Friday, February 29, 2008

Hatha Yoga

First class of the week, just been really busy so I have been doing my home practice this week. Typical home practice is about 30 minutes so it is wonderful to get into the class, spend 90 minutes, hear an instructors voice and get some personal attention to detail.... after all, I am a student of yoga and being in a classroom is essential. It is also important to build the strength and stamina required for 90 minutes of class especially since I will be this and more for 14 straight days in April.

90 minute Hatha Flow at Willow Glen Yoga.

Key points for today:

*Importance of alignment

*Importance of having the breathe lead the movement.

*Find your own pace, because not everyone has the same inhale/exhale lengths and depths.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Active Recovery..TGU and Double Pistol

I had an unusual bit of extra time today before my class at X-Body so I decided to take advantage of it. Here is what I came up with

Turkish Get-up

A bit fatigued from yesterdays workloads but had enough gusto to push myself today. Felt really good and I got the heart beating and muscles feeling alive

Double Pistol (2 bells in the rack)

This was a PR and a great balance to the single bell. Completely different move since you get no forward lean therefore keeping an upright position. I felt a different strength and balance requirement and another level of focus.

Bosu Getup Situp
50 reps straight

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

working the kinks out

Working on the kinks in the new program design. Per my conversation with Rif we are continuing with Monday squats and going to mix with deadlifts and swings at the end (assuming I am not fried). So changing some things with the Wed workout

Clean and Press

Ok, any time I touch that 40kg I am humbled. It is nver 'easy' to move and truly requires my 100% undivided attention.

Today I increased via the addition of a set which was the right call. I am not sure 4 reps was in the equation not with the technique I am working so hard to continually solidify and improve. But they went up strong today and I feel good with this progression ....another set next week


this was the appropriate protocal for sets and reps today. I want to focus on pulling my chin 'way' over the bar and getting my top end strength. These went well and adding another set next week, keeping to the reps.

Great workout today and I was pleased to not be sore just a bit oof CNS fatigue from Mondays 'volume' workout

Monday, February 25, 2008

Snatch and Swing

Been a while since I have done any "volume" work. So today was a big change of pace hitting the Snatch for reps and doing swings which seem to be a foreign thing, at least in my workouts.

32/5/5x10 (100 total)

Felt really good today. The groove felt strong start to finish and the only thing I noticed is the hands were a little sore from the pure volume. I thought I would do 5 sets but Rif and I both were moving at a good clip and it felt great

2 hand Swing

Focused on linking and rooting feeling the muscles work to contract and keep my body tight. Hammie started to get a little cranky so I stopped 1 set shy of the goal of 5. Just playing smart as I get more reps and volume in.

30 minutes of yoga practice

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Strength and Awareness

Strength and Awareness! I am feeling the body and minds strength and awareness growing. This is offering a much more rewarding practice as I truly am enjoying and experiencing the moves.

The path to mastery is ever evolving and a journey that is never ending or at least I hope. However, there a stages or levels that we achieve along the way that enhance our understanding and compassion.

I am realizing this not only with Yoga but even Kettlebells. Yesterday I had an opportunity to work with Rif at Kettlebell Workshop for Axis Fitness in Menlo Park. And as I listened to Rif, I realized that we speak a similar tongue not necessarily in depth of overall knowledge but in true understanding of the bell, it uses, its movement, its practical nature, its implementation and value that it provides my client base. I realized that I am truly a teacher/coach/conveyor of movement and that I am on my path and I am thankful for the levels of mastery and I truly am taking steps in the process.

This week I have a workshop I am offering at Cisco which is expecting 30 people and in 1 hour I will teach them to swing, squat and press, all by myself. How exciting this is for me and I know it will be for them. I love the opportunity to teach and work with people who are interested in whatever brings them to the workshop. I know it will be fun, informative and they will walk out with something they can take with them (no, not free kettlebells :-).

What a great path!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Pistols & Pull-ups

Worked a super set of Pistols and Pull-ups. I am not used to this time of the morning for my workouts so a bit of adjusting however being that I am up at 5:15 (the latest) Monday-Friday I am at least awake.


20/5, 4, 3

My new goal is 5x5 with the Pull-up. My gut feeling is a 5x5 with a good weight would be a great next step, this is why I switched to the 20kg in the workout. Also I want to train my top end of the pull strength since this is what I am lacking. So next Friday I will work toward 5x5 with the 20kg.

My body and mind feel really strong and fresh. My nutrition and workout plan are working well

Friday, February 22, 2008

Yoga Friday

90 minute Iyengar Flow yoga at Darshana in Palo Alto with Elaine. Great class, great flow and truly discovering my body and its relation to space. Yoga has been very eye opening and I am training not just my body but my mind, a very important balance I wish to continue to evolve. For that reason I feel that the combination of the kettlebells and Yoga are a beautiful blend of strength, flexibility, stability, mobility, cardiovascular conditioning, mental training, body awareness, tension, relaxation, and the foundation of movement.

Tomorrow morning I will do my pull-ups and pistols before a seminar with Rif at Axis in Menlo Park.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Yoga & KB's

5:15 am

15 minute Yoga Chi Flow.

75 minute Iyengar Class @ 9:30
This type of yoga places a large emphasis on alignment (posture), and holding the Asana (pose) for time building strength and flexibility. Todays class was a beginner class with an upper body focus. The instructor encouraged us to move at our own pace and not to come out complaining about how hard the class was.

As I moved through the poses and class I was really intune with where my body was and how my body was responding to the Asanas. I could feel where I was tight and what the effects of that tightness was doing to me. This enabled me to adjust and align properly while staying within my breathe and pushing just far enough.

The awareness I am developing about my body and space as well as my mind in relation to my body and space is tremendous. I feel far more connected and thus more strength and balance, which are essential principles in life.

Kettlebells (lunch time)

Turkish Get-Up

Someone need remind that this is a great move, wow! I feel every muscle working to produce the fluid movement. Plus, the heart rate comes up fast. At this point they are in my program design. I am not sure if I am going to alternate weeks of TGU and Windmill or have both in the program.

As you may be able to distinguish I am putting a large effort into the Yoga so I want to see how I adapt to the longer classes and frequency of the classes with the KBs.

Train Smart!

Clean and Press

Sh*t that was tough today. My shoulders, upper body are a bit fatigued and I can tell. The Left side is still a bit more of a struggle vs the right.

Key point:
*A great clean is essential to a strong press

*pull that shoulder down and ride the stretch reflex and push the bell up. Think of a rubber band, when you draw the shoulder down with the lat it will respond by letting loose and helping you push that bell to the top.

* Snap those HIPS and engage your glutes and abs creating core strength, linking your upper and lower body and giving you a large mass of area to push off.

*Tense your grip, on BOTH hands.

*do not be afraid to grunt, it is proven that the grunt enables you to use more force.

*Enjoy the Pain and Pleasure associated with pushing yourself 'up the hill', the view is spectacular and there is very few that are up there enjoying, so there is plenty of room. ;-)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Snatch #'s Yoga and Practice/Mastery

Well I did not know that I had to pass the Snatch test all over again so today I went out to test where I was and in the process passed the test


This was surprisingly easier than I had anticipated but I tell you I have great respect for those numbers as my lungs were burning.


Followed this up with a 90 minutes Yoga sessions (mixed Iynegar/Ashtanga). Great class with great philosophy being taught throughout. The one concept that stuck in my mind was that yoga is a practice that is breathe controlling movement. In yoga it is the breath that moves you not the opposite. And, you do not want to move yourself so far in Asana that you lose control over the rhythm of your breathe.

Morning Practice
Yesterday in my practice I came across this 15 minute yoga chi flow movement. It combined yoga with Tai Chi and no yoga mat necessary. I enjoyed it so much that I am working it in my daily morning wake up routine to see if this is something that suits me.

Today I awoke at my same 5;15 time, brewed my coffee and practiced this movement and I have to say it felt great. I am doing the same thing the rest of this week as I test it out.

Monday, February 18, 2008

RKC Summary

I would like to thank my group, Doc Hartle, Tyler and the students, Mike, Asha, Chris, Adam, Cristina, Claudia, Scott, Jeff, Karen, John, George and Louis. They showed up everyday willing to work and learn and play as a team. I was impressed by everyone in our group and the experience as a whole.

The leaders of the RKC system are always open and looking for ways to improve the experience and that is very obvious in the fact that I have seen the changes first hand since my cert in April of 2005.

A special thanks to Chris Holder and his San Jose State Staff for opening their facility up and putting out a great effort to everyone. As a grad of the school I am super proud of the program, the new facility and the people training the athletes of SJSU. Go Spartans!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

New Workout Plan

Well with the completion of the Beast Challenge (and last years TSC) it is that time to reevaluate my goals and program design. This has been difficult for me because I truly am conflicted in terms of direction I wish to head.

I love yoga, and the soft arts of Tai-Chi and Aikido and have a deep desire and truly and more importantly an inner calling to put my energy in this direction. Lets just say that have been in my life since I was 20 years old when I had the opportunity to study with my best friend and cousin Mark Saia and a master, his master. I did take advantage of this for a short while but truly was not focused, nor ready to understand why I should be doing these arts.

I also truly enjoy the power lifts and the rare opportunity to work with another master/world class coach in Mark Reifkind. I love the strength, the feel of the power, the feel of the exertion of pure effort and desire meeting and pairing with the long road of training and refining technique.

However, with the Yoga certification coming up in April and my main strength and conditioning work focusing on my favorite tool, the kettlebell I feel it is time that I direct my energy to Yoga and continue my practice with the Kettlebells, placing the power lifts on the back burner. This is tough because I want to do it all but Rif has taught me so much about training and these principles apply in life as well and thus I need to focus and train for the yoga and continue to perfect my KB's as this is what is I do for a living.

What I mean by do for a living is practicing what I preach, which is KB's and Yoga. I preach this to clients and I want them to understand that I walk a similar path and I am out learning and improving and challenging and most important practicing what I am teaching, thus making me not only their teacher but also a student thus making a reciprocal relationship.

So here it is
3 days of KB's (which I have to determine what days exactly so I can fit around work and the Yoga schedule but this is the basic look)
Monday: (with Rif)

Clean and Press


Yoga classes on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and/or a Sunday. Plus a 30 minute practice on M/W/F

Through April this is the plan and I will revamp, play with, etc. as I progress forward till then and go from there.

NOTE: This was a tough choice and in life we are faced with many 'tough choices'. As the previous post stated go with your inner callings and know in your heart that this excitement is all the evidence you need to have your inner passion become reality.

Living Creatively

"Listen to your inner callings, ignore how others might want to direct your life energies, and allow yourself to radiate outward what you feel so profoundly and deeply within you. There is a reservoir of talent, ability, and intelligence inside of you that's as endless and inexhaustible as the Tao itself. It must be that way, because you are what you came from, and where you came from is this all-encompassing, endlessly creative Divine Mother, the mysterious feminine of the Tao."

"Whatever you feel within you as your calling-whatever makes you feel alive-know in your heart that this excitement is all the evidence you need to have your inner passion become reality. Whatever you feel compelled to do"-be it train others, competing professional, own a business, etc.-"do it with your unique flair. Being creative means trusting your inner calling-ignoring criticism or judgement, and releasing resistance to your natural talents. Choose to let go of the doubt and fear you've harbored within you regarding your capacity to harmonize with the creative power-a power that's not only greater than your individual life, but is life itself."

This writing is from Dr. Wayne Dyers book, Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life. This is from the 6th Verse of the Tao Te Ching created by Lao tzu which Dr. Dyer calls Living Creatively.

This summary, these words have many different context, meaning to us all. For me it works as an affirmation of the path I am on. It confirms, reaffirms, focuses, clarifies, creates compassion for myself, my being that daily I awake being able to live the life I choose, live my passions and radiate my energy. I must say that this approach, living in this context as stated above makes me feel alive, feel free, feel energized, feel creative, feel myself and be in touch with others and realize my place in this world, in this life. Living this way provides perspective, makes me feel humble and grateful to have the opportunity to do what I so know is my calling.

I encourage you to read this and look at the words, look at the words in context to your life and ask yourself questions. The exercise of doing this practice alone is rewarding.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The RKC magic continues

There is something about community and like minded individuals gathering in one place thats just plain and simple put, special. I feel privileged to be with such a group this weekend and just as always time like these remind me of why I take my free time to contribute. The wealth of information that is shed over these 3 days, the number of people I encounter, and the ability to share with & learn from others makes this so unique.

I am fortunate that I get to experience this daily with my clients, co-workers, etc. but this is so unique because it is for me so great to see some truly special folks and of course work with a great group of trainees. This group is so strong, so well prepared, so open to learning and improving that I am inspired to continue on this path and continue to contribute to this wonderful organization.

Tomorrow is the big finale and I am excited to see our group perform. I feel like we have prepped them to succeed and matched with their determination I see a perfect score coming.

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Beast Challenge & Day 1 of the RKC

Missed it by a hair on my chin but so close. What a great day at the RKC. Everytime I attend one of these events I am reminded of the power behind people all with a common interest coming together for one momentous occassion and in this case weekend. How wonderful today to meet so many new and absolutely excellent people and to see some old colleagues and make a reconnect. There are some truly talented and inspiring folks filled with passion and drive and a willingness to grow and share. I am thankful and grateful for this opportunity that the RKC has bestowed upon me.

I am with a wonderful group, including my client/friend Mike Kootsouradis and Asha Wagner, both whom passed their snatch tests and performed excellent today. Asha tamed the Womens Beast with ease using the 24kg "mutant" level strength. The rest of the group headed by Dr. Mike Hartle and the other assistant Tyler Brammlet is a great cast of characters whom prepared well and faired excellent today. I am look forward to the rest of the weekend with them.

What an experience! If you are an enthusiast or desire to take your KB/general training knowledge base to another or new level then do yourself a favor and come learn for these folks. Rif, Brett, Pavel, Castrogiovanni, Andrea, etc. and the whole lot are truly a great group of knowledgable professionals.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Training Principles

Key Training Principles

• Quality over quantity: exercise is not so much about how much you do but more related to the quality of the movement. In this instance as in many more is not always better. For example, doing 5 extra repetitions poorly does not serve a purpose other than to increase your risk of injury. So, focus on doing your movements with the highest degree of quality and therefore effectiveness.
• Rest and recovery (includes nutrition and sleep) are essential to progress. These factors are an equally important piece of the pie for living a fit and healthy lifestyle. For instance, lack of nutrition you will negatively effect the positive (good) hormones of your body such as growth hormone, testosterone, etc., which will in turn minimize the positive aspects of your workout thereby limiting your progress. Moreover, lack of sleep will have similar effects on the hormonal structure and function of your body further minimizing your bodies ability to repair and progress. To take this one step further inadequacy in both these areas will hamper not only the positive effects of exercise but will carryover into your everyday life and contribute to an unhealthy lifestyle and therefore overall well being.
• Do the things that make you better. When choosing exercise, food, etc. choose the things that you know make you better. These should seem obvious and indeed may be, however more often than not people do the opposite. Thus, pay attention to what makes you better and be mindful in the process of choosing.
• Avoid training to failure (it is better to under train and go at it again rather than over do it and either hurt yourself or have to rest for a few days). The key to performance is to be able to do your best and do it day in and day out. Therefore, if you over do it, putting your body in conditions it is not ready for you will likely end up with a negative result. So, train smart and follow a plan and do not try to be a hero or do something you have no business doing especially if you know the risk outweighs the reward.
• Listen to your body. Our body is often much more aware and mindful than we are. So, if you are doing something and your body says its not so sure about what your doing, listen and you will thank yourself. All things being equal you will have many more chances to do this and much more in your life. . Do not be afraid to rest if that is what your body is telling you. Live to fight another day, being the best you can be.
• Technique, not reps, sets, and/or weight is the key. Leave the ego at the door this is key. Learn how to do (from someone qualified) what it is you wish and then do it right. All too often do I see people setting themselves up for or at least putting themselves in harms way for the purpose of ego and/or just not knowing better. That is not a viable excuse when you are sidelined with an injury. There are knowledgable people throughout any area of life who can teach you the how to.
• If you train/move poorly you will develop bad habits and be in poor condition. Think posture and think the number of people who have back pain, over 80%. Daily life is not designed to maximize the human body natural movements. We are meant to live in extension but we live in a flexion (sitting, round shoulders, head forward staring into the screen, etc.). These positions and the ones often used in exercise do not enhance our bodies natural function. Therefore, as related to the prior principle of technique, learn how to move and train with proper form and function. Learn to identify what it is your body needs and train/move with good habits.
• Strength is a skill, learned skill. Practice, practice and do so with know how and if you want to get better at a particular exercise, sport, etc. you will. If you want to bench press more weight do not spend your time on a bicycle. Strength as with any skill takes focused, mindful and dedicated/committed action. Take the time, get on the train and enjoy the ride you will truly reap the benefits and come one step closer to your goal and mastering the skill.
• Progression is key. You want to move forward in training as you do in life, therefore progression is key. That means having a strong program design, listening to your body and following this program. Training, being fit, living a healthy lifestyle, life in general is truly a journey. You need to know when to push, when to back off, when to rest, when to test yourself, when to challenge yourself and when to make changes. Set a goal, define and design a program to meet said goal, and then follow through with practice and mindfulness. In doing so, you will progress and put yourself closer to achieving said goal(s).
• Clarify your intentions. What is it you want? Clearly defining what it is you want, having a goal leads too much greater reward. However, there is risk involved especially if you set your goal(s) way beyond your means. Your intentions must be clear and so should your understanding of what it takes to achieve these intended concepts. Setting reasonable goals with a bigger picture in mind will lead to greater success.
Competition preparation teaches and one lesson I am learning is the transition from peaking in training to peaking on Competition day. I have done each of the beast moves with the beast within the last month of my training but that does not ensure success on the given competition day.

There is a fine line between peaking during the training cycle and properly resting up prior to the 'day'.

That all being said today I did work with the 40kg, light volume through low reps.


I hit the first and third lifts but missed #'s 2 and 4. Key was pulling my hands in closer together made a difference. I could stand to be less weight as well. I am heavier than I should be and anticipated at this point. I have added some muscle and that made getting to170 very difficult.



Felt flat today, more so than Friday. Resting up through the week to recover and looking forward to Friday.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Presses and Pull-ups


completed 2 attempts but did not have the juice for the 3rd attempt....bummer but what the heck. My body for this particular move is just a bit fatigued from Wed


got better as i went along, remember the principles and that bell flies up.

Remember the principles....tighten the body up rooting myself in the ground.

Today & Everyday Champion

Each day we awaken to new possibilities, new opportunities, new encounters, new lessons, and of course our ‘daily’ routine. Often because life can and is such a routine we are oblivious to these new opportunities that surround us. This is why it is ever so important to savor the moment, to truly savor the journey and look past the destination, look past the stagnation that is or can come from the day to day routine.

Today is my day! This is my day to be the best I can be to live and represent the values, attitudes, morals that I aspire to live my life by. Today I am a champion of these attitudes and I will lead be example. Today I evolve myself to a higher level of being, today I make and be the difference

Below is Lessons and Questions from the Way of the Champion worthy of a look and consideration

Chapter 5: Lessons on Emotional Management

Lessons as Affirmations:
• I choose to function outside the sphere of emotional vulnerability, and when I do this, I claim the advantage.
• When I perform, I act as if I am a champion by controlling all that is within my power.
• I project the presence of a champion by being passionately connected to how that feels, and I demonstrate it during a game.
• I use meditation, visualization, and affirmations to relax, focus, and play like a champion.
• I cannot control results, so I focus on controlling the process.
• When I commit an error or make a mistake, I use I.P.R.
• In order to improve, I must sacrifice and suffer, as adversity is the doorway to greatness
• I refuse to remain complacent. I desire greatness.

Questions on the Quest:
• In what specific ways might you have to sacrifice and suffer? What is sacrifice and suffering for you?
• What five aspects of your sport, work, or life (physical, mental, emotional) can you control? What needs to be done to take control?
• What two specific situations in your game or life cause you to overreact and get emotionally upset? What specifically, can be done to help you avoid these reactions or get back on track quickly when thrown off?

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Almost, but not quite

Some days you have and some days you don't. Today I just did not have it all together and missed on Taming the Beast. However, if you know anything about I am the furtherest thing from disappointed and if anything more humbled and at the same time motivated. Just like the greats of sports, I want the ball in my hand on the last play and in this case I am stoked to get another chance next Friday, the 15th at the RKC. There are any number of potential reasons why I was unable to do it today and you know to a man I have no excuse other than I was unable to complete the task so I go regroup, train and prepare to go out and do it again. This is what I am most proud of, is my attitude and how healthy I feel. Many people may not truly understand how or why I feel the way/approach things the way I do. Honestly, because I believe it to be of a healthy mindset. I am not quitting, giving up, conceding, in fact none of the above. I am going to continue to train, push, and deepen my internal focus.

Where would we be with out the trials and tribulations of life? And, heck better to miss now than on the day. I know I have the strength, ability, technique, etc as I have done each move before and in fact many times for the pistol and multiple times for the press. I relish this moment and look forward to continue to process and transform it into something special and continue to deepen my purpose and character.

Plus, it felt good to have the weight in my hands and attempt the 3 moves together. The pistol is by far my best move and the Press is there just have to slow down and tighten up, get my fundamentals in place and the pull-up needs about a .25 inch to be over the top.

Great day

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


My journey in Yoga continues. I practice multiple times a week (at least 5 days) and each time I learn valuable insights

Some Lessons Learned:

*Where I am tight, restricted, imbalance that particular day/moment

*How to improve an particular or multiple Asanas most important how they relate to alignment, breath, overall movement.

*What I need to do more of

*How much improvement I am making

*Why I practice this form of movement and meditation

*The importance of making this a daily practice

*How relaxed and ALIVE my body and mind feel

*How in tune I am with myself and how to tune into myself

*The importance of balance in mind, body, spirit

*How amazing it is to be able to move

These are just some of my observations as I come to a close of my practice this evening. 50 minutes combined with shoulder opening and hip opening, two areas I can definitely improve. This truly is a journey for me and one I am enthusiastically taking.
2 months from now I will be in Costa Rica immersing myself in the practice of yoga and furthering my personal development.
In the meantime the Beast awaits tomorrow

Monday, February 04, 2008

Learning the Groove...Jerks and Squats

Sub Jerks for Presses this way I can do the beast challenge final big workout on Wed


Nothing spectacular here but it is great to be training regularly with this bell


Breaking the 300 mark, full squat, below parallel. I have to say that this is a first or at least that I can honestly say. Felt great and I am learning the groove. Their is a big psychology to breaking this barrier as I am sure I will feel even better with I have 3 plates on each side and pass the 315 mark. But the groove is coming quicker, I understand in theory and can visualize but the challenge is always putting things into action.

Great workout and psyched for Wed

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Reaching Out, X-Body Fitness and beyond

I am very excited about the continued evolution and growth of my business where beginning Tuesday I will be teaching a Kettlebell Class at X-Body Fitness in San Jose. For quite some time I have been in discussions with my friend Judd Xavier (one of the owners of X-Body) about joining in. He and his partner Fred Zabala have a beautiful 12,000 square foot gym with lots of toys and space for me to teach the Kettlebell.

For now I will be teaching at 12pm class on tuesday and thursdays and I will have the opportunity to train clients there as well. In addition, I will have the opportunity to learn and share with other trainers including my good friend Kendrick Huey.

X-Body, Girya, Cisco, Apple, and in-home training all provide me the means to run a business/practice and spread the good word while guiding people to a healthier lifestyle and better well being. There is more brewing as I have a number of Seminars I will be giving coming up in the coming months as well as attending. I am looking forward to getting in front of large audiences and educating as well as sharing philosophies, principles, concepts, etc. on how to be healthy.

I am thankful and grateful for all those who provide me the space and place to offer my services.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Pistol & Snatch

24/1/1x4 Partials

Feeling the explosiveness and the balance is very strong.

Snatch (down week)

Grip strength is the limiting factor. Otherwise I feel really strong with this move.