Danimal’s Birthday Paleo Challenge

Enough already….been snacking here, eating whatever there a bit too much lately.  It hasn’t been overly bad but enough for me to put my foot down and recruit an army of people to hop on board and get through the next almost 5 weeks at 100% paleo. 

Summer is a fun time for all and we like to have a few pints, buns on our bbq burgers and other sweet treats that come with the season.  Problem is…summer is done now and some are having trouble shaking the relaxed habits you were so good at before the sun started shinning everyday.  Well, it’s now time to bring back those good habits and hit it hard cold turkey as of right now!  Not next Monday or tomorrow, NOW!

I am going 99% paleo until October 22nd (which is my Bday).  The only treats I am allowing are cream in my coffee (helps reduce cortisol levels) and red wine (I might want to let my hair down a few times before then).  I am not having any treat meals during this mission and I am also giving up my Friday caramel machiato until then as well.  It’s time for everyone to get into the groove and clean up the old meal plan.  Don’t wait until spring to be bikini ready, start now!

I will be weighing myself and getting Josee (who also wants in, her Bday is the day after mine) to measure me and the results will be posted here on October 24th.  If you want in please comment or email me and we will get you weighed and measured.  I will be at the gym tonight between 8pm and 9pm as well as tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm.  Plenty of time to get in on all the fun!

Be Great and Lean!



Kids Need Weight And Resistance Training, They’re Built For It

There is a reason we hear a lot about child obesity and overweight kids in recent years.  Most of them are glued to the television, their laptop, Nintendo DS, and other portable gaming devices.  Back in the day, kids helped out with chores around the house, played outside for countless hours and video games were less common and television wasn’t geared to them after school with as many options as they have today.  I heard a story on the local radio station this morning that found kids who watched SpongeBob SquarePants had attention span problems.

One of the problems today is that many parents still believe the false information from the 70’s that weight training will stunt your child’s growth.  That couldn’t be further from the truth.  Unfortunately people are lazy and like just just go with what their told.  If you google search Youth Fitness Training you’ll find countless articles about the benefits of training for youngsters from ages 3 to 18.  NOT BODYBUILDING OR POWERLIFTING, but just some basic resistance training and body and light weight type training.  The recommendation for the youngsters is to put them into a supervised setting with a professional coach to ensure the training is safe. 

My 2 year old nephew shows great motor skill recruitment and coordination with a jump off two feet onto a platform and landing with both feet.

But weight training stunts growth….Wrong.  Weight and resistance training in youngsters from 3-10ish sees strength gains without the muscle build.  The resistance training stimulate the nervous system to better communicate with the muscles so motor skills are improved and better coordination is established.  Inactive kids will have the same muscle mass as an active kid but if the nervous system isn’t firing all the muscle capacity they will be a bit weaker and uncoordinated.  A child’s body doesn’t recognize weight so whether or not it’s a barbell or kettlebell or a balloon or simply an empty hand the body will develop.  Even with teenagers, strength training doesn’t produce big bulging muscles, but there is muscle increase.  It also helps their mental awareness and focus levels in school.  That could be an entire other post.  We’re hunter gatherers by nature so sitting down for hours at a time is not what we are built for.  We need physical stimulation in order to stay focused.  For you teachers who read this who have an unfocused class, get them to stand up and move around doing some basic things like jumping jacks, hop on one leg  or squats for 5-10 minutes and sit them back down and watch the difference.

Alright enough with the studies, here is my personal experience coaching kids.  I see the 3-9 year olds gaining huge amounts of coordination and their interest in participation increases every week and we can’t do enough to satisfy them in an hour or less.  Many of them also have an entirely new level of confidence in themselves which will translate into other parts of their lives.  The 10-14 year old are getting stronger by the class and their levels of confidence are sky-high as well when they come into the gym now.  They have made new friends and are doing fun and cool things that benefit them not just at their other chosen sport but in school as well. 

The training doesn’t just help with muscle development either.  It is beneficial to a child’s bone density, ligament development and much more.  I will say it again, we are built to move this way, it’s natural.  Most kids can squat before they can walk, coincidence, I think not!

My 2 year old nephew picking up a ball, perfect squat. We untrain ourselves as we get older.

The fun factor, that’s the emphasis we, as coaches, try to focus on.  How do we make sure they are getting good strength and resistance training and having fun at the same time.  If it’s not fun they won’t come back or want to come and as a parent I know how crappy it is to try to force your child to something you want them to do but they have zero interest in.

For those of you who are still skeptical go ahead and do your research, you’ll see there are countless studies out there that recommend this type of training.

Be Great!


Over 10,000 Views

I started this 18 month ago and have enjoyed the journey tremendously.  I am beyond extatic to see the total view go past the 10,000 mark.  Thanks to all my faithful readers.  Hope you all stick around to get to 20,000.

Please let me know what you like about the blog or topic you’d like me to tackle in the comment section.


Thanks and Be Great!


Goals, Got’em? You Need’em!

As kids head back to school and chase that diploma to graduate high school and move on to college, university, trades or whatever they hope to achieve in life.  They’re hopes and dreams are goals and the bigger the goal the harder they will work in school to achieve it.  The same applies at the gym.  When you train with specific goals in mind you train a bit harder with more focus and push to achieve what it is your are after be it a certain amount of weight or rep count.

So here is what brought me to this post.  Most of the summer I was in the gym and training many times twice a day. I felt good, my efforts we respectable and I felt alright.  I was doing comfortable workouts and getting my front squat numbers up.  I hit a point where I was just going through the motions and not really getting anywhere.

Fast forward to last week when I was presented a sheet with numbers I should be hitting in the Snatch and Clean & Jerk based on my front squat.  According to that chart I was 105lbs off my potential snatch and 96lbs off what I should be cleaning!  Ouch!  The result of simply squatting and not doing the time or work on technique in the other two movements.  It was a wake up call to zone in my training and hit those movements hard and refine the technique to get those  numbers up.  I was able in one week, working on efficiency in the movements and at them daily to put 15lbs on my snatch and refine the movement of the clean & jerk.  My zest for the gym is higher than it’s been in a long time and I can’t wait to try to improve that movements each day.  Did I PR (personal record) every time I lifted, no, but left each session satisfied that I moved closer to my goal.

The other part you need to ensure for success is making those goals realistic and specific.  Mine are specific and based on my front squat I know they are realistic.  Don’t just say I wanna lose weight or I want to lift heavier.  Make the goals real and map out a real plan.  If it’s weight give it a number and figure out how many weeks it may take to get there.  Stop weighing yourself each day and do it once a week at the same time on the same scale.  You’ll see it will keep you honest when presented with an untimely treat to the new regime.  Lifting heavier is vague as well.  Put a number and chase it, don’t skip the down sets and figure out a realistic timeline.  I am 80lbs off what my snatch should be so I didn’t set a 4 week goal to get there. I am eyeing Christmas to be  close.  Have plan, just saying it or writing it down doesn’t cut it.  I am in a good place to come to the gym twice a day and tackle those movements to get better.  Where there is a will there is a way.

The other thing many forget is enjoying the journey.  If you just have your eye on the prize it can seem long and create frustration.  It is important to celebrate every step that leads you to what the goal is.  If I simply focused on the goal I would give up after 2-3 weeks since the weight gains I need on the bar are high.  But, I celebrate each pound up, each pull where the bar felt right and all else that comes with focus.  I leaned out a bit during last week.  Keeping focused on goals has many benefits aside from the final achievement.  The side effects are better eating to increase performance to lean out.  Increase in overall mood, I have been a pretty happy dude walking around with my goals and have been pleased with my first week’s efforts.  Time for you to do the same.

Choose a goal or more, come up with a plan and enjoy the ride my friend.  I will meet you at the finish line! There is  no such thing as “I can’t”, it’s more “I won’t”…be on the right side of that fence and say “I can” and “I will”.

Be Great!


Heart and Technique Will Get You There

I attended a strongman seminar on Sunday with Hugo Girard (2003 World’s Strongest Man) as the coach, needless to say we were gonna lift heavy and we did.


The day started like every other seminar, certification, CF class I’ve ever been to or coached.  The emphasis was on proper technique before all else.  If you lift anything with significant weight poorly you will get hurt, sometimes not immediately but repeated over time will catch up to you.

He spoke about crossfit being injury prone since they use lighter weights during their workouts and can get away with poor technique and still complete the workout, but it catches up to them over the long run.  TECHNIQUE IS KING!

In strongman with heavy loads (freakin’ heavy) they cannot complete the lifts unless their technique is flawless since the loads are superhuman large and the body needs to move efficiently. TECHNIQUE IS KING!

You know yourself when you move properly when lifting anything from a barbell, to a box off the floor to your kids, when we lift with our legs and not our back things are easier. TECHNIQUE IS KING!

The other take home for me was how he described a good athlete.  It is not about shape and size but rather the heart, determination and drive the person has.  Athletes are not all elite, they are soccer moms/dads, factory workers, office workers, people who have full time work and still hit the gym to be better at life period.  Someone who is strong doesn’t get them too far if they don’t have heart and drive.

All this to drive home the point that when you are at the gym, don’t look around and look at others and try to compare yourself physically to that person or people.  Fact is, we are all made the same inside and you can’t physically see the heart, drive and determination.  If you have it in you, you are in my humble opinion an athlete no question.  Give 100% every time you show up, don’t let the frustrating days stop you from coming in(Just Show Up…sound familiar) and then you are an athlete my friend.  Numbers are fine but if you work your ass off that is what truly counts.  I can coach someone to gain strength, stamina, flexibility, speed, power, agility, tec…BUT I cannot teach someone drive, heart and determination, it’s either in you are not.  If it is missing it can be added, but that journey is up to you my friends.  How bad do you want it?

Take two things away from this;

1. Technique trumps all, NEVER sacrifice technique for weight (egos at the door please)

2. Heart, Drive and Determination will dictate how well you do NOT how much you can lift now, the rest come with commitment and desire.

Be a master technician and give it all you’ve got!

Be Great!


Just Show Up

I recently watched a video where a 61-year-old lady was raving about how Crossfit had given her, her life back.  One thing that stuck with me was the advice her son-in-law gave her on the days she felt like skipping or didn’t feel all that great.  The advice…”Just show up”. 

Just show up…it’s simple it works.  Many times I have seen people reluctantly make their way to the gym and afterwards leave completely rejuvenated and feeling better.  I have many examples from my Foundation program where people admitted to me on their way in they would have rathered just stayed home on the couch or in the backyard, but after going through the workout they felt much better and had loads more energy.  Being active gets the blood flowing, the adrenaline pumping and the brain firing on all cylinders.  

I wasn’t going to blog today because it was one fo those days where just chilling felt right but I remembered that advice “Just show up” and made my way down to Caveman Strong and did a 3 round strongman workout and about 15 minutes of mobility work.  On the way out of the gym it was like an entirely new me.  I am full of energy now and decided to blog after all and share with you that simple advice that can help spice up an otherwise drab day.

Those 3 words are so effective and work in all situations, bad day at the office…Just show up, feeling a bit tired and sluggish…Just show up, feeling a bit sick…Just show up (and take some extra Vitamin D3), not in the mood to go workout…Just show up.

The alternative to all of these, if showing up doesn’t happen will not help change things like sitting on the couch, feeling sorry for yourself, taking a nap or reaching for some horrible comfort food is a guaranteed failed attempt at feeling better.

Being active is always the best alternative.  If you cannot make it to the gym itself do something for Pete’s sake!  Take a walk, air squat in the kitchen, do some burpees, pushups situps anything just get active.

JUST SHOW UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh, and Be great!



If There Is One Thing You Have To Believe In It’s YOU!!!

This applies for more than just your training, it goes all the time but we will use training as the setting here.  I have coached many people over past year who have trouble believing in themselves when it comes to getting a lift, performing a certain movement or just plain getting in the zone.  This past week I have encountered enough of them to write this week’s entry.

As much as your strength plays a huge role in how much you lift many people don’t put enough effort in the mindset category.  You have to have confidence and believe in yourself every time you step up to the bar.  Otherwise you’re battling more than the weight you’re battling yourself.

One thing you need to do is stop focusing on the weight and concentrate on the movement.  Where do my hands go, are my feet set and get ready to take that breath and go!  When resting between sets visualize yourself performing the lift then go and do it!  Your goose is cooked if you approach the bar and are just thinking “Holy crap this is heavy, I’m not sure I can do this…”. Get that numskull out of your head and focus on the movement.  If you go into a lift thinking you can’t you likely won’t but if you are focused on the movement and address the bar with confidence and honest effort it will get done.  Sometimes it may take a few tries but with the right frame of mind you will get it.

I would love to PR (personal record) every day but that is not how it works.  Some days I do leave frustrated but I focus on the positives and go back at the next day or the next time whatever frustrated me comes up in my training schedule and attack it head one with confidence.  If you truly love what you do in the gym you will enjoy the journey and celebrate each extra pound you push, pull, drag or lift.  Many people forget about the journey and focus on all the failures, but it takes those failures to achieve your goals and become better.

As I mentioned this applies to everything you do in you life or day-to-day routine.  Believe in yourself and good things WILL happen, maybe not each and every day, but more often than not.  Your positive attitude may also encourage others around you to do the same and the more we believe in ourselves the easier it is to work and play with others.

Back to the gym…less focus on the weight and more focus on you.  You can’t control the bar, but you can control how you will execute the movements and your frame of mind.  Add up the weight totals later.  Remember, it’s not always about how much you lift, it is as much about how you are lifting.  Focus on the movements and positive attitude and the numbers in weight will come.

It’s simple, there is one thing you always need to believe in, just one thing…YOU!!!

Now go crush some numbers and enjoy the journey.

Be Great!