Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Mike Mahler Hormone Optimization Lecture Review


Hormones and the effect they have on your body-I don't think there is anything more misunderstood when regarding performance. There are so many chemical reactions going on in the body you have to expect they can change your mood, function and even your body composition.

I didn't know Mike Mahler was going to give a lecture on Hormone Optimization but he opened up my mind to new possibilities outside of the weight room and normal "supplements".

The 3 main hormones Mike Mahler talked about were:
  • Leptin
  • Insulin
  • Adrenaline
I will focus on Insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is a condition where the body doesn't produce insulin correctly. When your body becomes insulin resistant it needs more insulin to help the body use glucose for energy. As with most things, too much is usually a bad thing.


Even though Mike Mahler talked a good hour about the above hormones I decided to research more and find some audio of it broken down and steps to take to get insulin under control.

Mike Mahler-Super Human Radio-Insulin Resistance-Press Play to Listen!

I cam across an interview Mike Mahler did on Super Human Radio where he talked about the 11 Supplements to Combat Insulin Resistance. I decided to listen and take some brief notes on the supplements he list and their benefits.
  1. Magnesium-very important! It helps regulate insulin and helps you sleep better. Also magnesium deficient conditions are anxiety, depression, headaches, cardiovascular issues, obesity and list of others ailments. It is important enough there is a whole book written on the Benefits of Magnesium. The best kind you can take is transdermal which is absorbed through the skin. You can find it here.
  2. Apple Cider Vinegar-Dr. Carol Johnston conducted a study in which subjects that consumed apple cider vinegar prior to eating a high carbohydrate meal cut blood sugar surge by 50% and works just as well as the diabetes drug Metformin. 2 tablespoons before a meal. DO NOT DRINK STRAIGHT!!! IT WILL CAUSE YOU TO GAG AND POSSIBLY PASS OUT!!! or at least thats what happened to me. Dilute the 2 tablespoons with water.
  3. Coconut Oil-You can cook with this and it helps reduce carbohydrate intake and you can get energy from the medium chain triglycerides. Also has been shown to curb sugar cravings. I usually cook my breakfast with it or just add it straight into the blender with my protein shake.
  4. Acetyl-Carnitine-Taking carnitine has been show to increase cell fuel burning and improve glucose tolerance.
  5. Cinnamon-Studies have shown that it can reduced LDL (BAD) cholesterol, blood sugar, overall cholesterol and triglycerides.
  6. R-Lipoic Acid-helps increase glucose metabolism
  7. Fenuplex-Adding this supplement can lower body fat by metabolizing glucose. It also lowers blood sugar levels. Strength Coach Charles Poliquin talks about product here.
  8. Resveratrol-Has been shown to block estrogen and lower blood sugar.
  9. Vitamin D-Low Vitamin D levels can lead to declines in brain function and and can trigger Type II Diabetes. Get the drops because it is easier to add to your diet instead of swallowing the pills.
  10. CoQ10-Increasing CoQ10 can help treat heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetic symptoms as well as help increase glucose metabolism.
  11. Fish Oil-The benefits are endless. Here's a few, reducing inflammation, lowering cholesterol, arthritis, insulin sensitivity.
  12. Pomegranates-An extra Mike threw in and it can increase glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity.
There you have it some supplements you might not have heard of and their benefits. Next time I will pick the top 5 you can add to your diet starting this New Year. Again I would like to thank Mike Mahler for his lecture during the Kettlebell Seminar and his interview on Super Human Radio.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Mike Mahler Kettlebell Seminar Review Part 1


Who is this?
A. Front-Man of your favorite hardcore band?
B. World-Renowned American Kettlebell instructor
C. All-Around Bad-A*%
Well if you don't know Mike Mahler then you could easily choose "all of the above."
I have been receiving Mike Mahler's Free Magazine for quite some time. I had read it, but would only take pieces of information here and there because I was not totally into kettlebells. I did tell myself I would attend one of Mike's Seminars and its a good thing I decided to go.
Mike's Seminar was held at Crossfit Houston.
This was the first time I have been in a Crossfit Gym and even though I don't always agree with Crossfit's overall WOD routine schtick, the space was perfect for the seminar.
For the price of admission into Mike's Seminar you received Mike Mahler Kettlebell Instruction, Hormone Optimization Lecture and Sincere Hogan's Bodyweight Training, and a couple of Mike Mahler's DVD's.
First a little background on my kettlebell experience. It was relatively non-existent since about the only kettlebell movements I did where swings for conditioning and hitting the posterior chain.
The main exercises of the Seminar were swings, cleans, snatches, windmill and Turkish get-ups.
Swings are usually the easiest to learn because its a simple, natural movement but I did learn I was letting the bell control me at the top. You also don't want to squat down to swing but let the hamstrings and posterior chain get the bulk of the movement. Snatches and Cleans were next and are always difficult for the beginner because of the bell banging against your wrist.
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This is where I got the most out of my money. Mike Mahler and Sincere Hogan were going around helping the participants perfect their technique. Videos and DVD's are helpful but coaching in person works the best. Sincere Hogan is no slouch and if Mike had him at the seminar that means he knows his stuff. Another key point here is to keep the bell close to you. The further away it gets, the more momentum leaves your body and energy is lost.

Snatches are easiest for me because I am used to having weight overhead from pressing weekly. As easy as they seem they can be difficult for beginners due to the bell coming around on the completion of the lift. A key point to remember here is to open the hand slightly in order for the handle to rotate in your hand. No need for a death grip! Also you can see explosion is key when dealing with heavier weights because you have to produce enough force to propel the implement overhead.
Photographs of Mike Mahler courtesy of Michael Neuveux.
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KB Cleans have always felt awkward because you catch them with your hands in a neutral position. Make sure to keep your arm close to your torso and lats contracted in order to control the weight. If you have your elbow out to far from the body it can strain the shoulder or elbow since the weight is on the arm. Just keep in mind you will not be the only one banging their wrists. It takes time and practice.
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Next we tackled the lifts that can impress your friends the Windmill and Turkish Get-Up. Although performing them might "illuminate the mind and dazzle the eye" you better be careful they can put you in a body bag.
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The key FOR ME on both lifts is to look and concentrate on the bell through the entire movement in case things go South. With the windmill keeping the leg straight under the overhead extended kettlebell is critical. You also want to push that same hip to help with the weight. You will also have to bend the opposite knee in order to bend all the way down. When performing this lift I feel like a tighter grip keeps the entire body tight and thats a good thing when contorting your body.

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A key point when performing a Turkish Get-Up is to use the opposite elbow that you have the kettlebell in for leverage and also stay super tight throughout the lift. Imagine yourself about to take a punch in the gut. Now the position of your feet on your way up can make things easier or make it extremely awkward. Play around with the technique. Also you've been warned my knees were scuffed up right before standing. The thing with this lift is after completing it even with a relatively light weight you feel strong.
Obviously there was much more that was taught at the Seminar but I just wanted to hit the high points. If there is one of his seminars by your neighborhood you better go. I have been to many seminars and clinics and this is one of the best ones due to the amount of information learned for the money spent. I left my house at 5 a.m. after a Friday Night Football game for a 3.5 hour drive to make sure I wouldn't miss out. The drive home after was a hard but it was worth it. Mike Mahler's teaching style and sense of humor blend perfectly while teaching complex movements. I wish I had more time to talk to Mike because he is there to answer any questions. A quick way to tell if someone is worth anything is if you would like to spend more time picking their brain. Another thing that goes unnoticed is when you are around Mike you feel like you can do more. Mike also makes you think of doing things differently. He exudes Strength physically, mentally and professionally you can't help but ask yourself "Am I Giving a 100%?" I must admit I was nervous talking to him just because of how big of a name he is in Strength and Conditioning. After being around him for the day there is no doubt he is trying to help anyone who is looking for help. If you are on the fence hopefully this review helps make the decision. When comparing the price of other kettlebell seminars the one Mike and Sincere put on was chump change. Price to Value Ratio=High.
Also I can't forget about Sincere Hogan's role in the Seminar. He was very easy to talk to and did not hesitate to give you some coaching cues. Something I enjoyed about his style is his ability to match cues with a beat. He also taught me a new trick to save the grip and low back on the down phase of the all the KB lifts which is a huge plus. His coaching made things seem easier than they really are which is critical for beginners. I will give a more in-depth review of Sincere in Part 3 but all I know is his clients are lucky to have him. This cat knows his stuff.
Coming up:
Part 3-Sincere Hogan's Bodyweight Training Review
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, click one and I may profit.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Are You Sure I'm a Man?

Have you ever felt "less than a man." Is your day to day grind beating you down like a zoo animal? Your boss is on your butt. Again.

You got the flu. Training is not going as planned. Diet has gone to crap. Your car broke down. Something just broke at your house. The doctor gave you some bad news. Your girlfriend has you going on weekend trips to Bed, Bath and Beyond. If you have kids, oh man that's a whole other bag of issues. It gets you down so much you are left questioning if you are even a man anymore. There is only so much a guy can take. You are just like the zoo animal who is about to snap.

But there is hope. You won't get a warning but its coming. It's that one moment that solidifies the fact you are not a pie hole. You can do your job after all. You are not incompetent. The check engine light on your car magically turns off. Training is going good because it looks like you have bumped into a weight over the past couple of weeks. People start asking if you have lost weight and put on some muscle.

Artist rendering of Raymon Carrillo. He's a savage and ALL BUSINESS IN THE GYM.

The simple fact is you have to be ready to act when an opportunity presents itself. Live like the tiger who can't wait for the day someone climbs over the fence at the zoo just so he can show everyone he is still the baddest animal on the planet. It is OK to let people know you are still a man. Don't get me wrong I have come up SMALL on some occasions. Everyone has but don't let it become a habit. Now I am not Tony Robbins but it doesn't take a Success Coach for you to realize there are some things you can do that can make life a little smoother.

In the Gym you should:
Do these exercises: Bench Press, Floor Press, Overhead Press, DB or Barbell Rows, Dips, Pull/Chin-Ups, Squats, Box Squats, Front Squats, Deadlifts, Good Mornings, RDLS, Lunges, Reverse Lunge, 1-Leg Elevated Squats, Step-Ups, Kettlebell Swings.

If you haven't been doing these, check out the WildGorillaman Blog to witness strong females kicking tail at these lifts.

  1. Don't eat crap all the time
  2. Eat 3 Regular Meals (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner) with 3 snacks. Meals should be high in lean protein and snacks should something quick and easy like a protein shake. Diet should revolve around meat, veggies, fruits, nuts, protein, water.
At home:
  1. Relax
  2. Get good sleep. The more hours of sleep you get before midnight the better.
Simple enough. Hardly. But it is a start.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

No One Gives a...

....who you trained with....

Hopefully you are into the swing of things with whatever you have going on this coming Fall and you are kicking some major tail whether it been in your athletic season, at the gym or in your job. This post is for the athletes out there who thought that training with certain people, ex-athletes or do certain exercises like 1-Leg Contralateral DB Bulgarian Snatches was going to be all that they needed in order to excel in their sport.

But my trainer was....

There are usually 2 things that will determine the success of an Off-Season Program.
  1. Exercise Selection/Programming
  2. Athlete Effort
Why do you think Bill Starr's Program has been so damn good? Exotic exercises with specific tempos? Bench, Squat, Clean. Any questions? Training with someone because they were successful at their sport when they played DOES NOT translate to your achievements on the field.

I took this philosophy and applied it to Raelyn. It was this past summer and she was going into 7th Grade and was going to tryout for the volleyball team. Now you would think that would be easy but at this school it is very competitive. Many of the girls that go to the school get private lessons or on a Club Traveling Team. Raelyn was already a good volleyball player but wanted to improve her strength, flexibility and conditioning during the summer before tryouts. I knew she would be playing her sport frequently at open gyms and she attending another Speed and Quickness Camp so my main focus was Strength.

Great. Basic Lifts. Rotate the Volume and Intensity. Train outside at a local park.

Sessions were 50 minutes to an hour which included PVC Pipe Rolling, Band Assisted Stretching, Training and Cool-Down. PVC Pipe Roll-Hamstring, Quad, Glute, Low Back. Band Assisted Stretch of same as above. Training consisted of 1-2 major strength movements rotated from 8, 5, 3 reps, followed by an explosive power movement x 5 reps then auxiliary lifts to build muscle. Auxiliary lifts were super-setted x 10 reps. Finisher-Sled Drags, Sled Hammers, Sprints, Stairs. Redo PVC and Band Stretching.

Below is a example of a training session.

Workout A

Hex Dead


DB Push Press Throws

1A) Sand Bag Walking Lunge
NB Strength Coach,Weight Lifting,Strength Training,Strength and Conditioning,Wendler,5/3/1
1B) DB Rows

2A) Sand Bag Front Squat

2B) DB/Plate Front Raise

Conditioning-Sled Drags 5 x Front and Back x 45 lbs. on ELITEFTS SLED. or Stairs

After 6 weeks:
  • Dead 80 lbs. x 8 to 180 lbs. x 3
  • Military 20 lbs. x 8 to 45 lbs. x 3
  • Squat 55 lbs. x 8 to 90lbs. x 3

112_0813.jpg picture by nbstrengthcoach

....and made the A team at her middle school and the traveling team....She was one of the best people to train because her EFFORT was outstanding and she knew it would pay off during the season. Good Luck with the rest of the season Raelyn.

Have you been wasting your time????

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Living Life Like The Boys

I want to introduce you to Elliot, Rowdy and Bogey. This will hopefully be a 3-Part series. Don't want to leave any of them out. Sitting in the backyard of my fiancées house. I began comparing the dogs to people. Obviously each one has their own personality but today I am going to focus on Elliot.

112_0739-1.jpg picture by nbstrengthcoach

You may be wondering what I can learn from this Wienie Dog. Well that's what I am here for. I will tell you why you should be living life like Elliot.

112_0759-1.jpg picture by nbstrengthcoach

Dogs are interesting animals because they size each other up when they are together and each of my boys comes from somewhere different kinda like a Frat House.


Elliot is not the biggest "Dawg in the Yard." Not the youngest. Not the fastest. But none of the other dogs mess with him. You know why? Because he commands respect. So why am I telling you this. Although he is pretty happy now there are some clues that make me believe he has had a tough life. Because my fiancée found him walking the streets and no one came looking for him. He also gets in the bath tub all the time which makes me think it might have also doubling as his dog house. On top of that there is something wrong with his front right leg.

112_0748-1.jpg picture by nbstrengthcoach

Here is where you pay attention and learn something. I KNOW he hasn't had it as bad as some other dogs. The "take-home message" of this post is he has had an uphill battle but it hasn't stopped him.

It hasn't stopped him from running around, getting under the house and generally being into all kinds of stuff. It also hasn't stopped him from being the ALPHA DOG.


No not that movie by Justin Timberlake. More like the HDIC (Head Dog In Charge).

That is how you can live your life. Try not using anything from your past or present as an excuse for your success.

  • Not getting good grades because your parents are fighting? Use it as motivation to get out of there or do something with your life.
  • Don't think you fit in at a certain college because of what side of the tracks you live on? Who gives a crap? Not your future employers that's for sure.
  • Didn't get the promotion at work? At least you have a job or instead of thinking you got screwed think how maybe someone did something extra that left you behind.
  • Getting older and your body is falling apart? Don't make me pull up the countless stories of handicapped people accomplishing more than you.

Hopefully you don't take this post as a scolding but rather as a kick in the pants to get you going. A "Call to Arms" for you to look at your self to determine what is really holding you back from your goals. Being able to identify what is holding you back will help you identify what you need to change. And if it is something you can't change learn how to adapt or you will continue to spin your wheels.

112_0769.jpg picture by nbstrengthcoach

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

NB Strength Coach ABC's


School is around the corner and I am public school teacher/coach so I came up with some ABC's of things to consider when you are training. And if you see any links throughout the blog post click on them for some more information

Always try to beat your previous workout in reps or weight.
Barbells first. Everything else after.
Conditioning such as sprints, stairs, Prowler, sleds will help you in the weight room.

Deadlifts and Dips are thing you should be doing. Regularly

Exercising is for The Situation, you should be training.

Front Squats will increase your squat and deadlift.

Goodmornings will also do this.
Hack squats are for bodybuilders.
Internships with Collegiate Strength & Conditioning coaches are invaluable.

Jack LaLanne was ahead of his time.

Kettlebells. If you have some consider yourself lucky, if not it's not the end of the world.
Litvinov Sprints should really be called Man-Makers. Look it up.

Muscle Milk is probably not the best protein on the market.
Never do Leg Extensions. Too much shearing force on your knees and long list of other reasons not to do them.
Offer advice only when someone asks for it.

Press things over your head. It will strengthen you from head to toe.

Quit whining about your aches and pains. Everyone is hurt and if you train with partner or group you will bring morale down.
Rest will make you feel better, lose weight, and get stronger.

Sometimes less is more. A shortened training session will help you get through your entire training cycle without losing any ground.
Train like your in like your in Prison. 1-Hour to get as BIG, STRONG AND FAST as you can so you don't end up someone's b*@*$%. (NO DISRESPECT TO ANY ONE THAT HAS BEEN LOCKED UP!)

Understand you will have some days in the gym that suck. Learn from them and move on.
Vary your training when possible. Sets, reps, rest, equipment, exercise.
Welders should be your best friend. They can help make homemade equipment cheap.

X (Malcolm)-Be peaceful, be courteous, obey the law, respect everyone; but if someone puts his hands on you, send him to the cemetery.
Yoke It Up. Jim Wendler on Neck Training. Flexion, Extension, Rotation. Sets of 20 reps.

Zero room for error if they ask you to spot them. Know what you are doing and how to spot and for crying out loud don't touch the bar and say "It's All You!"


Thursday, July 15, 2010

An Inexpensive Solution to Gaining Weight

Having trouble gaining the last 5-10 lbs. before your next competitive season starts?


Are you a scrawny S.O.B who needs to gain some weight so you don't look like the skinny guy on Jersey Shore more like someone who could handle a Snooki?

Hey not everyone can be a Fist-Pumping Champ.

It might be time for you to start taking some doses of Extra Light Olive Oil.

Why should you gain weight? In order to be bigger, stronger, faster. So girls don't automatically think of you as a "friend" but someone who they can show off to their friends.

So what kind of Olive Oil should you get and how much? You should look for one that says "Extra Light" Olive Oil. Extra Light is referring to the taste not the calories. You will be able to get 120 calories per tablespoon and if you take 4 tablespoons a day you will get close to 500 extra relatively clean calories. Start off with a couple of tablespoons then build up to an extra 800-900 calories. These calories take little effort to prepare and consume. Also you are not left feeling too full so you can continue to consume your regular meals.

DISCLAIMER-Please be aware drinking olive oil does not automatically mean your will be yoked. You still need to do heavy compound lifts, eat 6+ quality meals a day and rest.

The 2 brands I recommend are:

HEB Brand

photo-2.jpg picture by nbstrengthcoach

Walmart Brand

photo1-1.jpg picture by nbstrengthcoach

Both brands were "Extra Light" tasting but the HEB brand was easy going down and I didn't have to do my best impression of Frank the Tank to swallow it. If you want to get crazy pour it in a shot glass...

Frank-The-Tank-old-school-648737_90.jpg picture by nbstrengthcoach

Why wouldn't you try it, who knows it might work (it does).

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Some Summer Conditioning Options

Can't decide what type of conditioning you should this summer? Steady State Cardio or Explosive Conditioning? One drags on forever while the other is short burst with recovery. Look at the picture above and do what they would do. Easy enough, right? Also you can add it to the end of your workout for 10-15 minutes or have a day just for conditioning. I wouldn't just leave you without any options....
Run It
Find some stairs or a hill and sprint them. Again start off with a few reps then keep building up each workout as long as your body responds positively. If you think it's too much back off a little. Also be careful going up the first couple of times it might take some time to feel out the steps and the incline.

Or you can combine two and run the stairs with a Sandbag. I had a 25 lb. sandbag and took as much time as I needed to hit 20 times up and down. Next workout will try and beat the previous time.

No equipment needed just find a hill. With the hill you may need some cleats depending on how steep. I started off with 10 sprints and progressed 5 each time to stay around 30 sprints. I have done as many as 40. Take your stop watch and try and hit 1 a minute Up, Down plus Rest. 1 Sprint=Up and Down.
112_0514.jpg picture by nbstrengthcoach
I saw a Local Tennis Coach run his team under a highway overpass. Effective? Yes. It is a little bit tougher on the body since it is concrete so be careful.
112_0519.jpg picture by nbstrengthcoach
Drag It
Put weight on a sled and drag. Repeat. I think the heavier the better. Make sure your tow strap is hooked tight I have wiped out before. Pick a distance and count that as a rep. Sprint with the weight and don't stop. If you do it on grass it will be tougher to drag. This below videos we about 40 yards x 10 trips back and front. You can get one made cheap by a welder the materials are pretty much scrap that they have laying around a shop.
Throw it
Find some dumbbells or make a cheap sandbag and throw it, walk or run to it and throw it again. Options are chest throw, double dumbbells throw, dumbbell swing throw. Keep the reps moderate between 5-8 in order to ensure maximum force production and keep rest periods short in order to keep heart rate up.
Sandbag Throw

SandBagThrow.jpg picture by nbstrengthcoach

Double Dumbbell Throw
DoubleDumbbellThrow.jpg picture by nbstrengthcoach
Dumbbell Swing Throw
DumbbellSwingThrow.jpg picture by nbstrengthcoach
Push It
If you are fortunate enough to have a Prowler use it. If not don't sit on your a$$ you better improvise. Below is the Prowler I had made by a local high school teacher. He hooked me up with an unreal price. The first time I used it I was cashed. Get one and DO IT!
There you have it some options that will help you cut some fat, increase your cardio strength, and get you out of the gym. Keep in mind I am training outside in Texas not many places hotter than that so hold the excuses. Plenty of options all you need to do is just try one.

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