“Going Deep With Danny Twoguns” – Part II “The Fun”

Posted: February 14, 2017 by dannytwoguns in About Me, Guest Blogs

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.


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”.


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.


“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.


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.


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.


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…)

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