Monthly Archives: August 2016

A month ago, I attended the Reflexive Performance Reset™ (RPR™) seminar at The Spot Athletics Columbus, OH. If you didn’t read about my expectations and review on RPR’s benefits, feel free to do so. Since returning, we’ve hit the ground running with some of our more difficult cases at NBS Fitness. Over the last month we have seen nothing short of awesome results utilizing this technique for correcting compensation patterns. Patients who have received the treatment have seen significant improvements with complicated injuries (new and old) as well as performance gains with RPR.

As Mid-South Spine and Sports Performance is opening up appointments in September to those looking to increase performance and address motor pattern imbalances, I want to continue producing more content in the next few months on Reflexive Performance Reset. The goal is to expose the method to educate current and future patients of its applications. It will allow patients to understand what to expect and when to utilize RPR. To do this, I will release a bonus article/blog this upcoming month explaining the basics of the technique. Following that we will begin reviewing actual cases seen already at NBS.

If you are a regular member at NBS Fitness you may have seen some strange warm up techniques going on with the powerlifting team and staff. Some may be grinding the back of their head, others sticking their thumb into their side or vigorously scratching their ribs. Fear not, the state asylum did not have a recent breakout, these members are actually priming their nervous system to perform efficiently. With any new methodology will come a lot of eyebrow raising and questions. If you have talked to anyone who has gone through RPR, there is a bit of a love/hate involvement with it, especially the first time. However, the performance benefits are too great to not at least give it a shot. Waking the body up is not the most comfortable activity ever, so a lot of comments come out before, during, and after that provide a comic relief. So for those who have been the early adopters for this technique, I would like to give back today with an RPR spin of the classic “Quotes Heard at NBS Fitness”.


Top 10 Quotes Heard While Activating:


10) “I hope you know that no matter what I say to you while we are in here, I do actually like you.” – Richard Brose.


9) “You didn’t tell me this was going to be violent tickling” – Porter Wood


8) “I’m gonna need some time away from you…” – Jim Sadler


7) (After failing a muscle test) “Damn it… I was hoping you didn’t have to beat on me again.” – David Allen, Garrett Blatnik, Jim Sadler.


6) “What?! I don’t even get a break?” -Christian Anto.


5) “You are no longer Dr. Tyrel, you are Dr. Black Magic.” – Jim Sadler


4) “I don’t care what I am doing… when you reset Christian, come and get me.” – David Allen


3) “I think you are actually touching my soul right now.” – Jim Sadler


2) “I’m not sure how I feel about you slapping me in the jaw.” – Annie Gunshow




Special thanks to Joe Schillero for the meme.


1. Settling into the 148 Class: For the past year or so, my secondary personal priority has been to slowly recomp into a favorable body composition without loss of strength.  I have been giving myself nearly a year to accomplish this because I wanted to really establish long term habits that resemble a lifestyle I can maintain alongside with my sanity.  This required a pretty decent overhaul of my trademark “pizza and powerlifting” modus operandi.  While swapping my Dominos leftovers for chicken and rice wasnt the always the easiest, the end result of this has been a bodyweight hovering in the low 150s as opposed to the mid 160s as well as more productive fueling for my training.  Some necessities for me during this has been

–Very regular meal timing/routine

–Prepping meals ahead of time

–Friday night cheat meals

–Diet rootbeer


2. Buffy Gordans deadlift: If you have heard me talk about strongman at all, you have probably heard about all my (failed) attempts to keep up with phenom Buffy Gordan.  Though I am no longer in her weight class (or am I???), I still very much look forward to seeing what she deadlifts during the Friday night deadlift event.  One of the most memorable moments of my own strongman career was during the 2015 USS National Championships.  For those in attendance, you will remember the MASSIVE number of zeros on the car deadlift, with most girls wiping their brow after even just one completed rep.  I was one of the goose-egg recipients, but as I was fruitlessly spinning my wheels against the car jack, I remember hearing Buffys car being tossing around like a toy.  I called it at the 20 second mark ( we had a full minute to get a rep) but stared, completely slack jawed as she took a car that most girls where struggling to budge and took it for 20 something reps.  If you want to see a show, come out on Friday and see what this woman throws around.

3.  The Return of Kim Baum:  Kim Baum was someone I remember seeing prior to making the transition to strongman and just being incredibly inspired.  A national champion, Kim then dipped her toe in the womens physique division and earned pro card, proving that she is truly a well rounded athlete.  As she was one of the first women I really followed in strongman, I am stoked to be able to see her do what she does.

4. Selfies with Katie Ebach:  Katie and I met at the 2016 Strongest Southern Belle and instantly became strongman BFFLs.  Upon a slight social media inspection, we both decided that I actually suck at taking selfies.  She has been coaching me to better selfies ever since!  I am excited to impress her as we take all the intra-contest selfies.

5.  Oh. Competing. Competing…I guess I am excited about competing.  I think the McCans did an awesome job with the layout of this contest, and all of the events are things Im looking forward to.


This month we celebrate the recent success of Garrett Blatnik.  Garrett set two new squat PR’s this month while training at the EliteFTS Compound.  The first personal best was a 560 pound squat in sleeves followed by a new wrapped PR of 600 pounds.  The awesome thing about this is that there is more left in the tank because this attempt was a perceived 95% effort.  For those of you who know Garrett, these numbers come as no surprise because you know that he is an absolute monster of a man.  What you may not know is that my boy happens to be a two sport athlete.  Garrett spends his time training for Highland games when he’s not in the gym and has been kind enough to show me the ropes in the sport as well.  Garrett may be a monster in the gym, but you should see him with a telephone pole in his hands!  Garrett is a great lifter, entrepreneur, and a great friend.  He’s just beginning to scratch the surface of what he can do in both powerlifting and the highland games, and I personally look forward to watching him continue to grow.  So do yourself a favor and save up a cheat meal to go Exlines’ Pizza to try some great pizza from my man Garrett, also congratulate him on his great work and recent success!


Thought I would share a couple of more soothing metal melodies that I’ve been listening to lately. I’ve Still been on a big Lamb of God kick lately, I’m sure that has to do a lot with David’s influence. Here’s a live track from their live album titled Killadelphia.

I’m gonna share another Lamb song with you because it’s basically been one of my favorites since I started listening to them. Titled “Blackened the Cursed Sun.” I’m also going to share a live version of this song.

Okay, so I guess you could say that this is just turning in to a blog about Lamb of God, but every time I try to think of a different band, I just think of another Lamb song that I want to share. So, here is one from their newest album, which I believe to be one of their best. It actually features the singer Chino Moreno from the band we all know and love, Deftones. The song is titled “Embers.”

I figured it would be pretty appropriate to share this next song because if you are familiar at all with NBS. then you know we just made a new promotional video for our website. Well, the song on that video is from a band called Machine Head, which again, is another band I became very familiar with being at NBS all of the time. The track is titled “Sail into the Black,” and it is off their most recent album titled Bloodstone and Diamonds. This track starts off really slow, and it builds and builds for about 3 minutes, but when it finally hits, it is amazing! Just wait. Probably why David chose to use it for our new video, check it out!

I’ve got one more song I’m gonna share today. If any of you know me very well, or at least know my musical interests, then you know that I am a pretty big fan of Pantera. Well, unfortunately they are not around to play anymore,and I’m not going to go into the whole story of why they aren’t together a, but I will say that the drummer of that band is currently with another band called Hellyeah. This band also consists of some members from the band Mudvayne. I will honestly say that I am not a fan of all of their songs, much less all of their albums. But, they do have quite a bit of good stuff and it seems to grow on me more and more each time I listen to them. This is from their most recent album. The track is titled “Human”, and if you’re around the gym, I’m sure you’ll hear it sooner or later.

That wraps it up for this months songs. I hope all of you enjoy these tracks as much as I do.

I like to squat

When you’re a power-lifter and you spend all of your spare time at the gym and finally have to relate to people outside of your world.  When you run out of things to talk about with the squat you can always switch things up a little bit and talk about how your bench press is coming and then maybe your deadlift.  I’m sure that people will be entertained for hours.  If you run out of training talk you will then dazzle the outside world with all of the reasons why you are responsible for the deaths of millions of chickens, because we all eat an inordinate amount of chicken and rice!  This is why I typically hang around the same group of people that I train with.  This way I avoid the terribly awkward conversations of people telling me that my passions are bad for my joints and that I will do too much damage to my body.  I particularly like the conversations with people that tell you that your passion is bad for your joints when this particular individual is holding a deep fried cotton candy ball in their hands.  I recommend that you find some talking points to ease the awkward moments, maybe bring a few index cards with notes about current events.

Specialty Squat Bars: WTF is this?

How many times have you walked into a gym and seen a piece of equipment so odd that you are left scratching your head thinking, “What the hell, why is that even in here?” We get that a lot at NBS, because we have equipment you won’t find at any other gym in the region. This is particularly true for “specialty bars,” which have become more popular as lifters see them used by high-level athletes in their training videos.

Here is a brief summary of how to incorporate them into your training.

The number one reason to use specialty bars is to look cool, what needs to be done is get a haircut to draw attention to yourself then use a bar that draws equally as much attention to yourself.


See, it works great, trust me I have been doing social experiments with this for over 2 years now.

What do we mean by “Specialty Bar?”

A “specialty bar” is a bar with design elements that alter the mechanics of the movement when compared to a standard barbell. We are not talking about a Texas Squat Bar that has extended knurling and long collars to make squatting easier in a competitive setting. In fact, specialty bars do the opposite. By adjusting the position of the weight in relation to the lifter, specialty bars actually make it more difficult to execute the movement, and these bars are only used in training (not competition).

In short, some evil mastermind looked at a compound movement like the Squat and thought, “How can I make these harder?”

Specialty Bars are primarily used in the Squat and Bench Press, but also for some associated accessory movements. For this article, we’ll focus on Specialty Squat bars.

Each of these bars are unique and have their own personalities. Since they will affect lifters in a variety of ways depending on their weaknesses, we will discuss the main characteristics of these bars and how to “prep” for them.

Buffalo Bar


This bar is the least complex of all the specialty bars, it looks as though the bar has been bent over someones back and there is good reason for that appearance. This bar is mainly used for people with poor shoulder mobility and allows for a more comfortable position under the bar. The powerlifting team here at NBS like to use this bar as a transition bar coming off of several training cycles using the other specialty bars which do not resemble a regular squat bar, in other words, it helps acclimate us getting back under a normal squat bar. This bar although subtly different still has a significant personality outside of a regular straight bar, the buffalo bar we house here is known to have a slight rotation while initiating your squat (going down) and getting out of the whole (coming up). Make sure your lats are firing and you are bracing to fight the personality of this bar.

EliteFTS Safety Squat Yoke Bar aka “SS Yoke” 


The Yoke bar is padded and sits around your neck and on your shoulders with handles (long or short), chains, or pads for you to hold on to which rest out in-front of you. One great use for this bar is for shoulder rehab, allowing someone with injured shoulders to continue to squat without further irritating the shoulder joint.

However, I do not think that is the main personality of this bar. The SS Yoke is well known for pitching the lifter forward during the concentric movement of your squat.

The altered center of gravity, plus the bar’s position on the neck/shoulders will challenge the lifter’s ability to stay upright. This style of bar is fantastic for helping people who struggle with keeping a neutral spine and fall forward under a regular squat bar.

EliteFTS  Cambered Bar


This guy is a shifty bastard (pun intended). The weight sits almost 2 feet lover than where it normally sits on a straight bar. However the bar sits on the lifter’s back in the usual place. What does this mean? Coming up out of the hole, this bar will shift or wobble back-to-front repeatedly if you are the least bit unstable.

There are several ways to make this wobble more evil just by where you hold your hands on the bar. Off the top of my head I can think of four different positions: The lower horizontal bar where the weight sits, which may cause you to push and pull exaggerating the wobble more. The hybrid grip, grabbing where the lower horizontal and vertical bar portions meet which is where I grab and feel the most stable. Grabbing completely on the vertical bar portion which causes you to have chicken wings and lastly the upper horizontal bar which would mimic a squat bar. Now, grab the upper horizontal bar at your own risk as this leaves you with utterly no control over what the cambered bar wants to do on the way up from the hole, you have no way to stop the “wobble” you are just there for the ride.

EliteFTS Spider Bar


This black widow is the unfortunate offspring of the EliteFTS SS Yoke Bar and the Cambered Bar molded into one. It’s the worst of both worlds. When shooting out of the hole, this bar will throw you forward (the SS Yoke genes), then rip you backwards (the Cambered Bar genes), all while you are trying to get your shit together and figure out what the hell is going on.

Why do we need them?

Each of these bars causes the lifter to get thrown out of position. By training at a mechanical disadvantage, the lifter’s body will adapt to the de-stabilizing forces the bar exerts. Over time repeatedly using a bar that throws your body all over the place will teach you to become more stable. When you return to a standard barbell, you’ll be a stout, efficient, land-mass that transfers force through your body like a laser-guided missile into the barbell which pushes bitch ass weight around!

There are plenty of styles and ways to use these bars to aid you in your strength progression. Let the staff at NBS help you understand and utilize everything our facility has to offer in your strength journey. Although these bars can be assholes, they are here to help you become better, so don’t be afraid of them. Respect them, learn them, and master them to increase your squat and your overall strength!



So what really happens at the Compound?

This past weekend my powerlifting training partners and myself made a trip up to EliteFTS. The trip was predominantly for the team to see the company that NBS Fitness has teamed up with to aid in educating and providing best equipment possible for us to train on. Although EliteFTS does that for many, this trip was much more than that. Dave Tate, the owner and CEO of EliteFTS, was kind enough to stay and personally coach our whole team in the S4 Compound when no one else was around. All the guys were exposed to media coverage and will be in a pretty sweet movie ALONG with hands on coaching from one of the greats! This is something many do not get to experience and we were spoiled to have the opportunity. Shopping for EliteFTS stuff online is fun too, whats even better is shopping in their warehouse which the team was able to take part in.

This trip was a huge blessing for me as well, two staff members at EliteFTS wanted to update my profile as they are all of the athletes getting new content.  To my surprise I was interviewed and asked questions particularly to my career as a strength coach which will be captured in a video. This in and of its self is something I could never afford to pay for, will be seen by hundreds and captures me in a light that no one really sees of me outside of lifting as a coach. This company has given me a fantastic platform to reach nationally and internationally expanding my coaching abilities and the knowledge I love to learn and share.

I am overly humbled and blessed to be given the opportunity to represent EliteFTS and they keep going above and beyond for the people that represent them. I was given a sneak peak at just my updated profile picture, it now has me foaming at the mouth to see what is in store for the video they made of the NBS Fitness Powerlifting Team’s visit!



Alright, I’m going to try to keep this as short as possible since this is just supposed to be a blog, so here goes.I had my first visit to Columbus, Ohio this past weekend with the majority of my training partners to visit the Elitefts S4 training compound. This is one of the meccas of powerlifting training in Ohio, other then the famous Westside Barbell.

When we first got there, we actually went into the office building where all of the staff and administrative work for Elitefts goes on. We were greeted at the door by a small dog, and immediately to the right was an office with a rather large human being sitting at a computer. I thought to myself “Damn, that dude is jacked!” Then, he got up and greeted us. “Oh Shit!” I thought to myself. That’s Dave Tate! For those of you that may not know, he is the owner and founder of Elitefts. We all shook hands with him, and I thanked him for having us at his place.


From there, we were able to go into the warehouse and check out some of their merchandise goods and training gear. My fellow friend, work associate, and training partner, who is also part of team Elitefts, was gracious enough to use some of his free points that he had built up for us to get some free stuff. On top of all that, the friendly staff there gave each of us two to three free shirts, and some free beanies for the winter. I couldn’t believe it. We had only been there maybe an hour, and we had basically been treated as if we were all a part of team Elitefts.


After we finished up in the warehouse, we got our training gear and went into the actual gym where we started to warm up for our training session, while Christian did his bio and interview. When I first entered the gym, I was in a bit of shock. It was so surreal to be in this building with all of this equipment that I see on their website all of the time. It was dim, hot, and a little dusty, but there were tons of racks and monolifts to squat in, and plenty of benches, as well as a plethora of accessory training machines. We have a competition approaching in three weeks, and last week was the first week of our peaking phase. We were set to take what was perceived as our 95% 1 rep max on squat and deadlift on that day. The best part about this particular training session, well, it was in the compound and we were going to be coached by Dave Tate himself!


Once we got warmed up everyone started their rotations on the monolift working up in weight. All the while, Dave Tate sat in front of us watching closely. Finally, after a couple of rounds, Dave spoke and said, “Do any of you realize what you’re doing wrong?” We all just kind of looked at each other blank. “None of you are cueing each other, and none of you are breathing right!” From there, Dave made some minor adjustments to all of us, and about four of us actually hit some squat pr’s. Needless to say, I was as giddy as a schoolgirl getting an A on her first test. Then, it was on to deadlifts.

Again, Dave watched us closely and made some adjustments to a few of us. I ended up hitting a 15lb pr on that, too! When we were all done we talked to Dave for a couple of minutes, thanked him for his time, and then he left. I had always heard that Dave Tate was a guy that was passionate about the line of work that he is in, but the fact that he took time out of his busy day to help each of us on our lifts was really just the icing on the cake. Whether he knows it, or not, he left a pretty good impression in my mind.


The next morning came, and we arrived at the compound to take our 95% bench press. We didn’t have the guidance of Dave on this training session, but there were many other Elitefts members and a pretty good atmosphere going on at the time. I ended up hitting my previous 1 rep max for what I thought was a sloppy single, and one of our other training partners Garret, hit a smooth 475! I wouldn’t be surprised if he hit a 500+ bench in three weeks. We hit a couple of accessories, and then it was time to head out. We said our goodbyes, took one more picture, and headed out for some post-training grub at a place down the road with two other Elitefts members. That was my first experience at the Elitefts S4 compound.

I cannot say enough good things about this company. If you are not familiar with them and their website, along with all of the services they and their coaches offer, then do yourself a favor and look them up now. They are literally comprised of the best coaches, and athletes around the world. If you want to become strong(er), they can help you do it. I use them as a source of education on an almost daily basis, and I can only hope to one day be half as good as some of the coaches working with them. I guess I ended up making this a bit longer then I originally intended, but when you have so much good to say about an organization, it becomes difficult to keep it brief. I am already counting down until I can go there again.


Recently, I stumbled across a social media shout out to my strength coach from the University of Iowa, Chris Doyle. The post was meant to congratulate him on a story about a recent pay raise that he had received after an undefeated regular season last year. Basically showing respect to his success and hard work. This raise made him the highest paid strength coach in the nation (you can read it here) and thusly also implied a progression in the strength and conditioning profession’s value. As with any media coverage, this story has remained relevant for a few days so airtime can be filled. In typical fashion multiple people have weighed in on a debate of whether or not he actually “deserves” this kind of money.


Normally I pay the coverage on these stories no attention for multiple reasons. First, I’ve learned a long time ago that the talking heads on ESPN and announcers on game day almost never have a single clue as to what they are talking about, or are just filling a narrative. Secondly, without getting political, I its become the norm of society to scrutinize and envy those who are successful. This time, however, since I had the privilege of having him as a coach and care about him as an individual, I did actually pay more attention. To some level I honestly don’t care what kind of scrutiny a person is taking from being successful. Usually an indicator of success is a certain amount of scrutiny from others. S0 what do I think? I think a very important lesson can be learned from this story. Ironically as is common of lessons learned from Chris, it applies to life more than football or training. The best way to build success is to work towards building value.




The coolest thing about capitalism is unless outside forces intervene (usually government regulations), the almighty dollar always flows towards value. A crappy product or service receives less value than one that is of high quality and works to provide what is desired by those who seek it out. Without getting in the discussion of the perception of value, an item that does more, lasts longer, or improves quality of life better will always bring more money. In Coach Doyle’s case, his value is that he develops good players into great players, unites individuals to form a team mentality, and helps set the course for this team to accomplish a goal as a unified group. He has consistently done this and the methods that he uses to accomplish this are an exact fit for what is needed at the University of Iowa. End of story. And since we are in a capitalistic world, the University of Iowa is well within its rights to offer to pay him whatever they want for his services.




This is exactly what happens every single day whenever goods or services are exchanged. The laws of a free market are like gravity. They have worked and will continue to work regardless of the opinions of others. These laws are a result of how things are, not someone’s perception of how things ought to be. So instead of complaining or playing the fairness card or trying to find social justice in someone being rewarded for their efforts, why not instead try to learn from this. Chris Doyle has worked his entire career to be the best strength coach in the nation. So perhaps instead of buying into a false narrative we should stand up and applaud the people who progress and improve their industry. Maybe instead stories like these should excite and motivate you to find out what you can do to build value in your own relationships, your profession, or even your health. Work hard to be productive and more valuable at work, in your training, with your spouse, whatever, and you will be rewarded. Successful people don’t just stumble upon their success. At the end of the day, whether you like it or not, the simple law applies: If you build value, you will be rewarded.


“Want to get paid well? Offer something money can’t buy” – Chris Doyle

Cable pressdowns and cable curls are some of the most common exercises you’ll see in the gym but how do you know you’re doing them correctly and effectively. Check out this video on some of the more common mistakes when doing cable pressdowns and cable curls.


My press credentials got confirmed this morning, so I am headed to NPC North Americans in Pittsburg this weekend.  As mentioned in previous blog entries, being a little more diligent to my nutritional programming in all circumstances has been a big priority for me this year, and traveling can cast some uncertainty.  Below are a few tips I have for traveling and staying on plan.


  1.  Look into what facilities you will have: If you are staying in a hotel, ask if there is a mini fridge/microwave in the room.  Most hotels do offer these bare-bones necessities.  Another great option is to rent homes through platforms such as, which will likely have entire kitchen set ups.  This will allow some cooking to occur during your travels.  I would also look into grocery stores near your location, so you know where to get fresh food once you land in your destination.
  2. Invest in a cooler: I cannot say enough about how hand iso-bags/six-pack bags/etc are.  These are becoming such a commodity that they are coming in various shapes and sizes from backpacks to purses.  These make keeping your food cool/heated and organized very, very easy.
  3. Keep it simple: Streamline what you are taking with you.  On the meals I pack for flight day, I eat the same three meals (or however many will cover the duration of the time I’m flying) that consist of chicken and rice and/or peanut butter.  The rest of the food, I pack in bulk and put in a huge, vacuum sealed bag that I label and put in my cooler with a food scale.  I bring only the essential supplements, and I make sure I check those.
  4. Consider individually sealed foods: Justin’s Peanut Butter, Minute Rice, and Tuna are all foods that can be bought in airport approved, sealed containers and require very little attention.  While they may not be the tastiest food on the go, these are great alternatives to packing tupperware full of cooked chicken and starches.
  5. Scope out the gym facilities near you: if you are staying in a hotel, they likely some accommodations for fitness.  As we all know, this often means a treadmill and an old elliptical and one of those weird benches with a leg extension cable hookup, but this can certainly at least get any cardio you have on the agenda handled.  Scout out gyms in the vicinity that allow you to train if necessary.  If I am close to an event, this is a very important step.  However, if I’m not, I will try and hit my priority training days before I leave and do what I can at the facilities where I am when I am there.


This month’s throwback hip-hop song of the month comes to you from Paperboy.  “Ditty” was the only song I can ever remember from paperboy.  This song was released in 1992 and I can remember listening to it about 5 years later in my brothers red Dodge Dakota.  I didn’t know this until I did a cursory search of the googles, but Paperboy actually was nominated for a Grammy Award for the Best Rap Solo Performance in 1992.  I love the laid back easy flow to the song and takes us back to a time when hip-hop wasn’t dudes just yelling random phrases at you repeatedly!  So sit back and enjoy the smooth melody of Paperboy in “Ditty”!

Mid-South Spine and Sports Performance is happy to announce the first of a new line of services and products available for patients. Staying true to our vision of providing the best services and products for increasing performance and injury prevention, we will be adding Foot Levelers customized orthotics to our product line. This offers a higher end orthotic for a much needed solution to preventative and performance care for the foot and lower extremity. Here are three reasons Foot Levelers are being added to our available products and services.


True, Customized Fit for Maximal Support

One of the biggest issues with over the counter orthotics is they are basic cookie cutter molds which are made of cheaper, less durable material. These orthotics merely cushion the foot and often times only focus on one of the arches of the foot. The lack of quality material also means that you are sacrificing a lot of lifespan in your orthotic as well.

As any avid runner knows, regardless of what the shoe may LOOK like, there is actually a general lifespan on running shoes. The typical running shoe will last about 500 miles. This means the forces put on the shoe will eventually wear down the supportive effects of this shoe at this point. This means that your shoe is either no longer supporting you, or even worse, may be harming you. Because this support is so important, an avid runner also knows that the best shoe is almost never the cheapest one. Cheap means low quality. The same rule can be applied for orthotics. An over the counter orthotic will fail to support you AND will wear out quicker.




Foot Levelers address all three arches of the foot by utilizing a 3D scanner to create a truly customized orthotic. If your foot is well balanced, your fit will simply support your current arches and prevent future wear. If you have an abnormal arch or mechanics, your fit provides additional support to help correct and restore normal motion.


The Needs of Our Patients

Without sounding too bravado about the patients at Mid-South SSP, most patients that we help are focused on performance, results, and prevention of injury. Each individual typically puts a lot of wear on their body while at the same time expecting it to maintain a high level of output. This need is compounded upon by the fact that many of these patients also work strenuous jobs on top of their training. It is not uncommon for a patient to work a job requiring a high level of physical activity and then head to the gym afterwards for a heavy squat day. These individuals must recovery from not only the stress of their training, but from their jobs as well.



Strongmen must be able to transmit double, sometimes triple their bodyweight through their feet while moving.


Foot Levelers come in a multitude of different textures, styles, and support levels, to fit these different needs. Just as the shoe you train in is different from the shoe you work in, so are Foot Levelers. Orthotics are available for shoes and activities of all types: from athletic shoes, to casual and dress shoes, to work boots. The quality of materials used also gives this orthotic a lifespan of around two years depending on the amount of abuse it undergoes and is guaranteed by the manufacturer to last at least a year.


Better Holding Adjustments

Before even scanning the foot, we adjust the foot at least three times. Pre-scan adjustments ensure a patient’s orthotic won’t be based on a fixated foot. Wearing an orthotic formed upon a properly moving foot also allows our patients the initial adjustments longer. Furthermore, just as a house needs a solid foundation to sit on, so does the body. A properly moving foot and ankle provides a solid foundation for all other movements in the body. It also allows for spinal adjustments to hold better as well. This results in prevention, less re-exacerbation and less injury, which means less overall visits to the chiropractor.


Are you a visually educated person? Here’s a quick breakdown on why Foot Levelers are different than your average orthotic:


As always to get your own pair of orthotics or for further information on how Mid-South Spine and Sports Performance can assist your needs, contact our office! 



Mid South apine and Sports Performance


The combo of Tommy Iomi’s riffs and Ozzy’s voice make for one of the greatest metal bands in history. Give it up for Black Sabbath performing NIB live for your ears enjoyment


Crossfit Write Up

So many of you know I took my Crossfit Level 1 Certificate Course this weekend in preparation for beginning to offer Crossfit classes at NBS Fitness. I wanted to do a little write up on the weekend just to recap my own thoughts as well as give you all some information that will be helpful for your own training, your clients training, and our company as we move into this new phase as a facility.

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The Level 1 Course

The setup for the level one course is pretty interesting. They have instructors who go around teaching the course all across the country and even the globe. The course is very standardized and you can tell it’s the results of thousands upon thousands of hours of experience and feedback from teaching the class. The instructors did a great job running the class, teaching, and coaching the participants through it. Compared to other “trainer” courses I think it’s really a solid course. They send you an extensive 200+ page trainer guide to study, they lecture, and there are plenty of break out sessions to go over everything in the book and the lectures. Is it going to turn you into an elite level coach? No, but no other courses do either. I know plenty of people with an ACSM, NASM, or CSCS that are pretty terrible coaches/trainers. And they acknowledge the need to gain practical experience and offer other tiers of educational development through their course series (level 2, level 3, and level 4). One of the criticisms of Crossfit has been that they allow people to coach and/or open a gym after only going to a weekend certificate course. Well, the fact remains that in Tennessee and many other states you can train people without any certification and open a gym without one either so while it may not be perfect, I think it’s a definite step in the right direction and I think they do a good job of addressing any potential issues. Also, they’re making a killing off of these things. At a thousand dollars a head and 20+ people a class (I’m sure some classes are well above that number) and multiple classes around the world a weekend, somebody is making some serious coin. Makes me rethink our seminar prices and even the costs of other seminars I’ve been too.

There is also a very distinct nomenclature that is used. It helps them transfer the correct ideas across a large amount of people more effectively and efficiently. There are some differences in definitions and what not from what you would have heard in your exercise science degree and certification. Some of the difference is due to their needing to define things in their terms for accuracy and I think some of it is just for the fun of it, it helps with the creation of community. For example, someone used the term “buy in” in regards to a workout and I had no idea what the heck they were talking about. It’s basically something you have to do before you can start the WOD, like warming up to a specific weight.

Crossfit In General

Couple things I love about Crossfit are they are a community passionate about making people better. They recognize the benefits of getting people off the treadmill, off the machines, and getting them moving in more functional movements that will benefit them in multiple ways, from health to physique to performance.

They aren’t afraid to make people work hard. If you’re 20 or 70, they’re gonna make you get after it. They’ll scale stuff to help you complete the task but they want you working out at a high intensity.

They’re all about community and all about some fun. There is something about training in a group that is just way better than training alone and they capitalize on that. It builds camaraderie, support, and competition. I felt it in just the two workouts we did over the weekend.

They’re not specialist and they know that. They want to train for everything. Because of this they’re all about some education. They’re constantly learning from a broad range of experts on many subjects. Funny how the crossfit community is eager to learn from the specialist community but that isn’t always reciprocated is it? I wonder how much knowledge we miss out on because we’re not willing to learn outside of our realm sometimes. Do we not think that there is something to be learned from people who successfully teach every day “normal people” how to do complex olympic lifts and ring muscle ups? Do we not think it’s worth learning from someone who has figured out how to be freaking phenomenal at a broad spectrum of athletic abilities (aka games athletes)?

Sometimes I wonder if this doesn’t blunt our ability to get the best results out of our general fitness clients. Being so specialized I think we sometimes claim to be craftsmen with only a handful of tools at our disposal. I think there is a lot to be learned from the fastest growing fitness regimen in history who specializes in generality.

Scaling and PVC Pipes

Don’t discount how much work can be done and how much progress can be made using PVC pipes. I know to someone who deadlifts 700, using 95 lbs is comparatively a light weight to learn with. But a lot of the initial body positioning goes out the door when any load or velocity is used. The PVC is a great tool to teach these body positions over the volume necessary to ingrain that motor pattern. Think about how many quality reps can be gained from 5×5 at 95 on deadlift over 10 minutes of workout with a PVC.

I think we also need to learn the benefit of scaling more. As powerlifters, we want to put people under the squat bar, on the bench, and on the deadlift from the get go. I think there is a lot to be learned from the concept of not letting someone work up to a more complex movement until they have mastered a scaled down one. For example, to us, the squat doesn’t seem too crazy but to someone who has never squatted, it is asking a lot of them to properly coordinate a squat with a bar on their back. Working someone through the body weight squat, even if that process takes a long time, until technique is mastered before progressing to a bar on the back is likely a better strategy. Again, I think we’re so used to working with conditioned individuals that we lose a bit of perspective on how to work with deconditioned clients in the most effective way possible.


I love the fact that they teach an intelligent eating approach focused around health. I keep coming back to the fact that the message that is consistently taught is the improvement in quality of life and with that, improvement in a quality physique and a quality performance come as well and vice versa. The approach that was taught is the zone diet and for anyone who isn’t familiar, it involves the use different blocks of a predetermined (zones aka percentages) amount of each macronutrient fitted to that person’s lean body mass and activity level. Zones are added or subtracted as needed and macro nutrient amounts can be adjusted as needed as well. It’s good set up and fits with the 90% of all intelligent diets that eliminate the usage of processed food, specifically carbohydrates and encourages whole foods, plenty of protein, veggies, healthy fats, and carbohydrates as needed to fuel training. The 10% is where all the arguments occur and everyone has their own opinion. Personally, I think managing macronutrients separately is a bit easier than trying to manage zones for the average person but like I said, that’s the 10%.

DSC_0094Programming and Exercise Selection

You’re never going to get bored doing Crossfit since they pretty much do everything except bodybuilding isolation movements. They categorize things by weightlifting movements, gymnastics, monostructual met cons (riding, biking, running) which is a pretty cool way to categorize stuff. So there are thousands of things to scale up and down and to PR on and make progress on.

Another criticism I’ve heard and I’ve had before was the programming aspect of Crossfit. The old “hopper” method of just pulling things out of a hat and doing them has transformed a bit into something I would call “reactive” programming. Basically they taught the method of having a scale to plot out training methods across all the different domains and times and exercises that you’ve done over a period of time and see what holes are missing in your programming and start to fill them in (understanding that a Crossfitter’s goal is to be proficient at all things). This is a much better method than before however, I don’t quite see the point in “reactive” programming when you can be proactive and just program everything out in the front end to make sure you don’t have any holes in your program. It might be that pre-programming would go against the idea of preparing for the “unknown and unknowable” or it might be just an easier way of teaching the general population how to ensure they’re meeting their needs. From the little I’ve looked into the way some Crossfit facilities program, it seems like a lot of people like to think a little more in advance. Personally, I think there could be some monster benefits to using a block setup with delayed fitness capacity in programming for a competitive crossfitter and from using a tier setup when programming for both a competitor and non competitor. It would basically ensure you never had gaps in your program if utilized correctly.


The approach to coaching that they taught and represented is fantastic. The basic idea is that when your client is training, you should be coaching every second of their training session. You should be giving verbal, visual, and tactile cues to ensure proper technique is achieved and perfected. When not giving cues, you should be encouraging and complimenting them. You should be well read, well versed, fun to be around, and be able to develop lasting relationships with your clients.  Getting to the financial aspect of it, one of the reasons people have been able to make a fortune coaching Crossfit is because they’re willing to be great at what they do. It’s their passion so they dive into it. They build relationship after relationship and get referral after referral and results after results. Very similar to what we have done at our facility just over a much much more giant scale. In their training guide, Greg Glassman writes a letter about how he grew the first crossfit gym. It wasn’t through advertising, it was through focusing on being the best possible coach and getting consistent results. If you do that, the clients will come.

Funny, I’ve been to a ton of powerlifting seminars and learned a lot and had some great experiences and I would’ve never thought I would’ve liked the Crossfit Level 1 just as much but I really had an awesome time. I’m excited for the journey ahead, to bring Crossfit on board, I’m excited have Angie bringing her crew to join us and I think we’re really gonna do some awesome stuff.

The foot and ankle region is one of the most common areas neglected in corrective and performance care of athletes. 26 bones make up each foot and ankle of the 206 bones in the body  This accounts for almost one quarter of the bones in the body. There are also 32 joints and over 100 soft tissue structures (muscles, tendons, ligaments) in this region, making it an important location for performance optimization in athletes. At Mid-South Spine and Sports Performance, chiropractic foot care is an important tool that keeps our patients performing better, longer. Here are three goals of chiropractic foot care.


1) Maintaining Proper Joint Mechanics

There are a few reasons that proper motion in the foot is so vital to those looking to maintain or improve performance. The foot and ankle work as a team to accomplish two major tasks. During the initial stance phase of walking or running, the foot must become flexible. This allows absorption of loads being placed on it from the rest of the body. Load is absorbed by these joints’ flexible motion, by the eccentric contraction of muscles and by the passive resistance of ligaments that attach to these joints. Once the second portion of the stance phase begins, the foot and ankle must  become rigid. This allows the foot and ankle to release and transfer forces created while toeing off to the rest of the body. In order for these two tasks to occur, each joint must work properly and at the right time.



Chiropractic foot care is central to any athlete’s performance-based care plan.


The biggest goal of a chiropractic foot care, is determining proper joint motion. Proper evaluation involves the joints of the hind, mid, and fore-foot. Any improper motion at any of these joints can be restored by a manipulation (adjustment) of the foot or ankle. This is by far the best way to restore proper foot and ankle joint mechanics and the patient usually notices an immediately springier or looser foot. Other proven methods of restoring proper joint motion include active release and myofascial release of involved muscles and ligaments.


2) Injury Prevention

The vast majority of conditions in the foot and ankle are ones that develop over time with wear and tear. A foot which is not moving properly may not cause a noticeable problem right away. Over time, however, the stress from these subtle abnormalities begin to compound and can cause a wide variety of injuries. Plantar fasciitis, turf toe, calf strains, knee injuries, and shin splints can all contain this common factor of excessive wear. In order to combat this wear, regular attention needs to devoted to injury prevention in the feet and lower extremity. Ever decided to not rotate your tires? Get ready for a blow out. The same principle applies here with your own two “wheels.”

So how does chiropractic foot care prevent injury? Earlier we established that each joint in the foot serves a purpose or has a certain “job”. When each joint does its “job” correctly, it allows for efficient and proper motion of the entire foot. This concept applies to the foot and ankle’s role in movement of the entire body. If the foot is not operating correctly, movement becomes inefficient and other joints begin to wear down. The foot is especially unique as it is the link between the body and external environment for almost every movement. Whether forces are being transferred to or from the body, problems in the foot produces significant wear on the body. Chiropractic foot care reduces injury when used regularly for maintenance and performance purposes.


3) Combating the Negative Impact of Today’s Footwear

Shoes can have a negative impact on the foot for a few reasons. First, shoes reduce the amount of proprioceptive information received by the foot. Proprioception is the ability of your body to recognize its position in space. This is why you can walk around in the dark or complete a sobriety test (when you’re sober). Because these receptors for proprioception are in the skin and surface of the foot, shoes dampen this ability. This is why some strength coaches have their players warm up without shoes on.


Stress fractures, a sure sign of excessive wear, have an association to improper footwear. *Picture Accessed from GettyImages*


Believe it or not, there is more to what goes on your feet than its color or design. The decision to buy a shoe rarely places emphasis on support or quality. Just like the wear and tear examples from before, any lack of support from your shoe will compound over time. Ever had a shoe that you thought fit at the store, only to wear it for a few days and realize how uncomfortable it is? And why after a long day on your feet does it feel so good to take your shoes off? The answer is that many shoes are not helping your feet, they are hurting them. Yes, steel-toed boots are rugged and protect from hard objects, but they also keep the foot from going through proper motion.

Just as balancing on a teeter totter, positive impacts on the foot will nullify negative ones. So how does one restore proper motion of the foot and nullify the negative effects of footwear? How about restoring proper motion and muscular function through chiropractic foot care?  Take it a step further and utilize customized orthotic in your shoes. Foot orthotics are shoe equivalent to an aftermarket add-on in a car. Designed specifically for the individual foot for maximal support, they will replace a current “stock” insole, and provide individualized support. Custom orthotics keep excessive joint forces on the foot down, reducing the wear and tear on the foot. Because of this, less damage accrues over time and foot adjustments hold better.


As always, for any questions about how chiropractic care can help you or to set up an appointment, contact Mid-South Spine and Sports Performance via phone: 901-573-2526 or email:


How committed to your goals are you?  Do you whimsically hope for something good to happen, or do you go out and let nothing come between you and what you want to accomplish.  Our bodies naturally, like water, follow the path of least resistance.  If you allow your body to remain at rest then your body will be perfectly content at remaining at rest.  You have to reach deep down within you to overcome that path of least resistance.  As C.S. Lewis said in Mere Christianity “You find out the strength of the German army by fighting against it, not by giving in. You find out the strength of wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down.”  You will never learn how strong you are if you continually give in to the weakness that lies within.  Overcoming the path of least resistance requires energy of activation, repeated exposure to specific stimulus, and walking into the wind!

Energy of Activation

The energy of activation is the amount of energy required to cause a chemical reaction to occur.  Reactions occur best when a catalyst is used.  A catalyst is any substance that expedites a chemical reaction without changing the structure or outcome of the reaction.  A catalyst in your battle against the path of least resistance can be anything.  I choose to include my friends and family in my dreams and goals.  When I set a goal the first thing I do is consider who I know that may be able to help me accomplish this goal.  This is the reason why I joined the powerlifting team to begin with.  I set a goal to be an elite powerlifter, and I knew that I lacked the experience to know how to reach that goal on my own.  Be sure to include as many friends as possible when you set your goals.  True friends will keep you on track when your strength fails you and you want to quit and return to the couch.



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Your body responds to consistent and repeated exposure to stimuli.  You won’t be able to accomplish your lofty goals by going to the gym once in a blue moon.  When cells are repeatedly exposed to stimulus they become less resilient to the stimulus being applied to them, thus decreasing the energy of activation.  It is going to be difficult when you start down the path of change, but with consistency and time it will get easier.  The task at hand won’t become easier, 500 pounds will always be 500 pounds, but you will become more efficient at completing your tasks.  All of a sudden going to the gym will no longer be a chore but will be a reward that you look forward to all day long.  If you struggle with your food prep just start by doing it then over time it will become second nature to you.

Walk into the Wind

It’s not enough to just go into the gym and say I think I’ll work on my glory muscles today.  Look nobody appreciates your prison syndrome body.  You need to have a focused plan when you walk into the gym.  Find exercise programs that will make you stretch.  Set goals that make you question if it’s even possible to accomplish them.  You will never know how strong you are by consistently setting mediocre goals that don’t cause you to stretch.  Success lies outside of your comfort zone.  Don’t wait for success to come to you, go out and reach for your goals.  I’m going to let you in on a little secret; it is perfectly okay to fail.  It may be scary and it may not feel great but you will learn more from the failures than you ever will from successes.  I know this because when I miss a lift, I look back and say what happened, how did I fail, what do I need to do to make sure that this doesn’t happen again.  When I have a successful lift the only question is how much more could I have done.  The same goes for everything in your life.  You will learn more from your failures, than you ever will from your successes.

Stand Taller

It’s definitely not easy to stand against the water and walk upstream.  You are surrounded by individuals that walk with the flow of water.  Many people will argue that water is a powerful force that created the Grand Canyon.  My response is that you don’t have the luxury of millions of years to create a masterpiece.  Your life is much shorter and you need to take hold of your life to create something that you can be proud of.  You can create something special by lowering your energy of activation through dedicated consistent effort, constantly stimulating growth, and by walking against the wind.  Stop following the flow of least resistance and stand taller.  Be the one that walks up the stream and stands alone and above the rest!

I just started a new book that I am reading, and I’ve been moving along pretty fast with it. It’s titled Rich Dad, Poor Dad, and is basically a book about personal financing and how to make money work for you, rather then spending your life working for money. So far, so good. There is a poem by Robert Frost, that the author Robert T. Kiyosaki, puts in the introduction called “The Road Not Taken,” and I wanted to share it with you all today.

The Road Not Taken

 Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads onto way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence;

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

I think what frost is basically saying is that choices in life are inevitable, and we are always going to have to make them. At the time of the decision, one may seem better then the other for one reason or another, but in the end, taking the easy road, or making a choice because it will make things easier isn’t always the best choice. For Frost, taking the road less traveled has made all the difference. Sometimes in life, that’s what we need to do, take the road less traveled.

As you may remember, my last blog talked about my expectations and excitement for the Reflexive Performance Reset™ (RPR™) seminar being held at The Spot Athletics in Columbus, OH. I was looking forward to this seminar for personal and professional reasons. First, I’m familiar with the challenge of getting a muscle to fire in a specific pattern to accomplish a movement. This issue plagues me on a clinical and personal level in my training. The ability to correct this lack of activation opens doors to a lot of performance possibilites for the athlete.

The second reason is the recognition that it has gotten so far with those that have utilized it. As RPR is fairly new, it is not utilized as much as other methods. This is fine, as I don’t consider a method legitimized by broad popularity but rather WHO utilizes it or is at the forefront of promoting it. RPR’s methodology gained popularity in the strength community lately, specifically from individuals whose opinions are well respected. These two reasons alone made me especially excited for the Reflexive Performance Reset seminar. I will save any of my results and treatments that I have done since returning from this seminar for a more in depth article. I want to focus this blog on just the seminar experience, how it was run, and its applications to performance enhancement.



First of all, I cannot say enough about the environment for this seminar. The attendees and instructors in attendance all shared an important common denominator. All attendees were intelligent individuals across various roles in the strength and performance community who recognized the implications of this method, and the blatant need for a way to effectively and properly repattern and FIX the faulty movements and compensations that we see each and every day in the athletic population. Passion for helping others perform, impatience with the failures of more common and popular methods of treatment and activation, and a willingness to learn and absorb new information. These would be my best descriptors of those in attendance. No one was there to punch the clock, take long lunch, get their CEUs and jet out. Everyone was there to learn, ask questions, and add a new skill to their trade in order to help others. This was every bit of a “networking” experience as it was a learning experience. Whenever you have so many successful and intelligent individuals in room at once, the last thing you do is turn into an introvert. The chance to learn and grow is always there, and there was plenty of both between sessions, at lunch, and after the day finished. From talking training, business, philosophy, values, or troubles shooting cases, the interactions that I was able to have during this trip alone was worth the price of admission.



The seminar instruction flowed well. Effective application of Reflexive Performance Reset comes from two different days. The goal of day one is to get hands on experience and give, the attendees, the tools needed to effectively apply its methodology. The pace is appropriate and gives tons of time for hands on learning for each test and activation, along with time to ask questions as well.

Day two focuses on the diagnosis and application of the tools learned. Chris, Cal, and J.L. did this very well, and this made for one of the most engaging seminars I have ever been to. This can’t be stressed enough, as seminars can be more of a follow the leader tune and don’t allow for involved learning. The ability to be able to work through scenarios and be have a game plan to hit the ground running after the seminar individually allows for inevitable problems to be troubleshooted once you are on your own. That takes more than just learning a couple tests and soft tissue techniques. It takes quality instruction and an understanding of WHY and HOW.



Finally, the application of RPR was mostly presented in the second day. This was an important day, and likely the most vital part of the seminar. In its essence, Reflexive Performance Reset applies for a wide population. In reality, RPR suits athletes and those who rely completely on performance to be at their best. I say this because there is a lot of trust, discomfort, and time that must be put into getting the body to operate in its proper and natural state. Lay people tend to resist these areas even if they know the outcome of something else will yield lesser results. Usually a driven athlete prioritizes results over themselves or the prospect of short term sacrifice. On top of that, almost every attendee’s target market, client, or patient is an athlete who is performance driven. For these reasons, the applications best point to this performance driven athlete demographic. The intriguing thing about RPR is that it’s a growth phase as a methodology. This potential along with the amount of intelligent and primarily type A personalities learning the technique, mean a lot of potential for growth and expansion. This makes for an exciting future for Reflexive Performance Reset.

I’ve had a lot of questions lately, specifically from clients trying to decide when the right time to put on a weight belt is. Obviously, this is going to vary from person to person depending on their strength, ability to maintain core stability and intra-abdominal pressure. Since I have been powerlifting, my strength has increased as well as the amount of weight that I need to belt-up for. I feel like this is a pretty intuitive concept. If you step under a bar to squat some weight, one of two things are going to happen. You will either move the weight well by maintaining your tightness, or you will break down at some point in the lift. This will probably include rounding of the lower back, which will most likely happen on the ascent of the squat. So, if you step under it and say, “Wow, that’s some heavy ass weight! I think I need a belt”, then you probably do.

Now, on the other hand, I have seen a belt do more harm than good on more than one occasion to myself, as well as others. I originally started pulling deadlifts conventionally, but after being a conventional deadlifter for over a year, I decided to change things up for several reasons. One of them being that I had a weak back, another being that every single time I would belt up for a heavy set, it never felt as good with a belt as it did without one. Every time I would lower down to the bar and set up, I would always feel my belt shift, and it would get a lot of slack in it. As a result, my back would almost always round. So, I stopped doing conventional as my main way of deadlifting and switched to sumo. The rest is history.



Just about an hour ago, I was helping one of my online clients out in the gym who was having some issues with his deadlift, and he tweaked his back a bit the last two weeks while deadlifting. I happened to be around and available while he was deadlifting, so I let him borrow my eyes. He started warming up with 135, and everything looked solid. His next set was around 165, and he went to put his belt on, which I thought was a little odd. I didn’t say anything at first because I thought that maybe he was just being cautious because of his recent tweaks. He approached the bar for his set up, and I immediately noticed something different. He wasn’t  getting as great of an extension in his back like he was before with the 135, and I knew it couldn’t have been the weight because he only added about 25 to 30 lbs. I asked him when he was finished if it felt different, and he wasn’t really sure. I told him that he wasn’t getting his back set as well as it was without the belt. He took the belt off and went for his next set, and everything looked better than it did with the belt.



So, all I’m saying is that there is a time to wear a belt, and a time to refrain from using your belt. Those times are going to be up to you to decide when it is appropriate. If you are handling weight with no problems, then you probably don’t need one. If your form is constantly breaking down, and your back is breaking and rounding significantly, then it might be time to belt up. Just make sure that you don’t pull it so tight that you can’t even feel yourself bracing. I’ve seen people do this from time to time that belt up ridiculously tight, and their mentality is that the belt will help to compensate for their lack of ability to properly brace. You may be able to get by for a short period of time, but eventually the weight will win.

I hope this helps some of you in deciding the most appropriate time to put on a weight belt. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, post them below or feel free to email me at



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“The Power Of Habit”  by Charles Duhigg is a book that sat in my Amazon wish list for a long time before I pulled the trigger and bought it.  While the book made a lot of great points, I wont ruin it by giving you a summary.  Instead, I got to thinking about how the principles in the book reflect value in our fitness pursuits and healthy habits.

As David mentioned in a previous article, we often start out on fitness endeavors fueled by motivation.  However, as time passes, that motivation tends to fade.  Its not a fault of any person, it is just the cyclical nature of motivation.  Sometimes you have tons, others you have none.   Unfortunately, in fitness, the process of furthering yourself is painfully slow.  Accordingly, there’s a really good chance that your drive to continue will wane.  During these times, its important that you have developed habits to carry you through these lapses in ambition.  Below are some tips in making sure you are laying the groundwork for beneficial habits.

1. Identify habits you already have in place.  For a lot of people, this means looking at the big picture of their day, and seeing what is being done without fail each day.  Maybe you wake up, drink coffee, cook breakfast, get dressed, take the dog out, and go to work.  From there maybe you work until lunch, and during lunch you take a nap under your desk.  After work you head home and decompress  a bit, watch a little TV, cook dinner, brush your teeth, and go to bed.  I’m sure there are things that get done within the day, but we are talking about habits. For a lot of people, this is a fairly basic layout of the essential habits they have in place.

2. Assess your goals.  Are they realistic for your lifestyle?  For most people, fitting an within their day to hit the gym is more than reasonable.  Maybe they would have to adjust and wake up earlier, or perhaps hit the gym during their lunch break as opposed to taking a nap.  Statistically, most people make time for the gym after their work day is done.

Want to lose weight? This is one of the most obtainable goals in fitness.  Losing weight requires some time in the gym, and a lot of time addressing your dietary habits.  Want to compete in a powerlifting meet?  This may require a bit more time and planning, as the training is a bit more structured for competitive lifting, but still easily done with proper planning.  Want to hit a bodybuilding show? This is probably one of the most time consuming goals, but again, can be done with some restructuring of your day.

3. Address bad habits.  Seems simple enough.  When you have aggressive training goals, there is really no room for repetitive counterproductive actions.  Maybe you want to lose weight, but at night time you fall apart and start eating everything in the house.  Its time to really zero in on the “cue” that triggers you to binge.  According to Duhigg, cues fall under five categories:  a location, a time of day, other people, an emotional state, or an immediately preceding action.  In the above example, the cue is a time of day and the routine involves getting off the couch and binge eating.  The reward for binge eating is the satisfaction of feeling full.  The reward is the reason we tend to repeat actions, even if they are blatantly harmful.  When looking at these actions, we have to decide if we want to reinforce or change these actions.  Obviously if the goal is weight loss, you will want to change this habit.

4. Rewire bad habits into productive habits.  Once you have identified the offending action, you must either remove the cue, or formulate an attack plan.  If you binge at night, having an action plan is really your only option.  You certainly cannot stop night time from occurring.  If the reward for this habit was feeling full, you have a couple of different options: you can find foods that fill your stomach but are not calorically dense.  Perhaps you can allocate a meal closer to your bedtime so that you are getting a real meal in.  Maybe you should just go to bed.  This is a time to experiment with options that transform your bad habits into productive habits.

5. Repeat your action plan until it is the new habit.  And finally, repeat the most effective plan every time the cue occurs.  Slowly, this new action plan will become the habit and you wont spend much time thinking about it.  Importantly, this starts the trend of WINNING in your fitness life.

With all the toys laying around NBS these days, I’ve been trying to throw in different variations in my back workouts and this combo blew my back up big time. Was sore after each week of training. Check it out:


Small business owner Yoshimi Graham started training at NBS in January of this year. She’s a part of our morning group-training crew. Her goal: Get Shredded.

” My daughter brought me in to train as a guest in December and convinced me that there is no place like NBS. I was overwhelmed when I came in and saw chains and other heavy equipment, but the people looked incredibly strong and knowledgeable.”

“I would like to thank my daughter, Yuni, for introducing and encouraging me to make the move to NBS Fitness. She saw how frustrated I was in my fitness progress and knew that my old gym was not getting me anywhere.”

Member of the Month Yoshimi Graham and NBS owner David Allen“The thing I value most about NBS is the atmosphere and the camaraderie. It feels like a home with a huge family, and I think there is no greater place to better yourself than with people who grind day in and day out with you, who sweat just as much as you, and cheer you on and help you towards your individual goals. The people of NBS have been my inspiration and I have learned so much just by watching them train. The trainers handle sessions so professionally, and I am very impressed with the team. Attending the Group training sessions is the highlight of my day!”

Yoshimi (1)


hockey davidBeginner Background

Earlier today I was joking with a member about some of the silly things I did when I was a beginner and I thought all of you would appreciate some of these stories as well. I started training the summer between 7th and 8th grade. Around this time my testosterone levels were starting to increase and I realized that being skinny and weak wasn’t something I wanted to participate in much longer. My dad had some concrete filled dumbbells and a pullup bar upstairs and, as I recall, I started doing bodyweight exercises and lifting those ten pound concrete dumbbells.

Breaking the Machine

Eventually my dad bought a bench press that had a pulldown and leg extension/curl attached to it. We got a standard barbell weight set and collars that threaded onto the ended of the barbell. I was psyched! One day while doing pulldowns, I broke the weld between the bench and the pulldown upright. I recall everything happening in slow motion as the entire machine shifted and bent and sandwiched me between the bench pad and the upright. I thought my Dad would surely be pissed that I broke the machine but actually he was pretty tickled that I was strong enough to do it.

Exercise Machine #2 and Oiling Myself Up For Training

After breaking the first machine we had, my parents got another, heavier duty one for me to use. Like many beginners, I looked up to the bodybuilding stars featured in flex magazine at the time. In fact, I used to cut out different pictures of my heroes and tape them to the walls in the room I trained in along with my training plan. I also notice at the time that whenever a bodybuilder was in the magazine they were super tan and usually glistening with oil. I thought this was how bodybuilders trained so I got some fake tan and put it on before my training session. After sliding all over the place while trying to bench press, I quickly realized this was a bad idea.

DSC_0399Bench Press Decapitation, A Close Call

Eventually I graduated from being a beginner at my home gym to being a beginner at a commercial gym. Around my sophomore year of high school I was training in a commercial gym and was bench pressing 135 when it got stuck on my chest. I had to ask the female weight floor attendant to help get it off my chest for me. She was a pretty blonde girl about 5 years older than me so I was naturally embarrassed beyond belief.  Funny side story: About two years ago she actually contacted me for personal tra
ining, not knowing who I was. I had forgotten her name but when she showed up for her consultation my eyes shot open and I said “Hey! Do you remember rescuing me from the bench press in high school?”

Funny Gymyoung david Clothes and My First Time Shaving

If you know me, you know I am the hairiest man alive. I am covered in hair from head to toe with very little spaces in between. Well, as far as I could tell, none of the bodybuilders in Flex magazine had any hair so I needed to start shaving. The first time I did it, I spent about an hour in the bathroom trying to get every nook and cranny. I can only imagine what my parents thought. About 2 days later my skin broke out in razor rash. I looked like I had chicken pox. Around this time I also decided I needed to start dressing like a bodybuilder so I convinced my mom to help me upgrade my wardrobe with some cutoff sweatshirts and string tank tops from I’m sure I got some funny looks walking around the gym at 6’2″ 150 lbs with my shaved legs and string tank on.

Supplements and Explosive Diarrhea

The first supplements I took when I was a beginner were nitro tech (protein) and cell tech (creatine). I recall the nitro tech being some of the most horrible tasting powder I could have ever imagined and it didn’t dissolve. For some reason I thought the best time to drink it was right after lunch. So I would be choking down this gross, lumpy protein powder that tasted like ass and gagging because my stomach was still full from lunch. The cell tech tasted slightly better but if you ever took creatine back when it first came out, you know about the horrible stomach pain that came with it. I’m convinced it was actually just a laxative. About 30 minutes after drinking it, everything in your system was coming out in liquid form. I thought that made it extra hardcore to drink.


While not a complete list of embarrassing memories, it’s plenty to reminisce on and give you all a good laugh. As much as I like to think I’ve changed since then, I’m sure I’ll back on these days and still think most everything I did was pretty ridiculous and funny. We were all a beginner at one time so don’t let that stop you from starting your journey. What are some of your beginner stories? Share in the comments below.


I have been working with my client Jeff for about a year now. In that time he has made some pretty good strength gains. He is moving more weight than he has ever moved in his life. In addition, he is making some pretty good changes in his physique, adding on some quality size and a bit of muscle.

Jeff, Like everyone else, has faced some struggles along the way to get to this point. We have had some problems here and there locking in his squat technique, but he is getting better and better each week, and both he and I learn something new almost every time. He has been very consistent with his training from the beginning , and it is really starting to reflect in everything he does in the gym.

Below is a video of Jeff’s best deadlift of 315, which was shot last week. Check it out, and if you see him around the gym, take a moment to congratulate him of his hard work. We all like to hear from time to time that our hard work is paying off, even the highest level of athletes.

Two weeks ago, my friends Anthony D’Orazio and Maria Onest came to Memphis to see the very talented Taylor Weglicki.  They allowed me to show them Memphis-style BBQ and explored Midtown.  As you can expect, I also invited to them to NBS Fitness to catch some training.  Anthony is a seasoned bodybuilding competitor and I knew no amount of commotion would phase him.  Maria, however, shared with me her take-away from visiting NBS Fitness, which is admittedly very very different from most gyms.  She’s a talented writer, and captured what I love the most about this place quite well.  Heres her take away from her visit:

  “Recently, I walked into the throws of what one might dub, semi-incorrectly, “a meathead gym.” Lots of muscle, lots of heaving lifting, lots of noise, and not just from the Rawr Rawr Rawr music pumping from the speakers. The raucous was amplified by an unofficial deadlift contest between two rather large characters. It seemed like everyone in the whole place stopped what they were doing to gather around these beasts to see who would triumph.
There was endless shouting of encouragement wrapped in colorful language and grunting. Amongst that was the constant clanking of dropped weights, with or without heavy chains attached, that reverberated off the walls right into my eardrums. That cacophony of sound and the immense flooding of emotions completely overwhelmed me, awakening my fight or flight response. Well, let’s face it, with my 5’ 2” petite frame and baby biceps, my flight response. Thus, I fled to the quieter world of the outdoor strongman grounds.
Here I watched a man jump rope. By doing pushups. Literally he pushed himself off the ground into the air with his arms while his buddy swung a heavy (what I learned is called battle-) rope around in circles. Holy shit – he was jumping rope parallel to the ground with his entire body.
With this new amazement and calmer self, I ventured back into this colosseum to watch other gladiators battle it out. What I saw this time was the reason people join this gym and wear its shirts proudly. Several feet from the squat rack, all tatted out, one of these behemoths stood. A mohawked man in front of him whispered words to pump this man up. Which worked, because eyes blazing, this determined contender strode to the bar and got into position while the mohawked man stood behind him, continuing his litany, only louder. Two men flanked him on either side to spot if necessary. All four of them went down as a team. And they came back up as a team to the congratulatory shouts of all who saw. All that weight. And I mean, ALL that weight, was on this man’s shoulders. Atlas would shake his hand.
What I observed at this particular gym was the sense of comradery. Everyone seems to know each other. There were greetings of fist bumps and bro hugs. No one needed to ask for a spot as everyone seemed to keep an eye on each other. I’ve been going to a chain gym for over three years and never, never have I seen someone just walk over and help re-rack weights. I have struggled to take off multiple 45 lb weights from the squat rack when the bar was above eye level and not once has someone walked over to lend a hand. Not here. Here I went to the rack and the guy I was chatting with moved the bar for me. But – but – someone else out of nowhere came by to move the other pin.
So, what can we take from this experience? Don’t judge a gym by the number of people who watch Bro Science videos? Yes. Don’t judge a person based on how veiny his or her arms are? Yes. Is it worth perhaps leaving your comfort zone and trying this gym out? Definitely. If a 70+ year old woman who’s not Ernestine Shepard can do it, why can’t you?