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Top 5 things I’ve learned since I started Running

I have always despised running and I generally don’t follow a strict “training program” simply because I enjoy exercising and don’t have a specific goal to achieve with it. Now there are times when I have Spartan Races or other mud runs coming up and I will alter my training slightly to suit their demands. But then again, I’ve never taken on the task of running a half marathon distance Spartan Race and chased that with a full marathon eight weeks later!

On September 13, 2014 I will be running my first Spartan Beast which is a 13+ mile obstacle race with trails, mountains, mud, water, barbed wire, walls, ropes, spear throws etc. It is one of the most defining tests of what the primal human is capable of as it tests your endurance, strength, skill, and resolve. And then in November I have the Surfer’s Point Full Marathon. Two very demanding runs for someone who has pretty much always hated running!

 I have done numerous Spartans and other mud runs as long as 12 miles and have pretty much just “shown up” meaning that I didn’t really cater my training to what was ahead of me. And for many of these races, especially the longer ones, I suffered through them. I have never had a “did not complete” but I very rarely finished a race and felt like I performed to the best of my abilities. That doesn’t sit too well with me, especially since I’m my own toughest critic. So I have taken it upon myself to adopt more of an endurance training system to help me accomplish my goals and upcoming races. I will say that 5 weeks into my endurance training I am starting to really enjoy running, especially the trail runs where it’s early in the morning and there’s nobody else on the trails. It’s extremely peaceful even with my headphones blasting some old Killswitch Engage tunes!

Here is a list of what I’ve learned about endurance training…… formerly known as “My Arch Nemesis”

1. I can actually run!

I think my biggest hesitation to running before was that I never felt like I could do it well. Generally running isn’t something that 200 lb men excel at!

2. I can still get my high intensity workout in:

While a long run is very exhausting, the recovery is relatively short. And after about a 10-15 minute recovery period after my hour long run, I am totally capable of tearing up a short high intensity workout. One of my recent favorites is 5 rounds of the following circuit. 10 Kettlebell swings, 5 Pull Ups, 10 Burpees.

3.  I can spend even more time with my daughter:

I sometimes will run with my soon to be two year old daughter. The jogging stroller is well designed and probably can’t be improved much but it still adds a new dynamic and difficulty to the run. I have two separate time standards when I run, They are With or Without a stroller. I am usually at least a minute/mile slower with the stroller.

4. It can still be a social workout

My history with working out and training has always been very social. I have always been able to train harder and more effective when I have people all around me. It’s not that I’m super competitive, but I lack motivation when I’m by myself

5. I’ve stopped listening to all the haters

The fitness community can be very black or white when it comes to long distance running. With the fast twitch guys saying that running in unnatural and it will destroy your joints and your muscles with shrivel up and disappear. And the runners saying that everyone else is a bunch of meatheads and are too lazy to put in the effort to become a runner.

All in all, I’m up for a challenge. I’m not saying that I will turn into an endurance junky but I love exploring all corners of fitness. If I’m not trying new things and pushing my boundaries than I’m just being stubborn and stagnant!

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Don’t feel like designing your own workout? Give mine a try!

Every Friday I will be posting up a free workout for anyone and everyone!

These workouts are simple in design and effective in results. Now don’t get that confused with this being an “easy” workout because I’m here to tell you that these workouts are anything but “easy”.

5 for 5 workouts are based around a simple strategy: Perform five different exercises back to back as a circuit. Complete five of these circuits as fast as you can. ( always keep form and fatigue in mind while performing 5 for 5’s ) 

Today’s workout is as follows

Five rounds with as little rest as possible

10 reps Archer Push Ups

20 reps Sit Outs

20 reps Jump Lunges

20 reps Plank Ups

20 reps Wrestler Bridges

 

Feel free to tailor this workout to suit your current fitness level. Enjoy

H.I.I.T. me with your best shot!

H.I.I.T. (high intensity interval training) is all over the fitness world these days and is being promoted as the number one most effective way to exercise and if you’re not doing it than you are wasting your time! Is this true?

Hiit has been around for years! Although it has carried a different title through the years such as “circuit training” or the new buzzword “MetCon” the idea of hiit is simple. Work HARD for a certain amount of time followed by a short rest period. I particularly like to use ten exercises of 45 seconds work with 15 seconds rest. This really spikes your heart rate while giving you just enough time to recover and do it all over again.

Pros and Cons of HIIT

Pros:

  • Increased cardiovascular conditioning
  • muscle toning and fat loss
  • the “after burn” (calories burned well after you’re done working out)
  • mental toughness
  • Short workout 30-45 minutes on average

Cons:

  • if not programmed correct there can be an increased risk of injury
  • Potential for adrenal fatigue
  • Discomfort

 

If programmed correctly a HIIT workout can be an amazing workout routine that can show amazing results. But that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone! Many people just simply don’t enjoy pushing their max heart rate threshold, and that’s fine. There is no one workout that’s for everyone. I do feel that HIIT is something that most people should try simply because it challenges you not only physically but mentally also. And it’s the mental aspect that drives me and I find that the same can be said for a lot of my friends and clients also.

So in conclusion I’m not going to say that HIIT is for you, but I will say that it is up to you to try it and find out for yourself!

What did Kung Fu Panda teach me about Fitness?

 

The Kung Fu Panda is an overweight jolly bear that has dreams to be the greatest Kung Fu’er ever! Nothing could deter him from reaching his full potential but himself. He was filled with doubt, poor self control, and straight up stupidity! But one day his father told him what the secret ingredient was in his famous “secret ingredient soup”…………. NOTHING. That’s right there was no secret ingredient he just lead people to believe there was, which built up a mystic about his product that kept people coming through the door day after day! And from that point on Panda knew he could be or do whatever he wanted as long as everyone else believed that there was something SPECIAL about his skills!

Well guess what! Much like Panda’s family soup, there’s no “SECRET” formula for fitness. I know I know, that can’t be possible right? But there is a universal formula that transcends all modalities of training and that’s to work, work, work,  and work. And after that work some fricken more!

Some may argue that Crossfit is the superior training program as others will say that endurance sports are even better. Maybe powerlifting is better than kettlebell training? Is it possible that bodybuilding is better than TRX suspension training?

Sure, crossfitters will crush an endurance athlete at crossfit but when an Iron Man athlete crosses the finish line chances are real good that the crossfitter couldn’t even be seen on the horizon.

A powerlifter might deadlift twice as much weight as a kettlebell athlete but ask a powerlifter to do as many reps as possible in two minutes of the kettlebell snatch and they may be taken to the hospital with a heart attack!

Try and get a bodybuilders body with a suspension trainer, or try and get the extreme core strength you achieve from suspension training from traditional dumbbell and machine exercises.

The moral of the story is simple. Do what you makes you happy. And do it as good as you possibly can. Don’t listen to the BS out there, a general rule for me is if someone says they have the “secret” to this or a “special” that, it usually means they don’t have anything new or even special at all.

If you like to run than run, if you want to move as much weight as possible overhead than try Olympic lifting or Crossfit, if you want to lift a fire truck off of a Hyundai after a traffic signal malfunction than take up powerlifting, if you want extreme relative strength try TRX or calisthenics.

As with all things in life, don’t buy into the HYPE, chances are the only thing that’s going to get thinner is your wallet!

PS. Try a Spartan Race. It changed my life and who knows, you might like it too!

 

 

Bruised Ribs and a Mountain of Sand

It’s been a little bit since I last updated this blog. (I won’t lie, writing isn’t my strong suit!) But I have been very busy both with my personal training business and also with 5 for 5.

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Did you know that having a bruised rib sucks?! Well it does. I was unlucky enough to take a hard body shot while doing some boxing drills the other day and now I’m very limited with my movement and weight lifting. Unfortunately this makes it a little tough to shoot my 5 for 5 workout videos but I should be able to tough it out pretty soon and get back on track.  I will be back soon as my thick skull doesn’t let me stay still very long.

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Sand hill Sunday has been continuing it’s awesome streak. This week I had six first timers on the hill and it was a pretty epic day. It was the last weekend before the big Monterey Spartan Beast race so naturally it was a Spartan themed workout that didn’t disappoint!

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We did a burpee ladder workout which saw the Sand Hillers doing 100 burpees by the time they reached the top of the hill. Two lucky Spartans even carried a 50 pound bucket of sand all the way to the top. SAM_0330 SAM_0340

And what may have been the most memorable moment of the day was when Will Smith (who happened to be there working out with his trainer) started cheering on fellow 5 for 5’er Karen as she was reaching the summit of the sand hill. SAM_0328 It’s not every day that you have a huge mega celebrity screaming your name in support of what you’re doing!

Thanks everyone for coming out, until next time!

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It’s Sandhill Sunday season!

I had a great time yesterday kicking of my Sandhill Sunday workout program.

There’s nothing quite like putting in hard work with a great group of people while overlooking the pacific ocean. I brought out all the toys for yesterday’s workout. We started out with a dynamic warm up, than went straight into a 5 station circuit. The circuit had tire flips, tire drags, bucket carries, agility work, and battle ropes.

After completing three rounds of the circuit is when the real workout started! Everyone had a tire with which they had to throw over their heads up the hill alternating between a snatch style throw and a shoulder press throw.  Everyone did an amazing job and when we got to the top we all just relaxed and enjoyed the view of the ocean from a couple hundred feet in the air.

 

I will be there every sunday starting at 10 am…. I hope to see some of my interwebers out there!

Just when you think you know yourself…… you throw yourself a curveball!

My upcoming events schedule is NOT looking like something I would normally sign up for. It’s looking like a runner’s calendar, not a meathead’s like me.

In September I’m running my first Spartan BEAST which is 13+ miles of mountains, mud, barbed wire, fire and rope climbs oh my! I have run four Spartan Races in the past and love them, but this is the first time I will be participating in the Beast! We are talking about a 1/2 marathon distance in tough rural rugged terrain, I will admit I’m excited and damn nervous too. But if there’s one thing that the Spartan Races have taught me it’s that if you look adversity straight in it’s face, tell it to “fuck off” and continue putting one foot in front of the other, you will eventually get to your destination.

Shortly after I heal from the Beast I will be running my very first marathon! Now this is something I never thought I would do. I always thought it would be cool to say that I had run a marathon but never actually had any desire to do such a thing. That was until my awesome client told me that she has a goal of completing a full marathon by her 30th birthday and that she would pay my registration fees so I could run with her! Without hesitation I told her we’re running a marathon, and later that night I came across the Surfer’s Point Marathon in Ventura CA. This is a flat beach side run that in November so it should be nice, cool, and hopefully overcast which should take away from some of the misery of the day.

Also since I’m vegetarian and my client has celiac disease we both have our hands full when it comes time for fueling up for this race. Luckily I’ve found a couple really cool interwebers that can help both of us.

Celiac is an autoimmune disease and  causes inflammation and irritability whenever you eat gluten (which is in almost all of our modern day carb sources). My client’s case is pretty severe and even trace amounts of gluten will render her useless and make her pretty sick.  So in steps Rebecca with runrebeccarun.wordpress.com, Rebecca is a long distance runner with celiac disease and has figured out how to fuel with all the challenges of managing a gluten free lifestyle. I am definitely going to be researching her blog to find recipes and ideas!

And luckily for me, my resource for vegetarian marathon training found me! Alina has become an avid 5 for 5’er and reached out to me on Instagram recently. After talking to her shortly she was surprised to find out that I don’t eat animals. Well I’m going to surprise her again by announcing that I’m doing a marathon! Her site www.veganrunnereats.com is filled with Veggie fuel! And I can’t wait to start trying some of her recipes!

And lastly, assuming I can still walk. I have my annual Malibu Spartan Sprint in December. The race that started it all for me! This will be my fourth Spartan race in Malibu, and it’s pretty nostalgic for me.  Back in 2011 I had known that I wasn’t in my lifelong career job and wanted to make a change but not quite sure what to do. I had started training friends at a park three times a week after work and everyone was loving it. I knew then that being a trainer was something I could love to earn a living doing. All the people that were training with me decided that we wanted to challenge ourselves and we came across the Spartan Race. The Spartan race brand was very much in it’s infancy and nobody really knew much about it other than it looked tough! Well we were tough! So we signed up and created a team.

We trained for about 6-8 weeks for this 5k mud/obstacle race that we knew nothing about and thought that nothing could stop us. It didn’t STOP us but holy crap, it sure kicked our asses! I still to this day remember when I crossed the finish line thinking to myself “This is exactly what I’m supposed to do with my life”. And ever since then that’s all I have been doing. Training people has become my life, I train people face to face, one on one, in a group, anonymous people online etc. It is who I am, and I can honestly say that it’s Spartan Race’s fault!

So I really should stop writing and start running because these legs need to get conditioned to move this 200 pound body!