March 2012 Archives


After a conversation while out to dinner this weekend one of the other trainers at the gym, Tony (he of the uncontrollably attractive ponytail… just ask him) posted up a killer video on my Facebook wall. In the brief clip Sylvester Stallone talks about “the switch” that happens when it’s time to go from having fun to making things happen.

*photo credit: AnimalPak Ad

Check it out:

After you realize that he’s talking about one of the great Man Movies of American cinema, Over the Top, pay attention to what he says about “The Switch”.
Read more on Make It Happen Monday – The Switch…


When it comes to training to build muscle, lose fat, gain strength, and improving your conditioning at the same time, I implement a lot of circuit training with my clients. Now, if you’re looking to promote any one quality of fitness (speed, overall strength, endurance, etc), it’s best to put a strong emphasis on that quality, obviously. For example, if you’re trying to develop maximal (limit) strength, then you’re best off training with very heavy loads in a relatively rested state. Performing a fast-paced, high repetition, light weight circuit is not going to be the fastest way to gain limit strength.

However, “assistance” movements, which are usually less systemically stressful and focused more on hypertrophy (muscle growth), can usually be accommodated into more of a circuit format. This allows us to speed up the overall workout and do some mild conditioning without getting in the way of strength gains.

What do I mean? Many people do their assistance something like this: They perform a set of ten pull-ups, waiting a minute, and repeating until they get four sets before moving on to do the same thing with dumbbell presses. Instead, they could do a set of pull-ups, rest thirty seconds, do a set of dumbbell presses, rest thirty seconds before going back to the pull-ups, and so on. This saves a ton of time and will create a conditioning effect (your body is doing more work in less time) without really compromising your strength on either the pull-ups or the presses. At first you might notice a little dip in strength (more from the discomfort of being a little out of breath), but after a week or two your conditioning will improve to where your strength is steady again.

All right, so teaming up your assistance stuff can be pretty cool, right?
Read more on Strength and Conditioning Circuits – The Smart Way…


I had a client this week comment that the training we do doesn’t just get you gym strong; it gets you “farm strong”. By that he meant that we don’t just turn people into weight room warriors, but we make you real world strong and give you abilities that you can apply. Needless to say, I took it as a compliment.

As an example of the difference, the NFL Combine just took place. If you live under a rock and somehow enjoy this blog but not football (really?) the Combine is basically a showcase of athletes showing off gym athletic skills that scouts use in an attempt to evaluate college players towards their future pro carriers. There’s no real football involved, but lots of sprint, jump, lifting, and position-specific drill testing.
Read more on Farm Strong Friday – Build a Stronger Grip…


We’re experiencing a mini-heat wave here in Maine this weekend into today. My handy app says that in Bangor it’s 56 degrees, bright, and sunny, which for the early middle of March up in this neck of the woods is pretty sweet. Given that it’s t-shirt and bikini weather (for Maine) we’ve got the doors open to the gym, the music is cranked, people are running sprints, and sleds are being pulled. It’s awesome.

The energy of the gym has been great, but it’s definitely on another level today. After a long winter people are taking the day to get outside, do some things they haven’t done in a while, and just get the Vitamin D factories going. There’s something special about being outdoors on a great day to train that just makes it better.
Read more on Make It Happen Monday – Change Your Scenery…


One of the great and at the same time frustrating things about starting a site like this from scratch is that unless you’re already very well-known then you spend a fair amount of time writing to very little traffic (thanks for reading, Mom!). Eventually, assuming that you’re good and/or entertaining, your work will pick up steam and you’ll develop a solid readership base. That’s always gratifying and it’s why you started publishing in the first place, right? I mean, if I were writing all of this stuff just to get it off my chest or merely as a therapeutic expression of my inner self (I’m not nearly so pretentious) then I’d never publish.

However, that’s not the case. This is both my voice and a business for me, and so I put it out there. I’m pretty stoked that anyone reads it at all, honestly. The frustrating thing about blogging is that there’s a while where you’re writing what needs to be good content (to attract people) but nobody’s reading because you’re unknown. And since most people don’t have time to dig through tons and tons of blog posts (I sure don’t) your new readers tend to pick up where they land. This is all well and good, but it means that they’ve missed out on a lot of good stuff.

So in light of that, and because there’s been a lot of new readers ’round these parts lately combined with the fact that I just passed my 100th post, I’ve decided that it might be a good time to catch up on some classic articles that you guys might have missed.

So I cranked up the Way Back Machine (kudos to you if you get that reference) and pulled out a handful of articles that I thought deserved a second read. Cheers.
Read more on Buried Treasure – 5 Articles You Shouldn’t Have Missed…


I put this video up on the Facebook Page a while ago, but after some of the talk I heard this weekend I think it needs to go here, too.

I’m not a big fan of basketball, and Michael Jordan has proved himself to be a monumental douche, but the truth remains that he could straight-up game. He was the best player, at the highest level of his sport, for years. And he worked for it.

People that are at the top of their game are on another level, and it’s very easy for those below them to point out their talents. Spending your time pointing out the winners’ gifts and successes allows you to stay right down where you are: Moderately successful at best or more commonly unsuccessful… and comfortable. It allows you to avoid the hard work necessary to elevate to their level.

That’s Fear Thinking, not Vertebrate Thinking. Fear Thinking has no business in a successful person’s mindset.

Stop that shit right now and sign up on the right to take your game to the next level.


On Monday I put up a post with a pretty killer Michael Jordan video talking about talent, hard work, and excuses. Then I open up my inbox today and find that Erik Rokeach of has quoted me in a MASSIVE and MASSIVELY AWESOME post on excuses.
Read more on You Just Lost Your Excuses…


I have many lusts and flirtations in the gym, but I have one true love, and that is the Deadlift. Well, ok, sometimes I cheat on the Deadlift with the Good Morning, but being asked to choose between the two is like picking between Jessica Biel and… I don’t know, her equally-athletic redheaded sister (if she has one of those, be kind and don’t tell me.)? Either way, some decisions are just against nature.
Read more on Farm Strong Friday – Band-resisted Deadlifts…