Often times, when I am trying to gain a deeper understanding of a concept or idea, I like to start by looking at the definition its root word(s).

mo·tive

1. a reason for doing something, especially one that is hidden or not obvious.

1. producing physical or mechanical motion.

It is truly amazing to see how many of the answers exist in the language we use everyday. Before Googling “motive”, I was thinking about how to explain motivation as a form of faith…as believing in something that cannot be seen, but holds the true value of dedicating yourself to a practice (exercising, meditating, budgeting etc.). Luckily, the above definition explains it to us with one word: reason.

Most of the time, we are most motivated when we first make a strong conviction or powerful decision about where we are going to go or who we are going to become. Why is this motivated feeling so real and present early on, but seems to fade and lose its luster days or weeks down the road? It’s because the initial REASON that the conviction was made is still very fresh in our minds and so the inspired feeling is right there by our side.

Inevitably, the surge of motivation is reduced to a slow drip and that is usually the time that we skip a gym day; put off meditating; take an early cheat day on our diet, etc. Fortunately, we can derive a few helpful strategies to help keep us going in times of motivational downturn from the very definitions of the word “motive” (Hint: the first two tricks point to “motive” as a noun, and the second two to “motive” as an adjective).

1. Set Up Reminders!!!

Find ways to refresh your memory of why you are embarking on your journey. You can be practical and stick up some Post-Its with words and phrases that express the “meaning behind your mission”. You could leverage technology by finding your favorite motivators on Instagram or Twitter and flood your feed with their musings. You can even go full-on New Agey and create your very own VISION BOARD!

2. Get REALLY excited about SMALL payoffs

While the grand vision of you delivering yourself as your own personal champion to a raucous crowd of spectators may be the initial earthquake that sets off the tsunami of inspiration, the reality is that most of your victories are going to be personal, tiny and unsexy. So it behooves us to learn to cherish the value of small steps in the right direction. Sometimes being able to look in the mirror and say “I’ve been doing things differently for the past six months” IS the trophy!

3. Dedicate yourself to a SMALL, humble practice

I can relate to how you probably first felt when you decided to make that big change. You’re going to set the world on fire; kill three birds with one stone; swing for the fences. The truth is that those momumental efforts, while grandiose in theory, are completely unsustainable in practice. By committing to something that is easy to maintain and well within your capabilities, you will build momentum, confidence and a platform from which to ramp up your efforts.

4. Create a Support System

Wouldn’t it be cool if you could put the whole globe on your shoulders and make the world turn? So you could try to make that happen OR you can make it easier to go for the long haul by getting the people, places and things around you that can bear some of the load. A machine under too great a stress for too long is bound to break down. By distributing the load over a greater surface, you can keep coasting when things are even keeled and leverage your supporters to gear up when the challenge is tough.

The first two tips keep your REASON constantly in your line of sight, while the second two keep you in MOTION. You see, the way to keep your motivation is simply not to rely on it! Instead, believe truly and deeply in your REASONS and pace yourself to be able to stay in MOTION. Well, those are my insights on this topic. What has your experience been with motivation? What techniques do you use to keep inching towards the goal?

In spirit and sport,

Mitchel

Getting to your ideal shape can feel like a journey. There are plenty of ups and downs, easy victories and frustrating challenges. Each of us charts a unique course towards our goal, but anyone who has ever achieved fitness greatness has had to do at least three things to get it done.

#1 Increase Frequency

The bottom line is that people with rockin’ bodies work out all the freakin’ time! This is not a bad thing, though. Truthfully, this human body that we have been given was definitely made to move. What this means in the fitness department is that in order to get closer to your goal, you will have to spend more time working at it. Makes sense, right?

#2 Have a Plan

Every competitive athlete I have ever encountered seems to always have one thing with them whenever they are in the gym (and I’m not talking about pre-workout powder). It is their program! Think of when you go to a play or the symphony: you get a program that tells you what to expect AND when! Wouldn’t it be nice to have similar predicatability when you’re working so hard to get your fitness dreams to come true?

#3 Look Beyond the Gym

There is a great expression: “You can’t out-train a bad diet.” Nothing new here, just a reminder that you can develop a very fit looking body just by modifying your diet. A person doesn’t need to work out 4-7 days a week to be at their ideal weight and body fat percentage. They just need to eat functional foods in small quantities and stay away from most starchy carbohydrates, sugar and alcohol.

These three moves are not new information. In fact, they are so old that even Jack Lalanne, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jane Fonda and Billy Blanks used the SAME strategies in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. Therein lies the beauty: three simple steps that anyone can take to get in the ballpark of their fitness goals.

So ask yourself: How can you dedicate more time to fitness? Does your plan have a clear direction? Are you doing everything you can outside of the gym to assist you on your mission? Answer these three questions, set them in motion and watch your body’s transofrmation begin to take shape!

In spirit and sport,
Mitchel

November 5, 2013

#simple #breakfast #salad

Pomegranate and Kiwi w/ Cayenne Avocado Cubes on the side!

Get the most vitamins and minerals from your breakfast. High in antioxidants, pomegranate and avocado will PROTECT your cells!!! Kiwi seeds will SERVE you a delicious dose of high quality plant protein and enzymes!

Throw down this “anchor” as part of your predominantly plant-based life. Do it!!!
#strongevity #raw #vegan #nutrition #workout #muscle #fitness #nyc #diet #eat #lose weight #motivation #sports #football #futbol #voting

October 25, 2013

Here is one part of a convo I just had (my friend is the gray box, I’m the blue box). The topic was food addiction or unconscious eating. It made me recall the first fast I was ever on. So much enlightenment came from it!

You might discover that many times you go to take a bite of something that it’s not always because of hunger. Be honest with yourself and identify your triggers…what sets your wheels in motion? #food #addiction #fitness #health #training #diet #mealplan

January 7, 2013

Yank!

A workout using all of your muscles that are pullers will build a strong posterior chain and make you flexible! There’s nothing sexier than an upstanding skeleton, so pick up some weight and PULL!!! Here’s how:

Reverse Push Up

Use a Smith Machine or Squat Rack to position a secured barbell at chest height. Then position your hands equidistant from the center of the bar. Lean back and walk your feet forwards until your bod is angled 45 degrees to the floor…

Begin to pull, drawing your elbows backward as if trying to touch them together behind your back. When you get your chest to the bar, pause for a moment.

(No, this photo wasn’t stolen from the A.C. Slater archives)

Be sure to retract (squeeze) your shoulder blades together [without shrugging your shoulders up/tensing into the neck]. I tell my clients: “Imagine you’re trying to hold a pencil between your blades without letting it drop”. This visual cue seems to land with most folks; give it a try in your own mind’s eye. Then, slowly lower yourself back down and mentally prepare for many repeats (see program outline at the end)

Compound the fatigue on your synergists (helpers) with Barbell Bicep Curls. Stand erect, still “squeezing the pencil”, and get ready to CRANK!!!

Barbell Bicep Curls

With abs drawn in and towards the spine, begin barbell ascension with a focused lift.

Get It Up!

Envision no other muscle than your biceps (front of upper arm) doing the work. Mental focus is the thin blue line between workout efficacy and tiresome junk.

With bicep curls, I usually stop the lift when I get the load (barbell, dumbbell, cable, etc.) to armpit height (pictured below). Beyond that, I usually experience decreased muscle excitability and consider it wasted motion and unplanned rest.

Practically extend to completely straight, but not exactly. A little kink at the elbow keeps you right in the zone of intensity and puts the biceps in the position of least leverage to produce force again. Big time challenge, buddy!

After the set finishes you, find a pull-up bar. It’s time for an instant classic:

Chin Ups

Get a proper grip and hoist yourself, thinking of the core muscles along side your ribs, underneath your shoulder blades and into your lower back. This is a latissimus exercise, but if you can access your deep core muscles while performing B.R.T. (body-weight resistance training), you’ll feel a serious kind of soreness in the days following your routine.

Note: I keep my thumb off the bar. By barely gripping surfaces, I experience far greater neuromuscular control, perform better reps and need to spend less time in the gym to create.

Get High

In the photo below, I am trying to retract my shoulders and “squeeze the pencil”, but if you look closely, you’ll see that my left shoulder is slightly raised. It is shrugging a bit towards my neck and throwing me somewhat out of alignment. It’s these minor details that make a major difference–I’d better lower myself down and try again.
Kill You Dead Bent Over Rows

This move combines a Dead Lift and a Bent Over Row. Bend down with a straight back to get ahold of the barbell, then stand erect.

In the low phase of the lift, your body should look like the number 7.

Pull the barbell up until it touches your belly button, pause there a moment and lower with control. Stand back up to straight and prepare for another rep, bending into the low phase of the Dead Lift before pulling up the row.

Finishing Move: Good Mornings

A lost art is the Good Morning, which is essentially a Dead Lift that is back-loaded instead of lap-loaded. Get the bar in a “comfortable” position across the shoulders, using the trapezius as memory foam padding. Begin the lift by bending at the hip to lower your torso down until you achieve the number 7 position again.

Stand up by squeezing your butt first and follow through until you are completely upright again. There is no movement that should occur in the vertebral column…it should just remain stabilized as you move through the range of motion of each repetition.

If you can execute this routine with perfect technique and consistency, then a battle-tested durable bod will be waiting for you at the finish line.

E-mail me at info@strongevity.com to schedule your online Technique Training Session to learn every move in this circuit perfectly!

Spirit and Sport,

Mitchel

Program Outline

1. 20 Reverse Push Ups (or until failure)
2. 15-20 Barbell Bicep Curls (you’ll have to test your strength to find your working weight)
3. 10 Chin Ups
4. 12-15 Kill You Dead Bent Over Rows (you’ll have to test your strength to find your working weight)
5. 20 Good Mornings (you’ll have to test your strength to find your working weight)
6. 2-minute Sprint on a Treadmill at no less than 5 mph and an uphill incline of no less than 7.0

Rest 1-2 minutes. Repeat five times.

info@strongevity.com

September 12, 2012

Nothing’s Worse Than a Busted Shoulder

Weight training programs that focus on moving heavy weight through a single plane of motion leave many bases uncovered when it comes to functional strength and joint stability. It’s quite possible to develop super-strong and ultra-sculpted shoulders with free, multiplanar motion. You begin by palming two weight plates and assuming an athletic-ready position:

Locked and Loaded

1. Skim the Meniscus

2. Throw the Discus

You look in the mirror to check form, not to admire muscle definition or despise figure.

It Takes Years of Dedication

The Disc Drive Series can be a useful way to become immensely strong. Practice the techniques demonstrated in each of the blog entries and you’re well on your way to a pro-form physique. The path to a peaking vessel is years long, and has no particular end. You go through your routines and before long, it’s automated–the highest level of systems functioning. Don’t let stagnation, discouragement or social distraction derail you. No one wants this for you as bad as you do; it’s one of the universal inequalities in life. So sink your teeth in, and plan on having tenacity.

Kind regards,

Mitchel

info@strongevity.com

Always The Upstanding Citizen

Grab two plates…hold on tight.

Get a Grip–Now Walk Forth, Young Man

Different foot strikes indicate a stability challenge, as well.

Make sure to take even paces, with shoulders pinned back.

Just Think: Age 30 will be my most athletic year…

C-Clamp

Chin up. Shoulders back…this is Charm School, sucka!

So, let’s make this harder, ey?

Stack ‘Em

Doubling the stack width coupled with added surface viscosity places increased demand on the gripping muscles.

The Farmer’s Walk

I can’t tell you how many exercises I take my clients through that could be more effective with improved grip strength. I’ve known this since somewhere near the beginning of my personal training career nearly 8 years ago. Clients would complain of searing, burning pain focused in the forearms, elbows and hands when performing lat pull-downs and rows; dead-lifts were a near impossibility; heavy weight couldn’t be moved without the use of wrist straps.

Your appendages and digits are your most literal translation of the tactile world outside. You get full neural input of the resistances placed on your frame when you are in direct touch with them. The Farmer’s Walk forces you to squeeze with all your might and to manage an efficient posture while swaying. This is truly a strength-building exercise.

Performance:

1. Grip the rims of two weight plates using just finger tips. Hold them by your sides.
2. Stand up super tall and let the arms hang down, with a little stiffness in the elbow to avoid hyper-extending.
3. Walk forwards as far as you can until you feel like the grip is about to slip!
4. Hold on for dear life and take a few more steps for good measure.
5. Progress to stacked plates when you become bored with the traditional version.
6. Total 4 sets, mixed into core work (gluteus, abs, trunk, etc.)

Kind Regards,

Mitchel

Questions, comments or concerns, e-mail:

info@strongevity.com