Strength is never a weakness: BJJ

 Truer words have never been spoken.   

Truer words have never been spoken.


“You’ve got great hip awareness, and you’re really strong!”

These are the consoling words I generally hear as I get politely and respectfully submitted 20 years and 3 weeks into my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training. As the only 20 year white belt I know, I take this comment, and I process it.

The 20 years part is only partially true. I found BJJ in 1997 when my friends dad, who ran a martial arts school that mainly trained Jeet Kune Do. UFC was still on VHS tapes in these days. Had I only stayed with it! Alas, I didn’t, and being a touring musician was more of a priority at the time.

3 years ago, I had another exposure when I tried bringing BJJ to my nonprofit gym (strength training for Baltimore city youth ages 11-24). It ran a month or two, and I learned as much as I could while we were piloting the program. I was sad to see it go, but it didn’t get the traction with our youth that we wanted it to.

3 weeks ago I joined a BJJ school called Zenyo Jiu Jitsu. It has been nothing but fun, and a really healthy training environment. I get tapped often, and it is always with control and respect. After each roll, the higher belts will impart a piece of knowledge that will help me avoid with they just tapped me with. That’s when they mention that my strength and hip awareness made me harder to deal with.

At first, I consider the strength bit a compliment, after all, I do teach humans how to be stronger for a living. Then I realize that my use of strength means I’m likely not being efficient. Congrats GB, you’ve been trying to get strong for the past 10 years, and now that you’re there you’re just another guy trying to use muscle where technique would be more optimal. When I was weak I had to do it right haha

Takeaway: Work smarter, not harder. Conversely, strength is never a weakness, you just have to know how, when, and where to apply it.

The hip awareness I can partially credit to my two tiny training phases in BJJ, and the lions share is my training for movement quality in my strength training. Deadlifts, Animal Flows, squats, and posterior pelvic tilt planks can’t be done well without hip awareness, mobility, and strength.

Takeaway: Having more bodily awareness translates into athletic endeavors. Training with the intention of quality in compound movements and controlled locomotions has worked for me.

Cutting away distractions

One step closer to being a monk 😆

GB Shaved head.jpg

For me, cutting off my hair is a way of cutting away distractions 🤔I'm the type of guy that needs to cut down on distractions, and I have been as long as I can remember.

For any of you that knew me as a younger kid, you know Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder was an understated description. Distractions were everything, and everywhere. Today, I still have just as much, if not more scattered energy, but now I have the tools to harness and steer it. 

My tools for the job?

They are: my “why”, mindfulness, physical exertion, and the realization that I’m going to die. 

My “why” dictates what I am going to do on this earth. 
Mindfulness helps me declutter the overwhelming amount of thoughts and ideas of what I could be doing. It helps me see what is distraction and what is meaningful. 
Physical exertion brings me a mental/emotional calmness that can’t be replicated with any other modality. 
Knowing that I’m going to die, and that I don’t know when, creates the urgency. 

Action items: Think about why you do the things you do daily. Do they make sense? If after reflection, you notice that some of the things you do daily are counter to what you truly want most in life, then it’s time to make a change. 

If you want to start this process, email me at

"Just because something is traditional is no reason to do it, of course"

*That quote comes courtesy of Lemony Snicket

Appeal to Tradition.jpg

You know who doesn’t fall to the Appeal to Tradition otherwise known as argumentum ad antiquitatem?  Young humans.

You very rarely hear them saying “But that’s the way it’s always been done”.

In just the way that we all should do more often, they are easily capable of questioning why something is the way it is, and even more open to suggesting we change it. There’s no attachment because everything is new to them.

What thoughts or beliefs are you clinging to that might be harmful to you, your community, our world?

Best Possible Self exercise

What do you think of when you think of writing? 

I used to think of my bad grammar skills and poor punctuation. I immediately get images of being forced to sit at a desk to write about subjects I don't care about. It is pretty hard to write about things you can't connect with or aren't engaged by. 

What if we wrote about something fun and exciting on a subject you are a world renowned expert on? What if there were no judgements on perfect punctuation or typos? That would be way cooler, right?!

Good news... you can start today! More good news... when you're done, you will most likely be more of an expert on a specific subject than you were when you started. Last good news... that subject is YOU and your future!

Ready to try? There is no barrier to starting this exercise as long as you have 10 minutes, pen & paper or laptop/tablet, and an open mind. (I actually think you could start this exercise with a pretty closed mind, and be pleasantly surprised with how much more open it was by the end)

The Best Possible Self exercise is simply jotting down what your imaginary future looks like if everything goes right. It can be sentences or shorthand. Punctuation doesn't matter. Length doesn't matter. Maybe it is detailed, maybe it's brief. It doesn't need to make sense to anyone except for you. Your 10 minute timer is set, right?

3,2,1, GO!

Welcome back. How was your experience? When you read over the list, are you filled with excitement and optimism? Are you surprised with what your future self values? If so, what are the reasons for valuing those things? Are you living a life today that will get you to your optimal future self? 

This can be done once a week or month with surprising results. After all, how are you going to know yourself if you don't think about yourself. How are you going to get what you want out of life if you never stop to think about what you want out of life?

Bonus: At the end of this exercise, think of 3 pieces of advice that your future self would give you. Then take that advice! Your future self is one smart cookie ;) 

GB, why do you use the term "Humans" so often?

Good Question! I use the descriptive term Humans for everyone because thats how I try to see everyone. No matter what your race, gender identity, religion/non-religion, birthplace, skin color, sexual orientation, height, weight, hair style, nationality, I will do my best to be open and kind to you. 

It's my small way of being the change that I want to see in the world. I believe that these identities, while useful for self identity and creating a tribe, can also be the focus of differentiating ourselves from one another to a level of exclusion and misunderstanding of one another. 

We are all in this world together. This world is getting smaller every day because of the exponential growth curve of technology of transport and communication. Focusing on our differences does nothing to move us ahead as a species. 

From one human to another, I hope you're enjoying this flight on a rock hurtling through outer space, and I encourage you to see anyone in your daily life as a fellow human, before anything else.

<3 GB

Beats by GB (metronome beats, that is)

A Metronome App on my iPhone. Gamechanger.


Standards. Do you have them?

With so many qualitative and quantitative metrics available to modern coaches, we have to know which ones to use, with which clients, at the right times. Speaking of time, lets talk about perfect time.


This is a gamechanger for quality because of the control and grace aspect. It also helps track quantity as well because we can accurately measure time under tension. As a tension teaching tool it can't be beat! A personal example of the effectiveness of the metronome is my muscle-up. Now I'm not one to brag (get ready to hear a brag), but I pull like a savage. My concentric is violent and explosive, but there is one little problem with that. We don't only pull up... we also have to lower down. I could pull on top of the rings with the greatest of ease, but I couldn't lower down without flailing or falling. That single sided strength was likely hindering my progress getting reps, and it was most certainly a recipe for a shoulder/elbow injury down the road.

I added in the qualitative measurement of 3 second eccentrics and miraculously my reps record went from 3 sloppy reps to 5 perfect slow reps.

Now for an example we an all imagine. Have you seen (or been) that squatter that slams to the bottom of the squat only to wriggle/shift/worm/seizure their way up? That person needs some metronome in their life! Making a regression in weight and starting with 5 second eccentric squats until the bar/body path was consistent would do wonders for their performance and longevity. 

  • Does this take concentration? Yup.
  • Does this take discipline? Yup.
  • Does it challenge your ego doing down in weight or reps? Mos def. 
  • Is your short term and long term health and performance goals worth the temporary step back?Hell yup!!!

I hope you try these for a phase of your training, and see what the beat can do for you. 

<3 GB

*to balance out the aforementioned brag, its worth noting that I press like a toddler.

**Pro-tip for powerlifters: this technique will straighten out your bar path in the squat and bench in no time. You'll feel how much harder it is to have an inefficient bar path. 

You and your gym need this cheap fix! (Only if you're looking to make progress)

I have an "Intentional Gym Community Member", hereinafter referred to as IGCM, who trains with me once a week, and trains by themselves twice a week. We train compound lifts like squats and deadlifts, and we train gymnastic strength for upper body. Occasionally, this athlete comes to me and says...

IGCM: I don't feel like I'm getting stronger.

Me: How long do you rest between your work sets?

IGCM then says "I dunno" or "like, maybe a minute". Thats when IGCM gets a present. 

 The Gamechanger  

The Gamechanger  

Ye olde egge timer... That's it. An egg timer is what its gonna take to get ICGM, and possibly you, stronger and better at the skills they are trying to learn. The vein on my forehead is already starting to bulge out a little, only because encouraging rest (read: forcing rest) is one of those things that I have suggested until I'm purple in the face, only to have my clients come back like "jeez, coach GB, you were right". Resting between sets is not lazy, it's smart. It is how high level athletes train, and if you'd like to get awesome results it would be wise to align your training methodology with someone that is paid to get results. 

As with all things, there are a few exceptions, like EMOM's or limiting rest in attempt to increase work capacity, but for most of us, including me, just need to rest. One of the things I liked most about the Ido Portal Online Coaching was that my rest periods were all written out, leaving very little to question. 

My findings are that timer works better than the large timer on the wall or a cell phone. I believe it's because the egg timer won't distract you like your snapchat riddled cellie, and it's better than the wall timer because it beeps at you and can't be ignored. At least not with my Intentional Community Members around, who will ruthlessly hound you if you leave your timer going off unattended. 

Are you looking for skills or strength but having a hard time finding them?

Egg timer. Gamechanger!!!

 <3 GB

Coaches Corner: Optimal Meet Preparation

Coach Shawn and GB discuss ways to have an optimal meet. No matter what the result, you want to be able to say that you did all you could to be ready. 

Our main points are as follows...


1: Visualize everything.  Imagine yourself smoking your opener, and imagine yourself missing your opener.  Think about the people that will be staring at you (judges and audience).  You won't miss an opener if you've taken your opener 50 times because you imagined every variable dozens of times.

2: Sport specificity is not an excuse to avoid weaknesses.  If baseball players only every rotated in the direction of their bat swing/throwing arm, they would have spinal injuries and hip injuries from imbalanced core development.  If you make the case that this concept doesn't carry over to weightlifting and powerlifting, I am convinced you are lying to yourself and use sport specificity as a convenient argument to hide your pride.

3: There is a difference between "wrong" positions and bad positions.  It may be wrong to lean forward excessively in a squat, but that does not mean that a hinge is a bad position.  Athletes must train movement in every direction under a variety of loads and using different tools to truly eliminate weaknesses.  This training approach builds a more versatile athlete capable of recovering from imperfect movement.  Additionally, training load tolerance in different positions will reduce the likelihood of injury should someone find themselves in a "wrong" position.


1 - Mimic competition in practice. Team GB and Team MissionFit have always taken a half of a training session to hit perfect singles to a competition standard, with a competition set-up, with  people watching for extra pressure. No music, just focus. 

2 - Do positional work. This has benefitted me personally in my gymnastic strength training, and it is being done by some very forward thinking weightlifting/powerlifting coaches as well. Be rock solid and intentional in every inch of that lift and how you position your body. 

3 - Control your variables. This means no new equipment before your meet. Belts, wraps, shoes, singlets, and tape should all be tried and true. If you get something new, use it next meet!

4 - Know the rules! This one bit me in the butt once, and only once. Know exactly what is expected beforehand. A good meet organizer will provide you with these details, but don't be afraid to ask if they don't.

Letter to a Cynical Friend: The Strength of Optimism

Are humans the most adaptable and capable hardware ever created? We have some built in operating system glitches, and those can all be rewritten with a little bit of time and work. Am I so off on this one? Why wouldn’t someone have undying optimism in the human race? 

Historically, people have gotten things wrong with how to deal with other people. I don’t believe this needs to be an endless cycle. Go ahead, think “But that’s how things have always been.” Then also realize that the appeal to tradition or argumentum ad antiquitatem, can’t be a valid answer.

It may seem like it could take forever to get to the point of collective enlightenment, but please consider that we are closer to exponential growth in technology and shared consciousness than we have ever been before. Imagine the world that your great great grandparents lived in. The world now is unrecognizable to someone 2-3 generations away.

Remember that every almost every advance in humanity comes from optimism. Innovation generates from a person thinking something can happen even when most other people think it can’t. Yes, that was an appeal to tradition, but I think you will find it is one that will get you much further in life. 


Note: the author is a flawed human being, who is suffering from a brutal case of the Socratic Paradox, “I know that I know nothing"

Happy Hollowing!

Do you, or a client, have a hard time understanding why hollow holds are so valuable? My experiences suggests that maybe, just maybe, you're doing them wrong. If they aren't challenging, it is because you are making them too easy! In the second half of this article I will talk about two ways to approach progression in the hollow hold, and for those impatient souls, I will get right to the point. 

Hollow Harder! Do you guys know about the RKC plank? The idea is that your average, run of the mill plank doesn't engage much, and that you get more bracing tension when surrounding muscle groups tighten up as well. Chip Conrad taught me to do a plank like someone could stand on me.... so I did!

Phew, my lady walks all over me!

Apply those same principles of tension to the hollow and now you're on a road to Tremble City and a foundation of "core" strength worth building other, more complicated movements off of.

Some people just get how to engage harder, or they can easily be cued with something like "bring your shoulders higher off the ground" or "pretend like I'm about to Godzilla stomp your tum-tum". Others will need the band. 

In the band set-up I have my client lie down on their back, bring then knees directly above their hips, then hold the band in a hammer grip above their chest. From there I tell them to crunch up and don't let their shoulders touch the ground or don't let me pull the band back. I slowly walk back with the band until I see some little abdominal twitches or they say I'm at the right place. It doesn't take much, so communicate well and go slowly at first. 

Make yourself, The Lever, shorter for beginners, and then extend your body out into a longer position to make it more challenging. Be able to own each position for a minimum of 30 seconds before progressing to the next. My 4 basic shapes for the Hollow are as follows.

  1. Laying on your back, tuck your knees up until they are directly above your hips. You will start with your straight arms to your sides, then reach up like you're trying to touch your toes. If you executed this properly your shoulders and upper back have now lifted off the ground, and your back is pressed firmly to the ground. 
  2. Get into position #1, lock it down tight, and slowly raise your arms to be directly beside your head. This is a good time to check your neck tension. It should be cranked forward or falling back, just neutral like it would be if you were standing. The most common fault I see is the shoulders dropping to the ground, so be mindful of your position as your arms are going back. but your abs staying tight enough to keep your shoulders raised. 
  3. This next version can also start from position #1. Start there, find tension with your low back pressed into the ground, then extend your legs. When your legs lock straight (think squeezed quads. Tension!) then you can lower them as long as you hold that hollow scooped out position. 
  4. In the last version we transition from position #3 into #4 by bringing your arms directly beside your head.  Your low back stays pressed to the ground. You are now creating the longest lever, so this is the progression to work to after practicing the other ones with quality!

Happy Hollowing!

4 quick tips that I wish someone had told me sooner about training.

Strength Coaches don't always need to get super cerebral, geekin' out on the deets. These tips are easily digestible and easy to implement immediately.

  • chalk on your hands helps you pick heavy things up off the floor. If you don't chalk up you aren't really trying to pick up heavy things. 
  • most of us can't do a long distance run on Sunday and expect to PR our squat on Monday.
  • you probably need to have eaten something at least 3-4 hours before a heavy or hard session. The fall out, or bonk, is real. 
  • you need to rest in between sets if you want to get stronger, or if you want to maintain a high level of control and quality of movement. 



The one person necessary for grassroots success is...


When you’re excited about the work we do, Strengthening Baltimore’s Youth at MissionFit, you’re bound to ask what you can do to help. I'll simply ask you to tell one person who will also be excited about what we do. At a minimum you will contribute to our word of mouth grassroots marketing, and if you tell the right person maybe they will positively influence some youth to walk through our doors with the intentions of self improvement. Either way it’s a win!

Same thing with Personal Training clients. Tell one person about your progress since you started training with me. If it feels too much like bragging about how many inches you’ve lost or how much your deadlift is, you can humbly give me all of the credit even though we both know that you did all the hard work 😉 

The genius of this technique is that people very rarely tell one person, they tell bunches of people! It works because they will have a very low commitment level to buy in, I mean, everyone can tell just one person. If I asked you to scream it off the mountaintops to everyone you know, that sounds more daunting, and a little bit like work. Telling one person is as easy as can be!


Action items

  • Tell one person about MissionFit if you think it’s valuable
  • Tell one person about your experience training with me if you think it’s valuable
  • *If you are a professional or Non-profit organization and you’re doing great work, try using this strategy for yourself. I think you’ll be pleased. 

Less Fat & More Muscle Starts Here

You are what you eat. Its true and trite as possible. There are times to nitpick the Nth degree of details and there are times for action. Assuming we all know the basics like... 

  • Less processed is better than highly processed
  • Eat your veggies
  • Don't eat until you're busting at the seams

.... then you might need to hear something honest like this excerpt from Dan John's Mass Made Simple...

"Honestly, seriously, you don’t know what to do about food? Here is an idea: Eat like an adult. Stop eating fast food, stop eating kid’s cereal, knock it off with all the sweets and comfort foods whenever your favorite show is not on when you want it on, ease up on the snacking and— don’t act like you don’t know this— eat vegetables and fruits more. Really, how difficult is this? Stop with the whining. Stop with the excuses. Act like an adult and stop eating like a television commercial. Grow up."

...and now, let us focus on how to easily get quality nutrients into your fridge and then into your belly!


Tip #1: Make food shopping fun! My two suggestions are to either go with someone who makes it more fun, or go somewhere that is fun. I have two grocery store buddies, and one farmers market buddy. They make a trip to the grocery store or market way more fun. The farmers market is my fun location because you get to stare into the eyes of the human that raised your butternut squash with care. That, my friends, is priceless. 


chicky chicky boom boom.jpg

Tip #2: Make meal prep easy. This may take a few small financial investments to get the most efficient tools for the job.  I'd start with a crock pot and set of pyrex storage bowls.  The crock pot is for easy cooking and easy clean-up. The pyrex are for easy storage and transport when you need them. We have just taken off some common mental handcuffs when eliminating the "I can't cook" excuse. It is much easier to continue a great habit if you make that habit easy, accessible, and excuse free. 

For accountabilities sake, I'll let you know two of my action items. The first was to get sweet potatoes to put in the crockpot overnight. I did that last night, and this morning I got to eat a delicious small sweet potato! The second is getting a carnitas recipe from my friend Gina. I will be sharing the recipe after I make it, which gives you about a week to buy (or dust off) you crockpot and pyrex!




Anyone can thrive from strength training!

You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink. - Proverb from a very frustrated horse owner 

 I'm not suggesting that you are a horse, but.....

I'm not suggesting that you are a horse, but.....

I'd like to lead you to water. In other words, I'd like to explain the importance of doing strength training with a coach. I'd also like you to drink. In other words, I'd like you to join a class or tell someone about MissionFit when you get to that water. 

The strength, mobility and conditioning work we do at MissionFit is a key piece of everyone's ability to thrive. It just plays a different role depending on where you are in your life. Examples are...

  • Strength training increases bone density to combat osteoporosis and frail bones in your golden years.
  • Mobility and postural strength in your late twenties and early thirties will extend your hard earned athleticism from your youth. 
  • The neural adaptions of youth who participate in gymnastics are unrivaled when it comes to developing full body awareness, coordination, and strength. 
  • The confidence built by doing more difficult progressions in an exercise or lifting progressively heavier weights is invaluable for your self-esteem and confidence in your abilities no matter your age or your goals. 

Now this is where a qualified coach comes in. You can certainly do physical training by yourself, but I haven't seen many scenarios where a good coach couldn't help you reach your goals faster and with fewer roadblocks. 

In order to take proper action I'm going to break you into 2 categories. 

  • 14 years old to 100 years old: come to our community classes to get 100% scalable and individualized training for wherever you're at. The Strength Clubs are donation based so there can't be any objection about cost ;)
  • 14 years old to 24 years old: we have classes just for you! You are the primary reason we are open!

So, show up! Or email me for more details. 



If Donnie Thompson and Max Shank had a baby....

It might look like me....


In all seriousness, my knowledge base as a coach is a product of many different disciplines, and I devour knowledge from any source I deem reputable. This warm-up I recorded for prepping and improving your hamstring mobility borrows from Donnie Thompson, (He is the first human to ever total 3000lbs! 8-all time World Records in Professional Powerlifting) and  Max Shank (he has written 3 books and taught over a hundred courses in countries around the world). How is that for reputable?

The warm-up protocol is 3 sets of 15-20ft QL walks, 5 second toe hold, 5 reps compression pike pulse. If you were doing the Ultimate Athleticism program you might do this routine in between work sets in the interest of efficiently spending your precious gym time. 

Come to think of it, I think I also heard Coach Sommer talking to Tim Ferriss about these as well. If I have come across so many great minds suggesting these movements don't you think its about time to try them?! 



Update from Ido Portal Online Coaching and other Useful tips.

 How I feel lately.... a crumpled little ballerina ( Swan Despair by Caroline Martin)

How I feel lately.... a crumpled little ballerina (Swan Despair by Caroline Martin)

Phew, how do I start describing the exhaustion, the cliche blood/sweat/tears/blah/etc and occasional bumpy road that comes with trying to execute something much better than you're capable to doing right now? 

Exhaustion: Yup, I'm a little tired lately. I'm getting 8-10 hours of sleep per night, and then taking naps as needed to make up for a short night here and there. I think it is more mental exhaustion of training 6 days a week for extended amounts of time doing the same things, but at the same time I find this repetition and routine so refreshing! I don't think I'll have any black or white opinions about this style of training for at least another month because the body is amazing at adapting to stimulus you provide it. 

Blood: yeah, I had a bit of that, but not much. The super slow eccentric of a ring muscle-up occasionally takes a piece of skin in transition. No worries, a little Mueller's Athletic Tape and I was good to go!

Tears: In hindsight this is such a teenie tiny non-existent issue, but at the time when I couldn't keep my right elbow from bending in the initial phase of the ring Skin the Cat I wanted to scream, cry, and kick my feet. I figured it out in my next session, Squeezed the life out of the rings, flexed my triceps like I never ever wanted them to bend ever again, and it worked :)

Conclusion: As I round the end of week 2 and into week 3 I feel optimistic about the skills and body awareness I'm gaining. On days where motivation is low I've been inviting friends to join me, and that distracts me a little from the hard work thats about to follow. It works, you should try it if you're lacking any motivation or feeling the grind. To end on a light note, I'm really enjoying this. Just because my will power is being challenged doesn't mean this isn't amazing fun!

Tips: learn your shoulders natural range of motion, then practice moving in those available ranges.

  • Elevation
  • Depression
  • Retraction 
  • Protraction

It is not the end of your shoulder education, but it is a fantastic start. 

Homework for the knowledge hungry: The Secrets of Gymnastic Strength Training , sooooo many gems! Tim Ferriss and Coach Sommers drop some serious knowledge bombs. Most informative part for me was the discussion about how connective tissue takes so much longer to repair fully. Lesson learned? Be patient and spend lots of time doing the basics right. 

Your daily laugh: I got a super funny (to me) punishment for doing my 140 mile charity bike ride. Johnny commended the good cause and then had me do 140 Eagle Arms in both directions for repentance haha I must be sick because I enjoyed it. Watch and laugh at my expense haha



School of Hard Knocks Learner Meets Wise Old Master

Soooo, I am 2.5 weeks into the Ido Portal Online Coaching and I did something stupid. In addition to my 6 days a week of 3-4 hours of training, plus a 3 day road trip to Austin Texas, I completed a 140 mile bike ride for charity. Foolish, right?

While my ride did raise money to support feeding people with HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening conditions, it most likely detracted from my workouts and my recovery. 

I felt the need to confess to my coach, so I did. A day later I got this response that made me smile and laugh "140 mile charity ride: a worthy cause but definitely not helpful for training. 140 reps of eagle arms both directions as repentance and you're in the clear." 

This reminded me of what would most likely happen in an awesome old kung fu movie when the young student does something silly, and the wise old master gives them something hard to do, just so they can think about what they've done. This school of hard knocks student just got his lesson haha

I'm really appreciating the accountability that this program has provided me with, even in a short amount of time. 

(just so you know, eagle arms are exotic torture movements that simultaneously strengthen your upper back)

Pen Penny Foot Drill

 Pen Penny Drill

Pen Penny Drill

You might have the best, most stable feet in the whole wide world... I don't. Half of the clients I've worked with have weak feet from those aforementioned high tech shoes, and it results in an unstable base, which then results in knee and hip issues. In these cases I'm not surprised if they also have knee and hip issues due to other modern lifestyle choices, but I always check the feet to see how strong their base is. 

I have a couple of tools in the ol' toolbox to fix the issues, but this one is a great eye opener for awareness to see if your foot is doing what you think it is doing. It teaches you what muscles you are or aren't activating and gives you a cue of how to activate your arch without tipping your entire foot. 

You simply put a penny under the joint of the big toe, and a pen under your arch. With both feet on the ground press down on the penny while pulling off of the pen. If that is easy shift more weight on the pen/penny foot or lift up your other foot entirely. 

This is the video I borrowed this drill from and I encourage you to watch it when you get the time. It's got other good tricks to make your feet more functional. 



The benefit to Yoga that no one is talking about!

Ok, "no one" is a stretch, but very few people I know I talking about your.... Feet. 

Yoga is one of the only popular health and fitness modalities that encourages barefoot practice. It is so refreshing and systemically beneficial to be able to stretch and strengthen one of the most important and complex parts of your body without overthinking it. The balancing poses for strength and stability. Poses that get your ankles to go into dorsiflexion and plantar flexion will open up your usable ranges of motion in a way that will transfer into athletics, weight training, and life in general. 

The fact that you don't need special equipment to perform yoga makes it accessible to everyone. There are donation based classes at most yoga centers that allow the broke guy/gal to do yoga next to the affluent business person. Sure you can buy a $108 Manuka Yoga Mat but you certainly don't need to. The industrial fitness complex loves selling you things, and workout specific shoes make up a large portion of the market. Your buddy GB only has one problem with that...           

"high tech shoes make low tech feet." *

Ponder on that quote when you lace up your Reebok Nano's or Hoka Odyssey 2's. **

Of course, you don't need to wait for yoga to free those feetsies, but it is about the only place in modern society that won't frown upon it. At any American gym you would hear "ew, omg, look at (insert gender identity specific pro-noun) feet!", or people will think that you're a dirty hippy. Try walking around in the comfort of your own home, spreading your toes often. It feels splendid!



*the author is jealous that Ido Portal so eloquently summed up the author's thoughts on the matter. The author usually just goes into long rants about shoe companies and how amazing nature's/god's design is. 

** the author doesn't really have a problem with the Reebok Nano, but holds the opinion that the Hoka shoe is the worse thing to happen to feet since Chinese foot binding. 

The 2 fitness buzzwords you'll be hearing this year...

"Movement" & "Gut Health" 

You won't be able to escape these words in 2016 and for very good reason. They started popping up sporadically as I searched through my favorite online health/performance/fitness sources. Then they invaded my beloved podcasts. I couldn't run, and neither could the tastemakers of the industry. We had fallen head over heels for the idea and pursuit of  better "movement" and "gut health".

"Movement" - One name comes to mind. Ido Portal.

It's not that other fitness professionals haven't taught us about the different qualities of movement. Greg Glassman and "his" (I heard he "borrowed" this list from the Dynamax ball guy) ten recognized fitness domains. Cardiovascular and Respiratory endurance, Stamina, Strength, Flexibility, Power, Speed, Coordination, Agility, Balance, and Accuracy. Dan John and his 5 basic human movements Push, Pull, Hinge, Squat, Loaded carries and the 6th movement is everything else, like crawling, tumbling, rolling. The difference between Ido and these other smart gents is that he is the personification of Movement. In practice, in his self professed cruel tutelage, on podcasts, and all over youtube, he is a Mover and he will let you know it. Last year I went to his MovementX workshop in NYC and it was like taking the red pill into the Matrix (pop culture reference) or falling down Alice's rabbit hole (classic reference). My world was flipped upside down, and I was presented with so much information that I didn't know where to start! I practiced and processed, and in my own right, as a 35 (now 36) year old man I have greatly improved as a Mover. If you are feeling a little discouraged watching his upper echelon elite movement, take comfort in the fact that his program is scalable enough for his 64 year old mother.


"Gut Health", Dr Rhonda Patrick personally taught me, and everyone else listening to the podcasts she's recently been on, about my gut microbiome and its effects on my overall health. 

Basically, your gut is doing sooooooo much more than we previously thought. From nervous system regulation, anxiety control, obesity, brain function, and the obvious digestion, the bacteria that are in your digestive track are finally getting credit where credit is due. Dr.Patrick introduced me to VSL#3, the probiotic that helped me cure my dry itchy skin on my face and scalp (self diagnosed seborrheic dermatitus) in one month. At nearly $90 a month it was totally worth it, but I stopped taking it after it worked. My dry skin has since come back and I've just started my next dose with the intention of taking it for at least 6 months. My health is worth any amount of worldly money and so is yours! Consider looking into quality Prebiotics, Probiotics, and Fermented Foods. It may be the health game changer you were looking for. 


Are you questioning what I'm saying? Good! Always question everything you read/hear and run it through your personal B.S. filter. Do your own research and see where it takes you. Thank you for letting me share my thoughts with you!