Commandments for Success

 

I always tell people that fitness and working out has so much carryover in life than just the physical aspect of looking and feeling better. Sure, you will increase your strength and change your body composition if you diet properly which will probably make you feel better about yourself but the benefits that it has outside the gym (such as performing better at your job or improving relationships) far exceed what I think most people look for when starting a fitness program/journey. I believe passionately that fitness improves all areas of your life because I experienced it firsthand.

I was not in a good place in my life when I started working out regularly. It took time, but it was amazing how everything started to transform. Even though it didn’t happen overnight, it opened up many opportunities for me. I started a career in fitness, which ultimately allowed me to meet my wife and now we have a beautiful 7-month-old daughter. Fitness gave me a purpose, and the foundation on which to share my passion. Not to get all wishy washy but you get my point…When you emulate positive thoughts and vibes, positive things happen. It’s inevitable.

I put together this list of “commandments” to follow and abide by, not for the sake of looking better but also improving all areas of your life. Life is short! Live it up!!!

 

  1. Train consistently

This is probably the most important out of all the commandments to ensure success. You need to understand that fitness is a lifelong achievement and the people that consistently train week in and week out will experience the best results over time.

Success in fitness and health has to be maintained so your plan needs to revolve around something that you can consistently maintain over the years. Understand what will work for your lifestyle so that you don’t get burnt out in the process. It is much better to train 2X a week for a whole year than 5-6X a week for a couple months then get burnt out. Real success starts with being consistent all the time.

 

  1. Balance between training HARD and training SMART

There is no question that we all need and should train hard. However, we need to be smart in the process. The new mantra in the strength and conditioning world is “train smarter, not harder” which sort of attacks this whole CrossFit craze that came about over the past decade. I agree to an extent, but I also feel that people take this “train smarter” concept too far and end up missing out on the bigger picture…”hard work pays off.” Hard work does pay off but we also shouldn’t get injured in the process. To ensure that you can work hard AND stay healthy, hold yourself accountable to the movement standards. Be consistent with performing movements properly. Never compromise form to add a few more lbs or get a few more reps. Work as hard as you want as long you maintain good form. Work smarter by finding a balance between these two ideas.

 

  1. Master the compound movements

The compound movements (Squat, Deadlift, Bench Press, ) are the foundation of a successful strength and conditioning program. There are different variations for each of these movements based on an athletes’ abilities and limitations…which is why it is important to have a coach determine what exercise best suits you in the long run. No one is completely perfect at any of these movements and we can all work on becoming more efficient when performing these movements. I always say that you should master a movement before you focus solely on getting stronger. Trust me, you will still get stronger working on the lifts. Don’t jump up in weight if you can’t maintain the same integrity of the lift. Again, hold yourself accountable.

 

  1. Warm-up properly

I can’t stress this one enough.

First off, warm-ups SHOULDN’T take a whole hour. It SHOULD be just enough to get the blood flowing and the muscles and joints prepared for the work ahead. Warming up should consist of some self myofascial release (AKA Foam Rolling or soft tissue work), then some basic joint-by-joint mobility work. As you learn your body and certain mobility issues, then you can focus a little more on your weaknesses so that they improve over time.

One of my favorite warmup is the Turkish Get Up because there is so much going on with that movement if performed properly. You can check it out here: Turkish Get Up Video

 

  1. Being smart the other 23 hours out of the day

You can’t out train a crappy diet.

Nutrition is probably one of the biggest issues people have when starting up a program. You need to understand how many calories you should be taking in as well as getting the correct blend of macronutrients (proteins, carbs, and fats). I believe in living a little, so I don’t think that you have to be perfect all of the time. Depending on what your goals are though, you need to look at how often you can step outside the box. Form positive eating habits and you are one step closer to success.

The last two things that I will put into this category are SLEEP and STRESS. Everyone is different with their sleep schedules but if you are not getting enough sleep, it can effect your fitness progress and the hard work you’re putting in at the gym. Aim to get 7-8 hours of sleep a night and try to be consistent with that. Stress is another one we could all do without and something that can hinder your workout and fitness progress. Analyze your life choices and habits. Life is too short to stress about everything and I know it is easier said than done. Read a book, talk to someone, go for a walk, play with your kids/pets, or get your workout in – these are all ways to combat stress.

 

– Matt

GET News: November 2015

GET news Picture1

Welcome to the Gunning Elite Training Monthly Newsletter! Look for a new edition each month, highlighting what’s new, helpful tips, reminders, and more.

What’s Happening – Team Updates

This Saturday: Don’t miss the GET Pot Luck this Saturday. GET team members, Lacey Di Nardo and Danielle Rigney have partnered up to GET the team together! 10/7 at 4pm, Lacey’s house. See Casey, Lacey or Danielle for more info.

GET Smarter: It’s back! GET Smarter sessions will be offered over the next few months on select Saturdays from 8-9am. Look for the schedule to be posted to Facebook and the website soon! All sessions are FREE to members.

Note: Saturday’s schedule has changed for the winter. 9am – Adult Session, 10am – Accelerate

Holiday GET Together: Join your fellow teammates to celebrate the holidays at Nové Italian Restaurant (Wilton) oappareln Saturday, December 19 at 7pm. ($25pp, cash bar) A festive gift exchange will take place. Further details to follow.

Apparel: NEW GET apparel will be arriving soon!
T-shirts $20, Hoodies $40 – grab your size quickly before their gone! (Pictured to right.)

Reminder: GET will be closed November 16 – 21, returning to our normal schedule on Monday, November 23. All active packages will be extended by 1 week.

Strength in Action

aspen

Need a good goal to GET you through the winter?
Join the GET team at the next powerlifting competition! See Matt or Casey for more information.

 

Left: GET Team Member, Aspen Forman deadlifts
315 lbs. – a personal best – in her 3rd and final attempt at the October 24 RPS meet.

 

Matt TGU

 

The Turkish Get-Up…
The best ‘bang-for-your-buck’ movement. Strength. Mobility. Stability. It requires it all!

Click here to watch Matt break down this dynamic movement into 6 easy steps.

 

 

GET to Know – Josée St.-Pierre

JoseeHi there! I’m Josée and I’m the token Canadian on the GET Team.

You might not know… I’ve lived all over but settled here four years ago with my family. I’m an electrical engineer and a teacher (math/science) by trade but a baker by passion. Hence my need to go to the gym every day!

I also like to… I love to do all sorts of word/math games. And I’m always up for trivia. (It’s the geek/nerd in me.) Call me up anytime to play! Seriously.

My favorite thing about GET… I’m so glad Rachael told me about GET! I love the 5:30 am class. Well, not the 5:30 part, but certainly the people.

Fueling Your Fitness: Good reads on fitness and nutrition.

The Secret to a Bigger Bench Press – TNATION, Tony Bonvechio

The Best Calorie Control Guide – PRECISION NUTRITION, Brian St. Pierre

18 Seriously Helpful Tips for Healthy Weight Loss – HUFFPOST HEALTHY LIVING, Berkeley Wellness

8 Ways to Stay Motivated During the Holidays – MEN’S FITNESS , Jeremy Duvall, M.S., CPT

Recipe/Meal Ideas

Keen-WHAT? + Creative ways to eat more Quinoa

31 Healthy and Portable High-Protein Snacks

Southwestern Stuffed Bell Peppers

The weight room

Team – 

The weight room is a relatively simple space – fill a room with dumbbells, kettlebells, barbells, plates, some benches and you basically have the framework for a weight room. However, just like your home, there should be much more to your weight room than the framework.

 

CHARACTER

Visit a number of gyms and you will see a lot of the same tools (framework) being used. The one thing you will notice is the different vibe you will get at each.

The people in the gym create the character of that space by sharing a passion for their goals, commitment level, attitudes, and their support for one another. This group of athletes shares a special bond from training together, celebrating successes and pushing through the tough days. These individuals are the heart of the gym.

The coaches who set the standard for quality and pass on their training philosophies also influence the character or personality of the gym.

A weight room with good character, built on inspiring and dedicated athletes, and armed with knowledgeable and supportive staff, provide you with so much more than the notion of becoming more fit and losing a few jean sizes.

 

INTEGRITY

Athletes have no choice but to learn integrity in the weight room. Exercises like the squat, bench press, deadlift, and military press require a high level of skill and if you do not perform them properly, you will likely get injured. Training with integrity – an unwavering standard when it comes to technique – will keep you training safely regardless of if it’s your first set or your last set.

 

CONCLUSION

Safety and integrity in the gym are not optional. A gym full of great character and integrity was my vision when I opened Gunning Elite Training (GET). I’ve made my fair share of mistakes in the past as an athlete and coach, but I’ve learned from them. What I described above is what I believe makes a strong gym, drives success… and is what I know we have going on at GET.

 

I challenge you to take an honest look at your gym and ask yourself the following questions…

  1. Am I being held to a high standard? Are the people around me trying to improve themselves like I am?
  2. Are my training partners humble and compassionate? Is the individual who is deadlifting the most weight helping the newbie unload their weights?
  3. Are you surrounded by others who are helping you reach your goals? Do you find yourself working harder because of the people working around you?

 

In order to reach your goals in a safe and healthy way, your gym must be so much more than a weight room. Although it appears to be a simple space, the athletes and coaches make it about so much more than lifting heavy things. Thank you to the GET Team for making our gym much more than a weight room, every day.

 

Let’s GET It!!!

– Matt

One for the guys

Team – 

As a coach and an athlete, I’m always searching for ways to take the body and mind to a higher level. How can we become stronger, faster, etc.?? We need to think about those things before we walk into the gym. Many times (me included) we get caught up with the daily activities in our lives and we forget what it is that brought us to the gym in the first place. Now, if you are one of those “individuals” who just wants to “maintain” or “tone up” or “use the elliptical and call it a day”, then this blog post is definitely not for you. You might as well just hit that little red X on the top left of this page. As for me, I want to get stronger, faster, bigger, and better. Why? It’s quite simple, I’m a man.

As a society, I sometimes feel like we are getting softer. For example, let’s take a look at some of the events in the Olympics. If you ever decide to research the ancient Pentathlon, you would find out that the event was the ultimate test of physical power and mental fortitude. Athletes competed in five events. First, they’d sprint down a runway and leap as high and far as they could to see who had the best long jump. Then, in a race, they’d sprint across a stadium amid the roaring of the crowd. Next up were tests of full body explosiveness and power with the javelin and discus throw. Now, if those four events weren’t enough to drive the overall testosterone level of the crowd into orbit, the competitors finished with wrestling to demonstrate dominance and strength. Man vs. Man. It doesn’t get any better than that. Sprinting, throwing, jumping, and one-on-one wrestling. Simply awesome in my book!

Let’s take a look at the Olympics now. We have synchronized swimming, badminton, etc.. What?!?! Gag me!  Oh, the modern Pentathlon! You want to know what the events are now? …fencing, pellet guns, and horse jumping. Not exactly my standards of what defines a warrior like the ancient Pentathlon. Then they actually tried eliminating wrestling from the Olympics. Thank god wrestling was recently reinstated. I think the people making these crazy decisions have their skinny jeans on too tight.

It got me thinking… based on my knowledge and research, I built a challenge that I feel puts everything out there on the table. It allows you to see where you are in pound for pound strength compared to your fellow men.

So what’s the challenge?

RULES OF THE CHALLENGE:

The Five Events:

1. Bodyweight Bench Press for Reps

2. Bodyweight Chin-ups for Reps

3. Half-Bodyweight Overhead Press for Reps

4. 1.5 Bodyweight Deadlift for Reps

5. Half-Bodyweight Barbell Curl for Reps

** You get one attempt for maximal reps during the competition.

** There is a 20 minute time cap to complete all five exercises.

WARM-UP

Get a good warm-up in before you start the challenge. I would suggest doing a few sets of each exercise prior to starting the challenge.

WEIGH IN

Start by weighing yourself in on a scale. No guessing what your weight is either, as many people seem to lose 10 pounds before they start this challenge. This might also remind you too of that spare tire you’re holding and that it isn’t “bulking” season anymore.

FORM

Each test has movement standards and form requirements for each rep to count.

Bench Press: You must touch the bar to the chest and lock out each rep at the top. You can pause at the top, but failing to get a rep or racking the weight ends the exercise.

 

Strict Chin-up: Use a shoulder width grip or less. You must get your chin over the bar and lower yourself to a complete hang for one second. You can hang longer if you want, but failure to get over the bar or letting go ends the exercise.

Strict Overhead Press: You must lock out the elbows at the top and come to a quick pause at the bottom. Racking the bar or not locking out ends the exercise.

Deadlift: You must fully extend the hips at the top of the exercise. No bouncing the weights off the floor or pausing for longer than two seconds at the bottom. Touch and go is permitted at the bottom. Failure to fully extend hips at the top and letting go of the bar ends the exercise.

Barbell Curl: You must raise the bar to the height of the chin and lower to full extension for 1 second. Avoid swaying or leaning back at the upper body. Releasing the bar or failure to execute a rep ends the exercise.

SCORING

If you reach 20 repetitions on any exercise, that’s the maximum score. Even if you can do more, 20 signifies the end.

Once you have performed all five events or run out of time, add up your total number of reps. A total score of 100 is the ultimate goal for this test.

The rating scale:

0-9 – Low Man on totem pole

10-19- Skinny Man or Man Boobs

20-29- Average Man

20-39- Wing Man

40-49- Door Man

50-59- Athletic Man

60-69- He Man

70-79- Super Man

80-89- Mega Man

90-100- Ultimate Champ

This is not the overall defining factor for strength but these are some fundamental movements that make your man-card more visible if you’re strong at them. Some people may argue that this challenge requires more strength endurance rather than absolute strength, but to rep out with your bodyweight on the bench press, you first have to be really strong.

The time factor – something I am a huge fan of and incorporate a lot into my programming – tests another area of manliness not often challenged by guys who work out in the gym doing their five bodyparts a week. It tests mental toughness. As your scores improve due to familiarity with this test, so will your mental toughness, which is an added benefit to the strength gains you’ll see as you train to increase your score.

Contact me if you’re up for the challenge. (518) 944-1429

Let’s GET it!!

– Matt

Close the gap

Team – 

One thing I have come to realize is that all people have gaps in their lives – gaps between where they are now and where they want to be. Some individuals have small gaps while others are larger. For instance, if you had no money in the bank but you wanted to be rich, you would have a large gap in the financial area of your life. The same would hold true if you had a high body fat percentage but longed to be lean. An example of a small gap would be if you currently ran a mile in just over 8 minutes, but wanted to shave a few second off to run the mile in under 8 minutes. Morale of the story is, we all have gaps and we all have the ability to narrow these gaps and improve ourselves.

The one thing I have realized is that people who have these “larger” gaps tend to be more unhappy with themselves compared to individuals with the “smaller” gaps who seem to be more content and confident. I feel my job is to help people narrow these gaps.

In an effort to quantify this goal-getting mentality, I have come up with a simple 5-step process that people can apply to the areas of their life that they feel need improvement.

 

STEP 1: Choose a Path

Have you ever gotten in your car, started the ignition and had no idea where you were going? Although this question sounds silly, this is exactly what most people do with their lives everyday. We wake and struggle through the day without a true destination of where exactly we want to go.

Spend some time writing down specific goals you would like to attain in certain areas of your life. Remember that you cannot accomplish goals if you do not first set goals.


STEP 2: Accept Responsibility

Simply stated, responsibility can be defined as your ability to “respond” to a goal. I think that accepting responsibility for the goals of your life is not only a sign of maturity, but also a requirement for closing the gap you face. You must realize that if you are not who you want to be, what you want to be, or where you want to be … you are the only person who can change it. Only you can take the steps necessary to reach your dreams.

I challenge you to spend the next few weeks reminding yourself that the achievement of your goals is up to you.


STEP 3: Welcome Adversity

Adversity is a part of life. If you look at the best books and movies ever made, you will see that no great story starts without some major obstacles being encountered. Usually, the bigger the odds, the better the story. Life is going to constantly throw obstacles at us and the key is facing these obstacles head on , and keeping your eye on the end goal. Be confident in your abilities to persevere.

Remember – we all have our own bestseller, and we each control our storyline.


STEP 4: Take Action

This is a very important step because many times we tell ourselves what we want to do but don’t take the appropriate action to achieve it. So, you’ve completed steps 1-3. You’ve taken all the appropriate steps so far and this is the phase where we implement your plan. This is when you put all your plans into action. It sounds easy but it is often the most difficult. It’s critical that you don’t settle for mediocrity.

Know that you deserve nothing but the best. Tell yourself that every day!


STEP 5: Don’t Give Up

If everything were easy, there would be no words such as accomplishment or satisfaction. When we work hard for something and achieve it, there is no better feeling. Oftentimes, people give up right before the big breakthrough. Remember to stay on course and keep fighting until you have succeeded.


Trust. Believe. Persevere. Beat your gap!

– Matt