Monthly Archives: December 2014

2014 in Review and Message to Trainers


This year has been a fun ride on My Trainer Chris. I have gone from working for a commercial gym, to striking out on my own to now mentoring trainers, being a StrongFirst kettlebell student and serving in an advisory capacity to gyms. The fact that I was offered three jobs this year without submitting a resume’ means I must be doing something right.

I’ve kept my training clientele number fairly low, and I believe this is something that I will continue through this year. I have found a great place to be and I fully believe everything will continue to grow and improve.

My message to fellow trainers for 2015.

Keep your mind open to new ideas and ways of doing things.  “Humans have an inherent need for consistency.  If a thought is inconsistent with current stronger ideas and concepts the mind will reject it.”                                                 Thinkertoys (2nd Edition) by Michael MIchalko

Start with the basics.  In my opinion there is no such thing as “Basic” or “Advanced” in exercise technique. There is the simple basics and there are the sophisticated basics.  Everyone starts somewhere and progresses according to their ability. Based on personal observation as sports coach and as a trainer, I’ve found that natural athletes seem to grasp basics visually.                 “The Fundamental movements are Fundamental”.                           Intervention by Dan John


Have a system in place, train to your level and apply what you know.  The above image is the basics of my system which is geared towards long term athletic development. Other layers could include diet,lifestyle and morale. (Credit to Max Shank Master RKC)

BSMS Degree

geared towards long term athletic development. Other layers could include diet,lifestyle and morale. (Credit to Max Shank Master RKC)

Always see yourself as a student.  If you believe “you know enough” or “you got it, you don’t need to know more about it and there is nothing I can be taught” then you’re done.  Fact is,you don’t got it, you NEVER had it.  I still study daily and I have more than 20 years of experience. I can say with confidence that If you’re not finding something new to learn on at least a weekly basis then you’re not looking in the right places.                                                                                    “Whether I went to school or not, I would always study”                                                    The RZA


The Training for Warriors Family

Love what you do.  If your clients are not happy to see you and you are dreading seeing them again then there is something very wrong with the relationship.  Truthfully some people are never happy and if that remains the case despite your best due diligence I highly recommend you reconsider the relationship (aka fire the client.)   This is the last course of action but will benefit both of you. The worst case scenario being what I refer to as the “negative training trifecta.”

1. You and the client do not get along.                                                                                                 2. The client does not put in their share of the work.                                                                           3. The client is not reliable.

 The client is either not ready for you, or not fully committed.  They are wasting their money on results that likely will not happen.  You are putting an energy vacuum in front of you that will eventually effect your performance as a trainer.   By all reasonable means attempt a rescue, but know when to abort.


New Service on My Trainer Chris!

Now My Trainer Chris now has an added page for helping you find your own personal trainer! The list will continue to grow and it is my hope to connect people everywhere with educated and dedicated fitness professionals.

You can find this page here:

Bio-Hacking your Metabolishm

Reposted from the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) Monthly Insider

How to Bio-Hack your Metabolism

Looking for ways to boost your metabolism? Try a biohack! Here’s 5 simple biohacks to get your body’s engine revving! From the power of sleep, to diet and exercise, see how easy it can be.

Biohacking is a term used to describe the integration of applied physiology, nutrition, exercise and lifestyle modification in order to manipulate one’s epigenetics to enhance quality of life, health and/or athletic performance.

Biohacking can involve using expensive and experimental gadgets, or it can be as simple as making changes to the way you live your life.

One easy approach to biohacking your metabolism is by following five simple principles based on the acronym S P E E D.


In a 2007 research review, Knutson et al. found that chronic partial sleep loss could increase the risk of obesity and diabetes via dysregulation of glucose metabolism (i.e., insulin resistance) and altered neuroendocrine control of appetite. The result was excessive food intake and decreased energy expenditure.

The average adult needs between 7.5 and 8 hours of restorative sleep per night. This can vary based on health and additional needs for recovery, such as during periods of intense exercise.

Sleep Loss & Energy Expenditure

Energy expenditure plays an important role in the control of body weight and adiposity. The total amount of daily energy expenditure (TEE) can be divided into three components:

Resting metabolic rate (RMR) – The energy expenditure of an individual resting in bed in the morning after sleep in the fasting state. RMR accounts for about 60% of TEE.
Thermic effect of food (TEF) – The energy expenditure associated with the digestion, absorption, metabolism, and storage of food. TEF accounts for approximately 10% of TEE.
Activity-related energy expenditure (AEE) – The energy expended in exercise as well as activities such as sitting, standing, walking and other occupational, volitional and spontaneous activities, collectively referred to as non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT).
Some biohackers advocate using cold-induced thermogenesis as a form of NEAT by taking cold showers or wearing less clothing during daily activities or to bed. A small reduction in ambient temperature, within the range of climate-controlled buildings, is sufficient to increase brown adipose tissue (BAT) activity, which correlates with the cold-induced thermogenesis (CIT) response. The enhancement of cold-induced BAT stimulation may represent a novel environmental strategy in obesity treatment.

Individuals with sleep problems and/or excessive daytime sleepiness report a significant reduction in their levels of physical activity and NEAT, which could reduce AEE. Sleep loss can also affect energy expenditure via its impact on the levels of leptin (a master hormone secreted by adipose tissue that controls hunger and feelings of satiety) and ghrelin (a neuropeptide that stimulates appetite). Leptin can increase energy expenditure, possibly via increased thermogenesis in brown adipose tissue, while ghrelin can decrease locomotor activity such as NEAT.

(Knutson, et al., 2007) (Chen, et al., 2013)


Stress adaptation requires a coordinated series of responses mediated through the hypothalamus-pituitary-axis (HPA) and sympathetic nervous system, which act to maintain homeostasis and protect against chronic diseases.

Chronic hyperactivation of the HPA axis, which can occur with low calorie dieting, has been linked to visceral fat deposition, insulin resistance, impaired glucose tolerance, altered lipid profiles, and coronary artery disease. Chronic stress can also lead to increased food intake, as well as relapses and overeating after weight loss has been achieved by hypocaloric dieting.

(Vicennati et a., 2009)


There are hundreds of synthetic chemicals currently used for industrial and agricultural applications that are leading to widespread environmental contamination. These include pesticides/herbicides, plasticizers, antimicrobials, and flame retardants. These endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) can disrupt hormonal balance and result in developmental and reproductive abnormalities. In addition, some studies link EDC exposure to obesity, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes.

(Casals-Casas, C & Desvergne, B, 2011)

The Environmental Working Group has a list of the “dirty dozen” endocrine disruptors and an app that identifies these toxic ingredients in cosmetics and other personal-care items.

Limiting exposure to EDCs can be done by avoiding chemical laden products and choosing organic when it comes to produce that is highly sprayed and animals that are fed conventional feed.


Muscle and Metabolism

The most effective tool for increasing or maintaining lean body mass (LBM) is resistance training. Resistance training has been shown to limit the loss of LBM during weight loss regimens.

Maintaining or increasing LBM is essential for a healthy metabolism. It also reduces the tendency to regain weight and is important for maintaining adequate body function with aging.

Resistance exercise has the potential to improve metabolic disorders and reduce the need for medications associated with being overweight (e.g., diabetes and blood pressure). It can also reduce abdominal adiposity and cardiovascular disease risk factors.

(Jabekk, et al., 2010)


In the recovery period after exercise, there is an increase in oxygen uptake known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). The magnitude of EPOC depends on both the duration and intensity of exercise as well as the type (i.e., aerobic or resistance). There is a curvilinear relationship between the magnitude of EPOC and the intensity of the exercise, whereas the relationship between exercise duration and EPOC magnitude appears to be more linear. Training status and sex may also potentially influence the EPOC magnitude.

Some of the mechanisms underlying EPOC include replenishment of oxygen stores, adenosine triphosphate/creatine phosphate resynthesis, lactate removal, and increased body temperature, circulation and ventilation. An increased rate of triglyceride/fatty acid cycling and a shift from carbohydrate to fat as substrate source are of importance for the prolonged EPOC component after exhaustive aerobic exercise.

A high-intensity, Tabata-style workout is a great way to biohack your metabolism. This approach consists of eight rounds of 20 seconds of intense work, followed by 10 seconds of rest. Excluding warming up and cooling down, a session can be completed in just 4 minutes.

(Borsheim & Barh, 2003)


There are a number of ways to biohack your diet to increase your metabolism. Some of these include:

Don’t cut too many calories
When you eat less than you need for basic biological functions (about 1,200 calories), your body adjusts by slowing down your metabolism. In addition, it can elevate cortisol levels, which leads to catabolism of lean body mass and cravings for fat and sugary foods. Low calorie diets also run the risk of micronutrient deficiencies over time.

(Redman et al., 2009) (Tomiyama et al., 2010)

Take a coffee break
Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant that can rev up your metabolism. The antioxidant catechin in green tea also provides a boost. Dulloo et al. (1989) found that a single-dose oral administration of 100mg caffeine increased the resting metabolic rate of both lean and obese human volunteers by 3-4% and improved diet-induced thermogenesis. Eight ounces of brewed coffee can provide 95-200mg of caffeine.

(Dulloo et al., 1989) (Hursel et al., 2009)

Don’t forget the fiber
Plant-based diets that are inherently high in fiber can increase fat burning. Colorful vegetables and fruits also have numerous phytonutrients, which can reduce inflammation, resulting in better health and the prevention of many diseases.

(Howarth et al., 2001) (Gupta & Prakash, 2014)

A German study found that drinking 500ml of water increased metabolic rate by 30%. The study concluded that drinking 2 liters of water per day would augment energy expenditure and that the thermogenic effect of water should be considered in weight loss programs.

(Boschmann et al., 2003)

Eat more organic foods
Researchers report that dieters who consume foods with the most organochlorines (chemicals from pesticides which are stored in fat cells) experience a greater than normal dip in metabolism because the toxins interfere with the energy-burning process. Other research hints that pesticides can trigger weight gain. Choose organic in place of highly sprayed foods whenever possible.

Get adequate protein
There are a number of potential beneficial outcomes associated with protein ingestion, some of these include:

Increased satiety – Protein generally increases satiety to a greater extent than carbohydrate or fat and may facilitate a reduction in energy consumption.

Increased thermogenesis – Higher-protein diets are associated with increased thermogenesis, which also influences satiety and augments energy expenditure.

Maintenance or accretion of fat-free mass – In some individuals, a moderately higher protein diet may provide a stimulatory effect on muscle protein anabolism, favoring the retention of lean muscle mass, while improving metabolism.

Protein intake of 1.4 – 2.0 g/kg/day for physically active individuals is safe, and may improve adaptations to exercise training.

(Paddon-Jones et al., 2008)

Eat some bugs.
Scientists took gut microbes from 4 sets of human twins in which one was lean and the other obese, and then introduced the microbes of each twin into different groups of mice and observed weight and metabolic changes in the mouse groups when fed the same diet.

Mice populated with microbes from a lean twin stayed slim, whereas those given microbes from an obese twin quickly gained weight.

The “lean” and “obese” microbes had different measurable effects on the body’s metabolism.

A diet high in fruits and vegetables helps to create a favorable gut biome. Make sure to include prebiotics like sauerkraut and Kim chi. Supplementing with a probiotic is also a good strategy.

(Wein, 2010)

Biohacking your metabolism isn’t rocket science, it just takes a little S P E E D.


Borsheim, E., Barh, R. Effect of Exercise Intensity, Duration and Mode on Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption. Sports Med 2003;33 (14): 1037-1060.

Boschmann M, Steiniger J, Hille U, Tank J, Adams F, Sharma AM, Klaus S, Luft FC, Jordan J. Water-induced thermogenesis. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. 2003 Dec;88(12):6015-9.

Casals-Casas C, Desvergne B. Endocrine disruptors: from endocrine to metabolic disruption. Annu Rev Physiol. 2011;73:135-62.

Chen KY, Brychta RJ, Linderman JD, Smith S, Courville A, Dieckmann W, Herscovitch P, Millo CM, Remaley A, Lee P, Celi FS. Brown fat activation mediates cold-induced thermogenesis in adult humans in response to a mild decrease in ambient temperature. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2013 Jul;98(7).

Dulloo AG, Geissler CA, Horton T, Collins A, Miller DS. Normal caffeine consumption: influence on thermogenesis and daily energy expenditure in lean and postobese human volunteers. Am J Clin Nutr. 1989 Jan;49(1):44-50.

Gupta, C., Prakash, D. Phytonutrients as therapeutic agents. Journal of Complementary & Integrative Medicine Sep 2014, Vol. 11 Issue 3, p151.

Howarth NC, Saltzman E, Roberts SB. Dietary fiber and weight regulation. Nutr Rev. 2001 May;59(5):129-39.

Hursel, R.; Viechtbauer, W.; Westerterp-Plantenga, M. S. The effects of green tea on weight loss and weight maintenance: a meta-analysis. International Journal of Obesity. Sep2009, Vol. 33 Issue 9, p956-961.

Jabekk, P, Moe, I., Meen, H., Tomten, S., Hostmarl, A. Resistance training in overweight women on a ketogenic diet conserved lean body mass while reducing body fat. Nutrition & Metabolism 2010, 7:17.

Knutson, K., Spiegel, K, Penev, P., Van Cauter, E. The Metabolic Consequences of Sleep Deprivation. Sleep Med Rev. Jun 2007; 11(3): 163–178.

Paddon-Jones, E., Westman, E., Mattes, R., Wolfe, R., Astrup. A., Westerterp-Pantenga, M. Protein, weight management, and satiety. Am J Clin Nutr May 2008 vol. 87 no. 5 1558S-1561S.

Redman LM, Heilbronn LK, Martin CK, de Jonge L, Williamson DA, Delany JP, Ravussin E; Pennington CALERIE Team. Metabolic and behavioral compensations in response to caloric restriction: implications for the maintenance of weight loss. PLoS One. 2009;4(2):e4377.

Tomiyama AJ, Mann T, Vinas D, Hunger JM, Dejager J, Taylor SE. Low calorie dieting increases cortisol. Psychosom Med. 2010 May;72(4):357-64.

Vicennati V., Pasqui, F., Cavazza, C., Pagotto., U., Pasquali, R. Stress-Related Development of Obesity and Cortisol in Women. Obesity (Sept. 2009): Vol. 17, No. 9, pp. 1678–83.

Wein, Harrison, PhD. “Gut Bacteria May Influence Metabolic Syndrome – NIH Research Matters – National Institutes of Health (NIH).” U.S National Library of Medicine. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 15 Mar. 2010. Web. 12 Dec. 2014. .

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Arch-nemesis are friends from a long time ago that have more or less equivalent powers, but also have opposing ideologies. They are therefore always fighting with each other.

In popular culture…
Obi Wan Kenobi had his Darth Vader
Professor Xavier had his Magneto
Batman has his Joker

….and I have he (a fellow blogger and fitness professional) who shall not be named. We are not enemies and harsh words have not been stated between us. If my life becomes a comic book, I think he is supposed to be my arch-nemesis.

Preface: I don’t hate the guy and I have no reason to hate him. That said, I disagree with some of the information that puts out. In fairness, the gentleman has several articles posted that I do agree with and he seems (at least online) like a likeable fellow.

What makes him my arch-nemesis then? Glad you asked.
In my opinion, his material presents a highly averse position against exercises and training modalities that have been proven effective for a wide range of the population. Being fair, there are exercises out there that should not be performed by certain people (Senior Citizens performing box hops on their first session anyone?) but to state absolutes with entire training methods I believe is wrong.

What is he saying for us not to do? Here are a few….
“Avoid suspension trainers”
“Avoid overhead press”
“Avoid kettlebells”
“Avoid Yoga”
“Avoid accessory work”
“Avoid cycling”
“Avoid cardio machines”
“Avoid leg curls”
“Avoid hip thrusts”
“Avoid R.I.C.E” (Rest Ice Compression Elevation)
“Avoid thick bar training”
…and on and on.

(I didn’t have the heart to see if he wrote “Avoid the barbell squat and Avoid the Deadlift.”)

Admittedly I am not the biggest fan of the leg extension but recognize its value in post-rehab and local hypertrophy building. Suspension trainers have a limitation when it comes to strength development but can be excellently used in mobility work or as part of a HIIT routine.

Kettlebells and Barbells, including the overhead press are staples of my current program and Yoga has forced me to see value in mobility work.

I’m curious as to what he advises for exercise selection.