Archive for the ‘About Me’ Category

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

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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.

mr-olympia-2015-figure-group-3

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…)



“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.”

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.

What DVRT Means to Me…

Posted: November 2, 2015 by dannytwoguns in About Me, Articles

Twoguns Training Systems and LEWIS Fitness & Performance are hosting the first ever DVRT Level I and II Certification in northwest Pennsylvania this weekend and I couldnt be more excited to continue to grow DVRT. 3.5 years ago, DVRT changed the fitness landscape for me in every way and it is an honor to grow it.

There are better places than this post to see exactly what DVRT (Dynamic Variable Resistance Training) is, but this is what the program means to me specifically.

Dan Bio Pic (2)

We all know a person or may be that person, where anything physically related comes easy or at the very most, with a slight bit of practice. And since all things physical and athletic come easy, so do things like fat loss, muscle gain and other aesthetic endeavors. We all hate those people right?! 😉 Just kidding of course, but it does seem like things are a lot easier for them.

Well I am the exact opposite of that person. And Im guessing you are more like me than the aforementioned type of people.

As I write this, I turned 30 years old today and I have an orthopedic and injury history list longer than those double my age, mostly through no fault of my own. I’ve been called an “old man” since High School (and even before) from all of the injuries, creaking, cracking, popping etc. If there was a body shop for people, I would be first in line.

It has always been this way. If I were to list all of the injuries and ailments, we’d have an article so long no one would read, but I’ll list the major landmarks…

In 2nd grade, I broke my arm. Both bones of the lower arm (radius and ulna), the bone of your upper arm (humerus) and also dislocated my elbow in a fall on my elementary school playground.

Multiple and various injuries (stitches, shoulder dislocations (4+), knee and hip injuries etc) occurred over the next 10 years including a scare in which it was thought I broke my wrist but no other major orthopedic surgeries until…

In 12th grade/my senior year I “blew out” my knee in pre-season baseball (simply rounding 2nd base on a hit) and had an arthroscopic surgery to repair it. I had missed most of the previous season due to shoulder injuries as well.

One year later, I had a more invasive surgery on that same knee to fix what the previous surgery wasn’t able to and had what they called an Osteochondral Transfer Graft surgery which in non-doctor speak could be described as a teenage knee replacement – they graft bone/muscle/ligaments etc from another part of my leg into my knee. The size of what they took out was bigger than I thought my actual knee was.

And last fall, I broke my arm in a freak accident… (more on this below)…

Stitches

But now, all these unfortunate experiences could easily have turned me off from all physical activity, but instead, I used this time as inspiration to lose 100 pounds over the next year (after the knee surgery) and officially started my journey into training and the fitness industry (although I was doing everything wrong but that is another story – aerobic training for fat loss, right? Cue eye roll…).

Things didn’t become roses just because I lost the weight. A bad shoulder injury that resulted in more surgeries (among other things like not losing the weight correctly) caused me to regain the 100 pounds I had lost – and then a few more. When you don’t lose weight the right way, lose it too quickly etc, you damage your body and inevitably gain the weight back – and that’s exactly what happened to me.

And that is what officially sparked my journey to learn anything and everything fitness – at first to fix myself and then leading to helping other people not have to follow the same path I did. My story is not unlike so many other fitness professionals I know and love. Those who got into fitness as both a means to help themselves, but for a larger purpose to genuinely help others. And I think that is and always will be the key, wanting to genuinely help others.

But finding how to fix myself was easier said than done. There isnt a magical end to this injury story.

Incidentally and literally exactly one year ago (as I mentioned above) as two weeks ago, I broke my arm in a freak accident. Again, one to this day, no one else has seen happen to anyone. Im one of a kind lucky 🙂

Traditional training methodologies and striving for impressive strength feats are simply not possible for me, this is a message I apparently tried to ignore but I tried for a long time because I thought I was “supposed to” but only spun my wheels…

To this day, my Deadlift PR stands at 485 with a questionable 495. Ive never attempted 500 or above without it tweaking something in my upper back, grip or hamstring. I can barbell squat 315 pain-free during the workout, but the next few days are a completely different story. Before you jump on the “he must have bad form” idea, I’ve had top strength coaches watch me and nothing is wrong with technique. However, when you have suffered enough injuries to build the orthopedic wing at a hospital, sometimes not all lifts are for you!

And it took me a while to realize that that is completely okay.

I spent my time trying the “traditional” means of getting strong

I say none of this in any way to impress you, but rather impress upon you that traditional “feats of strength” and traditional training methodologies based around progressing exercises with absolute load do not work for me at all and most likely don’t work for the “average person” either.

And again, that is completely okay. It took me a long time to accept this because this is the exact “foundation” that “everything we learn” initially is based off of. A principle that a lot of other people and programs still ignorantly cling to.

“How can this guy get clients amazing results but he keeps injuring himself and cant even train himself?” Was a constant limiting belief in my head, especially in my “early days” of becoming a fitness professional.

I rarely struggle with this myself to this day, but it does happen when various injuries and limitations creep up for no apparent reason but I can find acceptance with it because it is what inevitably led me to Josh Henkin and DVRT, then continuing the pursuit of knowledge and becoming a DVRT Master Instructor and completely exemplifies the beauty of the DVRT system.

How am I able to get stronger, progress in the gym and get in/stay in shape when all of the other ways have failed me time and time again?

Dynamic Variable Resistance Training.

Being able to progress and regress exercises through plane of motion, load position, stance position and stability of the implement not only gave me injury free and pain free ways to get stronger, but it got me and my clients amazing and sustainable results in the process.

Want to make a 50 pound Ultimate Sandbag feel like hundreds?

Ultimate Sandbag Training Shouldered Stagger Stance Squats with a 3 second eccentric and a 3 second hold at the bottom. Pain free, completely safe and delightful “torture” err… fun.

Mandi STG Shoulder Squat

But for me it is more than a system and more than exercises.

It is the elimination of frustration and feeling like I could never make progress or get stronger. The ability to feel like I can do something physically impressive, get stronger and not get injured while doing so? For over 25 years I didn’t have that.

How do I become strong and my best fitness without also suffering through pain? That is what DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training allows me to do. Even now a year removed off that freak injury that completely derailed me, I am able to build back due to the system. I don’t have to feel restricted to any one exercise, I can find the RIGHT exercises for myself.

 

Fitness should fit the individual, not the individual being squeezed into a program. 

The reality is most people are more like me (hopefully not to the extent though 🙂 ) than they are “those people” or “that person” I mentioned in the beginning and they can find passion through truly getting stronger, more safely and injury free.

Confidence.
Progress.
Strength.
Results.
And the ability to be able to do the same with my clients and truly change their lives and mine for that matter – that is what DVRT means to me.

My fitness journey will hopefully last a lifetime, constantly striving to be more connected to my body, overcome obstacles, and lead by example.

Reflections on One Year Without Alcohol

Posted: August 1, 2014 by dannytwoguns in About Me

A few months ago, the following blogpost went viral on social media and the blogosphere and was shared by a large quantity of the females on my Facebook page, you are quite possibly one of them… 7 Things I Learned During My Year Without Alcohol.

It was funny because I was reading it as I was currently involved in the same pursuit. It has now been over a year since I’ve had any alcohol at all and almost 18 months since I’ve been any level of “drunk.” But I didn’t relate at all with that article aside from we were both essentially doing the same elimination. I wont go into detail about why I wasn’t a fan of her blog post but thought it would make for a worthwhile read to post my reflections and thoughts from a year without alcohol from someone in their mid-late twenties – a time that more or less revolves around it.

First – why?

There is a quote from powerlifter and strength coach, Jim Wendler that resonated very strongly with me. It is vulgar so be warned… (It is the one I mentioned in my interview on the Octane Athletic Performance Podcast. Check it out if you haven’t.)

Get your shit in order, and get your training in order. Start kicking ass, and take out the crap that doesn’t matter. Start doing and believing in the stuff that works, and do it today and forever. You want science and studies? Fuck you, I’ve got scars and blood and vomit. This is a call to arms for some of you. It is for me too. Stop all the things that make you a pussy and steal your energy. Get your life back.

“Stop all the things that steal your energy” was the most powerful part of that for me. And alcohol and partying was one of the major things that I felt was stealing my energy. I never had an “alcohol problem” and I can count the amount of times I’ve drank on a non Friday or Saturday in the past 5 years on one hand and not use all fingers. But I still felt it wasted time while I did it and wasted even more time when I was recovering from doing it, which was new for me because I was rarely hungover in college. My business and truly changing lives became my primary goal and there was little room, if any for alcohol to steal my energy, hence the start of limiting/eliminating alcohol.

So why not go for a more moderate approach and “only have a few” or “only do it every now and then”? The easy or cop out answer is I was never very good at moderation. But for about half a year, I didn’t swear it off completely and would be the “occasional” drinker. Special events, holidays, family gatherings, once a month etc whatever. But I found I enjoyed not having alcohol being part of my “normal” routine more than I enjoyed it being in my routine and was finding myself becoming more and more productive the less I drank. My business was growing and I felt infinitely more productive. So last summer I decided to not drink at all. I didn’t set out with the goal of a year, I would simply just do it and see what happened, it was no longer going to be part of what I did.

So what did I find in that year?

I didn’t develop super senses. I didn’t have revelations about who I am as a person and my self worth. I don’t wear it like a badge of honor as if I did something impressive or special in any way. But I did have a completely positive experience doing so.

Business

My business more than doubled and almost tripled. I went from independent contracting out of an 800 square foot studio inside a facility that was not a good fit for me with an extremely negative owner, to co-owning a 5,000 square foot facility that was a great fit for me to co-owning a 10,000 square foot facility that is an even better fit for me – all in that one year. A lot of factors go into this but the following things I mention and the elimination of alcohol as well as constantly investing in myself are huge reasons for this growth and progress.

Energy and Productivity

I have more energy than I can remember, am tangibly more productive and utilize my time more efficiently. My business and progress has absolutely shown that. Time and energy that was spent elsewhere could be now put into things that made me better, made my business better and most importantly helped a lot more people change their lives. The most popular thing people said was, “Well what do you do for fun now?” Like the only way to have fun is to go drinking. But I found honing my craft as a fitness expert and improving my business was MORE fun for me than spending that time in bars or with alcohol.

Energy that used to go toward drinking and partying now went towards things that made me better, made me grow as a person and made my business better. My energy wasnt stolen anymore. I believe the difference between good and great, average and above average is going the extra mile, giving attention to detail and the hustle that the average person doesn’t have. That was now easier. Working on my business more, made it develop and grow more. That then made me more able to travel to continuing education events, learn as much as I could and improve at becoming the fitness professional and expert I wanted to become. And it was fun.

I Sleep Better

Im probably jinxing it by typing this and Im not going to be able to sleep tonight but I used to always have issues with sleep. Whether it was not being able to fall asleep or not being able to stay asleep or just not getting a well rested sleep. This was always expected after a night of drinking resulting in a poor night’s sleep but I didn’t attribute it to my week day’s poor sleeping because why would it make a difference? I still don’t know but it did. I can now and do now (when logistics allow) get 7-9 full hours of sleep each night, every night.

Being Drunk Isnt Enough to Have in Common With People

I also found out that drunk people aren’t as fun or any fun at all, when you aren’t drunk with them. Some of the people in whom I associated with while drinking and partying turned out to not be that great of people when there wasn’t alcohol to give us common ground in a friendship. A few are still some of my best friends to this day, but others along with their negativity have been completely cut out of my life. And it is infinitely better, more positive and more productive that way.

Jim Rohn’s popular quote, “You are the result of the five people you spend the most time with.” Drunk, negative, energy draining “friends” had to go.

Apparently Not Drinking Is Weirder Than Drinking

People are weird about you not drinking. This was one I didn’t expect. I didn’t just hole myself up in a room each weekend, work on my business and do continuing education related things and become a hermit. I still went to social events, holiday parties etc, though maybe not as often but I still went and when refusing drinking, people’s reactions were strange. Some people think you are in recovery from alcohol addiction, some think you are boring and most simply try to get you to drink for some reason, maybe because they don’t want to think they are weird doing it alone or not with a bunch of people. Who knows.

Im Not a Weekend Wisher

What’s a weekend wisher? The people who loathe Mondays and start praying for Friday at 5pm when they are going to sleep Sunday night. I wasn’t really one before I started the year, but Im certainly less of one now, actually not one in any way. We could argue that those people need to find a career they are most passionate about so they don’t hate going into work on Monday but that is a different story. I love Mondays, I love what I do and every day holds an equal positive opportunity for me when it is Monday or Saturday and there is no washing away my weekday sorrow at the bottom of the glass on weekends.

So what is the takeaway of this and why did I write it? Im not 100% sure. Im not an anti-alcohol advocate, Im not an pro-alcohol free advocate and I don’t have any plans or no plans to continue or not continue. It just is what it is and it was a positive, enriching experience and wanted to share my thoughts and reflections in what I think is a better piece than the above one.

If you find yourself in a rut or need a positive change – it may be something you should try out. Or if you have a good balance, continue doing so and enjoying it. If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to leave a comment or send me a message on Facebook. I look forward to hearing from you and have a good weekend, whether it includes alcohol or not 🙂

Guest Blog Ten – Jeremy Reed

Posted: July 17, 2014 by dannytwoguns in About Me

It has been quite a while since we have had a guest blog/testimonial on the blog. It isn’t because we haven’t been continuing to change the way fitness is done and getting clients extraordinary results, it is because I’ve been slacking on asking people to write them. But I’ve been the case lately and we have a couple of great ones on the way.

First up is success story, Jeremy Reed who finally gave in, let me post his amazing progress pictures and wrote up a great guest blog detailing his story and success. When Jeremy first started he was extremely tight and lacked quite a bit of mobility but he has not only gained the mobility and range of motion he lacked but he has progressed to being pretty damn strong and getting amazing results in the process.

I’ll let Jeremy take over…

Jeremy GB BA 1

“The concept of losing weight and getting in better shape is not new to me. Over the past fifteen years, I have joined (and quit) the gym at least five different times. I’ve also counted points and journaled what I’ve eaten at least three different times. Each time I would lose around 25-30 pounds and then get completely bored with the routine and stop. My weight would then creep back up to where my body seemed to be comfortable, where I’d started, right around 265 pounds (give or take five pounds).

In January of 2013, I was given the news that if I didn’t do something about my weight, I was going to have to start taking blood pressure medication. At 32 years old, this wasn’t something I wanted to do. So sometime in February, I joined the gym and started back into the same routine I had done in the past. I’d use the elliptical trainer for about an hour, then rotate between upper body machines and lower body machines depending on the day. I lost a few pounds, but nothing major because I hadn’t changed my eating habits and what I was doing weren’t the right things.

Several of my friends had success with a popular 24 day challenge so I thought I would give it a try as well. I started the challenge on March 2nd, 2013. I was going to complete the challenge, start eating healthy, and I was going to give up drinking Diet Coke. This was a HUGE step for me, because I was pretty much a Diet Coke addict. I could (and often times would) drink a twelve pack a day. I was on my way to losing the weight.

Everything went great for the first four days. I was going to the gym, eating healthy, and working my way through the cleanse phase of the 24 day challenge. On my way to work on March 8th, 2013, my Jeep was hit from behind while at a complete stop. This derailed my workout schedule for about two months due to having to undergo physical therapy for the injuries to my back that were sustained in the accident.

It was in May 2013 that I felt ready to get my workouts back on track. I noticed the Muffin Top Meltdown Contest flier for Danny Twoguns and Twoguns Training Systems while at the gym. I was also referred to the Twoguns program through a co-worker, Candy Kemp who had see amazing results herself. (Dan Edit – You can read here success story HERE) I decided to take the challenge.

Jeremy GB BA 2

I was pretty nervous at first. You hear all of the talk about non-threatening and “judgement free” environments and encouragement at gyms that aren’t actually true, but in this case it was all true. Everyone at the gym is very encouraging. Everyone helps everyone else. Sure, there are times that it might seem that my level of complaining is over the top, but I truly enjoy every workout and look forward to the next. The program is great because the routines change every four-six weeks. This changes it up often enough that boredom doesn’t set in but long enough that we actually progress and get better.

When I started my journey in March of 2013, my waist was at 44 inches. I now have a 34 inch waist and have lost 65 pounds. My fat percentage has dropped about 15 percent and my blood pressure is completely normal. No need for blood pressure medication for this guy! My eating habits have greatly improved and I have learned to really enjoy many new foods that were never on my grocery list previously. It has certainly become a way of life for me. I am happy with the new, healthier person that I have become.”

Jeremy GB BA 3

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



Myokinematic who what? I’ll elaborate I promise. Stick with me.

The weekend before the one that we just finished, the Twoguns Training System and LEWIS Fitness & Performance teams headed down to the Postural Restoration Institute (PRI)’s Myokinematic Restoration course/seminar. PRI has many different courses and this was the primary “introductory” course and where they recommend you start.

Pittsburgh Myokin Group Photo

Group Shot of the Attendees

“Introductory” in the PRI world apparently still means “extremely complicated and complex” and this 2 day course was easily one of the most mentally challenging seminars/courses/certifications Ive experienced in my travels. But it was definitely and absolutely a great learning experience and a necessary step of knowledge as we progress to change the way fitness is done in Erie.

Before we get into some of the information and take homes from the course let’s address what the heck even is “Myokinematic Restoration”?

It is the integrative approach to treatment of patterned lumbo-pelvic-femoral pathomechanics.

Say What

Just kidding. Kind of. That is the description they use but not what I expect you or anyone to actually understand.

Myokinematics is a fancy way of saying the study of motion or lack of motion produced by a muscular force. Essentially the study of muscle as it relates to movement.

The fitness profession over the last few years for anyone who has been keeping up has been trying to create symmetry in movement. This is why the Functional Movement Screen (FMS) should be a standard wherever you are working out. We want to see if the body in terms of movement has any gross asymmetries in terms of left to right, upper to lower body, functional movements etc because we need to correct those significant asymmetries for function, health and fat loss purposes.

But as we learn more and more, we see that the body has naturally asymmetries to it just based on how your body is built.

Your movement is primarily dictated by the left side of your brain, which effects the right side of your body.
Your heart is on your left side.
Your liver is located on your right side, weighing 2-3 pounds.
Your spleen is opposite the liver on your left side but is significantly smaller, weighing less than a pound and taking up less space than your liver.
This combination results in the diaphragm (your “breathing muscle”) being bigger on the right side.

All of this results in a natural asymmetry that always leaves us patterned into “sitting into” our right hip regardless of whether we are left or right handed dominant. It usually looks like this…

Left AIC
Photo credit – Cressey Performance

Right hip internally rotated, left hip externally rotated and our hips “shifted.”

It is funny because if you asked a person when is the last time they saw a yellow volkswagon they would say they haven’t. But when they start looking for one, they notice that they see one all the time. The same goes for this stance of people sitting into the right hip. Take notice of how people stand and you will see they are always sitting into the right hip just as in the picture above. Rarely balanced on two legs and very rarely on their left hip, always the right.

I was explaining to three of my clients about some of the things we learned over the weekend and as I was telling them, two of them were completely on their right leg as they were like “oh is that true?” I just told them to look down. The other was doing an exercise on the ground at the time or else they would have likely been in the same position.

So what does this mean?

It means that we never want any gross/large asymmetries in our movement and abilities but there is always going to be an underlying asymmetry and our goal is to work against the natural imbalance and find a “balanced asymmetry and motor control” as our goal.

PRI (and soon Twoguns Training Systems) uses two primary assessments in order to see how a client fits into this pattern. The first is the Adduction Drop Test…

Adduction Drop Test

This tells use how the femur/thigh bone moves in relation to the hip bone/pelvis when it is in extension. A “common” finding would show us the ability to do it on one leg and not the other. Normally when people see this test, the ability to not be able to completely adduct/get your leg down to the table they would say that they “have a tight IT band” but it isn’t the IT band, it is the position of the pelvis (where your thigh bone inserts to your hip bone) and we can do correctives/realignment exercises (not chiropractic adjustments) in order to put the pelvis in a neutral position and completely change the test, no touching of the IT band required and realign the pelvis to an optimal and “balanced” position.

The second test is the Extension Drop Test.

Extension_Drop_Test_Positive_for_website_photo

Having the ability to extend the hip and get your leg to the table in this test, while not being able to in the Adduction Drop Test tells us that something in your hip is overstretched and too loose and you are getting mobility from somewhere that you shouldn’t be and we also have an approach of correctives to be able to fix that.

The course this weekend was focused around those philosophies and assessments and how we can better serve clientele by being able to address these. It is a completely different way than the industry looks at things and it has definitely been an eye opening experience. We have been experimenting on ourselves and staff and will be implementing the assessment and specific correctives once we come to the best way of implementing this into our programming.

Your body will try to find stability – one way or the other, for better or for worse movement and we are always striving to optimize movement because when we move optimally we not only burn significantly more calories but we also move more often and feel better for every day activities. This new outlook helps us get to that even quicker than we already have and seems to be a direction the future of fitness is going. This is a lot of new and dense information and we will gladly simplify and break it down for you to bring the absolute best results possible and continue to change the way fitness is done in Erie.

If you have any questions, concerns or curiosities feel free to send me a message on Facebook or leave a comment here.

Some Rant Mode Fun

Posted: April 28, 2014 by dannytwoguns in About Me

Good ol’ fashioned rants always seem to be a big hit among readers. One I posted a week or two ago was shared a bunch and everyone seemed to love it. I tend to do a little ranting on occasion and didn’t necessarily want to post a FB status rant once a week or multiple times a week but since people liked them I figured as I would go on my rants, I would write them down in a blog post and then post it once there has been an adequate amount of ranting done.

There was a day last week where it was one of those days where I saw two separate ridiculous fitness related things on FB locally here that made me want to comment, rant and rave and cause a ruckus. However, positive Danny Twoguns refrained. But I figured it would make for a good little rant.

1. Your workout should give you more than it takes from you. There is absolutely no value in getting tired for the sake of getting tired. Your workout should be focused around making you better. You may fatigue and be tired after a good workout but you should be feeling better than when you walked in and there is no merit in doing something just to torch you, make you tired and hinder your recovery. Do things that make you stronger, make you better and get you toward your goals faster not slower.

Everything in your program should be there for a reason, and a responsible one at that.

Suzanne B&A 2

Over 20 pounds down but a completely different posture in 8 weeks – No make you tired workouts for her – Just make you better ones.

2. This is a hard pill to swallow but the last set of people you should be listening to about diet advice is your peers – unless of course, they are telling you the recommendations they got from a professional and even then that is likely individual to them if it came from a reliable source. Tough love, but true.

In my last rant I talked about how your diet needs to be individual to you and you find that through experimenting with your own under the guidance of someone who knows what they are talking about. Finding someone who knows what they are talking about is easier said than done but it certainly is not found through what your friends sister in law read in people magazine.

When someone asked for advice for how to lose fat or overcome a plateau, I heard…

– “The problem is you aren’t eating enough – eat more.” Now this is a real thing but rare and most likely not your issue. The average person does not train hard enough, frequently enough or actually not eat enough calories to have to eat more. There are those people, but you are most likely not that person.

– “Don’t eat after 6pm.” Myth and not true. It could have at least said “No carbs after 6pm” and even then I would have debated that one also. But don’t eat after 6pm? Sucks for you if you get out of work late multiple days a week…

– “Eat a good big breakfast.” Myth. General Mills and the Agricultural Association told you this. There is a lot of actual science research that shows how beneficial NOT eating breakfast is. The last thing your body needs first thing in the morning is a massive insulin spike. Clients have commented how much more productive there morning is after implementing skipping breakfast.

– “Shakeology,” “AdvoCare” “random MLM scheme” – Faceplant. Just no. There are no miracle supplements that will get you around old fashioned hard work.

Face Palm

This topic may need further elaboration later but it is one that definitely gets me. Im fully aware that some people have gotten great results with one of these sub-par shake, supplement, whatever schemes. But 99 times out of 100, these are people who went from Zero anything in terms of diet and training into it and then got some results. But the reality is these people would have succeeded on any strict program they stick to because of the dramatic change that it was and you make your absolute best gains when you are starting out not because that program is magical and great for everyone. This is also why these people tend to rebound so drastically.

It also helps that they make money off of you buying these things from them as well. There is a reason you don’t get recommendations for these kinds of cleanses and whatnots from experienced fitness professionals who have put their time in learning the right way to do things.

– “Eat a damn big mac and shock your system.” Really? There is research and merit to a cheat meal or small window of a cheat (not a full day). But there is never merit to a big mac.

The quality of your food matters. Not all calories are created equal. 2000 calories of chicken and broccoli is not the same as 2000 calories of big macs. Regardless of what your high school health teacher told you.

– “Switch up your training. Shock your muscles!” – If you are training correctly, your program/programming wont let you stagnate. There is never a legitimate need to completely overhaul your program. Muscle confusion is a myth propagated to sell you p90x and crossfit.

It is unfortunate but the best way to get truly sustainable and amazing results is to hire a competent fitness professional. I understand that finding one is easier said than done as some parts of this rant came from the doings of personal trainers but finding someone to help guide you through the mess that the fitness industry has become is the best way.

Piss on Average

3. I recently had a strategy session in which the prospect told me she wanted to be able to come and go as she pleased, if she wasnt feeling the workout that day she wasnt going to come and she just “wanted to get a workout in every now and then.”

Guess what I told her?

“We’re probably not a good fit for you.” She was surprised but I told her all those things she said is exactly NOT what we do here at Twoguns Training Systems.

If your goal is to be average – We’re not for you.
If you dont want to make a change – We’re not for you.
If your workout is something you can just take or leave… We’re not for you.
If you want a workout that is just going to smoke you, make you tired and not make you better? We’re not for you.
if you want something cheap and takes no effort – We’re not for you.

And that’s okay, there are other options that would suit you better.

If you arent any of those things above and you want to make a major change, workout hard in order to get better and accomplish your goals while making a commitment to not only yourself, but to the gym, my team and I? Then we are absolutely for you, complete beginner to “advanced.” We don’t discriminate on ability level like some of our competitors. There is nothing too intense for you because we are good enough to scale everything down exactly to your level.

Here is a chance for you to make a change – the Swing Into Summer Transformation Challenge

Rant mode over. Please post your thoughts and comments on the Facebook thread and let me know what you think.

A client and I were talking about one of Twoguns Training Systems Core Values, to constantly be learning and improving and what continuing education seminars/certifications/events I had lined up or going on in the future. She gave me the idea that it may be interesting to write a little post to give people some insight as to the things I am learning and the certifications or seminars I am attending or going to.

It is a busy time for me in terms of continuing education as I have a bunch of things going on at once and some events I’ll be traveling to, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. It is important to me to always strive to be the best and learn as much as I possibly can in order to provide the best service possible to clients.

BodyMAP Certified Coach

bodymap-coach-red

I attended the BodyMAP Certification when I was in California in late February and it was truly a game changer. But just attending the course didn’t make you actually certified. To do so, you have to perform 10 BodyMAP Assessments and Case Studies and write a dissertation on them and the BodyMAP System in order to become certified. Im finishing up the case studies and have began working on the dissertation and should be officially certified in the near future.

I also received a recording of a recent BodyMAP Certification (one I haven’t attended) so I’ll be delving in there to get even more learn on with the BodyMAP goodness.

Training For Warriors Level 1

TFW Logo

If you follow me regularly on Facebook, you’ve seen Ive been on a little bit of a Martin Rooney/Training for Warriors kick as of late. Martin Rooney (founder of Training For Warriors) has been one of my long time favorites in terms of fitness professionals both for his ability to motivate and his wealth of knowledge in terms of training but particular metabolic training. He is definitely top three in fitness mancrushes, no homo, not that there’s anything wrong with that…

Martin Rooney Quote 2

For those who have experienced the Twoguns Training Systems “Hurricane” Metabolic Workout, that is completely influenced by the Training For Warriors Hurricanes.

The live Training For Warriors Level 1 certification has been that one event that I have been eagerly wanting to go to but logistics and location have never added up and when the online certification opened up, I jumped on it and am currently taking it. It is a 4 week course and after only watching a couple of the modules (it is essentially a live course filmed into different modules in a membership site), Im glad I didn’t wait for a live one.

Here is a quick rundown of it for those not familiar, from the Training For Warriors website.

“What separates the TFW system from other training programs is its holistic approach to training. TFW encompasses detailed warmups, speed training, strength training, endurance training, flexibility work and nutrition all of which are based on a comprehensive evaluation process. These training modalities are all applied based on the 12 guiding principles that are the philosophical foundation of the TFW system. As a result of this principle-centered approach, the TFW system offers endless variety while still focused on producing constant gains.”

Cant wait to start applying some of the greatness from this certification.

Killing It With Kettlebells

I attended the Kettlebell Athletics Certification this past Fall and am attending the StrongFirst Kettlebell Level 1 Certification in July, but both of those center around kettlebell training technique and coaching. The Kiling It With Kettlebells Certification focusing around building up a kettlebell-centric large group personal training program. Even though Twoguns Training Systems already offers the best large group personal training program in the area, the course offered a great opportunity to “sharpen our sword” as well as expand the possibilities of future large group programs we can hold.

This is a live event in the beginning of April that Im definitely excited about. It is three days long with one of those days including an 8 hour workshop with another fitness professional mancrush, Dan John. Each year Dan John has been one of my favorite presentations at the Functional Training Summits as he has a way to make what seems complicated, painfully simple and doing so in a way everyone can understand and chunk down all while being funny and educational. His book, “Never Let Go” is one of my favorites as well. Very excited for this event weekend.

Those are the three on the immediate radar for continuing education and our constant pursuit at learning. There are a few more on the horizon and scheduled now, but not until the end of May, in which could be the start of a potential and would be epic 5 week continuing education tour. We shall see.

For now, any questions or curiosities related to any of the above, feel free to shoot me a message here or over on Facebook. Always be learning and improving.