Archive for the ‘Athletic Based Training’ Category

Which would you rather do? This…


Or This…


Here’s an article that I wrote recently about why training like an athlete is great for fat loss, overall conditioning, and is just plain cool…

As a former collegiate athlete, I see the value of a solid strength and conditioning program for performance. As a personal trainer to many clients in the Somerville, Massachusetts area; I have found that incorporating athletic movements is not only motivating and fun, it is a great way to lose fat and gain overall strength. People should not take this to mean that everyone should train like a college football player. Training like an athlete can be modified based on the level of the participant but the basis behind it is to perform large muscle group movements, lift heavier weights than you are normally used to, and have an overall plan that cycles throughout the year. Here are some specific details about developing your athletic movement training program.

1.Training like an athlete is FUN: Throwing medicine balls, pushing the Prowler, squatting, lunging, sprinting, performing barbell complexes, and swinging the kettle bell, are just some of the movements that can be done to lose fat using large muscle groups. The exercises tax the muscular system and the cardiovascular system. Metabolism is elevated and this ultimately leads to fat loss.

2.Using Large Muscle Group Movements: Squats, lunges, push ups, chin ups, and overhead pressing are often the cornerstones of our programs. These exercises burn a huge amount of calories and develop an efficient metabolism.

3.Combine Training Goals: Each workout provides training for strength, power, conditioning, balance, and flexibility. Try to avoid focusing on one goal or muscle group; instead combine them and force the body to move in unison the way it was meant to.

4.Lift Heavy Weights: Many people are scared to lift heavy for fear of “getting big.” Athletes need to lift heavy weights to develop strength and power. You must push the threshold in your body. Lifting heavy weights will not cause women to “get big”, instead it will create huge bursts in hormones, adrenaline, and overall metabolism which leads to fat loss.

5.Have a Training Plan: Athletes have a very structured training plan. The year is broken down into training cycles depending on the season or event they are competing in. Creating long term and short term plans for training based on your goals is very important. Training cycles should usually last 3-4 weeks to provide consistent progression for strength, fat loss, and conditioning.

Take a look at your workout plan and shift your way of thinking about training. Athletes are strong and toned, have high levels of cardiovascular conditioning, can move efficiently, and have low body fat percentages. Why would you not want to mimic their training programs?


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As I sit here overlooking the cardio room of the gym I see something that disgusts me everyday. I see people doing the same monotonis workouts day in and day out. I recently read someone’s take on “working out” versus “training.” They defined it as working out is a hobby and training is a lifestyle and an attitude. I totally agree with that because I know a lot of people that “workout” and those same people also look the same forever. Now I give them a lot of credit for getting into the gym but honestly, why waste your time on an inefficient training program?

I also know a lot of people that train hard and live a healthy lifestyle. These people are constantly setting goals, pushing their standards, and developing new ways to improve themselves. That is what training is all about. I could rant all day about this but I wanted to give you all a few quick changes that can be made if your training program does indeed SUCK….

Problem #1: Using the elliptical machine for cardio

Reason #1 Why this sucks: The machine does a ton of work for you. It’s okay for people who have had injuries due to the low impact nature but if you are healthy, get off that machine, it’s way too easy and you will struggle to get your heart rate up.
Solution #1:Perform your interval conditioning on the bike, run sprints, attack the Prowler and you will burn a lot more calories and force your body to move without a machine doing the work


Problem #2: Using the Leg Press instead of performing squats
Reason #2 Why this Sucks: Many people can press a lot of weight but the problem is that you are sitting down! None of your stabilizer muscles are working and you are not even moving your own body. How many movements do we do from a 45 degree seated angle, pushing up or forward?


Solution #2: SQUATS If you have been reading my posts you know that I love squats. They are the king/queen of all lower body movements. You recruit all major leg muscles as well as stabilizers (trunk) and you burn a ton of calories by lifting some heavy weight in addition to your own body weight. Get off your butt and do some real work!

Check out that form!

Problem #3: Performing high repetitions with low weights

Reason #3 Why this sucks: Many women want to get a “toned” look and all the rage out there says perform high repetitions with low weight so you won’t get “bulky.” Well I’ve got news for you ladies, unless you are on the ARod steriods diet you will not get bulky. Women lack the testosterone and growth hormones to initiate such a reaction. Performing lots of reps is a waste of time and energy.
Solution #3: Increase your resistance and lift safely. Lifting weights is progressive and technique is crucial. Find a qualified personal trainer to help you out with your training cycles. Lifting heavy weights not only improves strength, gets you super fit, and burns a ton of calories which revs up your metabolism, but it makes you feel pretty bad ass!

Problem #4: Using body part split routines.

Reason #4 why this sucks:This training style was adopted by bodybuilders in order to achieve high levels of volume to ellicit the hypertrophy phase (muscle size). Unfortunately it carried over into the general population and for most people, it becomes pretty ineffective.


I don’t know about you, but I don’t have 5 days a week to devote to strictly lifting weights in isolation.

In the real world people need efficient and effective intense training programs that will help them achieve their goals. Now if you goal is in fact to develop volume and muscular size, this program works. If you want to get a lean, athletic, and fit look; you should be performing large muscle group movements and shooting for a full body training style. This style not only elevates your strength levels, overall metabolism, and torches that unwanted body fat because of the high intensity aspect.

Solution #4: Perform full body, large muscle group movements. 2-3 days a week of full body training with movements such as squats, lunges, chin ups, push ups, overhead presses, weighted core work, prowler sprints, and single leg work will get you in killer shape, create a lean and athletic physique, and make you feel energized and happy.


Problem #5: Most people are simply not exerting enough effort.


Reason #5 why this sucks: Plain and simple, if you are not working hard (and smart), you will not continue to see gains. I see people all the time that do the same routine over and over. I also see a lot of people do a set of bicep curls and rest for 2 minutes. The only time you should really be resting that long is if you are performing a high level power movement that requires nervous system recovery of 2-3 minutes. For most people with goals of overall fitness, strength, and fat loss; the training should be fairly intense in order to push your thresholds and burn calories.


 Solution #5: Supersets, Circuits, Higher intensity movements. These are just a few solutions to the lack of effort syndrome. Pair up a lower/upper body movement or a push/pull movement. This will allow you to do more work in a shorter amount of time because you are resting less and moving your body through larger movements that will develop more strength and also burn a lot of calories, and ulimately fat.

Don’t get stuck in a rut with your training programs. Efficient, intense, and athletic based fitness programs will get you that great trim body that you are looking for. Kick up the intensity through heavier weights, bigger movements, and interval conditioning for cardio.

Don’t end up like this guy with your useless workouts. Remember what happens to him at the end of the movie….


But hey, I like to break a mental sweat too…

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Many people stick to their traditional gym workouts; cardio machines, nautilus machines, abdominal machines. Do you see a pattern developing?

Machines are ineffective tools for building muscle and losing body fat. They only move you in one plane of motion, they do not activate a large amount of muscle area, and they do not promote overall strength and power.
If you really want to step out of your comfort zone and train hard, efficient, and have some fun while doing it; try lifting and pushing some odd objects.

With odd shaped objects you recruit every muscle in your body to do the work, you burn a huge amount of calories due to that recruitment, you elevate your metabolism to levels you have never known and that can continue up to 36 hours post workout, and you test yourself mentally by moving with unstable circumstances that are not always perfectly placed like a machine or even a barbell.

Here are several ways to perform odd object lifting and to get the best training session of your life.

Kettlebells (Swings, Cleans, Snatches, Push Presses)

Can you tell that I love Lance or what?

Can you tell that I love Lance or what?

Prowler Sprints


Ring Exercises (Rows, Dips, Push Ups)

Keg (filled with water or sand) Throws, Presses, Cleans

One of the best exercises around

One of the best exercises around

Medicine Ball Throws (overhead, rotations, presses) Find a heavy ball and utilize a strong wall or go outside for some throws for power and conditioning

Sandbag (presses, lunges, cleans, squats, throws) This unstable element creates a huge workload no matter what the exercise. Throw that on your shoulders or hold it overhead for some squats, lunges, or farmer carries.

Farmers Carries (farmers walk implements, kettlebells, sandbags)

Scott showing how it's done

Scott showing how it's done

Tire Flips


Sledgehammer- use the tire that you just flipped for some rotation or overhead swings with this baby and your core will be on fire


Stone Lifts and Carries- This is a great method but most people do not have access to stones. If you don’t, you can always find some heavy and odd shaped ones in your yard and have some fun with that.
Give these exercises a try and you will see a huge gain in strength, lean muscle development, overall conditioning, and an elevated metabolism for ultimate fat loss.



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