The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Reebok.
Anyone who knows me realizes that I have a long term relationship with fitness and a love for clothes. People close to me also know I have a huge addiction to anything “food”. I’m often asked if I “jones” salty or sweet. My reply is always…. YES!
Because of my complete love affair with deliciousness, it is a complete blessing that I love fitness and apparel so much to offset my weakness for food.
One of the huge perks of working in the fitness industry is the opportunity to try cutting edge fitness programs and products. Lucky me, because both clothes and food both fit into this category of bliss. So, now, imagine my delight as I drove into my drive way and discovered a package from rebok begging to be ripped open.
Secretly, I was hoping for a package from Cheese Cake Factory, but Reebok is definitely a close second. As I tore into the package, it became evident I was about to discover a new pair of shoes.
What jumped out was a sick pair of black and red Reebok Nano 4.0’s. Woo Hoo!
This was over the top because of all the black and red gear I have to accessorize with these new shoes. (See, I am comfy enough with my “mextroality” that I enjoy accessorizing my dibbs – and even my wife.) As I slid the first shoe on my foot I felt like Cinderfella. It fit like a glove. Now, all I had to decide is what kind of carnage do I want to impose them to?
Since the Nano 4.0 are pretty flat and a super stable shoe, this makes them great for leg day. The Nanos were made for squats, box jumps, dead lifts, double unders, burpees and lower body conditioning workouts – so legs & conditioning it is!!
The rest is history, and it went like this: (spoiler alert: the Nano 4.0 rocked the test)
Lower Body Conditioning Circuit
Round 1: 50 seconds on, 10 off
Round 2: 45 seconds on, 10 off
Round 3: 40 seconds on, 10 off
Round 4: 35 seconds on, 10 off
Round 5: 30 seconds on, 10 off
(Click on the exercise to view video instruction)
Alternating Overhead Walking Lunges
Once you’re done, don’t forget to stretch out, have a protein shake and post your workout on facebook! You know what they say, “if you don’t post your workout, it’s like it never happened”. lol
Here’s a matching graphic for this workout:
The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Florastor.
I am definitely one of those people who wouldn’t be caught dead worrying about gluten free potato chips or even msg. I know, that’s awful but true. I do care about my health and feeling good but I am a “big picture” kind of guy. I laugh at people that obsess about only eating organic food but continue to be 30 pounds overweight and have a resting heart rate of 80 bpms. What’s the point in eating perfectly healthy, but suffering from being obese and out of shape? I call that majoring in the minors – when you focus on the small stuff and miss the big stuff. However, I do believe the small stuff matters, if you are adding to an already healthy lifestyle.
I’ve always been curious about probiotics. I’ve shied away from the topic because I just wasn’t aware of the benefits, nor my need for them. Now, after a little research, along with a great opportunity and education from a leading probiotic company (Florastor), I find myself in a position where I think I could benefit greatly from probiotics.
Just recently I had a traumatic injury at work, and was forced to take heavy doses of antibiotics. I was shot with a 40 caliber hollow point round that took a big chunk of leg with it as it passed through both legs. This is a picture of me, with my bandages on my legs and my dog, Marley. The medication took a toll on my body in a lot of ways. I know it was healthy for my wounds, but what about the negative affects antibiotics play on the rest of the body?
Hard core antibiotics kill all bacteria – good and bad. I am aware of the “good flora (bacteria)” that exists in our bodies to maintain proper digestion, but I had no clue how this balance also affects our immune system, water balance, mood, and even energy levels. To make things worse, I decided right away not to let the gun shot injury keep me down. I am a fighter and I am gonna fight regardless of anything (I thought).
I started training for a bodybuilding show 3 days after getting out of the hospital. I could barely walk, let alone do squats or lunges, but I continued to try my best. Between aforementioned antibiotics, and now the increase in protein supplements and meal replacements, my body was in complete shock. My immune system was reacting to everything, especially a near death reaction (out of the blue) to Advil and Aleve.
I have never been allergic to anything in my life, and now I cant take the one medication that actually gets me through intense training – not to mention my legs were still hurting like crazy, especially after trying to work lower body in the gym. But here I am, completely reacting to Advil (photo of my crazy hives. Have you seen Hitch. Yep, that was me!).
I was learning that stress, diet, trauma, medications, and just plain ole life, can play a huge part in altering our bodies digestive health, and the biggest player in regulating immune function, nutrient absorption, and toxin excretion is our digestive tract. My digestive tract was struggling, and I could feel the evidence of this in my mental, physical and emotional health. What a perfect time to try out this “foreign idea” of probiotics.
I’ve been taking Florastor for about 3 weeks. The first thing I noticed was more regularity (but not anything crazy – meaning this is in no way a laxative or anything). Soon after, more energy. I was unaware how probiotics affect water regulation, but it definitely does. My mood and energy are restored to how I felt before I started training for the bodybuilding show.
I also noticed other small perks that I wasn’t even looking for. My skin was better, my cravings were controlled, and all and all I just felt better. Placebo? Perhaps when it comes to mood, but the other changes were very definite. I still haven’t had the guts to try Aleve again, but that will be a blog for another time.
Does It Work? My Answer…
So, all in all, I’m pretty convinced that Florastor Probiotics are effective and making me feel healthier!
Here are some cool tidbits of info…
FitFluential LLC compensated me for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
What if you were charged with designing a custom motorcycle, or overhaul the muscle car of your choice? Money didn’t matter, and you would be able to drive it within a month. Ok, lets dial this down a little. I do have a complete car fetish and I really enjoy my custom “sled”… but when it comes to shoes, I am just as big of a freak.
Reebok wanted me to design a custom shoe using their website. I was completely stoked. In my head I was going to design the most sick shoe ever known to mankind. I’ll whip it up and blog about it and be done in about an hour… #EPICFAIL
About 2 hours into it, I still haven’t even picked the base shoe I wanted to use. I love the Nano Speed that I have had for about 3 months, and I have so many different other shoes that are amazing, ugh. Where do I start? So, I started thinking. What is my most versatile “go-to” shoe? By far, it is my NANO 2.0 (below). They are over a year old, and I will wear them till they fall off my feet. Originally designed for CrossFit WOD’s, I use them in everything from boxing and wrestling, to my Olympic lifts, plyo’s, to sprinting, to Disney’s Animal Kingdom (pictured right), to church – yes, even wearing them out with my sunday best. And, no, I don’t go to church in spandex, fanny pack, and tanl (well, mostly I don’t). OK, task one, complete. We are making NANO 2.0‘s!
I click on the website and begin to design my own Nanos again.
You can pick a general design that exists already or you can start with a total clean slate. “Alrighty”, I’m thinking. “Be original”, I’m thinking. “Holy Crap its been another two hours”, I’m thinking. YIKES! The entire process is completely addicting! Its hard because there are literally thousands of combinations – and they all look amazing.
Back to the drawing board.
I decide to peruse what others have designed as well as looking at past reebok designs. I’m still desiring to have a one off shoe. My pride wont let me even think about borrowing a design – well, sorta. I find a few that are definitely along the lines of what I imagined, I just needed some inspiration to get there. Truth be told, I would have saved myself about 3 hours if I would have sucked up my pride and looked at the amazing shoe designs that Reebok has already created.
Nevertheless, off I go. I even add my own little inscription, taken from King Leonidas I at the Battle of Thermopylae. When the Persians demand for the Spartans to lay down their weapons Leonidas says to the Persians, “Molon Labe” (Come and Get Them). Do you see now why this shoe must exude some serious attitude. You cant inscribe that on a pink sneaker (not that pink sneakers aren’t cool).
By the end of this really fun ordeal I have no less than about 15 designs. I have the narrowed down to 6 (below). I believe I can really choose between two. It has really become a win-win scenario. They are both going to leave me with a pair I love, and a pair that I am going to have to have eventually anyway. Very sneaky Reebok, I see how you work. LOL
At the end of the day, thank you Reebok for this amazing opportunity to build my own Nano 2.O‘s. They truly are, to me, the most versatile shoe on the market today. But in the future, just send me one of your kick-butt designs. I definitely can’t make it any better than the great designs you already have!
Recently I’ve given much thought to Reebok’s campaign to #LIVEWITHFIRE. From time to time I get philosophical and sort of lost in abstract thought of the weirdest things. So this blog is me inviting you for a road trip with me and my brain. Turn the music up and take a look around my cerebral cortex as I ponder what it is to “Live With Fire“.
Living With Fire is NOT Complacent
First, I think about what it isn’t. Living with fire is not complacency. I think its important to be fulfilled, and even satisfied, about where you are going – but maybe not be overly satisfied with where you are. Content with your present, but pressing on to be all who you were called to be.
Living with fire is not living with rage, or resentment. That state of mind can drive us to overcome and accomplish a lot of things, but to what cost? In that frame of mind, we are rarely satisfied in accomplishing anything except vengeance, and still are never satisfied. No, friends, that is NOT living with fire.
Tenacity, perseverance, consistency, courage, willpower – THESE are a few defining characteristics of what it means to me to #LIVEWITHFIRE.
1. Living With Fire is: Tenacity
Tenacity is defined as the quality of being determined to do or achieve something. And I love the following definition: firmness of purpose.
2. Living With Fire is: Perseverance
Perseverance is next on my list of defining this Reebok Mantra. Perseverance is definitely a synonym for tenaciousness, but lets further define living with fire by defining perseverance with a definition from Webster: continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition. To me, living with fire comes alive in the second part of this definition; to continue DESPITE difficulty! I think I should end the blog now – but I wont.
3. Living With Fire is: Consistency
Consistency brings the “ing” to the phrase. See, to live with fire could be mistaken as a moment in time, but livING with fire gives the idea of continuing to strive for that “pressing forward” . To be consistent in our quest to live with joy and zeal for more in life. Consistency could have a couple of different meanings. Both of which I believe are applicable.
The first, is degree of firmness, density, viscosity, or resistance to movement or separation. Our ideals and level of effort should have a routine firmness. Not hot and cold, not soft and hard, but consistent effort in every attempt. Then, the more traditional thought for the way we describe consistency is the ability to be asserted together without contradiction. This would also be the idea to live beyond contradiction, above reproach. (We all fall short here, but when we get it right what victory we have.)
This brings us to courage on my synonym list of living with fire. Webster says courage is: mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty. Interesting that courage is not the absence of fear, but for someone to withstand fear or difficulty.
In other words, to persevere even in the face of fear. OK, I hear! WHOA!
Lets finish our thoughts of Living With Fire by defining “WILL POWER”: The strength or will to carry out one’s decisions, wishes, or plans. This definition left no discussion for feeling or emotion. The idea is to DECIDE on what you want and SEE IT THROUGH – not allowing circumstance or excuses to compromise your decision!
What if we all “lived with fire”, in learning more, loving more, living more? I believe the key is in the desire. Decide what it is you really want. Dig deep to find a burning desire to accomplish or acquire it with a relentless, stubbornness that knows no quit. Never never never give up!
I believe this so much, I tattooed it on my body:
SEMPER PERSEVERA – Meaning, Never Give Up.
Here are some pictures of some amazing athletes who clearly Live With Fire and never gave up – even when they had some pretty awesome excuses. If this doesn’t inspire you, I don’t know what will.
FitFluential LLC compensated me for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Whether you’ve never done a HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workout before, or you are a pro, here is a workout I put together for DualFit that is designed for beginners – but can be adjusted in intensity by simply adjusting the intervals.
OTHER INTERVALS TO TRY:
- 30/30: 30 Seconds of Exercise & 30 Seconds of Rest
- 30/30/30: 30 Seconds of the 1st Exercise ( no rest), 30 Seconds of the 2nd Exercise and 30 Seconds rest
- 45/15: 45 Seconds of Exercise & 15 Seconds of Rest
- 50/10: 50 Seconds of Exercise & 10 Seconds of Rest
Have a ball with your ab workout! Instead of doing boring crunches, use a medicine ball to increase the intensity and fun. Here are a few exercises you can try with a small med ball.
12 Single Under Leg Pass
12 Single Scissor Leg Pass
12 Double Under Leg Pass
12 Double Scissor (Figure 8) Leg Pass
12 Triple Under Leg Pass
For more fun workouts, check out www.DualFit.com
Have you ever been interested in body building or physique contests? Have you ever wondered what its like on stage, back stage, or even in the crowd on the night of the event?
Preparing the Body
I know how I felt when I first thought of getting on stage and seeing what this whole competition things was all about. I was terrified. I didnt know anything about diet, tanning, posing, how to pump up, what suit to buy, what to eat the night before, and on and on and on. I realized I probably wasn’t alone, and that this “abyss”of the unknown may be keeping many from trying one of the toughest sports in the world when it comes to training and nutrition.
Competitors don’t risk falling off of a balance beam after years of preparation, or getting knocked out by one rogue lucky punch but, instead, the competition is soley in the preparation. The day of the show is merely an unvailing of a sculpture (or science project) that took months, and even years, to perfect – or at least improve.
Preparing the body for a show takes a lot of planning (and, as you can see in these pictures below shot at the hotel competition day, a lot of packing, cooking, supplementing and planning ahead).
Preparing the Mind
This type of discipline is grueling – and takes a lot of mental fortitude and drive to keep going till the day of competition. This is when, as a coach, a little encouragement can go a long way. I have close to 20 people that are going to compete with me in an upcomming physique event, and the following is a letter I wrote them to encourage them to persever till the end. I wrote this letter to encourage them to say the course no matter what their brain or body is telling them. I wrote this letter to push them to keep faith that in 5 weeks their bodies will be the most amazing aesthtically that they have been in years, if not ever.
Letter to my clients and future competitors out there where ever you are:
Secretly I am hoping you find it very fulfilling, beyond the seemingly narcissistic focus it may have at first glance. I promise you, this level of commitment, self denial and discipline has perfect carry over into our daily lives. It teaches us to be better parents, boss’s, moms, dads, husbands and on and on…
Here we are guys… 5 weeks to go. Some of you are still on the fence, and that is ok. But next week we are either crossing the line of committing to April 6th, or we are going to gracefully bow out for another show. I am asking you to humbly allow me to help you with that decision. Lets decide together if your physique will be show ready or not.
Please don’t let fear into your heart, or head, when it comes to this decision of competing. It is only a question of being ready or not physically. Emotionally and mentally you will be wondering “what if” all the way up to and even the day of the show. So get that out of your head.
You guys have already overcome so much. We have only been training as a team for 5 weeks so far, and every single one of you has amazed me with your level of commitment. We still have 5 weeks to go. I’ve never had a team with so many firsts, so personally I am overwhelmed with excitement.
Guys (and girls), I know the inbody is messing with your head, I know the scale is your best friend in the morning and then your nemesis by noon. You feel so weak trying to finish the most menial tasks around the house, never mind making it into Max to train. When you finally do have time to train you may feel like you’re letting something else go, or putting other priorities on the back burner. You are paying the price, you are paying your dues. You will all have different levels of sacrifice depending on your support structure at home. Some friends and family are supporting your every move, keeping you accountable, reminding you of how amazing your commitment is – and others… not so much.
Your spouse may feel left out. You may have guilt about picking your kids up at school only to drop them off again so you can train. Your best friend may miss her drinking buddy, or even be jealous that she doesn’t have the guts to commit to this epic training. Get all of this out of your head, because when your friends and family see you on the stage, all will be forgiven.
I have seen my clients go to a show with a skeptic husband, and I watch his face as his bride walks out on stage and his jaw drops. He stands to his feet and screams, number 17, number 17… Or the look on the faces of your kids shouting from the crowd, mom… mom… As a coach, this all plays a part of why I drive you guys, and beg for more when you have nothing left to give. If you are struggling with this, stay true to training, stay true to yourself. The one thing they can’t argue the day of the show is that you deserve the applause they are hearing for you right now.
I would like to encourage you, however, to arrange your schedule to train early or later or in the middle of the day as to not affect your friends and family as much. The less impact our training and diet has on disrupting our social lives, the more supportive our loved ones will be. It is a sacrifice to get up early, to get that extra cardio before your spouse or kids wake. It is a sacrifice to make PB&J sandwiches for the rest of the family when you’re dying to lick the spoon. It is a sacrifice to go out for drinks with friends and sip on un-sweet ice tea in a martini glass – but you didn’t think that all this sacrifice was just in the gym, did ya?
So here we are… 5 weeks out. We feel too fat, too flabby, too skinny, too hungry. By now, I think I have had a chance to talk to each of you about dialing it in for the show. If not, lets talk Saturday so we can straighten out these questions. But in the mean time, stick to the program. Regardless if the scale doesn’t move, stick to the program. If you feel skinny, it doesn’t necessarily mean eat more, and if you’re having a fat day it doesn’t mean you need to starve yourself.
You must “stay the course”. I know you are hungry, tired, emotional, scared, insecure… because I feel these things too – but guys, I can tell you what its like the day after… the accomplishment, the pride, the feeling as though you worked so hard and you deserve the compliments that people give you. It is worth it in the end.
Lets all commit to taking our training and diet up another notch. Don’t put your family and friends second, don’t let fatigue and hunger slow you down, don’t let your eyes tell you your not going to be ready, and never, never, never give up.
Think It’s Too Late?
Dr. Josefina Monasterio STARTED competing for the first time when she was 60. She is one of our Team Max members who will compete in the upcoming Southeast Classic in Hollywood April 6th, even after hip surgery. So, NO it’s not too late. Read Dr. Josefina’s story…
FitFluential LLC compensated me for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. #respectyourself
If 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
How 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.
Fat 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?
Ok, 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…
With 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.