Personal Training And Scamming

My first job ever was a fitness instructor. It fell into my lap and I thought “Wow, what an awesome gig! Working out AND getting paid”. Then I went to the next step, did my personal training course and that was my start. All in all, I’ve been training people close to 15-20 years and I think it is one of the most under-appreciated and under-regulated profession. Consider this, you can be a certified fitness anything after a weekend course, it’s not that surprising.fat_personal_trainer_fitness

Finding a good and honest personal trainer is actually pretty hard. Primarily because they are under contract to sign up as many people and sell memberships. Sifting through the bullshit is the HARDEST part. Here is a couple of things to watch out for :

1. Do not trust a personal trainer that gives you a cookie cutter workout. What works for one person might not work for you. Look at their clients. If they are prescribing the same workout to two disparate individuals, tell them to go back to Hogwarts for more schooling.

2. Run away if the person does not take into consideration what you want to accomplish. Run towards the person if they’re hot (Kidding! Only if they’re really hot!).

3. If they neglect a nutritional aspect in conjunction to your regimen, kick him/her in the balls. Diet is the biggest contributor to outward body changes. As Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, the lawyer and gastronome said, “Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are”.

Yours In Fitness.

Jay-sus. This is so functional.

Jay-sus. This is so functional.


Climbing Out Of The Hole

I first met Jeff when I was at the lowest point in my life. I had no motivation to train or really do anything remotely exercise-y (it’s a real word, google it). Anyway, he dragged me to swimming, diving, weights and kickboxing. It was painful at times but absolutely welcome. I would ebb and flow but it was already there so even though I might slide a bit I know enough to come back to working out. Then there came a point when Jeff decided to do a fight. He trained his ass off and subsequently winning the fight with a knee to gut TKO. After that, tried to get back but it just wasn’t there any more. Fast forward to finishing Uni, he got married and now kids on the way, and he said it was the same feeling as before. He knows he needs to exercise but, as he says, the drive has dwindled. When I was at that point, I really felt like I was failing all the time.

My own drive waned also when I got to Toronto after Uni. Found a gym and started doing my own workouts. It was a long slow climb to see that light but I’m almost there. Now, my motivation comes from striving to be better at what I am trying to achieve. Internal motivation plus really good workout partners push you like no other. Fitness is a continuum and not a pass/fail paradigm. If there is anything to I can impart, daily things compound to bigger achievements taken as an aggregate.

So here is my challenge to my former student, my friend, and my brother: the 3 x a week daily 10.

Warm-up :

10 Arm Rotations left and right.

10 Power Jacks or Jumping Jacks.

10 Quick Toe Touches.

10 Body Twists.

3 rounds of :

5 Burpees

10 Pushups

5 Strict Pull-ups

10 Air Squats

5 V – Ups

Finish with a 30 sec Mountain Climbers.

Do this for 3 weeks before you have anything in your belly in the a.m. I know life is busy but this only needs 15 minutes of your time.

Get back to it. 3 Weeks, Nak Muay.

Be Relentless, Like Fire.

Pull-Ups And Being A Girl


So I read this article about women cannot physically do chin ups.  You can read it http here pull-ups

This got me to thinking why is it so hard and to an extent they explained the boring bio-mechanics and weight to height to lever body something, something zzzzzzzzz.

I quote “Men and women who can do them tend to have a combination of strength, low body fat and shorter stature. During training, because women have lower levels of testosterone, they typically develop less muscle than men, Vanderburgh explained. In addition, they can’t lose as much fat. Men can conceivably get to 4 percent body fat; women typically bottom out at more than 10 percent.”.

Why stop there? If that is hard, then a muscle up or a rope climb would be next to impossible yet just youtube muscle up and women and there’s a ton of them out there.

Like anything else, a chin up/pull up is a benchmark achievement. To get there though, you have to be able to do a couple of things first. Strong core, stronger biceps, even stronger back and lighter body mass. I put it akin to doing an Olympic snatch. It involves more than strength. Shoulder mobility, low back, ankle, hip flexibility are but a few things you will need.

So don’t be discouraged! Most studies need to be debunked and disproven anyway! As my old coach said, a strong mind is a strong body.

Yours In Fitness.

From the book “Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia” 1910-1912

*If swimming is one exercise that ought to be mastered because it may be the means of saving life in the future, rope climbing is another. Every boy and every girl should know how to climb a rope, and to descend easily and quickly from a height by means of a rope. It said “Every girl!”

Read more:httpGirlBook.html#ixzz2AkFwlkEa

Functional Training, Is It Really Functional?


So, you train a lot at the gym. Thousand of hours on the treadmill and a billion crunches. Bench press a small truck and do kettle bell workout like a Russian on steroids. Weekend comes and you do to a camping/hiking activity. You try to cross a river and realize that you are not prepared for hopping from rock to rock while carrying a backpack and maintaining your balance because you just walked for half an hour and your legs are tired. It dawns on you that you are not prepared for this type of activity. Shit.

One of the most important thing to remember is , when you come across a person and he only trains functional workouts, well what type of movement is he trying to approximate? The best we can do is approximate the movement and hope that there is enough of a exercise transfer that we can do movement without killing ourselves.

Most exercises involving weights are in one plane (one joint movement) and barbell complexes ( exercises that involve two joints in the body). This is not even remotely functional at all. Most “real life” lifts involve both balance and some sort of walking and running (e.g. carrying groceries or carrying groceries and fighting off zombies AND handing them off).

Keep in mind that when you train functionally, involve some balance work AND weights together. Go lighter if you have to and don’t be like me and fall in the river. Yours In Fitness.

The Dreaded Macrocycle and Mesocycle – 8 Weeks Out

So you finally decided you wanted to fight or compete. Been going to a boxing/kickboxing/slap fight gym. The coach decided you have 8 weeks to train and gave you a whole new set of training regimen. Suddenly, you’re “wha? I thought coming to the gym was enough!”

Well, you can certainly just do the classes but any coach worth his salt will tell you, you have to do more! Why? Because if there is one thing that is sure, you WILL gas out, especially if it is a tournament format. You will most likely be competing 3-4 times a day for 3 days. If your lucky then maybe 2.

So what is a macrocycle and what is a mesocycle?

A macrocycle is an annual plan for training. Divided into 3 parts




This is mostly used for university teams, professional athletes, and olympic athletes. At any given month of the year, they know what they are supposed to be training for!

A mesocycle can be broken up like a macrocycle into three phases but for our purposes I usually put it in this format



Competitive Phase


But what does this mean?  I would divide the whole paradigm with 2.5 -3-2-.5 weeks per phase.

In the micro-cycle, At the preparation stage as a Coach I would look out what the athlete needs to work on. This is the technical/tactical evaluation period. What does this athlete need to strengthen? Learning the rules or new rules also helps in this phase. Bumping up endurance and higher awareness of what the the athlete is accomplishing.

Pre-competition phase is where streamlining begins. Specific exercises and drills are more emphasized to curtail and improve the aforementioned weakness.  Speed work and agility drills are bumped up. Strength building are bumped down to strength maintenance.

Competitive phase here is where the tactics come into play. Whatever sport you do, tactics are the tools you need to win. How to beat the other team or person. On the last week, drills are very sport specific. Other extemporaneous activities are halted. Everything the athlete does is for the competition.

Transition or the cooling off period till the next event.

This whole article was meant to inspire or frighten you on what athletes go through during training period. If you are lucky, the athlete would peak at the right moment and inspire you as an instructor. You already know the date of the event, so prepare for it! Yours in Fitness.



Ancient Fitness



I am always humbled when I look into ancient military training manuals. Take in point of the Roman Legionnaire.

The main thing a member of the Roman Army needed was fitness. Soldiers were expected to march about 36km (24 miles) in 5 hours. They also had to be fit to be able to fight well and For this, we are told by Vegetius (Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus, commonly referred to simply as Vegetius, was a writer of Epitoma rei militaris (also referred to as De Re Militari)), during the summer months the soldiers were to be marched twenty Roman miles (18.4 miles/29.6 km), which had to be completed in five hours.A further part of basic military training was also physical exercise. Vegetius mentions running, long and high jump and carrying heavy packs. During the summer swimming was also a part of training. If their camp was near the sea, a lake or river, every recruit was made to swim. (You can read the whole thing here

In Practice

Next in line, after the training for marching and fitness, came the training of handling weapons. For this they primarily used wickerwork shields and wooden swords. Both the shields and the swords were made to standards which made them twice as heavy as the original weapons. Evidently it was thought, that if a soldier could fight with these heavy dummy weapons, he would be twice as effective with the proper ones (Makes sense. It follows what we know about muscular adaptation to imposed demands). The dummy weapons were at first employed against heavy wooden stakes, about six foot high, rather than against fellow soldiers. Against these wooden stakes the soldier trained the various moves, strikes and counter-strikes with the sword.
Only once the recruits was deemed able enough in fighting against the stakes, were they assigned in pairs to train in individual combat and cope with any injuries.

Unthinkable by today’s standard. I tried to run with a weighted vest of 60 lbs and that was really hard on the knees.

On the life they led, was indeed hard and not uncommon to be that fit. Still, it is an eye opener considering we feel a sort of superiority because of our technology. I have a half-baked plan to try and walk/run 24.4 miles while carrying 70 lbs with a body bar of 5 lbs (to mimic a javelin). I normally walk around 5-12 km a day! But the key here is to finish better than 5 hours. The challenge is on!

Handle Your Sh**


Stress can become your biggest ally or your worst enemy. In terms of weights, it is how we track progress (e.g. lifting more or lifting heavier). Dieting is stressful for some people. And sometimes the people surrounding them bear the brunt of their frustration and hunger. They come up with pre-made excuses of my blood sugar is low or some other crap. I am one of those and I am also a serial apologizer.

I am on my 2nd month of Martin Berkham 16 hour fasts to lose some fat and so far it is working. Coupled with Livestrong’s calorie and fitness counter it has helped me achieve some good results in form and in cardiovascular improvement. I do it everyday or 6 out of seven days a week. At the onset, it was quite a bit of a challenge having been brainwashed by the idea that ALL have to eat breakfast because “it’s the most important meal of the day”. But I digress, my stress level out of not eating was akin to about a crying baby at the far end of the room, you can hear it but its’ faint so it’s not ear shattering. I handle the 16 up to the 20th hour but past that…HULK GRUMPY!

At this point, I try and avoid people because that crying baby, is at my ear while shitting down my shirt on my white tux. Stress level is at defcon 95 out of 10.

I offer no excuse except I should handle that better but I do take steps to avoid getting there. There is no reason for one person to be annoyed/angry at another person because that person willfully is not eating! No one put a gun to your head and said “Mr. Bond, today is a low carb, cardio day. If you fail, I will put a bullet in your head (consequently, if someone did that to me, I would have no cheat days whatsoever and my abs would be ripped you could grate cheese on it).

Same thing with people who get angry, fighty, cry-ey when they drink. Be aware and stop putting your friends in awkward social situations at par with your parents fighting in front of you. Yours in Fitness.