15 Mistakes In 10 Years

Avon fitness“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” 
― Albert Einstein

It’s hard to believe it’s been ten years since I got my first personal training job.  Looking back on my career so far, I think I’ve accomplished quite a bit.  I’ve had clients/athletes get drafted to the NFL, sign free agent contracts to the NFL, become an olympic hopeful, make it to the big leagues, and lose thousands of pounds and get fitter and stronger that they ever thought possible.  I’ve been published to some pretty mainstream sites (like here and here).

Sure this looks pretty good, but I’ve also made plenty of mistakes and had many failures along the way.  The purpose of this post is to bring them to light so that others don’t make the same colossal failures I have.  Here’s 15 mistakes I’ve made in ten years:

2014 Arnold Amatuer World Championships Write Up And Videos

This past weekend I had the privilege of being a part of Team USA at the Arnold Amatuer Strongman World Championships.  It’s pretty cool to think about stepping on the field and competing against some of the best amateurs the world has to offer.  I believe there were 35 competitors from 15 different countries.  All the events were very heavy, as you would expect, and bordering on the limit of my abilities.  Here’s how it went:

210 Pound Dumbbell Clean And Press For Reps

The dumbbell felt pretty good.  I was consistently hitting 3 or 4 reps in training and was hoping for 5 or better at the show.  I ended up locking out 4 but was unstable on the 4th so only credited with 3.

Indiana State Strength Clinic Write Up

isu strengthAnother day, another clinic!  This time we were at Indiana State University for their one-day Strength and Conditioning Clinic.  Since Jason was very familiar with where we were going and who we were going to be around all day, I had a good idea of what to expect.  Even so, it was very well executed with a variety of speakers and topics. I was impressed!

Let’s get into it.

David Feeley – Inseason Training

First up was David Feeley, the director for strength and conditioning Ball State football. He spoke on in-season training and what works for their team. He emphasized that, while you may have the best plan in the world, the Head Football Coach, the Head Strength Coach and the Athletic Trainer must all be on the same page when it comes to that plan.  The ebb and flow of training in a demanding playing season requires a good deal of flexibility and the ability to completely throw away said plan and try a different one. (I think this is something every coach can learn from and relate to, myself included!)

Things To Look For When Hiring A Trainer Or Coach

Probably don’t hire the weekend certification guy…

One good way to make sure you keep accountable to that New Year’s resolution to get in better shape is to hire a trainer or coach.  Hiring a trainer can be a very worthwhile investment that will help you stay accountable and get results faster and safer than going it alone.  The problem most people face when hiring a trainer is finding one that is a good fit for them.  It’s important to realize that fitness is one of the least regulated fields in the country.  There is no governing body that says who gets to be and trainer and who doesn’t.  Pretty scary, right?  So given this, I’m going to give you 10 questions to ask when hiring a trainer. 

The Why And How Of Warming Up

Warming up (sometimes called movement prep by those who wish to be fancy) is the act of getting ready for movement.  Warming up is critical for having a good training session.

Can you get by without one?


Can you get by with just doing some static stretches, bodyweight squats, and pushups?

You probably won’t die, but you may be inhibiting your awesomeness.

If your goal is to be a badass in the gym or on the field, then you’d better learn the why and the how of warming up!

Warm Up 101

A proper warm up will:

  • Efficiently increase core body temperature (makes muscles move better)
  • Activate the nervous system
  • Increase adrenal hormones (gets you “woke up”)
  • Decrease viscosity of synovial fluid (makes joints feel better)
  • Lengthen, strengthen, stabilize, and balance muscles
  • Prepare you for upcoming movements

50 Awesome Quotes About Training, Sports, and Life


Ok, WordPress hates me and won’t let me put spaces between the quotes, so it makes it hard to read.   But, trust me, there are some gems in there.

  1. “Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.” - George Addair
  2. “Mediocre athletes that tried like hell to get good are the best coaches.” – Mark Rippetoe
  3. “They can crack jokes. They can sit back and analyze and criticize and make all the fun they want. But I’m living my life, I’m doing it. What are you doing?” – Kai Greene
  4. “The road to nowhere is paved with excuses.” – Mark Bell
  5. “The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in combat.” – Navy SEAL’s
  6. “No citizen has a right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training… what a disgrace it is for a man to grow old without ever seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.” – Socrates

The Strength And Conditioning Slow Cooker And Pigskin Prep

slow cooker

“I believe that you need to slow cook strength and conditioning.” – Joe Kenn

What Joe means by this statement is that athletes and adult fitness clients alike need to take time to develop.  In his Tier System approach, he has what he calls “Block Zero”.  In this phase of training, the athlete works on the basic principles of mobility and movement.  At my gym, we call this our fundamentals group.  There is little to no axial loading in this phase.  This means we aren’t doing cleans or loaded squats (gasp!).  The athletes spend their training session learning proper running and change of direction mechanics, bodyweight squats, hip hinge, and bodyweight pushing and pulling.  Our adult clients are learning to hinge, squat, push, and pull.

Developing Real Athletic Speed

Originally posted to EliteFTS.com

Are your athletes getting faster or are they just getting better at your drills? In the world of sports development and enhancement, we’re constantly inundated with equipment dealers peddling every imaginable “speed development” product known to man. Many of these products claim to make your athlete faster, and in many cases, they will.

The purpose of this article is to separate fact from fiction. I will give you some insight into how to ensure that your training is actually benefiting your athletes, not just getting them better at your drills.

1. Speed ladder

We’ve all seen the speed ladder. They’re in every equipment dealers’ catalog and have been a staple in every high school coach’s weight room since 1220 BC. Honestly, my first thought when I look at this piece of equipment is that it works a very small movement pattern. Seriously, which sport moves in a twelve-inch by twelve-inch square? However, because I’m always looking for new ways to challenge my athletes, I figured I would look for a way to implement it in my program (I got one for free).

What’s Your Motivation?

When a potential client walks through my door, the first thing I do is an evaluation.  During this evaluation, we do a FMS, PAR-Q, and set goals.  During the goal setting part, I usually try to dig a little into their motivation behind starting a fitness program.  Why did they call me?  Not just me personally, but why did they decide to try fitness in general?  Why now?

Triggering Event

In the industry, we have what’s called a “triggering event”.  A triggering event is one, singular thing that made the person decide to get up and get started.  It’s that “OH, S**T!!” moment.  Sometimes it’s a pair of pants that don’t fit.  Sometimes it’s a relative passing from a preventable illness.  And sometimes, it can be a doctor telling them they better do something.  Regardless, everyone has a triggering event.  What was yours?