When we first were talking about this interview, we didn’t really intend for it to be as long as it ended up being, so we broke it up into parts because segregating topics flowed well – Part I we talked about individual and personal history of Danny. Part II we talked about some training principles and philosophies and what is behind them. And then Part III is a little different.

As anyone who follows Danny knows, he takes continuing education and “being a nerd” to the next level. Part III is all about that. We worried it might be a little “over people’s heads” a bit as it is the kind of being the scenes / inner workings of his mind or the science aspect of things but we think valuable nonetheless and a good way to close out the interview…

CH : How did the “nerd” reference come about?

D2G : In all honesty, we heard from a member who has a friend that recently had starting working at a gym in Erie and it was mentioned that the owner of that gym when asked about us said, “Oh those guys are just nerds. All they do is learn.”

It was meant to be a dig somehow but we thought it was perfectly fitting.

A gym in the area who hasn’t learned anything new since they opened their doors (except what they steal from us…) thinks it is a knock on us that we are continuously learning, improving, evolving and getting better. Where they thought it was a dig on us, it was actually the perfect dig on them and their ignorance so we fully embraced the “nerd” moniker.

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Danny couldn’t find a picture of him wearing them but he indeed owns these socks…

But also, we just really love the science, and behind the scenes rabbit holes of fitness, exercise and nutrition. Then also finding ways to parlay that to clients and how it relates to them and in a way that is easily digestible. It always sucks when someone is talking to a client and that client needs multiple certifications and an exercise physiology degree to understand what they are talking about. Or you have people who use fancy words and jargon to make themselves sound impressive or cover up the fact that they don’t know what they are talking about.

A true understanding of content comes with the ability to chunk it down and teach it in a way that is easily understood and comprehended. I imagine the rest of this interview will likely fall into something not that easily digestible haha. Primarily because the topics are extremely complicated and being able to explain them in person is challenging enough, let alone in an interview, but we can roll with it. I know a lot of our clients and readers like the “nerding out” aspect.

CH : Before we go down the “bigger” rabbit holes I was thinking, I wanted to touch on one that you introduced me to and has been an amazing experience and probably the least “rabbit hole-y” of the things I wanted to cover. What exactly is Kinstretch or what you so sassingly call “Not Yoga”?

D2G : While I would love to take credit for the name “Not Yoga” that was all Dr. Andreo Spina [hereby referred to as “Dre”] – the creator of Functional Range Conditioning and Kinstretch. He used it as an easy description for Kinstretch.

Kinstretch’s tag line is “Control Yourself” and at its core is mobility training. But not mobility training in the “this is so relaxing” and easy sense. It is mobility training in the sense of when we are doing things that are truly going to make a change, hence it requires effort and work – and mobility training is no different. You treat it the same way you treat strength training in terms of progressive overload and issuing the people a challenge.

To quote Dre – “Kinstretch does all the things Yoga says it does, but actually does them. So it is technically “Not Yoga”.”

His line, not mine. I am not “anti-Yoga” in any way.

But the major issue does arise when it comes to Yoga that the super bendy woman who immensely needs strength training / stability related training and no more mobility or flexibility work is the one who does and enjoys doing yoga – because she is super bendy and it is easy.

Hypermobile

She does not need more Yoga…

Whereas the meathead male who doesn’t have enough mobility to be a human who could benefit from some Yoga, won’t ever be caught dead doing it because it is too hard, although exactly what he needs.

The premise comes from the fact that increasing flexibility without any intention isn’t necessarily better. Increasing range of motion that we cannot stabilize introduces a mechanism for injury. Which is what he sometimes see with that super bendy woman who loves doing Yoga. She will sneeze and throw her back out and blame the sneeze. Not the fact that her training has destabilized her lower back because she is overly concerned with range of motion and flexibility not stability or “true” mobility.

The goal of Kinstretch is increasing usable range of motion. Increasing mobility with end range stability. Because that which you cannot stabilize, does you nothing beneficial.

A popular line from Dre – “As per my clinic [he holds multiple manual therapy licenses and has a clinic in Canada] as I can’t speak for everyone… Where do you think we see more lower back injuries from, Crossfit or Yoga?”

Crossfit isnt as big in Erie as it is in a lot of areas so my readers / clients / prospective clients aren’t always familiar with the high injury rate of Crossfit, but the vast majority of the time people will answer him with Crossfit. And his answer is Yoga. From the reasons we mentioned above.

Again, his words, not mine. As I make it a point not to bash Yoga in any way because it has its value to the right person for sure. It just isn’t for every person. Whereas Kinstretch typically is.

Whether a person lacks range of motion (the average male we see), has far too much (the average female we see), or somewhere in between, the methodology applies because it works on stability at end rage mobility.

And in addition to all of the mobility benefits, there is a joint health and joint integrity aspect to Kinstretch as well. A lot of the positions address the hip capsule (in non-science speak that means essentially the closest muscle to the actual joint) and that leads to a host of benefits for joint health and durability reasons.

People tend to have a love hate relationship with our “Not Yoga” sessions because they are rather challenging (all individualized to the person as per that level of challenge though – we have 70 year olds who do it and stud athletes who do it) and induce some cramps but the benefits and how you tangibly feel immediately after are significant and immensely valuable.

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Judy demonstrating an Internal Rotation variation from the 90/90 Base Position in Kinstretch

CH : Love it. I was thinking of venturing down three different “official” rabbit holes in the “nerd” topics even though the answer you gave for “Not Yoga” could have definitely been a rabbit hole haha.

I am thinking let’s start with the one I am most familiar with and the least “rabbit hole” like of these three – nutrition and intermittent fasting?

D2G : I think the first major part is that the only absolutes we really know in nutrition are processed sugar is bad, healthy fats are not bad, protein is good and eat as close to real food as possible.

Everything after that “depends” and is negotiable as per the person’s situation. For whatever reason, people always want black and white when it comes to nutrition and the reality is it is usually shades of gray. Not fifty, but gray nonetheless.

And the best nutrition program is the one that people can make a part of their lives and adhere to as best they can. The absolute best nutrition program, as per science that a person can’t stick to, is not a good nutrition program.

With that said, intermittent fasting is certainly an effective “tool in our toolkit” when it comes to building a nutrition protocol that fits into someone’s life as well as having some science to support it.

Couple main points about it because for whatever reason people tend to freak out about not eating every 2-3 hours as well as freaking out about not eating breakfast. I used to joke that people got the same level of offended when people “talked ill” of breakfast as they did when someone talked ill of their mother.

And then I thought about it and it may be the same thing – I think the breakfast backlash part comes from people not wanting me to say that their mom was wrong for telling them “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” all their life so dissing breakfast is like dissing their mother. Nevertheless, there is nothing magical nor detrimental about breakfast in the grand scheme of things.

The whole eat every 2-3 hours thing seems to have been born from 250 pounds bodybuilders wanting to be 300 pound bodybuilders and in order to get as many calories as they needed, had to break up their 3 meals into 6 in order to be able to eat as much as they needed. It wasn’t born from science.

And I think it is safe to say our “middle aged” women looking to move better, feel better, lose some fat and have more energy, do not want to be 300 pound male bodybuilders, so eating like one really doesn’t make any sense. And there is so much bad and downright incorrect information at every step that knowing what to do is challenging and it gets confusing.

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Like This… It does not.

The myth is that more frequent smaller meals “increases your metabolism”…

There are two main faults there, the first is there is science to show that there is no increase in metabolism whether it is from 1-2 meals a day or 6-8. And there isn’t science to show that it actually does increase your metabolism.

The second is that the average female simply does not have enough calories to give in a day to be able to spread those calories out over 6-8 meals and both be satiated and not over eat. So they are either miserable and always hungry or they overeat. What typically happens is both.

Then there is the fact that there is a lot of support and science around the benefits of fasting – better insulin sensitivity, growth hormone benefits, cortisol management, ghrelin (the hunger hormone) benefits – among other things. In addition to science to show that there is no metabolic detriment inside of 48 hours of fasting, as well as 72 hours, among longer time periods.

So eating very frequently has its detriments and short(er) periods of fasting have little detriment, if any, with a plethora of benefits. So it makes sense that when we look at factors to manipulate in nutrition, fasting is an easy go to. It is effective and it allows people to not have to live off of chicken and broccoli their whole life.

The chicken, sweet potato and broccoli all day every day diet would work pretty well, if someone could actually do it over anything but the short term. But we can’t do it long term, so let’s figure out ways to build something we can actually do long term.

CH : But I’ll get low blood sugar in the morning if I don’t eat!! :p

D2G : Haha – if one is actually diabetic, then that is possible. Though Dom D’Agostino has shown some interesting things in relation to diabetics and fasting… Anyway, it is possible if someone is diabetic, it is unlikely or incredibly unlikely if they are not.

The reality is that not only does breakfast not improve cognitive function for most people, it is actually a detriment to it and a lot of times the things we will hear when people start skipping breakfast is they have a mental clarity and a lack of a mental fog that they don’t have when they eat breakfast.

I was never a breakfast eater, so when I came upon this information, I embraced it quickly because I always forced myself to eat in the morning even though I didn’t want to or I would have a shake “because I was supposed to”.

Some people, eating breakfast starts a daily habit of making better food choices throughout the day. This person should probably eat breakfast. As usual, it is all individualized to the specific person we are talking to. Is breakfast good or bad? Depends who we are talking to. Is fasting good or bad? Depends who we are talking to. Individualization always wins.

CH : That always seems to be the trend!

Speaking of individualization to the person, that is a good segway into our second rabbit hole – motivation science and behavior change?

D2G : Motivation, habits and behavior change are all far more complicated than the average person gives it credit for.

This kind of echoes a things we said earlier in the interview a little bit but it is based around the point that motivation, habits and people’s behaviors – more specifically “the behavior gap” is the more challenging part of this whole healthy lifestyle and fitness thing. The knowledge gap and knowing what to do is mandatory and more important in the grand scheme, but it is the easier aspect to master.

The act of “how do I make myself do this” is where we want to put the emphasis, in all the ways we mentioned previously earlier (in Part II) in the interview and shaped a lot of the ways we approach how we implement our programs and what we do.

It is seemingly simple things like focusing on process goals instead of outcome goals. Example being…

Outcome Goal – Lose 10 pounds.
Process Goal – Go to the gym at least 12x this month.

When you focus too much on the outcome, the typical result is being underwhelmed when you get there in addition to being a little too vague to track, measure and manage. Process goals focus on the journey and the progress we get from it, rather than arriving at a final destination.

Then it can be deeper into why people do things and how can we best motivate them to be able to do the things they want to be able to do. It is one thing to say, “Okay, process goals are better than outcome goals,” but then we have to focus on what does that process actually look like because simply making the goal doesn’t mean it is going to magically happen.

Habit formation is the key and that is also an easier said than done process. Because in order to truly be a habit, it has to be frequent, triggered by environment, automatic and subconscious / below the level of awareness. So we will never have that moment where we arrive home, sweaty and like we got a great workout and not know how we got there or how we did it, because there are too many factors that have to go into that process for it to operate below our level of conscious awareness.

Then we also have what makes or drives motivation. The myth that an outside source can fully motivate you is false because to be successful there has to be a level of autonomy to success in that endeavor. All we as coaches and facilitators of these goals can do to the best of our abilities is provide a motivational climate, which is essentially creating conditions in which people can motivate themselves.

I can’t “motivate you” because no on can because it isn’t possible but I can provide the culture, community and climate so that motivating yourself is not only possible but facilitated.

Creating that motivational climate involves three things primarily as per Self-Determination Theory – autonomy, competence and belonging.

Autonomy in the regard that you are in control of the outcome, it didn’t happen to you, it happened because of you.

Competence in the regard that you are getting better at this thing you are working on and seeing progress on multiple fronts or aspects.

And then belonging in terms of having that support system and a team in which both supports you and you support.

A lot of “traditional gyms” lack the belonging aspect and a lot of “random bootcamp beatdowns” that do the community or belonging aspects really well, miss out on the autonomy and competence aspects. Workouts constantly changing makes you feel like you are never getting better at anything as well as feeling like you don’t have the control of the outcome or that outcome is within your control – frankly, because you don’t and it isn’t.

CH : We had a conversation where you talked about autonomy and what it is and what it is not. Can you touch on that real quick?

D2G : Autonomy is a little tricky because the way it is typically used isn’t the exact way the “motivation and behavior change world” uses it. It is often used, not necessarily negatively but certainly not positively in that if someone is “autonomous” they kind of go to the beat of their own drum / do their own thing or even “go against the man!” or whatever.

And that really isn’t what it is. It isn’t negative at all.

It simply, or rather not so simply, refers to acting in accordance with a person’s own values and having a level of control in the outcome. The opposite of autonomy is control rather than the opposite of autonomy being listening to or adhering to. It is probably the most impactful basic psychological need we have and is the key to a lot of things in terms of motivation and reaching goals.

An easy example in the context of what we do, is writing a step by step, time by time “meal plan” for someone is less effective than giving someone guidelines to follow because the first challenges their autonomy and the second allows them control, using the right things on the right path. You can give them the ideas that they make their own, which is the best of both worlds.

The running joke is “What is the easiest way to get a person to do something.” Tell them not to do it.

But in all seriousness, once we are “told” to do something, rather than choose on our own to do something, it makes it a lot harder to do, especially in the long term.

CH : That is perfect. Now down the ultimate rabbit hole, number three – What is PRI and how has it influenced what you do?

D2G : This is easily the deepest and most interesting rabbit hole we have come across. I don’t know if that means that this answer will be shorter or longer than the rest haha. PRI stands for the Postural Restoration Institute.

I have been through a lot of their courses – Myokinematic Restoration, Pelvis Restoration, Postural Respiration, Impingement and Instability (wrote about that one HERE), and a couple of their Annual Sympoisums that cover various topics from various professions all related to PRI principles (attending another in April of this year, hopefully). And I would absolutely be lying if I said I closely understood it all.

Even when I had the biggest grasp of the information I did, I still struggled somewhat with how to apply it into my fitness businesses. It is super interesting because it completely changed the way I looked at posture (both static [not moving] and dynamic [moving]) and movement as a whole but didn’t drastically change “how we do what we do” at our gyms.

I joke with fellow fitness professionals when it comes to PRI that it has changed absolutely everything in terms of how we look at and approach things, but in terms of what we’ve applied into our business practice, protocol and procedure, it hasn’t changed all that much.

It always gets funny looks but that is the main gist of it. Biggest thing in terms of the gym and “what we do” is I am constantly correcting people’s standing positions. Often saying “Don’t stand like that” (which for the record isnt incredibly autonomy supportive haha).

The principle is that we as humans are drawn into certain asymmetrical postures and positions via the fact that our organs are inherently asymmetrical and they predispose us to these patterns.

Looking at the organs, your heart is only one your left side, opposing it on the right is more lung on the right than there is lung on the left side. Your liver is only on your right and is opposed by your spleen that is only one your left and significantly smaller than your liver. Your diaphragm aka breathing muscle is bigger on your left than your right because of the space the liver takes up, etc etc. And this asymmetry leads us to certain patterns, particularly the “in your right hip pattern” which PRI will call “L AIC” standing for Left Anterior Interior Chain.

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pri-l-aic-3

pri-l-aic

I saw scrolling through Facebook one day and these three pictures were three of four posts all in a row and the first thoughts I had was holy PRI! It gives a good demonstration of what “the pattern” looks like… You will see it everywhere now.

– Sitting back in their right hip so that their left hip is in front of the right.
– The left his slightly posteriorly tilted and the right hip is slightly anteriorly tilted.
– Right shoulder below the left shoulder.
– Because the right hip is “back” the right side of the torso or trunk has to rotate to the left so the torso faces forward.

And there is more but I gather people have stopped reading by now haha. The main thing is that if you look at people “zippers” of their pants / what they are wearing on their lower body, whether there is a zipper there or not, it is oriented to the right. Sometimes you will see people standing on their left leg / their left leg is bearing most of their weight instead of their right, but they still have a “zipper” that is still oriented to the right.

Just because we are “drawn” into this pattern just by being a human, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t come with potential overuse or asymmetry related issues, it definitely does.

In addition to looking at static and dynamic postures like I just described, PRI also looks a lot at “breathing” and the diaphragm, which earlier mentioned is your “breathing muscle”. Your diaphragm excurses “up” when you breathe in and excurses down when you breath out. What ends up happening is people breath compensatorily so often that they aren’t able to hit the full ranges of motion of the diaphragm and issues arise as a result.

An easy analogy is the biceps. If we never let the arm reach fully locked or extended and never let it fully bend, we would lose the ability to and walk around with a weird bent arm all the time. Similar to people and their breathing/diaphragm. It loses capacity because it isn’t used.

You will typically see people who breathe “apically” rather than diaphragmatically which essentially means they breathe through their chest (thus having limited space because the ribs dont allow it to expand) rather than their diaphragm or 3-dimensionally through their “belly” or lower trunk area, which has more room to expand and breathe fully.

PRI started as primarily a model of Physical Therapy and getting people out of pain, but has made strides to the fitness world as well. I am not sure it will ever fully take off in the fitness world because of how complicated and in depth the protocols are, but it has 100% shaped how we look at things and patterns people are predisposed to. It has allowed us to take someone who was a good 9-12 inches away from touching the floor on a toe touch to touching the floor in that same toe touch, with a simply positioning and breathing exercise that had absolutely nothing to do with her hamstrings.

Her hamstrings weren’t “short” or “tight”. Rather she was simply operating from a starting position that put her behind neutral so she had further to go and couldnt, then when he got her neutral she could no problem.

Ian Extension

Ian is exaggerating the posture in the above picture, but it gives you an example of someone who has hips that are “dumped forward” like this in this picture are going to have a hard time traveling in the opposite direction to touch his toes.

Ian Flexion

Similar to someone who has an upper body similar to his in that above picture, would have a hard time getting their arms overhead. The starting position dictates how far you are able to go.

It comes back similar to the Not Yoga / Kinstretch conversation. Arbitrarily stretching people who have either of the above resting postures, will not work at all and potentially cause further issues, because they don’t need stretched, they need their resting positions corrected. And that can be corrected with a simple positioning exercise or two or over a longer period of time with individualized strength training work.

CH : Mind blown. In closing out this interview is there anything you wish I had asked but didn’t?

D2G : I honestly don’t think so as I am pretty sure we covered literally almost everything and any more would potentially be redundant or too deep to cover in text in an interview.

I came across a great quote from Dre the other day that I think fits the overall theme of all three parts here but especially this part…

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It would be super nice if simple, generic and easy all worked. It would make everything we do a lot more easily implemented and a lot less complicated.

But the honest reality is and always will be, the expert path is the best and the pivotal key to success in fitness, health and lifestyle goals will always be a coach, because the act of actually doing it, will always be the hardest part.

Of course, with the explicit caveat that simply hiring a coach isn’t a cure-all because that coach actually needs to know shit, because while it may not be rocket science. It certainly isn’t as simple as showing up to a “Circuit Training” or “Cardio Blitz” bootcamp beatdown with everyone doing the same thing poorly and there are so many people in there that actual coaching and doing things correctly is at an extreme minimum.

Again, if that worked, we would absolutely do it. If Yoga were better than “Not Yoga” we would absolutely do it. If jogging / aerobics were better than metabolic high intensity interval based “cardio” combined with strength training for true fat loss, we would do it.

But our goal is the best and what truly works, so that is what we are doing to do. Because it is better and you deserve it.

CH : I don’t think we could end on a better note than that. Thanks for doing this, it was great.

D2G : You’re very welcome. It was my pleasure.



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If you haven’t checked out Part I yet, you can do so HERE. Most of the times with Part I and IIs if you didn’t read Part I you would be lost in Part II but that really isn’t the case here as Part I was more about Danny’s individual personal story and the following is more about the nuts and bolts of training philosophy so they work well independently. Part I seemed to be a really good hit though so it is work checking out…

Here is Part II…

CH : You have a great philosophy on, “fitness fitting into your life, not having a life that revolves around it.” Can you elaborate on that?

D2G : It is something we talk about a lot with our clients. There seem to be two trends of people who initially come to us. The first is the people who simply are not diligent enough with their nutrition and workouts in a way that they need to be. Their diets are either non-existent of willpower and they eat whatever or they simply don’t know or they have been influenced by a lot of misinformation and do the wrong things, though through no fault of their own. This is the less commonly seen scenario actually, which one wouldn’t assume.

The more common scenario is they are far too strict and eat and/or workout in a way that is far more restricting / strenuous than they ever need for the goals they wish to accomplish. An analogy we use is they bring a machete to a butter knife fight.

If the goal is to step on stage in a bikini in a figure competition, depleted of carbs, sodium and water, then we have to make sacrifices both in nutrition and in workouts that we never have to make if our goal is to lose some fat, feel better, have more energy and drop a couple of dress sizes, which is what most people’s goals are in some capacity.

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This Is Likely Not Your Goal…

Most people take the bikini competitor approach when their goals are what I just mentioned. And not only is it overkill, but the only result that can really happen is rebound, which obviously is a bad thing.

Our philosophy is, let’s find a balance that both gets us to our fitness and lifestyle goals while allowing us to enjoy life and have a healthy relationship with working out and eating correctly.

In a healthy lifestyle, fitness is priority, what, 4? 5? We are all busy and we all have shit to do. Making it seem like people need to do far so much more than they actually have to, to get where they want is ineffective and wrong. Your life not only doesn’t have to revolve around it, but it shouldn’t.

I will unequivocally tell you, you can’t have pizza and wine every night. But I will also tell you, you don’t have to give up pizza or wine. Learning moderation and balance is always the best bet. It is certainly easier said than done though. That’s what we are here for.

I always joke, a life without Lucky Louies is not one I want to participate in.

It is one thing if fitness / working out / nutrition is/are your main hobby/hobbies, but for most people it isn’t. And that is okay. It is something that needs to be done for a multitude of reasons, which needs to be fit in where it can, because the average person does not have nearly as much free time as a lot of media, marketing and things make it out to be. And also have a lot of responsibilities that are vying for their time.

It is important to acknowledge when people are using things as excuses or crutches but it is almost important to acknowledge that people have a lot of things vying for their time and energy.

CH : So true. What do you think is the biggest thing or one of the biggest things holding people back from reaching their goals?

D2G : This is a tough one. Because the goal is that the biggest struggle or thing holding people back should be “The Behavior Gap.” Also known as “the ability to do it”. But now with all of the fitness misinformation that is out there, “The Knowledge Gap” is absolutely a challenge. Also known as “what to do”.

knowledge_gap3

What is great about what we do, is we take away the knowledge gap from the start.

When you join our gym, the knowledge gap is no longer an issue for you at all because we take care of all of that and we can solely focus on the behavior gap because that is the hardest part. And for whatever reason it is the part that no one really talks about. But the “how do I make myself do this” aspect is hard. It isn’t a boom, quick and easy fix. It is a challenge with a lot of layers and a lot of moving parts.

It echoes the myth and misconception that “just not being where you want should be motivation enough”. Which just isnt true, as per science. The “doing it” is the hard part and what most people struggle with. And that is completely normal.

For example, when someone is having trouble or struggling with the “doing it” process, what is the thing that friends, family, co-workers say?

CH : I would say either “find your motivation / why” or something like “be accountable to yourself”.

D2G : Exactly! “Be accountable to yourself”. What does that even mean?…

The 35-55 year old mother of 2-4, who got the kids up and ready, worked and/or ran around all day, drove the kids from school to practices/activities all afternoon, among all of her other myriad responsibilities… she has literally been accountable to herself all day. And we are going to tell her “just be accountable to yourself.”

It doesn’t make any sense. It is so much deeper than that. And there are so many more moving parts than that.

We have to find ways and build systems in order for her to make fitness and healthy lifestyle a part of her life. Again, because it is very important and non-negotiable but we can’t underplay or underemphasize how challenging that may be.

CH : I feel like asking to elaborate on the “how” of that is probably a multiple hour long seminar so I won’t ask you to do that, but can you possibly give us the cliffnotes version?

D2G : A deep “why” and “being truly ready” is absolutely part of it. Because truly knowing what your goal is and why you are doing it, makes getting there a little easier. If you don’t know why, how is a lot more challenging.

But after that it is multiple layers of motivation and accountability stacked on top of each other in a truly unconditionally supportive environment in a manner that is individualized to her.

One of the issues that arises is when people are doing fitness methodologies or practices that are ineffective, they have to make up for the fact that they don’t work too well, with more volume. And this raises the misconception that “fitness” and “working out’ is a 10-20 hour a week endeavor.

But when we are doing the things specifically individualized to us and exactly what we need as a unique individual, 3-4 hours a week is all we need. And we spend the other time working on other things and serving all of life’s responsibilities.

But the key is that multiple layers of motivation and accountability. Motivation isnt necessarily infinite, we don’t have this endless supply. But when we have multiple layers, when one has “ran dry” we have other layers to tap from.

The reason the “I am going to join a gym and workout on my own” philosophy fails so incredibly often is that the only layer of accountability is “you”. And then that whole being accountable to yourself thing pops up because you are still being accountable to yourself in so many more ways than just going to the gym. And typically because the hard part was getting there, not once you have gotten there.

If another battle begins when you get to the gym, it is infinitely harder because you’ve already “won” the harder battle, having to “fight” another one is unnecessary.

mff-big-box-gym

“Umm… what do I do now…?”

In regards to the multiple layers and what they are…

– Yourself and your why…
– Not only one fitness professional but a team of fitness professionals (we can elaborate on this later if you’d like)…
– A community of likeminded and similar people all going through the same journey together (this part is the most important part)…
– Autonomy or feeling like we are the source of our own behavior, that we aren’t being controlled or being coerced.
– Competence in terms of self-improvement and feeling like you are getting better at something. People knock Crossfit but they have this part dialed in. They are working at improving things. This is also why the “random bootcamp beatdowns” that are different every day and no one ever gets better at anything methodology is ineffective…
– External support…
– Actually enjoying the process…

Among other things… I should probably make that into a seminar huh? Haha.

CH : Not even kidding, you definitely should. The Crossfit and “random bootcamp beatdown” line is a good transition… You mentioned in the past that you kind of have a reputation as someone who is known for talking negatively about a lot of things. Can you elaborate?

D2G : This is a big one for me.

The mission is “Changing the Way Fitness is Done in Erie.”

With that mission comes providing the most progressive and effective fitness training, methodology, business etc we can provide by constantly learning and improving. Education as the foundation.

But the other part of education in addition to simply doing and talking about the things that work and are effective, is talking and educating about the things that aren’t effective.

I do my absolute best to always come from a genuine place of education and positivity and I would be lying if I said there weren’t times when I flirt with that line, but the goal is always education and not singling out or offending anyone in particular.

Sometimes people get offended when you talk about how p90x doesn’t work for the vast majority of people and they are a beach body multi-level marketing consultant who sells p90x…

But it isnt about that person.

It is about the person who thinks they are a “failure at fitness” because they did p90x and it didn’t work for them, they couldn’t finish it because it was too hard or they got hurt doing it.

That person needs to know that they are not a failure and that they didn’t fail. P90x failed and it has nothing to do with you. When you do things that don’t work and it didn’t work, it is nothing you did. It is “it”.

Time is our most valuable asset and like in the first half of the interview, I don’t want people to make the same mistakes I did, so I have to talk about the mistakes.

Staying silent doesn’t educate.

And the unfortunate reality is that “Erie fitness” is incredibly behind on progressive and effective fitness programs and methodologies, so there is a lot of educating to do.

But that is exactly why we do it and exactly what we do here.

CH : Perfect. Are you ever concerned with how that may be interpreted?

D2G : I think the reality is that the people who get offended by it or have issue with it are personal trainers who are doing the thing I mentioned or people who are stuck in their ways and don’t want our help anyway because “they’ve always done it that way” and that is fine.

haters

Our goal isnt to educate those people.

Our goal is to educate the people who need us and I think that population appreciates the education and the honesty, but most importantly, the facts and science to back up what I say.

Nothing gets “knocked” blindly or via opinion. This is where “the line” is.

And we always have an answer to “why”. And it is either backed by science or the most logical interpretation of the science that there is.

I think that is the biggest misconception with the whole way we approach “education”. The misconception that, “Oh, he says that p90x doesn’t work because that isnt what he does,” simply isnt the case.

“What we do” is “the things that work.”

We aren’t married to any implement, methodology, system, anything, except what works.

If something revolutionary happened in the fitness profession that would overhaul everything we did, we would fully immerse ourselves in learning about it and then we would overhaul everything we do. We wouldn’t claim ignorance and keep doing what we are doing because “it is what we do” or “we have always done it this way’.

And we constantly and consistently educate ourselves so that all we offer is what works best.

If something worked better, we would absolutely do it and not talk negatively about it at all. I always joke that if jogging worked for fat loss, we would absolutely do it. It would make how we implement and structure things so much simpler. The reality is it doesn’t and we have to acknowledge that, then educate why.

The fitness industry to an extent has become “oh they preach about the thing they are selling” because unfortunately a lot of people blindly push things onto their friends because they make a commission off of it, not because it works.

So when someone comes from a place of, it isnt about any particular thing, it is about what truly works and we are only married to what works best as per our never ending and continuous pursuit of continuing education, it seems out of the ordinary.

CH : Speaking of the things that work and aptly so as this is how we met, what exactly is DVRT and what are the benefits?

D2G : Another seminar length question haha. Literally because I teach that certification. Cliffnotes version…

DVRT stands for Dynamic Variable Resistance Training and is a programming system created by Josh Henkin, who is also the creator of the Ultimate Sandbag, one of the most versatile implements on the fitness industry.

DVRT as per the way I like to explain it, has two major facets.

The first is that life exists and happens in 360 degrees of movement and so should people’s programming and training. Another downfall of p90x (among a large amount of fitness methodologies including every machine at a gym) is that it only happens up and down or front to back. But life doesn’t work that way. Moving side to side and moving rotationally all happen in every-day life and training should address that.

It is why you will see big strong men or women who throw their back out when they bend over a little sideways to pick something up. But they can lift X! They can plank for 2-20 minutes! They are strong. But they are only strong in one plane of motion.

The second and most specific is that there has to be more to progression (making harder) and regression (making easier) than simply adding or decreasing weight.

Too often the only way you will see people make things harder is to put more weight on.

Too often the only way you will see people make things easier is to take some weight off.

It is so much more than that.

A lot of times you will see people squatting and it looks terrible, so they lighten the weight. And then it now looks like a lighter weight terrible squat. It isn’t the load of the squat, it is that they can’t squat. And that is completely okay but taking the weight further and further down until there isn’t weight and they still can’t squat, doesn’t mean load them up and squat.

So DVRT is the system that our programming model is based around because the absolute best way to get a client to their fitness and healthy lifestyle goals is to give them a program that is 100% individualized to them and DVRT allows us to do that incredibly well.

Instead of solely relying on load, you can manipulate the implement a person uses (it is far more than barbells, dumbbells and bodyweight), how a person holds an implement, how a person stands or the position they are in doing the exercise, the stability of the implement, the plane of motion (front/back, side to side, rotational), tempo or speed in which it is performed as well as combinations of those aspects.

mandi-stg-shoulder-squat

A Shouldered Ultimate Sandbag Stagger Stance Squat with a 3 second lower and a 3 second hold at the bottom with a 40# Ultimate Sandbag is harder than a 225 pound barbell back squat and it is with a fraction of the weight. So we actually have the ability to make exercises harder, more challenging and more effective while using less weight.

That’s a knowledge bomb.

knowledge-bomb

CH : Why would someone want to make an exercise harder with less weight?

D2G : Good question to make me clarify haha. Sometimes we need absolute load and heavy poundages. They are important, they are good, they have their place. But that happens far less often than conventional wisdom leads people to believe.

Are you a powerlifter? Are you a competitive athlete playing in an actual sport? Load matters.

Are you a “middle aged” women looking to feel better, have more energy, be more confident, drop a jeans / dress size or two, lose some fat etc? Then progressive overload and improving functional strength as per the things individualized to you is the goal and that doesn’t have to necessarily be with heavy and heavier weights. Heavy weights have a longer recovery time, you don’t progress as fast, among other things. The goal is better and improvement and when we have the education and expertise to not rely on load, we shouldn’t.

Another thing too with me personally that I don’t think I mentioned too much in this interview is that I have a ridiculously long injury history and before I found DVRT, it was incredibly often that random aches, pains and minor injuries would limit me and bring progress to a halt because I simply didn’t have the architecture and durability most people had and the flexibility and variability of DVRT to individualize everything down to the finest detail and no relying on absolute load to do so has allowed me to pretty much workout injury and aches/pains free since I dove down the DVRT rabbit hole.

The reality is also that most people are like me in that regard. It is the outlier who can just go do any random workout and beatdowns and have the durability to survive them. But the vast majority of people simply do not and that is completely okay because it is normal, but we shouldn’t base the fitness industry off the outlier, we should base it off the majority. And that is exactly what we and DVRT do.

CH : You mentioned flows earlier in the interview/tale of the tape, what exactly are those?

It is a level of higher end progression. Complexes and flows “blur” the line of strength, mobility, stability, power, endurance and everything in between.

A complex is typically sets of exercises done right in a row with the same implement. So complex would look like 5 squats right into 5 presses, right into 5 swings etc.

Whereas a flow seamlessly transitions exercises into one another and that combination is then repeated. So if you look at the following flow…

She goes through the swing, clean, snatch, windmill, Turkish Get Up sweep and then repeats that for desired amount of reps.

They are interesting because there is the obvious components of challenging exercises but there is also a brain / neurological component you have to think through that adds another progressive overload stimulus to what we do.

There really isn’t anything “inherently magical” about them even though they “look sexy” but they are fun, extremely challenging and a way to progress in an effective manner, especially in a way that looks like a very light implement becoming extraordinarily challenging.

What is a really easy way to make something light feel incredibly heavy? Flows.

CH : When it comes to training, what do you think is the closest thing we have to “the secret” or the “magic pill”?

D2G : We all of course know there is no magic pill, no secret fad, wrap, cleanse, detox, starvation etc. But the closest thing we have? I will give you the secret recipe for sure. This is also the extent of my mathematical abilities…

Programs Individualized to You –> (3-4 + 90%) x 52 x Forever

The programs individualized to you is the most important part. Doing the wrong things in that same equation will not be your answer. You have to be doing the things you specifically need for your abilities in every way.

But after that, 3 to 4 workouts a week plus a nutrition program you follow strictly 90% of the time x 52 weeks a year, forever.

We live in an instant gratification based world and when it comes to healthy, sustainable fitness and lifestyle change done correctly, it almost seems unfair how gradual that approach is. But that is the reality.

Our running joke is that the average female wants fat loss results… yesterday. And the no bullshit answer, because science, is if we are going to do it right, you have to give us some time and put in the time over the long term. This doesn’t mean when we don’t see benefits in other areas like more energy, better movement and other tangible increases, but doing it right isn’t a quick fix.

Added, maintaining progress is as challenging, if not more challenging than making that initial progress, so we have to “play the 52 week game” not the instant gratification game.

This is another reason why the fads do not work. They are instant gratification with no long term methodologies or strategies. When you are done, it is done, there is no what to do next. We don’t do things to get through, we do things to get from.

Things that build us up, not things that take from us. Echoing from earlier [what ended up being the beginning of Part II] the 3-4 times a week and 90% strict nutrition allows for the long game, the chicken and broccoli and 6-12 workouts a week figure competitor program does not and isn’t sustainable, which again is okay because that is likely not your goal. We have to build things we can do forever, because we need to do it forever. Building us up, not breaking us down.

This is too often missed, but is the secret and the magic pill.

(Stay tuned for our last installment, Part III – “The Nerding Out” next time…)



(Quick note as this is technically a Guest Blog as it is written by one of my good friends and fellow fitness business owner, Craig Householder but it is all about me, which is interesting. I’ll let him take over right from the start… – D2G)

When you walk into Twoguns Training Systems, their unofficial mantra (stolen from Mark Fisher Fitness) of, “Serious Fitness. Ridiculous Humans” makes complete sense. There are both unicorns as well as anatomy models of a foot and a pelvis.

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Literally.

Danny elaborates, “We have to take our fitness seriously, because it is serious and it is of utmost importance to do it correctly as well as to your highest ability and do it often. But we don’t have to take ourselves so seriously. People are far cooler than most businesses give them credit for and to truly foster an environment where people are unconditionally supported and truly judgment free – we have to be ourselves. And jerks aren’t allowed to stay.”

The music isn’t overly loud yet the personalities are. A client says something with the word “can’t” and the immediate response from their team (note – they don’t call them staff, they call them team) is, “We don’t fucking use that word here!” It is no wonder why this place has been described as “Erie’s best kept fitness secret”.

There are pictures and stories from clients and not too much about Danny Twoguns – “the man himself”. Sans a copy of his #1 Best Selling book, “Get With… The Program.”

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(Funny quote related to that from Danny – “It is funny about half the people who come in are like “Oh my god, you wrote a book and it was a best seller! That’s so cool!” and then the other half are like, “Oh…, a book … that’s…uh… cool?” Perspective is everything.”)

When asked why there isn’t too much about him, he answers – “So often personal trainers are all about themselves. Their marketing is about them. Their business card is them. Everything revolves around them. And that is just ego. It never made sense to me. It isn’t about me or the “personal trainer,” it is about the people we serve. I care about educating people on how they can be helped and emphasizing people we’ve helped as a way for them to relate. Obviously I’m part of it but it isn’t about me, it’s about “you”. Which is a little strange in this context, of course, since we are doing an interview about “me”…”

Full disclosure, I consider Danny one of my mentors and we are both currently part of the Results Fitness University Mastermind / Coaching Group. I first met him when I attended the DVRT (Dynamic Variable Resistance Training) Level I and II certification he taught and hosted at Twoguns Training Systems in 2015 and he has gone out of his way multiple times to not only help me in my DVRT education, but my business as well. So when he asked me to put together an interview, I was stoked to do it.

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Our pose for the close of the DVRT Level II Certification at Twoguns Training Systems

 

Tale of the Tape (Danny is a UFC fan so it seemed fitting)

– Age : 31
– Hometown : East Rockaway, NY
– Current : Erie, Pennsylvania
– First Certification : NSCA-CPT (Certified Personal Trainer) – 2006
– Favorite Certification : DVRT Master Instructor
– Favorite Exercise : “The one that meets you directly at your ability level.” Or DVRT / Ultimate Sandbag / Kettlebell “Flows”

An example of an Ultimate Sandbag Flow or as Danny calls “super fun”

– Fun Fact : My current favorite music to workout to is 90’s Boy Band / 98 Degrees Radio on Pandora.

CH : When did you first become interested in fitness?

D2G : It may or may not be a recurring trend that I cannot seem to answer anything quickly or easily and this is definitely one of those questions as the “initial interest” and “the passion” as you see it now didn’t start at the same time.

I had just dropped out of college as a Print Journalism major because I realized that I did not have the patience or desire to complete a whole curriculum in Print Journalism (added I had already switched away from English as a major because I didn’t want to read all of the novels it required). And I wasn’t going to “just go to college” without knowing what I wanted to do.

CH : Quick interjection, I feel like you are such a reader it surprises me you went away from English because of the reading requirements?

D2G : Haha touché. I am not nearly as well read in fiction as I am in non-fiction. I remember hating John Steinbeck because he could write about the leaves on a tree for 3 pages and by the time he was done with the leaves he was also done with my interest. And not only did we have to read about 3 pages of leaves, but then we had to talk about it. And I just couldn’t haha.

CH : Makes sense! So you “dropped out” of college…

D2G : Yes, I left school. My uncle got me a job at the Gold’s Gym where his friend was a co-owner. I worked the Front Desk, initially. I befriended one of the trainers there. We became workout partners. He convinced me to get certified and the gym hosted a weekend certification that I attended, which was the first certification I mentioned in the “Tale of the Tape.”

I started as a trainer there and still did the front desk as well. Traditional, boring, not as effective as it could be 1 on 1 personal training. And … I didn’t like it, in fact I really didn’t like it.

In hindsight, it was for all the right reasons. I hated it for all its shortcomings which we see in the traditional box gym model – endless rows of machines, very little individualization, etc and traditional, “old school” 1 on 1 personal training – no energy, very little accountability overall and a lot of talking about things not workout related to fitness to fill time.

I had a lot of clients and I “made a lot of money” during that half a year I did it. But it was incredibly draining.

I loved the concept, but not the application. I wanted to learn more about how to do it correctly. There was so much potential but I wasn’t going to learn that where I was. And not really knowing any better way to get an education, I went back to college.

CH : So that is the “initial interest” aspect of it. Now how about the “passion” part?

D2G : Exactly. I went to college and didn’t get the answers I was looking for. I had an absolutely amazing advisor and college mentor who both gave me the motivation to get through the full program and the degree as well as really teaching me “how to learn.”

I always say I didn’t learn anything fitness wise I use now from college, but I did learn how to learn. And it started the thought process that investing in yourself can pay the best interest.

You just have to invest in the right places.

Looking back, I don’t know if I could do it all over if I would go or not. I feel like I did a lot of growing up there that I needed to do (in addition to the aforementioned) but there is always that part of me that is like, “What if you started what you do now but earlier” since I didn’t / don’t need a degree to do what I do now. But, we live in the present and not the past :p So I don’t dwell all that much.

The last part of that degree program was an internship. I had a paid one set up, it fell through last minute so I was scrambling to find something and ended up interning at a gym that would later hire me, first as front desk and sales.

Then still having a certification and said gym selling training packages in a promotion that they didn’t actually have trainers to fulfill those packages of (don’t ask haha), I started training people as well. People started getting results, which was out of the norm, and the proverbial rock started rolling.

I eventually got “big enough” to rent out my own studio space inside that same gym. When that happened, there was this moment of, “Okay, this could be something you actually do forever. And if that is the case, let’s actually do this.” Because before this point, I was still in the “what can I actually do with my life for a career” conundrum.

2013-studio

800 Square Feet of Learning! / Initial Studio Space

I attended my first Perform Better Functional Training Summit in June of 2012 and the game changed forever. Primarily in two ways, one in that I knew this could truly be a life changing career for those who put the work in and also I now had an avenue to truly learn, evolve, improve and get better. Plus I met Alwyn Cosgrove in person for the first time after only stalking him on the internet beforehand. And that is the start of “the passion”.

CH : And poof, it was that easy?

D2G : Haha, not at all. That was the start though.

There were two main struggles, one before and interwoven into the story I just recounted and one that came slightly after yet still a little interwoven. And then both those things woven into each other. Words and things I know. I’ll elaborate so that makes sense…

“Growing up” I struggled immensely with “finding happiness” primarily in terms of who am I and what am I meant to do.

From a young age, I saw that a lot of the “conventional things” and the “way we’ve always done things” were the exact opposite of things I enjoyed, things that motivated me and “places” I wanted to go – figuratively, not literally.

I hated school. I hated monotony. I hated “shit for the sake of doing shit”. I hated “because you are supposed to”.

My mother was constantly frustrated with me because on progress reports and report cards, there would always be something along the lines of “Doesn’t do homework” or “Homework needs improvement”. And my contention was, if I am getting good grades on tests and projects, why would I do the homework. There were video games to be played for god’s sake – half kidding.

Then the answer from all angles was “because you are supposed to”. And when I would contend again with, if the point of homework is for you to get better grades and I am already getting better grades, why am I doing it, all I would get back once more is “because you are supposed to.” And that never flew in “my world” from as long as I can remember.

And also, all of the stuff that didn’t interest me remotely, that regardless of what “they” say that I would never use again in my life, but I had to know for this upcoming test – because I was supposed to.

And growing up, the dialogue from those views was that I was an asshole, not that I was built for an entrepreneurial based or entrepreneurial inspired life, not the “conventional” one. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with the “conventional” life as I say it for a lot of people. It is just wrong for me.

But growing up, no on teaches you any of that. Or that that is okay. So you are left feeling like you are different and not in a good way. And worst of all, you feel like you have no guidance (because you really don’t) and no plan for what success or happiness looks like.

This feeling plagued me for a long time. As time went on, it got worse. You are supposed to know your plan going into college. To not know it even when you are finished with your bachelor’s degree, increases that pressure…

To not only not know your plan but have absolutely no clarity as to how to find that answer out was incredibly frustrating for me. The frustration was reaching a peak as I was getting more passionate about fitness, which one would think we be the opposite. But now I was passionate and “fired up” but still without any clarity.

Then I joined the Results Fitness University Coaching Group and that clarity became very clear. Developing a path for how you can do this and make it work while knowing and having expert coaches in your corner to guide you along the way essentially alleviated all of the stress and frustration that had been mounting for over a decade.

rfu-mm-feb-2013

My first Mastermind. You cant see me because I seem to always stand behind the 2nd tallest person in the room.

CH : Wow, I didn’t know all that.

D2G : This goes for people in their fitness goals looking at other people and also fitness business owners looking and other fitness owners – it is definitely easy to look at people who are doing great things / things you admire / achieved the results you want, or people see as “successful” (or helping a lot of people for the fitness business owners) and think that they never had a struggle and that everything came easy. And the vast majority of time, that simply isn’t true.

I think particularly in the context of our clients and the people we help and serve, they tend to use it as a coping mechanism or a flat out excuse. I can’t do what “so and so” did because she had it easy and I have all these struggles that prevent me from being where she is / where I want to be. Whereas that person very likely has had just as many struggles and sometimes even more.

It is always the outlier who has had things handed to them or things were super easy for. We just like to glorify them and make them seem infinitely more common than they actually are.

CH : That is a good transition point to elaborate on, what does success look like to you personally?

D2G : Providing a safe, motivated place where people can genuinely be themselves while enjoying fitness / a healthy lifestyle and getting to their fitness goals.

It is one of those things, where I genuinely got into this profession because I wanted to help people, which unfortunately happens less often than it doesnt. I wanted to prevent people from making the same mistakes I have made. We haven’t even touched on that rabbit hole. The struggle I talked about just before was partly influenced by, hey I genuinely want to help people change their lives and change the way fitness is done in Erie but I also want to be able to afford to eat, have a family and go learn things to get better – can there be a middle ground? Of course we know now that there can be.

To that end, success for me really looks like helping the most people help the most people – while of course helping people ourselves.

Unlock human potential and allow people to live their best life. In every capacity.

It is strange to me how many people think that fitness is not an integrated approach to everything and that we can’t have it all…

The average female thinks she has to starve herself and have a horrible relationship with food to get to her fitness goals. She doesn’t.

The middle aged male thinks that getting to his fitness goals and results requires pain, lack of mobility and discomfort. It doesn’t.

People think fitness and working out is something that takes from you rather than gives to you in every way, in every facet.

Changing those misconceptions is success.

A little more globally and a little less personally, I think success in terms of fitness, is the ability to be confident in your own skin, while having the physical ability and the confidence in that physical ability to do the things you wish to do. Too often people don’t realize how many things they do not do that they wish they could, because they aren’t strong enough or don’t think they will be able to without getting injured.

CH : Want to dive down that rabbit hole of “people not making the same mistake you did”?

D2G : Sure, it isn’t too deep a rabbit hole, really. I just feel like it is a little generic or a little cliche sometimes and I do my best to make what we do about our clients, not necessarily about me. But a lot of people relate to it and like that I am a “real person” so it is probably worth elaborating on…

Essentially, I was the fat but athletic kid growing up. I was good at sports but was “the fat kid” on the team every time. This was pretty much for as long as I can remember. Everyone in my family in my generation / age range had a “chubby phase” in which everyone grew out of except me.

I graduated High School at 313 pounds of not a whole lot of muscle. I remember trying to “lose weight” my senior year of baseball, but I blew my knee out in the pre-season and that was that. Then it was while I was in physical therapy that “something clicked.” A combination of my orthopedist saying it would be very hard for the knee to ever fully heal unless I lost weight and having a physical therapist who was really good at making fitness relatable and fun without making me feel like shit, which is what typically happens.

“You’re fat, you need to lose weight,” automatically sets the tone as negative so you really don’t want to do it. She was good at making it about the process, not about the outcome, which no one really ever had before. And something we read a lot about in behavior change and habit formation – process goals are better than outcome goals. She was ahead of her time for sure.

In the following year after graduating High School, I lost a little over 100 pounds.

The problem was, I did so in the fashion of “the way we’ve always done things” and what I was reading in magazines, on the internet and what “they say.” Which was lifting incorrectly, not eating enough (probably better defined as starving myself), and doing far too much “cardio” aka aerobics – elliptical, jogging (when my joints could handle it, which wasn’t very often) etc etc.

I was 100+ pounds lighter on the scale, but I was essentially the same “fat kid” just in a smaller frame. Which is typically called “skinny fat” in some circles. My bodyfat was high, my muscle was low and worst of all, I physically felt like shit. Which is a strange thing when everyone is complimenting you on your appearance / transformation.

Dan and Kyle

Danny (on the right) 198 pounds of no muscle and joint pain 🙂

You are getting attention from the opposite sex (and actually everyone for that matter) in a way that had never remotely happened before and everyone treats you completely differently – for the better … but you physically feel like shit. I was supposed to have more energy, and I didn’t. Losing the weight was supposed to make me feel good. And it did but only in terms of how I was treated but others, not how I was actually feeling.

And then, the inevitable happened.

When you lose weight the wrong way, overtraining and under-eating, the only thing that can really happen is rebound – and it did. Over the next 3 or so years, I gained it all back. Back in the 300+ club.

When this happened, it took a little while but it was the realization that – “Okay. “The way they’ve always done it” doesn’t work at all. Let’s find the way that actually works.” And that was part of the inspiration behind that desire to learn and why I am so adamant about teaching people how to do things right. Because “what they’ve always said” not only doesn’t work but it has long term detriments and consequences that I still deal with to this day.

So then the real journey began.

Now my weight on the scale may fluctuate (dad bod is real) but I have less fat, more muscle and most importantly a true ability to function, be truly strong in ways that actually matter to every-day life, not getting strong at an arbitrary machine that doesn’t make me move better or actually help me. A combination of mobility, stability and strength while finding the balance of working out and nutrition fitting into my life, not that my life revolves around it. Though I still enjoy lifting heavy things and “training fun” as a hobby.

(To be continued…Stay tuned for Part II which dives deep into the training and fitness methodologies side of the fun…)



5 Ways to Change Your New Year’s Resolution Story This Year

Posted: December 23, 2016 by dannytwoguns in Articles



Did you know that 92% of New Year’s Resolutions are not kept or failed?…

In January 2016, 77 million people downloaded a fitness app on their phone. This number predicted to increase 25-50% for January 2017 with “wearable” fitness technology becoming the “new thing.”…

In the United States… there are about ~322 million people…

Of those ~322 million people, approximately 50 million are a member of a gym – ranging from “big box gym” to boutique personal training studio and everything in between…

Of those 50 million who have a gym membership, only about 12 million actually go.

And there are statistics that show of the 12 million who actually utilize their gym membership, 8 million are personal training clients.

So non-personal training clients who actually go to the gym – 4 million people out of ~322 million.

Those are not good statistics at all. But the first thing people tend to do in the New Year is to “go join a traditional gym.” It doesnt work and it isnt your fault.

motiv-things-that-make-you-go

And the “New Year” is tricky. It is an incredibly high “top of mind” fitness time of the year. Which is good and bad, especially in the context of the above statistics.

The New Year tends to get ‘poo-poo-ed’ on by fitness professionals, personal trainers and the like, because the over-arching theme of people starting a New Year’s Resolution on January 1st and then that resolution being complete history and forgotten by February 1st is a very real fact and far too common.

“Failing” in the New Year is incredibly common – 92% common.

But rather than “poo-poo” on that trend… We (our gym and the fitness profession altogether) are going to take a different perspective on it.

We are going to take accountability and ownership as a representation of the fitness profession at large that it is our fault for that trend, not yours.

Because it genuinely isnt your fault.

It is the fitness industry’s fault.

Knowledge Bomb
That is a Knowledge Bomb 🙂

Far too often what ends up happening is, it is the method, methodology or fitness practice that has failed, not the person who is doing said method/methodology/etc. But the way the person has viewed it is “I failed” and then that narrative becomes, “I am a failure at this “fitness thing / goals / etc”.” Rather than the more accurate, “the fitness industry has failed me.” Which statistics unequivocally say the traditional model has failed.

When given the right “fitness tools” for the right situation for the right person, more often than not people succeed. It is just too often people approach it with the “round peg” in a “square hole” scenario.

It is a strange mindset shift to take but it is true… p90x didnt work for you not because there is something wrong with you, rather that p90x fails for 95%+ who do it. The same can be said for things like AdvoCare, Thrive etc. It isnt a coincidence that every person who it “worked for” just happens to make large commissions off getting you to buy it and the hundreds/thousands of people who it didnt work for, we dont hear from. But that is another post entirely 🙂

To put these words into context and action, the following is 5 ways to change your fitness story this year…

1) Avoid the Fad(s)

motiv-snake-oil

And there are a lot of them that pop up in the New Year especially.

We use to say that the hard part of reaching fitness goals was getting the motivation and accountability to actually do it among our myriad responsibilities. But as mentioned, in the era of “fitness mis-information” we currently live in now, we have the added struggle of what do we actually do? How do I know what works and is genuine rather than a snake oil salesman?

The primary way to decipher whether or not something is a fad is to run it by the “Is this too good to be true?” filter…

– Put this glorified caffeine patch on and boom! You’ve reached your fitness goals.
– 24 days of overpriced, under-qualitied supplements and boom!
– 15 minutes a day and boom! You’ve reached your fitness goals.
– Lose weight without dieting!
– Lose weight without working out!
– Lose weight without dieting or working out! (This is also called starving)

Etc etc. Anything that is trying to sell you on the notion that it doesnt take consistency, accountability and some effort is just selling you. It doesnt have to be (and shouldnt be) gruesomely hard and ridiculous, but it does take some effort and consistency of that effort. You should leave your workouts feeling better than when you walked in yet know that you got a workout.

2) Mindset Matters

growth-v-fixed-mindset

Aka – Know the difference between holding yourself accountable and beating yourself up excessively over little things that matter incredibly minimally over the long term. We can elaborate on fixed vs growth mindsets (as pictured) another time as there is a lot of value to that, but the aforementioned is what I want to emphasize here.

Since we specialize in fat loss and transformations for females, we see this all the time. Whenever they make a less than ideal choice whether it be alcohol, sugar, missing a workout or any tiny setback that is “cheating” from their intentions, the mental abuse and guilt they put on themselves is often far worse and more detrimental to their fitness goals and pursuits than the actual small choice they made.

The brain doesnt differentiate stress. It only knows stress – whatever the stimuli may be. Some stress is good, like correct workouts, and some stress is bad, like mentally abusing yourself with guilt over a small indiscretion and it has effects, both acute on your mindset and long term in your ability to be confident in yourself / your ability to succeed.

When something happens like you made an unplanned poor food decision / alcohol decision, or something caused a missed workout – Acknowledge it, potentially being self-aware as to why it happened in order to avoid it in the future, and then move on. When we get a flat tire we dont torch the whole car, we fix the tire and move on.

3) Dont Ignore the 4 Wheels on the Car

motiv-4-wheels
Not exactly what we meant but close enough…

Another car analogy? Stick with me 🙂 This one resonates really well with a lot of people.

When it comes to fitness, fat loss and lifestyle goals, the analogy we use is the four wheels on a car. Most people approach their fitness goals as if they were driving a car with only two wheels. That is fine if you are a bicycle but not if you are a car.

The four wheels to make your car aka you fitness goals run efficiently and effectively are workouts/training, nutrition (the two most people acknowledge), sleep and hydration.

Sleep and hydration, WTF!

I know, I know. They may not be the sexiest but their importance cannot be denied. Possibly even more important than the other two.

To expand on the analogy to drive it home (punny! :p )… If one of your 4 wheels, both on your car and your “fitness four wheels” is slightly flat or under-inflated, you will be able to drive along for a little while until you have an issue, but if one wheel is completely flat or you have 2 or more under-inflated tires it wont be very long at all until there is an issue that needs immediately addressed.

The “car” most people drive is two slightly under-inflated or under-inflated tires (workouts, nutrition) and two very under-inflated or completely flat tires (sleep and hydration). We wouldnt treat our car that way, your body is no different.

In terms of hydration, the first question people typically have is – how much? And that always depends on multiple factors including bodyweight, bodyfat, level of activity, how much you currently drink, how often you sweat etc etc. But the first answer and always the start is, more than you are currently.

Sleep – easily the most important factor that doesnt get enough attention or emphasis. 8 hours of sleep with 9 hours in bed is a requirement. So many positive and beneficial things happen when you sleep from recovery, to hormone optimization to brain function to metabolic processes to how your body interacts with insulin, (I could go on) and everything in between.

8 hours, non-negotiable, unless you have a newborn.

Drive a car that has four optimal wheels 🙂

4) SMART Goals

motiv-smart

SMART is a popular acronym for how to set goals that are most conducive to reaching them.

Specific – Lose 10 pounds of fat vs Lose weight or even Lose 10 pounds.

Measurable – Similar to the above but in the context of can you track progress and can you measure the outcome?

Achievable / Attainable – Can the goal be physically accomplished? “Lose 100 pounds when you weigh 180 pounds” isnt attainable. Change the story from I will lose 20 pounds of fat in 6 months to I will lose 3.25 pounds of fat a month for the next six months.

Realistic / Relevant – Does the goal matter to your overall? Is it relevant to you and what you want to do.

Timely / Time-Based – It is human nature, we are all better when there is a timeline attach to something. If there isnt, human nature is to procrastinate because “you will get to it.” Have a specific timeframe gives us an urgency that isnt there otherwise.

5) Invest in Yourself / Hire a Coach

Rachel Dan Alwyn
Our coaches, Rachel and Alwyn Cosgrove

Tying into the above statistics, it is absolutely no coincidence that of the 12 million people who go to a gym regularly, that 8 million of them are personal training clients…

2 out of 3 people who go to the gym regularly are personal training clients and that is because it is the absolute best recipe for success.

There are two primary benefits/aspects to a coach that cannot be duplicated. One is the expertise they bring to put you on the right path for where you are to where you want to be based upon where you are currently at physically. Yes, when you hire a fitness profession or personal trainer you should have a specific program written specifically for you based on an assessment done to you to find out what you specifically need.

And also, the accountability and motivation aspect…

One of the most common myths we always rally against is the “Just not being where you want should be motivation enough” and just because p90x told you that you should just inherently have the motivation to make a change and get to your goals or you are a broken weirdo, doesnt make it true. Because it isnt at all. There are so many aspects to motivation and habit change that are not inherent or just there.

It is completely normal that the vast majority of people need multiple layers of motivation and accountability to reach their fitness and lifestyle goals. And an expert coach is the major piece to that. It is how it works and the statistics do not lie.

If this resonated with you and/or you are interested in truly making a change in the New Year, we are by and far the best option in Erie to get you to your fitness, lifestyle and fat loss goals.

We have multiple programs starting in the New Year. If you would like more information, simply fill out the form below and we will contact you.

“Not Yoga” aka Kinstretch

Posted: September 15, 2016 by dannytwoguns in About Me

This is a great post from my fellow FRC and Kinstretch brother, Frank Duffy. Great read as we being to formally incorporate Kinstretch aka “Not Yoga” into our programming as well as introduce specific Kinstretch centered programs to make people better at being humans.

kinstretch-judy-90-90

kinstretch-kwitowski-middle-split

A Couple of Twoguns Rockstars in a Not Yoga Session

“You’ve Got Stretching All Wrong: Here’s How to Fix It” by Frank Duffy

“If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, as of late you’ve probably seen this new term “Kinstretch” thrown around a time or two. Whenever I’m asked what Kinstretch is, 99% of the time it goes something like this:

“Kinstretch, that’s like yoga, right?”

Not quite. First, it’s important to understand what Kinstretch isn’t.

Kinstretch is not yoga.
Kinstretch is not Pilates.

While all of these methods might be great at getting people more physically active, they’re not helping individuals enhance their joint health and mobility in a sustainable fashion. Enter Kinstretch.

Kinstretch is a derivative of the Functional Range Conditioning (FRC) system that was developed by Dr. Andreo Spina. The goal of Kinstretch is to better develop mobility through teaching individuals how to expand pre-existing ranges of motion, and learn how to control these newly acquired ranges in a group setting. The flowchart below goes into more detail:

I can’t lie, this system reminded me of the Glycolytic pathway the first time I looked at it. . .boy do I not miss college exercise physiology.

While you may not know what the hell you’re looking at, this is the most effective system I’ve come across in regards to enhancing people’s movement capabilities. The intricate details of the flow chart above are broken down by Kinstretch Instructors and Functional Range Conditioning Mobility Specialists (FRCms) during mobility training sessions, allowing you to understand the system better. The principles of FRC and Kinstretch allow you to assess and correct your range of motion deficiencies that could be triggering underlying pain and issues in your everyday life. Adequate ranges of motion will actively improve your resilience, making you a more efficiently-moving human being.

Here’s a primary example of a movement that at first glance would be frowned upon in the fitness community:

dewey-kinstretch

Kinstretch® Squat Hip Hinge (pictured below by Dewey Nielsen)… “Making the hip work like a hip.”

With the proper prerequisites, however, hinging the hips into external and internal rotation like this is a great way to develop control of the ranges of motion Dewey has earned with consistent mobility training. Injury occurs when the force placed on the joint is greater than the force the joint is capable of withstanding. By training positions like the one above, you’re improving your resilience in situations where you’re otherwise vulnerable to injury.

This is the purpose of Kinstretch: a movement enhancement system that develops maximum body control, flexibility and usable ranges of motion.”

24 Mindset Shifts and Fact About the Core

Posted: March 29, 2016 by dannytwoguns in Articles

We specialize in “middle aged” females and with that comes the inevitable “menopause belly” and for those not quite there yet, hormonal issues related to the same area. Twoguns Rockstar, Netty talks about just that in her guest blog, check it out if you havent. And it tends to be the place that females or all ages after puberty, hormonally, tend to store bodyfat. That is part of the reason that the “core” has become such a buzzword and a popular “problem area”.

It also leads to a lot of fitness misinformation because it is such a popularly targeted area. The more popular something is the more bad information and snake oil there is on it and something as buzzy and popular as the core, I dont know if high quality information can overpower all the misinformation, but Im going to try 🙂

So here’s 24 mindset shifts / random thoughts / myth debunking facts all about the “core”

1 – The best exercise for your midsection will always be table pushbacks.

What are table pushbacks, you say? It is when you have a bunch of food on a plate in front of you and you push it away 🙂 AKA a comical way of saying that “abs are made in the kitchen”.

The best ab exercise is broccoli.

2 – Spot reduction isnt real. Doing endless crunches will not burn the fat off your midsection. You cant spot reduce fat, with training or diet. No amount of core or core isolation work is going to burn fat off your midsection. The body works as a unit and burns fat and builds muscle as a unit, you can spot increase muscle mass to a point but spot reducing fat doesnt exist. Sometimes I cant believe that that still is a thing that needs debunked.

3 – Speaking of crunches – it amazes me people are still doing these. There is so much research in abundance on the deleterious effects of constant spinal flexion being harmful to your spine that this is one of the no brainers in the fitness profession. Plus it promotes the exact posture we are trying to fix.

3a – Im not saying all (unloaded) spinal flexion is bad, we need to be able to flex the spine. Just not repeatedly over and over under load doing crunches (more on this later).

4 – “Drawing in” and “bracing” are not the same thing. Drawing in is detrimental and disadvantageous to any goal we want and bracing aka “putting your armor on” is how the can support the core, lower back etc and make everything stronger.

5 – Speaking of bracing, “hard” or bracing type exercises that require tension and “hard” stability is only one aspect of the core. Reflexive stability or the ability to fire quickly and transfer force is a pivotal and often overlooked aspect of the core.

6 – Your core is essentially the trunk of your body in which appendages come out of. Too often the core is simply thought of as “the six pack” muscles or the abs in front. But the anatomical core is similar to a cylinder. By that I mean it has… (one could also argue the glutes belong here too)…

A front – “six pack” / ab muscles
A back – spinal erectors / lower back muscles
Sides – Obliques, Transverse Abdomins / “love handle” area
A top – Diaphragm / Breathing or Respiration muscle
A bottom – Pelvic Floor

Cylinder

7 – This is one of the best core exercises we have. It is one of the best pelvic floor exercises we have in our arsenal as well as reflexive stability and anti-extension. We call it “Bubblegum Fart Ball” even though that isnt its real name.

 

8 – Position matters. The overextended / rib flare position leaks energy. “Ribs down and in” with thorax (upper part of your trunk) directly aligned over your pelvis/hips is the goal. An analogy I use with clients is if there is a force coming straight down through your head from above, everything should be stacked to stabilize, there should be no bending backwards (extending aka instagram posture) or being forward (flexing aka slumped over the desk sitting posture).

9 – Core stability is definitely related to mobility. “Tight muscles” is very rarely the case for lack of mobility (though it sometimes/rarely is). The ability to stabilize is under-emphasized and a major player in mobility. It is why some people can touch their toes seated but cannot do the same while standing.

It isnt hamstring tightness if they can do it seated even though they may feel tone/tension in the hamstrings while standing. It is lack of stability in the core and/or hips that is preventing them.

10 – “You cant shoot a cannon out of a canoe” is still one of the best analogies for stability needing to precede power/strength training. You have to have the adequate foundation in order to build on it. Be a battleship, not a canoe.

11 – Training and loading the core is about the “Anti”…

Anti-Rotation (resisting rotation)
Anti-Extension (resisting the spine extending or what would look like a back bend)
Anti-Flexion (resisting the spine flexing or what look look like a crunch or bending forward)
Anti-Lateral Flexion (resist the spine bending the the side)

It is why a Pull Up in the top few of the highest core musculature activation in EMG studies. It is meant to resist the movement that happens around it.

12 – Number 11 referenced loading and training the core through “Anti” type exercises. One of the most misinformed aspects when it comes to the core and more particularly, the spine, is that while unloaded it shouldnt move at all.

This isnt true.

What we do under load and what we dont without load are too completely different things. A spine unloaded needs to be able to move and excurse range of motion. It is why people who have back pain have trouble moving certain parts of their spine and people who dont have back pain, can move it more freely. The lack of it being able to move is part of the pain.

Unfortunately, this “bullet point” needs its own full length post with pictures and videos but the main point is, what the spine/core needs to do in deadlifts and loaded exercises is not what it needs to do unloaded and in regular movements. (I reiterate this point a little different later.)

13 – An inconspicuous way to really hit the core is to perform exercises while really “owning” the 1/2 Kneeling position aka, being on one knee.

8 20 PF R Half Kneel RT Chop

This is a Chop pattern done from 1/2 Kneeling. Im going to talk about the Chop itself in 14 but this point is simply about 1/2 Kneeling and its demand on the core. It is essentially standing on one leg, without the stimulus on the ankle, so we get the same benefit, just slightly more stable which allows us to do more things.

14 – The 1/2 Kneeling Chop as seen above bringing the weight across via down and in and the 1/2 Kneeling Lift (bringing the weight across via up and out) is a great example of a sneaky core exercise. You move the implement 3-dimensionally and diagonally on a stable torso so it has to not only resist a diagonal and three dimensional force but has to do so from an asymmetrical base. Double the core demand, double the benefit.

The key is to really focus on that 1/2 Kneeling posture and nothing moves except your arms and the implement. The way the core does in life and true movement.

15 – When training the core, increasing load is initially a lot less effective than manipulating levers or points of stability to challenge the movement. The longer the lever the more load and torque. Same goes the for decreasing points of stability like lifting an arm or leg on plank variations.

16 – Training of the core should progress as in the neurodevelopmental model. Supine (on your back) to sidelying to quadruped (on all fours) to 1/2 Kneeling (one knee as above) or Tall Kneeling (on two knees), transitional (move through prior components) and then integrated. You can do these at the same time if ability allows in the situation, but there is value in owning all of those postures, especially post pregnancy or injury.

16a – As in regular training progressions, you have to own the sagittal plane (front to back) before you can move on to frontal plane (side to side) and transverse plane (rotationally). One builds off the prior. And you need all of them. Too many training programs solely emphasize front to back and up and down aka the sagittal plane. Real life doesnt work this way.

16b – If you think Dead Bugs are “just an easy exercise” it is extraordinarily likely you are cheating through them or performing them incorrectly. Your neck needs to be neutral, you lower back has to be on the ground, your ribs have to be “down and in” and the up knee has to be at or above hip height and the down leg needs to (progress to) fully straightened but not on the ground.

12 11 Mandi Good Dead Bug

17 – There are “schools of thought” in the functional training community that will say if you arent standing and stabilizing, you arent training the core in a truly “functional” manner. And I dont necessarily disagree, but the caveat has to be mentioned that you have to build up to being able to do that from a progression/regression standpoint.

Thus doing things in the positions and postures talked about earlier (supine, quadruped, kneeling etc) that build the foundation for standing and stabilizing are inherently functional because they are serving that same function. So their function is to build to more “functional core patterns” which inherently makes them functional. Sorry for the word game haha.

18 – We sit too much, which puts our hip into flexion (the position your hip is when you sit is called flexion of the hip/shortening the hip flexor) and that leads to them potentially being “tight” in people.

We can debate about hip flexor stretching later but the point here is that just because we spend too much time sitting doesnt mean we shouldnt train the core via hip flexion with things like mountain climbers (done correctly), pikes, leg lowerings etc. It builds a stable core and also influences vital movements, like gait and sprinting.

Renee Pike

19 – We teach bracing and stiffness of the midsection and core during exercises to create stability and we need to. But as also need to be able to not walk through life like a robot who can only brace his core and spine. The spine and core need to move in a soft, reflexive way in low threshold activities like walking. It is one of the harder things to tackle with “lower back” people who need to strengthen their core. They get so tied up in high threshold things that they never get stronger in the other half of the battle, reflexive things like walking. Hence the injury cycle of that person continues.

20 – Typical “bro” exercises that have gone to the wayside as a result of the functional training era like rows, bench press and military press can become great core exercises when you do them asymmetrically/1 arm at a time (typically with dumbbells or kettlebells) and do them heavy.

One of the sorest my obliques/side area ever were was when I did a heavy one arm kettlebell press training session by Dan John.

21 – Loaded Carries are an underutilized and extreme bang for your buck collection of core exercises. Pick up something heavy, whether its at your sides, “in the rack” or overhead, stabilize and carry it at a steady pace.

22 – Speaking of “bang for your buck,” I get asked rather often what the best core exercise is or some variation of that question, sometimes along with holding a piece of their midsection (in which I reference what is said in #2). The first thing I’ll say is that the best core exercise depends on you, because where you are strong, where you are weak, what you need overall and everything in between will determines that best exercises for you.

With that said, if pressed to choose, I would probably go with the Ultimate Sandbag (USB) Single Leg Diagonal Bag Drag. Asymmetrically moving implement on an asymmetrically loaded base gives a ton of bang for your buck.

But it is advanced and assumes you’ve mastered the USB Lateral Bag Drag, the USB Single Leg Lateral Bag Drag, the USB Diagonal Bag Drag and all other global pre-requisites for it to be the best fit for you.

 

22a – Id be remiss if I didnt also mention the Turkish Get Up as one of the best bang for your buck core exercises as well. It wont give you the same “ab burn” the USB Single Leg Diagonal Bag Drag will but it is just as effective. “What muscle does that work?” The answer is yes. Mobility, stability and strength wrapped in one great exercise.

 

23 – When we talked about the “cylinder” earlier we mentioned the diaphragm as the top of that cylinder. It is an integral part of the core and needs to be trained just like any other muscle. We do that through breathing exercises.

This can be a ridiculous rabbit hole to jump down and I wont do that here. But for the most part, breathing is not the same thing as respiration and owning our inhales and exhales fully and deeply has a lot of value and is actually something people are not very good at and should be. This goes for in relaxed postures as well as in lifting and doing exercises.

24 – If you cant touch your toes, the best core exercise for you is exercises that get you to or promote you touching your toes. We often talk about “things that make you human”. Touching your toes is one of the foundations. As is getting your arms overhead without arching your back/flaring your ribs or unlocking your elbows. An advanced one is having the ability to deep squat (it doesnt have to be under load, but you have to be able to do it).

Squat Bottom

Squat low and squat often 🙂

That wraps up our 24 fun facts about the core. If you have any thoughts, questions or elaborations on any points, feel free to send me a message at the Twoguns Training Systems facebook page and let me know.

Guest Blog Sixteen – Annette “Netty” Mitchell

Posted: March 16, 2016 by dannytwoguns in Guest Blogs

I think I first coined the term, “The Incredible Shrinking Woman” with Netty. Especially in the 2015 New Year New You, and the few months that followed, it almost seemed like there was less and less of her physical size every day and more and more of her smile and confidence every day. It was simply crazy to watch and an amazing transformation from both perspectives.

I remember my initial interactions with her when I was trying to get her to join the gym. She was hard to read because you could tell she wanted to and needed to, but I could tell there was a reservation and lack of confidence on her part, not that she didnt think we could help or that she could do it (though as per her story it was a little of that haha), but that she had beaten herself up so much she didnt know what she was capable of anymore and venturing out of the “comfort zone” she had created was scary. She persevered though and I couldnt be prouder.

I’ll admit, the last paragraph of her story got me. An amazing story from an amazing woman who I couldnt be happier that she put her faith in us and our systems – and then adhered 100% to everything we said and completely changed in every positive way.

Here’s Netty…

“I am Annette Mitchell. Most people know me by Netty. I joined Twoguns Training Systems in December 2014 when I was 53 years old and this is my story…

I was thin to average weight up until my 30s, when mindless eating and stress eating came into my life. I have gained and lost weight over the years and tried different diets, gyms, dvds, etc. It all worked… for a while.

2014 was a rough year for me: work and personal stress; sickness in the family; menopause symptoms; weighing an all-time high thus none of my clothes fitting; not working out and eating unhealthy; and my annual work healthy lifestyles screening came back with elevated levels (triglycerides at 387!). Diabetes runs in my family and I was concerned about the screening levels. I felt miserable.

I started to think maybe this is as good it gets.

Maybe I have to accept that I am getting older and bigger and into the one size fits all clothes. I had done some reading on menopause and had friends that have dealt with it. It all pointed to an expanding waistline. Maybe it was inevitable…

In the meantime, I saw my friend Bridget periodically who was going to Twoguns (much younger and not going through menopause!). Each time I saw her I noticed she looked leaner, her posture was better and she seemed happy. She was enthusiastic when she spoke about Twoguns: “great staff, challenging workouts, eating plan,” etc. and said that I should give it a try. Along with Bridget’s results, the one thing that was very appealing to me was that Twoguns provided a fitness program and an eating plan; it was the whole package, not “just a personal trainer”.

In September I called Dan and made an appointment, but cancelled shortly after. The two biggest factors were:

1) I could get a free membership through my employer at a few local gyms and…

2) Fear of the unknown. When I first heard the name “Twoguns” and that it was in a warehouse, I admit, I couldn’t help but think it was a bunch of big guys lifting weights :). I had not seen any advertising. However, if Bridget said it was okay then I knew it was.

I attended the Burn the Bird workout the day after Thanksgiving. I met Dan, who is instantly likable, and Dawn who I had worked with previously in our former jobs and was happy to see. It was a great workout and fun.

A few weeks later in December, in the middle of the holiday season, I was at my personal breaking point. I had a moment of clarity. No one was going to swoop down and save me; I had to save myself. Do something now .. it’s not too late! Following Dan on Facebook may have helped with finding this clarity 🙂

I met with Dan in his office in my black winter coat that wouldn’t zip up over my rather large waist and chest, wondering if he could help. He gave me the confidence I needed to move forward and so I began!

Netty Full B&A

I made a commitment to be there three times a week. The appointments were key. If I was not expected to be there at a certain time I don’t think I would have been able to keep going early on, because I felt that I had too much to do at home and was letting others down by taking care of myself first. That was the reason I never made it to the “other gyms”, even though it was free. But, what was free, was actually costing me because I did not use it.

The workouts were very challenging at the beginning (and still are, but now in a different way…) as I was overweight and weak. I’d get through the warm-up and think I was done not realizing there was more. They would tell me to do something and I would think to myself “you want me to do what?” (and I still think that sometimes 🙂 ).

It was very different than what I was used to. Initially, I was sore and achey. They said I would work through that, and I did. All along, Dan and the coaches were always very helpful, educating and encouraging.

I also met fellow “Twogunner,” Belem my first week there. We are the same age and have the same issues and became instant workout friends. She had lost weight in the Drop Two Sizes challenge prior to me starting. She showed me some before and after pictures of herself and said “stick to the plan”.

She was also proof the system worked.

The first challenge (New Year New You 2015) I entered I lost 20 pounds. I was eating healthy, whole foods; feeling a lot better; and losing weight. When the challenge was over I continued with the eating plan and lost another 8 -10 pounds over the next few months. I never considered not following.

It worked for me. It was a formula: follow the guidelines Dan set up, eat x + y + z, workout three times a week and you lose not just weight but most importantly, fat. I may not be the strongest or the fastest, but I am certainly a determined person.

Netty D2S 2015

Netty “1 Year Later” After the Fall 2015 Drop 2 Sizes Losing Another Jeans Size

I turned 55 years old this week. I look back and wonder why certain things have happened and/or how certain people have come into my life.

Things I know: I’m thankful of my friendship with Bridget which lead me to Dan and Twoguns Training Systems. I am thankful that Dan thrives on education and brings the best possible there is to Twoguns and that it is never boring there. I am thankful for Dan and all the coaches and the assistance and fun they provide. I am thankful for all the new friends I have made. I am thankful for the positive experience it has made in my life and the new doors it has opened for me. I can see possibilities now, versus only limits before. I am thankful I have gone down several sizes and now have a waist! My triglycerides have gone down to 82 in the last screening and my menopause symptoms are all but gone. I would have never imagined that in December of 2014. I am thankful for the safe, non-judgmental space that Twoguns provides where unicorns do exist. Working out there always make a good day better and a bad day tolerable. I am very thankful for the new life I have and of my Twoguns experience!”

For Results Like Netty – Apply for this year’s New Year New You



Guest Blog Fifteen – Renee Seth

Posted: March 10, 2016 by dannytwoguns in Guest Blogs

It has been a little while since we’ve been over here on the blog. We have been doing a lot of things on Facebook, so if you didnt come here from there, be sure to head over there, send me a friend request and “like” the Twoguns Training Systems page.

Today we have a great guest blog from Renee Seth. Renee is a great transformation for me because when she started she was extremely skeptical of gyms because of an extremely recent negative experience with a gym in our area which made her seem shy, which on top of the lack of confidence she seemed to have at the time, made me have no idea what to expect. Plus she wouldnt even let me take a before picture!

But now she is an absolute rockstar who has made amazing strides in body fat, inches and overall body composition but she just seems like a completely different mindset around confidence and the way she carries herself. Super proud of her and all she has accomplished. I’ll let her take over from here.

“My name is Renee Seth and I am 27 years old. When I was asked to write this blog, I struggled with what I wanted to write.

I questioned why Dan wanted me to write my “fitness story” for him since I have not lost a ton of “scale weight” while being a member. I asked myself “Do I start from the beginning or when I started with Twoguns Training Systems?” I realized my fitness and health journey started way before I was lucky enough to come across the “Twoguns Crew”.

Throughout high school, I was always involved in sports and was very active, but I never saw myself as the “fit” or “skinny” girl on the team. My self esteem was always low and I never saw myself as pretty or worthy.

In college I quit playing softball my sophomore year because I didn’t think I was capable of graduating AND playing on a college team (back to the lack of confidence).

By quitting my passion, I lost what little bit of confidence and self worth I did have. Fast forward to 2011 (almost 2 years later), I found myself at my heaviest weight ever, the lowest self worth possible, and questioning where I go from here.

Renee Before 2

Renee Before

Throughout the next 3 or so years, I flip flopped back and forth with losing, gaining, losing, gaining, feeling majorly depressed and feeling like I could never gain back my active lifestyle. I wanted to give up!

Thanks to encouragement from my Mom (and knowing I had to be in my brother’s wedding with a million pictures soon to show up everywhere), I started on Weight Watchers and working out at Planet Fitness. I had my Mom as support at Weight Watchers and a work friend who would meet me at the gym.

Do you think this worked? Actually, for the first about 5 months or so, I saw myself losing a small amount of weight and feeling good about going to the gym. I was able to change parts of my diet and learned a WHOLE LOT about portion control… ERRRR….Cut that positivity short.

I also quickly learned how to cheat the Weight Watchers system and how easily my body got use to the changes and quit responding to my efforts of working out the way I was. I hit a major plateau with my “diet” and working out.

I kept finding excuses to why I couldn’t make it to the gym: “It’s too far out of the way.” “I don’t feel well today.” “I have too many other things I need to do.” I kept seeing my workout buddy losing a tremendous amount of weight and wondered why that couldn’t be me. I KNEW SOMETHING NEEDED TO CHANGE.

Renee Pre Twoguns

Renee When She Joined Twoguns

I looked into many fitness gyms around Erie and ended up at Best Fitness (NOT THE BEST). Here they did a 3 minute “assessment” on me and long story short, almost conned me into a 3 year contract with them and paying for a personal trainer: who I had never met, I never got told how they would help me, or where they saw me going in the future, well besides how much weight I would lose based on that random assessment.

Glad I got out of that! Little did I know at the time, but I was looking for something way more than just losing weight. And I was clearly just a transaction to them.

I needed to feel better about myself and needed to feel accepted and a sense of accomplishment. Patty Lillie was privileged enough to hear my horrible situation with Best Fitness and led me straight to Twoguns Training Systems.

The day I said “SCREW YOU!” to Best Fitness was the same day I met with Danny. I was worried I was going to be paying for “just” a personal trainer and a gym membership but was I ever wrong!

I have been succeeding at Twoguns for almost a year now and I never once think I pay too much because it’s not JUST a gym, it’s an experience. The coaches and members have changed my entire lifestyle, my attitude, and have helped make me more confident in myself than I ever thought possible.

So when Danny asked me to write this blog, I questioned him because I am not the typical “weight loss” story as I didn’t have “as much” weight initially to lose as a lot of other success stories, but I am extremely proud to say that what I gained is way more important to me than what I lost.

I have gained a much better posture, I have toned muscles where I didn’t think was possible, and yes I have dropped pant sizes, but most importantly, I have gained a second family, constant support and motivation, and a completely new outlook on life. A true “third place”. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone at Twoguns for everything you have done for me and alongside me in the past year!!!”

3 4 16 Renee Battle Ropes

Renee Now

For Results Like Renee – Apply for this year’s New Year New You



The Irony of Cheat Day

Posted: February 17, 2016 by Jesse in About Me

First, if you haven’t read my post about being a fataholic, go do that.

In almost any form of addiction counseling and rehabilitation the patient is separated from whatever substance they’re abusing: alcohol, cocaine, heroin, etc. There’s only one addiction where people aren’t typically separated from their substance of choice, and that is junk food addiction.

I am a junk food addict. I crave it, I think about it all the time. I just ate a wonderfully nutritious meal but if you gave me a pizza I’d still give it a go until I physically couldn’t eat any more. Tomorrow I’d feel hung over, gross, and my body’s first instinct would be to treat that with a croissanwich. A double, with bacon and sausage. Eating like that for many years made me like this:

image

You may question my use of the term addict, but make no mistake you can become addicted to anything that activates the pleasure centers of the brain. Drugs, booze, even sex and fitness. All those you must separate yourself from to cure yourself. Here we find the irony: the very substance many of us need freed from is the primary reward for your effort. If you’re like me you need to work even harder to make your mind, body and spirit your goal. I haven’t done as well as I could have in other challenges because in each of them all I focused on was my next cheat and how awful for myself it could be. Focus instead on your journey, don’t even plan your cheat. If it happens, it happens, enjoy the spontaneity of the moment, and get back to working on you the next day.

Evaluate 2015 For a Better 2016

Posted: January 7, 2016 by dannytwoguns in Guest Blogs

Coach Nate is one of our coaches at Twoguns Training Systems and the head of Erie Youth Conditioning and Performance, our youth (6-11) fitness and athletic development business. For those that dont know, we call our “personal trainers” – either coach or fitness professional because that is more encompassing of what they are, rather than the perception of the average personal trainer…

Dan and Nate America

That’s him on my shoulders on our 4th of July “America” Workout. “Have fun and get shit done” has been a way people describe us. I think “ridiculous humans, serious fitness” is just as accurate.

Here is a guest blog from Coach Nate about the New Year and starting habits through reassessing the things that prevented you from doing it in the right place…

“As 2016 has quickly come upon us, most of you are looking forward to this new year… We see it as almost a way to reinvent our own image and personalities. All across social media you can find people discussing how 2016 will be “finally be their year”, how they will exercise regularly, eat healthier, work harder at their jobs, save more money, adopt a better sleep schedule, study more, party less, quit smoking, find the love of their life, not being such good friends with Ronald McDonald, among other things. Now don’t get me wrong, I think that all of these things are great goals and lifestyle choices that should be made.

Albert Einstein once said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” Flashback to the end of the last couple years, I almost guarantee that most of you who are making these plans for a great 2016 made these same plans the previous couple years. We have established that you are a great planner, you want to become a better you, but you have trouble taking the steps to make the plans a reality. Remember, a plan without action is merely a wish, failing to plan is planning to fail…

The challenge I have for you is to evaluate 2015 to find out why those plans didn’t have action and why those goals were not met. Don’t spend so much time telling yourself, “I need to go to the gym everyday”, find out why in the past year you didn’t get to the gym with any kind of regularity, let alone every day. Maybe you didn’t like your gym, suffered an injury, had scheduling issues and so on. The good news is these are all problems ( or excuses 🙂 ) that can be easily fixed!

Motiv - Sacrifice

You will be amazed that when you have all these different goals, achieving/succeeding in one will greatly help you with another. They’re all connected and help you to spring board to another. Success cross-contaminates other areas of your life. Danny always says “Success is contagious.” (This is also why it is important to surround yourself with other successful people, but that’s another blog).

For the “younger” demographic… Take drinking less alcohol for example: last year a Friday night might look like this; you go out to some shit dive bar, rack up a $40 bar tab, smoke a pack of cigarettes while your there because it’s a shit dive bar that allows smoking. Hit up some form of fast food/pizza on the way home, sleep till noon because your hungover and most certainly missing your workout, eat the rest of your leftover and terrible food that “drunk you” got the night before because your hungover and don’t want to actually prepare something healthy…

For the “not as young” 🙂 demographic… Take prioritizing anything and everyone except yourself, which is something we see so commonly in our Twoguns clients. Your kids, your husband, your job, your friends, anything and everything takes priority, your energy and your time except for the thing so important to actually helping all of those things – taking care of you. And you end up taking care of everyone except yourself. And you are left feeling achey, maybe even in pain, a little heavier than you were last year and worst of all, lacking the confidence and self esteem you deserve…

But this year, it’s a new you… For that younger demo… The new you had planned on partying less. Now if you would have followed your plan of partying less, you would have saved money, helped your smoking habit, not ate crap, had better sleep quality, got your workout in and eaten healthier.

For the older demo… The new you can follow the plan of putting yourself first, making it so that you are physically and mentally able to handle all of the stressors, jobs and duties that you have as supermom and crush them all because you move well, feel good and are rocking that confidence.

Make these connections and realizations you need to make to become the best version of you. Eliminate the things holding you back and add in the positives that will get you there. Make 2016 your bitch!”

One of the best ways to “make 2016 your bitch” is to get on board our New Year New You, 8 week challenge starting on February 1st. Winning team gets a $1000 grand prize, but most importantly the fat loss, habits built and whole new outlook on self esteem and confidence. Contact me on Facebook for more information.