Monday Musings: New Facility, Backpacking Europe, and Deadlift Foot Placement

Gotta make this one brief today... 1. I'm thrilled to say that, last Friday, we successfully moved SAPT into our new location last Friday. To those of you who train with us, you can look forward to a climate controlled environment during your next session!

Also, thank you again to all those that came to help us move.  Your assistance was MUCH appreciated, and we're extremely grateful that you gave up your time on Friday to aid us.

Our new address is 3160 Unit E, Spring Street, Fairfax, Va 22031.

2. This October, I'll be fulfilling a childhood dream of mine by going backpacking in Europe. Thanks to pretty much the most awesome boss, SAPT team, and wife, that I could ask for, I'm able to take a couple weeks off to backpack through Ireland, Switzerland, and Italy.

Needless to say, I'm already as giddy as a little schoolgirl for October to arrive, as I've been literally dreaming about it (and slowly, very slowly....been saving up for it) since I was twelve years old.

For those interested, I'll be glad to share more details in the future, but for now I did want to share one of the things I'm most excited about: Canyoning in Interlaken, Switzerland.

One of my good buddies did this last year, and told me it was literally the experience of a lifetime. Basically, you take a bus up right into the heart of the Swiss Alps, and then repel, jump off, and slide down the canyons and waters of Switzerland to return to the bottom.

Here is a video of what I'll be doing, you can catch the gist of it in the first 45 seconds of the vid:

While in Switzerland, we also plan on visiting Schilthorn, the breathtaking summit of Burnese Alps, upon which a revolving restaurant sits. The restaurant, Piz Gloria, was actually a setting used during the old James Bond Film, On Her Majesty's Secret Service. Here's a picture of the location:

Needless to say the entire experience will be pretty surreal and I'm definitely open for suggestions from those of you who may have traveled Europe before.

3. My friend Tony Gentilcore recently uploaded a brief video explaining the "ideal" foot placement for deadlifting. Given that he discusses what is easily one of the most common mistakes I see (both in commercial gyms and in people entering SAPT for the first time), I thought I'd share it here:

Hope everyone is having a great start to the week!

Inspiration from Ross Enamait

I never get tired of watching videos of Ross training and getting after it. He merely trains in his garage or outdoors, and yet his strength, endurance, and power is unparalleled by countless individuals who have access to all the "fancy" equipment. Ross receives countless questions from internet warriors (both on his website and in the comments section of his videos), and he almost always responds to each and every inquiry. It cracks me up as he never tires of giving pretty much the same answer every time, when people ask him what motivates him, and how he has become as physically fit as he is.

"Real gains don't come in days or weeks. I've been training for 20+ years. Patience and consistency are perhaps the most important supplements to any routine.....There's nothing special about me. I've just been working hard for a long time." -Ross

People are always looking for the magic formula or silver bullet, be it the latest exercise program, nutrition "secret," or piece of specialty equipment.

Guess what? There isn't one. And I know few people that could prove this better than Ross.

Stick to the basics. Train smart. Work hard. Never back down. Be consistent. Repeat every day for thirty years.

Enjoy the training video above (I also LOVE all the quotes he interspersed throughout the video), and then apply these lessons.

Friday Musings: Butt Jump Roping, Pet Peeves, Star Wars A Cappella, Mentoring, etc.

1. The other day I had programmed some low volume jump roping for one of the girls, Paula, at SAPT. Upon watching her first session, it was quite evident that she was no foreigner to jump roping, so Coach Kelsey looks over at her in passing and and says, "You know, you're pretty good at those." To which Paula responds, "Well, I can also jump rope on my butt. So, using my feet isn't really that big a deal."

Obviously Kelsey and I had to see this stunt for ourselves, and asked her to perform a few reps. Needless to say, she knocked it out of the park, and it was the first time anyone in SAPT ever did anything like this:

2. Chris Romanow once told me, in a joking-but-not-really-joking tone, that the majority of people's goals (moving better, looking better, athletic performance, fat loss, remaining injury free, ruling the world, etc) could be solved by a healthy, regular dose of goblet squats and spidermans.

And the more I coach people and do these things myself, I'm right there with him. My personal contribution to the list would be loaded carries and kettlebell swings.


Do those four movements, multiple times a week and you're set.

3. These need to be posted at every youth sporting event. *Everywhere. I slow clap those that created and posted this sign:

4. A few of my pet peeves, in no particular order:

1. Morning People. More specifically, morning people who insist on talking to you within one hour of your morning awakening.

The morning should be used for three to four things: Enjoying a quality cup of coffee, spending some time on reflection (on what, that is up to you), reading, and perhaps pooping if that's what schedule you're on. Notice that talking is not on the list. Just because you are a morning person doesn't mean that the person that happens to be in the same bedroom/house as you likes to discuss the world's problems first thing in the A.M.

The only exceptions to this rule are A) If you're my wife (I love you, babe), and B) If I wake up past 10AM. People have every right to talk to me if I ever get out of bed that late.

2. When you're (manually) doing dishes and the cup/glass isn't large enough for your hand to reach all the way to the bottom, so you end up standing there, pinching your knuckles and skin into the glass, trying to stretch out your fingers with the sponge to barely reach the bottom.

3. When you're wearing socks and you step in something wet.

4a. People who don't turn right on red. More specifically, when you're driving down a two-lane road, and the person in front of you changes lanes into the right lane before the turn you need to make, but of course the light turns red so they end up blocking you for the next two minutes. Stay in the other lane and be considerate, dang it.

4b. Drivers who don't use their turn signal. I swear you could cut me off in traffic, but if you're using your signal, hey, you're good in my book.

4c. Those who won't get out of the left lane. I don't think I need to explain this any further, do I?

5. Extroverts. Why do you people always need to be around me and talking to me?!? Can't a man get some alone time around here? AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

6. People who squeeze the toothpaste tube in the wrong spot. You know who you are.

7. Overhead kettlebell swings. Wow....just, wow.....please stop.

8. Cracking knuckles. Makes me want to crawl into the fetal position each time I hear it. Never done it, don't plan on it any time soon.

9. When you're at a restaurant, and you finally achieved the perfect water temperate by getting the ice:water ratio just right, and the waiter comes along out of the blue, merrily filling up your glass without asking, completely screwing up everything you've worked so hard for.

10. Country music. 'Nuff said there.

5. I have no idea who this guy is, but can you say awesome? Here he does a a Star Wars themed, four-part a cappella musical tribute set to a few cinematic themes by composer John Williams.

Corey - If you live in the area, I'll give you a free assessment and coaching session for putting this together. Our address is 3831 Pickett Road, Fairfax, Va.

6. Read this article by Jim Wendler:

Mentoring Wendler

Here's a quick preview:

Towards the end of my senior year, I finally asked Darren why he never spoke to me during my first year in the weight room. And it was this lesson that I have taken with me in all areas of my life. His answer:

"Because you hadn't earned it. I've written hundreds of programs and helped so many kids and teachers with their training – and almost all of them quit after the first week. I had to see if you were going to stick with it. I had to see if you were serious. I'm not going to waste my time or my energy."

We all have someone like Darren in our lives. Unfortunately, few people are receptive to it or exhibit the will, heart, and resolve to show them that they deserve their attention.

I know because I see it around me daily. I see kids and lifters that ask questions and think they want to be great and strong, but always fall short of the small amount of commitment it takes to prove themselves. Everyone wants a handout rather than earn it. - Jim Wendler

Such awesome words of truth spoken by Jim Wendler here. I'm not sure if it's just me but it seems that the most recent generation seems to feel, for some odd reason, that they're the center of the universe, and that nothing can ever be their fault. If they didn't accomplish something or if they messed something up, there's an obvious excuse, right?

On top of that, I seem to experience more and more conversations with individuals who do wayyy too much talking, and too little listening.Well spoken, Jim.

7. This article is very cool, and definitely worth scrolling through all the pictures.

21 Pictures That Will Restore Your Faith In Humanity

I first learned about "The Bystander Effect" in a sociology course in college, and Tony Gentilcore actually wrote a great, quick piece about it HERE. Learning about such incidents always make my heart drop a bit, and question the general tendency that humans learn toward at times.

Scrolling through the pictures in the linked article definitely helped temper the "cynicism" of humanity that occasionally shrouds my thought processes. Ah, there is hope in the world!

That's all for now, have a great weekend everyone.

*Except for the sporting events of my future kids. **They're obviously the exception and need to open up a big can of you-know-what on their opponents.

**That's a joke***.


Happy Tuesday!

Happy Tuesday? I know, who says that.

Apparently, ladies who just gave birth.

I'm pretty low on sleep and have about a million work things to do before the next set of relatives join us for the rest of the week (t-minus 30-min, not looking good for me getting everything done).

So, I'm just going to do a short round-up of some miscellaneous posts and a personal update:

  • Alex Hutchinson has the breakdown of an interesting study regarding diet and hydration relating to workload at Sweatscience. It's title says it all: Nutrition and Hydration: Science 1, Experience 0. Pretty cool info, especially if you think your body operates on some different plane than everyone else (it doesn't).
  • This morning I received a link from Brian Levenson directing me to a Ted talk called Philippe Petit: The journey across the high wire. If you've got about 20-minutes to spare check it out, the main points are about magic (yes, like magic tricks), pursuing your passion, and doing the impossible.
  • My new favorite equipment supplier for both commercial and home applications is Rogue Fitness. Their stuff is made is the USA, comes at very reasonable prices, and - best of all - they don't "bend you over" on shipping rates. Sorry for the imagery. I just ordered a few things for our backyard and anticipate using them heavily for SAPT orders in the future.

Personal update: I know most people who read Saptstrength.com also frequent Stronggirlswin.com, so you're probably aware of the "self-experiment" I've been running on myself throughout this pregnancy.

Now, that the birth is over, I'm beginning a new self-experiment that will last from Duke's birthday of May 23rd through the beginning of the fall semester at Mason (August 27th). That's just short of 15-weeks.

My personal goal is pretty darn simple:see if I can get myself into a BodPod measured and confirmed 14-16% body fat level. Why? Well, over the last 3-years I've been pregnant for a total of 20-months and spent the other non-pregnant 16-months learning how to balance being a mom with work.

But, another EXTREMELYimportant goal for me is to provide proof of success and, eventually, a framework for other new moms to gain motivation and direction from.

I simply don't agree with the idea that once you have kids you have to accept a body that you don't really want.

I'm quite excited and anxious to spend some serious and focused time working on ME. I'll be documenting this process and progress over at Stronggirlswin.com.

Whoooo Hoooo, Happy Tuesday!

The 10 Things Fitness Magazines Won't Tell You

I"m filling in for Kelsey this morning - teaching the women"s A.M. group class (these ladies are awesome!) - so I"m currently crunched for time in between two of the classes.

I thought I"d pass along a phenomenal short article I recently read by Adam Bornstein (former Fitness Editor for Men"s Health, and current Editorial Director for Livestrong.com):

The 10 Things Fitness Magazines Won"t Tell You

What? It takes online casino one hour to teach a great-looking fitness models to do a decent pushup? Muscle "Tone" is BS?

I found myself tipping my hat to Adam for stepping out on a limb (given that he"s the editor of a major magazine himself) and telling people the truth of what goes on behind the scenes of major fitness magazines. Give it a quick read, and share it with your friends.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

You Might Have a Bad Strength Coach or Trainer If....

I’ve had many conversations with family, friends, and random people about general fitness and what they should be doing.  For the most part people tend to be know-it-alls and really aren’t seeking my professional opinion.  All they really want is affirmation that what they are currently doing is correct.  When I go on to tell them that standing on a BOSU ball doing dumbbell curls actually does nothing for their physical fitness level they get very defensive with me. Maybe they’re actually angry about the fact they spent a bunch of money on a useless piece of equipment, who knows?  The other people who are actually interested in my advice tend to tell me they want to get a personal trainer or a strength coach to oversee their training.  This realization they come to is a mixed bag for me.  On one hand I’m excited for them that they are willing to invest their time and hard earned money in their personal health.  On the other hand I’m weary of their decision.  The reason being is that there are so many terrible trainers out there that these honest hardworking people are going to end up flushing their money away.  I refuse to sugarcoat things for anyone which is why I tell them exactly this if they tell me they want a trainer/coach.  They respond with “well, how do I figure out if the trainer/coach is good or not?”  Great question!  My answer USED TO BE to make sure they have a bachelor’s degree in something exercise related and to make sure they have their CSCS or CPT through the NSCA.  As I’ve gone on in my career I have come to understand how WRONG I was.  Since I’ve been a strength coach I’ve found that neither of these things mean you are a good trainer (it doesn’t mean you’re a bad one either, I myself have both).  This lesson has been learned through life’s greatest teaching tool, experience. Some of the best fitness professionals I know have neither of these.  So, what do I tell people now?  Honestly, I try and keep it short but the following are some things you should find out before enlisting the aid of a trainer or coach.  Without further ado; You Might Have a Bad Strength Coach or Trainer If….

  • You don’t see any pull up, row, squat, deadlift, or pushup variations (because these aren’t functional movements right?)
  • They use the word “functional” or “core” more than 5 times within the first 5 minutes of meeting them (“What we’re going to do for your first session is get you up on this wobbly lookin’ platform and have you squat for 2 sets of 15 reps to really help your “functional” balance and to really get you to engage your “core”.  Don’t worry about that pain in your knee, that’s perfectly normal.”)
  • There is any type of bicep curl at the beginning of your program (just trying to sculpt the guns BRO!)
  • They have you do a cable row while squatting on a BOSU ball (two birds with one stone right?)
  • They have you perform a snatch without teaching you how to goblet squat correctly (DUDE! It’s all about being explosive.  Forget about the back pain, correct form is for SISSYS’!!!)
  • They have never heard of a goblet squat (I feel like it has something to do with Harry Potter, am I close?)
  • They have no idea who the following people are (comic book villains?)

-Mel Siff -Tudor Bompa -Leo Matveyev -Yuri Verkhoshansky

  • They ever put you on a BOSU ball or wobble board and try to get you to pistol squat holding a med ball over your head (Hey guy! I thought I told you, we are trying to functionally engage your core)
  • They look like this guy…
  • Honestly, it’ll just save us some time if I just say… They have you do anything on an unstable surface (I know I know, we get it… It’s all about being functional and engaging your core)
  • Their idea of a good deadlift looks like this… (We want to take your hamstrings and glutes completely out of it.  It’s all about using your lower back and lifting the bar with a jerking twisting motion.)

 [vsw id="YyhHDQ7X0dA" source="youtube" width="425" height="344" autoplay="no"]

  • Your workout consists mostly of ladder drills and cone drills (It doesn’t matter that you can’t squat 15lbs correctly; it’s all about working on your AGILITY!)
  • You get thrown on a bench press yet still can’t do a bodyweight pushup correctly (If you can’t bench press 315lbs you will never be a good athlete…. HAHAHA! Sorry, I couldn’t keep a straight face with that one)
  • They coach you on how to turn your pinky up at the top of a bicep curl (FOR THE LAST TIME! We are trying to sculpt the guns!!!)
  • They tell you that the only way to get fit is to get on the treadmill everyday (Strength? What do you need strength for? Lifting weights is just going to get you bulky and then that muscle will turn to fat when you’re older.  I see you have an awesome valgus collapse going on in your knees and your feet have no arch whatsoever… Sweet! Let’s go run for 30 minutes on the treadmill!)

I’m running short on time, that’s all I can think of for right now.  RELAX internet warriors; I’m only 99% serious, HA!

If anyone has any other ones they want to share then feel free to post it to the comments section.