Getting Started / New Clients
Whatever you can stretch and move freely in. Shorts, t-shirt, joggers, etc. We do train barefoot or in socks if you prefer. However you might want to have a pair of minimalist shoes for certain exercises if you don’t like being barefoot. Vivobarefoot and Xero Shoes are some popular options but we can talk more about that if it matters.
• A positive hopeful outlook
• A bottle of water to sip on and a towel if you sweat a lot are optional
• Depending on the type of training you are coming in for a workout log and a pen or pencil for tracking your exercise is essential. Most of my clients just buy a spiral notebook at the grocery store and have a pen and/or pencil. Tracking progress in resistance training is key to your progress.
Generally everything that I offer is beginner-friendly. Some people who are looking to join one of the Small Group Kettlebell Classes will prefer to do a single private session first to learn the basics. This will depend on how quickly you learn, how independent you are, and your personal comfort level starting something new.
Feel free to ask me (Brian) if you think doing a private session first is a good idea or not.
I have clients in their late teens and late 80s and everything in-between. What matters most is matching your fitness / health goals and current fitness / health level to the type of training. For instance I have a 75 year old that is fit and works out in the Small Group Classes. I have a 50 year old with painful joints that requires private training as they would not be able to get the kind of personalized attention they need from a group class environment.
You do not need to be already fit to join. After all you are joining to get fit. So no don’t wait to get fit before joining.
I have different services to match different goals and current fitness / health levels. If you have pain-free joints but consider yourself “out of shape” you will be perfectly fine joining any of my Small Group Classes or Private training. However if you have a lot of aches and pains or consider yourself “very out of shape” you will be better off with my Exclusive VIP Private Training where I can give you the kind of personalized attention you need.
Yes. Please email or call me so I can make sure that I am a good fit for your fitness needs and you are a good candidate for my training services.
What is Your Fitness Training Like?
My desire is to help people look great, feel great, and move great. Different people will have different ideas of what that looks like.
I generally break my clients into the following goal categories:
Beach Body Priority
You want to look as good as you can. This is all about building muscle and losing body fat. So your training will be based upon a scientific approach to classic bodybuilding. We will of course add in a little bit of flexibility, joint health, and athletic performance if you desire it.
The Get Jacked Small Group Classes or either Private training option are good if this is your goal.
Get Healthy / Age Well
This is all about improving your strength, flexibility, balance, coordination, vision, and cardiovascular health. There will be a variety of training to cover all of those goals.
The Get Healthy Small Group Classes or either Private training option are good if this is your goal.
Get Lean / Lose Weight / Diet Coaching
While exercise is important for health and contributes to losing weight diet is really THE key to getting lean. I will coach you on how to eat in a manner that allows you to get the pounds off, feel satiated, enjoy your food, and sustain this type of eating the rest of your life.
Exclusive VIP Private training is the option if this is your goal.
Get Out of Pain
For someone who has a nagging shoulder, knee, back, etc. I can help you eliminate those chronic aches and pains and get you back to being pain-free and enjoying your life. For this we take a movement-based approach. This is not like an appointment with a Chiropractor or Acupuncturist. I am not a mechanic and you are not a car. If something is bothering you then there is a movement compensation that we need to fix.
So I will perform an evaluation, we will try some drills to determine what improves your condition and then those will be your exercises.
Please understand you fix yourself by moving correctly.
Exclusive VIP Private training is the only option for this.
The sensation of fatigue and how hard you will push yourself is very relative. Some people enjoy pushing themselves very hard and others not much at all. What matters is that you are making progress. I generally advise my new clients to start out not pushing very hard at all. If you are new to exercise you will still make progress. As you become more fit you will get used to the sensation of exercise and you will probably want to push yourself harder.
Having said that it is always advisable to have some rules in place for how hard to push to avoid injuries. I will review those with you as part of your training.
* You will never be expected to keep up with anyone else. This is why I don’t offer traditional fitness classes where everyone follows along. It doesn’t honor your current physical level.
Realize that your individual goals, current fitness level, and aches and pains will always be taken into consideration when deciding which exercises you will be doing.
We utilize primarily kettlebells and bodyweight exercises. However the kettlebell isn’t where the magic is. We could be using dumbbells for the most part. It is all about picking the exercises that meet your goals and allow you to make progress.
In general we will be using exercises that allow for the fullest pain-free range of motion so that you develop flexibility, athleticism, strength, coordination, and maximum muscle all at the same time.
Some of my favorite lower body exercises are: Slant Board Squats, Bulgarian Split Squats, Romanian Deadlifts, ATG Split Squats, Nordic Hamstring Curls, kettlebell swings, goblet squats.
Some of my favorite upper body exercises include: chin-ups, kettlebell flyes, lateral raises, bent over rows, and of course curls and various triceps exercises.
Just realize there are multiple exercises that can be used to reach your goals so I will help you find the ones that are the best fit for you. If you enjoy it then you will do it more.
Kettlebell swings are a very beginner-friendly cardiovascular exercise and that is what many of my clients will be doing especially in a Small Group Class. We will do various types of work / rest intervals that will keep your breathing and heart rate elevated but manageable.
For some private clients we do more advanced athletic movements like sprints, cone and ladder drills for sports performance.
For my less fit folks sled pushing and dragging is a low-skill, easy entry way to get some good stamina and cardiovascular health without pushing too hard.
This really depends on your current flexibility and how much you desire to improve. I utilize the Big 4 Stretches with nearly all of my clients as these eliminate most of the aches and pains people will feel in their knees, low back, hips, sciatica, piriformis, ankles, feet, etc.
In our classes we typically spend the last 5 minutes working on flexibility and breathing drills to cool down.
What is Kettlebell Training?
Kettlebells are one of the oldest pieces of exercise equipment around. If you look up pictures of old-time physical culturists and strongmen from the 19th century they could often be seen with different types and shapes of kettlebells.
Modern kettlebells look like a cannonball with a handle. They are unique that their offset center of mass creates loading patterns that are sometimes different from barbells and dumbbells.
I have sizes that range from 5lbs to 106lbs and everything in-between. You will utilize various sizes kettlebells depending on which exercise you are doing.
I was one of the first certified Kettlebell instructors in the state of Colorado 2005 and opened Colorado’s first kettlebell gym in 2006.
I was certified directly by the man who brought modern kettlebell training from Russia to the US, Pavel Tsatsouline.
After spending years doing “Hard Style” kettlebell training and a very brief stint into Kettlebell Sport (hated it but took 1st place at a small meet) I have modified my training.
I realize that most people really want to look as good as they can which means building as much muscle as they can and getting lean. Nothing… NOTHING is better at building muscle than science-based bodybuilding.
So most of the training we do with kettlebells is actually bodybuilding focused.
For my athletes I also incorporate dynamic exercises that can help them create rotational explosiveness.
I like what Dr. Andy Galpin says, “concepts are few but methods are many.”
Essentially a kettlebell is just a piece of equipment there is nothing magical about it. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t some advantages and sometimes disadvantages over other pieces of equipment.
The advantages are that they require a little bit more stabilization which tends to carry over into better real-world strength. Picking up awkward objects, lifting things overhead, etc. will become far easier from kettlebell training. Also fighters and athletes notice kettlebells tend to give them an edge over the competition as they are better at working against objects that want to go their own way.
Pain Relief / Z-Health FAQs
Weird question right? Pain is obviously an unpleasant sensation that you experience but it is not necessarily an injury, a “bad or worn out joint”, nor a permanent condition.
“Pain is typical, and it is a request for change. It doesn’t mean something is broken, it means your brain wants you to pay attention to it and change something.”
– Dr. Kelley Starrett
Here is the modern scientific definition of what pain is:
“Pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with, or resembling that associated with, actual or potential tissue damage.”
– IASP: International Association for the Study of Pain
In laymen’s terms that means…
• Pain is an experience but it does NOT mean that there is an injury… although sometimes it obviously does.
• Worn out joints, damaged cartilage, age, disc herniations, etc. have between zero to next to zero impact on the pain you feel. Numerous studies prove this.
• Your emotional state and personal feelings about pain and how afraid you are of it being something bad dictate how much pain you will feel.
Pain is a signal created in and by the brain because it thinks you are in danger (real or perceived). You must retrain your nervous system (brain) to understand that it is safe. That it is not in danger.
The primary ways that you do that is through movement. That might sound vague and that is because there are so many types of movement that could potentially work.
• Isometric contractions of a muscle
• Soft tissue work
• Flexibility work
• Coordination work
• Balance & vision work
• and more
In some cases we must test several things to figure out what will work to eliminate a chronic pain in your body.
People enter the chronic pain cycle when they initially feel pain, then they stop moving, which in turn allows the body to get weaker, which increases pain, which causes someone to move even less, which makes you even weaker, which causes even more pain… get it?
The only way to break out of the chronic pain cycle is to start moving. Movement should be pain-free although there may be some low-level discomfort which is ok.
Passive care are things like Chiropractic, Acupuncture, Acupressure, Massage, etc. Essentially it is where someone is doing something to you with the intent of fixing you.
Active care are things like exercise, certain forms of PT, rehabilitation exercises, etc. If you are actively doing movements to fix yourself then you are doing active care.
Now, passive care does sometimes have benefits but let me be clear… In almost every single case… Only you can fix you. And you must move in order to fix yourself. That means active care is required.
Many pain issues are a problem of poor movements that cause one area of the body to get overused. Often this is because a different area is weak and uncoordinated. This can come from a past injury or simply disuse. Use it or lose it comes to mind.
The only way to change your movement patterns, become stronger, and more coordinated is for you to move.
Now you might not know what movements to do to fix yourself. That is why there are people like me around.
Just like you cannot learn to play the piano by having someone tie their fingers to yours and then they play the piano while you watch TV… you cannot improve your strength or coordination or change a poor movement pattern to a good one by sitting and having someone just fix you.
Because the human body is so dynamic and there are so many moving parts that might not be moving well it requires someone with an experienced and expert eye to figure out what the problem is.
Once we can see where there is a movement problem we can find an exercise movement to fix the issue.
Most of the movements are small, skill-based movements that teach you how to use a joint better so that other joints don’t have to work as hard and get beat up.
A great example is the shoulder joint. The ball and socket (glenohumeral joint) will get really beat up, frayed tendons, rotator cuff issues, shoulder impingements, etc. if the scapula and thoracic spine do not move well.
So in this example a variety of coordination exercises to teach you how to move your scapula and T-spine better are in order.
This depends on the severity of the issue, how long it has been going on, and how much drive you have to work on it.
For most common aches and pains that people have you could expect the following:
– Spend 1 – 5 minutes per day doing dynamic movement coordination exercises
– In roughly 2 weeks time you should see dramatic improvement and/or complete elimination of the issue
– Sometimes an issue has multiple layers or isn’t as obvious and the initial exercises don’t fix it. In those cases follow-up sessions are required.
Unlike many types of passive care (Chiropractic, Massage, Acupuncture) that require you to keep going back regularly and possibly the rest of your life, these movements once learned can be done by you at your leisure on your own at home if the issue ever arises again.
* Your emotional attachment to the pain can cause it to stick around longer. Part of getting rid of chronic pain is learning that the pain you feel is NOT YOU nor is it your destiny. It is simply a temporary experience… a crappy one… but it can go away if you make the necessary changes.
Diet Coaching FAQs
As much as various media outlets and so-called experts would like you to believe there really isn’t any good research on what the best diet is.
However there are some principles of a healthy diet that we do have good research on. Getting roughly 1 gram of protein per pound of ideal bodyweight per day is usually the best place to start. Then backfilling in the rest of your calories with carbohydrates and fats as you see fit.
As to the specifics: meats, dairy, fruits, vegetables, potatoes, rice, etc. are all fine. What matters is that you find something that allows you to stay lean, enjoy what you eat, digest what you eat without feeling ill, and it must be sustainable.
There are no magic diets that work better than others. The goal should always be calorie control, enjoyment, getting in a good amount of nutrients, and to make it as easy for you to follow as possible.
Despite what some so-called experts claim (they are trying to sell you something) the research is quite clear. Calories matter. The amount of calories that you consume must be lower than what you are spending on any given day. There are no fat prisoners of war after all.
There are LOTS of ways to accomplish this from intermittent fasting, to low carb, high carb, ketogenic diets, Zone Diet, 3 square meals per day, etc.
What is most important is to find a diet that you enjoy, learn to control calories, and then to stay consistent by staying persistent.
This is why you need an experienced and qualified coach who can help you navigate this journey.
Ok first off starvation sounds terrible, let’s not do that. Now sure if you drastically cut calories you will lose body fat faster but you will sure feel awful.
By making small changes to what or how you eat you can often see slow, steady progress in fat loss that you can maintain. After all what good is it to lose 30+ lbs quickly only to gain it back quickly and then some?
I teach my clients how to eat so they can get their dream body and keep it the rest of their life.
Most people will do well to lose just under 1-lb of body fat per week.
Very overweight people can lose several pounds per week.
At about 1-lb per week of fat loss that is 50+/- pounds of fat loss per year. That will change your life! If you have less than that to lose then it will take less than a year. If you have more than 50 pounds to lose then it will take longer.
Realize that change is hard and only about 1% of the people out there can just buy a diet book, follow it, and get amazing results.
You need a coach to support you, help you problem solve, and hold you accountable.
In a word… No.
There are studies on this and while there are tricks to cause local fat mobilization from particular areas the degree is so small it is basically zero.
You store fat in a genetically and hormonally expressed way and you will lose fat in the same way.
Doing endless sit-ups or crunches or any other “core” work will not, I repeat WILL NOT cause you to get lean in the midsection.
Only by controlling calories consistently over time will you get that lean body of your dreams.
Great question. Most exercise only burns between 100 – 400 calories per hour. It is widely accepted in the scientific community that there are 3,500 calories in a pound of body fat. So if you were to use exercise alone and not change your diet then it would take between 2 – 3 weeks on average to lose a pound of body fat. That’s not terrible. But if you reduce your calories by 500 per day then you could lose 1 pound per week.
Generally cardio burns a little bit more calories per hour than resistance training but resistance training builds muscle so you look better as you get leaner AND that muscle is more metabolically active so you burn more calories at rest. Quite frankly doing a combination of both is ideal.
But realize that an entire hour of hard exercise can be undone by a quick snack. 2 Oreos – 280 calories. A typical Starbucks coffee can range from 140 – 600 calories. That can be 6 hours worth of exercise wasted. Do you see why diet matters so much now?
Muscle Building FAQs
1) Do resistance training on a consistent basis (rarely miss your training session)
2) Make progress / push hard
3) Recover (nutrition & sleep)
There are ways to fine tune and optimize muscle building but if you aren’t doing 1 – 4 above then they don’t matter.
The latest research shows that the optimal range to build muscle looks like the following:
Reps: Anywhere from 5 – 30 although 8 – 15 is probably the best
Sets: Between 10 – 20 sets per muscle per week. You can split those sets up over multiple workouts. So 5 sets twice per week, or 3 – 4 sets 3 times per week.
Having said that a beginner will build muscle doing far less sets than that. Perhaps as little as 3 sets per week… Individual results will vary.
The approach that I use with my clients is to start with as little as possible to get results. Only if they need more sets do I have them add more.
The research currently shows that training close to failure is just as effective (possibly more) than training to failure. The general advice from the experts is to leave about 1 – 3 repetitions in reserve or 1 – 3 reps from failure. That is what I advise my clients to do and it is what I do.
You can certainly lose body fat faster than you can build muscle. If you are new to (effective) lifting and have average genetics then you can expect to build about a pound of muscle per month perhaps more.
My best advice is to get your body fat low while building muscle (which beginners can easily do) and you will look amazing!
After 2 – 3 years you will definitely look like a jacked athlete.
1) Aim to get about 1 gram of protein per pound of ideal bodyweight daily.
2) Get the rest of your calories from carbohydrates and fats as you see fit. Don’t go super low on either.
3) Try to eat more lower-processed foods that are lower in calories, higher in nutrients, and filling.
4) Additional tips are only relevant once you are doing those 3 above.
Ideally get 7 ½ to 9 hours of quality sleep per night. Go to bed and get up at the same time in order to get your hormone cycles dialed in so you maximize your growth hormone, testosterone, etc.
Take at least one day per week where you don’t do any hard exercise. A long walk or moderate hike is probably fine.
If life has you stressed to the gills you might need more days off from exercise.
If you train with me 2 – 5 days per week then you are fine.
That really depends on your goals. If you want to maximize muscle building to your fullest extent possible then probably 3 – 5 times per week. But you can still get great results from 2 – 3 times per week.
I do have clients that come in 5 days per week. Some people actually prefer this as this allows them to spread their workouts over more days so each workout session is shorter and easier. Doing a full leg and upper body day with a bunch of sets can be a bear but doing a lower body day and an upper body day twice per week is far easier.
Most of my clients start out coming in 2 – 3 days per week doing full-body workouts and then as they get stronger and more motivated they switch to 4 or even 5 days per week.
If you would like to do some cardio, play a sport, or do other non-strength / muscle type activities on the other days of the week that is fine. I do advice taking at least 1 day off per week to relax where maybe the most exercise you do is walking.
Intimidated by all of that? Start with 2 days per week, you will still get great results.