chris

How to Find the Right Training Facility

How to Find the Right Training Facility

You want results.

You want to look better, feel better, get healthy and strong.

You claim that you can do it on your own, so you try and never get the results that you potentially could. That’s because you’re not a fitness expert. You may have an idea, but watching bro-science YouTube videos are only going to get you so far.

And trust me, the guy in your gym who’s sauced to the gills probably doesn’t know as much as you think he does.

The reality is, the best and fastest way to get anything that you want is in life is to hire someone who’s been there before to show you how to do it. Unfortunately most people don’t want to make the investment in themselves to make that happen.

My question to those people is, how bad do you really want it? What does optimal health and fitness mean to you?

You say you want it, but you aren’t willing to pay someone to help you get there?!

I really want to get good at Jiu Jitsu, so I sought out a facility that can teach me. I pay them for their service and day by day I’m getting better. If I just watched videos on Jiu Jitsu, I’d still be getting tied into a pretzel by guys with barely any experience.

The same goes for fitness results. You’re never going to really get the results you’re after without having a professional show you the way.

But beware! There are a ton of bullshit fitness facilities out there. Most are bullshit, actually. You’re probably aware of that, so I don’t blame you for being hesitant to sign up at the first place you see. Nor should you!

So how do you find out which places are the real deal and which are shit? Start by doing some quick research. Find out who runs the place and what their background is. How many people have they worked with? How many of these people have actually seen results? How long have they been training people?

Check out their Facebook reviews.

Check out other social media platforms and see the content they post.

Does it seem like they’re promising the world overnight and guaranteeing you’ll look like The Rock in 48 hours. If so, quickly head to the facility and leave a burning bag of dog poo on their front door.

You’re smart enough to see who the real experts are. Spend an hour or two researching the places you’d be willing to give a shot, and then see if they offer any type of trial program so you can train at their place without making a long term commitment.

What I’d like to see is that they do a thorough assessment before getting you started and find out what your medical history and past injuries are. They should find out your goals, training level, get an idea of how well you can move and a baseline of your general conditioning.

A quality coach will spend some time on a thorough warm-up and get you primed for your training session.

Programs shouldn’t be mindless. There should seem like there is thought and some level of science behind what they’re having you do. There are too many places that will lie to you and say things like “you need to keep the body guessing” and just do whatever every time you come in to train.

That’s not because it keeps the body guessing. It’s because they have no fucking idea how to program, or why they’re having you do an exercise.

With that said, if it’s group training the program should be slightly varied and modified to address whatever specific needs and weaknesses you have.

Coaching should be thorough and you should be taught proper movement. If there isn’t a strong emphasis on quality movement and they are just having you push weight, run for the hills.

That’s a good start.

If you’re only doing a short trial it’ll be hard to determine the kind of progress you’ve made, but you’ll have a pretty good idea if it’s legit by the end of it.

The point of this article is to help you avoid getting sold on bullshit. There’s a lot of it out there, and these places are only concerned with bringing in more revenue.

Avoid the scam artists. Seek out the true experts and hire them to help you get to where you want to be.

Thanks for reading.


You've Been Lied To

You’ve Been Lied To

The fitness industry is a very dark and deceiving place these days. To someone like me who’s truly in love with fitness and has spent 13 years in the trenches studying, taking courses and seminars,coaching, experimenting and obsessing over this shit, that’s extremely frustrating.

It’s not frustrating because these trendy fitness places are making money. Good for them! It’s frustrating because they’re lying to you. And unless you’ve studied in the fields of strength, conditioning, nutrition, and all things related, you have no idea. This opens up the doors for sub-par coaches and trainers telling you that they can help you reach your goals, without having a clue on how to actually get you there safely and efficiently.

And here’s why that’s happening more often.

Useful tools like sleds, TRX’s, battle ropes and kettlebells have become mainstream. These tools (although effective when used properly) alone aren’t what produces results. It’s HOW and WHY you’re using that specific tool in the first place. Simply creating a circuit of exercises with no rhyme or reason isn’t going to do shit for long haul progress. Sure, you might drop a few pounds of body fat early on because of the new stimulus created, especially if you weren’t doing anything prior. But typically those results are unsustainable due to the fact that you never learned how to truly build lean muscle mass.

That mask and those ropes are what got this dude so jacked! Right?

The amount of lean muscle mass that you possess will dictate your metabolic rate, since muscle is highly metabolic. The more muscle you have on your frame, the faster your metabolic rate will be. So what’s the key to sustainable fat loss? Well that will always start with your nutrition, but second is building more lean muscle mass.

Ok so how the f*ck to we build more muscle mass?

That all depends on the individual and how far along you are in your training, but let’s assume you’re a beginner or intermediate lifter. Here’s a sample of how you could pack on some size.

  1. Learn to move properly in each major movement pattern

You have to learn how to execute each movement properly. Since you’re not an expert in the field you’re going to need a qualified coach to teach you how to do that.

  1. Create a plan/periodization

Periodization is a fancy term for having a plan, which is necessary if you want real results. This is where your coach will develop a program based on your training level, age, goals and injury/medical history.

  1. Monitoring weights, sets and reps

If you’re not tracking your weights then progress will be very hard to make. Keeping a notebook with detailed notes of your training sessions is a necessary step to packing on muscle and strength, so don’t neglect this vital step.

  1. Progress and/or regress

Progressions and regressions should be a part of your plan. Everything you do should be done for a reason, with small goals in each training phase.

  1. Execute and stay consistent

If you aren’t executing your plan with enough effort, or aren’t consistent enough in your training, your results will suffer. That means you’re going to need an intelligent prehab plan as well as a thorough dynamic warm-up to drive mobility so you can stay healthy. Because if you’re injured you aren’t making any progress.

Feel overwhelmed? Well, that’s normal. Because this is a lot of shit that you haven’t really learned. But that’s exactly why it’s important to hire real coaches to help you get there.

I would never subject myself to jumping on board with the whole “fun, quick and easy results” bullshit just to try and convince you to train at my facility. That’s because the people who train with us want to be here, and always show up ready to work.

And the results speak for themselves.

Those who train at TTS get exactly what I mentioned above. More importantly, they get the truth. I don’t make false promises or try to make my life easy by avoiding optimal programming. I could easily say “YAY, train 7 days a week and every workout will be different and fun!” and pay no mind to programming. I could save plenty of time that way.

Instead, I fucking obsess over it.

Because I know that’s what it takes to help you get stronger, healthier and better.

What I do promise is that when you train with us you’ll see the difference between a real strength and conditioning program with real qualified coaches, and the best results you’ve ever achieved; if you put the work in that is.

Because your effort will dictate your results.

Some may try a program and notice that it’s difficult. That might lead you to believe that it’s effective. First let me preface this by saying that I am all about hard work. If you want to get strong and jacked it’s going to take hard fucking work. Period.

But HARD does not necessarily mean EFFECTIVE.

I could make a workout really hard and have you do some mindless circuit of burpees, battle ropes and mountain climbers for an hour. But that ain’t doin’ shit for building muscle and strength.

And if all you’re doing is a different circuit every time you train for no rhyme or reason you will not build muscle. In fact, you’ll surely lose it. And now you know what needs to be done to actually lose fat and keep it off so be aware of what you’re doing.

Unfortunately there is no standard set for trainers and coaches. Anyone can open up a gym anywhere, regardless of their qualifications. They can tell you they’re an expert because they got a certification over a weekend, and they can tell you that their program is awesome because of this or that. And maybe what they’re doing looks cool so you give it a try. But after time passes you realize that your results are stagnant or worse, you’re injured. That sadly happens more often than you think.

I set my own standard for myself and for my coaches and have trustworthy mentors holding me accountable.

I pay respect to the coaches who have come before me, and those who are out there making an impact right now. Guys like my mentors John Alvino, Jay Ferruggia, Jim Smith and Joe DeFranco. The great Charlie Francis, Charles Poliquin, Buddy Morris and Louie Simmons. Guys who I’ve studied and some whom I’ve worked alongside to better myself.

Once you train at Tutela Training Systems I guarantee that you’ll see that difference immediately. We are different than any other place out there and I will stand behind what we do until the day I die. Because I and my team work tirelessly to truly help others improve and constantly evolve and improve our program.

We ain’t in this to create some bullshit fad or gimmick.

We’re in this because we love it, and it is our passion to help you become your best self, through strength and fitness.

I appreciate you taking the time to read this.

Here’s to all that are real out there.

 

 

 

 


The Purpose of Life is a Life of Purpose

The Purpose of Life is a Life of Purpose

Many leave this planet confused and unfulfilled.

When the end of life approaches more people are filled with regrets than with the excitement of having given this life their all. And that’s sad.

The masses are quick to quit something that’s difficult and give up before they’ve truly given it a shot. Making life easy and pain free are two of the biggest contributors to a lack of fulfillment. In my opinion, it is partaking in difficult tasks and seeing them through that will lead us to a life we’re truly proud of.

When we quit something difficult, we are then steered away from the direction in which something is pulling us. Conceivably taking steps in the opposite direction of  something we truly want.

The real issue is when this pattern of giving up and finding excuses to not do something difficult becomes a habit. It starts to make up most of what you do. So you become full of excuses as to why you quit, and worse, full of regrets.

Regret becomes extremely overwhelming. Almost debilitating.

You then begin to convince yourself that this is simply who you are. Over time you may expect to quit, so you don’t even try in the first place.

Although temporarily comforting in the moment, consistent comfort and ease will lead to more pain and difficulty in the overall make up of your life. People who want to lose 50 lbs. might get some instant gratification from eating Oreos, but this consistent behavior leads to more pain and unhappiness then muscling through the difficulty of staying disciplined.

I believe that when we live in this way, we are taken further away from our purpose in this life. Our calling, if you will.

When we have no purpose or meaning it is very difficult to sustain happiness. A sense of purpose is what makes us jump out of bed in the morning. It’s what reminds us of why we’re alive.

Purpose gives us something to work for that’s bigger than ourselves.

But finding that purpose doesn’t come easy, and making a living off if it is even more difficult. Which is why you’ll have to go through some struggles and pain in order to obtain it.

But isn’t that what life is about? Shouldn’t we embrace the pain so we can enjoy the comfort? Shouldn’t we embrace the low’s along with the high’s, rather than looking for a way to medicate?

I believe so.

One of my favorite quotes is:

The purpose of life is a life of purpose

If the purpose of this life is to live with purpose, then why the hell isn’t everyone trying to work towards that?

People will say things like time, family and work are the biggest issues, but I call bullshit.

I understand that those things are factors, but if you want something bad enough you will find the time to make it happen. And if you don’t you will find regrets when your number is called.

It’s time that you make the changes in your life you need to make. Tomorrow, next week, next month and next year aren’t gonna be any better. There will always seem like there’s a better time. But that’s just bullshit.

There is no better time to start than this moment, right here and now.

Start the process. Start working towards becoming the person that was given the special gift that you have.

Now get out there and do it.

Thanks for reading.


The 10 TTS Commandments

The 10 TTS Commandments

Training has certainly evolved over the years. We’ve gone from small bodybuilding subcultures to gyms opening to the public and becoming more mainstream, to underground athletic performance facilities to soccer moms flipping tires.

And although it’s great that fitness is bigger than ever (still a very small percentage of the population are training) it has come with its share of avoidable injuries for most. This is commonly due to poor technique and programming, overuse issues, minimal mobility work and lack of a thorough warm-up.

At Tutela Training Systems it is our goal to cut through all of the bullshit and to train with purpose. Everything we do is done for a reason. Our programming has specific progressions and regressions involved, we warm-up at the start of each session and our coaches are trained to make any modification based on the individual’s specific needs.

I believe that training in this way will keep you healthy and strong and lead to a lifetime of results and long term activity.

I want to help you incorporate the TTS system into your own training routine if you can’t train directly with us. In order to do that I want to give you what we call the 10 TTS Commandments so you can pack on more muscle and strength, lose fat and train for the long haul.

So without further ado, here are the 10 TTS Commandments.

  1. Thou shall apply at least 10 minutes of prehab work prior to their training session

Prehab is the work we do to prevent injuries, which essentially prevents having to undergo rehab. This commonly consists of static stretching and soft tissue work by using SMR techniques. I recommend picking out your most problematic areas and addressing them for these 10 minutes prior to your training session, rather than mindlessly running through every stretch in the book.

  1. Thou shall take a thorough dynamic warm-up at the start of each training session

Prehab typically addresses your soft tissue issues and flexibility. The TTS warm up however, will address your mobility. The difference is that flexibility refers to the range of motion of the muscle, whereas mobility refers to the range of motion of the joints. We also use this warm-up to activate your neuromuscular connection (CNS), lubricate the joints, increase the heart rate and core temperature, dynamically activate the musculature being trained and put us into a much stronger and safer state to train in. In the TTS warm-up we use a series of body weight exercises to address all of the above. This can be done in about 10 minutes or so.

  1. Thou shall warm-up on each heavy strength exercise you do

After your prehab and warm-up you’re still not ready to jump right into a heavy squat. You must warm-up specifically for the exercise to help your body gain even more range of motion and adapt to the working load. It’s never a good idea to just toss 300 lbs. on your back and go to work. Take your time and work up to the working load. The stronger you are the more warming up you’re going to need.

  1. Thou shall train with the intention to build muscle and strength

You’re lifting weights to build muscle and get strong. Losing body fat comes as a result to your diet, so don’t try to make your strength work into a cardio circuit. Otherwise, you’ll just end up losing muscle and getting weaker or worse, injured due to shitty technique from the fatigue. If your goal is to improve conditioning then we will prioritize that either after your strength work or on days off of the weight room.

  1. Thou shall modify your training based on your specific needs

If you have really tight, internally rotated shoulders than you probably shouldn’t be squatting with a barbell. If you have elbow pain when doing chin-ups then you probably shouldn’t be using a straight bar. There are tons of modifications you can make to your training where your workout isn’t going to make you worse. That’s the opposite of what you want. Make the modifications you need to continue to progress and avoid injury.

  1. Thou shall not sacrifice form for weight

Here’s the deal. If your form sucks you ain’t gettin’ better, you’re getting worse. Simply trying to push numbers with disregard to your mechanics is going to lead to an injury. Plus, you’re not taking full advantage of the actual exercise you’re training because the musculature is not being hit properly. When form breaks down you’re making some type of compensation. If you focus on quality technique you’ll build MORE muscle, MORE mobility, MORE strength and improve your mechanics. Be patient and train smart. The numbers will come.

  1. Thou shall pull twice as much as you push

Constant pressing and little focus on the upper back is going to lead to shoulder issues. A simple remedy to that is to pull twice as much as you push. So if you are doing a bench press for 3 sets of 5, you should row for 3 sets of 10. Vertical pulling like a chin-up is also important, but since it’s mainly targeting the lats you’re going to want to do twice as much horizontal pulling than vertical pulling, since the lats internally rotate the shoulders. Too much emphasis on lat development could make matters worse if the shoulders are already internally rotated.

  1. Thou shall do some type of sprint variation once per week

A sprint is a fundamental human movement pattern and is incredible for burning fat, building muscle and improving cardiorespiratory conditioning. You should incorporate one sprint session per week. Just be sure to hammer your prehab and TTS warm-up prior to your session. NOTE: Keep in mind that sprinting is stressful on the body. Sprinting on the flat ground has the greatest risk of injury, especially if you have not sprinted in a while. Instead of the flat ground, sprint up a hill or set of bleachers for the same effect with less risk of injury.

  1. Thou shall focus on eating earth grown nutrients and adequate hydration

There’s so much debate about nutrition these days it has become exhausting. Instead of wondering which diet works best, simply eat foods that are earth grown and avoid anything processed. Drink at least half of your bodyweight in ounces per day in water and cut out all juice, soda, etc. Coffee and tea are cool in addition but don’t add any sugar, sweeteners or other shit to it.

  1. Thou shall address flexibility, mobility and soft tissue health daily

Your goal is to get results, feel good and improve your quality of life. If you want that for the long haul then you’re going to need to work on these common issues daily. But it doesn’t have to take all day. Do a little bit for 10-15 minutes every day in addition to your prehab and training. That way you’ll ensure your ability to move freely and without pain.

I know that following these 10 TTS commandments will lead to a bigger, stronger, leaner and healthier you. Stay consistent with them and trust the process.

Remember that the goal is to remain healthy and train long term. Focus on what’s going to keep you strong and in the game.

Thanks for reading!


Get Better Every Day

Get Better Every Day

 

The motto at my gym, Tutela Training Systems, is to get better every day. We use that as our motto because it’s something I instilled in my own life somewhere around 2012.

I decided that in some way, no matter how big or small I will get better every day of my life. So I wrote down a list of things that I knowingly sucked at, and things that I wanted to get good at. Some things were health and fitness related, some were physical skill sets, some verbal communication skills and some were business related.

Once I had this list written out I created another list made up of the action steps I could take in order to get better in each of these categories. Writing out these lists lead to me taking classes and seminars, attending workshops, getting involved in martial arts and hiring some of the best coaches in my industry to help me develop.

As a result, I improved as a coach, business owner and more importantly, a human being. I am nowhere near where I want to be, but I continue to work on myself every day so I keep making progress.

I share this message with you not because I want to pat myself on the back. It’s because you need to see that change is possible, and you can develop skills in any area of your life, no matter how bad you think you are.

So many people I meet hold themselves back due to some type of fear of what other people think of them. I empathize with that because I understand this fear. I’ve been there.

But most of the time the criticism we think other people have for us is  just our own bullshit we put in our heads.

Most of the people that you think are judging you aren’t judging at all. In fact, more often than not, people wish that they could get up there and give that presentation, or compete in the event or… fill in the blank.

It’s YOU who’s judging yourself.

Once you accept that and understand that you are your biggest critic and no one is judging as much as you think they are, things become much easier.

At 31 years old I have evolved in many ways over the years, especially in the last 5. I am able to do things that I never thought I’d be able to do. But that isn’t just by chance. It’s the result of making the decision to develop skills and work on them every single day. I know that by consciously improving my weaknesses I will get better.

And so will you.

But first you need to make the choice and commit to change.

As a result of focusing on self-improvement, my lifestyle, training, nutrition, social skills and business have evolved tremendously.

My training has gone from beating myself into oblivion 6 days a week to training more intelligently and learning the art of Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (I’ve got a long way to go here).

My nutrition has gone from focusing primarily on physique transformation to eating for health with physique transformation occurring as a byproduct.

In business we went from only 6 members in October of 2015 to about 120 now.

I never thought I’d be able to speak in front of a large crowd but I was able to get on stage in front of 1,500 people and do improv at an event I attended.

My friendships are deeper and more meaningful, my conversations are better, I have more clarity, focus and drive and I’m having more fun than ever.

But this certainly wasn’t always the case. I used to be super insecure, doubted myself and lived in a world of confusion.

If you’re currently living in that kind of space understand that you can begin to change and evolve at any given moment. You’re not stuck in this space forever, unless you choose to be.

This evolution of my own life has helped me learn and understand human behavior, which allows me to help guide others through their own development. And I want to share with you the step by step process in which I followed so you too can start taking action and making the changes that you want in your life.

  1. Make the decision to commit to change
  2. Write down a detailed list of things you want to get better at or change and why
  3. Write out one or two actionable steps you can take to get better in each category
  4. Write out small daily tasks that are easily achievable which can help to accomplish your bigger goals (this can be as simple as saying hello to someone at the grocery store to help with your communication skills)
  5. Read your lists and goals first thing every morning
  6. Hire coaches, mentors and people who’ve been there and already achieved what you want. Trust me, the investment is well worth it.
  7. Take action every single day.

This list may seem simple, but in my opinion simplicity is the key to sustainable results. Something as simple as writing down and reading your goals and action steps is a key component to  success that most people neglect. However it is absolutely necessary for turning your thoughts and ideas into a reality.

By taking consistent action on your list your results will accumulate over time, and one year from now you will be in a much better place than you are right now.

A lot of people also fear making the investment to hire a coach or mentor. We bullshit ourselves and pretend we can’t afford it but then waste our money on meaningless materialistic things. This was one mistake that I’ve made over and over again, and one that I wish I would have figured out sooner. Paying someone to show you how to get from where you are to where you want to be is an absolute no-brainer and I cannot recommend it highly enough. That goes for fitness, finance, business, relationships…whatever! I know that there will never be a time in my life where I don’t have a coach again.

If there’s one thing I want you to take away from this article it’s that change can occur at the very moment you decide to change. If you want it bad enough, your life will change. You aren’t just destined for unhappiness or an unfulfilling life. It’s never too late to do the things you want to do.

Make the changes you want to make, and live the life you want to live. It’s all possible, it just takes work.

Now go make it happen!

Thanks for reading.

 

 


Chasing Greatness

Chasing Greatness

Many people look at greatness as some unattainable thing that only a select few people can achieve. They look at the bigger and better things that they want and tell themselves that the only way to achieve them would be to “hit the lottery”.

Or, they look at someone who has a body they want and say things like “I wish I could look like that”.

Not that having a good physique or having material things make you “great” by any means. But the point is that people sell themselves short. They think that greatness or success was just handed to these people.

And no doubt there are certain levels of talent, genetics or even finances that some people are born into. But that isn’t always the case. In fact, most people who are born into what some would call greatness never get the value in going through their journey. Let me explain.

When you or me strive for great things, there are going to be plenty of ups and downs. When you come from nothing there will be many hardships we will face on our path. There will be wins, losses, highs, lows and extremely valuable lessons in each of them. Those lessons will teach us more about life than someone who is just handed something.

They teach us how to become better people, and have empathy for others. They’ll help us understand more about how the world works and develop the strength to withstand the hardships of life.

To achieve success, there will have to be sacrifice. There will have to be discipline, focus, drive, commitment and the ability to control your emotions. These same lessons can be taught through striving towards a goal in your health and fitness, building a business or working your way to the top of the corporate ladder. Either way, we will learn a ton.

To achieve greatness or success, what are you willing to sacrifice? Are you willing to pay for the service of an expert? Are you willing to face some of the hardships associated with achieving that success?

If you’re saying yeah, then that’s the right mindset. If not, why the hell not?! Why settle for a life of mediocrity and lack of fulfillment?

I believe that the fear of the work and necessary sacrifices play a major role in the unhappiness of our society. Depression is higher than it’s ever been, which can be for many reasons including the over prescription of antidepressants and knee-jerk diagnosis. But would people be happier if they put in the work to try and achieve something really hard to reach? I sure as hell think so.

I challenge you to chase whatever it is you want in this life. Don’t fear the work. Don’t fear the pain. Instead, embrace it! The pain and work involved are only going to help you become a better person in the long run.

The life you want, the look you desire aren’t as far out of your reach as you think. It will take time and sacrifice but you CAN get there. You just need to accept the challenge of living a strong life.

Greatness is not this thing that’s only there for the rich and famous. Greatness is within you. It’s in your heart. It’s in your soul.

You just need to be willing to work your ass off if you want it to show.

Do the work, take the blows, learn and grow. When it comes down to your last day on this earth you will get look back and see a legacy that you left behind, rather than just a bunch of pictures.

Get out there and go live the life you were meant to live.

Thanks for reading.


No Apologies

No Apologies

Today is Father’s Day.

The reason I’m writing this today and not currently spending time with my old man is because of drug addiction.

Let me explain.

If you’ve been following me for a while then you may already know that my brother, Mike, is a drug addict. Recently he’s went through a pretty extensive rehab facility and made some significant progress. He’s now been clean for maybe nine months or so. In comparison to the 15 years he’s lived as an addict, nine months isn’t very long, however I’m proud of the progress he’s made up to this point.

Unfortunately, Mike has seemingly taken a step in the wrong direction and off of his path to sobriety. He moved out of his sober living house and back in with my old man. He’s already had “a drink” and is talking like his addictions to substances don’t exist. His old, ignorant attitude is back, and sadly I know where this behavior will eventually lead.

Maybe I’m jumping the gun. I hope I am. But I’ve been around this shit long enough to see the patterns.

My father has been a contributing factor to Mike’s addiction, which stems back to childhood. The truth is, although my father has always meant well in his own distorted way, he has lead Mike further and further down the path of destruction. Allowing my brother to move back in with him after all of these years is the way he’s currently contributing to Michael’s demise. This move happened unbeknownst to me and kept hidden from me by my own flesh and blood.

With all of that said, my Father’s Day celebration wasn’t necessarily what anyone had hoped for. It turned into arguing and hurtful things said in many different directions.

Nonetheless, I’m extremely saddened by all of this, but I’m not writing this article for sympathy.

I’m writing this article to thank you.

I want to thank you for taking the time to read my work.

I want to thank you for taking my advice on your health and fitness.

I want to thank you for your support and giving me the platform I need to live my passion to help people.

You are my family, and you mean more to me than you have any idea. In many ways you have helped me get through the tough times in my life by allowing me to lend a helping hand.

I celebrate Father’s Day by writing to you, in hopes that my story can inspire you in some way. Because we are all going through something, but it doesn’t have to hold you back from becoming who you’re meant to be.

The pain I experience only continues to motivate me to get better. It has opened my eyes to the pain that you might be going through, and I encourage you to use that pain as fuel to move forward in becoming who you want to be.

Use it to live unapologetically.

To grow.

To evolve.

To help those who are in need.

I know that I have done all I can to help my brother battle his demons, the rest is up to him. I have no apologies or regrets in how I’ve handled this situation. I can rest my head on my pillow at night knowing that I’ve done all I can.

And in your situation that’s all you can do too. You can do your best, that’s all. The rest is out of your hands. You can’t control other people, and you can only help those who are willing to accept it.

Pain isn’t always a bad thing because it generates growth. In training you push through the pain of fatigue and the muscle will grow. It’s the same in life. Your mind can adapt and respond in a positive way, allowing you to handle more shit that comes your way. It just depends on how you choose to let it affect you, because for good or bad it will affect you in one way or another.

Whenever I’m going through a tough time in my life I like to sit back and reflect on the things I do have, and less on the things that I don’t. One of the best things I have in my life are true friendships. People who give a shit, and a community of people who support me. Without them, getting through these difficult situations would be much more challenging and my life would not be as fulfilling.

What do you have in your life that you can appreciate? Think about whatever that is whenever you’re going through a difficult moment.

And just know that you can always turn to me, as I have turned to you many times.

Pain in life is inevitable. Suffering, however, is a choice.

You do not have to fall victim to the problems you face. You can use them as the required resistance in which will stimulate growth. Accept the hand you’re dealt and do what is necessary to turn a handicap into an asset.

It’s never too late to start a new beginning. You can reinvent yourself at any given moment.

In one of my favorite songs by Eminem, “No Apologies” he says…

“My head hits the pillow, a weeping willow, I can’t sleep, a pain so deep it bellows, but these cellos help just to keep me mellow, hands on my head, touched knees to elbows, I’m hunched over, emotion just flows over these cold shoulders…”

“As long as there’s still this hunger and will in me then expect a longer life expectancy… I’d be a savage beast if I didn’t have this outlet to salvage me inside, I’d be exploding, soaked in self-loathing and mourning… I’m really a sheep in wolves clothing.”

What has caused you the type of pain that keeps you awake at night?

What has been your outlet in dealing with that pain?

What do you desire so badly that you will give everything in your heart for?

In the past, the pain caused by my brother’s addiction has kept me awake. My outlet has been training, martial arts, spending time with good friends and helping other people.

I strongly urge you to find a healthy way to cope with the hardships you face. I firmly believe that having a physical outlet and helping other people are the absolute best ways to deal with the pain and hardships of life.

You too can learn, grow, evolve and use the hand you were dealt to inspire others and help those in need.

Give back and make it a goal to help others.

Tell your story; you never know who’s listening…

 


The Biggest Fat Loss Mistake You're Making

The Biggest Fat Loss Mistake You’re Making

The number one mistake people make when trying to get lean is going super light for high reps.

For some reason, people think that in order to shed body fat they have to do nothing but 50 reps sets in a circuit-like fashion. What inevitably happens when training in this manner, is you become weaker and lose all of that muscle you’ve worked so hard for.

Not only does this suck from a strength and even an aesthetic standpoint, but it also sucks for your primary goal… fat loss.

Here’s why…

The amount of muscle mass you have on your frame dictates your metabolic rate. The more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism works. The faster your metabolism works the more fat you can burn.

So although you can certainly lose scale weight when training in this manner you certainly aren’t losing all body fat. You’re actually losing a significant amount of muscle too, which, based on what I just said, will slow down your metabolic rate, making it more difficult to lose body fat.

Ever notice that you can lose a decent amount of fat, but then hit a plateau you can’t seem to get past? Atrophy is a common reason why you’re stuck.

For the same reason, you have to be sure not to cut out too many calories. If you deprive yourself of nutrients (fats and carbohydrates are usually most often neglected) you will also lose muscle mass, which will lead to a skinnier, weaker, frustrated you.

So here’s what you do…

Focus on getting bigger and stronger when you’re in the gym. No need to do those silly circuits and dance around with a piss light weight for two hours.

Instead, use big compound movements and get stronger on them. Record the weight you used and the reps you accomplished in a journal. I can’t stress how important that is for your overall progress.

You don’t have to only train super heavy for low reps of 1-5. Work in higher rep strength sets of 6-8, especially if you’re older and beat up. Feel free to throw some higher volume in and get stronger in hypertrophy rep ranges of 8-12, or even 15-20 for some of the bigger lifts. However if you’re a raw beginner I don’t recommend going above 12 for the sake of your technique. If you’re not yet strong enough to maintain integrity of your form then the fatigue from a higher rep set will only make that worse.

I typically like to start my training session with a thorough dynamic warm-up which includes a series of bodyweight exercises and then follow that up with some kind of jump, throw or sprint to really fire up my central nervous system.

These days I’ll begin with a primer movement to activate the musculature and joints being trained that day, prior to my main lift. This can be a bodyweight exercise or some type of light cable, band or dumbbell work. If you haven’t checked out Dr. John Rusin’s stuff, then I highly recommend you do ASAP!

After that I’ll hit my big lift, which is usually a press, squat, or deadlift variation for the most part. This is where I’ll focus on lower reps of somewhere between 3-7. The goal is to get stronger week by week, not fail at attempts. Use a weight that’s hard but manageable and progress slowly. The last thing you want to do is go for a rep and miss it, so leave your ego at home.

Then I’ll move on to my accessory work where I’ll typically work in hypertrophy sets of anywhere between 8-12 or even 15-20, depending on the exercise. Usually I’ll superset upper back stuff to make sure I’m getting twice as much pulling as I am pressing. Otherwise I’m usually alternating between agonist and antagonist muscle groups. During these sets my goal is to progressively get stronger and use heavier weights in higher rep ranges, but of course that’s with good technique!

To finish off the day I’ll usually do some arms (it’s the Jersey in me), abs or neck work. If I’m doing direct arm work it’s usually for sets of anywhere between 8-12. Abs I train with higher reps usually, as well as my neck for sets of 20-25.

Occasionally I’ll throw in some finishers for conditioning, like 5 sets of 30 seconds of burpees, but I usually get enough conditioning in on my days off of the gym,

I’ll finish off the day with some light flexibility stuff and I’m out of there in 60 minutes.

The most important thing to remember is that your goal should be to get stronger and pack on more lean muscle mass. Just not at the expense of an injury so be smart about what you do.

Eat real food until your satisfied, not stuffed and drink at least half of your bodyweight of purified water in ounces per day. Cut out all crap and cheat meals for at least 8 weeks when striving for fat loss.

Once you’re dialed in on all areas you WILL lose more fat than ever before. I guarantee it.

It’s up to you to put in the work.

Now go do it…


The Great Debate: Diet Vs. Diet

The Great Debate: Diet Vs. Diet

When it comes to nutrition there seems to be a huge grey area on what’s right and wrong.

I suppose that’s due to all of the conflicting information out there on multiple platforms. One podcaster might tell you that vegan is your healthiest choice, but some article you read at lunch will tell you that a ketogenic approach is a much better option. At dinner you read a blog post telling you that the best form of dieting is the carnivore diet and you should eat nothing but meat for the rest of your life.

All of this noise makes your brain want to explode, and probably leads you right into your pantry looking for the Coco Puffs (God they’re delicious).

I want to weigh-in on this debate and share with you some of my practical experience over the last 10 plus years of experimenting with different diets on myself, my clients, friends and family members.

First off, let’s briefly go over the make-up of some of the popular diets out there.

Standard American Diet

The average American consumes tons of processed refined sugars, flour and refined carbohydrates, saturated fats, artificial dyes, colorings and sweeteners, low quality vegetable oils and proteins such as beef, chicken and fish.

The standard American diet is the worst of the worst. It’s highly inflammatory due to the sugar and refined carbs and can lead to insulin resistance from the excessive amounts of sugar, which can eventually turn into type 2 diabetes. This style of eating has also played a major role in the rise in obesity, cancer and heart disease. Our eating habits as a society have gotten progressively worse and are the driving force in disease and illness.

Keto

You may have heard some of the buzz lately about the ketogenic diet. This is a diet where your daily caloric intake is made up of a high amount of fat, low-moderate protein and a very low amount of carbohydrates. The idea here is that since you’ll have a very low amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood from consuming a very low amount of carbohydrates, your body’s primary source of fuel will be fat and you will use up most of your stored body fat.

The Ketogenic Diet can serve a purpose, if you do it right that is. Since reaching a state of ketosis will require a high amount of fat, many people will use that as an excuse to throw down foods like bacon, cheese, fast food burgers without the bun, and pork rinds. A major key component when following a ketogenic diet should still be to focus on the quality of the micronutrients, rather than just the macros. Meaning you should get your fat from high-quality fats like avocados, coconut oil, nuts, seeds, fish oil, eggs and grass fed beef. The nutritional value of these fats far exceeds fats like bacon and pork rinds so just be smart about your choices.

I also don’t believe that the ketogenic diet is the best idea for athletes and those who participate in strenuous activities due to the lack of carbohydrates. Carbs are essential for muscular recovery and if you keep breaking down muscle tissue through rigorous training it will become very difficult to recover from those workouts without an adequate amount of carbohydrate, which can then lead to a weaker, smaller you.

One of the biggest downsides I see with the ketogenic diet is that you’ll have to avoid many beneficial fruits in order to achieve the state of ketosis. Many fruits like blueberries and blackberries are packed with antioxidants and nutrients that are extremely beneficial to our overall health. Neglecting certain fruits (and the antioxidants they come with) can leave a chink in your armor of health in my opinion.

However, I do believe we should “earn our carbs” and eat congruently with the physical work we’ve done for the day. The intensity and duration of your days training will determine the amount of carbs you should eat that day. If you’re someone who doesn’t exercise much and would just like to get healthier and drop some body fat then this can be a good start for you. You’ll have less of a spike in insulin throughout the day which, if you’re severely overweight, you’ve had enough of for now and a ketogenic approach can be a good way of working some healthy fats, proteins and vegetables into your diet.

Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting is pretty popular these days. This is where you’ll fast for a window of about 12-14 hours and consume all of your calories in a much smaller feeding window, rather than just eating all day.

Intermittent fasting can be a great form of dieting. By fasting for 12-14 hours it gives the digestive system enough time to digest and process the food you’ve eaten that day. It can also be a very efficient way for burning fat due to the reduced blood glucose levels from the fast. Again this will be dependent on the food you eat, and not just the method of dieting. There’s a very big difference between fasting and eating some eggs and blueberries vs a Frosty from Wendy’s.

The downside here can be more of a craving for crappy foods earlier in the day and from my experience, less energy before you break that fast. Also keep in mind that if you’re training in the morning you’ll probably lose some muscle mass from neglecting pre or post workout food.

Vegan/Vegetarian

A vegan diet is where you’ll cut out all animal products entirely and only consume fruits, vegetables, grains and plant based proteins.

Vegetarians will eat some animal products like eggs and maybe fish, but will not eat meat.

A vegan or vegetarian diet absolutely has its benefits. For one, most of the foods eaten (if you’re not eating crap) are much easier on the digestive tract and have much less of an inflammatory response. Keeping inflammation down is key to our health and longevity, but we also have to be aware of the deficiencies these kinds of diets can create.

For example, the lack of meat can create a deficiency in your body’s level of iron, B-12 and even testosterone. These minerals, vitamins and hormones also play a major role in our health and well-being so it’s extremely important to have your blood tested regularly (every 6 months) if you’re following a vegan or vegetarian diet. This way you can spot the deficiencies and supplement accordingly.

Bodybuilding Diet

For years, many bodybuilders have eaten multiple times per day, high amounts of proteins, moderate fat and a blend of high and low levels of carbohydrates depending on the goal of that particular diet.

The benefits of this style of dieting can be an increase in muscle mass, an elevated metabolism and less body fat. Like the rest of the diets I mentioned above, the quality of the foods here will also play a major roll.

Some of the downsides are constantly worrying about what to eat, preparation of food, digestive stress from the high protein intake (farts galore), and, if you’re eating high amounts of carbohydrates, that will certainly lead to a higher secretion of insulin which could eventually lead to insulin resistance as well.

To touch on the protein issue, there have been plenty of experiments done that show you actually do not need the excessive amounts of daily protein that were once advertised. The supplement and meat industry saw bodybuilding as a way to convince you that you’ll need more protein to grow; even up to 2 x’s your bodyweight in grams of protein per day!

This has been proven to be completely unnecessary and is certainly not good for your health. A protein intake that high will only stress the digestive system and put excess stress on the kidneys. It has also been scientifically proven that you will have the smelliest car on planet Earth and your girlfriend will hate your guts. Literally.

With that said, you’ll only need about .5-1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight per day.

Tying it all together

As you can see, there are plenty of benefits and downsides to each style of eating. From my experience, the biggest factor is having the discipline to refrain from eating shit foods. I don’t care if you’re vegan, gluten free or what title you give yourself, shit foods will still lead to an unhealthy lifestyle and create some issues somewhere along the line. Just to be clear, I’m talking about any foods that are man-made or processed. That goes for sugar, flour, artificial sweeteners and processed oils like vegetable oil.

So let’s start with the three most important words of any diet…

EAT. REAL. FOOD.

Regardless of the style of dieting, you want to focus on earth grown nutrients. They are foods you can kill, catch, or pick from the dirt. So, sources of protein like fish, chicken breast, turkey breast, grass fed beef and eggs, or for you vegans/vegetarians maybe that’s legumes. Unprocessed carbohydrates like sweet potatoes, white potatoes, rice, quinoa, oats and fruit. Fats like coconut oil, avocado, nuts, nut butters, seeds and fats from proteins like grass-fed beef and whole eggs. Finally, do not forget to eat a ton of fresh vegetables.

Now, we can split hairs and start to argue about fruit, grains and white potatoes and whether they’re good for you or not. In my opinion these foods will serve you just fine as long as you don’t eat 15 bananas and potatoes every day. Remember that it still comes down to the amount of calories consumed vs calories burned, which will vary amongst each individual. For now, just focus on removing any crap from your diet and consume all of the Earth-grown food I just talked about. That is THE MOST important step.

From my experience working with people over the years, I have never witnessed a decline in health, energy, performance or blood work from eating multiple meals throughout the day. In fact, I have only seen a positive benefit. That’s goes for everything I just mentioned as well as positive changes in body composition (i.e. body fat reduction and muscle gain).

With that said some people may not tolerate certain foods as well as other people. Some foods could result in fatigue, bloating or maybe a runny nose. If that’s the case simply remove that food from your diet for a while and then try working it back in after 6-8 weeks and see if you notice a difference.

I also see a benefit to eating a wide variety of earth grown foods in your diet. That entails not eating the same foods over and over again every day. This will help you avoid potentially developing certain food allergies or sensitivities.

Maybe one day you remove dairy entirely from your diet. The next day eat only vegan sources of protein. The next day work some red meat back in and so on.

Once you get this in check you will start to feel better and see physical changes to your physique. Then you’ll start to have less and less cravings for shit foods because your gut flora will begin to change for the better.

The bacteria in your gut plays a major role in our health, immune system and even cognitive function. Which is why removing low quality, inflammatory foods should be your first priority before you even think about counting your macros.

From there you’ll be able to see more clearly what diet feels best for you.

Instead of arguing which diet is best and which will kill you tomorrow, understand that there are pros and cons to any one way of eating. It’s my opinion that the healthiest diet for most people is the one with the most variety, and not too extreme in one direction or another.

I really hope this article helps clear up some of the confusion out there. Your first step is to cut out the bad and only focus on the good. However you want to do that is up to you. Just be sure to do it.

Thanks for reading. I’ll catch you next time.


I'm Back!

I’m Back!

It’s been a while since my last blog post, and man does it feel good to be back! A few of you have reached out asking why I haven’t posted a new blog in a while. I can’t tell you how much that means to me. But here’s what I’ve had going on just to keep you in the loop.

For one, I have been putting together a 6 week challenge for new members who want to try our program for six weeks called The Ultimate Shred Challenge. This took up a bit of my time because I wanted to personally interview each person who was interested in joining to make sure it was the right fit. Once we had our group of 12 participants we welcomed everyone to our family with an orientation to get to know each other better and create a needs analysis for each new member.

During that time I was also interviewing our current members for our 8 week transformation contest called The 8 Week Game Changer Challenge. I spent about three weeks taking phone calls and creating the initial presentation. I have to say I had an absolute blast during our first meet up and delivering content to our members. To say that I am fired up about their upcoming transformation is a true understatement!

On top of all that I have been managing my team, writing new programs, writing diets, writing new articles for Elite FTS, scaling the business, creating YouTube videos, writing emails, and looking for a bigger and better home for TTS. Not to mention trying to fit in a social life and celebrating my 31st birthday which was one of the best times I’ve had in a while!

Now before you start giving me the “we get it, you’re busy, dude” crap, let me just say that I’m not telling you this because I want to brag about how busy I am. I don’t think you guys would really give a shit about that.

However I’d like you to understand that you can still be extremely productive when you’re busy. For example, during the last few weeks while all of this has been going on I have been dieting without a cheat meal, training three days per week, training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu twice per week and Muay Thai once per week. I’ve read three books in the last two months, listened to one podcast a day, slept eight hours per night, wrote and read my goals every day, journaled and planned for the future. I’m also in the Big Brother, Big Sister Program and get to spend some of my time every other week with my buddy Jeremiah.

I tell you all of this because the biggest crock of shit I’ll hear about why people haven’t hit a particular goal in their life is because they don’t have the time. And I get it, “I don’t have kids”. I’ve heard that over and over again too. Which is true (at least I hope so). But I have plenty of clients who work full time jobs, some who have to commute to New York City every day and work 12, 14 and sometimes 16 hour days. They ALL have kids and guess what… some of them wake up at 4 AM to make a 5 AM training session and some sneak out at 8 PM once they put their children to sleep so they can make an 8:15 PM training session rather than watching another episode of the new Roseanne. If we try to justify our laziness we could all say we don’t have the time.

If you want to be successful, you’re going to have to MAKE THE TIME! It’s as simple as that. That will require going to bed and/or getting up earlier. That will require discipline and sacrifice. That will require setting goals and focusing on them.

But we as a society are getting soft. We lack discipline and have no idea what it is to commit to something difficult. We choose to lie on the couch and shovel processed garbage down our throats while glued to some mindless TV show instead of being productive.

You have to realize that being busy is a good thing. We need to embrace it but also stay disciplined enough to structure our day so we can get our most important shit done.

As a whole, our society wastes time on social media and mindless television, drinks too much alcohol, pays no mind to nutrition, doesn’t train, hates their job and is unhappy in their relationship. Their daily exercise consists of the walk to and from the refrigerator so they can punish themselves even more. But most will tell you they’re “enjoying” themselves, even though they are really killing themselves.

When you start to look at the patterns of the people around you you’ll notice that they aren’t living their life to their full potential. Not even close. What they’re doing isn’t normal, it’s common which is not the same thing by any stretch.

It’s up to you to break this chain of mediocrity and lack of health. Any change that you want to make to your life is 100% possible, But you need to commit to it and structure your day. Once you structure your day you then need to honor the new schedule you’ve created for yourself. What time will you get to bed? What time will you wake up? What will be your morning rituals? Plan for this rather than just rolling over, hitting snooze 12 times and then staring at social media for 45 minutes to start your day. That’s getting owned by your day. Instead, own IT!

Value your time on this planet, we really don’t get much of it. And if you live like shit then you’ll have even less.

Do everything in your power to control your day and your time here on Planet Earth. You never know when that’s going to end…

Thanks for reading, my friend.

Here’s to your success.