Archive for June, 2010

Naughty by Nature really rocked it when they busted out their “Down with O.P.P” hit and now it’s time that you all rock it and get down with B.O.B.

The Benefits Of Body-weight training (B.O.B) are immense, yet sadly often overlooked and underused.

How many times do you incorporate body-weight  training? How many times do you see others using body-weight exercises?

Conversely, how many times do you see people endlessly using and waiting to use machines or any other piece of equipment?  A sad state of affairs.

One of the best machines or pieces of equipment that you can use is your own body! Look at gymnasts for example. They have arguably some of the best physiques in the world and spend very little time in the gym. They have the type of physiques and muscular development that most guys wish they had and yet you won’t find them spending countless hours in the gym or wasting time on the peck deck, leg extension, etc.

Master your own body-weight and you will start to display a body that is a lean, mean “machine”.

These are just a few of the basic bodyweight exercises you can and should be doing:

Push-ups

Squats

Lunges

Any sort of jumps (squat, lunge, one-legged, etc)

Handstands or handstand push-ups

Step-ups

Close grip push-ups

Pull-ups

Planks (front, side)

Mountain climbers

Burpees

The list is endless….all you need to do is pick a few, head to your local park/playground, enjoy the weather and bust out a few sets and begin to get lean and jacked!

In my bootcamp, I have all my guys/girls incorporating and mastering many of the above exercises and they are definitely put to the test. After all, if you can’t handle your own body weight, you have no right setting foot in the gym.

Here’s an example:
Perform the following exercises and then rest for 60-90 seconds and complete 5 rounds:

Push-ups x 20

Reverse lunge x 15 each leg

Mountain climbers x 50 (25 each leg)

Squat jumps x 10

Rest 60 seconds and repeat 4 more times.

Short, intense, and result producing.

The next session you could do step-ups, plank to push-ups, pull ups (on any bar at the playground), and burpees.  These types of workouts will crank up your metabolism and turn you into a fat burning machine.  And as you can see, the options are endless…it just takes you doing some work, busting your ass and using your body to its fullest!

So, are you down with B.O.B….

Yeah, you know me!

Keep well, keep strong,

Matthew B

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Thanks M.O.M.

Posted: June 16, 2010 in Training
Tags: , , ,

If you don’t mind…it doesn’t matter.

I’m sure you’ve heard this saying, but even if you haven’t….read it, take it in, understand it and let its power help you. It can be used in many areas of life but for this post, training specifically.

The power of the mind can be awe inspiring and you often hear that we don’t use anywhere near its full potential.  Add to that the stories of the mother who lifted a car off her child or, more simply, walking over hot coals, and you can start to get an idea of how strong the mind can be…and how strong the mind can make the body. You can even say the mind is more powerful than the body.

Use your brain the right way, tap into it’s power and you’ll surprise yourself. Give into any seed of doubt planted in the brain and you will find yourself not growing and not reaching your potential.

Mind over matter can be surprisingly strong. As an example, a couple of weeks ago while training with my bro, it was his turn to do a set of weighted push-ups. We determined what weight he should use based on the previous week and once he got into  position I piled on the plates and he pumped out the required number of reps. It was only afterward, when I took the plates off his back, that he looked at the weights, turned to me and said “dude, is that what you put on my back?” I replied “yea, of course” and then realized I had placed an extra 25lbs, yet he blasted out the reps thinking it was less than what it actually was! Simple explanation: Mind Over Matter!

He can thank me for that personal best! 😉

I’m sure you may have had similar training or even life experiences. I know I have. A number of times training by myself and simple arithmetic not at it’s best left me thinking the bar had less weight than what it actually did. But time again, I always ended up doing the same number of reps, if not more, that was required for the lighter weight. Thanks M.O.M!

Now obviously you can’t purposely trick your mind. But the point is that you have to stop holding back. Don’t be afraid to do more reps or to go heavier (women take note).  Without risking injury or crap form, surprise yourself once in awhile by adding an extra 5, 10 or so pounds to your lift Besides, you should always be aiming to do more (reps, weight etc) than the previous workout. The mind is a powerful weapon and will surprise you.

If you really want to get jacked up and shredded….you have to tap into the power of mind over matter.

I wish that I had pushed myself harder and realized the power of the mind when I first started out. Even today I catch myself sometimes holding back but then force myself to go heavier, to do more reps, to do that extra set of sprints or whatever. And the results have all been positive.

M.O.M can be applied to dieting too…it’s simple will power and knowing what you want and what it takes to get there. Do you have what it takes? Are you strong enough mentally? Do you have the power to push through? The answer should be YES to all of these…

As my dad always tells me: successful people do what unsuccessful people don’t like doing!

Let M.O.M help you, I mean after all…how many times has she been there for you time and again and helped you throughout the years growing up?! 🙂

Straight up thanks to my mom! (yes..a play on words)

Matthew B

A new week…a new day…a new training session to be rocked!

Which leads me to the whole premise behind the title: Keep it simple stupid!

Whether you are just starting out or have been training for years, if there is one thing you should do above all else…yup, K.I.S.S!

We are bombarded with training information. Everywhere you look, every fitness magazine, t.v show, and on the internet, there is tons of information to be found…enough to spin your head around exorcism style! Add to this the conflicting amounts of information presented and you are left feeling defeated before you even get started. Information overload has been one of my biggest frustrations in my attempt to reach my ideal physique and still creates a bit of frustration today. Fortunately, over the years, I have become wiser and learned that keeping it simple really makes things a whole lot easier and less stressful. Besides, I’m sure you have better use of your time than to keep searching through all the various information and  trying every different workout you hear about.  So, if I can help save you some valuable time and make things a little less confusing…we are all winners.

Without getting too technical or turning this into a snooze read, here is a sample of what you may or may not have heard about:

Supersets, Compound sets, strip sets, pyramid sets

Volume training, Olympic weight-training, body-weight training

5×5, 5/3/1, Westside, HIT, HIIT, circuit training, Tabata intervals

Upper/Lower split training, etc, etc.

Some of these are solid and others can be left alone, but it’s just an example of some of the training methods we are overwhelmed with everyday. And that’s just the start of it, some of the “basics”…it only gets more confusing and misleading the more you uncover. Unless you are a professional Olympic weight lifter, professional athlete or MMA fighter then K.I.S.S. Even these athletes keep things a lot more simple than you’d think (give or take some specialization movements/development etc).

With that said, how do you keep it simple?

There are exercises that have stood the test of time, the tried  and true, the old school, the bread and butter exercises and there is a reason for that. If they worked back then, why wouldn’t’ they work today? You can’t tell me that the old school dudes like Frank Zane, Arnold, Franco, Bill Pearl, etc didn’t have great physiques?! Yet surprisingly, I see more and more people wasting their time on the latest fad and pointless exercises (i.e concentration curl, leg extensions) when, if they simply stuck to the basic, compound body lifts, the gains would be much more attainable. Compound exercises move the body through more than one joint and work more than one muscle group, whereas isolation movements primarily focus on one joint movement and one muscle at a time (ex. bicep curl).

The classic lifts that you should be doing, if you aren’t already, are:

Squat (and not on any type of machine!)

Military press (standing, you’re wasting your time sitting)

Deadlift (Along with Squats, probably one of THE best exercise to be doing)

Bench (some caution to be had here though so as to prevent screwing up your shoulders)

Pull-ups/Chin-ups

Those are definitely the top 5 lifts. However, there are stud exercises like hang cleans and power cleans, snatches, parallel bar dips and a few others that deserve honorable mention. But for all intensive purposes, those top 5 should be implemented into your program…YESTERDAY!

Keep checking back here for some simple straight up strength and conditioning training methods and start to feel less confused and more focused on reaching your ideal body. I will provide more specific examples of how to implement the above exercises with respect to sets and reps etc. But for now, keep it simple (insert your name here), focus on the above exercises, avoid the ‘fluff’ and begin to find clarity.

You just know that this post would not be complete without some KISS: (makes a solid training song too)

Rock on and get Straight Up Strong!

Matthew B

It’s amazing how time flies.

Still putting the final touches on the blog and will start posting hardcore this month!

I wanted to bust out one quick post to get things going.

A little about me:

I graduated university with an Honors degree in Kinesiology and Exercise Science and have been a personal trainer for several years. Recently, I finally quit procrastinating and completed the final installment of my CanFit Pro PTS training exam…and rocked that mo-fo! Last year, I had the pleasure of taking a road trip with my dad to New Jersey to go meet Zach Even-Esh and complete his Underground Strength Coach certification course. Zach and his course are one helluva combo and have influenced me greatly. I came out of that trip a better, smarter, hungrier, and different trainer (more on that in a later blog). Big thanks to Zach for that!

The aim of this blog will be to share my experiences, thoughts, and ideas in many areas of life but mostly related to strength/athletic training. Specifically, I will bring you ways to get jacked up like an elite football player, develop athleticism and conditioning like an MMA fighter, kick a$$ music to train to, and a dose of nutrition for good measure.

I personally have struggled for many years in my pursuit to a bigger, stronger, more muscular physique…one that can move explosively at the same time.
What motivates me:
In high school I tried out for the football team and although I made the cut, I was relegated to 3rd string (aka bench warmer) because my weight was below the requirement for all starters. What was I clocking in at? An embarrassing 118lbs….yup, your stereotypical skinny hard-gainer. Was it not for my charming personality, good looks, and sexy accent (according to the laaaadies) I would have had my share of bullying ;). So, I put it in my head that I had to put on some size and fast. Long story short, I spent the remainder of the school year and summer months in the gym and learning about weight training. It worked (not perfectly…again, another post) and I put on a little less than 20lbs, enough to get me playing games when the season started again.
This is what I love to do…what I am most passionate about and what I want to share with those that are interested. I am not done with my own physique and as such, will continue to learn, build, grow, and improve.
Join me…it will be a fun journey and you never know what you might gain from it too. Roll theme song….

Keep well, keep strong,
Matt B