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Goals for 2011

 

Happy New Year! Sorry for being MIA for the past couple weeks. Leah (my fiance), our dog Simon and myself made the long trek back to the east coast for the holidays. A 10 hour drive to NY, 5 hour drive from NY to NJ and 12 hour trek back to Chicago. Needless to say, we were a little exhausted after all of that. After having a couple of days to get back to my routine, I wanted to share my goals for 2011 with all of you. On that note, if you haven’t read my post about goals from a couple of months back, you can check it out here.

  1. Write down my yearly goals, as well as daily goals. This is a process that I’ve started already. I wrote down my goals for 2011 and then made a Word document stored right on my computer so I can be reminded of my goals often. I’ve also started to write down goals that I have for the day. At the end of each day I will go over the list and see where I succeeded or where I fell short.
  2. Train more youth/amateur athletes. Over the past year or so, my focus has shifted more towards enhancing athletic performance. I have some exciting news on this front that I will share at a later date. Stay tuned.
  3. Blog a minimum of once per week. This was my original goal when I started this blog 3 months ago. However, during the holiday season I slacked off a bit. I have tons of thoughts written down and I need to take the time to formulate them into posts.
  4. Produce instructional videos. I received a video camera for Christmas so in the near future I will be recording and uploading videos of exercise instruction and demonstration.
  5. Read at least 2 books per month. I usually have a couple of books going at a time so this shouldn’t be a problem. I’m currently reading The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It and a book on biomechanics.
  6. Get back up to 200 lbs. I need to eat more.
  7. Perform at least 2 public speaking engagements.
  8. Inspire more people. I’m currently taking the necessary steps to expand my network and help others achieve their own goals.
  9. Spend more time with family. Going back to goal #2, exciting changes are happening soon.
  10. Charity. This is something I wanted to do over the holiday season but never got around to it and I feel horrible about that. I need to start giving back to charity and/or the community.

What are your goals for 2011? If you haven’t thought about them yet, take a few minutes to write them down and if you so choose, share them in the comments section below.

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Random Musings

A few random tidbits…

  1. The lady friend and I went to see Black Swan this weekend. If I stay awake and don’t check my phone during a movie, then that generally means I enjoyed it. Sadly, the staying awake part is not always the case. 
  2. It’s truly amazing to see people still believing in the idea of spot reduction. Weight or fat reduction occurs throughout the body, not in specific areas. It’s disheartening to see people are still performing 37 different variations of crunches daily, hoping that the fat around their waist will just magically disappear. Everyone has a 6-pack somewhere, it’s just covered by layers of fat. Get a hold on your food intake and you’ll reach your goal a whole lot faster.
  3. Piggybacking on that last point, people make “dieting” (not a fan of that word) WAY too difficult. As Michael Pollan writes in Food Rules, “Eat food. Mostly Plants. Not too much”. It really is that simple. Society has made eating way too complicated. Eat whole, unprocessed foods as close to their natural state as possible and you’ll be just fine.
  4. Read this study.
  5. Something I thought about/noticed today was that people do entirely too much sitting during exercise. Outside of the gym, I would venture to say that most of these people sit for 8-10 hours per day. Why compound that with an extra 1-2 hours in the gym? If you can’t stand up during exercise, try tall kneeling and half kneeling postures. Here’s a quote from Gray Cook: “Modern fitness equipment allows training while sitting and even slouching comfortably. This equipment accommodates pushing and pulling with the arms, and flexing and pressing with the legs. The equipment also furnishes torso flexion, extension and rotation without forcing users to balance on their feet or naturally engage the stabilizing musculature”.
  6. This isn’t a new but Mike Boyle re-posted an article that was originally published in 2007. Check it out here. I think this is a great article on what it takes to be successful.

Happy Holidays,

Chris Krattiger

Programming Change

Over the last few months, I’ve been experimenting with a new (to me, at least) way to hold weight during various lower body exercises, the Goblet positioning.

I believe this type of hold first originated from Dan John, who started using the Goblet Squat (which you can see in the picture above). The Goblet Squat is a great way to groove an effective squat pattern and has made a huge difference in not only my technique but the technique of my clients, as well. This has become my first way of loading someone in a squat, split squat, lunge, etc. and I believe Mike Boyle is in the same boat on that one.

Holding the dumbbell in front of the body vs. holding two dumbbells at the side makes a huge difference. For starters, holding the weight goblet style automatically puts you in an upright posture. This point cannot be overstated. If you’re not upright, the weight is going to pull you forward.

The split squat is always my first progression to single leg training. After getting comfortable with bodyweight, I used to progress right into holding two dumbbells at the side. Maybe this was just bad teaching on my part but almost always the person would slip into a forward lean. Now that I’ve switched to holding the weight goblet style, that problem has corrected itself almost immediately. The “core” and upper body are forced to hold you in a nice, upright posture.

Check out these videos from Ben Bruno displaying a few different exercises goblet style.

Links

Sorry folks, no original content in this post. I’ll be back next week with some thoughts.

Links

  1. Nick Tumminello – The Ultimate Guide to Tire Training
  2. Eric Cressey with a three-part series on Correcting Bad Posture. Check them out here, here and here.
  3. 10 Tips for Good Trainers
  4. Tony Gentilcore – 34 Favorite Things. Check out #12 for an awesome shake/smoothie recipe.
  5. Mike Robertson – Are you following the right program?
  6. The FitCast 200th Episode with Lou Schuler, Dan John and Alan Aragon.

Videos

The only reason to watch a Clippers game.  

Jimmy V speech. If you’ve never watched this, please take 10 minutes out of your day to do so.

Importance of a Plan

Short post today, folks.

I hope everyone had a glorious Thanksgiving weekend, filled with way too much food and an early bed time. Hopefully you didn’t go overboard and are back on track today.

From time to time, I like to immerse myself in a program by a top strength coach/trainer in the field. Doing so allows me to gain knowledge of each coach’s strategy for program design. Two months ago, I purchased Eric Cressey’s new product called “Show and Go” and just started Phase 3 today. The progress so far has been great. My strength levels have been gaining pretty consistently week to week, while keeping my weight in the range that I desire. The only addition I’ve made to the program is some extra mobility work relative to areas that need I need improvement in, namely ankle and thoracic spine mobility.

While I definitely recommend checking out “Show and Go”, the main takeaway from this is the importance of a plan. Most people go to the gym with no plan so they walk around aimlessly picking out random machines to use. Even if you have a plan in mind, it’s extremely important to keep your training sessions in writing, preferably a log of some sort that you take with you everyday. This allows you to track your progress as you go and makes it fairly easy to see if you’re improving or just staying mediocre.

If you’re struggling to make progress and looking for a program to help you reach your goals faster, please contact me at ckrattiger@hotmail.com.

Less is More

Less is more. More is not necessarily better.

When it comes to exercise, whether your goal is to get stronger or to lose weight/fat, people always seem to think that more is automatically better. More exercises, more sets, more reps, 2 hour “cardio” sessions, 47 different bicep exercises. I deal with this situation frequently with new and existing clients.

I started working with a client recently, we’ll call him Joe, who wanted to put on some size/muscle. This is a goal Joe has had for a while and quite frankly, had little to no success in doing so on his own. While talking with Joe, I asked him to give me a sense of his current training regimen. A typical training day for Joe was as follows:

  • 30 minute “warm-up” on treadmill. A light jog.
  • 75 minute strength training session, which primarily consisted of a few machines and some “arm” work.
  • 60 minute spin class.

Not much of a surprise that Joe wasn’t gaining any size and/or muscle with this plan. In fact, I’d venture to say that Joe was getting weaker because he was so tired all the time. Joe would have had to eat a house to recover from these 2+ hour sessions.

I put Joe on a 3 day, full body schedule. We’d start off with some foam rolling, move into a full body dynamic warm-up and then proceed right into strength training. Sessions would last no longer than an hour and in fact, most sessions ended after about 50 minutes. In addition to these 3 days, Joe had an additional day of mobility work and maybe some intervals or a short spin class. After 2 months of this schedule, Joe has gained around 5 pounds, gotten significantly stronger and can still fit in his jeans, which is something he was worried about because he wasn’t at the gym 3 hours per day.

I didn’t tell that story to toot my own horn or come across like a magician. In reality, it was a fairly simple plan that we followed and Joe got great results. If you’re struggling to reach your fitness related goals, maybe it’s time to step back and realize that more is not always better.

Spidertech

Yesterday, I was given the opportunity the attend a SpiderTech certification course here in Chicago. Chris Nentarz, a Physical Therapist and Performance Enhancement Specialist based out of Buffalo, NY, invited me to attend the course. Being a trainer/strength coach, I was a bit intimidated before attending, knowing that I was going to be surround by PT’s, Chiropractors, etc. who know WAY more than I do.

My fears were quickly cast aside. The course was a great experience and my first time experimenting with any form of kinesiology tape. Kinesiology tape is primarily used in the rehab environment to help deal with injuries or various muscular issues. The first portion of the course was an overview on the effects of pain and how that pain influences the entire “operating system” of the human body.

Next, we went through each and every SpiderTech application. Everyone in the course partnered up and practiced using the pre-cut applications. Although I’ve never used kinesiology tape before, the SpiderTech applications were very easy to work with. I can’t say that I’m a taping expert yet but after attending the course, I would have no reservations using the tape on myself or a client. If you’re a medical professional using some form of kinesiology tape already, I HIGHLY recommend checking out the SpiderTech applications and attending a certification course near you. The pre-cut applications will save the medical professional a whole lot of time cutting and measuring the rolls of tape.

I’ve added a couple pictures of my taping adventure below. As I’m typing this, I still have the posture spider on my upper back and it feels awesome. We were also informed that SpiderTech is taking steps to bring the tape to the performance side and being a trainer, I’m excited to see what they have in store. Thanks to Chris for allowing me to attend and again, if you’re using kinesiology tape right now, please check out SpiderTech.