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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.

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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?

Narrow-minded

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…

Self-Centered

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

I Don’t Get Picked Last Anymore

i don't get picked last anymore

I created this mantra, featured on DetourBar.com today, to remind people that all your workouts have a lot of benefits, outside of just appearance. Even though getting “picked first” is not the reason I train hard, training has affected my overall athletic performance – and it affects so many other areas of my life too.

When you are in the gym, training your guts out, don’t just focus on how your muscle looks or even how you feel in that moment. Think of all the opportunities your new fit body gives you – to be a better athlete, employee, spouse, parent and friend.

 

CLICK HERE to get the full-size mantra.

CLICK HERE to read Bonnie’s Blog for DetourBar.com:
8 Tips to Reinvent Yourself.

I WILL FAIL!

Next time you gain ground and next time you find yourself making any headway, no matter how insignificant, FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT to keep it!

i will fail

BUT, I WILL NOT FAIL MYSELF!!!

#RESPECTYOURSELF 

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!

Majoring in the Minors

Yesterday I saw this young guy with a completely trashed car that barely ran, and he put at least $2000 dollars worth of “spinner” rims on it?  I even saw someone wearing target jeans, and when I looked down they had on $200 dollar shoes?…  Okay, bad example, cause I do that… but you get what I mean.. right?

What does this have to do with fitness?  (Insert soap box)  I can’t tell you the countless times I’ve been at the gym and have seen the meticulous biomechanical strategies that some people come up with to make their lifting routine more effective, or the countless times I’ve listened to people who are extremely overweight, discuss food on a totally microbiological level.  Instead of looking at calories, they are “buggn” about if it is free range or not.   I am not arguing that biomechanics and microbiology doesn’t have a place in training and nutrition, but by god-man,  look at the bigger picture.

I call this “majoring in the minors”.  As a trainer, blogger, or just exercise enthusiast, it is so vital that we realize the importance of fundamentals.  My back ground is very clinical, but I have never deviated from the application of fundamentals.  I am not saying that details are not important, however, $2000 dollars worth of wheels and tires on a $300 dollar car is a waisted investment.

Biomechanics: When you evaluate your body and decide you want to tone and tighten specific areas, start with the basics.  There is no need to do complicated movements when your time and energy will be better suited using fundamentals.  i.e. you want to tone your glutes.  Let’s begin with squats,lunges, and maybe straight leg dead lifts.  Why begin with 1 legged Romanian dead lifts or cook hip lifts, when simple basics will reach deep fibers at rich angles and are superior to intricate complicated movements.  Do these other exercises have their place?… Of course, but after exhausting the basics!

Take home:  When you sit on a machine for the first time, do it as designed.  Do not begin to invent your own way or make up a complicated movement to target some erroneous area of musculature.

Nutrition: Many people, in there quest to find the “right diet”, dissect micro-nutrition to a fault.  At the end of the day (listen Paleo Freaks) no matter how clean you eat, if your caloric intake exceeds your out put, you are going to store energy.  Your body prefers to store energy as fat because, for the same amount in grams stored, your body can yield twice as much energy from fat as glycogen or lean muscle.  This my friends is MACRO-nutrition.  It is the science of metabolism of  four general substrates: Carbohydrates, Proteins, Fats, and Alcohols.  If you are eating more calories than you burn, regardless of your “blood type’, “zone”, “points” or any other thing else you measure… LISTEN… YOU WILL GAIN WEIGHT!

Take home: Before you get involved in vitamins and minerals, the ph of your blood, even the glycemic index of foods, first figure out how many calories you burn per day, and eat less than that.  It’s just science.  Anyone who challenges this statement (Dousch-tard) would be saying, “if you are dropped off on a deserted island for two weeks, with nothing but water, and luckily found, you would have not lost any weight”. 

Fitness is simple guys… Our industry makes it complicated.  Quit  looking for the magic bullet, trying to find the “little pill”, or doing the perfect gluteal exercise for 30 seconds every morning.  You give me fundamentals, hard work, and discipline… And I’ll give you your magic bullet!

“The magic bullet IS fundamentals, hard work, and discipline.”

THE SKINNY: Exercise Makes You Fat & Hungry

Before we start,  lets just agree to disagree…  Dont you dare hit dislike at the bottom of this blog just because I’m not saying what you want to hear.  This is what you need to hear.

Over and over I see clients that are in pretty good shape,  just over weight, and I’ve seen clients that look fantastic but they practically vomit walking a mile…  What gives?

By far, the most asked question I get is either 1.) How many calories should I eat to get in shape?  orrr 2.) How much cardio should I do to lose weight? Commercial media has sold us a bunch of schmedge.  Dieting will not get you “in shape” and cardio inherently is not the best tool to lose weight.  Chill out and keep reading…

What I mean is, “dieting” will not affect important aspects of  your physiology, ie: Dieting will not increase VO2 max,  peak oxygen uptake or aerobic capacity, nor will diet increase stroke volume,  the volume of blood pumped from the left ventricle of the heart with each beat, nor will diet increase your strength or flexibility. Savvy? Likewise, any exercise, including cardio, though it expends calories, is not the means to an end for weight loss.  Exercise will increase caloric output which in turn directly increases our appetites to replenish used energy exponentially,  so that your body is prepared for more caloric expenditure next time you need it.

Downfalls of diet and exercise:
As soon as we start to decrease our caloric intake, or “diet”,  our metabolism will begin to decrease to preserve our energy stores, which in turn makes us less prone to feel energetic.  The other bad news; as soon as you begin to exercise, or increase caloric expenditure, your appetite will go through the roof – and you will want to eat everything in sight (again this is in response to your body preserving energy stores).  In other words, as soon as you start a diet and exercise program, you will be hungrier and lazier than ever.  It’s just primal. However, there are many things we can do to combat this evil problem.

Life vs Looks
Your body, biologically,  is more interested in survival than aesthetic appearance.  Unfortunately in the commodity of physiology, fat is more valuable than muscle, and muscle requires a hefty luxury tax.  Lean muscle is rather useless for your body in the realm of survival… but it looks so so good.   So now what?

If you want to lose weight, you are going to have to eat less calories than you expend.  If you want to get in shape, physically and physiologically, you are going to have to exercise.  But Steeeeeve, you just said that will make me lazy and hungry.  Yessss Jedi, but the force is strong in you. Here is the good news…

Trick Your System
How can I diet without slowing my metabolism down or losing energy?  We must retrain our bodies so that energy is constantly being deposited.  If your body will always have dietary energy, small meals being deposited, then your  body will have less need to store energy for long periods.  This takes work to “trick” your body because energy storage is primal, and it feels so good to indulge.  Try eating 5-6 small meals a day.  Stay away from foods that will spike your blood sugar and require your pancreas to secrete large amounts of insulin, as this gives your body momentum to store energy for longer periods of time… (as fat).   Stay away from foods that are high in carbohydrates, like breads, starches and sugars.

How can I benefit from exercise and not end up eating a horse?
If you pair exercise with decreasing your caloric intake you will be amazed at the response you will have.  Diet and exercise together will give you exponential results, and you will find yourself skinnier, toned, and in great physiological shape.  But how? “Steve you just said I’d eat more if I exercise”.

The skinny.
In the same fashion you eat when you diet, 5-6 small meals per day, and keeping your food choices responsible, with very little breads, starches and sugars, your body will feel more satisfied more often.  Your blood sugar will start to become very stable and less distressed triggering the hypothalamus to request food, or your pancreas to secrete insulin.  Eating more often is easier on your digestive system, increases circulation to the brain, and preserves muscles mass just to name a few phenomenal things you can start to expect.  So please please, diet to lose weight, exercise to get into shape, but put these two disciplines together and be amazed at how you can look and feel.

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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