Saturday, July 30, 2011

WOD- Max Effort 1


3 Rounds of Max Weight (Ramp up the load each set)

Turkish Getup: 1 rep max
Bottom-up Clean and Press: 5 rep max (each side)
Suitcase Deadlift: 10 rep max (each side)

Friday, July 29, 2011

A Day in the Life of a Modern Warrior

Wake Up

- You wake up naturally to sunlight instead of a blaring alarm

- You are in a great mood because you just had a restful 9 hours of quality sleep

- Ready to conquer the world!

- Since you are hungry from yesterday’s workout you decide to have a breakfast fit for a king!

- You go for a big vegetable omelet for breakfast. 4-6 Omega-3 eggs and a ton of tasty vegetables that you already have cut up and bagged in your fridge, plus some natural bacon on the side.

- You wash it down with a few glasses of water and a tablespoon of fish oil for more of those great Omega-3 fatty acids.

Off to Work

- Nope, this perfect day is not a weekend, it’s a work day but because of your great sleep and nutritious breakfast you walk or bike to work with a smile on your face. If you have to drive that’s fine, because you know that at lunch you will get outside for a bit.

At Work
- At work you sip coffee or a green tea along with some water here and there.

- Instead of sitting in your chair the whole time you are sure to get up and move around now and then to keep your back and hips healthy. You always need to be ready for action!

- You don’t give in to the temptations at the office (I mean the muffins and donuts, not the cute receptionist) because you are still full from breakfast. Plus you know that junk food makes you soft and weak.

Close to Lunch Time

- As lunch time approaches you bust out your left over’s from last night’s dinner of steak and veggies and dig in while still at your desk

- Once you are done eating you are off your chair and outside, going for a nice light walk.

- This isn’t some tough sweaty workout that you have to bother getting changed for and showering afterwards, this is just a pleasant walk to get some sun, fresh air and maybe catch the eye of a cute girl or three.

The Afternoon

- You spend the afternoon working productively because your lunch didn’t give you a nasty insulin spike that dropped your blood sugar and made you crave even more sugar.

- Instead you are full of energy and already thinking about your workout tonight.

- Hunger strikes about an hour before work is over so you munch on some almonds as a pre-game meal to keep you satisfied and make sure you are ready for battle at the gym.

After Work, time for battle!

- On the way home you hit the gym for a duel with a loaded barbell.

- You do some squats and then some farmers walks and finish with some heavy ab work.

- The whole workout takes only 45 minutes from start to finish and although you are physical tired from hitting so many muscle groups; you leave feeling more refreshed than before you got there.

- On the way out the door you pound back protein shake and some dried fruit to feed your muscles and allow them to start rebuilding.

- Victory is yours!


- For dinner you grill up some salmon and have asparagus on the side.

- You watch some TV or play some video games for a bit but once 9pm hits it’s time to read in bed for an hour or so.

- Reading is your true down time that allows you to relax and distress completely. The flashing lights from monitors are stressful and interfere with the body’s ability to fall asleep.

Lights Out

- Lights out is at 10pm because you have to wake up around (naturally remember!) 7am for another productive day of training and making money!

- You sleep in total darkness with the shades pulled over the windows, clock lights covered and maybe even a mask during the summer.

- This total darkness allows you to have a deeper and better quality sleep that makes you feel great every morning.

As you can see from our sample “perfect” day above, the goal here is to make time for plenty of sleep, good food, and fun exercise. Most people claim not to have enough time but they can tell you everything about the game that was on last night or what happened on reality TV. Some TV or video games are fine but you are wasting your life if distractions are a central part of your day. Make the time to get a good night’s sleep, make the time to cook delicious and healthy meals and make the time to exercise. The rugged warrior looking back at you in the mirror will thank you!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

No Kettlebell Classes July 31st - August 7th

My wife and I are going to West Virginia for a week long vacation from July 31st - August 7.  As such, kettlebell classes will be canceled for that week, resuming on Mon, August 8thI am still holding classes this week, including all of my saturday classes on July 30th. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Change in Kettlebell Class Format: A Weekly Experiment

 Most people seem to love my teaching style and kettlebell class format.  So normally, I would not change a thing, as some would consider this a “don’t fix it if it ain’t broke” scenario.  However, in an effort to provide greater variety and structure, as well as some competition and personal investment, I will be starting a new experiment.  That experiment will manifest in the following way:

One class a week (probably every Saturday), I will be posting a workout of the day (WOD) on my blog.  That WOD will vary each week, and I will cycle through the same WODs every two months or so.  Every person who participates in that WOD will have their performance logged.  I will post the results from each class in the “comments” section under the blog post.  This will serve two purposes.  It will permanently record a participant’s performance so that person can refer to it when we repeat the WOD, and compare results.  The second reason is that, for those interested in competing with other participants, it will provide a log and motivation for that competition.

In class, the WOD will be written on a dry erase board. The WOD format will stay consistent.  Class will start with a warmup, followed by some “skill work.”  This means performing a few exercises to improve the technique or performance of those exercises, and this is not intended to be strenuous.  After the skill work, we will perform the main WOD for that day, which will generally last about 20 minutes.  Some WODs will emphasize minimal rest and constant movement, whereas other will focus on maximal strength and weight or interval training.  After we perform the WOD, I will record everyone’s performance, which usually means the weight used, rounds completed, and time taken to completion. I will then post the results from each class under the comments section of my WOD blog post.  

It is important to note that you can enter comments through the blog as well.  Should you choose to complete the WOD at home or the gym, please feel free to post your results in the comment section, being sure to include your name.  This will allow people who can’t come to class to be competitive with their classmates, and provide a permanent record of their performance to compare to a later date when the WOD is repeated.

Please feel free to provide feedback about this experiment.  I expect most people will enjoy it, but there are bound to be complaints.  It is likely that I can address those concerns as the class evolves into a certain format.  I encourage you all to voice your opinion, whether through email or in person.

             I hope to see you all in class.  Please refer to for up to date class information and scheduling.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Workout of the Day (WOD) - Cardio1

As Many Reps As Possible (AMRAP) in 20 minutes

Thrusters (2 Bells) - 10 reps
Snatch (1 Bell) - 15 reps each arm
Clean and Jerk (1 Bell) - 10 reps each arm
2 Hand Swing (1 Bell) - 30 reps

Friday, July 22, 2011

Paleo Eating Versus Modern Diet?

The Paleo Diet

Your eating habits will determine 80% of your body composition, meaning how much lean body mass you carry compared to body fat. The key here is to feed your body the foods it was designed to eat, so it can shed excess fat, build functional muscle and improve overall health.  What kinds of food are we designed to eat?  10,000 years ago, we ate a diet exclusively of meat, fat, vegetables, and fruit.  These are the foods nature intended you to feast on! Physiologically, we are no different than our hunter-gatherer ancestors. There were no obesity problems before grains and processed foods because your body could use what it was fed. The modern diet has changed everything, and it is killing us....literally!

Of Carbs And Insulin

The modern diet is much higher in carbohydrates then our ancestors had access to. Since the 1980's especially, carbohydrate consumption has drastically increased. To combat excess sugar in the blood stream your body releases insulin. Insulin pushes glucose (carbs) into muscle storage first as glycogen and once your muscles are full of glycogen, converts the remaining glucose to fat and then stores it. Every time your body releases insulin you put it at risk of getting fatter. It is extremely difficult to burn fat when in your body is releasing insulin. They key to fat loss and maintaining a lean physique is to control insulin! The key to controlling insulin is to limit carbohydrate consumption. This is it. Although exercise and plenty of sleep helps, 80% of your body composition will be dependent on your diet. Low insulin levels allow you to burn fat so you can get lean and stay that way!

This is why low carb diets work. They give your body the opportunity to burn fat as its primary fuel source, just like our ancestors bodies did. That being said, you should still eat some carbohydrates, about 150 grams or less per day compared to the norm of 300 to 400 grams in the modern diet. The less carbs you eat, the faster fat will fall of your ass. The problem is that optimum nutrition is next to impossible with an ultra low carb diet. So don’t be afraid to eat plenty of vegetables and some fruit to bolster your nutritional intake. You will keep your total carbs (insulin) low, but eat a diet loaded in nutrition.

So here I am recommending 150 grams of carbs a day from veggies and fruit while the average person is eating 300 to 400 grams per day of sugar, grains and corn products. No wonder everybody seems fat, they are eating way to many carbs! You will not only be decreasing the total amount of carbs consumed, but also choosing more nutrient dense (instead of calorie dense) sources, to ensure optimal nutrition.

Here is a quick list of the good carbs you will have access to:

- northern hemisphere fruit (apples, oranges, pears, etc)

- vegetables (pretty much any of them and as much as you want, but remember that soy beans and corn are not veggies!)

- nuts (the carbs are almost completely fiber)

And that is it! I'm sorry, were you expecting/hoping for potatoes, whole grains, whole pasta or at least rice? Sorry, if you are overweight right now I can pretty much guarantee that your body is carb intolerant and shouldn't be consuming starches. Although some carb sources are better than others due to high fiber or nutrient density, ultimately all carbs must be converted into glucose and either burned as energy, stored as glycogen, or converted to fat. I repeat, all carbs, even the healthier ones. And no, you don't need carbs. Your body can create it's own carbs through ketosis, by breaking down amino acids. This is pretty extreme though, just limit your carb intake to what you body can use easily and you will lose fat. Your brain consumes about 50 grams of glucose a day and a tough workout will deplete about 100-150 grams. So there you have it, any more than 200 grams is over kill. Besides, the idea of the Paleo diet is to teach your body to burn fat as fuel instead of relying on a steady diet of carbs. You will have to get the bulk of your calories from protein and fat to control insulin, build muscle and be lean enough to turn heads at the beach!

Here is a short list of Bad Carbs

- sugar

- processed food (anything in a package)

- grains

- pasta

- starches such as potatoes (for very high volume training athletes only)

- rice (for very high volume training athletes only)

What about fat?
Just as our body can produce its own carbohydrates, our body requires a constant supply of "good fats."  They provide essential fatty acids that directly affect our metabolism, hormonal balance, and immunity.  "Good" fats include nuts, plant oils, coconut, avocado, and meat fat.  If you are focusing mostly on plant fats and nuts, the fat in the meat you eat will be fine.  Don't freak out about the saturated fat content!  In fact, if you go as far as to eat "grass fed" meats, that fat will be extra healthy, providing high levels of omega-3 fatty acids.  High omega-3 level combat a host of diseases and disorders, so you really want to make sure you are getting enough of them.  The final note about fat is that it slows down digestion, which in turn, lowers the insulin response of a meal.  And just as you read above, keeping insulin levels low is necessary to burn fat and stay healthy.
What you have just read may be leaving you shocked and destitute. Trust me, I have been there, I love carbs and would eat them all day if I could without feeling and looking like a slug. The sad reality though is that a diet of over roughly 150 grams of carbs makes me gain weight and feel sluggish. My body thrives on a high protein, high fat, low carb diet and so will most people, it's actually programmed in your genetic code. The rules are pretty simple.  No grains, dairy, or legumes.  Eat as much as you want of everything else. This is how are body's were meant to be fed. If you still aren't convinced, read below to learn how your body reacts to a consistent high carb diet.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

What is Happenning to Modern Man?

Obviously people didn't used to struggle with their weight to the extent that we see today. The obesity and type-II diabetes epidemic that is sweeping society is a fairly new phenomenon. The fact is that a modern diet high in grains, corn, sugar, trans fat and other processed foods is practically designed to make you fat and lower your ultra important testosterone levels.

It is literally killing you slowly! Add this diet to a sedentary life of sitting at work, sitting in the car, and then sitting on the couch and you have yourself a recipe for a whole lot of fat people. Don't believe me? Then make a trip to your local Wal-Mart, Las Vegas or any amusement park and watch the whale-people waddle by.

Processed foods and a sedentary lifestyle will make almost anyone fat. But at the risk of sounding like a codling parent, it's really not your fault, the odds are against you. Factor in all the misinformation out there on health and weight loss and it only gets worse. Everywhere you turn there is some new fad diet, some magical pill, or a silly contraption that will somehow melt the fat off your belly effortlessly. Guess what? It is all a lie. The weight loss business is not trying to help you lose weight. It is trying to sell you the idea of losing weight. Heck, if their products really worked it would be front page news and everyone would be on board tomorrow. The fact is there is no magical product to make you lose fat effortlessly, but there is a solution, you just have to take a look back at your ancestors for it.

Our Ancestors

I don't think people realize just how close to rawhide our ancestors were up until the industrial revolution. Before cars people either rode a horse or walked to get where they needed to be. Before grocery stores they literally killed or grew what they ate. Before specialized trades they actually built their own house, made their own tools, and did their own dirty work. Life was tougher, simpler, healthier and less stressful except in times of war or famine, which of course served to weed out the weak. Simply put, people burned a ton of energy doing everyday activities and ate nothing but organic food.

In fact, 150,000 years of human evolution was spent living as hunter gatherer populations. Only in the last 10,000 years did agriculture begin, and even then only in certain populations. What this means is that we are still genetically designed to be hunter gatherers. Our bodies haven't even properly adapted to grains yet, let alone TV dinners laden with trans-fats. We are designed to spend our days hiking looking for food, doing a bit of sprinting now and then, and if we escaped from whatever was chasing us, to possibly lift and throw some heavy stuff or wrestle a rival in our tribe.

What I am getting at here is that we are not meant to spend our days sitting on our fat asses sipping on pop! We are meant to be ferocious warriors and hunters. I guarantee your ancestors were, or else you wouldn't exist right now. Before agriculture, only the strong survived, and they got all the hot, fit cave chicks too, thereby spreading their genes instead of those of the weakling. Now I think it's time we take back our manhood, our health, and our bodies. It is time we embrace our past and be like the warriors of old, strong of mind, body and spirit. Now I am not telling you to put on a spiked helmet and run down the street with a battle axe chopping up fat people. What I mean is we need to embrace the spirit of our uber masculine ancestors who slayed beasts and rivals to protect themselves and feed their families.

Believe it or not this process begins in the kitchen because how you eat will determine whether you look like Tarzan or the fat kid who wears a shirt in the pool.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Is Crossfit Really For You?

Crossfit is a trademarked name, referring to a fitness program that emphasizes generality over specificity.  Most often, this means combining exercises or training methods into a given daily workout, called a “Workout of the Day (WOD).”  So for a typical crossfitter, a 1 hour long class might have you performing a 400 meter sprint, alternated with 21 kettlebell swings, performing 5 rounds in a row for minimum time.  Another workout might have you doing as many reps as possible (AMRAP) of overhead squats with 135 lbs in 10 minutes.  The principle in Crossfit is to spend every training session performing different types of exercises, so that over the coming months and years, your body becomes prepared for most of life in a general sense.  Unfortunately, this also means that you will sacrifice becoming highly proficient in any one aspect of fitness, such as becoming super strong, running a mile in under 5 minutes, or improving your vertical jump.   This means that if you have a specific set of goals in mind, you need to train intelligently toward specifically meeting them.  If on the other hand, you are a person who just wants to be “generally fit and healthy, maybe lose some bodyfat and build muscle,” and do not have performance goals, then crossfit-type training programs could be for you.

The vast majority of people who attend our kettlebell classes fall into the category of people who are interested in looking better, gaining muscle, and losing bodyfat.  As such, many of the kettlebell classes include crossfit-type training methods.  Students might perform a 5 rep maximum of deadlifts and 50 snatches in as short a time as possible, following it up with a circuit of kettlebell swings, cleans and presses, and squats.  Over months of consistent training, a kettlebell student will report feeling more energetic, with improved mood, as well as losing bodyfat, and gaining muscle, strength, and flexibility.  In fact, kettlebells are a much more efficient means of reaching those fitness goals, when compared to Crossfit.  Kettlebells are safe, easy to learn, portable, and require only 20 minutes for an awesome workout.  On the other hand, Crossfit exercises are often very technical and time consuming to learn.  Crossfit exercises can also be dangerous and risky when performed improperly, and require a large space with lots of equipment to practice them, as well as an hour or more of training time. 

All of these facts come down to a few simple truths.  Crossfit programs are great if you are already fit and/or have an experienced background in weight training or Olympic Lifting.  But that is not most of you.  Most people reading this will have limited experience in strength training, and will be mildly sedentary, with multiple aches, pains, and injuries.  For the majority of those people, using the kettlebell in a crossfit-type workout will give you all the fitness benefits you want, with none of the injury risk, in a fraction of the training time. 
To properly learn how to use kettlebells, seek out an experienced and certified coach, preferably with an HKC or RKC certification.  Jason Schreiber is the only HKC in the Silver Spring and Northern Montgomery County area.  You can learn more about him, and what his clients have to say about his training methods, at   You can also find up to date information about his ongoing kettlebell classes at  Class sizes are small, allowing for personal attention, and open to even the most inexperienced novice.  If you are interested in 1-on-1 training, call the office at 301-622-9000 to schedule an appointment.  Our facility, Capital Sports Injury Center, is located at 12200 Tech Rd, Suite #104, Silver Spring, MD 20904, and is easily accessible from Route 29.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Kettlebell Pendulum Drops

Here is a great exercise!  I think of this as the opposite of a swing (in terms of mechanics), but requiring the same athleticism, coordination, and timing as the swing.  Most people will find their shoulders will fatigue first in this exercise, because of how much they have to be used to control the centrifugal forces of the pendulum.  You will also find it necessary to stay braced through you abdominals and to move quickly in your squat, otherwise the timing will be too dysfunctional. I like to use this exercise during timed sets, such as intervals or circuits.  Like the swing, it will likely get your heart rate up quickly.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Yet Another Satisfied Client!

Over the 13 years I have been in the fitness industry, I have had the opportunity to work with many great athletes.  They have been from sports ranging from mixed martial arts to golf, and everything in between.  I've gotten to work with Maryland Terps football, Raven's cheerleaders, and NFL veterans.  Among the high profile athletes, Lamont Jordan is one of my current clients.  For those unfamiliar with Lamont's NFL experience, refer to his Wikipedia bio.

Lamont has been learning how to squat properly and use kettlebells effectively.  Additionally, he is working to improve his hip mobility and core stability.  As you will hear in his testimonial below, he believes that had he learned these things early in his NFL career, he would have been far more successful.  And this is coming from someone who was successful despite poor technique and inappropriate training methods!  Please take his advice. Prepare for your sport by perfecting fundamental movement skills and balancing out your strength and flexibility.  Avoid the injuries, and the sudden destruction of your athletic career or prowess, due to ignorance.  You have been warned!