Is Your Fitness Functional? – Part 2 “Why A Different Gym?”

At Riverside Military Academy, we had an old school gym. Brick walls, fencing and iron made up this inside of our gym. Hard rock pumped loudly from a stereo and men (really just boys) sweated and screamed while they forged their bodies. At wrestling practice, we performed metcon style work outs that were considered tougher than the workouts that other sports did. Ever since then, I have never cared for typical “globo gyms” and when my friend and I opened a martial arts school years ago we did it in a warehouse complete with roll up door. So when some friends turned me on to crossfit a little over a year ago, I was immediately drawn into the old school nature of what they were doing. I found out that I am not alone. 

Crossfit is growing at a rapid rate. The number of affiliated gyms grew from 18 in 2005 to almost 1,700 in 2010. There are people out there who were just tired of the globo gym, people who see the results of a functional work out.  Patrons who not only want to look better but want to perform better, whether it be in a sport or the game of life. While crossfit gets the mainstream attention, there are many other lesser known programs out there. RKC has been around for much longer and is considered to be the pinnacle of kettlebell training. MovNat gets straight to the point by training with functional movements in nature, cutting out the middleman that is a gym and lifting rocks, logs, climbing trees and more. Facilaties like Gym Jones  in Salt Lake City, Utah have been quietly starting their own revolution.

In high school, wrestling practice had shown me what jumping rope, rope climbing, fireman carrys, stadiums and other functional exercises could do for your level of fitness. I was quickly introduced to new equipment such as sandbags, sledgehammers and tires. This all appealed to the fitness rebel in me. I was hooked. There is something great about working toward real fitness (not mirror fitness) in an environment where pushing your limits is encouraged.  It brought out something inside of me, something primal. That is why I work out at a “different gym”. But are all of these programs created equal? Stay tuned all week for more installments of  “Is Your Fitness Functional.”

Bruce Lee – Two Finger Push Ups

Bruce Lee showing a combination of strength and structure.

5 Things Bruce Lee Taught Me About Crossfit – From

Paleo On The Road

Day One – No Coffee

Crossfit West Houston

When I arrived in Houston yesterday, I ran over to Crossfit West Houston for the lunch time WOD. Rob Exline the owner, as well as the crew over there always welcomes me in as if I were one of their own. Rob was kind enough to throw in a bonus round – 5 minutes of Turkish get ups after the WOD. If you’re traveling, drop in at a local crossfit, they’ll be glad to have you. Fee’s range from $15 – $20 or often times you can bring them an affiliate t-shirt.


For lunch yesterday, I dropped by a Fresh Market and had a salad with carne asada. At an event last night I was presented with little paleo options but the salad. Luckily my hotel restaurant serves local grass fed beef…I devoured a ribeye with roasted veggies when I returned to my hotel.
Today, I’ll be eating lunch with clients ….stay tuned for the results. I’ll also cover work out options even if you have no gym this week.

Grass Fed!

Make A New Year’s Evolution – Part 2, Exercise

So if you’re back today then you’ve got your mindset right, now let’s take a look at your physical fitness. Let’s begin by looking at what not to do.

What Not To Do.

1) Stop the “Chronic Cardio” as Mark Sisson calls it. No more hour long treadmill, stairmaster or spin class workouts! They will only work against your goal. This is NOT the way to get your self in better shape NOR to lose weight! If your are a runner or triathlete and are doing distance everyday, stop and take a look at some of the top triathletes and how they train. Many in fact are not killing themselves with long distance everyday. In fact that is a small part of their training.

2) Stop killing yourself everyday! Many subscribe to a 3 on 1 off policy but I think that you should listen to your body. You know when you need a day off because you are too sore to do a work out effectively or if you have no energy. You don’t have to limit yourself but you really can get into good shape working out 3 days per week but you don’t have to limit yourself to this.

3) Stop static stretching! You’re aging your joints, tendons and ligaments!

What To Do.

1) Get out and walk! This puts you at the right heart rate to burn fat and will do wonders for loosening up your muscles and opening up your hips. You can use a heart rate monitor that will tell you if you are in a fitness or fat burning zone or you can simply walk fast. Do it outside and not on a treadmill. You’ll be surprised at how good this makes you feel.

2) Work on your elasticity. Look into flow yoga (check out or for more advanced stuff, check out Ido Portal and some of his students.

3) Pick one or more of the following-


Combines Olympic lifting, gymnastics and functional feats in a varied and challenging environment. For example you might do this one day –   

3 Rounds for time of

500 meter row

12 body weight deadlifts

21 box jumps

and the next day

Squat Max

1-1-1-1-1 reps

Check out a crossfit box near you or if unavailable you can get the work outs on line for free. It’s designed to be done with minimal equipment. Tip: You can save a bunch of money by using a sandbag instead of weights. Just a note that if you have access to a crossfit box, I’d go there. They have certified trainers that will help you with your form and the environment there will push you!


Erwan Le Corre’s method of natural functional movement can be done anywhere and you need no equipment. I mix this in to my training with MovNat inspired workouts. They work great for travel too! You can check out Erwan in this months issue of Outside Magazine or in this video below.

There are also MovNat inspired gyms like StrengthBox below -

Tac Fit

Scott Sonnon has built a system that focuses on core functional strength movements. If you do his yoga then you will already have many of the movements down to do this system. I implement both the his yoga and pieces of tac fit into my training as well as my students training.

Scott Sonnon in action!

You can’t go wrong with any of the above. Start with one and eventually you may find yourself crossing over into all of them like me.Follow this advice and you’ll see big changes this year and you’ll be more likely to stick with it because you’ll be having fun!

Stay tuned tomorrow for Part 3 , Diet and Nutrition!

Make A New Year’s Evolution- Part 1, Change Your Mind, Change Your Life

New Year’s resolutions often to into revolutions. A sad cyclical event when one starts out right and takes over there life only to be overthrown again by fat and bad health. Why can’t so many maintain there healthy lifestyle? They are often misled by all of the confusing health and fitness marketing out there, influenced by society and eventually loose motivation. On top of this you could look at statistics that tell you about how many people fail at their resolutions…it’s pretty depressing. Here’s the good news. None of that has to apply to you. Whether you want to loose 100 lbs, 5 lbs or just want to improve your overall fitness it is all very achievable. Make a New Year’s Evolution and evolve into the best that you can be!

Know Who You Are and Who You Want To Be

What is it you want to accomplish? Why? Do you want to do a triathlon? Do you want to fight in the UFC? Do you want to be able to hike a certain trail? You need to decide what sort of fitness that you require and train that way. Training like a triathlete makes no sense if you aspire to be a fighter and you will not find it mentally rewarding either.  Functional fitness will reward you and make your life better. Don’t have something that you aspire to do? Find something! This is about lifestyle change my friend!

Stop Making Excuses – Tough Love

I often see people saying – “I’ll just skip this workout because…. or I’ll just eat this because….”. That’s not OK…period! Let me save you some time here, If you are going to do that then, close this window and get out and grab a donut, crapacino or some ice cream because you don’t yet have the desire to change. You have the ability but not the desire. Check back in when you’re serious.

For those of you that are still with me, you want to make a change. Stick with that and don’t let anything get in your way! Remember that life happens, you can always adapt. Left your lunch at home? No excuse to go grab fast food. Meeting ran late? You can still get in your work out or even do it another time. We’ll cover these topics later this week. Tune in all week for new installments that will help you become the best you ever!


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