chris

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.


The Mirror

The Mirror

Next time you get out of bed, take a look in the mirror.

I want you to take a step back and look at yourself from head to toe. Then take a step closer and look into your own eyes. Take a minute and really look. Stare deep enough to actually see the blood pulse through your veins.

Then step away and think about who you just saw. Not just the “what” like the physical attributes, but the “who”. Who is this person that you just saw? How well do you know them? Is this a person that you look up to? Is it someone you admire and trust?

Does this person consistently lie to you? Justifying all the bullshit you know you shouldn’t be doing?

Is this someone you want to be?

There’s a chance you might not like what you see, and maybe you won’t like your answers. But answering these questions honestly will point you towards the changes in your life that need to be made.

If you’re like most of us, there are some things you need to get better at. There are some habits in your life you need to break, and some changes that need to be made in some very important areas.

And sometimes you have to go to a very dark place in order to find out more about yourself. Think about what has lead you to today. What events have occurred that shaped the person you are right now? Why have these events affected you (whether good or bad) and how have they impacted the decisions you currently make?

We all have some darkness buried deep in the pit of our souls. Those who go back to the darkness and pull it out in a healthy way usually see the light and remove a giant weight off their backs. Those who are afraid of their darkness tend to remain in a place of anxiety and doubt. They are afraid of their past and the pain that comes with it. They are shackled by fear and insecurities and never experience the true joy of this life. Their decisions are fear based which leads to more regrets at the end of the road.

Believe me I understand how difficult it can be to go into the darkness. I’ve been there… But if you don’t search for answers you will never truly know who you really are. But first you have to be very, very honest with yourself, and I’ll bet money that many of you reading this are thinking “I don’t have any darkness”. Well, maybe. But odds are you’re full of shit. Don’t be afraid of opening up the gates.

Going back allows you to change the things that are currently holding you back from living the life you want – From becoming the person you want to become. And it doesn’t matter what you’ve done in the past.

What matters is that you DECIDE to change TODAY!

Maybe the decisions you have made in the past have lead you to being overweight, unhealthy and unhappy. Or maybe you’re someone who has done some things in your life you aren’t proud of. Maybe you’re currently addicted to drugs or alcohol and need to change your life, but the things you’ve done in order to get your fix keeps you awake at night.

Maybe you’ve hurt someone. Maybe someone hurt you… Whatever your past, remember this.

Your history IS NOT your destiny.

What you’ve done in your past does not stop you from becoming the person you have the potential to become.

So don’t be ashamed, no matter what it is you’ve been through. You have the potential to make any changes that you want, and become the person you’ve always wanted to be. But that brings me back to doing some digging and finding out what’s really holding you back.

Why do you self-sabotage and eat the crap you know you shouldn’t? Why do you lie to yourself and say you’ll be ok if you just have one drink, when you know damn well you won’t be.

People will tell themselves anything to justify something they know they shouldn’t do. We lie to ourselves and make emotional decisions. We become reactive instead of proactive which usually leads to more poor choices.

If you want to make a real change in any area of your life, here is what you need to do.

  • Decide
  • Go back and find your darkness. What’s holding you back? Why do I keep failing?
  • Create a plan
  • Be honest with yourself. Cut the bullshit
  • Surround yourself with people who support you and will be honest with you
  • Commit to the process
  • Execute consistently

These seven steps will impact your life more than you realize. They may seem simple, but in my opinion simplicity is the key to success in anything. Just remember, achieving success is simple, but it is not easy. There’s a lot of work to be done so don’t confuse the two.

It doesn’t matter where you’re starting. All that matters is that you start!

And you can start by taking a good look at the man you see in the mirror. Find out who you are and unleash the man you always wanted to become.

Thanks for reading.


66 Rules for Freedom, Happiness and Physical Excellence

66 Rules for Freedom, Happiness and Physical Excellence

Plenty of people are pissed off, stressed out, out of shape and completely unhappy. And I get it. I used to be one of those people. It took a lot for me to make necessary changes to my life over the years.

But since I did I couldn’t help but want to share the steps I took to transform my life with other people. Sure, helping people pack on muscle, lose fat and add weight to the bar is awesome and rewarding in itself. However there’s more to life than just chasing numbers.

With that said, I firmly believe that in order to be truly successful and happy, health and fitness must be a priority in your life. These things go together and are crucial for our quality of life here on this planet.

So, I figured I should put together a list of the things we should all do in order to achieve optimal health, wellness, strength, muscle mass, success, freedom and happiness.

These are the steps I have learned from my coaches and mentors and personally taken to change my life for the better, as well as the people who I’ve worked with over the years. These tips are in no particular order, just naturally flowing off of my distorted brain.

So grab a pen and paper, you may want to take some notes…

  1. Wake up early. At least 30 minutes before you “have to”. This is the best time to get the work done which you say you have no time for.
  2. Move often. Walk, stretch, stand. Just don’t sit in one spot for too long.
  3. 30-60 minutes per day, every day.
  4. Knowledge is powerful. But it’s useless if you don’t apply it.
  5. Sprint often. Human beings are designed to do this. Sprinting is in our DNA. It will help you build lean muscle, develop explosiveness, burn fat and produce hormones like testosterone and human growth hormone.
  6. You are a product of the five people you spend the most time with. Choose your inner circle wisely.
  7. Belief is powerful. If you want to achieve anything you first have to believe it’s possible. Choosing the right circle of people has a lot to do with that.
  8. To achieve anything you have to be relentless. Not just for one day, or one month. EVERY-FUCKING-DAY. Consistency is the key to your success.
  9. Tell people how you feel. Let them know what’s on your mind. Holding that shit in is toxic and will eventually lead to resentment and anxiety.
  10. Lift heavy shit.
  11. Hike, jump, throw, swim, play.
  12. There is an entire world out there filled with shit to see.
  13. Invest in yourself. Take classes, go to seminars and events. Learn something new!
  14. Tell the people you love how you feel. You’ll make their day and you’ll feel even better for it.
  15. Don’t hate on other’s success. Be happy for them and let them know it.
  16. Ignore the haters. They’re out there. Trust me.
  17. Keep your training between 45-60 minutes. Anything more than that is counterproductive.
  18. Sleep 7-9 hours per night.
  19. Turn off all electronics 60 minutes before bed.
  20. Take a COLD shower before bedtime. You’ll sleep much better.
  21. Face fear. We all feel fear. Some let it hold them back. I was one of these people. Because of that, I was MORE anxious and depressed. Once I started to make it a point to face my fears my life changed for the better. Be sure to do something that scares you, or at least makes you uncomfortable every day.
  22. Get out of your comfort zone. You’ll never grow there.
  23. Take risks! You only got one life. Try to accomplish what you want. To do that, you’ll have to take some risks.
  24. Don’t argue with people. It’s cool to disagree. We will never agree on everything. But arguing with someone who’s narrow minded will get you nowhere.
  25. Seek out mentors. Don’t try to accomplish your goals alone. Find someone who’s already done it, and don’t be afraid to pay them for their service.
  26. Write down your goals, and read them every day.
  27. Your mind fills up with plenty of thoughts, emotions and all things alike. Journal what’s going on and read through it. Sometimes you’ll find the answers you’ve been looking for all along.
  28. Don’t be a slave to your phone. Don’t look at it first thing in the morning or right before bed. When you’re working, keep your phone on vibrate and across the room. When you’re with other people, be present. If you’re looking at your phone constantly you’ll never be present.
  29. Be totally present.
  30. Don’t fucking text and drive. It’s stupid and irresponsible.
  31. Care for other people and LISTEN to them. Truly listen. Don’t just wait for your turn to talk.
  32. Squat and deadlift often.
  33. Don’t train to failure.
  34. Eat plants, animals, fruits, unprocessed carbohydrates, nuts and seeds. That should be the make-up of your diet. If it is, you’ll build lean muscle mass and burn fat.
  35. Avoid processed, refined sugar.
  36. Avoid flour.
  37. Avoid foods that are fried in cancer-causing oils.
  38. Get a massage as often as you could afford.
  39. This has been a game-changer for me and calms my psychotic brain. You don’t have to be a pro to start. I recommend holosync by Centre Point to help you get started.
  40. Remember that when you feel like you have no control, you can always control your breathing. I work in box breathing every morning when I meditate. 5 seconds on the inhale through the nose, 2 second hold, 8 second exhale through the mouth as if you were blowing through a straw for 4 sets. You can also do this when you feel stressed or nervous.
  41. Dream big and set your goals high.
  42. If you think you’re doing enough to accomplish your goal, double what you’re doing.
  43. Competition is great for our well-being. Compete in some way and compete often.
  44. Schedule quality time for your friends and family.
  45. Stand up for what you believe in. Not everyone will agree with you and that’s ok.
  46. Don’t try to please everyone. You’ll never succeed. Be true to who you are.
  47. Don’t wait for tomorrow. Start right now.
  48. Be open to new ideas.
  49. Put the fucking toilet seat back down.
  50. Don’t piss on the toilet seat.
  51. Embrace the journey. Life won’t always be perfect.
  52. Make quick decisions. Even if it’s the wrong one you’ll make some progress and course correct. Overthinking just wastes time.
  53. Make sure your daily habits are aligned with your goals. If they’re not, change them.
  54. Don’t ever fart in my car.
  55. Hate something? Don’t fucking do it anymore. Trust me, there is a way. It just takes work.
  56. Be grateful and express your gratitude.
  57. Drink water. At least half of your bodyweight in ounces daily.
  58. Drink your coffee black. Out of respect, that is.
  59. Don’t ever say ‘JK’.
  60. Don’t be afraid to pump up the gunz with curls and direct tricep work. Regardless of what the ‘experts’ say.
  61. Create a code and live by it.
  62. Learn new skills. A martial art, how to play an instrument, how to paint…whatever you want to do. Just be sure to do it.
  63. Don’t fear failure. There’s always a chance that you’ll fail, but if you don’t take that chance you’ll never know if you could have succeeded.
  64. Train with rage.
  65. Volunteer, mentor or give back in some way. This is the most rewarding and fulfilling thing that you can do.
  66. As Ray Lewis says ‘BE PISSED OFF FOR GREATNESS’. It’s the edge you’ll need to succeed.

I believe that we are all capable of achieving great things in our lives. However people hold themselves back with self-limiting thoughts and beliefs.

They hate on others and are full of negativity, spend their time watching mindless bullshit and don’t do anything but complain about the success of others. That will never get you anywhere. And I believe that to be happy and to be the best you, nutrition, exercise, sleep and recovery need to be prioritized.

Once they are you’ll start to see things from a different perspective. You’ll be open to learning, traveling, competing and having fun. Because you’ll feel better and your brain chemistry will change.

Then, all of a sudden, your life has changed.

This doesn’t happen overnight. It’s when you apply these new rules to your life consistently enough that you begin to see the shift.

I truly hope you take advantage and see the impact that these ‘rules’ can make on your life.

Thank you for reading.

Now…go dominate the fuck out of this life.


Use Accommodating Resistance to Smash Through Plateaus

Use Accommodating Resistance to Smash Through Plateaus

Most of the material I write about is to help hard gainers pack on size and strength. That’s because over the years I have helped a countless number of athletes and skinny dudes get bigger and stronger.

I myself am a hard gainer so that organically became my specialty over the years and I made a career of it.

However I have also worked with plenty of advanced guys and gals who are already jacked and strong. Those who want to take it to the “next level” if you will.

Strong who want to get stronger. Jacked who want to get jackeder…More jacked? Uber jacked? You get the point!

If you’ve been training for some time and have a goal of adding some more weight to the bar, then this is definitely the article for you. I am about to teach you how to smash through training plateaus and help you add some poundage to your main lifts.

Remember, no one wants to be jacked and weak. It’s time to get strong as shit, and this is how you’re going to do it!

Every lifter hits a plateau at one point or another. Most end up getting frustrated or just think that they have hit their peak. And maybe they did, at least for now.

But there is a proven method used by some of the strongest lifters in the world to help you get over that hump. That is, using accommodating resistance.

What the fuck is that, you ask?

Accommodating resistance is accommodating the resistance of a barbell by adding either bands or chains.

This became popularized by Louie Simmons at Westside Barbell and used by plenty of world’s strongest competitors.

First, let’s start with chains.

Chains are added to the barbell sleeves to create a heavier top position. Using a squat as an example, the bar actually deloads as you begin to descend as more chain piles onto the floor, making the bar lightest in the bottom position. As you come back up the bar gradually gets heavier again as the chain comes off of the floor. Making it heaviest in the top position.

Since the bar is lightest in the bottom position, and gets heavier as you come back up, it teaches us to break through the sticking point of the movement. Sticking points are where the bar typically slows down for the lifter, or they “get stuck” in the lift.

Since you know the bar will be getting heavier as you come out of the hole, you will have to learn to accelerate out of the bottom. Faster acceleration will lead to more bar speed, which will help us break through our sticking points. When you progress using accommodating resistance, you will learn to produce more force out of the hole and that will eventually lead to a bigger lift.

Bands are the same concept. Only now we are accommodating the bar weight with band tension. The training effect is similar to what I just explained when using chains. Only now, you will have to learn to accelerate much faster because you will have to overcome the added band tension with more speed than you would chain.

Simply put, bands and chains are adding more weight or tension at the top of the lift which forces you to accelerate the bar faster. You’ll then be hitting those sticking points with more acceleration which can help you overcome them.

But it isn’t only about the acceleration of the lift. Bands and chains also teach us to decelerate the bar as well. The added weight or tension in the top position forces us to stay tight and control the eccentric (or lowering portion) more. When we have better control during the eccentric and then we reach the deloaded bottom position, we can learn to move the bar faster during the concentric phase.

This makes bands and chains a tremendous tool for developing strength. However they can’t be used exclusively. Here’s why.

If you are only using bands and chains and not also squatting, benching or deadlifting with straight bar weight, you’re always going to be training with a deloaded bottom position. If you aren’t maximally loading the bottom position of your lifts then you are going to develop weaknesses in the bottom position. So just remember to do both.

With that said, on days that you’re accommodating resistance it’s important to remember that we don’t want to use weights that are way too light because that will sacrifice our maximal strength.

You also don’t want to use a weight that’s too heavy because the bar speed will be too slow to develop adequate acceleration.

That said, you typically want to use about 65-75% of your 1RM when selecting your bar weight. Then only use up to 20% of the total bar weight in either chain weight or band tension.

For example, if your 1RM on the squat is 400lbs, 75% of that is 300lbs. 20% of 300lbs is 60lbs. That means I would load the bar with 300lbs and then add up to 60lbs in either chain weight or band tension. Band tension can get a little confusing but there are charts that give you the specific band tension poundage. You can head to elitefts.com to find out more of the specifics.

Nothing is more frustrating than seeing people use chains improperly. Some people randomly slap chains on the bar and just think they’re used because it looks cool. Please don’t be that guy. What you want to do is get a light feeder chain. This is the chain that you attach to the barbell sleeve and connect the heavier chain to it. The heavier chain should have about 1-3 links on the floor at lockout, regardless of the lift you’re performing.

If the chain is too far off the floor they will sway too much and could cause you to lose your balance or not even deload the bar at all as you descend. If too much chain is on the floor, the bar isn’t heavy enough at lockout. Both lead to wasted valuable training time.

Now, as I mentioned before, accommodating resistance is mostly used for advanced lifters. But it is also very useful for beginners and people who are a little more banged up. For beginners, it teaches them to stabilize the bar better, control the eccentric and makes it lighter in the bottom position where form typically breaks down.

For beat up lifters, lightening the load in the bottom position can certainly be a plus.

So you don’t have to be advanced to implement the use of bands and chains. Just know how to use them and why you’re using them.

Either way, if you use them properly you will sure as hell make a ton of progress.

Thanks for reading, folks!

 


The Two Substances that are Destroying Mankind

The Two Substances that are Destroying Mankind

Most people know that sugar and flour are bad.

You know that sugar spikes blood sugar to the extreme and forces the pancreas to work extremely hard over and over again to produce enough insulin in order to keep your blood sugar in check. Which can eventually lead to diabetes.

You may even know that sugar and flour are both highly inflammatory and the people who eat it on a daily basis are in a chronic state of inflammation. Which leaves them with a weakened immune system and more susceptible to life-threatening diseases like cancer.

Not to mention their contribution to the obesity epidemic.

And finally, if you ever tried going on a diet and removing sugar or flour from your daily intake, you know that it can be extremely difficult to stay on track. And the majority of us crave some type of sweets or processed carbs when we’re dieting.

Well, here’s what you might not know…

The reason why so many people crave sugar and flour when dieting isn’t only because they’re byproducts are delicious. It’s because you are addicted! Yes, you.

This is difficult for many people to believe, but just hear me out for a sec.

Sugar and flour are extremely addictive on both the psychological and physiological level. First let’s talk about the psychological end…

So since we were little kids we’ve consumed massive amounts of both sugar and  flour. Especially during birthday parties, a fun day at the beach or when we were feeling down our parents gave us some ice cream or pizza to cheer us up. Due to the instant gratification we received as children, these substances are now built into our reward system, which plays a huge roll in our adult life. Now, when we have a shitty day we might tend to say “screw it” and go for that piece of candy, whether that be a conscious or subconscious decision.

On the physiological side, we have actually conditioned our gut flora (good bacteria of the gut) to crave flour and sugar, since we’ve been eating it consistently for years. Our gut actually craves it when we remove them, making it extremely difficult to stay on track.

So since you’re getting hit from both the physiological and psychological end, you need to recondition both your gut and mind to break free. It’s important to  understand that the instant gratification you receive from eating these substances is only self-sabotage and not rewarding at all. Aside from the few minutes of deliciousness that is…

In order to recondition your systems, you need to remove all processed, refined sugars and flour from your diet for anywhere from 8-12 weeks.

I know, easier said than done. But here is what I have found to be extremely helpful over the years.

  1. Understand that you will crave both sugar and flour.

Now you know why.

  1. Have a goal.

When you have a transformation/health goal keeping this crap out of your diet becomes much easier. Know what your goal is, write it down and read it out loud every day.

  1. Have a start date and end date to accomplish your goal.

If you simply say “I’m going on a diet tomorrow” then I guarantee that you’ll be stuffing your face with Twinkies by Sunday. Put your plan in place and then have an exact start and end date. This way you’ll know when you can earn a cheat meal and it won’t seem like you’re just “dieting” all the time.

  1. Stay disciplined as a motherf*cker.

At first you need to be extremely disciplined. There’s no way around this. However, once you get a few weeks in you will start to develop good eating habits. Once you develop good habits it becomes much easier to stick to your plan.

So you may be asking yourself how you keep from eating sugar and flour for the long haul, and not just for 8-12 weeks. Well, the answer is by removing it for 8-12 weeks first! This process will help you lose body fat, look better and feel better. You’ll be healthier and have more energy than before. Once you see this in full effect you start to realize the negative impact these substances have made on you in the past. When you tie all of that together your cravings for sugar and flour will be significantly reduced.

I tell you this firsthand because I am a true fat kid at heart. I grew up in an Italian family eating pasta all the time with all the desserts you can imagine. If you ask any of my closest friends they will tell you about some of my epic cheat meals that even I don’t know how I got down. But now I only eat sugar when I choose to. Not when I simply want it. And to tell you the truth from eating well for the majority of the time I rarely crave it these days. So trust me, if I can do it you sure as hell can too.

I hope that you realize how the over-consumption of sugar and flour is an epidemic. Obesity and disease are at an all-time high, regardless of the fact that fitness is more popular than it has ever been! If we can reduce the rate of heart disease, cancer, obesity and diabetes by removing two things from our diets for the majority of the time, why wouldn’t we do it?

It just takes a conscious effort and a little discipline. Let’s take a stand and do this shit together.

Here’s to your health.

Be sure to drop a comment below if you have any questions!