Stern and Trejo

trejo

I don’t listen to live radio much anymore unless I need to chill my brain out.  And when I do listen, it’s usually to Howard Stern or sports talk, which drives Devon crazy if she happens to be stuck in the car with me on a road trip.  But its better than the alternative of her having to listen to my audio books and programsJ.

Well, today was my luck day.  One of my favorite characters, Danny Trejo, was on Howard Stern, one of my other favorite and colorful characters.  Trejo has an amazing story and I hope they one-day make a movie of it.  But one of the things that hit home when they were wrapping the interview up was that Trejo finished with this, “Everything good that has ever happened to me was the result of me helping someone else.  Every single time.”

Powerful when you grasp the concept.  Trejo is an American/Mexican badass, yet he let us all in on his ‘secret’.  Its not about what you get, its about what you give to others.  One of my main goals when I write in my nightly journal is to help other discover their own inner greatness.  Not always easy to keep that in focus, but that’s what I believe a good coach should be doing at all times.

I just had the team at Newell Strength (Dana, Kevin, JDB and Johnny Maz) read the Go Giver as the first in a line of our ‘must read books’.  The entire concept of the book is about giving.  I am telling you that the first time I read that book, I had one of the greatest weeks I have had in recent memory.  The book will take you less than 2 hours to read too.  But, go back to the question: What can you do today to give to others?  How are you going to make someone else’s day?  Make real connections with people, make eye contact and listen!!!! Most people are always just waiting to talk, not really listening.  Listening is a skill and the ultimate one at that.

When I went to Michigan State’s basketball camp before my senior year of high school, Coach Izzo repeatedly said, ‘Learn to listen and listen to learn.’  That has stuck with me.

Giving is receiving.  Think about the last time that you got a really great gift.  Now, think about the last time you gave a really great gift, whether in your time or material things and think about which one made you feel better.  Which one made a more lasting memory?  I can’t even think of what the last gift I received was.  But I can remember the times I really helped someone in a meaningful way.

Giving is also the same door you receive through.  This applies to all areas of life.  However, you cannot focus on what you will get, that defeats the entire purpose.  Listen; each day you wake up, you have the chance to make someone else’s life better.  It may be a friend, a student, a colleague, a spouse, a child or a complete stranger.  You never know whose path you are going to change and in turn, where that change of turns will lead you.

The beauty is that can give without any money or material means.  Give you heart and soul to every person you meet.  Give your time and attention to those that need it.  If giving really is receiving and you start to practice this, you will be the wealthiest person on Earth.  Change a life today.

NEWELL STRENGTH NUTRITION: BODY FAT

The Official NS Fat Shredder Contest

The Official NS Fat Shredder Contest

As I was telling some in the Newell Strength community, being that I am getting ready for my bodybuilding show, my mind is fully focused on fat loss which has led me to re-examine body fat percentages and ways to help my clients and athletes lose fat faster, easier and to also define what is acceptable as far as body fat percentage.

First off, we have essential fat as human beings; this is fat that you cannot lose.  For males, this number is 4% and for females I have read anywhere between 10-14%.  Typically, females are 10% higher than men, so a woman with 14% body fat is shredded and as lean as I would ever like to see them.  When a female dips below 14%, they will start to run into problems with the sex hormones which will lead to reproduction issues, osteoporosis (bone loss) and in short, the female athlete triad which includes loss of period, osteoporosis and eating disorders, which is a whole different beast in itself.  Quick note: everyone on the face of the planet has some type of body image disorder but how we deal with it will determine the outcome.

For men and male athletes, in my view and my experience, anything above 16% is too fat.  Yes, the average that I see is in the 20’s, which means most men and athletes are overly fat.  I should say that most of the athletes start out a little lower, usually in the high teens, but an athlete should be 12% or less if they are a male.  I will make the exception that if they are a football lineman, they can be in the 20% range, but anything over this number is just too fat and will do nothing to improve performance.

A quick note on fat.  Extra body fat increases intramuscular friction, which will slow speed of movement down.  What this means is that the more fat you have, the less power your muscles can produce relatively.  And the name of the game for athletes is power.  For fitness clients, too much fat will lead to poor insulin sensitivity, which will mess with many other hormones in the body.  For our sake, think heart disease, cholesterol problems, testosterone problems, problems with energy, appetite control and the list goes on.  For men, I often see huge, hard bellies, which is a sure sign of high visceral fat.  The bad news is that visceral fat is very dangerous, surrounding all of the critical organs.  Men more so that woman, have this fat pattern and it can directly attributed to the stress hormone, cortisol.  The reason the fat will accumulate around the organs is to protect them from the perceived stressors (the reason your cortisol is higher).  I can and will write a completely separate article on stress, but for now, just know that the body does not differentiate between stressors, be it physical, emotional or psychological.  The good news is that visceral fat has a good blood supply and is much easier to lose that subcutaneous fat.  For some, it will also require a new way in dealing with stress.

For females, it is not uncommon for me to see a female with a ripped upper body and a stack of fat on the lower body (sorry, didn’t know how to word it nicely).  Woman carry much of their stubborn fat cells, known as the alpha receptors, in the thighs and buttocks area.  Alpha heavy fat cells are a bitch to try and shrink and they have a very poor blood supply.  In fact, depending on the type of exercise, a woman can actually transport fat from the upper body after going through the process of mobilization and transporation, the lower body and have the fat re-uptaked by the stubborn lower body alpha fat cells.  So in essence, they get leaner in the upper body and fatter in the lower body at the same time!  The lower body fat according to all the biosignaure lectures and courses I have attended is also an estrogen/toxin issue.  There are certain protocols to help with this such as intake of a fiber supplement, calcium d-glucarate, fish oil and a good probiotic.

But, getting back to female fat, I would love to see all my clients around the 16-20% range.  For females, most of the time it is also a few simple nutritional tweaks such as increasing protein and calories, counterintuitive to what many female magazines will have you believe.  Female athletes should be in the 14-18% range.

Fat loss requires consistency and patience.  Men usually have a harder time with this but the more you stay at it, the more you will re-set the body in terms of body weight and body fat percentage.  Also, please note that I do get a ton of athletes that are skin and bone that don’t really have an issue with body fat.  With them, I will monitor their ‘shit-food’ intake based on their hamstring measurement and their sleep patterns based on certain measurements in the biosignature evaluation.  Muscle gain is a whole different topic and one that I’ve covered before.  I’ll be back with more fat loss information as the days role on, but this should give you a good idea of where you should be in terms of body fat and hopefully it will help you set some realistic goals.

NEWELL STRENGTH TWILIGHT ZONE

Easy E with 2 giants at NS

Easy E with 2 giants at NS

Man, I have been running around like a mad man with different obligations and Newell Strength engagements, which is all good.  The business is continually ramping up and thriving and throw into that the fact that I am prepping for my bodybuilding show and we got an influx of new teams and programs that want us to work with them this Spring and Summer and you can see why I haven’t been able to write as much as I would like to.  But, no excuses, I gotta make the time.  So I thought I’d catch you up to speed.

I have been waking up at 5AM every day, give or take 15 minutes on either side of that.  Last Thursday, for example, I had to get up at 4:45AM to make sure I got my morning fasted cardio in before leaving to work with the Middlesex High School football program at 6:30AM.  When I wake up, I take Mateena out to do her business, feed her, grab a cup of coffee and mix some tyrosine in with it and then watch a few inspirational videos on YouTube while writing in my ‘gratefulness journal’.  This gets my day off the right start because I am setting the course of my mind rather than waiting for any old incident to come in and dictate how I will feel for the day.

Then its off to the basement for 40 minutes (currently) of conditioning on my dual action Schwinn AirDyne bike.  During this time, I am listening to either an audio book, motivational speech or some inspirational music on my IPod while I play a bodybuilding/training dvd in the background just to let seep into my mind.  I will also visualize while riding the bike, or if its nice out, I will throw my 60 pound vest on and go for a walk.

But I’ll make another article about my daily routine in and upcoming post.  On last Thursday, I cancelled my college class because I had the chance to go see Steve Schenbaum of GameOn with 3 member of the Newell Strength Team (Dana, Johnny Maz and JDB).  This was up at my mentor/business coach’s facility, Gabriele Fitness and Perfomance in Berekly Heights, NJ.  Steve taught us 7 games and invaluable lessons that we will be able to use for a lifetime.  It was fantastic.  I first saw Steve on an ESPN special about Kentucky Basketball when he went in to work with them.  Great experience!

From there, I was running a little late, so I had to run home, throw my chicken breast into some dry oatmeal and bring to the gym with me.  I put some water in when I got there and ate it like that.  YummyJ.  A little while later, Ripped Van Winkle came to the gym with his pet skunk (no joke) and he scared new but old Newell Strength member, Prasad aka Big Daddy aka Clooney to the point that Big Daddy hobbled out of the gym on his newly repaired ankle.

Ripped and the skunk

Ripped and the skunk

I also got my body fat taken this past Thursday and I can tell you first hand that you shouldn’t put too much stock into the numbers because my numbers stayed nearly identical although I can now see veins in my arms and shoulders while training and a few more lines in my torso area.  I also have signs such as constant hunger and a lower basal temperature (94.6 a week ago) so I know the diet is doing its thing.  I will talk more about this as well in a post later this week.

To cap the night off I had to run out and get some gas for the truck after leaving the gym and I got offered a pet ferret, which I kindly turned down after much debate.  Rodents are something I don’t really feel anything about.  Things that cause no emotion to rise up in me I usually discard from my mind.  I got home, ate dinner, check a few messages and was pleasantly surprised to find I had two messages in my inbox about people leaving their current careers (one is a CEO) to pursue their dreams because of something I said in a video or past article.  You never know whom is listening to what you are saying or whom is watching your actions, so carry yourself with integrity at all times and live with your highest SELF on full display.

About to catch the Final Four with Devon out here in Kentucky at my aunt and uncle’s.  Tomorrow is cheat night for me, don’t worry, you will get to hear all about it and why I do it in a soon to be article. EWELL STRENGTH TWILIGHT ZONE

 

 

Man, I have been running around like a mad man with different obligations and Newell Strength engagements, which is all good.  The business is continually ramping up and thriving and throw into that the fact that I am prepping for my bodybuilding show and we got an influx of new teams and programs that want us to work with them this Spring and Summer and you can see why I haven’t been able to write as much as I would like to.  But, no excuses, I gotta make the time.  So I thought I’d catch you up to speed.

I have been waking up at 5AM every day, give or take 15 minutes on either side of that.  Last Thursday, for example, I had to get up at 4:45AM to make sure I got my morning fasted cardio in before leaving to work with the Middlesex High School football program at 6:30AM.  When I wake up, I take Mateena out to do her business, feed her, grab a cup of coffee and mix some tyrosine in with it and then watch a few inspirational videos on YouTube while writing in my ‘gratefulness journal’.  This gets my day off the right start because I am setting the course of my mind rather than waiting for any old incident to come in and dictate how I will feel for the day.

Then its off to the basement for 40 minutes (currently) of conditioning on my dual action Schwinn AirDyne bike.  During this time, I am listening to either an audio book, motivational speech or some inspirational music on my IPod while I play a bodybuilding/training dvd in the background just to let seep into my mind.  I will also visualize while riding the bike, or if its nice out, I will throw my 60 pound vest on and go for a walk.

But I’ll make another article about my daily routine in and upcoming post.  On last Thursday, I cancelled my college class because I had the chance to go see Steve Schenbaum of GameOn with 3 member of the Newell Strength Team (Dana, Johnny Maz and JDB).  This was up at my mentor/business coach’s facility, Gabriele Fitness and Perfomance in Berekly Heights, NJ.  Steve taught us 7 games and invaluable lessons that we will be able to use for a lifetime.  It was fantastic.  I first saw Steve on an ESPN special about Kentucky Basketball when he went in to work with them.  Great experience!

From there, I was running a little late, so I had to run home, throw my chicken breast into some dry oatmeal and bring to the gym with me.  I put some water in when I got there and ate it like that.  YummyJ.  A little while later, Ripped Van Winkle came to the gym with his pet skunk (no joke) and he scared new but old Newell Strength member, Prasad aka Big Daddy aka Clooney to the point that Big Daddy hobbled out of the gym on his newly repaired ankle.

I also got my body fat taken this past Thursday and I can tell you first hand that you shouldn’t put too much stock into the numbers because my numbers stayed nearly identical although I can now see veins in my arms and shoulders while training and a few more lines in my torso area.  I also have signs such as constant hunger and a lower basal temperature (94.6 a week ago) so I know the diet is doing its thing.  I will talk more about this as well in a post later this week.

To cap the night off I had to run out and get some gas for the truck after leaving the gym and I got offered a pet ferret, which I kindly turned down after much debate.  Rodents are something I don’t really feel anything about.  Things that cause no emotion to rise up in me I usually discard from my mind.  I got home, ate dinner, check a few messages and was pleasantly surprised to find I had two messages in my inbox about people leaving their current careers (one is a CEO) to pursue their dreams because of something I said in a video or past article.  You never know whom is listening to what you are saying or whom is watching your actions, so carry yourself with integrity at all times and live with your highest SELF on full display.

About to catch the Final Four with Devon out here in Kentucky at my aunt and uncle’s.  Tomorrow is cheat night for me, don’t worry, you will get to hear all about it and why I do it in a soon to be article.

 

The Blue Print to Losing Fat

The Blue Print for losing fat

The Blue Print for losing fat

I am working on a project that I wish I had started when I competed 6 years ago. I am documenting every step of the way towards my bodybuilding show on June 28th in Medford, New Jersey. When I first started competing in 2004, there was no one else that I knew of in Hillsborough competing in bodybuilding other than the Wolverine. But at that time, we were just acquaintances, not really compadres. So, I was kind of in no-man’s land as far as figuring out how to get to sub 5% body fat.

I hired a guy in a local town that proceeded to starve me for 16 straight weeks. I was miserable so from that point forward I decided to educate myself in how to get super lean and I hired different coaches of my own to learn from their methods. Some of the things I have learned or come up with are pretty neat and very effective for losing fat.

Here is a recap of week one:

I started with my morning fasted cardio on Monday, March 10th at 5:30 A.M. I went for 35 minutes on an empty stomach. I drank one cup of coffee and had some Inferno (thanks to Cannibal supplements) for my yohimbine. Doing cardio on an empty stomach will inhibit the alpha-receptors, the stubborn little guys that just won’t go away. For guys, this is usually the lower abs/lower back area and for females it is normally the thighs and glute area. We also have beta-receptors which are located in other areas of the body but they are easy to mobilize and shrink. The yohimbine will also inhibit the alpha receptors and increase the blood flow to the alpha receptors. I don’t want to get too far into how fat loss occurs, but I will be covering it in depth at the ‘Mechanics of Fat Loss’ seminar at Newell Strength on March 26th (inquire for details-its complements of Newell Strength).

I performed some more slow, long distance cardio on Thursday and Saturday first thing in the morning at 5:30 AM.

I had a great leg workout on Monday as well. On my main workout days I am eating roughly 2,800 calories and on my lighter workout or non-workout days I am eating roughly 2,500 calories per day. I will cover the break down of those calories in next weeks article of the blue print to get ripped.

On Tuesday, I went over to Gabriele Fitness and Performance to get my BioSignature measurement done. I came out to 241.5 pounds, and 15.3% bodyfat. That is actually much lower than I thought it would be considering how I felt. I did manage to gain 14 pounds of muscle in the past year though! As of this morning, Saturday, March 15th, I am down to 237.

Hunger has been mild, and I am feeling great. The intra-workout drinks are really instrumental at this point as I could feel some of the juice leaving the tank towards the end of the week.

This Sunday night will be my cheat night in which I indulge for a few hours. I know some people say to keep it to a meal, but the research and my own experience has shown that 5 hours is needed to ‘reset’ the slowdown of the metabolism. I won’t go for 5 hours but I will take the time to increase calories and drink some wine while chilling with Devon.

Time to go hit the store to buy next week’s food, stay tuned!

THE MOMENTUM THEOREM

photo-4

 

It is completely normal to fall into the mind-trap of feeling like you cannot succeed or that you don’t deserve success.  I believe that those people that do succeed spend just as much time in self-doubt as the losers in life, but they understand the momentum theorem.

While doing my daily reading this morning, I came across this formula.  It made momentum absolutely clear.  Every time I wonder how I wound up where I am in life, I go back to what got me to where I am at and I continue to work on that.  And ‘that’ in short, is momentum.

The Fi stands for focused intensity.  We live in an ADD society and most people cannot manage to hold their focus on any subject for even an hour, let alone 10,000 hours.  And Malcolm Gladwell has shown in his book, Outliers, that it takes roughly 10,000 to become world class in anything.  Depending on if you are working on your dream full time or not, that will equate to anywhere between 7-15 years of your life.

It’s at that point that most people scream, “Overnight success!  That (insert name) was so lucky.”

Focused intensity is a muscle you can train.  The more you focus on something, the easier it’ll get to focus day in and day out.  However, a muscle you don’t train will atrophy or shrink.  The T stands for time.  Focused intensity over a period of time will lead to huge results.  I used to only have time to work on Newell Strength for an hour per day on my lunch break.

Because my time was limited, I had to be hyper-focused.  You need to command your time, not waste it or let it slip by.  I still structure out my day, every day and I know the night before what I will be focusing on.

The G stands for God.  I do not care what your beliefs are, those are your beliefs and they are none of my business.  But the important thing to realize is that there are other, higher forces at work in daily life.  You can call it God, the Universe, the Secret, Mother Nature or whatever you’d like.  But think back in your life to all the times you have worked towards something and something ‘magical’ happens, a big break through or just the right person or right event at the exact moment in time that you needed it to happen.  That higher power wants you, wants us, to live to our full potential and to help others realize the greatness they have within themselves.  A life is a terrible thing to waste.

And finally, you arrive at momentum, at which point everything seems to be going right and success is yours.  A space ship uses most of its fuel and thrusters when it is trying to fight gravity and leave Earth’s atmosphere.  It has to overcome gravity and a lack of momentum.  When you first start out in anything, the momentum you have to spend will be huge.  It will make you want to give up and most people out there will give up.

Most people will never actualize or realize what momentum feels like because they lack a part of the equation above.  Success would mean nothing if it were easy to come by because everyone would have it then.  And that is the secret to success.  There is no competition out there when you think about it because most people will not develop the full equation.  Learn how to focus intensely, learn how to invest your time, learn to trust your ‘gut’ and stay at it, day after day.  All overnight successes take at least 12 years…..

The Road to Becoming: Champion’s Choice Personal Training

cc flyer

 

I happened to be cleaning my office out yesterday before my Sunday night cheat meal and I was having a grand old time finding some old stuff and either trashing it or filing it away. I came across one of my very first bags that I used to carry my notebook, flyers and calipers in, which has been around since Newell Strength, otherwise known as Champion’s Choice Personal Training began.

I was cleaning out the pockets of the bag and actually found a $100 bill, but that was not the best find in the bag, although it was pretty cool. On a side note, I do believe what you give out you get back; a few months ago I was in Rhode Island at a seminar and while at the grocery store I came across a $100 bill on the floor right near the in house store bank. I picked it up, walked it right over to the lady and told her I had found it on the ground. She and the other workers had a look of disbelief on their faces as I walked off. 2 months later I come across a $100 bill that has probably been in that bag for 5 years, go figure.

Anyway, the best things that I found in the bag were the flyers and old business cards in the picture above. That is actually the original logo and my very first crack at marketing. I ran off hundreds of copies of that flyer and I used to go around late at night and put them in people’s mailboxes. I didn’t want to get caught so I was very much on the low, low. I did this religiously for over 2 months, at which point I think I got one person out of my efforts. But that wasn’t important, it was my dedication to my message that has stuck with me.

Shortly after these flyers, I actually offered to start training people for free because I wanted to train people so badly. I had a vision way back when and I am now living that vision. That flyer made me get very nostalgic, it represented the beginning and it serves as reminder to me about how far I’ve come and how far I still have to go. I still have a vision of where I will be, where Newell Strength will be in the coming years. I am not sure if any of those old t-shirts with the gorilla logo are still floating around, but that image brings be back to my roots. I wanted to represent a primitive passion for health and a no BS approach.

I actually can’t help but laugh at how bad those first flyers are but like anything, you get better as you practice your craft. I remember wanting to be where I am at now way back then, thinking that once I arrived, I’d be all set. But something I was contemplating the other day was “What does success mean to me?” Its not money, I can tell you that and I can also tell you that I do not feel as if I arrived. Maybe its part mental illness, that desire and urge to always want to do more. Or maybe, I need to remind myself, as should you, that happiness is the path and we need to start from a perspective of happiness to enjoy the journey.

This upcoming weekend I will be going to a 2-day, invite only seminar with other guys in the fitness industry, down in Red Bank, NJ. I am sure they will hammer this same message home as they have in the past. We need to be happy first, we don’t get to places or do things to become happy. That flyer, those business cards, were made when I was happy, I just had a passion for training. I could do it anywhere, anytime and enjoy it, because I was happy. I had a vision and I had a journey I was setting out on and it became a reality because I took the time to make it real. What’s your purpose? What’s your vision?

The Mavs Hoodie

Newell Strength Mavs Hoodie

Newell Strength Mavs Hoodie

Recently, one of my doctor friends saw me wearing my Mavs hoodie and asked, “Since when are you a Mavs fan?” I had to chuckle because no one had ever asked me why I wear a Mavs or Nuggets hoodie from time to time. So, I explained the story to him….

About 4 years ago, my life direction was in the balance. I was teaching by day, running the PIT (my basement gym) by afternoon and night. I was not enjoying the way my life was shaping up. I had been dating Devon for about a year and I decided I was going to move with her and go on a wild adventure to another part of the country. I wanted to be the best strength coach in the world and I only wanted to do that. I didn’t want to have a day job and the business end of the PIT was not a passion of mine at the time.

So, I started keeping a binder of all goals and time frames. I had also started reading Jack Canfield’s The Success Principles, which still has about 100 book marks in it and the whole thing is damn near highlighted. But I remember one of the things was to actually dress the part. Act as if so to speak. So I had my mind’s eye set on being the strength coach for either the Dallas Mavericks, the Denver Nuggets, the University of Oregon and/or Boise State University. I knew I would have to work my way up, but it didn’t matter, I knew in my heart that I would outwork anyone and everyone to be the best.

My strength coach buddies from Rutgers called Boise State for me and I went through all the paper work and submitted it. My friend Mike told me he told their head strength coach that he guaranteed that I probably knew more than any of their current strength coaches. But, they decided to hire form within. I remember calling the head of the College Strength Coaches Association on my lunch break at school to see if he could help me. I reached out numerous times to the university of Oregon but did not hear back and he told me to keep trying. I remember sending that gentleman a thank you card for taking his time to help me. I bought both of the above-mentioned hoodies. As you can figure out, life took another turn and the current Newell Strength was born. I will save that story for next month. But did you ever think to look back on your life and notice how small, little decisions at the time or circumstances had to be just right for things to work?

Devon and I had a great Q and A last night as she was going through an ‘annual plan’ questionnaire I am going through and asking me the questions on there. Some of them really got me thinking. My therapist is currently trying to help me uncover what drives me, yes, I have mentioned before and will mention again that I have a therapist because I am constantly trying to improve every area of myself. The mental game is no different.

But had I not had 3 brothers that had more natural talent and ability than me in academics and athletics, I probably would not have developed the ‘will’ that I did or the sense of urgency. What drives me? Who am I trying to prove myself to? I am not sure and as I was telling Devon it’s a blessing and a curse. I have trouble being present in the moment. It does not come natural to me and it is something I have to work on constantly through meditation and journaling.

I think about how much my parents sacrificed for me to succeed. They let me build a gym in the basement! The let me have a revolving door of clients coming in the front door of their house. I think about when I would be training athletes down there with music blasting…..what arrogance I had, but I was driven and they accepted that. Just the other night my dad was telling Devon stories of when I was still living at home in those days and he would hear my alarm going off at 2, 4 and finally 6 AM to the sound of a blender or the smell of me making some gluten free pancakes in the middle of the night, just so I could fit in more meals and see how nutrition really would impact my gains.

I don’t know why I can never settle, maybe it’s a form of autism. But that, in short, is the story behind the Mavs hoodie. It represents me setting my sights on something and not stopping until I get there. If the other conversation I spoke of didn’t happen when it did at one of my best friend’s weddings in the summer of ’10, I can tell you this: I would be out in Dallas, Denver or some west coast college right now. I see it and then go after it, like a vampire tasting blood. Act the part, see the role and blaze a trail to it.

REASONS TO TRAIN FAST AND FURIOUS

Training at a fast pace was something that was instilled in my when I first began training for my first bodybuilding show, at the very beginning of Newell Strength.  Yes, I went through the phase where I thought I had to rest 3 or more minutes between sets or else my strength would plummet faster than a castrated choirboys testosterone levels.  But like anything, you live and you learn.

I first realized that training relatively heavy and fast would give me a great cardiac workout when I was looking for any way to get a little leaner because every bit of ripped you can get for a bodybuilding show counts.  It made perfect sense to me that if I trained upper and lower splits or even just very large groups of muscles fast, the heart would have to work that much faster to make sure it was pumping blood throughout all the working muscle.  Weightlifting can and should be the main form of cardio for a person.  And that is why we encourage everyone at Newell Strength to train in such a manner.

Another reason that it is imperative to train at a fast pace is because of your motor units.  What’s a motor unit you ask?  A motor unit is a motor neuron and all the muscle fibers that it innervates.  That is where the term innervation training comes from and I do believe that just gave me another idea for an articleJ.  Let me back track a minute….

One of the reasons I wanted to teach a few college courses this semester was because I knew I would have to go back and re-learn information I first learned about over a decade ago.  I also knew that it would have new meaning to me.  So in the lesson a few weeks ago, my class covered how a motor unit will stay activated for a matter of time after you finish a hard set.

Now, if you let too much time pass and are like most people that go to the gym to talk about the bar and go to the bar to talk about the gym, you will do nothing more than keep re-firing all the same motor units, making it impossible to gain new strength, power or muscle.  But, if you keep a furious pace, each set you will recruit new motor units that haven’t been hit yet.  More motor unit recruitment = more muscle.

How fast is furious?  Well, you don’t want your performance to suffer drastically, so this is something that you will have to work on over time.  As you get into better shape, you can push the pace faster.  It also dawned on me during that lesson that the reason Louie Simmons and the guys at Westside Barbell push such a fast pace on their dynamic days is because of the very principle of motor unit recruitment.  On their dynamic days, they rest only 30 seconds between sets, using a submaximal weight (50-60%), which allows them to continue to increase their power output.

So next time you are in the gym and someone wants to bend your ear about the latest happenings at the bar, simply say, “Sorry, but my motor units are calling me back to the next set.  I can talk when I am all done.”  Fast and furious wins the day in the gym.

MY FIRST MUSCLE EXPERIMENT

 

I remember the day, I was in 4th grade and I was assigned to work on a science project.  I chose to work on the elasticity of rubber bands.  Perhaps that was the day Newell Strength was born. What got me thinking about this?  Well, I started teaching my first course at local community college last week and one of the topics was the stretch-shortening cycle (SSC).  Think of plyometrics and how built up potential energy in a muscle and tendon can turn into kinetic energy.

 

My experiment was so simple, but I remember it fascinating me, even at that age.  I had a board and I screwed little i-hooks into that board.  I would then take different sized rubber bands and heat some of them and freeze the others.  And I also left l some at room temperature.  I would then take them out their environment and hang them from the i-hook with weights hanging from the bottom of them.

 

I would measure the distance the rubber band would stretch and if there was any stretch reflex to it.  I did this by letting the weight free fall while connected to the bottom of the band.  What I found out was that the warmer bands would stretch more.  The ones that were cold wouldn’t stretch hardly at all, or they would even snap in some cases.  And the room temperature ones were right in the middle.

 

This told me a few things that still stay burned in my mind.  1) A muscle and tendon need to be warmed up properly to perform properly.  2) When a muscle is cold, it has a much greater chance of snapping, straining or tearing.  It also doesn’t have the optimal stretch reflex.  3)  The more forcefully a musculo-tendinous region is stretched, the greater the potential for the stretch reflex.  Meaning, it has a greater chance of snapping back with equal to greater force.

 

I had a student demonstrate last week trying to jump while hardly bending at the knees and then jumping from a natural position.  When he did it naturally, he activated the stretch reflex and it allowed him to jump much higher.

 

When one is trying to bench press maximal weight, if its brought down slowly, less weight will be able to be used.  If it’s brought down rapidly, but in a controlled fashion, much more weight can be used.  This is an eccentric contraction.  Notice, you never want to bounce the weight off the chest in this example.

 

Once you understand the stretch reflex, a whole new world opens up to you in understanding how muscles will react in a given situation and what is optimal for your training.  For example, in bodybuilding training, it is often a good idea to lower the weight with a certain tempo, like 3 seconds down and then pause at the bottom for up to 3-5 seconds, taking the stretch reflex away.  This will cause more muscle damage which will lead to more growth.  Note: once you rest for 5 seconds, the built up potential energy is lost and if you lower the weight slowly less is built up to begin with.

 

Funny how when you look back at your life you can see how you were destined for a certain profession/passion, in my case, Newell Strength.  Funnier is how I learned how muscles and tendons work in 4th grade.  Put it to use….

LOVE THE HATERS

 

hater (from the ubran dictionary): A person who feels anger and/or jealousy for someone who has succeeded in something they have worked hard for.

A being who speaks badly,and/or takes negative actions in attempt to create problems for a successful person.

 

I did an interesting thing the other night, I found myself writing in my journal that I was grateful for my competitors and all those that sling hate towards me and Newell Strength.

It seems that the more breakthroughs I make, the more people want to speak badly about what I stand for, even though they have never met me in most cases.  I love the members at Newell Strength and the fact that I get to pick the brains of some many successful businessmen.  One common thing that we discuss often is that people are going to try and tear you down.  And if they aren’t trying, you are doing enough BIG things.

The haters make me live with utter certainty that I am on the right path in my journey.  One of the Newell Strength athletes has been catching mud from some of the other high school athletes.  Questions about why he trains at Newell Strength and how their training is better and so on.  I told him, “Listen, its not for everyone.  They are titled to their opinion.  But don’t give them any of your mental or emotional energy.  DO NOT let them suck you into a negative debate.”

I have been guilty of getting caught up in needless worry about the haters.  But it is misguided energy on my part.  One saying that always stays in my mind is that ‘Dog don’t bark at parked cars’.  They only bark at those cars that are passing them by.

The haters are a compass that you are doing something right, otherwise, they wouldn’t be paying attention.  The funny thing about haters is that usually, I don’t really pay them much attention at all in regards to what they are doing in their world.  It usually never crosses my mind.  The only time they cross my mind is when their mud slinging is brought to my attention.

But I hold the power of whether or not to give them the ability to affect me.  Vince, my friend and business Coach, told me that when I have my Newell Strength armor on, nothing can effect me negatively.  Starbucks uses this with their employees, when the apron is on, they cannot react negatively to any situation.  YOU hold the power of how others make you feel.

Use haters as nothing more than a ‘goals compass’.  No haters?  Then you aren’t on the right track.  Haters will try to form a human wall down your path at some point that makes you contemplate giving up.  But as you keep pushing forward, you realize that if you just stay focused on the path and putting one foot in front of the other, then when you get to the human hater wall, you will simply walk right by them.

Competitors are a little different.  Without competitors, there is no game, the game ceases to exist.  Competitors bring out the best in YOU.  If you have no one on your heals nipping at you, then you are going to get complacent.  I have often imagined competitors when I am striving to reach my goal.  Yes, I will create conflict via an imaginary competitor just so I can push a little harder, go a little further.

And that should give you a key concept: your greatest competitor is yourself.  Real champions of life get this.  The goal should never be on the outcome, because that is largely out of your control most of the time.  The goal should be on being better every day and focus should be on the process, not the end result.

Another way to use the haters is to imagine that they are really just your competitors, although I would place them lower on the evolutionary scale.  But remember, they only have the power you give them, so use them to your advantage.  Sometimes competitors and haters are one and the same.  But realize, the power is yours to become great and the ‘resistance’ will come out in full force when you are on the right, correct, definite path.

Don’t let them deter you, too many people have been ‘3 feet from gold’ only to be deterred by the resistance.  Be a champion, rise above…

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