Sometimes You Just Need To Go

11807651_1039727836045412_2842831553556510238_oIf you are new here at TwinTown, or if you have been here for years, you know that we place a high value on moving well and moving correctly.

These are paramount to everything we do whether we are squatting, working on pull-ups or perfecting our Olympic lifts.

If you are moving well and executing movements within a safe range of motion, where is the next area to improve?

INTENSITY, BRO!!!

For a lot of us in the gym, we have accomplished good movement patterns and now it’s just time to go!

What does this mean?

I’m glad you asked. If you just came off the pull-up bar or finished up your ring rows and now it’s time to do a set of ten heavy deadlifts, there are many things going through your mind and many different voices trying to pull you in different directions.

Catch your breath. You need a sip of water?  You have been working out for three and a half minutes now, after all. Okay, I’m going to start right after I chalk up and make one little lap to the garage door and back.

I have had everyone of these go through my head and you know what? I still do. But you need to remind yourself what your intention is for the workout.

Maybe your intention is just to survive the workout. Okay, I get it. We do some difficult things in here and you still may be new to them. What if your intention is to increase your stamina or endurance? Sure you can do these by just showing up and doing the programming, but to really excel you need to move past the mental hurdles that stand in your way.

Rest feels good to everyone, but you know what feels better? Improvement!

Personally speaking, I have been experimenting with this approach of eliminating or reducing rest periods in workouts for the past few months. It has gone super well and I feel that it has brought me to a different level than I was at before. Yes, this different level I’m talking about does mean quicker times along with the physical benefits, but what I value most is the power to crush those mental hurdles. I feel like I have taken control of my workouts.

*** Again, very important, this is not an approach that everyone should take just because you are reading this, but one that you should experiment with if you are moving without impingement and with great form.***

I want you to try something crazy now, the next time you feel winded and you want to take a rest, don’t!

What?!      But I…        I need to…       Ugh…

I know. The next time you feel (keyword) like you need to take a rest, don’t. Just go right into the next movement without stopping. I mean what is the worst that can happen? You will eventually take that rest you were going to anyways. But guess what, you have delayed that rest. What if you do it again the very next set? And again? And this keeps happening until you are done with the workout.

Then you come in the next day and do the same thing. And on and on. What have you done? You have increased your cardio capacity, you have increased the intensity and your stamina and endurance are now better than before.

People who excel don’t always have something that others don’t. Well come to think of it, yes they do. They want it more. What is “it” for you?

Remember that form is king, and that increasing your range of motion is vital to your longevity as an athlete, but if you can check these two boxes then the next box that needs to be checked is intensity.

And sometimes you just need to go!!

Green Smoothie For Breakfast

IMAG3815Since starting the Eat Well Challenge a couple weeks ago, I have woken up every morning and made a green smoothie. At first I was skeptical; I didn’t think a smoothie would fill me up. But as usual, my wife was right. A smoothie for breakfast leaves me satisfied for hours and gives me energy to kick off the day with a hard workout. Here’s one variation of what I have made:

1/2 C mango kombucha

1 banana

1 red Swiss chard leaf

sm handful spinach

sm handful parsley

2 brazil nuts

4 walnuts

2 splashes filtered water

1 T finely ground chia seeds

5 ice cubes

Blend the ingredients and enjoy!

No Easy Outs

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The next time you find yourself watching TV, notice how many ads for medications make their way into just a single commercial break. I specifically paid attention the other day and was taken aback by the volume that we’ve become so used to.

When did this become so commonplace? If you were new to this world, you would surely believe that there is no way you can survive life without the aid of medications.

As concerning as this is, my beef is less with the constant push of pills and more with the message these ads send. The undertone that we’re helpless without the pharmaceutical industry is leading us to believe that needing a quick fix is just a part of life.

We are blessed to be in a situation where we are in control of our lives – whether we realize it or not. It is important that we understand this power so we’re not blindly relying on what the next ad tells us we need.

I see people utilizing this control on a daily basis.

We’re now nearing the half way point of our Eat Well Challenge and I’m again being reminded of what some dedication to change, and a little grit can accomplish. This challenge is not the easy way out. For no less than six weeks, we’re asking our people to make significant changes to their diets by eliminating anything that could be causing them issue and replacing it with only responsibly sourced, whole, real foods.

Part of the value in this challenge is showing our members the positive effects eating better can have on your health. Another, less obvious benefit is learning that you have the power to change yourself!

The ways to try and get around eating well are endless. At the end of the day though, we all know that there aren’t shortcuts to truly being a healthy person. No pills, no gimmicks, just an understanding of what it takes and a dedication to seeing it through.

Half-assed solutions will bring nothing but half-assed results. We all have the ability to do much more than we think we can. It’s up to us to step past the initial discomfort and take charge in the name of bettering ourselves. To those already on this path, thank you. Your courage has a positive effect on more lives that just your own.

8 Week Pull-Up/Push-up Program

10430456_938849396133257_2568539751138169983_nDo you remember what your 2015 fitness goals are? How are they going? Have you made progress? Have you started to work towards conquering them?

Out of everyone who submitted there goals, “strict pull-ups” where the top goal with 50% of you wanting to improve them, or in most cases to be able to do them without any assistance.

Another 25% of you hope to be able to improve on your pushups or to ditch those abmats for good.

Instead of running clinics on these movements like we are doing for most, if not all of the rest of people’s goals, starting March 1st we will be rolling out a Pull-up/Pushup Program.

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Even of you did not submit a goal on either of these elements, and just want to get better at them, you are ALL welcome to participate.

The cost of this program will only be the time that you need to put in to get the results you want, which in turn will be the results you deserve.

The program will run for 8 weeks, with different requirements depending where your initial test results are.

The initial test for pull-ups will be: 1) Set of 5 with the least amount of band resistance. 2) If you can do pull-ups without band assistance, then you will record a max effort set of strict pull-ups.

The initial test for pushups will be: 1) Set of 10 with the least amount of abmats possible. 2) If you are already doing chest-to-deck pushups, then you will record a max effort set of chest-to-deck pushups.

After you record your initial test results the program will look like:

-Pull-ups- You will do 3×3 with the least resistance that you can or, if you are not using resistance you will do 3×5 for the entire first week every time that you come into the gym (either before of after workouts)

-Pushups- You will do 3×10 with the least amount of abmats that you can or, if you are not using abmats you will also do 3×10 EVERYDAY at home or when you are at the gym.

So to recap, Pullups will take place at the gym when you come to workout (the more days you come, the more practice/the better you will get at them). Pushups will take place EVERYDAY regardless of where you do them.

You are allowed to take as much rest as needed between sets. If you are doing your pull-ups before or after class, you must stay out of the way of the class. If they are using the pull-up bars, then you will have to wait.

The full 8 week schedule will be sent to all participants, and will also be posted around the gym so you know what to do at all times.

If you would like to be part of this let us know, email goals@twintownfitness.com and let us know what your initial test results are for both pull-ups and pushups. Also, indicate what type of assistance you used. We will be discussing this further in our daily announcements and all coaches will be able to answer questions you have.

Last but not least, this program will conclude on April 25th, where we will retest both of these elements. Coincidentally, April 25th is exactly one month before Memorial Day (March, 25th) this year, where we will be participating in the workout “Murph”!

Spoiler alert, there will be a pull-up kipping clinic between the end of this program and “Murph” to really hone in your skills, so that you can PR or participate for the first time in this event.

Eat Well Challenge Wrap-up

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This past Sunday marks the last day of our Eat Well Challenge, and I couldn’t be happier with the result.

Six weeks of squeaky clean eating is no easy task, but the group stuck with it and we had almost 50 people see the challenge through to completion!

The idea behind Eat Well was not just to provide some quick dietary changes and momentary results, but instead to leave our members with something that they will be able to use to inform their eating choices for the rest of their lives.

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On our last night, we went around the room and each person said a few words about their experience throughout the challenge. Accomplishments ranging from weight loss (up to 25 pounds for some people!), to increased performance in the gym, to a better feeling of control over their own bodies were just a few of the mentioned results. Hearing all the different varieties of success was truly amazing to hear.

Not only was the group able to end the challenge on a high note because of their progress, but everyone also left with a lasting knowledge of how they need to eat to feel best.

Everyone’s hard work and dedication to themselves and the rest of the group made this a remarkable experience to be a part of, and I am excited at the thought of kicking off another in the future.

Congrats to all of the participants on all your dedication and success!

Why I Eat Rice

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I can’t help but laugh as I write this. It’s ok if you’re laughing too. Let’s face it. Asian people eat a lot of rice.

But for me it was not always thus. When I first discovered the Paleolithic nutrition plan, I was neurotically strict.

No grains means no grains, right? I was so strict that I would discard the rice bowl at the Korean BBQ. I was that guy.

But something always bugged me about the eliminationist aspect of Paleo. Ethnic differences are a matter of evolutionary forces. I don’t look like other people. Maybe I shouldn’t eat like other people?

It’s not so far-fetched. Geneticists know that most Asians lack the enzyme that metabolizes alcohol. (Which explains the red, puffy faces you see at the karaoke bar) If most Asians don’t tolerate alcohol is it so unreasonable to think that most Asians do tolerate rice?

My theory was put to the test the first time I visited my mom after going Paleo. In my mother’s house you do not refuse food. So I ate the rice she put in front of me, convinced that I would be convulsed and retching into the toilet within minutes.

Lo and behold, I was fine. I did not get a headache and drive my car into a tree. My butt didn’t explode. Cool.

In the ensuing months I learned something very important. Rice doesn’t make me sick but it does make me fat. I eat rice sparingly now, primarily in the context of a recovery meal, when I am very motivated to get my insulin levels up.

The main point I want to make here is that I only made this discovery because I started from a clean slate. I knew what it felt like to be on a clean diet so I had a point of reference when I started to introduce a questionable food.

If you want to learn how to thrive; if you are sick of one-size-fits-all diets, join us in our Eat Well challenge. The challenge is six weeks long. The first four weeks will be a reset where we rid our diets of foods that are known to be problematic (think processed foods). During the final two weeks we will systematically reintroduce the foods we eliminated to see how our bodies react to them.

It’s going to be awesome. Register here.