Monday, October 24, 2011

What's Different About GRIT GYM

When I started GRIT GYM I knew it was going to be very different than anything in the local area. What I didn't expect was how different it'd be from other warehouse gyms across the country. I didn't understand that until visiting gyms across the country. I found other coaches were spending little time in their own gyms. Now, I totally agree w/ a certain amount of this. They want to be successful enough to set up their future (for example: retiring, simply going on vacation, and I cannot imagine having kids w/ the schedule I keep now....). This is much of the reason I'm hiring right now (if interested send cover letter and resume to But I did expect these coaches to be front and center when it came to the gym. 

My gym operates w/o a micromanager (of which I am NOT), and it operates in a way I see fit for producing the results we're going for. This may or may not be the freakiest, or fastest changes but the best change, which would include longevity, maintenance, and adherence. I put more value in the process than the product. In the end I want a quality result that's going to stick, mentally and physically. 

I also have plenty of competition in the area. I do not train a specific way to create a business/competitive advantage. I set up programs based on the individual, the rest takes care of itself. My thought process behind this......worry about yourself. 

Basically, you walk into my gym, you're going to see me. I can make sure of that. 

What else makes GRIT GYM different? This started out as a rant. Agree or disagree you can tell me what you think in the comments below. 

There's only one thing I can say for sure, it's 100% true and it's going on at GRIT GYM daily. 

What’s different about GRIT GYM

1. We do quite a bit of barefoot training

2. We understand the importance of soft tissue work and joint mobility, their affect on performance and injury prevention, as well as detecting the source of the issues, symptoms and what may or may not be preventing peak performance.

3. We don't really do olympic lifts. 

     The return on investment is too low, esp considering the long learning curve, along w/ the negative impact at the elbow in over head athletes like baseball/softball players. 

4. Everything begins w/ the assessment. 
     Google maps can't give you directions w/o starting point. I have no idea what your needs are or how to help you get to your goals w/o assessing what we're working w/ first. 
     There are inefficiencies, for instance: sub optimal recruitment of muscles, tightness inhibiting function and structural imbalances. Each of these are extremely common in todays sedentary society, even in youth athletes.  
     An athlete that moves well usually moves fast. Athletes need to be able to change levels, move laterally, know their positioning w/o having to be conscious of it, and they have to be able to drive massive amounts of force into the ground w/ each step. But they also need to be healthy and able to stay that way through an entire season. 

5. No programs are the same. 
     We're all human so there will be staples to programs and similarities, but no two people are the same so no two programs are either.

6. There's no coddling. 

     Chihuahuas don't pull dog sleds (I have to give my pal Eric Cressey props for that saying). If you can't pay attention, work hard, be positive, and aren’t willing to learn then you're probably not going to be a good fit. 

7. Nutrition

     We don't screw around w/ a one sized fits all Nutritional regimen. As many people saw, this year the government came out w/ "The Plate", which was a step in the right direction but still abysmal in terms of an actual nutritional foundation to live by. 
     Nutrition is much more than an eat this-not that, good-evil continuum. Nutrition is a topic in an of itself however there are some truths: 
     -Everyone's body reacts differently to food. Everyone.
     -Everyone can benefit from breakfast. No excuses
     -Everyone can benefit from more plant based foods. No excuses    
     -No one has the perfect diet. No one. I sure don't have one to hand you, but we'll work on it and make yours work for you. 

7. There's much more than just teaching strength, speed and athleticism. 

     Besides nutrition. It's how to think, maturing, building a work ethic, insight into themselves to grow into great young men and women, building relationship and growing in those as well. 

8. There is NO long distant jogging 

     Unless it is specific to the sport (triathlons, marathons, Xcountry) there wont be any jogging or steady state cardio. We're going to be burning holes in the ground, moving in short, fast bursts of energy.

     -Bones don't fully develop until between 18-26yrs of age. Usually closer to 18 for females, and usually closer to 26 for males. Repeated low level stress like jogging can stunt the growth of these bones and cause injury. It's common enough that we can say this wont be a matter of 'if' it'll happen, but 'when' it will happen. 
     -We're not training to go slow for a long time, we're training to go extremely fast for a very short time. Training the other way around will just make you slower and weaker (literally). 
     -In sports like football, wrestling, baseball/softball.....speed, strength and athleticism win.  
     -If I told you to do 750 hops on your left leg, then 750 on your right for a cardio workout, you'd call me an idiot. That's called jogging, there are approximately 1500 strides in a mile. 

9. It's definitely not your typical workout arena. There are no mirrors, tv's, treadmills, machines, membership fee, towel service or front desk girl. It's not set up for that. It's set up for hard work, done intelligently to get results. There's no typical globo gym personal trainer either. You’ll find a Performance Coach w/ a very different skill set.

10. No one implements their implements the way I do at GRIT GYM.
     Yeah, there are kettelbells, ropes, turf, weights, prowlers (sleds), med balls, trap bars, etc....everyone else has those too. Doesn't matter, it's what we (you and I) do w/ them based on the assessment that makes for progression to maximize potential. 

This is what it takes to be successful. Work hard, work right, work smart. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Particular Awesomeness Deserves Promotion

To the point today.

I had a guest appearance over at Robertson Training Systems. Needless to say this is exciting. Mike is what you might call a big shot in the strength in conditioning realm. You can find that post here:

So, I've decided to post a few items that I find particularly awesome.

Gourmet Nutrition Desserts
Precision Nutrition Strategies


A better source for dairy:

And where to find the best source of dairy in your local area

Organic vs. Conventional by Brian St.Pierre

I've now fallen in love w/ CoQ10 and for good reason.

Detoxing w/ real food. Mostly b/c artichokes and beats were in there of which I love.

There are some great take aways in each of these. Hope you enjoyed them as much as I. Soon enough I'll be on a plane to connecticut for the Elite Training Workshop. Good stuff.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Train Hard, Train Smart, Train Right

"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."

-Theodore Roosevelt

Old timers knew what was up. If you never lost, you never came up short, you'd never know how great it feels to win. But winning doesn't come from a score board, it comes from the moment in which you know there was nothing more to give, you put it all on the line, you prepared beyond as hard and smart as you thought you could, fought w/ everything you have, and you can live w/ the outcome.

I have two moments I remember very well. One I can live w/ forever and one I have to live w/ forever. I prepared myself w/ a gruesome work ethic, I gave it everything I had, I made my own outcome and I came out on top. The other I failed, but not b/c I lost. I sub-parred my preparation, I overlooked an opponent, I was still in another match trying to wrestle the current one, I foolishly lost a match to a lesser opponent. I've never been so disappointed or embarrassed of myself in my life.

Train Hard, Train Smart, Train Right.

Athletes are not born, you make your own path in this world. And no one is going to give it to you. There's one way to have it, and that's to take it.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Targeting the Hip Flexors

Some hip flexors need more attention than others.

If you haven't seen how to assess the hip flexor, click here: Assessing the Hip Flexor Complex

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

New Favorite Footwear

I've been a pretty big advocate of the Nike Free for some time now. Just about anytime I mention the ankle or foot I shoot off in a tangent on what you should be putting on your feet, and I'm willing to guess that in the last 3-4 years I haven't once gone w/o mentioning the Nike Free in any of these rants of mine.

There have been other barefoot, low heal, toe gripping soles that have come, gone and/or stayed (like the vibram 5 finger that gets way more credit than it deserves or that I'll ever give it). But the Nike Free has stuck around.

I've regularly worn Chuck Taylor's, Sperry's, and sandals as well. Love them all.

That's actually not even 1/2 of my collection....what can I say, I like shoes.

So it pains me to say this........but I believe my 2 newest footwear purchases take the top.

The New Balance Minimus may be the best thing I've ever put on my feet. To be honest I'd rather go barefoot almost all the time. H/e:

A) our feet weren't designed for concrete and other hard surfaces

B) it's not exactly safe or hygenic (arguable, but I'm not going in a hospital w/o shoes)

C) footwear is fashionable

Pre New Balance Minimus : My shoes were off at the moments notice that I didnt' need them.

Post New Balance Minimus : I could care less when they come off. I'm sitting here writting this w/ them on as we speak. 6 months ago that would've been unheard of.

There's still enough support to make it a good fit for the surfaces I spend the majority of my time on each day but I can feel the ground as I walk as well. They are great.

And then there are the Toms.

Not only is this a great idea. Whether it's genuine or just a marketing campaign I don't really give a shit, it does something great for KIDs that have nothing.

The guy that started the company gives one pair to a child in need for every pair that is purchased. So each time you buy a pair you're actually donating another pair to a child inneed.

Besides that, I know you'd like some ninja shoes to wear around, they are awesome.

Not to mention the comfortability, low heal, and lack of padding underneath to promote proper foot striking.

I'm very happy I tried a pair on and now I know what I'll be getting everyone for christmas this year. Yeah, I'm one of those people that gives the same gift to multiple people. It works for me.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

3 Ways to Improve Your Upper Back

Video for you today. Thoracic mobility is extremely important in sports, and doesn't need to be as complicated as people would like to think. These three are all shoulder friendly and can make a big difference in your health and performance.

The double tennis ball and chair work can be done pre and post workout. I wouldn't hang for an extended period of time pre workout or competition.

Take 30 seconds 3 or 4 different times today (or tmr if you need to go get some tennis balls and tape) and perform one of these each time.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Recent Activity: Movies, Career Choices, and Nutrition FUBAR'd

I believe laughter to be one of the healthiest things you can do, and I added about 10 years to my life last night.

Horrible Bosses is great, no understatement, I was crying laughing.

Remember when jason bateman was not funny and nobody liked him?

Next: after watching this video I plan on ditching my own current CEO position and working under Kenny Powers.

That's all I have to say about that.

Big Update:

Over the last few months I've bought a house, started a business, delt w/ unexpected situations that are unable to quantify but generally stayed in shape throughout the entire process, however my 8 pack is lacking and it pisses me off. So, just like always, experiments on myself have ensued.

I want to keep as much mass as I can, I'm 6'4" 225lbs right now (a little light, but not bad), and sticking somewhere around 10% bodyfat (enter robert deniro face + disappointment, not awesome).

If I can't throw an awesome bomb by taking my shirt off, I'm not happy. Just kidding, I'm a fat face person.

So, workouts?
No drastic changes, a few but nothing over the top.

Yes, drastic change. I've begun to eat like an animal created by the offspring of a lion, a horse and and a small hispanic family (minus the rice). Meaning I eat tons of meat, tons of green stuff and tons of beans (surprisingly mexican food has been the easiest way to maintain this if I am to eat out....unexpected and I like it. Mi amor comida de mexico).

I've allowed myself one day/wk to dramatically binge on anything that taunted me during the week. So that pizza that wanted to talk shit all week, yeah, he got his chewed up and shit out on sunday....bitch.

It was a tough decision but I cut some things that have been staples in my diet FOR YEARS.

-no steel cut oats
-no fruit (yeah, I know right)
-no potatoes (even sweet potatoes....tough one)

Some stuff I was already doing. For instance:

-No dairy (besides greek yogurt but who cares)
-No wheat, rice or grains in general

Now I get 100% of my carbs (outside of that one day food freak parade) from ridiculously low glycemic index, low glycemic load, and low insulin index foods. Basically that means I get my carbs from:

-vegetables (about 5-9 cups/day)
-legumes (beans and such)
-seeds and nuts (mainly quinoa, almonds and walnuts)

My protein sources haven't really changed much:
-Beef, chicken, pork, eggs

And the reasoning for the one day food parade that I've absolutely dominated for the last 3 weeks?

1) Denying your body calorically dense foods for too long can actually have a negative impact on endocrine function (hormones) as well as other bodily functions (especially in regards to fat loss and muscle maintenance). Taking one day/wk is not enough to create a drastic change to overall fat gain or loss. So even though the scale will tell you that you've gained 'weight', the progress you've had w/ 'fat' will not have been discouraged, as continual measurement (using the scale one or two days/wk maximum) will indicate.
2) Mentally it's just kind of nice to let it fly for a day. You know, you're out w/ friends, it's the weekend, it's summer, you want to swim, eat brats, pizza, drink beer, sip margaritas, flirt w/ the coolest girl at the party and generally live the life of every rich, overweight, happy person you know. So screw it, live it, do it, let loose for a day you uptight nutrifreak.

Now, obviously this diet is not sustainable, not even close. I just want things to happen fast to get back to my normal narcissistic self that loves walking by glass buildings, you know why.

All jokes aside, this type of regimen works, no doubt about it, it's mentally sustainable for the time anyone needs to lose what they currently have. It's perfectly safe, really it's way more safe and beats the hell out of 90% of americans day to day diet, and I'm not talking about the stereotypical fast food, hamburger helper dumbasses either, or even the people who think eating panera, subway or "pick your own asian place" was a good choice.

So far, no doubt about it, the ripples are in resurgence and there's less love to grab on the lower back side of my torso (love handles, for the slow and impaired that may or may not understand my's kind of out there).

You may ask how I keep the sheets from floating at night....Well, I have my tricks for that too.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Bigger+Healthier Bench Press: w/ an Arch

The flat bencher gets injured and has low numbers, which in turn means he doesn't get bigger or stronger. Ummmm......Isn't that the reason 9 out of 10 guys go to the gym in the first place?

So, besides the fact that it makes you look like a raging pussy, we can also deduct that putting your feet up on the bench, which causes a flat back, is not good. Read on.

This is DUMB

W/ a flat back on the bench we're subjecting the rest of our spine to compression it's foreign to and unable to handle. That compression is going to come out some where. Ever heard of the guy that injured his back or neck traumatically while bench pressing? Happens all the time, just for this one reason.
Besides his total being seriously compromised this is an injury waiting to happen. Perfect example of how NOT to bench press.

And that compression in your spine pushes the thoracic spine and in turn your scapulae into poor position which hampers your shoulders from performing as they should. You end up putting forces in wrong places and it doesn't work out for you joint capsule or the muscles around it. Bad deal pal.

It's almost as smart as doing crunches.

Like an atomic bomb going off in your vertebrae

So what to do? Arch - your - back!

Lifting w/ a big arch:

1) Solves everything from above.

2) This allows the spine to sit in better position, decreasing chance of injury.

3) Shortens the distance the bar has to travel=bigger numbers

4) Bigger numbers=bigger badass=bigger muscles

5) You'll be able to utilize your lats more, better for the shoulder and improves numbers

6) For it to count you need 3 points of contact: Butt, feet, shoulders. So if you ass fly's in the air it wont count. As you see in the video had I not arched that larger my ass would've flown off the bench, even though its hard to tell w/ the loose shorts, I get away w/ it.

How to Bench

1) Push your shoulders into the bench

2) Pull your feet underneath you

3) Get a big arch as if you have a football under your low back

4) Tuck your elbows

5) Drive your feet in the ground, tighten your glutes and your lats

6) Pull (and look) the bar low on your chest w/ your lats
7) Explode up (blow the bar up w/ your air) and flare your elbows for the last quarter of the lift.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Dear Indian Wedding

Dear Indian Wedding,
You are probably one of the most amazing things I've ever seen and it's possible that I no longer "hate" weddings..... Did I really just say that?

Dear Indian food - My bowels were raving about you all day.

Dear non indian Bride - Allie: I've probably never given you a compliment, so take this for what it's worth. I've never seen you look so gorgeous and happy. Glad you made a good decision.

Dear Anay- You did well man. Wasn't sure about you at first. skeptic eye got the best of me, just thinking of my cuz. And I'm a whack job, you're in the family now, you'll find out.

Dear my dance partners: I WOULD apologize for my drunkeness, stepping on your toes, spitting when I spoke, and generally hitting on you the entire time....however, there's no need b/c A) perfect level of alchohol B) that was a blast C) I was in the zone.....if that's what you want to call it.
This is actually my mom and I. Haha, Probably right after I picked her up and swung her around patrick swayze style. What can I say, I was in the zone.

Dear my older sister: Thanks for letting me use my niece and nephew to have a reason to get on the dance floor in the first place.
What a little shit head

Side note: My Aunt Susan, My mom, and my Grandma Hillyard were stunning as well.
This is my mom and little sister
My aunt Susan and my mom, and the opposite side of the family continually mistook these two for the other. Wonder why.....
Oh Grandma.

Anyone not there missed out.

Yeah, I still got a few...."You married yet?"
My response, "Nope, and loving it, but thanks for asking".

Still waiting on my dream girl.... You know, tall, athletic, dark, curly haired, smart girl, that smiles a lot, w/ an opinion as strong as mine, personality that takes your breath away and that look that says come and get me not b/c she's just hot but b/c she's sexy as it gets. Glutes the size of a mini mediterranean donkey and long thin legs wouldn't hurt either....just sayin.

But in all honesty, that whole event was an experience. I had no idea what to expect and it was fantastic.

Friday, July 1, 2011

GRIT GYM Sponsors: Tri in July

I'm pretty excited for this event actually ( After all the hating I've done on long distance anything that's a lot for me to say. But this is a short sprint triathlon. Which, in my head can be justified. Although I'm still not going to participate.....6 mile run.....screw that. I'll do 4oo yard repeat sprints through the whole thing instead. It's also for a good cause, and a couple of pretty badass GRIT GYM athlete's put it on each year (that'd be you Angie and Abbie). So I'm sponsoring anyone that works out at GRIT. Really that just means they get a race shirt and I pay their entry fee....
This is the only picture I could find w/ a quick google search (sorry strobel's)

330 yard swim
6 mile bike
2 mile run

The Triathlon begins at 7:30 in Sigourney, Iowa July 10th.

Should be a great day, I encourage everyone to get registered (click here). If you feel left out from being sponsored well........shoot me an email ( and I'll see what I can do about getting you a shirt.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Ways to make yourself sick

1) Follow the USDA's (esp the old one) Food Guide

-Tons of grains so we all become bald/blind diabetics w/ high cholesterol and closets full of cloths that are too small for our fat asses.
At least we're moving in a better direction compared to what we had before:

2) Keep believing you'll be able to get all your vitamin and mineral needs from your diet alone.

Sorry, it's not going to happen.

3) Exercise the recommended amount....

Actually, in a way, I have to take this back. The government just changed it to 60-90 minutes/day, however.......
A) I get where they're going w/ that but it's gonna seem a little daunting to the couch potato that thinks walking 3 blocks instead of driving their car is considered exercise which sets them up for failure, they end up quitting and think someone should take care of them for that too but w/e. Opinions are like assholes, and sometimes I'm kind of an asshole....
B) Really quantity of time has no merit compared to quality of time spent exercising.
-For instance: A 90 minute jog every day, is not a quality workout. Actually it sucks, unless you're training for a marathon and doing a long run.
-30 minutes of intense interval training w/ different weighted implements would be though.

4) Don't lift anything heavy

Deadlifting heavy is more than juuuust getting an ass like this:


5) Don't take a quality source of EPA + DHA daily

6) Only take the recommended 600 iu of Vitamin D/day

7) Create a disconnect w/ daily activity and nature by reading blog posts all day instead of getting out and doing something active. Leave your house!

-Go play basketball (yeah you probably suck but who cares)
-Save some gas. Ride your bike to work or where ever you need to go that's 8 miles or less. 7 miles on a bike isn't that far.
-Go for a walk somewhere away from cars, concrete, and people in general.
-Nature has tons of entertainment if you get out and open your eyes.
-Ever try sleeping in when your camping? It doesn't work.

Point of the list is to get off your ass.

-Mowing your lawn isn't exercise and it's not a connection w/ nature. Though it is a form (weak form) of being active if you're not riding the thing.
-Eating grain fed salmon once a week doesn't make you healthy.
-Having a small spinach salad covered in Dorthy Lynch (of which I adored growing up, we all make sacrifices) will not give you an adequate micronutrient content or close to everything you need for the day.
-Just b/c you run a mile daily doesn't make you strong or fit (if that ruffled your feathers too bad, it's the truth) And if you cannot run a mile you need to do some serious work.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Review: Eric Cressey's Max Strength

Lately I've decided to outsource my personal program design. I'm seeing the need to NOT do everything myself now that I've started the gym, bought a house, and still trying to attempt some type of social life....yeah right. But some where along the line I've seemed to run low on the time/energy I'm willing to program for my own workouts.

I read Eric Cressey's book Maximum Strength awhile back and enjoyed it. For the most part I tend to agree w/ Cressey's views on training. They're logical and the research and conclusions I've come to are along similar lines.

However, the book was published in 2008 and publishing and print take awhile. There are a few things I would've totally done in 08 that I wouldn't do today.

So, what did I change about MaxStrength? Basically I just changed it around to fit me better and leave out some stuff that I don't use in my programming anymore.
  • Changed some core stuff (I don't use any lumbar flexion work)
    • No reverse crunches
    • No dragon fly's
  • Added some plyometrics, sprinting and medicine ball work
  • Increased the horizontal pulling volume (rows to be specific, especially unilateral cable rows)
  • Increased psoas work
  • Changed the bilateral jerks to unilateral
  • Along w/ some of the post workout stretching
All in all though, I really think this book would be a great read for someone in their first 5 years of the lifting realm or that have never gotten out and seen what other coaches are doing w/ their programming.

Unfortunately too many people who work at gyms are outstanding at being dumb and don't continue their education past college (which doesn't teach you even close to enough), or they get sold on all the wrong stuff b/c they lack any type of critical thought process. Sad and pathetic. So hopefully they all pick up a book worth reading this year so they can stop wasting their clients time, $, and health.

Maximum Strength would be a great start.