Today's workout was nothing fancy or high tech. It was a simple conditioning circuit I did at the station with my buddy Chase. I know I have spoken about this before, but there is just no substitute for a strong (preferably stronger than you), workout partner to push you to your limits.
I notice this with my boys. For the longest time, I was trying to get my oldest to ride his bicycle...free of training wheels. Periodically, I would suggest he take them small wheels off and for him to take to the street like a "big boy". He would usually evade the question, and finally tell dad, "No, not yet".
Then one day, he saw one of the neighbor kids riding his bike without his training wheels. Oh, let me tell you, it was on. My boy came to me and said..."It's time!!"
When he got his first ride, I stood there in awe. My baby was growing up. He threw all fear aside and went for it. Competition and accountability will often push you out of your comfort zone.
Breakdown of the Workout
Set up a chair/cone about 30 yards away. One person stays stationary while the other person walks down the the other end and perform an exercise. The one walking, will dictate the time duration for the person staying stationary. Then switch. Do this circuit 3 times.
Station # 1
- Sandbag carry 30 yds, then 6 Sandbag shoulders, return to start
- Wall Sit
Station # 2
- Run backwards 30 yds, Run forward 30 yds, Run backward 30 yds, 20 Push-ups, Run back to start
Station # 3
- Burpee + Broad jump 30 yds, run back to start
Station # 4
- Barbell Squat walk 30 yds, 10 Squats with weight, return to sart
- Wheel Rollout
Cool Down: 1 mile run
"For where two or three come together in my name, I am there with them.” -Matthew 18:20
Thanks for reading,
"You want to work out with me today?" This was the question I had dreaded from a Senior Captain that had filled in at my station a while back. See, I have had this proposition years ago by him before. After the 12th round (that's right 12 sets) of working out with some insane circuit he put together, I remember the tones going off and the lights kicking on to notify us of a call. I never thought I would be so happy to make an EMS call. But, there must have been a smile on my face when headed towards the apparatus: I had an excuse to leave.
Be a Rule Breaker
I am no stranger to the principles of training. My book shelf is full of literature about how you are "supposed" to train. It's pack full of textbooks, peer reviewed journals, and manuals that hold the secret to the "Holy Grail" of human performance. I even have one of those overpriced advanced college degrees (I'm sure it's around here in some box somewhere) that says I should know what I am talking about.
But I think I have come to realize, that sometimes you have to throw all the theories out the door and push yourself. I believe you do not always need to follow certain reps and sets parameters, perform the correct split routine, eat 5 small meals a day, or give your muscles 48 hour to rest.
The Bible says, we are fearfully and wonderfully made
. The Human Body is much more capable than we realize and things that seem impossible, are possible with God
. We must throw off these limitations we place on our self and not be afraid to break the rules, and break through any self imposed barriers.
Going the Distance
One way to see what you are made of is by combining your strength training with endurance training. When was last time you abandon your 20 minute quick workout or your 3 sets of 10? Usually, people want to specialize: I'm a power athlete. I run marathons. I am into bodybuilding. But, why not try to lift some moderately heavy weight for length of time it takes to run a marathon?
Or, why not bump up your sets: 10, 20, 50, or even 100 sets on occasion. Obviously, this is something that needs to be worked up to, but don't be afraid to push yourself. I believe by doing this type of training, the mental toughness you will receive will far outweigh even the physical benefits.
Our parents and grandparents were no strangers to this type of work. They would often put in 14 hour days of hard, manual labor in very tough environments. They were tough.
I believe it's time to leave the air conditioned indoors, pick up something heavy, and go build some strength along with endurance. Leave your comfort zone, forget the latest 12 week workout, and go out and be creative. Work on building strength that last.
To Get You Started...
Here is a practical way to help you get started on building strength endurance. Find something that is challenging for you. Say you want to carry a 75 lb sandbag for 1 hour while walking without putting it down. You could work your way up to this and build up strength and endurance by:
- 25 lb sandbag walk for 15 min, then 30 minutes, then 1 hour
- 50 lb sandbag walk for 15 min, then 30 minutes, then 1 hour
- 75 lb sandbag walk for 15 min, then 30 minutes, then 1 hour
***Don't move up in time or weight until you conquer your goal
Thanks for reading,
This is an old video I did back in the day. Just playing with the blog...hope you enjoy!
Twelve years ago I was finishing up my last days at the fire academy and becoming the new rookie at Station 8. When I came off the tower (firefighter talk for leaving the academy) I really did not have a clue what I was doing.
But as time progressed on, and I made call after call, I started to get better at this job...slowly but surely. I have spent most of my career with a stethoscope, rather than a fire hose, so I would have to say emergency medicine is my bread and butter.
I realize as I get older in this game, I still have tons, tons, tons to learn about the medical field. However, at least I can say...I am not where I was when I first started out. I have had the opportunity to be within the inner city my entire career. This has given me lots of experience at seeing and managing some critically sick and injured patients. Experience is such a great teacher (you have heard me speak on this before
As a rookie paramedic, I was mediocre at best. My IV skills were weak, my intubation skills needed to improve, and my assessments always had holes in it. But as I kept increasing my patient contacts, these skills got better and better. It's just common sense, you do anything over and over, you can't help but improve.
Ok C.J. where are you going with this? What does this have to do with getting me stronger and more fit? Well, I am glad that you ask.
Practice Makes Us Strong
One of the best lessons I have learned from Pavel and the other instructors in the RKC is that if you want to be strong, 2 principles need to be implemented: consistency and less is more. The more we delete all the accessory stuff from our workouts and focus on fundamental lifts...the stronger we will become. Work these basic movements, day after day, staying patient, staying consistent, and you can't help but get stronger.
This is exactly what elite athletes do. They work on a small number of lifts or a slight variation of these lifts, and milk them day in and day out.
But here is what we do (I know I am the biggest culprit of all). A new program or workout system explodes on the scene and gets all kinds of hype. We totally abandon our program and start a brand new training regimen.
Then we get all sore or we almost hack up a lung and what do we say, "That workout was crazy. I can't walk, I vomited 3 times, it MUST be an effective program". The problem is that when we constantly switch up our routine and go for the new "shiny object", it only gives the illusion that we are progressing. There is no way to really tell if we don't stick to the program.
Swing Off 120 Pounds
My wife is currently reading Tracy Reifkind's
new book, The Swing!
In her book, she explains how she was able to lose 120 pounds, go from size 24 to a size 6, and able to sustain this for the past 6 years.
Tracy details in her book that she was able to accomplish such a tremendous feat by eating healthier and performing just one exercise...the kettlebell swing.
"Just one exercise?" Yep! She focused on the most valuable exercise (it really is amazing an exercise, check this link
out about its cousin the kettlebell snatch) and stayed consistent with it day after day. Simplicity + Consistency always brings true results.
Are You Not Entertained?
In one of my favorite movies, Gladiator
, the lead character gets frustrated and screams to the crowd, "Are you not entertained?" Unfortunately, this is sometimes the notion we have in today's instant gratification/self absorbed culture.
We want to be entertained at home, at the ball game, even at church. If we are not being entertained, we will head on down the road. But, here is the point of this whole rant: Don't go!! Stick with it. Stay just a little longer...this is where the magic happens.
The great kettlebell coach Mike Mahler
said in one of his books, "...training for the stimulus isn’t necessarily a bad thing: if the stimulus of training makes you feel better, then your time is never wasted completely at a workout; however, if you want to make progress, you have to be results-oriented rather than process-oriented
, or, attached to the stimulus".
I will close with this. You have to decide, what is more important to you: entertainment or results? Look, I am not saying your workouts need to be boring...but they need to be the right things, done over and over...if you want results. It has been my observation from myself and my clients, that when you walk into a room and you are happier with your body and stronger than anyone else in the room...that is true entertainment.
Thanks for reading,
Remember when were kids, it seemed like we were outside all the time. If for some reason we congregated in the house a little too long, our parents would always say..."Take it Outside!"
It seems that being outdoors has become a thing of the past. Studies
have shown that in 2011, Americans spent 87% of their time within the confines of 4 walls. Across the pond things weren't much better. UK citizens hung out outside for only 17 minutes a day
A while back my neighbor and I were talking. He was telling me how sometimes he will go outside, lay in the grass, and just look up to the sky. My buddy made a good point. There is so much beauty and amazement all around us and we often never take the time to slow down and take a look at it.
There are great benefits for taking your workout outdoors. From helping your vitamin D deficiency to increasing mental focus and vitality, it really is important to "take it outside". I speak about here
or you can take a look at another great resource here
Run 100 meters x 7 (rested 1 minute between sets)
Record the total time of workout. Try and beat this time next time.
Thanks for reading,
As I headed back to work today from vacation, it did not take me long to get back into the swing of things. The alarms started as soon as I arrived, and emergency call after call continued to come in.
With a busy day, it would have been easy to let my workout slide and just chalk it up to a "rest" day. However, with much encouragement from my paramedic partner, we donned the gym shorts and headed out to the ambulance bay.
Last time Chase and I workouted, I was came up with the workout. Therefore, I told him that he was in charge of planning todays physical training (PT).
Chase is a beast at these!!
Physical Training (PT)
Strength & Conditioing Circuit:
Pushup x 20
Pullups x 5-10
Ab Wheel x10
Lunge + Plate Curl x 5/5
Water Jug Carries x around station
*Go for 4 rounds
*Run 5 laps around the station (approximately 1/2 mile) on Round 1 and Round 3.
I Will If You Will
Remember when we were kids and if there was something that may have caused some hesitation, we would try to get someone else to do it with us with those famous words..."I will if you will". There is just someting about going through something together. Whether its accountability or competitiveness, it always seems easier with 2.
The Bible says that 2 are better than one. Check it out here
. If you are struggling with your fitness goals, I want to challenge you to get into a group of likeminded people...it may make all the difference.
Thanks for reading,
As I finished up my last night of vacation and I prepare to head back to work, I wanted a quick workout I could do this evening. Since the kids are in bed, and I want to spend what little time I have left tonight with the wifey, I thought I would put together a fast 20 minute session.
I opted for a workout protocol I had read about over at Travis Stoetzel's blog
called E.M.O.T.M. This acronym stands for Every Minute On The Minute. What you do is pick a series of exercises and perform them at the top of a minute. After you finish the movements, what ever time remains left, you get to rest until the top of the next minute. You can read more about it over at Travis' blog here
. I chose to set the timer for 2 minutes.
Physical Training (PT)
E.M.O.T.M. (every 2 minutes)
Set the Timer for 20 minutes
Perform 10 rounds at the top of every 2 minutes
Rest the remaining time until the top of 2 minutes
1. Kettlebell Jerk 5/5 reps
2. Pullups 5 reps
3. Burpee (no pushup)
You never know what your going to learn until you try a workout. I spoke about this in a previous post here
. You can research stuff and plan it out, but sometimes you have to get out there and give a whirl. Here are 7 lessons I learned tonight.
1. My kettlebell jerk needs a lot of work
2. It is probably not a good idea to perform this workout protocol utilizing jerks until my form improves (see #1)
3. I am glad I opted out of a true burpee (with a pushup)
4. Towel pullups are a good start, but later I literally "threw in the towel" and did regular pullups
5. I wanted to quit, but I stayed with it. (Reminds of this Bible verse
6. I learn more about myself when I take action
7. And finally, not a good idea to wear sweat pants inside a garage during the Summer in Texas (seriously who does that?)
Thanks for reading,
It seems that every several months a new program or workout system jumps on the scene and makes a bunch of promises (as well as the author lots of money) to get us strong, healthy, and fit. I know I have purchased my share of training programs and strength manuals.
I do believe that it is important to always be educating myself, trying to always get better. But like Solomon says, "History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new." There are strength training principles that have stood the test of time.
If your goal is to get strong, you just can't go wrong with basic movements, moderate to heavy weight, and 5 sets of 5 reps. Here is today Physical Training (PT) that I enjoyed in a HOT garage with my HOT wife.
1. Turkish Getups 3 sets (Light, Medium Wt, Heavy Wt)
2. Double Kettlebell Press 5x5
3a. Double Kettlebell Front Squat 5x5
3b. Pullups 5x5Conditioning Finisher
1. Medicine Ball Slams 5:00 minutes
2. Kettlebell Swings 5:00 minutes
*Try to get in as many reps as possible (Its called Denisity Training)
Later tonight I might do some light jogging in prep for the Houston Marathon
and performs some crawling around with the boys on one of my last days of vacation. Crawling is huge...check out my buddy Tim's book Becoming Bulletproof
The letter "F" can sometimes get a bad rap. Whether it's saying something grossly inappropriate or the representation for "Failed" in the education system...It seems ol' F can't catch a break. Well I am going to see if I can give a few examples of "F" words that are near and dear to my (and hopefully your) heart.
Twelve years ago, I put on some bunker gear and entered the wonderful world of firefighting. This profession, which is full a great people and amazing traditions, as been one of the most fun and fulfilling jobs I could have ever hoped for. I love being a firefighter and especially a paramedic, even after all these years. There are definitely other passions I have, but this has been a great career.
I hope you too will discover what God has placed you on this earth to do. I, of course, love fitness and it is definitely one my callings, but I also love helping people in their deepest time of need. My challenge for you is to find something you love, particularly find something that serves others.
Anyone who stands near me very long, is quick to get an earful about health and fitness. I think being a paramedic for so long and witnessing first hand how lack of exercise and poor nutrition can wreck havoc on our bodies, fueled this passion.
This subject has always been near and dear to my heart, but it has really amped up over the last several years. I think the thing I want to express to people the most is fitness does not have to be drudgery, expensive, or boring.
The word fitness is such a blanket term. Find something you love to do that gets you moving, lifting, and sprinting. For example, 2 days ago Sarah and I took our boys to the beach. While we were there, my oldest noticed a large sand dune. Guess what, for the next 15 minutes we played Pirates running up and down that hill.
Did i calculate my heart rate and see if I was in the "fat burning" zone? Did I count my work to rest ratio? Of course not, I just went out, moved my body, and had a blast with my boys.
I am extremely grateful for the 2 jobs that I work, but I have to admit I hate being away from the 4 most important people in my life. Family is what gets me up in the morning and keeps me hustling when I get tired. My wife and children, as well as other famiy members, are so essential to my life.
We live such busy lives. Work, hobbies, social media, church committments, among hundreds of other things, can pull us away from our families. How many times have I been looking on the internet and my kids sittng there begging me to play cars, or pirates, or basketball with them? I don't even want to count. Love for our spouse and children is always spelled T-I-M-E.
The final "F" word that holds meaning to me is Faith. Strong muscles are important. A healthy self image is imperative. A great marriage has huge effect on our quality of life. Following our passions, and doing what we love is critical. However, in my experience, a relationship with our Creator is the cornerstone to an amazing life.
I believe people have a void deep inside, that no amount of money or great relationship can fill. Albert Einstein stated, "I want to know how God created this world. I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thoughts; the rest are details." God is really for us. He longs for us. If we will keep seeking Him, He will bless us and bless others through us. Isn't this what life is all about?
Thanks for reading.
Paralysis By Analysis
Even though I am not a doctor, as a paramedic I often have to make a quick diagnosis of a patient. The quicker I can figure out what ails a person, the faster I can provide the appropriate treatment. For example, if I know someone has a history of asthma, and the signs and symptoms they are experiencing line up with this disease, I can provide the appropriate medications to potentially save their life.
I, C.J., suffer from my own ailment. Not something you can see in an X ray or in my blood work. You can't see it on an EKG or a MRI either. This is much deeper than any of those test can reveal. What I suffer from is the horrible disease of paralysis by analysis.
You see, I analyze things (especially in fitness and business related procedures) to the ump the degree that I cause myself to stand still in my tracks. I am afraid to move. Afraid to take action.
I am closing in on my 13th year in EMS and one thing I can tell you is that the majority of trauma is caused by motor vehicle accidents. With the roads crazy congested and everyone in a hurry, I literally make my living putting patients on the backboard and taking them to the hospital.
The internet is congested as well. We live in the information age. People are making money all the time by selling information. Whether its through e-books, podcast, programs, or seminars, you can find someone who will take your money to give you the next big "secret" to success. But all this information can be taxing and leave us standing around scratching our heads.
I love to learn. But I have discovered this sickness I have. I often read, study, learn, re-read, ask people, etc. and never take the needed action. With so much information out there, a person can quickly become discouraged, confused, and eventually give up.
Do This. Do That. Don't Do This. Don't Do That.
I know you know what I am talking about. You hear things like this (which many are myths by the way):
- Breakfast is the most important meal
- Squats build strength
- Crossfit is awesome
- Fruit makes you fat
- Kettlebells are the end all
- Lifting weights makes you strong and lean
- Just go and have fun with fitness
- You should fast until noon
- Squats are SO bad for your knees
- Crossfit gets people injured
- Fruit helps detox your liver
- Kettlebells are bad for your back
- Weights make women bulky
- Maybe I need to buy another program
With all this conflicting information, a person can be quickly become paralyzed and do the worst thing of all...do nothing.
Back To School
I was feeling lazy all day and the last thing I wanted to do tonight was workout. However, after we put the kids to bed, my wife finally coaxed me to get up and head out to the garage with her for a conditioning circuit. Little did I know I was about to schooled (in more than one way).
Here is what she had for me. We pulled out a deck of cards and went through the entire deck as fast as possible. What ever number came up, we had to do that many reps. The face cards were 10 and the Aces were 12.
- Hearts= Mountain climbers (Double the number)
- Diamonds=Kettlebell Swings
- Spades=Squats (with KB, for Sarah)
- Clubs= Pushups
Talk about being humbled. Tonight Sarah ran circles around me. Not only was she getting through the workout faster than I was, she chose NOT to put the weight down during squats...I did them without any weight.
Tonight I learned more about myself, my level of health, the areas I need to improve in, and a very productive way to exercise. The education I got was much more valuable than something I could have sat at a desk and read over the internet.Action Steps
Look, please don't misunderstand me. Research, information gathering, and seeking wise counsel have there place. But I want to encourage you (and me) to step out and take action. If you find out you are doing something wrong, don't sweat it. Just alter things and keep moving. An object in motion is much easier to steer than one that is just standing still.
Currently I am reading an excellent book entitled, The $100 Startup: Reinvent The Way You Make a Living Do What You Love, Create a New Future. This book looks at different case studies of normal people who followed their passion and made a career with very little startup capital.
One of the author's subjects he studied was waiting for the perfect opportunity to start his business. He made this statement, "I finally had to give up on perfection and get the thing out the door". When he took the action steps, he things began to build and he succeeded.
So what is it that you are waiting to do? Start exercising or eating healthy? Create that business you always wanted to do? Learn a foreign language? Get going. Don't wait...the education is in the doing.