Tuesday, December 14, 2010

we are weapons. we have many sides.

the allegory of "training" is astounding.

the Sufi's created "study groups", groups of individuals assembled for a
purpose, and with the big picture in mind. individuals with traits necessary
to the group. individuals chosen, assigned, to bring an element to the
group. to create a space and momentum in a direction. to correct imbalances.
to encourage certain behavior, and at times to serve as examples (in either

there are also many stories of disciples being assigned work. weaving,
tin-smithing, enameling, etc. these physical tasks were never openly linked
to their spiritual teachings, but were used as allegorical tools. to help
prepare the student for the next part of the teaching. to show real world
consequences. to show, say, how bringing certain traits to the front and others
behind at specific and critical points, when viewed from close seems erratic
and nonsensical, but viewed from afar will create the images woven into a

carving is the removal of what is unnecessary to expose the artists will.
one learns about stages of reduction, working within constraints, and
adaptation to unexpected irregularities of material. there are many tools,
and they function differently in different mediums...

tin-smithing - as we shape a relatively soft metal, bend it to our will, it
hardens. if we go too fast, it will crack. it must be tempered, softened
with heat and time before it can be moved farther. artistry brings the
proper shape and hardness together at the appropriate time.

at each moment we are making choices. weighing options. these choices all
have consequences. long term and short. not recognizing an action as a
willful choice, or dismissing an obviously harmful option as no option at
all only robs us of the responsibility. of that choice. of owning up to it,
and hopefully learning something.

by accepting the weight of our conditioning. by recognizing that all the
little choices we make -like the threads of the weaver- will eventually make
a picture, we are - hopefully - taking some measure of control, acting
mindfully. acting with purpose.

the gym is adaptation to stressors.

the gym is an expression of discipline.

the gym is mindfulness of our selves.

the gym is our relationship to our surroundings.

strength, endurance, flexibility, speed, capacity, durability,

the gym is where all of these words can be measured, at least in some small
part of their definition.

these traits are addressed throughout the scope of their definition. while I
am not trying to equate gym training, the relatively mild discomfort we put
ourselves through, to the deepest ends of those terms, I believe - if we let
it - it can send a ripple that way.

better men than i have said: the gym is only preparation for the real thing. it is a
step on a path. a station. a crucible. a method of converting raw materials
into a tool to complete a task. the best tools may give us an advantage, but
only if we put in the time and effort to use them.

a hammer doesn't build a house.

perhaps more accuratley, a hammer is not a house...

time is finite. and most of us got a late start. layering these lessons is
the only way I see to absorb them enough to allow them to be
expressed in our personality.

constant awareness. objective tests. (healthy) community support.

these encourage our efficiency. these drive us. force our expectations

I feel that is the function of a training center. with the time we spend, we
might as well work these lessons on as many levels as we can...


-the station

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


there was a discussion going around in SLC when i was there, there had been some recent gym testing to see how peoples suspected outcome influenced their actual performance. about goal setting, focus, and unintended consequences.

i wish i had paid more attention.

i can be a slow learner. i like to chew things over. dissect them. work them alone. i like to look from many angles. to manipulate and mull. to explore and validate for myself.

this takes time.

this takes focus.

focus in one place may equal blindness in another.

back in salt lake, i had my information, had my plan, but when it mattered, failed to step back and re-assess when the opportunity arose. i let old demons and that nagging little voice talk me out of an opportunity to learn. i was handed a rope and didn't even bother to hang myself with it. just turned it down because it didn't fit into my plan. i did not adapt soon enough. couldn't switch gears. couldn't get my head out of my ass and see what was around me. i had my plan...

flexibility. if you don't use it, you will lose it.

its time to learn lessons and move on, for "should have" is about as useful as "used to be". its over. learn. grow. and fucking move on.

to make a new mistake tomorrow.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


back in SLC, the GYM JONES level 2 seminar.

interesting points were brought up, technical skill, programming, but mostly the sense of involvement. of investment. the amount of time and care that the trainers put into their athletes. of all the differences between this place and countless other gyms, boxes or warehouses, this one seems to be the crux. quality over quantity. coaching in the true sense. management. physical. psychological. few people actually train between those walls because the emmotional content of their training. the true cost, if you will. coaches loosing sleep over their athletes responses to the stresses of training, of competition, of their job and kids and boss. this is impractical for the traditional gym business model. this level of commitment continues to surprise me, continues to inspire me. to work harder. to work smarter. to plan better. i have a little more time here, to scratch and to dig. to find, if not answers, than guideposts. to see how it is done, and to make it my own.

to pay attention.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Asking the right questions.

This is the crux of many problems. The need. The solution.


The depth of that word is limited only by our imagination. Not only why this and not that, but why ask the question? Why frame it with those words? What are we truly looking for?

I remember learning to hunt, learning about camouflage and stalking. The question then: what am I hiding from, and why? To what end?

Idries Shah poses an interesting point: are you asking a question because you want information or because you want entertainment? Want attention from your teacher?

Are you looking for truth or permission?

Are you looking for hope or facts?

Are you trying to change or stay the same?

And are you willing to pay the price? To put in the effort? Because if you want it, want anything, then the path begins to form. The road. We must ask these questions first. To know where we start. To know where we are going. Without that knowledge, with out truly exploring those questions we can never hope to navigate this mess. We must be honest. Lies will simply subvert our goals. We would never lie when asking for directions, and sticking feathers up your ass does not make you a chicken. Truth can be hard. Deal with it. Or don't bother asking the question.

I am sitting on a plane, waiting. Thinking. Searching for the right question.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Unfinished Business.

it has been just over 3 years since i first started training in earnest, since i first visited the GYM JONES facility in SLC, utah. since i first saw in action what i had hardly even imagined possible. in those years there have been many workouts, many internal dialogues. i worked through many of the "standard" and foundation workouts, and while some were modified, i never quit. well, almost never. it was almost exactly 3 years ago when i took a 45# bar to the local track and gave it a shot. 4x OH walking lunges + 4x Push presses. 1 lap. not too bad right?


i went maybe 50 yards, turned around, did maybe 40 and made a b line back to my truck, tail tucked and hands frozen.

i head out to salt lake city in 7 days, my 3rd time and am eager to learn, but i had some unfinished business to take care of.

i wasn't going to quit this time.

there was a minute where i actually thought it wasnt going to be so bad... and the first 50 m was alright, but, when the best you can say about the first 1/8 of a workout is that it is "alright" you are probably in for a long haul.

39:53. minor frostbite in my fingertips, and a touch of redemption.

and now, back to work.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Physical culture and body image

working out... how narcissistic.

i work in a gym, i know. i see the "shirts" these guys wear, watch them wink at themselves in the mirror. the ego grows even faster than their muscles. hypertrophy. get big. get ripped. vascularization. six pack....

or for the ladies, making sure not to sweat too much. dont want makeup to run. trying to loose weight, but from the right places. not big, not strong, just "toned".


i have been having an interesting e-mail conversation about challenge, exercise and body image... i think most people these days have body issues, and have developed their way to cope... some shirk challenge, choose to accept their bodies as they are. some fight, seek to exert control. diet, exercise, the right clothes.... it can get pretty messy.

i believe training for a purpose is a way to simplify the issue. to value function over form. to craft your body as you would a tool. to make it efficient. to willingly sacrifice certain traits to excel at others. to ignore what mass media has to say about appearance - what the fuck do they know anyway? to accept that time is finite, and we need to put our efforts where they will do the most good.
I had severe body image issues in middle/high school, I believe there is a lot of power in physical culture, in watching the cumulative effect of will. not just physical changes, but mental ones. and as for physical changes, becoming connected with your body. being able to identify with each nerve ending, each muscle because you know how far you can push it and what it will cost in return. I feel you develop a deep enough relationship with your flesh and sinew and bone that no corporation or individual can shake it. I met a woman who was a fighter, her legs had purpose. I met an ultra-marathoner - her legs, hell her frame had an entirely different purpose. I guess when you have a goal like that, beauty images loose most of their power. there is a price to be paid and if you want to be a great climber, a great runner or a great biker it will take tremendous will, work and stress. and like age, these will shape your flesh. we become what we do. does it matter more to be "pretty" or to accomplish your goal? because they may be mutually exclusive. it is a choice, and in honoring that fact, consciously forgoing one to embrace the other it (I believe) dispels most of the fear and doubt. it becomes simple, and even a little easy.

i saw a woman at the airport in NYC this weekend, from 50 feet away i knew she was a fighter. she had cauliflower ear, a neck as thick as mine and you could see the definition in her legs through her jeans.she was an embodiment of countless hours of hard work and tough decisions. she was beautiful. she was crafted for a purpose through efforts of her own. function, in and of itself, is beautiful.

not to say athletes lack body issues, they are just easily put in check.

let reality be the judge, everything else is just noise.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Something has to give...

its easy to talk. to give advice. to weigh in on risk and consequences when you will foot neither bill.

a few weeks ago i was talking to a good friend, weighing options, thinking aloud when she asked me - what would your advice be if someone else was saying this to you?

what would you say?

a decision was made right there.

i quit.

i believe it is healthy to work in different disciplines. to apply lessons and experience and truly feel how "all training is complimentary" but there is an addition to that statement... "to a point."

for the last couple years my time has been divided, i am a chef, a personal trainer, and a craftsman. i am fairly competent at all three, but not exceptional. there has been growth and lessons from one apply nicely to the others, but in recent months i have hit a wall. i have found the current limit of my attention and energy. things are stagnating, and something has to give.

after eight years, i left the chef job. my last steady paycheck. leaving the safety net. adding pressure. focus. giving things the time they need. the attention they deserve. its time to make it work. to pass or fail on my own energies. until the next evolution.

owner operator

Growth can be painful.

it takes commitment,

not holding back,

and a willingness to stand alone.



Thursday, October 14, 2010

Find the time.

time is not found. it is made.

i used to not be able to find time to go to the gym. now, i make the time.

i used to not find time to recover properly. now, i make the time.

i couldn't be bothered to track my diet, my sleep, my heart rate. now i make it a point.

there are 24 hours in a day. 1440 minutes. each one is a choice. a step in a direction....

enough steps, and a path begins to form. where is yours going? is it were you want it to? is it where you tell people you are headed?

live deliberately.

and take some fucking responsibility.

or don't.

but if you don't, the only reason, the only reason, is that you don't care enough.

everything else is just noise.

live deliberately.

make a point.


special thanks to Rob MacDonald and Rob Fusco for driving that point home.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

the heaviest thing i own.

weight is a funny thing.

how much does a wedding ring weigh?

or a newborn child?

there is significance. there is commitment. there is expectation.

nothing adds weight like the confidence of others.

nothing adds weight like feeling responsible for something that is not wholly your own.

this weight is emotional.

this weight is symbolic.

logically, we can ignore it.

we can choose not to give the symbol power.

but at what cost?

keep that logic. remain goal oriented...

what are the consequences of giving these symbols power?

how does the gravity, the emotional attachment, affect your behavior?

easy lives encourage laziness.

too much praise causes us to start believing it.

a symbol. a goal.

a reminder of whats important. of the price that must be paid.

that is commitment.

that is weight.

i am not married.

i have no children.

the heaviest thing i own is a few ounces of ring-spun cotton.

it is a symbol.

it is a goal.

it is a judge.

and it must be earned each and every day...

and i will be better for it.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

the great depression.

depressions aren't all bad...

depressions are the impetus for growth. forced into a situation where an indivudial must exibit creativity, self motivation, problem solving, and the willingness to work. the drive to out think, out maneuver, out wit and out work the twenty other guys looking for the same gig. there is no choice. improvise. improve. survive... or don't.

at least that was what my younger sister told her econ professor in geneva.

she (my sister, that is) works in africa. refugee camp in liberia, researching in rwanda. she has seen what it means to work hard. seen the creativity that is born from necessity. hell, there was a kid in africa who build a working windmill generator to operate a water pump out of garbage from looking at pictures in a book in a different fucking language.

hard work. determination. creativity.

i got to spend today at the GYM JONES facility in salt lake city, utah. part of a seminar, this is my vacation. this is my recharge. of all the things i learned today, or learned to see in another way, it is that thought of my sisters argument with her econ professor that is sticking in my head right now.

i am not training for any specific sport. i, frankly dont "need" to be fit. the nescecity is not there. that forceful impetus for growth. consequence. while we are not faced with the constant pressure of economic collapse (at least not yet) we have the choice to raise our expectations. we can choose to expect more from ourselves, from the people who surround us. today i was once again reminded ," we become what we do. and who we hang around."

this weekend is a moment for me to take a glimpse into a shared mental state. to see individuals who have agreed to expect more. to raise the bar. to become better... together.

that glimpse, that spark. it is something that resonates. something i can carry home and, god willing, set a few fires.

and there is still another day...

Friday, October 1, 2010

language is important,

"there is no such thing as over-training, just under-recovery"
-scrawled in my seminar notebook, GYM JONES, august - 2007

language is important.

10 months ago i started working as a personal trainer at a 24 hour fitness facility. it wasnt my idea. i was asked to. that being said, i was pretty stoked. i picked up clients pretty fast, i was working 40+ hours a week. January and all. i was new, i worked the only way i knew, i did. i worked next to my clients. i pulled heavier weights, and i did it faster. just a bit. just so they would try and keep up.

it was great, i saw people improve, saw them struggle to keep the pace i set for them. it made me feel good that i could operate at that level for 12 hour days, and still hit it hard once or twice a week. the volume of training made me get my diet under control. made me appreciate sleep. got my Deadlift up another 15%. occasionally i worried about over training, but didn't see any of the red flags. i pushed on. i got stronger. i got faster.

then it caught up.

my joints started hurting, and while i am usually a bitter and contemptuous individual, i noticed i was getting annoyed at things i used to ignore. my right elbow and shoulder started to feel wrong. i went to see a ART specialist. active release technique. massage and movement. the doctor ran me through some ROM tests. she was not happy. simple diagnosis: over trained. fibrotic muscle tissue. lack of flexibility causing stress on joints. as soon as she pointed out my sticking point i knew ten reasons i was sitting on that table. i could see the holes in my training. in my recovery.

lucky for me nothing is ruined. just have to step back a little. make recovery a habit. use the tools given to me years ago. listen and remain vigilant. my shoulder still feels a bit weak, definitely not where i would choose to be a week out from a second trip to SLC. but i will savor it. remember this bitter taste every time i think i don't have the time to hit the foam roller or the money for a 3rd party assessment.

the question should have never been "am i training too much" but "am i recovering too little"

language is important. take responsibility.



Saturday, September 25, 2010


I remember a poster.

A simple picture, with simple words.

Let reality be the grindstone on which you sharpen your hatred.

Better yet, your fear.

Your will.

You must be willing to smash your dreams and grind them into dust, a fine grit on which to hone your tools. The better for cutting. Cutting past the bullshit. cutting past excuses. Cutting to the heart of the matter. The reason we push. The reason we suffer. The reason we refuse to glide through life on the well worn path. The reason we choose the hard. The hurt. The wrench.

because fuck him. Fuck them. That's why.

We work hard because we know we don't have to. We are angry because we know we could roll over with a whimper and people would tell us that its ok. We work hard as an act of revenge upon the pieces of ourselves that want to be average. We work to become more than what we are.

We work our tools. Flesh and soul. Fear. Anger. Love. Compassion. Parts of a whole. Tools we learn. Tools we use. Strength and flexibility. Power and endurance. Speed. Agility. Of body and of mind. Parts of a whole. Pieces. Reflections of the work we have done. Of the promises we have made, and the ones we have broken.

We work to take responsibility. To claim our birthright. To remove the useless material. To grind down the conditioning that was forced upon us. To hone our sense of self, and learn to respect the edge. This tool requires a deft hand. requires patience and restraint and the willingness to act at the required moment without hesitation.

This is why we work. This is why we fight. This is why we push. The pain. The hours. The price we pay. We are all creatures of our own making. We are dealt a hand, for better or worse, but it is how we play that exposes us for who and what we are. Our choices, not our gifts.

It is about definition.

And when the time comes, when the moment has consequences, we can stand and face them. Face them with the knowledge of a sculptor. Of an artist who has touched every piece. Who has handled and honed. Who has shaped each part with purpose. With knowledge and perspective. We can throw ourselves into the challenge, and regardless of the outcome, grow.

-the station.

raise the bar.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

3rd party.

i have been told from the beginning of my training history to see a massage therapist or acupuncturist once a month. to find someone good, let them now how and why i am training and listen to them. i was given this advice from people whom i trusted, people who have walked down the paths i wish to tread... i heard this advice and ignored it. it seemed like a good idea, but never seemed to happen. how could a massage be essential? i dont have the money. i dont have the time. maybe next month... 3 years later i am seeing a specialist every week. there were holes in my training, holes i was missing because i was focusing on others progress and pushing my health to the side. and now i am reaping what was sown.

seeing one of these specialists is a chance to learn. to ask what is out of balance, where is there excess tension, to get feedback. in anything, the most dangerous shortcomings are the ones we never see, never expect. every so often, get a second opinion. a test. see if what you are doing is having the effect you want and change plans accordingly. sometimes we have to learn the hard way.thankfully, my price seems small - and the lesson highly transferable... listen to those who have been there before, and "recovery" is hard work - and not optional.

we get comfortable at our own pace, cocky with our stride. that is until someone else takes the reigns, and sinks in the spurs...

Saturday, August 21, 2010

“I felt sorry for guys who packed into gyms, trying to look like how Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger said they should...”

you have seen the advertisements - “six pack abs”, “get totally ripped”, names like beast,
tsunami, and x-plode - all promising to condense years of hard work into a shake or a pill.
where do people get the idea that they can buy results? that they even deserve the physical
manifestation of countless hours of blood, sweat, tears, and a level of determination that
borders on psychosis?

our body is a tool, and like any tool, form follows function. so have a function. train
for a purpose. make the hours matter. sacrifice. consequences will sharpen your attention.

work. work hard. work with people who will not accept anything less than your best. court
failure. find your limits and expand them. take the bitter pill of over reaching with the
knowledge that failure will teach you better than success ever will.

train yourself. take control. take responsibility. this is your life after all. how often
is “can’t” code for “never tried”. cut the bull-shit. make decisions. make moves. make it
matter. talk less, work more. work smart. what is stopping you?

it will hurt. you will survive. it will be inconvenient. you will survive. it will be
scary. you will survive. it will be hard. you will survive. keep at it, and you might
even live.

to live with a body, with a mind shaped by your own efforts. to be an individual, to know,
to own your victories and defeats. to be able to taste panic, to face doubts with a quiet
determination. to balance the world with the weight of our will.

that is our goal.

we are a collection of individuals looking to test the limits of our physical and emotional
capacity. we are athletes and artists, players and gamers. men and women of all fitness
levels working to strip away the glitz and posturing and get back to honest, hard work.
our aim is to create an environment where philosophy has consequences....

that environment is currently located in a secure private warehouse in madison heights.

we call it home. we call it “the station”. and we want some new blood.

if you want to work for a purpose. if you want to explore the deep end of “working out”. if
you are willing to smash the mirror, to risk who you are today for who you may become...

then we welcome you.

-the Station

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

group dynamics, pressure and pain.

when an individual is first undertaking something at the edge of their ability it is often helpful to be surrounded by other individuals doing the same. it is good to have teachers, people who have been there before, and peers who are engaged with the struggle at a similar level. we are comparative creatures and benefit from the camaraderie of suffering. we can look around, and in that moment that we wish to quit can see that thought mirrored in our peers, and also see that they are still going. the group can drag the lagging individual up, force them to find ways to work harder, and smarter, and eventually overcome.

because overcoming is the point. most of us do not travel with a pack, we do not have the luxury of constantly being surrounded by honest and hard workers. many of us face our worst challenges with only the voices in our head to keep us company and that fact must be respected and reflected in out training. remember that the group exists to push you beyond yourself, to protect you and inspire you and to give you the confidence and the skill to exist on that level apart from everyone else. if your performance is hampered by training alone, than that is a sign of an imbalance and should be addressed accordingly. the group is a tool, a stage, a station... we do our time and progress. not that we should abandon our pack, just be sure you are able to stand on your own.

any way you cut it, 4 minutes under the slosh pipe starts to feel pretty lonely...

ideally groups are designed, comprised of individuals with certain qualities, qualities chosen to enhance the entirety, to balance and expose and encourage each member. the wrong combination of qualities can hinder growth, while the proper mix will bring a tangible force, a knowing. be mindful of your surroundings, and if you are lucky (and strategic) enough to build that community, take full advantage of it. embrace it. internalize it.

what purpose does your community serve?

what do you bring to your pack?

what do you take from it?

plan accordingly... act deliberately.

Monday, August 2, 2010

purposeful training.

raw material

just as a carpenter may start work with an axe, and move to a saw, a rasp, a file and finally to scrapers and progressively finer sandpaper, each tool has its function, its order, and its appropriate time line.

there was a picture posted recently by the gym jones twitter feed (http://ow.ly/i/2QZO)

its a simple idea with profound implications. when an athlete is beginning, anything works. the more out of shape the individual, the more general this can be. the change from doing nothing to doing something is hard enough, and as long as there is proper volume (and dietary care) changes come rather quickly. as one progresses; passing the standard idea of "healthy" or "balanced" it becomes a quest for high level foundations, to be balanced - in excess. more care is necessary to correct minor (or major) imbalances caused by ones profession or sport, the training becomes more structured to solidify the athlete, to sharpen the tool. beyond high level foundation is specialization, in more technical arenas, the gym - in my mind - is primarily used to increase ones work tolerance and balance their training to allow the proper amount of technical work to occur. malcom gladwell and others posit that roughly 10,000 hours are necessary to excel at a task. hockey, running, even computer programming and hostile takeovers. it is the practice of technical skills that will get us to the next level. there are no shortcuts, and one finds that so called "talented" individuals simply logged those hours early. practice makes habit. the gym is supplemental, it is an enabler. time is finite. put it where it counts.

after heat, time, and appropriate pressure.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


warmup w/ whip smash rotation, 60 seconds on, 30 seconds off. 2 rounds


p1. 10x deck squats (or 20x weighted sit ups)
p2. pushups or FLR
p3. ball slam

3 rounds

15yd bearcrawl
15yd walking lunge
15yd backwards walking lunge
15yd backwards bear crawl

Monday, July 26, 2010


listen to advice given from experience. it cost a great deal, but you are not charged for it.
-Idries Shah

a good discussion at the gym today - informational transferability. porting the problem solving techniques; from cooking to design, from the gym to martial arts, from poetry to relationships. there are common threads, lessons about compromise, about complications, about expectations. we can learn these underlying lessons that allow us to understand the greater picture, that flex between our passions and bridge gaps in our skill sets. in training we assign ourselves a task to complete, we create the parameters and go for it. in the thick of it we cannot waste time complaining about what should be happening, but dealing with what is. we must adapt. we must grow. we must be flexible. we must be committed. there are problems to be solved, and not enough time to make every mistake ourselves. learn from others who have gone before. squeeze every lesson out of your failures, and be stronger for having fallen down.

poet, teacher, swimmer, and inspiringly tough.

training takes many forms.

Thursday, July 22, 2010



mini KB complex
3x TGU each side w/ KB
2x TGU each side w/ SB

deadlift form, relatively light and super slow

45 seconds work, 15 rest - 4 rounds

2h KB swing
box jump (or step up)
slosh pipe overhead hold.

more TGU

typically i would not do deadlifts in a circuit, but the point of today was to get the athletes to keep their form despite fatigue, to challenge the tendency to slacken our standards as the task grinds on, challenge the idea of "good enough". perfect lifts only. if the form started to fall apart, the athlete was put in "time out" step away from the bar for at least 5 seconds before they are allowed to try again. i want the people i train with to snap into perfect form as a gut level reaction to the challenge at hand, and to know themselves, to know in their bones how far they can push it - when to pull the trigger, and when to pull the chutes.

kevin had fun doing TGU's with the medicine ball balanced in his palm, i think we will play with this more in the future...

also the pullup rig is up, bolts need tightening and mats need cutting, but it is standing. shelves to be built, library to be moved... there will be pictures soon. we should be fully online by august.

Monday, July 19, 2010


warmup: deadlift form

6 way BB complex:

6x each of the following - Deadlift + bent row + hi-pull + front squat + push press + back squat + pushup

30/30 KB swing (2 handed, heavy) / front plank

recoup and work OHS form (broomstick/empty bar)

30/30 squat/squat hold(thighs parallel) or wall sit

more OHS form

30/30 push press/Over head hold

cooldown w/ good mornings, windmills

bonus round: 30 seconds mountain climber, 30 seconds FLR, 30 seconds rest, 4 rounds.

the heaviest dumbbells we have at the moment are 20#, and i have been getting pretty steady numbers with them doing the 30/30 push presses so i tried with 2x36# KB's... and i got what i asked for. it was like the first time. it was beautiful. also there should be 2 deliveries today, a big one from Rogue Fitness, including a 14' pullup station with 2 racks for lifting, 360# of bumpers, another set of rings, a new bar and collars... as well as the rest of the floor. the library might get set today too, and the last few pieces from the garage move into the space. finishing touches (and pictures) later this week.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


conditioning. flexibility. strength. endurance. power.


the English language, from time to time, amazes me. i have been talking to many people lately about training, and it keeps coming back to allegory. if all you want is to work out, to "tone up" and maybe gain/loose some weight, than you can have it - you can take pills (that probably wont work) and "exercise" and be the exact same person you are today- except perhaps a few pounds lighter. or you can allow the lessons to move in you. make the choice. allow the work to slip past mechanical movement and into every corner of your being... just look at the language we use, conditioning. flexibility. strength. endurance. power. these are not simply physical traits. one can argue that the physical manifestation of these things is a reflection of our inner nature. a nature we cultivate every minute of every day.

a good coach must be a student of relationships. of the subtle interconnectedness of things. sleep, diet, strength, relaxation, determination, stress, risk, reward. as a student we must listen, examine and learn. we must be ruthless in our assessments. scientific in our approach. to deal with the situations as they are and not as we wish them to be. to find our signposts of collapse, and our driving force. to read them. to know them. to own them.

is it any surprise then, that the strongest coaches find themselves equally comfortable discussing philosophy as they do sport? that they, so often, see them as one in the same? that they find the edges, the spaces within us where we need growth the most. it is allegory. it is doing the physical work with the openness, the understanding of the mental and even spiritual implications. this is training at its deepest. this is taking a look at ourselves and asking "where am i, in relation to where i need to be". this is looking at a problem and formulating a plan. this is the relentless pursuit of effectiveness, in any field.

there are many individuals out there who exemplify this trait, a few i have met, many i have read, i am hopeful that there are even more to be found.

for the students.

for the teachers.


self discovery.

not for the faint of heart.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

20100717: 0800

warmup w/ med ball

DL strength progression.

3x10 @ 50% 1RM
3x5 @ 60% 1RM
3x4 @ 70% 1rm
4x3 @ 80% 1rm
6x1 @ 90% 1rm

-b : 1rm = 385
pat: 1 rm = 300, bowed out after 80%
dylan: 1 rm = 285 (a while ago) bowed out after 70%

i had hoped to hit 10 @ 90%, but these six were dragging and my hands still feel like i have been falling on concrete for hours.

there were also a lot of OHS in the gym today, the DL's broke some people down, and some light overhead work helped to re-align posture and "stretch"

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Clean and prep the new space, bumpers are on the way, pullup rig should arrive next week. 25 rubber mats are stacked in the corner (with 18 still to come) and 3 sheets of dry erase board. add that to the 2 airdyne bikes, C2 rower, homemade GHD, 1000 lbs of iron weights, barbells, kettlebells, dumbells, medicine balls, fat rope, rings, jump boxes, tires, slosh pipe, sandbags (25-85#) heavy bags - plus the library and the sound system. friday is move in day, and can not get here soon enough.


Monday, July 12, 2010


kb complex: 10x ea

RTW (each)
Fig 8 (each)
slasher to halo (each, thanks mtn athlete)
1 handed swing (each)
hi-pull (each)
goblet squat
push squat
1 sided rack squat (each)
clean + press + windmill (each)
overhead squat (each)
push press
1/2 deck squat (or deck squat if you got it)
1/2 TGU (each)
Turkish Get Up (each)


snatch practice
TGU with sandbags

foam roller tutorial.

possibly the last workout at my house. a good day all around, becoming familiar with the tools, understanding the aches, finding reason in the pain. these people impress me. they dig deep, push boundaries, and make me seek my own ragged edge. to all who have left a small piece of who you were on my garage floor, i thank you.

clean up new space, unload 25 4'x6' rubber mats... scheme...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


past sessions:


5 ball slam
10 pushup
15 KB swings

11 rounds

borrowed from GYMJONES, an eye opener to all, especially heather (its her second time training with us)

heather: 15:36 15# ball, alternated 18/25 # kb, modified pushups
emily: 14:24 20# ball, 20# kb, some modified pushups
kevin: 14:34 25# ball, 44# kb, honest pushups.

in the early stage of athletic development, competition in the gym can help, before a student is comfortable with their limits and potential, it helps to pair them (or scale) to provide that extra pressure, as the individual develops, however, competition is best left out of the equation (or at least within)


warmup w/ 6 way bb complex

30 seconds work, 30 seconds recovery w/ set # of squats, 3 rounds

front plank
push press
right plank
left plank
Knees to elbows

30/30 push press

kevin - 10 squats per "rest", 240 total. 15# PP : 30, 15,15,15
emily - 7 squats per rest, 168 total 30/30's for "fun"@ 10#
-b - 20# pushpress: 40, 35, 20, 20

Friday, July 2, 2010


warmup w/ KB intro, basic drills


sandbag clean form

15 yd sandbag relay: carry all sandbags (3@25, 2@40, 2@50, 1 @ 65, 1 @ 85) to end of driveway, pile up, and sprint back.

tire drag : 30 yd
tire drag + 85# : 30 yd

the drags are interesting as they get heavier, quick small steps and a whole lot of leaning tend to keep momentum up and make for more efficient movement. perhaps next time we will chase the drags with some skipping, getting the athletes to throw their weight around more effectivley. in other news, the space should get painted this weekend, equipment coming soon, and pictures...

Monday, June 28, 2010



3x20 squats
3x15 squat jumps
3x10 split jumps
3x5 tuck jumps
5x knee jumps

25x kb swing + 25x situp + 25x swing + 25x ball slam + 25x swing + 25x slasher-to-halo + 25x swing + 2:00 (accumulative) in front plank


500m row for time

-b 1:32
dylan 2:00
emily 1:58
joe 1:52
kevin L 2:07

rowing is interesting because of the variables, pacing and economy of movement.... hopefully everyone learned something today.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


feeling pretty tore up still, sleep deprived due to a combination of too much training and too much thinking. couldnt resist trying out the new monitor for the C2 rower. 5x500m, focused on pacing and recovery(shot for 2:00 each) rowing is not as bad as i remember it, although i still need to try it well rested - and fast.

patrick stuck a PR on the deadlift - 300# at a bodweight of 143. legs and even grip are good but the lower back had a hard time staying in place... we have ways to fix that....

more thoughts from the naqshbandi order:

A person's value corresponds to the value he assigns to his time. If you perceive your time to be a worthless burden that you hope will pass away quickly, then you are a burden on the face of the earth, and it would be better to be under it than on it. Why? Because you wantonly squandered one priceless treasure: your vital energy. Now that other priceless treasure, time, is not like wealth in your hands but like an immense pile of treasure underneath which you are buried. Be judicious with your vital energy so that the value of time may become manifest to you. When you keep your time like a diamond you will be exalted in the eyes of people and in the Divine Presence, here and hereafter.

Friday, June 25, 2010


A Sufi of the Order of the Naqshbandis was asked:

‘Your Order’s name means, literally, “The Designers”. What do you design, and what use is it?’
He said:
‘We do a great deal of designing, and it is most useful. Here is a parable of one such form.

‘Unjustly imprisoned, a tinsmith was allowed to receive a rug woven by his wife. He prostrated himself upon the rug day after day to say his prayers, and after some time he said to his jailers:

‘ “I am poor and without hope, and you are wretchedly paid. But I am
a tinsmith. Bring me tin and tools and I shall make small artifacts
which you can sell in the market, and we shall both benefit.”

‘The guards agreed to this, and presently the tinsmith and they were both making a profit, from which they bough food and comforts for themselves.

‘Then, one day, when the guards went to the cell, the door was open, and he was gone.

‘Many years later, when this man’s innocence had been established, the man who had imprisoned him asked him how he had escaped, what magic he had used. He said:

‘ “It’s a matter of design, and design within design. My wife is a
weaver. She found the man who had made the locks of the cell door, and
got the design from him. This she wove into the carpet, at the spot
where my head touched in prayer five times a day. I am a metal-worker,
and this design looked to me like the inside of a lock. I designed the
plan of the artifacts to obtain the materials to make the key - and I

‘That,’ said the Naqshbandi Sufi, ‘is one of the ways in which man may make his escape from the tyranny of his captivity.’

there is much information hidden within ordinary things. the prayer had a purpose beyond what the jailers could see. it was instructional, instrumental, not the typical "prayer" we know in the west, not a laundry list of wants; book ended with praise and thanks, but a design within a design. a transformative process, for after the man escaped, he no longer needed the rug....

plans within plans, design within design...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


warmup w/ heavy TGU, KB play

work up to 88# KB snatch, get re-acquainted with heavy weight over head.

tailpipe variant
p1. 30 cal on airdyne
p2. 2x KB racked, handles touching entire time.
3 rounds

-b (2x53#)/patrick(2x44#)

today was a rough day, too little sleep and too much thinking. i still hate the airdyne, and was suprised at how bad my legs hurt while holding the kettlebells. this particular test brought forth an interesting conversation, and one i have had many times, the psychological factor. standing there, holding kettle bells, your mind will take you to dark and ugly places. within the first five seconds of each half all i wanted is to be in my partners place. the grass is always greener. the hold is the interesting part to me. i like to leave that player alone. to give them time to traverse their own road to (emotional) failure. to know, to know in their bones that they can quit any time. that simply by NOT pushing with every inch the pain will stop. that they are in fact laying their flesh on the grindstone. we need to know that road, to read the signs and be able to drive it blind. we need to know how hard our body can scream for us to stop, and then keep grinding.

also, i signed a lease today. 1650 sqft. there will be more details in the next few days, but my hat has been thrown over the wall...

Monday, June 21, 2010


ROMS track

warmup w/ med ball bounce pass,

50 yd throw and chase + 50 yd bear crawl
fat rope climb (arms only, to bottom of goal post)
fat rope pullups, standard and uneven

the test:
starting under one goal post, run to the other while dragging fat rope behind (~66', around 50# dry, which it was not). coil rope, grab the opposite end and return to starting point, recoil rope. dont puke.

cooldown w/ 100yds of players choice. bearcrawl, broad jump, frog hop, burpee broad jump, walking lunge, throw -n- chase.switch @ 50yd.

dylan : 2:25
emily : 3:20
patrick: 2:21
kevin: 1:48
-b: 1:34

i believe the last time i did this test was 2 summers ago, it was the 3rd time in as many months and i trimmed my time down to 96 seconds (if memory serves me). the feeling of the drag is a bit like hill runs, but uphill both ways. patrick asked me if there was a trick, if pacing played a part, and i honestly dont know. this is a rare occasion where i feel its better NOT to use the legs for the first rope pull because they are going to need that little reprieve, for the last rope pull, use everything you have. its a great test to see someone hit a wall, it comes suddenly, and often with little warning, and depending how far along the athlete is, it can be one hell of a grind.

66 feet of rope can be one hell of a anchor.

after 200 yards, the legs may not be of much use.

and when that rope is nearly 50% of your bodyweight, the cost can be surprising...

the depth of relief as you get towards the end of the rope is something you can taste...

Saturday, June 19, 2010


5x slosh pipe zercher squats, walk ~8 yds, repeat 5 times

revisit deadlift form
1 arm 1 leg KB presses
revisit pullup form, kipping exercises, dead hangs
peterson step ups and entrance into Zercher squats from the ground

a day focused on rebuilding and refining technique. deliberate action, appropriate habituation. work smart, work hard.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


work up to heavy DL(got 405# off the ground, but couldnt seal the deal. 385# made it up slowly, but cleanly.)

5 deadlift @ 95 + 2x 36# kb on mini-monster bands
5x zercher squats w/ slosh pipe
2x each 1LDL @95 + 2x 36# kb on mini-monster bands

2x 20yd 4x OH walking lunge + 4x push press (sloshpipe)

20yd Kettle Bear crawl (2x53#)
20 yard overhead carry(2x53#)

1-6 box jump ladder @ 24"
1-6 step up ladder w/ racked KB

airdyne while everyone else gets a turn

1 minute max calories on airdyne

-b: 40

Monday, June 14, 2010


deadlift + hang clean + front squat @ 95#, 1 triplet every 30 seconds for 10 minutes


tailpipe variant

(computer for concept 2 rower is out so...)
p1. airdyne for calories
p2. fat rope tension on blue band (hold arms out straight with band taught but not stretched, when airdyne starts, pull fists to hips and hold on)

initial plan was for 45 calories, 3 rounds. actual work went like this: 45 cal first round, 30 cal second round, 15 for 3rd round.

this. sucked.

cooldown w/ weighted pullups and deadhang games (hang KB off band, dead hang w/ 96# bouncing beneath you)


med ball catch, mini KB complex, whip smash

"UFC" (un - fucking cool)

30 seconds work, 30 seconds rest(in most compromised position), 5 rounds. 1 minute rest, 5 movements

push press/over head hold
airdyne (30 seconds hard, 30 seconds less hard)
atomic situp/ v-sit
KB swing / dead hang
row machine (30 seconds fast, 30 less fast)
(bonus rounds)
squat / squat hold
ball slam / over head hold
mountain climber / FLR

push press: 2x20#, 30,30,30,30,20
airdyne: didnt set it right, i hate the airdyne.
atomic situp: 15,13,13,13,13
kb swing: 53# swings, ledge hang. miserable
row: rowing should have been worse, spent too much effort or form and ended up with a lukewarm pace...
(thanks to emily,)
ball slam: 10,10,12,10,11
(thanks to kevin)
mountain climber: 50,30,30,35,45

Who We are...who we are... part 1

I was standing in a golds gym in bozeman, montana when a friend sidled up next to me; he nodded towards a couple of guys strapped into the pec-deck.... we had seen them here before, always working their routine; chest and bi's day, back and legs, shoulders and tri's. 4 exercises each muscle, 3 sets of 10 with a splash of cardio. same machines. same time... my friend, he nods towards these guys and asks me about consequences. he asks me what affect working on these machines, the same program day in and day out might have on a persons personality. linear movement. isolation. tracks. safety. how, he asks, does this affect their problem solving ability? he asks me if i think these guys are getting more conditioned than they are aware of. he asks me this, and walks away.

our conditioning determines our reality. a simple truth dropped on me that same week in montana. those simple words turned out to be the entrance into the rabbits hole. physical condition governs possible and impossible, separates game from sport from test from impasse. physical conditioning is the exchange rate in which we trade work for results. physical conditioning, however, can only get us so far. our mental and emotional (spiritual) conditioning governs how we see the world, how we react to stress, to joy, to competition and to failure.... we condition ourselves through language, through thoughts, through every unconscious action, we reinforce where we are at the moment. i guess the question is where do you want to be? it is so widely accepted that competition and sport is 10% physical and 90% mental, but does your training reflect this? do you have standards ? was that last rep "good enough"? what exactly are you conditioning? look to the alpine climbers for inspiration, 99% of a pull-up means you fell off the mountain and died. 100%, anything less is simply not. have standards. condition integrity. work smart. work with a partner. build trust and keep each other honest. learn that failing in front of someone is not the end of the world. that failing in the gym is better than failing in the real world. court failure, get to know your limits, the signposts of physical and emotional collapse. condition yourself to adapt to new situations. full range of motion conditions your flexibility. change directions. to go a little further than you once thought possible. develop a workout that actually scares you. just a little, just enough that you have to face the physical symptoms of panic. fear creates a clarity. a focus. savor it. experience it. control it. if you use all the knowledge you have, all the ass in your jeans, and a little grace from god you just might pull through. what, do you think, are the long term consequences of facing panic and overcoming it with hard intelligent work? what exactly are you conditioning? its not just what you do, but how (and why) you do it...

this is the 90%.

this is where philosophy has consequences.

raise the bar.

-the station.

* training does not exist in a vacuum, nor does the philosophy behind it. the work we do is heavily influenced by mark twight and the gym jones project (www.gymjones.com), the works of idries shah, along with mountain athlete (www.mtnathlete.com), PAST skills (www.pastskills.com), and countless others....
we get what we deserve, or at least what we earn.