This seems to be a popular post so I am going to share some random thoughts with you for the day.  I started writing this on Sunday and had all intentions of getting it done but life sort of took over.  You ever have one of those days where you wake up and realize that you have a list of things to do a mile long and only so many days to complete? Anyways, here is my list:

In all seriousness, I am booked solid all week, have the CSCS exam in a week, other work projects, super secret web stuff, getting my book out, apartment hunting, car hunting, and just being awesome.  The last one may or may not happen but I am trying.

Here are some of the things that go on in my head:

1. You are not doing Tabatas, you are doing something Tabata-like.

This is in response to a question from a friend of mine who has been taking a “Tabata Class” at her local gym.  She wanted to know if doing a 60 minute class of tabatas is a good way to burn fat.

Tabata Class?  This sounds like a gimmick or something coming from one ill-informed trainer/instructor.  Could it be a fun class?  Maybe.  Would I train myself or my clients this way?  Definitely not.  Are they doing the Tabata Protocol?  Not even close.

For some reason, it seems like everyone that is familiar with these 20:10 intervals thinks that Tabata training is the way to go.  I don’t think this would be the case if they were following an actual Tabata Protocol.  The original study done in 1996 is protocol of 7-8 rounds (most subjects couldn’t complete) of 20:10 intervals done at 170% VO2max which  almost impossible to sustain.  Break out the Crossfit puke bucket because you would literally have to put a gun to someone’s head to make them finish.  Keep in mind the studies were done on elite level athletes.

The actual study proved that you can increase your aerobic capacity up to 23% in 4 weeks.  The kicker is that subjects only increased by 5% more by week 6.  This proves that this system trains very quickly and may not need to be trained for long periods of time.  Whats more is the subjects VO2max increases to week 3 and then leveled out.

That said, yes I do incorporate something like this in my client’s programs (I know some of you are reading this 🙂 ) but I do NOT do them all the time or even weekly.  It is still a kickass form of cardio to do “every once in a while” and really hammers down some good old fashioned mental toughness.  Plus it makes a great finisher to an already great training session by adding that +1.

2. Is LSD still good?

With warmer weather coming, one of the things I enjoy doing is getting outside to go for a run. It was actually pretty nice out today so I threw on my sneakers and hit the pavement for a nice little 2.5 miles down by the beach in Quincy. I haven’t “ran” since August but have kept up with interval training along with metabolic work (sled pushing, ropes, kettlebells) and not surprisingly my cardio was great but my endurance fibers lacked a little.

This begs the question, is there anything wrong with just going running for runnings sake?   I know many new coaches along with the media are downplaying long distance, steady-state cardio and replacing it with interval training and metabolic work.  Do some people waste half their lives doing 45-60 minutes on the eliptical a day? YES.  Is it bad to do it if you are doing the other stuff?  NO.  Is it bad to do if you absolutely will do no other exercise, ever?  NO, but maybe it’s time to reassess what your goal is and get at it.

In my opinion (key words), there is nothing wrong with doing longer distance cardio “every once in a while” if your goal is to “just stay fit”. This may not be your biggest weapon if you are trying to burn fat as your main goal but is still good to incorporate “from time to time”.

For those who only train with intervals “all the time”, your body may accommodate or “get used to intervals” and plateau.  In this case, going for an LSD run every once in a while may disrupt that pattern and keep you moving towards your goal and making gains.

Now, I am not a runner and for me to do it, the weather has to be nice (60 degrees+), no rain, no snow, and the planets have to be aligned. In all seriousness I am not trying to lose fat, I don’t run to stay in shape and right now I am only competing in powerlifting.  Why do I run?  It takes my mind off things and it is relaxing “for me”.  I tried yoga a few times but found it hard to relax.  Plus I take care of all my mobility work and stretching in my training.

3. My daily intake for Saturday.

I just wanted to share a sample of what my diet looks like on a Saturday.  Keep in mind I am not trying to bulk, burn fat, or lose weight.  This is just maintenance and getting strong and sexy.  Keep in mind this is on a non-workout day,  I eat much, much more after training heavy.  Also keep in mind I housed a whole pizza to my face Friday night (homemade of course).

6:30

  • 2 medium potatoes for homefries (ketchup is a must)
  • 5 whole eggs with chopped peppers, mushrooms, onions
  • 1 glass milk
  • 1 cup coffee

8:00

  • broiled grapefruit with brown sugar

12:00 smoothie

  • 2 cups milk
  • handful spinach
  • frozen berries
  • 1 banana
  • 1 scoop whey
  • sprinkle of chia seeds
  • dash of 100% cacao
  • 1 tbsp of peanut butter

3:00

  • tuna sandwich on Ezekial break
  • *1/2 avocado instead of mayo
  • spinach
  • cayenne
  • 1 apple

6:00

  • buckwheat Udon noodles
  • chicken
  • broccoli
  • Lindsay’s homemade bbq sauce (molasses, ketchup, and delicious goodness.  You will have to ask her for the secret recipe.)

9:00

  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 scoop choc protein powder
  • blueberries
  • 1 banana

11:00-whenever I wake up

  • If I wake up in the middle of the night I chug milk.  I have been doing this since I was a kid, no reason in particular.

4. Who searches for this stuff?

After reading a friends blog post that touched on his site’s stats I decided to do a little recon of my own on my site.

Here is what I found on Google Analytics:

Since starting my blog last May, I am receiving approximately 10,000 views per month.  You like me, you really really like me.

Most popular post: Train Your Lats, Run Faster with 2,944 views

Most popular search term: Jaime Eason with 1,986 searches.

Posting these pictures is a fair trade for getting hits I would say.

The oddest search term: “Polish turd” with 9 searches.  Serious?  Polish turds?  Is that how you guys see my site?  Who searches for this stuff anyways?  I would like to meet them and shake their hand.  On second thought….

5. A good fix for single leg straight leg deadlifts.

Any single leg straight leg deadlift or “SLDL” variation is a must have in almost any program for multiple reasons.  Besides helping you sculpt an amazing ass and make it look like you know what you are doing they:

  • glute activation
  • proprioception
  • balance
  • target posterior chain muscles (glutes, hamstrings, calves, back)
  • full body recruitment


I have found with many of my clients that this version with a low-cable pulley helps a little with balance and is a great way to progress your clients who just can’t “get it”.  There are other ways, but this one has been working well for my clients.

Coaching cues:

  • keep the front knee slightly bent
  • squeeze the glute of the back leg and keep it extended
  • keep the hips level
  • keep the chest and head up and shoulders low

6. G.A.S. or gassed?

I’m not talking about the inevitable consequence of consuming Chipotle post workout  but rather a concept coined by Hans Selye.  General Adaptation Syndrome or “G.A.S.” is our bodies natural fight or flight response to stress, either mental or physical.  I won’t get into the three stages (alarm, resistance, exhaustion) but will state that this occurs every time you train.  Your heart rate goes up, hormones are pumped into your system and your body adapts to the applied stress or stimulus.

The problem I see with many programs and even the way some trainers work with their clients is that they may be pushing too hard.  In other words, overtraining will occur either during the session or by not taking sufficient rest days or taking a week to “deload”.  I am not going to bash all Crossfit facilities but I have heard that “some” of their philosophies include brutal circuits, having a puke bucket nearby, and clubbing baby seals.

This is NOT the way to train. The key to successful training program is to impose sufficient stress for the body to enter the resistance stage, but to avoid exercising so much that the body enters the stage of exhaustion.

7. Good Reads for a month.

I used to do a good reads for the week post but my friend Ben does a much greater job than I do.  He does a superb job of searching through thousands of fitness blogs on the internet and hand selects all the greatest posts, articles, and podcasts for the week and lists them in one place for everyone to check out.  His website is quickly becoming one of my favorites to check out for great info and good reads.  Here are the good reads for February: Week1 Week2 Week3 Week4.

Make sure to thank him, he puts a lot of time into this stuff.

8. Make your butt eat your pants.

This coaching cue came to me via boss as I was demonstrating how to do a proper back extension.  As I was explaining to focus on keeping the movement in the hips and let the glutes do the work she pointed out that it looked like my butt was eating my pants.  We had a good laugh but for some reason that seamed to click.  I may or may not be using that cue in the future.

9. To FMS or not to FMS.

My last quick thought for the day is regarding the FMS and initial assessment that I do with a new client.  Now, don’t get me wrong, the FMS is the gold standard when it comes to movement screening and is an invaluable tool for coaches.  But I am finding it to not be as necessary as I once thought in working with new clients or potential clients.

Keep in mind that I work at a commercial gym and 90% of my client’s initial goals are to lose weight or get in shape.  To many, the thought of correcting years of bad posture is a slow process and most people want their results yesterday.

What I am finding is that just taking a new client or someone interested in training through a full mobility dynamic warmup provides me with some solid information to get them started.  Here are the exercises I will take someone through for a first workout:

Stretches:

  • Adductor Stretch
  • Hip Flexor Stretch
  • Heel to Butt Hip Flexor Stretch
  • Lat Stretch

Mobility:

  • T-spine mobility
  • T-spine extension
  • Wall Slides
  • Hip

Movement:

  • Bodyweight squat
  • Split Squat

Core

  • Birddogs
  • Plank
  • Side Plank

I use this feedback to provide a focus for foam rolling, stretching and mobility and gives me a better idea on where to begin their lower body progressions.  All in all, they leave feeling good, looser and for some this can actually be a pretty strenuous workout.  Plus it gives me a good idea on where to begin.

For a new client, sometimes being measured with a stick and asked to perform screens where they are almost doomed to fail is not a good beginning.  I save the FMS for another day, and sometimes only use it with those who are interested or are going to be training to compete in an event such as a marathon.  Again, a great tool but it is not for everybody.

Well, thanks for listening.  For your patience, here is a clip that will make you laugh.


Written by Steve