Capturing Moments of Gratitude

Hey Friends,

I’ve spent the last ten plus years inundated with fitness. It’s been a passion. A point of service. And I’ve been grateful at the opportunity to not only serve amazing people, but experience a lifestyle unique to me. One that I am proud of. But also, one that I question every single day.

Fitness to me is a piece of life. I’ve always been the type of person who gets wholly obsessed. Whether it’s with a video game, a sport, a skill, fitness, school or whatever else I decide to get involved in, my life begins to revolve around that one thing. Which is pretty cool, but it can also get overwhelming.

In this world, I constantly look forward. Metaphorically and literally. I’m constantly in this battle of where to take my health. Where do I want to go tomorrow? What do I want to try next? Who do I want to work with? What type of body do I want? What activities do I want to dive into? And most of all what can I do today to make a more clear path toward my desired outcome, tomorrow?

On top of that, I have to balance my life around being of service to others…How can I be of service to others? How can I find the right people to work with? And there’s also that voice of insecurity that I do my best to move past…why would this person think I can help them? What can I do for them, when my own life is a mess? Etc, etc, etc.

I constantly live in this world, where I am not allowed to sit back and just feel…satisfied. It’s a debilitating emotional experience where I haven’t been able to sit back, relax and say – my life is pretty fucking rad.

And to me, life is an experience I am addicted to – and that piece sometimes forgets to appreciate and celebrate my own health.

And that’s what brings me here.

Did you know there are layers of the Grand Canyon that date back billions of years? For reference, dinosaurs date back 245 million years! Except this one. This one I found a couple of weeks ago.

Over the New Year, I decided to take an adventure to the Grand Canyon. It was a 9 hour drive, followed by a stay at the local KOA, 45 minutes from the South Rim at the Grand Canyon.

There is a piece of me that still doesn’t believe the Grand Canyon itself was real. The backdrop was too perfect. Far too amazing and unbelievable. And I’ll only believe it was real once I actually set foot next to the Colorado River later this year.

A piece of the Bright Angel Trail. The trail was real, but was the canyon? Remains to be seen!

People from all walks of life coming together to experience and celebrate something nature carved out through time and consistency.

It was a surreal backdrop enjoyed from the trailhead and a few miles into the canyon, where I hiked.

It was an introduction to a world I never thought possible. It’s one thing to see the Canyon in a picture, it’s another to experience it.

On the trail, at any given moment, you are feet from death. The anxiety of taking a bad step crippled me at first. But it became more comfortable with time. The comfort and anticipation grew. And with each step, a renewed sense of confidence and appreciation for the world we share – in a year comprised of Zoom meetings, home exercise and anxiety – we have spent this time together, each in our own little worlds.

A little hello from other travelers.

The experience in the Canyon itself was not comparable to anything I have ever felt. And not just because it was a beautiful sculpture, carved out over thousands and millions and billions of years.

But as the hike into and out of the canyon progressed, I felt grateful.

I can pinpoint the exact moment. I passed a few hikers with a head nod and a hello. Beyond a group of dudes who were hooting and hollering about how dope my Jesus sweatshirt was. And just beyond the point in the canyon where snow began to accumulate.

There was a moment while hiking up the canyon that made me feel like it was all worth it.

The last ten years of my life – Wrapped up in a singular moment, with my heart rate elevated and a friend at my side. The hours spent studying. The hours spent stressing over a client’s progress. The hours spent serving my people. And the hours spent working on my own health.

It was worth it.

Everything I set out to accomplish was worth it. And it was a sense of getting over the idea of focusing on ‘tomorrow’ and what to strive for next. There was a singular moment of gratitude. My heart, my body, my spirit. All of it. In that moment, it all made sense.

And I can’t stress enough how much clarity it gave me.

In this world, we constantly strive for a better body, for better health. We are constantly telling ourselves to dive into something new. Or get ready for the next step. We see perfect bodies on various forms of social media reminding us how imperfect we are.

And sometimes, it’s great to just stop and assess yourself. To thank yourself for the world you live in. For the feelings and sensations you have on a daily basis.

These thoughts and emotions you display are unique to you. And they are an accumulation of your years of experience.

I’m not sure what I am setting out to say in this post, other than to encourage you to seek out moments.

Moments to celebrate your own health. It took me three hours into the Grand Canyon to find mine.

It may take you years to find yours. Or days. Or a couple minutes into a blog post.

I want to encourage you to appreciate your health.

And DO what you can to celebrate it.

Don’t worry about getting leaner, or thinner, or stress over your next step.

But think about what you CAN do. And how you FEEL when you do it. Use fitness to celebrate your health. Your body, your mind, your spirituality. It is yours and nobody else’s. And it is as beautiful or as ugly as you make it out to be.

A New Year and resolutions can so easily get you thinking about improving your health, but it can also negatively impact the way you see yourself. We’re all coming off a hell of a year. And we all went through it together, despite being socially distanced. I want you to know that I appreciate you for following along in this journey and I hope you are able to see the beauty in our world. And I hope you can set out capture a few beautiful moments in yourself.

Peace like Geese,

Mike Goose

Intro to Arthritis – Foods that Fight Inflammation


Today, I bring to you some information to share, about foods that fight arthritis! And not in some magical, wipe away your pain with a wand type of way. But more in a – this food doesn’t cause your inflammatory response to get thrown out of whack – type of way!

As an overarching lesson, to me, when you’re eating healthy, you don’t always feel the benefits in the short term. It takes time for your gut to adjust to specific foods. It takes repetition and consistency for your gut to figure out how to best digest specific foods. And some of the stuff on my list is a bit off the wall.

The impact of these foods are going to take time. It won’t happen overnight. But I guarantee you, when you’re in the routine of consuming foods that don’t flare you up, and you introduce some craptastic ‘food’ (see previous blog post), you’ll immediately feel the detriments of foods that cause inflammation, especially related to arthritis!

Be patient. Commit to the short term pain of passing on sugar and processed carbs. Commit to trying a different way of eating that respects your body, health and gut! Our process drives results!

And as a final note prior to diving in, I want to reiterate the importance of talking to your Doctor or a Registerd Dietitian before taking the advice of some nerdy exercise and health guru. I care about this stuff, but I don’t have the background those guys do. I think EVERYONE should want to dive deeper, but that’s kind of a pipe dream.


  • Fish : Packed with Omega – 3 fatty acids, these little swimming dudes pack a punch when it comes to decreasing your body’s inflammatory response. Arthritis.org recommends consumption of 3-4 ounces of fish at least twice per week! Tuna, mackerel and salmon are fine choices!
  • Soy – Let’s say you hate fish. That’s cool. Try soy! In the form of tofu or edamame, soybeans also provide ample protein and fiber to get your gut screaming for more.
  • Oils – Avocado, safflower, extra virgin olive oil and walnut oil all have benefits. They’re fantastic options with properties similar to non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs! Interesting to note – walnut oil has 10 time the omega-3s that olive oil has! Stock up while it’s hot!
  • Cherries – Known to reduce the frequency of gout attacks, research has show anthocyanins found in cherries fight inflammation, which can be found in other red and purple fruits as well (blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries).
  • Dairy – Milk, yogurt and cheese are packed with calcium and vitamin D, both of which increase bone strength.
  • Broccoli – Vitamin K and Vitamin C contained within this deep green miniature tree! Researches have also found that broccoli contains sulforaphane, which can slow the progression of osteoarthritis!
  • Green Tea – Packed with polyphenols, green tea is believe dto reduce inflammation and slow cartilate destruction. Epigallocatechin-3-galate (ECGC) also is thought to block the production of molecules that cause joint damage in people with Rheumatoid arthritis. GO GREEN!
  • Citrus fruits – oranges, grapefruits and limes are all high in vitamin C. Getting these in help fight osteoarthritis!
  • Whole grains – Lower the levels of C-reactive protein in the blood. CRP is also related to heart diseas and diabetes. Foods like oatmeal, brown rice and whole-grain cereals are excellent sources!
  • Beans! – Beans and legumes also help lower C-reactive protein. They are also an excellent source of protein and fiber. So beans have folic acid, magnesium, iron, zinc, potassium – all known to help heart and immune health!
  • Garlic – As an Italian dude, this one hits home. Studies have show people who ate foods like garlic, onions and leeks showed fewer signs of early osteoarthritis!
  • Nuts – Rich in protein, calcium, zinc, vitamin E and alpha linolenic acid. Heart healthy and will aid in weight loss as well! Try walnuts, pistachios and almonds!

So there you go! Foods that fight arthritis. They throw a punch at your body’s inflammatory response, quelling the response your body has to inflammation.

Please feel free to share this information with your parents, grandparents or take this info to the bank and tell your financial advisor, who guzzles down 64 ounces of coca cola before noon. His name’s Steve. Help Steve.

Ok, that’s all I got for now!

Much love, Peace like geese

Mike Goose

Intro to Arthritis – Foods That Fuel Your Arthritis

Hello Friends,

I am here. And I’m excited to share some knowledge, tying together your diet choices to better manage your arthritis.

Of note: For the last few years I’ve taken a very active approach in helping a population that happens to have a higher than average incidence of arthritis. I am not a Doctor, nor am I a Registered Dietitian. Please refer to their expertise with specific questions. My goal is to give you clear and succinct steps in an attempt to manage the symptoms that you may experience with various forms of arthritis, by modifying food choices.

Now that I’ve told you how much I don’t know, a quick briefing on what arthritis is shall be in order! Arthritis is pain associated with inflammation and stiffness in joints. There are a few types of arthritis, and I’ll lump them into one of two categories – inflammatory arthritis (IA) and osteoarthritis (OA).

IA is defined as joint inflammation caused by an overactive immune system. The inflammation typically occurs over multiple joints. So instead of it being just a cranky ankle or a sore knee, IA is a systemic issue over different parts of your body, organs included!

Where OA differs, is that it is the degeneration of specific joint cartilage and underlying bone structure, most commonly in the knees, hip and thumb joints.

So now we know what arthritis is, the first problem to solve would be to take a look at what types of food cause inflammation.

Think of food as fuel and arthritis as the vehicle. If you know you are eating foods that provide an inflammatory stimulus, you’re filling up your gas tank. And you don’t need a ton of fuel to turn the car on. So in this case, let’s take a look at different foods that most commonly provide fuel for your arthritis:

  • Sugar – The American journal of clinical nutrition warns that processed sugar release inflammatory messengers called cytokines. Keep an eye out on nurition labels for foods that end in -ose (such as fructose or sucrose).
  • Saturdated fats – Triggers fat inflammation. So not only does your arthritis inflammation become triggered, your body’s fat cells themselves become inflamed. As much as I hate to admit it, pizza and cheese are two of the most common sources of saturdated fats in the American diet. Red meat, full-fat dairy and grain based desserts also typically lie in this category.
  • Trans fats – These became popular in the 1990s, which are now known to trigger systemic inflammation. Trans fats are in fast food, processed snack food, fried foods, cookies, donuts, etc. On the label, look out for partially hydrogenated oils.
  • Omega 6 fatty acids – Alone, omega 6 fats are good as they are essential to human needs. But the important piece in maintaining healthy levels of fat consumption is to balance Omega 3 with Omega 6s. Foods high in omega 6s are found in mostly oils – corn oil, sunflower, grapeseed, soy, peanut, vegetable oil and many salad dressings.
  • Refined Carbohydrates – White flour products like bread, rolls, white rice and white potatoes. Many cereals are refined carbohydrates. The Scientific American says processed carbohydrates may trump fats as the main driver of escalating rates of obesity and other chronic conidtions. These foods fuel production of advanced glycation end products that stimulate inflammation.
  • Mono-sodium glutamate (MSG) – a flavor enhancing food additive that is mostly found in Asian food and soy sauce. This chemical can trigger two pathways for inflammation
  • Gluten and Casein – People with joint pain are typically sensitive to gluten – found in wheat, barley and rye. Casein can be found in dairy products and individuals with joint pain may find relief by avoiding them. For those with celiac diseason, gluten can set off an autoimmune response that damages the small intestine.
  • Aspartame – A non-nutritive (it lacks Calories and any nutritional value) artificial sweetener found in over 4000 products. Studies on the substance are mixed but if you are sensitive to this chemical, your body will react to it as a foreign substance by attacking the chemical, triggering an inflammatory response.
  • Alcohol – Weakens the liver and disrupts other organ interactions that can cause inflammation.

I know this is a lot to take in (and a lot of foods to rule out!) but the intent here is to discover foods that cause your car to turn on. In subsequent posts, I’ll dive into foods that are good for management of arthritis. As well as foods that have been commonly shown to keep your car’s proverbial fuel tank empty. Ultimately, we’ll develop strategies to discover what types of foods specifically inflame your body! Because your body is unique and it responds to different ‘fuel sources’ in its own way!

Please feel free to drop a comment or email me at mwguastella@gmail.com if you have questions!

Peace like Geese!

-Mike Goose

Volunteered Hardship

In today’s world, we come up with activities to mimic our ancestral struggles. As humans, we’ve evolved to leverage tools and technology to answer the call of inconveniences.

Instead of running from bears, we go for a jog or a luxuriously paved hike.

Instead of hunting for food, we go to the grocery store.

Instead of sitting around a campfire talking story, we play around on social media.

Instead of starving for three days because our snares all came up empty and we’re in the middle of a famine, we fast intermittently.

It’s kind of eye opening to realize how lucky we are. Of the billions of lives that came before us, the fact that you are here, reading this post on a website I created really puts into perspective how different life could have been for any one of us.

We lucky as hell.

There’s this idea that I heard on a podcast the other day (Tim Ferris) that I can’t block from my mind. It was given the term volunteered hardship. It’s the idea of taking on tasks or setting goals that will deliberately make you uncomfortable.

It’s riding your bike to the grocery store instead of driving.

It’s running a race….Who actually wants to run a 100 miler? The crazy ones. But maybe if it meant that was the only way food would be on the table, you could suck it up?

Or deciding to try a new diet in order to maintain control of your previously lavish overindulgences. You are willingly leaving the comfort of a world full of processed food, convenience and fatigue.

These volunteered actions in improving yourself create a ton of stress, when you decide to take charge of your life.

But they are a choice.

You decided today to wake up and put your best foot forward. You decided to toss the rest of your candy away. You decided to go for a walk to clear your head and escape the localized anxiety we are ALL feeling. And you deserve to to smile about it.

These things that keep us healthy are not mandatory. They are a choice. And when someone tells me they hate exercise, a piece of me agrees. It kind of sucks. It’s tough and difficult. There are 821 million people on this planet who don’t know where their next meal is coming from and you sit over here complaining that I asked you to eat 2 servings of vegetables today? Give me a break.

As far as this post goes, I’m not sure what I want to accomplish. But I know that for me, I am so happy to accept this world I live in. I am happy to put in the work of my own volition, at my own risk. I feel happy at the fact that I can CHOOSE to limit my food choices to mostly foods that make me feel great. 5,000 years ago, I’d have been bear meat.

I am happy that I have the choice to challenge myself to a long run while not being worried about being able to feed my family.

So yeah, volunteered hardship to me is something special. It’s exercise to get stronger and feel good. It’s why I run. It keeps me uncomfortable and forces me to change. At the same time, it gives me satisfaction. Becoming relatively competent in a previously derpy movement. Feeling good after a workout.

My choice in hardship is exercise and eating a little healthier. In not saying YES to every single impulse in my body.

What other forms of hardship are there? What struggles do you take on willingly? Would love to hear your own struggles and ways you overcome them! Drop a comment or email me at mwguastella@gmail.com.

I love hearing from you, Peace like geese

Mike Goose

The PPSC and Humility

There is something positively contagious about learning something new. An impulse to open up and share new knowledge with the world. Everyone should know about X, and there is no reason you should not apply X, immediately! Flash forward to when you open your mouth and tell someone (my wife) and you come out sounding nerdier than Steve Urkel, shoving his glasses back onto the bridge of his nose.

I probably have those pants and suspenders tucked away somewhere in my house.

Today, I talk about my experience learning the tenets of the Pain free Performance Specialist Certification.

Learning about shit I care about. I stopped in at an event in Kaysville Utah.

Something that has been my forte for a long time. Fitness is my forte. The human body and anatomical stuff. It’s physiology and a depth to understanding human movement.

I wish I could tell you how many continuing education events I have been to. And I’m afraid to guess how much money has been spent on attending these seminars/certifications/continuing education. Not that I hate spending $$ on events, but there have been so many ‘meh’ events and seminars, that they all end up looking and feeling similar to past events and it can feel like a waste.


Recently, I’ve been walking into these places feeling like my knowledge, related to strength and conditioning, is sufficiently full. An air of confidence after spending so much time diving into material, putting fitness into practice and working with clients. And after attending so many events, I can’t tell you how many times I have been taught how to dynamically warm up or asked how to define mobility (hint: flexibility does not equal mobility). It can be exhausting and tiring.

At the same time you can be reminded, that you know nothing and to keep working to fill up your proverbial glass.

The PPSC was a great experience. I showed up and fell into a group of 15-ish people in attendance.

With my lack of knowing anything about the course material, I came out of it better understanding their systemized approach to warmup sequencing (day 1) and baseline recipes for developing exercise programs (day 2).

I’ll start from the top.

As a trainer, developing exercise programs can be time intensive. Especially if you sit there, pouring over spreadsheets, combining the perfect testing protocols into a fully customized program developed specifically for a particular client.

We develop a person’s exercise program around theoretically optimizing physical, mental and emotional potential while training in an environment that decreases injury risk.

The PPSC’s primary message was pirmarily to empower people. Not just clients, but anyone and everyone who wants to improve their health (GAINZ). I connected tightly to this mantra because my belief is that a major role of a fitness professional is to empower clients to expand their own success. Not to beat them down. Not to limit them. But to fully appreciate the expanding depth of movement a person can achieve. Whether your goal is to get stronger, leaner, put on weight, lose weight, lift heavier, walk faster, tie your shoes again, jump higher….whatever your desire, a true professional will guide and believe in you, until they are proven wrong. And being the weirdo I am, I tend to appreciate the failure as much as the success. Because that teaches patience. You say, ‘I can’t’, I say ‘Not yet’.

There is a clear difference between the role a fitness professional and someone who writes workouts. And you can FEEL the difference!

When developing a program for an individual, fit pros typically develop an exercise split, with a particular training goal for each day. Diagnostically, the PPSC does a good job in reminding us to keep our day’s key performance indicator(KPI) in mind.

Let’s say today, we train lower body. And in training lower body, we develop our program around Susie’s squat. Our Key Performance Indicator(Again, KPI) is her squat pattern. And coming into each session, it is our responsibility to get you focused, tuned in and prepared to crush today’s KPI, despite your best effort to distract, confuse or stall(some clients are better at it than others).

After we assess a client and develop a program, there are a few things we discover that could hold the potential of a client back from improving a movement. These are called linchpins(eg, in Susie’s squat pattern, she tends to round her back as she approaches the ground). The linchpin is the biggest limitation to a client’s KPI (In coaching up Susie, it might be that she needs to discover how to brace during her squat).

The linchpin gets as much attention as it needs as it relates to that day’s training goal. The most attention is served in relating whether the pattern demonstrated is good enough to train that day’s KPI.

Another concept was the Pillar. The pillar is a symbol. When looking at a pillar, there is a top, bottom and middle. In anatomical terms, it is a combination of the shoulders, the spine and the hips. The top and bottom of a pillar relates to a person’s shoulders and hips. The midsection of the pillar, is then related directly to the spine.

Shoulders and hips are the top and bottom of the pillar, the spine is the middle!

The PPSC dives deep into pillar integrity. We were taught bracing techniques in primal movement patterns, functional strength patterns and it was beat into us so much that we were not thinking about it by the end of the weekend. It was the expectation.

Pillar importance: With movement in the spine, come leaks in strength and power. In a baseball swing, your hips and feet transfer power up your kinetic chain, and your spine serves as a bridge for power expression. As this concept was introduced, the crowd was met with demonstrations of pillar maintenance (4 pt and 6 pt crawling, dead bugging, planking, squatting, hinging, etc.). It became a staple for correction. It was so ubiquitous and overarching that I began repeating the phrase over, and over, and over, upon my first day of training sessions post-seminar.

This was only the tip of the iceberg. It was looking at the dessert on neighboring tables at a restaurant instead of looking at the menu before eating dinner. To me, this in itself was a hell of a reminder of why I fell into this stuff. I love learning this stuff and it helped reignite my flame.

I’m not sure how long it will take to dive in, but if you’ve made it this far, congratulations! Because you give a shit about nerdy exercise stuff.

In subsequent posts, I’m going to dive deeper into day 1 and day 2.

A teaser for Day 1:

I’ll dive into the PPSC’s 6-phase dynamic warmup pre-training sequence. A sequence of warmup that amps you up and readies you to get a swell swoll session in, lasting 10-16 minutes per session!

The six phases of warmup:

  • Phase 1 – Self myofascial release
  • Phase 2 – Bi-phasic positional stretching
  • Phase 3 – Corrective Based movement
  • Phase 4 – Stability based activation
  • Phase 5 – Foundational Based activation
  • Phase 6 – Central Nervous System Stimulation

Thanks for letting me dump some knowledge.

Peace like geese,

Mike Goose

Why Weight Loss?

There was a morning you woke up, looked in the mirror and decided you didn’t like what you saw. You grab the extra little flab between your thumb and forefinger, wishing for it to magically disappear.

You step on the scale, disappointed, as the number stares at you like some kind of toddler taunting you with a lollipop in hand. Nagging, constantly.

You set a weight loss goal. You need to get back to your high school weight, or your college weight, or the weight you were when you got married.

A lot of the times, this weight loss goal is not really tied to anything more than a feeling.

Sure, BMI numbers mean something for health.

And so does a particular bodyfat.

But I always drive the proverbial car of self-exploration a little deeper.

Why do you want your weight to be at that number? Why is it that number?

Is it because you FELT great at that time in your life?

Is it because you felt like you LOOKED great at that time in your life?

Even at my leanest, my perception of self was that I was not even close to optimal. I had too much flab here, there wasn’t defined enough, blah blah blah. I was far more critical of myself at the time when I could see veins in my abs than I am today.

Today I am proud to be 80% fit, 20% dad.

The intent of my message today is to really assess your why. Why do you want to weigh a certain number? What does that number mean to you? Does it mean health risk reduction? Do you feel like life was easier living when the number was lower? Or do you connect that number to something a little deeper?

Make your why more powerful than the pain of pushing away your obstacles.

I’ve seen hundreds of people lose thousands of pounds. I would be lying if I said that none of them gained any back. The thing is with weight loss or weight gain as a goal, it never goes away.

Be brave and dive a little deeper.

Give yourself a REASON to skip the drive thru.

Give yourself a REASON to wake up and get your 45 minute walk in.

Give yourself a REASON to improve the way you talk to yourself.

Because everyday you CAN wake up and marvel at your body. The bones, the blood, the structure, hell, even the fact that you are conscious and reflective upon your own goal is a damn miracle. You can look at yourself in the mirror and be proud of the person you are. That reflection is the summation of a lifetime of experience wrapped up in one amazing human body.

And you deserve to give yourself a damn pat on the back.

Peace like geese,

Mike goose

You Have Two Brains

Your body is complex. It’s a wonderful array of systems, working together to help you fulfill the needs to sustain life. The very fact that you are reading this, processing it and (hopefully) understanding these words speaks to how amazing YOU are.

The various systems within your body work together to make you the person you are. And there is still a ton that we don’t understand.

What if I told you that your body had more than just the brain in your head. You (sort of) have a brain in your gut too.

The Enteric nervous system (ENS) is your second brain.

The ENS is a system of neurons that regulate gut function.

There are over 100 million neurons within the ENS. That is, five times the number of neurons in your spinal cord.

The enteric nervous system works hand in hand with the brain. It has also been demonstrated to work independently of the brain.

>90% of the body’s serotonin comes from the ENS (neurotransmitter).

>50% of the body’s dopamine comes from the ENS (neurotransmitter).

You read that right. Your body releases dopamine when you are feeling happy in your belly.

The ENS is sensitive to your body’s short term needs. It interacts with your brain to control catecholamines (epinephrine, norepinephrine and dopamine) to effect motility, digestion and localized muscle movements.

Common ENS diseases and maladies are tied in very closely with Central nervous system disorders. One instance is Parkinson’s Disease. As the neurons in the gut become effected by the disease there is evidence of gastrointestinal dysfunction.

Another disease, Irritable bowel syndrome, is laden with complications related to bowel motility, pain, bloating and irritation.

Not only does the ENS help with digestion and normal body functioning, the addition of probiotics via supplementation worked well in reducing stress-related depression by stimulating serotonin in patients with stress-related depression.

So with all of this information, I don’t know what you can do. But know that there is an amazing connection between you and your gut. There is an endless amount of information to digest (pun intended) about your body and understanding the ENS will give us a more clear understanding in improving the human condition!

Racquetball + Fitness = Anthony

Anthony, circa 2017

Finished up a bit ago with a client who has…survived Covid. I say survive rather than thrive because the mental game behind his training has been STOLEN from him. Not in the sense that he caught covid and nearly died. But the whole ‘Normal’ thing. Things have changed a bit from the beginning of the year, if you haven’t noticed.

Let’s backup a minute.

In the beginning, there was this guy who LOVED racquetball.

He lived and died for the game.

And he was also a computer programmer, video game aficionado and grower of hydroponics (lettuce and tomatoes).

He started off as this guy with poor posture and a meticulous mind. His speed was ok, his power/strength were alright and his conditioning had room to improve. He had 20 pounds to lose. When we first met, his primary objective was to crack the top 100 in the USA racquetball rankings.

When he told me his goal, I was all in. From that moment, I knew this dude was going to be fun to train. His motivation and drive came from a place of bettering himself. He’s the first person to tell you how insanely difficult can be to exercise for purpose. And maybe that’s why he keeps hiring me. But I’d like to think it’s the progress he’s made (currently #65 in the rankings!).

With that said, it’s been almost two years since Anthony started training and I can honestly say I’m even more excited today to get back to training with him than I was two years ago when we first began.

He is stronger, leaner, faster and more explosive. He has seen the benefit of increasing cardio capacity (and even will run because there IS carryover to sport!). He has become more consistent and ready to make changes in his training on a regular basis. And he always has a nice meme or comic to share 🙂

With that said, we reevaluated today and saw some serious changes in performance that he’s too humble to scream from the rooftops.

Here is a small list of improvements he has made in the last 3 months (DURING THE PANDEMIC):

  • Increased broad jump by 5 inches
  • Increased single leg broad jump on each side by 4 and 4.5 inches
  • Increased grip strength by 7 pounds
  • Increased max number of chinups from 4 to 10+
  • Increased cardiovascular capacity
  • Increased running capacity
  • Decreased resting heart rate
  • Decreased bodyfat by 2% in the last 3-4 weeks
  • Down 4 pounds in the last 3-4 weeks

That’s all objective. Beyond these numbers, all I see is more dedication to his craft. And room for more growth. We’ve got our ultimate goal of climbing up the rankings some more in racquetball, but right now I’ve got nothing but respect for someone who has stayed as dedicated throughout this lull we are all experiencing together!

I realized I learned more about racquetball and training people for racquetball than I ever could have without his insistence on sticking with me throughout his journey. I’m excited to dive deeper into the game and fine tune his game, together.

Thanks Anthony!

I Run Because

You strap on your shoes. Lace them up from the bottom to top. Making sure your socks are nice and smooth to reduce the blister risk.

Step outside and turn on your distance tracking/speed tracking app. Thumb through previous runs and set a target for today’s run.

With the headphones blaring, you get started.

The jogging begins. And you remember the first time you went out for a run. In this moment, you realize you’ve grown. Previously riddled with anxiety and wanting to finish quickly, your mentality has shifted to finding a pace. The drive to pound the pavement fast has all but subsided. You still want to finish quickly, but you also realize that what used to be seen as a chore, has become enjoyable. You enjoy the grind of breaking through the first mental block.

And here it comes!

A half mile later, your body begins to resist.

Your breathing rate increases and your body starts to fight, a bit.

There’s a slight uphill and your brain tells you to take the easy way out. You want to turn around. You’re not that far from home. You want to walk back.

But you persist.

You put one foot in front of the other. Tonight you sleep in your bed.

You slow your pace as a means to catch your breath. You surprise yourself, you’re still running. Yet, you’re recovering.

And all the sudden, you’re back in your own headspace. A place nobody can take from you. You are cruising the block, thinking about the day. About your kid’s gymnastic experience. Do you want to enroll her in the ‘fun’ gymnastics program? Or the program with more structure? What direction do you want to take her? What should be structured and what should be play? And despite the lack of planning, how is she so damn cool, already?

I don’t know but you’re still running. And that voice that told you to slow down, suddenly tells you to push it a little bit more.

You find a pride point. You’ve never been able to recover while running. Hmm, maybe this whole running thing IS getting better?

‘Weird’, you think.

As you approach a hill, you tell yourself to just take what the hill gives you. You lean into it and allow the hill to dictate your pace.

‘Nice and easy, short and quick steps, just make it to the top’, you tell yourself.

As you make it to the top, your brain turns back on. ‘You’re tired, dude’.

And again, you find yourself in that battle. You’re halfway finished with your run and you become enamored with wanting to walk. But you’re on the downhill. You repeat, ‘just take what the hill gives you’.

One foot in front of the other. Tonight you sleep in your bed.

You slow your pace and your heart rate drops. Your feet are moving quicker than before. A sense of pride washes over as the hill levels out and you rediscover your pace.

You think about your business. Where do you want to take your career? What is the drive behind what you do? Where do you think you’ll be in two years? Two months?

You begin to plan. In your mind, you lay out a plan for success. You know what you have to do in two days, two weeks, two months, two years. Your life plan starts to unfold. You see it as clearly as you see the street lamp ahead.

You realize you’re nearing the end of your run.

Just a slight uphill to finish it off.

And you’re approaching at a speed that you haven’t reached during this run before. Your legs are burning, your lungs are screaming for air and the sun is blaring in your face. Funny that you just now realize how hot it is outside.

A slight uphill. And you’re close enough to just walk it off and call it a cooldown.

F*ck that voice.

One foot in front of the other. Tonight you sleep in your bed.

You finish your run in a sprint. With your mind, with your body, every ounce of your being, in protest.

You approach your house with heavy lungs. Your breath escapes as you finish with everything you have. And you finally get to your driveway. Run complete.

As a fitness professional, I can’t tell you how many of my peers hate on running. ‘Running sucks, just lift weights faster and take fewer breaks’, as a justified means to escape the idea. And sure, that works. You can 100% increase your heart rate and get all the cardio you need in, without running.

It’s hard. And repetitive. ‘Like a hamster on a treadmill’.

I’ll be the first to say it’s f*cking hard.

But for the last six months, I’ve fallen into running as a challenge. It IS repetitive. It IS hard. It DOES suck.

But I can’t explain how much stronger I’ve become. Every challenge I face has become more temporary. I understand the idea of attacking obstacles.

One foot in front of the other.

It’s teaching me that I can do hard things, regularly. I’ve been given an outlet for stress and anxiety. It has given me targets and goals. I’m able to push the boundaries more. I’m more proud of my body. For years, I resisted it because it was hard. And I still agree with that statement. It will always be hard. But for some reason, I’m comfortable with that.

And tonight I’m excited to sleep in my bed!

Peace like Geese,


I Am Lost and Don’t Know What Exercise to Do! What Type of Exercise is Best for Me?

I sit down to talk to a prospective client.

“What are your goals?”, I ask.

“I just want to lose weight”, they say.

“Why?”, I clap back.

“I’ve always been overweight and I hate exercise.” They say.

It’s a common obstacle. And every single day, someone will tell me how much they hate something, don’t enjoy something or (sometimes) flat out refuse to do something.

I get it. Working out can be hard.

It can be tough. And it will be, as there is an endless supply of ‘fun’ any fitness professional can dream up.

And I guess the optimist in me likes to see beyond the complaints…I don’t see it as a refusal to enjoy exercise as much as it is a challenge! Exercise in itself has a very loose definition. And it is not the same for everyone.

It doesn’t have to be lifting heavy weight.

It doesn’t have to be running on a treadmill.

Exercise is defined as ‘a process or activity carried out for a specific purpose, especially one concerned with a specified area or skill.’.

With that said, cleaning your home can be exercise. Mowing the lawn. Going for a walk. Really, anything that gets you off your butt and moving can be called exercise.

I’ve personally always been obsessed with the act of dunking a basketball. It’s a cool thing to see done and to me, it says a ton about that person’s athletic ability (or height). Anytime I’m feeling fully overwhelmed with the ‘perfect’ program, I fall back on going out to play some basketball. I like a mildly organized game, with people I do or don’t know. To me, exercise is play.

And I think there is also a bit of a genetic component to certain activities.

For instance, individuals who tend to weigh less or have a lighter frames (ectomorphs) tend to lean toward activities that they perform well at, or have a physical advantage in. Activities like climbing, running for distance, biking for distance or swimming are fun for a lot of these folks as they get an advantage from their physical stature.

Individuals with medium frames (mesomorphs) tend to lean into activities that are more explosive, intermittently. They tend to lean toward sports like basketball, short track sprinting, short track speed skating, soccer, gymnastics, hockey and tennis.

For even bigger frames (endomorphs), try activities that are a bit slower and can use strength as an advantage. These include powerlifting, hiking, golf, football, rugby and baseball.

The thing is, sometimes fitness can be like trying to fit a round peg in a square hole. I’ve seen first hand how flexible exercise can be. Instead of trying to conform to the ‘norms’ of exercise, I always will introduce different types of stimuli to see what people truly enjoy. Not every workout has to be a butt kicker. But it should be fun. And it should be rewarding!

And if you haven’t found the right type of exercise yet, keep searching! Keep trying new stuff! Set aside a specific day to go out and kick a ball against a wall. Or throw a ball into a net. Or hit some golf balls. Because why spend all the time and energy worrying about getting to the gym everyday, when you can be out exploring? YOU GOT THIS!

Peace like geese,