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Christmas Hacks (pt.2): Training + Movement

posted by coach Jay D

Previously, in Part 1 of Christmas Hacks, we talked about the Eating aspect related to staying on track towards your fat-loss and performance goals. In this section, I’ll get right into the Training + Movement aspects to focus on during the next 2 weeks of gluttony, over-indulgence and sloth that come along with the Holidays.

Train the body as one entire organism; one entire unit, rather than its individual segments. In the training world, we call these “compound movements”; Squat, Bench, Overhead Press, Deadlift, Lunge, Carry, Crawl, Climb, Jump, Pull, Push and Drag. Use your whole body whenever possible. Quite simply, More segments used equals more joints equals more muscles/nerves/capillaries involved equals more metabolic effects equals more positive hormonal effects. Phew! That was a run-on sentence of a mouthful, but ultimately, you’ll be a Strong, Lean, Metabolically Active Machine.

Moving fast is in vogue right now, within the training world. I agree – Sprinting or moving weights ballistically and powerfully ‘feels’ good; it feels and is athletic. But it’s not the only way. Yes, it gets our body primed for Power and neural activity, but there’s also merit to moving slow and long.

Aerobic training, which is slow and long over time at low intensities does much for recovery. Whether “recovery” is from the previous day’s “Strength/Power/Resistance/I did weights” programming or “recovery” is from simply being inactive or missing training sessions during the holidays – Moving slow and low does wonders for the body when it has rust to kick off and rids fogginess of the mind. “low and slow” DIRECTLY trains your aerobic capabilities while indirectly enhancing your anaerobic capabilities.

“So what is it, JD? High Intensity or Low Intensity. Make up your mind!”, you might be thinking.
The answer is to do both.
Utilize Work:Rest periods of conditioning, weight training or both to get the best of both worlds. Read about Interval Training, here.

Whether it’s treadmill Hill Sprints interspersed with treadmill walking OR Kettlebell Snatches interspersed with Planks OR Sled Pushes interspersed with walks – I aim to Work and Rest in an Interval Training format no longer than a brief 15 minute session. I’m in, I’m out and I’m feeling refreshed knowing that I not only got the best of both Anaerobic and Aerobic Worlds, but I’m strutting out of the gym knowing that I’m a Caloric furnace, even hours after I’ve left the gym.

What they don’t tell you on youtube or in the cooking/recipe-style fitness books and magazine articles is that you ought to be mindful. Be in the now. Be here. The yoga community centres their movement around this ideal. The traditional martial arts place great weight on FOCUS, so why are we simply meatheads or muscleheads blasting through our lifts without putting any of our it into it?

If it’s one thing I’ve learned from the current and last 4 months of weightlifting under my coach, it’s that focus is everything. You might think that clearing your mind is simply too new age for you, but TRUST ME, a mind is a terrible thing to waste (in the gym).

Focus your mind to complete your lift.
Escape all of the madness in your life through FOCUS.
Focus on your task and lift, leaving it all behind.

BEING MINDFUL, might be a hard concept to swallow, but BEING MINDFUL in the context of your training and especially during the Holiday season is exactly what your mind and body crave.

If you’re not able to do yoga or set aside 10 minutes daily for personal meditation time, then focus on your lifts if you’re a lifter; Visualize.
Focus on your movements if you’re into movement and flow; Visualize.
Focus on breathing from the diaphragm in between sets; Recover + Relax.

You need and owe it to yourself to DECOMPRESS your mind.
Rid your body of anxiety and Holiday stress.
It’s the only way your body will perform at its best.

Face it, socializing, shopping, wrapping, praising/worshipping and even eating/boozing all take a lot of work and drain your body and headspace.
BE MINDFUL and FOCUS. You’ll be a better Human and Athlete for it.

No really, take a hike.
After dinner or before dinner or at lunch, TAKE A HIKE. Fight the urge to nap after a big meal.


Get out of the stuffy restaurant or home of your hosts; tell them you have to take a call or have taken up smoking (Don’t actually do it) or forgot something in the car. Go Walk. You need fresh air and your guts inside of you need to digest, which simply isn’t efficient when you go sit or lay down.
Get some winter air into your lungs and walk and feel as exhilarated as those people who head to the Icy Lake and take a dip during the Canadian Winter Months for fundraising.

Rest. Nap when you can, but otherwise aim for some quality REM sleep.

Your body needs to digest and heal itself, not only from your training, but from your holiday food and drink. Give yourself enough hours after socializing and late night partying to rest properly.

In regards to recovery – as always, tack on some mobility/flexibility and release into your training and day. Enhance your performance by noting that you’ve likely missed training days, modified training days or overtrained when you were able to fit in a training day, as a means of compensation. The end result is rust and really, soreness. Do the things you know you need to do in order to RECOVER.

Remember, the goal is Performance and Fat-loss, Not zero training or mediocrity in training.
Quality trumps Quantity, and this is especially true during the Holidays.
Manage your training and Plan your training accordingly.

These are just a few important Training + Movement Guidelines to Hack Your Programming with amidst the Partying.

Merry Christmas to all and Have and Healthy and Happy 2016.
Make it your Strongest.

Evolve or Die.

Heroes: Bill Kazmaier

posted by coach Jay D

Video Piece on Legendary Strongman, Bill Kazmaier.

He seems like a gentle giant…but remember, don’t mistake kindness for weakness.

I heard he’s coming to town. Hmm?

Odd Exercises for Physical Vigor From an Oldtime Strongman

posted by coach Jay D

Although the accessibility of new fitness, exercise and training rituals and programs are faster than they’ve ever been in history via the internet, there’s nothing quite like going back in time and reading about how the Strength Community of yesteryear sought and found their strength.

Thanks to Art of Manliness, here’s a great article showcasing a few odd exercises to increase ‘Physical Vigor’.

A perfect “To-Do” for anyone’s morning – somewhere before your morning run, yet after your ‘Sun Salutation’.
Enjoy the timelessness.

Odd Exercises for Physical Vigor: An Oldtime Strongman’s 15-Minute Routine

Have A Strong Day.

The “2 Minute” and “5 Minute” Rules of Defeating Procrastination

posted by coach Jay D

The 2 and 5 Minute Rules of getting stuff done has been around awhile, apparently.
Unfortunately, I only recently heard about them. I guess someone out there was procrastinating on getting this wisdom and word out to me.
Let me share this with you…

The 2 Minute Rule of Defeating Procrastination (Starting)
One variation of this rule is to simply start a task that you’ve been putting off. In other words, whatever you’ve been pushing to get started on “later”, MUST be started within the next 2 minutes.

This concept is brewed in Newton’s Law of Motion that, “An object in motion will stay in motion.”
You are the object. Now start that damn task and motion and don’t stop.

The 2 minute rule is great because it tackles our laziness by simply starting our dreaded task. That really is often the hardest part – STARTING. Whether it’s training, savings, work or relationship-related, start your task the moment you think of doing in within a 2 minute window.

You’ll be surprised that you’ll probably end up finishing in one shot.

The 5 Minute Rule of Defeating Procrastination (Consistency/Repetition)
The 5 minute rule is usually reserved for larger projects and longer term goals.
The 5 minute rule demands that you dedicate 5 minutes towards working on your task. Once 5 minutes is up, it’s up.
Really. Honestly. After 5 minutes, STOP! Whether finished or not, STOP!!

Thereafter, dedicate 5 minutes here, 5 minutes more there and 5 minutes more later on or even tomorrow.
The beauty of this that you’re being consistent and chipping away at your goal. You’re taking little steps and progressing.

This concept is brewed in Psychology’s Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
Being consistent at a thing and working on it slowly in increments eventually leads to a larger picture; a larger goal and ultimately, success.

These 2 rules might seem like little things and overly-simplified, but that’s the beauty of it; It’s DOABLE and you’re already making strides further than you were doing nothing and procrastinating in the first place.

Get Started and Be Consistent.
These are the lessons of the “2 Minute Rule” and the “5 Minute Rule”.

Evolve or Die.

Men Are Babies (When Sick + In Many Other Instances): An Article About Training With A Runny Nose

posted by coach Jay D

I’m Sick. I’ve been sick over the last few days. I’m a big sick baby.
And for those of you who I’ve trained one on one with, I’m sorry if you’re sick because of me. Rather than get made, please appreciate my dedication to you and your journey of movement.
If you’ve joined my lunch classes, all of you MWF’ers, probably didn’t catch how nasal I’ve been since the beginning of the week (MWF’ers being Monday-Wednesday-Friday’ers, btw); the same can be said for my kettlebell classes both at Fuel Fitness and R3 Evolution on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, respectively.

So how do I cope? Do I still train?

Let’s look at the common cold or flu situation…
Your goal is to get rest and get back to optimal health. As discussed before, you don’t have to be healthy to be fit. Athletes are the prime example of this…many athletes put their personal health on the back burner in order to train. A lot of you training for personal pleasure, Movement Pursuits and Strength Seeking, are no exception to the rule, either. Fact is, a lot of you need Movement on a daily basis, sick or not.

But let’s not downplay Health. Let’s not downplay rest. Let’s not downplay proper nutrition, too.

To get healthy from illness, You need to:
Make sure you schedule when you’re gonna put your mobile device down, walk away from the desktop or laptop and just ‘X’ out of Facebook and Twitter. You people on Instagram, this means, you, too. Stop shooting your snotty kleenex.
Log at least 6hrs and 8-10 for optimal rest. Your body needs this ‘sleep’ time to combat those pathogens and foreign invaders, so don’t be stingy with your pillow time.

I usually emphasize plants in my daily diet, but of course, there’s proteins and healthy fats both from animal and plant sources, just the same. You might not realize it, but your body is using a ton of energy to combat your cold or flu. Your body heat is up, therefore you ought to be eating just a few more calories to fuel this process, on top of staying super hydrated with water. I personally, drink a lot of tea, ginger, lemon and honey concoctions and combinations. Chilli peppers and spicy foods are also a nice secret weapon to increase your vitamin C, antioxidants and induce sweating and sinus-clearing/vasodilation. Give me a big bowl of Thai Tom Yum and I’m on my way to 100%. You should be, too. Just not too much juice, k? Reach for the real whole fruit, instead.

As for Training…
Yes, you need to rest, but not necessarily halt Movement and training, all together.
In order to get better and stay on top of your training while sick:

Famous Strength Coach Dan John said, “If it’s important, do it every day”. I believe it. You don’t need to be Squatting or Deadlifting or Snatching your 1 rep max PRs daily, but rather at least “groove” the motion, or as Dragondoor/Pavel heads would tell you – “Grease the Groove”; keep it moving; use it or lose it.
For instance, my current Strength Program is in its 3rd week of 6. It’s very basic and involves: A Back Squat, A Sumo Deadlift, A Bench Press, An Overhead/Military Press and Weighted Pullup all for near max loading for no more than 5 reps/each. Would I then pick up in all my lifts right where I left off on Monday afternoon (considering I train MWFs)?. Hell no, today, at what I hope is the climax of this cold at its worst, I loaded 60% of my max. I was super conservative with my loading and let myself simply “Groove” the motion. Take the time to de-load a bit when sick and groove the motion. There will be future battles, but you can’t be at optimal lifting mode if your health isn’t all there. Be patient, grasshopper.

All the things that you dedicate a mere obligatory 5 minutes towards before you train, should be granted more time. We all know this. Use your sick day as an opportunity to dedicate a bit more time to foam rolling/myofascial release/massage, fancy mobility moves and static/dynamic stretching. Think of this time as training to get back into training once you’re back at 100%. Think of this as accessory and support work. Prehab and Rehab!

You know how you fail to time your rest periods between sets? you know how you go for a walk, grab a drink of water, try and pick up that girl/guy in the gym before attempting your 2nd set a good 10 minutes later?…Well, now’s the time where it’s actually justified. Rather than not train, all together, turn it back a dial on your intensity. Take a longer rest, do your set, then approach again.

I’ve learned, especially over the last two nights, that Moving is pretty damn therapeutic. Moving during illness, whether on my own, doing my own program or coaching a class makes me feel pretty damn good and better.
Now I might not have the exact science to back this up, but here’s my anecdote. Movement is Health. Movement is Strength.

Evolve or Die.

Overcoming Laziness (Sloth)

posted by coach Jay D

Strength Seekers, in training, as in eating well, as in sleeping, as in studying, as in saving money and investing – it gets hard.
Shoot, Life is hard.

Sometimes, we get lazy. I’m not really sure what steps we took to carve out this path of Sloth, but I’ll share a powerful video and concept that’ll hopefully light a fire underneath your ass and get you going.

Here, the SealFit Coach + Commander, Mark Divine breaks down, Laziness as, “A Feeling of Incompetence”.
He also breaks down what to do about it through 4 of the following progressive levels:

- Ignorant to your lack of “suck”/lack of skill and ability
- subconscious fear (expressed through Laziness)

- addressing the need for improvement
- acknowledging, “I really need some work and help here, but that’s ok…where to next/what to do next?”
- Mental and Moral Courage Development

- “Embrace The Suck”; soldiers in the Gulf War used this term sardonically as a coping mechanism to deal with/embrace a bad situation (aka, “Suck it up!)
- Confidence Development
- Out of Lazy Cycle + Into Success Cycle
- Commitment
- Doing the Steps required to get to your goal consistently

- Not realizing how great your skill set has become
- humbly doing a thing; not posturing or being Egocentric/Ego-Driven (“I workout! Look at me! Instagram it!”)
- Life Changing + Life Long

Hopefully, a brief understanding of where we fall within this continuum helps you as much as it helps me.
Evolve or Die.

The Importance of a Warm Up

posted by coach Jay D

The title of this entry might sound almost too elementary, but considering how cold it is this winter, here in Canada and much of North America, I felt it’d be fitting to explain the actual “Importance of a Warm Up” in the context of training…just in case you forgot.

The Warm Up part of your training is, in my opinion, equally, if not MORE important than the actual training, itself.

A Warm Up is and should be performed in order to…well….WARM UP.
But there’s a bit more to it than simply going through a bunch of obligatory movements before training.

As stated above, a warm up, especially if you’re coming in to train from the workplace at lunch, after work or to start your day (minutes out of bed), is to elevate your body’s temperature.

To train or compete cold, places your body and its individual organ systems in a really bad place. Muscles aren’t as pliable as they should be; pains and soreness haven’t been managed through foam rolling release and mobility; the skin and bones, alike, simply aren’t as effective in their operations and functions as they could be when brittle or cold; the heart and nervous system hasn’t gradually built up their contraction rates and firing capacities.

Warm Ups set you up to throw down. No matter what bullshit you’ve been dealt with prior to your training session/competition – whether that be a bad day, bills, traffic, personal matters, relationships or zombie outbreaks, you can’t and shouldn’t simply jump into your lifting or sport. You’re not mentally there; you’re somewhere else.

Moving, and literally grooving into your activity gradually, will set you into the right frame of mind, whether Rage Against The Machine is playing over the background speakers or not. Moving kickstarts and reinforces your mind to be ready; “Readiness”.

Both of these reasons are the byproducts of the Temperature and Mental Elevations briefly mentioned above.
If you want to hit your PR (Personal Record) on a lift or Score the best you can in your sport, then you better be in the best optimal state that you could be via setting the tone, both mentally and physically.

Competition aside, What about Health?
Don’t wanna break your back on a lift, dislocate a few important joints, have a seizure, asthma or heart attack?
Move slowly and gradually build up your tempo.

At the end of the day, as a Strength Coach, for myself and my athletes, I ultimately use the Warm Up to “Activate”; to elevate you and have you ‘here’ in the moment; in a given point and time.
Yes, it prevents injuries, yes, I need you to perform better than last, but really, I need you to leave all of your troubles behind and be INTO the training – mind and body right now. Here.

You do that, and you WILL perform at your best in the gym and outside in the real world.

It’s a pretty heavy concept that I’ll challenge all of you to explore in your own training for decades to come and I’ll be reflecting on the Warm Up more and more in future posts.

In the meantime, here are a few Movement Snacks/Movement Meditations/Movement Expressions/Warm Ups that I think you should go to as your “Go-To”.

Evolve or Die.

Movember: Move

posted by coach Jay D

Movember is just around the corner, and if you’ve spotted me at the head of your class, or in a one-on-one setting, just the same, then you’ve caught my face-fur harvesting in progress. This lack of contact with my razor, is all a means of setting the groundwork for Movember, when I’ll be raising funds towards Prostate Cancer Research, as well as doing everything in my power to create an awareness towards men’s health. My moustache, during this time will literally and symbolically, change the face of Men’s Health, while creating awareness and solidarity surrounding the matter.

One of the initiatives in this year’s Movember 2013, is MOVE.

MOVE is pretty much a call to arms for all Mo’Bros and Mo’Sistahs supporting the Movember Movements. It demands that each and every one of us, literally “Move” – in all forms.

In other words, it’s physical activity; it’s MOVEMENT; something that will make all of our lives that much better in quality and hopefully, longer.

I, therefore challenge all of you, men and women Strength Seekers out there to get off your asses at some point for duration of Movember and Move.
Move Daily.
Move Strongly.
Move with Vigor and Passion.

Watch the video below for details + Stay Twuned to all of JD Training’s Social Media for tips and propaganda surrounding this very important Movement next month…

Evolve or Die.

JD List: 5 Ways to Supercharge Your Monday

posted by coach Jay D

Get some sleep. I’m talking 6-8hrs. Make a Point to scrap your mobile devices and internet connections before sleep.
Power them off and store away or Charge, if needed.
Turn off your TVs and Radios, just the same.
Books are OK, but make sure you give yourself an absolute cut off time when reading; “Harry Potter” can get pretty involved, I know.

Get up Early. If you’re waiting until the last moment to really push your sleep time, shower time, eat time and travel time, you’re screwed. Give yourself time, it’s the best gift that you could ever praise yourself with. You’ll have an extra moment to yourself. Plan your day here. Prep your meals and food, here. Meditate. Recite Positive Affirmations. Listen to your favourite iTunes Playlist. If not, at the very least, give yourself 10 minutes that belong to YOU doing whatever you can claim as “You Time”. Uninterrupted.

I never classify Hikes or Leisure walks as part of a “training” regimen. I won’t even claim that I do it for personal fitness improvement. Really, this morning ritual is for mental clarity and re-connecting with Nature and our surroundings. Ask yourself how well do you know your neighbourhood? Sure, you drive through it every day; sure you grew up there or have been raising your kids there, but when was the actual last time that you turned a certain corner on foot, or walked through the local park of suburbia?! Listen and watch how the animals on your block Live. Let the Sunrise inspire and motivate you, just the same.

Mondays should be dedicated to Green Smoothies (some sort of leafy greens, limes/limewater and whatever you think of that’s green, but not from your nose), as they’ll detox and alkanize your blood after all of the binge drinking, sugary, salty, meaty and fatty indulgence that took place from Friday to Sunday night. It’s a tune up for your body. Lots and lots of Ice is key here. Make’em thicker than my eyebrows.

It’s a War.
Time can be both our friend (as stated in #2 of this list) or our biggest Enemy.
Don’t expect to get anything done without a written plan. Sounds stupid, but is it really? I’m not talking about detailed mapped precision, here. I’m talking about a hard copy, paper journal or calendar. It can be Nutrition, Training or really Life-related. You do it in Business for meetings, why wouldn’t you do it where it counts most – Your personal life? Randomized Living = Randomized Results. Know this Truth.

Have A Strong Monday.
Evolve or Die.

You Have The Getting Ready (To Get Ready) Syndrome

posted by coach Jay D

Like saving money, fitness, health, exercise and eating healthy are all the same.

The problem with our thinking is that we see too much of the hurdles and effort required to achieve all of the above.

In saving money, we believe that we have to save 100s or 1000s of dollars at a time. We feel we have to pay just the same amount of cash, effort and attention towards our debts and loans.

The same can be said for health and fitness-oriented goals in life.

If we’re overfat, seemingly “unfit” or lacking in core strength and range of motion, we view the climb in all of its entirety.

Before even getting started, we mistakingly forecast and waste our time looking at the pitfalls of weekend junk food binge eating, birthdays and cake, late nights spent during overtime at work and lack of time to prepare food, that are ahead. We think of the cost of “healthy groceries” and where that money might better spent towards. We look at the early hours we’ll have to set our alarm clocks to, just in order to get up and reach the gym to actually exercise and train. We then wonder, “what’s the point?…why even bother?…”

Fact of the matter is, this is what I call “Getting Ready (To Get Ready) Symdrome”.
It falls in line with a Self-Defeatist attitude.

We’re taking too long expecting perfect conditions, circumstances and alignment of the stars to start doing what we ought to be doing immediately.

Friends and Strength-Seekers, whether it’s landing your dream career or vacation or having that perfect healthy, fit and capable body, just get started on the path NOW. I mean physially, actively and aggressively — start ACTION now.

It sounds cliche, but Nike had it right with their marketing campaign, commanding you to “Just Do It.”
They never said, “Just Ponder It” or “Just Analyze It” or “Just Wait For It” or even “Just Cost-Benefit Analysis It”, for good reason…it’d never get you actually started in Movement and Training, or better yet, on the path towards your goals.

A dollar a day counts and goes way further than waiting for that perfect time to suddenly find $10,000 in your bank account.

Cutting back just 1/2 of your grains at lunch and dinner, replacing them with whole, natural foods, like fruits and veggies or even quality protein, will have tons more of an effect than trying to buy the most perfect organic, free-range, hormone-free, sustainable groceries, supplements, cooking utensils, books and classes en route to eating “clean” (whatever that Hell that means, nowadays).

Getting your ass up, actually, better yet – Jumping your ass out of bed, into your car and starting your Joint Mobility Work at the gym before your training session will kick start your day. Get FIRED UP.

Refer to this post, constantly.

Believe me.

The Mind and Body work together; synergistically and symbiotically.
Yes, Mind over Matter;
Yes, strive to be mentally tougher than physically tough, but don’t ever discount the body’s ability to literally and figuratively “move” the brain and mind.

Every horse starts wild, before they’re trained to pull a carriage.
Let the horse pull the carriage and let the mind take the reigns once in motion. Both are required for action.

It’s what I promote during your low and high points of training,
and it’s one Hell of a powerful concept.

Stop getting ready to get ready. Stop being paralyzed while wasting time to analyze.
The timing will never be perfect. Ever.

Start Action Now.

Small pieces of the puzzle everyday add up and create the bigger picture, friends.

Evolve or Die.