Archive for August, 2011
Have you ever heard that old saying about not being able to see the forest for the trees? (Or is it the trees for the forest? Either way…)
Sure you have. We all have. But have you actually experienced it?
I have. And when you do…if you’re smart…it changes your life. My first one did mine. And I’ve actually had it happen a time or two since then.
I call it my “WTF Catharsis”.
Dictionary.com defines catharsis as “the purging of the emotions or relieving of emotional tensions”. Or in other words, it’s when you finally just let shit go. Personally, I’ve always found it to happen most often when I’ve come to a realization of some sort. You know – say you’re stuck trying to find the solution to a problem, and when you’re engaged in some other type of activity, a solution just ‘hits’ you, and when it does, all the pent-up frustration just goes totally away?
Or it could be the other way around – you could be otherwise engaged, and as a result, lose all the pent-up frustration, totally clearing your mind, thoughts, and emotions. And when you do, the solution becomes readily apparent.
That’s how I see a catharsis.
And…well…we all know what WTF means. ;-)
My own WTF Catharsis happened back in April of this year. I was actually on a mini-break – the kids and I had hopped down to the Myrtle Beach area for the weekend. (If you know me, you know this is literally my most favorite place in the world.)
It was a Saturday night…pretty late. The place we were staying (the same place we almost always stay) is right on the beach. I was sitting on the balcony, sipping on a beer. The kids were inside doing something – I don’t remember what. I had my favorite Myrtle Beach classic rock radio station playing in the background. As I sit there, I traded texts with a few friends of mine. Nothing overly important.
I actually got to talking business with one friend of mine, and we were just tossing a couple ideas back and forth. As we did, we started a sort of stream of consciousness that led me to a certain idea that I thought I could implement into my business. There was a part of this strategy that was dependent on some marketing info I had, so I came in off the balcony and hopped on my laptop to go through some of my courses and information.
As I did, one thing led to another to another to another to another. I looked up various courses I had, ebooks I’d downloaded, notes I’d taken, then emails I’d traded with various people.
And then I came upon an email I’d actually written myself…some 4 months earlier. And I was shocked at what I saw.
As I sat there and read that email, I read where I had basically outlined the same exact idea I was having then…only I’d done it 4 months earlier. And when I say ‘the same’, I mean down to a ‘T’.
But here was the crazy thing – I didn’t remember having this idea before! How could I have had this same line of thinking months beforehand, and not remember it?
But more importantly….WHY HAD I NOT DONE ANYTHING ABOUT IT??
I sat there in a sort of stunned daze…totally baffled. The whole thing was totally surreal. I mean, this coulda been a scene out of a science-fiction movie or something. Here I am, having what I think is an original, cool, and kickass idea…only to find out I myself had already been down that thought path months before.
I grabbed my beer and went back out to sit on the balcony. Very somber. Very quiet. I was just kinda trying to understand what had happened.
As I thought back, I remembered writing that email. I remembered all that was going on in my life at the time. I even remember what led me to come to those conclusions. (The same ones I was coming to now.) The thing I couldn’t figure out, was why it seemed so new now and why I still hadn’t acted on those conclusions yet.
I started to think about everything that was going on in my life since then – business, training, the kids…lots of stuff. It all played in my mind like a sort of montage of the past few months.
Then…it hit me.
The reason why I hadn’t done anything about these exact same conclusions yet…was I just simply let other things get in the way. I never got off my ass and made it happen. I never decided, “Hey – dammit – this is getting done. I don’t give a shit what else is going on, this take priority.”
I had let myself get distracted with, what was in hindsight, a lot of small, unimportant, petty bullshit. In this one area, I had failed to keep my eye on the prize.
And when I looked at what it was I had let myself get distracted with…what I had let myself focus on instead of something I should have been focusing on…all I could say to myself was, “WTF WIGGY!?!”
Hence, the “WTF Catharsis”.
Lemme ask you this – are you:
- as strong as you wanna be?
- as muscular as you should be?
- dropped the bodyfat you should have?
- dedicated as you should be?
- working as hard as you should?
- doing the cardio you know you need to do?
- implementing prehab and rehab to be healthy like you should be?
(This list could go on for a while…)
If the answer to any of them is ‘no’…then maybe it’s time for your own ‘WTF Catharsis’. Maybe it’s time for you to take a hard look in the mirror, and admit to yourself you’re not where you want to be…where you know you should be.
And then maybe you need to admit to yourself what you’re letting yourself get distracted by…and is it really that important? (HINT – the answer is ‘probably not’.) If you’re anything other than the physical badass you know you can be…maybe it’s time you took a step back, and figured out why.
Then when you’re done with that, maybe it’s time you had yourself a ‘WTF Catharsis’ in every area of your life…
Posted in Character/Motivation | No Comments »
Ok, so it’s been a little while since I’ve done a blog post…actually just came back from a kickass week-long family vacation to the beach at the Outer Banks.
We didn’t do much – just kinda hung around and unwound. The kids were in the pool all the time. My boy and I went cruising once. Oh, and we did go rent Jet Skis. Holy cow, that’s more fun any one person should be allowed to have.
But there was one thing that I *did* make a conscious effort to do while I was there:
Keep getting workouts in.
See, I knew we were gonna be there for a week, and I knew we were gonna be having some good, big family meals, going out to eat, and that kinda thing. While I wanted to have fun, I also didn’t wanna totally drop out off the earth as far as workouts go, nor did I wanna spend a week going backwards.
The question was how was I going to get my workouts in, and what was I going to do?
I knew I could get some swimming in since I was gonna be in the pool so much with the kids. But since I was gonna be in the pool so much with the kids, I knew I wasn’t gonna be doing a whole lot of actual swimming. (However, ‘Extreme Marco Polo’ was a helluva workout. It’s kinda like Marco Polo meets Dodge Ball. BEST. GAME. EVER!)
I knew the area we were staying in had a little gym at the clubhouse (where all the tennis courts and such were), but many times those things aren’t that great, so I didn’t wanna rely on that. (Good thing, the weight room kinda left something to be desired…it did have a C2 rower though. Love those things.)
So, I just planned ahead and brought my kettlebells. And since I wasn’t sure exactly how many workouts I was gonna do, I just decided to pick a program that if I only did a few workouts from it, it’d still work well.
We stayed at a pretty big house – 3 stories. In the very front, there was a sort of concrete-tiled slab under the porch that led up to the main entrance.
PERFECT for my workouts.
On Monday, I did Day 1 of the Minimalistic Blast. I went and used the C2 rower on Tuesday, took Wednesday off, then hit Days 2 and 3 on Thursday and Friday.
The awesome thing about this workout was literally, all I needed was a couple kettlebells. (For those of you that didn’t know, the “4-Week Minimalistic Blast” has 4 different templates – you can do workouts using:
This was perfect for me. I didn’t have to worry about not having a place to train. I didn’t have skip my workouts. And it was super-easy to just toss a couple KBs in the back of the vehicle and go on.
(Of course, some of the fam did think I was a little crazy – “Dude, you’re working out? We’re on VACATION!”)
But that’s what’s so awesome about the “4-Week Minimalistic Blast”. You can literally do it almost anywhere, using almost anything. Each workout is only 3 exercises, and is a total, full-body workout. You’re getting strength work *AND* intense conditioning, not to mention you’re rotating it all each workout (what you did for strength work before, you’re doing for conditioning now, and vice versa).
If you’re super-hardcore, you can add a simple – but not easy – fourth exercise to the mix as your ‘finisher’. I did this…and it smoked me.
My workouts were short (none of them took total over 45 mins if I remember correctly), and I did them in the morning before it got too hot out. That way, I had my work done for the day and I could concentrate the rest of the day on having fun.
But the important part was that I still found a way to get the workouts in and still keep getting better – even when I was focusing on having fun.
Listen – the “4-Week Minimalistic Blast” just let me get massively kick-ass workouts in while I was on VACATION at the beach. And with the four different templates, you can do those workouts pretty much anywhere you want. Each is only 3 exercises (4 if you do the ‘finisher’). And unlike other programs that are just ‘thrown together’ to make them ‘really hard’, these workouts have a logical order and progression to them. It’s not haphazard by any means.
So that’s why I chose to do them while out, and will finish out the 4-weeks on the program.
My buddy Matt Bonafede (I’ve talked about him and his brother Aaron before) sent me an email not long ago after he and his brother Aaron had finally dove into the “4-Week Minimalistic Blast”:
“So Aaron and I just finished the first week of the Minimalistic Blast, that is one hard workout. The conditioning section has to be one of the worst things we have done in a long while. We both used 115 and it is pretty much non stop for the whole 20 min. Gotta love testing yourself.”
Since I had such an awesome time with the workouts while on vacation, I have decided to put the “4-Week Minimalistic Blast” back on sale for this week, and this week only. You can get it now, but only until Friday night at midnight. After that…well…bye bye for a while.
Remember, you get the 4 different templates names above, printable workout logs, a video FAQ, and other cool stuff as well. You can even mix and match the programs, there are additional extra days you can add in that I show you how to use…I mean, this is really one kickass set of workouts.
You really should go get yours while you can.
Posted in Cardio, Character/Motivation, Circuit Training, Fat Loss, Muscle Building, Strength Training | No Comments »
I’ve been asked a time or two where I got the inspiration to create Working Class Cardio. And believe it or not, the answer might surprise you.
Like many other career meatheads, while I’m interested mainly in developing programs that target performance (getting stronger, faster, have better conditioning), I certainly have a base in bodybuilding-style training, and still hold many who do it in high regard – esp guys from years back.
Everybody knows Arnold, Franco, and Louie, but and the physical culture guys like to talk about Saxon, Inch, and Sandow, but there are many others that I was a fan of, even if they were before my time. Guys like Sergio Oliva, Chris Dickerson, Frank Zane, Freddy Ortiz, Marvin Eder, Ed Corney, Robby Robinson, and more.
And while Joe Weider might have dubbed himself the “trainer of champions”, that rightful owner of that title should be the legendary Vince Gironda. Very few guys brought about changes in the physique world like Gironda did. If you don’t know much about Vince, you owe it to yourself to read up on him.
Anyway, Vince was known creating crazy versions of exercises and wild programs in order to illicit particular responses in ones physique. One of the crazy things that Gironda came up with were his 8×8 workouts.
Now, there have been a few different versions of these types of programs over the years. Gironda himself used 8×8 and 6×6, and you’ve likely seen the 10×10 programs of German Volume Training. The way Gironda applied them was actually a bit different.
Vince would have his bodybuilders doing 8 sets of 8 with a moderate weight in a very smooth motion. They would never go to full extension/lockout, nor would they really ever hold a contraction – the goal was constant movement. However, that wasn’t the hardest part.
Gironda reduced rest periods to an absolute minimum – as low as 20 seconds between sets.
See, Vince knew that bodybuilders did cardio to lower bodyfat levels as much as possible before a contest. However, he knew that too much cardio (along with the strict dieting that came with contest preparation) could also lead to muscle loss. So, he combined a protocol that meant maximum time under tension and super-low rest periods.
The result was his bodybuilders showing up to shows in fantastic condition – usually with the lowest bodyfat of anybody on stage. And all with doing minimal cardio.
What does this have to do with me and Working Class Cardio?
Well, quite a while back, I was looking for a program that would be quick, efficient, and accomplish a variety of goals at the same time. I knew that something like Vince Gironda’s 8×8 could do the job. So, I started experimenting with it.
Firstly, I changed the types of exercises being used, as I was more worried about performance. So while Gironda used exercises that targeted aesthetics as the main goal, I picked exercises that were more athletic in nature (clean & presses, DB snatches, swings, jumps, etc). And the first time I did a workout…HOLY COW…
…it kicked my ass.
I knew I could make this work. But the problem I had was that while the conditioning element was off the charts, in order to maintain form and keep rest periods short, I was radically dropping the weights…to the point that I knew strength and power (explosiveness) would suffer long-term.
Then it hit me.
I was doing 4 exercises per workout, each one in an 8×8 format. (They wouldn’t all necessarily be 8×8…maybe 8×6, or 6×6, or 7×7 – I experimented a bit.) So I thought:
“What if instead of doing all my sets of an exercise in a row, then going onto the next exercise, I would rotate through all four exercises, circuit-style? So, I could do a set of exercise 1, rest 20 seconds, a set of exercise 2, rest 20 seconds, a set of exercise 3, rest 20 seconds…”
You get the idea.
This would let me still do this style of workout, but let individual muscles rest locally, while other ones worked. That way, I could still keep weights heavy instead of having to drop them too much, *and* keep rest periods short for conditioning.
I tried it my very next workout and knew I was onto something.
Fast forward quite a while and a bit of testing and tweaking later, and Working Class Cardio was born.
And in case you’re wondering if Working Class Cardio is the ‘real deal’, then go READ HERE to find out about how Eric lost 61+ pounds, READ HERE to see how Aaron lost over 30 pounds (and see his pics), and READ HERE to see how Don dropped 45 pounds and 8 inches off his waist.
As Fonzie might say….Whoa.
Listen, do yourself a favor, and pick up a copy of the workout that is whipping people into shape left and right…you’ll be shocked how quickly you get into shape.
Oh – and did I mention, you don’t even need to go to a gym to do this program? Do it in your living room if you want.
How can you lose?
Have a kickass weekend.
Posted in Cardio, Circuit Training, Fat Loss, Muscle Building, Strength Training | 1 Comment »