The Truth In My Fitness

I get a lot of comments on photos and articles that I post claiming that, of course I can do the things that I do because I’ve been fit my entire life. But, I can tell you that is not true. In high school, and my much younger years, I was very active and outdoorsy and constantly exercising, but there was a point in which I fell out of it, and through a good portion of my 20’s I was completely off the fitness bandwagon and started putting on a bit of weight and body fat. I came back onto the fitness scene with studying Taijiquan, and not long after I got into weight training. My primary goal, at first, was to start losing that weight that I had put on. And it was a struggle a lot of ups and downs in my diet anger over not seeing results right away and wanting to give up on more than one occasion. But with a lot of hard work, and a few years of busting my butt, I lost about 20 pounds. At this time I was doing a combination of weight training as well as calisthenics. And when I was doing this calisthenic training I will tell you firsthand that I could not do one single pull-up. After continuing to work for a few more years those pull-ups started coming along as well as hitting those crazy numbers on push-ups. It is honestly been within the last four years that I’ve become more calisthenic focused and it’s not because I dislike lifting weights. It was because I found calisthenics just work better for me. Now looking at some of the crazier calisthenic moves that I’ve been doing I want you to keep in mind that for a lot of those I train for well over six months just to do it for the first time and in some cases it took close to a year just to get it for the first time. So what I’m really trying to say is that this was all achieved through hard work not something that I have always been able to do I’m still striving for new goals just like everyone else, I even continue to watch my eating habits. If you have a goal you need to push for it and there will be ups and downs, but there are people out there that are more than willing to support you towards your goal.

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Hunting For a Trainer?

Ok, so now you are considering a trainer but don’t know what to look for. Sure, the huge meat head or cheerleader looks like they know their stuff, but do they?

First, is your trainer willing to answer questions? To believe everything without question is indoctrination. Your trainer should be able to answer your questions about health and fitness. No trainer knows everything, but they should be willing to research the answers to your questions.

Does your trainer make huge promises? No person is the same, so to be told you will lose a bunch of weight just like a person you saw in TV is likely a false promise. Also, if they tell you that you will be ripped like Arnold, I ask you this. Are you Arnold? No one will build the same.

Does your trainer have insecurities? If your trainer tries to dissuade you from trying new things this could be due to personal insecurities. If you want to try out that Spin, Yoga, or Zumba class, then do it. It is your fitness journey and you should do things you enjoy.

Does your trainer listen to your goals? If your goal is to lean out and lose weight did they build the right program for you? There are certain rep ranges and weight percentages to take into account for each goal. Also, if your goal is to not lift weights at all, then your trainer should be listening to this.

Finally, is your trainer certified or just a gym rat? Sure that guy that can lift 200lbs is ripped, but can he teach you to do that safely? I highly suggest researching your potential trainer. Most certifications can be looked up online for free. After all, you are putting your fitness health and goals in their hands.

Don’t be afraid to get a trainer, just make sure they are right for you.

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Earning My PCC

So after a lot of uncertainty, I decided to bite the bullet and attend the first Boston PCC (Progressive Calisthenics Certification). I will admit I had no idea what to expect out of this 3 day, 8 hour a day workshop. First day in Boston I, of course, had to see the sites, because, hell! There is a ton of history here!

Day One of the PCC was a lot of push-ups and pull-up progressions showing how to advance from a beginner to advanced. I even managed to get my first one arm pull-up! After lunch we moved on to human flag progressions. Yup, you read that correctly. So, it was amazing to see how strong everyone was through all those progressions. We finished the day working on the mighty muscle-up. Yeah, I have been doing them for a while, but they showed me how to make them even more challenging by only using my wrists and going slow. ​

​Even better was seeing all the other people getting their first one! That night I got to go out with some friends from high school that I have not seen in almost 19 years. We had a blast! It was like nothing had changed.

Day Two was all legs and core work. There were a ton of first time moves for everyone! Some getting their first pistol or shrimp squats some getting their first front or back levers, for me, I got my first Meathook and Reverse Grip Back Lever! Even finished the day with a bad ass photo with Al and Danny Kavadlo.


Day Three I got to have breakfast with Danny and Al and just shoot the breeze. In class we went a bit lighter focusing on skills like hand balancing. I was impressed to see everyone’s skill level. They were some truly impressive people! After lunch the pressure was on… we had to test for our certification. When my name came up, my heart jumped up into my throat despite practicing this test over and over for the last few months. But I nailed it! After all was said and done, there were hugs all around. We were all like family in the end. I truly hope to stay in touch with my new calisthenics family.


Now, as the only Dragon Door certified calisthenics trainer in Michigan, I can’t wait to pass on all I have learned this long vacation!

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Calisthenics Booty Building Clinic

This will be a class on progressions for leg workouts using body weight only. The cost of the class will be $25 per person. So come train with the only Dragon Door certified calisthenics trainer in Michigan!

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New Experiences

I’m sure I have explained it before and I’m sure I will say it again, but I hate to travel. So, I’m sure you could understand my hesitation when I had to make a trip to Manhattan for my latest certification, Strength Calisthenics Certification (SCC). Now that I did it, I’m so happy I did! Thank you to my wife, Elle, to convincing me to do it. 
I got to see and visit places I only ever saw in movies, met new people, and got to hang out with the calisthenics legend Danny Kavadlo.


At the SCC I picked up so many epic calisthenic techniques to improve my game and the performance of my clients. Even I got a little sore! Worth it! At one point I got called on to demonstrate muscle ups, and even got referred to by one of the SCC coaches as having beastly pull-ups. I want to say that the entire class formed a bit of a brother and sisterhood. I even found another Kung Fu brother.


Over all what I’m trying to say is don’t pass on the possibility for new experiences, whether it be in fitness or any other aspect of your life. If you do, then you will miss an entire world of wonder. If I would have passed on this, I would have missed out one the best training experience I ever had.

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What Is the best way to lose fat?

The best answer is, there isn’t a best way. I will say that everyone’s body will react differently to diet and exercise programs. The best first step is to find an exercise that you enjoy doing because weight loss can be a long, but rewarding, journey.

Whatever exercise activities you do choose, try to make sure they incorporate multiple muscle groups. The more muscle groups you work the more calories you will be burning. So, doing a squat to over head press would be more beneficial than just doing a chest press because more muscles are activating. Also, consider activities like HIIT or Tabata training over just running. You will work a lot more muscles in a shorter amount of time. If motivation to exercise is an issue, then try group classes like boot camps. You will work at your own pace but with your peers there to help motivate you. 

Now onto diet. First off, get rid of the term diet, look at it as a lifestyle change. Want to feel good? Then eat good. No, this does not mean you will have to give up all the foods you love. You just have to take it all in moderation. I suggest to stay away from fad diet programs. In most cases (not all) they are a very very short term solution. As your body changes so too will the meal plans. This is important! You may start off with high protein and lower carb and fat, but as you become more physically fit you may need more fuel like carbs. Remember protein is not an energy source, it does help repair muscle, but carbs and fats are what give you energy. I would highly suggest talking to a nutritionist for a meal plan to fit your needs or if you just need the basic such as “What amount of protein, carbs, and fats do I need?” talk to a trainer or check out apps like My Fitness Pal. Also, don’t worry if you slip up from time to time, no one is perfect. Even I have a little cheat meal from time to time.

Most important, remember to do this for you and no one else. Life will happen and it will create obstacles. Use those obstacles to make you stronger. This is the first step to a newer fitter you!

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Flexibility Training

Much like other areas of health and fitness, flexibility has a systematic progression based on your goals, needs and capabilities. The three phases of flexibility training that I like to use are corrective, active and functional.


Corrective flexibility is used for increasing joint range of motion, improving muscle imbalances and correcting alter joint mechanics. Some of the techniques for corrective flexibility include foam rolling (also known as self myofascial release) and static stretching. Foam rolling would be used for tight or overactive muscles to help relax and elongate improving muscle extensibility. During static stretching will improve muscle extensibility further by holding your stretches for 20 to 60 seconds allowing for greater lengthening of the muscle.

 

The next phase of flexibility is active flexibility, which uses active-isolated stretching. This allows for the agonist and the synergist muscles to move through a full range of motion while the antagonists are being stretched. In most cases the stretches are only held for 2 to 5 seconds at the end range of motion and then relaxed and it would be done for a specific number of repetitions.

The third phase in the flexibility continuum is functional flexibility which utilizes dynamic stretching. For dynamic stretching you need multiplane are extensibility with optimal neuromuscular control throughout the full range of motion. One easy example of this would be doing bodyweight squats or walking lunges with a medicine ball rotation.

The third phase in the flexibility continuum is functional flexibility which utilizes dynamic stretching. For dynamic stretching you need multiplane are extensibility with optimal neuromuscular control throughout the full range of motion. One easy example of this would be doing bodyweight squats or walking lunges with a medicine ball rotation.

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My Fitness update 

So my original doctor a few years ago told me I would have to take medicine for my cholesterol because of how crazy high it was. Matter of fact it was so bad he said I would be lucky to make it to 35 without a heart attack. Well with focusing on diet and exercise I got it to normal levels with no medicine. Take that pharmaceuticals!The moral of it all… Don’t let someone tell you what you can and can’t do with your own health and fitness.

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Fitness Quick Fixes

I know everyone out there is looking for the quick fix or shortcut to health and fitness… Well here it is…

There isn’t one. I know DVDs, Diet Programs and, yes, even Body Wraps claim they have the solution, but sadly they are temporary.

Let’s start with DVDs. Yes, I myself did start with a DVD program, and yes it was a challenge, but after a short time my results started to plateau. That’s when you realize that your fitness has to evolve with your body. Our bodies are amazing, and can adapt to physical stress loads. 

Now onto the diet… Yes! Your diet has to evolve with your fitness. Sure, you may start with the low carb low fat diet plans, but diets are temporary. Eating smart and lifestyle changes are more permanent. As you get more fit your meal plans will have to change. Even weight watchers evolves over time.

Now for the wraps… This is an extremely temporary fix. It essentially squeezes the water out of your fat cells making you look thinner. Normally this will last for up to 72 hours, and sadly over use of things like this is not only expensive but also can start to dehydrate your body. 

My best advice… Put in the work for the results. You will feel better seeing all that you have accomplished. 

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Weight Loss Myths

With so many weight loss myths out there, it’s time we bring the facts to the table.

“I workout hard, so I can eat whatever I want.”
In truth, it comes down to calories in vs. calories out. If you consume more calories than what you burn in a day, then you will gain weight. The reverse is also true. If you consume less than what you burn, then you will lose weight.happens-eat-much-junk-food_52511c18d2246a53

“To lose the weight, I will cut carbs and fats out of my diet.”
This is actually a very bad idea. Yes, at first you will drop a few pounds, but it will mostly be water weight. Carbs and fats are needed for a healthy body. Carbs are a huge fuel source for your body and fat helps cells absorb vital nutrients into your body. Finding the proper balance of these macro nutrients, and the right kinds, are key, not cutting them out.Red-Dice-Fat-Protein-Carb-400x250bfc6a

“You have to workout to lose weight.”
Not entirely true. Again, weight loss comes from calories in vs. calories out. Now adding a workout to your weight loss plan will help. After all adding some muscle will help burn the fat. Granted with the muscle the weight loss may slow down, but you will lean out and look tone.

push up

“The more calories you cut, the more weight you will lose.”
True and false. While a calorie deficit is required for weight loss, dropping them too low (below 1,200) should only be done under the supervision of a medical professional. Some of the risks of these ultra low calorie diets are malnutrition, poor energy, digestive issues, or even development of gallstones.

 very low calorie diet

“Eating at night causes weight gain.”
There is no magical time when the body is better at storing fat. Even when sleeping your body is still burning energy.

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