Sunday, January 31, 2016

6 Cardio Hacks


I hate cardio. It's boring, it's tedious, and it feels like it takes forever.

But nothing burns more calories than cardio. Low impact cardio is easy on the joints, and a great way to burn additional calories on your off days from your resistance training program.

But, once again, it's so boring. So what can a human do in such a dilemma?

Hack It

If you don't like it, you probably won't stick with it. If you like it, then... you'll like it?

Cardio for the sake of cardio is boring in doing so and concept. So why not hack it into a way of making it "fun"?

1) Audio Books and Podcasts

Audible, Podcast Apps, YouTube

Want to see how different Game of Thrones is from the show? Want to find out if Catcher in the Rye was overrated? Want to brag about reading all the way through War and Peace. Want to learn a foreign language so when you visit another country they don't stereotype you as a "stupid American". Well, thanks to modern technology you can now do all of this while losing weight!

Elliptical, biking, walking, even running, you can listen to almost any book with Fiction, Autobiographical stories, tutorials on finance, language lessons, you can now get smart while getting lean.

2) Movie Time

Cardio Cinema, Netflix, HULU

If you've ever visited a big box gym like Golds Gym or 24 Hour they have "Cardio Cinemas" where you can do your cardio in a dark room and watch a movie on the big screen.

Now, it's not all Popcorn and Cotton Candy because they typically show movies like Fool's Gold, Big Momma's House, and Cheaper by the Dozen 2.

And if you like those movies I apologize...for your horrible taste in movies. Now go cry it off while watching Without a Paddle.

Anyway, what's the answer to this problem. Well, if you own a treadmill at home, you can watch whatever you want at home.

Now for the less affluent, if you own this thing called a Smart Phone, you can watch YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, and all kinds of TV and Movies or annoying YouTube Personalities.

If you can't afford a smart phone, work on your life choices.

3) Learn How to Protect Yourself

Krav Maga, MMA, Kickboxing, Boxing

Krav Maga, the style of fighting you see in the Bourne movies and many others, is an Israeli fighting style that I've trained in for 3 years and not only have I learned a lot in the process I burned plenty of calories doing it.

You need to prepared if you ever get into a fight on top of a train.

The 3 hour belt tests were some of the toughest conditioning training I've ever gone through.

MMA, boxing, and other fighting styles are not only great ways to defend yourself from being robbed, raped, or murdered, it's also a great way to burn calories, meet friends, and have fun doing it.

4) Socialize

Running Group, Racquetball, Intramural Sports, Soccer, Basketball

As I've learned by coaching a lot of group training classes, a lot of people like to suffer with others. It makes it more bearable, plus you get friends in the process which isn't as easy as it was when you were in 5th grade or when you were getting hungover in college.

Plus things like Tennis have the fun of learning a technique and competition in addition to socializing to make it even better..

You'll have done an hour or three of cardio before you even realize it when you're having fun and focused on something other than the actual doing of cardio.

5) Achieve Something

Marathons, Triathlons, Hiking, Climbing

For some people, running a marathon is an accomplishment, for some climbing Mt. Everest is a goal. Whatever it is, you'll have to do a lot of training for it. And it'll make the process of it a lot more fulfilling because there's a definite and exact goal you're working towards.

6) 2 Birds

Walking your Dog, Yardwork

These are lower calorie burning exercises, but you're at least burning calories and getting things that need to be done... done.

Think of anything that needs done around your house, or stare at your fat dog and that should give you a plethora of ideas of what you need to. If that's not motivating enough think of the fact you'll lose weight doing it.

Plus, a lot of these actions give you some alone time you can breathe and meditate during, so it's a triple net effect.


I'm not saying these hacks will completely rid you of all the annoyances that come with cardio. For some, yes, for others, just some.

But if it helps you at all with including cardio in your life, that's definitely an improvement. Plus a lot of the Hacks will help you with other aspects of your life. 

Just remember to vary it up, overuse causes injuries. Which may be the topic of my next post. 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Insiders Guide to How Gyms Rip You Off

1) They Don't Want You to Show Up

Gyms are a lot like the banks. If just half the people came to the bank and withdrew their money the bank would be broken.

Same things with gyms, if half the people or even less showed up to the gym that day, the gym would be shut down for fire-code violations.

They're BANKING on you not showing up, and collecting money from your ETF that's on CONTRACT.

2) Contracts  

Good luck getting out of them. You can pay out of your contract but they'll end up winning on that as well. They'll do everything they can to make it hard for you.

Not just hard but almost impossible. They'll not answer your phone calls, your emails, your letters, and even literally hide from you in the gym.

One of the most popular moves is you have to send them a signed letter saying you want to leave, hoping that since you're too lazy to use the gym, you'll also be too lazy to write a letter and send it.

Sometimes there's clauses saying you have to show proof of address that you're moving and they might debate you that it's not far enough away, or might not believe the proof of address you sent.

Worst of all, a lot of times they still don't cancel your contract no matter what. Look at Yelp reviews of gyms you're thinking about or currently going to and see how many people are complaining about the gym still charging them despite them supposedly being cancelled.

Protip; Tell them you're going to Yelp review them, BBB review them, etc. and watch how fast they get a hold of you.

3)  Sign Up Fees

Sign Up Fees, Key Card Fees, Membership Fees...They're all MADE UP. Why would you be charged for signing up? Why are you being punished for signing up for a gym?! It makes no sense. Processing fees? What is that?! That's the stupidest thing I ever heard, and...IT WORKS!

Ever notice they can wave fees if you sign up this week, or there's a special this month. Why? If they can charge less or more at a whim, why ever pay more than you have to? They're making it up as they go. Remember roaming fees?

I was hired as a gym manager about 3 months into training, shows you how important that job is. And I could basically make up any number I wanted, the owners wanted it to be higher if possible, but what was most important was locking in those ETF's on contract.

If the members at these gyms knew what everyone else was paying there'd be all kind of fights.

So if you refuse to pay the sign up fee, key-card fee, or even want a lower membership fee you can usually get it. Even the big box gyms like Golds or 24 Hour.

You can definitely get away with this at the smaller boutique gyms, since not only can they make their own rules without their overlords telling them what to do, they really need the memberships since all the big box gyms are driving them out of business.

Gyms have high pressure on either themselves or by their bosses to keep a certain amount of members so if a gym is having bonuses for new members, tell them you want that or you'll leave. Or say you'll leave if you don't get a lower rate because another gym has a better deal. Ask for free training or something like that.

They'll hate you, and you'll be an ass hole, but guess what... it will most likely work because the squeaky wheel get's the grease. They're trying to rip you off, so you might as well do the same.

The smaller boutique gyms are often just as bad or worse than the box gyms with corruption.

4)  Personal Trainers

Personal training is great. I mean I do it for a living. But 90% of trainers are shit. Especially the trainers you get from a  gym. That's where trainers go when they're first starting out, need clients badly, and a tiny percentage of what you're paying the gym. And you're paying first rate prices.

What kind of trainer do you think you're getting when it's an inexperienced trainer, that's willing to get paid almost nothing for a hours of work. I'll tell you what kind, the kind that's not worth the money you're paying. Hell, sometimes the only way I can tell the difference between the the trainer and the client is because is one of them is wearing a shirt that says TRAINER.

Look, I know new trainers need to make a living, but sorry, there's now way I could pay them to train anyone I know. I was good because I'd trained myself and researched from people WAY smarter than me, so I knew how to train clients already.

Anyway, when you get to a gym they'll try to sign you up with a trainer on the biggest package possible, and then settle for the smallest.

Regardless, they'll sign you up with a FREE consultation where the trainer makes a second attempt to sign you up with training. Going for the biggest package first, then settling for whatever you'll sign up for.

During the consult they'll point out all your flaws such as your high body fat, weaknesses, posture, flexibility, and how far you are from your goals and hope that guilt will encourage you to buy an expensive package. Much like your Funeral business.

They taught me at 24 hour to take really big pinches on body fat to make their body fat seem way higher than it was.

Image result for big body fat pinch

They will call you and keep you accountable to show up, not always because they care about you. They only get paid by the gym when you show up, so they want you to show up. Otherwise the gym keeps the money.

5) Supplements

The reason all the supplements on clothing are in the front of the gym is just like how gum and candy is right at the front of the gas station and grocery store.

When done training clients at 24 they'd force me to walk my clients through the supplement part of the gym and want me to sell them on bull shit supplements like sugary protein bars, wasteful diet pills, pre-workouts that are nothing more than caffeine, and calorie counters like BodyBugs and Fit Bits.

Smaller gyms will try to get you buy stuff like Advocare, Plexus, and other MLM products.

I'll admit I sold some Spark to my clients, for the ones that want caffeine but hate coffee. But they'll try to get you to buy Detoxes and cleanses and crap. But that's another subject all together.

6) Final Thought

I'm not telling to avoid gyms, you just have to be aware of that it's msotly a con game.

Same thing with everything else. Most people are dangerous behind a wheel, but I'm not telling you to never drive.

Notice how many other business I referenced. Banks, Funeral business, convenience stores. they all rip you off and gyms stole from the best.

When it comes to training, there's a lot of things to learn and know to get better. But it's not marketable to know how to warm up your piriformis, or strengthen your rhomboids for better posture. A very, very niche audience.

What's marketable are crazy diet pills, hyped up trainers chanting things to you while focusing on your FAT BURNING ZONE, and other kinds of lies.

So cut the fat out of your life both figuratively and literally when it comes to fitness.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Is Sitting the New Smoking?!

Sitting is the New Smoking!?!?!?!?!?

1) What's the Stats

So most stats are statically inaccurate... but whatever, let's do some fear mongering with some numbers.

I) Firstly, 80% of people develop chronic low back pain. So if you're not in pain yet, chances are you will be. Notice I said, Chronic. This is the kind of pain that never leaves you and you just have to get used to and adapt your life around it. If you're experiencing even a bit of pain now, you'll most likely  really be feeling it later on in life.

II) Back pain is the second biggest reason for people visiting the doctors office. That means when you're sitting in the waiting room people watching, you could make good money gambling on what the others are suffering from.

III) Over 100 billion dollars are spent dealing with low back pain. Most of that money is used on paying for surgery, WHICH IS NOT A SOLUTION. Surgery is not suggested by most back specialists I know. You're really taking chances and it's not completely a solution. It actually open many more problems. What's crazy is I know people my age or younger that have had this operation...

IV) Low Back Pain is the most common injury keeping athletes out of games. Meaning even people in the greatest shape are getting this type of injury. So even having abs and running a 40 in under 5 seconds doesn't mean you're safe.

V) People spend around 60 hours sitting a week. Meaning that's just an average, some people are doing way more than that.  I'm actually surprised it's only 60 for an average, you sit at work, at home watching Netflix, when your commuting in your car, when you're at the bar on the weekend, always sitting.

So... the stats are definitely telling us that low backs are an issue, and we sit a lot.

Does that mean that the two parallel? Looks like it so far.

But how does sitting mess up people backs? It's not like the population is excessively bending over and lifting huge hay stacks on a regular basis. They're just sitting. So what's the problem?

Let's look further into this.

2) What does Excessive Sitting do to you

We are what we do. If you use a muscle a lot it get's tight from over use, it you don't use a muscle at all it weakens. If you look at the image above that I copied and pasted, it illustrates all the things that shorten and weaken from excessive sitting.

Excessive sitting makes you more susceptible to back problems via the muscles it weakens, and shortens.

Even those that go out and lift, do so with bad posture and tight muscles, and usually bad technique.
And when those people go all out in a workout it's only a matter of time that they get injured.

Now most people when they hear about what's going on with posture, they immediately try to sit up straight, set their shoulders back, and all that.

Here's the thing, you shouldn't have to work for posture. That actually can hurt you. You should gain posture by correctly strengthening, and stretching your body.

3) Conclusion

Standing is not bad for you, standing a lot is bad for you.  Sitting is not bad for you, sitting a lot is bad for you. Combined with not stretching or lifting it's even worse.

Like I said earlier, you are what you continuously do. And sitting is a static stretching for the back. Stretching the soft tissue in your back, which creates instability in your lumbar region.

Not only that, it also creates shortened hamstrings, hip flexors, weak glutes, forward rounded shoulders, forward head posture, loss of mobility in ankles which causes excessive forward lean just to name a few.

Look around your office or the grocery store, how many people do you see with forward head posture and rounded shoulders? How many people can barely bend over? It's an epidemic.

4) What Can We Do About It?

Veal is created by chaining a cow so that it can't move around and is soft and weak. Humans basically do that to themselves by chaining themselves to TV and computer monitors.

The problem is, your brain always goes for the path of least resistance, it wants to conserve energy. While you're sitting, you're in a state of inertia and don't want to move. You just have to do it.

Here are some tips from Michael Mullin on how to fix everything, especially if you have an office job.

  • Set a timer to get up regularly, walk down the hall, go to the water cooler, stare out of one of those rumored "windows". It's good for the brain to take a break as well.
  • Every hour, independent of getting up for regular walks:
    • Sit at the front edge of the chair, hands resting on thighs and body in a relaxed position—not too slouched or sitting up too straight. Take a slow breath in through your nose, feeling your ribs expand circumferentially. Then slowly, fully exhale as if you are sighing out and exhale more than you typically would, without forcing or straining. Inhale on a 3-4 count, exhale on a 6-8 count, then pause for a couple of seconds. Re-inhale and repeat for 4-5 breaths.
    • Staying in this position at the front edge of the chair, reach one arm forward, alternating between sides, allowing your trunk and torso to rotate as well. Your hips and pelvis should also shift such that your thighs are alternately sliding forward and back. Perform 10 times on each side, slowly and deliberately and while taking slow, full breaths.
  • Consider using your chair differently, depending on the task:
    • When doing work on the computer, sit with the lowest part of your low back (i.e. sacrum) against the seat back, but don’t lean your upper body back. This will give the base of your spine some support, but also allow for good trunk muscle activity as well as proper thoracic circumferential breathing.
    • When doing general work such as going through papers, moving things around your desk, filing, etc., sit forward on your chair so that you are more at the edge of the chair. This will allow your legs to take more load and your trunk muscles better able to aid in support, reaching and rotating tasks.
    • When reading items or reviewing paperwork, recline back with full back contact to give your muscles, joints and discs a rest. Make sure to hold the items up at roughly shoulder height—even if you support your arms on armrests or desk.
  • Michael J. Mullin, ATC, PTA, PRC    @MJMATC

Beyond that
  • Develop strong glutes (check out my last blog)
  • Lift with better form, obviously
  • Increase your Flexibility
  • Something hurts stop. Believe it or not this is the hardest thing for me to finally learn.
  • Quit doing crunches, which often hurts the low back. Focus more on planks that develp the core.
  • Stop stretching the low back with stretches like the toe touch and windmills. That often makes it worse. Do stretches like the Happy Baby and Child's Pose. I posted a list of great stretches on the Facebook Page.
  • Lose body fat, believe it or not it's a big factor, plus it's good to lower it anyway.
  • Do mobility work and corrective exercises. It's so important we dedicate an entire class to it at my gym.
  • Buy a standing desk, I'm  in the process of getting one.

So there you go, I need to take a sitting break from typing all this. Hopefully this helped you and you don't end up being one of the 80%.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Build a Butt Workshop

When it comes to having a Butt, there are no but's

Don't look at this while at work

Moving forward, I listed the 5 best Butt Building Workouts there are starting with-

1) Hip Thrusts/Glute Bridges

If you're not doing this workout than you don't deserve to have a butt. This is by far the best butt workout of all time.

Glute Bridges are simple and effective with lots of variations

While squats and deadlifts will work your glutes, that's NOT their main objective.

Squats work your core too, but I don't tell people to do squats for a core workout.

Squats mainly work quads, also gets hamstrings, core, and glutes.

Same with deadlifts, it works glutes, but again that's not it's main objective.

One Legged Hip Thrusts

You can do hip thrusts on the floor or with your upper back on a bench. Load your hips with weight if you're ready for it, if it's your first time just get the motion down with just body weight.

Have your shoulder blades loaded on the bench, load the bar(if using) on your hips, drive your feet through the floor and extend your hips upward.

Protip: Keep your hips extended for 10 seconds on your last rep.

Small girl building a big butt

2) Pendulum Quadriped Hip Extensions

Just like the Hip Thruster, this works both the upper and lower parts of the glutes. That's the good part. The bad part...good luck finding this thing. 

The good news is you can use leg extension machine, cable machine, or any other variety of glute machine to a similar exercise.

3) Back Extensions

I do these mainly for my lower back. But the bonus is like all lower back exercises, it also works the glutes. 2 for 1!

Do them weighted to really build a butt.

4) Squats

Yes, squats help the butt like I said earlier. But really only the lower glutes. Second of all you should already be dong squats. Don't do them for the butt, do them for all the benefits you get.

Build great lean muscle with squats

Add the other glute specific exercises into your workout. Squats are for all the lower body and core, do the glute exercises for your glutes. Don't do either or, do both.

Goblet Squats are great for beginners.

Great one legged variation.

5) Deadlifts

Just like squats, they'll help the glutes but only the lower portion, because once again glutes are not the main objective of deadlifts.

Stiff Legged deadlifts really focus on hamstrings.

Also, like squats, you should be doing some varitey of deadlifts anyway. So combine glute exercises, with a squat exercise, and a deaflit exercise.

These 3 combined will give you not only the butt you thought you could never have, but give you the legs and body you always wanted.

More varieties of deadlifts.

If you want more info, check out Bret Contreas online. He dedicates him self to helping people build glutes. Not something I could imagine a kid wanting to do when they grow up, but he's made a career out of it and help a lot of people so whatever.

Anyway, check his stuff out and I'll check in on you guys next week.

Monday, January 4, 2016

New Years Failures

4 Reasons you Fail

1)  You use Motivation

Motivation is fleeting. It's an emotion. Sure you might want to hit the gym after after seeing Rocky. You might think you could start your own Meth Lab after watching Breaking Bad, but step back a minute and think about this.

 Where's that motivation going to be a week from now at 5 am when it's cold, wet, dark and you've got 5 hours of sleep and need to drive to the gym before work?

Where's that motivation going to be after you've had a long day haven't eaten in eight hours, and you're surrounded by a pizza party at your house.?

Well guess what, The Rocky Theme isn't going to start playing all the sudden to pump you up. You're not motivated right now, that was last week, right now you're stressed, tired, and maybe even depressed. And motivation will almost always lose to RATIONALIZATION.

2)  You Fail

Yeah, I know this sounds dumb but keep reading.

When you're teaching yourself a new behavior, you want  positive experiences.

You'll be more MOTIVATED from succeeding than failing multiple battles. When training dogs, you always want to end on a positive note and not stress out your dogs and have them discouraged.

Same with people. If you're losing 1-2 lbs a week you'll feel motivated.

If you're not losing weight, not gaining strength or muscle, if you're injuring yourself on top of the work you're putting in you'll most likely give up.

Like the old saying goes "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail."

So, plan. Learn from an experienced personal trainer, a well reviewed fitness book, or whatever source, but make sure you're doing things correctly or you'll fail and give up.

3)  Too much, too soon

Fad diets and fasting diets where you starve yourself for 2 weeks then give back in to old habits or worse.

You only have so much willpower, and you will drain it out quickly if you go too hard and be back to your old self.

Using that much willpower to starve yourself will destroy you in other areas of your life where you won't have the willpower to sustain yourself as well, like not telling your boss off, staying out of opium dens, etc.

Workout too much too soon and burn yourself out or injure yourself. All this will do is discourage you further.

Just the idea of putting too much pressure on yourself and getting overwhelmed can defeat you. It happens all the time. That whole "Go Big, or Go Home" crap ruins so many people from succeeding.

Do things properly and have patience.

4) You rely off others

Blind leading the blind.

There's a quote from some guy named Jesus "They are blind guides, if a blind man leads a blind man, both will both fall in a pit"

I see this all the time. 2 people join the gym together to motivate and train each other.

First of all they give each other bad advice because neither knows what they're doing, at best they're taking the long route to get there.

And almost every time one quits, and the other eventually does too.

"Well, she quit so I can't feel too bad about quitting"

You want to get better, follow one who's already there.

4 Ways to succeed

1)  Create mini habits

It's not about motivation, inspiration, because that just creates procrastination...that's pretty good, I should copyright that.

Seriously though, it's about habits.

Making your bed is a habit, constantly checking your phone is a habit. Good or bad that's what habits are, just things you do.

Same with this. Just do it small. Really small if it's really intimidating

If you just work out for 10 minutes or a few pushups, that's more than before.

You might feel it wasn't enough and be MOTIVATED to do more.

But do something. the more you fear it or have waited to do it the more you know you need to do it and the more you should think of a mini-habit.

Hour work out could be half hour, 5 days a week workout could be 3 days, diet could be just cutting out soda, not eating chips, etc.

Start small then step it up, soon or later you'll have overcome your fear and not be afraid anymore.

Unless you're the type that like to do it big, but if you are make sure to-

2)  Be around people that are already doing it

Talk to people at the gym, people want to give advice and help, they love it.

It's not like those stupid commercials where FIT PEOPLE are keeping secrets on how to get in shape. Fit people are not the Illuminati, they want to talk and give advice.

In fact, it's often harder to get them to shut up, but that's another issue all together.

The main takeaway is you'll have constant support, with people who are into the same goals and share your desired outlook. You'll feel like that corny CHEERS show where everyone knows your name.

But never forget, you can only rely off yourself. Let others inspire and help, but it's ultimately up to you.

3) Be Prepared to Fail

Game Over: Final Fight

It's a new habit, you're most likely going to have points where you give into temptations, where you get frustrated with a week or 2 of no progress, just feel lazy and don't work out. It happens.

Don't let that stop you COMPLETELY. You only fail when you just give up. So you messed up, it makes you even better. Anybody can just keep doing something when it's easy, those that push past the hard parts are the ones that succeed.

Think of any biopic you've ever watched, was it just success after success? No! That's boring. Your struggle is it's own story, so think of your disappointments at the exciting parts of the story when you tell it later on in life.

4) Visualize Success

I don't mean just be a dreamer, but do dream. Why do you really want a six pack? Why do you really want to fit into those jeans again? Why do you really want to be stronger?

Just to be healthy, just to feel good about yourself? Boring!

Maybe you want to shock everyone when you go back home to visit for Christmas. Maybe you want to be able to keep up with your kids. Maybe you want revenge on your ex that stalks you on Facebook. 

Whatever it is, just dig deep and find out why you really want this and then visualize having it. How great would it be?


Hopefully this helped some. Some may sound regurgitated, but if you hit you right way maybe something you've heard a hundred times finally makes sense. I know from tons of experience about setting new habits and going from weak and out of shape into being fit. 

Because when it comes down to it, it's not about RESOLUTIONS, it's about REVOLUTIONS