Archives For December 2012

Blatant Marketing

December 19, 2012 — Leave a comment


I’m running a new year special for online coaching.

$100 for coaching in January.

Typically the first month of coaching is $200, with follow up months costing $120. The typical goal is for people to be “done” with online coaching in 3 months, after they have learned enough to be more self sufficient, or have gotten through a plateau/rut that they were in.

With my online coaching you will receive:

  • A training plan built around you, your goals, and your available equipment
  • Coaching via video submission on form for your selected drills
  • Diet assistance as needed

How it’s structured

  • We share a google document where we both can comment, track progress, and keep all pertinent info in one place. This allows us to communicate back and forth as much as needed.

I have 5 spaces available for January. Contact me at to get started!

 I think anything you like to do is good-but you should still actually strength train.

“This total body workout serves to strengthen, lengthen, and stretch the body from top to bottom, from inside out. The end result is a long and lean physique… without added bulk.”

This type of misleading statement is common place in the fitness world. As an owner of a training business it is really hard to stop myself from using words that play on the insecurities and emotions of potential clients. And by potential clients I mean ladies. Group class settings like pilates studios, yoga studios, outdoor bootcamps and kettlebell studios are predominately ladies. Why is this? While I’m sure there are a number of reasons, perhaps the biggest is that ladies are smart enough to know they need instruction whereas guys aren’t that smart. So this brings us back to the initial quote: “This total body workout serves to strengthen, lengthen, and stretch the body from top to bottom, from inside out. The end result is a long and lean physique… without added bulk.” That quote comes from a popular franchise aimed at women. The program itself is not bad, per se, but I find the marketing to be bordering on dishonest and well past predatory. Let’s take a look at this finely crafted phrase that preys on ladies’ insecurities…

“this total body workout serves to….

  1. Strengthen. This program is a pilates/dance hybrid, and incorporates small pink dumbbells, some small medicine balls, and a ballet bar. These tools can and will serve to strengthen people who are not strong, aka weak, which is most of our population. However, it will eventually stop helping you get stronger because it is limited in the amount of overload it places on your body…small pink dumbbells get light quickly. So you will want to actually strength train by lifting something heavy, in appropriate for you ways. Getting stronger is important for many reasons, the most important being that higher levels of strength make you more injury resilient, and allow you to “do more stuff”. You can think of it like this: the amount of stuff that you can do in life is directly proportional to how strong you are. The stronger you are, the more you can do. And remember, your travel luggage and children weigh much more than tiny pink dumbbells weigh.
  2. Lengthen. This program, and most other programs aimed at ladies uses the term “lengthen” to describe what will happen to your muscles after going through one of their programs. I, and any other honest fitness program, will not tell you that you will “lengthen” anything. To achieve that I would need a device like the one in the picture below.


    You simply CANNOT make a muscle longer because it has attachments to bones and those attachments do not move. Some of us have longer muscles than others, and most of us could stand to lose some fat. The really cool thing is….you CAN build muscle, and lose fat…which makes your body leaner (note I said your body, and not your muscles. Your muscles are lean…so if someone tells you you’re going to “build long lean muscles”, ask them why they are lying and being redundant). In fact, having more muscles makes burning fat EASIER! (We don’t all need to be skinny, but some of us have aspirations to be fit and healthy, and more often than not that means losing some bodyfat).

  3. Stretch the body from top to bottom. Speaking in generalities, ladies don’t need to be much more flexible. Ladies’ biology tends to allow more elasticity naturally. However, most ladies could use more strength, and probably muscle as well. Often times a lack of flexibility is actually a lack of stability in the body…let me explain. Our bodies must demonstrate stability for us to function in day to day activities, normally we have a number of muscles (lets call them inner core stabilizers) which serve to provide stability during our days without us needing to think about it, unfortunately our modern lifestyles and habits tend to result in the inhibition or poor performance of those inner core stabilizers, so our body still needing stabilization will ask our other external muscles to provide stability which results in tightness and limited movement. So if we stretch the muscles that are now giving us our stability, where do we get our stability? We don’t, we get hurt. That is one reason why stretching is not necessarily a good thing.
  4. From inside out. I think this is some sort of play on inner strength, length, and stretchiness? I’m not sure, so I’ll leave it alone.
  5. The end result is a long and lean physique….without added bulk. Ahhhhh, yes, I personally love the idea that lifting weights heavier than 3lbs will turn women into the incredible hulk. Here is my response to that: It won’t. You are a lady, you do not have ample amounts of testosterone. You are probably not in the 1% of the population where piling on slabs of muscle comes easily. Those big buff ladies you are scared of becoming….they take steroids. They also eat A LOT of food trying to gain weight. So, don’t take steroids and eat sensibly, and you won’t get bulky. And I know you are scared of getting bulky, and that’s fine…just know that professional athletes, bodybuilders, gymnasts, and anyone else you consider bulky developed their bodies through YEARS of hard work and effort.

So that’s why I, as a fitness business owner, will not use those words from above to sell my services. Instead, on my website I use these words

BOOTYCAMPS are semi private group sessions that work the entire body but emphasize one particular goal…firmer, rounder butts! The BA BOOTYCAMP is specifically designed to help you develop the most wonderful muscles in the body, the glutes. The glutes aren’t just about aesthetics though! They are one of the most important performance muscles in the body, for athletic endeavors, and overall knee, hip and back health. BOOTYCAMP utilizes bodyweight drills, kettlebells, and sandbags to help YOU achieve YOUR goals.”

I chose my words purposefully, and honestly. I said develop the glutes because everyone will see slightly different results-some glutes are rounder & some are stronger…we will figure out what works best for the individual and do that. I said “YOU achieve YOUR goals” because we each have different goals, and I will help you determine realistic and obtainable goals for you then help you reach those goals.

On my flyer I say “build muscle, lose fat, get hotter. Get strong, feel better, and be athletic” If you build muscle and lose fat, you will get hotter. If you get strong you will feel better. If you ‘be athletic’ you will have fun moving that way. I also say get hotter because you will also gain confidence because you will gain abilities, and confidence is always sexy. I personally think looking “better” (however you define that) is a fine goal to have, but I ALWAYS want other things such as getting stronger or moving better as part of my clients’ goals.

Everything works until it doesn’t. If things have stopped working for you, maybe it’s time to try something else. Something more tailored to you as an individual. Something that changes when needed. Something that will make you actually strong. If you’re in San Diego, I have that something for you.

 I think anything you like to do is good-but you should still actually strength train.

swangin again

December 5, 2012 — 1 Comment

On Friday I posted Get a lil more swang in your swing. It created a good conversation on my facebook page, which was sort of the common argument of “why add variety to a swing…variety for variety’s sake is useless…you can’t be specific in transference of skill to a sport, it must be sport specific”, and these are all good arguments. Some very respected people in the field make these arguments all the time.

And I agree MOSTLY. Variety is a slippery slope… where some find themselves doing kb swing backflips on a bosu ball while juggling a shake weight. I definitely agree for the upper elite performers, these are Dan John’s 4th quadrant people who’s needs are so specific that its easy to program for. Even when the needs of an athlete are greater, upper elite performers are already so advanced that they don’t need much to maintain that level. Quoting Eric Cressey here I’m always surprised at how much volume it takes to attain a level of fitness, but how little volume it takes to maintain that level of fitness.” Other less advanced people, and non athletes, IMO, would benefit from additional challenges. These challenges come after they have mastered the basics. **point of clarity here: I mean mastered the form of a drill, and gone the amount of time when gains come big and fast. So while it is always a good time to do the basics, there comes a time when doing more than the basics is good also.

In the example here, my very smart S&C coach amigo argues that “The swing is designed to load the hip hinge motion”. I agree. And so does Pavel, who calls it the best hip hinge exercise.  Again, I agree. (I actually think one reason it’s the best hip hinge exercise is because of the higher rep ranges it tends to be performed in, and so you approach the magical 10,000 rep number where a new skill ‘sticks’ faster than if you chose deadlifts, for example.)

Onto the swing varieties: With the triple extension and walking swings, my thought is they are still designed to load the hip hinge motion. Every rep STILL sees you come down into the same hip hinge that you would have from regular swings, but places an additional demand of being able to ‘sit back into and load the hips’ from changing foot position. I believe the main reason we teach the hip hinge loading is to try and have that “quality” transfer over to the various sports/activities that our clients perform.  So, in the basic swing we are hoping to have the hip hinge quality transfer to other activities where the client will then be able to call upon the hip hinge quality in order to more safely/better perform a task. These other activities will most likely occur with changing foot positions. So I think it is fair to say that if you train swing varieties where you have to enter the hip hinge from changing foot positions you could expect to see someone improve their ability to sit back and into a hip hinge at another activity when their feet are moving. Also, another thing my buddy argued the KB swing does is improve ‘body coordination’…well, once you have it in a static stance, why not continue to improve that further with changing stances? Remember, the goal of the original swing was to teach them the hip hinge quality, and we believe it works, or magically transfers to sport. So why wouldn’t another quality also transfer?

With the split stance swings, my thought it is more tailored to loading one hip/leg at a time. Why take the time to do this? Because the ability to hip hinge on two feet does NOT necessarily transfer to one foot.  If you are a trainer, you have seen people who can squat or deadlift on two feet and hip hinge nicely, but when they lunge (laterally, forward, curtsy, etc) they CANNOT sit back and load the hip.  I saw this COUNTLESS times with the 1,100 people I instructed in workshops. Most were gym goers (crossfit, KBs, etc) and their bilateral squat and deadlift pattern was fine…but when we started going one legged, they could not get back without falling. Maybe it’s balance, maybe its single leg stance stability, maybe I just got unlucky as an instructor. No matter what it is, I know that in order to teach people to hip hinge on one foot, I need them to practice hip hinging on one foot. And while I don’t train athletes who compete in high school/college/etc, I was an athlete and still see that athletes need to be able to cut, change direction, and produce power off of one foot in many directions. I and other athletes can create more power off of one foot in various directions if we have practiced doing that, either for years on fields of play and practice, or if that is not the case, then in the weightroom. This is why a lunge matrix is part of my and my clients’ warmups/workouts. I think learning that specific movement skill is important. The split stance swings is a progression from the lunges, simple as that. It adds another element of challenge that the client must respond to. Is it something that will be done exactly on the basketball/football/etc court? NO. But neither will power cleans, box squats, or bench press. So that argument is fairly useless-but the comment that we are training qualities is not. I like that a lot. I just happen to think there are more qualities that can be trained

Mark Reifkind stopped by the facebook discussion and reminded us of the genius saying “same but different”. The fundamental quality, the hip hinge, is still being trained, albeit slightly differently.

If you haven’t tried the walking swings, do me a favor and try them. First do a set of 20 traditional swings with a 24kg. The do 20 walking swings with the 24kg. I’ll bet you that you had stutter steps, or balance was whacky, or you got pulled forward a bit—congratulations, you now have to control that weight in a new way that allows your body to continue to develop mastery of movement! And if you didn’t fall forward, you are a stud(ette). (I’m an equal opportunity congratulator). I’ll also bet that it was more ‘tiring’ than the 20 traditional swings.

This leads me to another thought, that probably should be it’s own post. How do you describe swing mastery? Is it making every single swing look exactly the same? Or making every swing look exactly the same with different weights? The second one is a pretty cool definition. But my definition is “being able to swing slightly differently when asked to, and do it with power, control, and ease”. I mean upswing height, knee flexion amount, stance width, arm bendiness, weight,and more.

Brett Jone’s said that “he has never done a perfect swing”. Man, he is hard on himself. That or he’s way more deep than his fun aqua sandals would have you believe.

NO! You're swing is the bestest

NO! Your swing is the bestest

What’s the goal of a swing? At it’s most basic its what was said above by my pal, designed to load the hip hinge motion…elaborated with: to produce power from that motion, to be able to switch between tense and loose, to develop grip, and on and on and on. It really is a phenomenal exercise, and like Pavel said it has the “what the hell” effects that seem to vary from person to person. If we are getting good and even great results from our swings, and they are safe, then you are doing a good job.

I may alienate some people here, but down with swing nazziism!

AEROBIC TRAINING OH MY! It’ll kill you! It’ll save your soul!

These are the arguments we have out there it seems: black and white. But we have a problem with what we are usually saying is aerobic/cardio…typically cardio is thought of as something like jogging at a medium intensity.  Well, that probably isn’t aerobic training for most of us, it’s a little too intense to be true aerobic; check out the homeboy The SockDoc on this subject here. For my purposes of ease and safety, I just say keep your cardio efforts low enough that you can breath in and out of your nose-if you have to mouth breathe then you have gone too intense. With the goal of being able to do more while still maintaining nasal breathing.

Now, luckily we have a bunch of smart people in the industry like the SockDoc, Charlie Weingroff, Joel Jameson, and Pat Ward who are all contributing to the better understanding of how and when aerobic training can be used to enhance recovery, improve performance, and support overall health-and not just crush people’s testosterone or turn them into pathetic weaklings, (claims by aerobic bashers).

proof, right?

proof, right?


more proof

more proof?















In this article by Jason Ferruggia, he says that aerobic exercise can be awesome, even for the don’t get scrawny and weak and whither away crowd. The article explains that training in the low intensity (aerobic) or high intensity (interval-ish) are the two good options, and that the long(er) distance medium intensity efforts are the true problems. I agree.

I want to bring something else up though….I wonder if all these negatives from aerobic/cardio/running articles is all because of running, and not at all because of the aerobic/cardio aspect? SockDoc has one line in this article about it, and I think it’s probably the key point.

Here’s why: most people just suck badly at running. Look at people running down the block…they look like baby giraffes learning to walk, like forest gump running while still in his leg braces, like a bird trying to take off with clipped wings…you get the picture. It’s ugly, and if it looks ugly, it probably is ugly to their body, to their brain, and whole system, which takes it as an insult or maybe better said, as an assault.  So no matter the distance, running is probably a problem for most people. Even if it happens at a slow pace, it is still jogging.

jog 1 (jg)
v. jogged, jog·ging, jogs
1. To move by shoving, bumping, or jerking; jar: a rough wagon ride that jogged the passengers.
2. To give a push or shake to; nudge: jogged her dozing companion with her elbow.
3. To rouse or stimulate as if by nudging: an old photo that might jog your memory.
4. To cause (a horse) to move at a leisurely pace.
1. To move with a jolting rhythm: The pack jogged against his back as he ran.

Note the underlined parts of the dictionary definition, why the fuck would you do those things to yourself? And also I am not a horse…

I think that if the aerobic testing/studies were done with something like hiking it wouldn’t show people having heart ughsplosions. (that’s not nice, sorry). Once again, because hiking probably keeps people at a “truer” aerobic zone, and secondly isn’t demanding their body take a pounding from shitty running technique.

Take home lessons:

  1. Running is an essential human movement, and so If you are going to run, you should learn how to run well. Take a pose or chi running course. Then take the time to build up distance slowly and safely. It’s not a race for you to go and race in some non important half marathon, there are 83 half marathons each month in every city in America. Once you have taken the time to improve your running efficiency, you will be able to run without the insult/assault on your body that most “runners” impose on themselves. Also, you will have intelligently and gradually built up your capacity while constantly improving your technique. And yes, I think “barefoot” style running is best.  
  2. If you are going to run, don’t neglect strength training. And here is one reason why via Brian Tabor of Strong Made Simple. A second reason is that it well help you (at least) look more badass. A third is it will probably decrease your injury risk.
  3. Don’t run to get in shape, Get in shape to run.
  4. Before I seem like I’m a sweet heart for long slow boring stuff, let me tell you the long slow boring stuff I like to do. Hike (sometimes while carrying a kettlebell), easy rowing, easy biking, swimming, easy circuit training, working at trader joes. Doesn’t sound too boring right? But I don’t run. Historically because I just don’t like to, currently because my knee has a bone bruise on the end of the femur, and it doesn’t want me running. Back in the day I would play basketball for hours, and occasionally run around the neighborhood for maximum of 3 miles. I personally don’t think that even when the zombie apocalypse hits, will there be any need to run further than that. Sprinting and strength will be needed though. Thus another reason to be strong and powerful.
  5. If you ONLY are concerned about power and strength and being all swoled up, then maybe you will continue to not do ‘cardio’. Pat Ward on concurrent training, and it’s limitations. **Note that in the article he is speaking for ADVANCED people. You probably aren’t advanced if you’re reading this. If you were advanced you’d be too awesome to read my blog, and your strength coach/nutritionist/personal massage therapist would adjust your daily routine to help you out. Even I’m not advanced, and this is me below.

    don't touch the screen, you risk burning yourself

    don’t touch the screen, you risk burning yourself

Other stuff.

  • Stoked that my online coaching clients are seeing PRs galore, and feeling better with the injuries that have been haunting them. 4 spots open for the New Years, and I’ll be offering a New Year special rate of only $150 for the first month (vs $250 normal).
  • EVERYONE should read this article about fasting by Krista Scott Dixon because it’s so funny and so full of intelligence. Glad that my BA diet stuff cautions the ladies about fasting.