Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Bent Pressing

I've sent out a couple of newsletters discussing the Bent Press this week. Since the technique can be kinda tricky, I decided to shoot a short video to hit a couple of the high points for you.

The bent press is covered in detail on my Full Body Power . I'll be running a a special sale on the DVD during Thanksgiving and the day after (Black Friday) watch for it!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Acai Berry scam?

Seems like everywhere you look on the Internet these days there's another company promoting the nutritious Acai Berry as a weight loss miracle. I have had several people ask my opinion on the subject. First, I KNOW you know better than to believe you're going to pop some pills - ANY pills - and have the pounds and inches melt off like magic. If you've been listening to me for any length of time you know true fat loss comes from a variety of factors, including exercise, recovery and proper nutrition. Notice "magic pills" ain't one of them.

Second, any fitness expert with any sense will tell you that any diet that promotes you eat any one food all day long ( like cookies) and then eat a "sensible dinner" is stupid. Yes, you will lose some weight short-term, but as soon as you go back to your old eating habits - and you know you will - you know exactly what happens.

In it's defense, the Acai Berry can be useful because it contains EXTREMELY powerful antioxidants and it is getting a lot of good press for that very reason. Antioxidants are extraordinary nutrients that help fight the free radicals associated with aging, cancer risk and other degenerative diseases.

And while on the subject, I wanted to fill you in on something that has recently been brought to my attention. Did you know that the coffee berry (the berry that covers the coffee bean) is one of the most powerful antioxidants on the planet? It's something researchers have discovered in recent years.

What's really cool is my friends at Prograde Nutrition have just created an amazing Whole Foods based Anti-Aging formula called Prograde Longevity that includes both Acai Berry and Coffee Berry. Oh, and it also utilizes Green Tea, Pomegranate, Wolf Berry and Biovin Grape (Red Wine extract.)Just to give you an idea of how powerful this formula is, well, you'd have to eat an entire POUND of raspberries to get the same ORAC value. ( ORAC stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity)

The best part is their having a Thanksgiving Week sale to celebrate the launch of Prograde Longevity. From now until Friday you can get 11% off Longevity or any of their other exclusive products they offer.You can check out Prograde Longevity for yourself here.

Just be sure to enter this coupon code in when you checkout: (yes, it's all lower case)

The code is "thanks"

Oh, and just so you know, you can't find Prograde products in stores anywhere. They're so exclusive they only let fitness experts work with their company to help them get the word out.BTW Prograde's 11% off Thanksgiving Week Sale ends this Friday at Midnight EST, so be sure to get over to the Prograde Store before then to stock up now.

Kettlebells, Functional Movement Screen, Goals and my knee

Well, I am getting an insert for my shoe and doing a little PT for my knee. Mark Snow, who is in my morning class is going to be helping me out. Mark is a fan of kettlebells and the Functional Movement Screen, so I just might learn something in the process.

Thanksgiving goals: I got my 16kg pullup and double vertical phonebook tear, so I feel pretty good about that. However, I didn't make my 40kg Bottom up press and doubt I'll get it in the next two days. I burned the candle at both ends for that one and did a little too much. I did learn lesson on that one and gain experience. The neurological demand of the bottom up press doesn't mesh well with a high volume approach for me.

Monday, November 24, 2008


I had my annual checkup last week and told the Doc about the recurring stiffness in my knee. She diagnosed it as a meniscus issue, which is nothing new. My chiro and Gray Cook both told me the same thing. She referred me to a Vanderbilt sports doc, and she reccomended physical therapy. My first appointment is this afternoon. We'll see what happens.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

It's my birthday

Thanks to everyone for all the emails, calls, forum posts, etc. wishing me a Happy Birthday. It means a lot to me. I will do my best to continue to improve as an RKC instructor and to push the limits of my own ability.

In an interview on DVD with Dennis Rogers, Slim the Hammer Man said something to the effect of how he" didn't reach peak until after 40. Between the ages of 40 and fifty, I was dangerous."

Another year and I get to be dangerous ;)

So until I get to be dangerous ( I am only 39 this year) I decided to rip this liscence plate into 39 pieces. I dropped a couple thru the cracks in the floor of the Shed of Strength, I actually made a few more than 39, but who's counting?

Thursday, November 20, 2008


I have heard before a quote that is something like "The difference between who you are now and who you'll be in 5 years is the people you meet and the books you read."

What am I reading?
On the plane to Tampa I re-read one of my favorite books: The Spiritual Journey of Joseph L. Greenstein-The Mighty Atom. I have only had it a few months and have read it 5 times now. It is hard to get ahold of, I got mine from Grandmaster Strongman Dennis Rogers. He only had 12 copies. They were autographed by the author Ed Speilman. I got 2 and gave one as a gift.

As a professional strongman in Vaudeville before the Great Depression, the Atom would routinely pull cars with his hair, bite thru chains and nails and bend steel as a part of his act. There are several quotes of worth in the book, but one that always jumps out at me from the Atom is "Imagine a new kind of man....A man without learned limits...." He harnessed the mental and physical potential the he had inside him.

What company am I keeping?
While in Tampa, I was surrounded by some of the sharpest minds in the fitness business for our Mastermind meeting. Jayson Hunter, Jim Labadie, Nick Berry, Pat Rigsby, Jason C Brown and Pamela MacElree and several others.

One of the participants was my friend Brian Grasso, head of the International Youth Conditioning Association. Brian has removed many of his own learned limits in both his personal and professional life. I am looking forward to working with him in June 2009 at the RKC Level Two certification. He has learned to create a vision and then make it into a reality. And he was just one of the 17 people I spent the past 2 days with.

All of them are already successful.

All of them are looking to learn more and improve what they do.

All of them understand that the only limitation is the one you allow yourself to believe.

What are you reading? What company do you keep?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Enthusiasm meets overtraining

Written on Monday, Nov. 17th, before getting on yet another airplane.

I am tired. Not just the kind of tired where you stayed up too late, but the kind of tired where you are travelling all over the place, not getting enough good food or rest and continuing to push yourself to meet goals that you set.

I set the goals to do a few things by Thanksgiving. (Remember that? Are you on track? Are you there yet?) I hit the first one several weeks back when I did a double vertical phonebook tear.

Monday, before I left for Tampa I hit another: the 16kg pullup.

The final one is a bottoms up press with a 40kg, a goal I set back at the RKC Certification in October. I got really close a couple of weeks ago (before Tokyo) then started sliding backwards.

My mistake: I did not figure the toll that so much travel and such an erratic schedule would take on me, mentally and on my nervous system. My enthusiasm over-rode my knowledge of training and myself. I had an interesting conversation with Master RKC Brett Jones about how we seem to mpourselves from our own advice much of time.

I am forcing myself to mostly take a break from training for the next couple of days while I go to Tampa. I will give the 40kg another shot or two over the next week and we'll see what happens.

Monday, November 17, 2008

More Travel....

I headed to Alabama last Friday night, stopped over in Huntsville for the night with some friends and then made my way to Montgomery early in the morning to teach my last workshop of 2008. Mark adn Gwen Lehmkuhl, both RKC, have a Crossfit facility there and we spent 4 hours or so outside drilling the basic drills we teach at the RKC Certification.

The group from Montgomery AL.

After the workshop, grabbed a little Bar-B-Que w/Mark & Gwen and hit the road home.

This afternoon I head to Tampa for a 2 day meeting with my business mentors Pat Rigsby, Nick Berry and Jim Labadie and a mastermind group that includes the Undergound Strength Coach Zach Even-Esh and Jason and Pam from Kettlebell Athletics. I come back late Wednesday night in time to prepare for my birthday weekend.

The common them (besides me running all over the place) is that I am surrounding myself with people who want to learn, grow and improve themselves. Yes, I teach kettlebells, but the real focus of my profession is self improvement. Sometimes the tool to accomplish that is a kettlebell. Sometimes it is a blog ;).

Thursday, November 13, 2008

More Warrior diet

My 100 day experiment with the Warrior Diet which began with reading Marty Gallagher's book the Puposeful Primitive is in its' last weeks and I am very pleased with it. Here is a list of pros and cons from my little experiment in self nutrition:

1. Compliance
. This may be the easiest plan I have ever encountered in terms of schedule and food selsection. Undereat all day, overeat at the big meal and stick to mostly natural food sources. Of course there is more to it than that, but that is the essence.

2. Schedule. I really love not having to stop and eat every 3 hours.

3. The BIG meal. On frequent feeding schedules, I often never feel like I quite got enough to eat at any single feeding. Not so with the PM Throwdown on the WD.

4. Fat loss. No doubt about it, the WD works for both shedding fat and building strength. I am a full 15lbs lighter than when I began and am about to drop below 260lbs for the first time this decade.

5. Taste. When the PM Throwdown rolls around, a couple of interesting things happen: Food tastes better. It's like a sharpening of the sense of taste. This also makes me crave the good stuff, especially beef and fruit.

1. Compliance.
This is not a problem witht he Warrior Diet, this is a deficiency in my personality. As I stated above, the WD is the easist, simplest schedule of eating I have ever followed. My compliance problem with it is the same as with any other: Poor choices and lack of planning.

Example: I did not plan well when I went to Japan. The time difference, available food and change in schedule were tougher than I anticipated.

Example: My inner fat kid can will take control if I let him, and he like cookies and fries. I let that happen too much during this 100 day jaunt.

2. Explanation. I get strange looks when I explain the WD. I get a lot of "they say breakfast is the most important meal of the day" or "you shouldn't skip meals" if I don't have lunch. I tell them I do eat breakfast and lunch-at 8pm with supper.

Then there is "they say that you shouldn't eat after 6pm", etc. I have to ask exactly who "they" are and how they know. Still don't have an answer on that one.

However, my profession is Instructor, and I am getting more confident and skillful at explaining the WD, so I don't know that it is really a con so much as I just need to get better at it.

I plan to continue on the WD and am looking forward to seeing what happens as I get better at it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Typical Warrior Diet day

I have had a number of requests to outline the average day for me on the Warrior Diet, what I am eating and how I time it with training.

I have in no way mastered the WD, but this is a glimpse at where I am now, after being inspired to do the WD by Marty Gallagher's book Purposeful Primitive.

Depending on whether I have 6am class, I wake up between 5am and 8 am. I'll get some coffee in my belly and usually add little milk to that. I generally do my own training session somewhere between 10 am and noon. After training, I'll have a shot of protein powder, sometimes in milk, and an apple or a banana.

If I get hunger pangs during the day, a handful of almonds, walnuts or pecans and some water tends to shut them down.

The big meal comes at around 8pm. I have a couple of favorites.

Spinach salad w/feta, raspberry vinaigrette, strawberries and walnuts.
Beef, I don't measure, but probably 16-20 oz of either steak or ground beef. My father in law is a farmer and I am currently making room in the freezer for a repeat of last Christmas-a side of beef. High quality stuff and super tasty.
If I am still hungry, yogurt mixed with protein powder and some peanut butter.

I mix 6 whole O3 eggs and 4-6 whites in a skillet and scramble them with black pepper and sometimes chopped green pepper. I'll heat up a can of organic black beans and mix it all up in a bowl with some cheddar cheese and chili seasoning. I call it a chili omelet. I'll eat this with whatever fruit/vegetable suits my fancy.

I have found that it is vitally important for me to not overdo the under eating. It leads to me being too hungry come time for the big meal and I wind up eating cookies or fries. When I eat a little more during the day, just enough to kill the pangs, I don't have to fight with my inner fat kid when the big meal gets there.

My friend and colleague Sara Cheatham Sr. RKC gives her perspective on it here.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Adam Glass explains reverse bending

This clip is 2 minutes of gold for anyone who wants wrist strength. Adam is as sudent of Grandmaster Strongman Dennis Rogers.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Extra session

I am still feeling a little "out of whack", presumably from the jet lag. Went ot the shed to work on ....whatever I felt like.

60d nail bend, Slim style (double overhand at chest level)
BUP 40kg attempt-about half way up on several attempts.
BW pullup a double & 3 singles
blue nail, reverse grip
BUP 32kg-a couple of solid singles on the left (PR) and a few doubles on the right.
16kg pullup attempt. Eye level.
Blue nail, Slim style.
BUP 28kg- ladder 1/1,2/2,2/3....1/1,2/2,2/3- Lowering on the left is crapping out on the 3rd rep.
12kg pullup-1 single, a few that were eye/nose level
A few iso-pull on my duct taped phone book.
1 book tear
BW pullup x 3 singles

16kg VO2 max :15:15 x 10 sets of 9 reps. My conditioning is feeling a little down today.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Getting "The Call"

It was one year ago today that my phone rang and after I answered I heard Pavel's familiar voice on the other end.

"So Dave, how are things going? How's your training?"

I don't remember exactly, but I recounted to him whatever I had been working on for the past few days.

After I finished, he said " There is something I want to ask you about..." and he proceeded to tell me about Brett and Andrea being promoted to the new Master RKC position.

Then he asked: "I was wondering if you would be interested in filling one of the Senior instructor positions?"

Of course I responded yes, and thank you. It was, and still is, a tremendous honor.

Especially when he told me that there were two other men on the list: Jeff O'Connor and Geoff Neupert. I have the utmost respect and admiration for both of them and am thankful for both their professional and person presnce in my life.

It has been an extremely wonderful year for me. I am certain the next year will follow in kind......

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


I have been home a couple of days, managed to get back onto a somewhat normal schedule and am working on getting the video clips together from Tokyo.

Here are the guys from Day One.
The plan for the day: The RKC Basic Six.
These guys were subject to a continous onslaught of swings , getups, cleans, presses, more swings, more getups, squats, snatches, more getups, more swings, snatch pulls, snatches, more getups, Jeff O'Connor's goblet squat ladder and more swings. Between sets I gave limited translated lecture and a few feats of strength to underscore the principles of tension, alignment and power generation.

They learned the meaning of the Hardstyle School of Strength. I gave them several tools for generating tension. At the top of every getup and squat they would shout "HARDSTYLE!" It was a thing of beauty.

All of them had been coached by Taikei Matsushita, RKC II and were versed on body alignment, hip drive, etc. I introduced them to the overspeed eccentric and the painful realization that a swing is not just a swing. They were very friendly and treated me extremely well, wanting photos with me and even asking for autographs.

Koba, on the bottom row, far right in the Iron Tamer baseball jersy proclaimed to me that he is "Number one fan of Iron Tamer mania" and asked me to sign his shirt.

The group from day two.
Day two was the material from my Full Body Power DVD. Review of swings and getups, then into the windmill, getup-windmill combos, Follow the Leader series, and the Burpee series.
The description from Koba's translated blog: "It was Demon's menu".

The last teaching segment was the bent press and 2 hands anyhow. After that, more swings.

Anjin, standing fourth from the left with an open mouth (shouting) in the picture above expressed to me in his best broken English "Today I learn spirit of kettlebell and heart of kettlebell from you. Thank you." I cannot possibly imagine a higher compliment.

To my new friends: Domo Arigato, HARDSTYLE!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Crossing the ocean

In a few mnutes Taikei is picking me up to head to the airport, then home via a layover in Chicago. I have a bunch of cool footage of the workshop that I will post in the next few days. It has been an amazing experieince for which I am extremely grateful.

More to follow when I am back in Music City........

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Live from Tokyo......

Konichiwa! That's Japanese for "how ya'll doin'?"

I managed to find a computer in the business center at the hotel. Today's workshop was great, lots of sweat, lots of swings and lots of Hardstyle!

Tomorrow promises to be great as well. To eveyone who made it out today: Aragato! ( Japanese for " I 'ppreciate it")

Full report when I return to the states......