Friday, August 29, 2008
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Coffee shops are a funny thing.
Barristas pulling magic from giant industrial espresso machines.
People working diligently (or so it appears) on their laptops.
Others having business meetings.
Some reading the paper.
Moms pushing SUV strollers trying to get through the double doors (yes, I try and help them because I know what it's like).
I came to Dark Horse this morning with the intention on getting some work done. But, while sitting having a double espresso, my good friend Anthony walked in to have his "usual" double as well.
He takes the seat beside mine and we end up chatting...
-about upcoming projects...his & mine
-about personal productivity and tricks to help with being more productive (I'm reading a book called "Focal Point" by Brian Tracy right now)
-about courses that we're both taking or are interested in taking
-about our families (he and his wife just recently had a baby boy)
-about how our training is going (he's the strength coach for a professional hockey team)
An hour or so flies by and I don't have any work done, but that's alright because...
-we both are getting our online businesses set-up so we set-up a weekly brainstorming meeting
-we exchanged a list of books and websites that each of us figured would be of use to one another
-we strengthened a friendship
So even though I wasn't as productive as I would like to have been from a work standpoint, I was productive from a learning standpoint. Our conversation gave me a few training tricks to try, a few new books to add to my current book list and some good conversation.
As Busy Dads our days get so unpredictable that you have no choice but to roll with the punches. I work from a list everyday and always try to get as much done as possible. But some days (most days) that doesn't happen for one reason or another.
Running into a friend who I haven't seen in a while who has the same interests (both personally and professionally) was a welcome interruption.
That, and I got free double espresso out of it because he's in good with the owners.
P.S. Have you seen who the winner is in the 2nd Turbulence Training Transformation Contest? Check it out HERE!
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
FitAndBusyDads are ruling the world! Thanks to everyone for the great feedback on the program and your inspirational stories. I've gotten emails from as far as Thailand, Australia and the Philippines!
Here's a great photo from Jeff in Edmonton showing everyone how Busy Dads do it in the Canadian Prairies!
Who needs to drag a sled when you have a lawn mower and a 3-year-old!
Thanks for the picture Jeff! I'm sending you a complimentary copy of the FitAndBusyDad System for your originality!
I had great workout yesterday. It was nice to get back to lifting some weight after just doing bodyweight stuff while I was on vacation. Here's how it went down yesterday...
1) Bodyweight Warm-Up
2a) 2-Arm KB Squat-Press (16kg x 10 x 2)
2b) KB Renegade Rows (16kg x 20 x 2)
3) Chin-up knee raise combo (14, 12, 10)
4) 100KB Swings @ 24kg
Done in 23-minutes!
P.S. Click HERE to get your FAT LOSS workouts done in 23-minutes or less!
P.S.S. Don't forget to vote for your favorite finalist in the Turbulence Training Transformation Contest. Click HERE and cast your vote today!
Monday, August 25, 2008
It was a great vacation, but it was time to come home. So we packed up the mini-van, bought some healthy snacks (apples, red peppers, a variety of raw nuts and I even found some organic beef jerky!) and hit the road back to Toronto.
The overnight drive was relaxing and the kids slept the whole way (they were exhausted). Rozanne and I got to reconnect a bit on the 9 hour drive. All-in-all, it was a great trip.
So now we're home with a new perspective on life. It's funny, but when you pack to go away - especially packing for yourself and 4 kids - you seem to only bring what's necessary.
It got me thinking - WHY DON'T WE JUST LIVE WITH WHAT'S NECESSARY?
Why don't we just live with the basics of life instead of having an abundant amount of "stuff" that we don't need or choose to hold on to for "sentimental" reasons. This trip, was about the basics - in everything. (Which sounds weird because we were in NYC, which is a place of abundance).
We really didn't go "shopping". We chose high quality foods and didn't over indulge on what was available to us. We lived with our basic clothing needs.
Even our workouts were done with basic movements either in our hotel room or outside with no equipment whatsoever. In fact, my workouts over the past 10 days consisted of 2 exercises...a pistol and a 1-arm push-up. I practiced both movements every-other-day.
Our lives, were simpler...and it was great. It was a refreshing change to the over-stimulated, over-indulged western lifestyle that a lot of us live.
So we've made a family pact to take this week before school to PURGE, PURGE, PURGE. I read somewhere that the more clutter in your life you get rid of, the more room you make for positive things to come in to your life.
Books that no longer apply...Gone.
Clothes that we haven't worn in a year...See ya.
Toys that nobody plays with...Buh-bye.
We've done a little bit already and it feels amazing. It feels like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.
I STRONGLY suggest you try and do the same. Because once school starts next week, you know that the overall mentality will probably change and we'll get "caught up" again in the everyday of everyday.
P.S. Click HERE to simplify your workouts and get quick results with The FitAndBusyDad System!
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
We're still in New York having a great time. The vacation is winding down though and we're heading home soon.
Our days have been filled with catching up with family and train rides into the city. A couple of days ago we walked over 70 blocks! With the kids! From Penn Station to the Central Park Zoo and back with stops in between. It's been great. And I'm proud of our kids for keeping up and not complaining (at least not too much).
Most nights we rush back to the hotel, order some Japanese (I'm a big sashimi guy), and watch the Olympics. By far, my daughters' favorite event has to be gymnastics. They're mesmerized by how these gymnasts can leap, flip and control their bodies in the air.
So in both the New York and Olympic spirit, I've got a guest blog post from Jason Ferruggia, a world renowned strength coach from New Jersey. If you don't know Jason, get to know him. He's one of the foremost experts in the world in packing on serious muscle. He's also the author of Muscle Gaining Secrets, an eBook muscle building program that focuses on helping skinny guys get HUGE.
In this post, Jay talks about how male gymnasts get so jacked, but don't lift a single weight, dumbbell or barbell. They just use their bodyweight.
If you take a look at the exercises, you should notice that each and every one is a staple in the FitAndBusyDad System...
How to Build Muscle- Olympic Style
August 12, 2008
While watching the summer Olympics the last few days you would be hard pressed not to notice the great physiques possessed by many of the athletes. But by far and away the most muscular bodies always belong to the gymnasts and the sprinters. These guys certainly know how to build muscle more effectively than most average gym rats.
For years now I have been extolling the virtues of moving your body through space when you train, as opposed to simply moving your limbs around a fixed object. When you move your body through space, as the Olympic gymnasts do, you stimulate a much higher level of neuromuscular activation. In simple terms this means that you call more muscle fibers into play on any one exercise. And the more muscle fibers you activate, the more you will grow.
So if you want to develop an incredible physique, take a lesson from the Olympic gymnasts on how to build muscle, and start moving your body through space as much as possible while you train. Following is a list of exercises to start you on the path to getting huge.
- Instead of triceps pushdowns do parallel bar dips.
Have you noticed how many dips and how much work the Olympians do on the parallel bars? And have you noticed the size of their triceps? Need I say more?
- Instead of barbell curls do close grip chin ups.
Ditto what I said about the dips. Not only do you get incredible biceps development from close grip chins but you also get the added bonus of massive lat and forearm development.
- Instead of bench presses do chain or strap suspended pushups.
While the bench press can be an effective mass building exercise it can also be one of the worst for your shoulders. If you want to be safer and build a chest and pair of shoulders like you see on the Olympic gymnasts I would highly recommend some type of chain or strap suspended pushup. This movement will call far more muscle fibers into play and challenge the smaller stabilizers muscles as well. Not only that but you will get an outstanding ab workout from this movement as well; something that can’t be said for the bench press.
- Instead of leg presses, leg extensions or leg curls do double and single leg squats.
When you sit in a fixed machine and move weight with your limbs as opposed to moving your body the level of neuromuscular activation is quite low; no matter how much weight you use. And it is very unnatural. A leg press allows you to build strength in your lower body without additional gains in lower back and core strength. This is not normal and creates an imbalance that will lead to future problems. When you do squats you incorporate nearly every muscle from head to toe and will not only build tree trunk sized legs but will stimulate growth throughout your entire body.
- Instead of crunches and sit ups do all of the exercises listed above.
Isolation abdominal exercises like crunches and sit ups are not real life type movements. In real life your abdominals contract isometrically to protect your spine; they do not contract the way they do in a crunch or sit up. Not only that, but by continually flexing your spine for hundreds of reps per week, you will surely be setting yourself up for long term back problems.
If you follow a steady diet of chins, dips, suspended pushups and squats you will build an incredible set of abs. When you watch the Olympic gymnasts you immediately notice their rock solid abs popping right through their spandex and they never do crunches or sit ups. You simply can’t hide abs like that. That kind of six pack is built with full body movements like the ones listed above.
But if you still want to do a little extra ab work you can add in exercises like planks and ab wheel rollouts; just skip the sit ups and crunches.
Now you know how to build muscle, Olympic style. Stick with these time tested exercises and all of the others listed in my Muscle Gaining Secrets course for the next eight weeks and be prepared add some massive slabs of beef to your physique.****************************
Friday, August 15, 2008
We got to New York at about 10am on Wednesday. We left Toronto around 1:30am (we wanted the kids to sleep the whole way through) and went straight to the hotel for an early check-in. The drive was nice, especially during sunrise as the light was starting to hit the tree line in the mountains.
We spent the day in the city yesterday. So, in the spirit of Letterman, here are THE TOP 10 THINGS THAT I LEARNED THE FIRST 2 DAYS IN NYC...
10. Traffic's not THAT bad going in...coming out is another story (it took us an hour and a half to get back to the hotel yesterday - through the Queens-Midtown Tunnel.)
9. In a city of plenty where you can buy everything under the sun, I learned that I already have everything I need.
8. Make sure to charge your camera batteries before you leave the hotel. We made that mistake and took a total of 4 pictures before our screen went blank.
7. Waking up 20-minutes earlier to train is really easy when you get 8 hours of sleep!
6. Our new TomTom GPS is a marriage saver. If you're traveling to unfamiliar places, you MUST pick one up. It will save you a lot of strife.
5. Following an EatStopEat lifestyle saves me a lot of money and a lot of unwanted junk consumption. I fasted yesterday and then enjoyed a delicious Thai dinner with my family after the wedding rehearsal. I spent a total of $2.25 on myself yesterday. Not bad for a day in Midtown Manhattan.
4. Oren's Daily Roast on 58th & Madison has really good espresso. I'm going downtown on Monday to grab a my usual double-long shot at Joe The Art of Coffee while we check out Ground Zero - Thanks to Brian and Belz of the recommendation!
3. After Disney World, FAO Schwartz (the toy store) must be the happiest place on earth.
2. No matter how long it's been since you've seen them or spoken to them, you'll always have family.
And the NUMBER 1 thing I learned the first 2 days in NYC...
1. Do not go to American Girl unless you are willing to take out a second mortgage on your home. I learned this lesson the hard way yesterday. (It, however, wasn't as bad as the guy in front of me in line who spent - no joke - just over $1200 on various dolls, doll outfits and paraphernalia. I thought he was going to pass out when he got the bill)
I'll give you more updates as the days go by and will let you know what I've been doing for my workouts as well. (Just as I expected, the "exercise room" in the hotel has a treadmill, a universal gym and a slant board. It's the size of my closet back home, so I've been doing my workouts in my room).
P.S. I'll be filming some videos next week here while we're back in the city. Stay tuned.
P.P.S. Don't forget to pick-up your copy of The FitAndBusyDad System before you leave to go out of town so you can get your workouts done in 20-minutes or less!
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
I AM NOT A BODYBUILDER.
Never was, don't think I ever will be.
Even growing up in the booming bodybuilding culture of the mid to late 90s, it never interested me.
In fact, I always envisioned having the physique of an athlete - Michael Jordan, Jerry Rice, Karch Kiraly (volleyball player? pink hat? No?) - these are the guys who I idolized growing up.
But it wasn't so much what they looked like that impressed me, it was WHAT THEY COULD DO. My goal was to be able to jump like Mike, run routes like Jerry and put a ball hard into the sand like Karch (Still doesn't ring a bell?).
Because I grew up that way - training for performance as opposed to aesthetics - that influenced the way I train myself, train my clients and write my programs today. That interest in performance was why I went to school to study Human Kinetics.
It was always about what I could do to make myself or others perform better.
Training was about supporting my active lifestyle NOT a means of giving me one.
Having 6-Pack Abs, a well defined torso and what some referred to as "horse legs" was just a bi-product of training to be a better athlete.
Therefore, I will never write a bodybuilding based program. I don't even think I know how.
The FitAndBusyDad Lifestyle isn't about bodybuliding or getting massive guns and delts the size of bowling balls.
It's about being able to hold your own with the 20-year-olds at a pick-up game.
It's about loading 5 more rocks onto that wheel barrow that you need cart out of the backyard.
It's about still being able to throw your 10-year-old into the air and catch her without breaking your back.
It's about being able to carry your wife over the threshold even after 5, 10 or 25 years.
I build athletes that can perform...
...and if you push a lawn mower
or carry your kids from the car into bed after a late night
or put them on your shoulders while you're going from Merry-Go-Round to roller coaster at Six Flags...
...Then you're an athlete too! And you should be training like an athlete.
As busy dads involved in our kids lives, we have NO CHOICE but to be ATHLETIC. We have to be able to keep up with our kids. We want to be the STRONGEST dad on the block.
So stop doing bicep curls and do chin-ups instead.
Stop doing seated calf raises and do Siff squats.
Stop doing crunches and do some dead lifts.
Because as much as we won't admit it, we want to hear our kid say to his best friend, "My dad can kick your dad's a$$!"Chris Lopez
P.S. Click HERE to train like an ATHLETE without having to set foot in a gym.
Monday, August 11, 2008
The summer's been incredibly busy and the weather in Toronto this weekend was resemblant to that of late October...it was pretty damn cold for August up here.
So we're packing the kids up and driving to NYC. My cousin's getting married this weekend so we're there give him some moral support.
We're taking the kids to FAO Schwartz to play on the BIG piano. Going to swing by American Doll (although if they think that I'm dropping $100 a piece on a doll they've got another thing coming). We'll go to Niketown and do the whole 5th Avenue and Soho thing. Rozanne and I are going to MOMA to check out the prefab exhibit (it's a dream of ours to build a modern prefab home in the country) and I'm trying to convince her to try to get in on a pick-up soccer game at Central Park. Maybe over to Canal Street for some "Hucci" purses or some "Frada" shoes. I think AJ even wants to find out what the big deal is with a Coney Island Hot Dog too.
The hotel where we're staying at doesn't have a very good gym. After speaking to them on the phone I think they have a universal gym and a slant board to do some "abs". So I'm packing my Lifeline Jungle Gym and maybe my 24kg kettlebell. There's a park close by, so if I wake up early enough I'll be able to get my workouts in. I better be able to , they only last 20-minutes.
I don't want to waste time spending an hour and half to 2 hours going to a gym and doing a "traditional" workout. I want to spend time with the family. Plus, Rozanne won't be cool with me taking off for a huge block of time and leaving her with the kids in an unfamiliar city.
There'll be a lot to do what with the wedding and all the site seeing. So my plan is to use my FitAndBusyDad workouts and follow Brad Pilon's EatStopEat lifestyle 2 or 3 days while we're gone. I'll be filming an updated Vacation Program video and a TOP SECRET video that's still in the works (it'll be pretty cool if I can get away with it).
We're all set to have some fun just being a family without the "distractions" of our regular everyday Toronto life. I'm looking forward to it.
P.S. Does anyone know where the best (organic) espresso is in NYC?
P.P.S. Remember, you don't need a gym to get LEAN & STRONG. Click HERE to get your best FitAndBusyDad body while you're on the road.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Yesterday afternoon, my wife and I went to pick-up our girls from camp and got backed up in traffic about a mile away because they were shooting a movie by the waterfront.
This created a bottleneck so the whole way through was gridlock…not uncommon for downtown Toronto.
Now if you’re a parent, then you’ll understand our stress. See, at daycare or day camp, you MUST be on time to pick-up your kids. If not, then the camp will take their stopwatch out and charge you $36/minute for EACH MINUTE YOU’RE LATE!
I don’t consider myself to be a cheap guy, but paying out the ear because I’m a couple of minutes late just isn’t acceptable.
So, I put the car in PARK (it was gridlocked anyway) unbuckled my seatbelt, told Rozanne to take the wheel, opened the door and RAN to day camp about a mile away…I had to get there in about 8-minutes before I started getting charged.
I bolted down the waterfront like a man on fire, weaving through tourists and pedestrians! I got there and made it with time to spare – 6 minutes, 24 seconds (or something like that).
Some of you may not think that this is a big deal, but if you’ve read my newsletters and blog posts you’ll know that I HATE running. I come from a background where 400m is long distance!
So how was it then that I was able to run all out for about a mile in just over 6 minutes and NOT train like a runner or run distances longer than 100m?
Well, I’m not sure, but it could be the insane amount of kettlebell swings that I’ve been doing lately that really work my abs, low back, butt and hamstrings.
It could be the limited rest periods that I take between sets in my workouts.
It could be the hills that I sprint up in Toronto’s Riverdale Park once or twice a week…but that usually only takes me 25-30 seconds.
Who knows? All I know is I got there in time and didn’t have to break the bank for being late…NOW THAT’S FUNCTIONAL TRAINING!
P.S. Oh, yeah. Rozanne showed up in the parking lot 30-minutes later while the kids were playing in the playground and I was talking to the other parents by the monkey bars about how insane the traffic in the city was.
P.P.S. Click HERE to become a better runner without having to run!
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
I was a young athlete growing up in Markham, Ontario, and witnessed my high school PE teacher/volleyball coach, John Spicer do push-ups. John is not a big guy. But, man, was this guy was an athlete! He was about 5'8" and probably 155lbs at the time, but boasted a vertical jump of about 40"!!!
One day after class, "Spice" as he liked to be called, was working out. While all the football guys were taking over the weight room, Spice was off in a corner doing some bodyweight stuff...push-ups, chin-ups off the basketball rim and some squat jumps. Pound for pound, I bet he was the strongest guy in my high school.
Watching him do all that stuff, I think, was an "A-HA" moment for me because it sparked my interest not only in bodyweight training, but TRAINING for PERFORMANCE.
So today's EOTW is dedicated to Mr. John Spicer, my old PE teacher and the man responsible for me taking an interest (and eventually a career) in STRENGTH and CONDITIONING.
The Pistol (or 1-Leg Squat)
The Pistol is one of the hardest exercises to master. It incorporates balance, strength & flexibility all into one exercise. It has a high carryover to sport performance because of the demands that it places on your single working leg (how many sports do you know that are played while 2 feet are on the ground at the same time?)
• Standing on your right leg, brace your abdominals and in a controlled manner, descend into a squat bringing your butt to your calves
• Push your right heel into the ground and maintain your balance as you bring yourself back up to the standing position
• If you are a beginner or If flexibility or strength is an issue, try the ASSISTED VERSION….
o Stand inside a door frame with your right toe right against one side of the frame. With both hands, grab the edges of the frame in front of you. Brace your abs and push your hips back as you descend into a squat
o Push your right heel into the ground and maintain your balance as you bring yourself back up to the standing position using your grip on the door frame for assistance
o *You can also use BLAST STRAPS™ to help assist you with this movement (see picture)
-CL, The FitAndBusyDad
P.S. Become a better athlete and burn fat while doing it...Click HERE to find out how!
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
1. My wife Rozanne. She turned 30 a couple of weeks ago, so last Wednesday, we spent THE PERFECT DAY together.
I do what I do and do it well because of her and all the things that the 2 of us were able to create...together.
2. The other "little ladies" in my life. There's no better feeling walking through the door after a long day at the office and seeing these 4 faces running/crawling to the door to say "hello".
3. Kettlebells. I haven't been able to get ANY gym sessions in for the past 3 weeks. First, because my friends at the studio I train out of sold their squat rack for a better one and it doesn't arrive for another 3 weeks. Second, I haven't had the time to do a "traditional" training session for myself so I've been using the KBs to help me keep both my strength and conditioning levels up.
4. The FINAL PRODUCT.
After countless visits to the hospital for mystery infections...
After leaks in the basement, plumbing jobs and fumigations...
After my boys (you know who you are!) getting on my back for not getting sh-t done...
It's finally here...The OFFICIAL FitAndBusyDad E-Book is NOW AVAILABLE!!!
Click HERE now to get your copy!
Friday, August 1, 2008
No, it's not what you think.
Every Friday for the next little while I'm going to be doing a KETTLEBELL SNATCH workout routine. I'd like to eventually do my Russian Kettlebell Challenge (RKC) Certification and one of the prerequisites is for me to do 56 KB snatches in a row with a 24kg kettlebell.
So, I'm going to try to increase my numbers as the weeks go by. I'll be doing a Charles Staley EDT style workout to start where I'll do as many snatches I can within a 15-minute period in sets of 1 to 5 reps switching arms after each set.
So since today's my first day (and I'm recovering from a dirt biking injury - more on that in a future post), here's what went down:
1) Bodyweight Warm-Up followed by 2-Arm KB Swings x 25 reps
2) EDT Style 1-Arm KB Snatches (sets per arm): 3 x 5, 4 x 4, 3 x 2, 1 x 5 = 88 Total Reps (w/ 6 x 1-minute rest periods interspersed between sets)
Not very good, that's about 1 rep every 45s when you break it down. Lots of rest as well because of the shoulder, so I was really trying to keep strict form.
So next Friday morning, I'll try to beat those 88 reps.
This'll be a tough battle each Friday, but it'll be a great way to start off my weekend and kickstart some fat burning before I hit all the weekend BBQs and weddings that are coming up.
Have a great weekend!
P.S. Make sure to check back on Monday for some BIG NEWS!!!