2011 was THE year. If 2012 is supposed to be the-end-of-the-world-year, this past year was the biggest year I’ll ever have. I don’t even know where to begin so it’s best I just keep this sorta list random and chaotic.
In no particular order, here’s what’s been pumped into my brain this past year:
1. I’ve had more illness (colds, flu, etc) this past year than any I can recall before it. I’m 100% sure it’s related to #2:
2. I need more sleep (a blog to come of this subject soon)
3. I just did work, and it worked out really well. I’d like to say I made huge plans, wrote everything down, foresaw the challenges ahead of me and then implemented the plan but it just didn’t go down like that. I accomplished a great deal this past year but it all got done on a whim. The “sh*t, I really wanna do this…” so I did it method. I can’t say it wasn’t a good way to go; I just:
4. Need more organization in my life. As much as I got done this past year, I easily lost out on getting double that amount accomplished because I didn’t plan, write it all down and visualize it more.
5 & 6. Being the one-man army I am in my job (okay, my lady does a great deal for me), leaves me to be the janitor of my gym. Two important things I learned in all that cleaning: a vacuum picks up near double the dirt on the back stroke. So, cover each area twice and try going slower on the back stroke. The other thing I learned about gym cleaning is: chemicals suck. Mr. Clean is junk. The absolute best way to clean rubber flooring is a steamer (which removes all the dirt instead of just leaving a film of crap all over it) and in regards to spray jobs natural cleaners work just as good, if not better, with less harm to equipment than “regular” cleaners. My pick of the year (and I tried a half dozen others): IQ cleaner which you can find at any grocer (Superstore is cheapest).
7. Ensuring my personal minimum of 4L total fluid a day (today I hit 8L) has been one of the single greatest health things I could possibly do. Plus it keeps my energy high.
8. Q Energy Drink has done wonders for me. Seriously, I just get more done on this stuff.
9. Nick Tumminello is the genius of common-sense. Oh, wait, I already knew that. But seriously, his products are top-notch (I’m looking forward to review his latest: Secrets of Single Leg Training when it comes out) and after attending his seminar in Vancouver this past November I have an even greater respect for how he approaches his communications, training and education. Plus he did me the ultimate solid which means he cares about others, not just himself. His YouTube channel, products and blog are one of the sources I make sure to keep tabs on. If you’re into training, you should be following too.
11. Would you take a $100,000 vehicle and put $250 tires on it? Probably not. So why are you not equipping your wheels appropriately for each action you put them through? Especially when it comes to weight training. I’m talking about your feet.
12. The Travel Roller is the best foam rolling/self myofascial release system on the market. I’ve tried them all. I use them all. But if I had to choose one, it’s this one. Using it as a system with the acupressure balls makes for an incredible SMR experience.
13. Self myofascial release(SMR) may be the single greatest action I can take in terms of feeling better, performing better and recovering better. Why people who know this keep ignoring that…I feel like a bobble head the amount I shake my head at you.
14. When your body just absolutely hates you, the fastest feel-good fix is a bath of this variety.
15. Training is best surrounded by a reset button which includes a solid pre-intra-post supplementation plan. Protein (whey isolate or hydrolysate), carbs, glutamine and possibly creatine monohydrate or creatine HCL (for power) and beta-alanine (for endurance) are my base (doesn’t mean you should be taking these; research things for yourself). I like pre-workout stimulants. VPX Anarchy will be missed, but I’m diggin this as a near on-par replacement.
16. I don’t know where I’d be without my chiropractor and his ART skills. Especially after my car accident last August which left my neck mangled. I’m near recovered (just a small range of motion limitation) and it was pretty much all him that did the fixing. A good dozen of my clients (including friends and family) I’ve referred to him and he’s provided some excellent results all around. Out of my area? Find yourself a good chiro or physiotherapist with superb Active Release Technique (ART) skills!!!
17. If I didn’t have plans on marrying the gal I’m with now, I’m pretty sure I’d marry deadlifting.
18. It’s impossible to have glute muscles that are too strong. In fact, 99% of people I’ve ever met or trained need to seriously work hard at improving the strength and function of the glutes. Doing that will make damn near any other ankle, knee, low back, posture, abdominal problem less problematic.
19. T-Nation continues to be a leader in the training world for training and health information from some of the top coaches in the industry. I have to be fair and admit a good half of everything I know about training came from T-Nation either via the articles or being introduced, via the articles, to the coaches who wrote them and then buying their products or following their online work. Plus T-Nation is owned by Biotest and they make some of the best supplements I’ve ever used.
20. Bamboo is better than cotton. One of the most comfortable, effective training shirts I’ve ever owned is this: http://www.jacoclothing.com/us/tenacity-performance-crew-black.html (I just happen to have a Performance University one, which I’m dying to get my hands on more of). Bamboo towels are also unbelievable. Seriously, cotton towels are a complete joke when you’ve tried a good bamboo/cotton blend. They’re not overly pricey, and they are naturally antimicrobial which means you (and the products) won’t stink over time.
21. My quality of life lessens when watermelon season ends. I have no idea what sorta magic this fruit contains but come next watermelon season I’m gonna go my usual buck-wild!
22. If you’re a meat eater, it’s best to eat various kinds of meat instead of the chicken, chicken, chicken, fish, chicken, chicken, beef, chicken, chicken diet. If you’re local, make the trip out to Heritage Meats in Langley and fill your freezer! They only sell no-drug/antibiotic based meats. Give ostrich a try – when BBQ’d it’s way more tender (and tastes quite similar) to filet mignon. The greater the spectrum of amino acids sequencing (meat choices) you make the better you’ll feel. Find the ones that give you the best recovery, least GI stress and help you put the chicken down. Poor chickens.
23. One of my best purchases of the year was the Novaform Gel Memory Foam pillow from Costco. When I was working through my accident neck pains, this pillow really helped. It amazes me still how this $35 pillow could be so good. I’m sure there are $150 pillows on the market that are better but I’m not going there yet.
24. I am still searching for the ultimate socks. It’s been 10 years. I really like these and get them at New Balance but at $20 a pop there has to be an even better performance sock out there that offers cushion (I stand all day), arch support, moisture whicking ability and stand up to numerous washing (most socks flatten after a dozen washes). Anyone wanna make a suggestion?
25. Lying curl bar tricep extensions (“skull crushers”) should be called elbow destroyers. I’ve given up on this exercise except for a very small population of female clients I train who the exercise still works for. I LOVE this exercise, I always have. But my elbows don’t. And after watching 2 tricep tear based injuries occur in guy clients this year and numerous post-set rubbing of the elbow or “ouch” comments I’m convinced this exercise is not worth it. The cable rope overhead tricep extension is the better option.
26. Back training is an art form. But I will tell you this one thing: the single greatest improvement anyone can make is ensuring 1/2 of all the back movements you do are unilateral (single arm). 1 arm lat pulldowns, 1 arm seated high rows, 1/2 kneeling 1 arm seated high rows, 1 arm seated rows, 1 arm standing low rows, contra-lateral variations, 1 arm squat-rows, 1 arm face pulls (especially with a towel), etc will do more to improve the thickness of the lats as well as the symmetry and strength imbalances more than any other change. I’m not saying to give up pull ups, chin ups, bent over rows, etc, but the other half of your training should be done single arm. That goes for shrugs and traps work as well!
27. Facebook is incredible. It’s entertaining. It completely steals your privacy away from you. It’s a vent for crazy people. It’s incredibly addicting. Oh, wait, that’s all the negatives. Positives for me are all related to my job. It allows the quick communciation. It allows me to keep tabs on what’s going on in the industry as all the good coaches post links to their blogs, YouTube videos and other education resources. It also happens to be the single largest refferer to this blog. Which means when people are bored, they’re going to Facebook to find something interesting. I’m happy you make the choice to come here from there. Other trainers in the industry need to get on Facebook if they are not already. You can (with great trouble) hide yourself from the world so no one will ever know you’re on there but you can still get info you want. Just know when you start checking your notifications at 3am, you’re officially addicted and may need to get a life.
28. I love end-of-the-world movies. I mean seriously, I don’t care how bad they are, as long as they have some special effects and a moderately decent plot, I’ve seen it! But 2012 freaks the shit out of me. Yep, so much it warranted the cursing. I mean seriously, I know the Mayian calendar ending was just a system of counting but with Nostradamus‘ recently found book which describes this coming year/time, the once-only-every-26000-year allignment with the sun in the middle of the milky way, all the bat-shit crazy leaders of nations that have died this past year (making world politics even more unstable), peak-oil production across the world most likely already having happened, magnetic pole reversal in progress, global warming, the “plastic soup” collecting in the oceans (Google that), the world wars/politics for fresh water that will become increasingly frightening, the economy, and the other 100 signs out there that this coming year is to be incredibly challenging and unique…how the hell are you not as freaked out as I am? F*ck it, I’m going out with a bang!
29. I’ve become the grammar police and people’s text message language is killing me. Hey, I may not be perfect either but at least I’m not making a complete abomination of the English language.
30. I have to remember that come November each year I am greatly affected by SAD (seasonal affective disorder). Upping my Vitamin D3 to 2000-4000+ IU’s a day was manditory in alieviating a good chunk of the problem this past year. I’m going to have to experiment with light therapy and other things next year. You know, if the end of the world doesn’t come first.
31. What the hell is with women and the game Bejeweled?!!??! Seriously, I know they’re jewels and all but the game has ZERO variety. And it’s killing me watching you all play it endlessly. Guys…ever want your wife to disappear just show her this (or the iPhone app version): http://www.popcap.com/games/bejeweled2/pc
32. I may have just stumbbled across the single greatest wifey pleaser. Well, it was actually my chiropractor hooked me up with this vibrating miracle (THANKS bro!!). I even brought it over to the fam’s house on Christmas day and vibed up moms and pops. They too claim “it’s magic!” Product review to come soon. But in the meantime, I’m telling you, this is as close to a piece of heaven as you’ll ever find.
33. We’ve yet to have snow this year (yep, global warming and the end of the world again…) but we’ve had some frost and with that comes the lovely task of scrapping windsheilds. I can’t believe how freaky-well this works and it’s like $8 at Canadian Tire. You HAVE to buy one!!!
34. Stop reading this number if you can’t hack crude words. Go to number 35 instead. Google is awesome and weird. Have you ever been in a dinner or car conversation and all of a sudden have the need to look something up? This happens to me a good dozen times a week. Google rocks for this reason. But what I wanna know is who’s running the show when it comes to Google and my blog. I have some of the strangest Google search results referring to my blog. Makes me question what sorta blog I’m running here. Now, some of them make sense. When someone searches “Rumble Roller vs The Grid review” somewhere down the list my blog will pop up on the subject; cool. But these are the top WTF how did you get to me, what kinda mental are you Google searches my blog stats have revealed (I’m not making this stuff up!): 1) “My porn” (okay that’s fair, I did name one of my blogs that but what are YOU people searching for?) 2) “States with the highest level of pornography” (Two people searched this. So my question to those two is are you looking to avoid those States or move there?) 3) “Numb foot and pain after rumble roller” (Um, you did it wrong! Maybe you should watch these videos instead) 4) “Ultimate breakfast to see you through the day” (Oh, wait, I have the answer for you here) 5) “PVC underpants” (Really? For support or…) 5) “Women naked at work” (It’s called a strip club and maybe they’re hiring. Probably in the State with the highest level of pornography) 6) “Dorky leprechaun” (How did my 4th grade nickname come back to haunt me? Noooooooo) 7) “How to suck woman’s breast” (Um, dude, pretty sure that comes in the Instinct 1.0 software you were programmed with) 8) “Do women have more curvature to low back than men” (Not really, unless a T-Pain song is playing in the background and you be ferociously “booty poppin'” to it) 9) “Sexy nude women bound and tortured with sex” (Again, I’m not making any of this up. I don’t even know what to say to this friggin weirdo. But get some help) 10) “Human hamster wheel” (It’s called a treadmill these days) 11) “Marriage Adrian Crowe” (Okay, which one of my ex’s be checking up on me now?) 12) “Cold sex man” (WHAT?!) Seriously Google, get yourself in order.
35) I get such a shock value out of people when they see me in anything other than gym clothes. I mean, really, is it that weird to see me in jeans? I’m going to have to show up in a suit and tie to train people for a day. Really freak you out.
36) Going online was the best thing I did this year. And it was/is an insane amount of work keeping it all up. A word to the wise for other trainers (or any other job) who are thinking about making the move: it’s going to cost you WAY more time than you think. For me, it’s been worth the 20+ hours each week it adds. I’ve had a huge response. What kind? My sessions based business has increased 40% since September. Its all referral based so I’m not sure why the change. Maybe it’s become easier to say “just go check out his website” and that leads to the call. I’m not quite sure. In the 3.5 months I’ve been online I’ve had: 1000+ views on my website; 11,500+ views on my YouTube videos and 3800 views on this blog (it’s been steadily increasing to this month being my best at 2100 views). I get positive comments and feedback from people in person, by email or via comments on the blogs and videos. It also makes it easier to help my clients stay informed on various subjects. Often I find myself saying “Oh, I just covered that in my last blog, go check it out.” It allows me to cover something far more in depth and thought out than I can do on the spot. I just want to say thank you for tuning in!! I’m going to keep doing my best to put out quality stuff for y’all. Any special requests, I’m all ears!
37) Common sense is not common. Why the hell did they call it that? And why don’t I do the things I know work, more often? Like downing chicken soup when I’m sick? Like upping my Vitamin D dosage when it’s cloudy outside for a week at a time. Like making sure I take my Elite Pro Mineral supplement every single night instead of every second as it turns out. Like getting to an infrared sauna every couple of weeks for that huge muscle recovery and toxin removal (I swear I’m gonna do what I can do buy one; I’ll make room for one in my living room dammit!). Like ….
38) I can’t escape the common sense of fasting. I’m convinced the single greatest thing a person can do in terms of weight loss is some form of fasting. The hardest, and possibly most effective version is laid out in Brad Pilon’s Eat, Stop, Eat ebook. Famous nutrition dude John Berardi put out this free ebook on his experimentations with intermittent fasting. T-Nation/Biotest came out with a very interesting (and expensive) way to do this with supplements which may actually cause you to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time. I was exhausted last night and passed out at 8pm (not the norm for me) and woke at 7am. I was visibly leaner due to the 11 hours of not eating. There is a fine balance between eating (“fed” state) and fasting. You need to eat a lot of volume but appropriate caloric intake for your goals and best if in small, frequent meals to keep blood sugar stable and then add in whatever level/sort of fasting can work for you and your goals. Simply starving yourself is a very bad way to “fast.” Don’t call it fasting if you’re just starving and depriving your body all the time.
39) The single greatest thing you can tell your friend (guy or girl) is “I miss you.” Try this: message (email or text) a friend you haven’t seen in a while (and do miss spending time/conversing with) and tell them quite simply “I miss you.” See what comes of it.
40) Due to the amount of water I drink I’m in the bathroom often. Which means I’m washing my hands dozens of times a day. I’m also cleaning mats and other gym stuff with a spray cleaner all the time. Needless to say, my hands hate me. I’ve tried every hand lotion on the market. For a real fix, applying this stuff 2-3 times a day has been a little miracle.
41) It may just be the best place to discover who another person really is, lies somewhere between what they say and what they do.
42) I have a hunch, which will be the biggest experiment on myself this coming year that gaining quality, lean muscle for guys long term works best as they train hard during a slow phase “bulk up” until we hit 20% body fat and then a sharp “cut/diet” down to 10%. Cycling back and forth. It’s just a hunch but I’m gonna find out.
43) I’m angered and frustrated with the epidemic, of which I find myself suffering from, in these damn mid-back muscle knots. I’ve had one single knot for over two years that chiro/ART, IMS, acupuncture, physiotherapy and every exercise, self myofascial release and stretch I know have done nothing for. The therapies and such all make it less sometimes but it never turns off, not once. Not in two+ years!!! It’s incredible the frequency of people I meet, train and discuss with that have these same issues. It can be debilitating and I will, this coming year develop a system or protocol to help us. I’m sure it will include a multitude of steps as this problem is a postural, fascial and strength issue. But there HAS to be a fix.
44) The top 3 training equipment purchases I’ve made this year: 12″ and 18″ plyo boxes. What the hell did I do before I had these? An Airex Balance Pad is magic. Space age foam magic. The Power Wheel scares me. I’m dead serious. What the hell was I thinking with this purchase. First day I had it I did this. WORST abdominal muscle pain of my life. Then I saw this video and the sick and twisty part of my brain has made it my summer goal to match the challenge.
45) I can’t possibly recall every article I’ve read this year but I’m certain this one has made the greatest impact. This idea of a fascial system superseding and being as important as the muscle system may revolutionialize my training world.
46) You can’t win the lottery if you don’t play. Just don’t be a crazy person who starts calling it their “retirement plan.”
47) Joe Rogan is the man! His comedy CD’s and DVD’s are absolutely hilarious. His podcasts are enlightening and a great, life changing waste of time! Try this one: http://blog.joerogan.net/archives/4037 (want more you HAVE to watch the best documentary I watched this year: Collapse which you can view here for free: Part 1 and Part 2 or go surf around www.collapsenet.com)
48) I’m FAR too removed from how food comes from the ground and ends up in my belly. I’ve even fallen away from the preparation of food, which I’m relatively good at, because of my focus elsewhere and my woman is so damn good at making tasty meals. I trade snuggles for food. She’s okay with the deal. It’s never too late to learn.
49) If you’re anxious about a workout, to the point of dread 3 days out (such as I am about the workout to be had in about 3 hours from now) it’s going to be one of the best you’ve ever had. If you’re not a little worried about what sort of torture your personal trainer has in store for your next session, well, you should probably get a new trainer.
50) When I was in high school I went to a friend’s birthday party which was way outta town by a lake with no city light around. I’ve never, even to this day 15 years later, seen a sky so full and vibrant of stars. There is something wrong with that. I will take a vacation this year, the destination matters not, the ability to see a sky full of stars like that again does.
There you have it! 50 things I picked up on this past year. Hopefully it brought you a laugh or two, a path of information to explore further and I’d love to hear what you learned this past year in the comments below!!
Happy New Year!!