Friday, September 28, 2007

Apparently I have been doing this all wrong...

All along I have been working my ass off in my training. I have been insisting that my clients work hard in order to achieve results. Then I come across an ad for kettlebell training declaring that they take the 'work' out of working out. Oh really? With kettlebells?
Ok, I'm being a little harsh. I know what they're trying to say, in my opinion they're just going about it the wrong way. There are also way too many unbelievable claims on the website. Here's the thing: If you tell people they will lose 20 lbs. by thanksgiving, you better hit that nail on the had every time. You have given yourself no room for error. This sounds like it comes from someone who has never been overweight and does not understand the psychological cost of trying to lose a great deal of weight. Every time you fail to lose the weight your spirit is crushed a little more. It is our job as trainers not to let this happen, and making fantastic claims can cause said crushing effect.
It's also not a great idea to have clients who know nothing about training, explaining your training in detail with guesses and logic that wanders off into nothingness.
I saw another website from a trainer who had written all of his own client testimonials. It was easy to figure out, as he had the spelling and grammar abilities of a second grader. I cannot stand that level of dishonesty and trickery.
I'm also just not down with selling supplements to clients. There's just no need for it. I make the same recommendation to all clients. The Holy Trinity: Multivitamin, EFA, Glucosamine. On occasion a meal replacement when needed. Done. No magical body wraps that make you lose 14 inches in an hour, no sea kelp. I am not a nutritionist, and I know my limitations. Besides, this stuff always looks shady. I also think the more stuff you are selling your clients, the more you start to look shady. I don't need to sell you more stuff, I get paid enough. I maintain my integrity and objectivity by pointing you to the best brands I know of. If I'm promoting a brand, will I have the intellectual honesty to refer you to a better brand if one comes up? I'll never know because I don't sell supplements.
Two things:
1. I will always shoot you straight. The first thing new clients hear from me now is "Tomorrow will most likely be the most sore day of your life." More often than not this is true.
2. We need to get re-acquainted with hard work, and pass the values of hard work=results down to our children. Whether it is hard work in training, school, or work, we must divorce ourselves from this notion that for whatever reason we deserve an easy life. We deserve only what we earn, nothing more.
I hear people say things like "You shouldn't sell your time." This came from a very well known and repected trainer, suggesting you shouldn't be spending all your time training, but you should train other trainers, sell books and DVD's in order to generate multiple streams of income.
All along I foolishly thought I was in this to help people, not to get everything I can out of them.
Oh, and I really need all these faux trainers to stop posing with 12 kilo kettlebells. Don't be coy. If your training really is effective I would like to think you can swing more than a 12 kilo. I don't want to hear any silly excuses, when you're strong you are proud of that strength, and you want to share it with the world.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Enough with the 300 already!

Seriously people. If I see one more '300 workout' I'm going to jump off a building. I'll probably survive, because I've been doing my 300 workouts, but still. This weekend is someone's birthday... I'll give you a hint who: It's me. That was a really good hint, right? I'm also in the process of moving to San Mateo, which will be good as it puts me just about dead center between my two locations in PA and SF. I will have some limited availability for training in San Mateo as well, most likely in the mornings.

The Palo Alto/ Mountain View facility.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Getting over yourself in the name of fitness

Intellectual honesty and humility tend to go hand in hand. I run into too many people who are so entrenched in the way that they do things, that even in the face of very clear logic they refuse to change. To make matters worse, their clients suffer from their inflexibility. For many years I trained with bodybuilding style isolation movements, split up my cardio, did all the stuff that I now know is not the most effective. When I was introduced to kettlebells, bodyweight exercises, Olympic lifting, etc. it would have been easy for me to ignore it. After all, I had years invested in the style of training I was doing, and I essentially had to go back to square one. I had to be humble, and learn. Too many are unwilling to do this.
I know an individual who is a good trainer, but every time I bring up crossfit or strongman style 'underground' training I get the same 'look'. The one that is essentially a roll of the eyes. He's just not going to learn, because obviously anything he doesn't already know can't be that great. The thing is, even if you aren't into the crossfit style of training, that website has become a huge repository of quality training knowledge. Articles, videos, etc. from people who really know what they are talking about.
I guess the point of this is that we should never let the fact that we must admit we don't know it all impede us from learning. After all, learning is one of life's greatest neverending journeys. That, and trying to drive from the North Bay to San Francisco during rush hour.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Todd's Heavy Day

I've been meaning to put this up. This is some video I took of my client Todd doing his heavy day in the park. This includes a lot of work that would break you down if you tried to do it every day. Todd is a good example of the Glass Effect, i.e. consistency based progression. Rain or shine he's in three days a week, and faithfully does his independent training day to day. I think it's going to be hilarious when people try to claim he's just a natural athlete or a genetic freak.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Tables and Kettlebells= Giving myself a beatdown

This was harder than I thought it would be, although the tables aren't that heavy. I think it just worked my muscles in combinations they are not used to. I want a small vehicle axle. I think that would be hard.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Congratulations to Cindy Glass: RKC!

This weekend Cindy attended the Russian Kettlebell Challenge Certification course in Minnesota. Of course she triumphed and blew everyone away. Good job Cindy! If my clients keep doing this I'm going to be out of a job...

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Rich Franklin's Workout

I'm not trying to take anything away from Franklin or his trainer. I'm sure this guy is good at what he does, but fight conditioning ain't it. I know a lot of times people have a trainer and can't stand to cut them loose, and maybe that's what's happening here. Doing a circuit of isolation movements will not condition you properly for the ring. Sorry. The fact that Franklin won for so long does nothing to validate this training either. The guy is obviously a very skilled fighter, but I've noticed his lack of conditioning before. I mean REAL conditioning. I also refuse to believe the cameras just didn't catch the really hard exercises.
I've noticed the college wrestlers who get into MMA are training right, so there's something there. There are plenty of fighters out there using kbells, pulling tires, doing sandbag training, etc. So what gives? I think a lot of fighters are pretty close minded. I recall talking to a guy at Fairtex in SF about my style of training, and he informed me that he gets all the conditioning he needs from his fight training.
If I was training him this mofo would be swinging kettlebells, pulling tires, lifting kegs, etc. I refuse to believe there is some 'secret magic' in this long bodybuilding routine that I'm not getting. Rich, if you think you're nervous getting ready for this workout, you're walking on the wrong road.


This is a device that I think some of you might find useful for timing your sets. Particularly useful for Max V02 or Tabata Protocol.


Friday, September 7, 2007

Article featured on

In the course of trying to spread the good word about effective training, I've started writing articles on the subject of fitness, and things related to fitness. One of my articles is currently being featured on
This article primarily relates to the business of personal training (which you know I hate) but I figure it's best if trainers have as many tools as possible to better serve their clients. This article focuses on my use of the google calendar on my website, which I would love to see more trainers start using as my clients always tell me how much they love it.
Read the article here.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Office Work Intervals

I feel like I'm really back on track with my own training now, and ended up doing something interesting today in the SF space. Those of you who know me, know that I am insanely busy. During my workout I found myself stepping into my office for a minute or two at a time to check e-mails, etc. Then I just decided to do it between each set, essentially doing interval training. I stepped my windmills up to the 20, and then the 24 kilo. I need heavier kettlebells. I also worked on performing seated cleans, which really fire up the shoulders, particularly the traps. I found it to be a well brutal performance.
I'm getting more and more excited about the group fitness deal I'll be doing. The one downfall of personal training for me has always been the expense. Being able to bring kettlebells and other forms of torture to the masses while keeping it more affordable is like a dream come true. I've been especially inspired by Will at Mainline Kettlebells and how effective he has been with his group training. Looking forward to it. Just think of it! Ten times the cries of pain! :)

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Switching Over

It's weird to feel your body switching over from one form of homeostasis to another. My body's 'internal environment' has been one of improper exercise, bad nutrition, and enough caffeine to kill an average person. Partially this is because I am lazy, but also because I am busy, busy, busy.
Realizing I was going to eventually hit the wall, I started putting changes into effect. More vegetables, fruit (berries in particular), no more frozen thingies from the supermarket, more foods that have a shorter chain from the source, little to no caffeine, and no more processed sugars.
When I get up in the morning I run through joint mobility drills and let my body wake up in it's own time. Just getting things moving does wonders for opening your eyes. I have myself some berry juice, and a few hundred rotations of various joints, and I'm on my way. This is the way to do it, for sure.
We are so focused on the obvious physical changes which occur with exercise, that sometimes we forget there is a whole other universe residing within this flesh that also requires care.
By the way, this video is freaking awesome.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Swing Class in Palo Alto and the break down pull-up bar

I had been contemplating this for a while, and now that I have a great space in PA I'm going to be starting up a swing/conditioning classes in Palo Alto. Most likely one in the morning and one in the evening. There will be a limit of ten spaces per class, but if there is enough demand I will bring in a second instructor to facilitate a 20 person class. I will also be holding a 'basics' class once a month (or more often depending again on demand) where students will learn the basics of the kettlebell swing, proper push ups, squats, etc. Safety will be king during these classes. Many people enjoy the fun and atmosphere of group exercise, but don't like the lack of results. Hey, if you think walking in circles pumping a 6 pound 'bodybar' over your head is going to give you the results you really want, go to it. Or you can do something that within the first five minutes will obviously be very effective. Plus we'll have a good time. I promise. I brought one of those little joke books. More details will be forthcoming, and classes will begin on October 1st.

My friend Nick has been working on the break-down pull up bar, and it looks great! Even better than I thought it would. It breaks down into 7 fairly lightweight pieces, and is simple to assemble. I love the TAPS pull up bar from tactical athlete, but let's face it, that thing is freaking expensive at $450. I'll be the first to tell you, the TAPS bar is better, but again the cost issue. Ours will be about half the price, and will only lack a couple of the options the TAPS bar offers. The driving force behind this for me was making something that is affordable to the military community. Having a pull up bar that is easily broken down and transported is highly valuable when you are in deployed status. I'll have more info on purchase, as well as photos and demo footage in the coming weeks.