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!!

Small Steps, Everyday

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What are you doing today to make yourself better?

In the back of our heads we’ve all got a list of things that we’d like to improve at. The list is most likely pretty expansive, but the truth is that if you take regular steps towards a couple of them, you can make real progress.

What trips many of us up in class is getting distracted (even just momentarily) by what someone else is doing, and losing sight of what we really would benefit most from.

We want you to leave knowing that you took one small step towards a better you after every class you take with us. You’re putting forth the effort either way, so you might as well take some time to be specific about your outcome.

If today is a day that you need to hit a workout hard, then do that. But know why you’re doing it. If this is a day that you need to just get moving around, then listen to your body and don’t change plans just because someone else is going full speed. Maybe today is a day when your score doesn’t matter and your focus is on fine-tuning a movement that’s been giving you problems instead.

You could go to any gym and leave in a puddle of sweat – one of our challenges to our members is to be better than blind effort. Be deliberate about what you’re looking to accomplish when you come to class. We are here to help guide you, but at the end of the day the decision is yours.

So, what’s it going to be today?

Keep It In Perspective

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I’m writing this for me as much as I am for you.

I was emailing with a long-time member a couple weeks ago and he was explaining to me that a bunch of stuff had come up and he hadn’t been able to make it into the gym in a while. It happens – not the end of the world!

What was troubling to me was then he told me that since everything had calmed down, he was having some trouble getting back in because the thought of “starting over” was becoming more and more intimidating.

He didn’t want to come back and feel like he had regressed, or that he wasn’t going to live up to what he knows he is capable of in class. I’m paraphrasing a bit here, but I understood completely what he was telling me.

What we do at TwinTown is exercise. Yeah, we push you to go hard and we have members that are competitive people and talented athletes, but at the end of the day, we all just want to be in shape. When we lose sight of this as we get better, we begin to miss the forest for the trees and start setting ourselves up for certain disappointment at some point down the line.

Get in shape, challenge yourself to continually expand your capabilities, and set the bar high. But most importantly, enjoy what you’re doing and understand that it’s a process. Never let the time that you spend bettering yourself at the gym become a source of stress. We are not perfect and we shouldn’t expect that our time working out always be.

With the Open right on top of us, this drive to be superstars is probably more evident than ever. Keep the big picture in mind if you start to feel overwhelmed. It’s just exercise and you are already pretty damn good at it.

How Little Things Make Big Differences

1795897_1106266209391574_673943306945917366_o“When you improve a little each day, eventually big things occur. When you improve conditioning a little each day, eventually you have a big improvement in conditioning. Not tomorrow, not the next day, but eventually a big gain is made. Don’t look for the big, quick improvement. Seek small improvements one day at a time. That’s the only way it happens–and when it happens, it lasts.”- John Wooden

How can you apply this to your workouts?

Elite athletes excel at the little things. They don’t cheat efficiency. They put in the time needed on the basics and only then do they start to ramp up the intensity.

This is the only way you can have something last. You might be able to get away with bad form and still do really well, but it’s only a matter of time before it catches up to you.

If only we could all remember this when the clock starts each workout instead of throwing caution to the wind and just going as hard as possible.

Why not start today? Start with the basics. Do the little things right. If you can’t do the little things right, right away, then that is your starting point. Once you get that down, then you can ramp up the intensity, not the other way around.

How can you apply this to your mobility?

For those of you that were with us back in September, do you remember the Squatember Challenge? How comfortable were you in the bottom of your squat for ten minutes a day?

Personally speaking, it wasn’t very easy the first week. The second week was better, the third week was even better and the last week was awesome.

We did exactly what this quote says and little by little things got better, not at day two or three, but over time. Which means if you want something badly enough you will have to work for it.

Let’s say that you currently are experiencing shoulder pain. Each workout you are faced with two options: 1) you can gut it out and push through the discomfort hoping that it doesn’t getting any worse; 2) you can come into the gym early or stay late working on shoulder mobility and ask for a modification until your shoulder mobility improves or pain subsides.

This seems like an easy decision, but when you are faced with that cool looking workout that has overhead squats in it and you really want to do it, what are you going to do?

How can you apply this to your nutrition?

You don’t have to completely overhaul your diet to notice results. Well, for some of you, this probably is not a true statement, but for those of you who eat well during the week and go crazy on the weekends, there seems to be a glaring way to improve.

Instead of eating and drinking whatever you want on Friday and Saturday, and making that easy call to the local pizza shop for lunch on Sunday, try cutting this down to one day per week instead of the two and a half to three days of terrible eating.

You don’t have to be a complete saint, you can have fun too, but how fun is it when year after year nothing changes and you always feel the same way?

Once you make a little change, continue to do so in other more manageable ways each month, and at the end of the year, look at how far you have come.

How can you apply this to your life away from the gym?

Maybe a way to improve your lifestyle outside of the gym means having a better work-life balance. Instead of grinding through each day because you can, take a hour or two break to do something you enjoy or maybe that your significant other enjoys. Watch how you reduce your stress by doing this everyday over a period of time.

Maybe its shutting down the TV, computer and cell phone two hours before bed, and spending time with people or getting cozy to read a book. I was amazed at how much of an effect this had on me and that the results were almost immediate.

Maybe it’s just going to bed an hour earlier than you are now, or in the case of this quote, going to bed fifteen minutes earlier each week going so at the end of the month you have eased your way into going to bed one hour earlier. Watch how energized you will feel and how ready you are to get out and tackle the day.

There are many different areas in our day-to-day lives that this quote can help us slow down and do it the right way. How else can you make a change in your life by taking this simple advice?

Patience and Consistency

12356774_1100109356673926_228953655148068323_oThis past month I read an article in Success Magazine on James Lawrence, the guy who completed fifty Ironman races in fifty days, in fifty states.

An Ironman race consists of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride and a 26.2 mile marathon. To finish one would be an extreme accomplishment, but fifty in fifty days all across America seems impossible.

On the fifth race in, he injured his shoulder which forced him to swim with one arm over the next several swims (which reminds me of Cat rowing with one arm for our 10K benchmark workout a few weeks ago).

On the eighteenth race exhaustion caught up to him and he fell asleep on his bike, but only suffered minor road rash in the crash. Other injuries he suffered throughout included a few toenails falling off, a hiatal hernia, and pushing his body so hard that his heart had to focus on pumping blood to his major organs causing him to lose feeling in his extremities.

How many of these would have caused you to quit? Would these cause you to give up on your goal?

What really hit home with me was what he said he thought about during the races. Sometimes he would have long conversations with himself, but most of the time, it was about focusing on what he would do in the next minute. Lawrence says he tried not to think about how many miles or days he had left; he just wanted to be perfect at whatever he was doing- running, biking or swimming- for the next minute.

Talk about a time where you would think absolute perfection would be the farthest thing from your mind, during this daunting task, but this is what allowed him to stay focused.

In relative terms, how hard would it be for us to focus on making every rep perfect in the movements we do, instead of just doing whatever is needed to finish as fast as possible?

When asked how he did this Lawrence said, “patience and consistency.” He went on to say, “you have to do a lot of things right over an extended period of time. You have to focus on the basics, and you have to be perfect at them. That’s ultimately why I succeeded: I was perfect with the basics, and I had patience. I became an expert at a lot of things, and that’s how I became successful- that’s one of the keys to success if anybody wants to tackle something of this enormity.”

This going back to the basics, really made sense with my goal that I’m working on for 2016. I want to preface what I’m about to say with the recognition that the only way my experiences should even be in the same blog post as something as amazing as what James Lawrence did, was that all I have focused on for the first month and a half of my goal is patience and consistency and just keeping it basic.

My goal is to accumulate 10,000 pull-ups and 10,000 pushups throughout the year. As of this writing I’m a little over 1,000 of each- so about on the pace I will need to keep going through the rest of the year.

I know I set this as my goal because all of my weaknesses in the gym stem from weak upper body strength, but I did not expect to see such amazing progress in such a short amount of time.

Through the first month I can now do bar muscle-ups consistently. Also, I have been doing ring muscle-ups for years, but they have always been an extreme struggle for me, and now I can string multiple reps together regularly. Until the past few weeks, I was only able to do them with a false grip, but now I’m able to do them without a false grip every time. This makes it easier to string together big sets of muscle-ups.

My working regimen for pull-ups are mostly sets of five strict pull-ups at a time and I’ll just do this for about 30-40 reps daily for the most part. There have been days where I have done zero and also days where I have done many more, but for the most part it has been pretty consistent. Pushups are easy for any of us to practice, because you can do them anywhere at anytime.

I’m excited to see the progress that takes place throughout the remainder of the year.

What can you do on a consistent basis to get better at something that has eluded you up to this point?

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.

The Man Who “Thought” His Way Into Partnership

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How many of you have read, “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill (pictured above)? This is one of, if not the top business book of all time.

The inspiration that this book gives anyone who reads it is truly endless.

You know how your grandpa, or even your dad, might tell you, “they just don’t make things like they used to,” or a some other similar phrase…well, I truly believe that books just aren’t written like this anymore.

This book is timeless! It was originally published in 1937 and the theme of the book itself is remarkable. And it is still just as true and impactful in 2016 as it was almost eighty years ago.

If you have not read it yet, do so.

Personally speaking, I have read this five times and it gets better each time.

I want to outline the story that begins this book in Chapter 1. Don’t go any further until you have read the first two pages about Edwin C. Barnes.

How powerful was that? The next story- 3 feet from gold is good too if you want to be more inspired than you already are…

What courage does it take to have such a burning desire to work with, not for, but with Thomas Edison, who is one of the greatest inventors and minds in United States history. You don’t even know Thomas Edison, nor do you have the money to pay for the train ride there, but your only desire is to work along side him so you take a step in faith and do it anyways.

Thomas Edison was no fool. He saw the passion in Edwin Barnes eyes and knew he had something special inside of him. He set Barnes on a path that if he worked hard enough, and truly did have the desire to work with him, he would be able to prove his worth over time.

Barnes started off on an even playing field with everyone else. He was not given any extra opportunities, but he truly was dedicated to achieving his goal, no matter how long it took.

When no one else thought that they could do it, Barnes knew he could. He didn’t just do the bare minimum to squeak by, he knocked it out of the park.

Thats how you go from being an “ordinary tramp” to being a business partner of the “Man of the Millennium“.

I’m no mathematician, but I believe a millennium equals 1000 years.

Thomas Edison was the ”person who brought more value to the human race than any other.”

Edwin C. Barnes must have done something pretty impressive to catch his eye.

What is your burning desire?

What do you want to accomplish more than anything in the world? What would you give up to get there?

Do you really have that desire or does it just sound good?  The work that is needed to achieve your burning desire is usually more than what people are willing to do.

What is your desire in terms of your overall health? Are you making any progress towards getting there or are you scared to start?

Besides writing it down and telling someone else what it is, what first step can you take towards that desire?

Pump Up The Volume

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Where has 2015 gone? We have two weeks from today before it’s all in the history books.

Year in review; how did 2015 fair for you?

What big changes did you have in your personal life? Professional life? Gym life?

Did you go forwards or backwards?

Personally speaking, 2015 will be a very memorable year for our family. In March we welcomed our son Ethan into this world and on the last day of April, Peter, Kayser and I became the owners of TwinTown Fitness.

Along with my marriage, these have been the greatest events of my life.

The past nine months have been a blur, but I truly feel so blessed and thankful to be where I am.

So how am I going to top this year in 2016? Simply put, I am not. But I still plan on being the best I can be in every aspect of my life.

Let’s talk gym life here for a moment. We, as a gym, put out goals in 2015. I saw many people achieve their goals, and in a lot cases, eclipse where they thought they could go.

Have you thought about what you want to achieve in 2016? What areas are you going to improve in? What is that BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) that you have in your sights?

Does the thought of your goals give you the willies when you think of it because you have no idea how you are going to get there? Do you have a plan in place on how you are going to get there? Do you have someone, or a group of people who are going to keep you accountable to your goals?

How many of you have put your goals in writing? How many of you have told somebody about them?

If you cannot raise your hand in both instances, I would be willing to bet that you are not going to achieve your goals. Nine out of ten times, when goals aren’t written or told to someone they aren’t achieved because people let themselves off the hook.

I’m curious to hear what some of you are going to be working towards. I speak for all of us coaches when I say this: we are here to help you get there and would love to help you put a plan in place to do so. You just need to ask.

My gym goals are different than they have ever been. There is absolutely no excuse other than, laziness for me to not hit mine this year.

My palms are sweating as I’m typing this because this is very bold for me to put this out here, but I will need you all to keep me on track.

All of my weaknesses stem from the same problem and that is upper body strength and more specifically, weak pulling strength.

So my goals for 2016 will be based on pure volume: 10,000 pull-ups and 10,000 push ups!!

Often times you hear us talk about practicing enough or throwing enough volume at something that you have been struggling on and that alone will typically push you over the hump.

Don’t feel that this is what you need to base your goals on, there are plenty of ways to go about goal planning. Hit us up if you have questions or need help.

Good luck this next year! We want to hear what you guys are working towards. Let us know on Facebook.

Not Going To The Gym Because You’re Too Busy is Bunk

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It’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind and put working out on the back burner. This is a bad trap to fall into.

I don’t know about you, but I feel terrible when I skip workouts. It’s not the sense of guilt and shame I feel (kind of like the morning after halloween 2008 when I walked home dressed like Chris Farley’s Chippendales character), rather it’s what I’m missing out on by skipping the gym that makes it inexcusable.

Working out positively affects my mood and boosts my energy. Exercise helps me focus better to get through the tasks of the day. It also provides a sense of normalcy and instills discipline in a sometimes chaotic schedule where it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture.

When I skip a workout, I miss out on all this. I am way less productive and in a poorer mood. So it should be a no brainer to get to the gym and move, right? But life’s never ending to-do list gets in the way and I cancel the gym.

This isn’t okay. Let’s face it, whether we go to the gym or not, we are never going to finish our to-do lists because they continue to grow, and will forever!

Whatever it is I am neglecting for two hours while I take care of my myself can wait. In fact, it must wait.

If I don’t take care of myself first, how can I expect to take care of anything or anyone else?

When I commit to taking care myself and show up at the gym when I’m busy, I’m taking control of my life and prioritizing my health.

When I don’t go to the gym I am making excuses and being lazy. All I have to do is remind myself of this and my butt is back in the gym. Laziness is the easy way out.

What excuses do you make for not going to the gym? What gets you back in the gym when you find yourself slacking?

“Someday I Will…”

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How often do you say, “someday we will have that house,” or, “someday I will get that promotion,” or, “someday I’m going to start to…”

What does your “someday” talk sound like? Have you reached your someday wishes of years past?

How did you reach them? Was it through a definite plan of action or did it happen more by default?

The comfortable way is to just live one day at a time hoping that with your hard work you will someday get to where you want to be.

I recently heard a interview where they were talking about Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours of dedicated practice will make you an expert.

What if instead of 10,000 hours, which is around five years at forty hours per week, you focused your time on something more attainable in the shorter term like 1,000 hours (close to one year at four hours per week)? Once you get to 1,000 hours you can reassess to see what kind of progress you have made or if this is truly the path you wish to continue down.

How about if we strip it down even more than that to 100 hours, which is about two-and-a-half work weeks?

But what about those of us that are not dialed in 100% of the time? The theory of 10,000 hours is based on dedicated practice where you are completely focused.

No texting or email interruptions. No phone calls in the middle but rather completely uninterrupted time.

How many hours or minutes per day would you say you are in this zone?

What if you committed to one-and-a-half hours per day to this? Cell phone off, email shut down and no personal interruptions. This 100 hours would take three months to achieve.

But three months is a good timeframe to see how things are going when you reach that point or maybe to tweak your current system to get a little better.

What if instead of 100 hours you dedicated 10 hours to some goal you have at the gym?

Would 10 hours make a difference? What if it was 10 minutes per day? That would be three months of dedicated time five days per week.

How would throwing that kind of volume at your goat, or some goal you’re striving for, help?

Would it bring that “someday” talk a little closer? Would it give you actionable steps to getting there?

This is the time of  year where people start thinking about what they want to do in the next year. Many people make goals but only a small percent have the tenacity to stay after them. I feel it’s because they have no actionable plan of getting there. They are just picking something that sounds good and making it their goal, and it’s the only thing they focus on for the whole year. But can they really say it’s focused work?

Take your someday talk and start small and see how big a difference it will actually make.