I hope you all enjoy reading this post as much as I did writing it. If so, please be sure to share it with your friends and leave some love and your own suggestions in the comment section below!Oh, and don't forget to check out my new book Fitter, Happier, More Productive!
1. Don't eat sugar (except for some fruits and vegetables). Avoid man-made fructose as if it were the plague.
2. Don't eat any refined carbs. Absolutely no flour of any kind.
3. Don't eat grains. Beware of corn...
5. Enjoy green tea daily.
6. Drink plenty of water.
Not Vitamin Water. Just water.7. Under-eat during the day. Consume some light protein (whey - 20 to 30 grams) every 2 to 3 hours.8. Consume the majority of your food at night
(including your carbs).9. Learn to move and maintain proper posture.10. Workout fasted or have whey (20-30 grams) 30 to 60 minutes pre-workout. For recovery consume whey (another 20-30 grams) 30-60 minutes post workout. * Preferably all nature whey protein concentrate and from grass-fed cows.11. Eat an abundance of green, fibrous veggies.
12. Fast at least 1x a week. (nothing but water for 24 hours)
13. Cycle your carb-intake. Eat mostly very low carb, but 1-2 days a week you may have a "higher-carb" day. Sweet potatoes are cool. And they taste good.
14. Never eat a high-fat AND high-carb meal. That is why so many Americans are fat...
15. Enjoy cinnamon. (Great with black coffee).
16. Eat plenty of naturally high anti-oxidant containing vegetables and some fruits (berries are usually always a winner).
17. Eat nuts. But not peanuts (that's technically a legume).
18. Don't drink beer. Or any alcohol for that matter. And don't do drugs.
19. Go to bed early and get plenty of sleep every night.
20. Find a healthy balance of stress. Eliminating stress entirely is impossible and wouldn't do us any good. We need and thrive off of a certain amount of stress, but not an overwhelming amount. Take time every day to meditate. Chill out and pet a dog or something.
My puppy Lola. She's goofy.
This one is for all you fifth grade gym class heroes!
Who, like me, trained for a week to dominate "physical assessment day"...
And still lost...
To all the girls.
I've since gotten better...
Scorpion Push Up
One Arm Push Up
Reverse Grip Push Up
Slow Concentric Push Up
Hindu and Dive-Bomber Push Up
Bear Push Up
Alligator Push Up
That's enough for now.
Just enough to wet the tongue.
Be sure to share your own favorite push up drills and variation in the comment section below!
[NOTE: The following is a rant from Pat Flynn. Please do not read if you cry easily, lack any sense of humor, or are downright unable to handle the truth.
However, If you consider yourself an open-minded and seriously awesome individual who wants the truth with no fluff, filler, or BS – then this post is for you!]
I love the freakin’ kettlebell. It is after all, my primary training modality. Is has always served me well – as a loyal and mostly obedient creature.
What I don’t love, and what annoys me to no end – is when folks try to tell me that the “kettlebell is just a tool” – like that actually means anything.
And no, it’s not just “how you use the tool that matters”. That fails to recognize that in some circumstances, certain tools are a hell of a lot better than others. It doesn’t matter how you use a hammer to dig a hole. Because no matter how you hold it or swing it; a hammer still flat out sucks for digging a hole. It sucks even worse for trying to drive a golf ball (especially if you already suck at golf…).
While I have a deep infatuation with the kettlebell, I have no problem admitting that it has it’s limitations, and that in some contexts it may very well be an inferior tool to use. That being said –any tool’s effectiveness is relative to the task you are using it for and the individual performing the task. In some cases one tool may be a lot better than another and vice versa. For now on anyone who says something is “just a tool” - is officially a tool.
The following are just a few of my observations on the effectiveness of the kettlebell for certain tasks (for MOST individuals):
The Kettlebell for Increasing Limit Strength
This all depends on the lift and the individual…
Is the kettlebell the MOST effective tool for increasing your limit strength on the deadlift?
Eh, not really. Especially when compared to a barbell. The swing and other dynamic hip dominant movements with a kettlebell may help to “fill in some of the blanks” and in turn up your deadlift. So in an auxiliary sense the kettlebell may be an effective tool to help increase your deadlift. But as a stand-alone tool, don’t expect to ever be able to pull as much weight off the ground as you would when training appropriately with a barbell.
Is the kettlebell the MOST effective tool for increasing your limit strength on the military press?
Arguably, yes. Not many folks, especially men of a lighter (and often leaner) nature cannot already press two 48kg kettlebells overhead. I’m one of those men. So for me (note: a huge deciding factor as to whether or not a certain tool is most appropriate will depend on YOU and your current abilities), the kettlebell is still an effective tool to use for working on my overhead limit strength – assuming I have a reason that I want to improve my overhead limit strength (but for simplicity’s sake, let’s just say that I do). Furthermore, in most cases, the unilateral nature and offset center of gravity of the kettlebell makes it easier to maintain proper shoulder position when pressing weight overhead than most other training implements. The barbell, in particular, is a nasty little bugger to get overhead without compromising some aspect of your form.
Is the kettlebell the MOST effective tool for increasing your limit strength on the Squat?
Comparing apples to oranges here. The kettlebell front squat, particularly the double kettlebell front squat, is a very different beast than the barbell back squat, and even quite different than a barbell front squat. If your goal is the squat the heaviest possible load – then the barbell will almost always trump the kettlebell. But like I mentioned before with the swing, kettlebell goblet squats and front squats may serve as a useful auxiliary lift to help “fill in some of the blanks” an in turn give a bit of a bump to your back squat numbers. Again, this will depend on the needs of the individual and it’s not to say that you can’t develop a strong squat with double kettlebell front squats. You most certainly can - and for a lot of folks, backsquats may be out of the questions or even entirely inappropriate depending on their goals. Like I said before, everything is contextual. It all comes down to what are you working for and what is most appropriate for YOU.
I could continue this list for any and all lifts – but I’m sure you can see where I’m coming from by now. In terms of being the most effective tool for increasing your limit strength on the big lifts, the kettlebell will typically (not always, but typically) fall short of the barbell. And it really all comes down to the fact that you can load more weight on a barbell then you can fit inside of a kettlebell. But then again, (playing devils advocate with myself) what about for somebody who is just starting out - who doesn't already have a solid strength foundation? Well, in that case, then the kettlebell may very well be the most appropriate tool to use. It always depends on the individual, and what it is that they are trying to achieve...
The Kettlebell For "Strength-Endurance"
I don’t understand why “strength-endurnace” has gotten such a stinky reputation. Yes, increasing limit strength will often spill over and increase your strength endurance and rarely is the reverse true. But, training strength endurance (higher reps) is quite effective for maintaining healthy joints and toughening up your connective tissue and passive structures. Furthermore, training “strength-endurance” leads to increased contractile proteins (myosin and actin) and increased efficiency of contractions (meaning you become more efficient at a movement)!
Don’t let anyone tell you that training strength endurance is “bad”. Bad in the context of freaking what??? If you are working on increasing your limit strength, it may not be the most effective way to train ALL of the time – but even when chasing maximum strength, many times an individual may greatly benefit from some strength endurance work. Everything is contextual. Nothing is ever just “bad” or “good”. Except for the “butterfly pull-up” that they do in Crossfit. That is bad. All the time. I don't care what you are trying to do - nothing is worth destroying your body over. Well, I guess that is just my opinion. But I'm sticking to it!
I mean, just look at it… (Thank’s to Chris Foehl for putting his rotator cuff on the line…)
And yes, the kettlebell is often a fantastic and unrivaled tool when it comes to developing strength endurance. I’m sure you are familiar with the kettlebell swing by now. It’s an effective tool/movement for learning how to generate power from the hips, as well as for training “strength endurance” throughout the posterior chain (the back and health of your spine particularly benefit from strength endurance work). Good luck trying to swing a barbell between your legs, and if you’ve ever tried it, then you know a dumbbell is wholly ineffective as well (especially once you start getting heavy with it).
The Kettebell for Fat Loss
I’m going to sort of reverse this one on you all a little bit. Let’s first start with what type of training is best suited (in most circumstances) for rapid and SUSTAINABLE fat loss – then discuss why the kettlebell lends itself so well to that type of training.
Ceteris Paribus (including “proper” nutrition) - in my experience (and I know more than just a thing or two about fat loss), metabolic conditioning via kettlebell complexes has been hands down the most best training methodology I have ever used for fat loss. It is both highly effective (moves you closer to your fat loss goals than most other methods) and highly efficient (quite economical with regards to how little time is actually required).
Really???Really. CLICK HERE
(and go about 1/6 down the page and watch the video) to learn exactly why metabolic conditioning is so ridiculously effective for fat loss.
: Yes! Another shameless product plug! You don’t have to buy my Birth of a Hero metabolic conditioning eBook. But it’d be sweet if you did – especially if you want to turn heads on the beach this summer, and help me feed my St. Bernard puppy Lola! Or, if you already have it, tell everyone else how much you love (hate, but hopefully in a “good-hate” kind of way) it in the comment section)
The kettlebell lends itself beautifully to metabolic conditioning, due highly in part to compact size of the implement and the fluid nature of the movements – which grants you the ability to seamlessly switch between muscle groups and energy systems. Can you perform complexes with a barbell. Absolutely. Are they as effective for fat? I don’t see why not! Are they as sexy? No.
I mean, look how good Chris Foehl looks as I put him through The Great Destroyer (one of the many harrowing complexes found in the Birth of a Hero
So what you really have to ask yourself is – what am I training for and what is the most effective approach to take or tool to use? You also have to objectively evaluate your current situation. A 575lb backsquat may sound like a sexy way to bulk up your quads (or entire body for that matter) – but are you really cleared and/or able to do a 575lb backsquat? Some say that heavy kettlebell presses with a controlled negative and strong focus on lat engagement will help build you a stronger pull up. I agree, but is it really a more effective approach than actually training pull ups?? I can tell you that the press has certainly helped my press (and to a certain extent my pull up as well - due to the synergy) – but it isn’t pressing that has been the most effective tool for helping me to develop my current goal of obtaining a one arm l-sit. It’s practicing the one-arm L-sit that has been the most effective tool for helping me develop my one arm L-sit. Sometimes it’s that simple. Sometimes it’s not.
Lola likes ice cream... (cheat day of course!)
PPS - Leave some love in the comment section. I may have a few swag bags to give away!
John sportin some COS SWAG
I remember my first pistol squat.
I also remember my first failed pistol squat...
I was sitting in my college dorm room, reading through the Naked Warrior
by Pavel Tsatsouline ( a most stellar read – and an absolute must for anyone serious about getting serious with their pistol squats and one arm push ups).
I read through the section on the pistol in one sitting.
Inspired, I stood up, and held one leg out in front of me – determined to conquer the seemingly simple task of performing just one pistol squat on each leg.
Slowly and shakily I began my descent.
Surprisingly I managed to weeble-wobble my way all the way down. It wasn’t pretty, but I made it. Half way there! Then I fell on my ass.
Crap! "A fluke", I told myself!
So I stood up, shook it out, and tried again.
And again I ended up on my ass – frustrated, but this time humbled.
Clearly this was something I was going to have to work on.
And so I did.
I had the mobility and control on the eccentric, but kept losing my engagement and falling on my ass at the bottom.
So for a week I committed to using a series of progressions – many of which I have recently shared with you all – and committed to practicing the movement as often as I possibly could – performing them as often as I could.
And before the week was up, I had my first pistol squat. Shakey. Ugly. And certainly not something I’d show off in front of my mom or bring home for Christmas dinner, but a pistol squat none-the-less.
Then the refinement process began – and I began to perform as many single rep pistol squats as I could intermittently throughout the day. My shakiness began to dissipate, and I quickly developed greater control over my body and the movement.
And my freaking quads were sore as all hell.
The point I want to get across is that I too was there. That dark, nebulous void that one feels entrapped in when unable to perform even a single pistol squat. I remember the feeling like it was yesterday: Despair. Hatred. Anguish. (dramatic enough?)
But then ultimately triumph, continued success, and fulfillment!
The high’s just aren’t as good without the lows.
Don’t be discouraged if you are unable to perform a pistol squat just yet. Follow these progressions. Practice them often. And then I want you to tell me how good it feels when you finally bang out your first full range of motion pistol! BTW
– This issue of our SuperHero Development Newsletter
is going to feature even more progressions towards the pistol squat AND one arm push up, and is an entire “bodyweight only” edition – featuring some of the most disturbing body-weight complexes and strength routines known to man (including how to perform one arm L-sits, muscles ups, and more!
). If you are not already a member of our SuperHero Development Program – join today
! You don’t want to miss out on this!I hope you enjoy some of these personal favorite pistol squat drills of mine. Post any questions you have below!
Airborn Lunge to Pistol Squat
Slow Concentric Pistol
Pistol Squat Burpee
Box (or Tire...) Pistol
PS - There's still time to shred down and turn some heads on the beach this summer! If you haven't already - be sure to check out our Birth of a Hero Program HEREPPS - Dumb Question of the Day (first to answer in comment section gets a secret prize!)
- What substance in your body do antihistamines work to counteract?
You wanted progressions.
Please leave any questions below in the comment section!
Get your FREE Kettlebell Swing eBook! Just Enter your best email in the form below and it's yours!
Get used to it...
I was insulted.
I was embarrassed.
I was downright uncomfortable in my own skin. “Someday, they’ll make a comic out of you kid.”
That’s what he told me!
That’s what one of my first Tae Kwon Do instructors told me, the very first day I came to class.
I can still hear those words in my head today…
And he wasn’t talking about me being a “save the world, and get the girl” kind of badass superhero either...
Rather, he was talking about me being a subject of the local funny papers. I was young, fat, uncoordinated, and tripping all over myself trying to deliver a roundhouse kick to a stationary heavy bag.
Here I was, a brand new student (already with a relatively low morale when it came to anything related to physical culture), and rather than try and “boost me up”, my instructor straight up insults me in front of the entire class. Clearly he didn’t need to do this, as I was already making a suitable fool of myself through my failed and feeble attempts to punish an immobile target, but I’m glad he did…
And here’s why:
“Master Scott” (I will not use his actual name for the sake of anonymity) made me uncomfortable. And I needed to be made uncomfortable.
Up until this point, for most of my life I was made very comfortable. I grew up in a cozy, “everybody is a winner” type of environment. No wonder I was fat and uninspired.
I learned an incredibly valuable lesson that day that has stuck with me ever sine which is - People don’t change until they are uncomfortable.
Think about it - You don’t often move around in your seat until your foot, leg, or ass goes numb.
Now, here is why I am bringing all of this up:
I got an email this week telling me that my content on my site is a bit too “undecorated” for lack of a better word. Let me be very clear about a couple of things: 1. I did not create this site to make friends. I already have two. 2. …But I never intend to insult or offend anyone solely for the sake of insulting or offending someone.
I put this site up to make anybody who reads it better, and provide everyone here with the tools to do so. Almost nobody puts out as much free, valuable, and usable content as I do. And arguably, very few others even could if they so wanted to... But ultimately, it comes down to this: Would you like me to tell you what you want to hear, or what you need to hear?
The latter is often hard to swallow, and the medicine of truth can taste quite foul at times. But more often than not, it’s the only way you’ll ever get any better.
I remember when I used to train under Brian Petty RKC. This man constantly belittled and beat the piss out of me – physically and emotionally. There were times where I was often panic stricken before taking his class. But no matter what I kept going…
Because I loved how uncomfortable he made me.
I was fortunate enough to learn at a very young age, that the only way I could continually get better, was to avoid becoming comfortable and complacent. Today, my greatest fear is complacency.
Now, that’s not to say that severe hazing will work for everyone, but I can I promise you that nobody will ever change until they are uncomfortable – and the greatest the discomfort, the greater the incentive to change.
I did not design the Chronicles of Strength to be a cozy, “everybody is a winner” type of community.
The reality is, 97% of the people that come to this site will never come back, because they can’t handle being uncomfortable.
I don’t want that 97%. That 97% is lazy, comfortable, and only looking for an easy solution to often complex problems. I can’t help those people. I wish I could say that I do, but I don’t have an “easy button” for that 97% of people that visit this site.
I want the 3% - which are all of you. If you have continued to read this site, then yes indeed, you are in fact a part of the 3% that at least is mildly comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Now there are two paths you can take from there…
You can be the 2% of that original 3% that is OK with being mildly uncomfortable and never really do anything about it. Or you can be the 1% that harnesses the discomfort in order to stimulate a change in yourself. In the end the difference comes down to taking action. You either you do or you don’t. Thinking about doing, isn’t doing. Doing is doing.
Are you willing to do what is necessary to change? If not, then you just aren’t uncomfortable enough.
I cannot make you change. But I can try and make you uncomfortable enough so that you want to change. I can then provide you with the tools necessary to make that change happen.
So am I sorry for making folks uncomfortable?
If you truly want to change, then get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Please lift responsibly,
- Pat FlynnPS - Speaking of taking action...We are currently running an OUTRAGEOUS four day promotion on our SuperHero Physique Transformation Bundle Package and Superhero Development Program. CLICK HERE to learn more
Let's Practice Being Uncomfortable, Shall We?
(You'll Thank Me Later)
Below are two complexes guaranteed to make you rather uncomfortable.
Heavy rack holds are a great prescription for discomfort.
This are a fantastic set of complexes to develop "poise under pressure". Enjoy and post any questions you have below.
The first one is a sneak peak from a series in this month's SuperHero Development Program and involves a two minute rack hold with one press and front squat performed every 15 seconds.
Next up Chris Foehl RKC takes you through a subtle variation with the exercises now being performed every 30 seconds.
"Super Fun Time" Pre-Cheat Day Workout Extravaganza
Talking about being uncomfortable...Want to see me get my ass kicked?I thought so.Below is a link to a follow along workout that Chris Foehl and myself put together for a pre-cheat day depletion routine.What is the purpose of this you ask?Simple, we want to deplete our "glycogen bucket" before our cheat day in order to minimize any sort of fat spill over. And this workout is the perfectly masochistic solution for that. Enjoy, and please pass the link below along to any of your friends - as we are only giving this out to all of our amazing subscribers!CLICK HERE for access
I first met Christine Mooney when she walked in The Dragon Gym - spouting her fist as a fitness professional and writer.I'm typically not one to judge a book by it's cover, but I'll admit I was a bit dubious.
..Then I saw her deadlift 275lbs and knew she was serious.
Then I saw her press the 20kg and knew she was VERY serious.Then I saw her pistol squat the 20kg kettlebell and made her my girlfriend.:PAm I biased?Absolutely. But a girl this strong and knowledgeable
needs to be sharing her story.I hope you all enjoy this inspiring interview with Christine and all of the amazing content that she intends to provide on her newly launched site Beautiful-Strength.com
Who is Christine Mooney? What is your athletic background?
To pay the bills, I am currently a consumer and market analyst in the retail world.
But I really identify myself as an athlete, a writer, and a certified personal trainer...and now the owner of Beautiful-Strength.com, a site dedicated to women in strength and conditioning.
I am very lucky in respect to having an athletic background. My family is a very active bunch. My dad is an avid basketball player. Even now, in his mid-sixties, he still plays basketball…and beats the kids who are decades younger than him! The man is a powerhouse. Mom was a top swimmer on Long Island (New York) as a kid, and I grew up watching her do yoga on a regular basis. My brother, whether he was playing roller hockey or basketball, or later on, excelling in Army Special Forces, has always been athletic.
When I was little and we were living in San Diego, Mom really got into healthy eating. We never had soda in the house, no junk food. There was a hot breakfast every morning and a home-cooked meal every night. I think we only went out to eat once a month maybe
. I know that’s an anomaly, and I am extremely grateful for it. My upbringing and the excellent example my family set for me has made me confident that I know what to do, I know how to get back to “healthy”, even if I’ve strayed for a while (e.g. freshman year of college).
I’ve used kettlebells off and on over the years, but it was never as in-depth and as (almost) exclusive as now. Previously, kettlebell training was always something that I did just to break up dumbbell, barbell, or bodyweight training. It was more of a “novelty”. Oh my, how things have changed! Describe your first experience using kettlebells. How did you feel after using kettlebells?
I don’t remember the absolute first time I used kettlebells. It was probably at a Crossfit gym in North Carolina, but I really don’t remember. But what I certainly remember is my first time working with "Pat Flynn" and kettlebells.
I write a fitness column for a local newspaper, and I had decided to write a piece on kettlebell training. A quick Google search and a phone call later, I was scheduled for kettlebell session at Dragon Gym. This first session wasn’t so bad. It was an orientation, and the trainer I was scheduled with didn’t go nuts. She took it slow, showed me the basics…
It was the second time I came in to train that I was with Pat. I think we were just doing swings and plank, and I almost threw up. I remember thinking, “You’ve got to be kidding me. This
is gonna make me yak? No way.” I was strong. I was fit. How could a 12 kg bell do this to me? So I decided I had to keep coming back until I proved to myself that 25 pounds wasn’t going to own me like that.
And well, I’ve just kind of stayed.
As for how I feel after using kettlebells, I’ve never felt this good. Over the past 20 years, I’ve been a competitive swimmer, basketball player, long distance trail and road runner, and triathlete. But now. Wow. I feel like I’m finally coming into my own as an athlete. I finally feel like I’ve found my sport and that I’m living up to my true athletic potential. I always knew I was athletic. I’ve always gravitated towards sports, but in my training over the past seven months or so, something truly incredible has happened—I’m performing better than I thought I ever could and finally fulfilling my athletic potential.
I’ve been training exclusively with the metabolic conditioning and single rep strength outlined in Birth of a Hero
for the past several months, and the gains I’ve made have been phenomenal. I kind of thought that after six years of regular strength training, that maybe I had just reached my peak, that I had gotten as strong as I possibly could. I’m finding out how wrong I was, and I couldn’t be happier about it! What are your current goals/aspirations? Are you training for anything in particular at the moment? If so, please tell us a little bit about that…
In September, I’ll be going for my RKC. We’re still quite a few months out, but I already have a very good handle on all of the components of the certification so I’ve decided to set the bar even higher for myself with the Iron Maiden Challenge, which is a weighted pull-up, military press, and pistol squat with the 24 kg kettlebell. Very few women have succeeded at the challenge. I’d really like to be one of them. So far so good, but I’ve still got some progress to make.
After September…man, I just don’t know. I’ve always been interested in martial arts but never tried it. Maybe I’ll give it a go. That’s one of the great things about fitness—no matter what you’ve achieved so far, there’s still so much more you can do. The goal is always a moving target. You can always progress, always grow and make gains. There are so many ways to quantify your efforts, which make fitness-related endeavors very gratifying. I’m looking forward to the next challenge, whatever that may be! You have your own fitness website, Beautiful Strength (http://www.beautiful-strength.com), could you please tell us a little bit about what your vision for that is and where you want to go with it?
With the fitness industry as saturated as it is with bad information, I’ve struggled over the years to find a place to go for good, solid information as a woman in fitness. I’ve certainly found what I have spent years looking for here at Chronicles of Strength, but there is still a desire to cater to women. I knew that if I wanted something that I couldn’t find, that I simply needed to do it myself. That said, I recently launched a women’s strength and conditioning site--www.Beautiful-Strength.com
—with the goal of providing women with the same level of quality info that COS provides but with more of a female focus.
Very early on in my weightlifting career, I distinctly remember telling someone my goal was to get strong but “not bulky.” I think that’s pretty typical for women. We tend to think there’s a female version of Arnold Schwarzenegger living inside of us, just waiting to pop out at the very moment when we start hauling around significant weight. But I also know that there are a significant amount of women out there who know better. They know that to get strong, you have to practice at being strong,
and they don’t shy away from hard work and big weights in the gym. For those strong women, I want to create a well-informed, intelligent, inclusive space to help guide them in their fitness “career”, whatever that entails. Any final words?
Thank you so much to everyone reading this post. I’ve had a great time, interacting and learning from all the people on Chronicles of Strength. I love the atmosphere on this site. You rarely find such an intelligent approach to strength and conditioning, and I can’t even begin to tell you how awesome it is to get to interact with other people who understand that.
I’m also very excited about Beautiful-Strength.com. As we grow, you’ll find a lot of great information over there, albeit a bit different than what you’d typically find on Chronicles. So please, come on over, check us out, and don’t forget to sign up for our Cast Iron Wisdom newsletter!
You can also find me on Twitter
@Kallos_Sthenos and on Facebook
Strong = Sexy?
Personally, I've never been attracted to frail women...
But maybe that's just me. Please share your own thoughts in the comment section (of course this is all subjective, and let's keep it cool... like the Fonz would...)
There are many kinds of strength, but the kind that impresses me the most is what I would call "hidden strength". Christine is a pristine (hardy har har) example of this. Just by looking at her build you could safely assume her to be an athlete of sorts, but if I had a nickel for everyone who has underestimated her deadlift based on her appearance, well I'd probably be writing this post from a yacht...