Monthly Archives: May 2014

Steal this Post!

I would love for you to copy, paste and use this blog.

Really, it’s cool.

It would bring a smile to my face if I knew you printed it out and read it everyday.  I wouldn’t be mad if you changed a few things to customize it for yourself, for someone you love or if you’re a fellow trainer and decided to give it to a client.

I’m totally cool with it.

I wouldn’t be mad if you thought “ahh this crap is crap on a crap cracker!”…I will simply out wait you.

Facts: (1) I can remain a happy person longer than you can stay pissed off at the world and (2) I am positive my strength, and the strength I draw from those around me is far greater than your weakness….and I have the comic books to prove it!

But that’s not the point.  The point is I want you to see how awesome you can be, how strong you really are and for you to believe that you are a person of value.  I will extend a very strong hand to help pull you up with all that I have.

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Guess what? Mine is not the only hand reaching out for you.

To help you see yourself in that awesome light, I’ve put together a modified daily affirmation which I received from “The Miracle Morning” website.

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I have the ability within me to create the life I desire and deserve.

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Breathe, Focus, Push….now get there!

 I make the conscious decision that today, and every day is made to be the best day of my life.

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Losing a part of their body doesn’t stop them, and nothing ever will.

I believe in my abilities and the limitless potential that lies within us.  I will commit to persistent, continuous action towards the attainment of my goals and dreams.

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Crazy as this may sound, this is exactly how I pictured God’s Gym looking.

I believe in the power of visualization and realize that the dominating thoughts of my mind will eventually manifest themselves into my actions, habits and behaviors and gradually transform themselves into physical reality.   I will consciously focus my thoughts daily upon thinking of the person I intend to become, thereby creating in my mind a clear picture of my best self, living my best life.

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I know that strength rules all, and that STRENGTH takes on different forms and meanings.

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I will summon from inside the strength needed for one more rep, one more step, one more round and one more “I love you.”   I will not be afraid of weighted plates, dumbbells, sprinting, moving my body through space or expressing myself.

I will not be afraid of discomfort nor will I let discomfort be limiting factor.

I know one of the great truths in life is that my outer world is a reflection of my inner world.  Through the power of daily affirmations and continuing personal development I am programming my mind, body and spirit for success.

That which I persistently hold in my mind will eventually seek expression through some practical means of manifestation.   Therefore I will invest 10 minutes daily to reading, feeling and believing in my affirmations.

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One day closer to walking on his own.  I can safely wager this gentleman has played that image in his head many times over.

I have written down, clearly defined and take ownership of my major dreams and goals in life which I will create progress toward on a daily basis and never let go of because I know that I am developing sufficient self-confidence for their attainment by taking positive steps each day.

I fully realize that I can sustain no success without the strong foundation of truth and integrity. I will succeed by attracting to myself the forces I wish to use and the cooperation of other people.  I will inspire, and ask others to help me because of my willingness to help other people.   I will eliminate hatred, envy, jealousy, selfishness and cynicism by developing love for all humanity.

I know that a negative attitude towards others can never bring me success.  I know that life is work, and that work requires effort.

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I know that I can have results or excuses, but not both.

My determination towards change is strong.   I will gladly copy and paste this blog to a blank document, print, sign and date it.  I will read it aloud twice daily and use the affirmations to gradually influence my thoughts and actions.

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I will become the strong, self-reliant, successful and happy person that I know I can be.

 

_______________________________                                                             __________________________

Signature                                                                                            Date
Yours in Strength, Chris.

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Personal Challenges

With all the free time I’ve had on my hands lately I’ve decided to take on a few personal challenges.

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LT. Michael P.Murphy, USN, Medal of Honor Recipient.

1. Complete the Murph WOD Rx’d and non-Rx’d.  I’ve already started the training and working out the partitions that will work best for me. When I get my time under 43 minutes non-Rx’d I’ll be happy.

From CrossFit.com: “Murph  For time: 1 mile Run, 100 Pull-ups, 200 Push-ups, 300 Squats,1 mile Run

Named in memory of Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy, 29, of Patchogue N.Y., who was killed in Afghanistan June 28th, 2005. This workout was one of Mike’s favorites and he’d named it “Body Armour”  From here on it will be referred to as “Murph” in honor of the focused warrior and great American who wanted nothing more in life than to serve this great country and the beautiful people who make it what it is.  Partition the pull-ups, push-ups, and squats as needed. Start and finish with a mile run. If you’ve got a twenty pound vest or body armor, wear it.

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53 lbs of cast iron love about to be swung overhead 100 times in under 5 minutes.

2. Pass either the RKC or StrongFirst Russian Kettlebell credential.  I haven’t decided on which one as of yet.  Both organizations require an initial show of calisthenic strength (push-ups for the RKC,  pull-Ups/chin Ups for StrongFirst) and are highly demanding courses with 25-30% failure rates. Both require 100 kettlebell snatches to be performed in 5 minutes with a kettlebell weighing between 44-53lbs based on my body weight.  There is also the HKC certification, which is an entry level course for trainers and serves as an introduction to the Hardstyle kettlebell lifts.

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“Hey!!! Look at the old guy with the fat skateboard and skateboarding cane!”

“Shut up ya’ whipper-snappers!”

3. Teach myself Land Paddling.   I miss surfing and this seems like a reasonable substitute since the Bellagio fountain won’t cut it.

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I only took up two spots that time…totally nailed it.

4. Stop parking my car like a total d-bag.  I was actually really good with my old large SUV and am still good with my new mid-sized SUV…but I cannot not park Big Ben like a D-bag to save my life.

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Everyone else in Yoga class….

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Me in Yoga class..except not as calm looking, bald and in a sweaty and shirtless state. The trainer may have a Yoga background, but those arms were built by iron.

5. Stop getting my a$$ kicked in a Yoga class.  Honestly this is more about the instructor than myself, but I swear I must be doing something to bring this on.   Perhaps it’s trainers karma biting me in the butt during “Happy Baby” posture.

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I guess you could say Amazon and I are getting pretty serious.

6. Read a new book every two weeks and improve the variety of books I read.  So far I’ve been doing pretty good on this one and I’ve gone an entire week without reading an article on barbell strength training.   I’ve have however listened to a podcast on the subject.

 

My personal war against trainer mediocrity.

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Mee-dee-oh-ker

– adjective.

1. Of only ordinary or moderate quality; neither good not bad; barely adequate. Not Satisfactory.

Synonyms: Undistinguished, commonplace, pedestrian.  Antonym: Extraordinary, superior, uncommon.

Mediocre, Mediocrity…..save for the racist and sexist words “Mediocre” is the English word which I absolutely hate the most.  It could be argued that at least the racist words (as words themselves) as harmless and are only harmful based on the context in which they are used.  I would counter-argue that the person offering this point of view is either (a) Saintly or (b)  has never been on the receiving end of a racist or sexist attack.

Mediocre trainers are something that both scare and anger me.

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Mediocre gets no such break from me.

A few lessons in mediocrity have presented themselves in the past 24 hours.  Last night over the course of a few texts with three former athletes of mine each person expressed various levels of dissatisfaction with their current trainers.

One has routinely cancelled, or “forgot” about a clients appointments, another was fired due to making his clients pass out during training and a third trainer seems unable to answer any question the client asks.

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From the Hagakure. The Book of the Samurai.

Trainer #1 cannot seem to manage his appointments.  If this is true, how can I believe that he can take care of the big things (I.E. The athletes safety and well-being, much less their programming and results) when he cannot take care of the little things?  (I.E. “I will see you again on x day at x time.”)  Angry Brown Man Chris offers a darker speculation…trainer #1 cancels on clients he/she doesn’t want to work with, but probably never cancels on either the highly attractive or wealthy clients.   Neither situation is good.

Easily fixed.

Option 1: Re-distribute 50% of his clients to reputable and reliable trainers and see if he can handle the decreased workload, if not, cut further clients until a manageable number that he can service is reached.

Option 2: No trainer is assigned a high number of clients in the beginning until their work ethic has been firmly established.  Increases in responsibility are gradual.

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“Hmmm…. Fun, fun, fun…OHHH!! I’ll make chubby puny human sprint with a sack full of kettlebells until they puke and watch their skin changes into weird colors!”

Trainer #2 caused at least two people to pass out, or nearly pass out during training.  I say at least because that’s what is known but the number could potentially be higher.  I blame the trainer, not the client.  Furthermore, I blame the person that hired the trainer in the first place.

The trainer wasn’t monitoring the client at all and simply smashing a human being.  He pushed a person well-beyond what they were physically capable of performing.  Purely speculation on my part, but I would wager this “trainer” does not hold a CPR/AED/First Aid certification and furthermore has no formal education in how the human body works.  The upside is the gym fired him.  The further downside is someone hired him, and that person still has the ability to hire another person just like that.

Personally I don’t mind pushing a persons limits and see some value in it.  But there is a line that is not to be crossed, much less urinated on and this type of training must be used in appropriate measured doses.

My response to the trainers that love the “Smash Puny Humans” method of training:  “Would you let me train your mother using your same methods?  

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That little bit has devoted its resources to looking at boobs and calculating exact protein intake.  There’s not enough in there to use on thinking about you or your exercise program.  As far as this trainer is concerned…Pfft…plans are for fools!

Trainer #3 is a little more difficult to call, but I worked with the athlete for 6 months and remember the types of questions she liked to ask.  In her case no question was beyond the common material found in the major accredited certified personal trainer programs.  I have read and reviewed the material for ACSM, ACE, ISSA, NASM and NSCA (I have the books for 4 of the 5 of these as well) so I speak with some experience in this matter.

She never asked about training special populations, medical considerations or highly advanced training principles.  She liked to be informed of the “why” just as much as the “how” in any given technique and would often pick up little details while executing her techniques.   According to the athlete she asked why she was performing completely different workouts every single time and 100% on machines.  His answer was something along the lines of “So I can hit your whole body.”

Fact is he didn’t hit the whole body. The last four workouts involved the biceps+mid back on one day and calves abs and shoulders on the second day.   Secondly, which in my opinion is the biggest of the issues is he cannot articulate the reasoning behind his program and state why each exercise is there, or what the program was designed for in the first place. Third, since his program has no means of measurement there is nothing that can be managed.  How does he truly known if she is getting any stronger without any data to support it?

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 “Chris this baby is for YOU!”

I like Dean Martin as a performer, but his Las Vegas drive namesake seriously flipped me the bird this morning.   While driving to my first session of the day at my athletes high-rise I ran 7 minutes late due to a train stopping in the middle of Dean Martin Drive.

I HATE being late to things…anything…and I felt bad even though my lateness was reasonable given the unforeseeable circumstances.  My athlete was quiet understanding and told me not to worry about it.  After all, according to my athlete, his other trainer (yes…his other trainer) has been late or last-minute cancelled on him many times.

I for one cannot accept mediocrity.  I don’t accept it in my profession or from my athletes and as the athlete, you should NEVER accept it from your trainer.