Sunday, December 30, 2012
It breaks my heart to see overweight, out of shape people trying to run, or hurting themselves doing P90xInsanity or anything else their body isn't ready for. There is a beautiful, not so subtle energy of the new year, that you can tap into and use to your advantage. But, I'd advise being smart about it. Too much too soon will result in injury and failure to achieve goals. In 2006 I lost over 75 lbs in 4 months. I started with changing my mindset. I did very little exercise. Sounds counterproductive for a personal trainer to say such a thing, but that's the truth. I eventually began doing Tai Chi/Qigong, and a lot of walking, but the first month I didn't do anything but work on changing my beliefs about my body image and creating a more productive nutrition plan. Diets do work, but they're not sustainable for long, so I suggest creating a new way of eating, and making your relationship with food one where you're in control, not your hormones. A good way to start is to limit your sugar intake to less than 6-9 grams per meal. That's not that extreme, and will help break your sugar addiction, and if you're reading this there's a good chance you most certainly are a sugar addict. It's just more likely than not, nowadays.
Saturday, December 22, 2012
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
This is the time of year I like to "go heavy." Baby, it's cold outside, according to the song the radio keeps playing incessantly. So I warm up a little without ending up dripping in sweat the way I would if I were lifting this way in the humid summer months. Also, rather than fight all the holiday food cravings, I take in some extra calories knowing I'll be putting them to good use in my workouts. My current favorite routine is a classic known as German Volume Training, or "10 for 10." It first became popular in the 1970's, it may be even older. German Olympic weight lifters used it to pack on strength and muscle mass in record time. We're talking pounds of muscle in a month. It had a resurgence in popularity about 10 years ago, when legendary coach and trainer Charles Poliquin wrote about it. German Volume Training is simple, but not easy. Because the focus is on building lots of muscle quickly, you want to stick to your compound moves. Often called multi-joint moves, and interestingly, I'm noticing the female oriented exercise magazines are now referring to them as "metabolic moves." Compound moves are your BIG LIFTS; bench press, deadlift, squat... The lifts that build lean, fat-burning muscle tissue, and help everyone read all the words on your t-shirt. So here's the routine: You'll need to know your 1 Rep max (the heaviest you can lift on a particular exercise once.) Take 60% of your 1 Rep Max, and lift it 10 times for 10 sets, resting 90 seconds between sets.
Monday, December 17, 2012
Saturday, December 15, 2012
Thursday, December 6, 2012
There's an old joke about a U2 concert. The lights go dim, and Bono starts to clap his hands, once a second. After the audience is sufficiently confused, he steps up to the mic, still clapping, slowly, and seriously, he states, "Every time I clap my hands another starving African child dies." An angry man in the front row jumps up and shouts, "Somebody grab that sick, heartless son of a bitch, and make him stop clapping his hands!" He he. I love that joke. I bring it up to illustrate a point about perception, and how we don't heal any problem whatsoever by continuing to focus on it.
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Stuart Wilde has been one of my favorite authors for awhile now. He's been described as an urban mystic, and a fringe dweller. His audio program The Journey Beyond Enlightenment is probably the most powerful thing I've ever studied. He's absolutely brilliant. He speaks his truth with great courage, even though it is sometimes tough to swallow, and his sense of humor makes it impossible not to fall in love with the guy. I consider myself very fortunate to have seen him at, what I think was, his last Hay House I Can Do It Conference in Las Vegas in 2007. It was one of the most interesting, magical experiences of my life. His website http://www.stuartwilde.com/ has been very active lately. He wrote a fantastic book recently called Plum Red: Taoist Tales of Old China.
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
F**k it Therapy by John C. Parkin is going to help a lot of people. Wherever you are in life, you know that stress has a stranglehold on a great number of us. Not good, considering stress is the number one killer nowadays. John offers many techniques to help you escape from the self imposed prisons we check ourselves into. The prisons of fear, self-doubt, perfectionism and many more are looked at in great detail. I found the sections dealing with the ancient art of qigong particularly refreshing. Taking something sacred and powerful, and presenting it in a unique, down to earth, fun, and naughty way is just f**king brilliant. There is great magic in those two little words "f**k it" that I can't really put my finger on to describe, but the author sums it up perfectly. I recommend you give this book a shot, but take it slow. There is a lot going on within these 316 pages, powerful processes, and even some links for helpful, exclusive online content. There is a brief section on diet and exercise, which I didn't particularly care for, but it's only a short three pages. Overall, this is a fantastic, thought provoking read. I received this book for free from Hay House Publishing for review purposes. http://www.hayhouse.com/details.php?id=7114&utm_id=3313
Monday, November 26, 2012
Next time you're in the weight room and you're lifting heavy, try this: instead of counting out 10 reps in your head, count 5, twice. Or if the goal of your super-heavy set is 6 repetitions, count to 3 twice. Sounds silly, I know, but try it. It's amazing. It's a little magic trick for staying in the zone, and really developing that mind-muscle connection. That little tip has really helped me out a lot. I first heard about this technique in a podcast interview with former (and probably future) Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler.
Thursday, November 15, 2012
One of bodybuilding's legends "The Myth" Sergio Oliva, has passed away from apparent kidney failure at age 71. The first non-white athlete to win Mr. America, Mr. World, Mr. International, Mr. Universe, and Mr. Olympia. Cuban born, Oliva, was the only guy to ever beat Arnold out of a Mr. Olympia title; and the second winner, in history, of bodybuilding's highest title. Hadn't competed in about 4 decades, yet still when people talk about "bodybuilding genetics" Oliva is often the first picture shown.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
You might have seen Michael Bernard Beckwith on Oprah, or experienced his dynamic presence in the film that brought the law of attraction mainstream, The Secret. He's the Founder and Spiritual Director of Agape International Spiritual Center in Los Angeles, but he's much more than a preacher. He is a man of God. Now I don't say that lightly. I've spent much of my life running from the idea of God. The concept of God I was raised on, was a God of rules and submission to his will and his word. If you weren't with him, you were against him, and you were screwed. Eternal hellfire damnation awaited those who didn't accept the gift of salvation. That's not the kind of God you're going to find in Transcendance Expanded, nor will you find anything here blasphemous or at odds with scriptures. The book is made up of eight lessons, that explore the idea of universal spiritual truths, and a God who offers true free will without judgment. He speaks of how to unify yourself with the creative energy that formed all that is, while retaining your unique individuality and perspective. You learn that the divine energy wants to be used, not obeyed. Your Belief System, or B.S., as The Rev so poignantly puts it, cannot comprehend the greatness of the creative force. We are the universe becoming aware of itself, and we might as well accept our greatness, he says. The CD is something else out of this world. It contains musical versions of the 8 Transcendance talks produced by some of the best in the music industry, with Beckwith delivering lines with a passionate punch, in a style described as Rhythm and Joy. Both the book and the music offer a unique and positive vibrational lift. There really is some magic here worth checking out. On a side note, as a personal trainer who loves to exercise, the CD is exceptional in that it can bring positive energy into the weight room, cardio machines, or burn it to mp3 and take it on a run. It can definitely bring some empowerment and vitality to your workouts. I received this book for free from Hay House Publishing for review purposes.
Monday, November 5, 2012
"I've tried everything!" It's usually said with sincerity and desperation, but your personal trainer hears that as a challenge. New circuits, set/rep schemes, diet tweaks, and monumentally tortuous exercises are taking dark shape within my skull, every time I hear somebody announce they've "tried everything." If you had unrealistic expectations due to goals that were a physical impossibility that's a whole other issue, but, honestly, nobody has tried everything. I think it was Marianne Williamson who pointed out that Christ, Buddha, and many spiritually enlightened Masters are most often depicted in art with their palms up, and their arms open in a gesture of acceptance and forgiveness. Personal trainers, on the other hand, are usually depicted with their hands on their hips, or flexing, or their arms folded in front of them. The bossy, standoffish body language comes from somewhere. It comes from the strange relationship that develops when someone hires you to hold their feet to the fire, and push them toward their goals, yet every now and then they try to offload a bunch of excuses on you. And as Tom Venuto, one of my fitness role models, says, "You can have excuses or results, but you can't have both."
Sunday, October 28, 2012
The good people at Hay House publishing sent me a review copy of Eldon Taylor's book and CD, Self-Hypnosis and Subliminal Technology. I wasn't paid for this review, and this is my own, honest opinion. As a personal trainer I've long been fascinated by this subject, and its effect on personal change, specifically breaking through weight loss and bodybuilding plateaus. Eldon Taylor is an expert in his field, with over 30 years of experience. He's written many books. This was my first exposure to his writing. I give both the book and the accompanying audio CD a hearty thumbs up. This is important work. Nowadays many of us are spending a lot of time running around on autopilot, or the subconscious mind. The more we can learn how to influence that underlying mind, the more empowered our lives will be. The ideas in this book teach you ways you can rewire, or reprogram your inner self; your excuses and self-imposed limitations can be pushed to the side and you can reach previously unreachable goals. There is a section on creating your own subliminal self-hypnosis sessions. It teaches the basics to really personalize a program and make it work for you. The CD is brilliant, I've used audio programs designed by other professional hypnotists, and I have to say this disc is superior to most of them, maybe all, I need to listen some more. It definitely took me to a very deep hypnotic state. My mind is swimming in the possibilities that opened up to me after reading this book.
My current favorite shoulder exercise:the W Press. Start with arms by side, making a "W" shape, and by pressing up and out you hit all 3 heads of the deltoids while avoiding strain on the rotator cuff. (At least for me, still experimenting.) You don't have to go heavy to feel this one. I saw this move in Iron Man Magazine, but a google search says it's an old school bodybuilding move created by Larry Scott.
Thursday, October 18, 2012
Wow! I can honestly say, I have never read a book like this one. Ever. And I've read most of the Conversations With God series. I've gotten a lot out of the works of Neale Donald Walsch over the years, though I did find Happier Than God a bit confusing on the first read. That said, The Only Thing That Matters really, and I mean really, stands out from the pack. There's some mind blowing stuff in this sucker. A couple times, I just put the bookmark in, closed it, and stared at the back cover while I assimilated what was just communicated. This is Book 2 in the Conversations With Humanity series, I haven't yet read Book 1, but I didn't find that to be any hindrance whatsoever. You know, it's really great when a self-help book actually helps you better understand your self, your place in the grand scheme of things, and how to improve your experience of both. The Only Thing That Matters lays it all out in a way that is easy to understand (once you get past startled). It also contains five powerful gifts that will change your life if you let them. It's ironic that a book on spirituality and oneness can be so unique, the author truly outdid himself on this one. I swear, I'm not just saying that. FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from Hay House Publishing for this review. The opinion in this review is unbiased and reflects my honest judgment of the product.
Sunday, October 14, 2012
I ran a lot as a kid. I ran a lot in the army, but only because I was told to. When I became a civilian in 1996, I didn't really run again until 2005, after a huge amount of weightloss and lifestyle change. Manchester holds a Thanksgiving Day 5k annually, I ran my first race in 2009. Hated it. However, I noticed the effect it had on my wife. She's a former high school cheerleader, so she's always gotten really excited about any athletic endeavor I've ever attempted. She was right there with me on all the Body For Life and Transformation.com challenges, offering tons of support. Also really supportive of my weight training, and personal training biz, and will gladly listen to all the different theories and new breakthroughs in the science of bodybuilding and weight loss. However, the effect the race had on her was incredible. She loves the spectator side of it, which I don't really get, but I appreciate. Must be the old cheerleader in her.
Friday, October 12, 2012
I'm running my first marathon Saturday morning at 8am. If you want, you can track me in real time here: http://www.racemyrace.com/hosted/inghartford_m.php?rid=124&rrid=12256
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
The author begins by telling his personal story of transformation, how his life was quite successful in many ways, but he'd fallen into that easy trap of drifting through the days, working and making money, yet not feeling any inner peace or fullfillment. A state familiar to many of us. The story of his awakening was very cool, and interesting, so I won't spoil it for you. After the author tells about his personal journey, the rest of the book is a breakdown of different techniques, tips, ways, and means of meditation. Many questions I've collected over the years, were answered by this book, so I'd highly recommend it to anyone, regardless of whether they're a beginner or a seasoned meditator. The author is very good at keeping the subject interesting. Stillness and quietude can have a profound effect on one's life, but when life gets overwhelming it's often easier to just stay an overwhelmed victim, rather than dedicate yourself to a daily practice. It can be tough to see the benefits of meditation when you're caught up in the volume and drama of the daily grind, but davidji has written a great book that clears up a lot of misconceptions, and teaches how you can make time for and benefit powerfully from meditation. I was not financially compensated for this post. I received the book from Hay House for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.
Friday, September 28, 2012
3 time Mr. Olympia ('76-'79) Frank Zane is one of my bodybuilding heroes, he gets the whole holistic approach to training, and he wasn't "blessed" with the monster mass genetics of modern Olympians. He's one of the best examples of 'playing the cards your dealt, well.' Training is a support system for life, not the other way around. I'm much more interested in how bodybuilders look in their older years, than in their prime. The giants you can see on the posing dais this weekend in Vegas are certainly a sight to behold, but what will their futures look like, I can't help but wonder.
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
That's the question I hear everywhere. First off, don't lose weight, lose fat. Muscle, bone, and guts have weight to them, you certainly want to keep that kind of weight. Set realistic goals, and track them religiously.
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Caroline Myss's audio program What Makes Us Healthy? is amazing. About halfway through disc one, I found myself shouting "Holy crap!" several times. This is the heavy duty approach to spirituality. Caroline pulls no punches whatsoever. I was blown away, quite a few times I had to hit the pause button and just sort of let the messages sink in. If you are interested in a holistic approach to healthy living and healing, you need to hear this lecture. I've been drawn to the ideas of the consciousness movement for a few years now, but I've never heard it explained this well, nor have I heard anyone so succinctly describe the history of new age ideas and where we as a people stand right now, and how we'll most likely be remembered by future generations. Caroline Myss is a great teacher. There are some hard lessons she teaches over the course of these 6 cds. Frankly, some of them scare the Hell out of me, but I intend to "cowboy up" and do the work. If you like your inspirational teachings "airy-fairie" and weak in the knees, you may not want to hear all that Caroline has to say on "What Makes Us Healthy?" but I really think you need to give it a listen. She's funny, and entertaining yet tough as nails. Tougher than many a good coach, personal trainer, or drill sergeant. I was not financially compensated for this post. I received the audiobook from Hay House for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.
Sunday, September 9, 2012
I've read several books by Dr. Dyer over the years. My favorite was Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life, I didn't think he'd ever top it. With Wishes Fulfilled, though, I think Wayne Dyer has broken a lot of new ground, and maybe even surpassed all of his 30 plus books he's written over the past 40 years. The consummate teacher, this brilliant man, is capable of putting his own ego aside and weaving in the teachings of past luminaries from the Bible, and early 20th century consciousness leaders such as Neville Goddard, Uell S. Anderson , and the Saint Germain Discourses. The Dr. does a fantastic job of taking the huge ideas, and lofty language of the aforementioned, and boiling it down to easily digestible yet profound messages. This is an inspiring, heartfelt book. You won't feel this kind of honesty from most spiritual teachers. This is an important book, it isn't just about manifesting wishes, but creating a better world for you and yours. It's about rediscovering your true self, and potential, and then actively living it. This is an empowering book that I didn't want to put down, and will most likely read several more times. FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from Hay House Publishing for this review. The opinion in this review is unbiased and reflects my honest judgment of the product.
Friday, September 7, 2012
From non competitive weight lifters, like myself, to Mr. Olympias such as Arnold, and the great Frank Zane; many who love to forge new bodies by pressing iron, espouse upon the power of affirmations. Louise Hay's book You Can Heal Your Life, is still the best book on the subject I've ever read. I heard a seminar she did with author Cheryl Richardson a few months back. Cheryl talked about this idea, I think it's absolutely brilliant, of writing your affirmations on your mirror in dry erase marker. I've been doing it consistently, and have noticed some interesting changes in my confidence, and some other issues I've been working on. I'm a big believer in mirror work, and seeing the affirmation next to my face several times a day has had kind of a subliminal effect. It really helps new ideas sink in, in a profound way.
Monday, September 3, 2012
Why do you want to reach your fitness goals? Health and longevity? To impress someone? To impress yourself? To make somebody jealous? To prove something? Competition? Survival? Protection? Getting in shape is so much deeper than scale weight, body fat %, and six packs. The stronger your "Why" is, the more likely you are to reach your fitness goals, or any other clearly defined goals. I know you know it, I'm just reminding ya.
Sunday, August 26, 2012
I don't think it's possible for Great Sex Naturally to have had a more intriguing title. This book was written for women specifically, and authored by Dr. Laurie Steelsmith, and her husband Alex Steelsmith. As I guy, I was expecting it to be filled with Kama Sutra-like positions, and secret, little tricks you can perform with your anatomy. This wasn't the case, but I wasn't disappointed. There are plenty of sex books out there like that. This one's chief concern is to empower a healthy sexuality treated with a holistic, or whole person approach. This idea permeates the book, and offers some paradigm shifting ideas. Of course our heart health, diet, exercise, and self-esteem affect our sex lives, but at a cursory glance it just doesn't seem that way. Looking deeper, the authors make a great case for their point, that a holistic, or balanced approach to your entire life will greatly enhance your sex life as well. Great Sex Naturally is divided into two sections. The first part deals with balancing your lifestyle. The second part is about new ideas for enhancing your sex life. It seems to be written more for monogamous couples, but certainly, singles could benefit as well. This is a great reference book to keep around for the detailed information on harmonizing your hormones. There is also tons of great info on aphrodisiacs, lubricants, and pressure points which I think many people are going to find really exciting. FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from Hay House Publishing for this review. The opinion in this review is unbiased and reflects my honest judgment of the product.