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Release + Power to the People (DIY: Foam Roller)

posted by coach Jay D

Think of your body’s muscle as raw steak – sinewy fibers, juicy redness and all. Now imagine your steak wrapped inside of a layer of plastic wrap – we’ll call this your fascia. Fascia is a thin membrane that both binds and divides groups and layers of muscle all throughout your body. Wherever there is muscle tissue, there is fascia.

When we hold certain positions for prolonged periods of time – like when we’re at the computer slouched over or standing a certain way, a lot of our muscle tissue and surrounding fascia becomes tight and taut and we get aches, pains and issues most often described as knots. Taking this idea a step further and applying it to training, we develop aches and pains from performing certain movements, too. Whether you squat, or God forbid, run, you develop knots in certain areas, just the same – both in your upper and lower body. 

So what should we do about it?

Stretching? Not good enough and in my opinion, doesn’t have a place at the beginning of a training session. 

Massage? That’s the ticket. Massage therapists perform voodoo on our bodies and have the skill and knowledge to not only feel, but know where your knots are and what causes them. The problem – not all of us have the time or money to visit a Registered Massage Therapist as much as we should. In a perfect world and if i were Master of the Universe, we would all get massages twice, daily. But I’m not, so we don’t. 

The Alternative: Foam Rolling and a technique called “Myofascial Release” (really a fancy word for “muscle-fascia” heaven and hell). For those of you who train with me, you already know that i refer to rolling as “The Poor Man’s Massage”.

As a strength coach, I make sure all of my athletes and students foam roll at the beginning of a training session for pre-hab purposes ( focusing on disorganized fascia that has developed over years and throughout the day from the rigors of work and daily living) and at the conclusion of a training session as a form of rehab and recovery (focusing on myofascial issues stemming from the rigors of the training session, itself). 

Whenever I’m instructing someone to roll for the first time, I always suggest that they approach it with a Zen mind. Although you will feel intense pain at times from foam rolling, attempting to move away from the pain will only make the pain more intense. The key to any foam rolling is to seek the area of the most intense pain; seek the eye of the storm. Once you find it, stay there for a few seconds and let it dissipate while training yourself to relax into it. Be one with the pain. Be The Pain. Like I said, “Zen roll”; attain myofascial enlightement (relaxation) by seeking myofascial tension (pain). You’ll be stronger and more pliable as a result.

Here’s a short video of some Release ideas with a foam roller

Here‘s more info on Myofascial Release + Foam Rolling.

Power To The People (DIY: Foam Roller)

As a Strength Coach, I don’t mind investing some cash into the highest quality equipment that I can for my athletes. However, I also love making my own equipment just the same, and I love teaching people how to, too!

“Power To the People” will be my DIY (Do-It-Yourself) section for all things lo-tech and hi-efffect, while being affordable. And let’s face it, there’s always that one ingredient that manufacturers fail to add – Tender Loving Care (TLC); isn’t that why we, ourselves, love making stuff for personal use and others?

Our first project for “PTTP” is a Foam Roller. As stated above, foam rolling is an essential part of any training session. The problem I find with commercial foam rollers is that they’re either overpriced, fail to last the test of time or a combination of both. My personal favourite foam roller is the full length Power Systems model available here. If you choose to invest your hard earned cash into a roller, then that is the one that you need in your life. 

Here’s a recipe to my homemade version:

“JD Training Power to The People Foam Roller”

3″ diameter PVC pipe (from Rona or Home Depot)
Duct Tape
Can of Spray Adhesive
Yoga Mat
Measuring Tape

1. Using measuring tape and marker, measure PVC pipe to fit your desired foam rolling needs. Here, i went roughly 2′ long
2. Using Handsaw, carefully cut PVC pipe
3. Duct tape rough, abrasive ends of pipe for smooth, rounded edges
4. Measure and cut yoga mat to fit PVC pipe
5. Duct tape edge of mat to pipe
6. Spray both pipe and mat with spray adhesive; be sure to line up mat and pipe edges
7. Wrap and adhere yoga mat to PVC pipe based on desired hardness or softness of roller
8. Duct tape and seal end of yoga mat
9. Duct tape edges of yoga mat for finishing purposes
10. Foam Roll Your worries away

And there you have it, a low budget alternative to the overpriced foam rollers available on the market today that will never deform and that looks badass and hardcore. Say goodbye to your knots and hello to a pain free and stronger life.

Have a Strong Day.

*honourable mentions go to friends and advocates:
My Dad (for the leftover PVC pipe)
Nancy Woo (for the yoga mats)
Dr. Clive Clutton (for the idea)

Drug Money vs. Genetic Endowment

posted by coach Jay D

Recently, in my prologue to Physical Culture, I touched on the “Diseases of Affluence” and how certain cancers, diabetes and heart-related diseases, including the “epidemic” of obesity, can all be prevented through lifestyle changes.

I’m not here to knock the pharmaceutical industry in its entirety, because we can’t deny the fact that drugs are saving the lives of thousands, if not millions, of people daily. I get that and I’m grateful for that.

I am here to let you know the harsh reality that curing disease is most likely not at the top of their “To Do” List. Drug money is big business; with treatment comes profit. It’s that simple. Once a disease is cured, there is no need for treatment and once treatment ceases, profits dwindle and businesses go under. But enough about that. Rather than knock capitalism and the drug and medical industry, I’d rather let you know that you can and should empower yourselves through prevention. It’s not good enough that we sit back passively and let disease creep into our lives only to expect that some magical pill undue all of our wrongs – we all need to take control of our future well-being by eating well, moving and managing our stress, and we need to do these things, now!

“Prevention is the best medicine”, It’s a common commandment that we hear all the time from teachers to spouses to clergymen. Unfortunately, like my man Voltaire said, the problem with common sense is “that common sense is not so common”.

Below is a video by truth-seeker and Longevity and Healthy Aging Expert, Walter Boltz commenting on Big Pharma in the U.S. He suggests that we all “honour our genetic endowment” through changing our lifestyle.

“Americans don’t need to take a pill, they need to take a walk.” – Walter Boltz

He just might be onto something, there. Pretty Smart guy.

Be Aware, my Canadian friends, because up here in Canada, we tend to copy the trends of our neighbours south of us, if not already living these trends, ourselves.

Take Control of Your Life.
Have a Strong Day.

You Are What You Drink + My Set Up

posted by coach Jay D

 I remember once upon a time when Canadian pop cans were skinny and much smaller than our American neighbour’s versions. As a child, I’d relish crossing the border into upstate New York, just to get a fat can of coke. Times have changed, but trends haven’t, I guess.

Starbuck’s recently released its new beverage size – the “Trenta”. It’s 916 ml (31 oz) of goodness, as believed by their marketing team, but in reality, bad news for your health, regardless of what you order in a “Trenta”.

Fill your belly With The Trenta. Literally

If the health-risk factors aren’t enough to deter you from ordering this bad boy, then think about your wallet. I’m assuming an order that size starts at roughly 4, maybe 5 bucks. Now compound that daily habit into days turned weeks, weeks turned months and months turned year. You end up dropping at least $1500 of hard-earned cash at that rate — cash that could’ve been better spent towards buying proper groceries or better yet, training with Coach Jay D.

I’m just saying.

Read more about it in The L.A. Times: “Starbucks’ Trenta Follows the Wrong Trend, Experts Say”

My Set Up
Anyone who knows me, knows that i can be real basic and minimalist at times. Here’s my work station set up when i’m not standing at the kitchen counter or lying on my back (with the laptop on my yogablock that nestles itself on my belly).

Yes, i know that it’s not the most ergonomically-correct set up but it works for me. I’m seated and my hips are remaining mobile; my arch is strong and the keyboard and screen fall just about where they should be.

If the primitive man had a laptop, this would be his set up (I think).

Heroes: An Ode to Jack LaLanne

posted by coach Jay D

Jack Lalanne is The Father of The Fitness Movement.
We all have our heroes and a lot of the time, we even find inspiration through heroes that came before we were born. For many of us, these heroes include the Gandhis, the Martin Luther King Jrs, The Bruce Lees, The Albert Einsteins and more. Jack is among them in my books; LaLanne was and forever will be one of the beacons of light who I’ll attempt to follow, teach and live by.

A true icon of health, fitness and well-being, I can’t help but smile to myself every time I see Jack LaLanne’s juicer on display at the local Wal-Mart. Since the late 1940s, Jack has preached the gospel of managing stress, eating well and training as part of your life, rather than feeling it was some sort of obligation.

He was far ahead of his time and a lot of what he said back then, still holds true today. Unfortunately, a lot of us still don’t get it. Maybe his message wasn’t heard or maybe it was misunderstood. Maybe a lot of us just didn’t care.

Somewhere along the lines, fitness became this plastic ideal where our only objective was to look fit and appear strong. Somewhere along the lines it shifted away from being strength-based and health-focused. Read any magazine at your local newsstand under the “fitness” genre and you’ll see covers of airbrushed women, steroid-injected men, and endless articles on abs, butts and biceps. Even “Men’s Health” is concerned more with fashion and cars rather than why sit ups can destroy your spine. How is that healthy? We shouldn’t care about that crap, nor make that the focus of our training.

Jack was different, though. He never sold out just to make a buck and he lived and preached a life of true well-being and health even up to his last days on earth. 

Thanks for motivating, teaching and preparing us for life, Jack; you’ve made us all stronger through your life’s example. It was an honour to have you around during my generation’s time.

When someone passes away, we should never preoccupy ourselves with how they died, but instead, how they lived. Enjoy the videos of Jack below. There’s a ton of knowledge to be taken away and applied to your own daily living.
Have a Strong Day.

Unhappy People

Early Death

Mind-Body Connection

R.I.P: Jack LaLanne was 96 years old and still training daily

September 26, 1914 – January 23, 2011

Heroes: Muhammad Ali

posted by coach Jay D

In celebration of the Champ’s 69th birthday this past tuesday, I thought that I’d post a couple quick  video favourites featuring Muhammad Ali, rather than attempt to do my version of the biography channel.

Ali’s Recipe of Life

Impossible is Nothing

He was more than a boxer; he was an entertainer, a poet, a singer, a social activist and a religious spokesperson.
Thanks for inspiring all of us. Happy Belated, Champ.

where red food dye comes from

posted by coach Jay D

Now, I enjoy eating Primal and Paleo whenever possible – let’s make that perfectly clear. Taking this idea of “what cavemen ate” and noting other cultures of the world, besides our own here in North America, many people knowingly and consciously eat insects.

Last time i visited, Thailand had them on the streets – roasted, grilled and dried. At the time, i wasn’t observing the Primal way of eating and of course, lacked the balls to eat bugs. With enough coaxing, today, I think I’d give it a second chance, actually. 

My problem, however, and the issue at hand here is with the food industry and food labeling in general. Ever wonder how they make certain foods the vibrant and appealing colors they are? Yes food dyes and coloring are the answer, but ever wonder what goes into food dye, itself?

Here’s a little article over at that i came across. It might have some of you a little bit shocked…

Foods Made of Beetles Must Now Say So
‘Guess you share more similarities with our Thai neighbours than you thought.

Here’s more info on food coloring and dyes in our food:
The Truth Behind Food Dye

trials and tribulations (new webmail)

posted by coach Jay D

Here’s an open-ended letter to a “Chris” that emailed me by way of the kombat arts blog feature of

I have read your email but did not get a chance to reply at this point. If you’re reading and following along on the blog, please note that as i was setting up my email to forward all emails to my mailing client, i accidently deleted your email request regarding further information on training.

My apologies for not replying at this point. Hopefully, you catch this post and email me once again at

OR at

Big Thanks. Hope to hear from you soon.

Prologue: The Physical Culture + Kushti (Pehlwani)

posted by coach Jay D

During the early 1900s, The Physical Culture movement came about to combat what were known as “diseases of affluence

. These diseases were associated with lifestyle factors of the middle and upper classes during the industrial revolution due to overwork, overstress and physical inactivity. The Physical Culture sought to change these conditions by promoting, and at times, propagating the benefits of healthy living and physical activity.

There were many schools and systems within the Physical Culture including, gymnastics, dance, calisthenics, military training, combat sport, bodybuilding, weightlifting and strongman, to name a few. As the movement progressed, it later evolved into what would be later known as today’s system of Physical Education.

In this section of the blog, we shall visit various elements and subcultures from yesteryear, along with the modern disciplines and schools that have risen and evolved to create the Physical Culture of today. 

After all, with our current society’s obsession with technology, sedentary living, increasing stress and poor eating habits, we need movement to restore our children’s health just as much as our own, more than ever.


Kushti (Pehlwani): The Endangered Artform

During my travels last winter, I realized that India is a land rich with culture far beyond what I ever imagined it to be.  Varying in its flavours, dialects, sounds, landscapes and sights, there was just too much to do in the little time I had when jaunting through its cities and villages of the north. One element and subculture that I’m regretful for not visiting is the endangered artform of Kushti, or in some regions of northern India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, “Pehlwani”, as it’s referred to.

 As many cultures have their own interpretation of the ancient Greek sport of wrestling, India’s version is Kushti and dates back for centuries. Kushti competitions take place in a dirt pit, where combatants aim to pin one another’s shoulders to the ground and reign victorious.

 The tradition of Kushti is not just limited to simple wins and losses, however, there’s a real culture and discipline behind the art where the wrestlers live and train together in a Spartan camp. The wrestlers devote their lives to the Hindu god Lord Hannuman – a symbol of strength and devotion, while following strict rules that obligate them to give up drinking, smoking and sex. Through such rituals, the Kushti wrestler focuses on living a pure life while developing strength and honing their skills.

Indian Wrestling and Physical Culture

Modern Wrestler vs. Kushti Wrestle

Have a Strong Day.

Heroes: Terry Fox

posted by coach Jay D

“I wanna try the impossible and prove that it can be done.”
- Terry Fox

On April 12, 1980, Terry Fox began his “Marathon of Hope” by running across canada. His efforts to raise donations and awareness towards cancer research still thrive today.

Waking us up to the reality of the disease wasn’t the only thing terry taught us, however, he has inspired us to live our lives passionately and with conviction – never taking a day for granted.

A student of Physical Education at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Terry understood the limitless ability of the human body, which is why i believe he chose running across canada as his medium to convey this important message.

Terry is definitely an advocate of self-expression through movement.

below is a glimpse into the heroic and legendary life of terry fox.

It took one man to change a whole nation.
What change will you make in this world today?
What will you do in the name of your beliefs?

For more information about Terry’s legacy and to make any donations possible,
please visit:

how church improved my deadlift

posted by coach Jay D

Every Sunday, there’s always that person who sits in the pew in front of me, goes through the motions, sings the hymns, donates their weekly offering, takes their holy communion and calls it a day. Once outside of the door, these same people get into their cars, rush out of the parking lot and speed away, but not before flipping the bird to a fellow member of the congregation who merely wants to change lanes. They think it’s right and they think they did their duty, but they’re wrong.

I see it all the time and I’ve been seeing it for years, but i never quite understood it; what were they doing during that hour?

Why do so many people do that? i mean, I know in the bible it says to worship on the 7th day and congregate as a community. Yes, your parents, too, probably made you tag along every weekend because it was the “right” thing to do, but in retrospect and as an adult, is it really the right thing to do?

The whole “going through the motions” – is it enough?

Why is worship, regardless of our personal faith, treated that way?

Every religious group has this problem within their community. Whether you call yourself Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh or Christian, shouldn’t your time in prayer and worship bring about some sort of change or self-improvement? (more…)