address: 151 Surbray Grove
Mississauga, Ontario
L5B 2E2 Canada

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June + July (Re)schedule

posted by coach Jay D

July is a busy month for all, including myself.
Here’s a revised schedule and make up dates for the next couple of weeks to all of those moving and seeking strength in our lunch class.

Sorry for any inconvenience, my Ninjas.
See you there.

Demystifying Strength Programming: 1RM + The Rule of 10s

posted by coach Jay D

Training for Strength and High Force Development can get pretty confusing.
If we recall, Strength is Force Development.

Some produce high amounts of Force over a short period of time.
Some produce moderate amounts of force over moderate periods of time.
Some produce low amounts of force over long periods of time.

This is about the point where you can think of “1RM” or the “1 Repetition Max”.
The 1RM is used by strength coaches to asses and project the max load/weight you can move maximally, for 1 repetition (without dying, please).

Projecting the 1RM is a tedious task, walking the fine line between burning out during warm up sets leading up to the 1RM or not.
This is why we can project a 5RM or a 3RM or a 10RM using a 1 REP MAX CALCULATOR, without having to actually test our 1RM when Coach JD or any other CSCS or Professional isn’t around to set the parameters or spot you/prevent death by barbell.

Based on our Baseline (1RM, 3RM, 5RM or 10RM), we can then start projecting percentages and loading schemes.
But I’m not here to lecture on all of the great literature of the Eastern European and Russian Sport Scientists who dedicated their entire lives to the physiology behind this training.
There are great books that you can and should read here and here.

I’m here to Simplify, in laymen’s terms, how to add a Myofibrillar & High/Max Force Development (Strength) element to your training program.
The following is pretty much a simple template guideline for general populations seeking strength:

*USE: Full Body Lifts: Squats, Deadlifts, Bench, Overhead Press, C&J, Snatch*

(i.e. 10 sets of 1 rep)


5/3/2 (set 1 = 5reps; set 2 = 3reps; set 3 = 2reps)

You’d choose one of the full body lifts/compounds as mentioned above and perform the desired set/rep scheme based on the 85%-95% of your 1RM.

You have options:
(A) Work UP TO 85%/95% of 1RM in 1 session within a set scheme of: 10×1, 2×5, 5×2 or 5/3/2
(re-establish/test 1RM, then increase weight every 4-6 weeks, accordingly)

(B) Work AT 85% for entire session; OR 90% for entire session; OR 95% entire session within a set scheme of 10×1, 2×5, 5×2 or 5/3/2
Then work at 90% the next entire session and 95% the following entire session
(re-establish/test 1RM, then increase weight every 4-6 weeks, accordingly)

- Choose 1 or 2 lifts Max to work on per training session (this is hard on the body, so don’t be too ambitious)
- Rest 90s to 3minutes between sets (higher loads require higher efforts/strain on the nervous + muscular system)
- Train Strength 1-3x per week on non-consecutive days
- LOG your loads/weights every session.
- De-load after every 4-6 weeks, working entire week at 65%-75% of your original 1RM (your body needs rest and time to adapt and be stronger than an ox for the next block of training).

Again, these are very basic guidelines so that you can pen your own journey/history towards becoming legendary and doing the epic.

Of course there are other great training programs out there like 5×5, 3×6 or 6×3…etc., but the RULE OF 10s is something you’ll remember and be consistent in working on for life.
You’ll find yourself saying excitedly, “JD mentioned “10s”….ok…10×1, This month!!! 2×5 next month!!! Then 5×2 The following month!!”

This is for Max Strength/Force Development and not to be confused with your General Physical Preparedness/Work Capacity, Hypertrophy/Axillary/Assistance work.

Feel free to add those to the mix AFTER your Strength Training Portion of training…I might even have a little dialogue in the near future for those, too. Who knows?

Have a Strong Day.
Evolve or Die.


posted by coach Jay D

WTF is a BAM, JD?

When I used to work at Goodlife, as a personal trainer, we had sales goals to achieve.
I sucked. I was a great trainer, but my sales skills, sucked.
I enjoy selling as much as I’d enjoy sticking a rusty needle in my eye.

Anyhow, we used to have these “Bare Ass Minimum” sales goals that my Fitness Manager and myself would collaborate to set, monthly.
You’d have to hit your BAM if you wanted to see the next month of employment and or even achieve a bonus (sweet).

Today, I’ve stolen a page from my FM’s playbook and set up the concept of a BAM in training; a Bare Ass Minimum to achieve as part of a training program.

All of us, myself included, sometimes get caught up in life.
Time constraints suck balls when you’re trying to prep food or train for sexy bikini season or simply to get all those likes on Instagram (Just kidding, I know you’re all Strength and Movement Heads; your goals are much more intrinsic in value).

A ‘BARE ASS MINIMUM’ is a habit/action goal to achieve that’s not only part of your program as a whole, but a small chunk of the puzzle.
When strung together, all these small chunks of important puzzle comprise the grand scheme of things – your GOAL, your LONG-TERM ULTIMATE GOAL; the END-GAME.

Programs can be pretty grand in their own right and when you have kids to pick up from school, meetings to get to, vacations to bask in etc., you need a BAM when life happens.

BAMs are no longer than 10 minutes and can be something as simple as:
- 3×3 on a Strength Lift (Squat/Weighted Pullups/L-Sits for 30s Holds)
- 4×2 in a Power Movement (BB Cleans/Box Jumps)
…for you High Force Development Heads

- 200 KB Swings in 10mins (any which way divided)
- 2x200m Sled Push (65% RM)
…for your glycolytic and anaerobic heads

- 1 mile run
- 3x60s Jump Rope
…for you aerobic heads

- 3×10-12 on Bicep Hammer Curls + Tricep Dips
…for all you hypertrophy heads

The parameters can be whatever you want them to be, but they are simply PART of a bigger program; again – THE END GAME (Goal).
BAMS are not to replace entire training sessions/days, but rather to provide you with some form of movement/training alternative when Life Happens.

Point is, it’s the little steps that add up together that’ll get your ass where you need to be. These little steps need to be stepped consistently and BAMS, in my opinion, are a safety mechanism that will keep your momentum going when life gets you caught up.

So now you know….WTF is a BAM (JD).

Create your own or steal one from above.

Have A Strong Day.

Heroes: The Loss of Tommy Kono

posted by coach Jay D

[Tommy Clean and Press (O.G. precursor to Jerk Lifts)]

A few weeks back, the world lost Tommy Kono.
At the time of his death, he was an 85 year old American Weightlifting legend dedicated to leading the American Weightlifting Movement and demystifying weightlifting through his simple and encouraging coaching methodology.

Studying and Training in the sport of weightlifting under a coach, I NOW understand FULLY how technical this sport and its lifts are.
Tommy was one of the few coaches (along with a compelling life story) that I look up to.
Like Dan John, he makes something so complex into something simplified through his instruction.

Beyond that, as with most weightlifters that I’ve met, there’s this common respect for fellow lifters, the bar and the platform.
Tommy pushed everyone to treat their gym like their Dojo; to treat their place of training – sacredly.

Pretty Deep.
Only posthumous, was I able to come across this gem:


If I had my way, the weightlifting area would be treated like a “dojo” as the martial arts students would use their area and equipment for training.

The entire area would be treated with respect from the bar to the barbell plates, from the chalk box to the platform.

The barbell bars would never have the soles of a lifter’s shoe get on it to move or spin it, no more than you would place your shoes on the table top. The bumper plates would never be tossed or stepped on.

The barbell will always be loaded with double bumper plates on each side whenever possible to preserve the bar and the platform. The purpose is to distribute the load over two bumper plates instead of one with an assortment of small iron plates.

The barbell lifted would never be “thrown” down or dropped from overhead except for safety reasons. The hands will guide the bar down in a controlled manner as it is in a contest.

Anger from a failed lift will be controlled so no four-lettered words would be used.

Instead the energy for the anger will be directed for a positive result.

A good Olympic bar will never be used on a squat rack for squatting purpose. There is no need to use the good bar on the squat rack where it could ruin the knurling or cause the bar to be under undue stress, damaging the integrity of the quality of the bar that makes it straight and springy.

When a lifter finishes using the area for training, it would be left neat and clean with the barbell bars and plates properly stored.

Imagine how it would be if you did not have the gym to work out in and had to go to one of the spas, health clubs or fitness gym to practice Olympic lifting.

Imagine if you did not have a “good” Olympic bar and bumper plates for training.

Imagine if all the equipment was your very own and you had to replace it if you or someone damaged it by abuse – the money coming out of your own pocket.

Treat the Olympic barbell bars, bumper plates, platforms and any items used for training or competition with respect.

Development of a strong character begins with respect even for innate objects.

Character Building begins with Respect and Responsibility.

It all comes down to treating gear and equipment as if you paid for it yourself. If you really appreciate the art of lifting and training and movement, then have enough self respect to not only clean after yourself, but to preserve the gear for the entire community to use.

Knowledge of Self.
Evolve or Die.

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.

Christmas Hacks (pt.1): Eating

posted by coach Jay D

Rounding out 2015, we’ve arrived at what could be the hardest two weeks of the entire year.

Face it, if you’ve been on a strategic meal plan or training regimen, for weeks/months up to now, then NOW is the time when you’re most likely to fall off.

In part 1 of this series here are 5 Eating strategies to implement and execute during the Holidays that’ll keep you on track towards your training and performance goals.

When not heading out for the Christmas party luncheon, dinner or drinks, PLAN your meals accordingly. PLAN what time of day you’ll be eating your own meals prior to the party; PLAN what to bring to the party; PLAN what you will order at the restaurant; PLAN how many servings/rounds you’ll visit the potluck buffet table; PLAN how many ‘adult’ beverages you’ll cap off the night at.

Whether you are hosting the party or coming through as a guest, PREP healthy food choices. The PREP of healthy dishes for a house party keeps you accountable and gives you safe and healthy options.

It also serves as an opportunity to show others that you actually care to share your healthy lifestyle with them. Face it – for a lot of your friends and family, YOU may be the only exposure into the health and fitness world that they have. Be brave and proactive; be the gateway and expose them to the concept and truth that eating well can be delicious and enjoyable, too. Who the hell wants to eat JUST grilled chicken breast on a bed of steamed frozen veg, anways? JUST. EAT. REAL. FOOD.

Try a 24h fast leading up to the party or after the party. Try both. Not extreme enough to live that sort of cruel POW camp lifestyle? Me neither.

Try an intermittent fast for a day or two leading up to the parties and thereafter. Establish a fasting window time frame where the only thing you put through your GI-tract is water. Set this to about 16h. Yes, 16h of no food.

This, of course, can and should be included with your sleep time. The remaining 8h will be called your “feeding” window. Include your party, luncheon/dinner and drinks consumption, here.

I’ve been a true believer and advocate of Fasting for a few years now, even practicing it through different training phases and times of the year. It enhances performance, helps with overall digestion and health; but that’s another entire blog entry to be talked about. Google here, for details and studies.

At the actual party, be plant-based centric. In other words center your plate around colorful veggie-filled dishes, ESPECIALLY if you’re not a vegan/vegetarian.

At minimum, 1/2 of your plate should strive to be stacked with plants of some sort. This will help with digestion, help you obtain all of those healthy minerals and vitamins to be strong like the Hulkster, and balance out the possible refined/pro-inflammatory foods you might ingest (alcohol/carbs/meats)

Also, on the other 1/2 (or less) of your plate, emphasize real sources of protein and lean sources of protein and healthy fats. If you’re vegan/vegetarian, paleo/primal, let’s all agree here towards the fact that real sources of protein and healthy fats are best, while refined/processed are terrible. High protein foods along with stacks of plants on your plate will leave you full, hydrated and well-nourished. Indirectly, it’ll leave little to no room for heavy carbs and desserts.

At the end of the day, don’t go buckwild with the food and drink at parties. There is life the next day and you DO have training goals to achieve. However, ENJOY yourself.

Don’t be a blacksheep and/or feel uncomfortable. Oppositely, don’t be the source of other people feeling discomfort with their choices. Rather, lead by example and stay true to your needs without being dogmatic about food. Holidays are for enjoyment; the term “enjoyment’ as defined by your needs and perception, subjectively.

I know that the holidays can be a hard time when you’re striving towards fat-loss, hitting a new PR in your lifts or simply be healthier, but only if you make it that way.

If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail.
Refer here, annually.
Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas.

Evolve or Die.

The History of the Squat

posted by coach Jay D

What’s better?
A Bodyweight Squat?
A Pistol Squat?
Hindu Squats?

Powerlifting Squats?
Olympic Weightlifting; Ass to Grass Squats?

These are all arguments that have been going on forever.

My take: your squat is based on your needs.
If your goal is to move as much weight as possible, utilize leverages and your body type/anthropometry to your advantage, then you might want to study the Powerlifting style; if you are more ballistic and required to get underneath a bar fast, catch it, then stand up, your go-to should be a weightlifting style squat.

Want massive legs and definition?
Read up on how bodybuilders use hypertrophy programming and time under tension when squatting.

We’ve been squatting since we came into this world and nobody taught us how.

But in terms of the lifting aspect of a barbell squat…where did it start? Why did it start?

Featured below is a great piece by John Broz and regarding the history of the Squat.

Always dig and know your ‘WHY’? It will make you more passionate and connected to your lifting.

I love this stuff. Enjoy.

Craft Your Lift.

Top 10 Alternatives to the Barbell Snatch

posted by coach Jay D

My new love is the Snatch. Its variations include, but are not limited to the Power Snatch and even the Snatch High Pull.

Whatever the case, the Snatch is a lift of beauty displaying not only Power, but precision and technique.

That said, here are the top 10 alternatives for any athlete looking to gain the benefits of Power/Speed Strength without having to learn the technical aspects of a Barbell Snatch.

10. The Dumbbell Snatch

9. The Kettlebell Swing or Kettlebell Snatch

8. The Sandbag Clean or
Staggered Snatch

7. Kneeling Jump to Box Jump

6. Broad Jumps

5. Barbell Jump Squats

4. Depth Jumps

3. Weighted Vest Jump Squats

2. Band Deadlifts or Band Rack Pulls

1. Box Jumps

I wouldn’t recommend putting all of the above, let alone more than 3 exercises together in a training session. Oppositely, any of these exercises performed individually within a program over time with gradual progressions and loads will benefit any athlete looking to improve their Power Development (Jumping, Sprinting, Striking, Lifting).

- After foam rolling, mobility and general warm ups, Power Training should be placed first within a training program.
- Work for low volume sets; 5 sets of 3, 6 sets of 2 or Multiple Singles – 10 sets of 1
- Ensure Rest periods are at minimum 90s to 5 minutes long, as to spare the Nervous System and reduce fatigue/burnout
- Goal should be Fast Force Development over an instant of time; Quick Explosive movements
- Loads should be 30% to 65% of 1RM if using external loads/weights
- Ensure you or your athlete has established sound foundations of General Strength and Movement Patterns
- Always remember that Power development has more to do with the Nervous System/Neurological Adaptations, rather than the Muscular/Hypertrophy side of training

Keep these in mind and you’ll be tearing it up on the field, the platform and in life in no time.

Evolve or Die.

Power to the People: The Hookgrip

posted by coach Jay D

Training for a few weeks in the craft of olympic weightlifting has taught me to adapt and change my Set up and approach to lifting in regards to everything from my Squat, Hip Hinge, 1st pull, Overhead Press, Jumping and a slew of other things on my personal checklist.

It’s not so much that I’ve been doing the above mentioned things wrong, it’s just that I’ve been applying different methods in a different context via a different school of thought (Olympic weightlifting vs. kettlebell training, powerlifting etc.).

One thing that’s taking some time and investment in getting used to – is something as simple as my grip. Olympic Weightlifting demands that you handle a bar in most of your training and ALL of your competitions using what’s called a HOOK GRIP.

Below, Powerlifter, Derek Boyer briefly explains the benefit of a hook grip’s security, leverage, anatomical and biomechanical significance. Some food for thought and considerations to add to your personal lifting where it may apply, alongside your double hands over prone grip and your mixed prone/supinated grip.

Here’s another explanation and application of the Hook Grip

Evolve or Die.

Super Meets Supple: Mark Bell x Kelly Starrett on Deadlifting

posted by coach Jay D

I often see questionable deadlifting on social media and even in person.
If it’s in person, I try my best to step in and assist without sounding like a jerk that’s overstepping my boundaries and crushing many-a-fragile ego.
If it’s on instagram or youtube or Facebook or anywhere…there’s only so much I can do.

Here’s a great video between Supertraining’s Mark Bell + Mobility WOD’s Kelly Starrett, as we get to listen on a deadlifting session with the two. Tons of info, in 45 mins, folks. Enjoy.

“It’s not just what’s about on the bar, here.” – Kelly Starrett

Please, Craft your Lifts.

Evolve or Die.