Physique Development: Being Better Than Your Blind Spots

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For the physique-conscious individual, we aren’t plagued by what we don’t know, but more so by all the unknown unknowns.

It’s a blind spot. We all have them, but rarely cognizant of this fact. It can keep us stagnant for far longer than it should.

What do I mean exactly?

We are a people in pursuit of excellence. We want to be bigger, leaner, stronger, faster, more flexible.

We desire to create a better version of ourselves, and to reach new heights – no matter the cost of time or effort.

This is an admirable pursuit, and one many can benefit from, but the process is an arduous one.

Weights get heavier. Progress is harder to come by. We’re nearing the final floors of our genetical high-rise.

But we yearn for more. [Read more...]

Weighing The Risks – How Weekend Athletics Can Ruin Your Gainz

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What do you want?

Strength? Aesthetics? More athletic ability?

It’s important to know because the goal you choose will determine the steps you take take, as well as the precautions you may have to consider.

A few weeks ago I got the email every coach hates to get.

It read something like the following:

“JC, Really Bad news.. We had an Alumni Rugby game this Saturday, and I went up for a kickoff and got hit wrong, landed on the ball and broke two ribs.. I can’t workout or run or anything for 4-6 weeks. What am I supposed to do now?”

This is the worst. Here we have someone who started off so well, only to be derailed by an injury.

While most people won’t find themselves breaking ribs too often, injuries incurred from physical activity are bound to happen the longer you’re pushing your limits.

Something I always discourage clients from is activity that interferes with their primary goal, as well as those that come with high risk and little reward.

This is why I highly discourage my  otherwise inexperienced clients (those who have no previous athletic experience) from sprinting, or even going for long jogs as a part of their cardio plan.

Intervals? Sometimes, but only as long as the impact is low, and controlled. [Read more...]

Chasing Strength Gains For Fat Loss, And Why I’m Not An Absolutist

This past week, I had a friend passing through on his way to Las Vegas for an entrepreneurial seminar. Myke came in from Calgary, and we spent a few days working, training, and chatting. Lots of chilling, eating, and great conversation took place.

Among the good eats, and long days at the coffee shops working alongside each other, we talked about training and dieting, like, a lot.

We discussed our training history, how we got into fitness, and what we’ve struggled with. Like me, Myke is a former fat boy with all of the psychological trappings associated with such a mental state.

Myke, too, has experienced his fair share of injuries as a result of intense training over the years. Alongside those injuries comes a healthy dose of the typical consequences, such as unplanned time off, lack of concern to control our diet, and lots of feeling sorry for ourselves.

This is what typically turns someone, who was once in a great shape, into the person they wish they’d never be again. It’s the story of that guy or gal who pushes too hard for too long, gets an amazing body, only to get injured and a one-way ticket back to their pre-transformation state.

I have a history of being all-or-nothing. My temperament, to put it lightly, used to be very extreme. I had a hard time accepting middle ground, or any gray areas in training, dieting, and my life, in general.

It was black or white, no arguing.

As we talked training, I asked about his injuries, his views on fat loss, longterm training protocols, and how it fits in with his life.

His views stem purely from his own transformational experience. He got lean through intermittent fasting, and a steady dose of low volume training and a big focus on the major movements.

Strength gains were the ultimate benchmark of progress, and ultimately, his success.

The problem came when he got injured. In his view, what got him lean was a lot of heavy deadlifts, squats, presses, and low carb dieting.

But now he couldn’t perform all the movements the way he once could and as a result, Myke proclaimed his impending doom. He admitted defeat.

He exercised less, ate more, and began the downward spiral into depression. He hated how his clothes were getting tighter, but did little about it. It’s a cycle that many of us can relate to.

I know I’ve been there, and I’ve let my shoulder injuries set me back further than they should have in the past.

But what if Myke had some more tricks in his tool belt? What if he wasn’t completely sold on the high intensity, low volume approach? Could he have maintained his fitness, and thusly his confidence, while working around the injury?

Yes. [Read more...]

A Year In Review: Gratitude, Thoughts, Reflections, and Revelation

In a few short days, we’ll stride into 2013.

Okay, I’ll admit it. I secretly thought writing this post would never happen, for I just knew the Mayans were onto something. I guess they weren’t.

Today I want to cover many of the interesting things that have happened in the last year, some people I’ve met, as well as how my thoughts are constantly evolving when it comes to the fitness lifestyle.

First we’ll cover the year, in short, and then some of the most popular posts on JCDFitness, my reflections on the past year, revelations, and finally, some questions on how I can help you in 2013.

Gratitude

Before I begin, I first have to say a hearty thanks to you for reading. This site has been up and running since October 2008, and I’m incredibly grateful for those of you who’ve been with me for so long.

I’ve come a long way as a writer, coach, and thinker since my early days of posting on forums, and writing random blogs about recipes, and such.

Fitness has given me a purpose in this world, and while I may not be the best writer, I’m happy I have the ability to communicate regularly with those who are looking for guidance in this crazed fitness space.

There’s quite a bit to read here today, and I’m incredibly thankful that you choose to read my work whenever I write something new. [Read more...]

Finding Your Heartbeat, Where You’ll Be In The Next Year and How I Want To Hold You Accountable

Ever since last week, I’ve been thinking a lot on what I wrote about resolutions, habit creation, and why we do what we do.

The more I read about the science of it all, the more intrigued I get. It’s amazing what we can do with deliberate focus, diligence, and some patience.

This past weekend, Elliott Hulse (one of my favorite people in the fitness industry) gave a talk in NYC. I didn’t get to attend, but I’ve been watching the recorded lectures he gave, and I love his insight.

So far, I made it through the first video and he touched on a method he uses personally for getting things done – Finding Your Heartbeat is what he calls it.

The analogy he used was his business. If he wants to keep his business running and thriving, he must make the heart beat. How? [Read more...]