Thursday, October 30, 2008

Kettlebell Bootcamp #8

Today was a bit different today.  Dave was out of town in Japan doing a kettlebell workshop, so Dennis was are replacement instructor.  Today we re-learned the turkish get up, and learned a new spin on the swing, the 1 arm swing.

After warm up 5 min, we followed with:
  • Turkish get ups, 1 rep, alternate sides for 10 min
  • Goblet squat (also called steering wheel squat) with kettlebell followed by 5 push ups then repeat for time (I believe we did 10 minutes or 5 or 6 rounds)
  • 1 arm swings with partner (1 person swings while the other rests) 10 swings each arm, then 12, 14, 16, 18, 20 and finally one last set of 10 each arm.
All in all we did around 10 getups each side, 50 or 60 squats with perfect technique, 25-30 push ups and a total of 200 swings. 45 minutes, 570 calories later and my heart rate reached a max of 183.  

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Have you found your "AHA" moment when working out?

All of you have had trouble with something, be it work, homework, maybe a problem you just can't seem to solve.  Then ,magically, all of a sudden the stars align and you get your AHA! moment where you find the answer.   Have you ever had one when working out?

I have been working with a nice woman who has knee pain every time she runs and hikes.  She is in very good shape and even participates in aerobics classes at the YMCA.  The funny thing is she has NO knee pain when she participates in her "pump" classes.

On her functional movement screen ( it showed that she has weakness in anterior and rotational stability.  We have been working on that in therapy but over time when she begins to get tired and low and behold her knee pain returns.  

Then the AHA moment appeared out of the blue when I gave just the right cue to get her to "brace" her abdominals.  I told her to pull her sternum towards her pubic bone (thanks for the cue David Whitley!), and hold her abdominals tight like if someone was going to punch her in the stomach.  Then she said a big "Ohhhhhh, I know what you mean!" and then proceeded to perform 30 non stop lunges on one side and another 30 non stop lunges on her other side, PAIN FRICKIN FREE I TELL YA!  

I just love those moments.   Especially when I can help make them happen.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Kettlebell Bootcamp #7 (Week 3)

Today was a rough one. You wouldn't think that way if I told you all we did today was push ups, squats and kettlebell swings.
  • Warm up 5 min
  • Ladder (2 teams, 3 rounds) of push ups then sumo squats with kettlebell at chest level, beginning at 1 rep, 2, 3, 4, 5.  Other team not performing reps in up push up position or in down position of sumo squat with butt towards floor and chest tall
  • Then performed 5 push ups and 5 sumo squats all together
  • 10 push ups and 10 sumo squats all together
  • Kettlebell swings 11 rounds at 30 second swings with 30 seconds rest
  • final round of swings for 60 seconds total (I call it the ass kicker, literally!)
All in all we performed 60 squats with weight and 60 push ups, we improved squatting technique with the use of the kettlebell and did planks during our rest times.  I am guessing we did over 200 kettlebell swings in that time as well.  

40-45 minutes total, 800 stinking calories later!  

I also have an upcoming surprise and will try and get some new pictures up as well!

If you would like to see what some of the kettlebell exercises are like.  David Whitley has some videos up on his website.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Uncomplicated Dieting

Are all of you confused with all these different rules and regulations you have to go by to diet correctly? Want something a bit easier? I am going by a simple 4 rule system and it is paying off very well. I weighed in at 200 pounds this morning and am well on my way to breaking below the "mendoza line" sort of speaking. What is even better is I measured out on my body impedance scale at 19% body fat. I have not broken 20% since high school. Okay now back to the rules.

  1. With those 5-6 meals per day make sure you are eating a vegetable (or fruit but not all the time) and a protein source with every meal.

  2. Limit your carbohydrate intake (don't count veggies) to first thing in the morning and right after your workout, that is really when your body needs them the most and utilizes them in a very good way.

  3. Of those 42 meals you are supposed to eat every week (6 meals per day X 7 days) you are allowed to cheat 10% of the time. This gives you 4 meals per week to have a little fun.

  4. SLOW DOWN! (My biggest problem). Enjoy your food! If you are using one of those cheat meals then enjoy every little bite and chew! This will allow you to get full faster and you end up enjoying one brownie instead of 3!

There is no way you should count calories and do all that other crap if you cannot adhere to these simple rules. Then once you get really good at these rules and are still not getting the results you want, then you can get more detailed. A food and workout journal still helps to see if you are taking to these rules, but you don't need to get detailed unless you like it that way.

Hope this helps everyone. Comment back or email us at if you have any questions or concerns.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Protein Shake Recipes: Chapter #2

Pumpkin Pie Shake

-6-8 ounces of fat free milk or water
-1 scoop vanilla protein powder (Nik and I love Syntha 6 by BSN)  Best price we have found is
-2-3 table spoons of canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix!)
-few dashes of cinnamon and nutmeg
-1 teaspoon of splenda brown sugar (if you like it sweeter)
-3-4 ice cubes

Blend and enjoy.  I LOVES ME SOME PUMPKIN!

Kettlebell Bootcamp #6

Nik and I drug ourselves out of bed and headed out into the rain for bootcamp.  Thank God we have a shelter type area where we can do the bootcamp and stay out of the rain.  

After warm up we did:

Circuit #1 (4 rounds)
-Kettlebell squats holding kettlebell at chest position (almost like a front squat)
-1 arm rows (each side)
-push ups

Circuit#2 (3 rounds)
-push presses (each arm)
-Static lunges (each leg)

Last circuit (termed the "CAROUSEL OF PAIN")
-Everyone got into a big circle with their kettlebell.  We did KB swings for time and then rotated to the next kettlebell.  (20 sec on, 30 seconds off).  There were 10 total kettlebells in different weights we ended up swinging.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Kettlebell Bootcamp #5

Quick note on bootcamp today. We did sets of push ups the right way, lunge holds in the down position, then top push up position to plank position and back up, terrific exercise by the way. Next we did a circuit of body weight squats, to alternating kettlebell rows (awesome and such a core workout) to v-ups x2rounds. Then we did 4 or 5 rounds of kettlebell swings to running 40 yds down and back, rest then begin again. All in all 45 minutes and 569 calories later a very good workout.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Eat like it is your job, by Marie Spano, MS, RD, FISSN, CSCS

Terrific article by Marie Spano who is a registered dietician. Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Kettlebell #4-Week 2

We are now in week #2 of kettlebell bootcamp.  We are very happy with the workouts as we are working on strength, power, cardiovascular systems and fat loss.  Here was todays workout.

-Push up ladders with partner.  One person performs push up while other stays in plank position.  Ended at 5 reps.
-Deep squat ladder (2 rounds to 5 reps max) with partner.  One person comes up from squat position and back down while other person stays in downward squat position
-Kettlebell swings for time with 1/2 rest (example 30 sec swing/15 sec rest) performed for 10 minutes

Max heartrate was 178, calories burned was 491 on my watch.  Very pleased with the workout and how I feel afterwards.  

After the class Nikki and I decided to film each other doing swings, our instructor David saw what we were doing and came over to help que us.  He also performed some swings for us to compare ourselves to.  I am noticing that I need to hinge at the hips more and David gave a great que for activating my abdominals during the swing: "pull your sternum to your pubic bone".  He stated that he was pleased with how are technique is progressing but we just need to keep practicing to perfect the technique.

Let us know what you think!

Monday, October 20, 2008

High Intensity Training for Fat Loss

Terrific Blog about the positive effects of high intensity training! If you have a sound cardiovascular foundation and are not sufferring from any current imbalances or injuries you should be interval training!

Click the title above and read it. This guy is a research stud!

Kettlebell #3

Sorry for the late post. Nik and I left for New Orleans for our anniversary trip. Had a lot of fun, but before we left we woke up early and worked out with Dave at bootcamp.

We performed:

Circiut #1 30sec/30sec (4 rounds)
kettlebell rows each arm
bulgarian squats (basically a lunge w/back foot elevated on a bench) each side
push ups then planks for the last 30 seconds

Circuit #2 (4 rounds)
partners of 3 people, one person runs 40 yards, another person kettlebell swings until the front person gets to 40 yards and the last person follows (basically on person running up, one person running back and the last person doing kettlebell swings)

45 minutes and 530 calories later!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Kettlebell Bootcamp #2

Kettlebell bootcamp #2, 40 minutes and 480 calories later.

Heart rate got up to 178. We performed only two exercises today and I felt like Nik and I just worked out for 3 hours non stop. We practiced two of the very foundational movements. The Turkish Get Up and the KB swing.

We practiced with no weight first to get the get up technique correct. We only did a "half get up" today and stopped at our half kneeling position and did not get to full standing. Then we did a half get up with weight, then brought our feet inline with each other and did a kettlebell press 3 times. What a difficult thing it was to have such a narrow base and keep your core stabilized while you press. Then we would go back down and do the other side. Did that 3 rounds each side.

Next we did a partner swing ladder. Nikki would swing a 16kg kettlebell 10 times and drop, then I would swing a 24kg 10 times and drop. Then 15 swings, then 20 swings and then repeated another round until 15 minutes was up. I had to move to 16kg halfway through due to the fact I thought that I was doing the technique wrong>

David is great at instruction and stated that I still need to work on bending my knees less and flexing my hips more. Nikki is a natural at the swing. I am very jealous.

He also showed us a way to improve our turkish get up. Balance a water bottle or a shoe on your fist hand instead of a kettlebell. Try to perform a half or a full get up without the shoe/bottle falling off your fist. I tell you what I can't do a watter bottle but can barely do a shoe. Great core exercise.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Day 1: Kettlebell Bootcamp

Today was a very eventful one as my wife and I get up at 5:30am on our anniversary to head out to kettlebell bootcamp.  It was actually a beautiful morning as the temperature was 65 degrees when we started.  We had two new additions to class as well and Nikki and I so David (our instructor) began the class from the very beginning, the anatomy of the swing.  After warm ups we practiced our technique on the swing and David was good at giving us cues to help us perform better.  We also practiced the art of dropping the kettlebell instead of setting it down.

Then we performed a squat ladder with a partner.  Nikki and I both squatted down facing each other and then one of us would thrust our hips forward and stand then back down for a count of one, meanwhile I was in the bottom of my squat until she came back down.  Nik would do 1, then I would do 1, then 2 and 2 and so forth until we got to 5.  I tell you, I was never so happy to squat because the hard part was staying down in the squat for so long with a 16kg kettlebell in my hands.

After that we performed a circuit of push ups for time, 30 sec rest and then kettlebell swings for time and we did 4 rounds of that.  David instructed me that I am using my quads way to much and need to use my glutes way more and reach back.  I will try and get you a video of Nikki and myself doing swings.

All in all great first class, my max heart rate was 189 and my calorie burn was 484.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Football Sunday

So we got the chance today to get a ton of stuff done today.  Nikki and I went grocery shopping and got all the supplies we needed for the week.  We came home and worked like a team cooking and cleaning for the next 4 hours.  We made chicken enchilada casserole, protein bars, cut fruit and put them in containers, and made an AWESOME healthy Pumpkin Dessert Squares (yummmm!).  (Recipe coming!)

Then I was lucky enough to have time to get to sit down and watch an awesome cardinal/cowboy game.  Then I got to enjoy the best part of the fall (if you ask me), I switched from the Dodger/Philly game and the Charger/Patriot game.  My wife, bless her heart, was a little burned out from football all day (we only have one TV) and made a terrific suggestion.  Lets go down to our apartment and workout?  We went down there and she watched "brothers and sisters" and I switched between the baseball and football game on the other TV in the workout room.  

I brought my 15lb. kettlebell with me and my heart rate monitor.  I decided to do a little walking on an incline to get my glutes activated for a while.  Walked with the kettlebell in my right hand for a while and then with my left hand for a while.  (I noticed that I had a lot more trouble walking with the kettlebell in my L hand so I made an effort to work on my imbalance by walking with it the majority of the time in my L hand).  I did that for 20 minutes while watching TV.  Then did some mild cable exercises (chops with the cable) and some deadlifts.  At the end of it all, I worked out for 30 minutes and it really did not feel like much.  I looked at my heart rate monitor and it said I burned 383 calories!

That is an important thing when you are trying to lose weight.  Create a deficit!  Find ways that you can do more in your day to help burn more calories that you take in.  I think we are going to make this a regular Sunday tradition.  So for all of you Sunday football watchers out there try doing some things during commercials.  Here are a few ideas:
  • push ups
  • pull ups
  • front planks
  • side planks
  • stretching
  • lunges
  • squats to the couch and back up
  • grab a band and do curls and presses and squats
  • grab some dumbbells and do arm curls to presses, single leg stance exercises.
  • BE CREATIVE, it makes a big difference!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Do gym members appreciate help on technique?

I was working out at the fitness center where I currently work and I look around at all the members who are doing exercises completely wrong. Don't get me wrong, my members try hard and I am happy that they are here, but my only concern is that they are doing these exercises completely wrong and may be hurting themselves more than helping.

What I would like to know is this. If you hire a personal trainer you EXPECT them to teach you and monitor your lifting technique. If you sign up for a class or a bootcamp you EXPECT your instructor to monitor your technique. DO YOU expect as a member of a gym for the employees to be keeping a careful watch on you and coming over to provide you with proper queing to improve your workout and prevent injury?

I put a poll on the right hand side of this blog. Please answer it as honestly as you can. It would be greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Kettlebell Bootcamp

The wife and I have decided to try something new and join a kettlebell bootcamp.

What is a kettlebell you ask? Well according to

A 'kettlebell' or girya (Russ.) is a traditional Russian cast iron weight that looks like a cannonball with a handle. The kettlebell goes way back, it first appeared in a Russian dictionary in 1704 (Cherkikh, 1994). So popular were kettlebells in Tsarist Russia that any strongman or weightlifter was referred to as a girevik, or 'a kettlebell man'.

I began learning about kettlebells about a year ago and started to investegate them a bit thinking that they would be a fitness craze and not last very long. It got to the point to when Nikki and I moved to Nashville we ended up buying 2 kettlebells from Target, a 16 pound one for me, and an 8 pound one for Nik. The first couple times we used it we could not walk or sit for a few days due to our glutes being so sore. That is a good thing by the way, I was surprised because I thought I had strong glutes, but I was sorely mistaken. We used them now and then but not as much as we should.

So I went to the Functional Movement Screen (FMS) in Boston, MA hosted by Lee Burton and Gray Cook. Come to find out that Gray uses kettlebells for training athletes AS WELL AS using it as a rehabiliation/corrective exercise tool. He showed some pretty cool things and I was very interested to learn more. When I got back to Nashville, I looked up on to see who in the area was a Certified Russian Kettlebell Instructor (RKC). I was very pleased to find out that one of the RKC Senior Instructors (David Whitley, lived here in Nashville and holds a bootcamp three mornings a week. It was also very pleasing to me that he was FMS certified as well. I contacted him about upcoming bootcamps and he invited us out to come to a few morning classes.

The first morning David asked us to come in after class and teach us a few techniques. He spoke with us on how much we knew about kettlebells and we said "a little". He asked us to show him what we knew and the moves we were comfortable with. We found out a few things: 1) we were using way too light of kettlebells (why you ask? I will tell you more later). 2) our technique was "ok" but we had a lot of practicing to do. We learned how to do a swing properly as well as a "turkish getup". I tell you, no video or book can compare to having someone right beside you queing you to perform a move better. David was terrific and all the instruction he gave was very informative and he made the instruction session difficult but fun. He invited us back the following week to participate in the actual bootcamp.

The bootcamp the following week was a tough one. We did 10 "deck squats" followed by 10 push ups (see video) as many sets as we could until time was up, then we performed turkish getups 1 rep each side for time, the last thing we did was swings for time followed by a 40 yard run down and back and then repeated for I believe 4 sets. What a workout.

David was great at teaching us the techniques and spotting us if we needed. We signed up for 4 months of bootcamps right then and there.

I plan on once per week updating everyone on how the bootcamp is going. I will try and sneek in some pictures as well as video of Nikki and I here and there if I get a chance. If you are interested in finding a kettlebell instructor, go to

To see some of the techniques performed by David. Check out.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Mike Robertsons Free E Manual on the Foam Roller and more!

Just saw this today. Mike Robertson has come out with a new e manual for SMR or Self Myofascial Release. It compliments the last post I did on the foam roller and more. PLUS IT IS FREE!
If your training is taking a tumble, you are having issues, or you just want to get the best out of your body. You should download and look over this book! Tissue quality is a very important aspect in your life and it is mostly ignored by 90% of the population.  Click on the title or the picture to download your copy. 

Hope all is well.


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Trigger points and Foam Rollers

Let me introduce you to one of my best training partners:
The Foam Roller

Have you seen that long roller made of foam hanging out in the fitness center? Have you seen someone rolling their back or legs onto it and grimacing? Yes, this is our very own foam roller.

What is it?
- The foam roller is used as a form of myofascial release (like massage)
Why use it?
- To help relieve trigger points.

A trigger point is a small area or section of muscle that acts differently than the rest of the muscle. It is what most people term “knots”.
• What these trigger points or knots do is they provide increased tension within that particular muscle.
• They are found in muscles that are very tight, very weak, or overworked.
• Trigger points are an indicator of previous injury, inappropriate use of the muscle, constant irritation, too much activity, or not enough activity

You might think, “Wouldn’t stretching & strengthening work? Why should I use the foam roller?” Think of it this way, the foam roller is like having a portable massage therapist on call for you. It can work out those knots in your muscles and allows you to get more gains from your stretching and strengthening exercises. If you basically just stretch
(and lets face it people, we don’t stretch nearly enough) you are going to
lose that flexibility if that knot has not been taken care of first. Think of it like
this, if you have a knot in your shoe string, would you pull it tighter to get rid of the knot? No, that would make the knot tighter and not help you out at all. That is the same with trigger points; you need to work out the knot in your muscles for you to efficiently get gains in flexibility and strength in those muscles that contain trigger points.

So think of it like this: Trigger point work 1st, then flexibility 2nd, then 3rd strengthen all those new ranges of motions you just achieved for you to gain the most from your exercise program.

Foam Roller Guidelines
• Roll an area of muscle with the foam roller, feel for tender spots and keep the roller on this spot and try to breathe and relax. Wait for the discomfort to diminish by 50-75%.
• When this area is no longer sensitive then begin to roll to see if there are any other sensitive areas
• Over time when you foam roll the areas may no longer be sensitive CONGRATULATIONS! But this does not mean you stop, keep foam rolling to help maintain that tissue quality
• You can use the foam roller as a warm up before stretching and activity or as a cool down (I suggest both if possible)
• Feel free to experiment with the foam roller on what works best and gets those trigger points. Some sample exercises are provided on the backside of this handout
• Remember you need to be able to relax, if the trigger points are too sensitive and make you tense up, then you will not get rid of the trigger point. Modify your technique or try the massage stick instead!

Recipes #1-Protein Shake Recipes

I just started getting bored with my protein shakes and found an interesting article from supplement warehouse that gave some ideas on how to "shake" things up with your protein shakes.

The Root Beer Float Shake
Just the other day Nikki and I went and bought a bottle of Diet A&W root beer. We added about 6-8 ounces of that to the blender along with about 4 ounces skim milk, ice cubes and one scoop of vanilla protein powder. If you are just post workout and want some simple carbs in the mix replace the milk with one scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt. There you have it ROOT BEER FLOAT SHAKES!

The Java Shake
Take your favorite protein powder (i use vanilla some days and chocolate on others) add either 6-10 ounces of coffee along with some ice. (basically just make it like you would your favorite coffee drink, but sugar free! I use the powder, ice, 2 sweet and low packets and a tablespoon of sugar free vanilla syrup). There you have it! Your protein shake, caffeine! and you don't have to go pay 5 dollars for it! Great for a morning pick me up!

More shake recipes to come. Like pumpkin pie shake and oatmeal raisin cookie shake!

Kettlebell Training in the Nashville News