Aim.. Before You Fire

Arrow Aim
Aim small, miss small. 

In all aspects of life, it is critical to have a “ready” and “aim” mindset so you are prepared to properly and strategically fire when opportunity arises. Sure you can hit a bulls-eye with some luck. But hitting that bulls-eye every single time requires practice, preparation, timing, and direction.


Ambition: A strong desire to do or achieve something. This typically refers do determination and hard work. Ambition keeps you focused. It allows you to think deep, dream even. But, it takes more than just ambition to succeed. A lot of people will say “you have to work hard and be resilient”- all of that motivational jargon. No shit. I’ve been getting that line since 2003 when I was roofing with a bunch of guys who drank Bud Light for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

If anyone has a realistic pulse on the the working world, they will know that hard work is the foundation to anything and everything. To truly succeed means to truly sacrifice. What are you willing to do to convert your ambition into reality? What sacrifices are you willing to make? Will you wake up at 4:00 am to read and write in order to meet your ambition down the processed road? Will you stop eating junk food to achieve the body you want because you can’t stop comparing yourself to the person you were 10 years ago? It’s a quid pro quo world out there, one that requires sacrifices or at least some form effort to be successful. So, what are YOU willing give to get? Tupac would say in his masterpiece Ambitions As A Ridah, “No Guts, No Glory.”

Interpretation: “Interpretation is a communication process, designed to reveal meanings and relationships of our cultural and natural heritage, through involvement with objects, artifacts, landscapes and sites.” — Interpretation Canada

It should be stressed that interpretive communication is more than just translating or presenting information. It’s not just a puppet show. If you are interpreting your ambition to yourself, it is a specific communication strategy that is used to develop your desire into an action plan. You are neither the expert or the visitor in this situation. You are trying to bring your ambition to fruition through interpretation. Here are some key ways to do so:

  • Define the ambition
  • Write down everything about it
  • Decide if you need to talk someone who will listen to your thought process
  • Write more about it
  • Rate the reality of this ambition
  • Create an action plan and fight like hell

Meaning: You need to pursue what truly matters to YOU. Life will eventually turn the page to a new chapter. Remember, we are only here for a limited amount of time as physical beings. This being said, you should invest the time you have into the things that matter the most. Every day that you walk this earth, you should AIM to be the very best version of yourself. In turn, the people you love will benefit from that better version of you. Do not succumb to energy suckers as they are the vampires of your ambition. Keep your wooden stakes sharp, keep your holy water next to you and don’t forget your garlic cloves.

Strive for the “ build anyway” in the paradoxical commandments and never become vengeful. There will always be that person that wants to toss your ambitions into the Mystic River. Don’t become a victim of other people’s insecurities. AIM for the very version of yourself and then fire.



Adapting To No Equipment

Fitness doesn’t have to be something you only have to do at a gym. You don’t need a Bow-Flex or a Peloton to be fit for life. I am not in any way speaking disrespectfully against those tools for fitness, but they are not the end all be all for getting in shape. I’m also not concerned with the status associated with those fitness tools (example popular kids at the lunch table in elementary school.) Our body-weight serves a major purpose in training because in order to load a movement pattern, it should be an adequate body-weight pattern, a.k.a “it should look good.”

No weights are necessary if you are trying generally wanting to be fit. Progressions and regressions also are present while we are performing unloaded movement, or “bodyweight training.” All body weight training consists of is a variation of unloaded movement patterns being performed through a series of muscle actions.

  • Eccentric
  • Isometric
  • Concentric
  • Dynamic / Ballistic


Several people will probably think that body-weight workouts are too easy. That they’re for beginners who haven’t been introduced to more intense forms of training. I say, “what about strength through volume?” What about performing 5 body weight exercises for 10 sets of 20. For example, Pushups, TRX rows, 1L RDL’s, Split Squats, and SL RDL’s. Tell me how “beginner like” that will be during and post workout.


It’s time to rethink the body-weight training concept

Progressive and per-iodized body weight routines will prove you otherwise. It all comes down to per-iodizing and progressing. Here are 2 tables of exercise examples that require no equipment and contain a progression/variation from left to right. Table A. displays exercise progression via different muscle actions. Table B. displays exercise progressions via progressive variations.


TABLE A. Periodization & Progression via  Muscle Action Variations:



-Tempo- :5-:0-:1


:30 Holds


x 8 – 12 Reps


x 6 – 8 Reps

Upper Push Push Up Push Up Hold Push Up Drop Push Ups
Lower Push Split Squat Split Squat Hold Split Squat Split Squat Jumps
Upper Pull Bent Over T Bent Over T Hold Bent Over T Alternating Bent Over T
Lower Pull SL RDL SL RDL Hold SL RDL SL RDL + Hip Flexion
Pillar/ Core Walkout Plank Plank Taps Alternating Plank Taps
| Sets – 4-6 each exercise|


TABLE B. Periodization & Progression Exercise Progressions: 


10 x 10 Reps


10 x 10 Reps


10 x 10 Reps


10 x 10 Reps

Upper Push Push Up FE Push Up FE Push Up w. Pause FE Push Up + Knee Tuck
Lower Push Split Squat Split Squat Hold RFE Split Squat Fwd. or Rev. Lunge
Upper Pull Prone W Bent Over W Bent Over Alt. W Soup Can Bent Over W
Lower Pull SL Glute Bridge SL Alt. Glute Bridge SL RDL SL RDL + Hip Flexion
Pillar/ Core PLANK :30s FE PLANK :30s Fwd. Crawl # Fwd. + Bwd. Crawl #
| FE = Feet Elevated| |Alt. = Alternating| | Fwd. = Forward | |Bwd. = Backward| | Rev. = Reverse|


The fact is, these tables contain plenty of great exercises that will challenge your muscles in a way you’ve never been challenged before, giving you a great workout wherever you happen to be.

What you need to keep in mind when it comes to body-weight workouts is that things do not have to be the same, things can change every two to four weeks. Phasing is working through different styles of exercising in order to progress your results toward a goal. So, when you consistently workout in the same style and consistently train the same way, (which is a trap that we all can fall into), your results eventually taper off and it becomes increasingly harder to get results. That is if you are opposed to trying something different. This is your body getting efficient at the movement that you’re practicing. You may need to push the rep ranges higher, take less time to rest between sets, or add other variables of intensity to the routine in order to challenge your body at the same intensity level that lifting heavier weights would.

Stay consistent, but variate as well. Variation will keep you mentally and physically “fresh.”

Stay Fresh

If you are willing to adapt and get creative, you’ll have no problem ADAPTING TO NO EQUIPMENT. 

At the end of the day, I don’t have a magical guarantee for you, however I have these magical suggestions listed below:

  • Keep exercising even without equipment
  • Eat quality protein, vegetables, organic grains, and fruit
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Read
  • Work hard and be nice to people


I am certain you all have hope during these difficult times. I’m certain you have a chance and that you are much more capable than you probably know. No equipment, no problem.

Three Gifts to My Son

The exchange of the cufflink.. Rocky gave his heart to his son.

If you could grant three qualities to a newborn child, what would they be?

Imagine getting that question asked as a new Dad? Well, I have gotten that question from a mentor of mine recently, and this post is the answer to that question. I documented the question in my journal, and I thought long and hard about how to answer it.

First, I would grant him a compelling curiosity about everything…loving knowledge to it’s fullest and always being thoughtful before he has a final answer. Read and read more kid, listen up when people speak, they might know more than you do.

Secondly, I would grant him love with everything he does. I want him to know that he has permission to give as much effort as possible in his actions and that effort brings meaning, and meaning is true love. He also needs to understand that suffering is a form of love, and without suffering success is impossible. So find meaning in not only the wins, but in the suffering as well. You never lose if you learn. That is true love in any arena.

Third, I would grant him the gift of communication so that he can pass to others what he learns during his life. Maybe he will speak, maybe he will write, maybe he will communicate in a manner that I never thought I could! Be free in your speech, in your words but use them wisely. Think twice, act once.

Whatever children are or what they become, we can pass something onto them.

Pericles said:

” The secret to happiness is freedom. And the secret of freedom — courage”

With curiosity, a love of learning, the person can’t ever really be bored, nor will he find himself stagnating at a certain level of satisfaction or accomplishment. The more we learn, the more meaning we find, and the more we are able to do. It comes full circle because in turn, the more we are able to do, the more we learn. As long as we live we have the right to self-perpetuate. We are allowed to stay in motion. With a deep love for learning new things a person can develop a rich sense of stability of themselves and combat the chaos this world brings forth.

With true love he would be able to have a deep sense of empathy and sympathy for others, especially anyone in need. He would do whatever he could to polish up a suffering situation to the best of his capabilities. If he possesses true love, he could be a the victor of his environment, but he would also understand that his environment is to be used and cared for as well.

Communication is a sign of maturity, sometimes communication even means absorbing what is useful and rejecting what is useless. As he grows in maturity, he would most certainly be helping others to see the communication he brings. Honest communication without a malevolent attitude is a powerful outlet, and it is courageous.

Learning constantly, loving, and communicating. I do not think these have a price on them the last time I checked? Not too bad. A lifetime of having interest, love, and keeping in touch with life as we know it on planet earth are great gifts to possess. With these three qualities (curiosity, love and communication) an individual has a higher probability of finding value in his or her life. I want my son to find his value in everything he does, this can give him whatever type of life he wants. Learning, loving, and communicating, go for it Mick.

– Dad









An appropriate in-season training program can be the key to maintaining the performance gains made in the athlete’s Off-Season. Athletes want to avoid overtraining when their seasonal sport begins. Your in-season training program’s goals should be to preserve strength gains while controlling volume and frequency.

Depending on their Off-Season commitment, our athletes just spent 3-6 months working hard and stressing their body to new limits they never thought they could reach. All athletes have different training goals. Some want to be bigger. Some athletes want to decrease their body fat. Some athletes want to be stronger and faster with hopes that their new capabilities will help them perform at a higher level in the upcoming season.

Unfortunately, a lot of athletes (and coaches) stop strength training once their season begins. Is it a distress of being too tired from a workout? Or is it a distress that it will cut into practice time? The former comments previously mentioned are common excuses athletes will usually use to avoid training during their season, while the latter’s a common reason a coach may provide for why their team doesn’t do in-season training.

Unfortunately, strength and conditioning is the number one aspect of physical preparation that becomes neglected once athletes enter their season regardless of the sport. Between practice, games, film, and meetings the weight room is always the last part of the equation (sometimes it isn’t even in the equation).


  • Maintain Performance – Missing scheduled/organized lifts in the weight room in-season can be detrimental on an athlete’s strength levels. The stronger the athlete is, the more force they can produce. Being more forceful means that they will be able to continue to run faster, jump higher, and hit harder.
  • Durability – The two most important qualities of an athlete are durability and availability. Is the athlete available to play their sport? Is the athlete durable enough to continue to play and adapt to the stressors within their sport?
  • Long term development – For lasting development of your physical abilities, strength training in-season is extremely important Year to year athletes want to improve, but if you let your off-season gains disappear every time you enter your sport (in-season), it will be difficult to sustain your strength.
  • Manage fatigue – Managing your in-season fatigue is extremely vital to success. What matters the most in-season is optimal performance on game day. The right amount of volume in the weight room along with the right amount of rest, and proper nutrition (fuel) is the crucial antidote athletes can lose track of In-Season.
  • Limit muscle soreness – Muscle soreness becomes a commonality for all athletes in-season. The athlete can experience decreased ranges of motion in the extremities, reduction of power and strength, and changes in their lifting technique (if they train). Keeping workouts simple and straight forward with minor progressions will allow the athlete to train without having any negative effects on the playing field due to “overtraining”.
  • Nutrition – Eating with purpose over pleasure 85% of the time. At the most basic level, nutrition is important for athletes because it provides a source of energy required to perform activities. The food we eat impacts our strength, training, performance and recovery.  Not only is the type of food important for sports nutrition but the times we eat throughout the day also has an impact on our performance levels and our bodies ability to recover after exercising.





Several individuals have written letters to their ” younger-selves” and they have been great to read and I give you all of the credit in the world for releasing that content. I feel that if I wrote a letter to my younger self I would be too frustrated. I would honestly become too anxious and lose sleep. I also have trouble thinking backwards and reflecting sometimes because it becomes mentally painful. I rather not dive into that place because it brings nothing but frustration. Instead I rather hold myself accountable to my own checklist from my heart that can continue to carry me on the prosperous path that I am on. But in order to stay on that path, I need and use these constant reminders.

During my first year at MBSC I wrote a blog post that was posted on  Coach Boyle’s Website is an amazing website and I suggest you visit it if you haven’t yet. Recently, someone shared my old blog post off of  and after a quick glance, I said to myself ” I wrote this?”. Upon further review, it was I that wrote it! I’d like to share it with all of you. It’s been seven years since I’ve read this, it’s been a good reminder.



What does FROM THE HEART mean?

It is using your imagination to fuel your life, cultivate your creativity.

It is putting other’s before you, caring more about “them” instead of myself.

It is about having responsible responses, not irresponsible reactions.

It is going to work everyday to work everyday. It’s not just about the paycheck that comes weekly or biweekly, work is BIGGER than that.

It is always realizing that adversity is everlasting, but it’s not undefeated. Consistent hard work trumps what stands in our way. Insert this in any situation in life, not just training.

It is always knowing that the best baptism, is baptism under fire ( symbolically speaking). At least for me. I valued the Coach’s who paved my road in front of me. I think of you always. (Garnett Vamos, Walter Norton JR., Michael Boyle, Jason Loscalzo, Jill Wilson, Thomas Plummer)

It is loving your time on this planet, and trying to do the right thing consistently. Doing the right thing isn’t always the easiest, sometimes those tough choices come about.

It is believing in myself, or yourself. Believing in the people I work with. Clients, co-workers, etc.

It is representing yourself with pride and dignity, and remembering where you came from. (781) Don’t ever forget where you came from.

It is  expecting no reward for your work. Please just know that you did the job correctly and in time the rewards will come when you least expect it.

It’s about doing what you enjoy 40+ hours per week. If it contains gratification and you consistently do a great job, the money eventually comes.

It is about going that extra mile for someone or something. Life is about a higher purpose. If you work for whatever your ” higher purpose ” is, you can become an unstoppable force, or an immovable object. Take your pick. I call this the HP Factor.

It comes front the heart.




Your Life, Your Goals


Behind every goal lies a WHY.

“What do I have to do to get stronger?”

“Should I cut out carbs to lose weight?”

“How do I get rid of this (points at belly)?”

As experts in our field, our response to these common questions or so-called goals is WHY.  If we don’t know WHY people want to achieve something, how can we truly help them succeed? The WHY is the driving force. It’s the reason people push through rather than giving up when times get tough. One cannot be “all in” without purpose, without a WHY.

This said, asking clients “Why?” should be a common response to basically any fitness or nutrition related question (like those listed above). If somebody wants to be the next Bo Jackson, play for the Oakland Raiders or Kansas City Royals, and thereafter break every record in the book, specific goals need to be set. For example, “I want to lose weight” is not the same as “I want to lose 10 lbs in 30 days because ________”.

As you can see, goal setting is a invaluable part of any conversation concerning training. Without specific purposeful goals, how can we, the experts, do our jobs well? How can we provide guidance and optimal programming if we do not know where or how far the finish line is (where the client or athlete wants to be)? In others words, how can we help people better themselves if we don’t know what they want and more importantly, WHY they want it?

As a performance specialist, the fun yet challenging thing is that performance has gone VIRAL. Performance is no longer something confined within four gym walls; it is everywhere from Facebook to Pinterest to bathroom stall advertisements. Don’t get me wrong, there are fun ideas out there. Still,  there are exercises being poorly performed that lack any type of structure or standard. We are seeing all types of bizarre movements being demonstrated in conferences, seminars, and even YouTube. Trainers are using all kinds of “fancy” equipment such as bosu balls, sliders and ropes, performing every type of transverse plane squat. The point is, the basics aren’t being executed therefore the product lacks quality. Basics must be performed savagely well first, then we graduate to complexity…


So Anthony … What are the basics?

Here are a few fitness suggestions that I would like to point out before you go all WU Tang in the gym with a bunch of crazy exercises…

Goblet Squat – Can you handle a goblet squat with 50% of your body weight at least 12 times with your knee’s abducted and your feet glued to the ground?

Push Up – Can you perform at least 25 pushups within one minute? (full lockout no gimmicks)

1 Leg Holds – Can you balance on one leg for at least :15 seconds? If you can’t we might have an issue.

Pull Up – Can you perform at least 5 body weight pull ups?

Assault Bike – Can you ride continuously for 2 miles above 50 rpm?

Rational training + well balanced nutrition = Success

These basic suggestions performed consistently over time can have a large benefit on the human body both physically and mentally.



Dietitian’s Perspective


Exercise and nutrition principles are very similar. For example, if someone can’t properly execute a basic, 2-legged body weight squat, we’re not going to have them load it(add weight) and we definitely aren’t going to progress to a rear foot elevated (RFE) split squat.

The same concept applies when it comes to nutrition. You can’t expect results if you don’t have a solid, wholesome foundation. This foundation includes minimally-processed, nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats. Shakes, bars and pills that promise unrealistic, speedy results are not MAGICAL and are certainly not meant to replace real food. You can achieve the same results with avocados, salmon, blueberries, a legitimate exercise program and CONSISTENCY. Plus, supplements actually work best when complimented with a well-balanced diet (it says it on most labels) so don’t think for a second that you can eat junk food on the daily and take a pill to make up for it. Just like you can’t out-exercise a bad diet, you can’t out-supplement a bad diet either.


Want your engine to run smoothly? Want to be more energized? Want your body to look “polished”? Feed your engine appropriate amounts of wholesome food packed with vitamins, minerals, disease-fighting antioxidants and inflammation-reducing omega-3 fats. Do this 80-90% of the time and you will start to see results, whether your goal is weight loss, increasing lean mass or optimizing performance.



Though we often think about the food we eat one day or one week at a time, we should always keep the big picture in the mind – the future. What we do in terms of  nutrition may not impact our health today or tomorrow, but will most definitely play a major role 10, 20, 40 years from now. Take heart disease for example, the number one killer of both men and women in America.  More often than not, it is preventable with a healthy diet and lifestyle, the best weapons to fight heart disease.

In terms of sports nutrition, think of athletes that might only eat appropriately on game day. For example, they might eat nothing but sugary cereal, Mountain Dew and pizza ALL WEEK, but once game day rolls around, they choose to actually fuel their bodies with pasta, chicken and fruit. Think about it; if these athletes treated every day like game day by eating right and getting more rest, imagine how much greater they would be. The thing is, you have to be somewhat consistent to start to see any results. Just like one bad meal isn’t going to make or break your diet, one healthy meal isn’t going to make you a superstar.


It’s important to find a balance between fueling your body and feeding your cravings. Pasta, bread, bananas and ice cream do not have to be cut out – all foods fit! As a dietitian, I have seen it time and time again: DIETS DON’T WORK. This is because diets are quick fixes including some unsustainable form elimination or deprivation. In other words, diets are not meant for the long run and will leave you feeling more than just hungry.

Hence, when my clients ask me if they should go on the _____ diet, I ask them one simple question:

“Can you picture yourself following this diet for 18 months straight?”

If the answer NO (which is almost always the case), I ask the client to strongly reconsider. Though the diet may result in weight loss initially, chances are you will not be able to sustain the diet and will gain the weight back. The bottom line is, the best diet is the one YOU can adhere to long term.

Coach’s Corner

Follow The Right Path:

Moving more, lifting weights, and eating well 90% of the time can support and upgrade any type of goal we have in life. We do not have to reinvent the wheel to be successful. We should seek out what the best people in our field are doing, follow the path they have paved, and learn from them. The bottom line is, unless you have invented a new rocket ship, or the next plan to rid all traffic, someone else has already been on the road we are currently on. Follow the original recipe and master it before you try to toil with some new spices.

You don’t need much more than a linear periodization model for your training, a few minutes everyday on the basics of technique, and at least an hour a week with a dietitian like Danielle Rancourt.

Picture your life 10, 20, 30 years from now if you continue on the path you are currently on. Does it look promising? It is everything you ever dreamed of? We should always strive to be healthier, wiser, and better human beings. Our goals and dreams should intertwine our nutrition and training with our family and community. However, these goals and dreams need some fuel in order to come true, and that fuel is your WHY.




Training The Younger Generation

Developing good humans is my number one goal as a performance specialist, everything else is secondary. It starts with the young bucks.


My wife and I do not have children yet, but it is most definitely a plan in the making. Though I cannot fully empathize what it is like to have and raise children, I often find myself feeling fatherly through training younger athletes to be more than just better athletes: better humans. Training athletes of all ages, sports and calibers has given me the greatest job perk of all: everlasting personal relationships.

Most recently, I have been overloaded with questions from passionate parents regarding training their young hockey player ( hockey specifically because of our North Dakota demographics).

How do we create long term athletic development?

How does my kid get faster and stronger?

How do you optimize my kid’s overall well being and nutrition?

These are solid, thought-out questions from great people throughout the Grand Forks community and I am going to do my very best to answer these questions within this blog post. I truly hope the answers below are both useful and beneficial!

But first, MY story

Growing up, I was obsessed with sports (and still am). I grew up in Malden, Massachusetts, a city just North of Boston. Growing up, I played a ton of baseball and football. I also loved playing street hockey, as well as throwing my hands around boxing in Everett, MA, at Richie Angelo’s Academy.

My childhood was not only fun, but educative. I say educative because I learned A LOT growing up just north of Boston. You could say that I am ” street smart”.

But most of all, I fell in love with Rocky, and everything that came with it, especially the training. Rocky was not just a movie…it gave people hope. Stallone created a plot based on himself in his early thirties getting the “big shot” of a lifetime. I think most of you know the ending to that script.

When I was 14, all I wanted to do was train like Balboa. The Denver Bronco’s also played a major role in my future (what I wanted to do with my life) because of the ESPN special aired in 1998 on their Strength and Conditioning protocols (#amazing).

Since 1998, I wanted to have positive physical self-perception, so I was a man (or boy) on a mission. I was willing to train hard and work hard for whatever sport could lead me through high school, and potentially play a college sport one day. I did just that!

Now, at 33 years old, I realize that the numerous mistakes I’ve made turned into learning experiences, which have helped me become the man, husband, trainer and human I am today. Truthfully, I believe that the past 20+ years of “living and learning” have allowed me to offer young athletes the optimal training they need to accomplish whatever goal they wish to accomplish.

Let’s Think

Sports have several unique benefits.

Boxing teaches hand eye coordination, as well as agility and breathing.

Soccer is great for teaching foot-eye coordination.

Gymnastics teaches the body how to tumble, land, and fall.

Hockey teaches these aspects as well, but the foundation of a hockey player is first and foremost skating, everything else is secondary.

The more sports kids can be exposed to, the better they will be in more ways than one. Exposing young athletes to unique environments is also essential.

Most importantly, kids have to ENJOY what they are doing otherwise it becomes a stressor for the young individual. I say this because unfortunately, in this day and age, we are dealing with all children becoming the next ” insert professional athlete name here”.

Here’s the deal: If a child tries a sport and THEY DECIDE they like it, that’s a home run. If they don’t like it, they should NOT BE FORCED into it. Children don’t need to be pushed into something at a very young age – they deserve a chance to feel things out. It is important to realize that it is okay to TRY something (hockey, broccoli) and not like it… that’s what life is about; figuring out what you like and who you are!

My personal goal for each and every kid that I work with is to develop a well-rounded, good human first. Teaching them to be healthy through various movements, lifts, nutrition and attitude is extremely meaningful for both parties.  If you’re thinking “Why focus so much on human-development?” I will say this: One day, these athletes will no longer be athletes, unless they are apart of the small percentage that become a pro. This is tough concept for kids to grasp, and that’s why I’m here. All they need to do is show up and want to be better.


Standard training according to the LTAD model should begin at about 13 years old. This does not discount movement, and suppleness throughout the earlier stages in life. Still, the focus should be on proper movement, playing sports, agility, etc.

So what do we do for begginers when it comes to training?

In the gym, my goal is to create a 360 degree athlete aka a complete human. Is their mindset clear? How well do the move? Do they know how important rest is? Do they eat fruits and vegetables?

Too often we see young athletes getting thrown into workouts that are not fitting for their body. We see circuits in the initial phase of one’s program because it is “hard”. ANYONE can run a stop watch for a :30/:30 interval, scream and yell. My 3 year old nephew can do that (Henri I’m talking about you pal). The sad thing is, high intensity circuits should not be introduced in the infancy of someone’s training stages.

Where is our pillar training? Why aren’t we performing planks and principle based exercises first? Because they are not “hockey specific”? I hate to break it to you, but if your kid can’t stand and squat off of two legs, then he or she will have way more difficulty standing on one leg with a stick on a bosu ball shooting a puck with one eye closed juggling a tennis ball (mic drop).

This sport specific epidemic is NOT DEVELOPMENT people! The best athletes in the world were multi-sport athletes in their younger years. IF you are lucky enough to commit to a high level of post-secondary athletics at 17 or 18, THEN we can start worrying more about specifics that you would require in order to excel. Until then move well, lift hard, eat well, and get enough sleep. And please, put the cellphones away. Snapchat streaks don’t matter to me.

Prepare The Pillar For Movement Patterns

Teaching kids about the muscles that surround the hips, torso, and shoulders is extremely important because they are the ones stabilizing our pillar (core in the common language). If we are going to train big movement patterns, we have to marry the pillar and movement integration to complete the equation. Below are examples of exercises that create this pillar and movement relationship.

Squatting – Goblet squats, split squats, front squats,  off-set kettlebell squats, and single leg eccentric squats, and sled pushes.

Pulling – Dumbbell rows, inverted rows, pull variations, sled drags

Deadlifting – Hex bar, Off-set variations, and single leg RDL patterns.

Pushing – Push ups, dumbbell bench pressing, overhead single arm pressing

Loaded Carries & Planking – Front/ Side Planks/ Bilateral and Unilateral Carrying

Sprinting – Uphill, flat tempos, integrated shuttles & technique ( not just 300’s) and getting someone the feel of an assault bike because it’s you vs. you when it comes to that bike.

Steady Work – Density circuits – the length of time for which you perform each exercise ( 5-8 exercises performed technically sound for a given amount of time to produce a combination of energy systems).

We train movement patterns well and then we load them. Training is based off of a needs analysis, working out is based off of a wants analysis. Proper human movements performed well under load is a powerful component of athletic development because it creates simple strength that can be sustained over time (aka being healthy not hurt).

Other Training Components For The Young Bucks

Deceleration. We need to know how to stop and land. Too many times I’ve seen a non-counter movement box jump go down the drain because an athlete has landed straight legged, or has fallen forward because they have no intent of stopping. We have to coach deceleration because it is just as important acceleration. The vehicle will not perform well if it doesn’t know how to stop. In other words, you rarely see athletes getting injured accelerating. They get hurt decelerating; slowing down, stopping, changing direction, landing…

We need to teach kids how to land with their knee’s out and their chest up as well as their eyes. I am starting to tell kids that if they drop their eyes down they will be sorry during their sport ( if you drop your eyes in the ring or on the ice GAME OVER).

Are their lower body joints maintaining control when they stop or land?

If the athletes cannot slow down then how will they explode?

Bottom line is this…

If you want an efficient engine in your vehicle, then you need a great set of brakes.


In conclusion, what we do as trainers, strength coaches, performance specialists, etc. is a big deal for young athletic development. What we can learn during training can carry over in our later ages. We will always need health and wellness to perform better in our lives, so why not make a constant investment and train properly?

Our job is to be great coaches to these young athletes every time we work with them. They deserve it as a young kid, and we deserve to display our skillset in the correct manner for their relevant success.

I always say when we coach groups that “the curtain is always up, you never know who is watching”. It is so true. If we are in the field of upgrading performance then we must continue to upgrade our youth first because they are the future.

Young athletes regardless of the sport need to know how much we care about them, and if they don’t realize it in the short term, they certainly will in the long term.

Big thanks to all of the Coaches who I have had an experience with through my journey.

I am thankful for all of the lessons you taught me. They relate to everything I do today.


Tough or Rational?

I answer several questions.  I talk on the phone, I answer emails, and I get a lot of text messages about training from a variety of adults, parents, and athletes. I wouldn’t consider myself a “guru” but I like to think by now I know what I am doing when it comes to training a human being regardless of their status or occupation. Human Performance begins with the right mindset, rational training and solid nutrition.

One major thing that has jumped out at me lately is this: People read and watch a lot of television, but sometimes they simply miss the point. They just want to see too much at once.

Dan John said : ” Not every good idea, training device or diet can or should be done all at once.”

I’d have to agree with that because I am guilty of trying to do too many things at once and it has worked against me every single time. So I stopped.

For my younger self, I was never able to explain things as well as I can today when it comes to training. Recently, I have realized that I have to simplify more and more in order to deliver the optimal explanation. Training and nutrition needs to constantly be simplified for any type of clientele. For starters, tough nutrition and rational training.

Rational is based in accordance with reason or logic. When I try to be rational I simply do not like it, I actually fear simple and obvious because I know it works (weird right?). When applying this to diet and exercise a rational approach lacks all of the fun in training, simultaneously we can handle being “rational” for an honorable amount of time. But rational, though it lacks fun, it works well within an individuals training career.

Tough has some pedigree, it’s exciting. But having a solid body and mind requires lifelong dedication and hard work.

So let’s start with this:

Tough Workouts, Solid Nutrition

Everybody wants to lose body fat and gain muscle. In order to do that, you will have to sacrifice something in your life unless you ingest PED’s to give yourself an artificial boost. We shouldn’t be in the business of tying people to trees and leaving them for three or four days, but hey they will lose weight.

Tough nutrition works, we all know this. Unfortunately, keeping a tough diet focusing on lean cut meats/fish, fruit/vegetables, whole grains, and lots of water is the easiest thing to say but the hardest thing to do. Constancy is an issue for our population when it comes to eating well, but honing it in with a tough nutrition plan 90% of the time does the damn job. Some of us become miserable when we try to make a huge change all at once and we turn into hangry individuals, but again tough solid nutrition will be 90% of what you try to accomplish in your training regime. It will get you the results you want to see in the mirror. To make it even more simple, your diet cannot be out trained. So if there is a change to be made immediately in your life, it’s the plates at the table, not the plates in the gym.

When your nutrition is being met by a needs basis ( not wants) and you feel confident about the way you are eating you must be rational with your training. What does this mean?

First of all don’t try to be a Spartan if you’ve never held a shield or a spear. Running yourself through dysfunctional HIT sessions, tabata protocols with burpees, and excessive crunches will not create the optimal training program because it’s not sustainable. Sure, you’ll feel burnt to a crisp, but the dysfunctional HIT sessions and burpees will eventually compromise a joint or two, and the excessive crunching won’t give you a ” six pack” because your pillar transfers, stores, and absorbs energy. It is meant to absorb force, not snap in half like a visa (crunching).

Simple Lifts Performed Savagely Well ( Thanks EXOS) 

Upper Body Pushing/ Lower Body Pushing ( Sagittal, Frontal, Transverse)

Upper Body Pulling/ Lower Body Pulling ( Sagittal, Frontal, Transverse)

Planking & Loaded Carries ( Bilateral & Unilateral)


For starters try to keep yourself in the 8-15 repetition range, get so good at these exercises that they can’t ignore you!

For example:

Week 1:

Push Up 4x 8-10 reps

Goblet Squat 4x 8-10 reps

1 DB or KB Hinge 4x 8-10 reps

Lat Pulldown 4x 8-10 reps

Front Plank 4x :30secs

Farmer Carry with 75% if your body weight (2 DB’s) 4x 20yds

For weeks 2-4 add weight to each exercise by at least 5lbs each set, or add repetitions.

There, keep your nutrition tough and you have yourself a pretty good looking program.

If you are driving all of your focus into your nutrition, choose a rational workout like this that you know you can accomplish. Pick a training program you know how to do when you are in complete ” diet mode” because you want to be able to come back the next day and work out again. Leave some gas in the tank to create consistency in your training week.

Start with simple, be rational in the beginning, lock it in with the nutrition.