Category Archives: PfiesterUrThoughtsOnThis

The Pfiesters Love Pfitness

Here’s the latest video of Bonnie & I doing what we love.


re·bound verb \ˈrē-ˌbau̇nd, ri-ˈ\

Rebound: Return, bounce back, setback, backfire, move backward. 

Stev Pfiester, Light Heav WeightI recently took 18 competitors from my gym, Max Fitness, to compete in the NPC Southeast Classic. The goal was hitting the stage. Not winning a trophy, but using the stage to make us push harder and be our best.

The goal was made, and the goal was met!  What we do now defines what we learned on our journey to accomplish our goal.  In the “realm” of goal acquisition, focusing solely on the goal can be a tragedy.  What I mean is, the goal is just that: “a goal” – a means to an end.  How we develop, the wisdom we gain, and the way we develop along the way is the real reward for meeting our goal.  Goals are not the real rewards.

Team max

Josh GayLets think backwards for a second.  By creating a goal to shoot for, you are inviting some level of adversity into your life.  How much adversity we will endure is measured by how grandiose the goal.  The “Goal” only gives reason to validate and hold accountable our hard work, our long suffering, our perilous effort to make our bodies fitter, our will stronger, our bellies hungrier.  I have never seen anyone train harder than when they were stretching themselves to reach a new goal. These guys did just that. Josh Gay‘s 60-day before & after picture shows just how hard they worked. Then, they hit the stage, and celebrated, and then they went home…

Score! Now What?

CruiseWhat happens after we reach our goal?  It is good after hard training to back down, enjoy the “win” and celebrate the goal acquisition. For me, it was going on a vacation (cruise). We hit the keys, then Mexico and then headed to Disney shortly after we got home. Yes, there was a lot of food involved. But, at some point, we must get back in the game.

We don’t pay off credit cards just to go on some huge spending spree waisting our money, discipline and hard work. It is ok to go charge a dinner, but then we pay it off immediately to avoid getting in the bad position we were once in. Whether the goal was physical or financial, it’s important to remember what you learned along the way and how you felt while you were working so hard.

Sloppy Joes Key West

The best way to prevent rebound is to give yourself a marked amount of time to enjoy your hard work. But after that time is finished, it’s time get back to work. It’s time to make new goals – both long and short term.

bench pressBefore you even reached this goal, you should already dream about what is next. Don’t take your eye off of the immediate prize.  Don’t focus on your future goals until you accomplished the one set right before you.  However; you should already be thinking about what is next.  This will prevent your downtime from turning into a complete train wreck and a complete rebound.

Doesn’t matter if we are talking about finance or weight loss, enjoy your success but don’t throw away your investment.  Remember what you learned along the way.  This is what makes you better, stronger, and more patient.  Make some goals, so you can push your limits!

Geared Up & Ready

Even something like a new pair of shoes can get you motivated to get back in the gym and hit it hard again.  I got these new Reebok ZigCarbons and love them. It was just what I needed to want to do cardio again.

Reebok ZigCarbon

My next new gym toy is Reebok’s Bose Headphone set. They help get my mind focused, shut out distractions and make the most of my time at the gym. Totally what I needed to tune back into my routine.

Reebok Bose Headphone Set

FitFluential LLC compensated me for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Formula for Success

goal“If you take your eyes off the goal, for even a second, doubt will rush your mind like a band of brutal thieves.”

Doubt intends to kill your dreams, destroy your desire, and beat you down with fear.  Evidence of this is obvious in the most trying times.  When we are hungry, when we are tired, when we are angry, when we are in despair…

arnold Be Hungry

When you are hungry, let that hunger be your purpose.  It is a burning reminder in your gut of what you want to accomplish. When you are tired and your eyes grow heavy, don’t be the martyr the world excuses you to be, no one owes you anything. If there is something you want, you stay up one more hour and you go out and get it!

Be Productive

train like you want itAnger?, rage? Make it productive, and focus the intensity of this moment into success instead of resentment.  No one can control your emotions but you.  And when you are in complete despair — Stop. Shhhhh. Be still, and listen.  You are more than “just being”. You have the potential to be even more than your desires. You have the ability to accomplish things you havent even dreamed of …yet.

One of my favorite quotes of all time comes by way of the late Henry Ford.  He reminds us that we can decide what happens next… he said “he who thinks he can, and he who thinks he can’t, are usually both right“.

Go Beyond 

“Attaining the goal isn’t success.  Success is found in the pursuit, attaining your goals is the icing on this cake we call life.”

Work harderLastly, it isn’t enough to just dream. I love visualization. Wondering what if, thinking just maybe…  Hoping, even praying, for that desire of your heart.  Instead of praying for “the goal”, pray for the opportunity to make a way for your goal. The satisfaction of accomplishment comes in the effort – the blood, the sweat, the tears, the years, in pursuit of the “goal”.  Attaining the goal isn’t success.  Success is found in the pursuit, attaining your goals is the icing on this cake we call life.

“Vision without execution is just hallucination” Henry Ford

Equation for Success

FitFluential LLC compensated me for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. #LiveWithFire

Sculpting Better Legs: Simple Leg Workout to Improve Your “Sweep”

vastus lateralisIf you have been following this mess I call a blog at all for the last 5 months you may have heard me whine and whine about my knee. If not, you’re in luck because here I go again.  5 months ago I was getting ready for my first ever MMA tournament.  I know,… shut it! But anywho, I was gonna try. Here’s a shocker: my 42-year-old butt got tore up by a 19-year-old monster.  I tore my medial meniscus and sustained a 90% tear to my MCL.  I was devastated, but now I’m back and I want to not only return to competing, I want my quads bigger and stronger than ever. The area I want to focus on for this workout is the Vastus Lateralis, the largest and most outer portion of the thigh.

How to Improve Your Sweep

Bikini competitors legsHow do we isolate out the vastus lateralis muscle, or as we call it in the physique world, “the sweep”?  Vastus externus or vastus lateralis, depending on your A&P professor, is the largest of all the quadricep muscles. The action of this muscle is to extend the tibia or shin bone at the knee, but I’m here to help you learn how to perform knee extension to isolate out the other muscles that synergistically aid in this action.  In sculpting, it is very important that we learn isolation. Whether we are a bodybuilder, a bikini competitor or a stay-at-home mom that wants to scult their body, we can all use these principles to learn to sculpt nicer legs.

Target Training

target fatFat burn or spot reducing fat  can not be limited to specific areas of the body, no matter what  “bogus science” and pills tell you. However, sculpting most assuredly can be reduced to a single area, action, and in some cases, specific fibers of a specific muscle – all based on how we execute the exercise.  You don’t need a degree in kinesiology to learn these principals, just a little common sense is all.

So, how do we excite and fatigue the fibers of our outer quad to hypertrophy our SWEEP?


Leg press sweepOk, so here is one exercise you should be narrow-minded about. Narrow is better when we talk about our stance to accentuate or facilitate the contractile tissue of the outer quad.  So lets think narrow when doing squats and leg extensions.  Whatever exercises you do, stand with a more narrow stance (feet together).  You may stop and ask, does that mean if I stand wide, I will work my inner thigh and medial quads?  Yeppers! Now you are getting it.  (another blog perhaps)  Moving on…


building better legsWith leg extensions, it’s all about being self-centered – literally. If you point your toes outward, you are working the  vastus medialis, the tear drop shaped muscle on the medial side (inside) of the legs close to the knee. Since we want to work the opposite side of the legs, then (yes, you guessed it) we want to point our toes in the opposite direction, pointing toes together. Note: this doesn’t work by just pointing the feet from the ankle down, the whole leg must internally rotate to the center to excite the appropriate muscles.

Here is an example of my own leg workout where I use these same principles to improve my sweep.

Yesterday’s Leg Workout

Warm up:  4 sets / 20 reps  

Deep weighted walking lunges  (35-50 pound dumbbells) 45 seconds rest btw sets

Couplet: Leg Press & Leg Extension Super Set
(zero rest between super set, 1 minute between sets)

#1 Heavy leg press
5-8 plates each side, narrow stance (4″ apart) and push only on your heels
10 sets / 15 reps

#2 Moderately heavy leg extension
Moderately heavy leg extension (130lbs-160lbs) internally rotate your femur’s in (toes are pigeon-toed), and squeeze your outer quad in terminal extension.
10 sets / 12-15 reps

Repeat Super Set 10 Times

Puke and repeat for 10 rounds(sets) with 1 minute rest between (rounds) sets

Here are some pics from my last show, the Daytona Classic, just 10 days after getting hurt.

daytona classic

No More Weakness

Mental fortitude is as important for me as physical fortitude.  My parents were Old School German Disciplinarians.  My fathers’ favorite quote was “brains, not brawn”.  I like to think I married them both. Physical aptitude is secondary to cerebral prowess.

body vs brain

Things I think about:

Your body won’t do what your brain won’t allow.

Fear of failing fuels me both mentally and physically. 

My weakness is allowing my doubt, or my fears, to get a head start and lobby my brain for even a second of attention. 

When I push out doubt… and I will, there is nothing I can’t finish!

Function or Fashion: Let’s Talk Shoes

Recently, I was part of a national fund raiser for Safe Space, a womens refuge center.  The name of the event was called “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes“. It was the most fun, and painful, philanthropic events I’ve ever done.  It is all men, walking 1 mile in red high heel shoes. That’s me, 2nd to the left, with my friends (left to right), Dr. Nick Cappola, Tommy Chiarenza and Dr. Clark Beckett.The only thing freakier than the muscular calves of the man walking in front of me, was the guy walking in front of him – that guy was walking just a little TOO good!

After I got home and told Bonnie (my wife) all about the crazy fun, then I had to bow down and give her kudos for wearing such horrific contraptions on her feet.  I asked her why she would endure such torcher day after day?  Her answer; “high heels just look so good”.

When everything is said and done, are we gonna kill ourselves in the gym to sculpt our physiques,  just to put our “nerd” on to go back to the office?  If we are going to work so hard to feel and look better, we should want gear that will accentuate our hard work. High heels may hurt, but they look so darn good.

Have My Cake & Eat It Too

What if we could marry the two – function AND fashion?  I was in Boston late last week getting a unique behind-the-scenes look at a company that is making that happen.  Class after phenomenal class, we had researchers and developers explaining the amazing research and engineering it takes to create functional gear. We then spoke to the merchandisers that research what the consumers are asking for in the form of workout gear.  The people leading our discussions were intense about listening. They didn’t come up with a great idea and find a way to sell it. They looked to us, as a fitness professionals and consumers, to tell them what WE need.

Interestingly enough, this company lives and breathes fitness themselves.  Their headquarters are built around a stellar state -of-the-art fitness center, and currently has over 1/2 their 1000+ employees at headquarters actively training in an intense training regime known as CrossFit.  These guys are truly the creme de la creme of fitness.  When it comes to development, they know what questions to ask.  The amazing company I am referring to is Reebok.  But lets call it Reebok 2.0!

(Here I am getting a workout in at Reebok CrossFit One. Totally awesome experience!)

I already liked Reebok because I loved all their cool colors and styles that have come out recently. But now I understand all the technology that goes into each shoe and how each style of shoe can help me reach my goals.

Reebok isn’t just designing stylish shoes. They are designing stylish functional shoes that can help you reach your goals. For instance, the Reebok Nano was born for function, even though it just looks like a pair of sweet kicks. This great functional trainer not only comes in awesome colors, and is totally customizable online, they have insane features like skid-proof soles that are great for plyo box jumps so you don’t slip and bust your a**, and a totally unique lug pattern (like a tire) on the outside rim of the sole for gripping climbing rope. A tougher sole for heavy abuse, abrasion resistant toe and a tough durable sole makes this shoe more than functional, it makes it successful.

If you are shoe shopping, you probably wouldn’t know all of the coolest features just by looking at it. It just looks like Reebok got fashionable. If you are in the market for a new shoe, you need to do your homework and check out some of the awesome info videos on Reebok’s website or youtube.

Here’s a Quick Review for the Nano from Austin, one of the guys we trained with this weekend in Boston.


Do you realize how successful you and I would be if we engineered our workouts and diets with the same philosophy as Reebok.  What if we looked at our end goals first and developed our training around that.  Think of the purpose you would have every time you showed up to the gym, knowing your plan of attack was completely designed to get you exactly the results you desired. For example; Dont eat a pizza and then figure out how it fits into your diet. Instead, develop you diet around your needs, tastes and desires.

Making a plan when you already know what the desired outcome is saves time, pain, and the potential of quitting.  It is a sure proof way of surpassing your goals.

Get after it… stay after it!!!!

FitFluential LLC compensated me for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

In Fitness, You Deserve What You Get

I’ve heard it said that nothing in life is easy. Have you ever tried failing, quitting, stopping, or even just not caring?  That is about the only easy stuff in life, and those things, my friends, are a dead-end road to complete misery. So indeed it does seem like everything in life that is worth having is totally worth fighting for, the same as the things in life that seem to come easily are less appreciated and sometimes are taken for granted.

Our physiques and health is no different.  When being healthy is a fight, a real fight, the fight makes you appreciate your health to a degree that would confuse other people. When you have to go to war in your cerebellum to get your body off the couch and out the door for a run, or you have to dig deeper than you think you should to convince yourself to go to the gym, don’t you know that in and of itself is sweet victory.

When is the last time you had an amazing workout, only to the leave the gym thinking, “that was a waste of time” ??? NEVER!!!! But how often are we getting ready for bed, kicking ourselves for not making time for the gym?  I’ve even said out loud, “Darn it’, I should have gone to the gym when I was thinking about it”!

If you’re not willing to fight for what you want… You deserve what you get.


Click on the Links to see video instruction for exercises from FitStudio 

6:45am Shoulder Couplet Workout & Cardio

#1 SUPERSET – No rest between A & B. 30 seconds rest between sets.
A: 15 reps Seated Hammer Strength Shoulder Press
B: 15 reps Reverse Pec Deck (Alternative workout with bands: Reverse standing fly)
5 Sets

#2 SUPERSET  – No rest between A & B. 30 seconds rest between sets.
A: 15 reps Lateral Raises
B: 15 reps Seated Dumbbell Arnold Press
5 Sets

A: 15 reps Front Raise
B: 10 reps Standing Alternating Dumbbell Press (Alternating left & right arms, we call them Ladders)

CARDIO: 500 Calories of Elliptical (32 minutes)

5:45 Arms

#1 SUPER SET – Complete both A & B back and forth with little rest PRN
A: 10 reps Standing Straight Bar Curls
B: 10 reps Standing Pulley Tricep Extension (with Rope Attachment instead of handles)

#2 SUPER SET – Complete 2 sets of A then 2 sets of B, repeating 5 times with little to no rest.
A Right: 10 reps Seated Concentration Curl
A Left: 10 reps Seated Concentration Curl
Repeat x 2
B Right: 10 reps Tricep Kickbacks
B Left: 10 reps Tricep Kickbacks
Repeat x 2

Defeat Feeling Defeated

Have you ever felt like this?  As I sit here,  I am looking my circumstances square in the face.  My body aches from training hard, I’m hungry and weak from cutting weight, business is slow and all the stress that comes with that, mostly, I’m just beat down and feeling sorry for myself.  It seems the harder I try, the more defeated I feel.  The harder I fight, the more overwhelming my circumstances become.  I want to just pull the covers up over my face until it all goes away.

New Flash:
No body is going to come save you.  Nobody is going to train your body for you, eat good for you, fix your financial and business woes, and take care of your family  just because you are struggling…

Probably, like you, I have some amazing people I can ask for help. But, if anything is going to get better, it will require me getting out of this funk and taking action.  I am not defeated.  No different than sparing, when you get knocked down… you get up again!!!! and maybe again, and again…

Put your circumstances in perspective.  The end of the world is coming but it isn’t here right this second, so take a breath and write down your problems.  As we take a step back, what was once overwhelming and so close to our face it was all we could see, is now getting smaller and smaller.

Plan of action:
For each concern, go ahead “face on” write down worst case scenario.  Look the worst that could happen straight in the face, but realize there are always more options with a higher likelihood of occurring than the worst case scenario.  List your options for dealing with the worst.

Now list some options with better outcomes and a plan of action to direct this train wreck in that direction. “When we are amongst dark heavy circumstances, just because you can’t stop them dead in their tracks doesn’t mean you can’t steer them in a better direction until they slow on their own”

Your plan of action should consider realistic action and outcome.  By making this list, it will inspire hope and perspective.  Hard work and consistency, with a positive attitude, will always win out over circumstances.  Circumstances can’t always be controlled, and they also are always temporary, your attitude can be controlled and should be a constant regardless of our circumstance.

Higher Power:
We should all agree this planet, along with all we see, came from somewhere at some point.  I know its hard to wrap your head around it, but thinking all of this came from nothing is an even harder task.  So, I would employ you to ask the maker of all of this to give you peace and direction.  The God who made this place is big enough to help you through this carnage – but it will come after you are ready to pull the covers off of your hidden face, put all of this in perspective, and execute your plan of action.

Winston Churchill

If you Run from the fight, you might miss the Glory!

The temporary pleasure of sin will never out weigh the devastating long term consequences, as the temporary pain of training will never out weigh the amazing long term consequences! 

Bonnie and I were both brought up in the south, and for many of us that means that we were in church everytime the doors were open.  One of the phrases you hear a lot in the church is “we really hate SIN”.  Don’t tune me out, I’m about to make a point.  As much as church, Bon and I in our adult lives spent a lot of time in the gym as well.  One of the phrases we hear all of time at the gym is “I love my workout”.  So “we hate sin and love our workouts” hmmm

Hate Sin?  Not at all.
We love sin, its exciting, feels good, it’s attractive, it taste good, it’s a total rush…  No we don’t hate sin.  What we hate is the consequences of our sin.  Sin can lead to drug addiction. divorce, obesity, disease, or even death – not to mention total seperation from the Dude who created you.  (another blog, another time).  But to say we hate sin, well, that just isn’t true – but to truly hate the devastating affects of sin is such a huge reality it isn’t a lie to say “I hate sin”.  Hold on, here it comes…

Love your workout? Not truly… 
Right now I am doing 315 pound shruggs.  I think I just popped every vertebrae in my back, just ripped a callous, my legs are trembling and I have sweat in my eye and a charlie horse in my calf.  Love my workout? …not so much.

HOWEVER, I absolutely love the consequences that I experience from working out.  Health, aesthetics, energy, increased self esteem, confidence, the ablility to defend myself and my family against danger, and vitality are all considered bliss – directly related to the suffering and drudgery of the afformentioned workout.  Knowing the amazing results of hard training, I can honestly say, “I love my workouts”!

The same way a person who has been caught up in SIN becomes so hurt and disgusted with that lifestyle, another can honestly say they love working out becuase of the amazing results and positive influence, that it can acutally be said, “I love my workout”

In short...The temporary pleasure of sin will never out weigh the devastating long term consequences, as the temporary pain of training will never out weigh the amazing long term consequences! 

How do we change our belief system to be able to honestly say… “I love training”?

1. Set goals and BELIEVE you can attain them.

2. Visualize the prize (end game) seeing the goal as if its complete.

3. Make a plan that is realistic and effective to meet your goal.

4. Grow a pair.  Dont be afraid to “gut it out”. Know it will be worth it.

5. Start over a million times – but dont quit, not even once!

Why I Do What I Do

Lately I have had a chance to ponder why we do what we do.  Hopefully something in our vocation drives us, somehow we get fed.  I think all relationships on all levels have to be the same way.  There is something we get in return for the “everything” we give.

Don’t let things drown out what matters most.
As an owner/operator of a health club I often hear complaints about how loud the music is, or the parking is full, or a certain aerobics class was too full.  When I am not careful these things drown out the one precious moment in my day when someone comes to me to tell me what a difference I, or another staff member, has made in their life. Most of the time it is weight loss and sometimes it is just more energy. Just the other day I got a thank you letter from a husband of a member to thank me for what I have done for his wife’s butt.  Read the rest of this entry

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