Strength and Performance

Getting bullshit strong and maximizing athletic performance.


hack the unessential - bruce leeI get questions every day from my clients asking about some product, information bit, or training program they read about or saw an ad for online, in the paper, heard on the radio, or whatever.  Information and advertising is pretty much unavoidable in today’s world.  You’re taking in some info right now by reading this, for example.

I’m not trying to cast judgment on it or say that it’s all good or bad.  As I talked about last week, most everything falls on a spectrum somewhere.  What I am trying to say is that there’s a lot of it.

There’s so much info, in fact, that the tendency is to take all that information and do little to nothing with it (paralysis by analysis) OR to excitedly jump into the next best thing until a few minutes, days, or weeks later when the NEXT best thing comes along (Shiny Object Syndrome).  Either way you end up spinning your wheels and not making any real progress from where you are now towards what you’ve set for your goals.

This shit happens all the time in the fitness or nutrition world, but also in business/work life and relationships, as well.

I’m preface my next piece of advice by saying that, believe it or not, I’m human and I am not perfect at it, but here’s what’s been helping me:
Read more on Applying Addition By Subtraction to Clarify and Achieve More…


The One Rule of FitnessSo, I’ve pretty much taken a couple of years off from Internet writing.  A lot has happened in that time, and I have to say that it was mostly good.  Primarily, I’ve used the time to build my brick and mortar training business (Relentless Strength Training).  Sprinkle in a little relationship upheaval (resulting in some true learning) and combine it with some great and not so great times with my family and friends and a couple of years goes by way too fast.  You know, it’s been a real life.

Mostly, there’s been a couple of years of introspection, success, mistakes, mistakes repeated until learning improved, clients trained, some excellent steaks and beers consumed, cities traveled to, heartbreak, weights lifted, body parts injured, life-altering conversations had, people helped, miles rucked, smack talked, slices of humble pie delivered and consumed, and time spent with the greatest human beings I know.

While there’s lots of great lessons I’m dying to teach you that I’ve picked up along the way, ranging from how to get more “pop” in your Olympic lifts to The Secret of Life (ok, still working on that one), there is one that has become the basis of my training and nutrition principles, business paths, and really my life in general:
Read more on The One Big Rule for Strength and Health…


Long Tree LookI’ve had a couple of frustrating conversations with prospects lately who didn’t turn out to be good fits for Relentless, which is why we interview.  The direction of the conversation that turned me off is, unfortunately one that is way too common in today’s culture, and especially fitness culture.

There’s this sense of everything being a “quick fix”, or 30-60-90 Day Challenge.  I don’t think those things are totally worthless as they get people started or break some staleness, which is why we have successfully run several at Relentless.  However, I do feel that for many this has become the expectation for fitness results.
Read more on Taking the Long View…


As I’ve said before and all of my clients are very aware of: I’m a big fan of kettlebells. Not in the crazy, religious way that some kettlebell fanatics seem to be (there’s not a kettlebell exercise I can think of off the top of my head that you can’t do with a dumbbell), but in general I think they’re a useful, fun tool.

There are a couple of basic kettlebell exercises that, if you can get them down, will basically set the foundation for all of the other kettlebell movements: The Clean and the Snatch.

Kettlebell training is all about efficiency of motion. When I see people mess up the main kettlebell lifts it usually boils down to either inefficient technique or not controlling the ‘bell and results in bruised wrists and bitching.
Read more on Kettlebells Made Simple…


All of my clients know that one of my favorite training tools is the simple sandbag. It’s dynamic load is murder on the stabilizers, grip, and upper back while building athleticism, conditioning, and comfort in uncomfortable positions. It’s a fantastic way to teach the body to take the pure strength built with the barbells and transfer it to more “real world” athletics.

We use the CRAP out of them at Relentless.

And since they’re easy and cheap to make I think that everyone should have a couple in their home gym.

To get you started, here’s a couple of vids I shot a while back that detail two basic sandbag exercises: The Clean and basic Shouldering.
Read more on Sandbag 101: The Two Best Sandbag Exercises…


As you cruise around the internet you’ll come across a variety of training systems that all claim to be The One. A handful of the ones you’ll probably run across are DC Training, Westside, Crossfit, 5/3/1, p90X, Linear Periodization (ha!), and “High Intensity Training”, or HIT. I’m thinking about doing a series addressing all of these training programs (let me know if that sounds interesting), but since I recently ran across some “HIT Jedi’s”, as they’re known in the internet-training sphere for their at times fanatically faith-based training programs, I’ll start there.
Read more on Does High Intensity Training (HIT) Work?…


My facility, Relentless Strength Training, isn’t just a “gym”. As such, you’ll rarely hear it referred to in that manner. I usually use the word “facility”.

There’s a reason for that. To me, it’s not just a place where people pick shit up and put it back down, although we do a lot of that.

To me, Relentless is a lab. It’s a testing ground. My facility, with its concrete floors, horse stall mats, black iron pipe contraptions, sandbags, and white boards is a human performance improvement and examination center.
Read more on Truly BRUTAL Lower Body Workout…


Since it’s the time of year where lots of people are starting their fitness programs, I thought that I’d do what I do best: Observe the flaws in what most people do, point them out in a vaguely insulting manner, and try to prove that I’m only a little bit of a dick by providing solutions.

As most of my clients will agree, I’m sweet like that.

So here’s the deal. You have joined your local sweat factory and started working out. You want to be strong, fit, healthy, and all that good stuff. We get it. That’s what you tell people.

But what you really mean is:
Read more on That Was Dumb – Three Pitfalls To Avoid When New To Training…


It’s the start of a new year, and with that comes a new 90-Day Challenge at Relentless Strength Training!

The last 90-Day Challenge was a SMASHING success! Goals fell left and right, everything from Kathryn killing FOUR big barbell PR’s, to Sasha hitting ten chin-ups in a set, on to ‘Mo and April hammering their weight loss goals. That’s just four of the many who ended the year better than they started.

Well, here’s your chance to join in and kick 2013 off like you know you should.
Read more on New Year – New 90 Day Challenge!…


It’s time to finish up my killer interview with strength coach Joe Meglio! Today we’re talking nutrition, supplements, and what it takes to hit the next level. If you missed the first part of the interview, make SURE you check it out here.

Isaac: I agree 100% with you regarding speed and mobility. Let’s jump over to the nutrition side of things. I’ve known you for quite a while now and you’ve been able to gain strength, muscle, and still perform at a high level while staying pretty lean. How, in a nutshell, do you do it?
Read more on Strength Coach Interview – Joe Meglio – Part III…