Putting Some Junk in Your Trunk: My 5 Favorite Glute Exercises

I am just going to come right out and say it, I love me a great pair of glutes. I mean what’s not to love. With a strong pair of glutes you can do almost anything: lift heavy things, run fast, jump high, and make any leg clothing look great.

For too many years the glutes have taken a back seat to the quads (pun intended). And I am not going to stand for this any longer!

Strength starts at the legs. Why are football linemen strong?  Is it because they can bench a lot? Well, that does play a part but it’s mainly because they have those big old bubble butts. NFL scouts look for players with large butts because they know that most of your strength and power come from your hips.  Same goes with pitchers, pitchers don’t throw 95 mph because the have insanely strong arms. It’s because they have strong legs and a strong core that can then transfer that power to the arms.

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Whether you want to be a strong powerful athlete or just want to look good in some yoga pants. Development of your glutes is a must.

Here are my 5 favorite glute exercises for stronger, sexier glutes.

Cable Pull Through 

 

Barbell Glute Bridge

 

Wide Stance Barbell Box Squat 


RDL’s

 

Deadlift

 

Best

Josh Williams

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Managing Shoulder Pain In The Bench Press

As I am sure you all are well aware, the bench press is a great bang for your buck exercise for your arms and chest. It is also the measuring stick to all things man. Most people, young and old alike, seek to be able to bench large amounts of weight. Benching heavy over the course of many years will put a lot of stress on the shoulder. This is why it is imperative to take precautionary action in making sure your shoulders stay healthy. This becomes even more important for the person with already jacked up shoulders.images

The importance of a warm up has been preached to us for years, but many will still skip this step to save a few minutes. And instead they grab some 5 pound plates and do a couple of shoulder circles, some scap retractions, and to finish it off some shoulder internal external rotation. Worse yet they do nothing and just jump right under the bar.

A good warm up will prepare the muscle to do work. The warm up should be two part. The parts consist of a muscle tissue quality portion and a dynamic warm up portion. This will allow for maximal tissue recovery and preparedness to do work.

Muscle Quality

For getting after the shoulders you should have a foam roller and a lacrosse ball. The foam roller will be used to hit the over all upper back. The lacrosse ball will be used to get into the nitty gritty areas.

Foam Roller

First start off with the foam roller hitting the upper back. Do several slow rolls along the upper back. You can change your hand position each time to hit different spots. For example: hands directly in front, hands overhead, hugging self with left arm on top, and hugging self with right arm on top.

Next, roll over to your side and place the foam roller on the back part of your armpit, this will hit the insertion of your lat onto your arm.

Lacrosse Ball

You will find that the lacrosse ball will become one of your best friends, especially if you have shoulder discomfort.

The areas you want to hit with the lacrosse ball are your: pec major, pec minor, and the shoulder blade (infraspinatus and supraspinatus).

This will take any knots out of the muscles and help your tissues to repair, which will lead to better recovery, and ends with you lifting more weights.

Warm Up

While the foam roller and the lacrosse ball help with shoulder health and recovery, the warm up prepares the muscles to do work by increasing blood flow to the working muscles and preparing your neuromuscular system. This is also a great time to work on any mobility issues you may have with your shoulders.

Your warm up should be a full body warm up. It should hit all the major muscle groups. In my warm up I incorporate a good mix of both mobility work and dynamic stretching.

Here are some of the exercises I use to warm up my shoulder and help gain/maintain shoulder mobility:

Note: I will only pick one or two of these for my warm up.

Scapular Wall Slide


Yoga Push ups

 

No Money Drill

 

Pec Mobilization

 

Scap Push Up

Shoulder Friendly Presses

 

If the barbell bench press causes discomfort you should, you should not be doing it. But don’t worry, there are plenty of pressing variations that will allow you to still get your press on.

Here are four of my favorite non barbell pressing presses:

Dumbbell Bench Press:

By not having you arms fixed to a bar you are able to move your arms into a more favorable position i.e. elbows at 45 degrees.

Dumbbell Floor Press:

The floor press has all the advantages of the dumbbell bench press but also allows you to really lock you shoulder into position against the ground, creating more stability. It also decreases the range of motion preventing any anterior humeral head gliding.

Push Ups:

Push ups also will allow you to more easily keep your arms at a more shoulder friendly position. You can also elevate you feet to incorporate more of your serratus anterior, which will create more acromion space leading to a decreased chance of shoulder impingement.

Neutral Grip Bar:

The NGbar allows you to, well, keep your hands at a neutral position, decreasing elbow flare and increasing acromion space.

Working Shoulder Stability

Having an unstable shoulder can be the cause of pain. Incorporating some of these exercises my help to relieve some of your shoulder ailments.

Perturbation:

There are many ways for you to get your perturbation on. I prefer to have someone else assist me but you can also do it by yourself with a med ball. The goal of perturbation is to stabilize the shoulder.

Farmers Walks:

A kettelebell farmers walk variations are also a great way to increase shoulder stability.

Kettelebell Arm Bar:

The kettelebell arm bar is an exercise that was brought to my attention by Mike Robertson. I have been using it in my own programs and have loved the bang for your buck you get out of it. With this exercise you get a whole lot of scapular stability and recruitment of the shoulder muscles.

Cues For Benching

Bad form can also cause your shoulder to get a little irritable. Here are three things to keep in mind while benching.

Screw Shoulder Blades Back:

Before setting up to bench have your arms out in front of you and think of screwing your shoulder blades back together. When you do this correctly you should feel your shoulder pull tight together. This will help keep your back tight and stable.

Actively pull the bar down:

Don’t just let the bar fall to your chest. Actively pull the bar to your chest. This will activate your back muscles, keeping you nice and stable.

Tear the bar apart:

When you lift the bar think of ripping it apart with your hand. This will help prevent you from flaring you arms out to the side.

Putting It All Together

There are many reasons your shoulder can be causing you pain. It could be due to instability, overuse, or a bone or ligament issue. You may find that even the shoulder friendly lifts many be painful, if this is the case you should not perform them.

What I have outlined above are ways to keep your shoulder healthy and to give you some ideas of how to work around some jacked up shoulders, not injured shoulders.

Best

Josh Williams

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Full Body Workout vs. Split Body Workout

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Random Fluffy Kitty

It seems like as long as I can remember every workout had to be four days a week with two days devoted to the upper body and the other two be all about your lower half. If you were in college, then the upper body days were broken up into chest and tri, back and bi days, and the lower body days were skipped and replaced with more benching and bicep curls. All jokes aside, the upper lower split is a great way to workout and get results, if you have time for it.

The often forgotten full body workout is another option as well. The full body workout is not as popular due to the fact that it did not have a following behind it. What I mean by this is that the split body workout had the bodybuilding craze backing it. But there are some distinct advantages to using a full body workout over the split routine. These I will most certainly discuss in more detail later on.

Split Routine

I am partial to the split routine because it is the one I have used the most over my lifting career. I have focused primarily on strength, and in my personal opinion believe that if you are trying to get strong the split routine is the way to do so.

By breaking up your days into upper body and lower body days you are able to focus more of your energy on a particular region of the body. This results in more weight lifted for the group of muscle you want to target.

This structure also works well with people that are training for size, like bodybuilders or people who like beach tanning. The four day routine gives you the ability to break days up into more specific focuses, or foci, again letting you focus your energy on the group of muscles you would like to see increase in size.  This is where you would see the back and bi, chest and tri, and legs scheme.

There are some downsides to the split routine. The big one is that it takes up four days, and most people have a hard time making it one day a week to the gym. So a four day commitment would be out of the question for many people.

Full Body Routine

The full body workout has a lot going for it. If you are a person that can only go to the gym two to three times a week, I would highly recommend this routine. The benefit of this routine is that at every workout you are hitting all of your major muscle groups. If you do miss a workout, I would argue that missing a workout on a full body routine is less detrimental then missing one on a split routine.

When working with athletes, the full body routine makes more sense then the split. This is because an athlete uses all their muscles during a sporting event. So training all of their muscles during the same block of time also makes sense as well. During the in season athletes may only have one to two days to devote to lifting weights, so a full body routine would be the better choice.  This allows them to hit their upper and lower muscle groups up to two times per week compared to just one with the split.

Closing

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One more for good measure

Both of these routines offer some benefits.  I would argue that the split is better for building strength and hypertrophy, whereas the full body routine is better for athletes and people that feel they don’t have the time or have commitment issues with the gym.

These two ways of organizing your training are just two of the most popular ways to organize. There are many different ways to structure your workout week. When it comes to choosing which one is best for you, I would recommend looking at how much time you are willing to give to the gym first. After that, look at which way you prefer to workout. It all comes down to what you like to do and what you will stick to doing.

Best

Josh Williams

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Why Do You Do What You Do?

You ever think about why you do something?Unknown

The reason why I ask this question is because if you don’t know why, then why are you doing it. If you know why you are doing something then there is value in the thing you are doing. As you can guess, since this is a blog devoted to fitness, I am going to relate all this to your fitness life, or at lest give it the old college try.

I was thinking a little while back to why I workout and why do I care about my health (other then the reason that it’s what I make my living doing). If you have been reading this blog for some time then you can guess that I love food, and I am not talking steaks and chicken, I am talking Ben & Jerry’s and Twix. The more filled with simple sugars the better, I don’t just have a sweet tooth, I got sweet teeth.

This love of sweet things has led me down a path of laziness and obesity in the past. Don’t believe me?  Here are the pictures to prove it. When I was in 5th grade I weighed a nice 175 and strutted one horrid hair cut, don’t know which one was worse for my self esteem, being over weight or the hair cut. With my pre dinner snack consisting of a two pound bag of Swedish Fish and crushing bags of Saltine crackers I was able to get to 260 by my freshmen year of high school.

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During my school years I was never comfortable with the way I looked. I tried different things to make myself feel less fat. I remember wearing Hawaiian shirts because they were loose fitting and made me feel less big. When Under Armor first came out I would always wear one of their dry fits under my shirts since they made me feel thinner.

I started hitting the weight room four days a week as a freshman in high school. Slowly the weight started coming off. By the time I was a senior I was down to 215. After my freshman year in college I decided to change up my diet and started eating healthier and dropped down to a solid 195 and 10% body fat with a good diet and hard work, to put this in perspective the last time I weighed 195 I was in 7th grade. With all this weight loss I gained confidence in myself and have become comfortable with who I am.

So my answer to the question “why I do what I do”: I did what I did back then to feel better about who I was and gain confidence. I do what I do now because I don’t want to go back to being the old me, each day I want to be a little better then the me of yesterday.

So why do you do what you do?

Is it to be able to play with your kid, to wake up every morning and look in the mirror and say, “who’s that sexy beast, O that’s right, its me”, or it could be you just want to be the best you, you can be.

Whatever your reasoning is for living a healthy life style, don’t forget why you do it.

Best,

Josh Williams

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Things to Read 5/16/13

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No new fresh to death blog this week. Truth be told I got a little behind this week. I would love to blame it all on the fact that I am graduating this saturday, but the real reason was I got myself into a time management funk. What this means is I just spent countless hours playing disc golf (my new found love) and getting lost in the black hole that is watching Youtube videos.

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I think this fits the mold as far as romantic lifting goes

Next week I promise, well almost guaranty, promise seems like a really strong word, a new post filled with adventure, laughs, and some hot romance (or just filled with stuff I know about, so mostly romantic lifting).

So to make it up to all you knowledge hungry, weight crushing people out there here are some good articles  to get your knowledge fix for the week.

Last week I put out a blog on increasing your grip strength to help increase your overall strength. If you have not read it yet give it a reads: 5 Ways for You to Get A Grip 

As for the rest:

4 Ways to Get you to the Next Level by Doug Spurling

5 Traits of Successful Athletes by Eric Cressey 

4 Reasons Every Woman Should Strength Train by Nia Shanks 

The Key to Your Education by Mike Boyle 

The Magic of Cluster Sets by Todd Bumgardner

Busted! 6 Myths About Strength Training for Woman by Nia Shanks 

Maxims For Squatting Excellence by Dan Blewett

The Novelty Workout by Charles Staley

5 Ways for You to Get A Grip

The difference between a successful lift and a failed lift may come down to something as small as the ten digits that make up what is known in laymen’s terms as your right and left hands, respectively. Without them you could not lift anything. Go out and try and lift something without your hands, it just doesn’t work.Unknown

Before I go too far into this blog I just want to point out the level of creative quality that goes into my titles. You may think I spend countless hours thinking up these gems of titles, truth is they just come to me, it’s a gift I must bear everyday.

Moving on

Your hands, in many cases, are the only thing linking you to the weight. What this means is if you want to be strong, then the link between you and the weight must be strong as well. You can get around this by using straps that tie you to the weight but if you are an athlete this does not help you. You are not fixing the problem, but rather finding a way around the problem.

To fix this problem here are 5 exercises that will help increase your grip strength and give your forearms as big as a gorilla’s.

Grip the Weight

Too often I see people just holding dumbbells in their hands loosely with a false grip (just the fingers holding without the thumb), its just laziness on their part.  When you pick up any weight or cable, or what have you, make sure you grip it like someone is trying to take it from you.

Another big thing I see with people using dumbbells is that they hold the dumbbell with the head of it resting against their thumb and index fingers. If you were to move your hand to the middle of the dumbbell where the knurling is, you will notice that you have to grip the dumbbell tight to stabilize the weight causing your forearm muscles to do more work.

These two fixes of squeezing the weight and holding a dumbbell in the middle are two things you can do with every exercise that will help increase your grip strength immensely. The reason is that you are now actually griping the weight instead of just holding the weight.

Farmers Carries

I love farmer’s carries.  They are great for so many reason and one of the reasons is they can be used to increase grip strength.  I can’t forget to mention that any exercise that requires you to carry heavy weight over a distance just looks awesome.mariuz-farmers-walk_380

To do a farmers carry all you need is a heavy object that you can pick up and hold at your side and then walk with. So dumbbells, barbells, trapbar, kettlebells, or a child will all work. As long as you can grip it tight and then walk with it you’re all set for a killer forearm workout.

Over Hand Grip Deadlifts

When you start off deadlifting, many will start with an over hand grip and as the weight becomes heaver you will most likely switch to an under over grip, so you can grip heaver weights without dropping the bar.

Another great way to increase your grip is to go back to the over hand grip.  You will probably not be able to lift as much as you were with the under over grip, but you will only be doing the over grip for a few weeks and then switch back to the under over. The point of this is that the over grip forces you to grip the bar.  If you don’t then you won’t be able to hold on to it. Or you will just fall into a false grip, which counts for jack!

Towel Chin Ups

I personally love chin ups, I think they’re the cats meow, and anything that makes them more challenging I am all about. One of those ways is to drape a towel over a chin up bar and then grab each end with your hand and proceed to do chin ups.Photo-14-11-2011-12-02-47

This works well. A towel is hard to grip anyway and then add on to that the fact that you have to lift your whole body while holding the towel adds a whole new level. The end result is some strong ass fingers and some mean arms.

Fat Grips

Fat grips are plastic grips that fit over anything that has the circumference of a barbell. They can make any exercise a more grip demanding exercise when these puppies are used. Literally any exercise, you want to make bicep curls more grip focused throw on some fat grips. How about a Turkish get up? Never done it before but I am guessing the result would be me with some swell arms.

Wrap Up

As you can see there are a number of ways to make your grip stronger. With a strong grip you will be able to lift more, and people with strong grips give great handshakes and a strong handshake leaves people with a better impression of you. This can lead to you having more friends and a better job. What I am getting at is grip strength is the key to unlocking your life’s true potential.

So get out there and grip some heavy ass things!

Best

Josh Williams

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6 Things I Thought I Knew but Now I Know I Know

The past two weekends I have been away at conferences. There was the Elite Training Workshop at Cressey Performance and the NSCA Maine State Conference at the University of New England. Oh, and I was also an invited speaker for the UNE research symposium.Unknown-1

Let me just dust my shoulders off before proceeding.

What this all means is me spending a total combined time of roughly 24 hours sitting in cheap plastic unsupportive chairs, which has done wonders for my back. Luckily it paid off with me cramming my mind full of new ideas and knowledge, and a couple of cool drawstring swag bagz, spelled with a “Z”. Score!

Since all this new knowledge has been bestowed upon me, I will also let you drink from the cup of knowledge. Sorry, I can’t give all of you cool free drawstring swag bagz as well, but if it makes you feel better I would if I could.

Assessments, They’re Important

You have probably heard the saying “if you’re not assessing your guessing”, well it rhymes so it’s right.

When you are working with a new client, how are you supposed to know their past history and how they move, if you don’t do an assessment? The assessment should consist of some kind of questionnaire that delves into the past history of activities and injuries, along with some kind of movement screen.

From this information you can pull areas of weakness and exercises that they should and should not be doing.

If you are part of a gym that does not have coaches that can perform a full assessment, I would recommend you look into the self movement screen. This will at least give you some idea of some imbalances that you may have that you are unaware of.

So don’t guess, assess.

Look at the Demands of A Sport

Every sport requires a different skill set. There may be some overlapping between sports, but there is some facet of the game that makes it unique and that is why baseball and soccer have different names.

Baseball pitchers don’t have to run a lot so why go for 5 mile runs? Same with hockey players and football players, they are all quick explosive sports. Running long distance is the antithesis of this.Unknown

Side Note: I just used a big word in my writing and did not even have to find it in a thesaurus – little win.

Looking at overall energy demands of a sport is important, but it is also important to look at the movements that are used in the sport.  Look at the work to rest ratio, the explosive vs. non explosive movement, and linear and lateral movements. A program should take all this into consideration.

 Train for Effect  

Well this sounds like a no brainer. Everyone who works out is training for some kind of effect, whether that is strength, fat loss, or sexiness. Everyone is training for an effect. So what does this mean?

When you write your exercise program you should not just think of exercises as movements that strengthen muscle groups – anyone can do that. I could pick any meathead in the gym to write me a program to get me stronger and there is a good chance some of my weights would go up, this doesn’t mean it was a good program.

There should be a purpose for each exercise. You have depressed shoulders so you program exercises X, Y, and Z to help fix that; your core is weak so you program this exercise over that exercise. The point is you want your exercises to cause an effect, its not just sets and reps with bench, squat, and deadlifts. Writing a good exercise program is so much more than that.

Think about the effect you want to cause.

Base of Aerobic Fitness

This is an idea that I guess I have always known but never actually put much thought into it. Your base of aerobic fitness is what allows you to progress to more strenuous activities, like sprinting. Without a base the individual will have nothing to build off of.

For example if you have a client, or you yourself have not had any form of training in over a year, you can not expect them to know how to pace themselves. By developing an aerobic base first, this will lead to better endurance, allowing them to do more work. Once you, or your clients, have an idea of how to pace yourselves then you can move on to harder activities.

What I mean by pacing is that a sprint should not be the same speed as a jog and visa versa. Without an aerobic base you and your clients may not know the difference or be at a fitness level to perform at a higher level. So get that base and then build off of it.

Ice Cream, Hot Dogs, and Omega 3’s

What do all three of these things have in common?   Well, nothing really, except ice cream and hot dogs are not the healthiest food choices. So what is omega 3’s doing linked with these two outlaws of food health.flax-heathbar

With our ability to inject almost anything into any food, we now have the ability to put omega 3’s into any food we want to. This includes foods like ice cream and hot dogs. So now my junk food will have some resemblance of being good for me.

So instead of taking fish oil pills I can now just eat some ice cream to get my daily recommended value of omega 3’s. And people can now say, “It’s ok that I eat ice cream every day because it’s good for me.” Let me just say, and this is my last point, a part does not make a whole. Just because something has some healthy part to it does not make it inherently good for you.

PRI Is A Lot of Smart

After hearing about PRI (Postural Restoration Institute) I now fully understand what the phrase “drinking from a fire hose” means. What is PRI?  Well it was developed by some smart PT by the name of Ron Hruska.

Their principles are: “To explore and explain the science of postural adaptations, asymmetrical patterns and influence of polyarticular chains of muscles on the human body. To develop an innovative treatment approach that addresses the primary contributions of postural kinematic movement dysfunction.”

Intriguing right? Sounds like a whole lot of smart to me, something that I will have to look into.

Wrap Up

 These are some of the big things that I learned over the past two weeks. So assess, don’t guess, look at what the sport demands, train for an effect, get that aerobic base, ice cream is awesome but still not good for you no matter how you dress it up, and PRI, that is just smart.

Best

Josh Williams

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5 Ways to Make Any Exercise More Challenging

I am sure most of us have been here before, you know, just lifting the same old boring weights. You have the thought, “How can I make this exercise more badass i.e. harder?”  Well, my friend, do I have a treat for you.

Coming up, I have not just 1, not just 2, but 5, yes, five ways to make your exercise more challenging, which increases overall badassness.

As the late Emeril Lagasse would say,  “Let’s kick it up a notch!”.  And that we will Emeril.

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Sets/Reps, Rest Interval, and Weight

Ok, this first point does not really count. By manipulating any one of the above variables you will either increase or decrease the difficulty of a given exercise. Increasing the weight will always make an exercise more challenging, same with decreasing the rest interval.

You can mess around with these variables all you want, but only the right combination of all of them will lead to the outcome you desire.         

Center of Mass

The center of mass on the average person is somewhere around the waist. When you start loading up with weights, your center of mass will change. The closer the weight is to the base the more stable you will be. As the weight moves further away from your center of mass the more difficult the exercise.

We can use this concept to increase the difficulty of your exercises. Lets look at some exercise variations and how they become harder with the change in weight positioning.

Squat:

Dumbbell Squat with dumbbells at side: center of mass is low and close to base of support

Barbell Squat: center of mass is moved up further way from base of support

Barbell Front Squat: center of mass is moved up and out away from the base of support

Barbell Overhead Squat: center of mass is moved to its greatest distance from the base of support

Deadlift:

A Trapbar Deadlift will be easier since the weight is going through you as compared to a conventional Barbell Deadlift where the weight is positioned in front of you. Both lifts have a low center of mass due to the weight being close to the base of support. The big difference is the conventional Deadlift is moving your center of mass more to the front, like the front squat.

Points of Contact

The more points of contact you have the more stable you will be, it just makes sense. A three legged stool is less stable then a four legged stool. It’s the same with your body. A squat is more stable then a single leg squat and the same goes with a RDL vs. a single leg RDL.image0131

You can do the same with pushups and planks and various other exercises by taking one leg or arm off the ground. This makes you less stable and changes the distribution of bodyweight.

Range of Motion

By increasing the range of motion, or ROM for short, you can make an exercise more challenging. This puts you in a new position where you will have to gain stability. You will also increase the time under tension, which increases the stress put on your muscles. This creates more muscle breakdown.

Two of my favorite exercises to increase the ROM for are reverse lunges and Bulgarian split squats.  The way that I do this is by doing them from deficit. All this means is I place my front foot on a 4in plyo box and then perform a reverse lunge or Bulgarian split squat the same way I usually would but now I have to go through a greater ROM.

Base of Support

The wider your base of support or the wider your legs are, the more stable you will be. The squat requires less stability then a lunge. This is because your base of support is wider with a squat.

I like to use this concept a lot when doing anti rotation exercises like Pallof presses or cable rotations.

Unstable Surface   

I am not a big fan of unstable surface training by any means, but it can definitely make an exercise more challenging. Doing a BOSU ball squat may look cool and be challenging but if you are trying to gain strength it makes no sense.bosu2

The only time I will use an unstable surface would be without weights or with very light weights. The goal would be to gain stability or to make a stable movement pattern unstable; this does not require much weight or any at all.

But this article is not about how I feel about unstable surface training; it’s about how to make an exercise more challenging. And doing an exercise on an unstable surface does fit that requirement.

There are many ways to make any given exercise more challenging. After reading this there should be no excuse as to why your exercises are not challenging enough.  So go out there and badassify those boring old exercises.

Best

Josh Williams

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Things That Are Acceptable In Real Life But Not In The Weight Room

A few months back I published my critically acclaimed, beloved by all post, Things That Are Acceptable In The Weight Room but Not In Real Life, or TTAAITWRBNIRL for short.

So since it’s [MY BIRTHDAY TODAY!!!!] and I can do what I want to. I am going to give you the flip side of this post.

In TTAAITWRBNIRL I discussed things you do in the weight room that just don’t translate over to the outside world all that well. In this post I am going to tell you  51/2 things that don’t translate over from the real world to the weight room, or as I like to call it, The Palisade of Weights.

Without further adieu here are my 51/2 things.

Cell Phones 

Where would we be without cell phones, no snapchat, no instagram, no angry birds, and no possible way for somebody to get a hold of you every second of your life.

Got to love technology. It gives us the ability to stay connected without actually having to spend time with people, awesome.

Cell phones are all well and good and very useful in fact, but when it comes to the weight room there is just no need for them. This has to be my biggest pet peeve. Is it really not possible for someone to go one hour without being in constant contact with the rest of the outside world? Let’s be honest, can you honestly think of anyone out there that needs people to be able to get in contact with them 24/7.

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I am guessing he is calling for a spot

If you think that’s you, well, you’re wrong – you self-thinker.

Cell phones outside, “Wow wee, cool new phone”. Cell phones in the gym, “Awwww, what is that”, and better question, “What is it doing here?”

See, phone in gym is just not as cool.

Hats

I get it that hats are nice to keep the sun out of your eyes and keep you warm during the winter. They can even change the way others see you, depending on which style you go for. The three most common are:

  1. Hats makes you seem like you are an every day Joe, just loving life and maybe hiding a bald spot.
  2. Hats make you look sexy. In most cases you have to be a cowboy, or in all cases, one or the other.
  3. Hats make you look like a total jabroni.
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If your wondering if that is in fact Vanilla Ice from the movie Cool As Ice, you would be correct

I understand hockey players like to keep their long flows out of their face, but a hat makes you look stupid. You don’t wear sunglasses inside do you? No, hats are the same thing, except they go on your head to protect you from the sun.

The one exception is beanies; they keep your head warm in the winter and they feel good to wear while lifting. They are designed for keeping you warm, not protecting you from the sun, so they are serving their true purpose both inside and out unlike ball caps. This is why they are OK to wear and hats aren’t. It just makes sense.

Gloves

Got to love me some gloves, especially those fleece ones; O so soft and so nice. Gloves are functional.  They protect your hands from the elements. They can also make your hands go from plain and boring to badass, with a sweet pair of leather biker gloves.

I got me a pair of leather goatskin gloves for a dollar one time. Let me just say, once I slipped my hands into those gloves I became a whole new man, but that life is all behind me now.

Moving on.

Lifting with gloves does the same thing except for one big difference. They don’t make you look badass. On the contrary they do just the opposite. If your hands can’t handle the knurling on the bar, then you can’t handle the gym. If you are wearing gloves because your grip sucks, then work on strengthening your grip and grab some chalk.

Big Headphones

Music is pretty great to say the least. Good tunes will put you in a great mood and get you ready to crush weights.

headphones5101

Pro Tip: Super set all your exercises with dancing, it keeps the fun level high and shows all the ladies in the vicinity what they’re missing out on.

When I see someone walking down the street in a Beats Headphone or Bose or whatever brand, I think they must really like music. When I see someone in the gym with the same aforementioned headphones I instantly think, “Wow what a D-Bag”.

This opinion is based on years of pre judging and I am sticking to it. So if you wear big ass headphones, I’m just letting you know its cool outside but in the gym you look like a giant bag of D.

Half Shirts and Skinny Jeans

I don’t know if either of these is actually acceptable in the real world but I know for sure they are not acceptable in The Palisade of Weights.

Well, except for half shirts, I can see them being useful in some really specific situations. I just have not figured out what that situation would be or what it would entail yet.

Maybe if you were working out and someone broke their arm, and the only thing you had available was the bottom portion of your shirt to fashion a sling out of. Then, after helping the person, you went back to finish your lift. I could see that being all right. So until this happens half shirts not cool.

As for skinny jeans, there is no scenario where they should be worn in a gym or anywhere else for that matter.

There you have it.  My 5½ things that are acceptable in real life but not in the weight room.

Best,

Josh Williams

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All Natural vs. Organic Foods: Their The Same Right?

Food is a big part of our lives, it gives us energy, it brings friends and family together, and most of all it does not judge you. It just looks at you and says, “Eat me friend, I am here for you”

Then, I and the food, run across a field at each other in slow motion, meeting in the middle, gazing at one another as if finally meeting your… Ok this has gone on long enough.

Untitled.jpg

In my mind it looks something like this

Ok, back to the point of this post.

It has become very trendy to try and eat all natural and organic foods. These foods are supposedly healthier for you, due to the fact that they have not been injected with HGH and other meat enhancing drugs, or MEDs* for short, and the fact that they cost more then ordinary foods. As we all know, the more it costs the better it is.

When you see ‘all natural’ you may think it is the same as buying organic. Natural means it should be from nature and nature does not use HGH and pesticides. Organic means coming from living matter. They both sound the same. So are they?

Not if you ask the USDA. The USDA has two very different criteria for what qualifies as natural and what is organic.

Natural

The term natural is meant to imply that the food was minimally processed and does not contain manufactured ingredients. The thing is, the government does not have a specific definition of the term natural and does not regulate the use of the term on products.

Not Allowed

Artificial colors or flavors, artificial preservatives, and irradiated products/ingredients.

Allowed

Pesticides and herbicides, GMOs, antibiotics, and growth hormones.

If GMOs and growth hormones are allowed in production then natural foods do not sound all that natural. Added to that is the fact that they are loosely regulated and no one has to tell how the food/animals were raised.

USDA Certified Organic

Labeling for products that meet the USDA-NOP s...

The term organic is well defined you can read it here if you want the nitty gritty of it.

Here is the short and sweet of what needs to be fulfilled to get a USDA Organic sticker on your products.

– No human sewage fertilizer used for animal feeds or plants

– No synthetic chemicals

– Farmland has to be free from prohibited synthetic chemicals

– No GMOs, Antibiotics, Growth Hormones

– Animals must be on pasture for pasture season

– Organic products separated from non- certified products

– Undergo on-site inspections

Putting It All Together

If you plan on spending money on so called, ‘all natural’ foods, then save and just buy generic.  At least you know that they are not putting crap in your food. There is a chance that the company that puts ‘all natural’ on their products is actually following the loose set of guidelines that is not regulated by any second party. I mean hell, food companies are known for their honesty after all.

If you are trying to eat organic then make sure it is USDA certified organic. This is the gold standard in organic food. Don’t waste your money on foods that claim to be all natural. Either buy the generic or spend a little more and get the good stuff. Don’t pay more by straddling the fence on so called all natural foods.

Best

Josh Williams

*This is a made up acronym so do not think that MED stand for Meat Enhancing Drugs

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