Falling in Love…

Falling in Love with the Process: The Non-Tangibles

Within the fitness and perhaps even the strength and conditioning industry, many individuals are caught up with measuring and tracking information. From an objective point of view, this provides several benefits; what gets measured gets managed. However, one large part of measuring everything may be overlooked, and that is falling in love with the process towards your goal.

I am of the opinion that I will achieve my goals by any means necessary. Many methods are simply a means towards an end. This I fully accept, and understand.

However, many can’t get out of their own way, and I believe that there are a few steps that many need to undergo prior to achieving their goals. Firstly, being self-aware will allow you to accept where you are now. Secondly, falling in love with the process is necessary if you have a big enough of a goal, and can’t realize it in less than 2 days. And finally, what will occur if you have fallen out of love with your goal? Managing expectations is a large part of the process, and being pragmatic with your approach is necessary towards achieving an often idealistic goal!


I was of the opinion in the past that people will need a specific exercise in order to achieve a specific goal. Sometimes this is true, sometimes this is not true. Exercise is often a method utilized to seek out an end goal of improved fitness quality of some sort.

I was aware, but didn’t understand that people don’t fall in love with an exercise. In reality, for those who want to achieve a goal, the most successful ones fall in love with the process.

When you are attempting to improve yourself in any capacity, there are several things that must be brought to the surface:

  1. Where are you now?
  2. Where do you want to go?
  3. What are the methods that you will utilize in order to get to that goal?

In my world, there are several items that must be accounted for with respect to fitness:

  1. Do you have the ability to perform several different variations of movements?
  2. Do you have the physiological strength needed in order to improve?
  3. Do you have the cardiovascular foundation necessary to improve from workout to workout?
  4. Are you supporting your body with the nutrition that is needed in order to go from workout to workout?

You can measure tons of things, down to the velocity of the barbell that you are moving in order to improve a specific fitness quality. However, what does any of that mean in the grand scheme of things if you are inconsistent with the process? Not many fall in love with the technology, they fall in love with the belief that measuring whatever it is you’re measuring will help them get to their goal faster, and more efficiently.

This is like tracking your steps for the day with one of those fancy apps, or wearing a heart rate monitor for your daily walks. You don’t need an app to tell you how far you walked, because you probably missed the whole point of that walk if you’re tracking it. You probably did that walk by yourself also, instead of inviting a friend and enjoying an experience together.

Falling in Love

In some relationships, you can love the little things that a person can do, and appreciate the nuances of how they laugh, smile, cry, or get upset, but those things, while individual to that person, are small things that make up an individual’s whole personality and being.

PhotoCredit: PhotoRee.com

The tangibles in a relationship involve what you did, in what quantity, and at what times you did those things.

The non-tangibles in a relationship that cannot be replaced involve your feelings for one another, your memories that you cannot replace, or your experiences spent together.

The Process

I used the above analogy in order to make a point – it isn’t the facts that make a relationship great. Instead, it is the experiences and time spent together that make the relationship worth it.

This section will make sense to those who are by and large, fairly normal people. This may be enlightening to those who are literally just like me – the slightly neurotic, planning the majority of my day (whether by necessity or not).


The process involves a series of actions required in order to achieve the end product. To make it sound less monotonous, the process involves understanding the pieces of the puzzle that comprise the big picture. However, some people might mistake the pieces of the puzzle for the big picture.

A + B + C … = Alphabet + Logic + Grammar = Sentences + Logic + Thesis = Essay/Papers

Understanding the capacity for what the letter “A” stands for is great, but you still have to have sound logic to create sentences in order to write a paper of any sort.

Within my industry, this is like someone falling in love with improving on a singular corrective exercise that is a minor part of the whole movement pattern – the brain works on a much higher level than monitoring the small pieces of the puzzle on a conscious level. Improving your ability to move is great, don’t get me wrong. But the brain, in my opinion and from my readings and research, operates on a much higher scale than any singular exercise will be able to improve.

Don’t mistake one piece of the puzzle (corrective exercise, facts in a relationship) for the whole picture (performing hundreds of workouts a year, spending time together to build a foundation for a relationship).

Not many people fall in love with the process in the fitness or strength and conditioning industry because of how much weight they lifted.

Just because I can hip thrust, a popular hip hinging exercise, with 640lbs for 5 repetitions does not mean I can deadlift this weight for that many repetitions.

And just because you may have set a world record does not mean you can now rest on your laurels – someone else may be gunning for your record, and that competitive spirit may be the missing component that you need in order to improve upon your process.

It is often the continual progress that many lifters are in love with. Athletes can be in love with any part of the process of improving, certainly. I’m not saying lifting weights isn’t fun – of course it is. I’ve worked in a gym for the last 6 years of my life.

I’m merely saying that even if an athlete’s broad jump improves, that is a small drop in the larger bucket of the big picture. As long as they make the team, are utilized, and are making progress, and staying injury free – that is the big picture that needs to be focused on.

Simultaneously, I have to remind many of my athletes who are coming back from an injury or surgery that they have improved their capacity for movement, and it is often very encouraging when I remind them where they have come from, and show them where they are now!

Managing Expectations

Many people fall out of love with this process for several reasons. With attaining any goals, many feel discouraged because they are not honest with their expectations. Similar to a relationship, if expectations are not managed, well then some may be in for a rude awakening. Trust is a large component of any relationship, whether it is with yourself to achieve any goal, or creating a foundation for a relationship with a significant other.

If you fall out of love with the process, you perhaps lacked the self-awareness necessary to achieve your “bigger picture.” Simon Sinek had it right when he made that book with the ever-so-catchy title, “Start with Why” – it merely makes sense to have a purpose for your actions.


Just like any relationship, if you have arguments or disagreements, but you love the chemistry you have for one another, then you might try to make it work… but it ultimately won’t work out because of other, larger circumstances that are abound.

From a fitness point of view, it is not uncommon to improve your strength on a squat from 100 to 150lbs in a certain amount of weeks or months. However, it is unlikely to improve your squat from 100 to 2000lbs in a few weeks. There is no process there – just unrealistic expectations.

There can be unrealistic expectations if you’re an athlete – you literally cannot look like another athlete from an aesthetic point of view, simply because of individual variances. Wishing you looked, played, or did anything like any other individual will go to disrespect the creative process that you have as a human!

Do what you can, with what you have, and pursue those options with a fervor like no other.

Powerlifting Squat

For example, I can’t wish to dance like anyone else, because I am my own individual. I can aim to model myself like others, but at the end of the day, my choices are mine!

Wishing you could shoot three pointers like Stephen Curry is great – but if you are a dedicated center with the reaction time of a sloth, it will be difficult to pull off that three point shot from the hip as well as Curry does. It is even much more difficult to actualize if you have a pre-existing shoulder injury that will limit your ability to bring your arm up to shoot in a reactive way.

These examples and more can cause you to fall out of love with the process of training if we’re talking about improving sports, or if we are talking about inter-personal relationships. Expectations are necessary towards improving towards a goal, something that can be managed on a psychological and emotional level.

What I can do involves setting realistic expectations day to day, month to month – aiming to lose 4lbs in a month is do-able! Aiming to lose 20lbs in a month is difficult, if not dangerous.

The Difference Between Tangible vs Non-Tangible

So what is the purpose of explaining the differences between the tangibles and non-tangibles of something involving goals?

Well, after attaining some type of self-awareness within yourself, I’m of the opinion that you can get really good at one thing by falling in love with the non-tangibles of a goal.

To go back to the relationship point of view, sure many people fall in love because of the facts – someone has a lot of money, or someone has lots of material things – tangible things.

Hey ladies… want a ride in my Batmobile?

However, in my experience I’m of the opinion that people fall in love with the things that can’t be replaced, or the things that comprise an individual’s being.

Falling in love with the process of a relationship not only involves being attentive to the other individual, but also being proactive and providing care for the individual. Anyone can give you attention. Showing care through words and actions and being proactive are the non-tangibles that cannot be physically counted.

Now to bring it back to goals… sure you can simply be efficient towards a goal by respecting the tangibles.

If your goal is to achieve an elite total as a powerlifter, I’d assume you can improve in several different manners: dropping weight class, improving strength levels, and discover what leverages you have in order to pass a certain standard of movement. These are all quantifiable and tangible items that involve being a powerlifter.

However, this does not mean you’ll fall in love with the process involved with being a powerlifter.

If you are looking to get strong, there are hundreds of methods of doing so – the lens of being a powerlifter is merely one more method to attain maximal strength. There are several non-tangible items that can be involved with powerlifting. Surrounding yourself with a team of people, encouraging each other, understanding the woes of not going out because you want to improve your diets, or improving your sleep quality by any means necessary is all a part of that process as well. Working out every day is merely part of the process.

If your goal is to get really good at dancing, I’d venture a guess and say that you should not be entering competitions in order to spark a fire that isn’t there yet. Competitions and auditions could call for a certain standard of movements, and performed to a certain degree or quality. Not many companies will allow a sloppy dancer within their ranks. There are quite literally certain tangible goals necessary in order to be a professional dancer.


If you want to get decent at dancing, well guess what? All you have to do is start, do it everyday, and fall in love with the process of the non-tangibles involved with dancing:  moving in some capacity to music, exchange experiences with others, going on road trips to competitions, and having shared experiences with music and dancing being the cornerstone of your dancing life.

Actionable Items

So where does this leave us? How can I qualify an actionable item for something that is largely unquantifiable?

If you find yourself getting burnt out, fall in love with the process by bringing to light the non-tangible items involved with whatever goal you have. Whether it is dancing, losing weight, improving your business, or any other goal – the non-tangibles are what make the big picture worth it all.

Look for experiential items that make any goal worth it – get your family, friends, and significant others involved with the process in order for you to make things stick, and make things matter to you.

If you have a quick and easily attainable goal, identify the tangible items that you can do in order to achieve those goals as efficiently as possible.

No one falls in love with the process of accumulating $100 a single time during the week – you simply just do it by not going out for drinks and cooking your own food. However, if you have a bigger goal of doubling your annual income, well then you better start hustling to fall in love with that process.

Next time you find yourself burning out with respect to your goals, hobbies, or relationship, ask yourself whether you are even meant to be doing what you are doing. No one says you have to do it. But it does have to be internalized in order for anything grandiose to be accomplished.

As always,

Keep it funky.


Are You Really Warming Up?

Originally posted on GrassFedLifestyle.com

What You Need to Know

Performing eight to ten bodyweight exercises before your training session is more productive than warming up using a treadmill or elliptical before exercise.

From a movement and biomechanical point of view, a dynamic warm-up will aim to work in three dimensions, vs the singular plane of motion that walking on a treadmill encourages.

Take a Step Into Any Gym…

…any morning and the first thing you’ll notice is usually the slight humming of treadmill belts looping, and the *tap*tap*tap* of early morning runners getting after it. Talk to the front desk receptionist, and you find out that some of the gym members were there before 5am.

“Why such an early workout time?” you ask.

“Well, a lot of these members are the typified “Type-A” person, who goes to work right after their workouts.”

If you talk to a few of them, and ask them how they warmed up, they’ll usually respond with “Jogging,” “light stretching,” or there is no warm-up performed at all. Is this the usual, or is there a more efficient way to “warm-up”?

What Makes This Warm-Up “Dynamic”?

The fact of the matter is that simply running or walking to warm-up before any training session could be improved to including a bodyweight warm-up. To distinguish between a warm up on the treadmill, let’s call this a “dynamic warm-up”, which indicates that you’ll be moving through certain ranges of motion involving various mobility (think flexibility) and stability (think activating core muscles) exercises.

While walking and running on a treadmill or other typical cardio machine has its benefits, and its intentions are good natured, I value a dynamic warm-up for several other reasons:


  1. Increase in body temperature.
  2. Increases in power output [for performance purposes]. (1)
  3. Synovial fluid is heated up and flows better within the affected joints.
  4. Increases in stability by activating various muscles in multiple planes, as opposed to just the lower body during treadmill running/walking.
  5. Increase in sensitivity of the nerve receptors.

… Among many other benefits, such as acutely increasing range of motion when applied to “tight” muscular areas (2)

Warm-Ups for the Busy Professional

Before I go over what is involved with a dynamic warm-up, let me ask you these questions:

  • How long is your commute to work (and do you drive)?
  • When you go to work, do you sit down a lot?
  • When you get home, do you sit down to watch TV?
  • Do you drive to the gym?
  • When you go to the gym, do you do a lot of abdominal crunches?

The reason I ask these questions is due to the fact that over a period of time, our muscles become accustomed to certain lengths and postures. If you are constantly in a certain posture, such as sitting down, you may need more or less mobility and stability in certain joints before warming up, to “counter-act” the large amounts of time spent in this posture.

With that being said, try these exercises before you workout, take a look at the video below for detailed instruction.

Dynamic Warm-Up
  1. Dead Bug – 5/side
  2. Glute Bridge – 10 reps
  3. Quadruped Thoracic Rotation – 5/side
  4. Split Stance Adductor Mob – 5/side
  5. Hip Flexor Mob – 5/side
  6. Thoracic Extension on Box/Bench – 10 reps
  7. Spiderman Lunge + Rotation – 5/side


If you’re not yet convinced, give this a quick routine a try as an “experiment” for at least 4 weeks… Note what you places feel tight, and what places are sore, and then see how you feel after those initial 4 weeks! Essentially, there should be a given amount of time before you see any adaptations – in this case it is only 4 weeks of your time (at around 5 minutes every day you exercise… So only 20 minutes if you exercise 4 times a week!).

If you’re interested in learning more of how you can incorporate more bodyweight exercises into your training program, check out my new Fitocracy Coaching group,

Bodyweight Training: The Internal Strength!

Fitocracy - Online Coaching Program

Only 8 spots remaining as of Sunday, July 27!

As always,

Keep it funky.



1 – Shellock, Frank G., and William E. Prentice. “Warming-up and stretching for improved physical performance and prevention of sports-related injuries.”Sports Medicine 2.4 (1985): 267-278.

2 – Bishop, David. “Warm up I.” Sports Medicine 33.6 (2003): 439-454.

The Grey Area of Achieving Success – Late Night Musings (7.20.14)

Within the realm of the fitness and S&C “bubble”, there is a bit of a discrepancy between working out and training. Essentially, it comes down to understanding that with “working out”, there is a temporary and fleeting moment when it comes to using this phrase.

While not necessarily feeding into a negative connotation, the term working out is something used when you are exercising without a specific goal or real focus for that block of time, whether it is an hour, 20 minutes, or 3 hours. Sometimes you can workout with your family members, friends, or group of people – and that can obviously be a great thing, as the act of exercising can and will bring about a spirit of camaraderie that can’t be so easily defined.


At the opposite end, “training” or “lifting” is another term that can denoted as exercising towards a specific goal – increased athletic performance, improved efficiency of aerobic and anaerobic capacities or outputs, or increased muscular hypertrophy, to name a few specific goals.


Online Client Spotlight – LeeAnne

This isn’t to say that “training” or “lifting” can’t promote camaraderie either, but rather that it involves a specific mentality or mindset that both includes certain individuals or excludes certain individuals. On top of this, there is a set timeline that is involved – for some it is a 12 week span of training. For others, it is a 16 weeks of time. And for others, it is a lifelong commitment. Some view this as a lifestyle, others view it as being overly attentive to what may be termed as an exercise related version of orthorexia nervosa – or addicted to eating healthily.

When Achieving Your Goals Can Bite You in The Ass

The very idea of getting ready to go to the gym, sweating, and smelling, and moving weights around the gym floor is sometimes unappealing to people. For others, focusing specifically on a 16 week plan where every set and rep is planned to the tempo and rest periods is unappealing, for whatever reason.

For me specifically, there was a period of time where I had written out a timeline of exercise programming and I had not missed or left any singular repetition out – for two and a half years I lifted for 4 days every week, and I didn’t miss one day of lifting – until once where I had become sick and I decided to take a day off.

The next day I was back in the gym.

However, from a social aspect, I definitely missed out on many occasions, social events, traveling occasions, and other things that I might have otherwise had more “fun” doing – marathons, half-marathons, 5k Runs, or mud runs and the like, mainly because I had been training in powerlifting for that specific block of time.

That picture up there where I was surrounded by family and friends? This was after my brother, and two cousins trained, ran together, and ultimately finished their first half-marathon together. This was a fun time for them, and it was a fun time for me too as I helped to guide them with strength training to make sure they didn’t have any overuse injuries by performing a singular motion (running) for a long bout of time.

“Why didn’t I run the half-marathon with them?” you ask.

I was specifically training for a powerlifting meet during that time. On top of this, I didn’t perform any activities that would detract from me improving in my chosen sport at the time – no running, no dancing, no movements that were to otherwise prove unhelpful towards improving my lifts in the big 3.

This didn’t mean I couldn’t be surrounded by them and had to alienate myself in order to focus on my goals however.


First Powerlifting Meet in 2011 where you can hear my family supporting me!

While I tend to view things in a very black and white manner – you either do it or you don’t – this is the grey area of achieving this type of success. But it doesn’t have to be synonymous with cutting ties with people.

So while it is easy for me to reflect on these items and be done with it, here are some action plans that maybe you can partake in if you find yourself in one camp versus the other:

If You Enjoy “Working Out”

  • Plan on making a goal, and analyze why you truly want that goal.
    • Whether it is fat loss, increasing your 5k run time, or increasing your bench press that hasn’t gone up in 5 years, choose a specific goal.
  • After you decide on that goal, decide on a timeline to achieve that goal.
  • Choose the smallest, actionable item you can take towards that goal.
    • Many times, smaller steps will lead to greater goals, and a snowball effect occurs in which you can increase your momentum towards achieving this “greater goal”.
  • After that block of time, measure or test your goal.
    • Did your waistline decrease? Did your 5k time increase? Did your bench press increase by 5lbs? If not, analyze why your plan of action did not lend itself to improving your physical (and mental) goals.
  • Contact me for online coaching to write up a specific exercise program where you can achieve your goals faster.
  • Either that, or find some crazy people who want to do the same thing. Powerlifting was a good outlet for me. So was breakdancing.

If You Enjoy “Training”

  • Plan a singular block of time in your week (does not have to entail one whole day – it can be 20 minutes, 30 minutes, or one hour) where you essentially throw things on a wall, and see what sticks.
  • Play! Call up a friend, go to the basketball courts, or play a pick-up game of anything.
  • Since your comfort zone involves strict regimented plans of action, getting outside of your comfort zone will involve living in a little bit of chaos or unrestricted play.

Adjacent to my facility in Conshohocken, PA is a significantly large turf field. Earlier in the year (January through March), the space would be rented out at night to a group of individuals who loved throwing a frisbee around – in fact they had a league involved, and let’s just say it looked like a lot of fun.

This catch can’t be legal.

After a full day of coaching, I wish I had asked them if I could throw the frisbee around for a bit just to play!

Stories aside, that is what is needed sometimes if you enjoy the “specific” blocks of training for long durations of time – perhaps this is why I enjoy dancing about 2 to 3 times a week. It allows a block of time where I can just “create” movement and not worry about anything in particular!

As always,

Keep it funky.