Breaking the habit, breaking the jump

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Up in the 5AM hour on a Sunday morning.

Thank you, 2-yr old Branson.

Not hot out yet, pleasant, balmy. 6-yr old Fletcher wakes up a little later. As their powers of destruction combined begin to rise as well, divide and conquer becomes the strategy. I’ll go out with Fletcher, Branson will cuddle with Mommy at home (or as I found out, he wreaked havoc all over the house…)

Now, I’ve also been devouring Julie Angel’s book Breaking The Jump and the re-discovery of concepts I have been preaching yet becoming complacent to with too much “easy strength” work made me want to sharpen my edge. Two of these, paraphrased quotes/concepts from the Yamakasi original crew are “you become good at what you do a lot of” and any stunt has to be done three times: the first time is to do it, to “break” it. The second you do for yourself, to make sure it was not a fluke (clients: sound familiar?) and the third time you do it for someone else. Since I had my 6-yr old coach/pace-setter on his bike (and also joining on some stunts), I had to show off anything and tell him to look (it pushes me to get his approval, I want to be a cool dad, yes, and it’s good that our 36-yr difference shows one can still do cool things).

The regimen was simple: run, jump onto, clear, jump off of. Rinse, repeat. Surfaces included: brick, concrete, dirt, polysoft playground impact attenuation surface and sand.

Obstacles were: wooden bleachers, jungle gym, overhead signs, stairwells and railing. The jungle gym/playground area includes slippery walls (only a very dry bare foot would grip), railing, thick supporting tubes/beams, a fun tower etc.

Heights varied from 4 feet to about 12 feet.

Drop/depth jumps were seated, standing and backwards or from vaulting over a railing and landing below.

Cat jumps/hang were either single, or hopping from one height to the next before vaulting over or dropping down. No less than 3 times each.

The ‘injury’ (a minor cut on my shin hitting the bottom of a railing during a hop from one cat hang to the next, higher and to the side) occurred at the intersection of distraction and overconfidence. The mechanics were there, I got a little sloppy from getting distracted by a dad who was looking at me with this WTF look, as if my actions were going to cause his kid to act like me and get hurt…

I tend to like solo work, however, the same way I enjoy surfing with at least one friend paddling out with me, the fun of pushing further with Fletcher asking me to jump onto the 12-ft (or higher) sign at the park, muscling up and jumping over, then immediately reversing the direction of it, justified why such training is best done with someone at your side. Silent inner competition and, well, showmanship 🙂

Movement of Tree by Julie Angel

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With so many videos of amazing movement, Parkour, bar calisthenics or other skillful, superhero-like content our social media channels feed us, it is hard to distinguish a certain voice or message behind them, beyond the pure visual awe.

With so much more than just aesthetically beautiful cinematography, a playful score and a lively and engaging cast of Traceurs, Julie Angel delivers in 3 minutes a deep, meaningful short film that captures a variety of topics into one. Indeed, the cast is all female, but that doesn’t matter. Or does it? I think it does personally: inspiration, motivation, example, equality, superiority (not ego or glory driven, only by the sheer quality and dedication the women in the video display, superior to my own movement skills).

Julie also combines, from what I gather, not from asking her, a perfect blend of spontaneity based on years of movement practice, play, climbing, jumping, vaulting and many of what Georges Hébert has been promoting in his Natural Method, but also agile, perfectly timed choreography. I couldn’t tell if it was just extremely athletic women just “jamming” with movement like jazz musicians would after years of “knowing the terrain”, or if it was an intentional choreography, like a carefully crafted battle scene in a high production movie.

Watch and enjoy, and pay attention to the less scripted elements in the last part of the video. I’m curious if you’ll share my opinion 🙂

Movement of Tree from See&Do on Vimeo.


Julie also recently released her book Breaking The Jump, which I will cover soon. But if you’ve been following this blog and my books, you will really want to pick up her book!

Metatrainers: we do more for you than you think!

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Meta- definition: of second order, higher kind. Beyond.

We personal trainers do so much more than the obvious, even the invisible on the internal health level.

Yes, it’s widely already perceived and known that we help you get stronger, move better, leaner, bigger and that in the process, we get you healthier by means of exercise, but improving your nutrition, and in turn your vitals, so you do better at your annual physical, hopefully get off some meds etc.

Our influence on our clients extends far beyond that too. We are soundboards for your relationship troubles, dating coaches (seeing as we see many types of people and interact with them on intimate platonic professional levels, but still are privy to personal info), business advisors, trip planners, area experts, connectors/relationship builders, networkers etc.

Those of us who do not label ourselves “life coaches” actually are better life coaches than those who claim that gig, because we’re also business friends and do not charge you extra for that. We can sometimes hang out, participate in a Spartan Race or Tough Mudder together, grab a brewski during happy hour if time permits (those of us trainers with kids and a spouse are less flexible, but I remember those days).

Our interactions with people in all professions, our ongoing customer service, being constantly accountable for everything we do as it directly reflects our business with you, our dear clients, to continue delivering results, progress, advice is what make us metatrainers, “beyond” trainers, like metalanguage, metaphysics (and not metabolic trainers, which is too obvious a concept and clearly, way cheesier).

Tell me, who else in your professional and personal dealings offers you the vast umbrella of services and perspectives that we personal trainers and coaches offer? Looking for rules, not exceptions.

Remember this: we love what we do, and we do care about you sometimes more than you do about yourself. Very few of us are ever going to get rich doing this. Help us out by spreading the word to your friends, everyone needs a trainer at some point 😉


The State Of Training Today

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Where is training as a profession today?

With so many options among trainers, methodologies, goals, it doesn’t only get complicated and confusing for clients of personal training (small group or one-one-one, as well as group exercise/classes), it becomes all the more confusing for the professionals. Maybe confusing isn’t the right word, challenging pressure cooker might be more appropriate set of terms to define what’s happening.

For marketing and research purposes, and also because I have tried to diversify my approach to business over the past few years, where personal training is only one aspect of my offerings in the fitness industry, I have notice, by going outside, that the climate is frankly quite the same across all industries.

Because of my natural proclivity and proximity of looking at the Real Estate market, where my wife has been working as a Realtor® for as long as I have been a personal trainer, the need for marketing, branding, advertising, mailing and then some exists and is just as challenging. And since social media and an online presence seem de rigueur in this New (Digital) Age, what has been coming up in my research is that there are countless individuals who sell systems to become a 6-figure business owner.

All of these people popping up showing photos of their luxury sports cars, mansions, cover model girlfriends, and showing how “Billy Trainer, 23, followed my system and is now making quadruple his previous year’s income in one month only, and is on track for 7 figures by year’s end” (I am not far fetched in paraphrasing the claims), present themselves as super established fitness marketing celebs.

I must truly live under a rock, I have never heard of them. Yet, I am curious to read the copy… Because it’s a well crafted message, especially because it’s hard out there in the trenches. People always look for a deal, have no issue spending money on the latest gadgets and cars, clothes or other toys, but will always try to squeeze the entrepreneur who is looking to make their life and health better. And trainers always want to grow and get out of the dollars for hours business model. Not duplicatable, not a business, but a job.

If you’re not a trainer, don’t try to squeeze your trainer out of his or her money. Trainers hustle to learn, spend more on becoming better, have little ROI, and have rates that rarely match the rise in inflation, or don’t benefit from your work bonuses or raises, and have a hard time rooting for your new electric SUV or how cool your new gizmotronic is. I kid you not, there is a guy in Santa Monica who drives his import luxury car to train with, get this, a homeless trainer! The trainer might be crazy, old and ripped, but he’s still homeless! If not, he surely appears to be whenever I see him with his bags and sleeping on the beach!

So, it seems there is a whole generation of vultures out there looking to prey upon the trainers looking to better themselves, where they sell you expensive shticks and spiels that yield little return, have little in-the-field experience, repackaging the same concepts other industries try to re-sell you, and they are making their money not IN the fitness industry, but FROM fitness industry professionals.

So, where is the state of fitness now? I believe it’s like in the whole concept of the “Sharing Economy”, where trainers work harder, work more, and get less and less, until being driven out of the industry and until a new crop of trainers shows up, follows a few trends and moves on because they’re beaten and worn. And of those who have survived, the veterans with skills and knowledge, that lasting power erodes unless you are the one who got handed a golden ticket. Truthfully, it seems easier to break into Hollywood than to make is as a trainer…

Trainers need to stop!

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I believe the lasting personal trainer goes through a variety of phases, before even potentially coming back full circle, professionally speaking.

At first, pre-training as a job, the individual is a fitness enthusiast seeking to earn a living doing what they love, helping others and looking for a reason to spend more time at the gym. Some get a special kind of calling, because their story (neck and spine injury in my case, much like going into martial arts was a result of bullying and low self-confidence) leads them there.

Then comes the certification (nationally accredited). Then, learning how to run a business (a little backwards, which is why if you are a budding trainer, don’t think you’ll figure it out without help, because you won’t do it well. Get a coach, join a box gym, learn the systems and how to sell, even if it’s by not selling with a pitch, though it helps some, if you’re new).

Then, the lasting trainer will seek more education, knowledge as well as acquire new tools for the trade, sometimes not provided by the box gym, other times to populate their boutique gym or their under the table clientèle outside the box gym and at a local park when they begin to branch out and think like a small business owner, while not quitting the day job.

Then, trainers become educators. Some try to immediately instill what they just learned over the weekend for a few thousand dollars, others will implement and apply slowly. Trainers also try to bridge the gap between physical therapy and training, afraid their injured client may go to a physical therapist that would take away their business, as the client would allocate funds other than to their training.

Truth is, delegating to a qualified and capable physical therapist and staying within the scope of the training practice is what keeps trainers in business: know where the training ends, and where the person you trust for body work needs to take over. That occupational therapist, physical therapist, massage therapist, “acupunctor” or other is going to make the training client better and will send them back to the personal trainer sooner.

While we are versed in restorative arts and corrective exercise, not all of us know how to fully help someone recover. We pass the baton or grab it whenever appropriate, expand our network of referrals, clients, prospects and strengthen our reputation with peers and the professionals offering treatments we don’t, so that our clients can continue training with us.

Trainers, know your scope, stay within it, with some crossover of knowledge, but don’t overextend your skill set to where it can become a liability.


Break it down into small steps

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With the upcoming and long awaited release of my updated version of Georges Hébert’s training program book, with equipment that we can find at any gym, playground, and surroundings, I feel it is important to understand that while some moves may look cool, difficult and even out of realistic reach for some, the basics of a move still carry benefits and can still be attempted by anyone at any fitness level.

Before your look at a heavy barbell back squat and say “I can’t do this”, realize that:

  1. You don’t need to if you don’t have to, unless your job or life depends on it. Your fitness doesn’t. If you want to, however, the next point applies.
  2. You didn’t come out of the womb sprinting. You didn’t even crawl for months. On point: you sit down on a chair, you stand up from it, you squat. Remove the chair, or lower it. Then, start holding on to something that weighs a few pounds.

See where I’m going with this? You’re squatting, just doing a different version from it. As the saying goes, we overestimate what we can do in a day, but underestimate what we can do in a year.

Take a look at this first short videoclip of a client going through a simple progression of how to clear a low wall: using both hands for support and landing his feet on the wall, then using only one hand with feet landing, then with feet clearing the wall entirely. Or jumping over from the other side, landing low (depth jump landing and continuing his run).

Now, take a look at this short clip of me doing what is an easy wall-to-wall, edge-to-edge jump, clearing about 6 feet of distance, immediately followed by a shot of the same client being afraid of performing the same jump (which he didn’t do that day, not ready yet mentally), as well as assessing jumping over the same low wall he cleared easily in the previous clip above. You can also see him do a running jump and clipping his foot on the edge nearest to him right at the beginning of his jump.

Regardless, doing such a jump is still, for most, a risky, advanced skill. However, a jump is a jump is a jump. Its requirements from a musculoskeletal standpoint, as well as command from the central nervous system, require the individual the be springy (something we lose with age if not practiced), supple, agile, strong and powerful, at whatever that level of strength, agility or flexibility one may be. It’s not how far, how high or how hard you jump (or lift, or throw, or punch), it’s that you do those things that matters.

So, go out and do something. Look at this funny little clip of my younger son jumping. That’s a big deal to him, to be able to do that, at 2 years old. Start there!


The CEO Trainer

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Yes, I happen to be training CEOs, as in personal training them. In fitness, yes.

I don’t have the pretension to train people to become CEOs. And yes, I have been one, at some point: I was chairman of an LLC I founded, and later even took over CEO duties after the person who had that title and I disagreed on how the corporation ought to be run. I eventually resigned, having reached a communication impasse, despite having positioned all the elements necessary for the company to operate from thereon. Life is too short (#YOLO, right?), and the combination of growing debt, loss of income and personal savings, at the expense of my marriage and children’s present AND future was PTSD enough to make the only logical choice that I needed to make. Here, the “CEO Trainer” concept is mix of analogies of being the CEO of a training session as well as a training business (the latter obvious, therefore less expanded upon today).

Success can be measured a variety of ways. The most common one is through one’s material wealth (no need to elaborate), another is through the resilience one shows at rebuilding oneself from scratch, rising from the ashes. Having had to do the latter several times, not necessarily through failure, rather circumstances (health can be one, on two occasions for me, the most recent tied to the LLC experience, which helped make the choice in favor of my family).

Then there’s success that can be measured in the value you bring to others. It does not get quantified by your bank account, the mansion or many supercars in your “stable”. I received an email from an aspiring fitness trainer that simply stated “You are dropping a lot of bombs to think about (…) You are changing the way I think about fitness!!! Thanks, man”. That right there, is value. Another example was an ex-client thanking me for sending them on an improved professional path by inspiring them to take a specific course/certification, which increased their value as a job seeker. I also offered a third client a revenue sharing opportunity in a project that I spent nearly two years developing, using my platform, my database and captive audience to get professional exposure, in exchange of some sweat equity and services, in the hopes of creating a launchpad for that client’s business, with a barter of services in return (the client’s value).

This isn’t a post where I seek a pat on the back or a medal for recognition. It’s a way to run your business, any business, and if it happens to be a fitness business, of which you are the CEO, even if you are your own unique employee, you need to understand that your greatest asset is also your greatest liability (you). To reduce that liability, you need to increase the value you provide. Not your material wealth (as it can become a target, another form of liability for greedy ambulance chasers), not your resilience and ability to stand back up after a setback (like an economic recession for instance), but the intangible value you provide to others, which is reciprocated in how others perceive you and the services your deliver.

Seth Godin, in his book Linchpin, refers to “delivering” as “shipping”. “You must ship”. If it’s a book, publish it! If it’s a good, manufacture it! If it’s a meal, cook it! If it’s a photo, develop it! (Yes, even digital photography needs developing, in the “digital dark room” that is Photoshop).

It all sounds easy when it’s written. And simply stated, right? Any CEO will tell you, however, that it’s a complicated process that relies on the synchronicity, alignment and understanding of people and external factors ranging from having charged batteries for your equipment, a trusted & verified vendor (not someone who tells you they “can” do something, which you find out later “can” doesn’t mean “should” or “can do it proficiently”) to a clearly defined, understood and acknowledged process you can hold someone accountable to, because inevitably, someone at some point will drop the ball, and in order to recover from that setback, you need to know exactly where and why the ball got dropped.

The CEO needs to have a working understanding of what the CFO, CMO, COO, CTO or any other C-level position is doing, both in function and timeline (function being what the position entails, and timeline being where in the “shipping” process is the individual involved and are they doing their job properly).

When I was learning how to ride a motorcycle, I learned two acronyms to make sure that my bike was safe to ride. T-CLOCS was the first, inspecting the bike itself: Tires, Controls (hoses, handlebar, cables…), Lights (and electric), Oil (and other fluids), Stand (side or center). If you’re a trainer, make sure your gear is safe: rubber bands not worn (snapped those once, cut the top of my hands, bled profusely), rack (someone once left a cable running through my kettlebells. I picked one up and started walking away, the whole rack came down in an avalanche of iron), cables, chains on the heavy bag etc.

The second thing you do as you are about to ride is FINE-C. These are the various things you turn on to start the motorcycle. Fuel (toggle switch, although most new rides these days are fuel injected), Ignition (turn the key), Neutral (that’s your transmission) and Choke (again, lesser concern these days on modern bikes, though I like my bikes vintage, and with a little maintenance, they can outlast the lifespan of a car). Overseeing that aspect makes you knowledgeable as the CTO, or Chief Technical Officer. As the CEO, a working knowledge suffices (you don’t need to know how to build the treadmill or how to cast the iron in the kettlebell’s mold).

For the trainer, that’s your client’s body, form, alignment, understanding of what to do for any given exercise. “Get your motor running, head out on the highway, looking for adventure…”, you see where I’m going. You’re the CEO of the session, the workout, your client becomes the product that you ship, resulting from the services you provide, you oversee everything in that LLC, the limited liability corporation that lasts for the duration of the session, or the training package (i.e. commitment the client made to train with you).

As the CEO, you are responsible for overseeing the (metaphorical) “finances” and be an acting CFO: you manage the budget, allocate funds here based on the needs, make projections. That’s how you manage your client’s efforts, routine, sets, reps and project potential outcomes. You have to know your numbers, adjust them if needed, course correct (after all, they are just projections, sometimes based on previously proven strategies with a certain product/client, sometimes a wishful best case scenario with a new product you’re testing/new client you’ve started, and it doesn’t come out quite as expected, as it’s not an exact science, no matter what the Gurus try to tell you).

You also need to have marketing and sales down (otherwise, you won’t be in business very long if you can’t turn a profit). Your CFO duties overlap to a point with those of the CMO (Chief Marketing Officer), and your marketing starts as simply as having other people see you train clients and how you treat them, how they progress (Advertising). It’s also how you approach a non-client, or how a non-client approaches you and how you handle their query (Glengarry Glenn Ross’ ABC -Alway Be Closing- comes to mind, though today’s approach is more subtle, less aggressive and more rapport oriented). This falls into your Inbound marketing approach. You reading this is an example of this. We’re building a rapport, I am not selling you on my services, not pitching you, rather discussing a problem, or offering a solution. The pitch comes later and the prospect is more willing and trusting to convert into a buyer.

Fitness is a business. Just like Show Business. And it’s not the richest actors you always remember, it’s the ones that make the greatest positive impact, that use their fame to do good, to promote causes, to make you think, tickle your brain, offer a new perspective, and not just entertain.

Don’t just train for the sake of training, going through the motions. I already covered the concept of having a training session, a workout, tell a story. A goal gives you a direction, whereas a program gives you one of many suggested paths to that goal. Value will give you a lasting business.

Is The Hulk better than Spiderman?

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I had the opportunity to interview Stan Lee in 2003, as I was still moonlighting for “Hollywood” red carpet premieres, as the Daredevil movie was coming out.

Daredevil was in his category of characters who would become superheroes by an amazingly coincidental concourse of circumstances, nothing short of magic. Instead of trying to rationalize with science he couldn’t explain or justify, he decided to come up with mutations, as part of human evolution.

His mutant superheroes were faced with discrimination in their story lines analogous to racism, homophobia or any other societal fails for human beings.

Allow me to regress and diminish the potential seriousness about the topic to something way less important, especially when terrorist attacks occurred once again, this time on Belgian grounds, using Stan Lee’s pantheon of characters as backdrop to make my silly, yet valid point: is The Hulk better than Spiderman?



Judging from what I see, read or hear from some peers in the community, it would appear so. The balance weighs heavily in favor of the big green guy as being the only form of fitness that matters, that is relevant and all others are a joke. Yet, we could argue that Spidey’s strength, agility, flexibility, climbing and jumping abilities make him a lot more versatile, and his control over his body and actions make him more useful and functional than essentially a creature his alter ego can aim more or less.


In the training, as well as “perception of what strength means” community, Hulkmeister represents what we should aim for, that his abilities trump and fix everything that’s wrong with us. And no, it is not stated in a way that implies the pursuit of strength, rather implies a certain physicality, which is extremely useful on a daily basis for any desk job (if you didn’t detect it, that was sarcasm).


Wait, I hear a fanboy mentioning to me that post-Banner can jump really f*$%&ing high and far. I had to use The Hulk because most people know who he is. So let me amend to this other guy (if you saw the first solo Wolverine movie, you may recognize the character), who is a slightly more realistic fictional character to make a point for something I see a lot of being sold as the end-all be-all supreme attribute of health: enter the Blob.


Let’s get back to reality for a second. On one hand, being super strong and able to lift superheavy weights is pretty cool and plenty useful. On the other hand, being svelte, spry and mobile is useful, makes it easier to navigate the world around us, and is generally a greater indicator of health, especially when cardiovascular disease and other diseases tend to follow certain body types. To have the confidence to be proud of one’s strength achievements and get off your tush frequently to pick heavy stuff up and put it back down is admirable. But please, do not hide behind that strength under the guise of health.

There are still other things to consider, such as how the joints can only support a certain frame for so long, how taxing extra mass is on the body and wears out internal organs, and that carrying excess body fat is hazardous to your health. My job is not to motivate, rather educate and my intention is not to shame those who struggle with fat loss. As good coach will tell you, eat like an adult, get off your ass, exercise, rest and do not latch on to one aspect of fitness because it won’t get rid of whatever unhealthy thing you’re trying to fix by itself.

Look, everything has a purpose. A Lamborghini Aventador is beautiful, but it won’t take you far off-road. An oversized 4×4 Hummer is powerful and intimidating, but it won’t win you the Indy 500 or last long in a chase. The family crossover vehicle will carry your groceries, your camping gear, a few kids to little league practice, your office supplies and nowadays will pack enough powerful ponies under the hood without being too thirsty to hold its ground, even if it’s not as cool.

Georges Hébert discusses “strength” in his book on physical education for women:

“Physical strength, in its broadest sense, is made up of various elements [1], of which the most important ones are:

  • Resistance, endurance or breath, which allow the execution without failing of prolonged work, gymnastics or other, to sustain the same efforts and also to bear fatigue of any kind.

This element of strength, the most precious of all, depends greatly on the value and function of the internal organs. It is the natural outcome of regular and methodical training, as well as routine work of any kind; finally, it also depends on a hygienic and regular lifestyle, free of excess.

  • Pure muscular power, or simply muscle, which enables the execution with various body parts of sufficient efforts in many aspects: pull, push, squeeze, grab, lift, carry, throw, hoist, hit to defend, etc.

This element of strength depends directly on the degree of development achieved by the muscles, as well as the nervous arousal communicated by will, meaning the power of the nervous system.

  • Speed, meaning the ability to be able to do quick moves, rapid extensions, spring launches, sudden stops, etc.

This element of strength depends above all on the more or less high sensitivity of the nervous system, which transmits the command to the muscles to move into action. It also depends on muscular quality and more or less joint flexibility. Long muscles are more favorable to quick actions than short, thick, ropey muscles.

  • Agility, meaning the ability to not only to use one’s muscles and use one’s skills, but also to preserve strength to postpone the effects of fatigue.

Energetic, but clumsy individuals generally waste their strength without function or precise goal. They are often, because of that, inferior to those of medium strength who know how to better manage their efforts more adroitly.

  • Resistance to cold, as well as heat and any weather.
  • Energy and any other virile qualities: will power, courage, cold-blood, decisiveness, firmness, tenacity, the taste for action. Finally, self-control to dominate one’s fears under any circumstances, resist physical and emotional pain, etc.

An individual of medium physical value, but energetic, focused, courageous and tenacious, is always superior in life to an individual having exceptional physical abilities, but soft, lazy, scared and without mental toughness.

  • Knowledge of the process of execution of the fundamental exercises (basic educational exercises) and at the same time, a sufficient ability level in all of them.
  • Finally, sobriety, meaning temperance and moderation in eating and drinking, and frugality, meaning simplicity in choice of nutrition.”

[1] The Strength Code contains the detailed works characterizing strength and the practical tracking of those skills (another book to translate on my list).


Addition by subtraction, or how to simplify the workout for better gains of any kind.

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Regardless of what your ultimate goal is in fitness, maintaining all-around athleticism remains key for your daily activities. And frankly, there is no ultimate goal, because that means it would be the end, with nothing to look forward to beyond. Goals change. Life, give or take a few variables, on the whole, does not.

You need to eat, sleep, rest. Your health and work will change, and how you eat, sleep and rest will adjust, like your training program. Unless you are competing as an athlete or are playing a superhero on TV, you don’t really need to be this big, or that strong. Really, you don’t, and don’t let anyone fool you into thinking otherwise. You do need to stay mobile, stay strong, maintain your muscles, and you do need to walk up stairs, pick stuff up, hold on to things, carry them, run to or from something, even if just walking quickly or avoiding something. Stay Spry!

There is no hack for any exercise, other than for the sake of breaking form so you can find it again. Like saying “there’s no place like home” after you’ve been around the world.

Pick a few things, do them well, do them often. Like, five. Do them for a while. Don’t count the reps, just do as many as you can in a short, predetermined duration of time (10 minutes?) and stop anytime you know or feel your form looks like crap. Start maybe by doing it as well as possible, then when the clock runs out of time, do something else, and come back to the previous exercise the next day.

Rather than add more stuff to do, to eat, to supplement with, get rid of what’s not super essential. If you did a chest exercise, a quad dominate exercise, a back exercise, a shoulder dominant exercise and a hamstring dominant exercise and have time for something else, go twist, rotate, throw, jump, climb or punch. But don’t add another chest exercise if it doesn’t make you better at something else other than pushing the buttons out on your shirt.

Or, if you ran, climbed, punch & kicked, jumped onto or off of something, and threw something, broke a nice sweat, feel a little tired, with a grin and sense of satisfaction: you’re good! keep at it.

Ignore the magazines, the pressure. Easier said than done, right? Do the stuff mentioned above, I promise you the pressure eases up as the feeling of well-being increases!

Expanding The Natural Method to Equipment

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A conversation, or rather a question I frequently have seen in various groups I belong to, when it comes to natural movement patterns and not limiting the association to Hébert’s Natural Method, is: what makes a movement natural?

How is lifting a rock overhead any more natural than a barbell, for instance? Because a rock can be found out in nature, and a barbell is a man-made object, therefore it’s not natural?

Is squatting with a sandbag better than doing a double-kettlebell front squat?

The Natural Method is not about the tool, nor is it about the execution of a movement with a tool-specific technique or form. Additionally, this statement is also not about form-bashing or questioning one organization’s technique or approach. Quite the contrary, it’s surface level rather than digging deep, if I may say so.

Yes, essentials of good form require solid foundations in technique and form to ensure a safe execution, which leads to long term progress. There comes a point where you individualize, personalize and find your way. You can find your way by finding what you truly want and need, with trial and error, experience, education and observation. The guidelines set for any given tool serve as your launchpad to proper execution.

Martial Arts are a great example of this. At first, you teach a person how to adopt a good fighting stance that allows both offense and defense. You throw that jab or cross without dropping the non-punching hand cover that side’s cheek and ribs as the punch hits its intended target (air, mitt, bag or face). If there is an opponent on the receiving end of that punch that is faster than you and counters quicker than you punch, having that ‘guard’ minimizes damage to your person, depending on how well protected you are.

But, eventually, from that structured minimal effective dose, you develop your own style, stance and you may even drop your hands, keep them free to “operate” and deflect, trap, block more efficiently than she you started. When you start from nothing, with no skills, you need a starting point.

The upcoming Natural Method Training book will be rich in photos and succinct with words by contrast. The reason behind it being I don’t need to reinvent instruction on how to properly clean, rack and press a kettlebell or two. It’s already out there, from a variety of sources and chances are, if you are reading this, you already know at least one way to do it, and may even teach it.

My Ninjutsu teacher, the late Shihan Steven Petrus always told us “don’t focus on the exact technique, focus on the motion“. A punch or a kick comes, you can avoid it by triangulating out of the way, deflect it, block it, take it or trap it, and counter with a kick,a punch, a throw. Yes, we’d start by working off of a choreographed sequence, and over time would build variations, only to eventually reflexively respond to the strike and adopt whatever motion is necessary. Haven’t most of us heard or read Bruce Lee’s quote about having no way as a way? When it comes to equipment and The Natural Method, all movement is natural. We follow the pathways our body allow us to operate in. The knee only bends one way, or the elbow, and if you go against it, bending it “unnaturally”, your experience will not be a fond one.


Don’t look for barbell squats, bench presses or deadlifts in the book, and please do not complain that they are lacking because they are important for X, Y and Z. The Natural Method is about all-around development in many elements of fitness and not all of us have hours to devote daily to only one facet of fitness. And not all of us have hours daily to devote to several aspects of fitness to become supremely well-rounded.

Do not misinterpret this also as an under-achieving stance. Not everyone is going to become as well-rounded as Captain America. Let’s start where you are, and go from there. Learn the lifts, the jumps, the throws, the basic educational exercises that will keep your body efficiently balanced, muscularly, esthetically and functionally, and then as time allows and conditioning improves, move on to the cooler, flashier skills.


Until then, use the equipment to fulfill that purpose, and equipment evolved as much as we did, only faster. Just because you are not in the woods jumping over boulders, throwing stones or climbing rocks, trees or vines doesn’t make your session any less natural. Going out is awesome, yes! But doing stuff in a gym two blocks away from you because you live in a city and have no car is more important. Don’t delay your fitness.