Category Archives: Exercise

15 Minute Travel Workouts Part 2

Top 5 Travel workouts with access to a hotel gym

Hey Tribe,

Last week I sent you 5 CrossFit workouts in 20 minutes or less that can be done without access to a gym.

As promised, this week we have 5 fresh workouts that can be done with access to a gym.

Remember to always warm up and stretch out!

Have a great holiday weekend!

Warm up: 50 jumping jacks, 50 high knees, 10 squats, 10 pushups. 

Cool down: 30 second pigeon stretch each leg, 30 second hamstring stretch, 30 second wall stretch each leg.

  1. 21 Thrusters, 21 pull-ups or lat pull downs, 15 thrusters, 15 pull-ups/lat pull downs, 9 thrusters, 9 pull ups/lat pull downs. Short and sweet. Pick a pair of moderately heavy dumbbells. Example, 35s for men and 20s for women, but scale the weight according to your own strength levels. Bring the weights to your shoulders and drop all the way into a full squat. As you drive out of the squat press the weights all the up until your arms are straight. After you get through 21 reps, move on to either pull ups or lat pull downs on the machine depending on your strength levels and whats available at the gym. After 21 pull-up/lat pull downs go right back to thrusters for 15 then pullup/lat pulls for 15. So on and so forth down to 9 and 9.
  1. 5 rounds for time: 1/4 mile run on the treadmill, 15 dumbbell deadlifts, 15 Pushups. After your quarter mile run grab some moderate to heavy dumbbells. With a straight back push you butt towards the wall behind you as you hinge over at the waist with a slight bend in your knees. Once you dumbbells get below your knees come back to a standing positions. Repeat 15 times. Then, in a push up position keep your butt flexed and core engaged as you lower yourself into a pushup with you elbows pointing back for 15 reps. Do knee pushups if your form is going to shit with standard ones.
  1. 20 minutes, as many rounds as possible of: 16 sit ups, 12 lunges to over head press, 8 bent over row or seated machine rows. After your sit ups grab a pair of moderate weight dumbbells and bring them up to your shoulders. From there, step into a lunge and push yourself back to standing. From there press the dumbbells over your head until your arms are straight. Alternate legs each time. After you finish 12 lunges to press lean all the way over at the waist with flat back, slight bend in your knees and row the dumbbells up to you waist like theres a string pulling your elbow up to the ceiling.
  1. 15 minute EMOM (every minute on the minute) Min 1. 15 box/bench jumps, Min 2. 15 goblet squats, min 3. 15 pushups. Set the clock for 15 minutes. On minute one perform 15 box or bench jumps as fast as possible. Rest the remainder of the minute. Exactly on minute 2 grab a moderately heavy dumbbell and hold it evenly with both hands to your chest and perform 15 full depth squats as fast as possible. Rest the remainder of the minute. Exactly on minute 3 perform 15 pushups as fast as possible. Rest the remainder of the minute. Repeat this circuit 5 times for a total of 15 minutes.
  1. For time: 25 pull-ups/lat pull downs, 50 dumbbell deadlifts, 50 push ups, 50 squats, 50 Dumbbell overhead press, 25 pull-ups/lat pull downs. After your pull-ups or lat pull downs depending on strength level and whats available to you grab some moderate to heavy dumbbells. With a straight back push you butt towards the wall behind you as you hinge over at the waist with a slight bend in your knees. Once your dumbbells get below your knees come back to a standing positions. Repeat 50 times and rest as needed. After your 50 deadlifts, move on to 50 standard or knee push ups depending on your strength level. Once you finish the pushups, go right into 50 air squats bringing your hips below your knees and standing all the way up. Once the pushups are done, grab a slightly lighter pair of dumbbells and bring them up to your shoulders. From there, press them all the way up over your head until your arms are straight and back down to your shoulders for 50 reps. Last but not least, back to pull ups/lat pull downs for 25 more reps and you are done!

Boom! There you have it folks. This time of year consistency is the main priority. You can get back to being epic after the holidays are over.

Justin Schollard

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Always trying to perfect the deadlift.


15 Minute Travel Workouts – Part 1

Traveling can be rough. Sometimes it’s for pleasure and sometimes for business. It’s a funny paradox, isn’t it?

Many of us love nothing more than hitting the open road and driving off into the sunset, or catching a flight to travel distant lands. However, the act of abandoning our routine at home can be devastating to our fitness goals. Constantly people ask me “How can I be this out of shape? I was only gone for a week!”

Despite our best intentions we often let exercise go while we travel. Thinking that an hour in the gym just isn’t realistic with everything else going on. This combined with a little jet lag, dehydration and road or airport food can leave even the best athlete in rough shape by the time they return home.

Well, I’m here to tell you it can be much easier than you think.


Maintain your fitness by focusing on intensity over duration 

Crushing an hour long workout in the gym can wait until your back home. The trick to staying fit while traveling is to keep it short and simple. Think of your “on the road training” as fitness maintenance where work capacity and consistency trumps duration. An intense 15 minute full body workout will keep you burning calories and building muscle while you’re sipping cocktails by the beach o hitting back to back business meetings.

Top 5 Travel workouts without access to a gym

Warm up: 50 jumping jacks, 50 high knees, 10 squats, 10 pushups. 

Cool down: 30 second pigeon stretch each leg, 30 second hamstring stretch, 30 second wall stretch each leg.

  1. Set the clock for 15 minutes. Perform as many rounds as possible (AMRAP) of:           5 burpees, 30 second pushup position plank, 15 sit-ups, 30 second elbow plank, 15 air squats. Keep up the pace up and push it until the end!
  1. Complete 5 rounds for time of: 10 alternating jump lunges, 10 knee tuck push ups, 10 jump squats, 10 v-ups. Keep your breaks short and burn it out!
  1. Double Tabata – 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest for 8 rounds. 1) Alternate your 20 seconds of work between burpees and air squats. Example, round one: 20 seconds of burpees, 10 seconds rest, round two, 20 seconds of air squats 10 seconds rest. Repeat for 8 rounds. 2) Alternate rounds between leg lifts and sit ups. Use same example as above.
  1. 10 minute push up and squat EMOM (every minute on the minute). 3, 2, 1 go! Do 10 pushups as fast as you can then immediately do 10 squats. Take the remainder of the minute off and repeat exactly when the next minute occurs. Do this 10 times.
  1. 4 rounds for time: 20 mountain climbers, 20 lateral lunges, 20 sit-ups, 20 squats.    This one is a leg and core blaster so get ready to feel the burn!

Boom. Thats enough body weight exercises to get you through a week or two with out a gym. However, if you have access to weights get ready for a hotel gym workout series that’ll keep your body burning calories for days.

Part 2 will come next week with a focus on workouts you can do WITH access to a gym

Justin Schollard

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HIIT Vs. Endurance

“Blur the distinction between strength training and metabolic conditioning for the simple reason that nature’s challenges are typically blind to the distinction.”

-Coach Gassman founder of CrossFit

For many years the general consensus on improving one’s cardiovascular health was to simply increase the volume of endurance exercise such as running or cycling. The thinking was some is good but more is better. Marathon runners and long distance cyclist graced the cover of fitness magazines being touted as the fittest people on earth. While very impressive, research is finding that the benefits we seek from an improved cardiovascular system such as lower resting heart rate, lower body fat, greater endurance, better sleep and overall improved health can be accessed much more rapidly with High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and with less of the downside often associated with chronic endurance training.

More Cardio Isn’t Always Better

In a 2008 training study by Burgomaster et al at the National Center for Biotechnology Information subjects were divided into two groups of 5 men and 5 women per group. For 6 weeks one group performed 4-6 repeats of 30 second all out sprints on a stationary bike followed by 4.5 minutes of rest 3 times per week. The other group performed 40-60 minutes of cycling at 65% of their V02 Max 5 days per week. At the end of the study both groups experienced similar metabolic adaptations responsible for effective breakdown of carbohydrates and fats along with an improved V02 Max, but the striking difference between these two groups is the amount of time actually spent training. The 40-60 minute endurance group spent approximately 4.5 hours per week cycling in order to see the same results the sprinting group achieved with only 1.5 hours per week of cycling. Using the same model you could replace cycling with any movement to achieve greater metabolic adaptations than with endurance training alone. In addition to improved cardiovascular health, HIIT enables you build muscle and improve athleticism.

Keep Your Stress Hormones Low and Stay Lean

One of the potential downside of chronic endurance training is prolonged levels of metabolic stress. Training sessions lasting over an hour induce higher cortisol levels that can undue many of the positive effects from exercise. High levels of this hormone promotes fat storage and leads to the breakdown of muscle tissue as the body converts it to glucose for fuel. This explains why many marathon runners and cyclists struggle to keep body fat low. Contrary to popular belief, more hours spent training doesn’t equal greater results. Short, intense and consistent bouts of high intensity interval training continually beats endurance training as the optimal prescription for healthy biomarkers.

Get Better Results With Less Time

Running and cycling are great tools that we should all be proficient in and incorporate into our program on a regular basis. However, with a limited amount of time available for exercise each week I’d much rather spend it developing my strength and athleticism than on a bike or treadmill for an hour. Especially if I can get the same health benefits in a fourth of the time.

 

Justin Schollard

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Machines Vs. Free Weights

l-1Machines are built with the “average” person in mind and although offer some interesting options for movement diversity, if used exclusively will stunt your development as an athlete. A one size fits all approach will never deliver maximum results and you will never know your true strength levels because the blocks of weight you stick a pin into do not accurately reflect that of its free weight counter part. To me, there’s just something artificial about exercise machines. I recently mentioned to a friend of mine how one day I would love to have a squat rack in my house and his reply was “That would take up so much space. Why don’t you just put a boflex in a room or something?” I would imaging the feeling I have towards putting a boflex in my house is much like what a drummer feels when a friend suggests they just play on a drum machine instead of a full kit. Yeah, its compact, you technically can play it and its arguably better than noting, but the reason so few true drummers can live with this over a real studio drum kit can be summed up on a bumper sticker; “drum machines have no soul”. Well, neither do exercise machines in my opinion, but since its not as catchy I’ll just go with the drummer analogy.

Greater Hormonal Response 

The beauty of free weights is the fact that you, the athlete have to wield them into place and then perform the necessary action. Theres something raw and primal about this. Stepping into a cold steel squat rack and mounting the barbell atop your shoulders elicited a fight or flight instinct that exercise machines with their padded seats and safely handles simply do not. An April 2014 study conducted by the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research tested this theory by taking 10 healthy men with experience in weight training and put them through a free weight work out and a machine workout to see which elicited a greater hormonal response. For the machine workout they chose the leg press and had each male perform 6 sets of 10 reps at 80% of their one rep max. A few days later they had the same group of men perform 6 sets of 10 reps at 80% of their one rep max with full depth barbell back squats (a tough workout mind you). During the time of both workouts the researchers placed a catheter on their arm to sample hormonal levels in the blood as it was happening. The results; 25% more testosterone present when performing squats over leg press. Not surprising really to anyone who’s ever put themselves through a squats workout like this. More surprising was the increase in growth hormone, up 200% on average during the squat workout over the leg press. When checked 30 minutes later the men still had 100% more growth hormone then they did from the leg press workout. These are remarkable findings that prove the power and efficiency of free weight compound lifts. This doesn’t necessarily mean the leg press is “bad”, but since most of us only have a 60 minute window 3-5 times per week to train effectiveness is of the utmost importance. As creatures of comfort it is in our nature to search out for the path of least resistance. However, when physical prowess is our objective comfort will only make cowards of us. At least in the world of exercise and fitness we need to get our feathers ruffled from time to time. The body is an amazingly perceptive machine and though it may seem inconsequential the safety locks, padded grips and smooth gliding pulleys puts the mind at ease and the body in a state of comfort and control which translates to an inhibited hormonal response. As this study proves, maximum physical adaptation comes to those willing to abandon the comforts of exercise machines and step into a squat rack prepared for a un-pleasurable experience.


How to Bench Press

It’s about time we tackled this one. Although typical readers of a post like this will be guys, I’ll do my best to not exclude the ladies out there interest in some good chest workout tips. Despite all the jokes and cliches there’s just something special about the bench press. You can see it in peoples eyes when they walk into the gym and see that we have a bench press workout on the board. Where as squats and deadlifts are like vegetables, the bench press is desert. Globo gyms know this and is why you’ll see a seemingly endless row of benches upon entry, each designed to target a specific angle as to leave no stone unturned in pursuit of the perfect chest. However, to find out where they keep the squat racks in this 20,000 square foot facility you’ll need to ask a trainer who will most likely point you to a quite corner of the mega gym where you can squat alone in peace.

Lets be honest, despite all the evidence pointing to its relatively low functional applicability nothing makes us feel more like a beast than getting our party pump on. When we think of the physical specimens of our time rarely are we commenting on their huge quads or glutes. It’s always chest and shoulders. For this reason, there will always be a huge number of people (mostly guys) looking for “the secrete” to a great chest and shoulders.

Don’t get me wrong, I love to bench press as much as anyone and since it’s obviously not going anywhere we might as well learn how to do it right and in the proper proportions. The trap many fall into is prioritizing chest workouts over the rest of the body. If you want bigger pecs fine, just make sure you’re not doing it despite the health of your shoulders.

Arnold Schwarzenegger often wrote about his 2:1 back to chest training ratio. He, who had a monster chest, understood that in order to keep those shoulder in the right place he had to do extra work on his back. The problem is as your chest muscles build they shorten and combined with poor posture roll your shoulder forward limiting your range of motion and causing your body to over compensate for all other movements. This can lead to neck, shoulder and back pain if proportional back training and mobility are overlooked.

Key points to the perfect bench press: 

  • Lie on the bench so that the barbell is about an inch behind your eye line. There’s nothing worse than grinding through a tough rep and smacking the rack on your way up because you’re too close.
  • Once you unrack the barbell lock your arms out in the “set” position directly above your nipple line (no giggling).
  • Before you begin to descend the barbell pull your shoulder blades back and down activating your lats. This serves to stabilize your shoulders as your pecs perform the action of the lift.
  • Once your lats are engaged act as if you’re bending the bar into a horseshoe. In other words, rotate your elbow pits out. This completes the “bracing sequence” and ensures that we’re keeping our pecs the primary movers. If our elbow pits rotate inwards on the other hand then you’re inhibiting your chest causing your shoulders to grind through the movement.

If you find that you are having a difficult time keeping your elbow pits out and lats engaged then it could be that you’re trying to lift too much weight. In that case, drop down in weight and hold yourself to the standards mentioned above. Allow your strength to build proportionally and check your ego at the door. You will not only achieve the great aesthetics for which we all strive, but also the postural and shoulder health that will continue to serve you in your athletic pursuits.


Why Deadlifting Is Important

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Lets face it. As humans we will never stop picking things up from the floor.  A dog, a child, a bag of groceries. You name it and most of us at some point in the day will bend over to grab something. Given this reality why do so many people shy away from training the deadlift? For one, there’s a lot of misinformation out there about weight training and the last thing anyone needs is a back injury from improper form. However, when done correctly training the deadlift can steer us clear from injury by building strength in our legs, hips and back as well as retraining our brain to recruit the correct muscles when hinging over to lift something up.

Hinging from the waist is fundamental to human movement. The hips are the apex of the body and therefor provide the biggest opportunity to improve physically by consistent and progressive training. The deadlift is arguably the most functional and beneficial lift of all. By recruiting every muscle in your body you continue to burn fat and build strength days after a single workout.

*Key points to the lift*

  • Walk your feet right up to the weight hip width apart and toes straight ahead.
  • Inhale big and flex your abs as you push your butt back and hing over at the waist.
  • Bend your knees and drop your hips with a straight back until your hands reach the bar.
  • Tuck you chin and pull the weight off the floor keeping the bar as close to the body as possible.
  • Stand all the way up and then follow the same pattern back down.
  • Start light! Weight will come with time but form is most important.
  • Train movements. Not muscles.

Justin Schollard


Strong is the New Skinny

By Justin Schollard

Alright ladies, this one’s for you. I think I may have heard this LITERALLY one million times “I want to try CrossFit but I’m afraid I’ll bulk up”. I know, I know. Society has done a number on the psychology of attractiveness and therefor the mass perception of what the ideal female body should look like. Not a day goes by where we’re not barraged with tiny women in their bikinis, underwear or skinny jeans. I must say that from from a clearly observation standpoint these standards are mainly upheld in the eyes of other women mind you. Men seem to be a little more forgiving on the matter, especially the kind of men you’ll meet at a CrossFit gym.

Functional strength and conditioning (CrossFit) is not meant to be a platform for bulking or putting on mass. In fact, most great strength and conditioning coaches will warn against getting too big. The reason for this is athleticism and the constant effort to improve it. This all culminates to what we in the functional strength and conditioning world consider to be true fitness. Not just the ability to look good in a pair of jeans but actually being strong, fast, agile, powerful, explosive etc. All the hallmarks of the athlete, and if in the process of transforming oneself into this athlete you happen to put on a couple of pounds of muscle then so be it! Its your body’s natural, organic adaptational response to training properly and consistently. Your appearance should be a consequence of your fitness and the benefits getting under a heavy barbell a couple times a week far outweigh the aesthetic down side of a little muscle. In fact that extra muscle might be the very thing that burns off the extra few pounds you been trying to shed for 5 years.. Hmmm, how ironic. Embrace the barbell ladies.

In his book “Spark” author John Ratey, MD Illuminates the point that on average women loose about 1% of their bone mass per year after age 30 and 2% per year after age 60. Putting them at a much higher risk for osteoporosis than men. Dr. Ratey writes about a study that was conducted where a group of women in their 60s who all claim to not workout were measured for bone mass and then put on a 6 month 3 x week resistance training program. After the 6 months on average all the women had a increased their bone mass by .5% Thats a 1.5% swing in 6 months! The bottom line is that strength training goes way beyond just looking strong. It’s about long term health and well-being. Strength isn’t something that just happens or that you either have or you don’t. Its a practice and a skill. Neurological as much as physical. It teaches us how to manage our stress response to the weight that we’re lifting and push our selves beyond what our brain tells us is the limit. It gives us confidence and a sense of power over life’s unpredictability.

It takes years to build a true foundation in strength based of industry standards of what is considered “good”. For example: being able back squat twice your body weight. Don’t worry most of us will never see those kinds of numbers but it gives you a sense of what some of people are working towards. The point isn’t whether you’re actually that strong or will ever be that strong but rather if you’re actively trying to improve your body’s condition through consistent and progressive strength training even if that means you start to see a muscle or two show in your thigh.

A new dawn is approaching. As more and more women around the world ditch the ballet bootcamps and pick up barbells the antiquated image of the ideal feminine body fades away as the next generation of the recreational female athlete emerges. Why should this be reserved only for men? The damsel in distress days are coming to an end as women of all types and sizes engage in the art of strength training and appreciate its benefits. We’re not talking about body building. Mass for the sake of mass is something else entirely. We’re talking about the tacit self control and stress management that one develops after years of countless sessions under a  heavy barbell. Not necessarily for vanity although that does come as a result of hard work, but for the confidence of knowing that if someone or something gets the best of you it wont because of a lack of strength.


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