Monthly Archives: May 2015

Burn (AKA Chris motivates)

_Fire_Digital_Art__2 (1)

                             “The most powerful weapon on Earth is the human soul on fire”                                                                                            Ferdinand Foch  (1851-1929)

Yesterday the universe once again showed me the truth of these words, and I want to believe I was the spark.

I found myself with some time to kill in-between clients yesterday and after running a quick errand returned to the gym to chat up a few people.  I spied a gym member training barbell bicep curls and noted that it appeared he was curling a heavier weight than I’ve seen him do before.  His form was actually pretty good given the new load, but the reps were tough and the last 3-4 were visibly challenging.

While he was catching his breath I walked over and introduced myself.  I told him that I’ve seen him before and complimented him on his hard work and that progress that he is showing.  I hit him with a Bro-Fist bump and walked off, only to see a smile on his face reflected in the mirror and some renewed aggression in curling the barbell.  Those last 3-4 reps came MUCH easier.

It’s that look,…we’ve seen it so many times.   The look of a person on fire has a certain look that transcends age, physique or athleticism.


We’ve seen it in children.


That moment right before something big and awesome is about to happen.

A man lifts weight as part of his training during a six-week programme in an exercise room at the Bodyworks weight loss campus in Beijing August 26, 2011.         REUTERS/Soo Hoo Zheyang


Those first days when you start to realize strength is a skill


Years later, when you realize how strong you really are.

Older Lady Determined

Those moments when you struggle.


Those moments where it feels more like a fight.


It’s one more rep, and you have it in you.

I consider myself blessed that I am surrounded by some remarkable human beings.       Since my last blog I’ve had the privilege of re-starting training with two clients to wake up their dormant athleticism, had wonderful conversations with a fellow professional in Chicago that despite her relative newness to the industry already has so much to offer and I’m seeing new athletic dominance in a local trainer I work with.

These are people on fire for life, and may their souls shine brightly.


Wrap the Fat Away (AKA Chris Rips on Wraps)

Body wraps in various forms have been around for quite some time and are hardly a new thing. I’ve noticed a sudden increase in products promoting results by simply wrapping your waist.  I’ve read and heard claims including “Lose the fat”, “Lose Weight”, “Detox” and “Lose Inches off your waist.”   These products are available over the counter, online and through multi-level marketing (MLM) groups, the latter of which often pairs the product with nutritional supplements of some sort.


The short fact is that some of these companies and independent distributors are making product claims that are not supported by any scientific evidence.

In the case of the MLM products  (and in being fair) sometimes it is NOT the parent company making the false claim but actually the independent distributor adding his/her own flash and sizzle to get a sale.  In that situation I would ask the distributor if they would be willing to allow independent body composition testing (bodyfat testing) by a competent third party and to provide peer reviewed scientific literature to back their claims.

Body wraps and waist belts do not burn fat nor do they shrink your fat cells no matter what the material the wrap is made of, or if it is infused with various minerals, enzymes, salts or herbs or nothing at all.  If in doubt, heavily soak a cloth in whiskey, tequila or whatever your favorite adult beverage is, wrap your waist and tell me if you get drunk.

Actually, don’t do that….a simple body composition test will work just fine and you need not waist your top shelf adult beverages.  (See what I did there?)

Fat loss comes from reducing your food intake and instilling caloric deficit and increasing your level of activity. A wrap will not shrink fat cells nor will it change your eating habits.  It took time and effort to gain that excess bodyfat, do you really think it will come off far easier and quicker than came on?

THE COMMON CLAIMS                                                                                                                  “REDUCE YOUR WAISTLINE IN ONLY ## minutes!”  Can a wrap reduce inches? Yes, but the result is temporary due to water loss,  not fat loss.

“LOSE ## INCHES IN 1 HOUR!”  You would commonly see this with full-body type wraps.  Cumulative measurements are taken across multiple points of the body (waist,legs,arms,hips etc) during the pre-wrap and compared against the post wrap (aka the dehyrdration part.)  When all numbers are added to together the “## inches in an hour” is given.

Misleading? I’d say so.Once again, Inches and Fat are not the same thing.

Although misleading (and in my opinion deliberately so) it is not an outright lie.  If the claim was ” LOSE FAT WITHOUT DIET OR EXERCISE IN ## minutes/hours”  there would be serious issues unless the procedure involved some rather drastic surgical procedure.

The detoxification and aesthetic claims are largely anecdotal and at best debatable.  I would actually have no issue whatsoever if the wrap was marketed solely as a “spa treatment” without any claims of fat loss.

Original Strength (AKA Chris starts crawling again)

I have been reading and following the works of Tim Anderson and Geoff Neupert and the Original Strength (OS) Training system over the past few months and have integrated the methods into my daily routines (including the now famous Billy Madison Kettlebell program) as well introducing the methods to some of my clients.

BABY YOGA To accompany Maggie Mallon Feature

This little one is working towards the one arm-one leg push up!

From  “When you were a child, you had an amazingly strong, resilient and healthy body. The body you built through movement during the first several years of your life was meant to be the foundation from which you would continue to add strength, power and resiliency. Your body was meant to be strong, graceful, powerful, fluid, mobile and resilient. You were never meant to be broken, weak, fragile, stiff or injured. You were never meant to just “fall apart” with age. ”


The rocking position is good for helping with the squat pattern among other things.

When I first viewed the Original Strength movement patterns of breathing, rocking, rolling, crawling marching and neck nods a few thoughts entered my head.  (1) It looks like a less difficult mobile Yoga.  (2) It looks like it will be fun.  (3) It’s probably harder than it looks. (4) Could it be that simple?


 There are multiple versions of “segemented rolls” in which you lead the roll with either a leg, an arm or even your head.  Just like the way a baby would roll to their sides or bellies.

I view my training methods along a continuum between post-rehab on one end and performance on the other. Across the continuum fundamental movement patterns exist in order to develop performance skills whether they be simple or sophisticated. I am always looking for things that deepen my skills across the continuum.

After I started reading and playing around with the various patterns some new thoughts started forming pretty quickly: (1) Some patterns are deceptively challenging. (2) This seems to integrate well with other training methods.  (3) This could serve as a stand-alone training method to a degree. One thing that quickly became clear, I needed to learn more about this stuff.  So I reached out to some of my professional contacts….

“OS resets have been beneficial in my training program to heal from a shoulder tweak, allowing me to press again pain-free for 8 months! Rocking has been a favorite reset for clients with back issues.”                                                                                                                                                 Suzanne Ko, SFG,HKC ACE CPT,, Chicago,USA

“OS has helped undo the damage accumulated from improper training and helped me regain a lot of my mobility. I’ve had at least 2 blog posts for the OS website already.”                                         Mark Limbaga, SFG II,SFB.  Quezon City, Philippines.


A neutral spine, a elevated head, engagement of the anterior and posterior muscles, the vestibular system and the natural movement of the wrist, shoulder,hip, knee and ankle joints.  Try crawling after a baby for awhile and you’ll note how physically taxing it can be!

“OS has been incredible for us.  People have gained inches on their squats effortlessly, as well as naturally finding their knees tracking.  Alongside that people feel a sense of calm when they start with breathing, and happiness when they finish with skipping.  It’s pretty outstanding stuff.”

 Piers Kwan SFG II,CK-FMS,, Queensland,Brisbane Australia.

I’ve recently had the opportunity to pass on some of my rudimentary level knowledge of OS to another trainer and athlete and her experience with OS has been positive.

“OS has helped me create a greater awareness for the body and movement. There is beauty in simplicity. I’ve been doing resets during my warm ups and at home and love the concept of connecting with your center. I have seen improvements in my Tennis game, and training. Diaphragmatic breathing has also helped me cope with stress.”                                                 Elizabeth Coronado, NFPT CPT and Tennis competitor,Las Vegas USA                                                                                                                                                                             OS Books

For more information on Original Strength you can visit the website at or on   All OS testimonials were voluntary and none of us have received compensation in any form other than improving the lives of our clients and ourselves.

PROfile Spotlight on Russ Moon (AKA Chris interviews Fitness Professionals)

MTC NOTE: This is the first of a series of interviews with fitness professionals from around the world.  It is my ardent hope that the MyTrainerChris blog can also help connect you, or someone you know, with one of these outstanding professionals. 

russ-moon-and-kettlebells                                                        Russ Moon, Richmond VA. USA.                                                                                                                Coach of The HIve

Russ is a veteran trainer and author that holds, or has held a broad range of fitness certifications and specializations including the StrongFirst SFG Level 1 Kettlebell, CrossFit L1 Trainer and L1 Kettlebell Instructor, TRX Group Trainer and Dragon Door HKC Instructor.

What events led you into becoming a fitness professional?                                                     I have been involved with serious training for 45 years and nothing in my mind is more demoralizing than failing to achieve your desired results.  There have been many world class coaches who have accelerated my progress and I want to help others see there is a more intelligent way to train.  It is my responsibility to give back what has been given to me…and I have had some global 1% types give me a great deal in return…so there is a lot for me to give back.

When World Champions, Hall of Famers, Global Thought Leaders spend time sharing their hard earned expertise it comes with a responsibility to extend that knowledge by teaching those who have not had that very unique and special experience.  That is part of what drives me.

I have also come back from multiple orthopedic surgeries (none were resistance training related) and there were times when rehab did not bring me all the way back to what I considered “normal.”   There were times when I was so desperate for someone to help me, who understood what coming back involved and could guide me.  Now that I have done this several times (ankles with hardware, knee surgery, shoulder bone spur surgery) I know what it takes and can provide the support to help a person who is challenged to even walk have hope and see the light at the end of the tunnel.  It takes a great deal of work, but you can do it.

What is Russ Moon up to these days?                                                                                             My focus these days in on private 1-1 coaching.  I don’t think there is a faster way to develop your technique, knowledge, strength and conditioning.  You receive all the attention, all the focus and all the coaching all the time.  You develop at a very rapid pace which is what people want.  Instant improvement they can see,feel and use.

From my 1-1 training students I am starting to encourage them to find people they really want to grow with to start small groups.  I have taught more than 400 group exercise classes and enjoy that a great deal.

I am currently writing my second book in the Breathe! series (Link Below.)  This book will cover DNS (Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization) principle based movements to activate your breathing muscles and improves your diaphragmatic breathing, which differs from practicing standard diaphragmatic breathing.

I’m always working on the things that will make me a better athlete, increase my strength and conditioning base and address gaps I previously had in my training.   I recently lost 17lbs (7.75kg) while increasing my strength and packing on some strategically placed muscle.

Serious training for myself is important as I pick up so many things I can scale to benefit my students and it keeps me empathetic to people who are struggling with something, or going through their initial learning curve…because I am experiencing all that myself on a regular basis.  I also learn how to overcome those feelings and situations.

What is your vision in training your clients?                                                                                  Meet the person where they are today in terms of what they are capable of.  Understand through listening the direction they would like to take their training and develop a mix of what they actually need balanced and what they want in such a way that they are progressively moving towards their goals.

What had been your favorite client success story to date?                                                       I don’t have a favorite success story.  Everyone has their own success story based on their goals, they are all inspirational in their own unique way.  Some have gone on to athletic success, some have overcome surgery, injury, birth defects or morphed into a more balanced (mentally and physically) version of themselves.  I cherish each experience as it fulfills my desire to help others move forward in their journey, must like my coaches have helped me move forward.  It is all fantastic regardless of where they person starts or their skill level.

If given the opportunity to give your best advice to new personal trainers and strength coaches, what would it be?                                                                                                            Learn proper technique to keep your students safe, always be learning, deepen your own practice an be open to all the tools and approaches available in order to match the approach or tool to what the student needs, the equipment they have access to and to customize to a degree you time with them.

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Athletic Strong.  Kettlebells from 35-105lbs (16-48kgs), TRX suspension trainers, body weight systems, grip trainers, pull-up rigs, competition rings and recovery tools are part of Russ’s training methods.

“The more tools and skills you have, the more you can tailor their experience to them individually.”

This makes things more productive and fun for them.  What may be strenuous can be fun if you help connect how the activity helps them go where they want to be.  These is more than one way to reach the same destination,keep what works and discard what does not…always be listening to your students feedback, it will tell a story and provide you with clues as to what is actually happening.

Russ Moon is currently accepting new personal training and online clients.  For more information, or to set up a consultation please contact Russ at…                                          Facebook:                                                                Twitter:@russmoon                                                                                             Blog:                                                                                                                E-mail :

Russ’s book Breathe! Realize your full athletic potential is available on as an E-book: