Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Mental Toughness

Mental toughness is as important as physical toughness. I was inspired by the story of Shun Fujimoto. He is what mental toughness is all about.

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Beast from the East

Pictured below is a guy I sometimes train with.

I am highly selective in who I train with as your training partner will have a major effect on your workouts. He hails from PA. He is a beast. The man pushes himself like no other.

As you can see in the pictures, we love not only to lift iron, but we incorporate blast straps (Elite FTS) and calisthenics.

The picture of him doing push ups was shot after he did reps with an 80 lb, 40 lb, and 25 lb sandbag on his back. It was a great finisher to a great workout.

If you have a training partner and he/she isn't pushing you, or if you aren't inspired by your partner to push youself to levels, get rid of your partner and find a new one. Maybe you'll get lucky and find another "beast" to work out with.

To Get Strong

I used to lift at a local gym. I became friends with a few members. After lifting at the gym for a couple of years, I realized the typical gym wasn't for me. While there were a few hardcore lifters (aka, my friends), most were your typical hop on a treadmill for thirty minutes while watching some lame talk show or reading the latest People magazine. I think most people at the gym were there to socialize, and not to become stronger and healthier.

I heard from others that there are gyms that don't allow members to deadlift out of few of injury. I didn't believe them until I saw pictures. CRAZY!!

Many gyms now have more machines than free weights, and plenty of mirrors for one to admire their accomplishments. Gyms are filled with tanning beds, juice bars, and sappy music. Juice anyone? This isn't for me.

I left the gym. I turned half of my garage into a gym. Now, I have a place where I can drop the weights, listen to load music, yell after I hit a new max, and get serious about becoming stronger.

If you want to become stronger, you need to lift in an environment that promotes strength. You need to lift in a gym where you can yell, throw weights around and even deadlift.

If you cannot find a place like this, create one. I've only spent around $1,000.00 on my gym and I have everything I need. If you want to be strong, think strong, act strong, and don't be afraid to test your limits.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Still Sick

I'm still sick. My workouts have continued to suffer. When I miss a workout, or I have a bad workout, it puts me in a bad mood. I like iron. I like to lift weights. I enjoy pushing myself. Hopefully, my health will be restored soon.

I worked out my lower body last night.

1A) Zercher Squats -- 4 x 8
1B) Heavy Lunges -- 4 x 10

2A) Crunches -- 2 x failure
2B) Leg Raises

It felt good to hit it hard. I am going to max out as soon as I fell better.

Tonight, upper body.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


One of the trainers I admire is Alwyn Cosgrove. Alwyn is not only one of the most in demand trainers in the United States, former MMA fighter, but also a two-time cancer survivor. He recently posted the article below on his website. I think what he says is quite valuable.

Difficult-Difficult, Difficult-Easy
This is a concept that I learned from one of my mentors - Geoff Thompson. A concept that taught me that the only way to grow was to recognize when I was staying in my comfort zone, regardless of the activities I was doing.

For example - if I told you that tomorrow you were going to give a presentation to a thousand people, and then do some full contact sparring, a lot of you would recognize how difficult this was. And it is. But for me, who presented over 26 times in the last year, and spent years fighting competitively and doing hard sparring, it's well within my comfort zone. I can pretend that it's difficult, but it's still easy to me and won't help me grow.

Anyway - Geoff explains it a lot better than I can:

Difficult difficult, difficult easy
Geoff Thompson

I bumped into an old friend from the distant past. In my early days as a hard-nosed knuckle-dragger he was one of my compatriots, and one of the hardest working martial artists around. He had always prided himself on his sinewy mentality when it came to all things physical, and he had a prolific work rate. After a brief (and predictable) catch up (how’s the work, the car, the kids, the wife and the mum – in that order) he said ‘hey, you still doing animal day?’
Animal day, for those that do not know, is a form of knock-out or submission fighting (any range, any technique) that I pioneered in the mad, bad (and often sad) 90’s. A time I absolutely loved, but a time I am also grateful to have left behind.

I shook my head in the negative. It had been a many years since I engaged in my last animal day fight.
‘Why not?’ he asked, adding, ‘I’m still mad for it.’

‘Because it is difficult easy,’ I said, ‘and in order for me to continue growing my character, I don’t need difficult easy. In order for me to grow my character I need difficult difficult.’
He gave me one of those loud, squinty eyed confused looks that shouted from a hundred feet ‘Explain!’

So I explained.

Even as a veteran of thousands of fights, animal days were still a scary experience for me, it was violent and dangerous and extremely difficult. But because I had fought so many times and knew the terrain well it no longer stretched me.

Whatever it was that I needed to reap from that hard period of my life had been well and truly harvested; there was nothing left for me to learn there. Animal day was still difficult, and from the outside looking in it probably looked as though it was mad difficult, but for me it wasn’t, in fact it had become difficult easy.

My friend was still in love with the ground-and-pound style fighting and whilst his physical prowess was evident he had not grown even a single inch in any other area of his life, probably not for the last ten years. His was the mistake made by many; they presume that if something is difficult then they are in the arena. But experience has taught me that the only time you are truly in the arena is when you are (ever so slightly) out of your depth.

Difficult easy is when you are on familiar terrain, not matter how hard the going.

Difficult difficult is when you find your self at the bottom of someone else’s class with three crazy training partners; fear at your left, doubt on your right and (that big bastard) uncertainty squaring up in front of you.

Difficult easy is treading water whilst kidding yourself that you are swimming against the tide.

Difficult difficult doesn’t need to employ pretence because it is drowning and swimming for its life.

I see many people suffering stalled development because they are so busy occupying themselves with very worthy, respectably, difficult easy tasks that they use to avoid the difficult difficult areas of their lives.

I am doing it right now as it happens. I should be doing a re-write of a difficult (difficult) film script that is over due, but instead I am busying myself with a piece of difficult (easy) work that is not really due to be in print for another fortnight (damn, caught myself out again!)

Some (more) examples; you bury your relationship problems (difficult difficult) under hundreds of miles of road running (difficult…but easy).

You fill every spare moment with hard lists of worthy causes (difficult easy) so that you don’t have the time to invest in the book that you were always going to write, or the film you would love to make (if only you were not so committed in other areas) or the (difficult…very difficult) painting career that you had always intended to create.

You immerse yourself in course after course, book after book (so difficult, and yet….so deliciously easy) on becoming a life coach/property developer/master chef instead of just getting out there (difficult, oh so difficult) and actually doing it.

Listen. Let me tell you, the moment a task becomes difficult easy you stop growing. That is a fact. In order to re-establish your vital development you need to take an honest inventory (difficult very difficult – I have done it) of your life, ditch the pretence, and embrace the black that is….difficult difficult.

And stop chasing ostentatious challenges (that are difficult easy for you) and sort out your health; you are three stone over weight and your blood pressure is off the scale.

Kill the worthy endeavours that you think other people will think are impressive and do something truly and uniquely impressive; take your (secret) addictions to task and kill the porn (in all its forms).

Stop collecting trophies and certificates and belts that tell the word how successful you are and actually BE a success, by taking a hammer to that creepily burgeoning fear that you are harbouring.

And don’t, please (like my old mate) fall into the trap of mistaking hard work – even extremely hard (easy) work - for progress. Because, let’s be frank, difficult easy is really just another way of saying ‘easy’, and there is no growth in easy.

We aspirants are into the hard game, the long game, the difficult difficult game. What we are not into, or what we should not be into is the game of easy

You can check out Alwyn's blog at:

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Today's Workout

Last week I had the flu. This week I have a bad cold. Needless-to-say, my workouts have suffered. I hate to miss a workout. I hate to have an average workout. Today, I decided to make-up for the last week and "kill it"!

Today I did the following:

1A) Floor Press - 4 x 8
1B) Flies (w/ Blast Straps) - 4 x 8
1C) Reverse Bench - 4 x 8
1D) Scarecrows (w/ Blast Straps) - 4 x 10

2) Tate Presses - 3 x 8

3) Straight Bar Curls - 4 x 10

The workout lasted approximately 40 minutes, excluding the warm-up. It felt great. Remember, if you're sick, listen to your body. If you have to miss a workout, its okay. When you feel better, hit it hard.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bigger Stronger Faster

I just watched Bigger, Stronger, Faster. It is a documentary about the quest for strength and size and the use/abuse of steroids. It is a great movie. Check out the trailer.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Believe in Yourself

Life is difficult. All of us encounter obstacles. There are complainers, naysayers and critics everywhere. We need to rise above these obstacles and believe in ourselves.

One thing I hate to hear from people when I train them or train with them is the words "I can't". It drives me crazy. These people fail before they even start. Stop the negativity. Stop the pessimism.

There is a poem I like that goes as follows:

"There are those that do and those that don't
Those that will and those that won't"

Believe in yourself. Believe that you can and that you will succeed. Stay positive. Don't listen to what other say. Just listen to what you say. Just believe.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Maintain Your Brain

I thought you might be interested in the following article:

Here are some things you can begin doing as soon as today to begin the great brain tune up:

Eat Almonds
Almond is believed to improve memory. If a combination of almond oil and milk is taken together before going to bed or after getting up at morning, it strengthens our memory power. Almond milk is prepared by crushing the almonds without the outer cover and adding water and sugar to it.

Drink Apple Juice
Research from the University of Massachusetts Lowell (UML) indicates that apple juice increases the production of the essential neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the brain, resulting in an increased memory power.

Sleep well
Research indicates that the long-term memory is consolidated during sleep by replaying the images of the experiences of the day. These repeated playbacks program the subconscious mind to store these images and other related information.

Enjoy simple Pleasures
Stress drains our brainpower. A stress-ridden mind consumes much of our memory resources to leave us with a feeble mind. Make a habit to engage yourself in few simple pleasures everyday to dissolve stress from your mind. Some of these simple pleasures are good for your mind, body and soul.

Enjoy music you love
Play with your children
Appreciate others
Run few miles a day, bike or swim
Start a blog
Take a yoga class or Total Wellness routine

Exercise your mind
Just as physical exercise is essential for a strong body, mental exercise is equally essential for a sharp and agile mind. Have you noticed that children have far superior brainpower than an adult does? Children have playful minds. A playful mind exhibits superior memory power. Engage in some of the activities that require your mind to remain active and playful.

Play scrabble or crossword puzzle
Interact with others
Start a new hobby such as blogging, reading, painting, bird watching
Learn new skill or a foreign language

Practice Yoga or Meditation
Yoga or Meditation relives stress. Stress is a known memory buster. With less stress, lower blood pressure, slower respiration, slower metabolism, and released muscle tension follows. All of these factors contribute significantly towards increases in our brainpower.

Reduce Sugar intake
Sugar is a non-food. It’s a form of carbohydrate that offers illusionary energy, only to cause a downhill slump once the initial burst has been worn off. Excess intake of sugar results in neurotic symptoms. Excess sugar is known to cause claustrophobia, memory loss and other neurotic disorders. Eat food without adding sugar. Stay away from sweet drinks or excess consumption of caffeine with sugar.

Eat whole wheat
The whole wheat germs contain lecithin. Lecithin helps ease the problem of the hardening of the arteries, which often impairs brain functioning.

Eat a light meal at night
A heavy meal at night causes tossing and turning and a prolonged emotional stress while at sleep. It’s wise to eat heavy meal during the day when our body is in motion to consume the heavy in-take. Eating a light meal with some fruits allows us to sleep well. A good night sleep strengthens our brainpower.

Develop imagination
Greeks mastered the principle of imagination and association to memorize everything. This technique requires one to develop a vivid and colorful imagination that can be linked to a known object. If you involve all your senses - touching, feeling, smelling, hearing and seeing in the imagination process, you can remember greater details of the event.

Control your temper
Bleached food, excess of starch or excess of white bread can lead to nerve grating effect. This results in a violent and some time depressive behavior. Eat fresh vegetables. Drink lots of water and meditate or practice yoga to relieve these toxic emotions of temper and stressful mood swings.

Take Vitamin B-complex
Vitamin B-complex strengthens memory power. Eat food and vegetables high in Vitamin B-complex. Stay away from the starch food or white bread, which depletes the Vitamin B-complex necessary for a healthy mind.

Written by Shilpan Patel of Success Soul and cross-posted from Dumb Little Man, a web site that provides tips for life that will save you money, increase your productivity, or simply keep you sane.

Check out the full article here:

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Eye of the Tiger

How bad do you want it? Do you want to be the best? Do you want to achieve your goals? To many people are lazy or just plain apathetic. These people will never accomplish much. There is no half way. You need to have the eye of the tiger and push yourself until you become the best you can be. Push yourself in the gym. Push yourself in life. See what you can do.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

"Kill it" on the court and in the gym

Above is a picture of a basketball player I train. This kid is amazing on the court. He has a lot of talent and works hard on his basketball skills. He came to me to increase his vertical leap and to become stronger. When he came in we tested him. We will test him again after 6 weeks. Everytime this kid comes to the gym, he works hard and never complains.

In the gym, we concentrate on the fundamentals; deadlifts, box squats, lunges, box jumps, tire flips, and exercises to strengthen his core. I have no doubt that his hard work and dedication in the gym will pay off. I cannot wait to see him play this season. With his work on the court and in the gym, he will be unstoppable.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Wednesday's Workout

I am married and have four kids. Because I am a family man first, sometimes my workouts have to be shortened and at different times in the day. For example, last night I worked out at 9:30, after the kids went to bed. Also, because I had not seen my wife much yesterday, I needed to hurry. Right now I am doing four-day splits. Yesterday was my upper-body day. I did the following:

1A. Push-ups w/ blast straps 4 x failure
1B. Reverse bench 4 x 10
1C. Shouldering (with 80 lb sandbag) 4 x 10

2. Handwalks w/ power wheel 3 laps around gym

The entire workout lasted twenty minutes. While I didn't do much in quantity, the quality and intensity of the workout were high. I spent little or no time between sets.

All of us are busy. However, we can all find time to workout. Even if it is only for 5, 10, 15 minutes.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Workout with a marathoner

Below is a picture of an athelte I train. She runs marathons. This girl rocks! She trains just as hard as any guy I know. A couple months ago, she decided she wanted to improve her time. She wasn't content with just finishing marathons. She wanted to dominate. So she began training with me. I train her just like any of my male athletes. She pulls sleds,flips tires, and pushes the iron untils she cannot push no more.

Her hard work has paid off. She has run three marathons this year. Below is her times:

Ogden Marathon (May 2008) 3:45
Deseret News Marathon (July 2008) 3:55
Park City Marathon (August 2008) 4:00
St. George Marathon (October 2008) 3:33

As you can see, after training with weights she improved her marathon time. As a result, she has qualfied for the Boston Marathon. All athletes, men and women included, should take note. Hard work and dedication produce results. I cannot wait to see how fast she runs her next marathon.


Do not let failure stop you from pursuing your goals and being happy in life. Keep things in perspective and continue pushing forward.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Joe DeFranco "Strong" Documentary

Soon Joe DeFranco will be releasing his documentary, "Strong". For those of you who have not heard of Joe DeFranco, he is one of the premiere strength and conditioning coaches in the world. He has been a big influence on me. Below are two trailers to "Strong". Check them out.

You can learn more about Joe DeFranco at Also, check out

Monday, October 13, 2008

Do not limit yourself!

All to often, we limit ourselves. I truely believe that in order to be successful, we must dream big, take action, and refuse to place any limitations upon ourselves. Watch this video and be inspired.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Why I workout

Why would I choose to get up at 6:00 a.m. every morning to lift weights? Why do I constantly push myself to the point of failure? Why do I try to live a healthy life? Personally, I do these things because of the following:

1. My family. I want to be able to wrestle with my sons, protect my wife and children, intimidate those boys who have eyes for my daughter, and live a long life. I do not want to be restricted physically in anyway in doing things with my family.

2. My self. I personally like the feeling I get when I exercise. Nothing quite compares to the rush you get when you lift heavy weights. Additionally, lifting weights is a great stress reliever. I also firmly believe that lifting weights and exercising teaches a person self-discipline and the rewards that come with sacrifice. Finally, and to be honest, I like being strong.

3. Others. I lift weights to be an example to others and to teach others the benefits of exercise. I have noticed that my boys now have a keen interest in exercising and staying healthy. This interest they now have will likely stay with them for the rest of their lives. Finally, I have also seen those I train reach their goals. I have found great joy watching athletes and weekend warriors find success and achieve goals they never thought were possible.

Exercising is not easy. That's why most people who begin lifting weights and exercising quit. However, for those of us who have stayed "with it", and have developed a love for strength and health, we will find that our work and sacrifice will pay dividends not only for ourselves, but for those around us.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Post Workout Drink

I wanted to share with you one of my favorite post workout drinks:

1/4 cup oates
2 tablespoons peanut butter
protein supplement
1 banana
3 cups milk

This drink is full of protein, carbs, and calories. It is great for those desiring to get bigger and stronger. Enjoy!

Friday, August 29, 2008


All of us have experienced plateaus in our training, where we do not seem to be making any gains in our strength or size. These times can be frustrating. However, I have found that if I change one of the following factors, I can break through my plateaus.

First, is my attitude. I truly believe that in order to become strong, you need to think yourself strong. You need to believe that you are strong and have what it takes to "kill it" in the gym. Do not underestimate the power of positive thinking.

Second, is my diet. To become big and strong you need to eat big. It is simple science that if you are not consuming enough calories, your weight will decrease. This decrease will be even more profound if you are active. I try to eat six meals a day. With each meal I include protein, carbs, fruits and vegetables and lots of calories. I also supplement with a protein shake. Remember, if you want to be big, eat big.

Finally, is my workout routine. Our bodies adapt to the stress that is placed upon them. In order to make gains, one needs to keep in the body in shock. You keep the body in shock by regularly changing up your routine. Many professional athletes will change their workout routines weekly. The average joe can change his routine monthly. The key is variety. Keep the body shocked. Change it up. If you do, you will see yourself making gains.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Any of you who have walked into a GNC have noticed the countless choices when it comes to supplements. With all of the choices it can be confusing and overwhelming. In reality, I have found that most supplements are a waste of money.

Besides a quality multivitamin and fish oil, I take creatine and a protein supplement. The brand of creatine I have found to work best is EAS Phosphagen Elite, with Beta-Alanine. I take 5.25 grams per day. In regards to my protein supplement, I use the EAS brand. I take the creatine right before bed. The protein I consume right after my workout and then again in the afternoon, or early evening.

A quality website to check out is ProSource conducts research and evaluations on different brands and types of supplements, and also offers discounts.

Keep in mind that you can get big and strong without taking any supplements. I know of a strength and conditioning coach who is incredibly strong and healthy, and he takes no supplements. Finally, remember that supplements are just that - supplements. Nothing can replace a good diet.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


I had a killer workout today. I started out with the following circuit, 3 sets:

1. Clean w/ push press
2. Squats
3. Deadlift
4. RDL
5. Bent-Over Row

After the circuit I then did the following:

1. Pull-ups (5 reps)
2. Dips (10 reps)
3. Recline Rows (w/ rope) (5 reps)
4. Weighted Dips (8 reps)
5. Recline Rows (w/ rope) (5 reps)
6. Weighted Dips

This was a great total body workout. Plus, it only took 1/2 hour. Give it a shot.

By the way, my 3 year old son worked out with me. As you can see, he was worn out after his workout.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Zach Even-Esh

Zach Even-Esh is quickly becoming one of the leading strength and conditioning coaches in the United States. What is exciting about Zach's methods is that he incorporates old-school, gladiator type training with the use of weights. For example, he has his athletes use rocks, sandbags, tires, and sledgehammers to develope strength and muscle endurance.

Zach's company, Underground Strength Coach, is located in Edison New Jersey. Check out two of his websites, and

I have started incorporating his techniques in my workout, as well as the athletes and individuals I train. I have seen quick results using his workouts.

I encourage all to pick up a rock or a sandbag and get to work. Maybe flip a tire a few times. Not only will your strength increase, but you will also feel increased energy as you train outside with gladiator techniques.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Training Child Athletes

This is my first post. I've decided to start with one of my favorite subjects, training child-athletes. This subject is important to me not only because I'm a father of four kids, but also because the benefits kids receive from exercising can last throughout their lives.

Research clearly shows that exercise has numerous benefits for children. First, exercise has been shown to increase a child's strength, power, muscular endurance and flexibility. Second, children who exercise are less likely to be or become obese. Third, exercise has been shown helpful to treat such disorders as attention deficit disorder. Fourth, children who exercise are generally happier and optimistic. Finally, in a recent study, children who regularly exercise were shown to perform better in school. See

What are some things to keep in mind when training children? First, remember that children are not adults. The exercise or program must be tailored to a child's abilities and strengths, while recognizing that children are physically less mature than adults. Children should not lift heavy weights or perform exercises that risk personal injury. A major concern when training children is injury to the epiphyseal plate or soft tissue injuries, particularly to the back and shoulders. These concerns must be kept in mind when training a child.

Second, any program you design for a child must be fun. I have seen from my own experience that exercise programs for children should contain a variety of exercises and lots of movement. Additionally, kids love to hear encouraging words. Do all you can to motivate the child to do his or her best.

Third, emphasis must be placed upon teaching the child the proper form for performing the exercise and the child should have ample recovery time.

My personal belief is that you do not need to incorporate weights into an exercise program for a child. Instead, I prefer to use objects such as tires, ropes and rocks to develop strength and muscle endurance. My personal favorites are tire flipping, tug-of-war, sled drags (forward and backward), and different movements with rocks (such as deadlifts, squats and presses). Children seem to love playing with tires and rocks.

I also like to implement sprints, body movements, and speed and agility work on the agility ladder or with the use of cones. A recommendation I have is to set up different drills for the child, time each drill, and encourage them to try to beat the time it took them to finish the previous drill.

I would encourage you also to check out what Joe DeFranco recommended as an exercise routine for children. You can find his recommendation at

The benefits of training children are great. Not only will it enhance the health of the child, encourage them to have a healthy lifestyle, but it will also increase the possibility that the child will be active for the remainder of his or her life.

My next posts will focus on another mentor of mine, Zach Even-Esh, as well as training programs that I have found to produce great results.