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Don’t be out of shape

September 18, 2017 — Leave a comment
Being out of shape (from a fitness standpoint, not an aesthetic standpoint) is selfish, inexcusable, indefensible, and does or will cause problems in your life.
Being “out of shape” is not the same as “not being in great shape”. Examples of “out of shape”: you need your arms to get out of a chair; you take the elevator or escalator not out of convenience, but out of necessity; you take more than two trips to carry your groceries inside the house from the car; you can’t do one at least pretty good pushup; you can’t do a lunge where your rear knee touches the floor. These are things people should be able to do. These are things that people of many shapes and sizes can do. There are other “out of shape standards” that I could come up with, but mostly it’s a “know it when you see it” type thing. I and you don’t need definitive standards to say “woah, I’m really out of shape”.
Out of shape is not referring the the actual physical shape of you body. I don’t care, and others shouldn’t really care. However, your “fitness shape” is very important. It doesn’t need to be even approaching competitor levels of good. It just has to not be bad – basically you just need to be a functioning human. That’s a totally reasonable and not at all hard to attain standard!
Here is a scale to help.
 Screen Shot 2017-09-18 at 4.52.57 PM
Unpacking my first sentence:
It’s selfish because it puts a burden on the people who love you as they are currently or will eventually have to spend more time than they should to help and take care of you and the things you need to do – because you are out of shape. It’s selfish because you are going to cost people you love money, and even further out, you cost everyone more money to pay for your healthcare ( I think).
It’s inexcusable and indefensible because to achieve the extremely attainable “don’t be actively out of shape” level that I typed above you don’t even need to do very much. When you FIRST start out, yes, it’ll take effort. But if you don’t put forth that effort now, you’ll be putting forth effort every time you get on and off the toilet, every time you get out of your car, every time you go grocery shopping, every time you get out of bed, every time you have to walk, every time you think about how you need to get in shape….
There has never been cheaper gym memberships. There has never been more studio style fitness options available. There has never been more available information out there to attain the “shape of fitness” that is just above “not terrible”.
It doesn’t really even matter what you do for fitness to obtain that low level: just do something consistently. Eventually you will likely need to add a little bit (for example, just walking can be a great way to start. But by and large people who tell me they “walk” for exercise in fact do not pass many of the “not out of shape” metrics). Find something you at least don’t hate, even better, find something you at least sorta enjoy and do it consistently.
BTW – while there IS FACTUALLY some effort that you will need to put forth to get above the “out of shape” zone, it is the most you will need to put in. Fitness shape is like pushing a car: it is really hard to get going, but once it is going it is really easy to keep it up. Going from “out of shape” to “I’m at least not actively embarrassed of my out of shapeness” is where you have to decide to do it, and risk putting forth effort. Good news: it WILL WORK. Just do it (whatever it is) consistently and you’ll move out of the the “out of shape” zone. And once you are out of that zone, maintaining that baseline of fitness is super simple: just do some fitness thing most days of the week.
Here’s a thing I read on facebook and shared and it was shared a bunch:
being in shape is hard. being out of shape is hard. choose your hard.
Seriously, it really is that easy.
It’s your choice. Don’t blame time, don’t blame your family, don’t blame your job. Except for legit disabilities you have no excuse. No excuse to at least be above “out of shape”.
Seriously, you need to do some sort of exercise most days of the week and you need 30 minutes, and it doesn’t even have to be 30 minutes continuous. Got five minutes? Try the following:
-do some pushups with your hands on something that is high enough so you can do some pushups.
-walk briskly for however long you have available to walk briskly.
-sit down and stand up in a chair for a while
-do some lunges around wherever you are and wanna do some lunges.
-pick something up, bend over and row it towards your ribs a bunch of times.
All you have to do is find 6 times in the day where you have 5 minutes. Do that for a month and I’d put up a lot of money that you have moved into the “not out of shape” zone.
Watch TV? Instead of a drinking game, make an exercise game. Every time the character does the thing they do you do some sort of exercise.
People have a hard time with comprehension these days. Let me try and make some comparisons….
-there is a lot of room between “out of shape” and “crossfit competitor / triathlete / bodybuilder / some sort of pinnacle of exercise person”
-there is a lot of grey between white and black
-there is a lot of fun between no adult beverages and blacking out
-there is a lot of food between no added sugar and eat all the cake
All I’m saying is you should not be in the “out of shape” zone.
Ok, seriously, you cannot allow yourself to continue to be extra work for your family and for society.

On May 14-15 I’ll be teaching both certifications I offer in Huntington Beach. Should you be interested in becoming a freaking badass, I suggest you attend both.

If you are going to attend both, be sure to email me in order to receive your 10% discount code.

Learn to do cool stuff such as this
Here is how you get to the Animal Flow cert page to learn more about become a sexy panther ninja:


Here is how you get to the Kettlebell Athletics cert page to learn more about the kettlebell training:



If you are a personal or group trainer/coach/instructor and stress the importance of “perfect form”, you are a giant part of ruining fitness for general population and making things harder for the rest of us.

There is absolutely no such thing as perfect form that everyone should be able to perform. Because…we all have different shapes, sizes, strengths, injuries, histories, etc. We are all unique snowflakes.

Here are my rules regarding exercise

  1. It must be safe.
    1. This means minimizing risk. Because just as there is no perfect, there is no perfectly safe exercise either. There are however really clear higher risk positions which we can make sure to avoid.
  2. It should be working towards whatever goal we had in mind.

As an example, the deadlift. The goal is total body strength, more specifically the entire back side of the body. There are a lot of different deadlift variations (please see David Dellanave’s Off the Floor book) and each are fine. And within those variations there will be differences between clients, we just gotta make sure we aren’t allowing the body to get into positions that it is not ready for. Generally speaking in the deadlift that’d be a flexed spine, locked knees, coming off of the heels, letting the weight get out in front of you, or a pez-dispenser-bobble-head situation. It just so happens that if you avoid those common potential issues, you’ll likely be safer and you will have moved the exercise into “yes it is accomplishing the goal”. Now, the amount of knee bend, the grip taken, the exact head position, the foot width, the height the weight is lifted from: all this can vary and still have the exercise be safe, and accomplishing the goal.

This post isn’t about form and variations etc, as that stuff has been written about extensively by many many people. This is about how you as a trainer are screwing things up for other trainers and for clients by scaring the shit out of people to think that there is perfect form or inherently safe or inherently dangerous form in exercises. How is this screwing things up for people?

How it’s screwing it up for your clients

  • You make them scared to do anything “wrong”.
  • You make them convinced they don’t get anything out of doing it “less than perfectly”
  • You spend so much time correcting that you have them feel unsuccessful and frustrated
  • You spend so much time correcting that they end up not getting that much exercising done

How that’s screwing it up for other fitness pros

  • They now have to deal with scared clients, who overthink everything and fall prey to over analyzation and under doing
    • many fitspo memes just say to START. This is true, even if the rest of the memes are stupid.
  • Instead of just getting down to coaching exercise we have to spend a lot of our efforts convincing people that exercise is safe
    • being scared of exercise is a surefire way to make sure you get hurt btw
  • Instead of just getting down to coaching exercise we have to spend a lot of our efforts convincing people that what they are doing, even if it’s not perfect, is very valuable
    • worrying that if it isn’t perfect and therefore useless is an unfortunate and common reason excuse that people fall victim to
  • Instead of just focusing on the benefits of exercise as a whole, we have to spend time explaining why each and every exercise we do is a good idea. That is part curiosity of the client, which is a good thing, but also its because they don’t trust us.

And that last part is really tragic. There are a ton of fitness people and most of us truly want to help people to feel and live better, happier, healthier lives. But we teach clients to not trust fitness people. In order to try and set ourselves apart and be “better/smarter” than other fitness people we constantly bombard potential and actual clients with these types of messages

“top 10 reasons that crunches are bad for your back” “why running will kill you” “why not-running will kill you” “if you can’t squat you’re going to fucking DIE!”

What to do about this? I dunno. I am as guilty of this stuff as everyone else. I know there is a need to stand out from the crowd, a need to drive traffic so you can stay in business, a need to grab attention so people read your redundant-ass blog post, a need to show off exactly how smart you feel after another weekend workshop…etc

What would I ask you, as another trainer, to do? I’d ask you to follow some general rules ideas

  • coach people to understand that there is no such thing as inherently safe or dangerous
  • coach people to understand that they can do way more than they think they can, it just means they need to practice in order to get there
  • coach people to understand that no, they should not do things that hurt, but…with enough time doing things that don’t hurt they may be able to eventually get back to doing things that they can’t currently do.
    • coach them to know that if they can’t squat/deadlift/press/run right now that they can still be successful and have amazing progress and that they aren’t a pathetic loser for not being able to do it now
  • keep them safe and feeling successful. Success breeds success.
  • don’t scare your clients! Ditch the e in that word and that is what you are really doing. (that’d be scar)
  • don’t underestimate how scared and scarred people are when they come to you.
    • definitely Don’t contribute to those feelings.

sorta a brain dump spurred by this article by anthony renna.

  1. ninja b4 afterI should be changing my own oil
  2. And washing this car
  3. if you wanna put on weight (aka get gainz) you gotta eat more. If you wanna eat more then eat some simple carbs for breakfast. Cereal and juice and pancakes and stuff like that works really well to get you eating a ton during the day.
  4. casual runners who enter events are the most lost individuals in the world when it comes to training. They follow the runners world couch to marathon program without listening to body, without ramp up, and they are miserable.
  5. Maybe worse are those who follow that program and still do a full workout “program”. You can’t do both as is-they both need to be adjusted.
  6. Trader joes has a gluten free white bread that makes a pretty good pb&j
  7. just because u can dunk doesn’t mean you should. At least not for like fifty smashes
  8. Hitting chest and tris in a workout is sweet
  9. Hitting back and bis is sweeter
  10. food logs without tracking macros, wtf


Stronger & Toning

April 2, 2015 — Leave a comment

Stronger, and strength training does NOT mean a bigger 1rm in squat, deadlift or bench. It means being able to do more than you could before, but first…

Toning: 2 years ago I wrote about the S&C circle Jerk – not much has changed obviously industry wide – but how about you personally? Are you getting to understanding that as long as you embrace, and help people with what they want, and not what you want or think, that you will do so much better as a trainer? This article about “what does toning mean?” has a number of quotes about what “toning” means – and it’s clear that some of the trainers “get it”: for instance:

“Tone: Noun. Means ‘I want to see muscle here, but right now it’s soft and jiggly. I’m in the gym but probably should be working on my nutrition, huh?’

“’I just want to get toned.’ Translation: ‘I’m afraid of looking like a steroid monster. Please tell me you can help me get fit without waking up looking like the Hulk tomorrow.’

“’Tone’ is meaningless to the client, but the professional can translate it into what they’re really saying. But you have to ask. It’s like when you ask a woman what’s wrong and she says ‘nothing’ (pouty face). You have to do some asking to know what she actually means.”

I used to actually get sorta annoyed about the term toned…then I grew up and realized it’s just a descriptor for what they the client wants. (though I still hate the term lengthening – because it’s dumb).

Here is the man saying it so eloquently, from same blog by James Fell.

“Don’t fucking care what it means, but a strong negative reaction probably means you’re an elitist fitness pro who would rather communicate in PubMed citations than anything that real people can understand.”

^^say word son


Stronger, and strength training does NOT mean a bigger 1rm in squat, deadlift or bench. It means being able to do more than you could before.

I remember when I got caught up in chasing heavier lifts.

Now I’m smarter.

I’m not saying don’t chase heavier lifts – do what you wanna do. I’m saying there is a risk:reward relationship with chasing heavy ass weights. And as importantly, there is a point of diminishing returns on how heavy you lift. I think getting to your 80-90% max amount in a variety of lifts is so superior to 95-100% in a few-movement variability for the win.

The reward is usually pride. And if the reward is money – then you are a freak-beast-superhero of a lifter, and you are not reading this blog. For everyone else: athletes, normal people just trying to get laid by looking fitter, and others just trying to hold on to some shreds of athleticism (#washedup), there is a point where strong is strong enough and trying to get stronger, in a 1RM, probably is doing zero to help you out except perhaps feed your ego or fuel your pride.

Again – that’s fine. Have you goals, chase your numbers if you wanna.

The risk is injury. It’s not guaranteed, I’m not saying that. It’s just that risk of hurting oneself with 500lb > than with 300lb IMO

But stronger, and strength training does NOT mean a bigger 1rm in squat or deadlift. It means being able to do more than you could before.

This means that every individual has their own starting point. If you get wrecked by 3 sets of 8 bw squats, then strength training absolutely is pink dumbbells and trx straps. But soon that WON’T be strength training and you must progress in some way. Be it heavier, or more, or faster, or or or or or or or or or…

OR=anything that you want it to be: not just 1rm of squat/deadlift/bench. That’s for powerlifters. And wanna be power lifters, LOL.

OR may also mean stronger confidence, stronger determination, stronger attitude.

rambling rant: I thoroughly enjoy listening to younger (am i old now?) skinny, and frankly weak, power/oly lifting enthusiasts talk about their lifting, and how they don’t do bodybuilding type moves, or other fun things – and yet after a few years of Oly/Power-Lifting-mashed-up-training they have to answer the question of DYEL because they don’t look like they lift at all, and their numbers in the gym look like they’re wasting their time with whatever program they’re doing. It’s adorable.

These types, who walk around with small amounts of muscle mass, should read all of Greg Nuckols’s stuff about how important muscle mass is for being stronger. Then spend a year trying to put on muscle instead of trying to add another 10 lbs to your unimpressive maxes. The next year, they’d do better.

^^these are the loud mouth trainers, largely internet driven, who are popular blog writers’ dickriders trying to quote pubmed. Guys, just let Bret and Brad do that – they’re nailing it. How about you go train someone – and include yourself.

1 rm’s don’t matter. Like, at all, for 99.9% of people. Find a weakness, get it stronger, strong enough that is, and then move on to another weakness. It’s like building your video game character – constantly leveling up different attributes until you have a badass.

You know what will always matter: listening to the client. And some sort of stronger…I just bet it isn’t a 1rm.


March 30, 2015 — Leave a comment

The “problem” with machines for exercise isn’t that they don’t work, or that they aren’t functional-if they get you stronger they are both.

The problem with machines is that they taught/convinced many people/trainers that exercises need to be preformed precisely and along a fixed path-like on a machine.

That’s wrong.

Exercises need to do two things IMO: accomplish what you are trying to accomplish, and be safe while doing it. There is a huge amount of room for variability and individuality with those rules.

The main difference between free weights and machines is that free is just that-free to have variability. As soon as we lose variability in movement we’re screwed.

Losing variabilty in Movement effectively is what compensatory patterns are imo. For example: if when you squat your only movement option is that your knees collapse, it’s a problem. But if you can squat with knees forward,back,out, or in-then you have variabilty and it was your choice to squat that way. (Ps plz don’t  aggressively load not purposefully aligned body parts).

there is maybe no such thing as perfect form-just safe, and effective. And that means different people do different things-don’t try to machinify people.

Lunges vs Squats

March 27, 2015 — Leave a comment

Sorry to let you down – this is not another internet article about comparing the benefits of lunges vs squats or saying one is better than the other. Neither are better, they are just different. I think it is embarrassing though if you cannot step in varied directions without falling over because you are uncoordinated, lack balance, or lack single leg strength. Being able to do more stuff is better – unless you make your living by competing, at some point strong is strong enough and you reach a point of diminishing returns, and maybe it is time to sprinkle/layer in some new life skills. Level up suckas!

This article is going to talk about how I’ve come to think a lunge could/should be loaded.


Firstly – a split squat is not a lunge. Squats can be bilateral or with different stances. A lunge is a movement towards or away. I classify lunges in the step category of how I split up movement. fitwall_elements_sticks

A step could be forward, side ways, backwards, down, up, across, behind, or a combination of those things.

So, with a step, you would basically be traveling, but with regards to lunging I don’t mean covering large amounts of distance. This means you have picked up a foot, stepped in some direction, and then had to control your body through space via balance and and what is probably more inherent eccentric loading than is required in squatting.

*For this reason, when you start introducing lunges, they can ruin your next few days if you are not accustomed to much eccentric loading in your workouts (remembering that eccentric loading tends to produce higher levels of soreness). 

A lunge is one step towards something – think of a volleyball traveling quickly to your side – you lunge with one foot to get in position, then come back to your original position. Or it’s like a defender changing direction – they’re backpedaling then have to go forward, they’re side sliding then have to change directions, either way the last step (the direction change) is basically a lunge, or it’s at home when you step forward and bend over to pick something up, then stand up with that thing.

So – a lunge is a direction change. It is a single step with an up and down component, and a traveling to and away component.


Traditionally a lunge is only loaded for the up and down component. I think there is pretty good reason to load the away component as well.

I think I prefer loading a lunge with holding weights vs a barbell, but both work – you get the double whammy of a loaded carry during your set.

*This is not an attempt to be sport specific, or cute with loading. This is an attempt to get stronger with the away component.

Here is an example of a lateral lunge, where the lateral traveling component is resisted instead of the up and down. (yes, if you hold a dumbbell it increases the momentum to the side a little bit – but not like this). You could ALSO hold a weight in your hand – which is my favorite. Here is another way to load a lateral lunge, the traveling component.

Here is an example of a reverse lunge, where the up AND away components are resisted.  This challenges some rotation as well based on the way the shoulder strap is set.

Here is another, that challenges the core a bit more with an overhead position having to resist extension.

*Now, another really good way to train stepping (different than lunging) is to train continual stepping in one direction via drags/pushes. For example, here is loading a crossover step traveling sideways. You could do this traveling forward, laterally, dragging backwards…it’s all good. It is great for loading the away component-and whats nice is it really minimizes the eccentric piece, so you probably won’t get as sore. I like them for recovery workouts. 

What’s nice about all these above is they minimize the amount of spinal (or have zero) loading – so if you have a pissy back, you can still get strong in the legs.



Take a look at this video of an unloaded lateral lunge, and note the rather aggressive forward lean of the torsos. In any lunge (or squat), if you lean forward at the waist vs trying to keep a vertical torso you should engage the hip muscles more than if you try and remain vertical. People try to remain vertical because they confuse flat backs with vertical backs – they aren’t the same. Your chest should drop forward, similar to a deadlift, similar to a swing, aka a hinge.

Looking at a resisted reverse lunge – where the away component is resisted, you’ll see the same type of forward torso lean, as that lean makes for a much more powerful up AND away.

Here is one more way to load the up and away in a reverse lunge, with a barbell and landmine.

I think that it is very important to train this one sided/one legged hinge – as important as training a bilateral hinge. There are tons of people who can hinge nicely in a deadlift or swing, but as soon as they have to move on one foot they’re all up on their toes, asking lots from their knees and quads and not getting as much as they could from their hips. You should be able to tap into the hip hinge movement in a variety of movements – not just the “perfect” one you are looking for.

A completely vertical torso, IMO, is inferior to a forward lean…except if you are purposefully trying to emphasize quad/knee dominance in the movement. Which is fine, if that’s your goal. But for maximal power, lean forward.



I think it’s important to train lunges in many ways, and directions. I don’t think you need to train them super heavy – that’s what deadlifts and maybe squats are for. With lunges I wanna see us develop competency in moving in many ways. Training them in many ways means:

  • improving eccentric loading in many ways – which may/probably is good for injury prevention
  • improving mobility – the ability to express strength/control at larger ranges of motion and in different positions
  • reflexive stabilization and balance control, in relation to stable ground and not a wobble board/foam pad
  • increasing body awareness
  • increasing movement variability
  • How to vary:
    • vary the load: use up and down, to and away, or a combo of both, hold a pallof
    • vary the tempo
    • use slide boards which really challenge the eccentric component in a novel way
    • step in ALL directions. Examples: diagonally and transverse and everything in between!
    • add loaded drivers ps, often times in life we lunge to pick something up – so this is really “functional” (whatever that means)
  • When to use:
    • I like bodyweight or loaded driver lunges as warmups – just don’t over do it. It’s a great mobility drill that’ll also get you firing up the core. Think ten reps total of lateral lunge, reverse lunge, crossover, transverse, forward walking, step ups. That 30 reps/leg.
    • I like loading one lunge up as a strength challenge per workout. Usually I’ll do one type of squat and one type of lunge, a hinge, and a hammy drill.

Thanks, and try playing with your torso position, loading parameters, and increase the number of directions you step in!


updated a few other variants: strongman landmine reverse lunge





February 13, 2014 — 1 Comment

So many people have so many excuses. Please let me help you out with some reality.

I don’t have enough time……..

FALSE. You don’t make time. 30 minutes at home, split into two 15 minute sessions is absolutely doable. Go old school, see how many times you can do the following circuit in 15 minutes. Do it when you wake up before you shower, and at night before you shower. You were just gonna check facebook anyway.

  • 50 jumping jacks
  • 10 pushups
  • 20 lunges
  • 20 bent over stack of books or something sorta heavy rows

Also, many gyms have 30-45 minutes classes. Take Fitwall for example, 40 minute class that’s gonna be fun, motivational, and effective.

it’s too expensive….

FALSE. You don’t budget effectively to support your health. Stop buying so much water, coffee, kombucha, and coconut water. (that’s a note to myself as well btw). Let’s just say you purchased $5 of beverages on average per day….that’d be $150/month that you could apply towards a better fitness program. One where you have support, leadership, motivation help, and get led by people who know what they are doing.

Eat out less often. Like 3 times each month, don’t eat out…and boom, you have money for fitness expertise!

it’s too hard….

FALSE. You just need to adjust your expectations. You can’t go super hard right away. Read this featuring the homies Dick Talens of and Rog Law of

Again, you just have no idea of what to do. I know fitness, when my car needs fixing I go to a mechanic. Think of me, and other fitness professionals, as mechanics for your broken, run down body. Go get some help!

I’m not fit enough….

EXACTLY. This is mind boggling when I hear it, but I get it. You are scared. You feel bad. Fitness professionals will help you. Real life isn’t the biggest loser, we will not berate you. We will encourage, motivate, and help you. Our only goal is to see you get better.

And if none of that works….watch this clip and then ask yourself….”do I really have an excuse that will keep me from getting a little bit better every day?”

what does it take

February 7, 2014 — 1 Comment

I see a very big disconnect from what people expect out of life, work and the universe and what they are willing to do to achieve it.

What I mean is this: you aren’t owed anything. You earn what you earn…continually. Until you can, you can’t just stop grinding, hustling, and earning.  If you aren’t getting what you want, figure out how to make it happen. Maybe it means more hours, maybe it means reading more books. It definitely doesn’t mean “ensuring you have your play time”.


Let me tell you how I see it when we have motivational speakers or tycoons or whomever telling you that you “need to take the time for you and do the things you enjoy” or “do what you love and get rich”. The people telling  selling you that are getting rich doing it, because they are telling you what you want to hear. They started taking time off after they got where they wanted to go, not during.

Here is a quote that has never ever been said by someone telling you what it is they did to get successful “I made sure to only work 40 hours. Take 2 days off each week, take my vacations, and do everything I wanted to do”. NOPE. It is more like “Yes I made sacrifices. I basically slept in my office for 2 years, and that’s how I got to where I am now. I made sacrifices.” 

Increasingly, it seems as though people think they are owed things without putting in the work: be it more money, more time to do fun things, a promotion etc.  I wonder if this is because of all the motivational speakers, infomercials, and other “promisers” telling everyone what they want to hear.

A little balance

Now, I’m not saying there isn’t merit to doing what you want in life. You absolutely have to have some balance. But the expectations seem askew to me. Everyone will have a different ratio of work to leisure time that they need. The people who run shit, seem to have a better ability to withstand a more demanding work schedule. They have better copability in general.  Don’t whine about not getting what you think you are owed if you aren’t doing everything you can to make sure it happens. That’s little kid stuff aka bratty.

You have to take care of your loved ones as well. Often times it is they who are the ones distressed most by long hours and other demands. I get that. But they should understand why you are doing what you are doing-that being hustling and setting up a future. They should be supporting you to succeed instead of guilting you into feeling like you are making bad choices.

Do what you “love”

No. Do what you don’t hate. Do what you are good at. Do what you can handle doing, and provide for yourself and family. If you hate it, then definitely leave. But if you think you are gonna get ahead playing video games, you are likely gonna be broke. If you think you’re going to get rich being a food critic, you are gonna be disappointed. This is a foolish expectation.

Do something that has “meaning”

WTF is meaning? My meaning is providing in such a way that my people and I can eat how we want to, do things when we want to (assuming it doesn’t take away from what we need to do first), and save a little. If you “need” to feel like you are having a positive impact on the world, I guess you could go be a very annoying green peace sign holder in front of Trader Joe’s. And then whine about how you don’t get paid enough or that you’ve been holding a sign for 40 hours these last 4 months and you want to be promoted to the whole foods lot instead of the trader joes lot and it isn’t fair that you have to stay in the trader joe’s lot because you’ve worked so hard.

I love seeing people get fitter and healthier. That’s a goal of mine in fitness. It’s tied with the fact that I’m good at teaching it. And that I happen to really be interested in how the body works.

wow, clif is sure cynical!

maybe. maybe just more realistic. maybe not a whiner. maybe not a sissy 😉

All I am saying here is: nobody owes you anything. If you did a couple good things in the past, put in work in the past, congratulations and good for you. But what are you doing now?

I used to spend 5 hours/week playing basketball, 2-3 nights a week hanging out with friends. I had fun. I saved no money. Those days were good days, and I don’t regret what I did at all. I was in a job where I worked 50 hours a week enthusiastically and would’ve done more if CA allowed it, and I moved up through the ranks really fast. I left that job, and started with another, where I worked everyday and flew around the country for 16 months. Now I’m with Fitwall and I recently took one day off-to get married.  I don’t expect everyone to agree with me in this post. I don’t expect others to work like me, or like the CEOs and successful people work-but I don’t expect to see those others move ahead either.

Now that I’m done with my morning rant, it’s back to work. We have more people out there who need to try Fitwall so we can open in other cities.

Do as much as you can handle. Don’t do more. But understand that if someone can handle more, and produce more-that is the person who is moving forward. I’m not letting anyone work harder than I.  Some will say-you stop being effective after a certain point. I agree. That’s when I rest, go to the gym, watch a movie, or go to bed. And then I get back at it.

I feel like this should end with “stay thirsty my friends” even though it doesn’t really make sense.

stay thirsty my friends”


what is a fad

February 6, 2014 — Leave a comment

Random Thoughts….

So I’ve been pretty dang quiet here, on account of being busy getting married, and helping to open up multiple Fitwall studios. So here are some quasi related things that I’ve been thinking about…

Is Fitwall just a “fad”? I have to answer this question because of the fact that in the fitness industry certain things come and go. Well here are a few reasons that Fitwall is not going to be a “fad”.

  • We are using the most used and advanced training equipment in the history of ever. Your own body!  One of our advisors, Dr. Mantell, says it very well “at Fitwall the only thing that moves is you”.
  • We are primarily a bodyweight movement centered training program. Think: pushups, lunges, squats, hip hinges, rotation, anti rotation, pulling, climbing, crawling. The Fitwall itself is a large tool-the way that a KB, barbell, cable, or pull-up bar is a tool. Each of these tools allows for some specific exercises and benefits.
  • Bodyweight training has been around for, ummm….FOREVER.
    • Now…the Fitwall as a tool allows us challenge the body in some very unique ways, that I don’t see repeatable at other gyms. Namely the large amount of reflexive stability demands required to stabilize and control movement when on the wall. Other bonuses such as working pinch grip, fat grip, and horizontal pulling in large amounts are also great.
    • I don’t believe I can recall many people commenting on how “bodyweight movements, aka calisthenics”  is a “fad”.
      • It’s cute how people see a 3 minute piece on some news outlet about what we are doing and come to conclusions that it is a “fad”, or “gimmicky”. Cute because without trying something or spending any time doing it-one is simply ignorant about what they are commenting on.
    • In fact, bodyweight training is only getting more and more popular, in many programs, because the industry is coming around to the fact that simplification of training the body into body parts, or even into specific qualities of fitness can be an inefficient way to reach their goals. READ: machines are not all that great, and neither is just barbells.
      • To reiterate…the Fitwall is not a machine. It is an opportunity to explore movement of the human body in novel ways.
  • We are using solid, scientifically sound programming and relying on real expertise.
    • This is definitely a dig at most “professionals” out there. If you got your certification in a weekend cert, be it CrossFit, Pilates, Yoga, KB, or anything….it doesn’t mean you are a fitness professional. I don’t believe everyone needs to have a masters, or even a bachelors in Kinesiology in order to understand human movement and be a good coach. But when someone decides to get their weekend cert and “parrots” what they are told without a single critical thought about what they are taught, they are not a professional.
      • Examples: “this bind will help cleanse your spleen” -NO IT WON’T
        • “squats and deadlifts is the only core work you need” -NO IT ISN’T
        • “we are lengthening and toning” -I WANNA SHOOT MYSELF WHEN I HEAR THIS
        • “it really works more core because they cue me to brace my core the whole class” -YEAH…PROBABLY NOT A GOOD THING. THE CORE SHOULD BE ABLE TO RESPOND AND BE REFLEXIVE, NOT JUST TIGHT AT ALL POINTS.
        • “I’m gonna get that yoga butt” -THOSE ARE JUST THE PANTS. GO SQUAT AND HIP HINGE UNDER LOAD PLEASE.
      • Picking movements at random, and doing always high intensity wods, which when you look back seem very very same to each other, is a great way to over do things
      • Looking at the “experts” of a gym where a recent commentator saying Fitwall is likely a fad I noticed something: not one had much of any experience in the fitness industry. They were all people who lost weight doing their exercise, got certified, and decided to open a gym. This is not to say the gym is not good, doesn’t produce results, and can’t yield a great training session. However, I can tell you that our team is going to remain to be the most qualified and experienced group that we can possibly be. As a result of this experience and expertise we will be delivering exceptionally well thought out programming. I will gladly entertain any questions as to what and why we do the things the way we do.

Now…I understand why and where some “fad” criticisms come from…most likely our integration of technology into the training setting. However, if that is why you think it is a fad then you are simply ignoring the increased utilization of technology and monitoring to track and enhance how people train. We are using the tech to enhance and guide a smarter training experience. Here’s how…

  • we track your recovery in one minute blocks following one minute all out efforts of various drills.  We use the historical average of your recovery to track fitness improvements, and also to serve as a measure of when to take it easy. So if your average 1minute recovery after our first sprint is generally 30 beats, and today you only get 22, the system will tell you to make it an easy day. It clearly shows your recovery being compromised, so we treat it as a regeneration day and ask you to only take your HR to no more than 80% during the workout. We use your own personal Fitwall max HR to come up with the %’s because all the estimates and formulas in the world aren’t as exact.
  • we will be counting your reps via accelerometer and comparing it to your past efforts in the same exercise in the same workouts. You do more of something in the same time and you are fitter.
  • We send it all to the cloud where your info is stored, and you can track how awesomely you are improving.
  • We have videos of the movements going while you exercise, not for you to follow and not to be the coach, but to help with form ongoingly rather than people looking side to side at each other.

Oh yeah….also….we have TWO studios and are making this much noise. It’s because people who understand fitness are paying attention. It’s because we do have a big thing that happening. My goal is to make the most delicious fitness gummi vitamin possible. One where it tastes delicious with sweet timed music mixes to the workout, where the vibe is fun and funny, but also where nobody is going to tell you that you will lengthen your muscles and tone and not get bulky.

GOAL: The best group training available. Most principle based. We aren’t just doing things because they are “hard” like a bootcamp generally does. We aren’t just going for the burn. This is real athletic training.

PS….in our private training rooms, we have heavy stuff to pick up, squat, and press. I just don’t think that should be taught in a fast moving group class to people who are generally not experienced enough to be doing heavy weighted movements in a large class environment. But we do have them available because yes, it’s important, and yes, people should do that once they have a certain movement and strength baseline.