Archive for the ‘About Me’ Category

“Going Deep With Danny Twoguns” – Part V

Posted: December 22, 2017 by dannytwoguns in About Me

( Quick Note / Reminder – This is depending how you look at it Part II or Part V in the Doing Deep With Danny Twoguns series. There was an initial interview split into three parts and a follow up interview about a year later (what you are reading now) that is in two parts. You wont be completely lost if you havent read any but reading the first half of this interview, what is technically Part IV will give you better context to what we are talking about.)

The last piece ended with…

CH : This is probably a good transition as one of the ways you tackle nutrition at your gym is with Fit in 42. And other than in the question prior, I dont think we’ve mentioned Fit in 42 in this series. Is it still a big part of what you guys do at the gym?

D2G : It absolutely is. We are experimenting with iterations of it at Twoguns and iterations of it at Movement Forever, but long story short it is definitely a big part.

In looking at the people we mainly aim to serve, there tends to be two primary “buckets”.

The first is how do we balance fitness and healthy lifestyle into our crazy, busy, stressed lives – mainly, incorporating all of those things into our life, not having a life that revolves around it.

This is the end goal in either scenario. Like we talked about in the first 3 part series, the average person thinks the path to their goals is far more strict than it usually is. But 2-4 workouts a week, a nutrition program we follow 80-90% of the time, moderation strategies and a couple of times a year where we are more strict and a couple where we arent as. It builds up and adds to our life, not takes from it. As said this is the goal of any scenario – to get to this point.

But sometimes getting to that point is easier said than done…

The second is a little more complicated… What if that “moderation” approach hasnt worked in the past for that person? Or that person needs a massive jumpstart or a massive kickstart to help them get started or re-started?

A comparison I am not quite a fan of, but fits well is that “you dont go to the Betty Ford clinic 2-4x a week” or “alcoholics dont go to rehab 2-4x a week” – they are totally immersed in the process, 24 / 7, living and breathing it.

So we have Fit in 42 as an option for that person.

A total immersion process to fitness, fat loss and healthy lifestyle. For 42 days we are yours and you are ours as we tackle 6 days a week of personal training sessions, full – customized nutrition program, education, motivation, accountability and everything in between. This is not that moderation approach for 42 days, this is “all in”.

Now the biggest misconception that comes about from Fit in 42 is since it has a sexy “short term” name, people tend to think it is a short term program. One of those programs that when you are done, you “won” and it is over.

Not what it is at all. The goal is to take those 42 days and build us up to a position that when we transition to the “moderation” type approach we mentioned above, the “end goal” approach, the transition is as seamless as possible because we’ve built this massive foundation in order to get us where we need to go.

With that said…

Which is better? It completely depends on the person. Some people can start with “moderation” and the end goal approach, some people need / want that “next level” of immersion. Some people get overwhelmed at the total immersion, some thrive on it. Neither is right or wrong, we have options for both.

It always comes back to that individualized to the client aspect. It is the most important piece. It includes exercise selection, nutrition etc and all the things we talked about, but it also has to do with what type of gym or program works best for a person.

If the description of Fit in 42 sounds like something that resonates with you, click HERE for more information.

CH : That is great and spot on. Lateralizing on the individualized component… You touched on Kinstretch earlier and I wanted to make a point to get to ask. I saw you have a Kinstretch only membership now. Why did you go that route instead of having it in your memberships?

D2G : Slightly off in the interpretation. It is included in our “regular” Twoguns Training Systems memberships but there was enough volume and traction on Kinstretch specifically for people whose sole goal was to get out of pain, or people who maybe worked out at other gyms, were members of yoga studios, bootcamps, crossfit etc and they were interested in Kinstretch to make them better at their workouts or their yoga / whatever they do practice.

So we’ve launched that as a standalone if people were interested in just that. It is included in “regular” memberships, of course, we just added a standalone option if that is what people wanted.

CH : Can you elaborate on that second to last piece before you move on? Maybe specifically to why someone would workout somewhere else and do Kinstretch at your gym but not the full membership?

D2G : This is a good parallel to what I just mentioned at the end of the Fit in 42 question with programs needing to be individualized to the person as well and like I mentioned with the difference between Twoguns Training Systems and Movement Forever Fitness, sometimes people are just better fits at other places depending on what they are looking for.

My goal is to simply educate everyone in Erie of all that is available and why or what works best for them.

Some people enjoy the get tired / bootcamp beatdown type model and memberships. That is the workout they enjoy the most and the one they gravitate towards the most. And as long as they dont have any injuries of physical limitations, that may be what works for them.

If this is what someone wants. We are not the best choice for them…

But at the same time enter Kinstretch for that person to be able to make them have less pain and move better during those workouts so that they get injured less.

Same can be said for something like crossfit. The average or even majority of people who do crossfit dont do it because they want to lose fat, move better, feel better and get in shape – and if they do, we educate as to why there are better, safer alternatives…

But the main reason someone does crossfit is “to do the crossfit”. Whether it is getting better at WODs, competing, whatever. And same thing – enter Kinstretch to allow them to get injured less and do what they enjoy, crossfit, more often. They get better at doing crossfit from doing Kinstretch.

And then there is yoga…

CH : And as always you do not dislike yoga…

D2G : Haha, exactly. I always have to qualify that because if it is done well, it definitely has its place and I am by no means anti-yoga. I have actually always been interested in yoga personally from an increasing mobility standpoint and movement practice standpoint, but never formally pursued it. Why that is will be explained further down.

Long explanation short, yoga is a conversation that happens fairly often because it “looks the most like” Kinstretch and is the first thing people tend to compare it to.

As a result, I’ve done a lot of fairly formal research on yoga ever since I dove down the Kinstretch rabbit hole and the most interesting part I’ve found is in terms of why people do it.

I originally thought it was to increase mobility and to move better. But that was really never the case with anyone I interacted with or what I found. It was what I thought because that was where I personally fell.

I found three reasons…

The one most often was benefits as they relate to meditation.

Now meditation is one of the most scientifically proven things we have in our field. It has myriad benefits for lots of reasons – turning down sympathetic tone, relaxation, brain health etc, so many more.

But it isnt exercise and can be done when you wake up, before you go to sleep, right before you exercise, right after you exercise etc. But doing it while we exercise and most importantly as the main reason why we exercise, is not a valuable use of exercise time. We need to meditate / find ways to relax, but it isnt while we are exercising.

Second was benefits as they relate to strength training and common fitness-based outcomes – lose fat, get in shape, get stronger etc. And unfortunately, it simply doesnt do those things well. The positions arent individualized enough for a person’s abilities and relying solely on bodyweight as the load of the exercises to far too limiting.

And then we also have the argument of what if a person’s current bodyweight is too much for them to handle at the start? Bodyweight is not the easiest form of an exercise – assisted variations that help us deload are.

And the third, which you may have been able to guess by the above beatdown bootcamp / crossfit answers, was to get better at doing yoga. They simply enjoyed the process of doing yoga as how they physically express themselves. Their “movement practice”.

The first two reasons here are education based. We have to equip the knowledge around why people are doing what they are doing and does that fall in line with their goals. If your goal is to lose 50 pounds and have a big fat loss transformation, yoga simply is not the vehicle to get you there. It may offend some people, but it just is what it is. Education first.

But the third, falls into what we’ve been mentioning. Kinstretch makes people better at doing yoga, so yoga people enjoy it.

It comes down to how Kinstretch makes you better at being a human. Whatever being a human means to you.

Erie and Northwest Pennsylvania’s ONLY Kinstretch Certified Facility

For more information on Kinstretch and how we implement it at our gyms, click HERE.

CH : As you slightly hinted at… I would like you to elaborate on that last line but I wanted to mention I can see how the past couple of topics could potentially “rub people the wrong way”. Particularly people who are members at a large group, bootcamp style fitness facility or crossfit or yoga…

But I wanted to throw in how I’ve always appreciated how you – strong in your stance at times, of course, can always look at things objectively and always have a “why” to things.

D2G : Exactly. I have no intentions of talking ill of something people enjoy. But education is the foundation. It simply has to be.

I cant remember if I mentioned this in the previous parts, but if I did, it is absolutely worth repeating…

Everything we do at Twoguns Training Systems, LEWIS Fitness & Performance, Movement Forever Fitness, Kinstretch Erie, Fit in 42 Erie and everything we do anywhere is because through 10,000+ hours of education and pursuit of knowledge after our college degrees, we’ve found the way that as per science and what truly works for people – works the absolute best for what we aim to do. We do what we do because that is what is best for people, bottom line.

If something came along education wise that would change the way we do absolutely everything we do in the gym, we would change it, because it is better.

What we do isnt built off of something we like or a specific methodology, it is built off of this is the way we know unequivocally works the best now and that is why we do it – because it is the best.

That is always missed by people.

“You say not nice things about p90x because it isnt what you do!” or “You dont like yoga because it isnt what you do!”

Both Incorrect.

We already touched on yoga, so I wont reiterate there but I say not so nice things about p90x because it does not work for 90-99% of the people who do it. We just tend to only hear the loud minority, not the quiet majority. It does more harm to fitness than benefit and education is always the goal. People should know that they didnt fail at fitness and they didnt fail at p90x. p90x failed them because it doesnt work for the vast majority.

CH : Boom.

One last thing before we wrap it up. It seems a popular question since what we primarily do is fat loss… As it relates to Kinstretch, how does Kinstretch help someone with fat loss goals?

D2G : Definitely a question that comes up fairly often. And it comes down to the line above – Kinstretch makes you better at being a human, whatever being a human means to you. If the goal and expression of being a human is fat loss, it applies there.

To elaborate… the better and more optimally a person moves from the very root of the foundation, which in the body’s movement instance is the joints and then mobility, the better and quicker we get to our goals..

Addressing the joints and mobility at their foundation, helps us two primary ways. One it makes us more optimal in the movements we do. And the better we perform a movement without compensation, the more effective that movement is. And then it also keeps our joints healthy and keeps us pain free, which allows us to train more effectively and for longer.

Thus, being able to perform movements more effectively, for longer, pain free is absolutely conducive to the fat loss training efforts we will be doing.

CH : Perfect. That seems like a good place to wrap it up. Thanks for doing this again. I always enjoy it.

D2G : Thank you, I do as well. Maybe we can make it a yearly thing haha.

To stay up to date on the content we create and the fitness fun we are launching, please click HERE to opt in to receive those updates regularly 🙂 Be sure to click “Get Started” if prompted.



(Quick Note / Reminder – this is again technically a Guest Blog from fellow fitness professional and friend, Craig Householder in a series we did at the beginning of 2017. Initially it was one super long interview style blog that we cut into three parts. This one is a follow up on that series that of course ended up really long and we split into two parts. Here is Part I of II aka Part IV 😉 …)

CH : So the initial “Going Deep with Danny Twoguns” quote, unquote “mini-series” was a big hit when we did it, it would seem. Thought it would be a good idea to follow up on those things in an “addendum” of sorts and see what’s new and if there is any deeper we can dive almost a year later!

D2G : Absolutely. The series was definitely one of the most “shared” things I’ve put out blogs wise and also resulted in a lot of good conversations resulting from the things we talked about.

CH : That’s great. What were some of the conversations like?

D2G : A lot of them were based around showing gratitude towards and asking more specifics in relation to my personal story. It is always easy for people to assume that because people own a gym or are a “personal trainer” / fitness professional that everything comes easy, it has always been easy and we are immune to all of the things that “normal people” deal with and have issues with. And as you know with newborn baby Jack, that simply isnt the case nor true.

People like knowing and/or hearing that they are not alone in their struggles regardless of what popular media / mainstream bullshit tells them – “It is easy and you are broken/damaged for it not coming easy to you.” When in reality the immense and vast majority of people struggle with the same exact things.

Video Interview of Danny Where He Elaborates on the “Being Broken”…

It is always interesting to me how when people come in for their initial strategy session to see if the gym is a good fit for them, how they think that they are on an island with their struggles and how it comes easy to everyone else and how there is “something wrong” with them for the issues and struggles they deal with.

When I tell them that they are not only “not alone” but that we built a gym centered around the people who have exactly that issue, the look of potential on their face as opposed to the look of frustration, literally makes my day every time.

Back to the conversations that were sparked last time other than relating to my personal story, there were also a lot about the “nerding out” piece and deep diving into fitness rabbit holes.

In the past, people have said that only other trainers want to hear the deep down, nitty gritty of the fitness stuff, not our potential clients. And at least for us, in “10 years behind the times fitness-wise Erie”, people seemed to appreciate (although maybe not always understand) the diving down of the rabbit holes so they could know the true WHY of the things we do and why it benefits them and why their fitness, health and well being is worth investing in and why dollar store trainers and bootcamp beatdown and punching bag nonsense is not the effective or safe way.

Kind of like a, “Wow I had no idea there was such depth to this fitness and movement thing.” Which educating them on that is obviously one of our big goals.

CH : Nerding out is always good! I’ve enjoyed your scapula stuff recently. But before we go anywhere with any of that… Has anything significantly changed for you business wise since we last talked in this context? Crazy it has almost been a year.

D2G : Slightly reiterating but we are still completely living and breathing continuing the mission of changing the way fitness is done in Erie. Attempting to convince the general masses that they themselves, their health, their fitness and actually LIVING life are worth investing their time, energy and money into for the long haul…

Though we’ve expanded that into “Changing the Way Fitness is Done” as I begin to help other fitness professionals across the country and world, do the same in their markets through programming, marketing etc. I’ve now added an “Only” I didnt have previously, of – the Only Fitness Professional in Erie who is a paid consultant and expert to other fitness professionals looking to grow their business, change lives and Change the Way Fitness is Done in their town / city.

It is a great way to evolve – “Helping the most people possible” to “Helping the most people, help the most people possible.”

But yeah, when you are on the ever changing rocket ship we are on, a lot changes in a year. On the surface, it is actually funny, last time we talked we mentioned how Erie was kind of behind the times in terms of high quality fitness options etc and our goal was to change that, hence opening Movement Forever prior to us talking…

And we’ve continued to do that but since we’ve talked the progress on that has probably actually gone backwards even though completely out of our control as we are continuing and growing at both locations as another Planet Fitness opened up in Erie.

Posted in jest, of course…

Not that far from the original Erie Planet Fitness and right next to its two direct competitors, which is strange, but it is what it is. It really reiterated that we really shouldnt give any time or energy to things that do not effect us at all. Hopefully it builds up the top of mind that fitness is important in the area, and allows people to seek out the best, which is us.

Any way, our second location, Movement Forever Fitness is no longer an “infant” in terms of how long it has been open. It hit its 1 year mark and is absolutely continuing our mission…

CH : We never really touched on Movement Forever at all last time. Can we elaborate now? Why a second location in the same city? Why a different model? What is the goal?

D2G : Absolutely. There are a couple of “origin stories” there…

For a while, Geoff [Danny’s “non-sexual life partner” aka his business partner and head of LEWIS Fitness & Performance ] and I had this idea of creating a baby boomer centric facility. One that catered to the fastest growing population we have in this world, the said “baby boomer.”

Erie really didnt have a facility that is specifically geared toward helping them the correct way in terms of programming and the correct way in terms of the business model that supports that. The closest thing really was Twoguns Training Systems.

And we wanted to create something specifically that addressed that and conversations about that in the early stages is possibly why there was an initial misconception that is was an “older people gym” which it is not, which I will elaborate on very shortly.

Then simultaneously, we had a friend / colleague in the area, Tim (now General Manager of Movement Forever) who previously worked with Geoff at a shared former job, who was the most similar to Geoff and I in terms of actually valuing continuing education, wanting to learn more and get better as a fitness professional in Erie, which unfortunately is pretty rare in our area.

He was kind of looking for his “next step” as we were having the previous idea on the backburner because we didnt have the manpower to actually run or implement it.

I was teaching a DVRT Level I and II Certification in NYC, with Geoff coming along and Tim was actually attending that certification as well. So we drove together and through a wintery hell drive home from NYC, we talked a lot about life, visions of the future in all things fitness, and our mission which Tim shared completely.

The “brain baby” of Movement Forever was born. And being the rocketshippers we are, set to put those things in motion to see if it was logistically feasible, immediately. We had the idea and we had the person, now to hash out details.

Tim, Geoff and Dan at the Movement Forever Grand Opening

Obviously that brain baby developed into what Movement Forever is now – fully functioning, living and breathing the mission of Changing the Way Fitness is Done in Erie.

The main difference is, it started as a thought of a baby boomer and 55+ facility but evolved into and really always was a lateralization of what our current facility is…

Our currently facility houses three main brands / marketing entities, Twoguns Training Systems, LEWIS Fitness & Performance and Kinstretch Erie though we operate as one business internally. We have the segmentation marketing wise so we are able to speak specifically to each demographic, rather than have a mixed up or muddled message.

Within these brands and this facility, as mentioned in I believe what was “Going Deep With Danny Twoguns Part I” was that we take our fitness very seriously, but we dont take ourselves too seriously in a unicorn environment of glory and dreams…

It is a big facility and there are a lot of things going on. And we built it that way intentionally because we wanted to attract those specific people… We wear unicorn heads, we wear shirts that say “Always Practice Safe Sets”, we are big on ridiculous humans and serious fitness. We have a culture that often attracts but sometimes repels.

Where the facilities are both similar is they are both geared toward the person who wasnt / isnt a “gym person”. The person who “traditional fitness has failed”. The person who is intimidated or unmotivated by “normal gyms”. The person looking for that additional layer of community, camaraderie, support and accountability. The person who values expertise, experience and investing in themselves over looking for the best deal.

If that description of how Twoguns Training Systems does fitness resonates with you, click HERE

Movement Forever does all of those things, just as our “first” facility, but it does so in a smaller, more intimate and controlled, less organized chaos kind of way. Where We take our fitness very seriously, but not in a “dont take ourselves very seriously” kind of way. There is more emphasis on education, investing in yourself and individualization to special considerations like injuries – lower back, knees, shoulders, hips etc in a more controlled environment.

We once had a client who did not sign up at Twoguns Training Systems because she wasnt comfortable that a male coach was shirtless for a portion of her session. She is definitely a better fit at Movement Forever.

At its roots, both facilities are essentially all of the expertise, knowledge, certifications, community and a system we specifically catered around what truly works, not a specific model, methodology, or “how it has always been done” wrapped together, but implemented differently so that we have a fitness solution for every demographic in Erie and can serve them the absolute best way possible, specific to them.

They complement each other, not compete. Plus it was an easy way to build up the amount of high quality facilities Erie had to offer.

Side note : If that description of Movement Forever resonates more with you than our Twoguns one, click HERE

CH : Wow, I didnt expect that deep of a tangent, but that’s great. Circling back to the initial question of things that have changed or evolved significantly since we last talked?

D2G : In terms of operations, which may not be incredibly pertinent to this context, we’ve started systematizing and diligently working on formal staff / team development and training so that is where a lot of Geoff and I’s time has shifted towards, which has been great at taking things that only existed in my head to on paper and has made the gym run even smoother and better than before.

On a similar note to when we chatted last time, a lot of my continuing education time has continued down the rabbit hole of motivation science, behavioral psychology and habit formation. We are planning to launch an additional habit, motivation and accountability backend piece to what we do and how we do it with this year’s upcoming New Year New You challenge we do every beginning of February. (Stay tuned for that!)

We also launched a Kinstretch specific membership, which I / we will touch on later because I know you said you had a couple of questions about it.

We slightly tweaked the way we run our Fit in 42 program that has been a massively positive change for those who go through that.

As well as a lot of little things that may not seem “big” on the surface but have a great impact over time.

It is interesting because looking back on the past year, we’ve grown both in size of members in the gyms as well as knowledge wise but it didnt necessarily come from “big interventions”, it came from constantly and continually sharpening the sword and putting an emphasis on being masterful at the little things.

We are at the point now where it would be strange if something came along that resulted in a big overhaul of operations. Not saying it isnt possible but we are more at the point where we fine tune things and focus on the marketing not the operations because we have those pretty dialed in.

CH : Oh man, no more “Erie’s best kept secret?” 😉

D2G : Weelll… haha. Slightly inside joke from us for the reader, but essentially it boils down to that I / Twoguns Training Systems / our brands are often called “Erie’s best kept secret”. And Craig and I joke because part of it is a big compliment and the other part is like if you are that good but a secret than your marketing needs work…

I remember when a member first told me that she thought we were the best kept secret and I was like hmm, well I dont want to really be a secret. Or do I? And there is always an interesting dialogue that comes from that.

I think it partly stems from a personal trainer in the area, who has his face and his voice in everything – radio, morning TV segments etc and he is all about it being about him, him, him but not his clients or striving to offer a high quality service and when it comes to his gym, it is primarily a show without any substance behind it.

An “emperor has no clothes” type scenario. And that resonates with me so poorly that I often would rather not be in the “spotlight” and just focus on providing the absolute best service and client experience possible.

CH : Switching gears a little bit. The documentary, “What the Health” was a big topic in the fitness world for a while. Primarily in terms of a lot of nutritionists and fitness professionals speaking out against it. We were talking about it one time and I really liked your thoughts…

D2G : I remember. And yeah, nutrition…

The main element of the fitness industry where people almost unanimously agree on the 80% but argue vehemently about the 20%.

It comes back to the pendulums and how people love for it to dramatically swing one way and then swing completely to the other. It HAS to be black and white.

“What the Health” came out and people started demonizing meat every chance they got…X on the picture. New vegetarians came out in mass. And it was all kind of BS information wrapped in a direct and succinct delivery.

But then all the rage was about how the vast majority of science that they were using in the film was completely untrue and that the documentary was complete propaganda.

People went back to not demonizing meat. Z on the picture.

It will always be interesting to me how with nutrition there is always this “black and white”, it has to be X or Z, nothing in between camp / school of thought…

Dont eat meat. Dont eat carbs. Dont eat fat. X is bad. Z is good. Etc etc.

But…

Drink more water…

Avoid processed sugars…

Eat as close to real as possible…

Eat enough protein from the right places…

Eat a lot of green vegetables…

are realistically the only “non-negotiables” and the things we can come close to calling absolutes when it comes to nutrition.

After that everything is pretty “gray” and / or individualized to the person.

Can meat be good for you? Absolutely.

Can meat be bad for you? Absolutely.

Can a vegetarian diet be healthy? Absolutely.

Can a vegetarian diet be unhealthy? Absolutely.

Is it harder to eat “healthy” on a vegetarian diet? I would say so. Getting enough protein is the common concern and it is definitely true. It is harder to get the correct amount of protein, from the right places but definitely do-able as well.

I think there are a lot of vegetarians who are essentially just “not-eating-meat-a-tarians”. These are the people you see people whose diets are composed of baked goods and pizza but no meat.

Just not eating meat doesnt really make someone a vegetarian, eating a diet primarily based around high quality vegetables is probably a better definition and typically does.

The former is where health is an issue, the latter, not so much. If a person is solely going vegetarian for health reasons, they have a discussion about how that may not be the best or easiest way. If someone is because there is an issue other than health related and the challenge is worth the effort? It can absolute be done and be done well.

One of the strongest fitness professionals I know is a vegetarian.

CH : This is probably a good transition as one of the ways you tackle nutrition at your gym is with Fit in 42. And other than in the question prior, I dont think we’ve mentioned Fit in 42 in this series. Is it still a big part of what you guys do at the gym?

(Stay tuned for that answer and more in the second part of this interview and Part V overall!)

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.

nerd-socks-base_1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hypermobile

She does not need more Yoga…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Like This… It does not.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CH : That always seems to be the trend!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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pri-l-aic-3

pri-l-aic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ian Extension

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

Ian Flexion

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

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

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

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

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

andreo_spina_is_a_savage

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.



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.