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…]

Why Motivation Is Useless: Bruce Lee’s Take

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Today, the name Bruce Lee is synonymous with martial arts, self-actualization and worldwide stardom.

But this wasn’t always the case.

As an immigrant to the United States from Hong Kong in 1959, Bruce was relatively unknown in his new country. At the age of 28 with his largest notable TV role, The Green Hornet, flopping harder than a fish on dry land and a family of three to provide for, his chances of success were in limbo.

Frustrated and ready for a change of fortune, he penned the following letter in 1969:

“I, Bruce Lee, will be the first highest paid Oriental super star in the United States. In return I will give the most exciting performances and render the best of quality in the capacity of an actor. Starting in 1970 I will achieve world fame and from then onward till the end of 1980 I will have in my possession $10,000,000. I will live the way I please and achieve inner harmony and happiness.”

The rest, as they say, is history.

From this point forward and before Bruce’s untimely death just 4 years later, his work output was staggering.

He redoubled his efforts, going the unconventional route and returning to Hong Kong where he used his increased level of fame there to his advantage, upgrading from minor television actor to leading man in the full-length films the world has come to know him for.

Not being one to settle he pushed forward, eventually earning the power to write, direct and choreograph the fight scenes in his movies. This lead him to collide head-on with his dreams of stardom when in 1972 one of the biggest film production companies in the United States, Warner Brothers, approached Lee to star in what would be the most successful film of his career, Enter The Dragon, grossing over $200 million dollars worldwide.

Why Motivation Is Useless

What I say next won’t be sexy, unique or groundbreaking.

Bruce Lee wasn’t special.  [Read more…]

How To Stack The Deck In Your Favor And Thoughts On Accountability

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A few days ago, a trainer sent me a message that went along the lines of “Hey JC, what are you reading lately? I’m about to order some stuff from Amazon. I’m looking for any material on nutrition, training, whatever that’s non fiction.”

So my response was definitely of the non fiction category, but not necessary strength and conditioning/fitness related.

My response?

“I’m currently reading Prometheus Rising, and The Brain That Changes Itself” is what I said.

When he insisted on some fitness stuff, I let him know the last few books/products I consumed were The Cycle Diet by Scott Abel, and Leigh Peele’s Starve Mode.

Both products are fantastic, by the way, but a lot of my reading these days stretches far beyond just health and fitness material.

Lately I’m much more interested in how I can be a better coach, writer, listener, and how I can help my clients and readers create lasting change through matters surpassing great training and diet information.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a HUGE believer in getting the basic stuff down and it’s largely why I wrote LGN365. In the opening section of the book I talk about getting your mind right, and how if you don’t make the time for that, nothing else you do will ever work as well as it could.

The books in my response dive deep into the mind, which is of utmost interest to me lately.

In Prometheus Rising, it’s more about the possibilities of the thinker, and from what I gather thus far, is a lot of material that makes you think about thinking. One should also note this book was written in ’83, and the way the author presents his ideas are very much beyond his time.

The Brain That Changes Itself is more about how we really don’t understand much about how the brain works. There are many cases in the book that disproves the old notion that the brain functions like a ‘machine’ and that it has specialized areas.

But I’m not here to talk about the brain. I wrote this to touch upon something I feel goes unnoticed at times, but is super important. [Read more…]

Mind Tricks for More Muscle and Greater Intensities

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Last week, I sent an impromptu email to the JCD Fitness subscribers with the subject line: One weird trick to improve your exercise intensity today (some of you may have gotten ‘How to use visualization for a better workout?’).

I wrote the email because I didn’t want to write a full article on it, but after all the replies encouraging me to, I decided I’d write a little longer version of the email, and add some more ideas I’ve been pondering/trying out since sending it out.

I do this on occasion. I’ll simply send out a short, informational email, as opposed to updating the blog, so if you want in on that, subscribe to the newsletter using the form on the right.

I Caught Myself Slipping

As many of you know, I got into mindfulness meditation about a year ago. To say that’s been anything less than amazing would be fictitious.

Most recently, I’ve been practicing various method of mindfulness and visualization during my training to see if it will allow me to make a better mind-muscle connection, and to enjoy my training more than usual.

As of late, I’ve been doing a bodybuilding split created by a fellow trainer friend of mine, so needless to say it’s imperative that I focus 100% on the feel as opposed to psyching myself up for heavy loads and one-rep maxes.

Before I began the program I caught myself slacking, though. I found myself just going through the motions without paying much attention to what was going on within my body, and how I was moving.

So instead of letting this pass, I jotted down a note in my phone to make some changes during the next session.

This is what I wrote down:

“Spend 5 minutes before my session in a small meditation, controlling my breathing, and visualizing myself squatting. As I progress through my squat workout, drop my training load to 70% of what I’m scheduled to do. Only focus on contraction quality, form, and getting as many reps as possible.” [Read more…]

Being Mindful With Your Training and Nutrition – Setting A New Standard For Yourself

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It’s the middle of February. Where are you in your current health and fitness plan? Are you still on track or have your New Year’s Resolutions gone completely awry?

Are you back into your old habits, or have you successfully created new ones?

This year will mark the 13th or 14th year I’ve been doing some form of strength training. Within the last 3 years I’ve hit a few of my strength-related goals such as a 500lb+ deadlift, being able to bench 225lbs more than 10 times (I believe my best was a set of 15).

A year ago I got heavily into full range of motion Olympic style squats, and quickly got up to doing more than twice my body weight for singles and doubles. This year one of my goals is to hit a 2.5x Olympic squat and if I can manage to stay injury-free, I will surely smash it.

But this past year, my mindset about training and nutrition has taken a major turn for the better, in my opinion. Back on July 1st, I began a journey I had no idea would lead me to the interests I have now regarding a concept called Mindfulness and today I want to discuss how you can apply it to your training and nutrition.

For those who are unfamiliar with the term, it’s pretty simple. A working definition is this: a state of open attention in which you observe thoughts, feelings, and ideas without judgment, and with the idea of remaining focused on the present moment.

Of course, there are other definitions primarily derived from Buddhism, but that’s way beyond the scope of this piece. [Read more…]