Squat V.S. Leg Press??

So a friend and client of mine which I will let remain anonymous came to me tonight and said why does my IT band hurt really bad from the Leg Press machine? I thought I misheard her for a second so I asked her to repeat her question again because I was really hoping she knew better than using an archaic piece of equipment designed specifically to destroy the knees, hips, and lower back. By far the leg press could be the worst piece of equipment in the gym, right next to the leg extension machine. So just to clarify,  it doesn’t really matter the angle of the machine. If it is a leg press that has you lying on your back pushing a weight, you probably shouldn’t be messing with it.  I will NEVER put a client on one(I don’t even own one in my gym). And if you trained with me pre 2006 I am sorry if I ever placed you on one.

 

There are numerous versions of the leg press but really the more you are lying down the worse. Lets look at it this way to keep it simple. The leg press loads weight on one end and your body on the other. You are pretty much getting scrunched like an accordion. A lot of people have asked me what is the difference between a leg press and a weighted squat? Well there are a good few differences. First off the leg press gives the false sense of strength. If I hear one more person brag about leg pressing 500lbs I am going to kill a kitten. Seriously the leg press allows you to totally disengage your core and just use your legs. You really don’t have to earn the right to lift a heavy weight. You then put loads of stress on your hip joints and most people will allow the lower back to round up and it pushes the spine into major flexion which could also be disastrous for the lower back and discs. During a squat, whether you choose a barbell or kettlebell front squat or a back squat with a barbell you really have to earn the right to lift the weight. If you show me someone that brags about a 500lb leg press, I will show you someone that will struggle with a 95lb squat. In my misguided youth my best leg press was over a 1000lbs, my squat at the time was about 375. And by the way my back was shot, and not from the squatting either.

The leg press completely allows you to lift heavy weight without using your core at all. Actually it is very difficult or nearly impossible to engage your core musculature at all during a leg press. So all of the stress is distributed directly to your hips and relaxed back. This does not stimulate anything close to normal physiological movement. In most athletic or body movement the hips extend as well. During a leg extension there is no hip extension allowed, so now the knees are locked out on a hip that is flexed. This will also increase the chance for hyperextending a knee. It is would be very difficult to try and and hyperextend the knee while the hip is fully extended and glutes acitvated. The other horrible thing about the leg press is having the knees tucked all the way to the chest. This makes no sense in life, sport, strength, or even muscle hypertrophy.

In my professional opinion the Leg press is not an alternative to the squat. If someone has sore knees or lower back when they squat it is really an indication that there is an underlying issue that needs to be looked at more closely. The leg press is a cop out and will only make the situation worse in the long run since you now force an imbalanced body to push more weight than it has earned to push. If some just has a bad squat then the solution is to teach them how to squat.You can adjust the depth but teach the squat patterning. You would be surprised how many people come to me saying they can’t squat or it hurts when they squat, and when I look at their squat I understand why it hurts. After I teach them how to squat they are amazed on how low they can go and without pain. The only people I see a benefit for the leg press is possibly a body builder that is really looking for Vastus Lateralis development over the other quadracep muscles. If you are a professional trainer, I recommend teaching the squat as one of the first movements. I teach it on the first or second session, even on people that think they can squat. There are numerous tools to teach the squat, stay tuned for more videos.

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Why the Kettlebell?

I had a great question the other day and it was simple. The answer could be an entire book. The question was, “Danny what is so special about the kettlebell?” It’s funny I work with them all day, I enjoy the hell out of them, I have seen amazing results with them for myself and my client’s.  I use it for strength training, power and explosiveness, corrective exercise, conditioning, and weight loss. As I know all this, and live it daily, I almost didn’t know what to say.  The fact is I have seen more transformations in my myself and my clients since I have done kettlebell training more than any other form of training that I have taken on. A lot of it is the training philosophy I follow using them, but the fact is ability to be a dynamic tool is priceless. I just had a client who couldn’t run a 5K a few months ago prior to kettlebell training just run and complete a 5K. The addition was kettlebell training, not treadmills, ellipticals,Bicep curls, chest press machine, or spinning. Just the bell.

Here is the deal, I have had trainers tell me that the barbell is superior or that dumbbells offer the same thing. I used to get all argumentative, but the facts are this. If you want to do heavy deadlifts the swing will help you become a better deadlifter. Just ask the ladies in my classes that never deadlifted before and only swung kettlebells. After a short time they can easily deadlift over 200lbs(and no they are not bulky). Yes, if you want to lift heavy deadlifts then you should also lift a barbell, but the kettlebell made me a better deadlifter. The ability to generate power, and explosiveness using the glutes and hamstrings is a great benefit of kettlebell training. Yes, olympic lifts are also a great way to increase explosiveness, but the difference is this, the learning curve for olympic lifts VS kettlebells is huge. I think Oly lifting is awesome, but for many of my clients it will never happen, mostly because they won’t have the patience to learn, but the ability for me to get a 50+ year old man with an injury history that would take up this whole blog, feeling powerful and explosive in a few sessions is priceless. The fact that I can help someone achieve amazing cardiovascular conditioning without putting high impact on the knees and joints is truly awesome.

The other part of the coin is what are you doing with the kettlebell. Unfortunately numerous philosophies use the bell in ways that make me cringe but choosing an instructor and kettlebell gym is important. Here are some keys that I look for. Find and RKC instructor that follows the RKC philosophy. If they do an American Swing it isn’t RKC or hardstyle training, and if you feel wrecked for 3 or 4 days after each workout that shouldn’t be the case either. A quote I heard once goes something like this. “Using kettlbells with good form will change your life in ways that are amazing, using kettlebells with bad form will change your life in ways that suck!”. This could go with barbells, dumbells, running, or any athletic training. Form, technique and human movement should always be a part of training no matter what tool you choose to train with. As for myself I love my kettlebells, barbells, and pull up bar. Pretty much that is all I need to make me a happy man in the gym.

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The Velocity Diet Wrap Finale

To take it back over a month ago, I started this diet because I had shot up to 194 pounds. I had been stronger than I have ever been, but also had a few extra pounds that I could afford to lose. Here is the deal, I knew I HAD to lose the weight. Period. There were no other options. I have spent much of my adult life around 180-185. I have at times gone up to over 200, and a couple of times while really focusing on vanity I got down to 168lbs (weak as hell though) . My weight that I feel the best and strongest is the 178 to 185 range. I am also preparing for RKC Level 2, and the  single arm strict above head press requirement for a 185lb man is the 40kg Kettlebell. If I show up heavier than 185lbs, I have to single arm press the 44kg bell. If you don’t know kilograms that is a big difference, and if you don’t know the difference between a kettlebell and dumbbell it is a huge difference as well. I know guys that can rep out a 100lb dumbbell that struggle the with the 88lb kettlebell for one rep.  The Certification cost plus flight, hotel, food, and paying my staff to train my clients is close to $4000. So it is crucial that I make sure my weight is optimal. Now I am not losing this weight to make it easier, but I just know where my optimal weight is and I need to show up optimal. The RKC is the school of strength and not the school of being a sissy, but I don’t need to try and make it harder than it is either. So now you know that I have a lot invested in losing the weight.

So why the Velocity Diet?

I have had numerous questions as to why I needed a diet? Why not just eat healthy? Well I do eat healthy, I just sometimes eat too much healthy stuff. Not to make excuses but I will anyway, the last 16 months has been big! I mean big. We had our first child, I quit an unhealthy job with a family to support, herniated a disc in my neck and was injured for 4 months, I started a business, and now have a business that has a staff and is growing at an amazing rate. Stress(even good stress) can do lots of things, and in my case a bit of weight was the product. I am surprised I got as strong as I did. My workouts were strong and consistent, but the scale moved up anyway. So yes, my degree is in Nutrition, and yes I could have cooked on Sunday night for the week like I have in the past, measured out my meals for the week and brought them with me to work. Honestly, I didn’t want to do it. Wasn’t interested for a second to do it. Don’t know why, but I was aggrevated just thinking about doing it. I knew it would work. Eating small meals throughout the day in measured doses has been getting bodybuilders ripped for year and I know it works. The Velocity diet was different and it was a different type of challenge. And if you have followed this blog, you know I get in to it, if it is challenging. So, I am a fan of Strength Coach Dan John, and he did it with good results, so I said why the hell not. It is idiot proof , provides results, and would be doable for me during my busy days at the gym. I didn’t think I would be as hungry as I was, but I survived.

Wanting to Quit

There were numerous times during this diet I wanted to throw in the towel because I was hungry. A phone call from Dan John a week into had me more committed than ever. It was either finish or post on my blog that I am the world’s biggest P*&$y and wear a shirt that says, I am Dan John’s B*$CH. I knew there was no turning back at this point. Honestly this blog also helped keep me going. I had so many people emailing me and telling me they were reading daily that I knew that me throwing in the towel would have been really embarrassing.

The Results

Day 1: 194 pounds, 36″ waist(pant size 34), as per Caliper Measurment 15.6% body fat, 16.5″ arm flexed. 430 lb deadlift, 4 pullups with 16kg kettlebell on foot.

Day 28: 181.5 pounds, 33.5″ waist(pants much looser), Caliper measurement 15.6%body fat(yes you read it right), 435lb deadlift, and 6 pullups with 16kg Kettlebell on foot.

I still have no clue what the hell is going on with the body fat % and Calipers. Honestly it makes no sense to me. I know caliper testing is not the most accurate, but I had skilled individuals pinch me and there was no change. And honestly just feeling the pinches I felt no change either. The initial logic would be to say that I lost muscle, but with the gains in strength that I achieved I highly doubt I lost 10 pounds of muscle. There is no way I would have been able to lift the weight I have with 10 pounds less muscle. I am still intrigued though. As I start to ramp up my food again it will be interesting to see what happens. If I start eating carbs again and I gain the weight it would be safe to say much of the weight loss could have been water weight but I am still not sure. The facts are I did drop the weight, and stayed strong and I can’t argue with that.

My Biggest Complaints with the Velocity Diet

1. I was hungry all the time. Seriously I hear people say how full they were from the shakes as the biggest complaint and honestly I don’t care if they are bigger than me, they seriously bust be on the road to manorexia then. Usually within an hour of eating a shake I wanted more. Again not everyone complains about this but there are a good few that do. The forums on t-nation have lots of resources and forums that have others on the diet so I could see what others were experiencing as well. Honestly I am pretty sure the artificial sweeteners had a bit to do with this. The sweet with no calories definitely creates a nasty cycle of hunger and craving food.

2. Splendafied!! Seriously I never want to see splenda again. I had given up splenda/sucralose and all artificial sweeteners including stevia for about 6 months prior to the V-Diet.  There are numerous camps that claim it is safe and others that say it is Satan. Honestly I don’t know which is right. I do know that artificial sweeteners are “artificial” and not something I want to make a staple in my diet. Being dosed with splenda for 5 meals a day seems a bit ridiculous to me. I know they need to make it tasty to keep you eating it but it really loses the appeal of being healthy to me. Chris Shugart the author of the Velocity Diet addresses this with a quick “splenda is perfectly safe” comment, but does he really know? I don’t think anyone does and I think it is a bit irresponsible to just mass dose it. Also, my taste buds got jacked up on this diet. It started with the shakes being really sweet the first week or so, to me then feeling the need to want my shakes to be sweeter. So off to the store I went to grab a huge bag of calorie free love. Again, not a great quality of this diet. On a side note I don’t do stevia either. I am not sold on it either. Also, if it is sweet providing no calories then it is no better in my opinion.

3. Thermogenics and Energy Drinks

I haven’t taken thermogenics in years for a couple reasons. First, they make me crash. Second, they are full of chemicals I have never heard of. three they usually always mess with your adrenals. I first started this journey without the thermogens but decided after the first week to put them in. They recommend HOTROX by Biotest. Well, the cool thing was the Hot ROX actually were pretty good with the no crashing thing. I was really impressed. I didn’t get all jittery and wired. I could feel a mild boost but nothing out of control. Usually the higher an energy supplement takes you, the harder you crash. I decided to stop taking the pills during my first week of the transition. I think the first couple days were a bit strange, but no lasting effects of being off them. In general I don’t think thermogens are a great idea, but they may assist in some weight loss if eating and exercise are put together appropriately. Honestly, I don’t believe they are necessary. I also want to note that if you are susceptible to anxiety I would strongly recommend never doing them. The scary thing about thermogenics is that if you have an underlying health issue that you don’t know about they can mess with you. If you have any concern about a heart condition or if it runs in your family I wouldn’t even bother messing with them.

Another thing I realized about this diet is that I craved sugar free energy drinks again. I had quit taking sugar free energy drinks completely for over 6 months prior to starting the Velocity Diet. About 2 weeks into the diet I started buying them again. I think it was more of a mental thing. I am used to eating non-processed foods etc… and after realizing I was living off processed and artificial everything I figured what the hell.

Polysorbate 80:

Ok maybe I am just looking for things to be picky about but really this kind of pissed me off. I am really glad they include fish oil supplementation as a part of this diet. The Omega-3 Fats are just crucial for health and the functioning of the body. The anti-inflammatory properties of Omega-3 fats are crucial. I was really excited to see the quantity of Omega-3 fats in the Flameout pills by BioTest as well. It is hard to find fish oil capsules that have the quantity that these do. Then they had to throw in a preservative Polysorbate 80. Polysorbate 80 is found in cosmetics, bath oils, and preservative in many foods. Now this is common place in foods we know, but does it really need to be in the health foods I choose and supplements. There are side effects associated with polysorbate 80 and there are also numerous other fish oils on the market that don’t have it and I will be choosing those in the future.

The Benefits of the Velocity Diet

  • I lost over 12 pounds in a month only working out 4 x week and not doing any elliptical machines or cardio which was nice.
  • My after pictures are better than the before pictures.
  • I set a new Personal Record on the dead lift and weighted pull up which is huge for me. This proved that I wasn’t on a starvation diet.
  • Taking walks on my off days had numerous benefits beyond staying active and moving. If you followed the blog you know what I mean.
  • Blogging every day was an absolute blast!
  • I was committed and into it! It is nice getting sucked in.
  • It was brainless and fit my schedule. I am booked sometimes 10+ hours a day of training. Mixing a shake between clients is easy and idiot proof.

You may be wondering why I am not talking up the benefits more and I just had 3 pages of complaints. Well the results are the results.

Kettlebell Training, Personal Training, and Nutrition at Evolution FitnessAfter pictures:Velocity DIet Day 28, Training at Evolution Tucson, Tucson kettlebell Training

Would  I recommend the Velocity Diet?

Here is where it gets complicated. If you have read everything I have written and want to try it, and if you are an adult do whatever you want to do, but here are some things to consider. Nutrition in general should come from food. Unprocessed whole foods in my professional opinion.

If you fit into the following categories I would NOT try the diet.

  • If you have been wanting to lose weight and have never really cleaned up your diet eating whole and unprocessed foods consistently for 6 months.
  • If you are on the Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, HCG Diet,Atkins, revolving tour bus, this diet may not be for you. Not to be harsh but if you can’t stick to these diets this won’t be any different because it can be really intense at times. All of the methods I just listed as well as others can work and if you aren’t sticking to the plan with them, you won’t stick with this.
  • If you haven’t kept a consistent diet journal for a month and  met with a nutrition professional to review your food consumption then I would recommend doing so before attempting the Velocity Diet. Make sure you have really done all the right things first. If you are still eating horribly, and can’t seem to get your act together for an extended period of time then this won’t be any different.
  • If you don’t want to exercise and follow the Velocity workout routine or a workout routine professionally designed for you then this diet won’t give you the results promised either. Just doing Zumba classes or jogging and spinning on this diet won’t be a good idea unless you want to be skinny fat.
  • Trying it in a modified version. If you want to do the Velocity Diet, then do the Velocity Diet. Don’t try and mix and match it. If it says One meal per week, it doesn’t mean 1 meal a week and the occasional Snack  or its ok to have 2 or 3 meals this week. Follow the entire diet if you are going to commit to it.  I had a client tell me that the pretty much do Paleo except they eat low carb tortillas and organic corn chips with lunch. Well that isn’t Paleo, they are doing their version of it.
  • If you know you have family coming in from out of town or you are going out of town etc…. in the middle of the diet then your chances of completing are low.
  • If you have any health or medical condition.
  • If you are an endurance athlete or involved in high intensity athletics definitely stay clear. Even the authors of the diet will tell you that too much vigorous activity and this diet would not be a good thing. You will lose muscle and strength

So Who Do I Recommend the Velocity Diet to?

I think most people in the general population  fall into one of the above categories. This really will only make sense for the workout population and those that have been in the game for awhile.

  • If you have already cleaned your diet up consistently and really want a new challenge to take off the last few pounds this may be something to look into.
  • If you know you have stuck to things in the past consistently then you may have some success with this. Be honest with yourself about this.
  • You have been strength training for at least a year and have developed a level of muscle mass and a level of consistency with your training.
  • You have an end date for your goal and have a lot on the line. (Fitting into wedding dress, High School Reunion, competition of some sort, a cruise/vacation, seeing an ex) you get the point. Just wanting to look good nekkid in the mirror by yourself will wear off at about day 3.


Here is my recommendation. Set a goal of where you want to be. For one month prior to attempting the diet keep a diet journal everyday and make sure you cut out all processed crap from your diet. Don’t miss writing down one meal. Be consistent with the writing and eating healthy. If at the end of you month you have been consistent and not at your goal then order the Velocity Diet.

If You Choose to do the Diet

  • Be strong, and keep the goal the goal. You have to want it!!
  • Blog and find others to hold yourself accountable( the Blog saved my butt)
  • Order lots of different flavors. I personally wouldn’t have ordered as much strawberry and would have tried some banana cream. I ordered only vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate. I really didn’t care for strawberry personally.
  • Cheating: Don’t Cheat, Do it right. I have to say, I did get really hungry at times and I did eat some celery and cucumbers a few times but the caloric content is very low. Don’t cave in and start eating a meal.
  • Follow the workout plan prescribed, or if you have access to a professional trainer follow a specific workout plan. Also, if you are in to crossfit, or lots of endurance work such as long distance cycling or running numerous times per week you may not want to try this diet, or you may have to get on the forums to see what others have done. Too much intensity and lower calories is recipe for a disaster.
  • Don’t forget the fiber. Take my word for it, you can get away with it for a few days then it catches up to you.

ON to the Next Challenge

I have a little less than a month to RKC 2. My goal right now is to stay strong, lean, and loose. When I return from the certification I will be taking on another challenge. I may try the Mass Made Simple Program. But I still haven’t decided. I enjoyed being a human guinea pig and will do my best to make a habit out of it! If you have any ideas let me know.

Thanks to all of you for following this blog and being a part of it. I will continue to post over the next month on some other topics and subjects. If you have any questions you would like me to blog on feel free to email me or contact me at Evolution Fitness.

Upcoming Events!!!

All of our intro kettlebell classes are filled for the next month but we do have some in depth workshops for trainers and fitness professionals coming up. Visit our workshop page for more info. Many of our workshops are worth continuing education units for fitness professionals. Fell free to call us at Evolution Fitness. Upcoming Events include Kettlebells, kettlebells and TRX with TRX Master Trainer Brandon Wagner, and  Adrenal Fatigue: How to Recognize and Address it in your Clients: with Dr. Garrett Smith.

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Velocity Diet: Transitioning IN

I know I didn’t blog yesterday. My wife decided I needed to step up and put the little one to sleep at night. Well to say the least it hasn’t been pretty. When Momma puts you to sleep every night of your life and then daddy decides to play the part, things can get ugly quick.

Adding the Meals in!

I started adding meals back in yesterday. I still take my shakes throughout the day as normal and then have a meal. Today I chose to go to one of my favorite places…La Salsa. I got the Chilli Lime Salad with dressing on the side, extra chicken and a side of beans and guacamole. I also refused the tortilla strips. A couple things happened today. First, I ate the large salad and all the fixings which wasn’t a small portion at all and I was still hungry. Second, I haven’t had a meal in the middle of the day in over a month and let me tell you a truck hit me today. Right upon returning to the gym I put my gym mat on the floor and put my head down for a few minutes. I got super tired and it was hard for me to keep my eyes open. I expect that this will adjust. I returned home tonight and had my favorite shake.

The Scale

Today with my workout shorts on I was 181 pounds which was a good place for me to be. I do have to say that I am still surprised about my skin fold measurements though. I will reveal in my final post.

The Workout Today

After a max deadlift on Monday and the snatching VO2 max workout on Tuesday, my body was a bit shot, even with a day off yesterday. I grabbed my Captians of Crush Grippers and the Number 1 crushers felt much heavier than normal. I can usually get it for a triple and 1 rep was enough today and it was rough so I knew a double kettlebell complex day was not a good idea. So instead I worked with one of my trainers Chris Falkner on the Power lifting Bench Press Technique since we are entering a competition in August. I figured I should probably actually practice. Also did some weighted pull-ups for practice, but kept the intensity low. One thing that I preach and do my best to follow is remember that it is about training is  not just working out. Too many times it exercise has turned into this addictive high intensity training to failure methodology that just practicing moves never happens. So today was effective.

Here is a video of the deadlift I did the other day. It seemed to go up so easy! Unfortunately I can’t say the same for 450 :-(

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Day 28!!! Last Official Day of the Velocity Diet and V02 max Kettlebells

So today is the last official day of only shakes!!! As much as I want to celebrate the transition plan calls for the following. The next week I can eat only 1 meal per day and the next week I can eat 2 meals a day. Eating one meal per day is a huge treat compared to only 1 per week. Now the true test for me is to really be diligent and keep the weight off before my RKC2 Certification in July. So I am working on the Grand Finale write up, but I am going to hold off for a couple days before I complete it. I am doing this for a couple reasons. Just because the first 28 days is up doesn’t mean the experience is over. The transition period is important as well. I also want to see how I feel for the first week after I start adding solid food daily in to my routine. All of this is important when coming up with my final write up.  I really want to be thorough when I write all of this up. This was a huge project for me. I will do body fat percentages and final weigh in tomorrow.

Todays Workout was Intense

I haven’t done High volume kettlebell snatches as part of my training for awhile. It is one of my favorite exercise, but I realize that lots of high volume snatches can sometimes piss off my shoulder when I did it too many times during the week. But I need to get mentally prepared for the RKC Snatch test next month. If you don’t know what it is I will explain in short. You must complete 100 snatches in 5 minutes with the 53lb kettlebell. Period. I have done it numerous times so it is a bit of a mental thing more than any thing. Today myself and fello RKC Sergio Giardini did the VO2 max workout. Pretty much 15seconds of snatches and 15 seconds of break repeated for 20 minutes. I used the 20Kg (44lb) Kettlebell. I hit 8 snatches per 15 seconds. It kicked my butt since I hadn’t done it in awhile.

Day 28 Photos

I decided to take one picture today and I will post it even though I know I am going to get hell from it from every single one of my male friends. I weighed in today between 181 and 183 so it is about a 14 pound weight loss in a month. And Like I said yesterday my strength seems to be at least where it was before I started so to lose 14 pounds and keep strength I am pretty pleased.  There is so much more that I want to say but I will put it all together for you in a short novel I am sure…..I was screwing around posing and I started to laugh but the picture did show some dramatic results from the beginning…

Tucson KEttlebell Evoluition Fitness Personal Training, Kettlebell Training, and Corrective Exercise After pictures:Velocity DIet Day 28, Training at Evolution Tucson, Tucson kettlebell Training

Also Today was a huge day! We went live with a huge groupon promotion. We have sold over 180 groupons today. The coolest thing is all of our intro classes are booked out for another week or more, and each of my websites had thousands and thousands of hits today. The deal ends tomorrow. If you have been wanting to try kettlebells out at a near free price you should check it out.  I promise to have the magnum opus of a review up for you sometime this week or no later than this weekend!! The phones have been ringing non stop at the gym and of course my trainer and right hand at the gym is out of town on vacation so I  will be working on it. But the good news is I hired another trainer today!! Actually he is a great friend of mine that has trained with me in the past and he just moved back to Tucson from Hawaii. Im excited to have Chris Falkner on our team at Evolution Fitness. If you are interested in some great training, or Olympic lifting Chris is your man. Until tomorrow

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VELOCITY DIET DAY 27: Barbell Club at a Kettlebell Gym? and a Personal Record

Well I really have been wanting to pick this diet apart. I have been moody, whiny, and at times almost hoping I could find a way out. But today was the second to last day. I have to say that it was a good day today. I was tired as all *&Y*(^Y today and I got up the energy to lift. That may have been thanks to the Hot ROX., but when I woke up today I was sure I wasn’t going to get a workout in. I was beat.

The Barbell Club

The cool thing is every Monday at Lunch a group of trainers from around town all get together at Evolution to lift some weight.  I close up shop and we have a blast. More than just lifting, it is a way for us to get together and be guys and lift heavy stuff(well relatively heavy depending on who you are). We tend to stick to it being a heavy barbell day and we all kind of do our own thing.  Some do Deadlifts, others do rack pulls, and some do squats, and it will soon morph into Olympic Lifting as well soon. I still do kettlebell work on Mondays  but Barbells are necessary if you want a BIG. It is great because all of us are, or were trainers and we help eachother out. Today I was feeling good and I wanted to put the V-Diet to the strength test. Prior to the V-Diet I deadlifted 430 pounds though I could have done more at the time my Personal record on the deadlift is 430lbs. So today I just kept adding weight to the bar and decided to go for 435lbs….. Well mission accomplished. I was pretty happy about it. I decided to shoot for 450 which would have been 2.5x bodyweight, but I missed it. Everyone in the room said I didn’t get psyched up enough for the lift, but there is just another challenge for me. I don’t plan on trying again till the next Tactical Strength Challenge in September, unless I do a PL meet in August.  I also strict pressed the 40kg bell today so that is a good thing as well since that is what I have to press for RKC2.

The Scale:

Today I weighed in pretty consistently at 181 pounds. Actually first thing in the morning I was 180.8. So that is almost 14pounds down.

The Transition Plan.

As part of the Velocity Diet the first 28 days are shakes only except the 1 meal per week. week 5 you are to have 1 meal per day and week 6 you are to have 2 meals per day with the rest of the calories coming from shakes. I will follow this part of the diet as well. like I said, I am in it. I also don’t need to gain the weight back before RKC2.

I have so much more to say but I want to save some stuff for my wrap up of the diet. in my grand finale Blog on the V-Diet.

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Day 26 on The Velocity Diet: Costco Samples Rant, Walking Instead of Kettlebells

Today was my meal day at mom’s house. My mom decided to have roast beef and veggies. Now don’t get me wrong, I love my mom’s roast beef but honestly when you only get one meal a week roast beef isn’t on my list of t0p 10 foods. Earlier in the day I decided to go shopping at my favorite place in the world ….Costco to purchase some groceries since I will be incorporating food back in to my diet this week (Amazing how much money I saved on this diet by only eating shakes.).  So while at Costco I decided to pick up Lobster tails for the family and add something to dinner that I really wanted to eat. A half pound lobster tail makes a roast beef dinner much better, and my family seemed to appreciate the lobster as well. Yes, I dipped it in butter.  Also, on a side note and one of my mini rants… God forgive me for judging, but one of the things at Costco that drives me crazy is seeing the most unhealthy people in the world lining up for the crap samples that they give.  Today once again  without fail.. A morbidly obese set of parents letting their kids get seconds and thirds of some sugar loaded processed muffin crap and then sending the kids back to get them some more. I watched on purpose just to get pissed enough to rant for this blog. Seriously, even beyond a health issue just teach your kids some frickin etiquette. And we wonder why our health care system is jacked.  This isn’t Costco’s fault, it is just plain irresponsible to teach kids this behavior. Yes its my opinion and Im fine with it.

Lobster Dinner on The velocity diet. Kettlebell Training at Evolution Tucson

Anyway, today I took off of working out again. I was originally going to do some kettlebell work, but instead I took my daughter for a long walk in her stroller. Her idea of fun was getting us up at 5:30am on a Sunday so around 9am she was ready for a nap. I strapped her in the stroller and we walked for about 2+miles and no she didn’t fall asleep either. Though it wasn’t exercise it was great just to get my blood flowing and take some quiet time before doing the radio show today.  Tomorrow is deadlift day so I didn’t want to do anything too intense today.

As for my dinner portion it was a pretty big portion of meat. I had the half pound lobster tail, and at least a pound of beef maybe a bit more. I also ate half an avacodo and about 10 small tortilla strips, I also ate a lot of steamed broccoli.  Besides a few chips I was OK with what I ate. Only 2 more days of only shakes!!!! Then the transition plan.

On a side note I really want to congratulate a few of my clients at Evolution Fitness. At my gym we do things a bit differently. Much like the Martial Arts we have a program where you earn the shirts that you can wear. The color dictates a certain level of strength, conditioning, and technique that must be accomplished before being able to wear the shirts.  You can see all the requirements to earn the shirts here. Yesterday  I was really proud to have some clients work their tail off to earn the shirts. The red shirt is no joke. I do my best to get people in elite conditioning to become ready to do the Russian Kettlebell Challenge. I am proud to have women train so hard that they have achieved their first strict pull up (throat to bar)  ever  at my gym and men who can press half of their body weight with a kettlebell and have strict form above their head . SO a huge congrats to:

Blue Shirts: Andres Aponte

Red Shirts: Aracely Favela and Rufe Bynum

Black Shirt:(our first ever) Jackie Luciano

Evolution Fitness/Tucson KEttlebell: Tucson's home of RKC Kettlebell Training, Strength training and corrective exercise

Very very Very Proud of all of you and seriously makes me proud to be the owner of Evolution Fitness. I will post some videos of the testing in tomorrows blog. Though the kettlebell is just a tool, it is by far the most effective thing I have seen to get an ordinary person, extra ordinarily strong in such a short time.

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Velocity Diet Day 25! Consistency is Paying off

First I really want to thank all of you that have followed this blog. I have received lots of positive comments and e-mails. I am actually a little bitter sweet about this ending. I am sure I will still come up with something to blog about but this experience has me “in it”.  I want you to think about what I mean by that.  Now before starting this challenge I wasn’t in bad shape or excessively overweight. I had a different goal so being lean wasn’t a priority for me. But when I knew I needed to lean up I knew that it wasn’t going to be something I dabble in. It had to be stick to the plan because the plan is the plan, is the plan.

I get questions all the time about if  Weight Watchers works or if Jenny Craig is effective. And for the most part I could think of a few different options, but the real answer is if you follow the plan it works. Too many people decide that they will sign up for weight watchers and instead of eating 10 points they eat 13 but then they will eat less later to make it up. Or I will eat this, but they don’t go to the meetings or weekly weigh ins. Or they do it for 3 weeks but stop. The system is the system. If meetings are part of the system then do it. If you are going to buy in to a system then do the system not your own version of the system and say it doesn’t work.  Now looking at the Velocity Diet there are a few different ways  I could tweek it, but I wouldn’t have the opportunity to see if it really worked or not. I do have to admit that I haven’t followed the Training plan but I have a specific training goal that I am working towards and the Velocity Training Program didn’t complement my training goals.  I made sure to adjust the training appropriately to compliment the diet though. If I showed up to RKC 2 and didn’t hit my press or weighted pull up then all the weight loss in the world doesn’t matter. Also just to add a disclaimer if you have tried every nutritional plan and exercised consistently with cardio and strength training and you are still not seeing results, then I strongly suggest you go to your doctor and get a workup on all of your hormone levels to make sure everything is in balance.

Fat Loss Needs to be Attacked

Especially as we age, fat loss becomes more work. Believe me I speak from experience. At 19 years old I decided to drink beer, eat fast food, drink a half gallon of Dr.Pepper a day, and repeat. I shot up to 205 pounds standing a whopping 5’6″ tall. I decided to start jogging, lifting weights again, and cut the soda out. The result….6 weeks later I was down 30 pounds. I did it again at age 25. Now at 36, I workout consistently, eat a clean diet but maybe a bit larger portions and I gained a few pounds, and it has taken me 4 weeks to drop 13 pounds and it has been challenging. My point being, is if you want to lose weight and you are not seeing results you really need to, then make sure you are doing everything right. The exercise, the quality of food, the amount of food, decreasing stress in your life, and sleeping right. Really when fat loss is the number one goal there is no cheat day until you hit your goal. Some people can get a way with a lot and Im not one of them. I have friends that can eat fast food every meal and keep lean and I had to stop comparing myself to them. My physiology does what it does.

The Scale

Today the Scale hit 181.6. My shirts are definitely looser. And my arms have shrunk a bit which kind of sucks but, as long as I am still strong then the extra size doesn’t matter anyway. If that extra size in my arms is helping me lift the great, if not the it isn’t needed.

I get a meal tomorrow and I am excited to eat again! I can’t believe it has been a week already since I have had food.  Till tomorrow!!

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Day 24: 4 Days Left on the Velocity Diet; Return of the Litvinov

So today is Day 24. There are 4 days left on the main part of the diet. After the 28 days are up there is then a transition of 2 weeks where you transition meals back into your diet.  You do a mixture of shakes and meals throughout the day.  Though that is still part of the diet I really excited to get done with the 28 day part.  Today I weighed in between 183 and 186. It really depends on ho much fluid I have consumed but I would still like to see my heavier weight around 180. Besides the scale everyone has taken notice. I have had clients tell me I am disappearing more each day. I have also had numerous clients tell me how I look so much better. I now understand how  girls feel when people tell them how great they look now after losing so much weight. Your kind of like thinking wow was I that bad?? I have to say that all my shirts are fitting much looser. I kind of looked like I was wearing someone elses shirt today.

Today’s Workout was a M$%F*$R. I worked out with a friend of mine today and we did heavy double presses and supersetted with weighted pull ups. I worked up to 3 sets of 3 with the double 32kg Kettlebells. I also did a PR of 6 repetitions of Pullups with the 16kg bell on my foot. I also stuck the 24kg on foot pretty clean on a pullup today after doing all of the heavy presses. So it is safe to say my strength is in tact right now. The double 32 presses felt a bit heavy and I have done sets of 4 before but I also haven’t been practicing double presses nearly as much until the past couple weeks.

After the pressing and pullups we went down to the park near Evolution Fitness and did the Litvinov Workout again, but I made a few adjustments from last week. Instead of going on an all out sprint I went at about 75% today. My hip got way to tweeky after last week. I also alternated the Exercises before the sprint. I did the first set of Double 28kg Squats for 8 reps, 2nd set was double 28kg cleans, and the third set was single arm swings with the 28kg for 10/10 on each side. I then did the squats and clean version again for a total of 5 sprints. My sprints since they were much slower I did longer distance. I did 2 that were about 100 yards but at a slower than sprint pace. I have to say I am whooped after that. I am very tired and it is only about 7:30 in the eveninag.

As of this far on the diet I am really pleased that my strength is still in tact. I will never forget what I did over a decade ago(damn that really ages me). I had stopped working out for a year to go off to Silicon Valley and make some money during the internet boom. I made a lot of money but also didn’t workout for the first time in my life. I worked 70 hours a week and ate at my desk to make sales calls. So when I quit my job and started working out I decided that I wanted to do what most people do. I did tons of cardio, high repetition super sets with really light weight, and ate like a valley girl that was terrified of food. The result: I was 169 pounds and shredded. The mistake came is that I had no strength in my life except for my bicep curls. I decided to bench press one day and the unthinkable happened. I got trapped underneath 185pounds.? WTF?? A year earlier I could press 275 pounds? This is what we call a manorexic p*$$y. I could have been a scene out of Zoolander. I cared about the mirror, lifted like an aerobics instructor afraid to get bulky,  and there were definitely many that could probably lift more than I could at the time. So yes it is nice to be lean and have a 6 pack but if you are weak then whats the point of show muscle. This time around being lean is important but not at the expense of strength. I can’t explain to you enough the importance of staying or becoming strong. If you don’t think strength is important ask any elderly person that needs assistance to get out of bed or a chair or needs help to bring the groceries in. Don’t fool yourself being strong is crucial. I look forward to this being over because of the hunger but I am just glad the strength is there, now If I can just get down below 180 it will be worth it.

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Day 23 on The Velocity Diet: Just as I open my Mouth

So Yesterday I was getting concerned that my weight hadn’t dropped in a week. Well this morning after my morning coffee and a couple cups of water I jumped on the scale. In shorts and shirt I was 182.6 which was a nice surprise especially because I was not feeling all that hot. I have to say I was really sleepy this morning. I woke up really tired and felt really out of it today though. I woke up a few times last night pretty hungry. I did not cheat and eat though. But I woke up a few times and I just kept drinking water which then made me get up to go to the bathroom. So this morning was rough.

Funny so not so funny story

Today I entered the likes of Peter from the Family Guy or Homer Simpson. So I set myself up for this story by explaining how tired I was. So this morning as I am getting ready to leave for work, my wife and daughter are in the backyard. They are walking in their pajamas and my daughter is pointing at the flowers and saying “flowers” in her cute baby voice. I kiss them good bye and head to work. About 5 minutes after getting to work the my cell phone rings from a number I don’t recognize. I reluctantly answer and it is my wife thanking me for locking her and my daughter out of the house in their pajamas.  They were at our neighbors house. Thank God my client was late and I drove home to let them in. I don’t know if it was lack of sleep, low blood sugar, or just me being an idiot. But I had to rat myself out.

The Workout:

I wasn’t sure I was going to workout today since I was just out of it but I chose to give it a shot. I decided to start with Turkish Getups. I slowly ramped up the weight and I did a few reps with the 88lb bell. I unsuccessfully attempted the Beast Today(106lb) Kettlebell. I don’t know what tempted me but the 88felt manageable. I am going to continue to use the 79 and 88lb bells to get used to the weight and eventually do the Get up with the Beast.  I then did single Deadlifts. I did One repetition every minute for about 10 minutes with 350lbs. The first 7 felt light the last 3 felt not so light but still happy with that. It is about 80% of my last max. Next week I am going to go for another new Max attempt.  Remember the Vdiet is supposed to get me stronger as well as leaner so  I look forward to testing my strength next week. Today I  also did some swings and cleans and push presses with the 88lb kettlebell today to just get used to the weight.

Tomorrow, If all goes well I will do another attempt at the Litvinov Workout again except I will not sprint as fast tomorrow. Last week my lightening speed caused some hip issues that took a few days to clear up, so I will be more mindful in my sprints tomorrow.

I look forward to finishing this week out and testing my strength. Thanks to all of you for following this blog and my up and down emotional journey on this diet.

For those of you interested here is a link to some upcoming workshops I am holding this summer. I recently announced I will be at Scottsdale Community College on June 11th for a kettlebell workshop. For more information contact Evolution Tucson. Here are other events coming up for the Summer 2011.


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