Get Your F&*#%^@ A$$ In Gear!

Alright, caffeine loaded, random rant based thought primed to unleash, knuckles cracked and game to check how fast I can still type. Oh and sickest Eminem song gonna be on repeat for the entirety of this blog. You’re welcome to join the party:

Get Your F&*#%^@ Ass In Gear!

Look, I’m going to start point fingers; I’m going to start calling some peeps out. I’m going to tell you this for your own good:

Bruce Buffer - It's Time!IT’S TIME!

 As per my usual I shall properly aim this:

If you gained fat in August (or over summer) this is for you. If you missed more than one workout for no real good reason in August, this is for you. If you aren’t in better shape today than before the summer, this is for you. If you don’t already know exactly what your next 4 weeks of training looks like, FAIL, and this is for you. If your posture is starting to resemble the hunchback of Notre Dame and your joints are creaking like an 87-year-old, this is for you. If you haven’t ra-ra’d with your training partner already about the GAINZ about to be had, this is for you. If you’re completely sick of eating the most random meal plan this summer (and it shows on your ass), guess what, this is for you.

This is not for the gym rat who’s in top shape, who’s been killing it week in and week out since April. This isn’t for person who’s got a game plan (stop reading sh*t and get to it)! This is not for the people who spent more time doing cardio than sitting on a patio drinking copious alcoholic beverages. This is not for those slamming chicken breasts on the regular. This is not for those clients who showed up for sessions every week this summer. To those people, I salute you! Keep going.

Merry Go Round

Seasons of Change

I’m 8 years into this fitness thingamajiggy as a career. Let me tell you something, I can nearly predict exactly what you’re thinking and feeling about your fitness, health, enthusiasm and motivation regarding your aesthetics as well. Just plug-in how often you’ve been working on those things and what time of the year it is and ping…..

Your fitness endeavors in August sucked, right! Was probably a lot of fun though. But you’re ready to get back to it. Aching to get back to some sort of routine in fact. Your muscle tone resembles stale spaghetti more than it does a statue carved with pure sacrifice:

Jelena Abbou

Jelena Abbou, oh my

Those of us in the fitness industry are heading into our absolute busiest time from: September-October. It’s even more busy than January is. So expect your gym to be nightmare. Expect your personal trainer to have very few available time slots if you don’t get them booked yesterday.

But some wait, especially the moms. School is going back in session (well, for those of us not facing a ridiculous government that won’t give teachers what they deserve leaving them to strike). The heat waves settle. We start wearing jackets at night. The night comes far earlier it seems. Sleep schedules are messed up. Endless fast food commercial capitalize on all of this chaos, and some of you lose to that.

It’s all a gong show. If you let it be that.

There are two times in the year that pretty much guarantee whether you’ll see your fitness, health and aesthetic/physique goals realized or NOT. You just walked into the second one this year.

See, in April y’all start thinking about summer, looking primo, feeling your absolute best, and making this year THE year. If you didn’t start by May, pshhh you didn’t make it. Not like you wanted to. So, again, everything being a cycle in this industry I can tell you with absolute certainty whatever goals you had set out for yourself during 2014 you have 8-12 weeks to put everything in motion and have it flowing tightly or you’ll be waiting for next April.

Why? Three things:

1) The weather! Let me ask you: did you move more because of the superb weather this summer versus say how much you were moving about in January? Yea, exactly. You’re 200+ days away from that easy groove again. GET YOUR ASS IN GEAR!

2) Thanksgiving! Come the end of October/start of November it all slows down. Whatever routines you set in the next 8 weeks those are the ones that will hold you through the winter. No one starts getting fit in November. GET YOUR ASS IN GEAR!

3) December! This month more than any other your diet is going out the window. The weather is the pits so NEPA/NEAT is going down the crapper (and with it your fat loss). If you’re a dude you start talking garbage like this 3rd double cheeseburger this week is “for bulking, brah!” Yea, it shows, brah. Add holidays, time off school (read: routines) if that affects you and the endless “c’mon just have one, you’re in great shape!” GET YOUR ASS IN GEAR!

Which Gear?

8 Speed Gear Shift 8Yea, that one!

Here’s what you need to do:

1) If you don’t have a training schedule, program and game plan already set up, do it. If you normally workout with a training partner (which you should, there’s nothing more valuable than a good training partner) chat with them about your plans and solidify some commitments to each other. If you don’t have a training partner consider a personal trainer that is frighteningly passionate about what they do, especially if you have never trained regularly in a gym or home before. You’re going to need help navigating the open gym space (yikes) for your go-to hamster wheels are going to be mighty unavailable.

Treadmill monkeys

This should NEVER be your first line of fat loss defense!

2) If you haven’t thrown out all the junk food from your cupboards yet. Do it right now. If you’ve thought about all the stuff you’re going to stop shoveling in your face, have you mapped out all the stuff you are going to replace it with? What’s for lunch 3 days from now? And breakfast the day after? You have all those groceries in your fridge right now, right? No? Okay, get to the grocery stores, butcher shop, and farmer’s markets to stock up. I’ve said it before, you buy your intentions! And if your eating patterns for this entire year thus far have not worked for you, step up and hire a professional for that! Seriously, you’re clearly incapable of understanding which foods work for you. And that’s okay, you don’t cut your own hair; there are times hired help just makes more sense. It’s just one less thing to have to worry about. Follow the plan laid out.

Prepped Meals

3) You may not have realized but all that down time this past month or so, times where there was actually nothing pressing to do, that’s all about to go bye-bye. REAL QUICK. Likely that was a big part in your enjoyment this summer. So be smart, plan your own down time. Meditate. Start taking yoga (or go back to it). Go for a float (seriously!!!). Book regular massages, especially if you have coverage people, c’mon! Your physiotherapist, massage therapist, chiropractor are all about to get super busy too so have standing appointments each month or you’re going to lose out! Have a date night with your spouse once a month at least. Set up a dinner date with family or you’ll get yourself so busy the next time you’ll see them will be Thanksgiving. Don’t get so hung up on your kids hockey and other extracurricular activities that you leave nothing for yourself (you moms do that FAR too much).

4) Measure progress. If you don’t do this one thing, you’ll fail, 85% guaranteed! Look, if you haven’t been on a weight scale (body fat scale preferably) in the last 3 months, normally I would applaud you; but cut the crap, get on the scale. If you haven’t taken progress pics lately, do it, now. Stop being a whimp. If you haven’t tape measured that area of your body that seems to matter most to you in a while, get on it. The point is you need a reality check. And you’re afraid of that.

To that end, I think progress pics are either better taken on muscles you find difficult to bring up, muscles or poses that are the least flattering, or front/side/back comparisons and generally back photos will tell you more than front ones. Pictures don’t lie. We see the front of ourselves nekid every single day!

I’ve always compared my back photos, they tell me most if I’m putting in work, if I’m doing enough to keep my back strong (I’ve had years of low back issues so if my whole backside isn’t big and strong I’m heading down a slippery slope). When I store fat it’s more on my love handles than anywhere else so that’s a good smack upside the head too when I take the photos.

Adrian - Back Progress Pics To Current Aug 2014

These pics tell me everything I need to know about my progress over the past 16 years of working out. 3 months before the 1998 photo I weighed in at a whopping 136lbs!! Within 4 months of weight training (and probably copious amounts of creatine) I ballooned up 30lbs (the first pic top left). I remember my grandfather asking if I was on steroids…at 165lbs HAHAA. As you age, the gains may slow down, but progress should always be made. When I saw my Dec 2013 pics it slapped me upside the head. in 2014 I’ve gained 3lbs of muscle, lost 11lbs of fat, and put two inches on my chest which has really be my main focus this year. But it’s time to get back to flying squirrel mode for my back training. Have to hit a clean 200lbs+ on the scale and beat my March 2013 lat spread!

The point is, if you’re not at your absolute best ever, this day, today, get back to being your best and get beyond it!

So…for those who talk so loudly about their goals, for those with wonky shoulders that do nothing but use it as an excuse as to your lack of being in your best shape ever, for those amidst a huge fat loss plan with hopes of getting married and seeing their best health ever, for those scared of dying of a heart attack if you don’t get your shit together, for those of you who’s ass looks to belong atop a stack of flap jacks at Denny’s, for those who haven’t in recent memory set a PR on a barbell movement or weight plates hanging off your bodyweight (no tricep pressdown PR’s are not a thing!), for those of you who think you’re living for your children by driving them endlessly to all their after school hobbies {first rule of being there for your kids is being ALIVE and hopefully a role model for your kids!}, for those of you who can’t touch your toes, for those of you competing in bikini, figure or such contests and are not absolutely sure you’re BY FAR bringing your best package ever, for those of you who don’t look at least 5 years younger than your actual age, for those of you with dust collecting on your skinny pants, for those of you who are closer to 60 than you are 40 and are in desperate need of packing on some muscle mass, for those of you who can’t recall the last time you cooked a vegetable, for those of you with life or quality of life threatening diseases that are not getting better with time, for those of you who feel blah about your life, your confidence, your motivational powers towards those around you….

Get Your F&*#%^@ Ass In Gear!

 

BTW, you can now find me on:

Instagram @adriancroweathletictraining

Facebook page at Adrian Crowe Athletic Training “The Crowe’s Nest”

YouTube www.youtube.com/acathletictraining

or email me directly at adrian@adriancrowe.com

I’d be happy to help if you’re brave enough to holla!

Parking Lot Lunges SUCK – Part 2/2

It’s done. Complete. Finito. It sucked but, dare I say, wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be when I started this adventure.

My 135lb barbell x 194meter parking lot walking lunge adventure: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4smdMT7ocqI

I went to the chiropractor a couple of days after the event to ensure I wasn’t too whacked out (which I was). When he asked what I’d done since I saw him the day before the lunges, I promptly responded “I put a 135 barbell on my back and lunged two football fields.”

His look was priceless. It was a mix between concerned, scared, disbelief and finally the simple “you’re an idiot” look I’d expect.

“Why?!?!” he proclaimed.

The funny thing was I didn’t have an answer.

For fun I guess. Something to do. A challenge. Mental instability. I don’t know…

Why does anyone run a marathon? To be healthy? For fame or wealth?  There’s debate out there as to whether humans were really “built” to run for long distances like that. But when someone tells you they’ve run a marathon, there’s a level of respect there. Perhaps that’s why I did the lunges.

Try and tell me something harder than that.

Well, a 55-year-old client of mine did just complete the Canadian Ironman last weekend in under 15 hours (congrats Linda!!). THAT is hard. THAT is dedication. I couldn’t do it. Nor would I want to. She couldn’t do what I just did with those lunges. Nor would she want to. So it’s all semantics as to why.

The Human Guinea Pig

Look, I treat my personal training career as that: a job. As with any job there is training, continued education and experimentation that must be done to become an expert in my field. For example:

I’ve been doing this program the past 12 weeks while working on this parking lot lunge challenge. It’s by far my favored programming method. But for the sake of learning and experimentation I will soon be doing the 10,000 x 24kg Kettlebell Swings in 10 days (1000 swings a day). Why? The promise of body recomposition is my main driving factor but the learning experience is a very close second.

Following that I plan on doing the Velocity Diet which I did 3 years ago with ridiculous results (I’m talking 10lbs of fat loss in 14 days; and I gained muscle at the end of the 28 day program). Why would anyone in their right mind “eat” nothing but protein shakes for 28 days straight (well, you do get 1 healthy, solid meal a week)? Simple, the results. Secondary, however is challenge. There’s something to be gained in restraint and strict dieting for short periods of time.

Following that, after seeing the results attained by a comrade at our gym following Jim Stoppani’s 12 week Sortcut to Size program, I am excited to give that a whirl. I’m sure you’re wondering why a trainer would use a program I’ve not designed for myself and instead use something so easily accessible to everyone. The truth is I have great respect for other coaches who know what the hell they’re talking about and have the clout to back it up. This is exactly that type of program. My one rule about following other coaches programs is that you should always follow it 100% if possible. I’ve learned a tremendous amount from following other coaches recommendations. I find a way to bring that knowledge back into the programs I design for my clients.

Then I’m going to go back and do a program I did 4 years ago where I saw insane results: Christian Thibaudeau’s Mechanical Drop Sets. I swore I’d come back to it one year soon. It’s 12 weeks of very high volume training but should be a great blend in coming off the previous Jim Stoppani program. So why go back to a program I’ve done before? Where’s the learning experience in that? I was my biggest then (about 195lbs; whereas I’m 180 now) and I want to see how I’d feel at that weight again.

Me at 195lbs during CT’s Mechanical Drop Set program 4 years ago.

I’m a lot stronger now then I was back then. So I’m curious what will happen after a combined 24 weeks of bodybuilding style training.

And in the New Year, I begin training for the Vancouver marathon to be run in May (with my then 50- year-old client who will make this her 50th marathon run).

So, what may seem like training ADHD, there is a purpose. {Deep Breath In}…The 10,000 swing challenge I’m treating like a mental reset to the difficulty I’m going to surely face doing the Velocity Diet which will help reset my food cravings and improve my insulin sensitivity as well as act as a good training deload before I slide into Stoppani’s Shortcut to Size program where I plan to eat a shit tonne of healthy foods to gain size but coming off the V-Diet this will also help negate any fat gains with the increase in training volume. Then just as I’m seeing the total benefits of that 12 week bodybuilding style program I shall move into a program I’m more familiar with, a coach’s style I prefer and again will eat and eat and eat, at that point not caring (around the end of year) if I pack on some fluff, for in the New Year when I start training for a marathon where I’m surely going to drop the fluff and hopefully maintain most of the muscle size for when I run I tend to get pretty lean.

So I have a plan. Albeit a very turn left, go right, jump up and down, 3 lefts, two rights, and a sprint sorta plan. I’ve learned a tremendous amount from training myself and others this year. With this 8 months of training plans I’m sure to learn a great deal more.

Why You Shouldn’t EVER Do As I Do

The biggest reason, especially if you’re a young dude, it’s my opinion the main reason most guys in a gym don’t look or feel the way they want is because of programming ADHD. You’re not sticking with one mode (growth, strength, cutting, whatever) long enough to really see it through 100% before properly switching modes (which I’ll blog about soon). If you haven’t had 1-2 years under your belt of training under one style exclusively, STOP CHANGING PROGRAMS SO DAMN MUCH! For me that was the 18 months I trained Max-OT style.

Also, when a mentor of mine, Dave Parise boldly stated that walking lunges were one of the worst things a person could do for knee health, well I sharply paid attention. If you don’t know who Dave is, you should.  Problem was I was in the middle of the 135lbs parking lot lunge challenge and I had no intentions of giving it up. What I have done is drop the exercise (dumbbell, bodyweight or barbell) from my programming for my clients; not that I used it a lot to begin with but for safety reasons you’ll never see it again. I’m hopeful he will attack this issue with depth as he complete this series of videos for the industry: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7h-stdQgrA but until then, if you’re not convinced that walking lunges can ruin knees I suggest you ask the man for his reasoning; get the knowledge from the horse’s mouth per se.

I was starting to feel tweaky knee pain around the 95lb mark of this challenge. It concerned me as I had 40lbs to throw on the bar still. My band-aid solution was to ensure I was doing copious amount of unilateral leg training like the exercises found in Nick Tumminello’s latest DVD:

The knee pain was kept at bay and seemed to subside the more unilateral (single) leg training I did on top of my prescribed squats and deadlift training.

But, then the sheer weight of the bar on your back for anywhere between 8-12 minutes (135lbs took me 9:30) without the ability to adjust it became the real problem. Your traps BURN, your ability to breath properly becomes difficult, the cramping in your mid and low back is brutal. Let alone how 100lbs+ on your back while lunging can easily have your hips/spine push out of alignment. My chiropractors really kept me solid this past while.

When I did the 135lbs, sure my legs were shaking, they felt weak, they were burning with lactic acid. But that wasn’t the hard part. The balance, the shoulder girdle/rib cage pressure (despite using the Manta Ray barbell attachment which is a must for this!) and inability to breathe deeply, the burning sensation in my low back, the threat of a knee tweak happening at any given moment was the real challenge.

Of course, the real reason I survived was because of my awesome Performance U t-shirt! Thanks Nick!

But it’s done, and I promised I’m never doing that crap again. Cross it off the list. Just take it from me, the value of the exercise is not there.

Was I Sore After? Destroyed? Hospitalized?

Was I broken after? No, it was my buddy’s birthday so in the spirit of that he decided it was about time he hit his goal of back squatting 405. Our good buddy Cailin jumped in on that and hit a PR of 365 for himself. Then the three of us decided chasing a conventional deadlift PR was a good idea. Cailin hit a 410 PR. I hit a 390 PR. And just to top it all off, because ya know, enough old fomula Neurocore will do that to you…

…it made all the more sense to tack on the 300 workout after all that madness. See that in action here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ko2Kc0TyeXc

At the end of this test-fest I proclaimed to Chris and Cailin: “Thankfully, Chris’ birthday comes only once one a year!” Was fun though!

Now I move on to the 100 yard (football field) Power Wheel croc walk challenge! Should only take me a couple of weeks to complete that. See this badass get it done: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75mP4iGSwjk

Parking Lot Lunges SUCK – Part 1/2

I like to torture my friends. I think maybe in a past life y’all did me wrong and my karma is being able to cause you muscular pain and suffering via various exercises that no one in their right mind would ever sign up for.

I have one rule: I won’t give you any form of torture I wouldn’t put myself through. Now, I’m not talking about my clients, of course I program for their abilities appropriately and progress them whenever able. But my training partners, y’all are fair game and I keep telling you that when I suggest something stupid, like building up to 500 push ups at the end of an upper body workout (took 6 weeks to build to that and took me 39 minutes to complete it) or a bet with a friend to do the 10,000 kettlebell swings in 10 day challenge…someone is supposed to say no.

Just like I sorta leave the responsibility on my client’s shoulders to tell me no when I tell y’all I’m buying a new piece of exercise equipment that is not going to be “fun”, like the Power Wheel:

But noooo, not a single soul stopped me

Y’all just wait till I get THIS, THIS or THIS! Haha

So, let’s talk parking lot barbell walking lunges for a moment. First off, they suck, never do them. Just saying.

Had my squat-a-tron buddy roll through for a leg workout one day and he made me look like a school girl on squats like he always does so come the end of the workout it was game-on for me so I suggested we wrap it up with 45lb barbell parking lot lunges. The only caveat is my parking lot at the gym is 194 meters long (~2 football fields). When I finished I wondered to myself why that felt “easy” and muttered something about how ridiculous it would be to be able to do that with a plate a side on the barbell (135lbs).

And that’s how it started.

During the summer of 2011 I set out to reach this mentally unstable goal of the 194m x 135lb barbell parking lot lunges. I had completed up to 105lbs and the day prior to attempting 115lbs I was in a car accident which rendered the goal null and void.

When the weather came around this year, I got the spark back to achieve this goal. It’s been about 15 weeks now (I started at a broomstick, went to 30lb bar, 45lb bar, then added 10 pounds every 7-10 days) and last Sunday I hit 125lbs which for some strange reason I did faster than any weight lighter than it. Basically took me ~8 mins, 30 seconds.

Don’t believe me, just watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDkcw2FPiKQ

Now, I’m not delusional, last week was some hard shit and it really destroyed me for a few days. But this Saturday I will clean that 135lbs onto my back and will attempt to complete this goal.

I promise you one thing, when it’s done, I am never, EVER going to do this again.

It’s been a long journey, I’ve learned a great deal from it and I’ll share that all in Part 2.

If I’m alive come Sunday.

Oh Oh, Don’t Say The F Word

So…did you make it? Was this the year you promised yourself your best body ever and it came true?

What am I talking about? Well, be it January’s New Year’s resolutions or the first crack of nice weather we had in April that made you realize summer was just around the corner…either way you set yourself a goal to look, perform or be a certain way by this time of year (~mid July).

 

So I ask again: did you make it?

 

The truth is that it doesn’t matter. You either did or didn’t. If you did, kudos, it must have taken some serious work and sacrifice and I hope you’ve enjoyed the journey thus far! If not, don’t beat yourself up about it. Consistency is key, get to doing that more than anything else. This going hard for 3 weeks and taking the next month schlepping it is bunk; it ain’t working.

 

But let’s look forward.

 

Life has a lot of patterns to offer. They are like sign posts that tell you what’s likely to happen if you continue on the path you’re on.

 

In the gym world, the aesthetic vs. life game I know August is a very important month. And I offer the best piece of advice I can after 6 years of watching this happen:

 

DON’T GET FLUFFY IN AUGUST!

It’s patio season. Barbeques. Family vacation. The calm before the September storm when kids go back school, your boss at work looks at your mid-third quarter and freaks out their yearend projections are off target, traffic gets extremely mental again and generally speaking life just gets busy. September is EXACTLY like January in the training/gym world. And I know that best intentions of getting right back on the horse come September 1st are just never going to happen. It’s more like the third week in September you’ll get your life in order.

 

So again: DON’T GET FLUFFY IN AUGUST!

 

If you gain 5lbs of fat in August it’s going to be the end of October before it comes off. So while I understand your plight during August and its call to live life, I VERY highly suggest you plot out some damage control for the weddings, parties, poolside adventures and trips to Vegas you have written on your calendar.

 

Let’s talk damage control:

Keep up with your workouts. I say this all the time: we are our own best dumbbell. Any excuse to not workout other than physical illness or serious family situations is quite simply a cop out. Have you not seen the infamous ass-in-the-air YouTube videos of Bodyrock.tv?

Have you not been introduced to a kettlebell? I have a bunch of YouTube videos for zero equipment, pressed for time situations such as being stuck at home or in a hotel or at a campground. Here, Here, And Here

Worst case scenario ask your trainer to step up their game and add in that element of damage control if you know you have dietary stuff coming up that will affect your weight loss/gain. We dig a challenge.

Other methods of damage control:

Fasting read about that here

Cardiopick higher intensity methods and perform them 2-4 times a week. I give tons of options here which include as little a time commitment as 4 minutes!

The last one is a trick I use often in times like this (and December): focus on strength training. Break down some serious muscle in the gym. Forget the making-a-smaller carrot/apple/pear shape programs you’ve been doing up to this point.

You either made your July body or you didn’t. Let’s focus on the future. So, why strength training?

Think about this: If I make you do my leg workout which today consisted of 13 sets of 3 reps of front squat followed by 8 sets of 3 reps of sumo deadlift followed by a finisher of 95lb barbell parking lot lunges (194m parking lot which equates to 180-190 lunges) are you going to be sore, broken down and walking funny for a few days? I invited a friend out today to do it so I’ll let him comment on that when he crawls out of bed 4 days from now.

What do you think your body is doing with calories the following days when you’re that broken down?

You’re building. This most likely means that the calories you take in are going towards repair, regeneration and building of new muscle. That’s a costly process. So the calories, even if slightly excess will LESS LIKELY end up as a muffin top. This is not an excuse to eat like shit and get away with it. It’s just a mindful approach to life vs. training/aesthetic goals.

 

I know I’ve repeated myself a whole bunch in this blog. I intended to do that. Because this needs to be beaten into the mind:

DON’T GET FLUFFY IN AUGUST!

My Ode to Leg Days (the trainer perspective)

Am reminded today that leg day used to always be a half-hearted attempt at greatness

That I knew being a Chestceptimus Prime was as unacceptable

As being a fat personal trainer

Or being too skinny and weak

Or being incapable of motivating oneself

I couldn’t only be smart and articulate

First and foremost I can’t be a hypocrite

It took me hiring a co-worker to torture me through a weekly leg workout

For months!

They called my squats “screamers”

For that’s what it took for me to get through it

I remember literally crawling from the leg press to the hack squat

Back and forth

For evil German Volume Training

 

I may never be joyful for leg days

But the anxiety drives me

And when the sun comes out

The first thing I think of

Is a 194 meter parking lot barbell walking lunge adventure (today that was 178 lunges)

And the unknown, if I’ll make it with the next increase on the bar

 

Where there’s fear, there’s angst

And angst with the right tools

Becomes a fear conquered!

 

Note: last year I made a stupid goal of hitting a 135lb lunge adventure of the parking lot. I was on track for it and then ended up in a car accident that stopped me in my tracks. Here was the best I hit last year (105lbs): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5STDE8gffA  I will hit 135 this summer. Along with the other mental goal of Power Wheel croc walking a football field such as this superstar: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75mP4iGSwjk

Why?

Why not.

Anyone wanna join me?

Don’t Hire A Personal Trainer For Fat Loss! Part 1/2

I have news for you: you have my job description ALL WRONG!

In fact this may be closer to the truth than us trainers all admit:

I have to thank my mentor and role model in this industry, coach Nick Tumminello, for really helping me sort this out last November at a seminar which he does a great job of explaining in this latest interview on John Izzo’s blog. This understanding really helped me stop going down the path of being a jack-of-all-trades-expert-of-none.

Here’s a list of things that I, as a personal trainer, AM NOT:

1)      A chiropractor, massage therapist, physical therapist, or any other type of manual therapist. If you are broken, go get fixed by someone who’s taken FAR more schooling than I to do that job. In fact, let’s be so clear as to say that if IT (whatever that is) has been bugging you more than 3-4 weeks: it’s time you go get it looked at by a professional. I keep a working relationship with every kind of professional for this reason.

2)      A medical doctor. That lump you have, that skin thingy or the weird reaction to your birth control pill…yea…not my expertise. I know I seem smart but really?!? Go see a doctor!

3)      Your mother. Clean your room, show up for your appointments on time and for everyone’s sake, stop whining about how hard it is. Nothing in life worth having was achieved easily.

4)      Your nutritionist, dietician, fad DIE-t expert or some food Nazi who punishes you with fifty 1 leg burpees for not sticking to your meal plan.

Here’s what my job description really should be:

1)      A fitness expert! 1st and foremost I am the guy who teaches you how to exercise. Coach Nick said it best: “The fact is, I’m just a gloried PE (physical education) teacher who loves telling people about the training concepts & techniques that I’ve found to work well for me.” If you need to get back in shape, if you need to be stronger, if you need to be able to get up a stair case without wheezing like a 2 pack a day smoker…I’m the over glorified PE teacher that can make it happen.

2)      A motivator. I love sending the random text message, email or Facebook post to a client who’s kicked some ass, met a challenge they never thought they could or reached some goal we’ve really been working on! I’m super proud of my peoples that put it in, work their butts off and realize what they are capable of. I’m just here to share it with everyone to motivate, encourage and tell you that YOU can do it too!

3)      An exercise program specialist. Look anybody can pick up a _____ magazine and follow along with the workout-of-the-month and probably see great results. So why would anyone hire a personal fitness trainer? Well, the first clue is the first word of my job title: personal. It’s my job to take the 500+ exercises I know of and write a program in a very specific and personal way that will help you reach YOUR goals. My main stream of continued education should in fact also be to learn new exercises, techniques, systems and discover new training equipment that will get the job done better than anyone else!

So if your goal is to possess a bootay like this:

Or a very impressive physique like this:

I’m the man for the job!

So where lies the conundrum?

Why should you not hire a personal trainer for fat loss?

Seems silly to proclaim this when 80% of the people who walk in my door have their first goal being body fat reduction.

It’s not that I can’t help, it simply comes back to YOU not understanding MY job description versus YOUR job description in this equation!

Let me break it down for you:

My job:

1)      Get you into the best physical performance shape (being fit) you’ve ever been. I named my business Adrian Crowe Athletic Training for a reason. My goal is to make everyone feel like an athlete and get them into awesome shape!

2)      Making you faster and stronger than you’ve ever been. In that process comes our goal to gain a significant amount of muscle mass!

3)      Correcting mild postural issues that may be causing pain, loss of energy or other health factor risks

4)      Helping you alleviate stress. I hate to say it but the venting thing comes with the territory so I’m going to have to listen and get good at helping you sort out things that may be holding you back. I have one rule: shut up when it’s time to lift. And I know it’s time for you to lift again when you start talking normal versus gasping for air mid-sentence.

Your job:

1)      Show up for your sessions. Seriously, if you can’t get yourself into the door how the hell am I supposed to get you into shape??

2)      Put your heart into the exercises I prescribe. When I ask if you think you could lift heavier, more explosive or just with better form…if you think you can, then answer yes and just do it!

3)      Communicate things that may hurt while doing exercise. You’re not a hero for “toughing it out”

4)      Communicate discomfort in any situation (such as you ladies being around a bunch of 24-year-old gym monkeys that don’t know how to act right around a lady)

5)      Communicate things you really enjoy doing and or situations, things I do/can do that will motivate you to push harder

6)      DON’T F*** UP YOUR NUTRITION

7)      Get some sleep!

8)      Lower your stress levels

I really hope the above list clearly shows who has the harder job here, where most of the responsibility for YOU accomplishing YOUR GOALS really falls and who is usually first to blame if those goals aren’t happening in the time frame you want. Not to say that I don’t sometimes get it wrong or that I may not be pushing you hard enough. But again that comes back to #5 of your job. If you truly think it’s me that’s the problem however, please, just fire me. I may not be the personal fitness trainer for you.

Let’s do some math. If I see a client 4 times a week for 90 minutes each session, then how much of this client’s entire week am I there to make a difference?

Anyone??

3.57% is the answer. I see this client 360 out of the 10,080 minutes that exist for the client this week.

And that’s 4 training sessions a week!! Most of you I see half that.

So how much do you think a personal fitness trainer is going to accomplish in just 3.57% of your week? Well, the answer is quite a bit actually. Exercise, for the general population should consist of three goals:

1)      Gain muscle. I’ve already explained why HERE.

2)      Gain body awareness. Learn skills via exercise that teach you to be able to perform more tasks, perform them better and also keep them pain-free.

3)      Improve cardio-vascular and muscular fitness. Sweat, move hard enough or fast enough to hear yourself breathing aloud for your entire workout, scream a little when it gets brutal. Hell, even drop a choice 4 letter word if it helps get you through the set.  Intensity rules all in fitness.

Exercise is nothing but a catalyst for positive change. If performed intensely enough that catalyst is HUGE!!  (hence why we should not be focusing on physio-like exercises and leaving that to the physio therapist’s job). We should be concentrating on what you can do, not so much what you can’t, for over time you will be able to do more and create an even bigger training effect/catalyst.

But let me tell you this: you are weaker, smaller and in less health when you leave a gym than when you entered. Every time. Why? Because hard exercise beats your body up! It breaks down muscle, it stresses the body out and leaves you in need of adequate and appropriate food intake, stress reduction techniques and also sleep!

So, it’s YOUR job the other 96.43% of your week to get the sleep, eat, and stress reduction in order. It’s your job to eat right to lose fat. And when you do, that’s when you’ll see the results you’re working so hard in the gym for.

You need to hear me again when I say you quite simply cannot out-train a sh*tty diet!

 

In part 2, I’ll give you some solutions to the problems I’ve now left you with. I’ll also explain how your body is way smarter than you and how it doesn’t want you to lose weight! In the meantime, get back to your fitness, getting stronger, communicating your needs and struggles and let’s make this summer the summer you’re dying to show of that hot bod of yours!

P.S. If you need some motivation and you dig hip-hop music, well check out Stic-Man (of Dead Prez)’s new album entitled The Workout. Here’s the vid link for “Back on My Regimen” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nartK6wodo or for the runners his vid “Runner’s High” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrIElFT6JhI

BTW, you can now find me on:

Instagram @adriancroweathletictraining

Facebook page at Adrian Crowe Athletic Training “The Crowe’s Nest”

YouTube www.youtube.com/acathletictraining

or email me directly at adrian@adriancrowe.com

Are You A Supersoaker or a Starfish?!

Gym culture is strange. It’s a different set of rules, etiquette and has its own sorts of characters. I can’t help but escape the classification of two of these characters as they really make up 90% of who I see and even who I train.

I have one question for you:

Are You A Supersoaker:

or A Damn Starfish:

Here’s one thing every guy knows: the worst women in bed are “starfishes!” They just lay on their back or lazily hop on top and basically do nothing. Like you owe it to them to bring them to orgasm, or that they’re doing you some big favor by letting you…whatever. Look, I’ll earn my keep, I’ll rock it like a porn star, YOU have to bring it too. For if you don’t want to…what the hell are you doing here?

Now, I’m not just picking on you ladies, as I’m about to point out, the metaphor above in relation to the topic at hand is mute. Most women train harder than their male counterparts any given day! Take the top woman of any sport, the top guy of any sport and put them through a strength & conditioning workout (if they have equal experience in such): the woman will leave the man begging for mercy.

So what the hell is this metaphor I’m talking about; this Supersoaker vs Starfish?

Let’s look to Urban Dictionary for the definition of a half-asser:

Someone who actively decides to do less than their best because either they don’t care

or they feel the task doesn’t deserve the time it would take to do a good job.

Okay, that’s simple enough. What about a Supersoaker…

Well, I’m going to make up my own definition here:

A Supersoaker is:

Someone who chooses to:

1) Show up for their workouts when they said they would

2) Performs a proper warm up and doesn’t rush it, nor do they take their sweet ass time. Warm ups are about efficiency. If you can’t get the warm up right, your workout is going to be just as disastrous (or even dangerous)!

3) Uses FULL range of motion

4) Understands when and how to apply strict form, “loose/bio-mechanically correct” form, and when you’re boarding on sloppy

5) When the thought pops in our head if we could possibly use more weight, or do more reps or control the negative more…we do that! We don’t question the question. What’s the worst that can happen?

6) We auto-regulate. I’m not a sheep. I follow a workout program but I adapt as needed with all the other guidelines above followed first. But if my shoulder is really hurting on the bench press today: switch the damn exercise for today. Try a dual cable standing chest press, letting your hands rotate as they want.

7) I may whine, but it’s really because I enjoy this madness we put ourselves through and I’m still getting it done

8) Our workout partners always remark how we’re always trying to find a way to make it harder

9) We thrive on the angst and anxiety of the coming leg day

10) We have leg days

THAT’S A SUPERSOAKER!

I’m also going to say that 60% of people in gyms across North America as Starfishes. The percentage is higher than my clients because those that seek out personal trainers, strength and conditioning coaches and the like at least intend to excel. They want more.

A few other things about Starfishes:

1) There is always an excuse why they haven’t reached their goals

2) They lack consistency

3) They never use the full range of motion because that would require too much effort or even the effort required to perform proper self myofascial release, dynamic mobility warm ups, stretching and therapeutic work (chiro, ART, massage, physio when injured) to be able to make their body be able to handle full range of motion.

4) It’s never their fault they don’t have the body or performance level they want

5) Their training session is more than 25% social. Look I talk a lot during my training, but it’s when I’m resting (the appropriate amount of time) but when it’s set time, it’s time to STFU and train! Don’t talk about social stuff to me during my set. If I look angry to you or pissed off, it’s because I’m working. I’m focused. You, on your cell phone, your buddy squatting and still able to carry a conversation while doing so; with his head cocked sideways none-the-less…You are Starfishes!

6) You don’t understand that training is about learning. Learning not only how to perform an exercise, but how an exercise affects your body, how your body moves, how it may be slipping into poor posture, alignment, dysfunction. There are no hunchback 6-year-olds.

7) They always chose to do the bare minimum number of reps in a given rep range

How do you think granny ended up like this:

A bunch of my clients are now going to proceed to get offended or freak out, wondering if I’m pointing the finger at them. Well, for 40% of you, I am. Now, it’s my job to point out when you’re not straightening your arm all the way, not squatting low enough, taking too much rest. But if I’ve told you 50+ times the same thing and you choose to ignore me. That’s cool, that’s your decision. I will stop you, of course, if you are going to injury yourself. But you get in, what you put in. And you’re the one paying for the session, so you’re the one governing how much you bring to the table in terms of effort and enthusiasm. You’ll know you’re a starfish if I’ve had to give you the same instruction more than 5 times in a session in regards to the same exercise.

A Supersoaker would stop and ask me how to they can better perform, understand and utilize the exercise in your program. A Supersoaker would keep their ears open, while performing a set just in case I need to cue you. If you had to annoyingly ask me “WHAT?!” during the set after my instructions, you weren’t paying attention. Zone in to what you’re doing, don’t zone out. Yea, I know it’s hard, it’s supposed to be.

For use trainers and coaches, the Supersoaker clientele is just as fun as the toy was when we were kids! They are the reason I do this job.

In conclusion: this thing we do and why we do it means different things to different people. There is ALWAYS going to be someone bigger, faster and stronger than YOU. That’s not what matters. You didn’t start working out to improve how good someone else is. This is about you. If you’re happy with your level of success in your health, fitness and/or sport performance endeavors, I’m happy for you.

You get in what you put in…so…are you a Starfish or a Supersoaker?