Archive for the ‘Articles’ Category

What I Think of “Average”…

Posted: September 3, 2015 by dannytwoguns in Articles

This is what I think of average…

Piss on Average

If that offends you – we cant be friends.

Just kidding… Kind of. But seriously average is a plague that we should adamantly be fighting against at all costs. It robs us of our potential. There is no success is average and there is no reason you have to be in any way, shape or form.

One of my bigger philosophies in life, business and in the fitness profession is that I fully and entirely believe (and would go as far to say I know), that 99% of the population is far more physically capable than they know, are aware of or could even fathom.

They are more physically capable of moving well, moving often and doing more – pain free than they ever give themselves credit for or even really know.

As a population we’ve gotten so sedentary and wrapped up in things that don’t matter, that we’ve not only forgotten how to move, but we’ve forgotten what it is like to physically feel strong, confident and capable.

People simply and literally do not know.

Some will say “Well I feel okay…”

The first problem is that, that isnt “I feel good” but regardless, we’ve accepted the way we currently feel (which is far behind “normal” and miles away from feeling good) as our “neutral” and have accepted it as normal. When it is far behind normal and how good you could potentially feel.

It is often overlooked but it is true and part of the reason that the CDC has a statistic that showed that more baby boomers die from suicide than car accidents. That’s crazy and honestly not something Im okay with accepting.

I fully believe it is partly because people don’t move anymore and because of that, they physically feel like shit which makes them mentally feel like shit and it is a vicious cycle of feeling like shit.

My goal is to inspire people to do things that inspire them. And movement is medicine and the vehicle in which we can do that most readily. We are meant to move, we are meant to explore movement. It’s built into our species.

At our Fit in 42 Orientation (the 2nd program we ran) we got on the topic of how the most important thing Fit in 42 gave to one of the participants during our first 42 day session (she did the first and the second Fit in 42 programs), was confidence and competence at her job, which brought her store from one of the worst in sales, to one of the best.

Moving well, moving often, getting brutally strong (whatever that may mean to where you are at – it doesnt mean lifting heavy weights) makes you feel better and gives your body and your brain the confidence to do whatever it is you desire to do.

The brain more or less controls everything we do. If the brain perceives a threat, it has to use resources to address that threat. Having limited ranges of motion or being functionally “weak” in terms of strength and relative strength (how you control your bodyweight) are big threat signals to the brain. That is the basic reasoning behind why exercise and movement practice makes you feel better, the brain is free of one less threat.

Can you squat “ass to grass” without pain or issue as if you had to take a poop in the woods and couldn’t
take your shoes off and they were your only pair?

Squat Bottom

Why “We Know Squat”

If not, you are missing vital and necessary ankle, knee and hip mobility as well as core stability that is
preventing you from ranges of motion and abilities to move that would make you feel infinitely better.

Can you wash your entire back? Just because you cant reach it doesn’t mean it doesn’t need washed :p

But seriously, if you cant,, you are missing vital and necessary range of motion is your shoulders and
mobility and stability of the scapula.

I could go on with movement principles and abilities but I could also go on about life, career, being
successful etc. It’s all relative. People are capable of far more than they allow themselves to believe.

A popular quote I always reference is Henry Ford’s, “Whether you think you can or cant – you’re right.”
And accepting the status quo is for those who are average. And there is no reason why you need to be
average.

Not only is it okay and encouraged to do to do so, but you should feel okay and confident in expecting not only above and beyond average, but excellence. Excellence not only from yourself, which is the start, but from the people around you as well. It is part of the culture at Twoguns Training Systems, we expect more from people because they are physically capable of it even if they don’t know it yet.

One of our initial goals with clients is to get them to have much faith and confidence in themselves and their abilities as we do. Once they do, the success and achievement of goals can start.

It wasn’t that long ago, we had a client who said not only was she not able to touch her toes for the past 20+ years but that there was no way were going to get her to touch her toes ever, let alone the 1-month maximum we had promised.

She touched her toes in the middle of her very first workout.

Having the ability to touch your toes opens up some movement possibilities you didn’t have before, which makes you move better, which makes you move more, which then makes you feel better. It makes you burn fat better. It is one less perceived threat to your brain.

One of the greatest joys of doing what we do is being able to see our people realize they are more than they thought they were and finding and discovering all of the benefits of being so.

What are you capable of? The easy answer is “Far more than you think or know.”

What are you currently “average” at that, that the only real difference between average and above average is hard work? What are you currently NOT doing, that you wish you could be doing because you physically cant do or are afraid of?

Getting you to do those things is exactly what we do and can help you get back to all of the things you wish you could do but cant anymore. And doing all of the things that you used to not be physically able to do is definitely above average.

Dont settle. Not only are you better than settling but you DESERVE better. If you are ready for better and want to make yourself the priority again, our big fall challenge, the Drop 2 Sizes Challenge starts on September 28th. To be the first to know details and guarantee a spot (we will sell out) – fill out the form below.

Motiv - Nicholas Cage

What Is Your “Why”?

Posted: August 3, 2015 by dannytwoguns in Articles

My “Why”

I’ve never been one to “follow the rules” or conform to social norms or do things “because you are supposed to”. So it isnt atypical that my gym follows suit. Actually, if it wasnt the easiest way to identify us to someone who doesnt know what we do, I wouldnt even call us a gym or a personal training studio.

We are a team, a “clubhouse”, a support system, the facilitator and expert path to your goals and desires.

We have a goal of truly helping people and giving them that expert path. We have the best programming to be able to help all abilities levels, all injuries, all limitations. We dont take ourselves too seriously but we take our fitness very seriously. We are the best and we have no reservation saying so, but do so knowing that being so gives us an obligation and responsibility that we are proud to honor and do so every day.

It is truly a judgment free zone. Not like places that say they are, but then actually arent. At Twoguns Training Systems, we all sit at the cool kids’ table.

Battle the BBQ 2015

We use the word “fun” a lot to describe what we do. But not fun how you may think…

I think fun is underrated. But I’m not talking about mindlessly eating junk food, not moving enough, watching reality TV, getting wasted kinds of fun. Those are relatively small goals that are easy to accomplish with immediate gratification but no long term growth. I’m talking about FUN. FUN that requires a type of work, inventiveness, creativity and leaves a long lasting, positive impact on you. And while there may be some sweat involved, the goal is always you make you better, not simply make you tired. Tired without better has little value, if any at all.

In a world that seems to conspire to rob all of us of the amazing attributes that make us unique, we strive to make our facility an inclusive place that honors everyone’s individuality. Where rockstars are encouraged to let their respective freak flags fly. Whatever your “freak flag” may be – just like our training, is individual too. You be YOU, whatever that may mean and it is embraced.

Like having our whole team/staff do a great DVRT workout in matching leggings/meggings…

Why not?

I believe that people are way cooler than they get credit for and when you can build and foster an environment that allows them to truly be themselves, you get to see just how cool they are and people work harder because of it. And when you work harder, you get to your goals faster. Somewhere where you are able to let out your “why” and have nothing but unconditional support in getting towards it.

That is inside our walls.

Outside our walls…

I believe that the average person, while cooler than society and the outside world gives them credit for – dont put enough value and stock in how important fitness is to their well-being and their lifestyle. Literally, everything you want to accomplish in life is improved by adhering to strength, movement and fitness practices.

Fat Loss?
Fit Back Into a Size X?
Feel Better?
Lower Your Cholesterol/Blood Pressure etc?
Move Better?
Play With Your Kids? Grandkids?
Perform Better?
More Energy?
Make More Money?
Get a Promotion?
Serve Others or Help Others?

Literally Anything…

It can help with and be the catalyst for.

I want to create and foster an environment that allows people to do so, within their comfort zone. That is my “why”. I want to create and build a team where the top “X” fitness professionals in Erie are all on my team (we say team instead of staff because we are all a team), in our facility – to grow and develop them so that they can do the above for all of our members. It is why we took everyone the the Functional Training Summit, to get better and continue to change the way fitness is done in Erie. That is our “why”.

That is mine…

What Is Your “Why”?

You need to have goals and with those goals you need to have a “why” behind them. It is what helps you “keep the goal the goal” and continue and prosper on when things get hard or obstacles get in the way. If your “why” is big enough, you can accomplish anything.

Whenever we sit down in a strategy session with a prospective new member, I always try to get to their true “why”. Because knowing your why not only helps us to your to your goals faster but it helps you as well because it is very rarely about fat loss even though that is the initial thought process.

What prompted me to write this was the recurring trend we’ve had at the gym with both the Twoguns memberships and the Fit in 42 Erie group as well, of having a very powerful “why”, especially among females who have families. They have continually and constantly put everyone and everything ahead of themselves as their priority and they’ve finally realized it is time to take care of themselves first and put themselves as the priority because they need to put themselves first. That is a great “why”.

And this isnt in the least bit selfish either. It is simply a mindset shift.

There is a reason on airplanes they say to put your oxygen mask on first before helping others, because you cant help others if you arent taking care of yourself.

Putting yourself first, literally makes you more effective at whatever it is you wish to serve, including your husband/wife and family.

If that resonates with you, we may be the exact place for you.

But we arent necessarily for everyone either. If you feel comfortable in traditional gyms, know exactly what you should be doing, are already in really good shape or “just want to do your own thing”/”just get in a workout”, we are probably not the place for you and that is okay, we genuinely still think you are cool and have no issues.

But if you have a very deep why, you’ve never really fit in at “other gyms” or they intimidate you, you dont like when they are “ya know, this might be too intense for you…”, or you have injuries, issues and limitations that make random workouts on the internet or in-home DVDs not good options for you and you want a place where you can truly be yourself and have a culture of camaraderie, success and support to help you crush your goals and your “why”?

And can relate to some poop talk (females on average you dont poop nearly enough), unicorn heads and occasional doses of ridiculousness…

We are the exact fit for you and we genuinely cant wait to work with you, help you, sweat with you, joke/laugh with you, crush goals with you and accomplish things you never thought you could with you while making you feel and move better than you ever thought you could.

Motiv - Unicorn Fart Rainbows

I’ve said it a couple of times on Facebook and our Erie Youth Conditioning and Performance team/staff shirts say it on the back – “Because Youth Populations Are Not Just Smaller Adults”.

EYCP

As a result, I received a message asking – “What do you actually mean when you say “youth populations arent just tiny/smaller adults”?

I thought that would be a good opportunity to clarify – I’ll tell you then I’ll show you.

The absolute need for specific training for the youth population is becoming clearer and clearer. Which is a good thing. But of course, with all good things, come some not so good ones, of course.

One quick side note – youth population is generally 6-11/12 – older than 12 really isnt youth anymore as their training needs change noticeably as they reach 13, 14, 15 etc and under 6 would require an advanced attention span for that age (with that said, we have a 5 year old in our program because he can – it really just depends on that lower end). So things that market “youth training” with the top end being 14-16 is missing the mark.

Back to what we mean by the statement.

The youth population is a growing market so there are more programs popping up, but the problem with a lot of the programs is they simply take the training methodologies and modalities they use or are being used and make the youth population do them some just ineffective and some downright dangerous – but at that age they need a completely different type of training – hence youth populations need trained like youth populations because they are different than adults.

Crossfit-Kid

This young lady probably isnt ready for that… Not out of the realm of possibility but highly unlikely for a lot of reasons.

Some quick examples and differences…

– Both populations need strength but what strength they need is not the same. Adults need load (load of course being a relative term to the individual) to create stimulus. That stimulus for youth is movement, motor control and “core” development.

A good analogy is a Gray Cook line meant for mobility vs stability but applies here also – “You cant shoot a cannon out of a canoe” – adults should be a ship of some sort so they can and need a cannon, but youth are canoes, they do not need a canon at all, they need to build their canoe into a ship.

– Adults generally have known how to move they just dont so much anymore. Youth havent necessarily and need a lot of movement based fundamentals. Patterns and movement need to be established, not recovered. It’s completely different.

– Adults need a good amount of mobility work to get their joints and movement patterns back to optimal, because age and life has “broken them down” and speed and movement work, while not bad “end game” choices, are certainly not in their beginner or intermediate workouts. Youth populations dont need that mobility work, as sitting, inactivity, stress and “being a grown up” havent taken a toll on them yet and they do need and can sustain speed and movement work more easily and readily.

– Coordination needs to be built differently. Same as movement, adults it needs woken up and recovered, youth it needs developed.

– Attention Spans and Motivation. Adults do “adult type” training because they have the motivation and diligence to do so. They cant be bored but they cant get things done because things need to get done. Doesnt quite work like that with youth populations – they need engagement, they need competition and they need to want to pay attention, not have to.

There are other differences but those are the big rocks. So to tie in all of that with an example, we have a video of a game we call “Bucketz”. You have to points 5-10 feet on opposing sides of bucket, one bucket and one tennis ball per participant. A popular variation we use is you have to stand on one leg and throw with only the opposite hand and make as many buckets as you can in 15-30 even to 60 seconds depending.

Here’s what it looks like…

What does it do?

– Hand eye, coordination.
– Single Leg Stance Strength
– Single Leg Stance Speed or Quickness
– Building blocks for moving side to side aka stabilizing lateral movement
– Low Level Reciprocal (opposite patterns – think walking or skipping) Patterning
– Overall Speed and Quickness
– Anaerobic (think short duration) Cardiovascular training
– Easy ability to progress, get better and increase confidence

All while being uplifting, engaging, competitive and fun.

Getting our youth populations, healthy and active but most importantly, confident so they can excel in whatever it is they want to do, outside of school, inside of school, inside of sports and outside of sports.

And that is a quick look at what we mean when we snarkily say, “because youth populations arent just tiny adults”.

Thanks for reading and if you would like more information on the way we are changing the way youth fitness is done or want to join the program while the summer session is still on – Fill Out This Application and we’ll get back to you.

#ConfidenceOn

EYCP Squat

We’ve used the term “sitting is the new smoking” before and it seems to be coming to the forefront how bad sitting actually is. I came across this statistic the other day…

Sitting = Death

Crazy. Past generations didnt know how bad smoking was (as per everyone in the 70s/80s smoked) initially but all of the damage it caused eventually came to the forefront. Sitting is the same thing, it will soon be common knowledge just how bad sitting is for you. But lucky for you we are at the forefront and are able to attack it now before it is either too late or we’ve done so much damage it takes a long time to fix it.

I talked about a great substitution for sitting in this blog – “Sitting Will Kill You – A Simple Yet Highly Effective Mobility Exercise You Can Do At Work or Anywhere” as something to do instead of sitting, and while it may get you funny looks, it is very effective for office time where you are bound to sitting.

Now we are in a generation that loves meetings etc and I understand and acknowledge that if you are in a meeting, being on the floor in a Tall Kneel position isnt as acceptable as it is if you are working at your desk alone or informally, I know.

So this series of articles assumes you are trying as best you can to avoid sitting as much as possible and will address the things you can do to offset some of the damage. You need to perform constant maintenance on your body to keep it moving optimally, well and burning fat. Part 1 talks about a stretch that has gained popularity but is often done wrong – the Hip Flexor Stretch – a great stretch to offset the negative effects sitting has particularly on your hips but posture and shoulders as well.

Static stretching aka holding a position/stretch for a fixed duration of time without moving has gotten a bad rep lately, and rightfully so – it doesnt prove well in making any range of motion change in isolation, so we generally dont recommend a whole lot of it – the main and primary exception is the Hip Flexor Stretch because it allows us to reverse the poor position of sitting and that makes that front of the hip and hip flexor region shortened and tight and since we spend time actively shortening it, we need to be able to do something that stretches it. It makes sense, if you spend time in a bad hip position ie sitting, it is beneficial to spend time lengthening the areas it shortens.

As mentioned before, it is becoming more and more well known we need to do it, but it is often performed either inefficiently or just completely wrong.

I came across two videos, one here locally and a mainstream one (not local) that both did exactly that. They acknowledged the need to stretch the hip flexor area, which is a start but did so incorrectly and inefficiently so here is my answer to how to do it correctly, with how’s and why’s.

This is what a correct hip flexor stretch looks like…

Court Good HFS

– Both knees at 90 degree angles.
– Back foot is flat on the ground.
– Lower back is completely neutral – no extension aka arching.
– Upper back is completely flat, shoulders back, ribs down – no flexion aka rounding.
– The pelvis as a slightly “posterior pelvic tilt” aka imagine your hips as a bucket of water and slightly tip the bucket so water spills out the back, not the front.
– There is a straight line from crown of the head to the knee that is on the floor.

Two biggest faults with the hip flexor stretch are stretching the hip capsule not the hip flexors and extending or arching the lower back.

Simple one first – extension in the lower back.

Court Bad HFS 1

There are two main problems here, the first is that you cannot posterior pelvic tilt when your lower back is arched, thus you cannot get the actual stretch in the front of the hip flexor group. The second is that that position is a common fault in a lot of exercises and leaks energy so we dont want to spend time promoting a bad position – added this isnt good for your lower back anyway. This is seen a lot when people are cued to “keep a proud chest” or something similar. A better way would be to “get tall” or think shoulders back, without your ribs coming up.

The second is slightly more complicated but probably the more common mistake.

Court Bad HFS 2

Sometimes people who have a little more mobility than most or people who think they need to do the stretch further, will do so by leaning their body forward, way ahead of the down knee. The problem with this is people tend to “feel the stretch more” but it is stretching the capsule of the hips and other things we dont necessarily need or want stretched, not the actual muscles and flexors of the hip we want stretched and can lead to instability issues that we dont like. Think about it this way – the top/head of the femur (thigh bone connected knee and hip) in that position is literally being pushed forward through the capsule it sits in, whereas in the correct position picture, it can sit safely, while sitting getting a stretch in the actual muscles that need stretched.

You can increase the stretch on the hip flexors by doing what we mentioned earlier in emphasizing a posterior pelvic tilt aka slightly tipping the bucket over backwards aka tucking your tail. This is the solution for a lot of people and especially people who sit a lot.

If you are still on the mobile side, and emphasizing the tipping of the bucket isnt enough of a stretch, you may need to progress to a more advance hip flexor stretch, not do mistake number 2 we just mentioned. We go over the progressions and advanced variations of hip flexor stretches in August edition of the Twoguns Training Systems Inner Circle. Be sure to get signed up early so you can get July’s edition and have August sent to you as soon as it comes out.

Stay tuned for part II and the following parts of this series for tips and tricks to keep you moving well, moving often and getting results outside of the gym.

Fitness for Baby Boomers

Posted: June 17, 2015 by dannytwoguns in 2015 Continuing Ed, Articles

This past week/weekend, on June 11th, I attended the Functional Aging Specialist Certification, which was followed by the Functional Aging Summit on June 12th and 13th. The certification and seminar/summit was geared around the 55+ population/market or what they call baby boomers (born between 1946-1964) and “mature” clients (ages 60+ regardless of year born). They stay away from words like “old” and “seniors” :p

FAS 2015

For those who arent familiar with me and Twoguns Training Systems, our passion is and always has been to help the people who…

– “dont fit in” in other gyms…
– have injuries or limitations that prevent them from “traditional” training
– want or need extra attention from a movement standpoint
– dont think they “can do it”
– want healthy and sustainable fat loss
– are tired of the “same old boring way” most of the gyms do it
– other gyms tell them “this may be too intense for you”
– get ignored at the “young people” or “intimidating” gyms
– want a truly judgment free environment

Mary T 1&2 B&A 1

…so naturally we’ve always gravitated toward the “boomer” population. Gyms in the area that are the “best” or “roc” you ignore this population and we actively invite them in because it is amazing getting them to their goals and truly helping them, plus they are bad ass and fun as well.

But more importantly, there is a need to help this population more than any other, now and any time in history.

Here are some crazy statistics that are worth wrapping your head around…

– 62% of boomers say they are overweight or obese. 70+% are overweight or obese.

Negative effects of being overweight or obese include …
– lower life expectancy
– depression
– higher risks of cancer, heart attack, high cholesterol, joint problems, bone problems
– breathing problems
– limited mobility
– fewer employment opportunities
– deep vein thrombosis
– lower quality of life
– etc

– Nearly 1 in 5 boomers admit to exercising less than once a week. 2 in 5 less than twice a week.

FAI 2015
Dr. Cody Sipe and Dr Dan Ritchie – Owners of the Functional Aging Institute

– 30% say they are often or always stressed.

Negative effects of stress include
– headaches
– high blood pressure
– heart problems
– diabetes
– skin conditions
– asthma
– arthritis
– depression
– anxiety.
– weight/fat gain

– 85% of boomers report eating too few vegetables and fruit.

All big issues that effect not only health and money, but quality of life as well. And when can put prices on those things but you probably cant put a price on not being able to get on the floor to or have the energy to play with a grandchild.

But what I found more concerning than all of those statistics were these two…

– 80% think their doctor would say they are healthy. Even though all the other statistics say otherwise.

– 99% of 50+ say that maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important. But only 16% of them utilize fitness.

There is a scientifically proven disconnect between how unhealthy we are becoming and how not only we ourselves perceive our health but even how we perceive a Dr would perceive our health and the fact that it is acknowledged that living a healthy lifestyle is important but less than 1/5 utilize the MOST effective means to reversing aging and building up your health – fitness.

The reality is that age is first and foremost a mindset and you are far more capable of accomplishing anything you desire, being pain free and being able to move better than you know or think.

Satchel Age

For a lot of us it is older than our chronological age – and it doesnt have to be…

The most effective and beneficial training and fitness modality for boomers and mature clients is far and away (and scientifically supported), strength training. Strength training of course, meaning whatever strength training means to you and your current abilities levels, limitations and needs. That may mean you are doing assisted or bodyweight exercises but the goal is strength as a means to whatever goal you wish to accomplish. And you need a full diagnostic assessment of how you move and what you are capable of so your workout program is 100% unique to you because regardless of what the DVD sellers will tell you, we arent all the same and a one size fits all DVD cannot do taht.

Here is a 98 year old woman doing an exercise a lot of 30, 40 and 50 year olds cannot do…

98 Year Old is Stronger Than You

98!

It is never too late to get your life back and you cant afford to wait both physically and financially. The best investment we can make is in ourselves.

For more information on our boomer and mature client specific programs we will be running, fill out this form and we will get back to you…

If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to contact us either on here or me directly on D2G FB.

I had noticed for a period of time that I was feeling more tight than usual – which isnt normal becuase I actually never feel tight at all, and I was starting to “feel tight”. My range of motion and movement abilities weren’t suffering from a competency standpoint but the way they were feeling was definitely different, not for the better.

I wasnt exactly sure what it was because my nutrition hadn’t really changed (we under emphasize how poor diets effect movement let alone fat loss or gain but that’s another story) and my workouts weren’t a whole lot different so I didn’t immediately know.

But then I realized that the only difference was that I was sitting and doing more computer related work in the past month (or a few) than I had previously and my mobility was paying the price for it. I used to stand and move around a lot more during work than I was now and sitting is no one’s friend regardless of how we’ve accepted it as normal.

I read something that said sitting for 6-8 hours a day is worse for your health than smoking. While that is probably a slight exaggeration (though it may not be), it definitely has some truth to it for at least the perspective that sitting is THAT bad for you, though probably not as deadly as smoking is.

Dont smoke and dont sit.

I dont have any hard statistics but I do have this graph…

 

But seriously… A quick run-down of why sitting is so bad.

As people get older, to the elderly age, they start to get weak and tight in the front of the their hips which makes them lean forward and they also get tight in the chest muscles and weak in the upper back, making it round forward so they move with their shoulders rounded forward and their hips back and eventually are unable to walk because it hurts their back or they aren’t physically strong enough to walk in that position because well, you aren’t supposed to walk in that position, let alone when you are getting weaker with age.

When this happens – essentially your death is near or you die. Harsh truth but if you cant move, you die from some ailment or illness.

Sitting puts you in that same exact position. It shortens the front of your hips/hip flexors, making you tight because you are always making those muscles short and inactive which then hurts your lower back because it tries to be your inactive/short hip flexors.

It rounds your shoulders forward and develops a forward head posture, which is also bad for your lower back because your upper back is meant to extend (bend back for lack of better terminology), your lower back isnt and if your upper back cant extend because it is flexed forward all the time, your lower back will be the victim because it will be trying to be something it physically cannot be or do something it physically cannot do.

You wouldnt ask your dog to be your cat, so dont ask your lower back to be your upper back.

And sitting is of course, done on those major moving muscles called your glutes, making them inactive because if you are compressing them by sitting on them all day how can they possible learn to be active when they need to?

Plus 8 out of 10 people noted the glutes as the most attractive quality they desire in a significant other. (Source – Danny Twoguns’ Made Up Facts).

But seriously, a nice set of glutes is not only great for function and great to look at, you shouldnt sit on them all day.

Bad Sitting Posture

That looks like it hurts.

Long story short, sitting is bad for you. Obviously we cant completely avoid sitting, but we can minimize it and do things intermittently that help alleviate its destruction.

Not used to being a person who sits a lot, I made it a point to add some mobility or “greasing the grooves” work to my time spent at my desk and randomly throughout the day to offset some of it.

First thing people say is, “Well you work in a gym, you can. I don’t have time.”

But that my friend, is bullshit. You have time and everything I need to do to keep mobile throughout the day, can be done anywhere, not just a gym. And you have time for a minute or two every hour to move a little bit.

But things you can do extra is another blog for another day – and possibly a topic for the Inner Circle 🙂

But what can you can do to alleviate the detriment of sitting, which will not only help you live longer, help you lose fat because you move better and it immediately makes you feel better, without adding any time to your day?

One easy “exercise”.

We don’t realize how crappy it makes us feel until we are actively trying to fix it and then like magic, your mood gets better because your body doesn’t feel like tight crap anymore.

So what is the one best bang for you buck thing you can do that doesnt even effect time because it isnt adding any to your day?

The Tall Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch

Extremely simple and extremely effective.

You are going to do this instead of sitting, so as said, there really is no time excuse at all as it is done in substitution of sitting – Im actually in the position now as I type this.

The benefit here to two-fold, you are able to stretch out the front of your hip/hip flexors out of that shortened position sitting puts you in and you are also able to “activate” the glutes, obviously by not sitting on them but also by being able to contract them.

An added bonus is it automatically takes you out of that rounded shoulder position because you have to actively try to do it rather than it being the comfortable default like sitting.

Form

Knees are right under hips and your feet are straight back from your knees, making parallel lines, avoid the want to put your feet together.

The position of your toes can be pointed or can be flexed toward your shins, go with whatever you do less often while sitting or the one that feels better, some people have to point until they get a little more mobile or less their knees start to bug them.

Your hips are directly on top of knees, trunk directly on top of hips and shoulders directly on top of your trunk. Imagine your pelvis/hips as a bucket of water and you want that bucket ever so slightly pouring water behind you.

A good Tall Kneeling position looks like this…

Tall Kneel Good

A handsome coach who wears a female tank top to give female clients the confidence to rock tank tops themselves looks like this…

Thumbs Up for Female Tanks

Plus, chest hair.

For the tall kneeling position, you can put something under your knees like a small cushion, towel, anything soft to give you support if you need it. The goal isnt to put pressure on the knee into the ground, but you should be able to do this position with something soft underneath, if not without. Depending on the surface of course.

Here are two examples of bad ones…

Tall Kneel Bad 2

Too much extension through your back and your pelvis bucket not tipped forward.

Tall Kneel Bad 1

This is probably the more common one in people who sit a lot as this the “tight hips compensation”. Hips are so tight they have a hard time fully extending and getting under your trunk. Actively avoid this, even if it means you can only hold the stretch for so long.

Once you have this position in a comfortable, relaxed state, the next step is to actively squeeze your glutes as if you were trying to crack a walnut between your butt cheeks. You can do this for 6 reps of 5 second holds and alternating between sets of that and sets of just holding in relaxed posture. Relaxed posture meaning nothing is actively squeezed and you can breathe easily. You need both. Glutes shouldnt be squeezed and hard the entire time, just for a few sets and reps.

How long is usually the next question and there isnt a “too long”. Tall Kneeling is essentially a more stable version of standing so the answer is no less than 5 minutes every hour you sit or as long as your hamstrings and stabilizers can handle. Being in this position for a long duration while you work at a desk is more taxing than you think.

For me, my hamstrings are what gets tired first, for you it may be different.

Note that this is in substitution of sitting, it does not in any way, shape or form take the place of a strength training program or a fitness regimen nor will it cure any diseases.

But it will help you feel better and move better and avoid the detriments of sitting for long periods of time, especially when it comes to getting your training in and moving better in every day life.

The June Issue of the Twoguns Training Systems’ Newsletter is going to feature an emphasis on mobility to get people feeling better and moving well and also some “Mobility For Fat Loss” Workouts. If you dont want to miss out head over to the Inner Circle page and get signed up so you have it as soon as it is out and can enjoy the content that is already out. Hope to see you over there.

If you have any questions about the article or about the Inner Circle you can always contact me on Facebook or send an email to staff[@]twogunstrainingsystems.com, minus the [] signs. Look forward to hearing from you.

5 Reasons You Should Do Kettlebell Swings

Posted: May 4, 2015 by dannytwoguns in Articles

We’ve talked about some details of the Kettlebell Swing in past blog posts here…

Basics of the Kettlebell Swing

And a shorter one here…

How To and How Not to Kettlebell Swing

I recommend reading those before this one.

But we never talked too specifically about WHY you should Kettlebell Swing and since they are a major tool in the way we get results at Twoguns Training Systems, I figured it would be worthwhile to give some insight as to why they are.

Before we get into details and fun though, a quick pre-cursor (for those that didnt click the previous links, I know who you are… :p ) is that the Kettlebell Swing is an advanced exercise and generally is not for the beginner and that is okay because the best exercise for you, is, always has been and always will be, the one that meets you at your ability level, not the advanced one you perform poorly. So if you’ve never done a Kettlebell Swing before, the goal is to find a competent professional who can teach you safely and effectively, if it is right for your ability level.

You can find a list of all of the kettlebell certified instructors in the Erie area, HERE. (That link is kind of tongue in cheek because there is only one…)

If you are not in the Erie area, reach out to me and I can put you in touch with someone in your area.

Last side note – friends dont let friends swing overhead. If you dont know what that means, dont worry about this part and if you do know what that means it is a humorous way of saving that a Kettlebell Swing does not go over your head, it is inefficient, ineffective, defeats the purpose of the exercise and is dangerous, both for the potential of dropping a bell on your head but for your shoulders, neck and lower back as well because only the extreme outliers have the ability and mobility to perform it, otherwise it looks like this…

American Swing

Ouch. Neck jacked up (extreme forward head posture), shoulders jacked up (not enough mobility to put hands together overhead), lower back jacked up (way too much extension/arc of the spine), nothing in line or positioned well. And when I have 27-70+ pounds over my head, I damn sure want to be in a good position.

It should look like this…

KB Swing Top

The kettlebell comes to a position that your shoulders are neutral and straight out in front of you and the bell never goes higher than your chin/nose/eyes.

On to five reasons why you should do it or work up to doing it…

What Muscle Does That Work?

The answer of course, is Yes.

Kettlebell Swings are a total body exercise with emphasis on the posterior chain aka all the muscles on the backside of your body. The emphasis is on the glutes and hamstrings but the whole body has to stabilize and drive the movement, leaving no muscle group untouched.

The more muscles you can hit at once, the more potential for being a great fat burning exercise it has.

Extraordinary “Bang For Your Buck”

Swings get you stronger as a great strength exercise and they get you leaner as a great fat burning aka metabolic aka “cardio” exercise. They are a huge bang for your buck exercise. There arent many other exercises (the only other is the Ultimate Sandbag Clean and Press) that can combine strength, power and endurance all at once, it does it all.

Genuine “Functional Training”

For a while the fitness profession got caught up in exercises like sit ups, crunches and machine based things that actually made people move worse in real life and decreased their functional capabilities as a human being, the Kettlebell Swing is the opposite of that. Dynamic hip extension and core strength relative to how you actually move in real life. This is why they are known for making runners better at running, deadlifters stronger at deadlifts, swimmers better at swimming, better at picking up a child, lugging a suitcase around the airport etc etc.

Reduce Back Pain/Injuries

One of the myths about the Kettlebell Swing is that it is bad for the lower back. I always get instantly irritated when I see a post on Facebook of someone doing a Kettlebell Swing that actually looks pretty good and somebody’s overweight aunt or uncle always comments – “My back hurts just watching this.” Complete ignorance. I’ve written and deleted 4-5 sassy comments to follow up on this so Im just moving on…

The reality is that not only is the Kettlebell Swing not bad for lower backs but they are actually the complete opposite and great at strengthening lower backs and minimizing, alleviating and even eliminating lower back pain in people who can perform them safely.

Dont forget the key there though… “In people who can perform them correctly”. I’ve never seen someone who was physically capable and competent in swings hurt their back doing so, but I have seen and heard of a few who had no business doing them physically hurt themselves doing so. But that wasnt the Kettlebell Swings fault, it was the practitioner and their lack of ability’s fault.

The Kettlebell Swing strengthens the core and lower back dynamically and statically at the same time, while bearing an appreciable amountof weight safely, which makes them a great lower back strengthener. Plus if they are recommended by Stuart McGill, the leading lower back and spine specialist in the world, which they are, then you should listen.

McGill
Dr. Stuart McGill

Plus … mustache.

Kettlebooty and a Fat Loss Monster

They are one of the best and most effective exercises when it comes to fat loss for all of the reasons mentioned above. Hits all major muscle groups and is a rare combination of strength, endurance, power and everything in between.

But one of the other benefits is what my kettlebell brother, Pat Flynn calls the “kettlebooty.” It is a great exercise for shaping the backside. Both for the women who want them perkier, better shaped or even smaller and the women who want them perkier and bigger.

Mandi Top of Swing

And for the rare case study who is completely content with their backside, there is still benefit because a strong, functioning backside, literally helps every goal from fat loss to move better to feel better to perform better and sports performance.

It literally does it all, which is why our next challenge is based around the Kettlebell Swing and aptly named “Swing Into Spring”, because Erie in May, Spring is trying to come around but we could still be hit with snow at any moment so we have to swing our way there.

It starts a week from today, May 11th. Stayed tuned for details that will be posted tomorrow.

DVRT, Unicorns and Knowledge Bombs…

Posted: March 6, 2015 by dannytwoguns in 2015 Continuing Ed, Articles

Last weekend I had the honor and privilege of assisting Josh Henkin and Steve “Coach Fury” Holiner at the DVRT Level I and II Certification Combo at Mark Fisher Fitness in New York City. It was a great experience all around. Teaching at my first certification, meeting a ton of great new people, spreading some DVRT knowledge bombs as well as getting to experience a unique fitness facility in the process all made for an amazing weekend and experience…

Side note – Anywhere that has a giant unicorn puking up a rainbow on the wall has to be an interesting place and it was – probably deserving of its own blog post.

I wanted to share a few takeaways and random thoughts I had from the weekend and didn’t have a standard flow or format so Im just going to bullet them off as I would a random thoughts post.

Always the Student

I wasn’t really nervous in any way until a few clients and friends started asking if I was nervous about being the teacher and instructor at a certification rather than the student. I still wasn’t really as Im fully confident in my knowledge of DVRT and its many intricacies to be able to teach it effectively and have been doing so with clients for years but I was still a little nervous because I didn’t know what to expect and it was still a big mindset shift initially going from student to teacher.

And then it wasn’t.

Because you are and I am and will always be a student of movement, learning and anything really for that matter.

The first thing I noticed was right off the bat, even though I was one of the instructors, was I was learning the entire time. I think I ended up with more notes than I did when I took the certifications myself a few years ago – that’s partly because I didn’t have to participate in the training as much – but mainly because I was able to see more layers and a greater understanding of the system, movement and fitness in general but also had big breakthroughs on how we can effectively coach the exercises more thoroughly.

It was simply a great reminder that no matter how much knowledge you have in something, there is always more to be learned.

The Basics

Everyone gets caught up in the sexy, the flashy and the advanced. I can be guilty of it as well even though my most commonly used phrase tends to be “the best exercise(s) for you is/are the one(s) that meets your ability level, not the advanced flashy one you perform poorly.”

And this weekend was a very thorough reminder that mastery comes from an elite and comprehensive knowledge of “the basics.”

One of the best and most effective ways to clean up and increase your Ultimate Sandbag Clean and Press? Learn to pull the handles apart and create a lot of “core” and lat tension during a perfectly performed Ultimate Sandbag Deadlift. It isnt as sexy as the Clean and Press but it is damn effective and worth spending time on and perfecting.

IMG_2203

My favorite superhero Coach Fury demonstrating the USB Deadlift.

Masters of their crafts are all experts and students of the basics and it’s no coincidence. There is always value in perfecting the basics.

Rotational Training

True rotational training and true 3-dimensional movement has to be the most ignored aspect of fitness. I think it is mainly because it is challenging and you need a foundation built to do so and the general population simply doesn’t have the education to see the effectiveness of it.

After all I still hear in person and see on facebook that deadlifts will hurt your back and squats are bad for your knees. At this point in fitness education and the progress of the fitness profession, that is beyond ignorance and bordering on insulting. The way one deadlifts or the way one squats (probably because they don’t know their true ability level) is the reason they may hurt you, but it isnt the exercise.

We do far more advance exercises ALL the time.

Functional Training

Staggered Stance (Ass to ground as well) Squat w/ Asymmetrical Front Load and Suitcase Loads – Seems pretty advanced to me. But squatting in a controlled environment with more than 10 (or some arbitrary number) pounds is bad for your knees…

How do people carry groceries? How do people pick up their keys when they drop them? How did you get out of your car? What happens when you have three kids and you have to carry one and some groceries/shopping bags like the picture above?

Yet we train on machines and do things that are solely front to back or up and down when nothing in life or sport happens that way. And we dont squat because it is bad for knees and dont deadlift because “you’ll blow a disc!!!”

Sarcasm, of course.

3 2 DVRT PGen ROHP

So why wouldnt we actively train rotation? We absolutely do and you absolutely should if you arent.

3 2 DVRT PGen RPO

If you want to deepen your knowledge, learn more or start your knowledge on how to progress rotational training, we are putting on a DVRT Learn-By-Doing Seminar and Workshop at the end of March that covers just that and more. You can check out the details HERE.

Seeing Coaching in Action

I always say it is great to accomplish things from a physical perspective yourself but I get just as much if not more enjoyment out of creating the ability to accomplish physical feats in others through my coaching. Doing it yourself isnt nearly as impressive as being able to coach someone else through something as they have a significantly different movement history, ability level etc and it takes skill and craft to be able to help them rather than yourself who you know really well. It’s similar to the old adage that “just because you got yourself in shape as a young male doesnt mean you know how to train a “middle age” female.”

My business partner and owner of LEWIS Fitness & Performance, Geoff Lewis has been learning the DVRT system under me since we merged facilities and started in business together in October 2013. I’d been helping him learn and then train for the Clean and Press Test that is now a standard to become DVRT Level I certified.

And he was the only “heavyweight” or 210+ pounder to pass the Clean and Press Test and I must say he smoked it and it lit up the room. I kind of wish he had gone in the first wave rather than the last because it fired everyone up.

IMG_2264

Big props to Geoff for crushing the test, especially after a long morning of lifting and learning as well.

“It Depends”

While teaching the cert, there was a participant who had taken the certifications before and was there to deepen his learning on the system again as well as help us assist and teach the certification with anything we may have needed. It was great meeting him and we hit it off quickly because he is a “fitness nerd” like I am and he asked a lot of deep, involved questions about the system, the Functional Movement Screen (our assessment protocol) and implementing both for programming while owning a facility.

A lot of his questions, the quick answer was “it depends.” And then having to explain the certain situations that would govern the answers being different depending on the situation.

I think the fitness profession more than any other loves “black and white” answers and absolutes because a large amount of people think they know everything and can do it themselves so they want the easy answer to be the right answer but it is so far from the case. The answer is usually gray and “it depends” on a multitude of factors.

Are you symmetrical? If not, how asymmetrical are you? And where?
Does the person need mobility? If so, where?
Does the person need stability? If so, where?
Does the person need strength? If so, where?
Do they need one of those one place and another in a different place?
How do they move front to back, side to side and rotationally?

The first thing new clients say when they are in their first month at Twoguns Training Systems is they are surprised at how much better they feel. The reality is when you have a program that adamantly attacks your weaknesses is all facets and maintains your strengths in an approach that is truly 360 degrees of mobility, strength and stability – your body moves infinitely better, which means you move more often and more effectively and burn infinitely more fat in the process while feeling great while you do it. And that is the power of DVRT more than anything else.

Which exercise is best for you? It depends 🙂

If you want to get better at the basics, learn the intricacies of rotational movements and be best prepared for our Swing Into Spring Challenge that is coming up in the future, the DVRT Learn-By-Doing Seminar and Workshop is a must attend.

That is all for this post, as always if you have any questions or curiosities dont hesitate to reach out and ask. I look forward to hearing from you.

I’m currently on the plane home from Lincoln, Nebraska where I had my first visit to the Postural Restoration Institute, my first secondary/advanced PRI course – Impingement and Instability as well as my first course instructed by PRI founder Ron Hruska.

1 11 15 I and I

Very rarely these days do I get completely blown away by my continuing education pursuits. This was one of those times. Equipped with newfound information and also the ability to see things completely differently and do so without even trying.

The three ‘introductory’ PRI courses (Myokinematic Restoration, Postural Respiration and Pelvis Restoration) are only introductory in terms of introducing the PRI coursework and information, they are extraordinarily dense, rich in information and a lot of material to go through.

Those three in themselves are hard to write a blog that is centered toward fitness professionals, let alone one to those who aren’t and clients who just want to feel better, get out of pain and lose fat/sizes etc. An advanced PRI course is even harder to explain and virtually impossible without thoroughly covering the aforementioned courses and information so I’m not even going to try, for the aforementioned reasons but also because you don’t necessarily have to know every little interesting thing behind it, just how it can make you better.

1 11 15 I and I 2

But I did want to write a little random thoughts post on the overall weekend and things that do apply.

Hammering the Need for Individuality

I talk quite often about how to get safe, effective and sustainable results for any goal, you need to be doing a fitness and training approach that is based of all the things that make you unique, mobility/flexibility, stability/core orientation, strength, injury history etc etc.

And how random workouts from the Internet and random in home workout DVDs actually make you worse because it has you doing things that are usually above your level, built to simply make you tired but always and most importantly not unique to you at all as an entirely and wholly unique individual.

But with PRI, it goes so much deeper than that.

How are your ribs oriented? Externally Rotated/flared?
Are they symmetrical?

How are your hips oriented?
Forward/Anteriorly?
Backwards/Posteriorly?
Are they asymmetrical? (If you are a human being, they are likely asymmetrical)

Bonus – If your ribs are externally rotated and pelvis Anteriorly tilted, your lower back pain is not a lower back issue, it is the position your ribs and pelvis are in that is creating undue pressure and torque on your lower back.

How is your pelvis/hip bones oriented on your femur aka bone that goes from knee to hip?

How is your femur oriented on your tibia aka the bone that connects knee to ankle?

What do your feet look like? This one was super interesting and one we overlook a lot.

With so many variables including patterns we are biased toward simply as human beings with organs that are asymmetrical already, among dozens and dozens of others, combined with the amount of knowledge, education and expertise there is out there for those desiring to learn it, it is irresponsible to not find ways or a professional to help you get better – safely, effectively and for the long term.

If there isn’t an assessment to see what you need, don’t do it.

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Finding Clarity

Even after either attending or doing the home study course of the three introductory courses for PRI, I had a good grasp of the information from a broad perspective, but a hard time both in finding ways to implement and also in how to build an integrative approach once it was implemented. Two things clarified that for me.

The first as explained by Ron Hruska, was that the three introductory courses are for the patients or clients ‘who fit the norm’ and are consistent with the patterns they usually see and address, for a lack of a better word, the phase 1 people. Then the two/three secondary courses are for the “pathological” people or those that ‘don’t fit the norm’ aka phase 2 people. Then there is a phase 3 but that is related to major traumas which is beyond our scope (which is a whole different kind of interesting as well).

But having the knowledge of how to deal with phase 1 people and seeing a lot of phase 2 people as I progressed, confused me. It actually seemed like all the people I was noticing these patterns on, were phase 2.

The second, builds on the first. I was used as a demonstration for the “hip impingement and instability section” because I am in Ron’s own words – ‘A case study anomaly that kind of makes sense’ or “a phase 2er plus one”. I couldn’t fully understand the PRI approach because I didn’t follow the standard situations, patterns and pathologies we normally see and couldn’t relate all of the in depth information to myself.

If you read my youth story blog, you got a glimpse into my injury history and throughout my fitness career, I have for the most part figured out how to ‘fix’ myself regardless or my injury history and random issues. This is why I gravitated so much toward the DVRT system. Standard approaches simply didnt work for me but I learned and learned until I could figure everything out…

Except for a nagging anterior/front left hip pain that is always a tolerable kind of there but given certain movements (specifically a kettlebell windmill performed on my right side, a deep lateral lunge to my left and a valslide mountain climber) that literally felt like getting stabbed with a serrated knife and could bring me to my knees.

It seems counterintuitive that to get a better grasp on the basics you don’t quite understand you do so by diving into deeper more advanced material but it completely applies and makes sense in this situation.

I got an approach to fix myself and now completely understand the process. And I look forward to implementing it. And it was even more indicative of the need for individual training, especially when he used me as the example. I was using nothing more than my bodyweight and then progressed to a walking stick and then to a very lightly tensioned mini band and in 15-20 minutes, which were mostly him assessing me and only part actual training I was a sweaty mess – all because he picked exactly the things that I was inefficient at, made the things that were too strong – weaker and made the things that were weak more efficient.

This is amazing for fat loss, move better, feel better, perform better – whatever. If we can provide high system loads that make the body work super hard with low absolute loads, we get results much faster and most importantly, safely, more effectively and more sustainably.

The only downfall to the PRI approach is how intensive and individual the process is of assessing, teaching and implementing the techniques. But once implemented they would be extremely powerful so I will be making a way to implement it into what we do at Twoguns Training Systems, likely with a PRI Assessment and Training “membership add on” type of thing. So stay tuned for that.

And lastly, on a still random thought but kind of off-topic from PRI thought… The people in Nebraska are incredibly friendly. And genuinely so. When I moved from NY to PA a main thing I noticed is how much friendlier people were in PA overall and Nebraska was even infinitely more so, so much so it was almost strange. Everything was positive and everything was friendly. It might have had something to do with there being a bright sun up in the sky there but it made me think to bring a little more positivity and a little more friendliness back with me to Erie.

Hope you enjoyed reading a little bit of a nerd post from me doing my best to simplify it. If you have any questions, concerns, curiosities, let me know in the facebook comments and if you haven’t already, check out the New Year New You. The amount of inquiries I’ve received from it have been immense and it will easily be our best yet.

The Anti-New Year’s Resolution

Posted: January 2, 2015 by dannytwoguns in Articles

Yesterday I posted about why you should be a Quitter in 2015. A quick excerpt, “Quitting is powerful. And if you look at the vast majority of successful people, they had to quit the things that they were doing that they werent passionate about to find their true passion. People who reached their goals in 2014 and before, had to quit the habits that were holding them back from their goals before they could succeed.”

So that is your first step in the Anti-New Year’s Resolution and all of this. Make it a point to quit the things that are not serving you and be damn proud to do it, because before you can succeed, you first have to quit the things that are making you not able to succeed. Seems obvious but it is often overlooked.

So what the hell is the Anti-New Year’s Resolution?

Well, 2015 is here. Regular gyms will be packed for January, half packed for February and back to normal in March. The “health food” sections of the supermarkets will follow the same trend, empty in January, half empty in February and back to fully stocked and normal in March.

Go to the Gym

And there will be New Year’s Resolutions that follow the same trend. Well meaning and motivated in the beginning and non existent by March 1st. And it isn’t your fault. It is the institution of the New Year’s Resolution that sets you up to fail. So I propose we implement…

The Anti-New Year’s Resolution

I want to start a revolution with the “Anti-New Year’s Resolution. Those that know me (or got a hint from the above haha) know I am not a fan at all of the overly clichéd New Year’s Resolutions. I love responsibly setting goals, I love striving to be better at whatever it is you desire to be better at, I love breaking barriers you never thought you could, I love growing and evolving as a person – I believe it is all integral to success.

But you don’t need the start of a new calendar year to do so. You don’t even need a Monday to do so. (Side note – I never understood the “I’ll start my diet/exercise program/etc on Monday” thing. No – start it today and do it forever…) Anyway, it is in my opinion and I have no research or anything to back this up, but I believe that goals are actually less likely to be accomplished when they are manifestations of a New Year’s Resolution than otherwise. When someone makes a “New Year’s Resolution” – it almost always implies that it will last until maybe the end of February and then fade into whatever your go to excuse is whether that be too busy/not enough time, not enough money, not enough whatever.

Stronger

It sets you up for failure basing a goal around an arbitrary frame of reference like a new year starting. This happens for a couple of reasons. The first is that successful goals needs to start because you have a goal that is important to you with a strong “why” behind it – not because a new year started and you are “supposed to”.

And second is that starting it at the beginning of year subconsciously (or sometimes intentionally) makes you think that the end date is 12 months away and you “have the whole year” to do it. This isn’t a good thing for accountability as it allows you to continuously put it off until it simply doesn’t happen. Some goals are suited for 12 months in duration, but not necessarily fat loss or body transformation goals, you need to break them down into shorter/smaller wins overall.

A task will expand to the time you allow it to. This is true for productivity in daily life and it is true for goals as well. I experience this all the time, especially with things like marketing and blogging. If I give myself two-three hours to write, I’ll write a blog in that two-three hours but if I had given myself only an hour, I still would have gotten that blog done in the hour because I would have known there was a deadline and worked within it rather than knowing I have more time and the task expands to that timeframe. Everyone has stories from when they were in school where they waited until the last minute on an assignment and still got the work done in time because all urgency and hard work was based around that specific deadline.

Alright, Dan so goals are good but New Year’s Resolutions are inefficient so what do I do?

I propose the “Anti-New Year’s Resolution(s).” If it happens to coincide with the start of 2015 or the calendar year, so be it, it doesn’t matter because we will set it up for success regardless. The key is the preparation, accountability throughout and your “why’. When your “why” is strong enough, the how is a lot easier.

First, pick a measurable/trackable goal that will be accomplished 3, 6 or even 12 months from the day you start it (let that day be today not Monday 🙂 ) and then the key is to reverse engineer that goal into what you have to do each month to be able to achieve it. Since you have the end date in mind, it will be less likely to fade after the “new year buzz” has worn off but breaking it down into smaller goals met will always keep the goals at top of mind and continue progress because you will frequently be accomplishing goals.

The typical New Year’s Resolution of “get back in shape” or “lose 20 pounds” sets you up to fail because it doesn’t do the aforementioned. But an Anti-New Year’s Resolution of – “Lose 20 pounds in 3 months, losing 7 pounds a month by working out 3-4x a week each week in order to get more energy to feel better overall, accomplish more at work and serve my family better” sets you up for success.

You can do this with one major goal or you can do it with one goal from each aspect of your life. The key is to not throw too many changes in at once. Research has shown that as you increase the amount of changes you do at one single time, the success rate decreases. So master one and progress to the next.

A good and easy example as well as a personal example from me that I will be doing is reading. I used to read a lot more than I do now and enjoy it immensely, both from the process of doing so and how much I learn from them as well as how they help my business, my perspective and give me ideas for writing and helping people.

But what has happened recently is I’ve bought far more books over the last year or three that I have been able to feasibly read, as well as not prioritizing reading in my time – so one of my Anti-New Year’s Resolutions is to read the books I have bought but never got a chance to read. This is a good 12 month goal for me, though for most goals I like smaller time frames like 3 or 6 months for the tasks expanding reason I mentioned above. But regardless of time it is all in the reverse engineering because Im able to chunk it down into smaller goals within the bigger goal.

2015 Books

This is my “Unread Books” Pile.

How I am reverse engineering it is to take the total amount of books I have (16) and the total amount of time I have (12 months) which results in me having to read 1.25 – 1.5 books per month. Since I know I want to read about 1.5 books per month, that is about 1 every 3 weeks and depending on the book it usually takes me 2-3 weeks to read one so I have to set out a certain number of hours each week in order to do that and every week I accomplish that, I have a little win toward my goal. And each book completed is another win.

I also know that if 3 weeks has passed and I haven’t finished a book, I need to reassess and get back on track. Instant accountability.

The same thing works with fitness and fat loss. If you want to get into X dress size, get to X bodyfat or weigh X amount (though the scale is the least important tracking measure), give yourself a timeframe depending on how far you have to go (let’s say 6 months) and then break it down to what that means each month and then break that down into how much you are going to workout each week and accomplish each goal weekly by hitting your target workouts and tracking how you are progressing toward the goal. Track, reassess, repeat.

Then, the goal is “to keep the goal the goal” and accomplish your Anti-New Year’s Resolution through consistency because you built a goal that was centered around you and why you want that goal, not an arbitrary time of year and then reverse engineered it so it was always top of mind and you were always progressing to that goal.

So what is your Anti-New Year’s Resolution?