Friday, July 26, 2013

The amazing power of movement

So it was a late saturday morning and I was in a panic because I was about to leave for vacation in a few hours and I wasn't entirely sure when I would get to do some training in the next few days. Being a person who at times can be a bit hyperactive training always seems to keep me centered. For the past few months I had been training really hard in the weight room with a little bit of sprinting and light tempo work to round things out. Anyways back to my story...As it got closer to closing time I was faced with little time left for a quality strength training session so I decided to do some hard 120 yd runs on the turf. I figured if I went hard on these runs I would need a few days to recover anyways so it wouldn't be a big deal to miss a day of training on vacation. The temperature was a balmy 87 degrees in the gym by that point and I was already sweating just thinking about running. Needless to say I went damn old habits die hard... my mind kept reverting back to my college days of training for football...go faster...go harder...take shorter rest than the guy next to you. Well there was really no one next to me, but for some godforsaken reason I always make believe that my fastest, most athletic, well conditioned friends are right there running with me. Big mistake...because as of last week I am 37 years old not 21...and boy did I start to feel it. After a 4 hour car ride of screaming kids, car sick kids and torrential downpours we made it safe and sound, but the moment i stepped out of the car i knew...No suprise my left hip was already aching. After a lifetime of playing and sports that involve high speed changes of direction, land who know how many reps of heavy weight bearing down on my hips... Its probably safe to say I got a little junk in there and not to mention sitting for 4 hours probably doesnt help...but the real killer was my back. Every time I took a step with my left foot I felt like I got Van Damme kicked in my S.I. joint. WTF... So I probably could have rested for a few days and hoped the pain would go away or I can be proactive about the situation and try to do something about it. So thats what I did... My little rug rats wanted to get to the pool first thing when we arrived...I thought this is perfect...i can get in the deep end and do some very easy and passive movement. It helped, my pain wasn't gone by a long shot but it did feel great just to move around in the water after a 4 hour car ride. When we got home I got to work again...Every free minute I had was on the floor moving through some nice and easy ranges of motion...nothing special here...spidermans, hip-ups, reaches, rolls, splits squats etc...Starting to feel better...obviously I was tired and things still hurt but the movement was making a difference getting rid of post workout stiffness. That night while cooking on the grill I got some real work in: I grabbed my 24K KettleBell and got did a nice tolerable workout: My little circuit looked like this: 2 hand swing x 20 1 arm press x 1-2-3 ladder prying goblet squat: x 3 reps w/10 sec at the bottom I probably did this 5-6 rounds. Amazingly after my first round of swings my back started to feel better, after a few rounds goblet squats my hip started to feel nice and loose. The next day I woke up, as usual stiff as a board and I still had some residual pain, but after a little bit of mobility and then going through the same kettlebell circuit as I had the day before as well as adding in some isometric lunge and push-ups holds, after about 10 sets i was feeling great. Pain is gone and feeling fully recovered. Yesterday was a rainy crappy day so I decided to take it off and relax a bit...I am on vacation right! So today is the big day. I have been wanting to tackle running (wait no...sprinting and walking) to the top of Cranmore Mountain for a few years now. First it will be a nice warm-up with my trusty Kettlebell circuit and then I am going to take down that monster. The moral of this story is this...Sometimes pain is just a signal we have to move. For some of us the pain is because we went too hard for others its because they are not doing enough. The body wants to move but it needs to find a balance. Going all out all the time is just as bad as not doing anything at all. Its when the body finds its balance with real quality movement the pain goes away...its probably the reason why tai chi and yoga type exercise have been around for thousands of helps those on both ends of the spectrum find balance. For me personally it seems like the Kettlebell is my balance point these days. Find your balance point and move today! Achieve

Thursday, May 9, 2013


I often hear people tell me how great they feel after a workout, how it leaves a smile their face and brings the stress level down to tolerable levels. I have been told by many of my gym members that working out is like therapy for them, how great it feels to move...well people if you think you feel great as an adult after a bout of vigorous movement how the hell do you think children feel? Children who are chock full of boundless energy, with developing brains and bodies and an emotional system that can change from high to low and back again in a matter of minutes. I can tell you that children need movement much more than any adult ever could. Kids get stressed out too, while their worries may seem trivial to our super important adult worries, to them they are very important. The problem is that not all children see the big picture or have the experiences yet to know everything is going to be ok. Its because of this that children need movement and lots of it. It makes them feel better, improves their focus, burns off that nervous energy and allows them to gain a sense of self and learn their surroundings. But what do we with children, just the opposite: we shorten recess, increase class time,take away physical education, music and art, take one minute tests, 20 minute tests, standardized tests, mid-terms and on and on. we fence them in, lock them down, sit them in front of a box with pictures... People if you have children, have relatives or friends with children, or have the pleasure to work with children understand that movement/exercise/play goes way beyond just having fun, it is literally the life blood of childhood. No amount of learning ever takes place without some form of movement that has laid down the connections in the brain. Also The more happy experiences children have the better chance they will be happy adults. If you have access to kids get them moving, move in the classroom, move at home, move outside, just move. Chase each other, give high fives, jump, spin, roll, hop, yell, wrestle and have fun...

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Disease

The Disease By Jeremy Frisch SFG Level 1 Instructor The Sultan once consulted his physician in regard to a troublesome malady. Believing that only fresh air and exercise were needed, and knowing how little the world values plain, simple things, the doctor said : "Here is a ball which I have stuffed with rare and precious herbs. Your Highness must beat this ball with a bat and toss it in every conceivable way each day till you perspire freely." The Sultan followed these directions, and was cured of his disease without realizing that he was only taking exercise. Probably the "Medicine Ball" would be more used if we, like the Sultan, were deceived; but of a certainty our diseases in the main will, like his, be eradicated from our system if we indulge in daily exercise. (Exercises with a medicine ball by Williiam James Cromie 1922) Fast forward to 2013. Our society is suffering from the same troublesome malady... Our ever growing mechanized and affluent society has taken away our ability to move and with it our health. All one has to do is look at the growing list of unhealthy Americans both young and old to make the connection between sedentarism and poor health. Sedentarism which by definition refers to many of the activities of being sedentary, sitting, lying down, sleeping and the actions that are performed in these low energy states...watching television, playing video games, texting, tweeting, facebooking etc...100 years ago sedentarism was non existent as children had to walk to school, people worked on farms or in factories and life in general was much more physical. Fast forward to today for example, Children are bussed to school, drilled in classrooms on test taking and provided little or no outlets of physical education or recess. Many adults fare no better as they will spend the majority of their day driving to and from work or sitting at their computer terminal. The little exercise or movement they do get consists of a treadmill run or a spin on a stationary bike but hardly vigorous enough to create a positive change toward health in the human body. In short our lives have been taken over by technology and people have become addicted to comfort and passive recreation. Even in many modern health clubs and fitness centers the majority of exercise equipment is made to make exercise easier rather harder. Many machines require one to be sitting down while being guided through very easy and passive ranges of motions. As one might guess, this is no way prepares the body for rigors of life. So lets do this: Lets call this disease that affected the Sultan sedentarism. Lets substitute the Sultan for the the modern day buisinessman, the student sitting in class or the trucker driving all day. Lets substitute the doctor for the modern day coach who is equipped with the knowledge of better health through developing strength and mobility. Lets substitute the medicine ball with the kettlebell. Lets substitute throwing the medicine ball with Kettlebell squats, swings, presses and get-ups. And let the modern day coach teach these movements and exercises to those individuals in need of a cure of this disease. Let the modern day coach convince his students that perspiration from “effort” is the toxins of sedentary living leaving the body. Let the modern day coach begin to eradicate the world of this troublesome malady known as Sedentarism. To my fellow SFG instructors, the time is now. We have been given a gift. That gift is knowledge and the ability to coach that knowledge into others through the practice of movement. One perfect rep at a time, one breath at a time we can begin to change the world. Long live StrongFirst.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Ever notice every piece of exercise equipment (like a kettlebell for example) comes with a warning to consult your physician before beginning an exercise program...Drives me crazy... What it should say is this: "Warning using a kettlebell to squat, swing and press may cause you to improve total body strength, increase flexibility and enhance overall cardiovascular conditioning. This will not only improve quality of life but also prevent injuries and fight the effects of sedentary living and aging. It should also go on to say that the kettlebell should be used daily, until the user is perspiring freely. This perspiration (sweating for those of you that don't know perspiring means) is a good indicator that the user is putting forth the required effort and is simply a positive sign that the toxic elements of chronic sitting and inactivity are leaving the body. The user should note that some side effects are possible such as: increase in lean body mass decrease in bodyfat, the improved ability to safely pick things and put them down better posture the ability run faster and longer better quality of sleep a firmer handshake bigger smile on your face Finally it is encouraged that the kettlebell be used in conjuction with other exercise elements such as gymnastic, calisthenic and sprinting movements. This will create a more dynamic overall training program and allow the user to further develop into an unstoppable athletic machine that is prepared for anything and everything that life throws at them." Train to live, train to compete, train to thrive, train to survive! ACHIEVE!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Achieve Performance Training: Train to live, Training to compete, Train to thrive, Train to survive!

Train to live: Life has so many great things to offer. Training to live is about developing a body that possesses the freedom of movement and resiliency to enjoy the many leisure activities that life has to offer. We run, bike, hike, play with our children, work, matter what it is we do, we look to be able to do it to the best of our ability. Training to live is a long term sustainable strategy to develop all the necessary physical qualities that allow us to move without restriction for a lifetime. Train to compete: Its the college bound athlete, the weekend warrior and the 5k mom...we train to compete. We push, we pull, sprint, jump and throw all in the pursuit of athleticism and improved movement ability that will carry over to any and all athletic arenas. The all around development of the S factors of fitness: Strength, speed, stamina, suppleness, skill, and lets not forget spirit...sound mind, sound body to be prepared for anything and everything. Train to Thrive: Thriving is being prepared and ready for any and all environments. To be calm under fire, to know your surroundings. Thriving is being presented with a task and saying “i got this”...”i can do this”...”I own this”. Thriving is about doing that extra rep, that extra sprint or that extra mile. Its about knowing deep down you have given everything you have, not to gain something in return, but just because that is how you know its done. Train to survive: We live in time where our wealthy mechanized society has the potential to take away our god given ability “to move” and with that take away our health. Training to survive is about building resilient bodies to withstand the daily barrage of sedentarism...sitting at work, sitting in the car, sitting at home, texting tweeting, net surfing etc etc. Training to survive is about moving, moving often and moving as often as possible in as many directions as possible: in short doing the exact opposite of sitting. We fight not moving with lots of moving...we fight tightness and inflexibility with range of motion...we fight weakness by developing total body strength...we fight stress and disease with PMA( positive mental attitude) and community of like minded individuals working together, pushing each other to be better. Train to Live....Train to compete...Train to thrive...Train to survive: Achieve!