Monthly Archives: September 2016
One week around the corner, the Clash for Cash on Beale Street is shaping up to be one of the biggest NBS Fitness events of the year. With the weather changing for the better, college football season getting more and more heated by the week, and all the other great attractions in Memphis during this time, some may be considering not checking out the event. Not so fast, Memphians. Here are three reasons you need to be at the Clash for Cash on Beale.
Obviously, the location has been made abundantly clear, but having a strongman on Beale street is a great idea for many reasons. Not only is it a high traffic area, but historically a great venue for any event. Those who are active and appreciate the strength sports and competition will really enjoy this combination of strength and showmanship. On top of that, the competition as noted in the name, will feature cash payouts. This means that the competition will be fierce as the stakes are high. We have many national level athletes from all around the U.S. attending the event. Adding in a large crowd will definitely make this a unique and intriguing event. Hell if you, yourself, decide you’re feeling hyped up enough by the spirit of strongman competition, you could even enter the open car deadlift demo at the end of the day!
This event truly is not only unique in its location and prize money, but will also feature some great vendors from the Memphis area. There will be plenty of opportunities to taste some great beers, food, and enjoy the products of local Memphis businesses. There has been an outstanding amount of support from the local Memphis businesses and we would all love if you came down to enjoy a great day and support them as well. Oh… and did I mention free beer tasting at the awards ceremony?
In August, I had the pleasure of judging at U.S.S. Nationals in Louisville, KY. It was a long day, but was one of the best experiences I have had in strongman. This was for many reasons such as meeting up with good friends, enjoying the unique venue that is Louisville’s Fourth Street Live, and experiencing the atmosphere of competition that strongman is known for. There was a huge crowd and a great showing from the athletes, as well as great vendors and perfect weather for an outdoor show. Strongman is known at the highest level for World’s Strongest Man, but remains a sport that is little well known or followed by those who do not compete in it. However, with all people that took time to stop by that day and expressed interest and awe in the unique competition that was taking place, the people in charge of Fourth Street Live were dying to have U.S.S. hold another competition. The cool thing is all these factors are set to be at next week’s Clash for Cash. We hope to make this one of the coolest events on Beale this year and would love to see you there to support the growth of strongman, our vendors, and Memphis itself.
You Can’t always get what you want. If there is one thing that I have learned in the short amount of time that I’ve been in powerlifting, it is this. I have experienced it myself, and I have observed it from many other teammates and fellow lifters that I have been around. The sport of powerlifting is basically a numbers game, and you are on a constant quest to hit a certain weight. Eventually, when you hit that weight, you are then onto your next journey to hopefully move even more pounds. What do you do when the weight stops moving up? What do you do when it starts to become a constant struggle? Fortunately for me, I have not hit that point yet, and I am dreading the day that it ever comes. I tend to ask myself these questions from time to time when I think about this happening, or when I see it happen to somebody else. I tend to sometimes be that “what if” person. It’s not just in lifting, but life in general. What if this happens? What if that happens? I try to tell myself that living a life by the “what if” is not the way to live at all. How can you be successful at anything if you are constantly scarred, and always thinking about the “what if.” There is no success in life without taking risks. Unfortunately failure can be a side affect of risk taking, but lucky for us there is no success without failure. So, I try to tell myself not to be afraid to fail because some of the most successful people in the world have failed time and time again. Now, you and I may have two totally different ideas of what it means to be successful, but if I can live the life I want to live by being supported by the career that I want to work, then I feel like I am a pretty successful guy. I can tell you this. When things get tough and stagnant, the last thing I am going to do is give up. Things get hard in life, work gets hard, relationships get hard, going to the gym gets hard. What you do in these types of situations will define the type of person you are. Do you want to be known as the person that just gave up because shit got hard? I know I don’t. I’m not saying that I haven’t thought about it before, but I knew in the end that giving up is not the right decision. We are meant to be challenged in our lives. Being challenged and having the power to persevere through adversity is what makes us stronger as individuals. It makes us better versions of ourselves. So, when things get hard next time, try to embrace the struggle and realize that it will make you a better person.
I was lucky to see Wayne Static perform the entire Wisconsin Death Trip album a few weeks before he died. This song is from a different album but it’s still one of my favorites.
Why You Should Be Using Specialty Bars to Bench Press
Last month’s ARTICLE we looked at specialty bars and why you should use them for your training, particularly squat training. This month we are going to look at specialty bars and implementing them for training the bench press. Before everyone gets freaked out: No, we will not be using the same bars to bench that we used for squatting. Well, maybe one (evil voice).
Why use specialty bars when training the Bench Press?
We use specialty bars for the bench press for many of the same reasons we use them for squatting. Preventing (or working around) shoulder issues is a major concern. We will visit three different bars in this installment and break them down to be implemented into your training!
First up we have the EliteFTS Swiss Bar. At NBS Fitness we have two different styles of this bar. The first one is the standard bar that features a neutral grip, this means you are holding this bar and your palms will be facing each other (inward). Therefore this bar keeps your shoulders in ADDuction (elbows tucked into your side). Having your shoulders and arms in this position decreases the amount of strain that is put on your shoulder capsule along with pec major and minor. This bar will also force you to recruit the use of your triceps more than you are used to. There are three hand positions to grab this bar at. For smaller sized people I would recommend the innermost position. As your size increases along with shoulder width I would suggest moving out on the hand grips. If you are a beginner female, I would suggest inner most position. For a beginner-intermediate, medium-weight male I suggest the middle grip position. The characteristic of this bar is that it like to wobble just a little bit. This requires you to really lock in your lats and make sure your wrist wraps are on tight.
The second version of the Swiss Bar looks similar, but all three grip positions are different diameters. When you have a close, neutral hand position, you recruit more triceps from a body mechanics standpoint. Having a wider grip allows for an increase in grip contraction and recruits more lateral muscles in the forearm and triceps. As you progress outward on the grips, they get smaller, this allows you to focus more on pec contraction without the added variable of a wider grip. The innermost grips for this bar (shaped in a “V” pattern) allow for skull crushers, JM press, and CURL variations that hit your triceps AND BICEPS in a variety of different ways to introduce and new kind of hell.
The EliteFTS Football Bar is next, I would rate this one as the worst of the specialty bars for bench pressing. That comes from member/client feedback and also because it destroys my ego every time I use it. The personality of this bar comes from its angled grip and what it causes your wrists to do. All the grip positions are angled, similar to how a lineman would hit his opponent, (hence how the bar got its name). Because of the angle, this bar loves to wobble front to back, wreaking havoc on your wrist stability. I have the majority of my clients and teammates use the center grip on this, from my experience it offers the most stability to users (and this is still far less than a regular bar).
The last bar we are going to look at is not an actual specialty bar made to bench with, it is a specialty squat bar that some evil mind attempted to bench with one day and it offered them great results. We are going to learn how to use the EliteFTS Cambered Bar to bench! The personality and characteristics of this bar are the exact same for benching and squatting. This thing LOVE’S to oscillate back and forth during the eccentric and concentric phases. This bar cannot be used on a normal competition style bench. You need to set up on the OUTSIDE of a rack to bench with this bar so it does not hit and face savers or rails. The grip positions here are limited as the vertical rails of the bar need to be aligned parallel to the forearms allowing proper bench mechanics.
Try out these three specialty bars in your bench training to further you strength gains. If you have never used one before, there will be a learning curve but do not let them intimidate you. Just like the specialty squat bars, I promise there will be a positive transfer of strength when you go back to a normal bench bar. For any other questions please contact me at christian@NBSFitness.net or ask an orange shirt in the gym for help!
In the last article, Why High School Athletes Should Build Recovery Habits Now, we explored some of the reasons why high school athletes should be building a foundation of proper recovery habits with the goal of promoting longevity and injury prevention. Now that the why has been identified, it’s time to address the how.
Injury prevention is always a topic of interest and a driver for constant improvement in the sports performance industry. The biggest concern for team and staff during the season is never how well the team can perform or improve. New developments in injury prevention are an industry of constant turnover and those who want to stay competitive are in a constant race to be up to date with the latest and greatest. Unfortunately the latest GPS athlete tracking system is not feasible at the high school level, and often coaches are too busy to fully address the importance of proper recovery and injury prevention. So to follow up on the why, here are three easy injury prevention how-to’s for high school athletes to recover like a division I athlete. Keep in mind, this is presented as being used within 24 hours after competition. You can use these methods in the 24 hours immediately following a workout as well.
Just because your high school doesn’t have the state of the art, $100,000 hot and cold pool setup that the bigger D1 schools do, doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of the recovery benefits of utilizing manipulation of blood flow for recovery benefits. The basis of alternating between a hot and cold water is to cause dilation and constriction of the blood vessels to speed up recovery. Hot water causes dilation of vessels and speeds up the heart. This makes the heart pump a ton of blood out to the body. Blood is the source of nutrition, oxygen, hydration, and the cells that respond to muscle cell damage from the breakdown of training and competition. So with heat, we are feeding and repairing muscle and joints. Cold water causes constriction of blood vessels and slowing of the heart. This causes the blood vessels to squeeze all the blood in the area back towards the heart. This is important because just as the blood carries nutrients and cells to sites of damage, it also needs to carry waste away and return back to the heart and stomach to replenish their nutrients for another round. It also carries any inflammation in the area away, leading to less pain and soreness afterwards.
Contrast showers area great way to get the same effect of the hot/cold pool in your very own bathroom. First start by turning the shower up to as hot as you can stand for three minutes. Once the three minutes is up, immediately switch the water to as cold as you can stand it. Alternate between the two for three cycles, ending on cold. Let the shower spray down on you so it covers your body as it drains. If you have specific areas that are really sore, or hit a specific area in training that you want to recover, focus on those. Bottom line, contrast showers will leave you feeling like a million bucks, increase your recovery, allow you to handle increased training stresses, and help prevent future overuse injury. Set up a few speakers in the bathroom and blast some music to help pass the time. If mom and dad complain about the water bill or noise, just tell them you need to recover so you can be a total bad ass on gameday. Doctors orders.
Steady State Cardio/Walking
Building on some of the concepts from the contrast showers, steady state cardio is another great activity to boost recovery and prevent injury. Cardiovascular health is usually not a problem for athletes in this age group, so the main goal of this is two part: Get blood to the places that need it by moderately increasing heart rate, and to get the muscles contracting and pumping. We want blood flow out away from the heart to the rest of the body for the same reason as the contrast showers. Utilizing the movement from steady state cardio allows us to address a few other things as well.
In order for the body to heal correctly, it utilizes information it gets from the muscles while they are moving to tell it where to grow and direct the most new tissue. To get that information, we need the body to be moving, even if it is something simple. The stretching and contracting of the muscles in the body during steady state cardio allow for the body to direct new tissue production. This information is very essential as it also tells the body what type of tissue to produce and how much.
So how do you implement steady state cardio? A quick stretch and shake out jog is a great way start. Make sure you do enough mobility and stretching to warm up, and then go on a 20 minute jog of low intensity. Walking is also an easy way to get some neurological input into the body as well as provide just enough increase in heart rate. You could simply wake up the morning after competition or a heavy lift and take a 20-30 minute walk around your neighborhood. What if you’re a football player and just played Friday night but don’t have time because you are going to your favorite college football game bright and early? Perfect! Walk around with your friends or family for 20 or 30 minutes and take in all the great scenery of college football tailgating. You’ll be having fun while also building solid recovery habits to keep you healthy and pushing yourself forward towards your goal of playing on Saturday’s one day too.
Here it is. The S-word. The thing that no one wants to ever do and even less value. The most boring thing possible in the athletic world. Stretching. There’s nothing sexy about it and nothing entertaining about it, but guess what. You absolutely need to do it. Do you want to be the best athlete you can be? Do you want to push yourself to the limit to find out just how good you can perform? I can tell you with out a doubt that if you never spend any time on your mobility you will fall incredibly short of this and eventually end up hurting. Guaranteed. If you enjoy stretching and mobility work, then great. Good for you. But if you are like the majority of athletes in the world, you don’t enjoy it, and no one cares. Do it anyways. No one ever said everything you will do in athletics will be fun, but this is absolutely essential.
Mobility and stretching allows for some of the same things that walking does. It provides the right type of stimulus to the body to help direct healing and make sure that your body does not become a giant knot. There are many different mobility exercises available that improve movement of the hips, ankles, shoulders, etc at a basic level. The Essential 8 by Mike Boyle and the Limber 11 by Joe DeFranco are great starters for basic mobility drills. NBS Fitness’ Youtube channel also has a variety of mobility and warm up drills available as well. The key here is consistency over time.
Stay tuned for more information for high school athletes. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to direct them to email@example.com.
My Journey with Nutrition
I grew up a skinny kid. I was shorter than my classmates and I was, by far, the tiniest. I could eat anything I wanted and never gain an ounce. Being small was great when it came to distance running or filling the catcher position for my softball team. My friends fondly referred to me as “Shorty”, “Short Stuff”, and the ever-popular, “Pygmy”. For me, a growth spurt didn’t occur until after graduation.
As I aged, I never considered myself as having a weight ‘problem’, but after having each of my children, I always managed to keep an extra pound or three. When I started CrossFit I adopted the Paleo diet, “Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar”. I was able to drop weight, added muscle, and found my abs at about 40 years old. This worked….until it didn’t.
When I opened my gym in 2012, my level of stress increased. My meals were still “healthy” but higher in fat, and usually accompanied by delicious craft beer or vodka (my personal favorite beverage). In 2014, add in a thyroid disorder with hormone imbalances and the scale got ugly.
Society would have you believe that when women reach a certain age we should, in essence, settle in with our bodies and accept ourselves with a little extra weight. OBVIOUSLY, “women over 40 are less active”, “metabolism slows”, and we should “eat more fats because they are good for you”, blah blah blah. We’ve all heard it and I almost started accepting it. Now, there are physiological changes as the body ages and we all know that. Genetics do play a factor in how we age as well, but let’s not get too sciency here and overthink things. I was getting heavier because I was overeating and drinking too much. My thyroid disorder made a serious impact but I can’t blame it entirely. I was mismanaging myself while trying to take care of everyone else. I needed to make a change but didn’t know how.
As I approached my 47th birthday in May, I started researching how other CrossFitters my age were training/eating. I came across several ‘before and after’ pictures on a CrossFit Masters Facebook Group. The ‘before’ pictures looked like me, the ‘after’ pictures looked like what I felt (and hoped) I could get to. The best part was that these people were my age and older!!
The day before my birthday, I hired a nutrition coach I intentionally created my start date at that time so I could avoid birthday cake. Ahhh, cake! It’s one of those foods I can resist…unless I take a bite. After that first bite, I’m like an episode of Man Vs Food when they put a 5-pound burger in front of someone with a timer counting down to see if total domination can occur. I always win with cake. Thus the need for nutritional coaching!
So my journey began. Macros here, macros there. Reduce my fat intake (it was a lot), increase my protein, increase my carbs, learn to plan better, don’t go out with drinking friends. Admittedly, I didn’t do very well in the beginning and I didn’t stop drinking either. My progress was very slow.
Currently, I’m in the middle of my second 12-week cycle and I have certainly gotten a better handle on things! I’ve lost a total of 15 pounds, 12 inches, 2 sizes, and probably a few drinking friends. Focusing on my nutrition over the summer also helped me manage the stress and transition of selling my gym.
Let’s be honest, taking account of everything we eat can often be challenging, however, the positive results far outweigh the time in calculations and preparations. The changes I have experienced have not only occurred on the scale and with a tape measure but also in how I feel about my body as a 40+-year-old woman. How I feel during workouts and recovering from workouts has also improved tremendously! I haven’t reached my goals quite yet, so the journey continues, however, I think I’m off to a good start!
Don’t get me wrong, I love food trucks, fried chicken, and vodka, but if I’m going to indulge I try to plan for it and decide if it’s REALLY worth it!
“I like everything but the price.”
This is something I hear alllll the time about our basic gym membership. It always amuses me, because the monthly fee is actually right at the average cost of a gym membership in America (http://www.cnbc.com/id/26663228) and considering our enrollment fee is a drop in the bucket, the annual cost of our membership is FAR below the average annual membership costs. Keep in mind, this is a WAY above average gym.
I was recently on the tail end of someone trying (fruitlessly) to talk me down on the price (I dont have the authority to do that). I asked him what he would be comfortable paying. He said “25.00-30.00 at most.”
So there we have it: a 15.00 dollar gap that was unjustifiable. For kicks, here are a few things you can buy for the 15.00 dollars he set out to save:
-7.8 gallons of gasoline at 1.92/gallon
-about 3 pumpkin spice lattes
-five “lightly worn” t-shirts from goodwill
-30oz frozen yogurt at Menchies
-Hanson “Middle of Nowhere” CD and a five dollar gift card to apple Itunes
-7ish Monster energy drink, assuming the 2 for 4.00 sale is still going
-A nail polish change at the mall
-15 minute chair massage from questionable practitioners
-3 footlong subway sammiches (must be five dollar footlong applicable
-Dancing with Cats Hardcover (an absolute must read)
I think that basically covers it! After reviewing this list, I totally get it now.
Wait. No. No I dont.
A few friends and I were talking recently about the way our respect for great athletic performances can shade our opinion of the athlete in general. While we all agreed that truly becoming great takes a lot of personality traits that are typically categorized as “good,” this really is only one dimension of the human condition. In recent times, I have seen the words “hero” thrown at people who have demonstrated bluntly atrocious character traits, while seeing the most heartwarming acts of kindness somehow belittled for less-than-world-record worthy platform performances. This is demonstrated in most sports: we have seen COUNTLESS news reports of athletes accused of rape, murder, theft, adultery, tax evasion, etc. Some get the book thrown at them, and some are given relatively light sentences.
I realize there are countless factors that play into this. I cannot even pretend that I have a solution for the athlete bias. However, this topic did spur conversation that I thought was useful:
“Who are you outside of the gym?”
This is not a question of reputation, this is a question of self reflection. What do you spend time on outside of your dealings with sport? What would happen to your influence on those around you if you never lifted again? Do you have interests that introduce you to different perspectives and ideas? Are you able to process opinions that differ from yours in a way that is constructive?
A lot of my own answers to these where quite humbling, and highlighted that I need to ensure that my value as a human isnt wrapped up in my athleticism. Its a work in progress, but I am grateful for the recent conversations that have encouraged me to grow.
This fall marks my 7th year as either a competitor or provider in collegiate athletics. During these seven years, I’ve been fortunate to do my part in 4 different programs at the Division I level. These experiences have been as narrow as a football only focus to as broad as encompassing all varsity collegiate sports. Being in college athletics long enough, you encounter both consistencies and diversities from school to school. I’ve seen a range of skill sets, coaching styles, training atmospheres, etc.
As different as one school may be from another there are always constants to collegiate athletics. There are right ways, and wrong ways to do things. This applies to all aspects of the athletics department. Leadership, work ethics, strength training, you name it. The bottom line is just as in a business, there are many things that successful athletic programs do across the board. When a high enough majority of athletes do more right than wrong things, it translates to success on the field. As a provider over the last few years and looking back to years when I was in competition, these same principles apply to athlete rehabilitation and recovery.
The Basis of Recovery
It is inevitable for an athlete to undergo a certain degree of wear. Eventually every athlete will begin to break down from activity in their sport. Each person is different, and will break down at a different rate or handle stress from training differently. This means that time plays a huge factor in the development of injury, dysfunction, and compensation.
When the body is being pushed to perform, it will in turn encounter an amount of breakdown and wear. This can be from workouts, practice, competition, etc. In its essence, recovery is based around supporting the healing response that naturally occurs to overcome and build from this training breakdown. The better an athlete can recover, the more they will build, perform, and avoid injury. Injury avoidance is often the least recognized in collegiate athletes, as it usually isn’t realized until AFTER injury occurs. True to form, the longer an athlete competes, the better chance of injury caused from this general wear and tear. The most common cause of muscle strains and non-contact injuries are by far excessive, repetitive stress, compensations, and chronic dysfunctional motor patterns.
Why Start at High School?
So why should you as a high school athlete care about this? You never feel very sore after competition or training, can get 5 hours of sleep a night and feel great in the morning, and can eat whatever you want without seeing much performance drop? Really, statistics tell us that only a fraction of high school athletes make it to the collegiate level (especially Division I). On top of that, only a certain amount actually PLAY in college. Of those who play significant time in college, few make it to the professional level. So does building recovery habits now really matter? If you’re a high school athlete who is serious about playing at a high level, yes, it absolutely does.
Eventually, everyone reaches a breaking point. A high school athlete can get away with 5 hours of sleep now, but what happens when he steps into a college arena, where being an athlete is literally a full time job while also having school? And as a former athlete, I can tell you that you won’t have to worry about the soreness argument. NOTHING you do at a high school level is remotely close to the challenges of workouts and practices at the higher levels of collegiate athletics. A normal practice in college is the equivalent of the hardest game you played in high school. And no training session in high school can prepare you for the demands of training at this level either. How about nutrition? I will honestly say that my one regret of collegiate athletics is not taking nutrition as seriously as I do now. I absolutely regret that I didn’t spend more time picking the brain of my strength coach on proper nutrition habits. It is a FACT that the performance you get out is a direct result from the fuel you put into it. If you are a hot rod on the drag strip, would you choose to fill your tank with a shitty, low grade 87 octane? Or would you pick a 100+ octane racing fuel? These are all recovery habits that could be changed now. Think of it this way: you are performing well now with a half-assed effort towards your body. Imagine how much better you could perform if you actually able to build a few good recovery habits now?
Investing in Your Body
I have seen far too many talented and determined athletes have their careers taken away from them because of injuries which could have been prevented or prolonged. This should be the single biggest point a high school athlete gets through their head. You never know when your career is going to be up, and very few people get to leave their sport of choice on their own terms. For every Michael Jordan or Peyton Manning that goes out guns blazing atop of the world as a champion, there are countless of other athletes (Derrick Rose, Bo Jackson, etc) that see their careers changed in the blink of an eye forever. And what about the athlete that somehow seems to stand the test of time? I guarantee you they spend just as much time investing in their body and its recovery as they do preparing or practicing, if not more. Two years ago, Sports Illustrated released an article about Tom Brady’s attention to his health. From diet, to sleep, to time off, and prehabilitation, there is an insane detail to the methods that Tom Brady uses to keep himself healthy.
At the college level, specifically, a usual tell tale sign of how to tell the upperclassmen from the lowerclassmen simply by how much time they spend in the training room. Unfortunately, a good portion of them end up doing this because they are constantly beat up and now understand that the only way they will make it through the next game is by doing everything possible to heal. It’s not that they aren’t talented enough. It’s not that they can’t figure out the plays or don’t understand the game. It’s literally because their bodies are fatigued and worn to the point that they cannot perform at the level they wish to perform.
The younger players are mostly healthy and still getting away with their crappy habits and are nowhere to be seen in the building up until practice or workouts. Now that being said, some of the players do actually get it. Some have figured out that they feel better and need to be investing time to keep them from breaking down. They realize that when pro teams come calling, there are just as many factors riding on their health as there is their ability to play the game. When an NFL team signs a player, they are doing so as a business who is making an investment. No one would buy a product which is used and in bad shape.
So for the high schooler, what can be learned from this? If you are serious about wanting to play at the next level, think of it as an investment. An investment in building recovery habits is an investment in a future career. Just like in actual investing, the earlier you can begin, the more you can get out of the investment over time. Your body will not break down all at once today, tomorrow, next week, etc. It will break down slowly over time and by the time you realize you need to invest, you have run out of time to get much return out of it. Learning to spend the time building proper recovery habits and seeking out professional help to identify your weaknesses will allow you to better achieve what all athletes eventually lust for, longevity. I know as a provider, that if I get a young athlete in who is injured, I have a chance to make an impact on their recovery habits. Pain is a huge motivator, and in athletes, losing the chance to compete is an even bigger one. So I know I have a window of time in which I can persuade them of the importance of proper recovery habits. On the other hand, I know if I get a veteran player who is injured and has not spent much time in the training room, I have a limited chance of instilling any good habits into him, and thusly protecting his career. It’s simply a case of the amount of time an athlete has spent towards investing in their body’s longevity. So imagine if high school athletes, along with guidance from their coaches and parents, started investing in those habits now. They would already have a head start on doing things right. Once again, there are right ways and wrong ways to do things, and the right way to ensure a long career is to build recovery habits now.
Whether you train at NBS or waste your time at a commercial gym (oops! Did I write that out loud?), there are 3 unwritten gym rules that you need to be aware of.
1. There is a place for everything and everything in its place
I’ve had some of the strongest lifters in the world train at my gym: Ray Williams, Sam Byrd, Tee Cummins, and Christian Anto. All top 5 lifters in their weight classes. You know what I’ve never seen left on a barbell? I’ve never seen anyone leave 900 lbs on the squat bar. I’ve never seen anyone leave over 500 lbs on the bench or over 700 lbs on the deadlift bar and walk away. But I have seen a ton of people leave between 135 and 315 on the bar and leave, letting someone else clean it up. So kiddos, if you want to be strong like these guys, a skill you will have to learn to master is unloading your own plates. Only weak people leave plates on the bar and you don’t want us to think you’re weak do you?
Likewise, everyone should know how to properly load a weight tree. It’s pretty simple: the 45’s go at the bottom, the 2.5’s and 5’s go at the top, and everything else is filled in accordingly in between. Under no circumstance should you put two different weight plates on the same holder. If you cover up a stack of 10’s with a 25, you’re creating bad gym karma for yourself and likely to get stuck under a heavy bench without anyone to spot you.
2. A lifter shall be free to leave his rack without fear of someone stealing it
Thank goodness this doesn’t happen at NBS but at many gyms, squat rack thievery is on the rise. Step away for more than 5 seconds to get some water or use the restroom and next thing you know some bro has taken all your weights off, changed your whole setup and begun his epic bicep curl session. Not cool! I suppose this is a by product of gym knuckleheads leaving weight on the bar and walking off but regardless of this fact, you gotta ask. Look around, ask people if anyone is using the equipment, give it another 5 minutes and if still no one has showed up, you may proceed with caution. But you have to do your due diligence to figure out if the rack is free or taken.
3. Maintain your hygiene
Contrary to popular belief, the gym is actually for training. And when people train, they sweat. And when people sweat they smell. So, it’s up to you to manage each of these parts of the process. When you sweat, wipe up after yourself. If you want to train with your shirt off, that’s cool, just put a towel down when you do. Put on some deodorant. All simple stuff. Try to watch out for your fellow gym goers and everybody wins.
Whether they’re etched into stone or just understood, make sure you know the unwritten rules of the gym.
Here it is, the Thursday after the weekend of our competition, and I’m finally starting to feel normal again. Well, except for my aching biceps from the “bro” session that me and my training partners did yesterday. It was nothing but shoulders, triceps, and biceps. Anyways, Saturday ended up actually being a pretty good meet day. Not just for me, but for my training partners as well.
I ended up going 8/9 on all of my lifts, just missing my last and final deadlift. I should’ve had it, but I was slightly hesitant before pulling it, and I think it got in my head just a little bit. Oh well, I had a pretty good day, so I can’t complain. I ended up with a 540 squat, a 315 bench, and a 525 deadlift. I was super excited about the bench because I have been wanting that for quite some time now, and the first time I hit it was in this competition. I was pretty much blown away by the improvement in my squat. I ended up adding about 80lbs to my squat, 20lbs to my bench, and about 25lbs to my deadlift from my previous 1 rep maxes.
As of right now I don’t have any immediate plans for a meet. I will probably wait until next spring, or summer to do my next competition. I will probably take this time to get my body composition back in check, and lean out just a bit. Hopefully at my next meet, I can put up some even bigger numbers then I did on Saturday, and possibly get an elite total at 198.
With another competition in the books, I just want to say how grateful I am for everyone who made this day possible. I especially want to thank my training partners for always pushing me to be better, even if I’m not having the greatest day. That’s the type of stuff that good friends, and training partners are made of. I also want to give a big thank you to everyone who came out to support the lifters, and everyone who has followed along with me for the past year. More to come.
Below is a video of my 3rd attempt squat at 540.
Here is a video of my 3rd attempt bench at 315.
Video of my 2nd attempt deadlift at 525.
My 3rd attempt deadlift at 540 (miss)
Few things sound as distinct as Rob Zombie and this song is a classic
The most common of all chiropractic stigmas is “Once you start, you have to keep going forever.” Just as with any stigma, there are two sides to this story. I will address some of the truths this stigma is based on, but will focus more on the misconceptions of chiropractic treatment, its goals, today’s societal outlook on health care, and more.
The truths from this chiropractic stigma surround chiropractic treatment and individual practice models. In most chiropractic offices you will be confronted with an option for maintenance or preventative care. This happens typically towards the end of a treatment plan. As with any health care decision, the decision of what and how to approach your health is completely yours. This maintenance or preventative plan is the “coming back forever” option.
The amount that an office tries to push an extended treatment plan on a patient is likely where most of the negativity comes from in that the patient feels pressured to make the decision to continue extended care. As a quick disclaimer, just because I am a Doctor of Chiropractic, does not mean I will defend each and every other chiropractor and their practice decisions. My opinion is a well informed patient should be allowed to make his or her decision on their own health. I do, however, refuse to neglect the fact that there are many patients who are not well informed. The following are the misconceptions and social health factors that surround this stigma.
1) You Don’t HAVE to Do Anything
For the general public, maintenance care will typically be a return every month to 6 weeks. The goal here is to maintain the state of function accomplished by the original treatment plan. It can also be used as a preventative approach to decrease the chances of re-aggravation of the original injury. Again, those who try to scare their patients into this plan suck and I will not defend them. But the notion that chiropractic is some sort of trap that keeps you coming again and again is ridiculous.
At the end of the day, you always have control over your health. Our job (ALL health care professionals) is to identify the problem of your health concerns, come up with a plan to solve it and help the patient make an educated decision. If you don’t feel as if that is the case with you currently, find health care professionals that will allow that decision making to occur.
2) You May Actually WANT to Keep Coming Back
The funny thing about this stigma is it usually comes from those who have received little or no chiropractic care. For those who have never had chiropractic care, they have also never had any reference to what the body feels like when it is moving and operating at an optimal level. Once they have been under care long enough to finally understand that feeling, they start to understand how crappy they really felt BEFORE seeking out care.
Most patients that I see that return on a regular basis don’t need me to explain why they need to receive maintenance care. They understand, because they’ve experienced the difference. Some will choose not to elect for this type of continual care, and that’s fine. What often happens is they will go about their lives for 6-8 months and then have a bad experience that flares up their previous condition. When that happens, I end up seeing them again, and unfortunately, instead of being a check-up and see you in 6 weeks visit, they need to be seen for 3-4 weeks again in order to get them better.
After two or three instances of this happening, sometimes the patient decides they want to try and prevent further problems. If an educated patient chooses the “it’s not broken, so don’t fix it” method to their health, that’s okay. But the vast majority of my patients that return on a regular basis are there because they WANT to be there.
3) An Uninformed View of Pain and Chronic Conditions.
Today’s society has quite a skewed image of their health when it comes to musculoskeletal conditions, pain, or chronic disease. Pain and chronic conditions do not usually pop up out of nowhere. and there is usually an underlying factor that causes this. The majority of patients do not understand that their body degenerates and wear in a chronic nature. Chiropractic uniquely identifies the functional factors that cause this wear and tries to treat and prevent it from occurring. Many other health care professions look to visualize the location or tissue that is hurting using. Until there is an structural identifier of pain, many neglect it as an issue. For a more in depth look at these schools of thought, check out this past article on compensation and injury.
4) Nearly Every Health Care Profession Involves Maintenance or Returning Care
We aren’t the only profession pushing for maintenance or returning care. As much as we probably don’t want to admit it, we aren’t even the only ones that push wellness care. Ever been to a dentist? An ophthalmologist? Do you have diabetes? How about high blood pressure? Do you take any medications? All those have some sort of maintenance component to them.
Dentists have done the best job of promoting wellness care. Most don’t wait until a tooth hurts to go to a dentist, they go to try and PREVENT tooth decay and cavities and to have healthy teeth. How many people don’t know that you should receive preventative chiropractic care every 4-6 weeks, but know that they need a dental check up and cleaning every 6 months? Do you want a healthy spine free of decay? Well then you probably better not wait until you can’t walk to receive chiropractic care.
The medical profession constantly practices the maintenance care. In the medical profession high blood pressure, diabetes, or another chronic diseases, are typically treated with medication. Your treatment plan will then consist of taking “x” pills every day. Let’s ignore the holistic methods of controlling or preventing diabetes and high blood pressure such as proper diet and exercise. What happens when you stop taking that prescription? Your blood pressure or blood sugar sky rockets back up. At a chiropractic office, the “pill” is actually our ability to manipulate and affect the body physically with our hands.
Last weekend, we hosted the RPS Memphis Classic Powerlifting meet. For the past year or so, social media would have you believe that powerlifting is a toxic pool of politics, favoritism, and rule bastardization. For that very reason, I have not been terribly inclined to compete or really be involved with powerlifting outside of caring for the lifters I coach or my friends that are stepping on the platform.
However, managing a gym that hosts two meets a year requires that I don’t wash my hands of it entirely. After this weekend, I am glad I didn’t. What is rumored to be a bunch of hot heads in a room together turned into one of the most fun meets I have attended, let alone judge. Here are somethings that made it fun:
–Great lifters with great attitudes, regardless of the outcome of their lifts.
–Huge celebrations for personal victories.
–Gratitude from the lifters to the hosts/personnel.
–MC engagement with the crowd, resulting in riot-level noise for lifters.
–Genuine desire to see people hitting big lifts.
–Spectators jumping out of their chair to help lifters through a grind.
–Teammates losing their SHIT for their teammates.
Maybe if all you are seeing is the bad, you should get offline and get your hands dirty by helping at a meet. Im sure glad I did.
When a meet is approaching there are three questions that you will always be asked. The first question is are you ready for the meet? The second question is how did your training go this cycle? The final question is what is your goal for the meet? I’m sure that there are more questions that people get asked on a regular basis but these are the three that seem to always be present. The answer to these questions is usually pretty simple and glossed over; however the true answer would require more time and a lot more explanation than a simple I think I’m ready because this has been a good cycle. The true answer is that I have been working on this meet from the day that I decided to start lifting. For me that means that training for this meet began in the ninth grade when I decided that I needed extra work to help me make the soccer team. I’ve made many mistakes along this almost 15 year journey, so I want share with you four keys that I have found to help you expedite the process of reaching your fitness goals.
Get a Coach
When you look for a coach or a trainer you need to look for few specific things to ensure that you are getting the attention and knowledge that you deserve as a beginner. Your coach should first and foremost have incredible passion for the sport you are pursuing. When you ask this potential trainer about the sport their eyes should get wide and they should be able to talk your ear off for seemingly hours. Secondly, your coach should be experienced in the field that you want to go in. They need to have competed in the events that you want to compete in. I wouldn’t recommend that you go to a powerlifter that hasn’t done more than steady state cardio in months and ask them to write you a swimming regimen for the 400 meter individual medley. Look for someone that has gone through the ups and downs of a training cycle and has experienced the highs and lows that you will invariably experience. Lastly, find a coach that has true training in that field. A weekend seminar is good enough to get certified and to place letters behind your name but it doesn’t make you a great coach. Experience and training makes you a great coach. All of our coaches at NBS have gone through a guided program to ensure that we are the best trainers around. When it comes down to it, you need to have a great trainer in your corner!
Address Your Weaknesses Early
This is another reason to have a great trainer. They will be able to see what your weak spots are and address them early before they become a problem. You will be thankful for this when you avoid the hip pain that has plagued me for almost two years. Establishing a solid foundation with a strength coach will not only help you reach your goals quicker but it will also help you to avoid injury in the long run. Discovering these weaknesses isn’t always easy because our bodies are incredible at adapting and compensating movements to accomplish a task or a lift. You need to have a trained eye and a working knowledge of the motions of the body in order to recognize these compensatory movements and then to develop a training protocol to address these problems. Trust me when I say that these weak spots are going to be the most frustrating things to work on, but they will be even more frustrating if they cost you in a competition because you never took the time to address them.
You are not a true powerlifter, triathlete, or body builder until you get on stage or compete! Don’t claim to be a bodybuilder if you’ve never set foot on stage. That’s like saying I’m an accountant but I don’t do taxes. You need to find ways to push yourself to be better. Competition is always a good thing. At Westside Barbell they use competition to drive the athletes on almost a daily basis. If you have a good training partner look them in the eye and tell them they’re weak and see how they respond. One of the greatest benefits of working in a group is that you will eventually learn to push each other to new heights. This doesn’t mean to go find the biggest baddest lifter in your gym and challenge them to a pull off; I mean challenge yourself to stretch. You also need to practice your craft. If you want to be better at powerlifting enter into competitions to hone your skills. In a meet you will learn all sorts of great information about your body and how it responds to the unexpected.
I think the most important thing on this list is to not wait for an invitation to change. If you always wait to start you will end up never getting where you want to be. I think of waiting like a rocking chair, it will give you something to do but it won’t get you anywhere. It doesn’t have to be New Years for you to begin changing your life. Just remember that your body is terminal and if you’re not getting stronger, then you are definitely getting weaker and closer to death. I didn’t know that I wanted to be a powerlifter when I was 15 years old, but I laid a solid foundation of work so that when I made the decision to start powerlifting I was more prepared to make the jump. The longer you procrastinate changing the more difficult it will be to do anything. Look back on your life were you able to do more and work harder when you were 18 or 30. The answer is simple, you have to start and start now!
Utilize these four keys in your life to get what you want out of your fitness career sooner rather than later. In order to accelerate your growth you need to find a coach that is passionate and knowledgeable in the field that you are choosing. Learn what your weaknesses and get help fixing them. You cannot survive forever with glaring weaknesses, and you will go much further if you can develop your weaknesses into strengths. Find a team or group to challenge and compete against. Find competitions to take part in so that you can develop greater confidence in yourself and your ability to compete in your chosen craft. And finally choose to change now. Your body isn’t going to wait for you to make a decision. Don’t wait for an invitation to become the best you possible!
Mid-South Spine and Sports Performance is invested in the continual process of providing the best in sports performance care for our athletes and patients. One of these products have been our recent addition of Foot Levelers functional orthotics. These orthotics are providing a much needed support system for an often neglected are in many athletes, the feet. In an effort to continue this investment towards optimal performance care, we are now offering $100 off the next 6 orders for two pairs of orthotics. This is a limited promotion on Foot Levelers, which will last through October.
Since announcing their availability, I’ve received a lot of questions about Foot Levelers, and the different options, recommendations, and applications for their use. Currently there are almost a dozen different sizes and functions of orthotics that are available through Foot Levelers. The typical question I receive because of this is, what orthotic should I get, or what is the difference between one orthotic and another? In most people looking to buy orthotics, we typically recommend they buy two pairs. Just as most people have multiple pairs of shoes for different functions, the same is needed from an orthotic. With all the different combinations, it may get a little confusing and needs some clarification. For this reason, I’ve separated these orthotics into 4 groups: Athletic, Casual/Everyday, Business/Dress, and Work. Each group has its own specific need which narrows the field down to only a few options and also helps determine which two pairs you need the most.
In athletics, the number one identifier and measuring stick is performance. No matter the sport, performance at the end of the day comes down to the production and application of force. Whether you’re cutting, jumping, squatting, etc., performance is directly dependent on the body’s ability to resist, produce, and withstand forces. In most cases, the common denominator where force exchanges between the internal environment (the body) and the external environment is the foot. Even in throwing or hitting, a large amount of force must be transmitted from this location. Because of this, the athletic group needs an orthotic that improves transmission of intense forces in the three arches of the foot. Additionally, this orthotic needs to have a high amount of support to keep forces from being absorbed, which can cause wear and even injury in the foot and lower extremity.
This orthotic is all about comfort and support. An everyday orthotic doesn’t need to meet the rigorous force transmission standards as an athletic orthotic. It’s function is to maintain proper propulsion and force transmission through a mild to moderate amount of forces required for walking and standing. This orthotic will also be designed to allow more airflow and reduce sweating to keep it fresh over its lifetime.
This category of orthotics has the most variety, as it is geared towards addressing the different shapes and structures of dress shoes for both men and women. Men’s dress shoes come in many different shapes, especially in the toe box area, and many women’s dress shoes have very little room available for a typical orthotic. Most dress shoes are made for looks and not for comfort. Traditional men’s dress shoes have a very solid sole which can cause the heel and ankle to jam after walking or standing for long amounts of time. In general a more solid shoe will cause more rigidity in the foot and limits the foot’s ability to unlock during normal motion. Women’s dress shoes can be on either end of the spectrum, either too flexible or too rigid. For women, a foot levelers orthotic specific to this group comes in full and partial length to accommodate for the space factors while still providing the right amount of comfort and support for proper movement.
This group of orthotics are designed specifically to resist heavy wear and keep forces from being absorbed in the foot. There is no such thing as a light weight work boot, and for those who wear them every day for 40+ hours a week, it’s a weight that is felt in the foot. Most work boots are designed to be rigid and tough in order to withstand an everyday beating that most shoes cannot take. Now compound that boot design with the hard and unforgiving surfaces like concrete, metal, and support platforms that this group usually stand or walks on, and its impossible to ignore the amount of force going into the foot. This causes a multitude of issues as the foot absorbs the brunt of these forces as it is not able to properly move through its normal motion to transmit these forces in the the rest of the body or out to the external environment. For this group of orthotics, a huge emphasis is placed on durability and support.
How Do I Pick the Correct Two Pairs?
For most patients that we see, the most common first orthotic is the athletic one. As most of our patients live an active lifestyle, they need an orthotic that provides the right support, regardless of their activity. From there, we typically recommend an orthotic that fits your next most common activity, work. If you are an execute who travels a lot for important business, pick the business category. A trainer at the gym, or at a desk job with a laid back attire? Go for the casual orthotic. How about electricians, plumbers, construction workers? They need a work orthotic that will handle their high loads of stress. Remember, if you’re not sure, you can always ask and we will make sure to find the orthotic that best fits your scenario. Just remember, this limited promotion is good for the first 6 orders and lasts until October, so don’t wait too long!
As always, for further information on how Mid-South Spine and Sports Performance can assist your needs, contact our office by phone: (901) 573-2526, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or by visiting NBSFitness.net.
I started CrossFit in December of 2008 and began coaching in June of 2009. Prior to CF, I had been active with roller derby and running. I worked out at ATC for awhile and even did a short stint with P90X. When I started CrossFit I had not even heard of it and I certainly didn’t understand what I was getting myself into. All I knew was that I was doing something different every day, it was extremely challenging, (grueling at times) and I was terrible at it. At the same time, oddly enjoyable. Go figure.
I didn’t start out in an already established gym with a seasoned coach. My son (who was 15 at the time) and I did CrossFit under a personal trainer and we were his first CF clients. When I look back on that time, knowing what I know now, I wonder how I didn’t break and I certainly don’t know how I ended up loving it! The early days were rough!
We have learned a lot over the years. Under the right trainer, CrossFit can be a very positive experience, especially for beginners. Despite ones background, beginning CrossFitters need to start out slowly. Learning proper mechanics and then consistency in those mechanics is imperative. While CrossFit thrives on intensity, there is no place for it in the beginning stages. Intensity will come, learning proper movement patterns comes first.
CrossFit workouts are based on functional movements, and these movements reflect the best aspects of gymnastics, weightlifting, running, rowing and more. These are the core movements of life. We switch things up daily, and that keeps the workouts interesting. We hit all major and minor muscle groups and we train all 3 energy systems. I often tell people that CrossFit never gets easier, you just get better at it. We pride ourselves on GPP. General physical preparedness…for nearly anything.
In December of 2009, I decided to test that GPP and run a marathon. It had been on my bucket list so I thought, why not? With CrossFit on my side and a few 8-10 mile runs, I ran the St. Jude Marathon. The first half felt really good and my time was around 2:15 at the 13.1 mile marker. The last half got pretty rough, as I started cramping up. I ended up with a 5:25 finish. Not a stellar finish, but a finish nonetheless!
Do I recommend testing your GPP like that? No, not at all! However, CrossFit had strengthened me enough to tackle those 26.2 miles in a way I had never thought possible.
Even when you own a gym, getting your training in can be difficult. Lately it’s been extra difficult because I have had a whole lot going on, both at the gym and at home. To give a run down, over the last 5 weeks or so I have had something every weekend including:
- Taking my CrossFit Level 1
- Hosting an open house
- Moving CrossFit equipment from one location to our current one
- Moving into a new house
- Hosting a powerlifting meet
Those are just the weekend responsibilities, add in the work load I’ve had during the week and I’ve found myself stretched for time. During periods like this I think it’s important to remember a few things when it comes to getting your training in:
It’s not forever.
Just work through this period of life until stuff eases up a bit. If you always see your training through blinders you’ll get frustrated when anything doesn’t go your way. Training is forever, till you die, so don’t be so impatient.
Focus on what you can do and do something.
The week we moved, I only trained three sessions instead of the typical 4. This past week on leg day, I got my squats in and one hamstring exercise and called it a day.
Remember why you train.
I train because it’s what I love to do. This means there really isn’t any excuse to not train, I just may have to fit training around life sometimes.
Slow progress is still progress.
Having to make adjustments to training, allows me to still make progress. If I got frustrated because I couldn’t do it perfect and just said “screw it” and did nothing, then I would be making no progress. And that’s not acceptable.
I hope these point will be of benefit for any of you who may be struggling to fit life in around training.
Few guys can shred like Alexi, that’s why I chose the live version. These dudes put on a killer show
You may have heard it before if you have ever had a trainer, or if you were ever and athlete on a team with a coach. You show up to train, and they look at you and say, “Go warm up!” You probably look back with this blank stare and think why? Why do I have to warm up, coach? I am warm, I walked here didn’t I? I took a hot shower this morning. Why do I need to warm up? I am going to tell you exactly why you need to warm up. I am going to use some specific reasons that I was taught by my coach when I was going through my internship here at NBS. I am also going to provide several 3 to 5 minute videos that were created by our very own David Allen that take you step by step through some general and specific warm ups.
First of all, how well you warm up will probably determine how well your entire training session goes. This is a short period of time that you will use to transition from non-activity to activity. They’re are many purposes to a warm up, and I am going to discuss a few that I was taught.
- The first reason to warm up is to increase the internal temperature of our body. Heat is a catalyst for reactions to occur, and when we are in the gym moving heavy weights, or performing any type of intense physical exercise, there are many reactions taking place within our bodies.
- We want to increase the fluid dynamics exchange taking place within our bodies. Essentially, we want to try to get our blood flowing, so it can carry nutrients and excrete waste in an efficient manner.
- The third reason is to increase acute flexibility and mobility. We want to be able to move through an adequate range of motion specific for our sport, or activity that we will be performing. Too little can hinder our performance, just as too much can hinder performance in certain situations.
- The fourth reason is to improve our tissue quality. If for one reason or another we have poor tissue quality, this could limit the actions of the actin, myosin cross bridges, which could, as a result, decrease the overall force production of our muscles. I’m not going to get into the extremely detailed actin, myosin cross bridge theory, but essentially this is what causes our muscles to contract and relax.
- We also want to increase our neural output and help to “prime” our movement patterns. What we are doing here is increasing our nervous systems ability to coordinate muscular contractions.
- The last and final reason is to increase and stimulate our mental readiness. We don’t want to start an intense training session while being half asleep. Perhaps you would be better off to choose a specific warm up to wake up your mind and muscles, rather than reaching for that pre-workout with 400mg of caffeine per scoop, taking the risk of a heart attack in the middle of your session.
Now that we have the reason and purpose for warming up, the next question is how do we go about doing this, and in what order? There are about 5 points to take away with the process of warming up. Here they are:
- Start with some general, dynamic movement. Basically start moving, this can be done joint by joint, think about starting at your neck and working your way down to your ankles. This is how we have most of our clients warm up at NBS. Think about stretching the muscle in a way that is not static, meaning holding in a position without movement. Instead, warm up by using dynamic stretches such as walking lunges, split squats, etc.
- Tissue work. This can be done with a foam roller, lacrosse ball, or any type of trigger point device. Just don’t do this for an extended period of time; that may be a bit overkill.
- Next up, is specific mobilization. Specific Mobilization is when you do some movements to mobilize specific joints that you may be using in your workout, whether they be static, or dynamic. An example is hip circles for hip joint if you’re going to be squatting (dynamic). Static squat holds if you’re going to squat.
- Additionally, activation is important. This means activating specific muscle groups that you may be using in your routine. This is a process specifically targeted at muscle contractions. An example would be to activate glutes, hamstrings, etc. if you’re going to squat, or deadlift.
- The last is specific dynamic work. This one is pretty simple. If you’re going to squat, then just do some bodyweight squats. If you’re going to deadlift, then just do some bodyweight RDL’s, or with a band around your neck and feet.
Remember, a warm up can be overdone. If you are doing soft tissue work, think about it like this. Do you know anyone that goes to get a 1 hour full body massage, then goes to the gym to go beast mode? I sure hope not. The first thing I want to do after I get a massage is go straight to sleep. You want to activate muscles, and stimulate neural output, but not to the point that you just want to take a nap, and you lose the ability to produce a quality muscular contraction. Don’t over do it, but also don’t be that guy that comes in to bench and just goes one plate, two plates, three plates, and call that a warm up. I can guarantee you that if that is you, then you will more than likely be facing problems in the future like a torn pec, rotator cuff, or even a tricep tendon.
Take the time to set aside 5 to 10 minutes before every training session, and I’m sure your future-self will thank you, as well as your trainer, or coach. Now, we have the reasons for warming up, as well as what order, and how to perform each warm up. I will finish this up by sharing some warm up videos that our owner has put together and posted on our YouTube channel. There is an incredible amount of content within our YouTube channel, and I would advise you to go and check it out for even more information on warm ups, as well as many other tips for training, nutrition, and other advice.
Looking for a quality model to work off of in the development of an athlete? Look no further. Check out this video on the athletic development pyramid
Many of you know me from NBS as a powerlifter, some may even know me as a strength coach / personal trainer. Either way is fine by me, what I hope people know most is that I have a passion to help. I say this all the time but never get sick of saying it, “I was raised in the industry” under then best values possible” and for that I am forever thankful. I was poured into by mentors and individuals I reached out to that were also raised in the industry the right way. This is becoming extinct in the fitness industry where money and spotlight will keep uniformed exercise enthusiasts in the dark and susceptible to injury or worse, to leave exercise completely, which for some could be fatal!
This past weekend I migrated back up to EliteFTS for the second time this month. It was not for me, it was not for my lifting, it was for people who were like me starting in this industry seeking knowledge guidance and advice, these things are what keep me in love with my career. This trip was different though, the location was the same, the EliteFTS Team was mostly the same, the principle of our meeting were the same but this is the first time I would be traveling up to a sponsored even as a team member of EliteFTS. This meant I was in a position to return what has been given to me when I was brought into this industry. I came to these events seeking information from team members and now it was my turn to step up to the plate and return the favor to everyone and I was ready!
My journey to this point has been fairly short in the grand scheme of things “strength” related. I would not be in this position if it were not for a handful of people that gave me endless support and a facility that at the time developed me in my ways which I will never forget. I recently have allowed competing to push my coach mentality aside and this is a balancing act I am working on. I will say after this past weekend I have a new fire lite to come full circle and have the coach take center stage again. I urge you to seek out information and ask, we have a gifted group of people here at our facility that I cannot speak more highly of and I promise it will take your experience in strength sports to a whole new level!
In the past years, I have been able to really dive into the gut of fitness industry. Between hosting powerlifting meets and strongman events at NBS, continuing to compete in physique shows, and doing media coverage of national/pro level physique shows, I have been privvy to the backstage antic of many competitors. One thing that strikes me as odd is when the following statement is made:
“(S)hes overly confident/cocky/full of her/himself.”
…and for what? Why do we make those observations? Seemingly we do it out of frustration or irritation, which are two emotions I would never recommend anyone act from. More importantly, we risk asking people to LOSE confidence they have worked hard to gain.
The overwhelming culprit: people who lack self confidence. From experience on both ends, regaining confidence means gaining a competitive advantage. Like will power, confidence is a state that needs developing. Doing so will take many different forms, but below are a few ways I have found to help keeping your chin up in a critical field
Develop impeccable self awareness
This article is about becoming a better version of yourself, not LYING to yourself about who you are. Self awareness is the act of staring your skills and weaknesses in the face and addressing them. I am TERRIBLE at math. I mean, awful. I took Math 0110 THREE TIMES during my undergrad years. For those that arent familiar, that’s a remedial math class. Do I believe myself to be worthless because I cant quite figure out improper fraction multiplication? Absolutely not. Instead, I know I am skilled in all the areas that make for a great coach. Once I got past the reality that math wasn’t going to be my strong suit, I figured out ways to align with people who had immense strengths in math (or at least excel spreadsheets/calculations) for situations that called for it and let them do what they do best, while I continue my own path of being a GREAT coach. By becoming self-aware, you can start really betting on your strengths. Apply this to strength sports: I know that my best events in strongman are moving events. While I am not going to be making any massive stride that gives me a 500lb deadlift in the next three months, I can take some points back by making sure my moving events are trained with some regularity and urgency. My static strength training doesn’t completely get ignored, but I wont cry over a middle of the pack placing in those events.
Detach from the opinions of others
I have touched on this in a few different posts, but allowing your self worth to be determined by the words of others is a no-win situation. Especially as you begin to really network and meet people. If you meet 1000 people this year (and you very well might), you can bet your ass at least a handful don’t like your attitude/body/social media posts/etc. If you waste time looking for 1000/1000 approval rate, you will never have the strong sense of self that you deserve.
Decide where you are going as a human
this is something I am still working on. Reflection on your values is of utmost importance to decide what characteristics you can be proud of. I like to look at myself as different roles I have, and choose traits I truly want to embody that require no genetic anomaly/talent: As an athlete, I want to be someone who trains SMART (hires a coach) and trains HARD (follows programming.) As a person, I want to be someone who acts from good intention. Once you have the framework of what a great person does, ask yourself everyday if you are closer or farther from those traits. Its much easier to exude confidence with a clear conscious.
Set “+10%” goals
A former employer of mine talked to me about the importance of what he called “+10% goals.” He recommended looking at goals that you know is well within your ability to complete consistently, then add 10%. This allows you to stay within reasonable territory but also forces you to take risks. When you take bigger risks, your reward is much higher when you perform well. If you don’t, you walk away with the ENORMOUS advantage of experience. In either scenario(win or lose), you leave with a greater understanding of competing / performing at a higher level. Maybe you are consistently winning local level shows/national qualifiers in physique shows…it may be time to hit a national level stage. If you are consistently winning the best lifter at your local powerlifting meets, look into bigger qualifiers and take a stab at it. Again, this is a no-lose situation.
Live and let live
This is a biggie. Maybe you see someone in competition that is outwardly confident. While it may be tempting to rain on their parade, realize that if you take that route, you are doing a MASSIVE disservice to the emotional stability of other people. Tampering the the emotional stability of other people is a dick move. If they are doing no harm to you or others, lets them enjoy their time competing and let the results play out in sport as they always do.
In the past two years, I have made conscious effort to approach my life more confidently, and the pay off has been big. I have improved in all areas of athletics, and have excelled as a professional. My relationships with others are stronger than ever before, and I have had to honor of helping other people become more confident. If the only downside is occasionally getting called “cocky,” I think I can live with that. Afterall, they may be right.
“I love NBS for the encouraging, friendly atmosphere from both staff and fellow members,” says Kim Rodgers Harrison, our latest Member of the Month.
She is a registered nurse at Methodist Germantown and joined NBS in February.
“NBS sets the bar high for its staff knowledge at teaching you proper form and technique, from power lifts to your basic dumbbell curls.”
Kim uses David Allen for both her online programming and nutrition. Right now, her focus is on continuing to get lean and growing muscle.
“I encourage anyone to come see for yourself NBS is without a doubt THE best gym in Memphis….I’m glad I did!”
Congrats to Kim for being named Member of the Month! We’re happy to have her as part of the NBS family.
These dudes have some jammin songs. Get some.
In today’s age of trigger warnings, social pressures, and fragile self esteem, people struggling to incorporate fitness into their lives have turned to a commonly used self preservation tactic known as playing the fitness victim. It is characterized by a complete lack of responsibility with a good dosing of helplessness to taste. If you or someone you know may be suffering from this condition then read on for a taste of the cure.
Note: I am not a doctor but I did stay at a holiday inn express last night
Let me start off by removing the notion that I think everyone should work out 5 days a week for 2 hours and measure out chicken, rice, and broccoli for every meal, that’s not realistic. However, our current state as a nation is one in which the vast majority of our population is suffering from poor health and disease due to poor lifestyle choices. No longer are we struggling to find enough food to eat while hoping we don’t die from the common cold but instead we’re able to argue about the appropriate posture for the national anthem while destroying ourselves on Funyuns. A complete lack of healthy choices in your life is kind of like going into debt due to poor financial decisions. It’s your choice to do what you please but when you make poor choices, you not only put a pretty big damper on your ability to enjoy life but you also become a burden on your neighbor. In that sense, I do believe that everyone should exercise regularly, make healthy nutritional choices, and strive for improved fitness and a healthy bodyweight. That allows plenty of room to enjoy less than healthy foods from time to time and doesn’t require you to spend hours at the gym every day. Unfortunately, if you’re a fitness victim this may be asking too much. Fitness victims are held down by their physical limitations, lack of time and money, and by the societal norms that they feel bound to uphold. Lucky for you I’m going to address each one of those problems and destroy all your excuses.
There is a reality that not everyone has the ability to be a world class powerlifter, a professional bodybuilder, or as fit as a CrossFit Games competitor. However, everyone has the ability to become stronger, to build muscle and lose fat, and to improve their fitness and while you may still be fugly afterwards, you will be a healthier human being. There are some things you can control and some things you can control. Wasting your time focusing on things you can’t control like your genetics, your past, or any other physical limitation is just a stalling method. It’s time and energy placed towards something you can’t change instead of placed towards something you can. When all else fails, watch videos from Zach Anner like the one below to guilt trip yourself into toughening up a bit.
The most commonly used and most illegitimate excuse that exists is the time excuse. The reason it is illegitamte is because unlike money or genetics, everyone has the exact same amount of time every day. You get 24 hours a day, 168 hours a week. While your life may be filled with work and family obligations, somewhere in that bucket of minutes is a handful that you could devote to exercise. Sure, if you want to look like someone spends a ton of time working out, then you’ll have to spend a ton of time working out (I know what the infomercials told and guess what, they lied) but just because you don’t have THAT much time doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do anything at all. That’s like saying you’re not going to put any money in savings because you won’t be able to reach a million dollars. If you currently practice either of those strategies be ready for a rude wake up call one day when the shit hits the fan. When in doubt, watch this video to guilt trip you into utilizing your time better.
While money can buy you new training gear, a coach, a nutritionist, and all the supplements in the world, it can’t buy you work ethic and habits, both of which are required in the pursuit of health. If money is limited, there are plenty of ways to still make improvements without breaking the bank. Gym memberships cost less than your cable bill. Healthy, unprocessed food like chicken, eggs, olive oil, rice, and oats are all relatively in expensive when compared to many of their processed counterparts. The internet is full of free information (although this can be dangerous since a lot of it is bad) and many qualified professionals, including the ones at NBS Fitness, have many low cost options to help you with the process. When in doubt, watch this video of bodybuilders in Africa to help guilt trip you into not making excuses about money.
Within every human is the desire to follow the crowd and the desire to go against the grain. Both desires will fight against one another and eventually one will prevail. For most people, they will follow the crowd. So many times though, following the crowd will just lead you off the ledge. I have set it many many times that if you want to change yourself, you must surround yourself with people exhibiting the change you want. What that means is, if you want to improve your health, you must start spending time around people doing just that. In turn, that means you will have to stop spending time around people who are not actively pursuing the change you want. Is it hard? Yes. Will you potentially hurt some feelings? Yes. But otherwise you will be stuck just where you are and even worse, find yourself moving farther and farther from the change you were hoping to create. Don’t be that person. When in doubt, watch the video below to guilt trip you into taking charge of your health and fitness once and for all.
Since I haven’t shared any of my training lately, I figured I would give an update on how our peaking is going this close to the meet. This Friday and Saturday are our last heavy lower and upper days before deloading.
I hit some new numbers at the compound two weekends ago, and I hit some new squat and bench numbers again this past weekend. For the most part, everything has been feeling good, or as good as it can feel this close to meet time. I believe my higher bodyweight has definitely helped me out some this cycle, especially on my squat. All of my teammates seem to be progressing quite well too. We have all had a pretty good training cycle, and I think we are all ready to put it all together on the platform.
I have a couple of videos to share from my lower body on Friday and upper body on Saturday.
Below is a video of my squat where I worked up to 520 for a single. It definitely moved pretty easy, and I felt like I probably had more, but my lower back was pretty smoked and I still had to work up to a heavy single on deadlifts afterwards, so I decided to save the rest for next week.
Below is a video of my bench from the following day where I worked up to 300 for a single. Obviously, bench is not my strongest lift. I have been trying for a while to really dial it in, and I will say that this past cycle it has felt the best and strongest yet. My setup has changed slightly, and I have much more leg drive than ever before. It was pretty nice to finally hit the 300 mark. Hopefully I can keep it climbing from here.
Thanks for watching and following along for anybody who is. Your support is greatly appreciated. Stay tuned for more training updates in the future, and if you are interested, come on out to the Memphis Classic on September 17th here at NBS, and watch some lifting.
Dumbbell side raises can be a solid exercise for shoulder development when done correctly. When done incorrectly, they can be ineffective and potentially dangerous. Check this video on some of the common mistake people make when doing dumbbell side raises.
This one goes out to my morning client Yoshimi. She’s a huge kiss fan and I can’t blame her. Get up and move your feet to Detroit Rock City
While I have maintained the fact that beards are incredible and do so much for you, there yet remains a large contingency of people that don’t believe a beard will enable you to do more with your short time here on this earth. In order to demonstrate just how much a beard can do for you I’ve constructed a list of people that have beards and people that have not had beards and listed their accomplishments. I will leave the judgement up to you to decide whether you still believe that a face blanket is good or if you think looking like a 16 year old prom date will take you further in life.
I begin my list with those that neglected to grow beards- this includes people with mustaches because mustaches aren’t as cool as they were in 1982 when you drove an Iroc-Z.
- Napoleon Bonaparte- The greatest military leader in the history of France. He stood a towering 5’7” and commanded the French legion to victories all across Europe, until he came to a dead halt in Russia. Do you think he wished he had a beard when he faced the cold of the Russian winter, of course he did. Eventually exiled to the island of Saint Helena in the South Atlantic where he died at the age of 51. It may have all been avoided had he grown a beard, but we will never know.
- Ivan Drago- Possibly the greatest threat to American freedom ever, this Russian boxer almost obliterated the American dream, and with it Apollo Creed. This dude was stronger than those boxing machines at Arcades and on more steroids than the East German women’s swim team. He was one bad mother, but he still couldn’t finish the fight when it came down to it. He got one little scratch then the entire fight was over! Do you think a man with a beard could possibly be beaten by a scratch, I doubt it.
- Johnny Lawrence- thought he could learn a few Karate tricks and take out Ralph Macchio and his Praying mantis kick thing. Dude had a broken leg and still managed to win the fight against Johnny. I think if he had grown a beard he would have had the courage to take Ralph out much sooner instead of just toying with the boy wonder.
I conclude my list with three individuals that elected to go the more courageous route, especially during the hot summer months when you are tempted to shave the beard off.
- Leonardo da Vinci- inventor, painter, sculptor, architect, musician, engineer, astronomer, poet, writer, historian, and a few other endeavors to put a few feathers in his cap. I’ll just say that this is some exclusive company. The guy created blue prints for tanks and helicopters in the 16th century, just so you know that’s about 300 years before the brothers in North Carolina took flight. He was literally a renaissance man. This is the type of man that every man should try to emulate. You don’t have to mediocre at a lot of things and great at one thing when you could grow a rocking beard and be great at lots of things!
- Orrin Porter Rockwell- this man has more significance to me being a Latter-day Saint than most people but do yourself a favor and look this guy up. He was foretold that if he didn’t shave his beard or cut his hair that no power on earth would be able to kill him. In his day he was as famous as Wyatt Earp or other western outlaws contemporary to him. He once got off of an attempted murder case because the judge asked him if he had attempted to murder the individual and Porter responded, “He’s still alive ain’t he, then it wasn’t me that tried to kill him.” Porter Rockwell did eventually die at the age of 64 after he donated all of his hair and beard to a woman that had lost her hair from a disease. A True man of character and just amazing to read about.
- Rocky Balboa- While my man Ivan was playing with needles our hero was growing a sweet Italian stallion beard and working out with rocks and running through snow. I know of nothing more American and manly than doing sit-ups from the rafters of a barn, running in the snow from Russian spies, and growing an epic man beard during a montage! Rocky did the impossible because he trained with the resistance of a beard. You can do the impossible when you add the strength of a beard to your sweet little face!