Simple, sustainable, head turning results.

Trends in the industry of fitness come and go, tangents are explored every few years, but the idealized goals of looking “good”, feeling “great” and being “awesome” remain; even if their interpretations are highly personalized. To be clear (and in doing so useful to you) I am going  precisely define those goals, and tier them by degree of achievement. Then we will define a simple, sustainable program to achieve them…and maintain them.

Looking Good: A body-fat % of 6 to 12 for men, 16 to 22 for women. Where in that range is your choice, based on what degree of leanness you prefer, and how diligent in your lifestyle you are willing to live. In addition, a degree of muscular development that implies sexual attractiveness, health, and viable fertility. (I know, I could have just said “hawt).

Feeling Good: Pain free, full range movement that minimizes arthritic decay, and maximizes balance and coordination. Simply put, you don’t hurt, and can perform movement without becoming hurt. A good measure of pain free full range movement is found in the Functional Movement Screen. A score of 14, with no differences left or right, is cited by Gray Cook at a good base standard.

Being Awesome: An acceptable standard of athletic prowess, defined first by your ability to move with power, agility, and stamina. Secondarily, by your ability to move other things with power, agility, and stamina. The capacity to perform pushups, squats, pull-ups, sprints, & crawling all point to a solid base of sustainable functional ability.

The program to reach these goals…and just as importantly, maintain them throughout your life, is not as complicated or “brand name” dependent as you have been led to believe.

1. Nutrition: A zone diet 40% carbs, 30% fat, 30% protein works. In addition, Prioritizing gluten free, and certified organic foods will all serve to optimize hormone function, which opens the door to permanent weight loss (fat burning.) Clean, structured water is also a great advantage as well, and in my opinion a quality water filter and structuring device will be invaluable. The good news is that if you can follow the rules 5 days a week, you can loosen them on the weekends and still achieve your results.

2. Exercise: 2 to 4 time a week, no more than 4 hours total time. Strength work covering pressing and pulling with the arms, squatting with the legs, picking up stuff from the floor, and specific work for your “abs”and “functional cardio” that mimics real life demands. Short sprints, agility ladders, kettle bell swings…these develop real world stamina you can use…far superior to “cardio machines”, in the same way free weights are superior to weight machines.

Everyone can and should get strong enough to do full 5 pushups, squats with half your bodyweight, and 1 frickin pull-up. Along with the strength to pick up your own bodyweight from the floor (a bodyweight dead-lift) run skillfully and nimbly thru an agility ladder, and do a spiderman crawl for 20 yards. Achieve these standards and you are functionally fit. No, you will not be a professional athlete, but you will be good enough to do what you need to do. That is the first goal.

3.Fascial smoothing and corrective exercises for pain free movement. This is the missing link in the vast majority of fitness programs. Focusing on getting “yoked” or “hawt” as well as getting “bigger/faster/stronger” often develops a history of injuries that ultimately curtails one’s “hotness” and “awesomeness”. Fascial smoothing is like brushing and flossing for your muscles and joints, and you do it for the same reasons that you brush and floss your teeth. This is the real key to sustainability, and the first thing you do in your routine. Your functional performance won’t be better than your bio-mechanics. Get that pain free movement before you add weight to it.

Advanced Standards:

1 arm pushup, 1 leg squat, double body weight deadilft, and the stamina and resilience to run 10 40 yard dashes. Ok, don’t ranting for now.

Today’s routine…

Pain Free movement stuff:
(each side)1 arm roll, 1 leg roll
(each side) 3 hard rolls
60 seconds elvis pelvis
(each side) 3 hip clams
gluteal amnesia cure: 60 seconds

Pretty boy exercises:
dumbbell bench presses: 80s, 3×8…90sec
1 arm rows: 90, 3×8…90 sec

Functional exercises:
Kettlebell Clean & Press: 53s, 3×8…90 sec
Hanging Leg raises: 3×8…90 sec

Fascial smoothing done to muscles and joints between exercises.
Total time: 32:00
hmmnn…pictures would probably help yes?

Training Longevity: how to keep what you earn for life

The majority of exercise enthusiasts experience it: a gradual decline in ability, often attributed to age and accompanied by pain. However, that is an imprecise conclusion. To be accurate, it is the “mileage without maintenance”, rather than father time, that causes the physical decline and pain most people experience. Here’s an example:

An avid and accomplished strength athlete has developed the capacity to back squat 275lbs for 10 reps (that may not sound like much to gym rats, but few people in the gym can do 10 “green light” squats with 275). In his ambition to further improve his “quantity of squat” he aims to get stronger, until he can perform 10 squats with 365lbs. Along the way, he incurs an escalating rate of wear and tear injuries: back, knees, etc. He does make it to 365lbs for 10 reps, but in the process he has accumulated “mileage without maintenance” on his body that won’t enable him to keep his achievement because he has neglected his “quality of squat”. His “muscle strength” is better than ever, his “muscle memory” however, is getting worse, because he is neglecting it. Eventually, an injury  curtail his strength as well, and he is unable to continue squatting at all. He now is relegated to the scrap heap of has beens that rely on the leg press.

high bar

SAMSUNG

66fit-massage-stick-500-3

 

 

 

The quantity of squat,  the quality of squat, and bridge between quantity and quality. It is the bridge (functional fascial integration) that is the key to achieving and maintaing total (quantity and quality) performance. 

It’s a common scenario among strength athletes…but also other athletes as well. In the pursuit of “quantity of performance”…to be bigger, stronger, faster; often we neglect “quality of performance”, which is the foundation that quantity relies upon. Quality of performance is dependent good bio-mechanics. Think of it this way: if posture is a photograph, bio-mechanics is a video. To keep it simple, I will refer to “muscle memory” as the linchpin of bio-mechanics. So…to summarize

Restored muscle memory=good bio-mechanics=quality of performance(movement).

Any program of exercise MUST include methods to restore and maintain quality of movement. To neglect this is to inevitably incur injury. The most useful method I know to achieve this is Functional Fascial Integration.

What makes it useful is:

  • It is a system using simple tools that can be performed with a partner
  • A great deal of it can be performed by yourself and it’s easy to learn
  • It can fit seamlessly into any exercise routine during rest periods
  • You don’t have to be an anatomy expert to utilize it

A simple explanation of would be:

  • You brush and floss your muscles and joints in the same way you brush and floss your teeth and gums…for the same reason to prevent decay and scar tissue.
  • Tangible improvement is generally immediate…yes, that is not a typo. Immediate.
  • Improvement is also cumulative and like brushing and flossing, permanent when consistent

When using functional fascial integration you movement quality is likely to improve as you get older! While it is likely that strength will gradually decline as your hormone levels drop (politically correct way of saying getting old)…this need not affect your ability to move…and most importantly move pain free.

A long term approach to training to create sustainable results would focus as much on quality movement as quantity movement…in that order. Before you stack another 45 on each side of the bar, try the face the wall squat test in the picture shown. If you can’t do it without your knees, hands, or head hitting the wall, you should get to work on your movement quality before you add weight to your exercise. Do this your overall ability at age 65 will surpass that of most people half your age.

Pain is an indication of movement restriction. Brush and floss it away. Soon, I will tell you how in detail. For now, memorize this mantra:

Stretch it out, smooth it out, move it out!

Best

Mario