30 January 2017
Double KB clean and press 53lbs each hand
Bench press @ 1.25% bodyweight load
Note: I strongly advocate the kettlebell as a tool and the advantage it provides in unilateral training. If double KB clean and presses are too advanced, scale down to a one armed version and alternate arms. Some people will be able to crush the bench, others will be crushed by the volume. Uncover individual weaknesses and then work to target them as you correct deficiencies and strengthen areas that are lagging.
29 January 2017
100ft Handstand walk
20x Cossack squats w/53lbs (10x per leg)
20x Strict pull-ups
40x 1-arm alternating KB swings, 53lbs
Note: Simple, but not easy. Attack this session with patience. Skill on the handstand walk, lack of exposure to a movement pattern with the Cossack squat, strength endurance on the strict pull-ups, or conditioning with the swings, each variable adds a level of challenge depending on your current ability. Scale loading or volume to allow you to move through this safely.
Sunk Cost Bias - the continued investment of ourselves, resources, or time and energy into something we recognize as a losing proposition, because we have already "sunk" considerable investment that cannot be recovered. If you're currently wasting your time, money, energy, or anything else on a product, program, membership, relationship, or commitment that is not raising the value of your life, CUT YOUR LOSSES and move on. Otherwise its like trying to win back your lost money at the casino by gambling more... In life, everything we are exposed to is trying to sell us a new idea, perspective, attitude, behavior, opinion, mindset, lifestyle, etc... what we pay with is our time. Time is the most precious thing we have, invest yours wisely.
20 January 2017
Test Your Grit
I want to preface with the fact that I do not condone the following type of activity be practiced regularly. However, there is a very real need to intermittently test and assess. As an individual who routinely trains and has committed to a lifestyle of physical preparedness, you NEED to assess the quality of your training system. Furthermore, because training in the "gym" and following a "program" is limited to the "simulated variables" of preparing for life's obstacles, there should be tests that extend past the physical element and cross into the realm of mental and emotional fitness.
These mental and emotional fitness capacities can be viewed as the qualities of resilience (emotional resolve to persevere through hardship), and grit (the fortitude to steel the mind despite adversity). There are arguably different means in which these seemingly unmeasurable characteristics can be developed. In my experience, discipline (the consistent application of concerted effort toward a desired result) and perseverance (the steadfast ability to apply determination unwaveringly) applied during crucible-type events or circumstance immediately garners results. Every time you push through, when you refuse to give in to the negative internal dialogue, when you ignore and displace the idea of not following through, when you apply yourself with commitment letting go of personal comfort or advantage - you grow.
With this perspective and mindset, I present to you Challenge One of the 2017 season. Please, recognize that this event is not for everyone. You should consult a medical professional before attempting this or any type of physically demanding activity prior to initiation.
For time complete the following:
1 mile of walking lunges
1 mile run
For those of you who have buddy towed a survivor, you will recognize the similarity that the legs feel. It is not fun, it never gets easier, but it also never gets harder. Slow is smooth, smooth is fast. Don't come out of the gate hot, instead attack it with purpose and keep grinding it out. Immediately after you stop the lunges and attempt to run your legs will be very unstable, be careful. Ease into the first part of the run, let the legs come back, and then open up the throttle. I finished this today with two guys at work, it is healthy to train together. Find some partners to throw down with. We all managed the lunges unbroken. My time was 50:30 for the lunges and 7:12 for the mile, total time 57:42. Post your times to comments!
19 January 2017
Back squat bodyweight
Strict handstand push-ups
Note: This is not for time. However, the goal is to complete every set unbroken and to keep moving at a steady pace. Whatever your current weight is throw that amount on the bars and get to work, nothing to it!
18 January 2017
50m Sidestroke swim holding pool brick in one hand
Note: Competence in the water varies greatly between individuals. Many people are capable swimmers, some are competitive, and yet others like myself, have a career that revolves around functioning in the water. Nevertheless, many people are not comfortable in the water. After developing proficiency in the water: moving yourself, floating, treading, and entering/exiting you can begin to develop further ability by manipulating an external object while completing the aforementioned skills. Today's session involves swimming a pool brick 50m while keeping the brick completely out of the water with one arm. Practicing this drill forces you to develop greater movement efficiency. Without it, you will quickly sink or submerge the brick. The addition of push-ups taxes the upper body between swims adding in a little bit of intensity. There is no prescribed rest. Tackle this accordingly, recognizing your own level of ability in the water. If this is your first exposure to this type of training, simply practice the drill without the push-ups, and rest as needed.
16 January 2017
1 mile sled drag w/50% bodyweight
800m Farmer walk w/50% bodyweight
Note: Despite this effort being for time, the sled drag is completed by WALKING w/the sled being pulled by the hips. Use 50% of your bodyweight total for the farmer walk, so a quarter of your weight each hand. This is a load that you will struggle with, but should most definitely go unbroken. After the farmer carry drop the weights and go; sprint like a doberman is hightailing you! Post time and load to comments.
15 January 2017
Single arm dumbbell clean and press as heavy as possible, alternate sides every rep
Stone-to-shoulder 100-150lbs, alternate sides every rep
Note: Horsepower today. The goal is to find a challenging load for both the dumbbell and stone so that each rep is taxing, but not to the point where form is degraded. If you do not have a stone to work with use a heavy sandbag, weighted D-ball, or an actual rock (any heavy, awkward, odd object that requires explosive hip extension to bring it from the ground to your shoulder will do). If you complete this session with unbroken sets your weights were too light. The first 4-6x reps should be manageable, 6-10x should be taxing, and for the first two sets 10+ should make you want to stop. Be safe, train hard!
12 January 2017
Odd minutes - 15 cal row or assault bike
Even minutes - 5x Zercher squat, heavy
Note: You may wonder why I prescribe the Zercher squat so often, neglecting more popular versions like back squats, front squats, or overhead squats. I prefer using the Zercher lifts because they are harder, they hurt, no one likes them, they callus your body, and they are super effective. The Zercher squat develops your quads better than a front squat, strengthens your traps more efficiently than shrugs, trains your core to brace better than any "ab program" and equally builds your arms up. In addition to all that awesomeness, the Zercher lifts also have the greatest transferability to carrying a heavy load or dragging a person to safety, while simultaneously demanding incredible mobility and movement integrity. So harden up and do your Zercher lifts, then you will be able to tackle other hard stuff in life!
11 January 2017
09 January 2017
Every minute on the minute for 15 minutes:
Note: Try to sprint at 80-90 percent of your max effort. Rest remainder of minute. If you are stuck indoors, because the weather is too much to overcome, then use a versa-climber or assault bike for 15 second intervals.
08 January 2017
2x Legless rope climbs
5x Single leg Romanian deadlifts each leg
5x Windmills each arm
12x Ring rows
Handstand hold 1 minute
Note: This is not for time. Embed the mindset of strength and movement as a practice. Use a barbell for the single leg Romanian deadlifts, loaded with a challenging weight. Use a challenging kettle bell weight for the windmills, but put movement integrity over intensity - if you start losing form use a lighter weight. Have fun be strong!
In no particular order, because we all find importance in our own eyes, I have decided to share some of my reflections and lessons gleaned/relearned from this past year. Hopefully, something here will resonate with you and help you to move forward through 2017 toward greater health, wisdom, and productivity.
1. There’s more to life than stuff. I think this should go with out saying, but it doesn’t. Despite the simplicity and clear recognition of its truth, I find myself and witness others ascribing to the mass accrual of things – be it clothes, new gadgets, tools, gear, what have you – it is a constant habit. Stuff does not make you better! Certain things facilitate, other things afford convenience, and some things are even necessary. However, all too often we can get lost in the mindset of more, chasing the newest and greatest without any other reason than a superficial desire. The disturbing part is this is EXACTLY how we are programmed to respond. Everything we are exposed to “markets” us in some way, conditioning our minds to desire things we don’t need. In the words of Tyler Durdin “The stuff you own, ends up owning you.” Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, I wonder how freeing focusing on being thankful for what we do have could become. There is a simple documentary on NETFLIX called Minimalism – could be a game changer.
2. Surprisingly, you do not need to record every minute of your life in video/photos. Social media is an addiction. It’s scientifically proven. There is a dopamine release every time you check your IG feed, your twitter string, or Facebook page. When you try to steer clear and give the digital world a break your dopamine levels drop and you start “jonesing for a fix.” Like any addiction the more you feed it, the greater the level of stimulus you need to continue to get the same level of release. This equates to more time spent
3. Sleep is paramount. I suck at this, but I promise I am (this very day) taking proactive steps to do the following:
a. Installing black out curtains in my family’s bedrooms. A dark room is a sleep-inducing cave!
b. Instilling bedtime rituals. Pajamas – check, brush teeth – check, bedtime story with kids – check, prayers – always, air turned down and lights out!
c. Rigid adherence to a bedtime AND wake-time. When you remove the option of sleeping later (especially when you make your wake-up 0430) getting to bed on time is non-negotiable.
4. Wake-up and get outside. I read about this discipline, while stumbling across a site dedicated to warrior mindsets and conditioning. The premise revolves around going outside and immersing yourself in the environment immediately upon waking up. I have been doing this for a year now. No matter the elemental obstacles that present themselves – pouring rain, snow, and frigid temperatures or stifling humidity – you go. I spend about 20-30 minutes walking while reflecting, praying, thinking, preparing, and taking in the stillness of morning. There is great peace in this practice. I went from one of those people that scrambled out of bed at the last second to get to work, to having massive purpose and intention sown into my day’s beginning.
5. Train early in the day. I recognize this is not ideal for everyone’s schedule, but I think everyone can benefit from doing SOMETHING active for at least ten minutes every morning. Training in the morning induces the largest release of HGH in the evening when you go to sleep. It helps balance your cortisol levels so they are high in the morning and taper off through out the day. Physically arming yourself with training as first priority sets you up to tackle every other endeavor in your day with energy and fervor. Consider a short routine of jumping rope, swinging a kettlebell, stretching, or doing some calisthenics to kick start your day.
6. Fitness does not trump health. Doing anything to the degree in which an elite status or being the best is the end goal requires total commitment and sacrifice. The strongest man in the world is not the healthiest man in the world. This is highlighted in understanding that when you pursue any one thing to the highest degree, balance in other areas is negated. Unless, you are a paid professional there is no reason to sacrifice your health in the pursuit of elite level fitness.
7. Know why you’re doing what you’re doing. Doing anything without purpose is in vain. Some will argue that there are things in life that should be done “just because,” but I would implore that even those things upon closer inspection have purpose to those that are doing them. Which leads me to further elaborate – seek understanding. Too often, because information is so readily available and comes at such a rapid influx, we do not take the time to truly understand the why. And if we never take the time to understand why, then we can fail to develop the discernment to include or exclude or in other words correctly prioritize or set focus. Which leads me to my next point.
8. Identify the number one priority and attack it. We are not meant to multi-task. We do have the capacity to divide our attention, but just like anything else reduced, as we do this we get a diluted less-capable response. When we isolate a single focus and target all of our efforts on accomplishing, solving, or achieving that one thing it is amazing how diligent and productive we can become. So identify your number one priority, determine how you will attack it, eliminate all other distractions, and go.
9. Expose yourself to harsh conditions. We no longer know or understand how to suffer. Essentially, we are soft. We are comfortable. We are entitled. Suffering is a discipline. It takes practice. Long-suffering is patience. And patience and time are the two greatest warriors. When and if we can learn to be patient (the discipline of being steadfast in the face of adversity) we can overcome hardship. What I have learned is that pushing one’s self outside of our comfort zone aids greatly in building resilience. So take cold showers in the morning. Push yourself to the depths of the pain cave when you’re training. Practice intermittent fasting. Do the things that make your stomach knot-up in butterflies. Become stronger for it all.
10. Read real books, both to learn and for leisure. When I was a kid I could not put a book down. I would stay up late into the morning with a flashlight, reading chapter after chapter, consuming stories of adventure. There is something to be said for using a tangible real hard copy book. Reading fosters new perspective, transports us to other worlds, cultivates imagination, provokes thought, encourages, teaches, expounds, and develops our own abilities and sense of wonder.
11. Play. “We don’t stop playing because we get old, we get old because we stop playing.” As a young buck in my early twenties, I believed the above phrase ten years ago when I quoted it to my seniors. Their comments of “wait until you get to be my age” are horse malarkey. I still believe this and will carry it with me until the end. Climbing trees, swimming in the ocean, getting dirty, sprinting in a foot race, hiding, wrestling, shooting guns, playing games, being competitive, being silly, being outside, riding a bike, hiking a trail, jumping on a trampoline, doing an obstacle course, zip-lining, rafting, swinging – this stuff never gets old! Let go of your inhibitions and feel free to be alive.
12. Trust your gut. If you feel like you should do something or say something, then follow through even if you’re afraid. Enough said.
13. Spend time connecting with friends. Guys this is so important! Life is too short to not do life together with the people we love and care about. Have people over for dinner, train together, play together, help each other when needed, grieve with each other, laugh with each other, and physically spend time together. No one cares if you have a “number before k” in terms of Internet connections. Do you have people in your life that count on you and that you can depend on? Keep fostering healthy relationship!
14. Hardship and adversity are our greatest opportunities to learn. Everyone wants – to just be awesome, to be great at everything, and to have everything they could possibly want at their disposal. However, if you think about it, if all of that was suddenly given to you, you would have nothing. Nothing would have been learned. There would be no character. There would be nothing interesting about you, no experience, no stories, nothing for you to relate to others with, or any ability to empathize. You would be essentially hollow. Instead we are presented with trying circumstances that afford us the opportunity to learn from our mistakes. Through hardship we have the chance to develop healthy character. Overcoming obstacle our scars and battle wounds give us color. Facing trials we capture experience and in turn can teach from what we know and relate to others undergoing the same struggles. Ultimately, we can empathize with others creating connection and building relationship. Adversity is a gift.
15. Alcohol is overrated. You don’t need it trust me.
16. What you eat is paramount. You cannot waste your potential on poor food choices. You are far too important to be taken out of the game because you are eating without care. Recognize that we are all adults and responsible for ourselves. We know when we are eating garbage. Don’t eat garbage! Unfortunately, again marketing is such that confusion, half-truths, deception and other tactics are employed to keep you down. Start here: stop eating anything that comes in a package, period. If it comes in a package don’t eat it. And only drink water. I wonder what 2018 would start off like if you followed this one piece of advice all year.
17. Hard work is underrated. Pain and fire – is the process of learning and experiencing the journey. Too many people set out to learn the secrets of giants and want the success of others without going through the refinement of hard work and patience. Learn to respect the journey, put your head down and apply yourself in all efforts.
18. Do more. Buy less. The goal is to not be consumers, but rather to be a contributor! The more that we explore our passions, sow into our relationships, invest into our kids, and push past our self-imposed limitations the more we have to offer to others. You cannot purchase character.
19. Don’t be afraid of what you don’t know, be afraid of not finding out.
20. Be positive and encouraging. Positive people change attitudes, environments, and even culture for the better. Positivity as much as its antithesis, is infectious. We can all use an encouraging word now and then, so work to be that person in someone else’s life. You could be the difference that keeps them going.
21. Do the things that make your stomach fill with butterflies. These will most likely be the most beneficial and are the most necessary for you to continue to grow. Why, because they are the hardest things, the things we shy away from, the things we don’t want to face. And as we learned earlier adversity is a gift, so Merry Christmas!
22. Don’t stop doing other physical activities just because you workout. We are caught up in a time where fitness has become fashionable. It has become a lifestyle to belong to a gym and revolve your life around your exercise regimen. This is kind of lame. I respect and appreciate the fact that more and more people are gravitating toward a healthier life of strength, endurance, and movement practice. However, let’s not forget the purpose training is a means to an end, not the end. Use your new fitness and ability to continue to pursue life and healthy relationship. Don’t get wrapped around the axle and tied down to gym numbers and meaningless performance.
23. Be a good dad or mom, husband or wife. First and foremost, if you are a parent, congratulations you have been given the greatest blessing on earth and the most important responsibility at that. Our role in the family is absolutely integral to every other aspect of life. We have the opportunity to teach and invest into the future. Our little bundles of joy and strength need positive role models, encouragement, direction, understanding, affirmation, affection, protection, provision, and the freedom to become who they were meant to be. It is up to us, the individuals specifically chosen to fulfill this role, to pour ourselves into these amazing relationships and give them our best. Never take this lightly.
24. Be true to yourself. You are the only you. I know that’s trite and perhaps non-appealing to you, but consider your own value. Never let anyone undermine your potential or your value as a human being created with purpose. You will potentially be your own biggest fan and biggest critic. So give yourself some credit and cut yourself some slack. Trust in yourself.
05 January 2017
100m Farmer carry
1 Mile run
100m Walking lunge
Note: This is an all out effort for max intensity. Use dumbbells equivalent to fifty percent of your bodyweight in each hand for the carry. Get after it on the mile like you're trying to pursue someone. And then finish the event with some quality lunges for 100m. Comment your times!
04 January 2017
Every minute on the minute for 20 minutes:
Odd minutes - 15 calories on an assault bike or air dyne
Even minutes - 50m swim or 100m sprint
Note: I recognize that few people have ability to pair weighted exercises or cardio machine intervals with swim sprints, BUT for those who do, you should take advantage of this awesome resource! If you are limited in your resources run 100m instead of the swim. If you have a pool, but no bike do 12x burpees without the push-up on the odd minutes. Get some!
02 January 2017
Complete as many rounds as possible in 12 minutes of:
3x Strict handstand push-ups
5x Strict pull-ups
Note: Density training today, accumulating as much QUALITY work as possible within the prescribed time line. Scale movements as needed, either up or down. Add a couple reps, add in a deficit on the HSPU, or wear a weighted vest to make things more challenging. Reduce movements to less skill demanding versions like push-ups, ring rows, and supine leg lifts if that is more appropriate to your current fitness ability. The most important thing is full range of motion quality movements. Enjoy!
01 January 2017
4x 1-arm snatch LH
8x 1-arm push-press LH
8x 1-arm overhead walking lunges LH
4x 1-arm snatch RH
8x 1-arm push-press RH
8x 1-arm overhead walking lunges RH
Rest 3 minutes
Note: First session of the new year. Use a challenging dumbbell and try to move through the circuit unbroken at a steady grind. Hold yourself accountable on each lunge to maximum depth and bringing your back leg all the way through into the next lunge without pausing at a stand.