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 5x5
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):
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.
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.
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.
I have to admit it, I love to pick up some take out and sit and watch a good movie with my wife. Tonight we watched, for the second time, the hit movie starring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill...MoneyBall. A nice little evening of a movie, TV trays, and a Subway sandwich (tried the Philly cheesesteak, not too shabby).
If you are not familiar with this movie, it tells the story about how the Oakland A's built a great baseball team on a very tight budget. They utilized statistics, opposed to the old fashion way of scouting players, in attempts to build a winning team.
The movie got me thinking about how the game of baseball reminded me of our health and fitness (I can hear my wife saying, "Imagine that?"). Let's take some lessons from America's favorite past time and see how it can improve our strength and conditioning.
Strength Training Is a Team Sport
Babe Ruth once said, "The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don't play together, the club won't be worth a dime". The human body consists of over 700 muscles, 206 bones, and 164 joints. Each of these structures must work together to perform tasks in an efficient and effective way.
I often see people train their body in parts. I understand that bodybuilding is a very disciplined sport. However, if you are training to be stronger at task for everyday life (i.e. performance), it is imperative to train the body as one unit. Each of the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joint structures must work together...not in isolation. Therefore, i recommend training movements (push, pull, jump, climb) opposed to muscles (chest, tris, and bis).
Support From the Fans
It has definitely been a tough year for my hometown Astros. Losing 10 of their last 11 games and being in last place for their division, it has been a challenge for all of us here in Houston.
Often, when things get difficult and frustrating, having a strong fan support can keep the flame alive. The same can be said about our workouts. It can be frustrating when your workout partner is losing weight at lightning speeds, and you keep losing the same 5 pounds. It is easy to get discouraged and ask yourself, "What's the point?"
However, placing ourselves around positive people who share our vision can make a tremendous difference. Tell people around you the struggles you are having. Get people believing in you who can help encourage you when you feel like giving up.
Not Every At Bat (Workout) Needs To Be A Homerun
Homeruns are exciting, they make the game fun, and they definitively can effect the outcome. However, many times "small ball" can make or break a game. The movie MoneyBall spoke on this. Brad Pitt's character, Billy Beane, explains that he doesn't care how a guy get on first base, as long as they get there. Championships come from wins. Wins come from runs. Runs come from players getting on base. Who cares how they got on there?
Every workout is not going to be earth shattering and epic. Life is hectic. Sometimes we are tired. You are not going to set a PR every single workout. That's ok. Remember small things add up. A set of pushups here, taking the stairs there, eating healthy in the evening (even if you blew at lunch) all make a difference. These small healthy choices add up.
Don't Forget The FUNdamentals
There are 2 things I want to discuss in this section. First, learning and mastering the basics will always have the most benefit. Whether you are learning to field a grounder or improving your lower body strength, don't fall into the trap of the next big thing. Simple workouts have stood the test of time. Squat, press, pull ups, deadlift...the should be the heart and lungs of everybody's workout.
With that being said, we shouldn't ever let our workouts become stale and boring. Keeping our workouts fun, helps keep us motivated and consistent. One of the best ways I keep my training sessions fun is by taking them outdoors. Nothing like bear crawling in the grass and the performing some hill sprints.
It's Never Too Late To Make A Comeback
Yogi Berra, the great Yankees catcher always had some "words of wisdom". One of his most famous lines was, "It ain't over, till it's over". Unlike most sports, that have to fight the clock, baseball gives its players a unique opportunity to make a comeback. It can be the 9th inning with 2 outs, and a team can come from behind no matter what the deficit.
My final comparison of baseball with strength and health is that it is never too late to get into the game. As long as we have a heartbeat, God has a reason for us for being on this planet and a plan for us to fufill. One of the best ways to be used, is to make ourselves as strong and as healthy as possible. If you have neglected your health for years, that's ok. Today is a new day.
Let's get moving.