. It’s no wonder the bigger guy is larger and more muscular, his muscles are under tension far longer then the smaller guy. Start trying to form better habits now for keeping things controlled and under tension longer and in a years time you’d probably be surprised at the amount of muscle you can put on, as well as the good connection you can build with them.

 

I hope some of these tips will help you in your journey to “harvest more gains.” The main thing to remember is that you aren’t just moving weight from point a to point b, you have to really focus on the feel. If you can take these principles and apply them to your training, then it should have a great carryover to your powerlifting style training. You will have bigger stronger muscles that are capable of a greater contraction and you will be able to move more weight when the time comes to just moving the it from point a to b. Plus, you’ll have big biceps, and who doesn’t want those?

Slipknot has been putting out killer numetal sounds for several decades now. Even with the loss of their previous drummer, The Devil in I is one of those songs that even people who don’t like metal can get behind. Warning: Music video contains disturbing images that some people may find offensive…or freaking awesome.

 

Over the last 18 months I have been focused on bodybuilding as my sole training goal: putting on as much muscle as possible while limiting body fat accumulation. I feel as though I’ve done a pretty solid job of that as I am the heaviest I have ever been at 260 while still keeping my body fat at a decent level (definitely not lean at the moment). This year is full of challenges and obligations from moving the gym to moving into a new house to traveling to taking business classes so instead of trying to spread my self even more thin and do a bodybuilding competition, I am going to continue to try to put on muscle this year and then switch gears later in the year to do another powerlifting meet. I am keeping my eyes open for a meet in November/December that isn’t too much of a drive to compete in. My goal is to get an elite total at 275, which is 1655. 650 squat, 400 bench, 650 deadlift would put me at 1700 and give me some wiggle room to miss a lift or two and still make it so those are what I have in the back of my mind this far out. An elite total at 275 would give me an elite at 220, 242, and 275 which would be pretty cool. Right now I am following a 5/3/1 split with hypertrophy focused accessory work to slowly build my technique back up and continue to put on some size. Here is the training split:

Monday

Squat 5/3/1

Lower body accessory work

Tuesday

Bench 5/3/1

Chest, shoulders, light tricep accessory work

Thursday

Deadlift 5/3/1

Back and light hamstring accessory work

Friday

Press 5/3/1

Arms and calves accessory work

 

IMG_3532

Coach Christian Anto has started a series on the differences between remote coaching and personal training, and when to opt for one or the other.  Both have distinct advantages and disadvantages, which I will leave to his series to explain.  I would like to allow some insight in how to get the most as a remote client.

Why should you listen to me? For years, I have been a remote coach that uses a remote coach (who often also has a remote coach).  The internet has furthered the reach of great coaches world wide.  I have been able to benefit professionally by adapting my style of coaching and packages it in a matter of minutes anywhere in the world.  I have also been able to receive coaching from people that I TRULY deem the best in the industry. I have seen both sides of the remote coaching dynamic, and offer the following to those who are committing to the process.

Set clear goals and be honest with starting points

  Remote coaching should always begin with an assessment of some sort.  Where are you, physically?  TRULY where are you?  If your coach sends you a questionnaire asking about your abilities, you should have some sort of CURRENT idea as to where you are when you begin with them. One of the biggest frustrations for many coaches is getting a remote client with stated capabilites, only to find they are reaching back to their all time best and not where they currently are.  While those can be valuable metrics, the most important bit of data you can give your coach is a true assessment of where you are presently.

Voice any and all concerns, questions, and expectations

Like any relationship, communication is vital.  While online programming is inherently more hands off than one-on-one programming, you still should feel comfortable making mention of how your day went and concerns you have.  I personally ask that all my clients tell me via email or in my training software if they fail to hit a rep or feel exceptionally strong that day.  The more feedback you can provide your coach on your progress, the more in depth your programming can be.

Gather your thoughts and EMAIL your coach

Facebook messanger, texting, IMing and other forms of mobile messaging can be very valuable communication tools for most long-distance relationships.  However, gathering your thoughts and emailing is a sure way to make sure your coach is in the correct mindset to respond thoroughly to your questions, concerns, and make changes to your programs.  Texting/IMing MAY seem quick and easier, but be aware that most remote coaches are often on their feet / driving / having dinner with their families and sifting through facebook messages when it comes time to make programming adjustments could easily slip their mind.

Video when necessary

Videos are immensely helpful for your coach to assessment movement patterns, coach corrections, program specifics, and (when necessary) refer you to a specialist.  If you are feeling iffy about a movement, video and send it to your coach.  Hitting top sets want to see if you are nailing movement standards? Video it and send it to your coach.  Going for a training PR?…you get it.

Follow the plan

*NOTHING* will grind a coaches gears faster than throwing their time, energy, and intellect in the garbage and doing your own thing because you just felt like it.  This typically occurs on weeks with lower intensity/volume work.  Trust me, every athlete gets the itch to just go all out.  However, doing so doesn’t just throw the day off, your entire plan is likely to be altered.  You risk not being able to perform well when the program calls for it because the blew it prior and are still gassed.  Follow the plan, then assess your improvement on a long timeline.

 

 

 

As you may or may not know Ms. Annie Gunshow does my programming. We’ve been working together for about 4 months and it’s going really well. We talked the other day about how everything is going and I told her how I think my shoulders are lagging and I wanted to try adding more frequency to see if they will respond. Since we’ve started I usually hit shoulders about 2x a week using mostly chest exercises to hit my front delts and maybe 1-2 exercises for mid and rear delts each day. I’ve seen some growth since we’ve started working together, but I really want to push the limits and see what happens if we up it. SO my new programming approach rolls out this week with 4 days of hitting shoulders. I’ll do one heavy shoulder exercise on leg and back day then hit them fully on chest/shoulder day and also have a day dedicated to shoulders only. I’ll be uploading videos along the way and updating you on how it goes! Let the gains begin!

 

First off, as a disclaimer, I’m not going to sit here on my high horse and talk about all the things I know or do that you should know and do too. I’m a pretty big on the concept that one of the best ways in invoking a change is to go ahead and own the problems that you have. So this periodic blog is going to kind of be my way of owning and sharing some of my current struggles and problems in my personal or professional life, and solutions that I feel I need to be more accountable for. Selfishly, I hope that at the least this will help me progress forward, but I do hope that if you find yourself struggling with some of these issues that it may help you as well.

Time management is one of my biggest problems, as I’m sure many others can relate to. If you ask anyone that is close to me right now, I’m sure they will tell you that they’ve heard me mention not having enough time. Between my professional life, personal life with friends, family, and a significant other, my training, and just my own personal time to keep myself sane, I often feel like I have a big task(s) lingering over me. I have specifically recognized over the last few months with the move into the new NBS Fitness facilities and the expansion of my business that my prioritization skills and training frequency have not been on point like they could be. It is not the first time my training has been sacrificed due to increased workload, but it drives me absolutely insane. These frustrations brought me to think of the analogy of the “Big Rocks” of life, introduced by Dr. Stephen Covey which I had learned back in my undergraduate days. It’s a great reminder of how important prioritization is, and is something that I recognize that I need to get back to. I liked the visual impression this analogy utilizes, so I youtube’d it and found this video, among many others. I will admit it is a bit long and the music sucks, but it does get the point across (and that’s why you have a mute button).

 

While She Sleeps does a nice job of blending punk and metal together in their song Four Walls. Great song to jam out to in the car or throw around the iron in the gym. I give it two thumbs ups

Bad Ass Lyrics

So when the saints go marching in
They won’t be singing for your sins
They just hope to Hell you’ve learned something
Living and breathing

 

I sometimes wonder if other industries are full of so many fads as the fitness industry. It seems someone is constantly putting out some new training style, new diet plan, new health tips that has everyone worked up until the next trend comes along. You gotta be quick if you’re gonna make it on this trend train! On one hand it provides plenty of humor for those of us who recognize the ridiculousness of some of these trends and on the other hand, it’s really sad to see so many people get sucked in. They are so excited about the opportunity to be healthy and fit but unfortunately fall prey to some nifty marketing tactics and sales methods. Here are three fitness terms that get thrown around a lot in the pursuit of attracting new gullible clients. Buyer beware.

Muscle Confusion

What’s the opposite of confusion? Clarity? Organization? Take a look at some of the greatest bodybuilders and powerlifter’s of the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s and what do you see? A bunch of confused muscles? Surely not since most of their training methods were pretty basic; major lifts, typical 4-5 day body part or lift based splits, basic barbell, dumbbell, and machine based exercises. So how did we come up with the idea that basic barbell training wasn’t good enough? That all these muscle cells in our bodies are getting a little too narcissistic, chests puffed out thinking they got it all figured out? How did we decide we need to shake things up a bit and confuse the shit out of our biceps? Well, I’m not entirely sure who came up with the phrase but it sure did take off with Tony Horton promoting P90x. Since then, people have been trying to stay one step ahead of their pesky smarty pants muscles and bring them down a step or two with some good ole muscle confusion. There are two problems with the term muscle confusion. First, it is an illogical and incorrect statement. Muscles do not act as an independent organ but instead the neuromuscular system works together through incredibly complex physiological processes to allow us to do everything from removing the top off a jar of peanut butter, to walking, to lifting a thousand pounds. The muscles in and of themselves don’t really have the ability to be confused per se. When you place new stress/stimulus on the system, the system as a whole is forced to adapt. This means physical adaptations through an increase or decrease of different tissues and neurological adaptations. New stress doesn’t come solely from new exercises. It could come from an increase in weight (intensity), an increase in volume (more reps or sets), an increase in frequency (how many times it is trained over a certain period of time), a change in tempo (the speed at which the movement is done), or a change in rest periods. All of this brings me to my second point: if you are constantly changing exercises in the pursuit of muscle confusion, you will never become skilled at anything. Powerlifters don’t become good at the squat, bench, and deadlift without routinely doing those exercises. Golfers don’t get better at their sport by constantly playing other sports. Even bodybuilders don’t need constant variation, especially beginner bodybuilders who are trying to build a quality mind muscle connection. This isn’t to say that some variation is a bad thing just that it takes time to develop any skill set and there isn’t an exception in the case of training. Muscle confusion isn’t a type of training, it’s code for I have no idea what I’m doing so I just make shit up that looks hard.

Who's muscles are confused?

Who’s muscles are confused?

 

Functional Training

What does functional mean? According to good ole Merriam and Webster it means “designed to have a practical use”. If you ask many people what functional training is, they’ll struggle to give you such a definitive answer. Much like muscle confusion, functional training is used in very broad terms to fit any number of different training methods. Maybe it means some balancing exercises on a bosu or physio ball, maybe it means laying on the ground and standing up with a kettlebell, maybe it means doing things with bands, maybe no one really knows. The term seems to have come from a point in time in which personal trainers and exercise based physical therapists started to use many of the same methods (I’m sure there was plenty of cross over between the professions). At some point, trainers realized that certain physical therapy exercises were pretty difficult and if there is one thing that tricks people into thinking they’re doing something worthwhile in the gym, its an exercise that is perceived as difficult. This has led to many gyms being filled up with different balls, bands, and goofy training gadgets designed to strain your neuromuscular system into figuring out how to accomplish these circus acts. All in all, some of these particular exercises aren’t a bad thing. If someone has some significant injuries, muscle imbalances, or pain as a result from a dysfunctional body then fixing that dysfunction is a good path to take. However, if we are going to go back to our original definition of functional, many “functional training” exercises don’t serve this purpose. In order to determine how functional an exercise or person is, you have to first define the end goal. If a person wants to look good naked, their ability to do so doesn’t truly hinge on their hip mobility or stability and their ability to do a single leg squat. If a person wants to bench heavy weight, then having highly mobile shoulders would actually hinder their progress more than help it. However, I have heard on many occasions people claim that they are more “functional” than said bodybuilder or powerlifter which is funny because said bodybuilder and powerlifter have both competed in their given sports and have a level of comparison where as there is no widely accepted test for functionality. Before you throw the functional training term around, think back to what Webster said: “designed to have a practical use”. Is looking good naked a practical use? Is having a healthy cardiovascular system a practice use? Is competing in strength sports a practical use? Is balancing on one leg a practical use? The answer is: it all depends on the person answering the question.

Cleanse Diets

I’m not a celebrity so maybe that is why I don’t fully understand or appreciate the intrigue with cleanse dieting. What I mean is I don’t get the desire to eat/drink a special concoction of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and what not designed to send your GI tract into freak out mode and force you to have diarrhea for a week but you know what, to each their own. Now, I do see the need for most people to “cleanse” themselves but not in the above mentioned ways. I can’t speak for everybody but after working with a lot of people over a lot of years I’ve come to the following realization: when you eat like shit and treat your body like shit you tend to look like shit and feel like shit. I know, I know, it’s ground breaking stuff. So, that being said I do realize the need for many people to stop eating bad things (fast food) and start replacing them with good things (less processed food), to stop doing bad things (laying on the couch, not getting enough sleep, not managing stress) and start doing good things (exercising, getting quality sleep, learning to manage stress). Your body has a pretty good method of keeping out and getting rid of “bad things”. Your stomach is filled with hydrochloric acid, you have a liver and a digestive tract to filter out what you eat, you have kidneys to filter your blood, and you sweat and respire out “bad things” as well and they all do a pretty good job. Are there benefits to choosing organic foods, fresh vegetables and fruits, less processed foods? Absolutely! As you begin to change your nutritional and life style habits, your body will take care of the rest. You’ll start feeling better and looking better and performing better. A juice cleanse to start the process off isn’t going to do anything other than make you wish you had a toilet nearby.

chronic-diarrhea2

While my brain likes to shut off when I hear these terms, hopefully this article will get your brain firing and start thinking twice when you hear these terms being thrown around.