4 Things I’ve Learned in 4 Years


USAPL Meet December 2015


I just celebrated another year in the industry at a gym I love. I have learned a lot in the last four years, here are some of the highlights.

  1. Education is important but there’s no teacher like experience. I have a BS degree, have done several certifications and conferences and have read a lot over the last few years. I have learned a lot from those experiences. However, I learned more of the nitty gritty details and how to actually BE a trainer by being in the gym myself, with clients, and with other trainers. That’s when I really learned to think on my feet, adjust programs appropriately and on the fly, and create an atmosphere where people want to be. I wasn’t afraid to ask questions or say “I don’t know” but I did my best to find out. I’ve also learned that talking with other professionals in the field can be immensely helpful. Whatever problem I may be running into has been seen before by many and usually other trainers are there with solid advice; a win for me, my client and the profession as a whole.

RPS LexenXtreme Powerlifting Meet Write Up

In October, I finally competed in my first powerlifting competition. For the past 2 years I’ve wanted to compete but have gotten injured each time. Not this time! I traveled a few hours to Columbus, Ohio to compete in the RPS LexenXtreme Powerlifting meet on Halloween. My main goals for this meet was to hit at least 1 PR and to have an overall good experience. Here’s how the meet went down and what happened!

The Squat

The squat was the first lift of the day and being one of the lightest lifters, I was near the start. I was so nervous I was shaking! I started with a 200lb first attempt and nailed it just like in training. Second attempt ended up being 225 and it actually felt surprisingly easy! I thought for sure I’d have another 10lbs in me for a big PR. Well, at 235 I barely made it out of the hole. I ended up dropping my chest a bit at the bottom and couldn’t recover. I ended up with a PR match of 225lb.

How to Balance Changing Goals in Training


The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. – Robert Burns


You finally have it figured out. You have the perfect training plan written complete with appropriate progressions, intensity and deload weeks. You have a competition in mind and you’ve registered. You may even have all your gear already. This is it and it’s going to be AWESOME.

Then, the unthinkable happens. Injury. Illness. A death in the family. Excessive travel for work. Something that completely derails all your carefully laid plans. Then what?

10 Random Thoughts On Training

Here’s 10 random thoughts on training…and being awesome in general.

1.  Most people think they are WAAAAY more advanced than they really are.  I can’t tell you how many people I’ve seen using bands, chains, conjugate method, etc who can’t squat double bodyweight for reps.  There’s no need to get fancy when you aren’t putting up elite numbers.

2.  Chronological age and training age are two very different things and have a huge impact on training and recovery.  You can be relatively young still have a very high training age (for example, I’m 33 years old, but have been lifting for 23 years).  I high training age will mean it’s a little tougher for the athlete to recover.  I higher chronological age will mean the athlete is more susceptible to soft tissue injuries.

Top 3 Questions I’m Asked When People Find Out I’m a Trainer


The conversations usually start off nice enough. You meet someone new, they ask you what you do and then the questions start coming. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I appreciate people being interested enough to ask beyond, “what do you do?” But seriously when I’m at a party or on vacation, the details of your diet or my workout are the last thing I want to talk about. Here are the top 3 things I’m regularly asked when people find out I’m a trainer.

  1. Oh you’re a trainer! Do you, like, workout every day?

So you want to do a pullup? Here’s how.

To me, pullups are one of the best exercises for developing back size and strength.  They are a staple in our programming for both kids and adults.  But what if someone can’t do them?  Does that mean they are doomed to be small and weak?  Absolutely not! Here’s the progressions we use to get people better and pulllups:

1.  Lose weight – Very rarely will you ever see a male over 20% bodyfat or a female over 25% be able to do a pullup.  Having extra fat just means you’re having to move excess weight.

2.  Banded chinups (supinated grip)/Banded pullups (pronated grip) – For this one, we place a band around the J-Hooks of the squat rack and stand on it while pulling up to the bar.  I do this, instead of looping it around the chinup bar because it is easier to adjust the height of the band.  It prevents the athlete’s shoe from getting caught in the band while exiting the rack.  It’s really important in all of these exercises to squeeze the shoulder blades together in the back.  It shouldn’t look like you’re doing a crunch at the top.

On Bad Training Days


missed lift

They can’t all be gems.” – Dan John

It’s bound to happen even with the best training and recovery program out there. You’ll have a really bad day at the gym. The kind of day that makes you wonder why you even train at all. The kind of day that makes you consider giving it all up for your couch and a box of Oreos. Even if these thoughts are fleeting, a bad training session can shake your confidence in your lifting ability and in your training program.

I’ve had workouts when nothing feels right; The days when I feel like a baby giraffe under the bar, like I’ve never touched 100 pounds before, let alone get it over my head. Where weights the previous day flew up effortlessly while today I’m struggling to grind out just one more. Where my technique is so off that as soon as I fix one problem, another flares up. It’s not exactly great feeling uncoordinated and weak.

Sports Injuries Happen – Here’s How To Deal With Them

“Success is not final.  Failure is not fatal.  It is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill

Strength Training Avon

It Happens

Let’s say you compete in a sport.  This sport can range from team sports like football, soccer, or basketball to individual sports like wrestling, powerlifting, weightlifting, or fitness.  You really enjoy the camaraderie of your teammates and competitors.  You really like training your ass off to be the very best you can be at your chosen sport.  You also really like the aesthetic, strength, and conditioning improvements that are an added bonus to training for your sport.   You’re passionate about it and have very lofty goals.  It’s part of your identity.

The Comparison Trap

awesome dog


A conversation goes like this:

Coach: “That was 5+, how many reps did you get on your last set?”

Client: “Well, I only got 12. Is that good?”

Coach: “That’s a lot more than 5, so yes, that’s great!”

Client: “Yeah it’s okay. But So-And-So did 15 last week. I’ll never catch them.”

Or something like this…

Client: “I just did my first ever chin up by myself!”

Coach: “That’s amazing!” *Copious high-fives*

Client: “Yeah it’s pretty good, you know, for me. Someday though, I’ll beat So-And-So…”

Comparison. It happens to everyone at one point or another in life and is prevalent in many areas – family, work, fitness, social media and more.

What Rep Range Should I Use?

I get asked all the time “What rep range should I use?”  I usually answer this with a tongue in cheek “Yes”.  I think most people get stuck in the rut of thinking they must use a certain rep range to achieve a certain goal.  bodybuilders need to do high volume and powerlifters need to do singles and triples.  That’s the ‘rules’ right?  Well those rules aren’t exactly wrong, they’re just not the best answer for long term success.

Strength Training

Before we go any further, let’s talk a little about General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS).  GAS is a term used to describe how the body handles stress.  Yes exercise is a stress, and your body is very good at adapting to it. The body will use hormones to restore itself to homeostasis in response to the stress.