Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I Want YOU To Become An Animal

 I've written out about Animal Training a few times before but it’s something worth mentioning time and time again because people should learn about this great style of strength & conditioning training. As we get older our hormone levels drop a certain percentage every year starting at around 25 I believe. I'm a couple years shy of 30 and I want to be able to have that great level of metabolism and natural growth hormone levels by the time I hit that age and beyond, I can't imagine the percentages someone over 40 or older has dropped.

 Animal Training is a system where you imitate and move like an animal in the wild, simple as that. One of the most famous exercises in fitness when it comes to bodyweight is the bear crawl, walking or sprinting on all fours and you can do it for reps, time, distance hell even play tag whatever you can do is up to you. It’s one of the most fun exercises there is plus many more. In my experience, I have received awesome benefits from this type of training including….

Better Awareness


Strength in Awkward Positions

Higher Metabolism

Stronger Abs

Muscular Definition

Increased Agility

Last But Not Least….Increased Growth Hormone

 These are just the tip of the iceberg from what I received and I'm a big guy over 240 lb. and yet feeling like Tarzan. I don't care if you're big, small or whatever, this will give you lifelong fitness if you take a chance and learn it. I love it and it gives me a hell of a workout or should I say play time in short durations.

 Children these days don't do enough fitness and have gone off the deep end with becoming overweight, lack of strength, water being replaced by soda and not getting enough brain activity to study but yet rather watch TV and text/talk on their cell phones it's ridiculous. I'm not saying you should force your kids to get fit but it wouldn't hurt to help teach them, better yet not letting them know they're exercising but rather playing and having a good time. We all have a favorite animal so why not put it to good use. Studies have shown that exercise increases Awareness, Strength in the brain, increased energy, high endorphins, stronger metabolisms, natural muscle growth and bone density, wouldn't it be awesome to have all those things and more. Parents I encourage you to exercise with your kids, it'll help bring a bond that a family that trains together sticks together. My parents when I was growing up didn't do that with me and rarely ever do it now and have to learn all on my own which isn't a bad thing but I always wondered what if so don't let your kids slip away from you on that notion, work with them as stress-free as possible. Time flies by and before you know it, your kids are gone and going after their own thing, spend time with them before it’s too late.

The biggest benefit of this type of training is not what you get from it but how you do them. Exercise is suppose to fun, exciting and something to look forward to and not looked at as a punishment or feel you need to do it or force yourself into it. Make it worthwhile. One of my favorite workouts is taking Animals and making them like Cartoon characters like the Bear Crawl can be turned into Baloo from the Jungle Book and playing with mowgli, another can be a cricket and turning him into Jiminy Cricket, even turn the Gorilla exercise into becoming King Kong the larger than life Ape. My all-time favorite animal is the Gorilla and as an Avenger Fan I got to see both of that in a Comic Book which you can find right here. The more you realize its fun, the more benefit you'll get out of it.

Being fit for decades to come is a goal we all strive to achieve, some have even made it, one of my mentors is in his 60’s and acts like a man in his 20’s, one man is approaching his 80’s and still has the strength to lift the heaviest of hammers and one of my favorite strongmen can do feats of strength that makes guys in our generation look like weaklings. Its how you put your mind to it, building that Mind/Muscle Connection. Make it a habit to have fun for you, your friends, your children maybe even grandchildren, it’s never too late to be strong and healthy. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Kettlebell Ranking (Win A Free iPad)


Yes that’s right.

Logan Christopher is giving away an iPad as part of a special deal to promote kettlebell juggling.

He’s come up with 20 levels of progression for you to work through, from easy beginner to advanced skills. And when you submit a video of you doing any of them you get entered into the contest.

Not only that but you can even get ranked and Certified as a Master of Kettlebell Juggling.

There’s a whole lot more than I care to explain but you can get the full details here.


Ben Bergman

P.S. Make sure you check it out soon. This contest doesn't last long. That means you need to watch this video today, start practicing your skills, and send in your videos as quickly as possible.


Can You Juggle Kettlebells?


I've played around with kettlebell juggling in the past and had some fun with it.

But if you truly want to master this art than my friend Logan Christopher is your man.

He's giving away 35 minutes of video on getting started and advanced skills from a workshop people paid up to $1000 to attend.


If you do anything with kettlebells you owe it to yourself to check out this video. You'll see all the benefits these fun skills can give you.

This isn't just for advanced people, although many people may think it is. Whether you're just starting out, or have been lifting kettlebells for years, you'll surely learn something new here.


Ben Bergman

P.S. And that's just the start. He's got some even more amazing things in store that will change the way kettlebell juggling will be done in the future.


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Kettlebell Juggling ON FIRE!!!!


Leave it to Logan to come up with this idea.

As if juggling heavy weights isn't enough of an impressive skill...

He decided to light a kettlebell on fire and then juggle it!

Watch the video here.

Ben Bergman

Friday, October 26, 2012

Pull-ups: Can Women Do Them Or Not?

October 25, 2012, 12:01 am
Why Women Can’t Do Pull-Ups
This column appears in the Oct. 28 issue of The New York Times Magazine.

While the pull-up has been used by everyone from middle-school gym teachers to Marine drill instructors to measure fitness, the fact is that many fit people, particularly women, can't do even one. To perform a pull-up, you place your hands on a raised bar using an overhand grip, arms fully extended and feet off the floor. (The same exercise, performed with an underhand grip, is often called a chin-up.) Using the muscles in your arms and back, you pull yourself up until your chin passes the bar. Then the body is lowered until the arms are straight, and the exercise is repeated. The Marines say a male recruit should be able to do at least 3 pull-ups or chin-ups, but women are not required to do them. In school, 14-year-old boys can earn the highest award on the government's physical fitness test by doing 10 pull-ups or chin-ups: for 14-year-old girls, it's 2.

To find out just how meaningful a fitness measure the pull-up really is, exercise researchers from the University of Dayton found 17 normal-weight women who could not do a single overhand pull-up. Three days a week for three months, the women focused on exercises that would strengthen the biceps and the latissimus dorsi - the large back muscle that is activated during the exercise. They lifted weights and used an incline to practice a modified pull-up, raising themselves up to a bar, over and over, in hopes of strengthening the muscles they would use to perform the real thing. They also focused on aerobic 
training to lower body fat.

By the end of the 
training program, the women had increased their upper-body strength by 36 percent and lowered their body fat by 2 percent. But on test day, the researchers were stunned when only 4 of the 17 women succeeded in performing a single pull-up.

"We honestly thought we could get everyone to do one," said Paul Vanderburgh, a professor of exercise physiology and associate provost and dean at the University of Dayton, and an author of the study. But Vanderburgh said the study and other research has shown that performing a pull-up requires more than simple upper-body strength. Men and women who can do them tend to have a combination of strength, low 
body fat and shorter stature. During training, because women have lower levels of testosterone, they typically develop less muscle than men, Vanderburgh explained. In addition, they can't lose as much fat. Men can conceivably get to 4 percent body fat; women typically bottom out at more than 10 percent.

So no matter how fit they are, women typically fare worse on pull-up tests. But Vanderburgh notes that some men struggle, too, particularly those who are taller or bigger generally or have long arms. This is related to an interesting phenomenon: if you compare a smaller athlete to an athlete who has the same exact build but is 30 percent bigger, the bigger athlete will be only about 20 percent stronger, even though he has to carry about 30 percent more weight.

"We're a combination of levers; that's how we move," Vanderburgh said. "Generally speaking, the longer the limb, the more of a disadvantage in being able to do a pull-up. I look at a volleyball player and wouldn't expect her to be able to do a pull-up, but I know she's fit."

Ok, what’s wrong with this picture (or words)? This article suggests that women are pretty much incapable of doing pull-ups. As I do agree to a certain peak about the levels of strength compared to men and women, it still pisses me off that this article doesn't really know a damn thing about Pull-up training. First things first, if you're going to do pull-ups what do you do, you do pull-ups dumbass. Can't expect someone to lift weights using arm and back exercises and have them do pull-ups for a test. I’m sorry but that’s just flat out dumb.

Yes it’s proven that women aren't as strong as men and our testosterone levels are much higher but that doesn't mean a woman can’t be strong at something. To overcome this notion that a woman is incapable of doing pull-ups, you don't listen to bullshit like this and if you really want to do pull-ups, do them and make it happen for you, the mental game is just as important as the physical. Its people who wrote this article don’t know the real capabilities of both men and women. Don't ever feel that as a woman you are weak and not worthy to become strong. You are more than just a beautiful person, you’ve got heart, will and brains to become something that nobody can use against you. You have 2 eyes, 2 arms, a torso, a neck, 2 legs, 2 ears, hair, 5 fingers, 5 toes and 2 feet, what makes you think can’t do some of the same things as a man can? I've seen women overpower men much bigger than them and are stronger in some cases than they are.

My personal take on it is that out of all the scientific crap thrown in this article they messed up on more than 5 different things one of which is about doing what you need to do to do pull-ups. He talks about how they used weights and Isolated the arms and back, hate to burst your bubble pal but crap like that doesn't carry over to pull-ups, if you want to get strong in pull-ups you do exactly that, common sense don't you think? Another is how he talks about men struggling as well, you can't do pull-ups very well if you're this big or have long arms and this and that. I'm more than 240 lbs. This article suggests that because I'm too big I’m not capable of doing many pull-ups but yet I've surpassed 10, where is your logic now? Structure has some factors but if you trained in pull-ups with the right amount for your level of fitness you have the capabilities of doing plenty of pull-ups and it may take you a long time or a short period but in the end, if you are willing to pull yourself (pun intended) you will do one or more pull-ups.

Don't ever fall for crap like this. I realize this was a test for schools and such but if you can't train someone to actually do pull-ups how are they suppose to be able to do them in a test? Women aren’t very capable to do pull-ups, please, look at Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2, whether it was her or a stunt woman, a woman was doing pull-ups or the other chin-ups. One other thing this moron talks about is that pull-ups are a back and arms exercise…Wrong it’s Back, Shoulders, Abdominals, Arms, Grip and Chest in other words the entire upper body, an exercise of that caliber needs multiple muscle groups to even stabilize the muscles let alone pulling yourself up.

Women are more than just beautiful people; they are more than capable to pulling off strength feats. I firmly believe that pound for pound, ounce for ounce women in some cases are stronger than men. I once saw a woman press up more than half her bodyweight with a kettlebell with one arm. Even if a woman can do more than one pull-up or chin-up that still proves that crap wrong that women are more than capable of doing pull-ups with the right training instead of isolating them. This is an article that is incapable of showing any real logic or common sense and still tries to put women down. Women are strong in more ways than people like this give them credit for. Testing on something while training a completely different thing isn't going to help your cause, that’s like asking a baseball player to train for football in baseball season; he’s not going to get any better at baseball and might even diminish his levels, so why test a woman on pull-ups if you're training them in weights? To do well in pull-ups, you train in pull-ups plain and simple.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Your Biggest Critic

 We learn as we get older who we are and what we become, sometimes it’s early sometimes late and very rarely at the right place at the right time. The bad thing about that is people will tell you what you can and can't do to be successful but in the end it’s up to you how your life is made.

There will be people who want to bring you down yet those same people should be your biggest motivators. You have dreams and goals and you either don't accomplish them or you do, one way or another the one person who’s going to criticize you the most is the one you're looking at in the mirror. Those same people who want you to fail not only got you to fail but made you fall for the things they said about you. They didn't really make you fail; it was you who failed yourself.

It’s not easy being motivated to go after something you want to accomplish. No matter how many excuses you come up with or how many people tell you can't do something the one person holding you back is you. If you want something bad enough, you'll find a way to get there with or without someone’s encouragement. In fitness there are as many critics as there is in Art, Sports, Business and Politics, when you want to accomplish something, there will be some people who will hate you for it not because of your ambitions but because they're too damn scared or can’t understand so they radiate negative energy towards you. Never let this happen to you.

 I've had many setbacks in my life, I've cheated death a few times, didn't understand how my body worked when I was recovering from meningitis and I was told I wouldn't be able to very athletic and strong. It happens to all of us but the point I'm making it is if you want to go after something, you do it period. I can tell you stories about some of the guys who have overcome major obstacles in their life but it’s all just words, actions speak louder than words and it’s up to you who you want to become. Are you going to sit there and let people give you all the crap and let you fail, or you going to make things happen and show them that if you're going to fail or succeed, you're going to do it on your own terms?

 You've been told either your whole life or at some point in your life that you're either going to be successful or you'll fail so when is it enough for you? You are your biggest critique, not them not anything else, you are the one who will take a stand or just plummet like the others who just let themselves go and not get anywhere. Criticizing yourself can make you or break you which one is it?

 Look to where you want to go, feel that power of accomplishment before it even happens then set it to action, listen and learn how to make yourself better little by little. Build a foundation for what goals you want to accomplish, don't forget that 2 sided coin of those who encourage you and those that want you to fail, believe it or not they're both important because when you do accomplish something the ones who did encourage you will help you even more, the ones that wanted you to fail are the ones kicking themselves and feel even more crappier then they did before and might even give you a bit of a clap because you triumphed over your obstacles and did something they didn’t believe you could do. Get in the habit of making yourself successful no matter what the challenge is, I believe in you, there are others that believe in you, don’t let your goals and dreams die, they’re a key to making your life the way you always wanted.  

Monday, October 22, 2012

Why Do We Do It?

 We all have our own way of exercising; we have trainers, do it for a number of reasons but why really do it? What comes out of it for you? A lot of people workout because they don't have a choice, use it relieve stress from a bad day, force themselves to do it because if they don't they'll hate themselves or they just go through the motions and have no real emotion like a zombie.

 There are two types of trainees, one has passion and the other does it but not in it and I'll tell you the difference. The passion is a desire to make something of yourself, you make an effort that’s real and emotional, you don’t go on the treadmill and watch TV, you don't wait around for someone to be done, and you find a way to make things happen and with fire and vigor. The other exercises but isn't in it for the long-run, they do it because its there and don't put any real effort. They get done too early or get hurt because they didn't bother to learn proper form or didn't care what happens, just show up and do a few things and that’s it it.

 I'll tell you why I do it, it’s because it gives me a sense of hope, a form of responsibility to myself and make things the way I want them, I have sweated, bled and ate, slept and breathed exercising because its not just fun, its an adventure and it brings me life that you can’t get just by showing up. I remember an interview with WWE wrestler Triple H back in 1999 when he just came out of shell as a character and became one of the biggest heels (bad guys) of the time, one of the things that made me realize now about what he said was about being a student of the game, like him in the wrestling business I’ve done the same with exercise. I dedicated my life to being in great shape, take in knowledge like a sponge, make goals instead of excuses and put in hard and tough workouts to make what I’ am today.

 What do the Old-Timers and Modern Warriors of fitness today have in common? They created results; they found ways to build themselves with no excuses and made an effort to get what they wanted. It’s not everyday we wake up and want to do it but yet it’s second nature and we sometimes don't go as hardcore but the heart and passion is still there. Most don't realize what they're missing out on, I do sound like a prick and you might think it’s all hardcore and a punishment but in reality its not. Working out is not just doing an exercise and pray you'll turn into a beautiful god/goddess, you know what, let’s take out the words working out and put in fun and adventure, its not all blood and going to failure, its getting you get off your ass and have some fun and excitement in your life. Whether you're a weightlifter, bodyweight enthusiast or have a zest for animals, training is a matter of creating something and building it with emotion, effort and love.

 One of my favorite movies Peaceful Warrior has a lot of insights into what is unique and what you can learn to make something of yourself. Nick Nolte who plays a philosopher once said to his student Dan Millman “You practice gymnastics, I practice everything.” The real Dan Millman is a former gymnast and now an author of many books and one of the coolest guys I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and learning from. Back to the subject, Dan practiced only one thing but has left everything else out including things he should pay attention to but Nolte’s character Socrates practiced everything else meaning he didn't set his eyes on one thing; he absorbed knowledge and wisdom from many different elements and gave insight to each of what he learned. Most people only do less than a handful of things that makes them who they are but miss out on the real important things and forget how they got there in the first place. Learn as much as you can with an open mind and be open about your passions and instead of making excuses, make an approach to get better.

 Knowing certain things is only half the battle, sure you can squeeze by on knowing but it’s the doing that yields the benefits. Don't just do something, do it with heart and emotion because there’s a huge difference in that area and I'll let you figure it out for yourself. Why do we (Exercise enthusiasts) do it? Because it makes us who we are, we learn, we teach and help others find that same passion maybe even help them become better than we are. One of my good friends Bud Jeffries has trained his son into becoming quite possibly the World’s Strongest Teenager, Noah has learned a number of things on his own but the one thing he figured out and still has many years to learn is how to give back what he’s learned, in some cases he’s surpassed his dad in many elements of strength and I don't believe Bud could anymore proud of his son. That’s what I want to give back to my child and do it with a smile on my face.

 What are you getting out of it? Finding your place in training and learning where you want to go and what you want achieve is all within your grasp, learn how you have that passion and fire to become the best you want to be. Get something out of it, don't just throw yourself into a workout and hope for the best, make the best of it and know that sooner or later you will have results and it’s not just from busting your ass, you busted your ass with a smile and the desire to improve and make things happen. At your next training session, ask yourself “Why am I doing this?” You'll be surprised what you might find and if it’s a negative thing turn it into a positive, if its positive make an improvement to get better. I'm sure you'll find a way.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Gateways To Herculean Strength & Blazing Speed

I'ma huge fan of Mythology and Superheroes and a personal favorite is a demi-god we all loved by his strength and courage but also hated for his vices and troublesome behavior depending on your version and that’s Hercules, the son of Zeus and a man that was born into chaos and a mystical time of mystery, magic, sorcery and dangerous creatures. The reason I got into him and why I believe he’s a great choice for this article is because really, he is the ultimate synonym for strength and the ability to overcome obstacles in the most daring and unimaginable fashion. Get ready to learn the very secrets of how to obtain some of the glorious and powerful strength.

There are always debates about how to get strong in the fitness world. Sometimes we rely on one exercise to determine a level of strength, at times we rely on a specific fear or skill and even in some cases; we determine who can be the strongest in 3 lifts or more. For me the best answer to determine strength is how you are efficient in various ways to exercise plus exerting an amount of force. You're strong in some areas, other areas you're weak in, it’s a simple fact. Others try to make one thing and blow off the other. Why not work different elements like Strength & Endurance in the same workout? How about the idea of hitting a heavy weight then moving onto an exercise for high reps? It breaks out of the norm and it gives you a sense on what you can measure for your own strengths.

 Most people believe that if you want to get stronger, move onto weights but it’s not always that simple or that quick to judge. BodyweightTraining when done right can be much tougher and more exhausting than hitting the weights. One of the most effective exercises to build strength from multiple angles is to move like a wild animal. Animals in the wild are far superior in strength than man is period, there’s no question how abundantly strong they are so why not mimic them the best way we can. Just to hold a certain position takes strength right, now let’s move in an awkward direction and see if we can keep tight in that position while in a moving process. Believe me if you can get strong in the most awkward positions you have strength in ways most can't match

 A key to learning effective strength and power is through sound. Sound, how the hell do you determine that? Think about, a punch for example…BAM, BAM, did it sound powerful and super strong? It sounded more straight edge and a little dull, it’s powerful but it doesn't have that spark of real strength. Here’s another one…WAA-KAHH..How did that sound? To me it sounded fast, powerful, directional with a specific point of torque. Want to know the best way to look for that sound? Ever heard of Bruce Lee? I rest my case.

 One of the simplest ways to get better at Bodyweight Exercises is through Progression but what’s the best way to determine that? You've done 100 push-ups, great how do you make them harder? First off what type of push-up did you do to get those 100 reps? Did you do them military style or did you do in a handstand against the wall, how about your feet elevated on a stool or even your hands between two chairs? If you did them military style, how about trying the same amount of reps while doing 4 seconds going down and 4 seconds coming up, if you did them in a handstand I want to shake your hand because only less than a handful of people on the planet have done that, feet elevated do them going down fast and come back in 5 seconds. Tempo and position is a great way to determine progression in push-ups and many other exercises.

 What do Michael Johnson, Marcus Allen, Walter Payton and Kurt Angle all have in common? They all did Sprints to build that explosive speed and undeniable power in the entire body plus they all build high levels of Natural Growth Hormone, the thing that has the ability to burn fat like a furnace, build muscle like crazy and expand the lungs like there was no tomorrow for high levels of endurance. Sprints done 2-3 times a week is one of if not the fastest way to burn fat and builds natural muscle. It gives you that high kick of endorphins after a workout which can be no more a few minutes tops but isn't it ruled that you have to do 30 minutes of cardio and an hour of weights to burn fat and build muscle, dude get with the program. Really no more than 8 sets at about 15 seconds per burst is all you need and if you can't do that at first start with 4x8sec. And work from there.


The number one key to open the door to superhuman strength and speed is to have an open mind. Too many people are skeptical and afraid and avoid the very possibility that they will be able to achieve levels of muscularity, strength, health and stamina. Being open to ideas and find what works and what doesn't for you is a sure thing you’ll find what you're looking for. Too many follow this, avoid that and are sheep to those that think they know best, nobody knows your body better than you do. Find your own ways to get to where you want to be, I advise to avoid drugs and PEDs as much as possible if not at all, learn the natural ways to get strength, your body will be better for it.  

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Only Drug You Should Be Taking

 There are all sorts of ways to take this to relax and that to wake up but most of it is drugs or meds that can most likely kill you than help you. Even modern bodybuilders take drugs to build extra muscle to gain an edge in their competition just like other athletes and such. Drugs for the most part is the easy way out f your problems and lets face it, those commercials where they tell you the side-effects are far worse than what you're trying to get rid of. Unless you're dying than maybe but seriously, there are much better ways to get yourself healthy.

 If there was one drug that has no side-effects and works better than any drug or PEDs out there is consistent work ethic and training smart with an effective exercise program and eating good foods and stay away from junk food as much as possible. I may not have the best nutrition going on but I do my best to keep it going and keep building muscle and energy. When you build a goal and you set on training with consistency and putting in the time, you will accomplish what you want.

 The old-time strongmen of the early 20th century such as Maxick, John Grimek, George Hackenshmidt, Charles Atlas and others never even took drugs because they didn't exist in their time and yet with smart training and good nutrition they built some serious muscle and lived longer than your average bodybuilder or athlete today. Finding a program isn't easy to find or is it? Seriously though when you look at certain methods that have worked for god knows how long and gave you a sense of overcoming your own obstacles wouldn't you want to use that to have the body you want?

 Back in my late teens, I was a big kid (still am but as an adult) and I got up in lifting heavy weights rather quickly and every now and then either as a joke or actually asking I was asked if I was taking steroids because I had already reached 300 pounds in the deadlift and leg pressed nearly 950 while benching 260 and curling with 50-60 pound dumbbells but I was nowhere near the shape or strength that I have now compared to back then and yet I got asked that sketchy question that many athletes go through but to this day since I was asked it I continue to say no and you know why? I wanted to earn those lifts and earn the strength I wanted to gain. I'm much stronger and more built now and still say I'm earning it. A shortcut in your training is like cheating on a math test, you see the answers but what are you really learning from it. If you are looking to build great strength, awesome flexibility and insane endurance, taking a shortcut will do you more harm than good, trust me I've tried it by skipping progressions and ending up hurting myself. If you want something bad enough, earn it and earn it with passion, heart and will to get what you want.  

 The best program you can do won’t come from a magazine or following someone on a DVD, the best one is the one that works for you no matter what your schedule is and no matter what you want to do. Make it work for you and stick to it, one way or another you'll find the right one. Things don't happen overnight, they are earned with sweat, a work ethic and heart to create something out of nothing. Don't take the short way out, you won't like what you’ll find in the end if you do, taking a shortcut in most cases is dangerous and however cool it looks now, it'll bite you in the ass in the end. Respect yourself and your body by earning and using consistency to create your best physique along with lifelong strength, vitality, flexibility and stamina for years to come.  

Friday, October 12, 2012

Ultimate Kings & Queens Of Bodyweight Exercise

 Usually most people look at bodyweight exercise as a waste of time and don’t hold any real value for fitness. Even many trainers would say that if you want to get strong you advance onto weights and machines. The problem with this notion is that many people don’t know how to handle their own bodyweight. When you learn the real styles of Bodyweight Exercise, you’re learning how to use your body from multiple angles, work more muscles one exercise at a time and you burn more fat. Those who tell you it doesn't do anything either can’t do it themselves or they’re trying to make a buck and don’t really give a damn who they hurt to get by.

 To be a stronger person physically, you can and should learn to build strength from multiple angles, the more muscles you work at one time the better. In Gymnastics, strength is built all over the place from your neck to your toes. Now I never said you needed to be like a gymnast to have that kind of power but learning certain basics won’t hurt very much either. It does take practice but with time, your strength can skyrocket to levels you never imagined before. Think about it, what it would be like to hold a perfect handstand, be able to switch from exercise to exercise without pain or fatigue or better yet, have the strength to hold even the most basic positions and still look good doing it. It could happen if you just believe and take action.

 Gymnasts and even Acrobats have the most fluid and graceful movements that are strong and cunning. Even a ballet dancer is very strong once you start paying attention. The power of a movement even in basic positions isn't how it looks; it’s how it’s presented, straight and tight. The best way to describe those straight and tight movements is how you are flexed in that position. In other words, you’re looking at Isometrics. Think of a guy on the Rings in the Iron Cross or in a Handstand, that is a form of isometrics. Isometrics is the form of strength training where you’re throwing all your strength in a fixed position.

 Have you noticed that one of the key components if not the key component to a gymnast is their powerful abdominals? It has been said that Gymnasts have the strongest abs in the world, why? Because without strong and powerful abs, they can’t move or better yet hold the most powerful looking positions. A lot of us look to having strong abs, but the majority just want abs to look which is not a bad thing but I’ll say it won’t look good on your resume if you’re trying to do certain things. Your Core is the center of your whole body, the key that holds everything together, from the lower chest down to near your pelvis, that’s the Core that holds it all. Building strong abs= A strong body.

 Every time you watch Gymnastics, Acrobatics, Ballet or anything that has nothing but their own body moving through the air or holding some pretty awesome positions, you’re in awe and think “how the hell do they get like that?”, besides years of training, they all started somewhere, some of them had natural ability, others were terrible but with practice got better and better. We all start somewhere, I didn't get into Gymnastics till I was in my 20’s when that’s the retirement age for most gymnasts, a good friend of mine didn't start till he was in his mid 30’s when most would say he was too late and won’t be able to withstand those exercises. No matter how old you are or what your current fitness is, beginning an exercise program is a great way to go up that latter, it’s like learning math, you start with arithmetic and work your way up to calculus. Start with where you’re at and progress to the best of your abilities.

 One of the coolest ways to look at training with Bodyweight Exercises is that it doesn't take up a lot of time, hell no more than 15-20 minutes a day is all you need and if you don’t have time, start just doing a few seconds, work up to a minute. You can even do separate exercises throughout the day. It’s all about making it work for you. Those who say you need 30 minutes of cardio and an hour of weights don’t know a damn thing about your lifestyle, the majority don’t have that amount of time to do all that but its not impossible to do something during your day. Doing a few minutes of training is really all you need, you used many muscle groups, you don’t need to do more than a few exercises and best of all, you can make them fun and exciting, not dull and used as a punishment. Do what you can, your body will thank you for it.

 Getting stronger is not far out of reach but you got to want it bad enough, not to the point where you’re taking short cuts that’s the cheating way. The true value of being strong and healthy is practice, practice, practice. Consistency is a key and whether you exercise for one minute or one hour it still counts. Make it happen for you, you can think all you want and nothing will come of it, it’s the action that gets the job done. Your body is what you make of it, don’t let certain things or people get in the way of what you want to do. You can have a beautiful, powerful and strong body if you believe in yourself and find the right resources for you to develop what you want to achieve. It’s not that far away but it’s up to you to reach out and grab it by the horns and run with it. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Creating Your Own Story

 Ever since we were children, we were always fascinated by stories of courage, fearlessness, worthy battles and the power love overcomes. Young girls wanted to be princesses and fair maidens, guys wanted to be a superhero or a prince that saves the day. Many of us grew up watching our fantasies, even when I was little I had books read to me, mostly Disney stuff and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. We love these stories because they show us what a world would be like of exotic creatures, powerful men, beautiful women and sights that only imagination can with hold. Why not build your own story later on in life or even at a young age?

 A lot of parents go through a lot for their children; it’s a fact and no matter how hard your parents get to you, just remember what they sacrificed to get you going somewhere. Some parents just put too much on their kids and way too soon too, hate to burst your bubble but I've seen kids my age back in the day either being too spoiled or gotten nothing at all. Even certain children are destined to do something because it’s written out for them. To me if you want to learn anything on your own, it’d building your own destiny. Not saying you should defy your family but for the most part, not one person knows you better than yourself. What is your true destiny? It’s a matter of what you learned growing up and finding your true calling.

 Some kids get so spoiled that on one side of the coin, they take it for granted and just feel like life is given to them and don’t have to take on any real responsibilities, on the flip side, they hate being like that and want to learn what it’s like to not have everything on a silver platter and look to things that make them happy. Being happy is about being who you are and no matter what life throws at you; you’re at peace at what you do. It’s difficult to find true happiness but it’s not impossible. It takes practice but with the right resources and environment you can create your own happiness and look to people to share it with.

 I've fought all my life to be strong, be smarter, learn to use my own disabilities as strengths instead of weaknesses and learned to educate myself later on in life. For years I've had issues mentally, physically and very much emotionally that after so long it’s come down to how I create what I want for myself. I've been helped many times and still do on certain things but instead of taking them for granted, I’m thankful and take advantage of what I've learned to create what I always wanted to do. Being helped is never a bad thing, it’s the right time to be helped is when it gets complicated at times but in those moments, you know who the right people are who have helped you succeed.

 The real fight is not battling who’s the better man, it’s a pleasurable struggle to find what’s best for YOU!!!  We have belief systems, laws, rules and many other things in between but when you fight for the right reasons you are a stronger person for it. Certain people follow others either because they’re so into what they believe that they lost track of themselves or follow because they’re desperate and nothing has worked for them or they’re the rare ones who follow to learn to become a leader themselves. I don’t follow any one person that sparks my interests but I learn from how they do things and create ideals from their influence. Fighting is another look at rebelling but fighting with the right intentions builds a foundation to how you build your own destiny.

 Do Fairy Tales exist? In some ways I’d like to believe so. It doesn't matter if you believe in Dragons or true love’s first kiss or even marching into battle to save a kingdom from annihilation, the real fairy tales are the ones that fight to find happiness and get it when it was at its peak of ending and triumphed over darkness. No matter how you look at fictionalized stories, it’s your story that makes everything worthwhile and who knows, true love could be right around the corner or it’ll take you a few years one way or another you will find it and it will make your life the way you always dreamed of.

 Every one of us has a story. We are born, we live, we die simple as that or is it? Your life has many beginnings and part of many eras but it’s how you write it in your mind and your actions that build that dark or light void that we all come to grips with but it isn't your destiny to have your story written out by someone else, you write it yourself and take action with it than you’ll learn to true meaning of your own ending. How do you want your story to end? Think about it.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Building Eagle Claws

Building strength in the fingers, hands, wrists and the entire lower arm can make you or break you in a workout or anything you need your hands for. We need our hands to build things and create things so is it essential to build a level of strength, flexibility and dexterity that helps us in our everyday lives? I believe so. There are many ways to build a solid steel grip but there are other ways to keep the tendons strong and durable no matter what you do.

 The lower arm area all the way down to the fingertips is the most neglected parts of the human body in exercise. You won’t get by much with just wrist curls and a few isolated circular movements; you are learning to build that area by squeezing, flexing, extending, push, pull and working the individual fingers. It is important to master all these factors because if you don’t have strong hands, you won’t be able to pick up a weight no matter how big your arms it’s not going to happen. What if you need to fix something with a wrench or screwdriver and don’t have the hand strength to twist and turn, that would suck and if you work using those types of tools you won’t be at your job for long.

 When I talk about building eagle claws, I’m not just referring to training the entire lower arm to claw somebody in a fight or having great strength to do amazing things, I’m referring to creating great strength, flexibility and dexterity no matter what you want to do with your life. It doesn't matter if you’re a musician, athlete, entertainer, carpenter, construction worker or landscape artist, you will have great attributes if you gave yourself the chance to learn. How about curing Carpal Tunnel and never needing to wear a brace ever again, be less prone to injury and be able to heal quicker with exercises that work the entire region and not just that area but the shoulders, the arms and the trapezoids.

 One of the best conditioning programs ever assembled is the use of Animal Exercises. You can learn how to move like an animal in the wild and teach your body to burn fat, build muscle, increase the strength in your organs, tendons, muscles and so much more for only a few minutes a day. Now how about amplifying those exercises once you have mastered them, begin to do some on your fingertips, this type of training alone can build crazy strength in your lower arm in ways you can never get from machines. Having a solid steel grip and power in your lower arm can help increase your strength in other areas, it’ll help you pick up weights better, and it’ll help your grappling game much more efficient and if you’re into Arm Wrestling, look out because you’ll be ripping those guys up in no time.

 Getting started is like everything else, begin where you’re at and progress from there, work certain exercises that keep the blood flowing and ready to go. Spread exercises throughout the day so you can keep that energy flowing and use certain tools to help the grip. One of the coolest tools I like for building grip strength is called Fat Gripz, these babies will take thick bar training to a whole new level and you can attach them to just about any dumbbell or barbell but if you’re a bodyweight guy, you can attach them to your pull-up bar to increase the difficulty. I use these for building strength and endurance in Arm Wrestling using my lifeline Chest Expander. Progress is a very important factor because once something becomes easy; you want to continue to challenge yourself so you increase the difficulty by a small percentage. Even Rock Climbers have to progress otherwise if they jump in too soon, they’ll fall off much quicker and that can mean certain death so it’s important to build progression.

 No matter how you slice, strong hands equals a strong body because when you have the strength to pick up really heavy weight or be able to twist off certain objects with a wrench or even pick up groceries for that matter, your hands are the tools that open doors to everything you pretty much do. Even doing certain Feats Of Strength requires strong hands, you can build as much strength as you want in every other area in your body but if you’re hands aren't up to par, you’re pretty much done. Complete the whole package by training as many areas as possible including your lower arm, you’ll be amazed how weak or strong your hands are certain situations so my suggestion is make those hands work for you and build a foundation to have the strongest and most functional hands as possible.     

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Difference Between Believing & Not Believing

 There are a lot of skeptics out there who don’t believe in certain ideals or they do believe in certain things but it’s by tradition and rules when in reality they don’t have the slightest notion of how to be open minded. For those wondering, when I speak of this article, I’m talking about fitness and health not religion or politics, that’s way out of my league and have my own views of what they are. Back to the task at hand, many skeptics are the ones with their guard up and never want to take it down and that’s not a good thing because they miss out on many things that they can work on.

 One of the best quotes I've learned since I was 13 was “For those who do believe you don’t need an explanation, for those who don’t believe no explanation will do.” Want to know where I learned that from? Believe it or not a pro wrestler named Jeff Jarret on the Unreal Story Of Professional Wrestling, talk about weird. A lot of people sometimes including myself feel like we need to explain our beliefs and what they’re all about but in the end, people need to figure it out for themselves. Its one thing to throw something at a skeptic but it’s a different ball game on how they figure it out themselves.

 One of my biggest peeves is people who do believe in something but only because they listened to someone’s word and not use common sense or research. The traditional belief in fitness is do a half hour of cardio and an hour of weights to get strong, eat less to lose weight, do push-ups for warm up and do bench presses to get a big chest and my all-time favorite, bodyweight exercises are only good for endurance once you reach a certain number of reps and than you don’t build strength. I’m sorry but tradition has never really been my style and going on someone’s word is just (excuse my language) bullshit. If I want to believe in something I’m going to try certain things out, do a little research and experiment a little to see what works and what doesn't.

 For you skeptics out there, drop your guard a little, not all the way but a little and try certain things, you never what you’ll get out of it. I know what it’s like to be a skeptic, I've been there many times before and still a skeptic to certain things but with a purpose and not just because someone says something and that’s it. Opening your mind is like opening a new door to a world you never seen before. To give you an example, I was skeptical about being athletic and agile as a big man, these guys told me try gymnastics and try hand balancing and all these different things but I was just so guarded about who I was that I can’t do all this stuff but the moment I dropped my guard just a little, I opened up a whole new door and kept an open mind and gave a shot at few things I felt I could do but get better at and low and behold, I got stronger, more flexible, more agile and more durable than ever before and never looked back since. Dropping your guard a little can be a big impact on how you do things. It’s up to you to do it, no one can really do it for you.

 To me the true meaning of believing is not by someone’s word and just believe because they said so but believe in your heart that it works for you and you've done some things to find that belief. A true believer is someone who wants to find what he’s looking for and believes in oneself and not from this or that, he/she believes this does work and it does give me something to do. Fitness wise, you can be a sheep and follow everyone’s word or you actually do something about it and find your own belief and create something out of the norm and make it your own tradition. Like before you don’t need an explanation as a believer, it’s there it works, you understand it from all angles and you learned how it works for you. Believe in yourself and trust it. It took me many years to figure that out but and I’m still learning a thing or two but it’s a journey and that I believe will go a long way to make me better at what I do and so can you. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

A New Age Of Vampires

 In the old books of the Creature Of The Night, we have romanticized it’s characteristics, it’s strengths, weaknesses, it’s funny side and even it’s very much larger darker side but let’s not forget how we as a culture come to love and hate vampires. We all know the tales of blood, immortality, fear and the biggest name of them all Dracula. What if we took these old tales and turned them into something that is what we crave for centuries; a longer life, having super human strength & speed and the ability to have a high dose of great emotional power.

 Certain vampires you’ve seen in the movies and comics are different and either funny as hell or as dark as you can get. From Boris Koloff to Edward Pattinson, we have loved and loathed the idea of what it is to be a Vampire. Personally I prefer the Warriors of vampirism such as Blade and Kate Beckinsale’s character in the Underworld saga but this generation prefers the Twilight and True Blood types. We all have our likes and dislikes to Vampires but the truth of the matter is, we can use those capacities to become a stronger and healthier human being. We can become a much stronger human with the right tools and resources and not resort to taking shortcuts and making ourselves weaker as we age. Sure we won’t have the unlimited power of age compared to a Vampire but we can use methods to live longer, be stronger and have vitality beyond the average human.

 When I talk about Vampires I’m not talking about dressing up in gothic crazy costumes or having night clubs devoted to a cult, that’s for children and demented overzealous freak shows; what I’am talking about however is the ability to look outside the box and look to ways in the fitness world where knowledge for strength, speed, energy, flexibility and building a body that you can be proud helps bring life to what you want out of it. Does that make a freak in some way? Hell yes it does and I’m proud of it and I love being to learn how to keep my life the way I want it to be and move forward with it.

 Vampires have strength and energy beyond our own imaginations so how do we apply that notion for ourselves. We certainly do not need to suck someone’s blood for a life continuing capacity but we can keep our bodies fresh and ready to go by using small effective exercises and build our hormones naturally so we can look younger and have the strength of a wild animal. It’s something we can look at from a different perspective as a nation that has become accustomed to the growing disease of obesity. Being unhealthy isn’t a good thing no matter how you slice it, it eats your life away and you are just sucking energy just to even get off the couch and that’s sad.

 Do you want to have a life where you can energy that can go on for hours on end, have the strength to help others and what about being able to move pain-free and not have aching backs and busted knees? You can create the life you want, all you got to do is take one step in the beginning to start and build yourself up whether physically, mentally or emotionally, if you don’t move, you’re stuck in the same place. Remember that.

 The ability to move with grace, power and super human speed takes practice but at the same time, practicing with mindful intentions creates an even bigger place of building great strength and power in ways you can’t imagine unless you've experienced it. Certain things don’t just happen overnight, most people can’t get the concept of that because they want more than what’s already been given to them and than they want more than that. It takes time and patience. Think of a Vampire who has lived for a couple hundred years, don’t you think he’s learned patience and in that period of time? I’d like to think so in some cases, if he/she can live that long I believe you don’t have an excuse for something you wish to have at this very moment. It’s like saving money, you put a little in your account every now and then and before you know it, you have quite a bit of money built up, same thing with building a body and creating strength and agility, takes time and before you know it you’re far stronger and more energetic than when you started.

 Unlike a Vampire, you don’t need a thirst for blood, you should however learn to have a thirst for exercise, not to the point like a crack addict but using it to keep your energy levels up for things you need to do throughout the day like your job, taking care of kids, being energetic at a gathering, in the office writing up reports or delivering mail. It’s all about consistent action and reminding yourself that you don’t need a gym or a trainer to get you awesome shape, you can learn to do it yourself and save your money for the things you need in life. The only person that makes your life complicated is you and you can either keep running with the flow, or you can make something of yourself and be happier, live longer, have great strength and be able to handle things even your friends couldn’t do. Make it happen and learn from the Vampires. They’re not as messed up or dark as you might think.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

TV Will Never Be The Same To You Again

Television is a window to the world and it has its blessings and its bad habits. There are movies, shows, infomercials, sports, news ect. With all this information, why can’t people realize that watching TV can be one of the best reasons to get in awesome shape? Most never see it as an opportunity to develop strength and health, not saying you should spend all day at the TV, in reality you should avoid as much of it as possible. To be honest, I haven’t watched a single show that had commercials or changed the channel in over a month and a half, I watch Movies.

 If you’re a fan of TV and want to watch something either by yourself or with family & friends, you should make an effort to do some exercises. Most shows have commercials and we all know how annoying they can be with ads that don’t really have any real morals for other people, so why not put that into an exercise program. When your show has taken a break and gone to the commercials, use it as a reminder to exercise. Do Push-ups, Squats, Sit-ups and Isometrics whatever you can do until your show came back on.

 Most commercials are pretty stupid and those god awful meds ads. I guess stupidity runs in advertisement, the only thing that commercials are good for are movies and those funny Super Bowl ads other than that you’re better off doing something to pass the time. One of the most famous athletes in the world Herschel Walker performed hundreds of push-ups and sit-ups while he watched TV and exercised during the commercials. There’s a lesson there that we all should learn.

 Would it be nice to enjoy your favorite show and get a workout in at the same time? I believe it be pretty freaking sweet if you ask me. Exercise done right gives you energy and that extra spring in your step. Sitting on your ass the entire time isn't always the wisest choice as you can burn calories faster and amp up your energy when you have time to do a few exercises for like what 30 seconds, that seems good don’t you think? Give yourself something to do while you watch TV instead of just sitting around looking like you just came back from a marathon. When a commercial comes on, do a few push-ups, the next do squats or hold a certain position. Make it work for you.

Monday, October 1, 2012

In 30 Minutes Or Less

 Hate to disappoint you people but the title does not mean I’m talking about ordering a pizza. I love pizza as much as the next guy but this is something more important than food. This is about learning to exercise with the little time you have as possible. Training for 30 minutes isn’t always about cardio training or doing one 30 minute workout, why not spread those 30 minutes throughout the day.

 One of the most powerful exercises you can do is Isometrics, more so what some people call Power Postures, meaning holding various positions at odd angles. Think of some of the Yoga Postures like the Downward facing dog or what we call the Hindu Push-up, just holding for time in the three positions can build internal power like you wouldn’t believe. How about holding a horse stance like the Shaolin Monks do, that builds some serious leg strength. These two examples can be used as a foundation to build your body from the inside out.

 Ever watch TV? Of course you do, you have a favorite show or movie you like to watch and take hold of the drama or one-liners that unfold, than the dumbass commercials come on and nobody likes those right except the trailers for upcoming movies. Why not use that time to get in some exercise, remind yourself to exercise a little bit, do a few push-ups or squats during the commercials, hold your leg(s) up in your chair for a few seconds, do jumping jacks, these are all things you can work on while the commercials are going and when your show comes on, take a break. Continue this until your show is over and there you go, you just did a workout within a 30 minute period.

 Stop thinking you need to do an hour of this or an hour of that, you don’t have a lot of time. When you wake up in the morning do a few stretches for about 15 minutes to get your day started, you’re at a red light in your car, while you wait push/pull and/or squeeze your steering wheel, and you can get in great shape no matter where you go. The people who tell you have to do cardio and an hour of weights to get in shape are the ones who are stealing everyone’s money and think they have full on expertise on what is good or bad for you in exercise. The less time you can workout, the more you can actually gain, not just physically but mentally and emotionally because you can have more time to do the things you have going on in your life. It’s all about making little effort that can turn into big impacts in a productive way.

 Don’t ever feel you have to go to a gym and use a cardio machine because someone told you to because it gets you in great shape and listen to your iPod or watch TV while on the treadmill, ask them to do 500 Hindu Squats and so how long they last, bet you a few bucks most likely he won’t be able to do it and he’ll be so out of breath he’s going to feel like dying. Real cardio won’t have to be 30 minutes, if you really learned it, it doesn’t need to be more than 15 at best. Cardio is a term that exercising to keep the heart rate at levels that burn fat and build muscle, most cardio methods only diminish muscle and yes you’re burning fat but not the way you really want it too. Doing a few squats for several minutes gets your heart rate up real quick and maximizes fat burning levels faster than anything else with the exception of sprinting which you only need to do for a few seconds at a time. Build your way up and make the best of the exercise time you have and believe me, it’s better to do exercise for a few minutes and feel awesome than doing exercise for a long, long time and feel like crap afterwards.